You have found an item located in the Kentuckiana Digital Library.
2004-05-17 Interview with Jim Callahan, May 17, 2004 Leg001:2004OH78LEG80 01:15:58 Kentucky Legislature Oral History Project Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries Legislators -- Kentucky -- Interviews. Mayors -- Kentucky -- Southgate -- Biography. Postsecondary education -- Kentucky. Lotteries -- Kentucky -- Law and legislation. Kentucky. Governor (1983-1987 : Collins) Kentucky. Governor (1987-1991 : Wilkinson) Kentucky. Governor (1991-1995 : Jones) Kentucky. Governor (1995-2003 : Patton) Wilder (Ky.) Southgate (Ky.) Newport (Ky.) Northern Kentucky Collins, Martha Layne Wilkinson, Wallace Jones, Brereton Patton, Paul Donnermeyer, Bill Blandford, Don Wethington, Charles Northern Kentucky University Cities Committee Gateway Community and Technical College University of Kentucky public service lottery casino gambling Democratic Party moral issues constituent concerns BOPTROT ethics legislation healthcare legislation postsecondary education community college system fundamentalism Republican Party Term and District: House (1987-2004), 67th district Leadership Position: House Majority Caucus Chair, 1996-2004 Counties in District: Campbell County (Ky.) Jim Callahan; interviewee Eric Moyen; interviewer 2004OH078_LEG080_Callahan 1:|24(15)|48(16)|59(9)|68(20)|81(3)|105(9)|117(12)|137(15)|177(3)|190(2)|208(10)|225(2)|241(3)|260(12)|280(18)|308(8)|335(4)|375(9)|398(8)|410(4)|422(14)|432(9)|444(12)|475(9)|484(5)|498(13)|509(11)|533(9)|546(9)|555(2)|572(2)|588(8)|604(8)|615(20)|625(5)|634(4)|653(10)|667(13)|679(12)|704(15)|721(12)|733(13)|746(6)|767(9)|778(17)|794(5)|803(2)|815(12)|835(16)|849(11)|859(1)|868(15)|877(12)|895(2)|905(4)|914(10)|930(14)|942(19)|951(4)|965(10)|978(13)|989(4)|1000(8)|1019(18)|1029(14)|1038(16)|1061(15)|1077(5)|1085(4)|1093(13)|1102(13)|1112(10)|1140(2)|1156(9)|1165(17)|1189(4) audiotrans Legit interview MOYEN: All right. Well, why don't we get started? I'm here with Mr. James or Jim Callahan serving House District 67 since 1988, is that correct? CALLAHAN: `87. MOYEN: Eighty-seven was the election, `88 was the- CALLAHAN: The election was `86 and- MOYEN: Was [inaudible]- CALLAHAN: started serving in January of `87. MOYEN: Okay. Why don't we start by, could you tell me a little bit about your family background, where you're from, how long your family has been in Kentucky if you know? CALLAHAN: Well, I've been in Kentucky all but one year of my life and then in particular been in Campbell County all but one year of my life. I lived in Parma, Ohio for one year but my heart and my soul, everything else is in Kentucky, mainly Campbell County. MOYEN: Okay. CALLAHAN: So beyond that, I am married. I have two children. I have four grandchildren. And I did serve in local government prior to getting into the General Assembly. I served as a council member in the city of Southgate and then I was mayor of the city of Southgate for a total of, a combined total there, of nine years adding on to the eighteen I have in the General Assembly, that's obviously twenty-seven years of public service. MOYEN: Um-hm. CALLAHAN: So beyond that, I'm not sure how much more detail you want. MOYEN: Right. Could you tell me a little bit about your education? Where you went to school, primary and secondary as well as college, if so? CALLAHAN: Okay. I went to my primary grades were at St. Anthony in Bellevue. My secondary was at Newport Catholic, obviously in Newport, and I attended Thomas More College but I did not complete my degree. MOYEN: Okay. CALLAHAN: That's forty years ago. MOYEN: Sure. Sure. CALLAHAN: I think it would be a little late now. MOYEN: (laughs) Could you tell me a little bit about how you, growing up as, before actually serving, thought about politics? Was it something in your family that was talked about at the dinner table? Your dad I believe was involved in public service, can you tell me a little bit about that? CALLAHAN: Well, my dad was involved in local service. He served sixteen years combination of council and mayor in the city of Bellevue and with having two brothers and a sister, I think my dad deep down was hoping that one of us might follow him and get into some type of public service, be it at the city level, county level, never envisioned state level. And none of my other two brothers or sister ever expressed any interest. When my dad was running for mayor and then when he started running for county office, I was with him most of the time and I enjoyed doing that and it probably enhanced my appetite to be able to serve in some type of public position. Never did I ever think nor did my dad ever think that the interest level would take us to Frankfort, Kentucky because I considered serving that being at the council's level or the mayor's level or doing something at the county possibly but I, being even when I was mayor of the city of Southgate I did not envision ever stepping forward and running for the state representative's position. How it came about was there was a young man, I say young by comparison to me, at the time, Terry Mann, was going to run for U.S. Congress and it necessitated him giving up his seat. So Terry came to me prior to making any public announcement to ask me if I would consider running for his position that he was gonna vacate. And the reason he came to me was to make sure that I, if I wanted to do it to get it out before everybody sees it's an open seat and everybody starts filing which is typical a lot of times. So, after a lot of clarification with my wife and my children and my employer, which were the two most important, I made a decision to run for the seat. I know my boss at the time, still is my boss, Wayne Carlisle said to me, "If you're going down there just for one term and then come back," he said, "I can't support you so I want you to stay down there and do whatever it takes to get the job done." I said, " Well, there's one proviso there, Wayne," I said, "I may want to stay for twenty terms but it comes down to if the people put me back in." Having been elected in a, there was a total of four Democrats in '86 and two Republicans. I won the primary and then I ran in the general election and to be very candid with you I haven't had an opponent since. MOYEN: Um-hm. CALLAHAN: So I've been very fortunate up until the present time. The present time brings it to where I'm, what I'm going to be doing. I am not going to be running again. I'm through the end of this year. MOYEN: Right. CALLAHAN: And my reasons are very simple. I've got four grandchildren, possibly more to come. I've got a little bit of a health problem that I have to address, and it's not good being in Frankfort, my doctor tells me, with the stress and all of that. So I'm not leaving out of dislike of the position; I'm leaving because of there are certain priorities that I have to put before. MOYEN: Right. Sure. Sure. You mentioned that you didn't face any competition in your other elections. Can you tell me, are you one of the politicians who really enjoys getting out and campaigning, or is that a necessary, was that a necessary evil? CALLAHAN: Well, I think first I got to step back and put together the district that I represented. MOYEN: Sure. CALLAHAN: You're sitting in my district right now. MOYEN: Uh-huh. CALLAHAN: I work in my district. I live in my district. I got a house in Wilder that we built about six years ago and I feel that I have kept in contact with the electorate and it was easier for me to do that than for some who maybe has a large demographics that are much, much bigger than mine. I had cities packed together Southgate, Wilder, Woodlawn, Newport, Bellevue, Dayton, and then I just recently took over, last time we redistricted, I took over two precincts in Highland Heights, another city that just abuts us right down the road. MOYEN: Okay. CALLAHAN: But I think that with my reputation as I had been the mayor of Southgate and being very fair and honest to people I think that enhanced things quite a bit. But there's another proviso that did really help me, I taught both at the elementary and I taught at the secondary level. And it was ironic that when I ran for state representative you knock on the door and you knock on the door and you see one of your former students open up holding one of his toddlers or you see the mother, dad, or one of my former pupils, the same thing, open the door and being surprised. So that really, it was a matter of drawing on my past- MOYEN: Um-hm. CALLAHAN: and my involvement in the community. I was very active in coaching young people in baseball and basketball and while this doesn't sound very intriguing it does help when you deal with some of the mothers and dads and the voters out there. MOYEN: Sure. Sure. CALLAHAN: So, I guess it's something that some have the opportunity to do because they have that opportunity in front of them by virtue like me having taught and having coached but there's some that knock on that doors for the first time and it's, you have to make that impression on people- MOYEN: Uh-huh. CALLAHAN: if they're gonna come back and support you in any race but I have to attribute it to the fact that I've got a good network of friends scattered around my six cities and part of another one. MOYEN: Um-hm. CALLAHAN: And so I feel that it was the service I gave them and they knew that I was gonna continue. MOYEN: Sure. Uh-huh. I had an opportunity to interview Freed Curd and he said, I was able to get elected because I taught for so many years, he said. CALLAHAN: There is a lot of truth in that. MOYEN: Uh-huh. CALLAHAN: But you [inaudible] you were a good one. MOYEN: Right. Well, we won't spend a whole lot of time on your time in the city council and mayor because I believe that you've done that in a former interview pretty well. Now, when you were elected Wallace or I guess you were elected before Wallace- CALLAHAN: I was elected in eighty- I was elected in '86. MOYEN: Wilkinson. CALLAHAN: took office in January of '87. MOYEN: Okay. CALLAHAN: Now, let me see, was that Wilkinson then or was that Martha Layne Collins? MOYEN: Martha, at the end of Martha Layne Collins. CALLAHAN: Yeah, and Martha Layne called a special session, worker's comp I think it was. MOYEN: Right. That's correct. CALLAHAN: And- MOYEN: What was that like coming in fresh with a special session? CALLAHAN: I'm glad you ask that question because I think it's so important. What I have seen, and this will get back to the question, what I have seen over the last eighteen years are a lot of good qualified members of the General Assembly and some that just aren't qualified. I have said and said religiously, in order to serve on the, in the state General Assembly my personal opinion is, if you are gonna do that get some prior experience by being appointed or elected at the local level, be that city or county. Because I think to go to Frankfort and I see this happen, people come to Frankfort, good people, good moral people, they have no idea what the process is like, I mean zero. And I think it's important that they have some idea of what they're getting into because I see people coming down there and they may be morally better than me but they're just not in tune with how to operate within the framework of government particularly at the state level. MOYEN: Um-hm. CALLAHAN: So that to me is very critical. MOYEN: Did you feel like your time serving on the council and then as mayor helped you understand that maybe you weren't the same naive idealist, I want to come in here and change everything, you know, not that you don't have good intentions or that you don't want to serve but that you understood there's gonna be a process here as well- CALLAHAN: Well, I think there is and the people who come to Frankfort, elected and come to Frankfort and think they're gonna save the world get a rude awakening. I knew it wasn't that way, by virtue of talking to a very good friend of mine who was there when I went in, Bill Donnermeyer, and the fellow who had my seat, Terry Mann, I did a lot of conversation with them and crosstalk with them to get some idea. I even went down to Frankfort once during the session, spent some time with Donnermeyer and Mann and staying with them at the house that they had. So it put me into the process not as deeply as you are if you're there but at least it made me aware of what went on and how why it when on and personally I think that you'll find out of the majority of the legislators who have had that background they're gonna be your better legislators. MOYEN: Okay. Now when you won your election did you have much say in which committees you wanted to be on or were you pretty much appointed? CALLAHAN: You're given a sheet to write your first three- MOYEN: Okay. CALLAHAN: then you always, you have a chance to put the other ones down and I can answer that from that time and then to the present. And I feel that when I listed my preferences so to speak, one of them I put down was Cities, people come in and say, Why would you put the Cities down, that's about as dull as- And I said, "I put Cities down because that's where my knowledge is from." And truthfully it was the best move for me. So I ultimately got on A&R before I ran for leadership but up until that point in time I was able to get on to committees that helped me in my district, Cities is not gonna help somebody in rural Kentucky. MOYEN: Right. CALLAHAN: Cities will help somebody in urban Kentucky, suburban Kentucky and I felt they were pretty good to me. Now, you got to remember we're talking about a Democratic general or a Democratic House of Representatives then and now. So who's gonna get the better picks? It's gonna be the Democrats who will get the better pick but then by the same token you got to have a certain percentage that serve on every committee. MOYEN: Right. CALLAHAN: You just can't say, okay, all the A&R spots are gonna be Democrats, well, that's not the way it's set up. It's set up that a percentage is applied here so the minority party, be it Republicans, be it Democrats, will get seats on the prevalent committees that are very important but they're not getting the majority of it. MOYEN: Right. Right. Now being, I guess what you might call, a freshmen legislator- CALLAHAN: In '87. MOYEN: in '87. Did you feel any pressures to endorse a candidate for governor when that election came around with Wallace Wilkinson and John Y. Brown. CALLAHAN: No, but I was one of about six or seven out of a whole 138 that did support him. I was called- MOYEN: So, you did- CALLAHAN: one day in Frankfort and met him through Tom Doorman at the time and I there was a lot of people that didn't like Wallace Wilkinson, he had that kind of that arrogant, he thought that everything he said was the way it should be but I think he did a pretty good job overall. And I had no problems with him. He was very good to me, helped me within my district. I think that's important that you have that type of relationship. So no, I really didn't have any problems with Wallace Wilkinson. Probably if you take a barometer and gaged it you'd probably have a heck of a lot more that had problems with him than didn't have problems with him. MOYEN: Um-hm. Um-hm. CALLAHAN: But that's up to the individuals. I always considered myself someone who was very understanding, knew what it took to get the job done and that's what I did. I didn't become somebody that I wasn't. MOYEN: Um-hm. CALLAHAN: I stayed the same as I had been, what got me through the council and got me through the mayor in Southgate. I didn't change so from that standpoint I think that helps when you go to Frankfort, if you put on a different personality when you go from here to Frankfort, you're in trouble. MOYEN: Uh-huh. Uh-huh. To follow up on that, is there any role that a politician has although you may not want to change your personality, when you talk about your district you do have a number of cities is, there any of this district that would have somewhat of a rural feel where it might be better to have your pickup truck as opposed to the Lincoln or the Cadillac, when you go to- CALLAHAN: First of all, I don't drive Lincolns or Cadillacs. MOYEN: Right. (laughs) CALLAHAN: But no, my cities, Newport, Bellevue, Dayton are the river cities in my district. Then you got Wilder, you're in now, a combination urban and not urban but suburban little rural but not a lot. MOYEN: Okay. CALLAHAN: And you've got Southgate strictly a combination of suburban and mostly suburban. Who have I missed? Newport, Bellevue, Dayton, Southgate, Wilder, Woodlawn, [inaudible] Woodlawn. Woodlawn is only a city of about three hundred people so it's really not a factor in all of this. MOYEN: Okay. CALLAHAN: But they're still part of my district. MOYEN: Sure. CALLAHAN: But no- MOYEN: Okay. You mentioned that you supported Wallace Wilkinson, he got into- and then you mentioned that some people were frustrated with him. One of the big issues of contention proved to be his push for gubernatorial succession and the ways- CALLAHAN: [inaudible] MOYEN: with primary individuals in the Senate I guess, the House to some extent but with Eck Rose and others who, this push for, you know, he wanted to be able to succeed himself as governor and a number of people said, No, that's not gonna happen. And he threatened to run people against them, did do you recall any debates about the gubernatorial succession at all or were you asked about things- CALLAHAN: I can relate to the debates but I did not attempt to be a part of it simply because I knew how I felt. I liked Wallace Wilkinson, he was doing a good job for me to the district I represented and certainly why would I turn against someone who has been a benefit to me- MOYEN: Um-hm. CALLAHAN: and to the constituency that it served? MOYEN: Uh-huh. Uh-huh. And in the end it did happen anyway, I mean not under- CALLAHAN: Not under him. MOYEN: on his watch but- CALLAHAN: Not, yeah. MOYEN: Right. Were you in support during his campaign of the lottery and there was some- CALLAHAN: Hundred percent. I was hundred percent. Bill Donnermeyer who I said was there when I came down. MOYEN: Um-hm. CALLAHAN: A twenty-four-year veteran of the General Assembly had Bellevue and Dayton at that time that I ultimately got when we redistricted. But what was that question again? MOYEN: Were you support of the lottery? CALLAHAN: Oh, okay, yes, absolutely. MOYEN: Okay. CALLAHAN: Hundred percent. MOYEN: Alright. CALLAHAN: And I'm in favor of some type of casino gambling in Kentucky. MOYEN: Uh-huh. CALLAHAN: I'm not gonna be one way one way and another over here. MOYEN: Uh-huh. CALLAHAN: I'm consistent. People don't see our people coming back from Indiana with long faces knowing that some, they left their money in Indiana. MOYEN: Right. Uh-huh. CALLAHAN: But incidentally, let me just backup to the lottery. MOYEN: Sure. CALLAHAN: When the lottery was voted on statewide, people had predicted that certain areas of the state was gonna just wipe out the lottery, the Bible Belt and so on. I'll tell you what happened, there was very strong support from the Bible Belt. MOYEN: Uh-huh. CALLAHAN: And what that means is that people vote what they feel is best for them. So it's not always, you know, what people think it is. But that's true as far as the votes, the Bible Belt did help support the lottery. MOYEN: Um-hm. CALLAHAN: But I was in support of it too. MOYEN: Did you face the ire of any local ministers or denominations or- CALLAHAN: I had some ministers that wrote me a letter and said they're in opposition to it and then certainly I can respect that but I don't have to agree with it. MOYEN: Right. Right. CALLAHAN: Becuase they told me that it's evil, it's amoral, and so on and so forth. I asked them to give me examples where it was and it is very difficult when you don't have an example. So now, and I really think that the way in which I handled myself when I was council, mayor, into the General Assembly and then proceeding from there, I think it was obvious that I was not gonna be somebody to be a yes-man and much that leads up to the fact that after four terms I decided that I wanted to run for leadership and subsequently I filed, was gonna run for majority caucus chairman. Jody Richards at the time was caucus chairman, he was gonna move up and run for speaker. So I would've never been able to secure the spot in leadership had I not been connected with people throughout the entire state. So a lot of the legislators respected me for what I was and not for where did I come from and they knew that I was gonna be fair and they knew that I would answer to their wishes where possible and if I can't, give the reasons why. But I was reelected five times in that. MOYEN: Right. CALLAHAN: And so I have to say I was doing something right and the perception that I had of myself isn't egotistical it's just that I don't go up to some of these people and treat them like they're dirt. I'm not saying we have people who do that but some people when in leadership sometimes have a tendency to use that and overrule certain things that one may want but I just feel that I related well to the other members of the General Assembly and subsequently they reelected me five times. MOYEN: Right. You mentioned in your discussion of that that you had good connections throughout the state, could you tell me any ways that you see regionalism: Northern Kentucky, Western Kentucky, Central Kentucky, or Eastern Kentucky? Any ways that that either in that identity plays a role in Kentucky politics, in the legislature either good or bad? CALLAHAN: That's a good question. I got a good answer for you. When I ran for leadership at that time there could be, anybody could run for leadership, no one was restricted from running or not running and subsequently what happened was, when I ran there were not part of Kentucky, Louisville, Jefferson, Central Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky and Western Kentucky, there was- I can't even recall who was in leadership at the time but you could conceivably have all five from one area in the state. There's nothing statutorily or that would never be statutorily, there's nothing as to the rules of the House that you have to have someone from Western Kentucky, someone from here, someone from here, someone from here. However, when the election was over the ways the winners came out, that regionalized them and I seized upon the opportunity to do exactly what we just talked about, to try to get someone from Northern Kentucky, which was me, try to get someone from Eastern Kentucky, which was Stumbo- MOYEN: Right. CALLAHAN: now it's Adkins, in Louisville Larry Clark, and Central Kentucky it was Kenny Rapier at the time and then Joe Barrows came on board. And am I missing one? I think I got them all, Clark, Barrows, that's current Barrows, Richards, Eastern Kentucky, Stumbo and myself, that'd be five. So I think it's a good balance, I think it would not be very advantageous to have everyone from the same area of the state. I think we should have a regional exposure. However, come in January of '05 I think we're gonna see that change again, you're not gonna have five even divided precincts or even divided regions of the state. I think you're gonna find people if they feel they're qualified run, they're going to run and it doesn't make any difference if they're one of three that's running from West Kentucky. You've gotta look at the numbers too, in West Kentucky there's twenty-one Democratic legislators in the House and when you get to Northern Kentucky you're talking about three. MOYEN: Right. CALLAHAN: And when you go to Eastern Kentucky you're talking approximately ten or eleven, you go to Central Kentucky you're talking about thirteen, and when you go to- it's not gonna add up, twenty-one. Did I say anything about Central Kentucky? MOYEN: Thirteen. CALLAHAN: Yeah, Central Kentucky. MOYEN: Louisville. CALLAHAN: Louisville, thirteen, fourteen. MOYEN: Um-hm. And then even those you can have very different types of Democrats- CALLAHAN: Yeah. MOYEN: in that certainly. CALLAHAN: We do have that in Louisville. MOYEN: Right. CALLAHAN: I mean when you look at it and I heard the best explanation that I have heard and it makes sense is why do Democrats do this, why do Democrats do that? Well, first of all, it's a little easier for the Republicans to deal with thirty-six house members than us dealing with sixty-four. The other thing is, we are a party of diversity, in other words, one is not punished and put out to pasture because they are for abortion. I am not for abortion but what I'm saying is that is where people do not unify and come together on that. As individuals they express themselves and that's where the Republicans probably, you see less of that. If you see the moral issues coming up they're always banded together. And I feel that each legislator should have their opportunity and do what they feel is right for them and for their district. I personally am opposed to that issue and probably some others we could come up with but, you know, I just think I guess what I'm trying to say is, we have a diversified group of legislators on the Democratic side. It's starting to change a little bit. I'm starting to see some of the swing to the right, the fundamentalist view. Are they wrong? I don't always agree with them like they don't always agree with me but I think by and large I think that the Democrats particularly in the House, I can't speak to the Senate, we've got a good diversified group who represent probably about every issue there is. MOYEN: Um-hm. Um-hm. CALLAHAN: And some are more vocal than others, that had a lot to do with it, how vocal are they? MOYEN: Uh-huh. Have you found those types of issues be it abortion issues or more recently gay marriage, same-sex marriage as particularly, you know, they are hot buttons in term of the media but in terms of your serving in the district, is that what you would get the most calls or letters or concerns about? Or are people more interested in just you and what they think about you, whether you're honest or- CALLAHAN: Well, this is not a smart answer but it's a true answer. Probably about as much as people when I see them at church on Sunday ask me how things are going in Washington. I'm being a little smart there, tongue and cheek. People don't know where you're at. Unless it is a real hot issue most of the people who know you and who I have dealt with over the years look at me as Jim Callahan who's been sent down there to do the will of the people that he represents and I have never had any real problems on the issues. There have been a couple of times when I got involved in some of the controversial but to the point of hurting me back in my district I think not having any opposition is one indicator that I must be doing something right. MOYEN: Right. CALLAHAN: Now, at the end of this year I won't be there anymore though. MOYEN: Um-hm. CALLAHAN: But no, I can't say that I get a lot of negativism, I never did. I do get letters, oh, like anyone else but I answer every one of my letters. I answer my letters, in my district in particular. MOYEN: Right. CALLAHAN: And so between e-mails and whatever else, letters, phone messages, I respond to all of that. It might be just a canned comment, I received your inquiry of this, keep in mind that I will look at your best interest as it moves forwards through the process. It doesn't mean I'm gonna vote for it, it doesn't mean I'm gonna vote against it but those I get very few phone calls at home. Most of the phone calls I get at home are from people who have been told by another legislator you better call Jim Callahan he might be able to help. Jim Bunning's office did that quite a bit. MOYEN: Uh-huh. CALLAHAN: And I don't mind that because again, I've got the latitude here to do those types of things and I will up until the end of this year. So I take advantage of it. If someone who you work for is telling you, do what you have to do to maintain the credibility of integrity that you have now and how you can improve someone's situation, I'm gonna do it. And I have done it. MOYEN: Um-hm. Could you tell me a little bit about when you did decide to run for leadership, who was, what opponents did you, or potential opponents did you have that eventually decided not to run? Do you recall? CALLAHAN: Well, really I don't think there were too many that decided to run but there were a couple who over the period of time, the five sessions that we had the leadership elections. The first one, Fred Nesler from deep Western Kentucky ran against me. The split of the sixty-four votes came down, Freddy had fourteen and I had the balance of it. The second time I ran for leadership I had another Western Kentuckian, Charlie Geveden and also with Charlie Geveden was Joe Barrows, so there was three of us running for the caucus chair that I currently sat in. Neither of them were even close, they split up some votes and they about came even on the balance of votes that I didn't get. And then the last time I ran I didn't have any opposition. The last time I ran was back in, what are we in? Even, I mean odd number years, it was '03. Geveden ran again and it got to be a pretty hot race. He had twenty-one Democrats that were in the House considered to be Western Kentuckians and they were playing that card pretty strongly. I went out and worked the legislators no matter where I was at I worked them, worked them and worked them and I was honest and fair with them and I came out winning by fourteen votes. MOYEN: Um-hm. CALLAHAN: So, I think that indicated to me that I had what I had to have to keep in favor of the ones that were there in Frankfort, the legislators, but I don't know what you want anymore on that. MOYEN: No, that's great. Can you tell me when you are in that position what extra role/roles or responsibilities do you have as Democratic caucus chair? What extra involvement does that require? CALLAHAN: Well, obviously you have to stay in constant contact with the members. You do for the members whatever they may ask, if it's possible. We have a lot of legislators who come in and need some special request, they can't take it to someone else and they bring it to my office and I have three people in my office. I have a chief of staff and then two assistants to him. And we probably have been as communicable as anyone down there when it comes to trying to help the individual back in his home district. That was a thing that a lot of them complained about when I got into leadership, we need more ammunition to take back home and let our constituents know what's going on and I think that's fair to ask that question. But from the standpoint of anything beyond that, they typically would come and if they could, if they had a request that we couldn't honor I would so tell them that we can't do anything about it. But we usually were able to help most people. MOYEN: Could you tell me what a typical request would be or what people are interested in? CALLAHAN: Okay. MOYEN: In terms of your service? CALLAHAN: Okay, in terms of my service we were very good at getting out letters for the individuals, we were very good at ordering, my office took care of all the flags, not a big deal, all the flags and not just in the House but also in the Senate and we took care of that. We took care of when someone died whether we'd send him flowers or not, not a big deal. And basically what happened after you're in there for about a year or so and the other members begin to see just where you are gonna come down on certain issues, i.e. some of the more liberal thinkers probably didn't come to me as often as they would someone else because they knew that if I took a position and it was not in their vein to be liberal enough they're not gonna come back and keep me asking for the same thing. MOYEN: Um-hm. CALLAHAN: So, sometimes that and that wasn't that many- MOYEN: Right. CALLAHAN: wasn't that many. We have a handful that are pretty strong liberals but, again, we are a group of diversified individuals, you're not gonna get all the Bible thumpers out of us. MOYEN: Right. If we could move on chronologically here a little bit, I want to talk about after Brereton Jones' election, a few major events that took place while he was governor. One was, the BOPTROT scandal, when that broke what were your initial thoughts? Were they, I thought maybe something was going on here but who knew or were you blind-sided and thought, I can't believe some of this. CALLAHAN: Well, a lot of this was centered around a group of, say, ten to twelve legislators. I was not one of those running at night, went to reception to reception or from bar to bar. I knew when I went down there that I had credibility and integrity and I knew when I came back I wanted to have the same thing. So I didn't make a big issue with these people but I didn't agree with some of their styles and how do you best let them know that, you don't hang around with them. I know and his name I'm not gonna give you, but I recall an individual when Wayne Carlisle, my employee, when he was in Frankfort during the Wilkinson campaign and this individual, a member of the House, came up to Wayne and myself who was standing there and he knew Wayne real well and he said, "Wayne," he said, "Tell this guy if he wants to get anywhere when he comes to Frankfort, tell him he better just keep up with me." So he was drunk, so I just didn't pay much attention to him but here we are eighteen years later and I never did deal with him and he's been out of the General Assembly for quite a while. But as far as when BOPTROT came down I remember very vividly that the speaker, Don Blandford, all of a sudden someone came up and I didn't have no reason to think anything was wrong, someone came up and said something to him and he just flew off of the speaker's podium up there and somehow I think we adjourned, I don't recall the details and here they said, the FBI men are here, some are in plain clothes, some are in suits, and they were taking people in to offices and talking to them and so on which some of them might've made a mistake by talking before they got representation, particularly if they were guilty. But I maybe I was just aloof but I no, I did not see it coming on. I wasn't traveling in that fast-track crowd at night. Is that wrong? [inaudible] thought it was wrong. Is it their style that I have? No. So I really wasn't involved in that type of dialog prior to that happening. MOYEN: Um-hm. CALLAHAN: You gotta remember, when did that happen? In 19- MOYEN: In '93 I believe. CALLAHAN: It had to be before 5 because that's when I was elected to leadership. MOYEN: Um-hm, '93. CALLAHAN: So it, maybe 2 or 3, I don't know. MOYEN: Yeah, maybe it was '92. Do you recall thinking that as more and more news of that came out and different people pled guilty to certain things and others didn't or and went to court over those that maybe some of it was, had gone too far in terms of the investigation, in terms of what people were getting in trouble for, did you feel like it was all legitimate, that, you know, everyone who, you know, a lot of people said, why, I just think that, you know so and so and this person, they were good people and I can't believe that they would've taken bribes or that they would've- CALLAHAN: Yeah. I guess the activity for that and here all this took place I guess was at the old capital [inaudible] in the condos they have down there but I'm not stupid. After they started talking about what was going on it became apparent to me that there was a problem. MOYEN: Right. CALLAHAN: And they started bringing in certain individuals by name, a couple of them that were brought in by name did shock me, but I think a couple of them whose name were brought into it I think they were tarred and feathered, while maybe they should have just been smacked on their rear end a little bit and a prime example of that, a very good friend of mine, a Republican legislator was Art Schmidt. Art Schmidt was a gentleman from head to toe but something happened in Vegas or something as I understand and that's how Art got implicated but I think he got a bad deal, I really do, based on what I was told. MOYEN: Um-hm. CALLAHAN: But I was never, in fact, it's funny, Pence, the current lieutenant governor, there was some function that I attended and he was there as the lieutenant governor and I said, "Oh, I was here when BOPTROT," I said, "I understand you were part of that." He said, "Yeah," he said, "I'll tell you one thing, I never have heard your name mentioned so you're in good shape." But, I don't know how you can say that after all that time but I think we went to the overkill when the ethics bill. I first proposed an ethics bill for local governments that didn't have that, the city and county, and they used the bill I had to construct their ethics. We probably were as strong in ethics as any state that I know other than maybe South Carolina and, you know, I just think it can go too far sometimes. The receptions that were held at night in particular did have advantages to them, they had advantages because they set you up in a circumstance where you were socializing and maybe able to get some answers that you would not get if you're sitting over a desk in the- MOYEN: Right. CALLAHAN: in the annex or the Capitol and so I think that we overreacted there. Slowly in the last two session, three session that's starting to spin back toward having the receptions at night. People know what their limits are, they know what they can and what they cannot do and if they don't shame on them, they should be punished. MOYEN: Right. CALLAHAN: But the majority of the people, the overwhelming majority know what they can and cannot do. MOYEN: Um-hm. CALLAHAN: And I think that we, the members of the General Assembly, House and Senate, overreacted to BOPTROT- MOYEN: Um-hm. CALLAHAN: personally. And maybe it's because I wasn't directly involved with it so I could see that, you know, they're saying that someone did this, someone did that and some of them sure have been punished but not to degree that we punish ourselves. MOYEN: Right. Could you tell me another important development while Brereton Jones was in office was the development of the, his big push for healthcare legislation. Can you tell me as a legislator what the different variables or pressure points or maybe you want to call them interest groups involved in this healthcare legislation process, who they are and how you, maybe either during Brereton Jones' time as governor or even after, have tried to address what you see as the serious healthcare problems? CALLAHAN: Well, you're talking about House Bill 240 in the '94 session I think it was- MOYEN: Um-hm. CALLAHAN: and that was Brereton Jones that was pushing that very strongly. I did not perceive myself as being a real scholar on all the intricate parts of healthcare but I am now more so than I was back in '94. I think that Brereton felt personally that what he was doing was definitely an answer to the problem that we had. Was it the type of problem we had that they it reached into Washington and I guess this is Hilary Clinton's plan or something or some of the stuff [inaudible]. But I think that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle used that at great exaggeration that was how bad some things were. It wasn't just in Kentucky, it was all over so I mean and today they keep referring back to in debate they keep referring back to the House Bill- MOYEN: 240? CALLAHAN: 240 and oh, all you have to do is pick up a newspaper and you see the states that are having problems, after problem, after problem. Healthcare is a national problem and to be very candid with you, even some of the most liberal or some of the most conservative legislators agree, maybe we need healthcare on a national level, maybe. And we say that only because when you live in Ohio and you work in Kentucky the, what you're gonna get over here for benefits is gonna be different and if you had a one set type of benefits in particular healthcare it may eliminate some of the problems. We got a major problem. There's no ifs, ands, or buts about it. But I do not feel that it's still all tied to House Bill 240. MOYEN: Um-hm. Um-hm. CALLAHAN: And if I'm sure if you're a politician and you want to get reelected I think you probably will throw out to some of your constituents that this individual is in favor of House Bill 240. That's not true, nobody is out to strip somebody of their benefits but it was a good political jargon to throw out. And they're still throwing it out today as we speak. MOYEN: Um-hm. Were there any other major issues that you recall especially issues with, well I guess the slot machines at tracks, that comes later or was that going on during Brereton Jones' tenure as well? CALLAHAN: No, no. No, it wasn't. When you get to the slots, I have more to say on that. [Tape 1, side 1 ends; side 2 begins] CALLAHAN: I'm familiar with that. MOYEN: Okay. All right. When did the discussions about slot machines at the racetracks, begin if you recall? Maybe they've been going on since you've been there. CALLAHAN: Probably some of it started in 1998 and probably the first bill, not probably, the first bill that was put in called for slots at the tracks was in the 2000 session. It was my bill. And I put it in because I truly felt that there was some good logic being brought forward by the people to race tracks and they're a signature industry- MOYEN: Right. CALLAHAN: the race tracks are and I had made a promise to the members of the House that I would never ask them to take a floor vote on the issue of slots at the tracks unless I knew we had its support in the Senate. Well, we had meetings, we had two committee meetings and the committee members voted twice and both times we were successful in doing what we were trying to do, to get it out of committee and but again, I told them I would not do that. I wasn't gonna change. I tried to convince, in fact, I got something here to show you. See, this here? This is when I was testifying on House Bill in the 2000 session, Keep Kentucky Dollars and Cents. That was the buttons that we had made up. MOYEN: Okay. CALLAHAN: And that was an ad I put in a magazine. MOYEN: Okay. CALLAHAN: But I worked my tail end off with the people from the CEO's and the executives from Churchill to Turfway, to Keeneland, all the way through. We spent a lot of time debating this and I never could get it to the point where it was becoming more and more acceptable to the members of the General Assembly. For some reason they think that people don't know what they're doing, they think that they have to be their guardian. I mean, my goodness, what is there at the racetrack? Parimutuel wagering, so you're gambling, so- But I could never convince them. The last set time it was brought up Larry Clark started in August before going in in January of this year. Larry, being from the Churchill Down area, he really fought and he tried to come up with a plan and I thought he was very, very close to it, in fact, I know he was and but the horse racing people shot it down, they didn't agree with some of it. And then they told me [inaudible] Larry didn't exactly connect up on a friendship basis and but Larry worked hard on it. He felt, and I think he was right, we had to parlay some of this into land-based casinos and if we didn't we were not gonna get the support of mainstream Kentucky and a lot of them felt that way up in this area and but finally it was the racetracks that Larry could not get to come in the way he wanted and subsequently he abandoned that bill late in the session. He was hoping that they would come back and be more conciliatory about what they were asking and they didn't. I really think and someone asked this question out of me in an audience that I was in about two weeks ago, Do I think that this will ever come back again? Probably, it may not in the next session. I think the next session is gonna be so critically important to Kentucky because you got a lot more people that are starting to look and even slide toward that right. I don't want liberals, I'd like the moderates where they can open up and at least would be able to deal with issues and not in the context of it's a sin, it's not a sin but look at it as a value and they're making things out of things that are not. But it certainly is an income that we could be using and not leaving in Indiana. MOYEN: Right. CALLAHAN: The big issue that they talk about is compulsive gamblers, well, they didn't gamble in Kentucky, they gambled in Indiana so why not if we are gonna pay the price of it then why don't we get gambling in- MOYEN: [inaudible] CALLAHAN: but they're not gonna do it at this point, to me. MOYEN: Um-hm. Another important issue during Paul Patton's time as governor was the higher ed reform and I believe you were the lead sponsor- CALLAHAN: Yes. MOYEN: of that. Could you tell me how that came about? What the important points were and where there was tension along the way? CALLAHAN: Okay. I was very, very close to Paul Patton. He and I met prior to him being governor but subsequently in 1995 when he was giving his inaugural address I wasn't even there, I was supposed to be on, stand there, sitting there with the rest of the legislature but I was in the courtroom with my daughter who had sustained a serious automobile accident with a drunken driver and the court, she was in court then and I couldn't leave, I stayed back where I should've been. But at that time Paul Patton said in his '95 inaugural address, the prime area that he's gonna look at in his first term as governor is going to be the area of post-secondary education. So that's where I heard that he first talked about it. Well, then when he got into the session and he started talking about it a little more, a little more, I started talking to him and wanted to know exactly what he was proposing because I've got Northern Kentucky, the university up there on the hill. MOYEN: Right. CALLAHAN: And I felt very strongly about, the more I talked to Paul Patton, the more I was convinced this man knows what he's talking about, he's just not throwing a lot of words out there, he's done a lot of research, a lot of knowledge and he is one that truly believed this is the best for Kentucky. After four or five meetings, and I remember very vividly the one, he says, "Jim," he says, "I'm gonna put my whole political career on line when I come out with this." That's when I said to him, I said, "Governor, if you can put this on your personal agenda by virtue of saying that it could be something that drives you out of politics, I'm not gonna be any different, I want to be on there too." So I said, I would support and I would actually sponsor that particular bill. It was a very difficult bill because basically what it came down to was almost Frankfort versus UofK. And not almost, it did. And Charles Wethington who used to talk to me, he don't talk to me a whole lot anymore. But I really thought it was the right thing. I had problems up here at Northern because there were people hatched in to UofK but I thought that the premises that were very, very, very important, we've got to establish who are gonna be our research universities. We had to establish how are we going to connect the community colleges and the technical schools because they were virtually not even talking to each other and they should've been. And there were a lot of people who felt that taking community colleges away from UK was unfair. But let's look at it from the other public universities, every time a major issue came up that was very important to post-secondary ed, every time that came up you had the University of Kentucky have hands raised from all over the state, these regional areas because they had community colleges. That isn't fair to the other, you know, the other institutions of higher learning and it's not fair to the General Assembly as a whole when they got that much power. Don't get me wrong, I think that at the time that they were set up, the community colleges belonging under the wing of somebody but as time went on they were not used for that anymore, they were used more as a power base to get things for the University of Kentucky. And I go to all of the basketball games and all of that but we're not talking basketball games, we're talking post-secondary ed. And I feel that one thing I did really helped. When I said I would take the bill I got together with people, with eight or nine legislators in the House, Democrats and Republicans. In fact, the very first one that I got on, to sign on to the bill, was Dick Murgatroyd who's now no longer in the General Assembly but is in Fletcher's transportation somewhere. But I felt that we had proved our points but all that was going on at the [inaudible] was people trying to kill it. Stumbo was one to trying to kill it too. I mean Greg Stumbo was not a fan even though him and Patton were very, very close but I feel that when we put those eight together, eight or nine together and we I assigned each of them a point in that bill, in House Bill 1 and they were gonna become the experts so to speak in that. MOYEN: Um-hm. CALLAHAN: In the floor debate, in the committee debate, whatever they were able to look at that and make very good commentary. And that worked very good. Key night, two nights, but I remember the one night I was over in my office in the annex, about 10:30 the phone rings and he said, "I want you over to the governor's office right away." "What's going on? We're going to have a vote in the morning and I got to finish this up." So I went over and I opened the door, there sits Charles Wethington and Greg Stumbo. This is where this quote, this compromise that came out. MOYEN: Uh-huh. CALLAHAN: And to a degree it probably was and probably good that it happened but it wasn't as big of a comprise as one might think. But ultimately the vote that I feel was very critical, if I recall it was on a Wednesday night and the Senate had the bill and they put it out with twenty-eight amendments on it, twenty-eight amendments got on that. As soon as the senate adjourned for that particular session that night we went down to the room 110, we meaning the supporters and the staff people, the governor, everybody that had any interest in this and was working with us, we went down and we had twenty-eight amendments. After going through it in a rather quick manner we said that on the surface we've got- I think it was thirteen that we can concur with and fifteen we can't concur with and those numbers may be reversed, I can't recall thoroughly. But when you concur it means that you're not gonna argue and you're gonna let it go. So we went through, a little more difficult when you say not concur because to tell you the truth a couple of these that are in there were gut wrenchers, they were gonna tear the bill apart, they were gonna eliminate any need to go any further. Well, the Senate put those in then we came down and we gave reasons why we shouldn't, this is among- this group now, and we wanted people to speak on it as long as they felt comfortable so subsequently when it all was said and done we went down to the next day, yeah, there was fifteen to concur, thirteen did not concur. We went down and said, okay, we do not concur, we do the concurred first, [inaudible] I wrote that we concurred with the Senate on this particular one, went through fifteen of those, no problem at all. Now, we get into the hard stuff. We knew which ones were the hard stuff over there so we picked out the ones that we thought could pass first and or we could convince them to pass. So we did and we went through them methodically one by one by one and subsequently we went through all of them and we had fifteen that we did concur with, that went through okay. We had thirteen that we did not concur with and subsequently the ball game is over, the Senate couldn't do anything then. MOYEN: Uh-huh. CALLAHAN: I mean we showed them that we had the political will to be able to stop the movement that had been going on out there. MOYEN: Um-hm. Could you tell me, maybe this is more just current debate commentary but how do you think that bill has it benefitted Kentucky the way you thought it would and how would you line some of the issues you were dealing with back then up with some of the funding debates that are going on now about higher ed? CALLAHAN: Well, I think there isn't any question, we're not meeting our commitment to education in general, not just higher ed. I mean we're not even K through 12, we're not giving them what they deserve. But as far as the major components the one thing that we had been able to keep in place is Bucks for Brains and that's proved to be very, very, very beneficial. And some at the university would say without that it wouldn't be what it is today. MOYEN: Right. CALLAHAN: But I think we got a problem from a funding standpoint, not because we don't want to fund it but because we don't have the money to fund it with at this point and hopefully, that's gonna change but if we don't realize that education, post-secondary ed, secondary, primary, if we don't realize that that is the biggest issue that we have to keep going through the next years that come because if we let us get out of sync with our education program we're gonna fail, we're gonna fail dramatically. And I really think there's enough legislators who feel that way that will not gonna let that happen. Now, we're not gonna fund them the way we did in the past this time, we don't have a budget yet, but I think there's enough good legislators. What scares me the most is this fundamentalist that go over here and you get some of these groups that are very hung up on these family values and all of that and they're moving to the education arena and I'm good for a family, I got children, I got grandchildren but I think that we've got a certain element that's starting to drift away from the centerfold where education is and some of them are starting to have some minor effect on education. If that prevails and gets worse next session we got a problem and I'm going to do anything I can even as a lay person having, will be leaving at the end of December no longer being in the General Assembly but certainly that doesn't curtail me from having my say and how I feel. And this is why I think it is so important we got to send knowledgeable people down, I mean you just don't send someone down there because they're popular in Frankfort I'm talking about the new legislators. Send them down because they are there and they don't look and see who's gonna vote for them, who's gonna vote against them every time an issue comes up and there's some that do that, that concerns me. That really concerns me. MOYEN: Are you gonna try to be involved in any way in supporting a successor? Have you made up your mind if that's something that you want to get involved in or do you want to stay back from that? I'm not gonna ask you who or with- CALLAHAN: My statement just came out in the paper the other day, "Callahan stays mum on who will replace him." I told the three people individually, and collectively that I was not gonna get involved in the Democratic primary. After the primary knowing that there's a Republican that had filed but who has no experience at the community level, the three that I'm looking at, one used to be on the Bellevue city's or Bellevue Independent School District Board of Education, I helped her get on the Gateway Community Colleges Board of Regents which she is on now. I've got another one who is a legislator or a council member here in the city of Wilder and then I've got another one who is on the Campbell County fiscal court but had been a Newport City commissioner. So what I'm saying is that they all have some type of background with the local government. School board to a lesser degree but I have said, it'd be kind of abnormal for me if I had said that I think it's important that they have some connection back with local government or local exposure and then to turn around and say I support somebody that doesn't have that- MOYEN: Um-hm. CALLAHAN: wouldn't be too complimentary to how I say and what it means. But, yeah so I intend, and I have told the individuals when the primary is over, tomorrow, I will be a hundred percent behind the Democratic nominee. Now you might say, well, that sounds pretty partisan to me, well, it is but that's how I'm gonna do it. MOYEN: Uh-huh. Uh-huh. In winding up could you tell me what some of the tensions you faced in terms of I think every legislator goes to Frankfort desiring to serve their home district as well as the entire state, when you have an entity like Northern Kentucky University here do you ever have issues where you really feel like, oh, this is a tough one in terms of, yes, I want to get everything I can for Northern just like someone who is from Lexington with UK or Louisville and UofL or Murray and Murray State versus what might be best for the state as a whole in terms of duplication or what you know, you might label as pork projects or whatever, how have you dealt with that tension over the years? CALLAHAN: The pork projects as you so indicated are not issues that in my opinion get involved in the educational arena, from new buildings, whatever. A classic example is up here at Northern, the most recently completed building, the Science Center. A thirty-eight million dollar building, that building- and when we went into session in '96 there was no money in there for planning and design, no money in there for to do anything as it relates to that Science Center and it's been talked about for a number of years. So when we go through the process, go to free conference on the budget contrary to what the governor wanted at that time I was able to put in 1.5 million dollars for planning and design for that particular facility supported by the other members on the conference committee, Democrats and Republicans, and I thought it was time that they got it and truthfully it was. So then in '98 after we got the other in '96, put in the design, in '98 we got the balance up to the thirty-eight million, the Science Center was history, it's up here today. I don't consider that pork, I consider that as being something that was much needed and evidently the legislature thought a little more so than the governor did. MOYEN: Uh-huh. CALLAHAN: But he was with us a hundred percent right after we did it. Other than that, when you get in to the city level and I'm gonna relate to you an exact incident that involved Wallace Wilkinson (coughs). We passed back in the early 1990s, KERA, Kentucky Education Reform Act. MOYEN: Right. Right. CALLAHAN: not to be confused with the post-secondary ed- MOYEN: Right. Right. CALLAHAN: that was [inaudible]. Well, we had that bill crafted and it came out and in Northern Kentucky we had a total of two House members vote for KERA, two out of all the House members, Democrat and Republican. Well, that then cautioned some of our other members, it didn't win by the way. That then did create the situation where those who had been very much involved say, hey, we can't let ten- Wallace Wilkinson had put in his budget nineteen million dollars for a convocation center up here at NKU. When this vote came out the members of the committee in that said, We can't send that up there, they only had two votes out of all the votes and they expect them to benefit from this? Well, then one of the committees took out of the nineteen million, they took ten million to send it down to Murray State University for an arena down there and so that left nine million dollars and I thought, God, here we were that close, the governor, it was in his budget but they took it out because of lack of support from other members of the General Assembly from various parts of the state, namely in Murray. So after it was all said and done, I went into Wallace Wilkinson, I said, "Governor," I said, "there's a problem here now," I said, "I need your help." I said, "We had nineteen million dollars that you put in and we're very thankful for that in the budget for NKU for a convocation center." I said, "That's history but there's still nine million dollars left and," I said, "I feel that money is gonna go somewhere. Somewhere that money is gonna go and I feel it's important that I get some of that to take back to my area because if it's not my area it's gonna be somebody else's area." So I was able to talk him in to a 1.5 million dollar community center for up at Southgate, my district. I was able to talk about, not talk, I got 1.5 million to the expansion of the park system in Newport. A port of entry, 750,000 dollars. There were a couple of other things up there- oh, a parking garage in Covington. It was a combination of the other guy who voted for education reform- MOYEN: Okay. CALLAHAN: Marty Sheehan is now a district judge over in Kenton County, I'm the only one left from that group. MOYEN: Uh-huh. CALLAHAN: But I personally want, my philosophy has been if you're gonna send money back to an area, fine, but if that money is not justified in being sent there I think then that's when you step forward. MOYEN: Right. CALLAHAN: And I felt strongly, very strongly and the governor knew that or he would have never given it to me. But making the plea I did, I guess you call that pork but I guess by the same token if I'd walked out and said, "Governor, I appreciate your interest in it, I understand," and let him send it somewhere else, I failed. MOYEN: Right. CALLAHAN: I failed. But I didn't and those are things that the people understand when they see the product being finished but so I don't know if I've answered enough of that or not. MOYEN: No, that makes perfect sense. Could you tell me why you think there has been this turn, you talked about this, a shift toward more fundamentalism or a concern over that, why there, and it may fall in line with what I'm gonna to ask, why there has been a larger and larger Republican presence in the Kentucky Senate but in the House, the House has been able to maintain its Democratic majority in a strong, strong way at least in political- CALLAHAN: Sixty-four to thirty-six. MOYEN: Right. CALLAHAN: Actually the downfall of the Senate in particular was the way Eck Rose handled his particular members. He was the president of the Senate, Eck Rose was, and subsequently he left the General Assembly for his own run for governor. But I'm not quite sure how to answer that. I don't want to say that because they have much more talented people in the Senate that are running although it's pretty obvious that when you got sixty-four and thirty-eight over here that you're gonna have the chance of having more people who are not of the quality or the vintage. But that's a good question but I'm not quite sure how to answer that. That's been going on for about four, I guess six years now, the trend less and less. But I think I could answer that by not answering it this time but say, after the election this year I'm gonna have a much better idea where is the electorate going because they're gonna have an opportunity. We got, I think like 40 contested races and with that you stand the chance of getting more and more- there's no secret about this, the Republicans are trying to take over the House, now the question is, this election coming up in November of '05 is gonna set the tone in my opinion for what's gonna happen in the future. It either means that we've stymied it if we can maintain our numbers but if they take more numbers away from us then that's gonna be a problem and I think that sends a signal that's gonna make it pretty obvious that they might be trying to do the same thing. Well, I know they're trying to do the same thing for us in the House as has been done in the Senate. But I guess you got to look at the issues that were there prior to the Senate getting this majority. I mean the Senate was very much involved in some of the social issues that come up through and I talked about we may have a core group of people and I'll be honest with you, I have to give the Republicans some credit, they've done a pretty good job of being the spin doctor on some of this stuff. I mean some of the stuff that they have gotten a hold of they spun that to a manner that has not been helpful to the Democrats. And I know that we have a more liberal view of those in Washington, I personally don't even pay any attention to what they want in Washington. I want to know what they want in Kentucky. Now, that doesn't mean I'm not a Democrat, it just means that I'm not maybe of the same vintage that some of those people are as far as being liberal and sometimes that's harmful and sometimes it's not. But I think this November is gonna be the most critical in the last ten years as it relates to elections in the House of Representatives. I think it's critical that we maintain where we're at or real close to where we're at. MOYEN: Last question, I've got to ask it in two parts. What are you, in looking back what would you say, having now hindsight, what would you say were your best and worst votes? And then what are your best memories of your time in the legislature? CALLAHAN: My worst? I have more than one. I can't really say that there's any that really threw me through for loops so to speak. I think there's some that I probably may have looked at a little more in depth but I guess in retrospect I voted for House Bill 240 and I did because I thought it was the right thing. I wish I had that vote to do over again. MOYEN: Uh-huh. CALLAHAN: Not that I am saying that that's solely the problems that we have. I think it goes beyond that because it's national, not just Kentucky. But that would be one that I would like to say that I wish, but I would've had to know at the time where it was going. It's easy after the fact to start criticizing. MOYEN: Sure. CALLAHAN: And then the second part of that question? MOYEN: Your best votes or votes that you are most proud of that you supported and you can say, see, this was the right vote, this is what we needed. CALLAHAN: House Bill 1, 1997. MOYEN: Okay. CALLAHAN: That's the one and I don't know how far, how familiar are you with Gateway if at all? MOYEN: Very little. CALLAHAN: I'm gonna let you read this letter. It's taking place Thursday night. MOYEN: Well, great. (laughs) CALLAHAN: Well, they're acknowledging my involvement with it back in '97. MOYEN: Okay. CALLAHAN: And, you know, it is, I'm not one that likes a lot of [inaudible] and all that but they insist that they do it. MOYEN: For those listening on the tape, Mr. Callahan gets an honorary degree from Gateway Community Vocational School [Gateway Community and Technical College]. And what are you gonna miss most about being in the legislature? CALLAHAN: I love being around people. I love being able to help people and some of the things that you help with are not the ones that stand out in the neon lights. I always use the one that probably, my best one, I received a phone call from a couple who was trying to adopt a child and I mean they literally were in tears because they could not get this done. They thought it was gonna be done a number of months before then but they ran into some entanglement in the legal system. So I asked for the information, bottom line was after all their months upon months upon months the bottom line, after three weeks we had that baby in their custody. Now, one might say what's so big about that? If you were that couple you'd see what's so big about that. And I like doing those, I like to doing things that are behind the scenes, that don't come out as legislation or anything but just to help people. I have opened the doors for people on so many occasions because I feel that's part of my responsibility. And I that's one thing I gave out of my office, great constituent service. And that's what it's known for. They said they had, they call me at home, call me wherever and quite a few times they'd say, Jim Bunning's office said we should call you. And now, there's one or two reasons why, because it's an answer that he thinks I might get in trouble with, which I don't think so because I know Jim personally. And because he knows that I'll do the job for him. Some people take it and drop it and don't do anymore but that's one of my strong suits. MOYEN: Right. CALLAHAN: And I will miss that and certainly someone can always take your place but their style might be different. I had them calling me over the weekend because this article appeared. They said, Come on, tell us who you're gonna vote for, we don't know who you're gonna vote for. And I said, "No," I said, "I can't do that." MOYEN: Uh-huh. CALLAHAN: But they have the right to want to know and but I just didn't want to give it out for reasons that I didn't want to create any hardships. MOYEN: Well, thank you so much for your time. CALLAHAN: Thank you. MOYEN: I appreciate it. CALLAHAN: I hope it comes out the way you want it. MOYEN: It will. It has. [End of interview] Callahan (House 1987-2004, 67th district; Democrat) recalls his former experience as mayor of Southgate, Kentucky and how that prepared him for the legislature, his entrance into the legislature during the 1987 special session on workers' compensation, and the importance of having public service experience before going into a position in the House or Senate. He discusses key legislation in postsecondary education, his impressions of several governors, his views on the lottery and casino gambling, the BOPTROT scandal, diversity within the Democratic Party, and his role as the Majority Caucus Chair (1998-2004). Kentucky Legislature