You have found an item located in the Kentuckiana Digital Library.
1991-12-27 Interview with Lucien T. Hardin, December 27, 1991 Leg001:1992OH001 Leg 040 00:54:51 Kentucky Legislature Oral History Project Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries Legislators -- Kentucky -- Interviews. Leadership -- Political aspects. Women legislators -- Kentucky. Kentucky -- Religion -- Political aspects. Rural roads -- Kentucky -- safety measures. Lobbying -- Kentucky. Carroll, Julian M. (Julian Morton), 1931- Blume, Norbert L., 1992- Kidd, Mae Street, 1904- Ford, Wendell H., 1924- Dawahare, Hoover, 1928-2004 Nunn, Louie B., 1924- Political campaigns -- Kentucky. Lobbyists. Apportionment (Election law) Religion Race discrimination Coal mines and mining. Veto. Legislation DeMarcus, Harold Priddy, Dottie Kenton, Bill (Boom Boom) Severance Tax Committee Highway and Traffic Committee Banking and Insurance Committee Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee legislative process coal severance tax redistricting local party structures legislative independence Mountain Caucus committee placement bipartisanship Key Legislation: coal severance tax Term/District: House (1970-1974), 97th district Counties in District: Martin County (Ky.), Lawrence County (Ky.), Johnson County (Ky.) Lucien T. Hardin; interviewee Judy K. Bowen; interviewer 1992OH001_LEG040_Hardin 1:|14(13)|26(12)|40(5)|50(2)|61(10)|74(6)|85(7)|104(1)|115(2)|129(5)|141(6)|154(9)|176(2)|194(5)|206(1)|219(9)|229(12)|255(12)|269(11)|281(1)|289(12)|298(9)|317(8)|340(8)|354(8)|364(8)|374(6)|387(3)|399(4)|410(9)|425(4)|435(5)|448(5)|462(4)|475(10)|487(3)|505(4)|525(12)|546(1)|565(10)|581(10)|593(3)|605(10)|620(6)|633(8)|646(3)|679(2)|690(7)|707(6)|717(4)|730(8)|742(5)|759(5)|769(5) audiotrans Legit interview BOWEN: The following is an unrehearsed interview with former state representative L. T. Hardin who represented the 77th-97th District in 1970,'72, and '74. The interview is being conducted by Judy Bowen for the University of Kentucky Library Kentucky Legislature Oral History Project on December 27, 1991 at Maynard's(??) Restaurant in Inez, Kentucky around 10:20 a.m. This is the second part to the interview and we'll start with talking about your legislative history. We talked last time about, if you had a legislative agenda, I think that was the last question we talked about. HARDIN: I believe it was. BOWEN: Okay. So, now I would like to talk about the way the legislature worked when you first got there. When you first arrived do you think that you really realized how the legislature worked? HARDIN: I had a knowledge of how it would work from teaching civics and government, of course, but the concept in teaching was altogether different than the actual involvement in the legislature. The first thing was a pre-legislative meeting to organize committees and all to start action once we get back to Frankfort when session begins and then with bills that would be introduced. Then once they're introduced it has to go to a certain committee where it would be assigned, they'd study it, and if they felt it was a good bill it would be released and sent back to the floor, voted out. And then, of course, the main floor the body would vote to accept or reject the bill. And from there, from the House, it would travel on to the Senate for their approval and if it made approval in both bodies, the House, the legislature, and the representatives and senators, then, of course, it would go on to the governor. And if he saw it was a good piece of legislature he could sign it or else he could veto it if he didn't want it to become a law and then you'd have to take other action to try to get enough votes to override a veto. Unfortunately, I didn't have to do that on anything that I had presented or any other bill the time I served. BOWEN: Okay. And how long do you think it took you to learn how the, in other words, how people gotten things done in Frankfort? HARDIN: I would say during my freshman year, a good percentage of the time would be in trying to learn how lawmaking functioned. You would talk with various legislators, different groups that would come in there and then you'd see just what approach would be used in order to get a bill passed. And I imagine the first thirty days was very uncertain days, because you weren't really sure as to what procedure was gonna be used, what you had to do in order to get a bill passed, or to get some consideration, the influence you might have had with other legislators in trying to get something passed. I would say the first thirty days was a great learning process for me about the practicality of the operation of the legislative body. Then, thereafter, you know the legislators, you know the people you have, can put confidence in, you know that if they tell you they're gonna vote for this particular piece of legislation then 90 percent of them would do just that once it would hit the floor where they had an opportunity to vote. And then serving on committees, that was an important aspect, the most important part, I guess, because the committee serves as the watchdog for any legislation that will be approved on the floor and if it's approved in the committee with a vote of confidence to come out, a favorable report, then chances are once it reaches the floor vote it will pass. And then if it's a bad piece of legislation they can kill it in committee. And occasionally a piece of, or a bill, I'm saying a piece of legislation, but a bill could be passed through a committee with an unfavorable report that it should not become a law, that once it reaches the floor then they'd have the opportunity to lay it to rest there or kill the bill on the floor. But it was a great experience. I don't think I could put a monetary value on the experience of being in the legislature for the three consecutive terms but, to date, I have no desire to return (Bowen laughs). BOWEN: When you first arrived there who were the leaders of the legislature? HARDIN: Julian Carroll was, he was the leader for the Democratic Party, calling the shots. They would change Julian in the speaker. Then, of course, Norb Blume came along as speaker following Julian Carroll. Harold DeMarcus, Gene Stuart, Walter Baker, different ones would be the leaders to whom we'd look for guidance in our caucus meetings and all. But then once you leave the caucus room you decided what you're gonna to do then you sometimes have to win the approval, would get on the floor from the speaker, once you get there, to speak pro or con against a particular bill. But Harold DeMarcus was the floor leader for us at the time I was serving, for the Republican minority party. But the two I mentioned Julian Carroll, later to become governor, and also Norb Blume, they were Speakers of the House what time I was there. BOWEN: Were there very many women who were serving during your time, during the three terms? HARDIN: Two that I served with, I recall, Mae Street Kidd from Louisville and Priddy, "Dottie" Priddy. Those two women that I remember most distinctively of all. And perhaps they were the only two in there at the time. BOWEN: What did you think of them as legislators? HARDIN: Mixed emotions. I'll stop there. BOWEN: (Laughs), okay, oh goodness. Do you think it was more difficult for the women, or during that time period even if it weren't those two women, do you think it would be more difficult for a woman to get her legislation passed during that time period than it would be for the equal standing of equal seniority? HARDIN: Well, it depends on what type of legislation they're introducing, of course, but I do remember Mae Street had some problems with one particular piece of legislation, and she became very uptight because certain ones voted against that. She thought when she introduced the bill that should automatically become a law or should be approved by the House of Representatives, and in the particular case I'm referring to, the bill, it was not and she was very hostile for a while. But I imagine I was hostile at times (Hardin laughs) because I sometimes would hit a hard rock myself that you'd introduced something that should be, or you felt should be, passed and maybe sent out of committee and it would bogged down. The severance tax amendment I had never did move from committee although we later will get a severance tax passed by an amendment added to the governor's key bill to get it passed. So, you sometimes want to see the Capitol collapse on you when you can't get something done that you feel is necessary for your constituents or certainly for the people of the commonwealth. But in direct answer there, they would, overall, would not have possibly the influence of some of the key men would have in the legislature at the time, the two women I'm talking about. Although they'll get some legislation passed. BOWEN: Now I'm gonna just talk generally about the campaigns that you ran and how you ran them. Your first election was in '69- HARDIN: Right. BOWEN: for the '70 service. What did you, when you decided that you wanted to run did someone contact you or did you decide to run on your own? HARDIN: Well, two ways. I was interested in running and I wouldn't run because of a particular cousin that was holding a seat. I would not run against him, and I had talked with different people here about the possibility of my running if he should decide not to run. And all those people talked very favorable that I should run if he decided not to, and then when a cousin, another cousin, came and said, "I don't think he's gonna run this time, I believe I would check with his father-in-law," which I did. And the father-in- law said, "Now, if you want to run, he won't run." And he said, "I'll do everything I can to help you to win your race." And with that encouragement and all, then as the date drew near and time to file then I filed for the office, to run for the office, and, of course, the gentleman I'm referring to did not; he supported me what time I ran. And then the people that had committed to me before I even registered to run for the office they certainly became active in my campaign, and I worked it hard, and was fortunate to win three consecutive campaigns. BOWEN: Did you have, when you started your election and started organizing it, did you have to, or did you, contact anybody in the county to help you with it, any other political leaders in the county? HARDIN: Definitely. You always do. That's what I'm saying that the people that I contacted prior to filing, they were influential people; people I knew that could help me if they would do so, and the vote count told me they did so. BOWEN: Okay. And when you started running in your first election, did you, were you contacted by any special interest groups who offered to support you in exchange for- HARDIN: No, I'll just stop you (laughs). I know what you're asking. No, not- BOWEN: No, I'm just talking about general PACs. HARDIN: Yeah, yeah. No, no. Unh-uh. BOWEN: Okay. HARDIN: Now as time go, as you move on through the second term, the third term you've got organizations, PACs, that would contact you and tell you the type of legislation they're interested in. But as far as arm twisting or something like that to get me obligated, that I had to vote this contrary to my conscience, the answer is no. BOWEN: Okay. Well, I'll just go ahead and ask that question now, usually I ask it later, but during your time period at the state capitol did you notice a change in the way that PACs operated? I know I took a class on special interest groups and we went up to the capitol one day and saw all the people in the PACs in the hallways- HARDIN: Well, your lobby- BOWEN: literally accosting the legislators, and I wondered if you all had that problem when you were there and if you saw a change in it during the three terms? HARDIN: You'd see a change, but unfortunately the group that come in there, the lobbyists and certain groups interested in a particular piece of legislation that's all they seemingly are concerned with. They aren't concerned with the overall picture of what the legislature is trying to do. They'll talk to you as a group, they'll present their argument for this particular piece of legislation they're interested in and then if you aren't in agreement in a close meeting or something you can express how you feel toward it and what you intend to do once it reaches the floor, should it get that far along. But the PAC groups and all that come by they're concerned with the one particular thing: something that would help them primarily. And you have to assess it, you have to see is it a selfish piece of legislation that would help a small group and be a detriment to the balance of the population of the commonwealth or to your constituents and well, you just have to make a, try to make, the most intelligent vote you possibly can when you have the opportunity to do so, to get the best legislation that would benefit the most of the people. BOWEN: Okay. When you ran for the General Assembly what would you describe was the local political situation in your district? I'm talking about, what was the makeup of Democratic-Republicans, conservative- HARDIN: Well, at the time I ran, it was primarily Republican, Johnson County, Martin County, heavy registered Republican counties at the time, and I'd say from conservative to moderate in their political beliefs. Most of the people that supported me- I'd classify myself as a moderate, I'm certainly not a liberal and I'm not the most conservative person you want to talk with. But we were overwhelmingly Republican here at that time and there was no problem once you, usually when you won a primary it was just presumed you were the winner even though you had to go run a general election but it was predominantly Republican, and it was just presumed you were going to win. And that happened during the time that I ran. It stayed very heavy Republican, the majority each time would indicate that, and not only that but the turnout in primaries of the voters that would come. Now, this is back in, from the early-'70s to mid-'70s, but then things happened here. The economy started to change drastically due to the coal industry. You had many people moving in here and then, of course, you find slowly but surely it would begin to drift to more of a two party system, and it has been indicated as such during the past where we have Democrats elected to county offices, same way in Johnson County, more so than you would have at the time I ran, and prior to that. BOWEN: Turning, I looked back at the newspapers of that time period trying to find out who ran against you in the general election and they didn't list anybody. HARDIN: Well (laughs)- BOWEN: (laughs; unintelligible), was there anybody? Did anybody run against you in the general election? HARDIN: Yes, I had Howard Hughes, in the general you're talking about? BOWEN: Yeah, in the general election was there a Democrat? HARDIN: Howard Hughes twice and Margaret Wells in between. BOWEN: I was wondering, because they didn't list anybody in the newspaper on the little ballot thing, I thought, "hm." HARDIN: That's who I ran against in general elections. BOWEN: Okay. And what is the, what were the, at that time period, what was the general ethnic, and economic situation, and religious situation in the district, which at that time was just Johnson and Martin, it hadn't included Lawrence yet? HARDIN: It would. It would include Lawrence after the first term because we had to redistrict after the census of '70. Well, you know, the religious order here is strictly Protestant and basically Baptist Belt, that's what you'd find here in this area and it's more or less the same today. There hasn't been that much change in the religious order here in the last twenty years. As the coal is depleted and all, then you perhaps won't see a change of a great influx of other religious orders. Now, what was the other part of the question? BOWEN: The ethnic and economic? HARDIN: Well, the economic development is strictly due to the mining industry. It started developing, I guess, the first meeting I attended was in nineteen and seventy with the railroad, '69 perhaps, where they were talking about coming into this area and with the development of the coal industry have a made a great change here. And it brought a lot of people into the county that changed the political structure somewhat in the way of voting, many of them coming from other parts of the country for employment. They wouldn't be the status-quo Republican, they were registered Democratic. They increased their number and, of course, our people with education and all became more independent voters. It's not so much they hang with party lines as they did years ago, even in your local races. On state, federal races perhaps they do, but on local races they branch off somewhat. Ethnic, we have had in the past, even going back to my grandfather, he had one black man that worked with him for years, not a slave by any means, but a good friend and worked around the farm with him. And what time I taught out here we had one black person to be in school for one semester, they moved on. And for some reason, as you found in West Virginia, Logan County, and areas of Mingo County where you had a great group of blacks that migrated into the coalfields, they worked in the coalfields, we're unlike them. We didn't have that to happen here. I don't know that, and not that they didn't want them or not that they couldn't get a job, but it was just one of those things I don't see why they didn't come but the question and the answer today is they didn't come. I don't know why, I couldn't answer that. The one, some speculation about the one child that came and entered school was that maybe they wanted to use this as a test area, how would they be accepted? Well, they would be accepted. That child was accepted readily and given all the attention the child needed from peers as well as the instructors and all. So, I don't know why. Maybe it's our geographic location, I don't know. Hello! [speaking to another restaurant patron]. BOWEN: You were talking a few minutes ago about the influx of people and the change of the parties. In some of my studies of political parties in the state I've noticed that during the '60s up until the mid-'50s that there really wasn't usually a structure of the Republican Party in this area in the state during that time period, but after the mid- '70s it began to change and there was, there became local party structures. Did you find that here in this particular county that- HARDIN: Yes, and more so each year and I think possibly I've answered that- BOWEN: Yeah. HARDIN: When we became more affluent then people selfishly would get involved. It's something that can fill their pockets perhaps and not all of them but some of them do it for objective reasons, they see the opportunity, the well is a little deep and they can get things for particular geographic areas or, and benefit the people but when you have an affluent society then people do become interested. What's out there for me? BOWEN: And during your campaign, and during either of your campaigns did you have a campaign manager- HARDIN: No. BOWEN: or adviser? HARDIN: Except my wife (Bowen laughs). No. I managed my own campaign. BOWEN: Okay. And I think the last time we talked about how your campaigns changed and all of that. HARDIN: Has to change. If I were to run today for any office I'm satisfied it wouldn't be run the same as I ran the campaign back in the early to mid-'70s. BOWEN: Okay. Right now I'm gonna change the topic to the governors and the governorship of the state of Kentucky. There've been different interpretations over the years of the Kentucky governorship. Some people think that there was a time period that the governor was so strong that in order to get legislation passed it had to be something that he was either interested in and wanted to get it passed, or totally disinterested in and didn't want to put his hand down and say, or his foot down and say that they, that it wouldn't be passed and that the legislature was more of a puppet of the governor. But after John Y. Brown Jr. they said, well, starting with John Y. Brown Jr. there have been interpretations that he was the beginning of the weakening of the governor of Kentucky in allowing the legislature to become more directive in its own, well, actually directing its own ideas and things like that. And what do you think about that? Do you think that that's a correct interpretation of the governorship? HARDIN: Not necessarily. We had certain freedom with legislation that we'd introduce and anyone knows that if the governor is sitting there, whether it's pro or con on a particular bill, that he has influence, he had the power to (laughs) either kill or let the bill become a law. I've watched it during the Wilkinson administration and right on back to when I was there with Governor Ford. Governor Ford, when a governor sees something very, very popular even though when he comes there and first looks at it he thinks, "I'll do nothing about it." But if it's a popular idea and would be a good piece of legislation to be passed he can be changed. The legislative body can change his idea and attitude toward a particular piece of legislation that can from a bill become a law, or a money aspect of it can be sent back to the people by being approved by the legislature and the governor. I don't know that they would have any more freedom today. I think the press is, has opened the eyes and they've blocked a lot of things that maybe wasn't covered thoroughly when I served and before that but I don't know. Even in this last administration there was a lot of bickering going on, and that's personality conflicts a lot of times, power struggle, different things that would enter the picture. But I think the same procedure today for a bill to be passed is basically the same as it was when I was there. But the press can tell you what they want to. BOWEN: I have one more question about the governor and it's that, it's about the veto power that you were talking about. The governor can veto, but the legislature can override it if it has enough support for the bill. Do you think that the governor should be able to have an absolute veto power? HARDIN: Well, I have no quarrel with that. He can have the veto power of it, and as I've said here, even from the first interview, that if that piece of legislation is popular enough and it is needed for the benefit of the people and the welfare of the people, then they can take it back and get votes to override it. You see it in Washington. Our president has vetoed certain pieces of legislation even on a federal level and most of the time when he vetoes it, when it goes back for another vote, there are ways to prevent it from passing or, and if the people are up in arms enough then they would override his veto. No, I have no quarrel with that. Somebody has to be a watchdog over everything that is passed before it becomes a final law or take effect for whatever purpose it's gonna serve. BOWEN: Okay. Do you think that the-these are just general questions about the legislature and some of the different ideas about the people who served there and the changing of the legislature and the makeup of it. Do you think that the people that you served with are more professional than they were in the past? And by that is meant, did they serve more terms and do they understand more about the process? HARDIN: I think so. I think at the time I went into the legislature and I heard them mention how many people on the floor, at that time now, had degrees, master's degrees and more education than they'd had in the past. And as, after 1975 I've watched, you're getting a lot of people even with more education, higher education than even a master's degree and I haven't checked the credentials of all of them but I would say since 1970 the quality of the legislator has definitely improved. Now, you still have some that remain there that I served with, a few, not a great many but a few, and some of them are very intelligent boys. I know that. But you might have some hanging around that's there for the ride. You had them even at the time I served and you're talking about the governor's veto power and the power of the governor and all, then a lot of them come in there with the intent of they're gonna vote whatever is presented to them as they're more or less told to. But a legislator should be intelligent enough to read the bill, understand the bill, what the ramification of the bill would be, and then make a wise decision and the better educated person you have there, the better type of legislation you should have. BOWEN: Okay. And what do you think about limiting the number of terms that a legislator can serve? Right now there is no limit. A person could serve for ten, twenty years in the same district- HARDIN: Well, we have that (Bowen laughs), we have that. I know I've been told, said, you can stay as long as you wanted to. I stayed as long as I wanted to. I didn't, it's my choice not to run again for reelection. I wasn't defeated or anything, I just, well, I didn't want to run anymore. I'd seen and had enough of it. So I chose to get out. I think, you're talking about limiting the terms, if you're going to limit the terms of a legislator, at least allow that person enough time to learn what the process is all about and where he can be or she can be an effective legislator before this time expired for them no longer to run. And the same thing with the governor. I really have no hang-up with the governor succeeding himself, because they too go in as a freshman; they too go in there as I did as a freshman legislator. There's a certain period of time you're gonna have to spend to learn what it's all about and what's gonna have to be done and then take action to get things done. But when a person gets to a point, to get back to a direct answer to your question, when a person gets to a point that he or she is no longer effective then I think the constituents should do something about removing him. I feel the same way about the Supreme Court. They're there a lifetime. Then maybe some of those offices should be limited, but as to how long, I don't have an answer for that. BOWEN: Okay. There's been talk for several years now about having yearly sessions of the General Assembly. What do you think about that? Do you think it's a good idea? HARDIN: I think it's a good idea because we're in a complex society today. It's no longer horse-and-buggy days, and the structure of the legislature and the leadership and all, they should decide as to how often they should be there for anything that arises year after year. The last clause of the constitution tells you that, providing for the changes, and we are in a changing society. I don't think I'd have any quarrel with that. But it might not be the extended lengthy term that you have on a biennium, but I'd have no quarrel with them meeting and seeing what really and truly needs to be done. Because something could be passed this year that could be bad, it got through somehow but it could be bad and you have to wait two years to do something about it. Somebody is gonna suffer during that time. So, as I say, you could reduce it fifty-fifty time element of it, number of days or whatever you want, or at least come back in and study some of the things that need to be studied or add a new bill that needs to be considered and perhaps passed into law. No, I'd go with that. BOWEN: Okay. Do you remember what your first speech was on the floor? HARDIN: No, I don't (Bowen laughs), and I don't remember what my last speech was (Bowen laughs). But I remember one particular speech, in trying to get the severance tax back to the counties and, that produces the coal, so they can have money to try to balance out their counties with the other counties of the commonwealth. I remember that one, and one thing in particular I said: "If you people would just help us to help ourselves," and that help we needed was the tax money being returned to the counties. Oh, no, there was so many, so many short speeches. I spoke on different things there, but that one in particular I remember because there was a whole lot of confusion on the floor that day. That's when Hoover was removed and we were fighting desperately to get the severance tax back to the counties. That's one bill I had, never did move, but eventually we would get some of it, not in the way I had it written, not in the way Hoover had it written or Glenn Freeman out of Harlan County, but the mountain caucus stand together, managed to have the votes to attach an amendment to the budget, but it'd be removed later that day, that afternoon. We'd win a battle but lose the war. But when Governor Ford returned to the state he saw that that was a popular thing, that the counties needed it and then, of course, with an amendment to one of his pieces of legislation, then it would be approved that we do have it and the Severance Tax Committee established and all and that's what we've been sharing from since. BOWEN: You said that Hoover Dawahare was removed? HARDIN: Yeah. BOWEN: What does that, I'm not- HARDIN: Hoover? He has a book. I think I mentioned that to you off the cuff. Well, he was out of order in this and that, because, as I say, there was a lot of tension there that day because it looked like the budget was gonna be voted through without any mention at all of the severance tax. And that's not the first time, won't be the last time either I don't imagine. But that one in particular I remember. But now, I spoke on education and many other items but that one I do remember. Now, if you want to do something about this go, Hoover is in Lexington. Contact Hoover and ask him to see a copy of the book he wrote, you can get some- BOWEN: Oh, I think I'll do that after- HARDIN: Yeah, okay. BOWEN: (unintelligible). HARDIN: I mean it's not a big book but anyway, it's just a little thin thing talking about that, and he came with that idea-without the mountain caucus we were lost but you give me fifty-one votes on that floor, give me fifty more plus myself then we can do about what we want to, at least in the chamber, the House chamber. BOWEN: Okay. During your tenure do you remember anyone being particularly good speaker or an eloquent speaker? HARDIN: Oh, there were several of them there that I enjoyed hearing and I don't, wouldn't want to overlook any of them for that matter, so I'll just say there were several that I enjoyed hearing. BOWEN: Okay. In 1970 was your first meeting. What did you think of the processes, Harold, W. Harold DeMarcus was the floor leader of your party- HARDIN: Right. BOWEN: and Julian Carroll was Speaker of the House at that time, right? HARDIN: Right, um-hm. BOWEN: What did you think of them as leaders and how they helped operate the legislature at that time? HARDIN: Well, I had great respect for both of them, but you must understand one is a Republican and one is a Democrat and when you go into session you're gonna have speeches aimed at party and individuals, but I had respect for both of them. I can sit down and listen to anybody, and certainly I did those two. But there were times when I would disagree on various issues and various pieces of legislation that I just didn't see it the way they'd see it. So I reserved the right to cast a no vote if I chose to do so, but I had great respect for both of them. BOWEN: Okay. In 1970 you served on three committees, they were Highway and Traffic, Banking and Insurance, and Elections and Constitutional Amendments. HARDIN: Um-hm. BOWEN: Do you remember any particular legislation that came through those committees that was important in the 1970 session, if there was- HARDIN: That's too far back, I'd better not comment. BOWEN: (Laughs), I told, we were talking about the different bills and something like that, I (unintelligible) and I said, I'd asked, the first two or three interviews I did I asked people what specific, you know, pieces of legislation and I decided that wasn't a good idea anymore (laughs). There's just so many- HARDIN: Well, that's, I remember things from each committee I served on and all and some of the laws you see today with banks, some of the things that happened with highways, I could go back and talk a long time but I'd rather not answer that. I could take, if I could, I'll the Fifth on that one. BOWEN: Okay (laughs). But on those committees do you remember any of the people who were on there, who served on either one of the committees? HARDIN: Oh yeah, I remember the people that served on there with me. One of them, a real good friend of mine, Clifford Sharpe from Williamsburg. He served with me on the committees. I was on one, I think, with Donnermeyer, different ones, but even Jim Davis, well, there's no point naming them because they were just housed in the room with me, that's about what it amounted to. And committee placement, I'm sure that committee placement for each legislator is done by the floor leader and the floor leader is being contacted by certain groups that, "we'd like to see so and so on a committee, on this committee." And Gene Goss, the man that ran for lieutenant governor was defeated by Paul Patton, he was highway commissioner at the time and you can just do a little research and talk to him what he did for the commonwealth what time he was there, and through the help of the legislature and certainly through the Transportation Committee there for things to have to start rolling there to get projects going and moneys to be approved and various things. But I served with some pretty good individuals really, some very fine individuals. As I say it began changing then, because when the speaker makes the announcement how many legislators sit in there in the House, not to mention the Senate, but in the House that have a degree-plus then you're getting in a different type of legislature than you'd had in previous years, even though there's no qualification for it, educational qualification. But I think that's happening every year by the people that do go, they're intelligent enough and many of them, even here our legislators are running with degrees and all. So that's the best for the constituents and the best for the commonwealth. BOWEN: Do you think there should be an educational requirement for running for state representative? HARDIN: Well, I don't know that you need to put a requirement to it. Certain offices, I feel, should have a definite educational requirement for, but I feel that now with the voter, the caliber of voter that we have, and the media, and the way the society has changed I think the voter would eliminate, would eliminate the person that is not really qualified for the job. I'd say leave that alone. BOWEN: Okay. What would you say the overriding theme of your legislation was during your service in 1970? HARDIN: That what? Over- BOWEN: What was your overriding theme? What was your major concern during 1970? HARDIN: My major concern in 1970 was the beginning of the coal industry here. I felt that if we could get a good program here for agriculture, horticulture, for this area that's gonna be leveled, that had to be long-term employment for our people here once the coal had been depleted. And it would take a lot of initial work and all, but unfortunately that resolution was passed in Frankfort by both houses, sent on to Washington to the Secretary of Agriculture, and every time you'd talk with him, it has merit but not money. If it had been pushed properly then we possibly could've had housed in here, we could've had farming when this is all over, agriculture, horticulture, and maybe some small industries would come in here and absorb some of the products that would be produced on these larger farms, because there are many, many thousands of acres from these mountains that have been leveled that could've been tillable or usable land if it had been handled properly, and that program would've handled it but it didn't get the funding that we wanted. And then two, trying, the theme was trying to help the people here that were in these branch roads, hollow roads, not secondary roads, worse than that, trying to get improvement for them where they would have access to the other parts of the state as well other states, the upgrading and improvement of the highway system, and, of course, always trying to help education. That's the overall picture, I suppose. BOWEN: Okay. Thanks. [End of Tape #1, Side #1] [Begin of Tape #1, Side #2] BOWEN: This is side two of the second tape or the second, or the first tape of the second interview. Okay. The governor during your term in 1970 was Nunn, right? HARDIN: Right, Governor Nunn. BOWEN: Right. And what did you think about serving under him as the governor. He was a Republican- HARDIN: Right. BOWEN: (laughs) and I think the last Republican governor- HARDIN: Well, we're looking for it- BOWEN: we're looking for it, right (laughs). HARDIN: Right. BOWEN: But what did you think about serving under him? Was it easier to get your legislation passed? HARDIN: Most definitely. Any time you have your party governor there it's gonna make things a little easier for you and I will say this, Governor Nunn was very compatible to the mountain people. Governor Nunn did a lot of things for Eastern Kentucky that hadn't been done prior to, nor since, in a such a large scale as he tried to do, he and the highway commissioners and all at the time. But it was much easier serving for the Republican than serving with the opposite party. BOWEN: Okay. In 1972 the floor leaders were the same but the governor was Wendell Ford. How did that change your service in the legislature? Did it, with serving under Nunn and being a Republican, did he call upon the Republican Party to do things for him in the House, but when you went to serving under Ford did that like limit your activity? HARDIN: My activity then would be limited primarily, and dependant on the floor leader and the minority caucus meetings, and when Governor Nunn was there he would meet with his party members. Now, Governor Ford would meet with his party members and they're the majority party and then somewhere along the way we would receive the messages as to what, how they're gonna vote on particular pieces of legislation. So they catered to their parties. BOWEN: What did you think about Ford as governor? HARDIN: I thought Ford did a good job. I've had a great deal of respect for Governor Ford and Senator Ford through the years, still do have. He was, he wasn't totally alienated from me, or Martin County, or my constituents. He was helpful for us during that time and certainly did a good job for the commonwealth as governor. BOWEN: What do you think your, well what was, not do you think (laughs), what was your overriding theme with the legislation during 1972? HARDIN: Nineteen seventy-two? We're looking more, for more money, because once coal starts being produced it's only a matter of time until it's all depleted. Then we're beginning to hassle the idea of trying to get money back and the way we, the avenue to travel is gonna be with the severance tax; get tax on the coal to be used in coal producing counties. But as it turned out the sales tax would be removed and this severance tax is gonna be used as a general fund, it will carry it and, but we would reap some benefits from it, we've gotten a lot of help from the severance tax. That was a prime concern because with moneys you can do things, without money you can't get much done. And again, always interested in education, striving to try to get better teaching conditions, more money, of course, for them for their efforts, and their work, and encouragement of keeping children in school. BOWEN: Okay. In 1974 the Speaker of the House was Norbert Blume. What did you think of him as the leader? How was his style different from Julian Carroll, say? HARDIN: Well, there are no two people alike. We're unique individuals, and I got along alright. Norb I, it was now, after we'd talked about severance tax it was now that we really had the confrontation with Norb, although no animosity. I know I was asked by a lobbyist, said, "My," he said, "you beat him to death on the floor, argued with him all afternoon and then want him to, you asked a favor." I said, "That's politics." I said, "he doesn't see things exactly the way I see them on every issue and I won't expect him to and certainly I appreciate his thinking that he doesn't expect me to see everything his way." As I say I want to be able to disagree and make up my own mind about various things, but I don't want to be entirely impossible. And Norb was effective and I'd hate to, I don't want to make a statement here because I like Norb Blume, even today, and certainly Julian Carroll. But I'll just say that Norb didn't have the charisma that Julian Carroll had, and I'll stop. BOWEN: Okay, okay. This is just a question of mine: after Norbert Blume was Speaker of the House, William Kenton was Speaker of the House after that. Kenton served during your time there- HARDIN: Right. BOWEN: What did you think about him? HARDIN: Bill was, he was an effective legislator and he came with some positive things, trying to help the people of the commonwealth and also his constituents. And I'd vote with Bill on various occasions because he had, as I say, he was a good legislator, intelligent boy. And, but that doesn't always make you a good speaker, you know what I'm talking about, I hope. Thank you. BOWEN: Yes (laughs). Okay. Of your three terms how would you characterize the legislation that you sponsored? HARDIN: Well, gee whiz child, there were so many bills that I would be on that I'd help write. There would be many of us that would cosponsor it and all, and of all the bills that probably I was on, the higher percentage would've been approved there, I would say. After leaving there I didn't, I know that some of them did. I'd say the key one that helped us and helped our economy and helped us financially was the severance tax that would be returned and also it helps the people of the commonwealth, kind of general fund. And also the struggle we had even with Governor Nunn, the modern (unintelligible) theory, in trying to get pay increase for teachers, part of that, and also the highway building, opening up through here, and you traveling many days, so I'll just stop right there (Bowen laughs). I tried to do my best. BOWEN: Okay. Is there anything that I haven't mentioned, any legislation or anything you were involved in during your service in the legislature that you'd like to bring up before we close the interview? HARDIN: Not really. BOWEN: Okay. And the last question I've got for you is how would you like to be remembered as a legislature, as a legislator (laughs)? HARDIN: As a legislator? How would I like to be remembered? BOWEN: Um-hm. HARDIN: I would want to be remembered as a conscientious legislator, as a dedicated legislator in trying to improve the conditions of the commonwealth and the constituency that I represented. BOWEN: Okay. And I'd like to thank you very much for the interview. HARDIN: Okay. [End of interview] Hardin (House 1970-1974, 97th district; Republican) gives an overview of the legislative process, discusses leadership, women in the General Assembly, religious and racial demographics of his constituency, the effect of increased coal industry on rural roads, and dealing with lobbyists. He describes his philosophy of the role of the legislature, and the inherent difficulties of working within a two-party system. Part 2 of 2. Kentucky Legislature