You have found an item located in the Kentuckiana Digital Library.
1988-09-15 Interview with Charles Holbrook III, September 15, 1988 Leg001:88OH138 Leg 06 00:33:50 Kentucky Legislature Oral History Project Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries Legislators -- Kentucky -- Interviews. Kentucky. General Assembly -- Reform. Kentucky. General Assembly -- Committees. Kentucky. Governor (1971-1974 : Ford) Ford, Wendell Carroll, Julian Brown, John Y. Jr. Collins, Martha Layne legislative independence elections Legislative Research Commission (LRC) Rules Committee interim committees Term/District: House (1972-1986), 100th district Counties in District:Boyd County (Ky.) Charles Holbrook III; interviewee David Breaux; interviewer 1988OH138_LEG006_Holbrook 1:|12(13)|25(2)|38(15)|54(15)|70(4)|89(10)|103(5)|118(14)|136(5)|148(14)|168(8)|187(14)|203(4)|213(15)|227(10)|241(8)|259(12)|280(3)|290(19)|304(2)|316(19)|334(6)|356(1)|370(10)|388(14)|405(13)|422(5)|445(9)|461(6)|474(10)|491(15)|503(5)|518(5) audiotrans Legit interview BREAUX: Let me begin by thanking you for taking the time to be with me today and sharing some of your experiences in the legislature. Let me start off by asking you just to recount your career in the General Assembly. In other words, when were you first elected, what years you served, if there's any leadership positions or committee chairmanship positions that you may have held and so forth. HOLBROOK III: I was elected in 1971 and began serving in January of '72 and in 1980-'86 I didn't run back, I decided not to run and so I served fifteen years. It was seven terms with one, one term we had a three-year term in between there through the constitutional amendment that switched the years that the House members were elected. So it was twice an odd number, fifteen rather than the usual even, even number. And let's see, I served at various times as the vice chairman of the Cities Committee, the Judiciary Civil Committee. Let's see, I served on the Bank and Insurance Committee, I think for the entire fifteen years and the last, oh, three or four terms of office, I was a member of the Rules Committee which was pretty, pretty potent I think-which is it's about as high as you can go as a Republican is being on the Rules Committee without getting in the leadership. And I was-I always sort of avoided running for leadership in the Republican Party because I, I think it might-I thought at the time and I still think it might've burned my effectiveness in passing legislation, you know, because, you know, the Republicans are so much outnumbered in the Kentucky General Assembly that I think sometimes it's better that if you don't go around waving your elephant flag in front of everybody's face-and I, I was pretty successful in, in enacting legislation I think was beneficial to my district so and I guess, it probably worked that way. I was nominated one time for House caucus chairman, I don't know what year it was, but it was when, when the pre- legislative conferences were still at Kentucky Dam Village and I voted against myself and I lost by one vote (laughs). So, I guess, I could have been in leadership if I'd wanted to but I think if you're in leadership you-it takes quite a bit of time and, and sort of distracts, I guess, from your ability to function in the committee situation which, which is where most of the legislation is-most of the work's done in the legislature is in the committee, in both the interim and the, and the standing committees during the session. And so I served on three committees every year since my freshman year and that's in addition to various subcommittees and the Rules Committee and so forth. So, it-I think if you, if you're really active in committee work and then you try to, you try to enact legislation a lot of time if you're a Republican it's probably better not to be in a leadership role. Sometimes I regret it, sometimes-and I think if I look backwards I probably did the right thing by not, not getting in the leadership. BREAUX: We seem to know a lot more about the way the leadership selection worked in the Democratic Party. Typically in the good old days, at least, before governors took a more hands-off approach, governors typically handpicked the people they wanted to lead their party, and the legislature then confirmed that decision. HOLBROOK III: Uh-huh. BREAUX: How about in the Republican Party? What was that process like? Was it just self-motivating? HOLBROOK III: If you pardon the pun, it was a pretty democratic process, because I never served under a Republican governor while I was in there so we didn't even the suggestion of outside influence as far as leadership is concerned. And just self- motivating. If somebody wanted, wanted to be in a leadership position they, they went out and campaigned for it and-if they were successful they were, if they weren't, they quite often they tried in the next, next session around. I got the first year, my freshman year, down there I got involved in a leadership race and I backed Gene Stewart, who- who later became, who's now currently senator, he was in the House then, from Jefferson County, we were successful in electing him, I believe, caucus chairman at the time. It was a, was a real educational process for me being a freshman, I was, you know Kentucky Dam Village and later on Larry-I think the next session I, I got involved in the Larry Hopkins campaign also to become caucus chairman and we were successful there too. So, that was an enjoyable experience, enjoyed it. Usually there's not too much hard feelings in the Republican House leadership races-every now and then, sometimes there was but there usually was, you know, the winners and losers shook hands, kissed, made up and went on about their business. But hadn't really-there were few rare exceptions to that, but usually that was a general rule I think. BREAUX: Generally what, what would you say is at stake in winning leadership within the minority party? HOLBROOK III: Well of course, it entitles you a seat on the Legislature Research Committee, to which controls the Legislative Research Commission. So it's-I think there's a good bit of prestige to it and you, you get additional staff people which you need so and that's-I'd say, you know, it's the power, the prestige and, and some people just like to be in a leadership position. BREAUX: But in your opinion, at least as far as your career, you saw serving in leadership maybe as, at least as a potential disadvantage. HOLBROOK III: And I think it would be to me because I didn't have any higher political ambitions. I think if, you know, if you wanted to perhaps run for some statewide Republican office it would also be advantageous to be in leadership because that's another reason, now that I think back, that you might want to be in leadership in the, in the Republican House-Republican leadership in the House. BREAUX: Right. HOLBROOK III: Yeah. BREAUX: Another topic we're interested in is the topic of legislative reorganization-beginning in the late '60s and on into the '70s the legislature took steps to become more independent from the executive branch. HOLBROOK III: Right. I was there at a pretty historic time when, when that was, was gaining momentum. I-as I understand it-I wasn't there, of course, when Governor Nunn the Repu---our last Republican governor was in office but I understand a part of passing his programs and getting, getting his projects approved by the legislature he had to make concessions to the legislature and during his term of office the Legislative Research Commission grew in numbers and in size and importance and the interim committee system was put into effect. And both of which, I think, were major steps in the development of an independent, Kentucky General Assembly. Of course, they didn't, you know, it, it grew and grew and grew and I guess, I don't know if its reached its independence yet or not, it's still, still sort of in a formative process, but I think for all intents and purposes the legislature is pretty much an independent co-equal third branch now. It's not totally co-equal but due to the fact that, you know, they're, they're only there sixty, sixty legislative days a year and the governor and the judicial, judiciary branch, is there 365 days a year so it's not entirely co-equal but I'd say they're almost totally independent anyway. And it grew quite a bit after, after Governor Nunn's term of office. Of course, I think the, the seed was planted during his term of office and, and was-it grew and was built on it by subsequent legislature, legislatures. BREAUX: Do you believe the initiation, at least of the independent movement came about because Louie Nunn was the governor? HOLBROOK III: Yeah because, I think because you had a Republican governor and a Democratically controlled legislature with a overwhelming majority of Democrats in the, in the House and the Senate. And I think as a consequence, the governor had to make concessions that, say perhaps, Julian Carroll didn't have to make. And I think maybe legislative independence may have taken a half a step backwards during Governor Carroll's administration because I, I know when I was a freshman my first two, two sessions of the legislature the Democratic members of the House would show up for legislative sessions with a list that was prepared down on the first floor that told them which bills to vote for and which to vote against. Of course, the Republicans had a big laugh out of that, we thought that was funny because we didn't have anybody preparing any list for us-we just did pretty much as what we thought right. And-and, of course, that, not all the Democrats went along with that but, but a substantial-a large enough number that did that would, that would just about ensure the governor got whatever legislation that he wanted passed and, and kill whatever he wanted-he could kill about anything he wanted to, with very rare exceptions. I'm sorry, that was during Governor Ford's administration. He was, he was governor during my first- BREAUX: Right. HOLBROOK III: first term here. Governor Carroll, of course, was a powerful governor too because he, he'd been in the legislature for so long and he's a-he knew the rules backwards and forward and he, I guess helped write a lot of the rules. He probably, I guess he knew the rules, the-the rules of the House and the rules of Senate as well as anybody that's ever been around. Terry McBrayer, my old seatmate was another master at the rules and I was very fortunate in my freshman year to be his seatmate and he, he took me by the hand and, and made-he gave me his-the legislative rulebook and told me to go home and memorize it and don't come back until I knew everything in there. So, and then he, he, you know, he was very helpful in, in showing me what, what was what. Now you can get your throat cut by not knowing the rules. But Julian Carroll was a master at that and I think that-that contributed to his ability to work well with the legislature and also to exert quite a bit of a influence over them. And then, of course, Governor Brown took the attitude that, that he was the governor and he'd do what he wanted to do and we were the legislature and we'd do all we wanted to do. But he wasn't totally that way because he did exer--, he didn't exercise quite a bit of persuasion over members of the House. And he-(unintelligible), at least to a minority party member he was the most open and the most accessible governor I served under. He just about any time that you needed to talk to-to Governor Brown you could, you could find him. In fact, he'd come looking for you a lot (laughs). BREAUX: What was serving under Wendell Ford like? Was he very involved with legislative details? Did you as a member of the Republican Party have access to him if you needed to speak to him about something? HOLBROOK III: Very, very little. Probably, I probably had less access to Governor, Governor Ford, than anybody. At the time, of course, I was a freshman and- BREAUX: Right. HOLBROOK III: or a sophomore and didn't-and I probably didn't have all that much influence anyway but he was not very accessible to me. Not anywhere near the degree of accessibility, say that John Y. Brown made available to me-to members of either party for that matter. BREAUX: Do you think the reason that Governor Brown was more open was because he felt that he had to be to get some of his legislation passed? In other words, do you feel that maybe Ford and Carroll's closeness because they didn't find themselves in the position where they had to court Republican votes? HOLBROOK III: I'm sure that's true to a great extent because Ford and Carroll both came up through the, through the ranks of the Democratic Party to get where they and John Y. came on sort of an outsider looking in and I don't think he had all the contacts with the, say with the members of the legisl--, leadership and the legislature that maybe Ford and Carroll did. I'm sure that that'd be a factor. I, I think that part of it is a different personal philosophy too that, that he had that, as opposed to other governors. BREAUX: And you also served under Collin's administration? HOLBROOK III: Yes. Uh-huh. BREAUX: Again, what was her leadership style like? HOLBROOK III: She didn't exercise much leadership as I could tell. She, she sort of, sort of a similar attitude that John Y. did, except I think she, she tended-I think she tried to ignore the legislature and pretend like we were not there. I don't think she really liked the legislature, did not the, the dealings with them. And, you know, her, her education program in the first, her the first legislature was a total disaster because she didn't tell anybody about it, didn't get any input from, from any of the legislative members and, and it wasn't until the second, her second time around that she was, she was able to accomplish what she did in the field of education. And most edu---most legislators I talk to will say, "well, you know, she didn't really do it, we did it ourselves, you know. The programs that she takes credit for were really programs that were developed in the legislative, you know, within a legislative committee setting when, with the, within the leadership and the legislature." So, she-I don't think she really liked the legislature, I think she was fairly glad when we were gone. And I think, I think John Y. Brown sort of enjoyed the give-and-take with the, with the legislature. He sort of thrives in that-in that environment. It was much more interesting under, under John Y. than it was having no contact at all with Governor Collins (laughs). Not, not that she was rude or anything, I don't think she, she really had any great liking for the legislative branch (laughs). BREAUX: Okay. Getting back to sort of the initiating of legislative reorganization with the development of things like the interim committee system and sort of a opening up of committee systems in general was it your opinion at the time that those were efforts that would help members of your party in terms of being able to maybe influence decision making any more, or at least being able to get bills introduced more easily? For example, one of the things that changed was the Rules Committee was at least made a little bit less effective in terms of killing or delaying legislation. HOLBROOK III: A little, not a whole lot but-yeah, I think the, the legislative reform and the, and the changes that were made, I think, I think were beneficial to the Republican Party as much or more so than to the Democratic Party. For one thing, it gave, it gave the minority members the opportunity to become better informed about what was going on and, of course, I think you could always introduce a bill, I don't think that was any-during my experience in the legislature there wasn't any problem introducing the bill but getting it passed sometimes was a different matter. But I think it, it was at least it was helpful for the Republicans as it was for Democrats, maybe more so. BREAUX: If you had to list some goals that you thought were at least, you know, achievable as being a Republican representative in a Democratically controlled legislature, what would those be? Would they be more district service type goals or broader policy type of goals, what- HOLBROOK III: I think, I think you have several goals as a legislator and I think since they, they change from time to time you probably had to change it depending on what the circumstances are, but you always-even my first responsibility as a, as a state legislator I was responsible for what I thought that was right for the commonwealth and I think on a lesser scale to-well, not on a lesser scale but on a, maybe on a next priority it, your responsibility to your district. And then I always thought-my third priority was my responsibility to the party. And I think, I think it really came in third but, but these sort of intertwine and intermingle because a lot of times what I would think would be good for the commonwealth was also good for my community and was also good for my party. So I-a lot of times you didn't find any conflict between those, those three. I didn't find any conflict between those, those three priorities. I didn't-and when, when it did have a conflict then I, then I went with in that order of priorities: one, two, three. It never really caused that much of a problem. BREAUX: Okay. What about the interim committee system? We just talked a little about how the committee system was sort of a focus of that early effort to reform the legislature to make it more apen--, more independent. The development of the interim committee system at least extended legislator ability to meet and discuss it beyond the sixty days constitutional limits. Were they taken very seriously at first? HOLBROOK III: I think they were. BREAUX: In, you know, in the early seventies, were they taken pretty seriously at that time? HOLBROOK III: I think they were. I think they were. I think by the serious legislators they certainly were and, you know, some-and the majority of the legislators and, and I think more so at the time goes by are serious legislators and so as a consequence I think most people took them very seriously. But it's a great opportunity to become educated on the issues, you know, that you didn't-that a legislator wouldn't have before. That-the interim committee system coupled with the new system we have now whereby you're elected and then you, now you have almost twelve months from whatever, from the time you're sworn in before you go into session will ensure that even though a legislator might be a freshman he's not going to be totally in the dark. He's gonna have, he's gonna have some idea what's going on in state government by the time he has to go in session-barring, barring special session which happens frequently (laughs). But I think it's an excellent program, an excellent idea and I, and it's- BREAUX: So you would say it had fairly good short-term success and- HOLBROOK III: Yeah. BREAUX: also long term? HOLBROOK III: I think so, yes, I think so. I think, you know, if, if you're gonna introduce controversial legislation it's not a very good idea to pre-file the bill. I think a lot of times if you have something controversial there are going to be a lot of people out there shooting at it. If you, you pre-file the bill long in advance of the session you give your opponents too much time to, to work against it so, but if, you know, if you have a serious piece of legislation perhaps lengthy that needs a lot of refinement, or could use some refinements, I think it's a real good idea to introduce it, you know, in the interim and drum up support for it and iron out some of the problems you might have and limit some of the opposition you might have by making changes in it. Which, I think, I think it will result in better legislation too. BREAUX: You brought up just a few minutes ago, I guess, the idea of legislators becoming more serious, more professionalized. There's been the trend not only in Kentucky but in a lot of state legislatures for legislators to serve longer tenures and make almost a career out of serving in the legislature. What do you think about that trend? Do you think it's good for the state in terms of policy making to have a professionalized type legislature or do you think a more citizens-oriented legislature? HOLBROOK III: I, I've always been in favor of a more-citizens-oriented legislative body because I think if, if you get into the situation where you have professional politicians who have no other, no other occupation, no other means of income, I think they tend to lose sight of what's going on in the real world. I think that's part of one of the things that's what wrong with Congress right now. We have too many people in Congress who are professional politicians and, and not anything else. And I think that's a bad situation. The-I think-I think what my remarks earlier referred to is, I think, I think you have a higher class people serving the legislature, people who more interested in doing what's right for their constituency rather than having a big time and partying around and stuff. And there used to be quite a bit of that. And there used to be a lot of people who would even come on the floor, you know during a session, intoxicated. But, you, you don't see that anymore, those people are gone. And I think that's a good thing. But I don't favor a quote, "professional," unquote type person being in the legislature. The way things are right now it doesn't pay enough to begin with and number two, I don't think it's a good idea because I, I think you need to keep in contact with your constituency. But you mentioned the trend I wasn't aware of that legislators are staying in longer. That's probably a good idea, I guess, because you do need some sort of continuity and I think you can probably stay there too long and I think if you stay there too long you might owe so many favors if you-you'd cease to be able to function independently and you, you could possibly get yourself in that sort of situation. What an ideal length of time to stay there would be I don't know. For me fifteen years was, was more than adequate so I don't know (laughs). That's, that's really a hard thing to say and I think it depends on the individual too. And a lot have to do with the individual's other means of income, not-not very many people can afford to stay in there very long, I don't think. I know it was financially draining for me, I could make a whole lot more money back, back here practicing law and while you're down here, you're over here, it goes on, you know, whether you're earning your income or not, you know, still you have to pay your secretaries and pay the phone bill and the rent and so forth. Whether you're producing income for the firm or not that's what's-it's, it's doesn't really-a lot of people think it is a, a big money proposition but I didn't find it way at all. I think the benefits were other than monetary (laughs). BREAUX: Another relatively recent change that affected the legislative process has been the timing of legislative elections. Those are different years now- HOLBROOK III: Yeah. BREAUX: than gubernatorial elections. Was that a change that you favor? HOLBROOK III: Yeah. I think it was, that would probably help the Republicans. I thought it would probably more so because it's so seldom we get a Republican governor, you know, when you, when you're on the ticket and then you got a very popular Democrat running for governor there's that straight ticket vote, you know, that's kind of hard to overcome. Of course, now they run with Congressmen, I think in a lot of the election districts you have the same situation. So, it didn't really make that big a difference, I think, for the Republicans. But I think in Kentucky we have far too many elections in that, you know, it's a step in the right direction I think towards maybe having a biannual election instead of annual elections, but now if you think about there's every year in Kentucky we have at least two elections and sometimes more, like this year we had three for the presidential primary and then you have, you have special called elections in a lot of committees too. I think one, one of the reasons for voter apathy now is that there are so many cotton-picking elections. I think that people just get say "oh not again," you know (laughs). That was one of the problems with the two-year term in the House I found that, you know, your supporters would be around, and say "Well, I'm running again so," said, "you'll have to help me and go out and work me." He said, "Well, I just did last year." "No, it's two years ago." "No, it was last year." Because the two years roll around so quickly and the, your supporters feel like they just got off an election and already you asked them to get in another one so it's, it's a little problem with a two-year term. BREAUX: You were always campaigning. HOLBROOK III: Yeah. BREAUX: And you felt like you were always campaigning. HOLBROOK III: And your constituents thought you were too (laughs). BREAUX: What would you say is the most important long-term consequence that this push toward legislative independence has had? HOLBROOK III: Well, I think it's gonna result in better legislation and better government for the commonwealth. I don't think it's healthy for, for one governor or one person to exercise as much power as they have in the, in the past in Kentucky. You know, the governor-it used to be the governor was a dictator almost. He could do whatever he wanted to, and there was not much the legislature could do about it. And that's still true to a certain extent but I think it's already getting to the point where it, where the governor is gonna have to be a little more responsible about how he acts and a little more-he's gonna to communicate with the legislature more I think. Governor Wilkinson has learned that the hard way and, and I think-I think Martha Layne Collins learned it the hard way too that-but now we got the cooperation of the legislature it's going to be harder to accomplish much of anything. I think that's good. I don't think one, one person's ideas should just completely dominate the commonwealth for four years, I think there should be some input from the, from the legislative branch. And I think we're getting that now. And I think as a consequence we're gonna have, we're gonna have better, a better situation in Kentucky. It won't, it won't happen overnight but I think it's-we're headed in that direction now. I think our economy is picking up. I think education is on the upswing. It's gonna take a little more money apparently but I think, I think it's working out for the better. I think, you know, in a few years we'll be able to see a, a direct consequence of the legislative independence. BREAUX: Do you fear that there could come a time when the tide would sort of switch back to having someone elected who could use the type of influence that was used by earlier governors to dominate the legislature? HOLBROOK III: I- BREAUX: Or do you think now the legislative independence is pretty much cemented itself in place, that we don't have to fear that? HOLBROOK III: Yeah. Well, there's-nothing is forever but, you know, it could happen that you get an extremely popular and powerful governor that can, that could, just predominate the legislature, but I, I don't see it as a likelihood because, you know, once, once these legislative leaders and the members of the whole of the legislature taste this freedom they're gonna, they're gonna very reluctant to give it up, I think. Even if you have a very popular and persuasive governor I don't think he's gonna completely dominate the way the legislature was dominated in the '50s and early '60s. I don't, I just don't believe that's gonna happen. There will be ups and downs, I'm sure, depending on the popularity of the governor but, but I don't look for the complete dominance that they'd had before. BREAUX: In what way did the committees that you served on change over the time period that you were in the legislature? Was there any change in the way, for example, you talked about the Rules Committee- HOLBROOK III: Uh-huh. BREAUX: and being on the Rules Committee for a time. Was service on any of those committees affected, do you think, by some of these trends we've discussed? HOLBROOK III: Yeah. I think over the, my fifteen year period I think the committees became more deliberative and spent, spent more time studying the issues and-when I was on Judiciary and Civil it seemed like, you know, it was quite a few lawyers on there, (laughs) seemed like it was almost, it was almost moving like in slow motion all the time because there was so much debate on over everything and maybe just a little too much even on that committee. But in other committees, I think there was a lot of serious give and take and a lot of amending done and as a consequence, I think, a lot of bills were improved by the, by the, by the close scrutiny that the committees were giving these pieces of legislation. I could see, as I said, be the quality of legislators were improving too. That-they asked harder questions and played harder ball, you know. It was, I think it was a definite upswing and effectiveness in the quality of work that the committees turned out. BREAUX: In what time period did you say you served on the Rules Committee? HOLBROOK III: I last-I guess my last three terms if I'm not mistaken. BREAUX: And during that time you still found the Rules Committee could be fairly effective in delaying legislation if not necessarily killing it- HOLBROOK III: Yeah. BREAUX: is that correct? HOLBROOK III: Yeah. Yeah. Pretty much so. BREAUX: Is there any other trend or topic that I haven't mentioned today that you think deserves some attention in terms of legislative reorganization or, you know, just where we're going in this state in terms of policy making? HOLBROOK III: No, we've pretty much covered but what I know about it (laughs). BREAUX: Yeah, I think we've talked about a lot of different issues. HOLBROOK III: Yeah. And cause I've been out for a while I can't really tell you what's going on down there right now but-what I read in the paper it's look like-that the, that the governor is gonna have to come and meet with the legislature or nothing is gonna happen. And, you know, he's got a couple of special sessions and I-in one, in one, I guess, to implement the lottery if it passes and the other in January, I suppose, to- for his educational proposals, you know. Unless he, unless he makes some compromises and, and some concessions to the legislature I don't think he's gonna anything done as far as education is concerned. And I think, I think that's gonna be the trend and that's gonna be the way, but-all are gonna be taken by the executive branch and given by the legislative branch until-they're gonna have work hand-in-glove to-or we're gonna be stymied. And that would be a bad situation too but I think the governor is gonna realize that that's the way, that's the way the system works now and that's what they have to do. BREAUX: Do you think there will be compromise? HOLBROOK III: I think there will be, yeah. And there's, I think there's a good bit of public pressure for-for some steps to be taken in the field of public education. I'm not so sure that the governor is not right though in that probably the majority of the people right now don't particularly want a tax increase or don't particularly want to see more money spent on education until they see some reform in education. But I think the, the state Department of Education is working on that or somebody is doing a study now about nepotism in the local school systems and I think, I think there will be some shakeup legislation that which eventually would justify in the minds of the voters and the taxpayers, I think, an increase in funding for, for education. So it's-I think it'll work out. There's gonna-it's gonna take willingness to work on both, with the other side and so far it looks to me like the legislative branch has offered the olive branch and the governor hasn't taken it up yet. So I don't know, he keeps saying he's going to but then he doesn't. It's gonna be interesting to see what develops between now and January. BREAUX: In your opinion is the Republican Party, you know, when I say Republican Party I'm talking about members of the legislature, the Republican members of the legislature, are they in a position to offer alternative plans on various issues to help promote this compromise, you think or- HOLBROOK III: Well- BREAUX: what's the role of the Republican Party today in- HOLBROOK III: we've always, we always have an alternate to whatever the executive branch offers. We try not to be just, you know, just critical without offering some constructive counterproposals and quite often what we, what we proposed would become law in our session or two sessions later so, so I think we had a great deal of input in what happened. A lot of times we weren't getting credit for it because the majority party said "well that's our idea," you know, maybe they won't give us credit for it but you could, you could go back and look at our, our legislative platforms from the preceding session or a, or maybe two sessions before that, and the very thing that we proposed then the Democrats were finally getting around to adopting in their legislative platform. So, I think we had a good deal of input and we did a good deal of study on it, we did, we gave it a lot of thought and I think eventually that worked for a _______?? on quite a number of issues. I think the Republican Party has had an input. They would have a lot more, of course, if they had more numbers and I think that would be very healthy for Kentucky if they had more, more Republicans in the legislature. I think it's, you know-I think for a two-party system to work you only have to have, you know, not, not maybe equal numbers but you need substantially more than we have now. I don't think twenty-five percent is enough to really accomplish a lot. Now, you got to remember in Kentucky too that on a lot of issues, party doesn't really enter into it. I know for example, a lot of the Democrats down in Western Kentucky were far more conservative than I am. So a lot of times the votes were-you couldn't really tell where the party lines were really laid because there was a-when it came down on voting on philosophy, say a lot, a lot of Western Kentucky Democrats are more conservative than some of the Fifth District Republicans, for example. So, it's a-let's just come down to a, to a hardnosed party line vote, it didn't really make that much difference. And that doesn't happen too much anymore, really. I saw it less and less the longer I stayed there. And that's probably good too. To get down to when you're talking about basic philosophies rather than party politics. So, I think that that's been improved too. BREAUX: Of course, with the greater number of Republicans that that would come about would lead to probably less, is that what you're saying, less party politics in terms of, in terms of the party being unified internally, each other, but also against the other. HOLBROOK III: Yeah, I think, I think that could happen. Yeah, you could have people with different philosophies in the same party not aligned on different sides of various issues. And I think that, I think you'd see that maybe more so if there were more Republicans so then-and they wouldn't feel-they wouldn't feel they've been backed into a corner and they have to stick together. I know a lot of times I saw the Republicans all stick together and vote in a bloc- BREAUX: For party unity- HOLBROOK III: where, where some of them didn't really feel that way that strongly but just for party unity and because they felt they were backed into a corner they had to. And I think if they had parity numbers or close to parity I don't think that would happen though. I don't think it-you would need to see it happen. So it's-that'd be another benefit of having more Republicans I think. BREAUX: Okay. Well I enjoyed our discussion- HOLBROOK III: Oh- BREAUX: I think we've talked about a lot of topics and I think we talked about some trends that have happened throughout your career in the legislature and things that are still happening, it will be interesting to see how they eventually work themselves out. HOLBROOK III: Yeah. I enjoyed it too. It was good for me to think about it and think back on it. Because you don't want to forget everything you learned (laughs), fifteen years- BREAUX: Okay. Thanks a lot. HOLBROOK III: Thank you. Hope you can use some of it- [End of interview] Holbrook (House 1972-1986, 100th district; Republican) discusses the gubernatorial styles of various administrations as well as the impact of legislative reform on the governor's power. Concludes with perspective on interim committee's strengths as well as the professionalization of the legislators' terms. Kentucky Legislature