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1991-10-29 Interview with John Morgan, October 29, 1991 Leg001:1991OH392LEG38 00:50:20 Kentucky Legislature Oral History Project Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries Legislators -- Kentucky -- Interviews. Practice of law -- Kentucky. Civil rights -- Kentucky. Discrimination -- Law and legislation -- Kentucky. Kentucky. Governor (1963-1967 : Breathitt) London (Ky.) Centre College Powers, Georgia Davis Brown, John Y. Sr. Cooper, John Sherman campaigning civil rights Young Turks philosophy of government Key Legislation: death penalty, Public Accomodations bill Term/District: House (1964), 56th district Counties in District: Fayette County (Ky.) John Morgan; interviewee Judy K. Bowen; interviewer 1991OH392_LEG038_Morgan 1:|6(16)|38(8)|60(4)|91(11)|120(12)|134(11)|144(12)|169(3)|191(3)|212(4)|221(12)|241(10)|266(4)|287(9)|297(13)|330(16)|341(12)|370(13)|380(5)|392(14)|400(4)|420(7)|434(16)|443(1)|456(3)|465(10)|481(4)|496(14)|512(12)|531(7)|554(4)|561(11)|580(11)|590(4)|609(14)|623(4)|633(4)|649(4)|663(4)|675(1)|682(2)|693(15)|702(2)|726(12)|749(8)|760(1)|774(2)|783(1)|791(6)|804(4) audiotrans Legit interview BOWEN: That's real intelligent. Testing. Testing. The following is an unrehearsed interview with former state representative John W. Morgan who represented the 56th District in 1964. The interview is being conducted by Judy Bowen for the University of Kentucky Library Kentucky Legislature Oral History Project on October 29, in Lexington, Kentucky at 10:30 a.m. [Pause in tape]. Testing. Okay. This afternoon I'm talking with Mr. Morgan. Mr. Morgan, could you tell me when and where you were born? MORGAN: London, Kentucky. BOWEN: London? MORGAN: Uh-huh, June 21, 1933. BOWEN: Okay. And could you tell me what your parents' names were? MORGAN: Elise Fowler Morgan BOWEN: How do you spell her first name? MORGAN: E-L-I-S-E. And Wathon(??) S. Morgan. BOWEN: And what did they do for a living? MORGAN: My mother was a school superintendent and my father was railroad agent, for the L&N Railroad and was in a real estate rental property. BOWEN: Okay. And do you remember your grandparents? MORGAN: Do I what? BOWEN: Remember your grandparents? MORGAN: Yes. BOWEN: And could you tell me who they were and what they did for a living? MORGAN: My father's father was a doctor, a physician. He died when my father was only about fifteen. I never knew him. My father's mother ran a clothing store, sold clothing of all type. BOWEN: And how many people were in your immediate family, brothers or sisters? MORGAN: None. BOWEN: None? Only child. MORGAN: And my mother, you want to know about my mother's parents? BOWEN: Oh, yeah, I'm sorry. MORGAN: My mother's parents, my mother's father was a politician. He was a county court clerk, and a sheriff, and a circuit court clerk, and held many offices during his life. BOWEN: That's interesting. Is that how you got your interest in politics? MORGAN: My family was always a lot more interested in it than I was. BOWEN: Okay. And how extensive would you say your family roots are in Kentucky? How far did your family, does your family go back in the state of Kentucky? MORGAN: My grandfather went to Frankfort with Jim Howard, the person who was in charge and convicted with shooting Governor Goebel in 1900 (Bowen laughs). BOWEN: Okay, so your family has been in Kentucky for a long time. MORGAN: From probably when it started. BOWEN: Okay. And when you were growing up what do you really remember most about your childhood? MORGAN: Athletic stardom (Bowen laughs). BOWEN: Did you participate in a lot of sports? MORGAN: Uh-huh. BOWEN: Okay. What kinds? MORGAN: Basketball, baseball, tennis. BOWEN: All-round- MORGAN: Uh-huh. BOWEN: athlete. MORGAN: I played everything that was most of what I did with my childhood. BOWEN: Okay. That's something unique that I haven't run into with the other people that I've interviewed, most of them haven't really been involved in sports that much. Usually they weren't really involved in extracurricular activities very much. Where did you go to school? MORGAN: East Bernstadt High School. BOWEN: Okay. And do you remember some of our teachers from grade school or high school or anyone that made an impression on you? MORGAN: Yes, there were several good teachers including my mother (Bowen laughs). BOWEN: So you had your mother for a class? MORGAN: Second grade. BOWEN: Did you feel intimidated by that, of having your mother as a teacher? MORGAN: It had its benefits and its detriments. BOWEN: Were you disciplined more often than the other children? I know- MORGAN: Probably so. BOWEN: I remember my third grade teacher, one of her children was in our class and she was always a lot tougher on her than she was the rest of us. I thought that was interesting. Do you remember some of the subjects that you took while you were in high school? MORGAN: All the old subjects that they were teaching in the '40s: reading, writing, and arithmetic. BOWEN: Did you all have a civics course or American- MORGAN: I believe in high school there was maybe a civics course, I believe so. BOWEN: Okay. And did you have a favorite book when you were growing up? MORGAN: Hmm, favorite book. My mother caused me to read extensively and she got me in to all the King Arthur, "Knights of the Round Table," "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight," "Beowulf," all those mythical type of things at an early age and, of course, I loved Robert Lee Stevenson, Treasure Island and Kidnapped and all the things of that nature. Then I read everything, Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, and all the books that kids should read. I read them all and liked them. BOWEN: I did too. When you studied history did you have a favorite historical figure? MORGAN: I was an English and history major in college, and I enjoyed very much my term papers and things of that nature about Civil War characters. Of course, I connected with John Hunt Morgan and because of the name and possible distant relationship, and I enjoyed really the-I wrote my term papers on Morgan and Thomas and Longstreet and generally on the Civil War individuals, and wrote generally about individuals in my English writing and my history writing, rather than events. BOWEN: Okay. And did you have, I know you were involved in sports as an extracurricular activities, were you involved in any other extracurricular activities? [Knock on door; pause in tape]. Okay. You were involved in sports as an extracurricular activity, were you involved in speech club, debate or anything like that? MORGAN: Didn't have anything like that back in those days (Bowen laughs). I was in a play, maybe one. BOWEN: Okay. And when you were growing up did you attend church? MORGAN: Mandatorily and often (Bowen laughs). BOWEN: And what church were you a member of? MORGAN: My father was chairman of the board and my mother the principal so we went to every church we could find (Bowen chuckling). Baptist and Methodist mostly. BOWEN: Okay. And do you think that your religious upbringing has influenced the formation of your political philosophy? MORGAN: No. BOWEN: No? MORGAN: My religious upbringing was such an irritant that I don't go to church anymore. I got it crammed down my throat four times a week: Baptist Student Union, Vacation Bible School, church on Sunday morning at the Methodist Church, church, church on Sunday night, all the revivalists that came around and screamed and shouted like idiots. Then at Centre, which is also a religious school, mandatory chapel once during the week. I had enough religion at the time out of college to last me for long past a lifetime. BOWEN: I can understand that, I went to Berea (laughs). I understand that once a week mandatory chapel. MORGAN: They crammed my ears, nose, throat and anywhere else that was available. BOWEN: Okay. And you went to Centre College? MORGAN: Uh-huh. BOWEN: Did you, why did you choose Centre? MORGAN: Well, my parents felt that it was far away the best school academically available, and I had a partial athletic scholarship there. And I was, I made good grades, and they wanted to send me to a place that they thought I could be well educated. BOWEN: Okay. And your major was history and minor, did you have a double major? MORGAN: Double major- BOWEN: Double major in- MORGAN: English and history. BOWEN: English and history. Okay. And did you have a minor? (Laughs), didn't have time. Do you recall some of your more memorable college professors? MORGAN: Um-hm. BOWEN: And could you tell me who they were and which subjects they taught? MORGAN: Dr. Hazelrigg was a great English teacher and made Shakespeare and English History live. And Dr. Frank Heck was a great history teacher, made the courses very delightful. Dr. Letcher taught biological science and was a great eye opener to a kid that had been given, taught that the world was created in one day and all the silly impossible things to believe when my eyes were open to Darwin and things that made sense. BOWEN: Okay. And do you think any of your college professors had an influence in your political philosophies or anything like that, anything of that nature? MORGAN: I think education tends to liberalize one's philosophies in that education is a process of liberalization, a period in your life where your philosophies become much more liberal than those of your parents and much less liberal than what real life teaches you. BOWEN: Okay. And what were some of your more interesting college classes, anything besides the two classes that you mentioned that stood out? MORGAN: I enjoyed humanities- BOWEN: Okay. And- MORGAN: comparing different religious theories and different philosophies. BOWEN: Did you all have a core curriculum of religious classes that you all had to take at Centre? MORGAN: We had a core course called Philosophy of Life, which was kind of the humanities course. BOWEN: Okay. I was just trying to figure out if you all had the equivalent of some of our classes we had, RHP, which is Religious and Historical Perspectives, because some of the other people I know who have gone to Centre there and stuff, they had almost comparative classes, it was almost, it was very close to the same curriculum that we had at Berea, different- MORGAN: That was the only course that had to do with religion- BOWEN: Religion? Yeah, we had- MORGAN: that we had to take but it was really a philosophy course rather than a religious course. It taught the Buddhist side of it and- BOWEN: And that sort, ours sort of traced the history of religion pretty much and then, of course, we got into the sciences at the end of it, how you can interpret Darwin in a religious aspect and all of that- MORGAN: Sounds similar. BOWEN: And I was like (laughs), okay. Always thought that was a real interesting class, it was really, I think it was one of my more happy classes that I had, one of the more, one of the ones I enjoyed the most. MORGAN: Thought provoking. BOWEN: Definitely. When you have very religious people and very non-religious people in the same class it's very interesting to see how they respond to each other because you would have some people who would be so religious and so set in, "This is the way it happened and it can't happen any other way." And then you have the other people who were like, "Well, it couldn't happen that way because it takes longer," and you (laughs) just- MORGAN: sure. BOWEN: it's very interesting watching people. It's always very interesting. What law school did you go to? MORGAN: UK. BOWEN: Okay. And why did you choose UK? MORGAN: I intended to practice in Kentucky. BOWEN: Okay. And were there any law professors who stand out in your mind as good professors? MORGAN: Oh, yes. Wilbur Ham(??), Matthews, Dean Matthews, Richard Gillum, Jessie Duke Manier. All, you're more impressed with your law school professors than you normally are with your college professors, your high school teachers, because they are, you know, they're teaching you what you're going to do. BOWEN: Um-hm. And since you've been practicing law what type of law have you been practicing? MORGAN: Mainly I'm a trial lawyer, personal injury, workers' comp. I for many years did large divorces contested, large contested divorces and I had a general practice for any type of thing, kind of thing pretty much until the last ten years. I've been attempting to cut my practice down only into workers' comp and personal injury. BOWEN: Okay. In what year did you graduate from law school? MORGAN: Fifty-eight. BOWEN: Okay. And are you married? MORGAN: Uh-huh. BOWEN: And do you have children? MORGAN: Yes. BOWEN: And how many children do you have and- MORGAN: Two. BOWEN: when did you get married? MORGAN: Nineteen--- BOWEN: (Laughs), uh-oh. MORGAN: Sixty-one. BOWEN: Okay. And I'm going to ask some just general questions on your political philosophy. I know you said your grandfather was involved in politics, one of your grandfathers. When and how did you begin to get interested in politics enough that when you wanted to run for office? MORGAN: My family was always heavily politically involved. My grandfather had run for many offices when I was just a little child and my mother and father running for the school board, he was always on the school board, heavy active political situations. My mother was always chairwoman of the county Republican, and very active in every action and worked at headquarters and did all that kind of stuff. And my parents had great abiding respect for elected officials, such as circuit judges and especially senators and congressmen and held them in high esteem, very opposite from how things are now. BOWEN: Um-hm. Before running for state representative had you been interested or had you run for any other office? MORGAN: I wasn't all that interested in running. I was mostly interested in practicing law, but I saw that as a stepping stone to develop my law practice. BOWEN: Okay, makes sense. MORGAN: I was turned off of politics to a large degree because of the family involvement, and rather than it being a turn-on, it was a turn-off. BOWEN: Okay, that's understandable. Had you ever been involved in a political campaign before? MORGAN: All my family's school board races- BOWEN: Oh, okay. MORGAN: and my grandfather's circuit court, circuit clerk court races. BOWEN: Okay. And your political affiliations with the Republican Party, your mother was a Republican, was your- MORGAN: Lifelong. BOWEN: was your father- MORGAN: Everybody. BOWEN: (Laughs), everybody was? I can understand that. Have you, do you think you've been an active participant in the party? Have you participated in like being a chairperson or anything of that nature? MORGAN: Well, certainly before and for a good while after I served, I was very active. We were on the Patrons Committee and did everything. My main activity now is my pocketbook. BOWEN: Okay. And this question is sort of, I guess, a three-part question: what professional qualifications, personal qualities, or personal experience or knowledge did you feel that you brought to the General Assembly to make you a good representative? MORGAN: Well, I was a lawyer. I had been in the military as, served in the military as a lawyer. I've been what used to be a district judge. I had been a clerk for the Supreme Court working from the judicial end, and making my qualifications semi-perfect. It would be hard to find probably a more qualified person. I had been practicing law, was familiar with, I represented Columbia Gas and was familiar with the utility needs and legislation. I did workers' compensation defense, was familiar with the Workers' Compensation Act. I just was kind of built for a legislature, legislator. BOWEN: Okay. And what do you think you brought to the job that made you effective in state politics, these same qualification? MORGAN: Um-hm. BOWEN: Okay. And before you went to Frankfort for the first time as a member of the General Assembly what did you think the role of government in society was? MORGAN: To, well, I-there are many roles of government in society. To in some areas assist the individuals financially, to provide for roads and the many, many things the government does, to provide for the laws and the enforcement of them, and to consider and make good laws and stupid ones. BOWEN: Okay. And how intrusive do you think government should be into society, into people's lives? MORGAN: When I was in the legislature or now? BOWEN: When you were a legislator. MORGAN: I was very conservative then and thought the government should be very un-intrusive. BOWEN: Okay. And now you get to tell what you're doing now. After being in the legislature for your term, what do you think, has your view in what the role of government is and what it should be changed? MORGAN: I'm much more moderate politically, philosophically than I was when I was in the legislature. I was a Goldwater Republican then and a very active in Goldwater's presidential campaign. I'm much more moderate now than I was then. BOWEN: Okay. And when you first went to the legislature what did you think the role of a legislator was? MORGAN: Consider and pass the laws. BOWEN: Okay. And what did you think, what did you really think you were supposed to do after you got there besides, you know-I want to ask, what did you think your function was in the society as a whole? Were you to go up there and vote the way your constituents wanted you to vote or were you gonna vote the way you thought was best, pretty much. MORGAN: Some of both. BOWEN: Some of both? Okay. MORGAN: As, I would try my very best to represent my constituency but there were times when you couldn't morally do that. I know some very strong high-powered Republicans were in the funeral home business and they were, they had a bill up to, which would make the memorial garden people put all their money in trust to the point that they couldn't stay in business and it was just a ripper bill to put them out of business. And I was under heavy pressure to do that to the memorial garden people, which I couldn't do. The, some of the high-ups in the party were in the hotel and restaurant business, and the waitresses were then being allowed to be paid fifty-five cents an hour, an exception to the minimum wage. And there was a big to-do in the past to allow them to be paid under the minimum wage, and I have, I felt I couldn't be for that. So there are many examples of things that my constituency was for that I couldn't be for, but I certainly would try to be for my constituency whenever I could. BOWEN: Okay. And when you first went to the legislature did you have an agenda that you wanted to conclude after you got there? MORGAN: Oh, we had things we ran on, a platform we ran on. I certainly don't remember what it was. Probably the normal one: lower taxes, whichever side of the abortion issue the polls showed was the hottest, well, that wasn't an issue then. Probably public accommodations, whatever our advisers indicated to us was the popular thing to be for, which we put in our literature, lower taxes, clean up government, help education, fix roads, normal stuff that, saying that you're hearing every day from the ones that are running now. BOWEN: Indefinitely. Looking back how do you think, how did you interpret the way Frankfort was ran when you first went there? How did you think, what did you think about the political situation there and how things got done in Frankfort? MORGAN: The governor was very powerful back then, much more so than now, and there had been a Republican upsurge. We had taken over Fayette County and won three of, the only three legislative seats outside of the middle city, and we had thirty- eight members of the House, which was the most that had been in Frankfort in many, many years. So we were trying to cause revolts and upsurges and speak against the many things that the government did, and to the point that in the next election I was called a, we were called "obstructionists," because we voted against the governor's budget. So they would say that everything in that budget we voted against: schools, anything, any funding. Because, of course, we were, would argue that Fayette County went against Ned Breathitt and for Louie Nunn and that we were sent down there to vote against and obstructionist his program, and say, yes, we certainly were, that's why we're there and that's we're doing it. BOWEN: Okay. And were there women in the General Assembly when you served? MORGAN: Um-hm. BOWEN: And do you remember any of them or possible the number of women that were serving at that time? MORGAN: Oh, there were about three or four. A black woman from Louisville, Louise Kirtley from Owensboro, maybe a couple more. BOWEN: Okay. And do you think that the women had more difficulties getting, or obtaining their goals because they were women then? MORGAN: Probably not. People were very solicitous of women back in those days, more so than now. BOWEN: Okay. And your election of 1964 was that your first campaign for any political office and how did you go about organizing the campaign? Did you have a campaign manager and those types of thing? MORGAN: We had a very active Republican Party then that had a central committee and organized the campaign for everybody. I went door to door through my district and knocked on all the doors. I did that because I gave each person I got to meet a speech emphasizing that I was a lawyer, and a practicing lawyer, and etcetera. I didn't think I had any chance of winning. I was running against John Y. Brown, who was Speaker of the House and had never lost an election in Fayette County and a very prominent fellow. And my motive when they asked me to run because I was kind of an active young Republican was to go out and meet people and enhance my law practice, and I was the most shocked fellow in town when I beat him. BOWEN: (Laughs), I bet you were. When you decided to run were you approached by any PAC type organizations or anything like that? MORGAN: Weren't any such things back then. BOWEN: There were no, people who wanted to put, wanted to donate money to you in return for something, some political help? MORGAN: The higher-ups in the Republican Party, the county committee and so on just would find the young man and a young lawyer back then. They always knew that they were ambitious and that if they could get the nomination without a primary that it was good for their law career to be seen by the public and get to make speeches to organizations and that's why I ran. BOWEN: Okay. And when you ran for the General Assembly what was the local political situation? Who did you run against? MORGAN: I ran against John Y. Brown Sr., who was a very famous lawyer, and Speaker of the House, and big deal. BOWEN: (Laughs), definitely. And you were, were you, how was your district set up? Were you running in a majority Republican district or a majority- MORGAN: There weren't any majority Republican districts in '64. BOWEN: Okay. MORGAN: It was a south-end district, which was, had more Republican tendencies then. And the only reason I won was because it was in a gubernatorial year and the governor, Louie Nunn, ran very strong. It was the time he lost, he won the next, four years later, won, ran, won, ran strong in my district. Otherwise I wouldn't have won. BOWEN: Okay. And could you describe the ethnic, economic, and religious makeup of your district or do you remember? MORGAN: White, well-to-do. BOWEN: (Laughs), well, that describes it all. Okay. And how did you, did you have to run in the primary? MORGAN: No. BOWEN: No? Just- MORGAN: I wouldn't have done, run if I've had to do that. BOWEN: Okay. And do you remember who ran-never mind, I'm like, when you have a questionnaire sometimes you repeat yourself. And did you, you didn't have a campaign manager or adviser or anything, it was just the Republican Party as the organization? MORGAN: Well, there were, the legislative candidates, Don Ball and Joe Johnson and I, were-Joe is in my office now here. We're still friends and he rents an office from me. We planned our campaign a lot. We got together on everything. We got a lot of help from headquarters. The, back then, the money would be contributed to the Republican Party and they would earmark it, they'd chosen us as their golden boys, we were all young and energetic and that's the way the money came. We didn't, it didn't come to us from organizations, it came in the party and the party gave it to us. And those that were running the county, the county chairman and people like that, would have a lot of the input to do with how the campaign was run. And they would get, Thruston Morton and John Sherman Cooper would come down and there would be paid for speeches that they'd speech and they'd speak and say what nice fellows we were and we'd all be on the platform and we'd talk, and that's kind of how it was done. BOWEN: Okay. That's a great difference from how it's done now. MORGAN: Um-hm, it certainly is. BOWEN: Now it's sort of like (laughs) throw people out to the wolves and do what you can, get your money from wherever and things like that. You served under Governor Breathitt, right? MORGAN: Um-hm. BOWEN: And what did you think of his type of administration? How did you think of how he ran, what did you think of how he ran the government? MORGAN: I didn't think he was a real strong governor. He couldn't squash the loyal us, the loyal opposition as well as he ought to have been able to. Because on a lot of issues and things that we would take a stand on we'd be able to get a lot of young Democrats and people that had ambitions adverse to Breathitt, and be able to on occasion win some things in the House that the governor was against, defeat his programs here and there, which we were always trying to do. BOWEN: Okay. And over the years there've been different interpretations of the governorship. Many people would say that since John Y. Brown Jr. was governor that there has not, that's where the strong governor, governor's office, left Kentucky that it became, at that point, the power between the legislators and the governor's office became more balanced. Do you agree with that interpretation? MORGAN: Yes. BOWEN: And do you have any ideas as to why that may have happened that way? MORGAN: John Y. let it happen, and tried to get it, tried to direct it in that direction. His father had always fathered that philosophy. BOWEN: Okay. And the governor of Kentucky has a veto power and he can, but he can be overridden. Do you think he should have an absolute veto power over any type of legislation? MORGAN: Yes. BOWEN: You do? You think he should have absolute- MORGAN: The legislature is half idiot. There's, I was, I served with many people who couldn't read and write. Several of them, I voted their button, a couple of them that set close to me, because they didn't care about the issues. I had three votes on lots of issues, the legislature should not be allowed to, not have a governing hand over them. BOWEN: Okay. And I have some general questions now about the legislature and what you think its role should be. Do you think that the people that you served with are professional, were professional I should say. By this I mean, do you, did they serve a lot of terms when you were there? Were there more people who served two or three terms as opposed to one term? MORGAN: Maybe half and half. BOWEN: Half and half? Okay. And do you think that being, looking at the legislature as a career is a good idea? I know a lot of people now who are serving in the legislature are doing so four, five, or six terms. Do you think that's a good idea or do you think there should be a limit placed on the number of terms? MORGAN: I don't think it's a good idea for the individual to ruin his life by being a fulltime politician, because this is becoming one of the most disrespected professions in America, number one. But number two, I think it would be horrible to limit the terms because the quality of legislator you got would be worse than nothing then. I would say the only person you could get to run if the terms were limited would be street people, and that's what would be running our government. So whoever is for that is, in my mind, cutting off their nose to spite their face in a terribly ridiculous manner. Who'd want to be, go through the trouble and the money to run for Congress and take the abuse and the looking into your background, which I wouldn't take the job as senator or congressman if they gave to me without running, now. Who would take it if you were limited to one term and couldn't look forward to retirement, the benefits, the perks, the money, etcetera. Nobody but a person highly unqualified to serve. BOWEN: Okay. And there has been talk for a number of years of having annual sessions. Do you think that's a good idea to have annual sessions- MORGAN: No. BOWEN: in the General Assembly? MORGAN: Most of the laws that are passed are not good laws. Semiannual is plenty. BOWEN: Okay. And do you remember your first speech on the floor? MORGAN: No. BOWEN: No? [Pause in tape]. Gotta check and make sure that's still running. MORGAN: We were, Joe and I, Joe Johnson and I were both lawyers and used to being in the courtroom and many of the Republicans were from down in the country and highly uneducated and etcetera. So we ended up having to make everybody's speeches for them. Sometimes there'd be numerous bills that I didn't care anything about, weren't interested in that had to do with Leslie County or some political friend, and I'd make a speech for him so I made tons of speeches (Bowen laughs) on short preparation and everything (laughs). BOWEN: Okay. And during your tenure in the House was there anybody among your colleagues that you admired as a good legislator? MORGAN: Oh, yes, many. BOWEN: Do you do have one specify, any one or two specifically that you'd like to mention? MORGAN: Well, there was a group that got together on a lot of things, both Republicans and Democrats, all young fellows around thirty, Joe Johnson, Don Ball from here, Dick Frymire from Madisonville, John Swinford, Judge Swinford's, Federal Judge Swinford's son from, was a lawyer from Cynthiana. "Sonny" Hunt, the famous "Sonny" Hunt who'd gotten in a lot of trouble in the Julian Carroll administration, Julian Carroll who was a second term member of the House. John Hardin from down around Henderson. We all thought we were bright and the Courier-Journal named us the "young Turks" because we were always raising Cain and fighting about things. And I had a great deal of respect for all of them, except, well, Julian would go, come to our meetings and when we decided to fight the governor's office on a bill. And all the rest of us, Republicans and Democrats, would get into the fray and Julian would egg us all on but back off. So we got awfully upset with him and said, "Here's a fellow that'll go over in politics," and he was racing for governor and we were all out of politics (both laugh). So he was probably right and we were wrong. BOWEN: Okay. And what did you think of the processes of the General Assembly the first two times you were in there? How they operated, how it was organized, and everything? MORGAN: Terrible waste to time. Ignorant people standing up and talking a long time about nothing and causing things that are of some import to be moved very slowly and not even be gotten to because some idiot wanted to talk about some funny story or make up some funny bill and be cute, a whole lot of that, a tremendous waste of time, a lot of boredom, very hard to get to the real issues and something important only came up every third day. A lot of it was just trite and banal. And for that, that's another one of the reasons that if all of that was cut out you would only need a legislature every four years had it, if you could streamline and get the things of significance moving, why, it could be done in half the time. BOWEN: I agree with you there from looking through the legislative records. It's incredible the amount of bills that come up that are on let's congratulate somebody on something (laughs). I thought they were astounding the last time I went through, when I was doing research on this interview there was about thirty of forty bills that were, "let's congratulate, let's print the legislative records on blue today," and I thought (laughs), oh, I would die if I was there. I could see me going, "But why are we bothering?" We could- MORGAN: Very, very irritating. BOWEN: we could print out in green or blue paper for St. Patrick's Day or St. Blues Day or whatever without- MORGAN: Tremendous waste of time. BOWEN: yeah, without asking everybody about it. [End of Tape #1, Side #1] [Begin of Tape #1, Side #2] BOWEN: Okay. Do you recall who was Speaker of the House when you were there? MORGAN: Oh, Mitch Denham. BOWEN: Okay. And how did you respect him as a speaker? Did you think he was a good leader? MORGAN: Wait a minute-it was Shelby, I can't think of his last name. He did a sufficient job. BOWEN: Okay. And do you remember- MORGAN: Mitch was floor leader. The speaker, the floor leader did more work than the speaker really but Mitch Denham was later speaker and he was floor leader, majority floor leader. BOWEN: Okay. Who, do you remember who were the Republican leaders of your term? MORGAN: Leonard Hislope from Somerset was majority, minority floor leader. BOWEN: Okay. And did you respect him as a leader? MORGAN: Um-hm. BOWEN: Okay. And which committees did you serve on? MORGAN: I was on the Judiciary Committee and the Public Utilities Committee and the Workers' Compensation Committee, and those are the ones I remember working most on. BOWEN: Okay. And were there any legislation that came through any of those committees that made an impression on you as being very important? MORGAN: We had an awful fight about the death penalty in Judiciary. Had hearings on it, speakers of, the old wardens that had executed people telling the horror of the execution and the last hours and the people, how they reacted to being burned and being shaved and gotten ready for the death chamber. And then many psychologists and psychiatrists testifying about whether or not the death penalty a deterrent and things of that nature and the bill went on the floor to abolish the death penalty. And I was very active on that committee and questioning the speakers and etcetera. BOWEN: Were you for or against it? MORGAN: I was for the death penalty. BOWEN: Okay, okay. MORGAN: In the end I was, I had gotten to the point in law school that I was against it and I was not sure how it was gonna be til the vote was taken. BOWEN: Okay. What would you say was the overriding theme of legislation that you sponsored? Sometimes look through and get bills, numbers of bills and things that they are about and usually people don't remember them, so I've changed to asking just general questions on it because there are so many bills that people sponsored that that sometimes- MORGAN: We sponsored, we were very active. The, Ball and Johnson and I were, because whatever program that the Republican Party was for we would sponsor all kinds of things that were setting up Louie Nunn to make his-he had made his unsuccessful run and gotten beat in a close race by Breathitt, maybe 9,000 votes or something like that. And this legislature was kind of a, we were used to sponsor tons of bills that would be the theme of Louie's next administration when he won. BOWEN: Okay. Is there any legislation that hasn't been mentioned that you would like to point out that you felt was very important during your term? MORGAN: There was legislation to take power from the governor's office. That was very important and that's where the young Turks got together, and a lot of difficulty in, was caused. The Public Accommodations Bill was a very hot issue during our legislature, the bill that you couldn't discriminative in public accommodations, restrooms and so on, on the basis of race or color. That was a big bill. That's all that comes to surface immediately. BOWEN: Okay. The last question I have for you is, how would you like to be remembered as a legislator? MORGAN: Finally (both laugh). BOWEN: Okay. MORGAN: No, I got there on time, worked hard. On the issues that were important, I gave my views on them. I think I was a good legislator. BOWEN: Okay. And I would like to thank you very much for taking time out of your schedule to talk with me today. I know sometimes that is difficult to do. MORGAN: Sure thing. [End of interview] Morgan (House 1964, 56th district; Republican) recounts his early childhood in London (Ky.). He discusses his early education and political influences, law practice, describes his own philosphy of government, and the role of the state legislature. He concludes the interview by highlighting his priorities as a legislator, and impressions of fellow legislators and Governor Breathitt. Kentucky Legislature