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1988-11-01 Interview with Julian M. Carroll, November 1, 1988 Leg001:88OH235 Leg 10 01:13:14 Kentucky Legislature Oral History Project Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries Legislators -- Kentucky -- Interviews. Governors -- Kentucky -- Interviews. Kentucky. General Assembly -- Reform. Kentucky. General Assembly -- Appropriations and expenditures. Kentucky. Governor (1967-1971 : Nunn) Kentucky. Governor (1971-1974 : Ford) Kentucky. Governor (1974-1979 : Carroll) Nunn, Louie B. Brown, John Y. Jr. Ford, Wendell legislative independence Rules Committee budget Legislative Research Commission (LRC) term limits Term/District:House (1962), 3rd district, (1963-1970), 4th district Leadership Position(s):Speaker of the House, 1968-1970 -- Lieutenant Governor, 1972-1974 -- Governor, 1974-1979 Counties in District:McCracken County (Ky.) Julian M. Carroll; interviewee David Breaux; interviewer 1988OH235_LEG010_Carroll 1:|13(1)|22(12)|38(3)|55(4)|62(14)|77(3)|96(10)|108(11)|124(15)|135(2)|143(6)|153(12)|173(1)|184(10)|209(9)|221(5)|231(13)|245(8)|255(6)|264(6)|280(3)|287(5)|295(6)|304(9)|313(4)|324(1)|336(9)|349(14)|359(9)|373(16)|384(5)|395(10)|404(14)|419(8)|433(2)|445(7)|453(3)|471(15)|481(10)|490(9)|509(7)|535(10)|546(12)|563(11)|573(11)|585(12)|609(8)|639(7)|649(7)|658(12)|672(7)|695(2)|704(14)|714(15)|724(3)|736(6)|746(1)|754(12)|763(14)|773(7)|781(6)|794(7)|804(14)|815(6)|832(11)|854(1)|866(12)|879(2)|888(4)|899(4)|908(3)|929(14)|941(2) audiotrans Legit interview BREAUX: Let me begin by thanking you for taking the time to talk with us today about- CARROLL: Glad to do it. BREAUX: your experiences in Frankfort. Let me start by just asking you for a brief account of your career in Frankfort in the Assembly and in the governor's office. CARROLL: Sure. I came to the General Assembly in 1962, and I served in the General Assembly from 1962 through 1971, except for the fact that I resigned the last few weeks of my term in 1971 in order to assume the office of lieutenant governor. In 1968, I was elected Speaker of the House, and thus, in 19--, December of `71, when I resigned from the House, I also resigned from the speakership of the House and became lieutenant governor. And then I served as lieutenant governor from December of `71 to December of `74, only three years, because at that time, our governor, Governor Wendell Ford, was elected to the United States Senate and would have taken office in January of `75, but the current United States Senator at the time, Marlow Cook, resigned and allowed him to take office the last week in December. And so when he became United States Senator in December, I became governor. To be more accurate, he resigned from the governorship, I became governor and appointed him to the United States Senate. And then I ran for reelection in the Democratic May primary of 1975, and was elected, of course, as the Democratic nominee, and then in November of `75, was elected in the general election to four more years. And I really took the office of governor in my own right in December of 1975, having at that time been in office a year serving the unexpired term of Senator Ford. And then I served as governor for four years, from December of `75 to December of `79, but with the additional year of serving as essentially, what we call in the constitution, "acting governor." I was Governor of Kentucky for five years, from December of `74 to December of `79. BREAUX: When you became speaker in 1968, is that correct? CARROLL: Yes, that is correct. BREAUX: That was under the Nunn administration. CARROLL: Yes, that is correct. BREAUX: So there wasn't a Democratic governor- CARROLL: No. BREAUX: to help guide any type of leadership selection. CARROLL: No. BREAUX: How did that process play itself out? CARROLL: Well, as a matter of fact, I wanted to run for speaker, and so I actually got in my car and started driving around the state, going to football games where members of the General Assembly would be there. And I went to other meetings, I talked to them personally, and actually went about getting personal commitments to run for Speaker of the House, and secured-by the time that we got to Kentucky Dam Village in December of `67, I had enough votes to be speaker without any opposition. And I didn't have any opposition, and so I became speaker then at the pre-legislative conference at Kentucky Dam Village in December of `67. And you are correct, there was no Democratic administration in Frankfort in the executive branch at that time. And so there was no one that I could turn to for assistance in my race for speaker, and was elected speaker by the members, without the interference of a governor, which probably was somewhat historic in terms of relationships in the past in Kentucky between the executive and legislative branches. However, I, we'll get into this a little bit later I'm sure, but I interfered very mildly in 1976 and `78 at those legislative sessions, I guess one might say, to a great extent primarily because the individuals who were in leadership at the time were friends of mine anyhow, so I didn't go out of my way to do anything to any of them. BREAUX: Was there a contest? Was there anybody opposing you in `68 that was also sort of a self-starter? CARROLL: The only opposition that I had, really, if you can call it as such, was somewhat the result of some political maneuvering by an old friend of mine by the name of Fred Morgan, who was also from my hometown in Paducah. And Fred, being quite astute in political matters, decided at the last minute to be a candidate for speaker without running. He had no intention of running, and knew he wouldn't run, but he knew that some of my friends would, in order to get him off my back, would make commitments to him to be floor leader. And so he got what he wanted, and that's to become floor leader of the House. And so you had an unusual situation that came about as a result of a, actually a vote of the members of the House, who elected a speaker from Paducah, Kentucky, and turned around and elected a floor leader from Paducah, Kentucky. And that county has two members even today. And at one time, when I was there as speaker and Fred Morgan was there as floor leader, you see, Paducah, Kentucky had the two top positions of leadership in the House of Representatives at one time. BREAUX: That's a little unusual. CARROLL: Most unusual. BREAUX: As speaker, it was your job, more or less I would assume, to hold the Democratic Party membership together under, again, a Republican administration. Is that correct? Is that how you perceived your job- CARROLL: Yes. Yes. BREAUX: as speaker? CARROLL: Yes. As a matter of fact, we probably had one of the slimmest margins in modern times at that `70, no, `68 session, rather. My memory is the Democrats had fifty-seven members and the Republicans had forty-three members in that particular session. And so you see, with forty-three Republicans, it didn't take very many members-as a matter of fact eight, eight of our members, added to their forty-three, would give them a majority in the House. BREAUX: Right. CARROLL: And as a matter of fact, that happened to us on a very sensitive vote, and that was the question of passing the increase in the sales tax. We lost at least eight Democrats. I think we actually lost a few more than that, I don't remember the specific number, a small number. But we lost enough Democrats at that vote, from pressure from the governor, to actually have that vote go with the Republican administration at the time, who wanted to increase the sales tax- BREAUX: Right. CARROLL: from three to five cents. BREAUX: That was the next topic I wanted ask you about, so I'm glad you brought it up. Louie Nunn, as a Republican, I assume, at least from reading the newspaper accounts, was fairly successful in getting his, some of his programs passed: budget, the increase in the sales tax. You just mentioned political pressure as a means for accomplishing those ends. Why do you think he was as successful as he was in dealing with a Democratic majority? CARROLL: Well, I think Louie Nunn was a very astute individual. He knew how to count votes. He knew that he couldn't get anything done in that House or the Senate without a majority vote, and he knew he didn't have a majority vote in his party. As a matter of fact, he did not get all of his Republicans when he passed the sales tax in the House or Senate. He had at least one senator, I know, voted against him, and he had maybe a couple or three House members that voted against him. So he didn't have to just pick up a minimum number of Democrats, he had to hold the line on all the Republicans that he had and then pick up a few more Democrats. But Louie Nunn was a dogmatic individual. Personally I like him. I did then and still do today. But he was a tough negotiator. He just made it abundantly clear, you know, "If you expect to get anything out of this administration, you'd better vote for me on this issue." And that, plus the fact that he, I'm sure, built a lot of roads that he wouldn't have otherwise built in those districts, hired a lot of people he wouldn't have otherwise hired, but he used every political tool at his disposal to be able to pass the 5 percent sales tax, and at the same time, look after his other programs in which he was interested. And some of those tools actually included, I'm sure, hiring of relatives or friends of some of the members who voted with him, appropriation of money to the communities where those individuals actually represented. And so Louie Nunn knew how to get his way, he knew how to win in the General Assembly, and he did it by bartering with the members. You know, "You vote for me, and I'll do this for you." And certainly that system has not drastically changed, even though we think we have a more independent General Assembly today. Members still, and I'm not suggesting that they do anything illegal or immoral as far as that's concerned, but members are still in a posture of saying, "Well, if you'll do such and such for my district, I'll vote for you. I'll vote for your bill." And I find no fault in that. Never have and do not. As long as the community benefits by him casting his vote, and not him personally. Now, if a legislator benefits personally, I'll just say that's illegal as well as immoral, but as long as the community benefits, and there never has been any evidence that I know of at the time of members personally benefiting. But each of the members that Louie Nunn got to come his way on some of those votes were doing so because of commitments that he had made to their individual districts. BREAUX: As the leader to the, I guess, loyal opposition, what type of resources were available to you- CARROLL: Hardly- BREAUX: to try to combat- CARROLL: hardly none. BREAUX: that type of activity? CARROLL: Persuasion. And I persuaded a number of Democrats to stay with us that might have otherwise left us, plus the fact that, of course, the Speaker of the House had the ability to appoint people to various committees in the House, had the ability to control the flow of legislation to a great extent, when-what committee considered something, when it got out of committee, when it came to the floor for a vote, and so on. And so, you know, members were interested in having the speaker on their side, too. But the only time that I ever remember taking Louie Nunn on, I mean head on and beating him, was on, at the time, what we called the University of Louisville bill. It was a bill to bring the University of Louisville into the system on higher education in Kentucky. And Louie Nunn wanted to defeat our bill doing that, and called all the presidents of the universities together in the state to help him accomplish it. And I took him on and beat him. And as a matter of fact, after I got through beating him that day, I shall never forget that one of his executive assistants came up and sent for me. And I came out of the door into the hall. He said, "The governor just wanted to send you a message." I said, "What's that?" He said, "The governor said he has a lot more respect for you now than he did previously. You just got through beating him" (laughs). BREAUX: Those Democratic legislators that were persuaded to vote along with Governor Nunn, particularly on increasing the sales tax, seemed to me, at least, to be in a pretty awkward situation, because although they may have been going along with Governor Nunn for the quote, "good of their district," unquote, they had to go back and explain to those constituents why they increased their sales tax. CARROLL: Oh, yes. They sure did. And as a matter of fact, I forget the statistics, but almost every one of them, I think, got beat. The ones that- BREAUX: In reelection? CARROLL: Yes, in reelection. The ones I remember all got beat. I can only think of two or three- BREAUX: Yeah, that would seem to be a pretty serious- CARROLL: Well, even- BREAUX: time bomb there waiting to go off. CARROLL: Well, that's right. And of course, two, your opponent goes out there, and you know, your opponent is able to fan the flames with the people. By now they're paying that five cents instead of three cents, and you can blame it on your legislator who voted with the governor as well as you blame it on Louie Nunn. BREAUX: Right. CARROLL: And so between those two, there was a number of people that actually lost their position, both in the Republican and Democratic parties by the way, as a result of that vote. BREAUX: How effective was the rules committee during this period in terms of delaying or even just killing legislation? CARROLL: Well, very effective. And that came about primarily because of a major change in the rules of the House and the Senate that occurred as a result of a rewriting of the rules of the House and the Senate during 1967. I knew I was going to be speaker fairly soon because I'd got out and worked hard and tied the votes up. And so I started working along with, at that time, the director of the Legislative Research Commission, James Fleming, in an effort to really completely rewrite the rules of the House and the Senate, which we did. Heretofore, we'd had something in the neighborhood of fifty-two committees in the House, and we reduced it to seventeen. And we'd had thirty-eight committees in the Senate, because that's how many senators they had, and every senator was a committee chairman. Looked good on their stationery. And we reduced the Senate committees to the same number, seventeen. The truth of the matter, prior to that time, we actually had what you might call two functioning committees in each house. The committees were called Statues 1 and Statutes 2 by name, and they were the two committees that used, predominantly by the governor and the governor's administration legislation. If they wanted a bill passed they'd send it to Statues 1, and Statues 1 quickly, you know, moved the bill to the floor without much consideration. If you wanted a bill killed you sent it to Statues 2, because Statutes 2 never met. There was no danger of a bill getting out of committee as long as it never met. BREAUX: That's a pretty good bet. CARROLL: And so one of the, almost, prerequisites to serving on Statues 2 was, "Oh, you don't have to worry. It won't keep you very busy because you'll never meet." Now, the truth of the matter, in those earlier years prior to `68, the committee did meet once. They'd meet right at the end of the session and report all their bills out with the expressed of opinion that they should not pass, just to get rid of the bills. But during that last two weeks of your normal legislative sessions, prior to 1968, all the Democrats in the House and all the Democrats in the Senate constituted the Rules Committee. And I've seen, day after day after day, as many as fifty-five or sixty people get together at one time in the room to decide what goes to the floor and what doesn't go to the floor. And it's not easy to make decisions with that many people in the room. But then we rewrote the bills, rewrote the rules, rather, in 1968, and adopted the new rules at the beginning of the `68 session. And as a result, the result of adopting those new rules was that we actually strengthened each of the committees substantially, as well as reducing the numbers of committees. So I had an opportunity there as Speaker of the House in 1968 to appoint all of the committee chairmen of all the committees. Even though my appointments were technically subject to the approval of the Committee on Committees, I essentially made the appointments that I wanted because the Committee on Committees let me do it. And then the Rules Committee controlled the flow of all the legislation. And as Chairman of the Rules Committee, I pretty well controlled what went to the floor and what didn't go to the floor; and even when it went to the floor, when it was going to the floor. And even when it was going to the floor, at what time during the day you would consider it, you know, all of which are various strategies involved in either killing or passing a particular piece of legislation. So the rules changed drastically in 1968. And our rules today are essentially the same as those that we passed in 1968. Now there are some what one might call "liberal changes" in some of those rules that protected the rights of the members more and more, rather than administration. Those rules have remained essentially unchanged since we wrote them at the 1968 session. BREAUX: It seems like around 1968 is when this trend, I guess, toward a more independent legislature began. You just talked about sort of a restructuring of the committee system. There was also creation of the interim committee system around that time. CARROLL: Yes, yes. BREAUX: Was there just a general mood for reform in the legislature at that time, or was it specific opposition to Louie Nunn? CARROLL: Oh, yes. No, there was, no. There was a move for reform that came about before Louie Nunn was ever elected. As a matter of fact, I find it somewhat amusing today, even when the press is, or even members comment about legislative independence, and most of them think legislative independence as something that's come along in the last ten years. They think of legislative independence that came along primarily with the result of John Y. Brown being elected governor in 1983, when he became governor. And the truth of the matter is, legislative independence dates back to the mid-`60s. And one of the first things that contributed strongly to legislative independence was the creation in the mid-`60s of a post in LRC called the Legislative Auditor. And the Legislative Auditor had a function of oversight of administration programs. Not as much programmatic oversight, but at least fiscal oversight of programs. And so we enacted that, and as a matter of fact, I was personally involved in that in 1964, when at that time Ned Breathitt was governor, a Democrat, was opposing that legislation very strongly. And yet he was not able to really stop it totally, because Harry Lee Waterfield, who at that time was in the Senate as lieutenant governor and had sort of had a falling out with the governor. Harry Lee assisted the General Assembly in getting that legislation passed. And that came about, then, really over two sessions. In `62 the legislation lost, and in `64 it passed. And in sixty---it may have been as late as `67 that it passed. But anyhow, the legislative auditor came along there in the mid-`60s. And from the legislative auditor then, we went to the rewriting of the rules in `67 and `68, and then we went to the interim committee system, which was passed by the `68 General Assembly. We went to the interim committee system. So three things that absolutely laid the groundwork for what you might call today an independent General Assembly were the creation of the legislative auditor, the rewriting of the rules in 1968, and the, really, what you might call the creation of the interim committee system. And those three things probably contributed more to legislative independence than any single thing that's happened. And none of that happened after 1968. All that occurred before `68. So the real seeds of legislative independence occurred two decades ago, even though I doubt that there's anybody in the General Assembly today that can really speak to that and remember what happened twenty years ago. There might be one or two. I really can't think at the moment who they might be. And so the legislative, legislature, went into their sessions in, from 1970 on, including that 1970 session with Louie Nunn, as a fairly strong body, in spite of the fact that a lot of that strength didn't just come from in 1970 that you had a Republican governor and a Democratic General Assembly. It came as much from the tools that the General Assembly had absorbed prior to that 1970 session. And then in 1972 and `74 and during Wendell Ford's terms, you found an individual sitting in the governor's chair that knew many, many legislators. He'd been a United States, pardon me, he'd been a state senator in the State Senate in Kentucky and went from there to the governor's office. And so he was one of them. And so he had good success in his relationships with the General Assembly. And then in 1974, December of `74, when I became governor, I developed, had developed the same relationship for the, that reason and even more. Not only had I been lieutenant governor, but I'd been Speaker of the House. So I've been in both bodies and developed numerous friendships in both bodies, individuals that sat next to me, individuals I'd had an opportunity to socialize with. And so that helped Wendell Ford and myself maintain a strong relationship with the General Assembly, which the press primarily interpreted during that period of time as having come about through pressure and through horse-trading again. And the truth of the matter is Wendell Ford and I did very little of it, because we-two things, I guess. One thing, we had some money to spend, and legislators knew that, and they wanted it spent in their districts. And the other thing was that, not only did they have the money to spend, they had the relationship. Wendell Ford and I had the personal relationships with the members of the General Assembly that allowed us to call them in by first name and say, "Look, we need to get this done." And they succumbed, and not surprisingly so, because Wendell Ford and I both were out of the General Assembly. We had both come out of the General Assembly. And we weren't their enemy, we were their friend. And I think both of us remained their friends as long as we were there, even in the terms in which we served. BREAUX: I'd like to follow up, I guess, on some of the points you just made about the leadership style of yourself as governor, and also Governor Ford. But before we move to that, let me ask you one final question. How involved were you in the creation of the interim committee system? CARROLL: Oh, actively involved. See, I was actually, at that time, I was actually heavily involved in the Legislative Research Commission, because I served on as Speaker of the House. In `68 I served on the Legislative Research Commission, and thus exercised a substantial amount of influence, because I was on the Legislative Research Commission. Wendell Ford was lieutenant governor and, of course, chaired the Legislative Research Commission at the time, and of course, strongly supported the interim committee system. And it really wasn't too difficult to create. The members were all for it because it brought them in line with having knowledge and information regarding the operation of state government, something they hadn't had heretofore. BREAUX: Were they fairly successful at first? Were they taken very seriously, you think, the interim committee system? CARROLL: I think so. I think they really, even earlier, were a tremendous impact on legislation. And I think, quite frankly I sometimes think, maybe as much, if not more so, than they are today, because there's been a proliferation of the General-of the interim committee system, and it's, I think it's somewhat interesting as to how that's come about. Truth of the matter is almost any member can go into leadership and get a subcommittee appointed that he wants to be chairman of. And he's got two or three things involved. He's got the fact that he now wields a little bit more influence because he's a chairman of a subcommittee. And plus the fact that he's got some staff available that he hasn't had heretofore. And he's really got resources available, in addition to the staff, that he hasn't ever had before. So I think you're going to find a, and particularly these current years, you're going to find a major effort on the part of members to try to get recognition for the purpose of their home district elections, by holding some good title and getting involved in a hot subject that they want to go out and investigate. As long as they're investigating it, they don't have to take a position one way or the other and can avoid taking positions by simply saying, "Yes, we're looking into that right now. And I agree with you, it ought to be looked at." And when you get done, you don't know really what they've said. You don't know whether they're for it or against it. And that enables them then, obviously, to maintain their popularity in their voting district. BREAUX: That may be one of the, I guess, unforeseen consequences of the- CARROLL: I really think it is. And as a matter of fact, there's a slight weakness there in the system in that the Speaker of the House, who now is running for election by members of the House, doesn't really want to be in the posture of getting very many members of the House mad at him by telling them they can't go somewhere. There's more of an inclination on the part of a Speaker of the House right now to let you as a member go just about anywhere you want to go, just about as many times as you want to go, and spend just about whatever you think you ought to spend. And the temptation is there and I understand it, because I've been a member and been speaker, and I've been elected by majority vote-no governor named me. And so what he's got, what that speaker or that President of the Senate are faced with today are members that can tremendously influence the outcome of legislation on a daily basis, particularly in the House, and an individual legislator who can even determine who the speaker is going to be. And so there's a lot more inclination, then, to get along with the members and respond favorably to their requests, because they, every one of them's got a vote. And it only takes fifty-one votes in each House, or 51 percent in each house. So you're having, really, an unfortunate proliferation of the committee system because of that. There's an absolutely enormous number of subcommittees now, because it's an area that: 'I'm going to get a little press at home." It's an area in which "I can maybe put together the money that I need." And so you're going to find a strong influence, I think, continuing to-"create me a subcommittee, so I can go about looking into something and tell folks at home I'm doing it," you know. BREAUX: Was there any internal opposition to some of these early efforts toward independence? And by internal, I mean within the legislature. CARROLL: Oh, sure. Sure. A substantial amount. And one has to really evaluate why. I think, quite frankly, one of the major reasons you had a lot of legislators that were against legislative independence is the fact that they enjoyed not having to be a legislator in terms of responsibility. Back in those days, you didn't have to worry about reviewing legislation. You come on and go to the chamber, and some good lobbyist friend of yours, who represents some organization that you agree with, is going to tell you how to vote. And, "Don't worry about it," you know. "We'll tell you how to get your vote cast, and we'll tell you," you know, "which way you are to cast your vote." And really as a result of that, members were a little lazy about doing their reading, doing their homework. They depended on the lobbyists to help them. But now, members more and more are informed. Members get out and study, they get out and read, and they don't rely on the lobbyists for, to vote them, as was the case a few years ago. So you're finding a substantial change in the legislative process in recent years, but that change clearly started twenty years ago. BREAUX: That's an interesting point though, because I think a lot of times, again from looking at the newspaper accounts, you come to believe that the opposition, the only opposition worth mentioning, was from the governor's office. CARROLL: Um-hm. BREAUX: And that there wasn't, you know, very much internal division. CARROLL: Well, and many times the governor's office is right because they've got the advantage of being on top of the problem on a daily basis. Somebody on that staff is informed or educated or experienced well enough to know the nature of the problem. And so Uncle Sam provides, in many instances Uncle Sam could provide a mechanism for working on the problem. But yet, the truth of the matter is that you're going to have to turn to the members in time for the resource of getting back in their communities, finding out what their problems are, and bringing those problems to the body. BREAUX: Let's talk about Governor Ford for a minute. How would you basically characterize his style of leadership? CARROLL: Well, he was a hands-on governor, just like I was. As a matter of fact, there's very little difference in terms of style between the two of us. I think you could characterize Governor Ford and myself both to be hands-on governors. BREAUX: And by hands-on- CARROLL: I mean we were involved in every element of what was going on around us. It's not that we didn't leave it to staff people to follow through on, but we knew what was going on. And I think that came substantially from the fact that both of us had grown up in state government, though. In spite of the fact that Governor Ford did not have a long tenure as a legislator, he had still been involved in state government. He actually had worked in the governor's office as chief of staff under Bert Combs. And so he was intimately familiar with the operation of state government before he became governor, and that's not an advantage that very many governors have going in office. Not only did I have my background training as a lawyer and Speaker of the House, member of the House, but even lieutenant governor before I went in the governor's office. Governor Ford was a hard worker. He, of course was, he's not a trained lawyer. He's not somebody involved in designing legislation, because that was not his expertise. But he was still a hard worker. Can we stop just a second and- BREAUX: Sure, I can just pause. [Pause in taping] We just got finished talking, or you did, at least, about how, as being members of the legislature, both Wendell Ford and yourself worked to strengthen that body, yet both Governor Ford's term as governor and yours are sort of described, again through the media, as years in which the legislature took steps backwards in terms of independence. CARROLL: I think that's true. BREAUX: Why do you think, I mean- CARROLL: I think that's true. I think the press did describe it thusly. BREAUX: Do you think it's just a misperception on their part? CARROLL: I think it's a total misconception on the part of the press. They could never understand why Governor Ford and I didn't get beat over the head. I think the press interpreted legislative independence, and continues to interpret legislative independence, as when the legislature beats the governor. They're independent when they beat the governor. When they don't beat the governor, they're dominated by the governor. And to them, that's how they read it, and that's totally inaccurate. Primarily with Governor Ford and myself, as I said, the members of the General Assembly were made up of our friends, people we'd served with, people we palled around with, people we'd done a lot of favors for when we were in those bodies. And having been in those bodies, particularly myself, having been in both House and the Senate, I knew what would pass and what wouldn't pass. Interesting enough, as a matter of fact, in developing legislative strategy while I was governor, we'd pick out some pieces of legislation that we wanted to send upstairs to get beat, because it was the only way we could get the press off our back, was to send something up there we didn't care whether it won or not, and let the General Assembly beat it. And then all of a sudden, the General Assembly now is becoming independent since they beat the governor. And we did it by design. And yet, we didn't lose, seldom ever lose, again, because we spent the time of working with the members, counseling with the members, showing the members what we wanted done, and knowing the system. And I often challenged the press to go upstairs and find one member, just one, that will ever tell you that Julian Carroll intimidated them into a vote, ever offered them a deal, "If you'll vote my way, I'll do thus and so for you," because I didn't do it. But, of course, the press would never take me up on it because it didn't suit their purpose, because they wanted to say the General Assembly was quote, "dominated by the governor," and they didn't want to prove otherwise. But our General Assemblies, really, for the last twenty years, have been remarkably astute in continuing to be independent General Assemblies. I will say that I think now that a lot of the General Assembly members have realized that they've gotten an increased prestige out of that independence, that they've gotten an increased power base out of that independence, and plus the fact that there hasn't been much money for an administration to do anything for them, they've become more independent. But legislative independence as such has been around a long time. And the seeds for legislative independence were actually planted twenty years ago. BREAUX: During your administration, a group of senators, I believe this was in the Senate, became known as the "Black Sheep." CARROLL: Yeah. BREAUX: What was that all about? CARROLL: Well, again, primarily the whole issue of who's running the show. They wanted to run the show in the Senate, and did end up running it. Those individuals who at that time were so-called "Black Sheep" are today the leadership of the Senate. BREAUX: The "Black Sheep Squadron" is, I believe, how- CARROLL: Yes, the "Black Sheep Squadron." BREAUX: they were referred to in the media. CARROLL: Uh-huh. BREAUX: Were they people, again, that had a misconception of what legislative independence was? Or were they people just opposed to some of your programs and policies? CARROLL: Well, it is a combination of factors. It was always friendly. It never was, there was never no hate, there was never any hatred involved or any discord involved. They were-we joked about it, and at times, you know they gave me a "Black Sheep" badge when I was governor, and I wore the badge. BREAUX: Let me just pause to change sides. [End of Tape #1, Side #1] [Begin Tape #1, Side #2] BREAUX: Okay, we can continue. CARROLL: But I think what, really, many of the "Black Sheep" found at the time was that, they found that technique got them some good press, and so they became very active-you know, the more press they got, the more active they became. But they were good men. Every one of them were good men, good members, and I had no problem with communicating with them at the time. They didn't always agree with me, but I'd still talk to them. And as I say, they finally, in time-as a matter of fact, two of the members that I particularly remember is Joe Wright, who is today the floor leader of the Senate, was one of the "Black Sheep." And Mike Moloney, who was chairman of the Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee, was a member of the "Black Sheep." And there was a number of factors involved, but it was primarily out of the fact that-I just, I really am having a hard, I'm trying to reach back and find any one particular thing that brought it on, and I just don't remember any one thing that brought it on. But it was always done in a friendly, joyful atmosphere. I know there never was any discord involved in it. BREAUX: One particular instance, I guess, that I ran across in some of the newspaper accounts of this time period was a conflict between the governor's office and not the Senate, but the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee, over some budget details. And I was wondering if you remembered any of that, and if you could comment upon it. CARROLL: I am not sure that I know exactly what you're talking about. I can remember that back in those days, the, some of the staff of the House A&R Committee had some ideas of some changes that should be made in the governor's budget. And Joe Clarke at the time was most inclined to follow his staff's lead, and yet- BREAUX: And Joe Clarke at that time was? CARROLL: He was chairman of the- BREAUX: Chairman. CARROLL: of the A&R Committee, as he is today. And yet some of the other members of the committee were not inclined to make those changes. Although some changes were made in the budget, they maybe were not as substantial as the changes they make today. I think budgets are more likely to be rewritten by A&R committees today than they were a few years ago, but again it's come from the fact that the A&R members as well as their staff put more time and effort in the writing of budgets than they did a few years ago. Your A&R committee now is broken down into subcommittees, and each of the subcommittees have a responsibility for a particular department. And so some members become quite expert on the budgets of a particular department, and are more capable of evaluating the needs of that department than they were a few years ago. But back then they didn't, the General Assembly didn't have that system. I've often said, and I continue to say, that with legislative independence comes responsibility. And if you're going to be an independent legislator, you've got to be an informed legislator. And some of the members are willing to pay that price and get out and work hard and get themselves informed, and some are not. There's still a few members that would just as soon have the governor, or somebody in the executive branch, tell them how to vote. There's still a few members up there that feel that way. But on the whole, I think you find that most of the members of the General Assembly today are desirous of being informed so they can make a decision independent of a governor's recommendation. And I find no fault with that. BREAUX: I think the issues you commented on was the situation I probably ran across in the newspaper, because it involved, I believe, Mr. Clarke developing an alternative budget. CARROLL: Budget. Yes. BREAUX: And the controversy over whose responsibility was the formulation of the budget in the first place- CARROLL: Yeah. BREAUX: and that sort of mushrooming from there. CARROLL: Yes. Well, the constitution says it's the executive branch's responsibility. BREAUX: Formulating the budget. CARROLL: Formulating the budget, and the General Assembly to review it. And I don't think many legislators would disagree with that. It's still the responsibility of the General Assembly to review the budget, but sometimes there's a little bit too much playing with the budget, you know. But with our present process, where the A&R committee spends such an enormous amount of time, I think on the whole you get a responsible budget. BREAUX: Okay. A more recent, to shift to a more recent time, in `87 you had an unsuccessful campaign for the Democratic nomination. CARROLL: Um-hm. BREAUX: For the sake of argument, let's say that campaign would have been successful- CARROLL: Okay. BREAUX: and you would have became governor. CARROLL: Um-hm. BREAUX: Would you expect anything different- CARROLL: Oh, substantially. BREAUX: in Frankfort? CARROLL: Substantially. BREAUX: What would have been some of the changes you would have expected to confront? CARROLL: Substantially. I think, first of all, that I would have had a much different relationship with the General Assembly than Governor Wilkinson has had, and again, not as much any fault of his own, but because of my background in the General Assembly. There's still a number of those members that were there when I was governor last time, a number of them in positions of leadership that are there because I helped put them there when I was either Speaker of the House or lieutenant governor. And so my relationship, my personal relationship with the General Assembly would have been much different. Programmatically, I think you would have found me more involved in the structure of state government, more involved in government's day-to-day operations. And again that comes, just really nothing more than the fact that I've lived with it for the past twenty years, whereas Governor Wilkinson, or any other governor, has to get into a subject matter by desire, and then explore it and study it to, in order to just become appraised sufficiently to be able to make a wise decision. And I had a sufficient background that I can take on any department of state government and within a few minutes tell you which direction we probably ought to be heading in because of twenty years of experience in the area. In the whole field of education, I think I would have been spending more time on trying to resolve the cost to state government from our educational failures, which is an area that I really have explored extensively having left the governor's office and spent time doing that since leaving the governor's office, realizing that we're spending dollars in state government today that we need not spend, that could go toward education. Now, it's a matter of investment. It's not dollars you could immediately shift. But particularly in our area of welfare and corrections, we're spending enormous sums of money to handle increased welfare loads and handle additional corrections load over in corrections for our failures in our educational system. And I'd be concentrating on that. Other than that, I'd be faced, though, with some of the same tough decisions the governor's now faced with, that's revenue shortfall. However, I would have immediately picked up $100 million a year or more by just conforming the state income tax code to the federal income tax code. And from that point on, I probably would've been looking at other cost-saving methods of operating state government, methods that I've become familiar with, again, since I left the governor's office. BREAUX: All right. So a key difference then, I guess, not only between yourself and Governor Wilkinson, but just about anybody else who would have won that election- CARROLL: Of those running- BREAUX: the big difference was that you've had the experience by serving in the legislature, whereas they were sort of outside of the- CARROLL: Sure. BREAUX: process. CARROLL: Sure. That's correct. That's correct. And really, I think, it's not, what I've just said is not because Wallace Wilkinson is governor, it's just because anybody else would be governor that did not have that background and experience that would let them hit the ground running, so to speak. But that's not going to happen in Kentucky state government very often in our political system. You're not going to elect somebody that always has that kind of background and experience. It's unusual to do so. It's the exception rather than the rule. BREAUX: Do you think that's a negative consequence then for state, the state as a whole? CARROLL: Well, sure it is. Sure it is. I think somebody that has that background and experience can really get the state moving again much quicker. And a lot of governors simply don't understand the importance of the leadership of a governor and the welfare of the state. Kentucky progresses, even economically, because of decisions made by the governor. BREAUX: We seem to be at a stalemate now on a couple of issues, some of the ones you've talked about. You talked about taxation a minute ago and education. Do you think that stalemate is there, at least in part, because of the growing independence of the legislature? CARROLL: I think that contributes to it. We've got a governor and a General Assembly that seem to be at loggerheads with each other, and as long as they are, you really can't benefit the state. The state's suffering from that lack of cooperation between those two branches of government. But I think the real culprit is the economy, lack of money to address programs. And that's not really the fault of the General Assembly or the governor. Matter of fact, you don't really, you can't point a finger at anybody's fault, it's just a sign of the times. But your rules today, in my judgment I would be a much different governor than I was the last time. Whereas I was an expansive governor looking for new programs and funding new programs, this time I would have been a governor taking programs and readjusting priorities, figuring out ways in which to do things cheaper, figuring out ways to build the economy without spending a lot of money. I would have gone out to protect my revenue source. Now, that's what a lot of governors don't understand, is that a governor can impact economically his revenue source, that is your tax source. Rather than just spending that money, you can get out there and get it in the treasury. And as a matter of fact, you can even work toward collecting it. A lot of your major corporations, for example, don't pay their taxes willingly. You have to make them pay it. And so you need a good strong staff in the revenue department to be able to make sure that's done. And so I believe that the collecting of revenue is a major thrust of running state government, as well as spending it. It's a little easier to spend than it is to collect it, obviously. But the major problem facing our current governor is one that would have faced any governor, and that's revenue shortfall. BREAUX: I'd like you to comment, I guess, if you could, on the leadership styles, again, of your successors. Again, Governor Brown, for example, and Governor Collins, I guess, are more or less described, accurately or not, and that's what I'd like you to comment upon, as being sort of hands-off. You know, "let the legislature take the ball and run with it," and not really get involved as yourself or maybe Governor Ford did, by having that previous experience with the day-to-day dealings with the legislature. CARROLL: I think Brown was specifically hands-off with the General Assembly. Didn't really bother him one way or the other whether something come out the way he sent it up there. And as a matter of fact, he had one other management style technique that I didn't agree with, and that is letting each of his departments do their own thing. I required all of my departments to be one team, and he didn't want to do that. He wanted the departments to have the ability to take on each other, and he feels like that's a management style that's good, and I don't agree. And I've told him that. It's not that I'm saying anything behind his back. I really believe a teamwork management style is much more successful than having the members of the team taking each other on and criticizing them, and jumping on them from time to time over things they're doing or not doing. Because you've got a very short period of time in which to get anything done, a short four years. And it really is a very short four years. And if you can't do it through teamwork, you really just can't get it done. And so I found that fault with Brown, although Brown served as governor in a very difficult period. He had a, he had to really cut the budget substantially in a very short period of time. And I commend him for really that he was able to balance the budget without any major tax thrust at the time. And yet at the same time, I'm not sure that I would have cut the budget as deeply as he cut it because, again, you get involved in a philosophy of creation of tax dollars. See, his slashing of the budget substantially reduced our tax revenue, because those were, people were no longer productive in our society, and there is a domino theory effect involved. When you fire people in state government in the magnitude he did, then private industry has corresponding losses of business likewise, and so that trickles on out in the domino theory where businesses close down, people fail to make sales whether it be groceries or gasoline or cars or whatever. Those employees are not at work any longer so you don't have consumer goods being purchased by them. So that ends up affecting the state's revenue in the long run. And I'm not sure that the tremendous cut was in the best interests of state government. Some cut probably was. The magnitude of it I probably would question. And then you get Governor Collins. Governor Collins had really the traditional background of leadership that was available to both Wendell Ford and myself. And I really think that her intent was probably as good as any governor could have. She had a strong desire to make state government run, and had a strong desire to even be a loyal Democrat and work through the Democratic Party process. But she had some division on her staff that precluded her from doing that effectively. And then she was involved in a building period of the economy that she really faced off squarely and accurately, knew that she had to rebuild the economy. And in doing so, she did not, then, have the time to face a lot of more domestic issues that were going on in state government. She did to some degree face the educational issue, but one of her major problems is something over which she just had absolutely no control. And that is, as a woman, she was at a disadvantage, she couldn't stomp her feet (Breaux laughs) or shake somebody by the collar and say, "Look, get with it!" You just, you know, that's just an inability of a part of a woman at times. They can't do that. They don't have the ability to do it. And that was somewhat at times, that was somewhat of a drawback to her. Although it's remarkable how well she did do, even being a woman, being authoritative and getting things done. Wilkinson's style is a style that has-he enjoys a tremendous amount of energy, of hard work. He doesn't mind working hard, but he has a combative style about him that doesn't use compromise, doesn't use the ability to sit down and be willing to eat a little crow and compromise with somebody over something. And that, however, I'm not sure is as much a problem for him as the fact that he ran for governor with very few legislators thinking that he had any opportunity to win. And so he didn't have any legislators, to speak of, for him. And the fact, then, that they weren't for him when he ran, puts him in a posture of not having any particular friends after he wins, in the General Assembly, to look after his interests. And so he actually went into the office of governor with a handful, I mean a virtual handful, of legislators in the House that were his friends, and nobody in the Senate. Nobody. Out of thirty-eight legislators, he didn't have a single senator that I know of that was an advocate of his, to go in and help him set up his programs in the Senate. And as a result of the fact that he just didn't have those people for him, because those astute politicians as they are, were looking out to be for who was going to win, and they didn't think it was going to be Wilkinson. BREAUX: Right. CARROLL: And that's been a major drawback for him in dealing with those people. They were his enemies when he was running, and a great number of them have chosen to remain his enemies. And yet, he hasn't had the ability, I guess, or hasn't chosen, whichever might be the more accurate way of saying it, to make peace with them. I think he has tried. In his mind, I'm sure he's genuinely tried. And I'm not sure, though, that he's tried as humbly as they want him to try. So (laughs) I think they're demanding more out of him than he's willing to give. Who's right remains to be seen. BREAUX: You mentioned just a little while ago about how fast those four years pass by. How critical is it for Kentucky, in your opinion, to move toward allowing the governor to succeed himself? CARROLL: Well, I prefer a one six-year term to two four-year terms. If you give a governor a right in Kentucky to succeed themselves, they're going to spend most of the first four years running for the second four years. And what you really need is a governor that doesn't have to worry about running again, but will be around long enough to get a program enunciated. And that's where I think the one six-year term comes in. I really believe a governor could take on a one six-year term, forget about politics that way, of course, wouldn't have to worry about running again. And then could spend all of his time enunciating his programs over that period of time. Because the truth of the matter is, under our present system, a governor has about two strong years, and his other two years are relatively weak. And so I don't know that you could even say right now that we've got a, that our governor has a true four-year term. He has about two years in which he can really be effective and be a strong governor. So when you go to a six-year term, you probably increase, you probably double that time. You'd probably at least go from two years to four years anyhow. And then maybe his last two years would, he'd be somewhat of a lame duck, as we call them, at that time. But something needs to be done to bring some continuity to the executive branch. We don't have it, and to that extent, I think really I would support, I really, truthfully, I'll support whichever the General Assembly puts on the ballot. If they want to put succession on the ballot, I'd support that as such, for one four-year term. But I'd prefer they put on the ballot to go with one six-year term. BREAUX: To remove some of those electoral considerations. CARROLL: Right. BREAUX: Or re-electoral considerations. CARROLL: Re-electoral considerations. That's correct. BREAUX: Well, on the theme of re-electoral considerations, it seems like one of the trends in the legislature that's sort of paralleled in a way this move toward independence, is that legislators have begun to serve longer and longer tenures. CARROLL: Um-hm. BREAUX: The part-time legislator who gets elected and serves one or two terms and then retires and goes back home to practice law or take care of the farm or whatever, tends to be the rarity. CARROLL: Well- BREAUX: Do you think that's a, you know, a beneficial- CARROLL: I think that's good. Absolutely. I think it's important that that legislator become informed, be experienced. BREAUX: Again for continuity? CARROLL: Again, for continuity. But one of the things that's contributed to that greatly, though, is the fact that financially, being a legislator now is more rewarding than it was a few years ago. When I first went to the House, you had no monthly allowances at all, whereas today the allowances for legislators on a monthly basis are, is rather substantial. And then we had, oh, I think, $50 a day for service, and that was it. No committee meetings. They didn't pay your, they paid your mileage to Frankfort one time. You'd come up here and they'd expect you to stay until the session was over. And now they're getting mileage about every other weekend to go back home. BREAUX: Do you think, in a way, that with legislators serving longer and longer terms and having that desire for reelection, that it may have tied them a little too closely to their constituents, made them a little hesitant in terms of sort of taking the necessary steps? You know, the steps that maybe could put their reelection at risk on issues maybe like taxes? CARROLL: Yeah. I think that some of your legislators are more politically motivated than others. And those that are very politically motivated are going to always be looking at votes and positions that help them perpetuate their service in the community. And you find a substantial number of legislators that do not use that as a rule. They will enunciate positions and vote the way they think that is in the best interest of their constituents, even though their constituents might truly feel a different way. So you have both sets of types of legislators, but I think there's an increasing number that's willing to pay the price for a good General Assembly. BREAUX: I think we've talked about a lot of different topics today. We talked about some of your experiences in the legislature, some of your experiences as governor. We talked about some of these trends that, I guess, began to take shape about twenty years or so ago and continue to be playing themselves out. Is there anything else that you'd like to comment on in terms of any of these themes that we've talked about today? CARROLL: Well, I guess other than the fact that I have cautioned some of the legislators, and maybe this is as good a time as any to put it here, not only about proliferating the committee system with such a substantial number of subcommittees and task forces, which they are not always subcommittees, sometimes they're task forces. But there's another major area of problem in state government, and I ran into it here a few years ago and didn't realize how serious it was, and that's what you call the information flow from the executive branch to the legislative branch. Now, first of all, let me say up front that the legislative branch, again, and I reiterate, cannot effectively function without information. They've got to have it. And I would never suggest, and I'm not suggesting in this constructive criticism, that I'm talking about any less information going to the General Assembly. I am talking, though, about doing it in a much more efficient manner than which it's being done in now. With that proliferation of committees, you've got a substantial number of legislators out there sending requests, almost by the hour sometimes, to various executive agencies for information. And again, as I say, I'll reiterate, I have no problem with the information being communicated. The problem comes from the time and effort required in the agency to produce the information on a continuing basis. I've suggested, and one of these days the General Assembly is just going to be forced to do something along this line, that the General Assembly get involved in what might be called a clearinghouse, where when they need information, they go through their own in-house clearinghouse to see if that information is on its way from some other agency or from that agency, and when it gets there, then they can use it. Which is to say, there's a little inclination on the part of the legislative branch to departmentalize by legislative committees, and each legislative committee sort of stands on its own. And again, there's some positive argument, there is positive argument to be said for that. One of the drawbacks is the fact that one legislative committee might be sending a request to corrections for information, when another legislative committee has already sent for the information and got it and it's in their possession. And so they really need to take a strong look at a computer system or a software program of some kind, with all the information systems we've got available nowadays, whereby there could be some type of clearinghouse for the information so that it could be said that, from the agency standpoint, "Somebody's already asked for it, we've already supplied it, you've already got it, why must we do it again?" And that's what's happening a lot throughout state government. And one of these days that question is going to have to be squarely faced by the General Assembly leadership. BREAUX: I guess what you're worried about with that type of flow of information or demand for information, is that it slows down- CARROLL: Slows down the executive side. BREAUX: the wheels of government. CARROLL: Yes. See, government, essentially the service agencies are doing one of two things every day: they're either serving the consumer or putting information together for the General Assembly. BREAUX: Rights. CARROLL: And which is the more important? Well, they're both important, but you can't get it out of balance. You can't serve the general assembly 60 percent of the time in getting them information, and serve the public 40 percent of the time. There's some fair balance between the time demanded of the agency and putting the information together, and the time the agency has, then, to go on and serve the public. I've been in other states and talked to agencies who have, who as a matter of fact have claimed to me, that they spend more time before legislative committees testifying and sending legislative inform--, committees information than they do in their job or serving the public. And that's regrettable, if it goes that far. And that's one reason I've cautioned a number of legislators that they need to evaluate the problem and see if they can't put together some type of in-house consolidation of the request, so that the information comes back, and you've got it in-house now, and any one of seventeen to twenty committees or more have got access to that information without having to go ask for it again. BREAUX: Right. It can be a problem (laughs). I'm, again, let me thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to- CARROLL: You're quite welcome. You're quite welcome. BREAUX: talk with us and share some of your experiences with us today. I really appreciate it. CARROLL: You're quite welcome. [End of Interview] 1 Carroll (House 1962-1970, 4th district, 3rd district; Democrat) recounts his gubernatorial and legislative careers. He discusses the budget process, sales tax increase, legislative reform, careerism and various gubernatorial leadership styles. Kentucky Legislature