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1991-10-19 Interview with Leo Marcum, October 19, 1991 Leg001:1991OH391LEG37 00:57:00 Kentucky Legislature Oral History Project Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries Legislators -- Kentucky -- Interviews. Political campaigns -- Kentucky. Kentucky. Governor (1979-1983 : Brown) Kentucky. Governor (1983-1987 : Collins) Martin County (Ky.) Morehead State University Hardin, Lucien T. Brown, John Y. Jr. Powers, Georgia Davis Collins, Martha Layne coal severance tax Key Legislation: coal severance tax Term/District: House (1980), 97th district Counties in District: Martin County (Ky.), Lawrence County (Ky.), Johnson County (Ky.) Leo Marcum; interviewee Judy K. Bowen; interviewer 1991OH391_LEG037_Marcum 1:|27(8)|44(11)|71(11)|81(9)|98(10)|110(14)|120(5)|143(9)|171(1)|193(4)|213(7)|237(3)|265(6)|293(7)|334(3)|344(3)|377(3)|406(8)|418(5)|427(11)|436(12)|460(7)|475(8)|491(3)|502(3)|511(4)|525(6)|541(12)|557(7)|583(2)|591(9)|620(12)|647(7)|664(10)|678(7)|696(13)|724(17)|744(5)|767(12)|782(2)|793(1)|808(3)|819(15)|841(10)|851(7)|872(3)|893(2)|919(13)|929(12)|945(13)|968(3)|993(10)|1026(3)|1046(7)|1058(12)|1082(5)|1102(4) audiotrans Legit interview MARCUM: intellectual. He was a picture of what you don't want to be when you're his age, though. He was, real bad color about him all the time. He was a chain smoker, he never got any exercise, you know, bad diet, you know- BOWEN: Well, she was just saying- MARCUM: workaholic. BOWEN: yeah, she was saying the day that I interviewed her down there, that William Kenton was just suddenly, you know, stricken with a blood clot, which was probably due to the non-exercise and- MARCUM: Well, a lot of them, sure. BOWEN: the smoking and stuff like that, because I know that's the description that some other people have given me too, have given of him as being a very dynamic person. However, he had a lot of personal habits that probably led to his early death. Because he was just forty-seven years old or younger, I think, forty-seven I think, because he would have been- MARCUM: He looked fifty-seven, though. BOWEN: Did he really? Because I've never seen a picture of him or anything. MARCUM: He looked older than his chronological age, a lot older. BOWEN: Really? Because she looks so much younger. I was really, because with the description of everything she had, you know, has done in her lifetime, I expected her to be at least fifty-five or sixty, somewhere around there. When I go to interview her, she's, she is 55, but- MARCUM: But she looks- BOWEN: she looks about thirty-five (both laugh). And I just looked at her, because when she walked in I didn't expect, you know, a really, she was really a well-kept woman, very, very young looking. I was like, "hmm," I wasn't real sure that that was her. I was thinking, okay, I can take a guess this is her or is this not her. Okay. The following is an unrehearsed interview with former State Representative Leo Marcum, who represented the 97th District in 1978. The interview is being conducted by Judy Bowen for the University of Kentucky Library, Kentucky Legislature Oral History Project on October 19 at his office in Inez, Kentucky, at two o'clock, p.m. Mr. Marcum, could you go ahead and just tell me where you were born and- MARCUM: I was born in Laura, which is a little village here in Martin County, in 1942. BOWEN: Is that L-A-U-R-A, like the name? MARCUM: Yes. BOWEN: Okay. And can you tell me what your parents' names are and what they did for a living? MARCUM: My father's name was George Marcum. He's now deceased. He was a miner. And my mother's name is Wade O. Lee, presently Allen, she remarried. She's a housewife. BOWEN: Could you spell her first name? MARCUM: W-A-D-E. Capital O., capital L-E-E, Wade O. Lee Allen. BOWEN: Okay. I like to if there's a name or something, I usually ask for the spelling of it. Has your mother ever held a job outside of the home? MARCUM: When she was young I think she worked as a waitress in, for a little while. And she worked in one of the war industries in Louisville during the Second World War. BOWEN: Okay. Do you remember the names of your grandparents? MARCUM: Yes. My grandparents are John Polly and Pricey Polly. Pricey is still living, John's recently deceased. And my step-grandparents was Paris Marcum and Sarah Marcum. BOWEN: Um-hm. And do you know what they did for a living? MARCUM: The grandmothers were both housewives, never to my knowledge, held a job outside the home, unless my, one of my grandmothers may have worked in the USO during the First World War. Both grandfathers did some mining and farming, and my Grandfather Polly worked in the security division at LaGrange, the reformatory. And other than that they may have done other jobs that I don't know about. BOWEN: Okay. And how far back in Kentucky do your family roots go? MARCUM: I'm not sure, you know, on my stepfather's side, but on my mother's side, probably 175 or 200 years, because they're all the feuding McCoys (Bowen laughs). And so, you know, the McCoys go back a long way. BOWEN: Oh, yeah. How many people are in your immediate family, brothers and sisters? MARCUM: I have two half-brothers. BOWEN: Okay. And how extensive is your family network in this area? MARCUM: By the standards here, I have a small family, very small. BOWEN: What do you remember most about your childhood? MARCUM: I suppose being poor is prominent in my mind about growing up here and in the coal camps in West Virginia, always being conscious of the fact that we were poor and uneducated and that sort of thing. BOWEN: Um-hm. And where did you go to school at, grade school? MARCUM: I went to Loretta Grade School until I was in the sixth grade, and then I went to Warfield Grade School and then Warfield High School. BOWEN: Okay. And do you remember any of your teachers from grade school or high school that made an impression on you as being a really good teacher? MARCUM: Yes. Yes, I do. The one I remember in grade school was Olma Kirk, and she was very energetic, always looked good in the classroom. It was obvious that she loved all the children. She was always touching and petting and encouraging. She always read to us, and I've never forgotten her. She stands out above all others, I guess, because she was just so caring. In high school, I don't think I really had a stand-out teacher, at least not one that made an impression on me. BOWEN: Okay. What types of classes were taught to you in junior high and high school? What would you say the variety of subjects were? MARCUM: Social sciences-type courses, very little math, chemis--, no chemistry or anything, just history and basic math and that sort of thing. BOWEN: What was your favorite subject? MARCUM: History. BOWEN: History? Did you ever have a civics course in school? MARCUM: Yes. BOWEN: You did? MARCUM: Um-hm. BOWEN: That's good. Did you have a favorite book when you were growing up? MARCUM: No, I don't think so. I read a lot of books when I was a child. I don't think I had a favorite. BOWEN: When you, you said you were interested in history, when you were studying history did you have a favorite historical figure, one that stood out, that's prominent above all others? MARCUM: Well, my favorite historical figure is Abraham Lincoln. In my opinion, he's the greatest figure in the history of this country, maybe one of the greatest figures that Western civilization has ever produced, certainly the greatest political figure. BOWEN: Um-hm, okay. And when you think back, do you think that any of your teachers had an impact on your political philosophy, possibly, in high school? MARCUM: No. BOWEN: No? Were you involved in extracurricular activities when you were in high school? MARCUM: Yes, I was president of the student body at Warfield, and I was captain of the basketball team. BOWEN: Um-hm. Did you ever participate in a speech club or debate or anything like that? MARCUM: No, it wasn't available. BOWEN: When you were growing up, what church did you attend? MARCUM: I did not attend church. BOWEN: Okay. And when you graduated from high school, where did you go to college? MARCUM: Well, I went in the Marine Corps for four years and then I went to Morehead State University. BOWEN: Um-hm. And what was your major and minor? MARCUM: I had two majors: political science and sociology, a pre-law curriculum. BOWEN: Okay. And do you recall any professors from college who made an impact on your- MARCUM: There were a lot of people in college that I remember. I can't say that any one of them really influenced me politically. One of my professors in political science was Professor Wong, who was quite a character and was a good teacher, but eccentric. I remember him better than anyone else. BOWEN: What were some of your more interesting college classes that you took, that you remember? MARCUM: I really enjoyed the comparative government class that I had. BOWEN: I still remember my first comparative government class (both laugh). MARCUM: Well, I had that under Wong, and I guess that's one of the reasons it was so much fun. BOWEN: I remember mine, because the professor who taught mine is Dr. Rifai from Berea. And he, I was terrified the day I went in there because I was the only freshman in his class. MARCUM: Yeah, that's not a freshman class. BOWEN: Right. And I had gotten to take it because I, in my advanced placement test, I had placed really well in social sciences. So I thought, well, I'll just go ahead and take it. And, of course, while I was in there, my older brother was going to Berea at the time, and he was going, "Well, you know, you're the only freshman in here," and everybody else was juniors and seniors, and he was a junior then at the time. And they were terrifying me of this man. They were going, "He's Abdul (unintelligible)," (Marcum laughs) and all this stuff. And I was going, "Oh my God!" And he walks in, and he's about two inches shorter than me, very well-dressed man. And he walks in and he sits down and he looks at me and he says, "I've never seen you before. Who are you?" (both laugh). I tell him. He says, "You're a freshman, you'll like this class, it's going to be very interesting." And it was. It was just so funny the way different people perceived him, because all through my years there, I never perceived him as being a cruel teacher. He was a difficult teacher. It was- MARCUM: Well, that's cruel to some people. BOWEN: Yeah (laughs). It's cruel, but he was just, he was amazing to me as a professor. He was very amazing. MARCUM: A lot of good teachers at Berea, I hear. BOWEN: Oh, yes. We have, in the social sciences, we have three professors that are all very different. One is an alternating position, so you don't get a situation where you don't have new blood in the department, so to speak. But were you involved in any curricular activities, extracurricular activities in college? MARCUM: Yes. At Morehead I belonged to the Political Science Club, and I was president of a fraternity. BOWEN: Okay. And where did you go to law school? MARCUM: U.K. BOWEN: Okay. Why did you choose U.K. to go to law school? MARCUM: Well, I really never considered going anywhere else because it was so close to where, you know, Morehead is only fifty-nine miles from Lexington. And that was just a logical place to go. BOWEN: Yeah. Since you've been practicing law, what type of law have you been practicing? MARCUM: I do a lot of workers' compensation, personal injury. And, of course, I'm, being the Commonwealth Attorney, we do several hundred criminal cases a year. BOWEN: Oh, yeah. Definitely. When were you married? MARCUM: I was married in 1962. BOWEN: Okay. And what's your wife's name? MARCUM: Carol. BOWEN: And how many children do you have? MARCUM: I have three sons. BOWEN: Three sons? Okay. Has, when and how did you get interested in politics as a career? MARCUM: Well, I suppose every small-town lawyer and maybe every lawyer in the universe is interested in politics. It's just a natural. You know, they just fit together, law and politics. BOWEN: Definitely, I think. Had anyone in your family ever been interested in politics before? MARCUM: Not that I'm aware of. BOWEN: Okay. And before you ran for representative, had you ever been interested in running for office, for any other political office? MARCUM: No. BOWEN: No? And have you ever, had you ever been involved in another political campaign before your own? MARCUM: Yes. BOWEN: You had? Okay. And do you remember anything about that that helped you plan strategies and things for your campaign? MARCUM: Yes. I helped L.T. Hardin, who was one of my predecessors in his race a couple of times. BOWEN: He my last interview (laughs). MARCUM: Okay. Well, I assisted him and got to know a lot of people and got to know the ropes, so to speak, in this area, and that helped me a great deal when I ran. And, of course, L.T. was kind enough to help me when I ran. BOWEN: Okay. What is your political affiliation currently? MARCUM: Republican. BOWEN: Have you always been a member of the Republican Party? MARCUM: Yes. BOWEN: You have? That's good, because a lot of people I interview have changed parties (laughs). MARCUM: Well, I have no problem with that. I mean as people change, sometimes they change parties. BOWEN: It's different, because a lot of people do it after they've left home. Were your parents Republicans? MARCUM: No, they were both Democrats. BOWEN: That's really strange. MARCUM: But I registered Republican when I was very young, you know, soon as I could. BOWEN: Yes, I did, too. That's strange, because usually if your parents head a direction, you- MARCUM: Right. Usually inherit it. BOWEN: carry on in the same party. Have you been an active participant in the party, would you say? MARCUM: Yes. BOWEN: Okay. Have you held any offices within the party or anything? MARCUM: I've been the county chairman and that sort of thing. My partner has been the county chairman here. And we, this law firm has always been active in politics. BOWEN: Okay. This is really, I'm going to say, a three-part question. It's what professional qualifications, personal qualities, or personal experience do you think qualified you to be a member of the general assembly? MARCUM: Well, I was a parent, a property owner, at least moderately (laughs) well educated. I was a veteran. I like to think I was reasonably mature and levelheaded, and I was sober and discreet (laughs), which a lot of people in the legislature can't claim, by the way. I really think that I was better than, better qualified than the average legislator in the General Assembly. BOWEN: Okay. MARCUM: Let me add, too, without it, maybe it will sound self-serving, but I was genuinely interested in trying to better this area, to help, because it was a, believe it or not, it was quite a sacrifice for me to serve in the legislature. Unless you practice law, you might have a little difficulty understanding and appreciating what it's like to be gone for three or four months from your law practice. And it was a big personal sacrifice too, because I'm very close to my family. And I, you know, it really bothered me to be gone three or four months in Frankfort while they were here. BOWEN: That's true, because usually it's during, like, January- MARCUM: Uh-huh. BOWEN: when the kids are in school- MARCUM: Right. BOWEN: and everything, and they would have to be here. MARCUM: And the snow is on the ground, and you're not there to drive your family and help. And my oldest son was playing basketball and I was missing those games, and- BOWEN: I think his name's Scott, right? MARCUM: Right. BOWEN: He's, I think he's the same age as my oldest brother. I saw him in Lexington. MARCUM: Did you? BOWEN: Yeah, I was at the mall and I was walking around and I looked up and I said, "I know his face." And it took me forever and a day to place who it was. And then when called you, I thought, it hit me right then. I said, "That's his son I ran into." I saw him at the mall, though. It was funny. MARCUM: He owns that Subway there. BOWEN: Yeah, I had seen, he had a little badge on, and I didn't see, I couldn't see the name, and I wasn't going to walk over and go, "Excuse me." MARCUM: Right, it doesn't say, it's not his name. BOWEN: It just says manager. MARCUM: It says owner-operator. BOWEN: Yeah. It said something like that. And I wasn't going to go over there, "Excuse me" (laughs). Because people look at you weird when you do that. MARCUM: Well, now, you ought to go up and introduce yourself to Scott. I tell you what, he, you'd like Scott. He's a very good person, if he is my child. BOWEN: Oh (laughs), no conceit. No conceit. MARCUM: Well I, you know, he's always been a joy. You'd really like him. And he might be able to assist you up there someway. BOWEN: Um-hm. Because I had seen, I remember him from high school. He was graduating from high school right when I went in, so he's just a little bit older than me. But I remember seeing him at basketball games and things like that and baseball games. MARCUM: Well, walk up to him and tell him who you are and, you know, you're from here and introduce yourself. You may want to take a survey or something in the mall, and he can help you up there. BOWEN: Before you went to Frankfort the first time as a member of the General Assembly, what did you think the role of government was in a society? MARCUM: As I see, as I saw the role of government, it was to regulate certain activities among people so that the unfortunate can be clothed and housed and fed, people who couldn't provide for themselves, and the general defense of the country could be provided for and the infrastructure of the country built and maintained and the welfare of the people looked after in certain aspects. I know that's a general answer, but that's a very general question, so (laughs)- BOWEN: Very general, I'll agree with you there. How intrusive do you think the government should be into people's lives? MARCUM: The government should intrude as little as possible. I'm a conservative to some extent. I sometimes think the government is too heavy-handed in certain areas. I don't believe that the government should provide for people from the cradle to the grave, but I do believe that there are certain people who cannot provide for themselves and ought to be taken care of by the rest of us. To a certain extent, I think we are our brother's keeper through the government. And I'm, there are lots of social programs I am for, but I do believe the government sometimes regulates us to death. I do believe that we have to look after the environment a little closer than we're doing. We don't always need the wide-eyed zealots doing it, but we're going to have to be a little more enlightened about preserving the planet. The government has a, certainly has a role to play there. And, of course I, you know, I believe in the market, the free market system and I want industry to function, but I believe in enlightened, sort of, capitalism, where you do business but you look after the planet and preserve it for the next generation at the same time. I don't believe they're incompatible. And I think really the government needs to do a little more in that area. BOWEN: Okay. And after you had served in the General Assembly, do you think that maybe any of your views on government have changed? MARCUM: I became more cynical. BOWEN: Why would you say that? MARCUM: Because the General Assembly, at least at during the time that I was there, didn't function very well. It really is a process that I did not care to be part of any longer. BOWEN: Is that why you only served one term? MARCUM: That and the reasons I gave you about my family. BOWEN: Okay. MARCUM: About that time, my wife presented me with the little, the twins that you saw go up the stairs (Bowen laughs). And, of course, that required me to be home to assist more. That's why I only served, those were two reasons why I only served one term, I didn't run again. BOWEN: Okay. And when you first went to the legislature, what did you think that your role was going to be? MARCUM: As an advocate of this area. And I was very fortunate, because a lot of good things happened to this county that had their seeds in the time I was there. I'm not claiming credit necessarily, but, you know, the four lane road system here, the bonding money was put up then. And, of course, I later had to sue the governor to keep the four lane road. I had to sue John Y. Brown, but that's something that has always given me a lot of satisfaction, the four lane system that we have. BOWEN: Um-hm. When you went, when you first went to the General Assembly, did you feel that you were elected by your constituents to vote in their best interest, to vote the way they wanted you to vote, or vote the way you thought was in the best interest of the commonwealth or the society? MARCUM: I've given that proposition a great deal of thought. It is my opinion that you are there to vote the will of your constituents, unless the vote is against your own conscience. BOWEN: Okay. And in the context of the above question, how would you characterize your voting pattern while you were there? MARCUM: Apparently my voting pattern was very conservative, because I had the number one rating by the Chamber of Commerce in Kentucky among legislators as, for voting their position. I didn't know what their agenda was, but it just so happened that my vote corresponded mostly with their interests. But I voted for a lot of social legislation also. BOWEN: Okay. When you first went to the legislature did you have an agenda that you wanted to complete while you were there? And if so, what was it? MARCUM: I really wanted to make sure that a four lane highway went through this county. And I was going to do my dead-level best to make sure we were included in that system. And I felt like if I could accomplish that, that my grandchildren and your grandchildren would reap the benefits for it. And as soon as I got to Frankfort, I spent every waking minute making sure that happened. And I believe they would have had to have taken me out of the legislature in handcuffs had it not happened. I mean I just would not have yielded the floor if we had gotten left out of that package. BOWEN: Okay. And looking back now, do you think, I know sometimes when I ask this question, I wonder if people misunderstand it. But, I mean, when you went to Frankfort, do you think that you were in any way naive about the way that politics would take place in the Kentucky General Assembly? MARCUM: I might have, no, I don't think I was naive about the way politics take place. I might have been naive about the lack of subtlety with which power is wielded. There's very little grace and persuasion used. It's just, at that time the legislature was pushed around a great deal by the executive branch, made to do. I might have been a little naive about that, but I knew pretty well how politics worked. BOWEN: That was the second part of the question I wondered about, the subtlety and stuff, or lack thereof I should say, because I've had a few people who have commented on the fact that sometimes it wasn't real subtle when people wanted something from you and thought that you should do it. They would just sort of, like, tell you. I was like, "well, didn't they even try to do the give-and-take thing?" She went, "no." MARCUM: Well, let me tell you, mostly the way it works is, the Democrats tell the Democrats how it's going to be, and the Republicans are sort of pushed off to the side. Their vote normally is not needed. They're just given their marching orders. And you know, they either do it or they're penalized in various ways if they don't vote the party line. Republicans are not approached in such a fashion normally, because they're just not needed. They've always got enough votes to carry the legislation they want. But they actually, you know literally, or figuratively, beat those guys over the head if they don't do it. BOWEN: When you were serving, were there very many women in the General Assembly? MARCUM: No, only a few. BOWEN: Do you remember who they were, maybe? MARCUM: Georgia Powers was there. I can remember the others' faces very well. And Pat Freibert hadn't been elected, but she was there working on the staff of the minority leader. And she, of course, she later became a member of the General Assembly. BOWEN: Do you think that the women who were in the General Assembly had more difficulty achieving goals or possibly their agendas because they were women? MARCUM: I feel sure they did. I can't really point to any concrete reason for thinking that, other than just knowing the way things are or were. BOWEN: And do you think that there is an "old boy" network in Frankfort, and that that is used in some way to get legislation passed quickly without sometimes consulting the female members of the General Assembly? MARCUM: No. BOWEN: You don't? MARCUM: I don't think that's how it works. I don't think the gender means that much. I think it's more political power and money and that sort of thing that means, not gender necessarily. Believe me, there are some women in the General Assembly who are as tough as any of the men. BOWEN: I will believe that (laughs) totally. I've met a couple of them- MARCUM: They are very- BOWEN: who make you stand up and take notice. MARCUM: That's right. They've got skin like a rhinoceros, some of them. They can give as well as they take. BOWEN: Sometimes I think they have to, to be involved in things like that. MARCUM: You do. You have to develop a thick skin to be in politics. BOWEN: I definitely agree with that. In your election of 1978, was your first campaign, what happened and what do you remember most about the campaign and the election? How did you organize it? MARCUM: Well, the first thing I did, you have to understand the geographics here. I know I'm going to explain this to you even though you already know, because it's for the record. BOWEN: Yeah. MARCUM: I live in Martin County, which is only half as large as its neighbor, Johnson County. And at that time we had about 45 percent of Lawrence County. So as you know, we are very tribal here, very provincial. Most people vote for their fellow countian regardless of the qualifications of the candidates. So I waited until, (coughs) excuse me, two strong candidates registered in Johnson County, and then I registered here. And I feel like, knowing that the people in Lawrence County would feel closer to me than they would two Johnson County candidates, and I was able to wind up enough votes to defeat two people that I could not have defeated one-on-one, because of, I was able to manipulate the geographics a little bit. Now, they later brought another candidate, right before the filing deadline was up, a candidate who lived here, out against me to try to siphon some of the votes off. But he wasn't a person who had been here very long and a person of very much substance, so they were unsuccessful. That really was the key to me winning, was just having the right geographics set up rather than any brilliant campaigning I did. BOWEN: Um-hm. Okay, and when you knew that you were going to run for election were you approached by any special interest groups or anything- MARCUM: No. BOWEN: to help with the campaign? MARCUM: No. BOWEN: No? MARCUM: No, I had no PACs at all help me. BOWEN: Okay. And while you were at the, well, I'll wait till a little bit later and ask that, because it's a hard question. I hate to- MARCUM: Sure. BOWEN: do that. When you ran for General Assembly what was the local political situation here? MARCUM: I don't understand. What do you mean? BOWEN: Were most of the people who were in office Republicans or Democrats? MARCUM: Oh, yes. Yes, Republicans. See, the primary was the election then. It's not so now, but it was that way then. I didn't even have any, there was, there were no Democrat candidates, so I only, I had only the primary. BOWEN: Yeah. I noticed that when I was doing research. I used to, it was, I didn't think about it, I wasn't thinking about the counties when I started to do it, and I would see a list with Republican candidates and there wouldn't be one for the Democrats. And I kept thinking, well, are they just not printing these (Marcum laughs)? But I started thinking, I went home and I was going, wait a second, I know why there's (laughs) not any Democratic- MARCUM: That's right. BOWEN: candidates. There never are. MARCUM: Well, that, of course, that's changed now. BOWEN: Yes. MARCUM: And if you have a Democrat on the ticket now, it's formidable opposition here, if they're capable. BOWEN: Okay. And how did you decide to run for state representative? MARCUM: Well, I was ambitious, wanted to be part of the General Assembly. I was a young lawyer, plenty of energy, just wanted to advance my career. And as I told you, I really thought I could help, I could add something. And I think I, you know, I was mildly successful at that. BOWEN: Okay. And could you describe the ethnic, economic, and religious makeup of your district? MARCUM: It's working-class, Protestant, Anglo-Saxon. BOWEN: Okay. And do you remember some of the people who ran against you in the primary? MARCUM: Yes, very well. BOWEN: (Laughs), I thought so. MARCUM: W.D. Blair, who had been, who was the state representative. He was a dentist is Paintsville. And former State Senator Wendell Van Hoose was the other candidate in Johnson County. And the person I mentioned that they'd brought out here to try to dilute my support was George Parsons, a local miner. BOWEN: Okay. And what did the Republican Party think about your candidacy? MARCUM: Well, of course, we were all Republicans, so they took no side in it. BOWEN: They didn't? Okay. And did you have a campaign manager or any person like that who- MARCUM: No. I had a, some of my friends advised me. L.T. Hardin was a big help, and my former law partner, Bill McCoy, was some help to me. And I had some people in Lawrence County that helped me. But primarily I was able to win because I got about ninety percent of the vote here in Martin County and got, ran second in Lawrence County, and got about 500 votes in Johnson County. And that was about 400 votes more than I had to have. Just again, it was the setup that did it. BOWEN: Oh, yeah, definitely. MARCUM: And I hadn't been practicing law very long, and I hadn't made a lot of enemies at that time. And so I got most of the votes here. BOWEN: Yeah. I want to ask you a few questions just about the governorship of Kentucky- MARCUM: Sure. BOWEN: and the philosophy of the different types, or different approaches to running the governor's office. Okay, there have been numerous books written on the governorship of Kentucky and how it's been operated over the years. And then there have been, there, a recent one, a very recent one has put out the idea that John Y. Brown, Jr. and Martha Layne Collins are both weak governors, were very weak governors and weakened the governorship so much that the General Assembly was able to take more power from the governor. And before that, they could, they said the governor was a very strong governor, and they think now that there is no way that a governor can come back in and then take over the power that the General Assembly assumed while John Y. Brown, Jr., and Martha Layne Collins were in the governor's office. What do you think about- MARCUM: I think that's absolutely correct. BOWEN: You do? MARCUM: The governor is a weak sister now compared to what the governorship was when I was in the General Assembly. BOWEN: You were in- MARCUM: Julian Carroll. BOWEN: Julian Carroll, which was right before John Y? MARCUM: Right. BOWEN: Okay, that's what I thought. MARCUM: I think that's entirely correct, 100 percent. BOWEN: Because they say he is the last of the strong governors of Kentucky who sent the list of the bills over they wanted passed, and whatever else you did was fine, but these were the ones he wanted. MARCUM: That's absolutely correct. Julian didn't ask what you were going to do, he told the legislature, the leaders. And they got their marching orders every day, and they did exactly what they were told. But now I know for a fact that even though I didn't serve I still knew a lot of the members, it was not that way with John Y. Brown or Martha Layne Collins. And I'm not saying it's a good or a bad thing, it just wasn't the same way. BOWEN: What do you think, in your opinion, is the best approach for- MARCUM: I don't believe that the governor ought to be dictatorial, but I believe that we ought to have a strong governor. The General Assembly should not be governing this commonwealth, believe me. BOWEN: Okay. And why would you say that? MARCUM: It is not capable. BOWEN: Okay. And this is just a little question I threw in because I thought it was interesting. The governor of Kentucky has the veto power, but the legislature can override it and has done so in the past. Do you think that the governor should have an absolute veto power? MARCUM: That can not be overridden? BOWEN: That can not be overridden. MARCUM: No, I do not. BOWEN: Okay. I had read in a book once where one of the states, Arkansas, has, the governor has a veto that cannot be overridden by anything, no matter what, on- MARCUM: Well, you have no checks and balances then. BOWEN: Yeah, I know (unintelligible; laughs). MARCUM: You're truly just a rubber stamp. That's too much negative power for anyone to have. BOWEN: Okay. And now I'm going to ask you a few general questions about the legislature, and what, you know, your opinion on these. Do you think that the people who served with you are more professional, and what I mean by this, are, they served more terms, I know, by the time you came in to the legislature, they started, the people who were serving were serving more terms, and it wasn't quite the turnover than it used to be. Now people are serving four, five, six terms before they're defeated or before they decide not to run again. Do you think that is a good approach? MARCUM: To have more terms or less terms? BOWEN: To have more terms, to have them serve more terms, to have them, some people are calling it "making a career out of being a legislator." Do you think that's a good idea? MARCUM: I think it's imperative that you have experienced legislators. Everyone can't be a freshman every time or the body just won't function. I do not like to see people get in the legislature and stay there if they're political hacks, you know, if they're not good people. It's very difficult to beat the incumbent, I understand, but I don't see how you could have a big turnover in the General Assembly all the time and have it function very well. I know some very good career legislators, and I know some very bad ones. So I guess, by-and-large, I don't think you ought to have term limitations. BOWEN: Um-hm. There is my next question (laughs). MARCUM: Although I'm beginning to think we ought to have it in the federal government, because we have so many incompetent people, especially in the Senate of this country. And I know that people criticize political leaders too much. And I try not to do that because I am a politician, so to speak, I guess. Anybody that holds office is a politician, although I'm not a very good one, really. But we've got to do something about some of the people we have in the Senate, where- BOWEN: You're talking at the federal level now? MARCUM: Yes, at the federal level. Because they, the federal, at the federal level, the incumbent is not only virtually unbeatable, he is unbeatable, or she. I don't believe it's that bad at the, on the state level, so I don't believe I would be for term limitations as they would apply to the General Assembly. BOWEN: Speaking of the federal level, what did you think about the Thomas hearings (laughs)? MARCUM: It was an exercise in futility. I am a prosecutor. Anyone who has ever been in court knows that when you have a swearing contest, no one wins. It was doomed from the beginning. It's something that never should have been brought to light. Now, I am dead set against sexual harassment, not giving women equal pay for equal work. That's not what I mean. And I am very sympathetic to people who are victims of that. And I know, above all people, how pervasive it is in this society, but it was a situation where no one could hope to convince the other side. She says he did; he says he didn't. You stay there till the hell freezes over, he'd been saying he didn't, she'd be saying he did. It was a situation they could not hope to resolve, and they had it on national television along with all the lurid details. BOWEN: That's the part that bothered me. Some of the things that they put on, that they were saying on TV, I'm sure, brought a lot of questions to parents who didn't want to deal with it at three o'clock in the afternoon when their children got off, saying, "Mommy, Mommy, what's this?" (laughs). MARCUM: Yes. BOWEN: It's like, "Oh, children, no!" MARCUM: Right. BOWEN: Because we turned it off in the library. We said that it was getting people, people were arguing in the lounge area where we eat lunch, they were arguing about it. And I told them then, I said, "They are not going to win either way because I'm not God. I can't tell if she's lying, I can't tell if he's lying, but somebody is" (laughs). You know, somebody is definitely lying here, but- MARCUM: Well, I'm not clairvoyant either. But I've seen hundreds, literally hundreds of witnesses testify, and I would be willing to bet even money that they were both lying. BOWEN: We were moving, my roommate and I were moving along in that direction. She's in her last year of law school at U.K. and she said, "I really think that there's a little bit of lying on both sides going on." And I agree with her, I think, because some of the things she's saying, he can't refute totally, and some things that he's saying, she can't go, you know, refute totally. So you're getting to a situation where I think something happened, but whether it was what she said it was or what he said it wasn't, was totally, you could not- MARCUM: Let me tell you another dimension to that problem, too. The older I get, the more I realize that women and men don't communicate truly. I don't think that we ever understand each other on certain subjects. I don't think the average man has the foggiest idea of what it's like to be harassed sexually and can never understand. I don't think the average guy can ever understand how demeaning and hopeless that must make a woman feel, so I really don't think women (laughs) are going to be able to get that across to men for a while. They're just, I just don't think they're on the same wavelength about it. Too many of them think it's funny. Too many of them think it's, you know, shouldn't be against the law. This may be the only country in the industrial world where it is against the law. BOWEN: It is, I think. MARCUM: Some countries don't even have a term for it. So we're ahead of those people. BOWEN: Well, it's caused by, "if I can deal with it," I think, is what a lot of people say. If you going to, I remember a friend of mine, when I worked at Kroger, had this problem with one of the managers, and I told her I thought she should go to whoever you can go to, the Better Business Bureau, and ask them who you get in contact about things like this. And she said, "Well, I told my dad. He said, 'Deal with it and get over it, because you need the job'" (laughs). And I went, "Oh" (laughs). Because there's nothing you could say to that. She just said, "Well, I guess I'll just have to." MARCUM: He is a man, even though he's a father. BOWEN: Yeah. He didn't, I don't think he took it as seriously as she did, because hers wasn't as serious as most people's were, but it was serious enough to make her uncomfortable, and her being a kid, too. I think I was the only person over twenty-one working there, because I was working in the office and I would have to come out and scan the beer because the kids were too young to scan it, which I always thought was ridiculous, you know (laughs). I walk out of the office, go out there and run the beer across and you've got a 15-year-old bagger bagging it. MARCUM: Right. BOWEN: To me, it was just such a situation that was so silly, because these kids would call me, "Judy, can you come scan this beer?" And I'd spend half the day out there going, scanning beer. MARCUM: I understand. Why would- [End of Tape #1, Side #1] [Begin Tape #1, Side #2] BOWEN: Okay. There has been a lot of talk for a number of years about having yearly meetings of the General Assembly. And there has been several times legislation to that idea, which has been defeated every single term by the legislature. What do you think about that? MARCUM: Well- BOWEN: Do you think there should be? MARCUM: historically, Kentucky has adhered to a theory that you ought to have part-time legislators, but I think in a modern society that that theory is outdated and archaic, and the legislature probably ought to meet every year rather than every other year. BOWEN: Okay. And do you remember what your first speech on the floor was about? MARCUM: It was about the severance tax, returning more to the counties. BOWEN: Okay. And did you speak very often on the floor? MARCUM: Yes. BOWEN: You did? Okay. MARCUM: Maybe more than it was prudent for a freshman (laughs). BOWEN: And during your service in the House, were there any person or any colleague of yours there that really impressed you as a good legislator all the way around? MARCUM: Bill Kenton was certainly a good legislator. There was a lady from western Kentucky, I can't remember her last name. Her first name was Dottie. Right. She was, in my opinion, she was the best speaker in the House. Jodie Roberts was a good legislator. There were several good, but there were far more that were not good, were not good people, were not good legislators. BOWEN: Okay. And what do you think the general education level was of the legislators at the time you were there, because I know so far, the people I have interviewed have been lawyers. Some of the other people that I've tried to interview won't say yes, and they're not, from what I can tell in my research on them personally, they're not that that well educated. There's like, it seems like there's an extreme there. Did you find that? MARCUM: Yes, a lot. There were a lot of people, I'm sure, hadn't completed high school, and, at one end. You know, of course, at the other end, there were a lot of people who had graduate degrees or were, and several attorneys. BOWEN: Okay. During your first General Assembly meeting, what did you, what was your impression of the processes of how the business was taken care of? Did you think it was efficient or did you think it was- MARCUM: I thought it was chaotic, almost chaotic. BOWEN: Okay. I get that impression from just trying to find out (laughs) what in the world's going in the records. MARCUM: Well, now, there is a method to it, but it's not readily discernible at first. BOWEN: I told them, I said, before 1960, you could go to the back of the books and it would list your legislation; you would find your person you're looking for, look at the numbers and stuff, and you would find, it would be listed, what had happened in this bill. Well, after the 1960s, they stopped doing that at the LRC because it costs too much money. And now- MARCUM: Oh, I think they had another reason, too. BOWEN: (Laughs), now you have to go, on page seventy-eight, I wonder what happened to it? And you have five big volumes on what went on in that General Assembly and try to find out. MARCUM: I think there's a political reason for that, not a monetary reason. It makes it virtually impossible to research the incumbent. BOWEN: You have to be willing to put some time in it. If you want to follow a bill all the way through the process, if it doesn't die in a committee and it's been voted on a couple of times or changed a couple of times, you have to spend, I'd say, 45-50 minutes, if you just read the very first part of the legislation, just to find out what's going on with it. And then you get to your page and you're going, "well, it went back to another committee, hmm, shoot." You have to go find and see what that committee did to it. MARCUM: I think there's a reason for that. BOWEN: Oh, I'll agree with you, it is difficult to find out what happens to, you know, legislation, just to get, try to get a sampling of what people were voting on or what seemed to be important to that incumbent or that person who was serving is very difficult. Or at least I find it difficult. MARCUM: I think everybody finds it difficult (Bowen laughs). BOWEN: I was telling my boss the other day that I thought maybe I was the only person in the world who was having difficulty in trying to figure out why nothing was done in order, why, it's just like (both laugh)- MARCUM: No, I'm sure you're not the only person that's had problems. BOWEN: It just doesn't seem like it is in very much order. Who was the majority leader for your party? MARCUM: I wasn't in the majority party (laughs). BOWEN: I mean not the, who was the leader for your party? MARCUM: Harold DeMarcus. BOWEN: DeMarcus? Okay. And what was your impression of him as the leader? MARCUM: Harold was past it. Have you ever heard that term? BOWEN: What? MARCUM: Past it. He, it was beyond him. BOWEN: Oh, okay. Yeah. MARCUM: He was just, I'm sure had been very effective at one time in his life. He was not, then, an effective leader. BOWEN: Okay. And who was the chairman at that time? MARCUM: You mean the- BOWEN: Caucus chairman. MARCUM: Let's see, it was a fellow from Cold Springs, who's now in the Senate. I don't recall his name-Art Schmidt. BOWEN: Okay. MARCUM: Art Schmidt. BOWEN: Okay. And do you have, did you, did he make an impression on you? MARCUM: Oh, he was a fine man, gentlemanly. If everyone in the legislature was like that person, our laws would be in a lot better shape. BOWEN: Okay. And you served on two committees, right, when you were there, the Agriculture and Natural Resources and Banking and Insurance Committees? MARCUM: Right. BOWEN: Could you tell me what each of these committees did, and possibly if you remember anybody who was on it, on them, rather? MARCUM: Well, see, they were, both of them were clearinghouses for those, for legislation with those titles, of course. You know, a lot of the mountain legislators were on the Natural Resources Committee because, you know, it deals primarily with mining and oil and gas production. You know, something we're all familiar with, all especially all the lawyers up here. I really don't remember who was on the Banking and Insurance Committee right offhand. BOWEN: Okay. MARCUM: But, of course, I was familiar with most of that legislation because, you know, I represented the bank here and represented a couple of insurance companies and, of course, represented a lot of people against banks and insurance companies, so I knew, I'd been on both sides of that street. BOWEN: Um-hm. And do you remember some important issues that came out of either of those committees? MARCUM: In the Banking and Insurance Committee, there was a, there was some legislation dealing with banks being able to cross political lines and that sort of thing, which is a, something that's been debated for probably 100 years in this commonwealth. And primacy was the primary issue in the enforcement of the mining regulations, you know, whether the federal or the state government would have, would take the lead in the enforcement, I guess, was the most important issue that was dealt with in that committee when I was there. BOWEN: Okay. And when you think back over the legislation that you sponsored, that your name is on somewhere, what do you think were some of the important pieces of legislation that you sponsored? MARCUM: Well, of course, obviously the primary legislation was the bonding issue on the roads. BOWEN: Right. MARCUM: And I was one of the cosponsors, of course, there was, you know, probably fifty of us. BOWEN: Um-hm. I remember seeing that. MARCUM: Yeah, beside, everything else pales in comparison to that. BOWEN: Okay. And what would you say that the overriding theme was of the legislation that you sponsored while you when in there, while you were at the General Assembly? MARCUM: Internal improvement, you know, try to help this area. As you know from having lived here that we needed things that other people take for granted. I mean we needed sewage, we needed water, we needed roads, we needed schools. I mean everybody else had those things. We were fighting desperately just to catch up to what everybody else takes for granted, and that's what I wanted to try to accomplish in my small way. BOWEN: Okay. And I think the last question that I have for you is how would you like to be remembered as a legislator for your term? MARCUM: As being a vigorous spokesman for this area, when it hasn't always had a spokesman, vigorous or otherwise. BOWEN: Um-hm, okay. And I think that sums it up real well. MARCUM: Okay. BOWEN: I thank you very much for talking with me. MARCUM: You're welcome, Judy. [End of interview] Marcus (House 1980, 97th district; Republican) discusses growing up in Martin County (Ky.), then progresses to his educational background, and legislative career. Marcus focuses on legislative influences, the role of the legislature, and impressions of governors. He concludes with recounts of campaign stragegies and legislative legacy. Kentucky Legislature