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2004-03-25 Interview with Aubrey Williams, April 20, 2004 Leg001:2004OH77LEG79 00:41:27 Kentucky Legislature Oral History Project Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries Legislators -- Kentucky -- Interviews. African American legislators -- Kentucky -- Interviews. Drunk driving -- Law and legislation -- Kentucky. Louisville (Ky.) Carroll, Julian Brown, John Y. Jr. Collins, Martha Layne Stumbo, Grady Sloane, Harvey Crupper, Clay Schmidt, Art Lexington Herald-Leader Business, Organizations and Professions Committee gun control bail bonds political philosophy BOPTROT Key Legislation: gun control; bail bonds Term and District: House (1977-1985), 42nd district Counties in District: Jefferson County (Ky.) Aubrey Williams; interviewee Eric Moyen; interviewer 2004OH077_LEG079_Williams 1:|18(3)|28(6)|47(6)|61(7)|79(8)|86(15)|102(17)|113(21)|121(8)|144(14)|162(17)|179(3)|205(9)|222(6)|251(6)|262(10)|270(3)|286(12)|297(1)|314(14)|322(8)|347(17)|359(14)|374(1)|398(1)|406(11)|415(10)|425(10)|436(4)|445(1)|463(2)|474(6)|492(6)|507(8)|516(12)|532(4)|576(2)|591(11)|612(7)|634(6)|653(13) audiotrans Legit interview MOYEN: Okay. Last time we finished up, we were just finishing with Julian Carroll, talking about House Bill 44, the special session. Although it wasn't mentioned right at the end, we had talked about Leonard Gray- WILLIAMS: Right. MOYEN: running against you in '79. WILLIAMS: Yeah. MOYEN: And you managed to win that election. Can you talk about the difference in tone with legislative independence? What had changed essentially, you know, if you look back, all this talk about legislative independence, a strong governor versus a weak governor, and we had talked, just briefly you had mentioned, we were just starting to get into it when we talked about Ernie Fletcher and how you had said, you know, not so much on the issues or whatever, but that you wished that he would be a stronger governor. I think that all kind of ties in with that. WILLIAMS: Right. You know, that it's one thing to have and it's good to have an independent legislature, but it can- well, let me put it this way, when I was serving, the legislators both in the House and in the Senate brought credentials of, they were strong individuals. They were strong leaders. They had a statesmanlike attitude and deportment and approach to their jobs. And so and then you had a strong governor in John Y. Brown. MOYEN: Right. WILLIAMS: And you had a governor who was secure and confident, you know, self- confident, you know, in his own right. So you know, he really, this man really wanted what was best for Kentucky, as did, of course, Julian Carroll, in my opinion, and his predecessors, I mean, even going back to Louie Nunn. And I'm not saying that before John Y. Brown that you did not have strong leaders in the legislature. MOYEN: Uh-huh. WILLIAMS: But when I served, you just had a number of very, just very I mean, high- quality legislators. That's the best way to put it, high-quality legislators, all right. And so if you have that in the legislature, have those kinds of individuals in the legislature and then you have a strong governor, okay, then, you know, the checks and balances are- MOYEN: Right. WILLIAMS: going to work. You people can sort of come together, you compromise, you give, you yield. Pardon me just a moment, Eric. MOYEN: Okay. Sure. WILLIAMS: My machine here is- and so you have those two groups, you know, well, three groups, the House, the Senate, and the governor, you know, coalescing around things that were in the best interest of Kentucky. I often, I think of guys like Bill Weinberg and gosh, his name down in Shelbyville, a lawyer down there, he is no longer there. But any number of guys in the House, who were highly principled, who were just true representatives of the people and had high intellect, by the way also. MOYEN: Right. WILLIAMS: Very intelligent people. I'm not saying, of course, the whole House and Senate, okay. There were- MOYEN: There's a range. WILLIAMS: Right. But you had a high level, a high concentration of high-class individuals. And now, as I look at the legislature today, that caliber of individuals, of legislators, and their quality seem to be lacking. Of course, there are some individuals there- MOYEN: Sure. WILLIAMS: who have those qualities, but it just seemed to be less of that now than it was when I served. And then time when you have individuals, when you don't have, when you have that kind of contrast between the two eras, the two periods, then that's when a strong governor is absolutely- MOYEN: Right. WILLIAMS: man you have to. If you don't, then the state is going to suffer, you know. I mean, just look. MOYEN: Right. WILLIAMS: All right. I mean, it is absolutely, it's terrible, it really is. And a good example of that was Patton. Patton was a strong governor. During his tenure, okay, just especially his second term, you know, you didn't have the quality of legislator that was there when during the period that I served, but because of Patton's strength and because of his vision for Kentucky and I mean, the man he was a good governor. Unfortunate what happened to him, but he was a good governor and he was able to keep the ship afloat. And if you will remember, if you will recall, in his second term Patton began to tell the legislators, tell the public, you know, this is what we need to do, boys and girls. You know, this is the way this thing is shaping up, okay. And but the legislators would not listen. And the one thing I found most disturbing and I think by and large contributes to the inadequacies of or the ineffectiveness of the legislature, is this fear about taxes, taxation, okay. This thing has been so deeply ingrained in the psyche of the politicians who in turn ingrain it in the psyche of the average citizen that the thought of raising taxes, okay, is a crime. MOYEN: Right. WILLIAMS: But common sense, I mean, you know, just look at common sense, you know. The rate of inflation goes up, I mean, everything costs more. You, people want, for instance, they want the best service, they want the best police forces, the best fire departments, you want the best healthcare. How are you going to get those things if you don't pay for them? MOYEN: Uh-huh. WILLIAMS: You know, and then you have politicians, excuse me, and sure, I'm a Democrat, but you have especially the Republican party, just and of course, in Kentucky there's not a whole lot of difference between the two as far as taxation in concerned, but they constantly hammer on this thing, Don't raise taxes! Don't raise taxes! All right? And it's really rather disgusting, you know, it's really quite disgusting. And it takes bold leadership. That's one thing I admired about Louie Nunn, he had the strength of character and the courage of conviction to do what was in the best interest of Kentucky. MOYEN: And never won a political race again. WILLIAMS: Never, but he did what was right. And one of the most honorable politicians this state has ever seen, as far as, you know, being a statesman. To be an authentic representative of the people, you have to have courage, right. If you want to play the safe role, do the safe thing, you can stay in office for a long time, tell the people what they want to hear, all right, hide behind non-issues, i.e. abortion, (laughs) same-sex marriage, you know, those kinds of, you know, social-issue things, okay. Those things don't put food on the table, okay, they don't lead to jobs, okay. You see, they don't improve education. Now, I understand those things. I mean, I'm a minister myself. I mean, I think, you know, two of the same sex getting married, I think it's foolish, okay. But you know, same-sex people been living together and making love to each other, or doing whatever they do, since the beginning of time, all right. I'm not saying you are relativizing morality, because there are certain things that you, I mean, you just have to address, but you know, you don't exaggerate their importance, and this is what happens in places like Kentucky. And you know, so the house is burning down while you're saving the outhouse, you know. MOYEN: Right. Did you with legislative independence, you mentioned John Y. Brown as a strong governor. Did you- WILLIAMS: When I say strong governor, I mean a strong individual. MOYEN: Right. WILLIAMS: Strong character, you know, he, which made - see, he was not threatened by the legislature. MOYEN: Uh-huh. WILLIAMS: All right. He was not threatened by the legislators, okay? Because yeah, he was successful, he was- I mean, he stood for something. When you stand for something, okay, and you bring success and your credentials, all right. And then you have the, you're motivated by the desire to serve, all right, see, you're not going to be intimated by, you know, someone else, you know, in the House or what have you. MOYEN: Uh-huh. Was there talk? Do you remember talk of, This governor's not concerned, he's going to let us choose our leadership, he's not going to fight on- I mean, do you recall- WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah. MOYEN: that type of discussion? WILLIAMS: Absolutely. MOYEN: Uh-huh. WILLIAMS: And it was, I mean, it's trite to say it was a breath of fresh air, but it really, I mean, it was just a wonderful thing to happen. It let you know, you know, sent a message, hey, this guy is for real, he's going- you know, we can be ourselves, we can, I mean, we can truly be an equal branch of government, okay? And so you have that respect, you know, for the man. And of course, it was for the betterment of the whole institution of government, you know. But you have to be- and now, John Y., he was no shrinking violet, you know. You're not going to push him around. You're not going to roll over him. And when it came to it, he'd say, "All right, boys. Okay, if you feel that way, I feel this way, hey, let's work this out or-" Do you follow what I'm- MOYEN: Um-hm. WILLIAMS: See, and back in the days of Nunn and Carroll and those guys like that, especially Julian, I mean, he was a strong man. Julian was strong. He was one of my favorites, he really was. I mean, you know, he made you do what was right. You take the bonding issue, you know, bail bondsmen. Boy, you talk about, that was big business in Kentucky, he outlawed that. MOYEN: Right. WILLIAMS: That took, boy, that took- what do we say? (laughs) That took you know what. You know what I mean? Yes sir, you know, but he was certainly was in the best interest of Kentucky, and it indeed was. I benefited and profited from that as a defense lawyer, the old system, see, because I had bail bondsmen who would refer cases to me and looking out for them, okay. So it was to my advantage really, the old system, okay? But here I was a Julian Carroll ally, all right, and yet I can say, you know, what he was doing was right and good for the state. MOYEN: Once John Y. Brown was elected, did you face opposition in 1981? WILLIAMS: I'm not really- I always had opposition. MOYEN: Okay. WILLIAMS: I always had opposition. MOYEN: Okay. WILLIAMS: Yeah. MOYEN: Must have not been one of the stronger- WILLIAMS: I just can't remember. I may not have had opposition in the primary and just had opposition in the Republican, I mean, in the general election. And a Republican simply was not going to win in my district, you know. MOYEN: Did you with that understanding, did you really in general elections, did you even campaign besides [inaudible] these people around? WILLIAMS: No, no. I worked here in my business. And the guy who generally ran against me, Marvin Drane, he was a perennial-type candidate. It was, I mean, I made- did a little token stuff. You know, I'd go to the club meetings and, you know, like the Democratic Club meetings and what have you. And, but you know, just do superficial stuff. MOYEN: Um-hm. WILLIAMS: As I said, Jesus Christ told my friend out there who's working on my computer, he ran for the metro council, the area that covers the downtown here in the western part of the city and part of the eastern part of the city, against a guy who had who, as far as intellect is concerned and other characteristics of a person that would be an asset, there was no comparison. But I said to him- he was my assistant minister, by the way. I said, "Man, you could be Jesus Christ running in this district, you're not going to win." (laughs) Okay, you know, and so of course, he didn't even come close. MOYEN: He is a Republican? WILLIAMS: Yeah, he's a Republican, see. He ran against Willie Bright, who owns Velvet Rose Supper Club, which is a nightclub here. He has shootings and everything else going on. They finally closed it down just a short while ago, in fact. MOYEN: Okay. During John Y. Brown's time in office, during 1980 to '83, '84, the one issue where I could find in the papers where your name came up the most dealt with drunk driving- WILLIAMS: Drunk driving, yes. MOYEN: legislation. WILLIAMS: Yes. Yes. Right. Right. MOYEN: Can you spend some time talking about the different angles there about- well, you go ahead and then I'll- WILLIAMS: Well, and of course, John Y. and I were, you know, one might be surprised, you know, that we didn't get along. John Y. did not like me, and someone, you know, listening to this conversation, what I'm saying about him, might be surprised to hear that. But John Y. said to me- it was the Slammer Bill, that was the [inaudible]. MOYEN: Right. WILLIAMS: You know, he came in and said we were going to do something about drunken driving. MOYEN: In 1982. WILLIAMS: And it was labeled the Slammer Bill. And of course, as you know, the system, we have a system that is respected, okay, the committee system. Things come through the committee system and by coming through the committee system, you, it is designed to among other things, to keep out bad legislation. MOYEN: Um-hm. WILLIAMS: Okay. And so as chairperson, of course, it had to come to me and then I would have to pass on it before it's posted for consideration, and I refused to post the bill. I refused to post the bill because it was a reactionary bill. It was very reactionary. It was a very poor legislation. It was a hastily drawn piece of legislation designed to, sure, it addressed a serious problem, but Kentucky was caught up in the whole- how shall I put it, uproar, for want of a better word, the whole hysteria surrounding drunken driving. And so whatever it takes, please, do something, do something. We had the Mothers Against Drunken Driving. They were bringing pressure to bear on the politicians. And I just said to the governor that, you know, this is bad- no, he said, "You're not God." And back in those days, I, you know, I was younger and I was, you know, I was brash. Some would say I was arrogant, I don't think I was. I honestly didn't think I was arrogant, but I was cocky, you know, brash. And he said, "You're not God." I said, "As far as this legislation is concerned, I am." (laughs) And of course, that didn't sit very well for him. But I felt very strongly about my position, I mean, very, very strongly. And the legislation would have impacted disproportionately and disparately on the workers, on poor folks. I can't remember exactly why, but I had a lot of- MOYEN: You talked about it being hasty legislation and poorly written and that it was going to negatively impact these groups of people. Do you recall what types of provisions you were concerned about? WILLIAMS: I really, I just- MOYEN: Would it have been the occupational licenses and not allowing anyone to drive, period? WILLIAMS: Yeah, that was, yeah, yeah, that was what, yeah, all right, that people could not get back and forth. Well, then I said, "The big problem with drunken driving is not the act itself, not being drunk itself, but it is the source of the cause of it. Why do people do it?" Because, see, and as a lawyer, I know that drunken drivers were recidivists, all right? They were alcoholics. And so what you ought to do, you know, get treatment for these people, okay, because really the truth of the matter is, if you take their license, they're going to drive anyhow. I just came out of court today, a young man, his license had been suspended three times. I got his license restored about three months ago, the very next month it got suspended again for drunken driving, all right? Then he turns right around, all right, a month later, driving on a suspended license and get another drunken driving charge, right. And here his mother called me the last week, 26-years-old, called me last week, "Well, they got him again," all right. He's an alcoholic. I've been talking to him about getting treatment, getting treatment. I told his parents, I said, "He's an alcoholic." You know, I had the courage to say that (laughs), okay. They could have been offended by it. But finally they said, "We believe you're right." I say to him, "You have a problem, okay." So you see, he continues to drive, all right. And then if you have someone, so you take their license, they don't have insurance, all right, and then they have an accident, all right, injure someone, kill somebody, all right, so what you want to try to do is address the problem itself so you can reduce the- and there have been people that I represented before, they have learned that they do not get on the road anymore, they are dealing with the problem, and I'm sure there are other instances of that. And so what I did was, I think, two things, two objectives I had, I went around the state, every region of the state, held public hearings. MOYEN: Was this in between the '82 and '84 sessions? WILLIAMS: Exactly. MOYEN: Okay. WILLIAMS: Exactly. All right, first I wanted to educate the public. Because when you go into a place, say, when you go into Paducah, the media are going to cover it. We're up in Northern Kentucky, the media are covering it, so they are reporting on it and then they're reporting things that we are saying, things, reporting things that I as a chairman am saying, reporting the concerns that the public is saying. You have two sides to it, okay? Various voices being heard, all right, so you're educating, you're giving the public input, right, and then you're helping them to understand, all right, and to grasp just what the real problem is. And so you, that's the direction you get. So what we come back with is what I considered to be very sensible and practicable legislation, you see. As I said on the floor when I resisted, because I was one of the few if not the only one that did a filibuster. As a matter of fact, they changed the rules after that, after I filibustered the effort to discharge it from committee. I think one of the most irresponsible acts that an individual can commit is to get in a car drunk. I think that's second only perhaps to taking a gun and shooting it, you know, in a crowd, all right. And I was very hurt by that. I mean, some vicious things were said about me in the media, especially the Lexington Herald. MOYEN: Right. WILLIAMS: The Lexington Herald did an awfully cruel, it was very cruel. They refused to, they wouldn't talk to me, okay? I mean, the easiest thing to do would have been let the legislation pass. MOYEN: Uh-huh. WILLIAMS: You know, I said what am I getting out of this, right? MOYEN: Right. Yeah. WILLIAMS: What in the heck am I getting out of this? I'm not making myself a friend of anybody. MOYEN: Right. WILLIAMS: I mean nobody, even defense lawyers, I'm not making my friends or myself rich, right? So what the heck am I- can't you see, all right? But yet they had this editorial, a caricature of me standing in a graveyard, cemetery, with the slammer bill under my arm, with a smirk on my face. That was the cruelest thing that anyone has ever done to me. And you know, I got threats when I and then I, not that I was afraid, but I took the floor and talked about it, and I said, you know, the threats are not going to deter me. Then of course, the media [recording cuts out] that I was sort of, implied I was lying (laughs) okay- MOYEN: Uh-huh. WILLIAMS: grandstanding, okay. And if I'd thought about it, you know, that's how they would interpret it if I get up [inaudible; recording cuts out] so I would have kept it to myself. But yeah, I got, I had threats, more than one, you know. But then it was all worth it, because we had some very good legislation. And it hasn't, the only thing that has changed about it, even with the revisions that came a session or two ago, was they reduced the limit from .10 to .08 and made it stricter law. But as far as, you know, that legislation is still intact. MOYEN: Uh-huh. WILLIAMS: See, so what I- and that emphasis on the treatment, the education, wasn't there before I resisted, you know, the Slammer Bill, you know. MOYEN: Right. As I mentioned, that dominated the newspaper articles that I could find. Were there other pieces of legislation in the '82 -'84 sessions that you were particularly interested in, that you sponsored, that were concerns of yours? WILLIAMS: I really can't remember. I don't know when the handicap legislation was introduced, excuse me, or the Lemon Law. I know the handicap- making, you know, the buildings accessible to the handicapped, I felt very strongly about that. I felt very strongly about the Lemon Law. You had so many people who were buying, being ripped off by these used-car folk, you know. MOYEN: Right. WILLIAMS: And so I just needed, felt we needed to address that. There was- gun control always was a concern, the Saturday night special, okay, the cheap handguns killing- they had a lot of- as a matter of fact, I was, it's so interesting, the thing that motivated me about gun control was the death of a young man, whose name was Michael Punchton, okay. He was killed by a Saturday night, with by a Saturday night special. And keep in mind, I'm from Eastern Kentucky, I'm from Harlan County, all right. MOYEN: Right. Everyone's got a gun. WILLIAMS: Everybody's got a gun, all right. Heck, when I was going to school, I carried a gun (laughs), okay? I carried one myself, okay? MOYEN: To school, right? WILLIAMS: To school. MOYEN: Yeah. WILLIAMS: That's, you know, in college, not high school, but college, all right? I mean, I really did. That's when I was over at Pikeville and I was traveling, you know, back and forth to school, you know. And so, and when you're in Eastern Kentucky, well, I mean, you know, guns are just part of your life. You know, yeah, we'd play cowboys and Indians and I mean, you know, it's just deeply ingrained in us, so. But the death of that young man was the final act that influenced me. And Michael, as it turns out, was the son of my now secretary. It was her son. The lady who works with me right now, who came out of retirement by the way to be my secretary when my, but that's another story, and she was going to be here temporarily, but that was ten, eleven years ago (laughs), and she's still here with me, but it was her son. And he-she's a wife of a pastor, First Baptist of LaGrange. And so, and there was a lot of shooting, a lot of killing in my district, see, and so that's what motivated me. At least get rid of the Saturday night special, okay, it's so easily accessible, all right. And I said if you get rid of that, then you make it, you know, more difficult for people to get guns, irresponsible people, all right. But now look where we are now. Look where we are today. You know, isn't it amazing? And some of the most, and I'm sure I have friends who belong, but some of the most unintelligent, some of the most unintelligent rhetoric I've ever heard in my life comes from people in the National Rifle Association, you know. Guns don't kill, people kill. Of course, that is true, guns do not kill, people kill, people shooting the gun, okay. Just like, you know, cars don't kill, people kill, right? But people driving the cars kill. I was reading the paper yesterday. Four teenagers, 15, 16, 17, two 17-year-olds, two of them are dead, all right, two of them are injured. It happened over in Indiana, nobody wearing seatbelts, okay? The last week, the week before last, my children, I have a 17-year-old and a 14-year-old, wanted to go over with their friend Elliott down at somewhere twenty, thirty, forty miles away, a group of them, okay. I said, "No." Dad, oh Dad, you're so protective, blah blah blah. But see, I know that when teenagers get together, all right, you got your music going, and even if you're not drinking and you're not smoking or what have you, you've got these distractions, all right, and you are not experienced enough to have, if an emergency presents itself, you don't know how to handle it. I'm not going to put my kids in, you know, in that situation. Yeah, my 17-year-old just got her license about three or four, five months ago, and she's on a leash. I let her, and the only car she drives is mine. It's a big car, okay, it's a Lexus 400, all right. Now, I don't say they boastfully, but I say this very, matter of fact very humbly, because that Lexus is fourteen-years-old. I haven't had to buy a car in fourteen years (laughs), but it's a big car, got an airbags, all right. And so, you know, the chances of something, you know, it reduces the risk. You follow what I'm saying? And you know, if she wants [inaudible], I can find her, I can buy her a car. Her mother wanted me to buy her a car. I said, "No, not yet. No, not yet, not experienced enough, not mature enough." So when we talk about guns, you know, I mean, no one is talking about taking guns away, but you take an intelligent and responsible approach to problems. You know, you have that problem there, so we address the problem, you know, and people like the NRA, the extreme views, see, the no middle ground- MOYEN: Right. Okay. Let me ask you about your support of Grady Stumbo instead of Martha Layne Collins, of course, but Harvey Sloane was running in that race as well, Louisville mayor. And you and a number of Louisville legislators supported Grady Stumbo. Why was that? Why did you separate from the regionalism, so to speak, and have the opportunity. WILLIAMS: Well, first I was there to, you know, I had a reputation of being for the underdog. I'm an underdog kind of person, okay. And here was this, as a matter of fact, many, many of the black politicians, if not almost without exception were for Harvey Sloane. And then my being from, my being for this twang-sounding, talking fellow, white fellow from up in Eastern Kentucky. MOYEN: Uh-huh. WILLIAMS: So, Aubrey, you know, you got to be kidding, you know. MOYEN: Uh-huh. WILLIAMS: But the man was, he brought, he struck me as being real, being authentic. Not to say that Harvey was not authentic or Martha Layne Collins, for that matter, but- [someone knocks on door] Yes? [recorder turned off] MOYEN: All right. WILLIAMS: And I liked Martha Layne, in fact, I really did. Did I have anything against Harvey Sloane? Although we'd been, we were in different camps. For instance, I was a Stansbury person, and you know, we were in the minority there. And Stansbury was not a favorite of the media and the establishment, the and so you know, Harvey Sloane people were anti-Stansbury people. And you know, he had all, you know, your big players, your elites, so to speak, you know. MOYEN: Um-hm. WILLIAMS: And so it's basically the underdog kind of thing, and Grady was from Eastern Kentucky. That didn't figure real strongly in my decision though. But he was an idealist. At least he talked that way, sounded that way. And I think he wanted what was- he would give voice to, you know, the common person. And of course, he was bright, he was a visionary. Some of them, you know, Harvey Sloane, he lacked vision, Martha Layne did not show vision, they were basically going to be caretaker kind, maintain-status-quo kind of individual. You follow what I'm saying? Whereas Grady Stumbo was, he was a visionary, and he would, I thought would, excuse me, take bold steps to move Kentucky forward, not just to serve, not just to be in power, if you will, you see. MOYEN: Sure, I understand. So there weren't any particular frustrations per se with Martha Layne Collins or with Harvey Sloane. It was just- WILLIAMS: No. Right. MOYEN: All right. After Martha Layne Collins did win that election, I did find somewhere that you had sponsored a Landlord-Tenant Bill. WILLIAMS: Um-hm. Um-hm. MOYEN: Can you tell me what the issues, do you recall what the issues were? Were- WILLIAMS: Well, I really can't. I know not too long ago I saw a, I was at a city attorney's office and he showed me his picture of that bill being signed into law. But it also goes back to my roots, my philosophy, and you know, my leanings to address the ills, injustice. For instance, when I served as, when I was a judge, my docket was consumed by two types of cases: the used-car people and poor folk being sued by the used-car dealers and people being evicted from their homes and from their apartments, okay? MOYEN: Um-hm. WILLIAMS: And these are people who don't have the resources to, you know, of course, hire lawyers. And from a, as a matter of fact, as far as the judicial system is concerned, you have dozens of these cases on every day. They don't, they're not major cases as such, but in the lives of these people they're major cases. MOYEN: Right. WILLIAMS: You know, you're being evicted from your home. And so it has something to do with making it more difficult or less easy, as it were, for landlords to evict people from their home. Now, if I'm a landlord and I can relate to the landlords. If I own property, then I have a right to be paid, okay? But then too there comes a certain moral obligation that one has when you're in a position to provide a service. For example, as a lawyer, for instance, here I am faced with, in a couple of weeks I have to spend a whole week or more on the other side of Indianapolis defending an individual. When his family came to me, they promised me they were going to pay my fee. I said, "This is what it is. I absolutely have to have it, I practice alone," et cetera and so forth, all right. But as it turns out, they've only been able to pay half of my fee, all right. So what do I do? Okay. Do I withdraw from the case if the court were to allow me to? No. I have to stay with it, okay. I have to stay with it and hope and pray that the Lord will bless me some other way with some other case, you know. And that's sort of my attitude about the home, people who own rental properties. Okay, so you have the right to be paid and people, you know, you're not people's caretaker, as it were, but there are circumstances, there are situations, limits to what we allow to, that the law should allow us to do. And see, and you've got the landlords of course, the property owners have these strong lobbyists, okay. That's how legislation gets passed generally, okay? People have a lot of people who are up there looking after their interests. These poor folk who can't afford to pay rent (laughs) don't have anybody looking after their interests. You follow what I am saying? MOYEN: Yeah. WILLIAMS: See, so while I can't remember exactly what the legislation addressed, I'm sure that was, it was centered around those kinds of issues. MOYEN: Okay. It may have had something to do with that it applied to the Lexington and Louisville urban areas only. WILLIAMS: Well, no. See, what it was, that was the only way I could get it passed. I wanted it to apply statewide, okay? MOYEN: Uh-huh. WILLIAMS: That's right. Yeah, that comes back to me now. I wanted it to apply statewide, because poor folk are all over Kentucky- MOYEN: Right. Okay. WILLIAMS: all right, you see. But the only way I could get it passed was you have to compromise, all right, just Jefferson County, that's what it was. MOYEN: Okay. WILLIAMS: Yeah. MOYEN: Okay. WILLIAMS: Right, that's what it was. MOYEN: All right. WILLIAMS: But it was, it began as legislation for the whole state. And that's, a lot of laws have passed that way- MOYEN: Uh-huh. WILLIAMS: especially controversial legislation where you have the interests bumping up against, you know. The boys outside in the state, we'd say, okay- back when I say boys, you know, we had only two or three women in the legislature and we all called each others boys, so. MOYEN: Right. WILLIAMS: But it's, Okay, Aubrey, we can support it, or we'll back off our opposition and we just apply it to Jefferson County, it's your problem. It's less a problem out in the state than it is there in Jefferson County. And which was probably true. MOYEN: Right. WILLIAMS: It is a more serious problem here in Jefferson County and, I'm sure, in Fayette County than it is in the rural, was in the rural area. Yeah. MOYEN: Okay. During this time, did you continue to serve on the Business, Organizations & Professions Committee? WILLIAMS: Um-hm. Um-hm. MOYEN: Can you tell me about what their goal or what did that committee do? When I look at it, it seems kind of nebulous. And you probably think, Oh boy, looking back, it's good that I- WILLIAMS: Absolutely. You're absolutely right. I think that Business, Organizations and Professions Committee, it's called BOP, was really one of the most non-essential (laughs) committees in the House. As I look, I can't think of anything major that we did. I mean, if you had legislation that the business community wanted, [inaudible] why they would design to come through there, or organizations or what have you. You know, the lobbying interests, if they wanted their legislation, they got it, and you and leadership would put it in the committee where they wanted, put it in Labor & Industry Committee, okay. You would think that, or if you have Business, Organization & Professions, then they would, Labor & Industry would be over here too, right? But no, it was a committee all its own. But that's, nothing I can't remember anything significant that happened in that committee. MOYEN: Okay. WILLIAMS: I really can't, not one thing. And then (laughs), as I, like you say, man, what a relief. I look back, I say, gosh, I was on that committee. And why they would pick on Business, Organizations & Professions, I don't know. One of the most, as I said, non-essential committees up there, you know. It's, I mean, just nutty. MOYEN: Right. WILLIAMS: It really is. MOYEN: Uh-huh. WILLIAMS: But I'm so glad. I mean, and you know, I know a couple of fellows that got caught in that thing, and they, I think about Clay Crupper. Clay Crupper was not a bit more a crook this, what's the guy up in Northern Kentucky. MOYEN: Art Schmidt. WILLIAMS: Art Schmidt. I mean, come on. I can just see myself now, we're at some conference somewhere in Las Vegas, someone (says), "Hey, Aubrey, right here's some betting money." You know, I'm a Baptist preacher, right? Saturday, these friends of my wife's and mine who are from New York who live here now wanted to go to Keeneland. I haven't been to Keeneland in years, since I was in the legislature, I guess. MOYEN: Yeah. WILLIAMS: We go up there, and as I say, I'm a Baptist preacher, so you know I don't bet. MOYEN: Um-hm. WILLIAMS: See, Baptist preachers just absolutely don't, you don't bet, you don't gamble [laughs]. But anyway, so I got lucky; I hit a race. So then I handed my friend, you know, twenty dollars so he could bet, and then he and my wife, and then all right, so that's what you do. So you, I can just see myself now with Clay and Art and all those guys, you're there in some lobby, "Here, here Aubrey." What are you going to do, you know? MOYEN: Right. WILLIAMS: Jeez, you know, so that was a big ado about nothing but destroying some lives, okay. It didn't, it did nothing at all to address what they did with- heck, there was no corruption or it was minuscule. There was no corruption in the Kentucky legislature, there really wasn't. So I'm thinking, What in the heck was that? You know, I mean, that's just part of the thinking of the times, the air of the times, you know, you just want to go, somebody wants to try and take advantage of people's attitude and make it appear that they are addressing an abuse or that was, that's garbage. MOYEN: Right. WILLIAMS: That is total garbage. You hear what I'm saying? MOYEN: Yeah. WILLIAMS: It's absolute garbage. Those people's lives that they destroyed, you know, I mean, sure you have some guys up there who were just there to hold the position and just, you know, I mean, didn't really have the interest of the state at heart. But as far as the Kentucky legislature being corrupt, that was just so untrue and so unfair too. It was just unfair and unfortunate, as far as I'm concerned. Yeah. Williams (House 1977-1985, 42nd district; Democrat) gives his impressions of several governors and their opponents in the primaries, discusses legislation on drunk driving, landlord-tenant agreements, and bail bonds, his philosophy of government, legislative independence, and the BOPTROT scandal. Part 2 of 2. Kentucky Legislature