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2002-08-06 Interview with Gene Huff, August 6, 2002 Leg001:2002OH053 Leg 052 01:31:48 Kentucky Legislature Oral History Project Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries Legislators -- Kentucky -- Interviews. Clergy -- Kentucky -- Biography. Great Depression -- Ohio. Kentucky. Governor (1967-1971 : Nunn) Kentucky. Governor (1971-1974 : Ford) Kentucky. Governor (1974-1979 : Carroll) Kentucky. Governor (1983-1987 : Collins) Kentucky. Governor (1991-1995 : Jones) Carroll, Julian M. (Julian Morton), 1931- Nunn, Louie B., 1924- Ohio. Ford, Wendell H., 1924- Collins, Martha Layne Wilkinson, Wallace G. Jones, Brereton Kentucky. Education Reform Act (1990) Great Depression Taxation--Law and legislation. Committees. Tax incentives Appropriations and Revenue Committee Mountain Caucus ministry income disparity legislative independence role of legislators Toyota Manufacturing (Georgetown, Ky.) lottery bank consolidation BOPTROT ethics legislation Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA) Key Legislation: Humana bill (SB 68) Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA) coal severence tax (1972) lottery bill Term/District: House (1968-1970), 85th district Senate (1972-1994), 21st district Leadership Position(s): Senate Minority Floor Leader, 1984 Counties in District: Laurel County (Ky.), Knox County (Ky.), Jackson County (Ky.), Clay County (Ky.), Leslie County (Ky.) Gene Huff; interviewee Eric Moyen; interviewer 2002OH053_LEG052_Huff 1:|9(7)|19(4)|29(8)|46(3)|60(6)|76(1)|91(11)|105(2)|124(8)|140(9)|158(2)|174(1)|186(8)|199(4)|215(7)|231(7)|245(1)|265(11)|280(7)|289(12)|306(10)|322(7)|334(8)|347(6)|359(3)|371(7)|382(3)|392(9)|404(12)|416(4)|426(11)|439(4)|451(5)|474(3)|492(7)|508(4)|520(5)|533(7)|542(7)|555(9)|568(8)|581(8)|591(12)|615(5)|627(7)|640(15)|652(2)|667(6)|682(6)|696(2)|711(2)|726(1)|737(6)|753(4)|772(7)|785(5)|795(10)|812(6)|824(12)|842(7)|853(13)|864(12)|877(3)|888(10)|901(4)|910(6)|923(3)|936(7)|949(9)|966(6)|985(11)|1000(11)|1012(10)|1023(3)|1034(4)|1049(11)|1062(8)|1078(7)|1094(2)|1103(3)|1116(13)|1130(3)|1142(9)|1155(7)|1167(4)|1179(11)|1190(3)|1208(3)|1234(1)|1246(6)|1258(6) audiotrans Legit interview MOYEN: Alright, I'm here today with Mr. Gene Huff who served in both the House and the Senate in the Kentucky General Assembly. Thank you for meeting with me. Mr. Huff, could you tell me a little bit about your background? HUFF: Well, I was born in Ohio but I came to Kentucky on a very permanent basis in about 1949. I'm a minister, and so I came in church related work, and then became the pastor of a church in London, Kentucky in 1952. And so almost continually, other than one eight year period, I have been in the London, Kentucky area. I'm a graduate of Middletown High School in Middletown, Ohio. And then after coming to London and pastoring the church here, I attended Sue Bennett College, which is a Methodist junior college. And from there transferred to Berea and took a semester's work at Berea, but I finished my bachelor's degree at Barbourville, Kentucky in 1960, and again at Union College, which is also a Methodist college. Then I took a church in the Cincinnati area for a brief period pastoring four years, and then returned to Kentucky in 1963. And I've been in the London, Kentucky area since '63. I was elected to the--I first of all ran for Congress in 1964, which was a bad year for Republicans because that was the Barry Goldwater year and the Johnson landslide, and so I didn't do too well on the congressional race. But three years later in 1967 I ran for the Kentucky House of Representatives and was elected. And then I ran again for the House in 1969, was again elected, and I then ran for the state Senate which complies my county and three other of eastern Kentucky counties. And I was elected to the Kentucky state Senate in 1971, and I stayed in the Senate until June of 1994. I served four years in the House and twenty-two and a half years in the Kentucky Senate, and then I resigned my Senate seat two and a half years early or I would've had a full twenty-nine years in the Kentucky legislature. But I did that interlinked with pastoring in this area. I pastored the church here for twenty-nine years simultaneously. So that's a little bit of the background. We were interested in politics; our family was politically inclined. My great grandfather was county judge of Owsley County, well, well before I was born MOYEN: Owsley County, Kentucky? HUFF: Owsley County, Kentucky. MOYEN: Do you remembered his name? HUFF: Yes, his name was Will Gabbard. And then later my grandfather, who was Will Huff, was elected circuit clerk in Owsley County. Simultaneously almost, his brother who lived in Leslie County was elected to county judge of Leslie County, and then later to state representative from Leslie County. And then, of course, so we have a little background politically and then we were always interested in politics, the whole family, although all of them didn't get involved as those individuals did. But then we got involved in a direct way from '64 on. And as I said in '67 we were elected to the legislature and then stayed for twenty-six and a half years. MOYEN: Were your great grandfather and grandfather also Republicans? HUFF: All of them Republicans. The interesting thing about the area where we live here, this is Republican area. This area even during the Civil War fought with the Union. It was a non-slave area. It was strong Republican, strong federal government, and then when the Civil War broke, out there were virtually no slaves in Laurel County, and so when the Civil War broke out Laurel and some several of these counties fought with the Union, Leslie County, Owsley, those eastern Kentucky. Now some of your more extreme eastern Kentucky counties fought with the Confederacy. So it, in some cases there were family members fighting on each side in the Civil War. MOYEN: Can you trace your family roots back to either side or how far back can you-- HUFF: We could go back, we have a pretty accurate genealogy to 1809 where our family came in here and settled. They came from North Carolina and Virginia, and settled in Leslie County. And from there they ferreted out to Owsley and to Laurel and Clay and some of the adjoining counties, but they originally, I think all of our folks, particularly in the counties I mentioned, were as I said strong Union counties. And as a result they were strong Republican counties. MOYEN: Okay. So, you family migrated here from Virginia and North Carolina. How did your parents, I assume, end up in Ohio? HUFF: Well, as the story is true of eastern Kentucky there was no industry here, no jobs. So most of the people, the younger people, when they became of age, since there was no work here except in coalmines or timber or limited agriculture, they all went north for jobs. And that was true of my dad and, of course, my mother too. They went there for employment, and they went to Ohio in about 1927 and I was born in 1929 in Ohio. MOYEN: Okay. Where in Ohio were you born? HUFF: I was born at Franklin, Ohio. That's in Warren County, but I was raised at Middletown, Ohio, in the southwestern section of Ohio. MOYEN: Okay. What did your parents do in Ohio, what types of occupation? HUFF: Just general labor. My dad got a job in a paper mill. My mom got a job. They both had to work, those were Depression days. She got a job what they call the rag factory. I guess it was just where they processed cloth material some way or another, but they called it a rag factory. And then they worked, in fact both parents, both of my parents worked until my teen years because of the Depression. I was a Depression child. I was born on the 6th of October and the banks crashed on the 19th, and from then until the later '30s it almost demanded two people working if they could find jobs during that Depression period. MOYEN: Do you have any, you would've been very young, but do you have any memories of Depression days? HUFF: I can remember when the people like in that area, now down here it's no problem. If you lived on a farm or somewhere where you could raise your own crops there was no problems, but in the cities where we lived up there the federal government provided what they called relief. It was actually a commodity type of thing, they call it commodities now, but where you could go to federal agencies and they would supply certain canned vegetables and canned meats and that type thing. And so I can remember those lines in the Depression days, and I can't remember anything about soup lines or anything like that, but I can remember the government handouts for poor people. MOYEN: When you lived in Ohio did you make any trips back home to see ----------(??)? HUFF: Oh yeah. You never leave your roots totally. Once a Kentuckian always a Kentuckian. So, we were finally able to get a car periodically, and then even before a car we would travel on the bus or the train. But we would come back periodically to Kentucky to see the folks and everybody didn't out-migrate, a lot of them were still here. My dad and my mother both had brothers and sisters that were still down here so periodically I would say, it wasn't an annual thing or anything like that, but every year, two or three years or something we'd come back down here to see the folks. MOYEN: What did you think of that? HUFF: Well, it's quite a bit different because being raised up there where you had electric lights and you had basically the more conveniences than you would, it was a little rustic compared to that. But it was always an enjoyable experience because they canned their own food and they had their fresh meat and salted meat as well, cured meat, and they kept a good place to live, and they had their gardens. So it was always a delight to visit. MOYEN: When you say it's rustic what types of things were-- HUFF: We had swinging bridges across the river, no screen doors, no screens in the windows, most of the houses no electricity, no running water. You got your water from a spring. You kept your food cold by keeping it in the spring. The roads were dirt roads. The, you traveled either by bus, or if you were fortunate enough to have a car you traveled by car, but most of them still were traveling by horses and mules down in here and the cars were just coming in. MOYEN: Was there any particular place in particular that you would return to, a county or a town? HUFF: Yeah, we generally come back to Leslie County, that was my dad's home county, and we'd come to Hyden and I was there as a child on courthouse days where they'd drive their wagons in or ride horseback when the first day of court, when court was going on. And people would come there and trade their wares and their goods and food stuffs, and people would get together for fellowship and that type of thing. So we'd always come back to Hyden. MOYEN: Okay. Tell me a little bit about your schooling experience in Ohio. HUFF: In Ohio we were a little farther along in terms of the adequacy of schools. I never did attend a one room school but I have attended a two room school. Just outside of Middletown we had a school building that went through the eight grades. The first four grades was in one room, one to four, and from five through eight was in the second room. And, but it was a good, I thought, a good adequate education. We had schoolbooks furnished to us. We had good teachers. We had materials. There was a moral influence I think wielded then that's sadly lacking now. There was an activity and a camaraderie among the students. They were small enough that everyone knew everybody else and then the principal of the school you knew them, he was, he or she was a part of the leadership to where you knew them on a first name, although you wouldn't use their first name, you knew them on a very close mutual basis. But they were good schools, and I attended Ohio schools from the time that I entered in the first grade until I graduated from high school at a later time. MOYEN: Are there any particular teachers that stick out in your mind as being, or as making an impact on you? HUFF: Almost every teacher made an impact. I can remember the first names of merely all the teachers and that's been, well, that would be sixty-five years, more than sixty-five years ago. My first-grade teacher was a woman by the name of Lockemeyer, and Mrs. Lockemeyer made such an impression on her interests and her concerns that I remember. My second-grade teacher was a woman by the name of Carter, I remember her so well. The third-grade teacher was Mrs. Gephardt; fourth-grade teacher, Mrs. Adams; fifth-grade teacher, Mrs. Turner; and right on and on. And each one of them, it seemed in those days that each teacher was of a quality character and had substance and value to their teaching ability. They made good impressions. I think I enjoyed school and that was true all the way through the junior high, we had, we went of a six-three-three system to where the first six years were elementary and then three years of junior high school and three years of high school. And almost without exception I can't remember in all of those years maybe having one or two what I would term inadequate teachers. And even then I think they knew their material, probably they fell short in their ability to present it, but they were good teachers. And I think it had a good effect on me because when I went on to college I didn't have the difficulty that a lot of students had because I think of the background that I had in my early training in school. MOYEN: So, what about your high school experience? How did that differ from grade school? HUFF: Well, there's always a transition from going from the ninth grade, we changed buildings. We went three years in our junior high school setting and in the last year they had one high school at Middletown Ohio, and I went there from ten, eleven, and twelve. I was more neglectful at the high school level because I wasn't a Christian at the time, and I don't know I just began sort of to slough off in my studies and my work. So the tenth and eleventh grade weren't too marked, but I became a Christian in about halfway through the eleventh grade, and then there was a transition in my interest in school and I started it really picking up. But high school, I profited from it and not as much as I could have, but I still think that it made a good impression and it prepared me for what I was going to study later on. MOYEN: You mentioned becoming a Christian. Could you give me an account of that experience, how it-- HUFF: Well, as far as Christian experience, none of our folks had ever been Christians, and my mom had a transforming, really an extraordinary experience. She became a Christian and received the Lord Jesus Christ and when she did it made an indelible impression upon myself and my dad, and shortly afterwards he became a Christian. And I guess six or eight months later I became a Christian. But it was a transforming thing. We quit living the way we used to. I mean our speech changed, our attitudes changed, our appreciations changed, where we went, the way we talked. It was so transforming that it really transformed the entire family. MOYEN: Okay. So, what made you decide to go back to Kentucky or return to Kentucky for school? HUFF: Well, after I became a Christian I entered the ministry in 19----I preached first in 1948 and so I felt a call to ministry. So in 1949 I went into active ministry and became an evangelist and so for the next three years I evangelized in the Midwest, Kentucky, in Ohio, in Indiana and around. Then in '52 I became a pastor of a church, and it was then that I went back to college. But I started in the ministry in those early years and I continued that even up until today. I'm still an active minister now. MOYEN: Okay. The church that you took in the '50s, so in 1952 I believe you mentioned you took a church, where was that church? HUFF: Here at London. MOYEN: Okay. HUFF: It was First Pentecostal Church here in London. MOYEN: Okay. HUFF: And I pastored it for three years and then after three years I mentioned an eight-year span. I left the church and I went back into evangelistic work and pastoring little country churches and that for the next eight years. And then I returned to the same church in 1963 and then I stayed there til 1989. MOYEN: Okay. So, how did your schooling at the higher ed. level take place? HUFF: Okay. After I came here I saw an opportunity to go back to school. So I enrolled at Sue Bennett College and finished two years, it's a junior college and, which was a godsend because I probably would never gotten to go had it not been a provision like that. And then after I finished those two years I went to Berea for a semester, and I never finished my bachelor's. I stayed out another four years out of higher, or out of my college level, until I came back to Kentucky again in '58 and entered, over at Union. And I finished my bachelor's degree over there. Then, of course, when I was pastoring the church here I did two other little stints. I went to Morehead State University one year and got a master's in English, and then I went back another year and got a master's degree in, well, an education specialist degree and did the groundwork for a doctorate in education. So I transferred from Morehead and did all of the basics for my doctorate at the University of Kentucky. I finished all the coursework and I did my interview as far as my advisory council, both oral and written, and passed both of those, but I never did get the dissertation written. And so as a result my time ran out, and I never did finish the doctorate. But I had prepared up to that time. MOYEN: In what years were you at UK? HUFF: I was at UK from '77 through '79. MOYEN: Do you remember any of the members of the council or committee? HUFF: Dr. Ogletree was one from the Department of Education. Dr. Moore, it was a joint program from Morehead, so Dr. Moore from Morehead, and Dr. Ogletree from UK, and Dr. Yanerella, who's from the Department of Political Science at UK. Those two were on it, and then there were two more but I can't remember their names offhand. MOYEN: So, in all of your schooling was there anyone that stands out in your mind as having influenced you, either your political philosophy or your basic worldview or your outlook or was that something that was-- HUFF: That was more or less developed beyond the exposure to higher education. That came as a result, I guess, of exposure denominationally, and then to the people you ministered to, and then just sort of opening up your mind to a worldview that fits your theology and your philosophy of life. MOYEN: When you were doing evangelism was that supported in any way through a church or a church denomination? HUFF: No. Evangelism in the times that I was exposed was the responsibility of the individual church where you ministered. Lots of times they'd take offerings and they'd provide a place for you to stay if you were there a week or two weeks or however long you were there. And no, it was never denominationally backed. MOYEN: Okay. Throughout the Great Depression and through World War II while FDR was in office, did your family maintain their Republican Party affiliation as the Democratic Party obviously had kind of a rise in popularity during that time? HUFF: No, they remained--in fact of the matter, I can remember as a boy the political races. When Roosevelt was elected we all stayed staunch Republicans. I remember, I guess I remember the first races that were run, and I hope I get it in correct sequence, but Alfred Landon ran for Republican against Roosevelt; he was defeated. Wendell Willkie ran against Roosevelt, but all my folks supported Landon and Willkie. And, of course, when Hoover ran was utterly defeated by Roosevelt the first time, they were Hoover supporters. So they never did separate themselves from the Republican Party. MOYEN: So, how did you end up getting involved in politics? Could you tell me a little bit more about that first, or the reasons for running, or what ways were you involved in politics before-- HUFF: My interest initially was nationally. We were in a time, if you remember, in the sixties everything was in a state of confusion. It was the hippie generation. We were on the threshold of the Vietnam problem. It just seemed like there was a liberality that was beginning to prevail. So I threw my head in the ring for Congress. I wanted to go to Congress, but there were fifteen candidates and I came in second. And I thought, well, when I came in second maybe if I try it again I might be better. So that was '64, I ran again in 1966 against an incumbent congressman by the name of Tim Lee Carter who had this district at the time, and he defeated me again. Well, in '67 the state races came up and I had been pretty well, and had a pretty good groundswell of support. So the local politicians volunteered and said if I would run for the state legislature that I would get united support from the entire party. So I ran for the state legislature and then I ran and was successful and I was never defeated again. MOYEN: Okay. So when you moved into your position in Frankfort were there any things that really surprised you about the way that the government was working or the way the General Assembly worked, or was there anything that you can think of that was exactly the way you envisioned it, this is the way it was supposed to work? HUFF: Well, I think one of the most, I won't say shocking but surprise, is when you first go to the legislature there is a period of orientation, and unfortunately when I first went to the legislature it had been Democratically controlled since time immemorial. There hadn't been a Republican governor for twenty years, and that year there was a governor elected, Republican governor. So I went in with a Republican governor, but unfortunately the state was in shambles as far as its finance and its revenue, and the Republican governor saw fit to initiate an additional sales tax. And when he did, we had run on the platform of no additional taxation. So I wound up the only member of the House, Republican, the only Republican member of the House to vote against the sales tax increase. Well, needless to say it passed, and we went from a three-cent sales tax to a nickel sales tax. Well, it pretty well obliterated the Republican Party. When we were there, when I first went to the legislature, we had forty-three Republicans in the legislature. When we went back I think we had twenty-three. Twenty of them lost their seats over voting for that sales tax. And when I went, there were fifteen members of the Senate and I think the Senate ratio dropped down to about ten or twelve, and so it was devastating for the party. Well, I ran again in'69 and then, but I was popular, I had a lot of politicians against me for not supporting the sales tax, but I had a lot of people for me. So I was voted in again. But I guess the shocking thing was that first experience as far as the sales tax issue and the second thing was to see the tremendous power that was wielded by lobbying elements. The AFL-CIO was really strong in Frankfort, the KEA, Kentucky Education Association, and they wielded such influential powers that it was a little bit scary, because they could get whatever they wanted. And so those things were things that I had to orient to in going to the legislature and make up my mind and make decisions regardless of what the lobbying elements said or what the political powers said. MOYEN: In 1968 when Louie Nunn was governor and you arrived in Frankfort, I believe that the LRC had instituted some new reforms for the General Assembly. Do you recall what any of those reforms were? HUFF: Well, some of which was particularly this, they had a strong character in the fellow who was elected as Speaker of the House in '68, was a fellow by the name of Julian Carroll; he later became governor. Carroll was a strong legislator and then he had a strong backing from a predominantly Democratic House. Wendell Ford was the lieutenant governor and he had the same sort of situation there. When I went to Frankfort, our meeting rooms were about, oh I'm guessing, twenty by twelve, and whole committees would have to meet in those rooms. We had virtually nowhere to meet. The governor pretty well controlled everything. The committees, both Democrat and Republicans would go in there, but your committee chairman had control of just about the entire direction of the committee. The governor would write notes up and tell them what he wanted, and then the committee would pretty well go along with it. And so Carroll began a system of change to where the committee system changed. It was enlarged to the point to where there were subcommittees and committees on every area of major interest: Appropriations and Revenue, Education, State Government, Judiciary, all of those. And so we began the breakup into smaller committees, but more widespread, and then we began to develop areas where the legislature would have room to meet. And then we began to break some of the power that the governor had, writing notes up and telling us what he wanted that began to sort of fray away. And I think Carroll even saw that because he began to voice himself as well as many of the others of us that the legislature was a separate part of the government, the legislative branch, and that we should have voices of our own. We were going to attempt to take it back to the people's branch, and I think over a period of years we did. MOYEN: You already mentioned the sales tax increase. Were there any--I guess what I'm trying to get at is how did Governor Nunn managed to convince so many other legislators to vote for that, do you believe? HUFF: Well, he had forty-three Republicans, finally he got forty-one of them to support it. The only two that didn't, I voted against it and Will K. Peace from Whitley County, he abstained. But then any smart governor goes out to the other side. So Governor Nunn went to the Democratic side and started making promises. The governor has an awful lot of patronage to hand out: roads, schools, technical colleges, different plums that he can give and so he made a substantial number of promises to Democrats, both in the mountains--they needed a dam, they needed a new reservoir, they needed something else in their period of time. And so, took these as promises, and so the governor picked up fifteen Democrats so he took his forty-one Republicans and his fifteen Democrats and voted the sales tax in with a vote of fifty-six for it. MOYEN: Okay. Did you, what type of repercussions did you suffer in terms of party or with the governor because of your vote? HUFF: Well, it goes without saying when I did not support that issue when I was up for reelection again, the governor and some of the political leaders saw fit to run an individual against me here. He was the local county chairman, and so they felt like that they could get better response from-- [pause in tape]. MOYEN: Go ahead. HUFF: But as a result we did quite well, we defeated the candidate and we were elected to a second term in the House and went back and did what we could, assumed our responsibilities. And then the next year was in 1970, the reapportion that came about and the Senate district in this area was reapportioned. And so I ran for the state Senate, and I was elected to the Senate then and I had four counties at that time. MOYEN: Okay. Do you recall the gentleman's name who ran against you? HUFF: For the Senate? MOYEN: Well I was thinking for the-- HUFF: For representative the second-- MOYEN: Yeah. HUFF: Yeah, his name was Dean Ramsey. He was the Laurel County Republican chairman at that time. MOYEN: Okay, and for your Senate race do you remember who your opponent was? HUFF: Yeah, in fact there were four counties. The incumbent that I ran against was a state senator, Jim Brock from Harlan County, and then he ran. And then there was an ex-senator from Leslie County by the name of Clay Gay that ran. Then there were two candidates from Clay County. One was a Dr. J. C. Coldiron; he had formerly been in the Senate from another section in eastern Kentucky. And then there was another schoolteacher over there by the name of Joe Gregory. So there were five of us in that Senate primary. But I really had a little advantage in that I had the largest Republican county of the four counties, and Clay County was split up and then there was a candidate from the other two counties. So I got a substantial vote here. Fact of the matter, if I'd have gotten eighty-one more votes here in the county I wouldn't have needed another vote in any of the counties. I could've won with just the one county. MOYEN: Now, you mentioned the Republican primary and you had also mentioned that this is a Republican area. Does London or Leslie County or this region functions much like the rest of the state of Kentucky does for the Democratic Party in that the primary really does decide the race? Is that-- HUFF: That's right, almost without exception. If you get the nomination as a Republican, even if there is a Democrat running, it's just tantamount to election, because there's not enough Democrats in the district to overcome you. And so as a result quite often I think out of the six times that I was elected to the Senate there was probably either two or three times that I had no Democratic opposition. MOYEN: Okay, alright. Could you explain just a little bit about Governor Nunn and his leadership style and his administration and any other important legislation that you can think of besides the sales tax? HUFF: Yes, Governor Nunn was a good governor in so many ways. For instance, the Daniel Boone Parkway that comes through here was initiated by Governor Nunn. The Interstate, I-75, the connector through here was initiated under Governor Nunn. I cannot think of how many things--I think the hospital at Somerset, Kentucky, Oakwood, was initiated under Governor Nunn. So it was just so many, so many things. But the problem that Governor Nunn had, and it's unfortunate that he had it, is that the preceding administration under Ned Breathitt there were no funds. And so when Nunn went in he had all the opportunity but no money, and so he had to come up with some revenue, and that looked like it was the only way that he could raise the revenue was through a sales tax increase. MOYEN: Are there any examples that you can think of where you did see fit for a tax increase or some way to raise revenues in your legislative career? HUFF: Yeah. I supported some tax change. For instance, when the sales tax was put in they taxed everything. They taxed food, clothing, medical supplies, pharmacies, all of that was taxed. Well, then after the tax was put in later on we got the opportunity to put on a severance tax on coal. Well, part of the provision for the severance tax was if we put the severance tax on coal, which we produce a lot of coal in my district, that we would take the sales tax off of food and we would take the sales tax off of pharmaceuticals. And so I supported the tax on coal in order to take those other taxes off. So it was sort of a no-lose or win-win situation, but I did support the tax in that case. And on other occasions we supported some taxation on mine minerals and things that we felt like would be important. We allowed the taxation on utilities as far as the support of public schools was concerned, but we tried to use judgment and not make it too hard on people and make it a tax burden state. MOYEN: Sure. Now, when you were being pressured probably by the Republican Party or being encouraged to vote for the sales tax were there any other alternatives that you saw to dealing with the budget crisis that the commonwealth was facing? HUFF: Well, unfortunately Kentucky they can--they have a budget on a two-year basis, they were without funds and some areas of state government must absolutely be funded. The only alternative that I would have seen would to have been carried over a deficit in certain areas where maybe teachers raises and maybe raises for state employees or for the legislature, some of the frills and some of that type of thing, I think I would've been a little probably more discreet and close on those things, maybe cut back on highways and roads for a while until the funds were available, rather than a tax increase. MOYEN: So, do you believe that the legislative reforms that were taking place in the late '60s were instituted because the legislature was finally having to deal with a Republican governor? HUFF: I think that was part of it and then I think that the legislature just as a whole, whether it was a Democrat or a Republican, because all of the succeeding governors after Governor Nunn have been Democrats. With each legislature, particularly for the next three or four gubernatorial terms, there was more legislative independence. So I sort of see it, not only just maybe initiated under a Republican governor, but the legislators started maturing. They saw a need for exerting their responsibility as the legislative branch and it sort of, they came into their own. MOYEN: Um-hm. How did the climate in the General Assembly change when there was a transition from Governor Nunn to Governor Ford? HUFF: I think once again, well, see, Governor Ford had a distinct advantage in the sense that when he was elected to being governor he had a Democratic House and he had a Democratic Senate. So you're already a step forward when you've got both branches of the General Assembly of your own party, and so it sort of is a step backwards in one sense of the word. It may have slowed down the legislative independence at that particular time because of the outgoing of a Republican governor and the new life of Ford's administration, but Ford was a pretty good governor. Ford had a pretty broad plan, so broad that I think that the legislature and many Republicans supported a lot of the ideas. He did some revolutionary things in terms of changing some of the positions cabinet wise and in state government, and then he, some of the vocational schools, I'm thinking of technical education and that, he put a full-court press on some of those ideas. And then he had the money. Nunn had passed the sales tax, Ford gained the benefit of the revenue that was coming in. And then during the Ford- Carroll administration then they passed the severance tax, and so they had money running out their ears. So it was a good time financially for the state of Kentucky. [End of Tape #1, Side #1] [Begin of Tape #1, Side #2] MOYEN: Now, what year were you elected to the Senate? HUFF: Nineteen seventy-one. MOYEN: Okay. So, could you explain some of the differences between the House and the Senate from a practical standpoint? What type of-- HUFF: Well numerical, for example. You got a hundred members in the House and thirty-eight in the Senate. So even the noise factor, the jetting around, the activity, the movement, all of that changes. Your committee system, when you're meeting in separate committees, House and Senate, you may have eight or nine members on a Senate committee, where in the House you may have twenty-two to twenty-three, or seventeen or whatever the number would be. And so the very size itself is different. You vote differently. You use a voting machine in the House; in the Senate you voice vote. Everything slows down; your activity slows down; the time when you meet slows down; the floor activity slows down. It's just a--you have more opportunity to read your bills, to take advantage of things, the pace is slower. You don't have to worry about running as often. You run every two years in the House; you only have to run every four years in the Senate. So, the general stress and pressure of the legislative session and even out of session changes, and then you get better consideration. You don't introduce as many bills. With a hundred people introducing some bills, each person, you're deluged with legislation and with resolutions and with different activity along that line. The Senate, it's slower, not so many bills introduced, not so much activity. It's easier on you. MOYEN: Okay. During your time in the Senate, or when you first move into the Senate, how did you choose or how were you appointed to the committees that you were appointed to? HUFF: When I was in nearly all, well, all the time that I was in the Senate was under Democratic control, both Senate and House. Your committee assignments come as a result of your LRC, which is made up of joint membership of Republicans and Democrats, but it is by and large Democratically controlled. You have your leadership of your Republican, and they get some input as far as committee selection, but there's a power play there even. Because when you select either your Democratic or Republican leaders, they're selected by the members of the caucus of each party, and so if you've been fortunate enough to support the leadership in your caucus on the Republican side, they recommend you for a committee chairmanship. If, on the other hand, you didn't support them you may not get a recommendation. But still a strong political plot, power to be played. Then on the Democratic side they can tell you how many members on each committee so they could control the committees. It's been known that with so few, I've been there when there was as little as seven or eight members of the Republican caucus, there might only be two or three members in a committee. So maybe you have three Republicans to nine Democrats, where you have very little opportunity to do anything. And that's particularly true of positions. But the many assignments are generally recommendations from the Republican caucus, the Democrats quite often will go along if they choose to, if they don't they won't. But you get your committee assignments from the Republican caucus, and then it has to be affirmed or confirmed by your Democratic leadership. MOYEN: And what committees were you assigned to when you went-- HUFF: I served on nearly all the standing committees. I was on Appropriations and Revenue for fourteen years. I served in the House and in the Senate on Education, and Judiciary, and State Government, and Business and Organizations and Professions. I served on nearly every standing committee. There is about fourteen standing committees. I've served on about every one of them. MOYEN: Is there any one in particular that you felt particularly fond of or that you really enjoyed doing that work? HUFF: The two key committees in my judgment are Appropriations and Revenue and State Government. Now, if you're personally interested in Education matters, Education is of importance; if you're an attorney Judiciary is of importance. But for a person like me, the average lay person, the ability to know where the state's moneys are coming from and where they're gonna be spent is Appropriations and Revenue, and then State Government that controls all the agencies of government. Those are the most important, and I served on both those. MOYEN: Now, when Julian Carroll takes office first when Wendell Ford accepts the Senate seat, and then when he was elected in his own right, how would you describe the shift in the governor's role in the legislative process and how the legislature dealt with this new-- HUFF: Well, my personal opinion is when Carroll finished the unexpired term for Ford, and then later was elected to his own term as governor, he had felt strongly about an independence for the legislature. He had people that had been his supporters back both in the House and in the Senate that felt the same way. So you begin to see a stronger transition towards an independent legislature. Carroll was much more allowing. He had his agenda, he knew how to get his agenda passed and he did get his agenda passed, but he did it in such a way as you could see a more independent spirit prevailing both in the House and the Senate. And I think that's where the journey really began to independence. MOYEN: Okay. A lot of people seem to attribute that to John Y. Brown in his term that he began serving, but you think that you could see that happening during Carroll's term? HUFF: I think what happened under John Y. Brown is that he came in with the theory of running the government like a business, which he did, and personally I think he did a good job. I think he was conscientious about what he was doing, but let's face it, he had very little influence in terms as far as the legislature was concerned. The carryover from Carroll was now you had a governor who was a good businessman, but who virtually knew nothing about the legislative process and so the legislature began to take territory now rather than have it given to them. Because I can remember in his particular, it seemed like we had seven overrides of vetoes, that he had vetoed bills as governor. And so it was a, I think it could be said that the legislature came into its own, but they sort of did it by riding roughshod over the governor. MOYEN: Can you think of any ways in particular that, you mentioned the differences between the legislature serving versus the governor giving or allowing, where Governor Carroll allowed the legislature to do some things on their own? HUFF: I think that he was a pretty strong governor, Carroll, but I think he really deeply felt that there ought to be some legislative independence. The reason I'm taking the position I am, when Joe Prather became president pro tem in the Senate, you could see the Carroll influence there, and you could also see it in the House by some of the people that had taken the leadership. And Carroll kept a strong, still a strong influence, but you could see the fruits of independence beginning to develop. And then with John Y. Brown running the government the way that he did he gave them nearly totally liberty. And it cost him, and so the, I think the legislature in a sense took a little advantage of Governor Brown, because he was good enough to allow them leeway. And then he tried through some veto processes and what have you, and the legislature began to feel that they were a strong entity in themselves. And, of course, they were and they took advantage of Governor Brown. MOYEN: Can you think of any specific example in terms of legislation where that may have happened? HUFF: I can't remember offhand. I know one of the vetoes dealt with the retirement bill for the legislature, but I can't remember some of the others. He vetoed it seemed like six or seven bills in the last night of the veto session, not of the session but of the legislature, and then in those ten days I think the legislature came back and overrode every one of his vetoes. MOYEN: Okay. So as John Y. Brown takes office and looking at where you have been in the General Assembly, you're going from being a freshman or a young legislator to starting to become more and more of a senior member, someone who's been around, how does that change your role in Frankfort? HUFF: Well, during that period, I guess it was during the Brown session I became, first of all I became caucus chairman in our Republican Party in the Senate, and then when Jim Bunning left and was elected for Congress I became the Republican floor leader in the Senate. And so-- MOYEN: In what year was that? Do you remember? HUFF: I was floor leader and caucus chairman in '82 and '83. Now, wasn't that the Brown administration? MOYEN: Yes. HUFF: And so we had a position of leadership. You don't oppose just simply for the idea to opposing, but we had to search for alternatives and take positions to show that there were alternatives to the way the governor was taking the state and things that were going on. And so I saw some change in my own outlook, and had seen it even before then because the Republican caucus was so small that we all had to stick together and pretty well take the same position in order to get anything. MOYEN: Um-hm, okay. As there is the next shift from Governor Brown to Martha Layne Collins, does the legislative independence remain the same or did it continue to grow or how did you do that? HUFF: I think during the Collins administration there was not as much independence in that particular period as there was under John Y. Brown. Martha Layne Collins was produced in my judgment by some of the old politicians: "Dee" Huddleston, Wendell Ford, people who had sort of helped her transcend from clerk to the court of appeals all the way up to the fact that she finally became governor. And as a result she wielded a strong influence over the legislature, but the Collins administration was, I think, a pretty good administration. She was fair; she was conscientious; she's an honest person. The Toyota situation came into being under Martha Layne Collins. A lot of activity in terms of product growth in the state, and she had to sort of wield a strong control in order to get some of the things done. And she knew how to do it through her, in her own ability and then the fact that, as I said, she was produced by some older, astute politicians and they helped her get her program through. And so, but I don't think there, we had near the independence during that period that we had prior to that. MOYEN: One of the landmark pieces of legislation during her term was when the legislature passes this unbelievable incentives package for Toyota. Do you remember how you voted on that? HUFF: I voted against it. MOYEN: Okay. Why was that? HUFF: Well, I felt like the procedure that was used, it showed a preference for an entity there that we hadn't shown to our own development, John Q. Public locally. We had never taken that kind of an approach. Had we taken it with small business before that, I think we would've been even farther along than what we were under the Toyota program. Then, it was pretty sizable. I mean we knocked off the tax, we gave tax incentives, we gave, state finance, we went a long way. And I guess frankly there was still the carryover of a little suspicion in terms of a foreign country coming in and being granted such special privileges as opposed to not even doing it for our own people, see. That was one of the factors in my--I was on A&R then, incidentally. MOYEN: You have mentioned before that you served in a role of leadership. Did you do that for a single term or how long were you-- HUFF: Only for a two-year period. I was caucus chairman one year and floor leader, and see those positions are only for two years. And then there was a leadership change in '84, in the '84 session, and I wasn't reelected as a leader in the '84 session. MOYEN: Do you remember who came to power and who-- HUFF: Yes. Who was elected that year? Was a fellow by the name of Joe Lane Travis from down at Glasgow. Reason for that: we had ten members in the Senate at that time in our caucus and there was tie for the leadership. I had five votes, Joe Lane had five votes. We had fourteen ballots, and I finally made up my mind that in order to have peace in the caucus I would withdraw. And so I withdrew and acquiesced to Joe Lane and he was elected floor leader. And I probably did the right thing. Had I, I probably would think twice before I did it again, but I did it that time. MOYEN: Why is that? HUFF: Well, the reason for that is because from that point, during that particular leadership period there was a lot of friction. Instead of solving the problem in the caucus, I think it sort of generated some problems in the caucus. But later, a few years later, I think Joe Lane served two years and then he was replaced by John Rogers over from Pulaski County, but it was not a harmonious two year period. MOYEN: Okay. During that time is there any specific legislation that you are supporting or that you were particularly proud of supporting that may have been difficult or may have not been politically expedient or-- HUFF: Well, our caucus was so small at that time that we were put in the position, in fact, most of the time that I served was, we were in such a minority situation that all you could do was lend support. And we attempted in any, any legislation that came before us to lend the right amount of support, if possible, and then to oppose it if possible. Most of the legislation about which I was effective was more or less local situations: an increase in jurors' pay, a change in the apportion, small things, incidental things that we worked on because we never had the opportunity to, or the muscle to ever get major legislation through. MOYEN: You mentioned some friction within the caucus and, of course, the Democratic Party in Kentucky is known for, it's historically known for its factionalism, were there factions within the Republican Party that you saw developing during these times? HUFF: Well, not so much that as splitting in the caucus generally it was on the basis of leadership. By and large the Republican caucus, as much as I know, has always stayed pretty well united: anti-abortion, anti- taxes, local control, curbing of union activities, that type of thing. So there was never much problem in the philosophy. It was mostly in who the leaders were going to be and the direction the leaders were going to take and committee assignments and that type of thing. MOYEN: Okay, alright. During this time, are you facing any reelection challenges during the '80s? HUFF: In '88 I had a strong challenge. It's the only strong, really strong I ever had. The fellow who's the current senator, Albert Robinson, was in the House, and he decided he wanted to run for the Senate. So in '88 he ran for the Senate and opposed me. We were the two in the primary and I defeated him in the primary. That was in '88. I ran again in '92 with no opposition, and then in '94 I resigned the Senate seat. So that's the only major time other than in '69 under the tax question that I was really strongly opposed. One other opposition I had in the '70s, maybe during the Carroll administration, I had a strong contender from Clay County, an attorney by the name of Scott Madden, I think that may have been '7--, may have been either '75 or '79, but those were the only major contests that I had while I was in. MOYEN: The election in the '80s, I believe I read somewhere where that may have been a miscommunication about whether you were going to vacate your Senate seat or your challenger thought that you were gonna do that. Do you recall? HUFF: Yeah, he made a point of that. In fact, that was the basis, issue basis, for his race. What had happened, and you could construe it that way I'm sure, honestly, when the election came up in '84 I had won-- well, I had had a sizable donation--as a matter of fact, I guess it was in the '80 election, one of the prior elections. At any rate, I had raised some campaign funds, and in these funds I just, you can carry them over in your election campaign funds. And so I donated them to the Republican Party. Well, there was somewhere in the neighborhood, I think, of maybe $12,000 or whatever it was, but maybe not quite that much, whatever the amount was. I donated them to the Republican Party. Well, that was construed as meaning that I wasn't gonna run and use those funds anymore. So when the '88 election came around that idea developed to the point to where this representative got the idea that since I had done that and used that as evidence that I had not planned to run again and that's the reason he was running. But it was never anything more factual or solid than that. MOYEN: Okay. Now, this occurred during Wallace Wilkinson's term as governor. What, in what way did he influence legislation and was his personality different from other governors? HUFF: You have another businessman in the person of Wallace Wilkinson. I like Governor Wilkinson. He was a guy that, he was a country boy. He thought it nothing to come and mix with the legislators and talk to them one-to-one, that type of thing. The big thing that I objected in the Wilkinson time was the fact that he was elected on the basis of the lottery and, of course, he brought the lottery in, and I was vehemently opposed to the lottery, then and now. MOYEN: Why is that? HUFF: Well, first of all it's gambling. Secondly, I think it does nothing but hurt the little person, the person who's least able to gamble does, and as a result of it it's nothing but harmful. And then during the Wilkinson, he did some, I think some good things: the banking question came up during the Wilkinson situation, the Humana Bill came up during the Wilkinson period. There was a lot of controversial legislation that came--I never saw as many jets flying to Frankfort as they did during the Wilkinson-- MOYEN: Could you explain a little bit about the banking and the Humana issues? HUFF: Well, on the banking issue they were trying to effect--let me see if I can remember even the term. There was a term--it's actually a consolidation of banks that would allow outside banks to come in and get licensed and buy banks in the state of Kentucky. And I had never supported that. In fact, I had some little banks in my district and they had begged me, "Gene, don't support that because these big banks will come in and gobble us up," and that type of thing. And so I didn't support it under John Y. Brown, and then when Wallace Wilkinson came in it raised its head again. And so I didn't support it then, because I was more for the local rather than for large banking interests to be able to come in and take over the banking system in Kentucky. On the Humana thing they, the Humana Bill as we know it was one where they come in and--[To another person: "What have you got Larry?"] [pause in tape] MOYEN: Alright we were discussing Humana I believe. HUFF: The Humana Bill had to do with open heart surgery. Humana had brought in the fellow from South Africa that did the mechanical hearts. They had a heart program that they wanted to effect down there at Humana Hospital. Well George Atkins, who had been in office before, you know, was vice-president of Humana. Well, he was interested in legislation that would affect Humana. Well, when Humana's bill came along, it looked like what we call class legislation, it just benefited one party. And so as a result it became really controversial, really seriously controversial. So that came under the--[phone rings] [pause in tape] HUFF: So the controversy arose at that particular time. Later then there were a lot of difficulties where George Atkins was later indicted; Humana had accusations brought against them where they had supposedly used money or influence to influence legislation. So it became a sore spot in Wilkinson's administration. MOYEN: Probably the biggest piece of legislation during his term that will be remembered is KERA. Can you remember how that developed and how you voted on that and-- HUFF: Voted against it. That was the Education Reform Act. The reason that it was really controversial and the point I think that I made at that time on the problem with KERA being instituted, was not that we didn't need education reform, but was largely the testing system that was going to be used and in the lack or loss of local control. That it would become a bureaucracy of its own at a higher scale. So I didn't support it. Later had they changed their testing procedures I probably would have supported. But it was, I was one of those who did not support it at the time, but it passed, but it had a time passing. MOYEN: Um-hm. How do you feel like KERA has performed, how that legislation-- HUFF: Overall, I think, there has been some distinctive advantages to KERA. There are still some problems there in the area of testing, some of the councils that's been set up, some of the fringes on KERA, but I think overall it's been a pretty good thing for the state. MOYEN: Okay. During Brereton Jones administration which was your, the last administration that you served under, the BOPTROT scandal had exploded on the scene. Can you explain what the mood was in the legislature when this stuff was being revealed? HUFF: Well, the legislature is always aware of certain weaknesses and problems but BOPTROT--and of course this was a carryover from some of the term of the Wilkinson administration and things that were happening. BOPTROT was even in my, from my perspective was blown out of proportion. There is always some guys in the legislature probably on the take, but you can't prove it, you don't know who they are and you don't know whether they really are or not. But in that time and period it looked like that there was a party spirit there in the legislature in that everything was just haywire, and there was a lot of money being circulated, a lot of it horse and gambling money. But there were some innocent victims to BOPTROT. Art Schmidt out from northern Kentucky was in the Senate. He was on--BOPTROT, the reason for that name, if you don't know it, it's for the BOP Committee and TROT association with the horse industry. BOP is Business, Organizations, and Professions. That is the committee that controls all of your gambling, your nursing, your medical, your horse racing, your whatever, and that committee then was handling these bills. They made a trip to Las Vegas and I think some guys out there, one guy who used to be in the Senate maybe gave some representatives some moneys to play roulette or whatever they play there in Las Vegas. Innocently guys just, "Okay." Didn't mean, it wouldn't have influenced their vote one iota, but then they took some money and they were being photographed. It was a set up on some of them. Others were as guilty as they could be because they were out to do that. And they indicted, it seemed to me like they indicted about nineteen guys in the legislature. The banking bill was carrying over from the preceding administration. The moneys that supposedly had been circulated under the Humana Bill was there, and now all this horserace money for the tract up at Turfway and some different things that were going on, all of it came together. And I think it's blown out of proportion, but it's probably a good thing that happened because it slowed the legislature down because of that, you know. South Carolina I think they indicted twenty-six down there in South Carolina almost at the same time. So it was, something is going on in all the legislative areas. MOYEN: Can you think of any other individuals that you were mentioning who were being photographed that you felt were probably unfairly-- HUFF: Ronny Layman, a state representative from down at Leitchfield. I think he's honest as the day is long. There were, Clay Crupper from up around Owen County, different ones. And some I don't call their names because they're guys that may have taken something, you know. A guy that was in the Senate with me, Landon Sexton from over here in McCreary County, a medical group came along and donated $5,000 to his campaign. Well, he didn't put it in his campaign funds, he gave it directly to campaign workers and put it in the election. Made the mistake of not reporting it, and they indicted him. I don't think you find a more honest guy, but he was just so dumb he didn't know what he was doing. Virgil Pearman down at LaRue County, same way, the same thing happened there. Someone came to his office and left a donation, and they tired him over receiving the donation that had been left there, he wasn't even there to receive it. He took it and I don't know whether he reported or didn't report it, but that type of thing. MOYEN: Um-hm. Obviously a lot of that is tied in with lobbying and the influence of lobbyists. There was an article in the Herald-Leader that I read about you that mentioned that you used a lot of your funding for your elections to give to nonprofit organizations. HUFF: When they set up the fund you had, I think it seemed like it was three options that you could do with your money. You could give it to the state, you could give it to a political party, or you could give it to a nonprofit organization. I chose to give mine to an, it was an organization I was connected with but a group called Good News Outreach and they sent it over overseas for humanitarian reasons, and they made quite a to-do. They called me the Robin Hood of the Senate or something. MOYEN: Is that something that would be pretty rare though? HUFF: Oh, I don't know of anyone who gave to nonprofit but me. But you had those three options. Now, if I'd given it to a political party like I did that one time, however come along, said, "Well he's not gonna run again so he's put it by giving it--." Or if I had given it to the state, you know, what will the state do with it? Put it in some kind of--I don't know what they would have done with it really (laughs). MOYEN: Now, in the wake of BOPTROT there is a lot of ethics reform or talk of ethics reform. Did you feel like the ethics reform really helped curb the excesses that were going on in-- HUFF: It helped. It was too extreme, but it helped, yes it did. MOYEN: In what ways was it too extreme? HUFF: Well, for instance, they got to the point to show you how the thing works. Now, if I'm a member of the legislature you can't buy me a meal, but if I'm a member of the legislature you could buy my son a meal. But if you wanted to get to me and you get something for my son you could get to me as easily as you could if you did it for me. So really, it doesn't do all that they intended to do. And, of course, that's an extreme example, but that is an example and that's where the ethics law--I think it could have been drawn in a good, narrow way that would've done what they were intending to do without taking it so broad that it did a lot of things that were incidental and almost to the point of foolishness. MOYEN: There were a number of individuals who served for pretty lengthy terms who in the mid '90s decided to resign, leave office, not run for reelection and a number of them cited just dissatisfaction or a change in the way things were going in Frankfort? Can you associate with any of that? Is that-- HUFF: Yeah. Yeah, it got the point, the BOPTROT thing, the carryover, the ethics push, the Humana Bill, all of those things, it gave you a feeling of, that everyone that looked at you looked at you as a sort of a crooked politician. And that was part of it. In my own case, that was a partial factor. And then when I quit I would've been sixty-five years old, I quit in June of '94, and I would've been sixty-five in October. So it was time for me. And I think some other fellows that I've known would be the same way, but others, I think, were disillusioned and quit. MOYEN: Um-hm. Looking back on your time in the legislature, was there any, did you see any regional divisions in terms of members of the legislature? Would you group together, say, legislators from southeastern Kentucky versus western Kentucky? HUFF: We had what was called the Mountain Caucus. See, what happens here in the state, eastern Kentucky particularly, we only had one product and it was coal. And so now for the last twenty years or more they have drained the coal supplies. When that's gone there won't be very much left. Timber is gone, coal is gone, very little limited industry, that type of thing. Well, all the rest of the state had industry and had all these other things going for them. We always felt like that eastern Kentucky, even though it was making its contribution in its own way as much as it could, it never really gleamed the benefits of the state coffers to the same degree that the other parts of the state did. So we formed what we called the Mountain Caucus. Well, that was not so bad because you have the Jefferson County caucus, you have the northern Kentucky caucus, each group regionalizes to a point on interests that they have. And so that was ours, but to answer your question, yes we, there was a regionalization. MOYEN: Can you think of any legislation in particular that either you as an individual, or your caucus in general, that you really had to do some politicking or some give and take that to vote for a specific thing or to get others to vote for specific thing that was extremely successful, turned out to be a fair trade off? HUFF: Well, we got a return of the severance tax. See, for a while after the severance tax was passed we got that adjustment that I mentioned earlier on, taxation for medicine and food stuffs, but the severance tax was all going in the state coffers. Well, then finally through the years, took us a long time, we regionally got together and made some trade offs and what have you to where we started getting part of that severance tax money back for local government, for schools, for different projects that were in the area, and I was part of that, the Mountain Caucus or eastern Kentucky caucus. MOYEN: Can you think of anything in particular where that may have been encouraged of you to get something for trying to vote for something that in retrospect you really wish you hadn't done? HUFF: I don't know that I ever supported anything that was, that would've been a tremendous compromise. Generally, say for instance in terms of the severance tax there, I don't know of any major political prostitution that went on to support, but there were examples, I can't think of any offhand right now, but in the game of politics it's a game of give and take. I never would compromise moral issues, but there are times that I am sure that I would vote for issues that would benefit northern Kentucky or Jefferson County or Fayette County, or the west, or somewhere in order to get some things for our own area. But never moral issues, liquor bills or gambling industry or the horse industry or some of those things, none of the moral issues. But I'm sure that I did cast some votes that would have helped in certain areas. MOYEN: Looking at the legislature from 1968 through the '90s and even today, what changes have been made that you see as very beneficial and what changes have you seen that really disheartened or discouraged you? HUFF: The one thing that has been lost is the camaraderie. The legislature is sophisticated now to the point that each has their own office. We never had that. Got their own technology, their own computers and everything. There is a loss in the rapport that you have with legislators I think in a more, in a closer way. But by the same token the advancement they've made, they now have a room to meet, they have offices, they have secretarial help, they have technology, they're better informed, they're broader in their concept of legislation in terms of not only what affects Kentucky but Ohio and all the adjacent states. So they've come a long way in terms of information, but I think they've lost the rapport and camaraderie that they once had if in fact that has a value and I think it has. [End of Tape #1, Side #2] [Begin of Tape #2, Side #1] MOYEN: You mentioned earlier just briefly your decision to resign your post in the Senate, can you tell me again why that was exactly that you decided-- HUFF: Well, age was a factor, and then outside interest. We had, we were in the process of starting this radio station, and so I knew that the workload here would be such that it would really take from me my Senate responsibilities. And so I made that judgment, right or wrong, and the day that my resignation was effective in the Senate we raised the radio tower. And so I immediately got involved head and ears in this here, and then the second thing, I would've been sixty-five years old in October of that same year and so I thought, well, now it'd be, if I'm gonna do it now would be a good time. MOYEN: And what is your radio station? HUFF: WYGE, 92.3 FM, London, Kentucky. MOYEN: Has that consumed most of your time since the legislature? HUFF: Yes, it has. Yeah. MOYEN: But you did mention that you continue to pastor? HUFF: No, I've not pastored since '89. MOYEN: Okay. HUFF: But I still am active in the church and I travel a lot and still preach, but not nearly so active as I was when I was fulltime pastoring. MOYEN: Do you maintain any consulting roles or any other ties with Frankfort? HUFF: Yeah I, as a matter of fact, I did go back to Frankfort for three years and then Marymount Hospital up here asked me to go back and involve in an issue dealing with the health issues, and so after about three years I went back and assisted them. And we were successful in what we were attempting to do. And so afterwards they asked me to do it on a regular basis. So each session now, in the regular or in the organizational, I go back and I do a little lobbying for Marymount Hospital. MOYEN: We were discussing briefly right before the interview that you have been married fifty years, celebrated your fiftieth wedding anniversary. Has there been a change in the stress that being a legislator puts on the family? Do you notice a change in that from when you were serving until now, or is that negligible? HUFF: No, it's--I never involved heavily my family in the political or the legislature. Now they involved, they insisted me and supported me and what have you, but the stress portions and the load part I never put upon them. And so I never noticed much difference before or after. And whether that is good or bad, but I think as far as families are concerned if you can carry your own load you're better off. And then, of course, they are there for advice and what have you, but they don't need to be under all of the stress and obligation and everything. MOYEN: Um-hm. With all the wisdom that you gained from serving in the legislature, what one thing would you do differently? HUFF: Were I serving now? MOYEN: Um-hm. HUFF: I think I would be slower in the judgments that I make. You have a little tendency when you're younger of impetuosity, you think well I know this and you act on it. And I think I'd be a little more deliberate in what I say and what I do now than I would in years past. MOYEN: Is there anything else that I've missed that you'd like to add about the-- HUFF: No, I think you've been very complete and I appreciate the interview. MOYEN: Thank you for your time. HUFF: Thank you. [End of interview] Huff (House 1968-1970, 85th district; Senate 1972-1994, 21st district; Republican) recalls growing up during the Depression in Ohio, his background as a minister and evangelist, and early interest in politics before discussing his impressions of several governors’ administrations, the effects of the sales tax increase proposed by Governor Nunn on the Republican Party’s reputation, key legislation during his tenure, and the differences between serving in the House and the Senate. Interview concludes with Huff’s thoughts on how the legislator’s role and practice have changed over a 30 plus year period. Kentucky Legislature