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1988-09-08 Interview with Walter A. Baker, September 8, 1988 Leg001:88OH137 Leg 05 01:30:00 Kentucky Legislature Oral History Project Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries Legislators -- Kentucky -- Interviews. Kentucky. General Assembly -- Reform. Kentucky. Governor (1967-1971 : Nunn) Kentucky. Governor (1971-1974 : Ford) Kentucky. Governor (1979-1983 : Brown) Kentucky. Governor (1987-1991 : Wilkinson) Nunn, Louie B. Ford, Wendell Carroll, Julian legislative independence interim committees Brown, John Y. Jr. Republican Party--Leadership Kentucky Dam Village State Park Appropriations and Revenue Committee AFL-CIO DeMarcus, Harold Lindsay, Gross Clay succession Term/District: House (1968-1970), 23rd district; Senate (1972-1986, 1990-1996), 9th district Leadership Position(s): Senate Minority Caucus Chair, 1976-1980 Counties in District:Barren County (Ky.) -- Metcalfe County (Ky.) -- Allen County (Ky.) -- Monroe County (Ky.) -- Simpson County (Ky.) -- Edmonson County (Ky.) -- Butler County (Ky.) -- Ohio County (Ky.) Walter A. Baker; interviewee David Breaux; interviewer 1988OH137_LEG005_Baker 1:|11(15)|20(12)|29(3)|37(3)|46(6)|52(12)|65(3)|73(10)|87(3)|96(13)|110(10)|126(6)|137(4)|152(2)|163(8)|184(1)|196(11)|205(3)|213(6)|221(14)|232(11)|247(9)|258(6)|268(6)|278(2)|286(10)|294(18)|303(13)|320(6)|328(1)|337(2)|348(8)|357(3)|365(8)|373(13)|388(4)|395(7)|403(2)|416(7)|430(3)|443(13)|451(10)|459(6)|468(8)|491(2)|499(1)|506(15)|519(9)|528(6)|537(15)|546(5)|555(7)|570(4)|579(7)|594(2)|613(3)|625(13)|636(9)|644(9)|652(9)|660(16)|668(10)|680(10)|687(14)|697(11)|705(5)|715(6)|723(13)|733(9)|741(12)|751(3)|760(9)|772(3)|781(9)|793(6)|803(3)|815(2)|824(5)|831(4)|844(8)|854(13)|863(4)|874(9)|885(8)|896(6)|904(12)|912(9)|921(3)|934(13)|945(4) audiotrans Legit interview BREAUX: Let me begin by just thanking you for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to us about issues which concern the General Assembly, and share some of your experiences when you were in the General Assembly. Maybe the place to begin is by asking you just for a outline of your career in the legislature. For example, when were you first elected? What years you served, what leadership positions you may have held, and so forth. BAKER: Okay. I was first elected in 1967 in, I guess the first Republican primary they ever had in Barren County. Defeated an older, long-time Republican activist in the primary by sixty votes, and then was elected by about 800 vote majority in the general election, this was the same year that Governor Nunn, also in this community, was elected governor, and he and I were the only two Republicans who carried Barren County that year-he at the head of the ticket, and I at the bottom of the ticket. I began service in January 1968, service was somewhat a-it was a little different, I guess, from the normal legislator in that three weeks after I was sworn in, my international guard unit in Louisville was called to active duty by President Johnson in the Pueblo crisis. Fortunately, the Democratic majority leader of the state Senate and I were the only two members of the legislature that were involved, the Air Force let us remain until the session was over in mid-March, and then we went on active duty, so I was out of pocket, and really out of state from that year until June of '69, and'69 I was unopposed in the primary, was again elected to the General Assembly in November by about a 212 vote majority. Most of us who had voted for the five percent sales tax were defeated in the '69 sweep, I was not one of those that went down. I worked extremely hard campaigning door to door and one on one. During the '70 session, my second term in the House, then Republican floor leader Harold DeMarcus selected me as an assistant floor leader working under him, and as a result of that, I sat on the Rules Committee and I sat in the leadership meeting each morning with the Republican leadership, the House and the Senate, and Governor Nunn, which I think opened up a lot of insight into the legislative process, and-at least how it operated at that time. I went on the Appropriations and Revenue Committee in the 1970 session and remained on it in the House, and then when I went to the Senate until I resigned from the Senate in June of 1981. Nineteen seventy- one, I unseated then-Republican State Senator J.C. Carter in a primary by, I think a fairly healthy, about a three to two ratio, and had no, as I recall, no Democratic opponent in the November race, started service in the Senate in January of '72. I think in the '76 session I was elected Republican caucus chairman, and I served in that capacity for the final five and a half years that I was in the Senate, a member of the Rules Committee, Committee on Committees, of course, Appropriations and Revenue Committee, and in the 1980 session, I was the vice-chairman of Appropriations and Revenue Committee, Senator Moloney was our chairman. And, my other service in the legislature, generally on judiciary committee, or elections and constitutional amendments, that type of thing where my background as an attorney, and my interest in government and politics seemed to dovetail with the service on those committees. I had, I think one two year period I was on Business Organizations and Professions, and one three week period I was on the Cities Committee when Governor Carroll got angry that we were proposing a budget from the legislative side, and representative Steve Beshear was ousted on the House side and I was ousted on the Senate side. I managed to get myself back on there after about three weeks. And that basically was my service in the legislature, I was fortunate enough to be selected in the '70 session as the most valuable Republican representative, these are selections by the capitol press core, '72 as the outstanding freshman senator, '74, '76, and '80 as the most valuable Republican senator, and '78 as the orator of the Senate. I served also on a number of special commissions appointed by the various governors during my tenure there. I was appointed to one on products liability, the products liability insurance problem, and seemed like I served on two or three others as they came up, one on sentencing of criminal offenders. Under all four governors I served on the executive committee of the Kentucky Crime Commission, and during the last four or five years in the Senate, I served on as the Kentucky representative on Law and Justice Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures, and was vice-chairman of it in the latter year or two. That basically is my tenure, thirteen and a half years combined, in the House and the Senate. BREAUX: In 1967 when you were initially elected to the House, was there an incumbent? BAKER: No. It was an open seat, the then-representative was Paul Allen, who had served two terms in the State House, which seemed to be about par for the course in this district. He did not run again, my then-law partner, in the law firm that I was in, H. Jefferson Herbert, Jr. ran in the Democratic primary, and was nominated, and I ran in the Republican primary and was nominated. I don't think-most people around here did not expect me to win the primary, and so as a result of that, I left the law firm and went out on my own and practiced. So it was an open seat, and neither of us was an incumbent, and interestingly, neither of us was a native of the county. I came to the county in the end of February of 1963 and Mr. Herbert came about the end of March of '63. He married a local girl, I have no relatives in the county. And, in fact, when I came here, and after I waited the six month period required by the Kentucky constitution at that time, I went over to register, the clerk didn't want to register me Republican, and gave as her justification that I was a young lawyer, I would want to run for public office and I could never hold office if I was a Republican. And I said, "well, I won't hold office, but that's the way I want to register." BREAUX: To what extent, then, do you think having Louie Nunn on the ticket that year gave you that first step into the legislature? BAKER: Oh, I think it, it was the difference in being elected and not being elected. The fact that Louie Nunn was a Republican nominee, and the home-folks type of feeling Barren County has generally had in elections, meant that he got a tremendous support here, and of course he carried this county by-I can't remember exactly, I think maybe 2,200 votes. I carried by 800, but interestingly enough, he and I were the only two Republicans on a fairly long ticket who carried the county. I might or might not have been elected-certainly the fact that he was there was a tremendous boost to my candidacy, but had I not worked, and worked extremely hard, I went door to door, virtually every house in the county, and I wanted to win. I had always wanted to be a legislator, my father had been in the legislature, my grandfather had been in the legislature, my great-grandfather had been in the legislature, my grandfather's uncle, who had raised him, had been in the state Senate, this is going back to 1835 and the late 1850s, 1873, and my father, 1924, '36, and '40. And, I wanted that seat, and I could taste it, and I was willing to make the sacrifice that it took in effort, and-to try to win it if it could be won. I didn't know whether I would win it, but I was going to do all I could do, at least, to try to do it. BREAUX: What do you recall about Louie Nunn in terms of his style as a governor? Did he work fairly closely with the legislature? BAKER: Of course, my observations on that really go more to the '70 session than to '68, because I was a freshman, and completely new in terms of legislative politics. Louie was a very strong governor, and he kept very close tabs on what was going on in the legislature. It's evidenced in the leadership meetings in the '70 session, we went over every bill that was scheduled to come up in the House and the Senate each day, and we knew the decision of the administration on each bill. Senator Stuart, now Senator Stuart who was then Representative Stuart, and I, were both in those meetings, and oftentimes, we would go up on the floor of the House and we would vote the party line, so to speak, and would find that everybody else had left us. They had changed signals and nobody had told us. But, at that time, we had a strong governorship, we had, particularly in the '68 session, a tradition of a weak legislative body, and the governor pretty well dominated. BREAUX: Even though- BAKER: Even though he was a, he was a Republican and it was a Democratic legislature. BREAUX: Fairly overwhelming majority of Democrats. BAKER: Oh, not in the, not in the '68 session. We had a-it was 57-43 in the House, which has the largest Republican membership in the House since back in the 1940s under Governor Willis where I think maybe even the House may have been Republican, and the Senate was tied, I believe, in the '44 session, I believe. But, you had a Democratic majority leader, he introduced the governor's tax bills and the governor's budget along with the Republican floor leader, and he voted for them. There was a lot of machinations behind the scene going on that I was not privy to, particularly in '68 and to a lesser extent in '70 where I think there were some deals cut between Governor Nunn and the Democratic leadership, even though they would take a posture of opposition. I think the deal was struck as to what would pass or what would not pass. BREAUX: So, in other words, Governor Nunn, as far as you can recall, could almost automatically count on having the Republican members stick with him. BAKER: Yes. Even, even on- BREAUX: As a core of support. BAKER: As a core of support, and that would be '43, we lost one or two Republicans on the sales tax bills. I think now-Senator Gene Huff may have gone the other way, and I'm not sure whether representative Will K. Peace went the other way, but they were the only deviations from the party line on, you know, the real hardcore votes, and we had some real tough votes, a lot tougher than raising the sales tax from three to five cents. One was exempting from the sales tax prescription drugs or something, I think, in the '68 session. It was done in the '70 session. BREAUX: Right. BAKER: And, so we held the line. And, I can remember a bunch of us who were freshmen Republicans, and we felt like, you know, we were sitting out there at the desk looking at our grave, but we were in combat, and we were the troops, and we supported our leader and went forward. I'm not sure that that, you know, armed with twenty years of experience, and thirteen and a half years of, of seniority, for whatever it means, I would have quite that fervor anymore under a governor of my own party. But, again, you have to recognize that Republicans have been out of office for twenty years, Simeon Willis left the governorship in December of 1947, and then we began to wonder if we would ever elect another Republican governor. It's almost like we are now. We're not quite twenty years down the road since Governor Nunn left office, we're seventeen or eighteen years down the road, there's been a long, long time. BREAUX: You mentioned a little while ago that those members who did vote for the sales tax increase had a very hard time in getting re-elected. BAKER: Right. BREAUX: But that didn't come back to really haunt you. BAKER: Well, I won by 212 votes in 1969, and I'd won by over 800 votes in 1967. Of course, it was a smaller turn-out, and one of the major issues used by my opponent against me was that I had voted for the five cent sales tax, as was used against any Republican across the state. And- BREAUX: Probably any Democrat as well (laughs). BAKER: Right, and our numbers would thinned down, and I have been told that not a single Democrat who voted for the five cent sales tax was returned to the General Assembly. BREAUX: Pretty convincing statement. BAKER: That-(laughs). So, when we felt like we were staring down into our grave, we-a substantial number of us were. BREAUX: What-I'd like to, I guess ask you a couple of questions about leadership selection within the Republican Party. We're mostly familiar with leadership selection under a Democratic governor within the Democratic Party. You know, typically the Democratic governor hand-picks someone he wants to see as majority leader, let's say, and then the legislature confirms that decision, at least in the good old days when we had those governors who were concerned with picking legislative leaders. How did that process operate within the other party? How did the Republican Party go about selecting leaders? BAKER: I can tell you a little bit about it. As a freshman in the 1968 session, I campaigned for, and was elected as chairman of the freshman Republican caucus, or delegation. And, as far as I know, and this is not to say that there may not have been some influence in some part that I didn't know about, but as far as I know, that was pretty much hands-off by Governor Nunn, and I think basically it was between Gene Huff and myself. The leader-Republican leadership at that session, floor leadership, was between William Harold DeMarcus of Lincoln County and Don Ball of Fayette County, both of whom were-had been in the legislature for at least two or three terms. I favored Mr. DeMarcus, he had come down and helped me organize my legislative campaign. I felt obligated to him, I did not know Don Ball at that time. I think before it actually got to a vote, DeMarcus withdrew, and so it was not-it was not an actual vote between the two. Governor Nunn favored Don Ball and favored-I can't remember who the others were, I think Art Schmidt may have been caucus chairman, and I can't remember who the whip was on the Republican side at that time. In the '69 session, I decided to run for-in the '70 session, '69-'70, I decided to run for caucus chairman myself, against Art Schmidt, and I had checked with the governor's office, and it was my understanding that they were going to take a hands-off approach. I discovered later that that was not exactly the way they understood it, and some of my friends say that they thought I could not get the vote, so they didn't really have to be too concerned about it. I went about organizing it, and when we got down to Kentucky Dam Village, where the pre-legislative conference, where the leadership was selected, or selected in that era, it looked like I had the votes to win it, and I can remember that Senator Herman Rattliff and I were very close political allies, and he came over to me and he said, "the governor's trying to reach you," and some of the governor's allies, and staff were down there, his immediate personal staff, can't recall all the names. One of them is now dead, and the other, I think, is the tax commissioner over in Lincoln or Garrard County. But, they were all indicating that Governor Nunn wanted, or was committed to Art Schmidt, and I said, "well, that's fine, it's an open race, and if he gets more votes than I do, so be it." And, then Governor Nunn started looking for me, he had not arrived, but the highway commissioner came down, and he was working the Republicans on behalf of Schmidt, and the next day Governor Nunn came down, and I stayed, stayed hidden, just to avoid a meeting, and finally they found me about noon and hustled me over to see the governor, and he indicated that he wanted Schmidt, and I said, "if that's what you want, I won't stand in the way. I understood that you were not going to take a hand in this race, and that's why I said I'll try to win it." So I then withdrew and Art Schmidt was elected. Some say that that was the day that I won my Senate seat. Whether it was true or not, I don't know, but I'd basically took the position that the governor was our leader, and if he wanted somebody else, I was not going to try to mess it up, but if he was not taking a hand in it, then I was going to go out and try to win it. BREAUX: Now, in the Senate you also contested for some leadership. BAKER: Yes, in the Senate I contested-I think I contested my first year in the Senate for the leadership first-'72 or '74, I can't remember. BREAUX: Is this minority party leader? BAKER: Minority party leader. There were only, I think nine of us at that time. And, let's see, I thought I had the votes to win it. The then-senator from Fayette was Joe Graves, Republican, and I thought Joe was committed to me, and I must have misunderstood him, because I think Joe is an honorable man, and I've-if he did not, than I take his word for it, but his vote was the difference between my being elected Republican leader and not having any leadership position, so I lost out on a, I think it was a five to four vote. And then in '76, I regrouped and formed a coalition with some of the others, and took the lesser position as caucus chairman. BREAUX: And that was contested as well? Or do you remember? BAKER: I think we, these things are contested in the, you know, the shaping up period before the conference. Whether it was actually contested by the time we got down to the lake and cast the vote, I don't remember. I don't think it was at that point, but there was a lot of maneuvering going on, until we got the thing worked out. I am, by nature, not as partisan as many of my brethren in the party. And, so probably I was better off to be a caucus chairman than to be the point man, because I'm a Republican by both birth and heritage, and I think also by choice, but I'm not a damn fool about it, I think-recognize that the other side has a lot of good ideas, and if they do, I'm not adverse to crossing over and support their proposal. Your duty, ultimately is to your conscience and to the people you represent, and I don't believe in being partisan just for the sake of being partisan, because that may be contrary to what we did, you know, in '68 and '70 under Governor Nunn, but I'm-I'm, I guess more non-partisan that I am partisan in my approach to government. BREAUX: I think I mentioned a few minutes earlier, we seem to, at least, think we know a lot more about what goes on in the Democrat Party in terms of leadership selection, because the Democratic Party has been the majority party for, you know, such a long time. And, it seems when you read about leadership selection within the Democratic Party, you know, there's something at stake there, you know, there's some type of power in being the majority party leader you are going to run the show, you are going to carry the ball for the governor, was there anything really at stake in those Republican contests? Or, was it a matter of status? BAKER: I think, in all fairness, it's probably more a matter of status, excepting that if you're in the leadership, or if you're the leader, you do have a significant hand in the appointment of Republican members of the committees, and so in the type of people you select and where you put them, I think you can make a, you can make a lot of difference. For instance, I think whoever serves on Appropriations and Revenue Committee is really doing the point work, in terms of state government, of the party, because that's where the decisions are made, where the dollars go determines what the policy is. If you have someone who will work, who has a good mind and is willing to use it, he can be very effective in that, those slots. On the other side of the coin, and I don't mean to denigrate anyone who has served on these committees, and I have, as I mentioned earlier, for two years. B.O.P., Business Organizations and Professions is sort of, from my judgment, the pits of the legislative committees. You're arbitrating feuds and jealousies between LPMs and registered nurses, and doctors, and those who aspire to be medical technicians, para--, started to say paralegal, paramedics, you're determining whether a certain, very small group, can build a brick wall around themselves and keep everybody else out, and things that in the long run don't make a piddling bit of difference about the advancement of this commonwealth. What you do on A and R does. What you do in, probably, committees I have not served on, but those affecting public health, education, make a difference, and I wanted to be there where I could make a difference, or be a part of making a difference. And, I think I learned that early in the House. I campaigned, I think my principle issue in 1968 was support of establishing a community college at Glasgow, and it was my principle bill, and I got it passed, it's still on the law books today, we never got the community college, it was never funded, even under Governor Nunn who really was not that sympathetic to it, to be fair, at the time, although I think he has since developed a very strong interest in expanding higher education opportunities in Glasgow, and we now have Western Kentucky University at Glasgow campus now, just opened this year, and filling the role that I envisioned, really, for a community college to fill here. So-but I learned that the education issues were not decided by the education committee, they were decided by the appropriations committee, and when the university presidents came to talk about education, they went to the appropriations committee. BREAUX: Need money to make things run. BAKER: Money is the grease that makes the wheels move. BREAUX: What type of differences did you notice when making that transition to the Senate? Was it much different than serving in the House? BAKER: Yes, it was really different. I had been in the, and I'll illustrate it by a story that I told at that time. I had been in the Senate about three weeks, and one of my former House colleagues and I were at dinner, and he said, "Walter, how do you like serving in the Senate? What's it like over there?" Of course we all, we all knew the Senate, we were acquainted with all the membership, we'd gone over to watch them, so nothing of that nature was going to be a surprise. And I said, "well, it's very like attending the funeral of a man that no one liked." And, the Senate is a very-in a lot of respects, is a very cold place. The House is a very boisterous, it's loud, it's noisy, the Senate is quiet, it's sedate, there may be an occasional Senator who will raise his voice, or give a fiery speech, but they're the real exceptions in the course of a sixty day session. In the House, a lot of things happened on the floor of the House. Amendments would be proposed, and acted on, and deliberated upon, and accepted or rejected, right there in plain view of everybody. This was before KET was there to record everything and put it on television. I think that started about 1976. But, the Senate is not that way, or was not that way during my nine and a half years of service. In the Senate, almost without exception, everything was decided before the fact, everything was decided behind the scenes, and what we did on the floor was more of a ratification of a pre-ordained, or pre-decided decision. Occasionally there would be some-something might happen on the floor of the Senate that was unexpected, but it was very rare, and I had to learn to live with that, and had to adjust your approach to that type of mood, working behind the scenes, making sure that you had Democratic support for whatever you were proposing, to keep it out of a partisan type of thing, making sure you had support on the committee that your bill might be referred to, so that you could be sure it would get out of committee and get back to the floor. And, that was a, that was a different way of working from what I knew in the House. Again, bear in mind, I went to the House as a legislative freshman, and so something of the, of the experience I gained in the House, I'm sure was helpful when I got to the Senate. But still, the Senate is a different animal. We used to, in a jocular ________??, during my, my later years in the Senate, we would often finish early on the Senate side, and the House would still be in session, and we would say, "well, let's go down and watch the animals perform." And we would stroll over to the House and watch the House in session, which was always interesting, because there was always something going on. Many of our sessions in the Senate were a lot more sedate, I'm afraid. BREAUX: In addition to the difference in the environment of the floor proceedings, did you find the Senate to be, maybe less partisan in nature than the House? Was there more room for Republican Party input into decisions in the Senate, rather than the House? Or was there a difference, in those terms? BAKER: There-there were few bills that really broke down on a partisan Democrat- Republican basis during the years that I served in the Senate. There were several bills that broke down on a-oh, say, governor, anti-governor type of basis. There were a number of us Republicans who were loosely outlied, allied with what was called the black sheep squadron. John Berry and a number of-I suppose they term progressive Democrats, Senator Karem, others in that group, and occasionally, the combination of us, we were able to do things in the Senate that otherwise we might not have been able to do. But, there has been throughout the period I served in the legislature, really an absence of a party program on the part of us Republicans. I think there have been some, there has been some evidence of that since I left the legislature, particularly on the House side, I believe, but sometimes I think it's more cosmetic than it is real in that they're putting up a program knowing it's going to be knocked down, and how, how dedicated the proponents are to the program, in and of itself, I really don't know. We are a state, here in Kentucky, in which the, the issue differences between Democrats and Republicans on state level are non-existent. This may be one of the reasons why the Republican Party, being a minority party, historically, has been unable to gain ascendancy, is we have very few things that divide us across the board. You can say, "Democrats are this way and Republicans are that way." Labor has, generally speaking, been Democratic in Kentucky, but not entirely so, many, many Republicans in the legislature have been supported-I was endorsed by AFL-CIO in my candidacy this year. I think anybody short of Attila the Hun would have been against the person I was running against, but I remember I was endorsed by AFL-CIO in one of my Senate races in the '70s. I-partly that's reflecting that I am not anti-labor and I am not a right-to-work person. I really don't think right-to- work is an issue in Kentucky, but I think a lot of people try to make it an issue, and I don't think it's ever going to happen, and I think it's a waste of everybody's time to devote a lot of steam to it, because-things are not going to happen, why get all worked up and lighted up about when you can do something about something else. BREAUX: So, you-and, let me see if I have this- BAKER: Okay. BREAUX: straight here. You would say that both in the House, and in the Senate, there was not a very charged partisan atmosphere? BAKER: Well, certainly not in the Senate. The House experience, for me, was unique, because, again, I was a freshman, and we were serving under a Republican governor, which was a rare and unusual situation, so I'm not sure how much I can generalize because of the dual uniqueness that was present there. Probably looking more as an observer from the Senate back toward the House, there probably tends to be more partisanship over there, I guess. And, its much more open. You see it happen in front of you. There's some of that in the Senate, but it's not open, it's behind the scenes. And, during my Senate tenure, I'm trying to think who the majority leaders were, Tom Garrett, until his death, John Berry after that, while I was still there, a senator from Harned, Kentucky is now the majority leader, Joe Wright. Senator Huddleston, I think, was majority leader when I came to the Senate. Huddleston and Garrett both regarded themselves as the governor's man. They handled the governor's business in the Senate. I have not served with Joe Wright since he became majority leader, so I'm not sure exactly how he views that, I know he certainly was not of that ilk when we were serving together as fellow senators, and I know the legislature has changed constitutionally since the '79 amendment. And, I think probably the legislature feels itself less beholden to any executive as a result of the implementation of that amendment, and as a result of a succession of weak governors. John Y. Brown who just didn't choose to be governor, and Martha Layne Collins who was not a strong governor. So, I think the legislature has, on its own now, developed some independence, and strength through a combination of the constitution and a succession of weak governors, and it's never again going to be like it was in '68 and '70, or in '72 and '74 when Wendell Ford was calling the shots. BREAUX: Let's talk about Wendell Ford, I guess for a minute. Your introduction to your legislative career was under Louie Nunn. BAKER: Yes. BREAUX: The Republican governor, but things changed. You went to the Senate, and then we had a Democratic governor, Wendell Ford. What was working under Wendell Ford like, being a member of the Republican Party? BAKER: Oh- BREAUX: Did you work closely with the membership? BAKER: I don't think Wendell cared what the Republicans did, as long as he had his votes to get his legislation through. I can remember Senator Delbert Murphy was chairman of the Appropriations and Revenue Committee during one of the-I think it was one of years that Wendell Ford was governor. The governor's office would send off to Delbert a list of bills that they wanted acted on that day, reported out favorably, reported unfavorably, passed on. And, Delbert would try to look at his list without us realizing he was doing it, and then he would sort of mumble, and say, "well, let's call up Senate Bill 45" and enough people on the majority side were keyed as to what to do on it that they would make a proper motion. And I used to embarrass him a number of times, I said, "Delbert, why don't you just give us all the list so we know what you're going to do?" I said, "why, why hide it from the rest of us? You've got the votes, just pass the list around, and we can speed this process up. Because, what you're doing, you've got your marching orders to do certain things today, why don't you share the orders with us since you've got the votes to do it?" And, that's really basically how the Senate worked under Wendell Ford. BREAUX: Do you recall any circumstances in which Wendell Ford was in a position where he had to court the Republican membership? BAKER: I can remember a circumstance where he had difficulty. There was a bill, House Bill 236, which had to do with the small loan companies, and Ford had apparently, at least the political gossip was, made commitments to them in his gubernatorial race that he would pass this, and they had presumably made financial commitments or contributions to assist his being elected. The urban papers took out on this bill, and sort of made it a cause, and highlighted it. And we gave him a pretty hard time over it. I can't remember-I don't think we succeeded in beating the bill, we modified it some, and we certainly made him pay a price for getting it. A political price. I think he got it, but it was a-it stank, and we, we made sure the stink was well publicized across the commonwealth. But again, that was the time when the Democratic leadership felt obligated, if the governor wanted it, we give it to him. I'm not so sure that were that type of thing to come up today, the Democratic leadership would feel so obligated. Obviously they don't under Governor Wilkinson, even on things a lot less controversial. There were other bills, I just have to go back and sort of review newspaper clippings to refresh my memory. I made it a point in the Senate, really if I was against something, get up and explain why I was against it, and take part in the debate. They had the numbers to blow me over, but they didn't have the numbers to, you know, keep me from expressing my voice on whatever I felt, and I tried to the extent that I could, to make it a debate on what I deemed to be the issue, and not on the individual that was involved in what was going on. I had more trouble, I think, out of one of my own party than I did out of anybody else, in my Senate career, Don Johnson was Republican caucus chairman, supposedly in leadership on Republican side, and was working hand in glove with the Democratic leadership and with Governor Ford. I didn't like it, some of the other senators didn't like it. Johnson got mad at me and I couldn't get a bill out of the Rules Committee. Just, would not come out. And finally, then lieutenant governor, Julian Carroll told me what was going on, then I managed to get some of the situation corrected. We almost ousted Johnson as the caucus chairman, and I think he saw that things weren't sitting too well in the Republican side. That's about the only time I've ever had any trouble with anybody in leadership. And, (unintelligible) voted them out to beat the fire out of him if I could. BREAUX: I'm going to have to change- BAKER: Okay. BREAUX: sides of the tape, so just pause for a minute. [End of Tape 1, Side 1] [Begin of Tape 1, Side 2] BREAUX: Okay, let's go on and continue, I guess, talking about working under different governors. After Wendell Ford, there was a transition to Julian Carroll. Was that something that you noticed? Or was it just, you know, business as usual? Was it just like business as usual under Governor Ford? BAKER: No, it was, it was different. Governor Carroll was a very strong governor, but he was a governor who was extremely well-liked by the legislature, because he was one of us. I had served with him two terms in the House when he was our speaker in '68 and '70. I had served with him three years in the Senate when he was our lieutenant governor, he and I were close personal friends as legislators go. I'd been, I'd not been in his home, other than his home, of course, as lieutenant governor. His wife had been the guest in our home here in Glasgow, and things like that, which really make a difference, I think. Julian was a hard pusher for what he wanted. I can't ever remember any conflict with Governor Carroll, certainly not any personal conflict. I'm sure there were things where we differed on issues and that type of thing, and differed in terms of his budget priorities and his budgets. But, Julian was a fun governor to work under, serve under. And, he was, he was a very generous governor when you ask him, asked something from him. I rarely did of any governor, I, probably I should have more than I did, but I didn't want to compromise my independence. But when I did, Julian would give it to me, and I think all of us legislators appreciated that. And-these were, these were sort of heady days in state government anyway, because with inflation and with growth, our revenue was steadily increasing, we were able to reduce taxes, but still to, to have additional revenue, we had an influx of federal revenue sharing on top of that, so these were the, you know, the dessert days of state government, you had money you could spend, and you could do things with it. Unlike, say, in 1980 when John Brown came in as governor, and the period since that time. And, now with, I guess basically elimination of federal revenue sharing. So, when there's a lot of money to go around, everybody can be happy, and generally everybody was. BREAUX: Did Governor Carroll work with you personally as a member, the Republican Party? Or did he interact very much with members of the leadership? BAKER: I can remember several occasions when Julian would have the Democratic and Republican leadership down to meet with him to go over legislative proposals, or to go over new things that had suddenly appeared on the scene that we needed to do something about, and would, would listen to our advice. I can remember when we met with him in the basement of the mansion after Lieutenant Governor Stovall called a special session for December, whatever it was, 7-'77, somewhere in that time frame. We also had a flood in Frankfort, and you couldn't get from the governor's mansion to the lieutenant governor's mansion, basically, there was so much water down there. And, we, we hammered out an agreement that we would not have the session and he would call a special session after the beginning of the new year on the same subjects that Thelma Stovall had called it, and averted what could have been a potentially a very unpleasant situation, certainly at a time when we were not prepared to act on it, and a time when the state, physically, was not really prepared to act because of the flood ravaging, all through the Kentucky River Basin. And, Governor Carroll made a point practically every time he left the state on state business to take a Republican with him. If he went to the National Governor's Conference, he took a Republican, member of the Republican leadership with him. I remember one time I was invited to go to the National Governor's Conference in Washington, along with, you know, the various aides the governor takes, and what-not, and I was in the Kentucky party for the three or four days that we were up there. So, it's not as you know-a February meeting, as I recall. We flew up on the, we had a Fairchild F-27 airplane that belonged to the state, same type that Piedmont used to use years ago, and we flew up to Washington in the governor's plane, and all of us in the delegation, and stayed over at the Mayflower, and it was, it was a good time. And, I think useful as well. So, in that sense, Governor Carroll was very careful to, you know, take care of the people on the other side. And, I remember something he did for Harold DeMarcus who was the long time Republican floor leader in the House. Harold was a-operated-his sons operated cemeteries, and he operated a monument company down in Lincoln County. And Harold thought that we should take the oppressive sales tax off of tombstones. And, that was certainly not one of the high priority needs of the commonwealth, none of the dead had ever cried out for this (laughs) to be done. But, Governor Carroll acquiesced and seen that that bill got through the legislature and got passed to accommodate Harold. I think of all the governors I served with, Governor Carroll was my favorite, and that includes Governor Nunn, and no disrespect to Governor Nunn, we were just-we're two different breed of politicians, and we didn't have the things, the commonality of service that I had with Governor Carroll. I still see Governor Carroll occasionally, call on him. When he came running for Governor in the most recent Democratic primary, it was obvious he was not going to get anywhere, but as he told me later, he said he'd ran to get his name back. I took my daughter and we went down when he, he flew in the helicopter to the shopping center here in Glasgow, and we were there in the crowd to greet him, and not embarrassed as a Republican to do it. He was a friend, and I thought this is a time when friends need to be seen. If I were in his situation, I would have wanted him to be there, and I felt I had a duty to do the same for him . BREAUX: Well, it sounds like even though Wendell Ford and Julian Carroll would be categorized as strong Democratic governors in the state, there was a very distinct difference, in terms of- BAKER: Oh yes, there was a strong difference. BREAUX: leadership style. BAKER: Wendell Ford was, and is, and I don't mean to be unfair to him, but he is a very vicious partisan. Julian Carroll is just a strong Democrat, but he's not vicious about it. I remember one night at the governor's mansion and the party the governor has for the members of the General Assembly and their wives, sometime up in-oh, this must have been in February, because, the end of January, early February. It was a snowy night, not many legislators showed up, many of the Republicans did not go because the felt so strongly about Wendell Ford they just weren't going to go over there. I've never felt that way, whoever he is as a governor, and I'm a legislator, and we have a duty to get along whether we like each other or not. My wife and I went, we had a marvelous time-stayed late, it was a small crowd, and it just happened that that afternoon, Governor Ford had delivered his budget message to the legislature for a joint session. And, his revenue requirements, tax requirements for him. And, at the conclusion of the evening, we were at the door and saying our goodbyes to the governor and Mrs. Ford, and I said, and in sort of a halfway joking fashion, but very friendly and good-natured fashion, I said, "Governor, we've had such a great time this evening that I'm thinking about I might even vote for your tax bills." And, he looked down at me, didn't look down at me, I don't mean it that way, but looked at me and he said, "Senator, I just don't need your vote." Just very cold, almost haughty voice, and I thought well, then you won't get it. But, that was-Wendell had that streak about him of viciousness that was utterly lacking in Julian Carroll. And, consequently I'm-it's obvious with what I've been saying, I was very strong for Julian Carroll, I'm very strongly against Wendell Ford. BREAUX: Let's go ahead and change gears a bit and talk about reorganization of the legislature- BAKER: Uh-huh. BREAUX: and the impact that that's had. I'd like to get some of your impressions about circumstances that that sort of played out over the last few years. It seems like that trend toward a more independent legislature, at least independent from the governor's office, began about the time you were entering the legislature, around 1968. BAKER: That's true. That's true. BREAUX: There was reorganization of committee system- BAKER: The committees were reduced from something like forty-eight to fourteen, I think. Standing committees. BREAUX: There was the creation of the interim committee system around that time. BAKER: Right. There were-in the beginning, the extended budget hearings on the governor's executive government, these were all things that really started in the '68 session. I think in '64 or '66, I'm told, the governor's budget was introduced, the House recessed, the governor's budget was introduced, it was referred to committee, the House stood in recess, the Appropriations and Revenue Committee met in the corner of the House chamber, reported the bill favorably, the House reassembled in formal session, the committee report was read, given its first reading. BREAUX: Pretty quick action (laughs). BAKER: That's how-what was at that time, probably a one and a half or two billion dollar budget was acted on, the scrutiny it got from the General Assembly. As opposed to, I think in the '68 session, oh, probably five weeks, and then in the '70 session, longer than that, six or eight weeks of extended budget hearings going over each department and agency and its budget, until now, you have the legislature almost a co- party in the creation of the budget, and they are now entitled to receive the working papers as the executive works on it and assembles the budget. And, in many instances now, the legislators, on the appropriations and revenue committee may know more about that budget, certainly historically about the agency, than the political commissioner's or secretaries who are running it. BREAUX: At that time, early on in the reform movements, was there basically just this general orientation toward reform in the legislature? Did Republicans join in with Democratic members in hoping and working toward this reform? BAKER: Yes. I think it was a bipartisan movement. We felt, from both sides of the fence, that the legislature could never fulfill its constitutional role without having some of these tools, without having the interim committees, without having the careful scrutiny of the executive budget, without having a professional staff to aid the legislature. These were all things that we had to do. We had to modernize our rules, which basically was done at the '68 session and thereafter to help bring this about. And I think probably you have seen, not just the beginnings, but the development of more professional legislators in Kentucky than the state had ever had before. When you have people, the quality, and the intellectual capability of Joe Clarke and Mike Moloney running material corporations committees, and over a long-term basis, you're very fortunate. They're not political hacks and they're not dishonest people. And, you can't always say that in some of the other states, or probably even in our own state, in prior history. There's been a downside to some of that. I think the fattening of the legislative budget that was done-of the legislative pension that was done, and probably it was 1982 session if I recall, it was after I had gone on serving the Reagan administration, has made years of legislative service a lot more financially beneficial than they were before. And, I had heard several legislators with whom I had served say to me privately that they really could not afford to leave the legislature now because of the pension, that they need to stay on until, I guess, I think they max out at twenty years. And, I had heard, I had a Senate friend tell me, a couple of years ago, that he probably would not run back to the Senate because it would be costing him money, and that he would be making contributions to the pension plan, but he would not receive any additional increment for the contributions he was making, which is the sad side of it. He, incidentally, did run back and had a hot primary, but was re- nominated. So-but overall I think that there's more good that's come than there has been bad. And, the legislature as a body is much better paid now. When I went in '68, I think-I believe we were paid $25 a day, and we had $25 a day expense allowance. When my father served in the '20s, and '30s, and early '40s, it was $5 a day. I would have gone if they paid a dollar a day, I just felt that strongly about being a legislator. At least I would have gone initially, I probably would not have stayed as long as I did, had it had been a dollar a day. But, when I left the Senate in '81, seemed like we were paid $50 a day in salary, and $50 a day expense, and if you were in the leadership, you got another $10 or $15, or $25 depending on what position you have. And, then I think with the '79 amendment, you're now paid for every day from the time the session starts, and it runs through April 15th now with the, the delay, the override, a couple of days, and so that increases the total considerably over what it was when it cut off about March 15th to March 20th, sixty days. And then, I don't know what it has now in the expense allowance during the interim it was-it was $500 a month, and then it was $750, and it maybe it may have even gone to $900 by the time I was there. And, presumably it's somewhere in that neighborhood now, I don't know. BREAUX: You remained in the legislature at least long enough to see some of these things play themselves out. To see, at least, some of the short-term consequences. Did some of these reforms, like reforms involving the committee system, sort of an opening up of the committee system, changes in the rules committee, did those reforms help your party in terms of being able to influence decisions, or get bills introduced, or at least voted upon? BAKER: I think the openness that came, probably helped the Republican Party, in that we on the Republican Party, always considered the press as our allies. They were the only thing that saved us from being completely trampled by-tyrannical majority if it chose to act that way, because the majority recognized that while it had the power to run over us, that if it exercised that power in an arbitrary fashion, it would be politically undesirable, and the consequences politically might be adverse to them. And, we used the press, you know, to make sure that we weren't trampled on, and also to try to advance those things that we thought were desirable for the state. So, open meetings-I think in the Rules, we opened up the Rules committee. I don't believe the Committee on Committee was ever opened up during the time I was there. I think it, we did not have a precedent there. We always had a precedent in the Rules committee once we got that rule change done. We Republicans always opened our caucus meetings to the press, we found after one or two meetings, the press would not show up, but we could always jab the other side for not doing it, and they generally-it seemed like they did not do it, and still did not, maybe on a selective basis. But, I-again, maybe from the nature of my own approach to the legislature not being so partisan, I really haven't thought of it in terms of partisan terms or, whether it helped or hurt the party, I don't see how it could have hurt the party, I'll put it that way. I'm not sure that it-that most of these things, you know, that much significance in the partisan type of context. I think one of the bad things that has accompanied some of this, we have had, or, at least we were having at the time I left the Senate, a proliferation of subcommittees. We still had, I think at that time, fifteen standing committees, and the judiciary had been split into judiciary civil and criminal, or someway that way. And then maybe there been one additional committee added since that time. So there's fifteen, maybe sixteen standing committees in the Senate. There were a score of subcommittees, and particularly during the interim. And, that, part of that, I think really emanated from some of the members of the majority party who did not have other employment, the legislature was their livelihood, and by having more committee meetings, they received more pay in allowances, and because I've heard mutterings in the hall about some people who were just stayed in Frankfort all the time, and I can remember some subcommittees I was on, I served on, where it seemed that there was awfully little done for the, you know, 260 mile round trip to Frankfort that day for a one hour committee meeting that could have been handled in probably fifteen minutes, and a couple of other things, and done at the same time as the parent committee, if the person was trying to save money and not just run the clock out. BREAUX: What about the development of the interim committee system? Do you thinks that's had positive- BAKER: I think it's had very positive things, because at least in both the individual legislators, the public, the interest groups, the executive, all of these various entities, individuals, who have a natural interest in legislation are able to get in there and make their contribution, positive or negative, in the, in the interim period before the session. So, they're-you should have legislation that is better crafted, better thought out, that has been reacted to by more people before the actual voting session begins. People still hold bills back, put them in as amendments at the last minute on some carrier legislation to get things done, and bypass the whole legislative process. I learned this from Representative Gross Clay Lindsay, who was a House member from Henderson, and in more recent years, I think has worked for the Democratic leadership in the House. Gross would not introduce bills, he would have bills prepared in amendment form, he would wait until he found a bill that had passed his body, and had passed, or at least had passed the other body, the Senate, and came to the House, and he would slip an amendment on it on the floor, send it back to the Senate, and during some of those years, when a bill came back amended by the opposite body, it did not go to committee, it just came back to the floor, and so nobody knew anything about the amendments until the sponsor of the bill called the original bill back up with the House amendment, and you got a lot of stuff, you know, passed, that really no committee had ever taken a look at, and that can still be done. There have been provisions in the rules to stop some of this, and this was done really-Julian Carroll was a leader in a lot of this, we reserved the last two days of the regular session, each house would only consider its own bills that had been amended by the other body, and then we had a cut off date for introduction of bills, thirty days or forty-five days into the session, and some things like that to avoid-I remember at the end of the '68 session, we had a glut of legislation the last night and had to stop the clock, pull the plug on the clock, and _________?? the double doors, as you enter the House chamber, and we legislated until about four of five o'clock the next morning before we finished, and I think that had been the practice, rather than the exception. In the later years of my service in the legislature, we, we tied it up at four o'clock in the afternoon, got out of there, you know. We got things to where there was a manageable flow in those last days. Now, what we did, was we moved the glut back, is what we did, to five days, or six days, or eight days, whatever it was, before the end of the session, but at least we controlled it instead of it controlling us. And I think that was very much for the better, and I remember in the '70 session, I had a bill that was, I think involved the Department of Ulterior Affairs, and the liability, what-not. And, was over in the Senate, and had not gotten back, and I was-I don't think I was literally looking for a brick, but I was going to break that clock to keep the electric clock hand from moving to twelve, which would have killed the bill. But, there have been a lot of reforms that way, that I think are very much positive in their effect on the process. BREAUX: In terms of the reform efforts, you know, early reform efforts again, more or less when you were just breaking into the legislature, I'm familiar with, you know, members like Norbert Blume, Legislative Research chairman James Fleming, later on some efforts by people like Julian Carroll. Do you remember which Republican Party members were active in the reform efforts? Was there anybody that stands out in your mind, sort of a mover and shaker in that early time of reform? BAKER: You're talking about from '68 forward, during that time? BREAUX: Right. BAKER: I don't recall specifically. I probably was as active as anyone else from the Republican side, not trying to take credit for any of this, but those were types of things I was interested in and I tried to be helpful on-I could, and where I was positioned I could. Some of this was, I think was really a legislative opening, as opposed to a partisan type of opening process, and we're constantly trying to make the system work better, make it more responsive, make it more open. Generally speaking, when we got daylight in there, it, it made for better smelling legislation. BREAUX: Let's talk about a couple more recent trends, I guess, some of them we sort of alluded to, you know, over the last half hour, so-we've talked about, for example, the difference of serving under governors like Louie Nunn, Wendell Ford, Julian Carroll. Your last governor you served under was John Y. Brown who took a very different approach to being governor. And we've commented upon how Martha Layne Collins sort of followed that. Both of those people took a more hands-off approach. And, I guess, it's kind of hard to say what approach Wallace Wilkinson, the current governor, is taking, I think maybe not as hands-off- BREAUX: True. True. BAKER: Do you think that's a trend that's going to continue? Do you think we'll have more governors, now that we have made those strides toward legislative independence, more governors sort of forced to take a hands-off approach, and not be able to use the type of tactics to run the show in the legislature as the good old days? BAKER: I think some of the change is permanent. It's constitutional in its origins, and it has become institutionalized. I think some of the change is really a result of the nature of the individuals who served in the governor's office. Louie Nunn would never have been a hands-off governor, I don't care under what constitution you serve under. Wendell Ford, Julian Carroll would never have been hands-off governors. John Brown just didn't know anything about government. I remember Dr. Robert Martin, Senator Martin of Richmond coming up to me one day and saying, "Walter, you won't believe this," of course Bob had been Superintendent of Public Construction, he'd been the finance commissioner under Governor Breathitt, he had been head of one of the regional universities for a decade or so before he came to the Senate. He said, "I was down talking to Governor Brown, and we were talking about the professional negotiations bill," KEA is traditionally promoted, and he said, "Walter, Brown turned to me and he said, said, 'Doctor Martin, who appoints the local boards of education?" Didn't even know they were elected. BREAUX: That's pretty hard to believe (laughs). BAKER: Brown did not know the people in the departments, he seemed to be very lackadaisical about studying government, and I don't think he had the respect of any of us, really for that reason. The government appeared, to many of us, from his viewpoint, to be a toy, and we had spent a lot of years of our lives working in government trying to accomplish something, and I think we, to some extent, resented a governor who-who really did not work at the job like we were accustomed to seeing governors work a the job. Now, in fairness to Governor Brown, he had a different style of management, maybe that's a good style of management. I don't agree with it, I don't think it's desirable for the state, and I think you have to have a governor who's on top of the situation, or the government will run itself. And you'll have a lot of problems that you don't need to have. You'll have a lot of unsavory activity that you don't need to have. I think Wilkinson is a much more confrontational-(unidentified object beeps in background) excuse me just a moment-I think Governor Wilkinson is much more confrontational, and I think, at least at this point, which is September of 1988, he has not developed the political skills of dealing with the legislature to be able to achieve whatever objectives he might, might choose to move toward. I think the trend, probably is to go back more toward a strong governor, as opposed to a weak governor, than either Collins or Brown were on the weak governor side. How far an assertive governor will be able to take that remains to be seen. The legislature has-feels-appears to be feeling its oats, it's learned to operate on its own, operate effectively without having gubernatorial supervision. I think there is going to be a provincial pride in that, and when the challenge comes from some occupant of the governor's office, the legislature, as an entity, is going to be more assertive of its constitutional prerogatives. I doubt if we'll ever again see a day where a governor can just send down the word, "my-I want as my majority leader Tom Garrett, and I want as my caucus chairman Delbert Murphy," and that will happen. I think it, I think it's more likely, given the relative cohesiveness of the Republicans in the legislature, to see that happening in a Republican leadership selection under a Republican governor than it ever is again, Democratic leadership under a Democratic governor. The fact that the Republicans are much fewer and don't get in that often into the governor's chair- BREAUX: Right BAKER: I think means that they'll probably stick together a whole lot more closely than you would see the other way around. BREAUX: Right. So, we may, eventually, depending on the personality of the individuals running, have a governor who is fairly assertive, but that person will have to recognize the independence of the legislature. BAKER: Yes. Yes. And, I think that's the, in some respects, is what we're seeing right now in governor Wilkinson. I think he's a very strong willed individual, again he came to state government without any prior governmental experience, he never even served on a school board, or as jailer or constable. And, he has not learned, you know, how to, how to deal with the legislative process and with legislative leadership. I thought he was beginning to learn late in the summer of '88 when it appeared that both he and the legislative leaders were beginning to talk to each other, other than just say things, bad things about each other, in terms of solving some of the educational problems but it looks like he's gone off on his own again, he's going to call a special session in January to pass his program, but with no consideration for the funding aspects, which it appears that the legislature is extremely, and, I think appropriately interested in. And I don't think they are going to be willing to give him his part of the cake unless the other side is considered also. Nor do I think he should. Or, hopefully we should if I'm fortunate enough to be there come January. And, and that's unfortunate, because the problems remain, their solution is delayed, and until the governor can see that, I think we're going to just tread water in Kentucky. His proposals may or may not be contributory to the solution. But, he has to recognize that, that this is a constitutional process in which he is the governor, and the legislature is the legislature, and the two, ultimately, have to work together, or nothing can happen. BREAUX: That'll be interesting to watch and see how it plays itself out. BAKER: Now, it seemed his first year of office he was more interested in creating a situation where he could succeed himself than he was in the substance of what might go on. That appears to have-I think his confrontation with the General Assembly has been such that it appears very unlikely that he'll get his succession amendment, though as a, as a Republican, I probably would vote for it. And, if he's strong enough to get himself re- elected, so be it. I think we've probably come to that stage, constitutionally in our state, where we need the opportunity for a governor to succeed himself if he can be that good a governor. BREAUX: Well, you just informed me about another trend I was, well not a trend, but an issue I was going to ask you about, and that was succession. Let me ask about one final sort of trend that we've alluded to earlier, and that's this trend toward legislators making a career out of serving in the legislator, legislature, excuse me. You know, it used to be someone would go to Frankfort and spend one or two terms and then go back home, and somebody else would go in. But, over the last twenty or so years, there's been this trend toward making it a career. What's your opinions on that, and do you think that's a positive thing for the state to have, you know, a professional legislature instead of a more, sort of, you know, citizen legislature? BAKER: Generally speaking, I think it's been a positive thing. There are negatives to it, some of which we've alluded to earlier today in, in our discussion. I remember thinking during my latter years of service in the legislature that if I were governor, what I would do is see that there was a big party every night of the legislative session, and that all the legislators were invited, and that they were well-fed, well-lubricated, and they stayed late. If you can keep them occupied that way, then you can do whatever you want to do, and they don't have time to-you know, to look under the sheets and see what you're doing. And, to a substantial extent, that is the way the legisla---the-Frankfort has operated when the legislature was there. There's always a reception, or a dinner, or a UK basketball game going on, that-to occupy your time, and to keep you from doing your work, if you're minded to do work. And, I think the, the more professional legislator, hopefully is better informed, certainly he has more experience, and he's not an absolute imbecile, he's got to be better informed. And there are things that happen, we talk about reinventing the wheel, there's a lot of wheel reinvention that goes on with each new governor, and after you've gone through two, or three, or four of them, you, you've seen this, and you've seen it happen time and time again. One that happened two or three times during my service there, we have commissions that were required to have certain number of Democrats and certain number of Republicans. Or maybe, there was no political requirement, but the terms of membership were staggered so that no governor could control all the membership, Public Service Commission is one. And, there are two or three other major ones in state government. I've seen several governors come in, have a legislation introduced, completely abolishing the present public service commission, reconstituting it in a slightly different name, appointing, in their entirety all the new members, and thus frustrating the entire spirit of long-term lack of any one individual being able to dominate. But doing it under the-the auspices of creating, you know, a long-term thing where no governor can control it, except I control all of them, because I'm the first governor who set this thing up, you get on to tricks like that, if you've been around for a while. And, whether there are enough people on to it that want to do something about it, I don't know, or a governor by executive order will reconstitute half a state government once the legislature has gone home, and there's nobody around for a year and a half, effectively to block that. This is one of the things that, you know, constantly happened. Overall, I think it's better to have a trained, experienced, knowledgeable legislator, that has been there a number of years, over a lay legislator who doesn't know an awful lot about what he's doing and is thus dependent on the governor to supply him the information, spoon-feed it to him, and basically to follow it. So, I think what has happened is good process. BREAUX: I think we've had a fairly interesting discussion today, we've covered a lot of topics, I think we've learned something about the legislature and about some of the reorganization that went on, particularly from the Republican Party side, a side that we don't often hear a lot about and read a lot about, so I think we've had a real good discussion, and I want to again thank you for, you know, taking this time out of your schedule to talk to us about your impression of the Kentucky General Assembly. BAKER: Right. Well I'm delighted to participate in this, and to share, at least my memory of some of the things that went on from 1968 through '81 during the time that I was there. And, I think reflecting over the years that I served, there are moments to come during each legislative session when you say to yourself, "what in the world am I doing here, I don't have to be here, I had to fight to get here, and it's not worth it, and the system is not working, it's not fair, and the results are not good." And, that happens in ever session, and we all get discouraged, but overall I think that there has been a lot of good that has taken place, and even bad people sometimes get in situations where it's to their advantage to do good, and that's why you have government is to, is, in part to control the bad urges of people, and route them in positive ways. And, the legislature contributes in that process. BREAUX: Okay. Well again, I want to thank you. I really appreciate it. [End of interview] Baker (House 1968-1970, 23rd district; Senate 1972-1986; 1990-1996, 9th district; Republican) discusses the impact of Louie B. Nunn's gubernatorial victory on his own legislative career, Republican leadership selection methods and he contrasts his terms in the House and the Senate. He reflects on the leadership styles of governors Nunn, Ford, Carroll and Brown , the reorganization of the committee system, and legislative salaries, and professional versus citizen legislators. He concludes the interview giving his impressions of the governor under which he served at the time of the interview, Wallace Wilkinson. Kentucky Legislature