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2006-01-24 Interview with Romano L. Mazzoli, January 24, 2006 Leg001:2006OH038 Leg 093 01:31:52 Kentucky Legislature Oral History Project Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries Legislators -- Kentucky -- Interviews. Political campaigns -- Kentucky. Korean War, 1950-1953. Practice of law -- Kentucky -- Louisville. United States. Congress -- Elections. Kentucky. Governor (1971-1974 : Ford) United States Congress Louisville (Ky.) Catholicism military service law school campaigning Democratic Party party factions Ford, Wendell H., 1924- Ward, Henry Lobbyists L&N Railroad political philosophy Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963 Senate (1968-1970), 35th district Jefferson County (Ky.) Romano L. Mazzoli; interviewee Jan Romond; interviewer 2006OH038_LEG093_Mazzoli 1:|13(8)|29(10)|46(12)|67(1)|90(10)|125(3)|151(2)|170(8)|186(11)|199(9)|222(11)|246(3)|275(12)|294(12)|327(3)|354(9)|385(5)|410(4)|438(10)|452(13)|473(9)|498(5)|517(8)|537(5)|569(7)|586(6)|608(10)|644(2)|663(1)|679(3)|699(9)|714(12)|735(8)|751(11)|775(5)|797(6)|834(4)|847(12)|871(2)|891(7)|906(9)|936(12)|967(1)|982(3)|1000(5)|1026(4)|1042(3)|1064(8)|1081(11)|1103(10)|1125(2)|1144(9)|1174(4)|1194(5)|1207(5)|1231(2)|1251(3)|1285(10)|1304(1)|1322(13)|1338(6)|1361(2)|1379(8)|1404(6)|1418(10)|1444(2)|1470(7)|1490(7)|1507(10)|1529(6)|1553(9)|1573(9)|1597(5)|1617(9)|1638(5)|1654(4)|1674(12)|1687(7)|1711(11)|1727(1)|1750(9)|1773(14)|1791(2)|1817(7)|1847(2)|1863(7)|1886(3)|1904(9)|1921(11)|1938(3)|1955(4)|1972(11) audiotrans Legit interview ROMOND: The following is an unrehearsed interview with former State Senator Romano Mazzoli who represented the Thirty-Fifth District of Jefferson County from 1968 to 1970 and then served as a United States Representative from Kentucky, from 1971 to 1995. This interview was conducted by Jan Romond, for the University of Kentucky Library, Kentucky Legislative Oral History Project on January 24, 2006, at Father Maloney's Boys Haven, in Louisville, Kentucky, at 10:15 in the morning. This morning, I'm talking with Congressman Mazzoli. Congressman, could you tell me where and when you were born and did you grow up there? MAZZOLI: Yes. Um, I was born right here in Louisville, Kentucky, not far from where we're sitting this morning. Um, I went to schools here in Louisville at, uh, St. James Elementary, which is just up the street, uh, St. Xavier High School. I went then to Notre Dame University, where I graduated in 1954. And after spending two years in the Army, uh, as a draftee--actually, the draft was still in effect in those days--um, I came back home and worked with my father who had a small tile and terrazzo marble shop for one year. And, and then I entered law school at the University of Louisville, continuing to work part-time with Dad, but then went to law school from '57 to 1960, when I graduated. In 1959, uh, Helen and I married. And we lived at, uh, the corner of Eastern Parkway and Crittenden Drive, also not far from where we're sitting. So, my life has been lived pretty much in this, uh, sector of town, if you will. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: And through all of the years, um, in public life, both in the State Senate, and you've recited that, and in Washington, which, you've recited, uh, always we've kept our home here in Louisville. And kept close touch with the community. Um, after a lengthy time in public life, and will talk about it, 24 years in Washington, I came back home and, uh, joined a law firm, where I had clerked as a, um, a young student, uh. ROMOND: Hm. MAZZOLI: And found, that while the law firm is a wonderful firm--it has a Lexington branch, Dyson ----------(??)--that, um, my attitude wasn't really devoted to the law as a practice anymore but more, more to work with young students, which I have done steadily through my years in Washington. So, I joined the University of Louisville, where I had been doing some teaching in an adjunct capacity. In 1998, I joined the University of Louisville, fulltime as a fellow in law and public policies with offices in the law school. And I was there until the summer of 2003 when--we'll perhaps talk about it today--this remarkable occurrence, uh, happened where I went back to school, uh, at age seventy. I'm now seventy-three, but seventy then, uh, at Harvard, at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government where for ten months, Helen and I lived in the, what they called house, but we would perhaps call dorms, dormitories. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: But lived there for 10 months and graduated in 2004 with a Harvard degree. And then, once again, came back home and have reaffiliated with the University of Louisville in a slightly different capacity. But that pretty much, uh, takes us from my birth in 1932 through now, in 2006. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: Uh, a very interesting life, unexpected, as we'll talk, very unexpected that I would wind up in public life, particularly the political side of public life. But I believe there was probably the Master's plan for me. And we've just been carrying it out somehow, someway. ROMOND: Yes. Could you tell us a little about your parents-- MAZZOLI: --um-hm-- ROMOND: --and your extended family? MAZZOLI: Well, I'm very pl-, pleased to talk about my parents. My father, Romano Mazzoli, he had no middle name, but his first name is like mine, Romano. Uh, Dad was an immigrant to the United States from a little town in northeast Italy called Maniago which is in the province, uh, state, the providence of Friuli Venezia of Giulia. And, uh, he came with his father directly to Louisville. Un-, unlike most Italians who stopped off in New York City, or Philadelphia, or Buffalo, or St. Louis, or San Francisco, the big cities, Chicago, but unlike them, Dad and his father came to Louisville, where some of their relatives had preceded them. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: And, so Dad lived his life thereafter here in Louisville. He died as a young man actually, uh, back in 1968. Um, parenthetically, he was able to see me elected to the state Senate and-- ROMOND: --um-hm-- MAZZOLI: --he was-- ROMOND: --um-hm-- MAZZOLI: --to visit me in a state Senate and to be honored by my colleagues in the state Senate when he was very much toward the end of his days. He didn't know it and we didn't know it, but it was close to the end of Dad's life. But he didn't, as a result, see me or was not alive when I was elected to Congress. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: But I've always thought that he would be someone who would, uh, um, been very, very proud, uh, of having been involved. He was very much involved in our race. Uh, he was very much involved in the race, uh, for the state Senate. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: And I'm confident, that if Dad had lived, even if he had been ill at the time, he would've been very active in my race for Congress. But Dad was born in Italy, came to Louisville, uh, my mother-- ROMOND: --how old was he when he came? MAZZOLI: He was eleven years old-- ROMOND: --um-hm-- MAZZOLI: --was just a young boy, born in 1903. Um, the, the, very much the classic American dream. He did not speak English when he got to the United States and went to school basically to learn the language. But his uncles, unlike a lot of immigrant families that put a big stock in education, my dad's people did not. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: And so, as soon as basically they could, he was put into the company and he was doing tiling and terrazzo marble work from the time he was a very young guy. ROMOND: Because that was their work? MAZZOLI: That was their work. It was their company. And, um, once again, sort of moving the story a little bit quickly forward, he, um, had a falling out. His impression had, had always been that he was going to have a part of the company-- ROMOND: --um-hm-- MAZZOLI: --in return for all ------------(??) years of hard work, and, and being the honcho of big, big jobs around the country. And, um, that fell through, so Dad basically was forced to leave and we lived in a house that they owned, so we had to leave the house. It was a pretty difficult time. ROMOND: How old were, ----------(??) you were? MAZZOLI: Well, that was, uh, in the 1940's, so probably '40, '41. I was born in 1932, so I might've been eight or nine years old when that happened. But they moved, Mother and Dad and, and the three of us moved and, uh, found a rented house and proceeded with our life, not easily, But then Dad, uh, the, the old story, necessity is the mother of invention, so by necessity, he had to do something. So he invented a company, a little company that he ran from his garage and out of the back of his car-- ROMOND: --um-hm-- MAZZOLI: --but made enough money to keep us going until the mid-fifties when he was able to, uh, actually open a building, himself, build a shop. And, and that became, uh, the Mazzoli Company. But, uh, he, as I mentioned, was born in Italy, came to Louisville. Mother was a Clevelander, born in Cleveland. Her people had come to Cleveland from Palermo, Italy--uh, Sic-, Sicily, pardon me. Sometimes Sicilians don't think they're Italians and Italians don't think Sicilians are Italian, either. (Romond laughs) Uh, but Mother, uh, lived in Cleveland, and I assume, I've never exactly had the story but there were some people in Louisville who knew mother's people in Cleveland and felt that she, a very beautiful young girl, and my father, a very handsome young man, would make a match. So I think that it was in the way that many Jewish families and Indian families and southern European families, they sort of put these young people together, and then if there is a spark, or a flame, or chemistry, then the rest is history. And that's pretty much what happened with Dad and Mother. So they moved to, Mother moved, after they were married, to Louisville. And that was 1930. And so, the rest of our life has been spent right here in Louisville. And again, not terribly far from where we're sitting. And, uh. ROMOND: Did you know your grandparents? MAZZOLI: I did not. I, well, excuse me, I did not know my dad's side of the fam-, family, except I did know my dad's mother. She was called, uh, Nona, which is the Italian word basically for grandmother. And she lived with us for a while in the late thirties, but had to leave about the time of the war. In part, because Italy was an opponent of the United States, part of the Axis. But she stayed in the United States, didn't go back to Italy until after the war, couldn't travel until after the war. But she did leave our home. But prior to that, when she lived with us on Jaeger Avenue--once again, very close--um, I apparently learned Italian. Maybe not the, what they call standard Italian, the, the classic Italian, but the dialect of Maniago, which is called ---------(??), which is a corruption of Friulian. But it's a, it's an Italianate language that was more, if, if they even speak it today, I'm not sure, but it's, was more dramatic-- ROMOND: --um-hm-- MAZZOLI: --and given the fact that that was right up there by the Alps, and where a lot of Austrians and Germans and people had gone-- ROMOND: --sure-- MAZZOLI: --sloshing back and forth over the centuries. So, there was a certain residue of German in the language as well as, uh, what I would call Romany, which was like the Romanian, the gypsy language. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: But, uh, another parent-, parentheses here, uh, is that Mother's Italian, uh, Sicilian is a very different brogue. It's a very melodic language. It, it sort of elides like French does. And Dad's language, indeed, didn't. So, um, in order for them to communicate, they, I always thought developed a patois, which basically was probably halfway between his Italian and her Sicilian. And, and perhaps landed somewhere around Naples, you know, like the middle of the boot. (Romond laughs) But they did communicate in Italian when they wanted us not to know something. Um, once Nona left the House, I pretty much forgot the language and didn't have much opportunity to speak it, which I rue today because, in April, two months from now, Helen and I are taking our two granddaughters, uh, thirteen and eleven, to, uh, Rome-- ROMOND: --oh-- MAZZOLI: --for a week. And we're trying our best to study some Italian, so we'll have at least some tourists talk that we can-- ROMOND: --sure-- MAZZOLI: --carry on over, over there. Though as time has gone on, we first visited Italy in, uh, 1975, and then, in the early 1980's, both of our children, including our granddaughters' mother, Andrea, both of our children, then students at Notre Dame, spent a year, a school year in Rome. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: So we've had a chance to visit it. And as the years have gone on, more and more Romans and Italians speak English. Uh, perhaps not as fluently as some of the Germans do, uh, perhaps but fluently enough that I think we could get by, but we are gonna try to study the language. But once, uh, Nona left, uh, everybody around the house spoke English, except in those instances when Mother and Dad did not want us to know something, and, which case, they reverted to their patois. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: And, uh, but it was an interesting household, a happy household, uh, hard-working household. ROMOND: Hm. MAZZOLI: Um, a very devoted and faithful household. Very informed in the faith. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: And we went to parochial schools, grade school, high school, college for me, and grade school and high school for Rich. He went to the University of Louisville for college. And grade school and high school for, for, uh, Trish, Patricia, my sister. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: So, uh, the faith was a big part of our growing up process, along with the constant awareness of how hard and devoted and honestly my mother and dad worked, and how they serve their customers totally. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: And I believe that that inculcated in us, and I believe, though we're all three in our seventies now, I think it remains with us today, this idea that we have to somehow have something more than just making a living in mind; we have to serve people, but we also have to know that to make a living and do the thing right that you have to work hard and nothing comes easily. So, perhaps in my political life, certainly those lessons were put to play. Certainly in my personal life, they have been. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: Uh, from start to finish, from our marriage in '59 through all of the years until now, uh, faithfulness and hard work and honesty. You heard it a moment ago, we were talking with, uh, Mr. Vern Rickert who is the head of Boys Haven, the executive director about how important it is to be watchful that you don't give false impressions to people-- ROMOND: --um-hm-- MAZZOLI: --that you don't do things that people then look at askance, thinking that maybe you didn't do them correctly-- ROMOND: --right-- MAZZOLI: --or you didn't do them with full ethical, uh, underground--or, or grounding. So that's been a very important part of, uh, of my life. ROMOND: Um-hm. What was the neighborhood like where you grew up? (Mazzoli laughs) What, who were the people, um, in your life? MAZZOLI: Well it was, uh, the, the people in our life were like the people in the Mazzoli household: simple people, people who had not had a lot of education. I don't think there was a, there was, I'm sure no college graduate on the street and probably not everyone was a high school graduate. But they were very hard-working people. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: Uh, very devoted to, it happened that we lived in an area near the church, St. Elizabeth Church, so it happened that most of them were Catholic, but if they weren't, because neighborhoods in town were not Catholic, but the same thing-- ROMOND: --um-hm-- MAZZOLI: --just hard-working people that, um, I would think that Bill Clinton once said something to the effect, they work hard, and keep their nose clean, and-- ROMOND: --yes-- MAZZOLI: --and they're the kind that you build a country on, or a, city or a neighborhood upon. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: And that's what they were. And I think each one of us, growing up in the neighborhood, though we went on, many of us to college and graduate school and professional lives and on and on, but I think we all look back and, uh, on those days as important in, in our formation. So, there was a simple neighborhood, uh, uncomplicated. Everybody worked, lunch-bucket group. Get up early in the morning because job started early in those days. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: And, and so, we, by observation and just by the fact that our parents demanded, uh, I think we all learned those good lessons of-- ROMOND: --yes-- MAZZOLI: --thrift and, and fortitude and patience and hard work. ROMOND: Hm. Were people connected to each other? MAZZOLI: I think they were connected in large part because we had no air conditioning, so all the windows were open and we always could smell what food the Youngs were cooking, and they could smell what food we were cooking. (Romond laughs) And the Clapperts(??) and the Whitings(??) and the Stavos and the Bergers. And, and secondly, because in those days, houses had front porches and not screened-in front porches, but front porches. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: And, and without air-conditioning, at nighttime you'd go outside. So, I, I say there was a, a tremendously large amount of connectedness compared to today's world. The neighborhood we lived in, when we moved to Alexandria, Virginia, was such that you could, we could live there and I don't think we were reclusive or, um, somehow unfriendly people, but you could live there for years and not know who was almost next door. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: And it, it, somewhat so where we live today. It's not that we're-- ROMOND: --um-hm-- MAZZOLI: --uh, people aren't friendly; they've got their jobs, we've got our jobs, they're moving around, every house is air-conditioned, every house has family rooms, every house has a, a back porch, not a front porch. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: And so, the chances of running into one another are almost nil. But in those days, that's what you did. And the kids all played together. And my dad--the empty lot which is where, once we spent five years in the apartment house, and the kids were born, we moved to a little house we built on, what we always called the empty lot, which Mother and Dad bought, right next to their house. Uh, they had prescience to buy it. And it became our, our playground; it became the little country club for the neighborhood. And it was there that my dad built a, a backboard, and so we played basketball games. No concrete pad, just on the dirt. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: And where in the garages, my brother--and we talked about it just the other day--would, um, uh, rent film at the library, and he'd run little, uh, cartoon shows, and he'd charge for Coca-Cola--(Romond laughs)--and for ginger ale and for popcorn, and, uh, just a lot-- ROMOND: --entrepreneur-- MAZZOLI: --a lot of fun, a lot of fun. And that lot, like I say, eventually we built on it. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: And it's the house that, uh, we still have, uh, we still own it. Uh, it happens that Helen's sister lives there, previously Helen's mother and sister, but Mrs. Dillon passed away but, uh. So it's still in our, in our, in our, uh, family and next door, at 937 Ardmore, where I grew up and lived until I was twenty-seven and married, um, our son Michael lives. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: He bought it when Mother passed away, so we have both houses, 937 and 939, which, uh, had been in our family for quite a long time. [House] 937 since 1941. And our house, we built in '63, but they're still together. ROMOND: Okay. MAZZOLI: And it's nice because we go over there quite a bit. Helen and I are there quite often, and Mike and, our family comes over to our place. So, we still stay close but relationships within the neighborhood-- ROMOND: --right-- MAZZOLI: --are, are probably like Lexington, where you live, probably sporadic at best. ROMOND: Um-hm, um-hm. What are your memories of school, starting with grade school? MAZZOLI: Went to a small Catholic grade school, St. James, and I remember all the sisters. We were taught by the Ursulines of Mount St. Joseph in Owensboro. And wonderful women, uh, devoted women, very stern when it came to the classroom etiquette and the classroom learning atmosphere. They didn't brook nonsense. But we learned. There were twenty-one or twenty-two of us in our graduating class and we still have summer reunions. Uh, they're, unfortunately they're not a whole lot of us left. Uh, it goes back a number of years. We graduated from grade school in '46, entering in '38, so all of us are in our mid-seventies. But we still get together, so we still have relationships and have a lot of fun talking about the good old days. We have one former nun, she left the, um, the order, but she stayed in Louisville. And was our fourth grade teacher and she comes to the reunions. And so I have pleasant memories. I, I was a, we walked to school, of course, for the most part when we lived in the neighborhood. Then when we moved to Ardmore Drive in '41, and then, uh, Dad or, or somebody would drive us back, or we would sometimes take the bus, always took the bus back home. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: But sometimes we're, we're, we're, uh, driven. And, um, but I have happy memories. I was a, a very hard-working kid. I took, uh, I loved to read, still do. I'm a voracious reader. I, I, I can't be anywhere without having something to read. And it's an eclectic array of stuff I read. But, uh, I always was reading. And I was a serious student. I studied hard. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: I was not nearly as smart, uh, and, and, as, as Dave Bared(??) and Bart Brown(??) and Don Dowden(??) and some of the kids in my class, some of the guys in my class, all of whom I went to school with later at St. X, and they continued to excel in the classroom then and later, in, in many ways. But I stayed with them and, uh, kept up with them and always was in that same tract with them at St. X and later because I, I was just a hard worker. But did well. But had, have happy memories. I don't remember as much as a lot of my friends remember. They remember every teacher they had, I cannot. Helen remembers every teacher she had at Ursuline-- ROMOND: --um-hm-- MAZZOLI: --at St. Elizabeth and then she went to St. Martin for two years and then to Ursuline Academy and Ursuline College. And she remembers every teacher she ever had-- ROMOND: --oh my gosh-- MAZZOLI: --I think it's a phenomenal memory she has. And some of my friends have it, too, but I can't remember each and every one of the sisters, but I do remember, once again, it was a simple time. I mean, this was in the thirties and forties. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: I mean, it was uncomplicated. We didn't have all the pressures, there was a war and war is terrible, but we were kids, and while there was rationing and, uh, deprivation and sacrifice on everybody's part, and victory gardens and things like that, that kids today can't even conceive of, um, it was still for us not a tough time. Uh, on the other hand, I have, we all read now about this tendency of people to blank out of their memory bank the bad stuff and only remember the good stuff, so given allowance for the fact that there were probably bad times, and so forth, basically my recollection is of a pretty easy childhood, with, uh, parents who worked very hard. They didn't always agree with one another. Italians are very volcanic people, very emotional people. (Romond laughs) And there were times when Mother and Dad used to be a few decimal levels above what would be normal conversation, but they, uh, certainly at all times loved us and, uh, and made sure we were raised correctly, and, and their sacrifices gave us the money to go to places like St. X and later to Notre Dame. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: And, and do the things that I've been able to do. ROMOND: You had each other. MAZZOLI: We had each other, and it's, it's more difficult nowadays. It's, uh, we even see it in our, our daughter because she's in the work force, uh, not completely by necessity, uh, but she is in the work force and that puts a whole different context to the family situation, and with the girls, and before school and after school, and on, on and on. But because that's almost the norm now rather than the exception, there is a difference in what I can recall from our growing up when Mother did stay home. And almost, except for the few Rosie the Riveter types that we had, otherwise the women stayed home, that was just what it was. ROMOND: Yes(??). MAZZOLI: And so there was that type of togetherness and association that we may not have quite to that same thing today. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: That's why I, I loved Helen so much. She, she and I've been very happily married for these forty-six years. And, and she didn't have to stay home but she did. And I, I've always, uh, appreciated that. I think the kids, uh, remember that and are better for it. But it, it's perhaps not a completely, uh, fair reflection of what's happening today, but I think that growing up was much different, and I'm happy I grew up when I did. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: I'm happy I got into politics when I did. I don't think I'd want to be in politics today. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: (laughs) I'll be quite honest. ROMOND: Do you have memories of any particular classes that you liked in, uh, school? Any subjects-- MAZZOLI: --um-hm-- ROMOND: --that were particularly-- MAZZOLI: --oh, I remember-- ROMOND: --interesting to you? MAZZOLI: I remember a few classes but, uh, scantly. I mean, I took, at St. X, I mean, of course in grade school you take, everybody takes everything the same courses. You don't have really, um, much difference there. And I don't recall any particular course in grade school that impressed me, except I just loved to read. I would assume that reading courses and writing courses were things that I particularly enjoyed. Math, I never have been good in and probably didn't like it then. When I got to St. X, you have a little more options to, to cho-, pick and choose, but my recollection would be pretty much the same. The brothers there, the, the brothers, the Xaverian brothers were very much like the Ursuline sisters, only much more physical in, in emphasizing to us that they didn't want any nonsense in the classroom. In those days you didn't worry about kids, you know, calling a lawyer or having any state agency looking in. So the brothers were more free, though none of them did anything outrageous, but they were more free to rap you on the knuckles, or tap you on the head, or do a little bit stronger than that if they thought you were daydreaming or not measuring up. And that's why I think a lot of us measured up because we were both encouraged by our parents to do so and practically demanded of by the, by the brothers. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: But once again, the courses that I recall primarily would be the courses in the, in humanities, if you call it. Of course, we had to take Latin, those of us in that particular track had to take at least two years of Latin, which we did. Some of our guys took four years, I did not. And, uh, I remember those of being rigorous and, but very important. And I'm happy to read that many schools now are reinstituting Latin-- ROMOND: --um-hm-- MAZZOLI: --where they can find a Latin teacher because it's such a fundamental language to learn other languages. And it's such a mental discipline to --------(??) and to, uh, to have all of the, um, um, gram-, grammatical rules that you have to follow carefully. And other languages are predicated, in many cases, on that, that, uh, arrangement in Latin, so. But anyhow, I'm happy to see Latin reinstituted at a lot of schools-- ROMOND: --um-hm-- MAZZOLI: --and, and looked at, uh, by people as a good training ground, because I found it such. But I, I can't recall, there's some teachers, Brother Lionel and Brother ----------(??) and, and Mr. Frank Buehler(??), one of the few lay teachers we had, because as with St. James where we had all nuns, there wasn't a single lay teacher at St. X. With a rare exception, they were all-- ROMOND: --all brothers(??)-- MAZZOLI: --uh, Xaverian brothers-- ROMOND: --um-hm-- MAZZOLI: --so we almost had no, but Frank Buehler(??) was our tennis coach and a good history teacher, and I had Frank. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: And, uh, he's, uh, still alive and I go to visit him. He's in a nursing home, a wonderful man. ROMOND: Hm. MAZZOLI: His, uh, wife is still with him and, uh, but he's had difficulties, physical and. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: And, um, and other difficulties but he, he, he was a very good teacher and a good friend. Remained a good friend. ROMOND: What did you do outside of school, in high school, what? MAZZOLI: Well, my, outside of high school, we, we had, in the summertime, we all had to work, with, with Dad. One way or the other we worked, whether Tricia worked in the office and Rich and I worked on the job, for the most part. But when I wasn't doing that, I played a lot of tennis. I was a pretty decent tennis player and played competitive tennis. ROMOND: Hm. MAZZOLI: And in those days, they had Junior Davis Cup teams, sponsored by different cities, and so I got good enough to be invited to attend, uh, tournaments in other cities and here in Louisville as a member of the Louisville Junior Davis Cup team. So I played for St. X. We won a state championship-- ROMOND: --um-hm-- MAZZOLI: --uh, during my, uh, senior year. And played some football, not a lot. Dad would've loved for me to be a great football player. He was a great athlete. Great bowler, great softball player, great football player. And he would've loved that I would become a great athlete, which I never was. And I think I disappointed him to some extent from that. (laughs) I may've made up for it a little bit in these elections but we'll talk about that. (Romond laughs) But, uh, I, I know in the early years that wasn't, uh, a happy thing for him. But other than that, we worked a lot, and we had chores around the house. And we, uh, each one of us played some sport. Rich was a very, Rich is a very good athlete. Better by far than me. And so he had different things he would do, too, and Trish the same way. But, uh, mostly we stuck around the house and didn't have any remarkable outside activities. Um, after school hours, which primarily was studying, and then when school was out it was primarily working. ROMOND: Um-hm. What did you study at Notre Dame? MAZZOLI: I majored in business, and this is where the stories get somewhat started about political life in a way, because it had been everyone's expectation, including mine, that I would go to Notre Dame. It was the only school I even applied for. Dad and I were furiously in love with Notre Dame, in large part because of football. And we'd go up there, take train trips to the Notre Dame football games back in the forties and fifties when the Irish were the king of the hill. And I just fell in love with the place. So I joined(??) a school I really wanted to attend, and I was accepted. And the, the expectation was that I would study business and become a businessperson, and then come home and run Dad's business. And then he would be able to retire. Well it didn't turn out that way. I did get my business degree, but as we'll talk a little bit more this morning, that's not how the whole story turned out. But I did study business, but once again, when I had an opportunity to take an elective--in college you have more opportunities than, and, uh, certainly than in high school. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: I would never take them in business. Though you had opportunities, I would take them in the humanities. I'd take them in English or I'd take them in, in, in philosophy or, uh, some other form of the humanities. So, my interest really never did lay in business, in the mercantile world. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: It, that wasn't it. But I did well; I graduated with, uh, magna cum laude records at Notre Dame. So I, once again, studied hard and was able to handle the classroom work. Once again, did very little outside. Those, in those days Notre Dame was an all-male school. And I played a little tennis, just intramural, nothing, uh, on the varsity level. And, um, primarily found myself, like in high school, studying where I wasn't actually in classrooms, pretty much studying. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: I wasn't unsocial at all, but I didn't have the type of social life that a lot of my friends did. But enjoyed thoroughly. Notre Dame was wonderful. It was a very rigorous place almost like a monastery today like Gethsemane where the, uh, ------------(??) monks live and pray and worship. Um, we had lights out, we had morning check for mass, we had no ---------(??), we had no automobiles, we had, uh, no long hours where you could be out, even on the weekend. So it was monastic to the point that when I went into the Army, which was supposed to be that shock, that dose of cold water to get all these hedonists at heel--(Romond laughs)--for me, it was a piece of cake. I mean, I found the Army, with the rare exception, to be less rigorous from the standpoint of discipline than Notre Dame was. ROMOND: Yeah. MAZZOLI: Uh, but, but that was it, yet a simpler time. The Korean War was there, and some of our guys were drafted. And, um, because of the existence of the tail end of the Korean War, I was drafted when I graduated in 1954. But, once again, giving the allowance for our mental apparatus to filter out all the bad stuff, I can recall only just living a, a pretty normal life with a lot of guys that I still stay in touch with. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: I exchanged e-mails yesterday with Milt Beaudean(??), who lives in Salem, South Carolina, who then lived in St. Louis. And so many of my friends now, all of them that I stay in touch with, all live in Florida or California or someplace, but we still stay in touch, the class of 1954 is considered one of the better classes for Notre Dame from the standpoint of class(??) participation-- ROMOND: --um-hm-- MAZZOLI: --in fundraising and class return for football games and the reunions, which we had our fiftieth, uh, in 2004. So, it was a good time. I was proud to be a Notre Dame student, I was, am proud to be a Notre Dame graduate, proud that both Michael and Andrea are Notre Dame graduates and that Andrea's husband, Martin, uh, the granddaughters' dad is, is also a Notre Dame graduate. So we have quite a lot of continuing contact with South Bend, uh, via Notre Dame. But again, nothing particularly notable, I don't have any memories of being ecstatic or being despondent, either one. It just was a fairly even- going thing. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: I remember that we, I used take, uh, the bus, the Greyhound bus to go back and forth. It was before the days of the interstate highways and the bus trip was about a nine- or ten-hour journey, with a lot of stop offs, like the milk run. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: And I remember, which also, perhaps had some antecedent to my entry into politics, almost like taking humanities courses rather than business courses. I always remember talking to people on the bus. And that must've driven them nuts because they probably wanted to read or sleep or something. And here's this, this young guy who always wants to ask them, what they're doing, and where they live, and what they like, and how, what their family does. And it, it just, uh, curious, curious, curiosity-- ROMOND: --curious and interested, yeah. MAZZOLI: And always interested in things and always curious about people and about things. And, uh, I can't think of it now but maybe later in the interview I will, there's a wonderful, very short poem. Um, it has to do with curiosity. "They take everything from me"--and this has to do with time, feeding time--"Take everything from me, you wish, the quickness of my step, the quickness of my, uh, the accuracy and the acuity of my eyesight, but please, but please don't take away my curiosity." ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: It's a wonderful poem and I'll try to remember the exact lines, but that's the way I must've been as a kid, a very curious person, uh, a young man. So anyway, I remember those trips up and down, uh, uh, US 31, which was a North-South through the spine of Indiana. ROMOND: Yes. MAZZOLI: And always talking to people, so that probably was a proclivity that later displayed itself-- ROMOND: --came in handy-- MAZZOLI: --again in politics and some sort of, about where(??) you have to be around people-- ROMOND: --sure. MAZZOLI: And had to figure out what's on people's minds. And are you connecting with them and, if not, why not? ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: So those things. But otherwise, like I say, it was a four-year period that I thoroughly enjoyed and, um, found to be wonderful, but without any particular notable high of highs or low of lows. ROMOND: Um-hm, um-hm. Now, after college, you went straight into the service. MAZZOLI: Drafted some thirty days after I got back home after college. ROMOND: And then you came home after the service? MAZZOLI: But you, but a very important part is the Army. And I still stay in touch with my first sergeant, Wade Dameron(??), who lives in-- ROMOND: --really-- MAZZOLI: --loves in Columbus(??), South Carolina. And unfortunately is a very ill man. ROMOND: Hm. MAZZOLI: He, uh, is a bit younger than me. He was, I was twenty-one at the time, graduated from college, he came back from Korea, and he was our platoon sergeant, he was just about nineteen years old. So. ROMOND: Hm. MAZZOLI: A tough cookie and he really ran us through the hoops that summer of 1954. But he taught me a lot of things. And later, after I was in Congress I got back in touch with Sergeant Dameron(??), um, with Wade and, um, here, why, I thought he was Caligula incarnate at, at Fort Knox in the summer of '54, I found him to be a wonderful man later, and we got to be close friends, and he and Joanne(??) and Helen and I have been together many times, and even visited him in Columbia once. But, to my sorrow, I called Joanne(??) the other day; I knew that Wade was ill. But, um, he had to be sent to a home, and I'm remorseful about that. But the Army's a big part of my formation in life, as Notre Dame is and was. Because the Army, after basic training where you learn how to shoot guns and be an infantry man, in those days, it was an all-male army, they, the Army sent me to the second 8, the second 8 of your basic, which could be a second part of basic training for infantry, but in my case, they sent me to the clerk school to learn typing and office stuff. Well, that was good, um, except I must've been a solid student. I must've done well in the courses because they then sent me to the next level of that-- ROMOND: --um-hm-- MAZZOLI: --which was at Fort Benjamin Harrison in, uh, Indianapolis. It's now been closed; the base closure round of a couple of years ago closed it. But in those days, it was a judge advocate's general school and had lawyers there, but also people like us who were studying clerking skills at a, at a higher level. And also learning the Palmer Method of shorthand. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: It's that sort of cursive shorthand. And, and again, I must've done very well in, in the classes I studied. I enjoyed it. I really had a lot of fun. I found my-, I immersed myself so much that I pretty soon was taking notes in shorthand rather than in longhand. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: But after that--and this is where the part comes in that's important to the story of Ron Mazzoli--the Army could've sent me to Germany or to Europe to be an ----------(??) for some general. They could've sent me to some place in the U.S. to take morning reports for the rest of my, uh, one year of, uh, active duty. But thankfully the Army sent me to Alaska before it was a state, and I keep telling my young--. ROMOND: --really-- MAZZOLI: --audiences, who can't remember when Alaska and Hawaii were not states. But, to Alaska to take, not shorthand with a general, but to take court reporting in a courtroom. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: For the summary and special levels where you did not have to have a, a verbatim transcript, just a substantial transcript. It turned out that my shorthand was good enough that basically I would turn in a, a, uh, verbatim transcript. But I spent one year, a year of, uh, from the spring of '55 to the late spring of 1956 taking shorthand of court reports, and I'd listened to the lawyers and I listened to the legal jargon, and I listened, and was in a courtroom setting. So, when I got back home in 1956 and was separated from the Army, I, I went back to work with Dad because, you know, again my plan was to get a degree at Notre Dame and go into business. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: But I guess this experience of the year of being around lawyers and the law must've planted a seed, which was gestating that whole time, because then in, uh, the summer of 1957, have, having worked one year with Dad, I said, "Well," to myself I guess, um, "the University of Louisville Law School is right down the street and it's just the few blocks away," and so forth, and so on. So I enrolled in law school in the, uh, I started in the autumn of 1957. And found, once again, with a lot of hard work, because I was in the room with a lot of very smart men. Uh, many, many of us veterans, many of us coming back from the war, some not. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: And one or two women, not a lot of women in those days, in law school. Now, it's more women than men. Uh, but I found myself doing very well and, and sort of enjoying it. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: And, but at the same time, I was working with Dad. I'd work in the afternoon with him and study at night and go to school in the morning. But little by little I was, my attitude was moving away from-- ROMOND: --um-hm-- MAZZOLI: --a business career into something else, a, a law career. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: So after graduation, and Helen and I married in '59 but, um, and I graduated in 1960, I had, um, as the, the Yogi Berra thing goes, you come to a fork in the road, take it. (Romond laughs) Well, I came to a, a three-way fork in the road. ROMOND: Oh, my. MAZZOLI: One of which was to teach, uh, in the law school-- ROMOND: --um-hm-- MAZZOLI: --in the law school, uh, Salmon Chase, which became, is now part of Northern Kentucky, uh, school, to, um, clerk for a federal judge. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: Judge Henry Brooks, and that's always a wonderful thing, and then to work with the L & N Railroad Company, which was then in business at Ninth and Broadway, in their law department. And I, the forks pretty settled the issue because one of them, the L & N paid the, the princely sum of $7,200 a year. ROMOND: Imagine. MAZZOLI: And, and imagine. And I, I remember, at least I don't remember, Helen says I came home after apparently accepting the offer, the job offer, and said, "Honey, how will we ever spend this much money?" Given what we had been living on up to that point, which was the G.I. Bill, that was the Korean G.I. Bill helped me through law school and then Helen was teaching, so. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: But-- ROMOND: --you felt like a millionaire. MAZZOLI: That's right, I felt like a millionaire. Absolutely. It was amazing, seven thousand dollars a year. But I worked with the L & N Railroad Company. And I had a wonderful career with them but a very short career; it was just a two-year career. But, I learned a lot from Mr. W.L. Grubbs, who was the, uh, vice president of law, and Joe ---------(??), uh, Phil ---------(??), who I saw just a, a time ago. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: Um, uh, Jim Holland, and Elbert Lee, uh, Roy Simpson, uh, Mr. Brett's, some of the great railroad lawyers of all-time were my mentors. And so, I learned how to really be a lawyer from the standpoint of producing very carefully crafted legal memos and doing careful research. Uh, missing no cases whatsoever. And also because in those days, the L & N railroad was controlled--as were all American railroads--by the Interstate Commerce Commission, which was headquartered in Washington. And so, without too much of a hyperbole here, you could say that from the time that the railroads got up in the morning to the time the railroads went to bed at night, everything had to be checked with the ICC. ROMOND: Hm. MAZZOLI: Which was the fact that all the lawyers would be shuttling back and forth between Louisville, or wherever their headquarters, uh, happened to be, and Washington, and the ICC. And it happened that as a junior lawyer, one of the things I did was to accompany some of the, uh, seasoned lawyers on these ventures to Washington. And we used to always stay at the Washington Hotel, which is Sixteenth and, uh, and Constitution. And that happens to be, uh, happens to have its, uh, lounge and restaurant was on the tenth floor, and the tenth floor, you could look out, and you had the veranda there, look out over the treasury building and into the White House grounds. Well, in 1959, just before I graduated from law school, John F. Kennedy was elected. And here, for the first time in our lifetime, was a young man who was in a leadership position with a country. Prior to that time, of course, Roosevelt became President when I was born. So, Roosevelt was President until the mid-1940s, and then Harry Truman, and then Ike Eisenhower. Good men but old men. Younger than I am today, but, um, by our eyes, very old men. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: And all of a sudden this forty-three year-old guy comes pounding onto the scene and very exciting. And so I'm in Washington, in the Washington Hotel, looking over into the White House, not seeing John Kennedy, but I guess dreaming and imagining, wasn't that something? Here's a guy who has, uh, become the leader of the free world. And, uh, it's Camelot time, it's exciting, young people, handsome people, attractive people, smart people, all glomming, you know-- ROMOND: --yeah-- MAZZOLI: --accumulating in Washington. And I happen to be going back and forth during that same time frame. So, once again, just like the-- [Pause in recording.] MAZZOLI: --and simultaneous with these travels that I made back and forth to Washington as an L & N railroad lawyer were the gatherings in the various houses of our friends, young married people. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: Once a month, we'd gather, and after dinner and putting the kids to bed and that sort of thing, we'd discuss everything from religion to--of all things--politics. And, again, because most of us were Catholics, we all grew up together, and most of us were just fascinated, mesmerized by this guy Kennedy, we were very devoted to studying him, and what he's doing, and trying to do. And, once again, I think those conversations, along with sitting on the veranda of the Washington Hotel, looking into the White House grounds, planted seeds and somehow predisposed to me to this career I've had of, uh, being in public life. But once again, nothing came to pass. Nothing was rising to the surface at that point. At least, I didn't think so. So, the next recollection I have is having left the L&N after two years-- ROMOND: --um-hm-- MAZZOLI: --enjoying the two years very much, but looking down the line to realize that while, like the federal civil service, you'll never not have a job, the chances are of really going very far, very fast were pretty, uh, pretty unlikely. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: I wasn't that ambitious exactly, but I didn't really want to be a railroad person who just stayed on and on and on. And there was nothing wrong with that. It's just like American Standard or at Phillip Morris, I mean, they stayed on and on and on. But I didn't want that. So, tossing the dice a little bit, I went with a law firm-- ROMOND: --um-hm-- MAZZOLI: --and a very small law firm in, on Broadway. They had their office on Broadway. And ironically enough, since not every day down there was a pleasant day and the money was not really coming in like I'd hoped, ironically, my little office had a window that looked exactly down Broadway to the L & N Railroad Company, where I knew that I could have the safe, warm arms of mother L&N and wouldn't have to worry about paying the bills. But I had committed it and so there I was. But it was a good group of people I worked with, and I had a lot of fun with them, and so forth. Learned a lot about the law. But then, the next recollection I have of anything political was one day walking past the Democratic headquarters, which was then where Kunzs(??) Restaurant is today, which is basically Fourth and Market. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: And doing a chore for the law firm, because how I got my rent paid and the use of a secretary was to do all of the chores, from walking back and forth, filing papers, picking stuff up. I was like a glorified courier, though I had finished first in my class at law school, I was doing pretty much lackey work, but it was, uh, for good people. In any event, I found myself near the Democratic headquarters, and I guess a combination of the Washington Hotel, Washington, D.C., L & N Railroad Company, young couples talking in the front room about John Kennedy, all of that-- ROMOND: --um-hm-- MAZZOLI: --coupled with perhaps a, a, a more acute awareness of politics, perhaps in those days I was reading more about it, because of all of this but I took a sharp 90 degree turn and walked into the Democratic headquarters. And, uh, Kate Smith, who has since passed away, was, uh, tending shop. And my recollection was--though I probably oversimplify it--was, how does a guy get into politics? What do you do? Well, I was thirty-four years old, so it's not like as if I was fifteen or seventeen. ROMOND: Right. MAZZOLI: So, it was a sophomoric question; I should've have known what you did, but I didn't. And Kate was probably more patient than she should've been, but she sort of--(Romond laughs)--steered me through this rigmarole, and showed me the map and the wall where all these lines were, and where I lived, and what positions, and so forth, and mention that there was a state Senate seat that was being vacated because the occupant, Martin Duffy, a very good friend of mine, uh, was retiring. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: Mike and I played a lot of tennis together in the old days. So, you say, well, how would you run? Well, you do this, you send these letters to these people and then if they're for you, then you're the candidate. Because in those days the party pretty well endorsed candidates. So I did dutifully what I was told to do, and I wrote these letters, and I sent them on, and I did not get the nod of the party. And it, understandably, I have not had my ticket punched. I had not worked in-- ROMOND: --sure-- MAZZOLI: --the vineyards of those long hot mornings and afternoons and evenings. So the nod went to another good man, um, a lawyer, a local lawyer, uh, Dick Nash. And I think Dick is still practicing law. I think he's still practicing law. In any event, we, uh, found the news out, Helen and I found the news out about my not having been, uh, endorsed at a gathering at the fairgrounds for Henry Ward who was the-- ROMOND: --um-hm-- MAZZOLI: --party's candidate for Governor that year. And I remember, one of my "friends" who I think really had a snicker in his voice when he told me the news, said that the party had gone with Dick Nash. And so, on the way out, Helen said--to show you how much of neophytes we were in this thing--she said, "Well, I guess that's it. You know, it's over." I said, "No, it's a free country. I mean, we could run, uh, they might very well, uh, demolish us and"-- ROMOND: --um-hm-- MAZZOLI: --"everything else but it's a free country and you can run." So you pay your filing fee, and I believe, I can't remember exactly the sequence, but I think I may have paid my filing fee anyway, but one way or the other the filing fee was paid, and we decided to run a campaign. And out of our basement on Ardmore Drive, 937, the little house we built on the empty lot, which had been our playground, uh, all those years. ROMOND: In spite of not being endorsed? MAZZOLI: In spite of not being endorsed, and I think probably if I had realized ahead of time what we were doing, we probably wouldn't have done it. (Romond laughs) And that's the, that's the advantage of being young and somewhat stupid or foolhardy. (Romond laughs) You know, sometimes you do things that you, upon reflection, said you shouldn't have done maybe. But we decided to make a run, and in our basement we fashioned a campaign out of whole cloth. We got people who had no knowledge of one another, people who weren't Democrats, people who probably weren't even register, people who do not live in the Thirty- Fifth District, which providentially happened to be a district that was very close to me, because it was where we lived-- ROMOND: --um-hm-- MAZZOLI: --the Germantown/Schnitzelberg area. It was where we had grown up, the Highlands. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: It was, uh, Butchertown where Helen had had some roots. Uh, it was Crescent Hill. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: So, these were contiguous areas that were, uh, not at all uncongenial in the sense of, of my knowing the layout, and having friends. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: So, we did our very best to construct and we, uh, eventually purloined a map that was not meant for politics, but it had to do with, um, the Metropolitan sewer districts, like regions. But some of them were coincident with political boundaries for these districts and precincts. So, we put that up on a wall and anyplace where we could find a, a friend we put a mark and call a friend and say, "You know, could you go door-to-door and drop some stuff off?" My brother Richard who's a very talented artist put together some material. My dad, who was then alive, had this old beat-up Ford Econoline truck, on which he mounted a hand-painted sign--(Romond laughs)--which was pretty ghastly, but it got the point across that, you know, Vote for Ron Mazzoli. ROMOND: What did they think? MAZZOLI: Well, that's what, um, remains a, a matter of, of some moment to a lot of people, uh, because they thought this was quixotic, this was zany, this was off-the-wall, this was doomed to failure, uh, this was, uh, uh, just one of these summertime episodes. And I think it probably was in a way, but we all enjoyed it. We had a lot of fun and we improvise as we went. We constructed this thing together, uh, cobbled it together with, uh, scotch tape and, and bailing wire. (Romond laughs) And we, after this, several months I guess because the primary was May of 1967, so I guess we got started sometime in the winter, probably February, March, January, February. But to some extent of it, of having some eighty precincts in the area, and I think we staff about sixty of them, on Election Day. In those days, you could electioneer. It wasn't against the law to stand at the polls within, you know, so, so-many-feet away-- ROMOND: --um-hm-- MAZZOLI: --and hand out material. Now, you cannot electioneer now. But in those days you could, and it gave a, a whippersnapper like me from left field--(Romond laughs)--an opportunity to put a last-minute something in someone's pocket or hand as they walked into the poll. ROMOND: Yeah. MAZZOLI: And so these people, our friends did that very thing. And we, no one could stand all day because these were mothers with kids and had to go pick up a kid. These were guys with jobs and they could--so, but we again, to use a term, cobbled it together, we stitched it together, so that most precincts in the areas that we think we, you know, had some contact were covered. And at the end of the day, amazingly enough I had won the primary. I had won. And had-- ROMOND: --what a story-- MAZZOLI: --beaten the endorsed candidate! And this was so improbable. The papers couldn't get enough of it; the people couldn't get enough of it. One or two days later, I'm at the Seelbach Hotel, where we have this kiss and make up luncheon because Democrats are always squabbling among themselves, and so eventually they have to kiss and make up, so they could tangle with the Republicans, having tangled with themselves in the primary-- ROMOND: --(laughs)--with each other. MAZZOLI: So, uh, this was a kiss and make up luncheon. So I go down there and I'm like the proverbial wallflower. Man, I'm, I'm working around the wall--(Romond laughs)--because I don't know these people and they don't know me. So I'm standing there, and the best of my recollection is that, uh, I'm trying to be unobtrusive in a way, but to observe what's going on, and a, a man walks up to me. He looked familiar but I couldn't place it. And he stuck his hand out, and he said, "You Ron Mazzoli?" And I said, "Yes, I am." He said, "Ned Breathitt." And this was Governor Ned Breathitt. I'd never met a Governor in my lifetime. And I had never seen Ned Breathitt in real life. I should've been more aware of who he was, just, but, uh, somehow the moment just nothing struck. But it was Ned Breathitt, the first Governor I met who congratulated me and wanted to know something about the race, because this was just very much unusual-- ROMOND: --yes-- MAZZOLI: --that you would win when the party in those days was pretty dominant. It's not true nowadays-- ROMOND: --um-hm-- MAZZOLI: --that parties, uh, the Democratic Party at least is, is not strong enough to necessarily carry anything on its own. But in those days, it was expected. If you got the party's nomination-- ROMOND: --um-hm-- MAZZOLI: --I mean, basically you did not have to work; uh, it was given to you. And I think that's maybe what happened with Dick a little bit. He probably saying, what had been the case up to that point that his endorsement was tantamount to his victory. So, he probably didn't work-- ROMOND: --yes-- MAZZOLI: --inordinately but we were out there knocking on doors, rain and shine, and doing all these crazy things, um, but-- ROMOND: --you were actually having a campaign. MAZZOLI: We had, we had a campaign. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: Absolutely had a campaign. And then, as it happened, during the summer and fall we got more friends, and put more people together and staffed more precincts. So, when November of '67 came, we had people all over the place, and, uh, it surprised no one at that point that I actually won the state Senate seat. So, here is a guy who had no political ambitions through high school or through college, through law school, all of that, but somehow there was a confluence of things-- ROMOND: --yes-- MAZZOLI: --and people and events and ideas that led me to throw my hat in the ring and to then run this campaign. And I, I must give full credit to Helen, because if it hadn't been for Helen, she was the mastermind in the sense that as a young mother with young children and these responsibilities, and yet in our basement all the clatter and, and roar and, and jumble and noise of people downstairs. Uh, sometimes, when we were basically leaving the house, they'd still downstairs working. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: But Helen managed to be the tranquil center of this whole effort and the brain trust of it, and the one who can keep things moving and to organize it. And I'd jump ahead by several decades to the time when Andrea got married, she got married in 1986. Martin, whom she met at Notre Dame, was stationed in Germany. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: Andrea was living with us in Washington. The bridesmaids were from Notre Dame and different places from New York, from Kentucky. Our families were in Kentucky; Martin's family was in Iowa and Illinois. Not using a computer, but using simply 5x7 cards and a shoebox, Helen put together that wedding, held in South Bend, not in Louisville, not in Washington, but held in South Bend. You got-- ROMOND: --up at Notre Dame-- MAZZOLI: --all kinds of people coming from places as far away as Germany, all coming together, and she pulled it off without a, a misstep. And, um, that talent, she had earlier displayed to me and us, in the campaign of 1967 where she basically did the same thing. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: And so, I won in 1967 and in January of 1968, I was, uh, sworn in as a Kentucky state senator. What a peculiar and unusual and improbable story that was. And to make it all the more wonderful, all the more wonderful was the day that we walked onto the floor, the only time I had been to Frankfort, to my knowledge, beforehand, was when I went there to take the bar exam, which was taken in the House of Representatives Chamber, the big one. But when I walked into state Senate, my belief was that, that was the first time I was ever on that floor. And I'm walking in with a young, beautiful wife and two young, beautiful children as a state senator. And I find my desk, which has been assigned by random. And I have, I dug back today and I found this legislative handbook, which in the back--and I'm going to study this very carefully. It, it's wonderful and shows the seat structure-- ROMOND: --yes-- MAZZOLI: --the seating arrangement for all that 1968 State Senate. Of course, Wendell Ford sat up here, but anyway that, that, that, that entire structure of, of, of where we sat. And I sat right here, so it was just wonderful to see all these great names. But, I, I, I, but I was sworn in, I, I should go back, one, let me fill in one, one gap, um. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: During the course of the campaign--and I really didn't know much about campaigning; I knew a lot about exerting energy and about how to work hard, but I really didn't know much about campaigning. So it came to pass that after the primary, uh, I was then asked and invited to join different people when they campaigned, and including Wendell Ford and, and Henry Ward when they were campaigning in Jefferson County. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: And I'll never forget one, one day, which was very instructive to me, on how people are elected and how they're not elected, and I think that while I had won the primary by that time, I think that working the general election and all the work that I had done later and all the campaigns for Congress, I believe I learned some of those lessons this morning at the General Electric plant when they had the giant numbers. They had a, must've had twenty thousand workers in those days, a huge place. ROMOND: Hm. MAZZOLI: And we went out there at 4:30, 5:00 in the morning, Wendell Ford was there, uh, Henry Ward was there. Four or five different plants, uh, or buildings, I guess they called them buildings. And we stationed ourselves at the entrance where the workers had to go through the pathway in order to get to their building and their work. And, you know, we'd hand out cards and do that kind of stuff. Well, I did my work. Ran out of cards. Decided I'd see what Wendell was doing. Went down to Wendell's building, and Wendell had an old station wagon with a sound system either on top of it or which they had just put up there, playing Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass. I'll never forget it. Herb Alpert was, was very popular in those days, and the Tijuana Brass was sprightly, lively music. And this was, you know, five in the morning and people needed to be uplifted a little bit. The, it's a very tough hour to report for duty-- ROMOND: --um-hm-- MAZZOLI: --for them and for us. So he had this on, and then Wendell and I believe it was Bob Sperling(??). But someone was standing behind Wendell. He was up closer to where the people came over a little rise down this sidewalk and then eventually into the building. And so, he stationed himself up there close to where the people came in. They'd come in, in groups, like ----------(??)-- ROMOND: --um-hm-- MAZZOLI: --they were pulling in the parking lot. And he'd be up there, not handing out cards, but shaking hands, and then as the people got past Wendell, then Bob would be giving out the card. ROMOND: Yeah. MAZZOLI: And Wendell did that, energetic guy. He's still today in his eighties, a, a wonderfully energetic man, still very much on top of his game, a, a delightful guy. And I saw him and saw this energy and this animation and this almost frenetic, uh, way that he had of, of touching people, touching everybody. And then I spent a little time at the other end where Henry Ward was, was standing. And I saw Henry Ward was standing under a, to my recollection, a sign which says, "Come Meet Henry Ward." Five o'clock in the morning, six o'clock in the morning, who wants to meet anybody? (Romond laughs) And these people want to get into the building and start earning some money. They didn't probably really want to meet Wendell, but he's in their face, so they didn't have much choice. But Henry was not in their face; he was just standing passively under this sign and almost no one was walking up. We, uh, leave General Electric and pile into all the cars that brought us out there. We go out to ---------(??) to, um, I don't know, some kind of a drive-in place to have breakfast, Denny's or-- ROMOND: --um-hm-- MAZZOLI: --Big Mac's, or someplace. And, uh, we drove into the parking lot, and the cars parked, and then we bounced out of the cars, they go in and get a cup of coffee and something to eat. And, uh, Wendell went in, he didn't stop in the front, he didn't even sit down. He went back in the back, shook hands with the people who were cooking, shook hands with the cashier, the patrons, and then, uh, patronage, and then he sat down. Henry Ward walked in and sat down. Well, it didn't take Ron Mazzoli, uh, much time to figure this out. You don't have to be a rocket scient-, scientist to figure out that one of these guys was probably gonna win. In those days, you didn't run as a ticket. The Governor and Lieutenant Governor was not a ticket-- ROMOND: --that's right(??)-- MAZZOLI: --you ran separately, but one of these guys was going to win and one was not going to win. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: And that's precisely what happened. Wendell won and Henry didn't. Henry would've been probably a wonderful Governor. He was certainly a good bureaucrat; he knew all about Frankfort and its operations, but as a candidate, he just, he didn't have a feel for it. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: Wendell, as a, as a stark contrast, had a great feel for that. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: And, of course, not only was Lieutenant Governor, but then Governor, and US Senator and, uh, he was the one person that I've met in my lifetime, one or two people, who could've been President, if he really wanted to be President-- ROMOND: --um-hm-- MAZZOLI: --but chose not to. So, I think that the, the way that I saw these people campaign, uh, gave me further evidence of how much energy is important in the whole essence of campaigning. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: You've got to be smart. I've said many times that politics is more pedal than cerebral. You have to be smart in, in, in particularly in today's world. You can't be a klutz. But if you are not willing to expend the energy, and use your feet, and that pedal power, moving, do-, door to door, up and down these, these driveways, shaking hands with people, touching people, then it's pretty hard to, to be elected. You have to have, you have to exhibit that kind of energy. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: And I believe that, uh, that experience helped me in, in political life in how to fashion further campaigns, but also it helped me immensely because Wendell Ford won. He was forty-six or forty-seven at the time. He was a young man on the move. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: And he was the head of the Democratic Party, because the Governor was Louie Nunn, a Republican, a good man but a Republican. So the, uh, Henry Ward was out of the picture, all of the old hands of the Democratic Party out of the picture. Who was in the picture was Wendell Ford. And he refashioned a whole Democratic Party, along with J.R. Miller, who's, who was his friend and, uh, Jaycee partner from Owensboro, and Green Rivers R.E.C.C. The two of them just, just totally recreated the Democratic Party. And what happened? Well, young guys like me who had just been, by happenstance, in the state Senate at that time, in Democratic politics at that time, in state politics at that time, were drawn into this ambit that, that Wendell created, this, almost this vortex, uh, which then eventually spun me off to Washington and spun Carroll Hubbard off to Washington, spun Dee Huddleston off to Washington. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: Spun Wendell eventually to the Governor's chair and on to Washington. Spun Julian Carroll into the Governor's chair. Uh, I've always said that if it had been a couple of years earlier, then the Democrats, the, the Old Hands, I call them, though they weren't old men necessarily, but the tried and true would have been in charge, and they wouldn't let a young guy like me do much of anything except routine stuff. And if it had been a few years later, then people who declined for the state Senate seat that I did run for, because there was a lot of other young Democrats who were quite, um, um, better prepared for this job than me, and had the pedigree, and had the money background, and, uh-- ROMOND: --um-hm-- MAZZOLI: --some more patricians in their own right. But some of them declined to run but in two or three or four years later would've run, because Wendell had revved up the place so much that people really wanted to run then. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: So I, I, I credit a lot of things. I can say I credit going back to Notre Dame, I credit the Army, I credit what the Army, um, asked me to do, I credit Helen with her thing, but I credit Wendell's victory for having started a process which then yielded my election to Washington. There was an interim election. I was young and crazy in those days, and I ran for mayor of Louisville, which did another--that was, uh, in 1969. That was a year and a half after I was elected to the state Senate. And what it did for me, the, the race for mayor, which did not turn out. Um, I didn't win, but was very successful because for one thing, it introduced me to the rest of the city-- ROMOND: --yes-- MAZZOLI: --where I had a state Senate district, this was the entire, uh, ----------(??) the whole city of Louisville, which was-- ROMOND: --sure-- MAZZOLI: --was, uh, was then a, a pretty strong entity. And it also introduced me into having different issues where as my first race probably had no issues at all. It was just energy; it was just being in somebody's backyard, or being at some picnic, or knocking on someone's door, name recognition. My father's wonderful reputation for hard work and honest-, uh, honesty in his, uh, business activities. It was Helen. It was a lot of young people, a lot of enthusiasm but it wasn't much by way of issues. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: But issues then became an issue or a factor in the mayor's race, so I had to develop issues. I had to be thinking about what did I really stand for, what did I really want to do? What view do I have about government? What mechanism of government would I like to employ to help people or to make a city better? So, it was very instructive both because it introduced me to areas of the city in which I was born, but some areas I've never been to in my lifetime. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: I was as, uh, foreign to southwest Jefferson County as I was foreign to Elliott County and eastern Kentucky. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: But it was very important, and then it gave me the chance to, to think on what politics really meant. So that effort, which ended sadly for us, for Helen and me, because it consumed all of our money and, and a lot of our time, turned out to be prophetic in the sense of what it was going to lead to because one year to the day later--I have a picture in my office to show it--one year to the day later of losing the primary, a picture of two, downcast, young people, Helen and Ron Mazzoli in his hotel room, the very picture below it is Helen and Ron Mazzoli in a, in a sort of ecstasy down at Democratic headquarters with the word that, um, I had won the election to the, uh, Congress. ROMOND: Yes. MAZZOLI: And so, I believe that if all of these things hadn't taken place, including being defeated-- ROMOND: --um-hm-- MAZZOLI: --and learning how you snap back from that-- ROMOND: --yes-- MAZZOLI: --and you sort of respond to it, and how do you do that as a measure of someone's character, so they say. You always want to win, it's better than losing, but sometimes, as I tell my audiences of young people, sometimes you have to lose, too. The Lord has in mind that we don't always win anyway. So learning something about a loss and, and learning from that loss is pretty important. But then, in the state Senate, in 1968, the session of '68 was a very important session because, once again, you had the tension between the Democratic Lieutenant Governor and the Republican Governor. Previous to that time, there was no tension because they were of the same party. There was tension within because there was a lot of factionalism when the Democrats were really in ascendancy, there were a lot of factions within the Democratic Party. Uh, there wasn't much Democrat/Republican situation because the Republicans were few and far between. But, uh, in this case, you had the Democrat and a Republican vying for, for leadership in the state and, and a lot of issues came out, including the sales tax, including University of Louisville going into the state system. Um, I remember one of the early votes that was cast was very important. And, uh, I guess, probably put me in a position to be considered independent. I think because of my election to the state Senate, having come from outside, I always had a reputation of being independent. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: Um, some would say of being a maverick but I'd say more like being independent. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: And it happens that every race that we had thereafter, mayor's race, race for Congress those twelve terms, I always had a separate, independent organization from the parties. I didn't disaffiliate with the party; we still have party activities after that first, um, time that they oppose me. But I always reserved for, for myself and ourselves an opportunity to have our own campaign, to say our own things, to decide our own issues, separate and apart from what the party might've thought, uh, were the, uh, the major issues. So, I believe that the first vote that I can recall casting in the state Senate was some further evidence of this independence, and that was this, uh, vote to set up a Kentucky form of the un-American activities committee, which were very big things back in McCarthy era. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: And, uh, there were, and, and of course the Vietnam War was underway in '68. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: And there was a lot of feeling that people who might've been against the war were unpatriotic. I mean, even have, have strains of that today, you've got hints of that today in what's going on, um, in today's world regarding the war in Iraq, and opposition to that war. So, that issue came up and most everybody felt that who could be for un-American activities. So, let's have a committee to investigate un-American activities. While I was not a civil libertarian then, I'm not a civil libertarian today, but I didn't feel that committee was warranted. It didn't really have a role and mission. And so, I was one of the few people who voted against that. There were just a handful; I don't know, two, three, four of us, but some interesting people were involved in that three or four votes. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: And so, I think that was one of the early experiences I had of, um, of being independent. And, uh, but I had wonderful times, wonderful friends. Uh, sat in a row with, uh, Dick Frymire, who became adjutant general of the state. Could've been Governor, if he hadn't done what he knew was best, which was to serve the country, and get called up during the TET Offensive, and went to Richards-Gebauer Air Force Base in Kansas City, and basically gave up his chance to become Governor. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: We still get together with Dick and Phyllis every year, um, in Madisonville where they live. And, uh, wonderful people. We have a lot of fun with them. But with Dick Frymire and Bill Gentry, Gip Downing who was one of the other people who if he really wanted to be Governor or even President probably could've been, but chose to become an, an important lawyer in Lexington. Um, a fantastically, intelligent human being who in those days when the legislature had no offices, no staff-- ROMOND: --um-hm-- MAZZOLI: --no nothing, we were under the dominion of the first floor, the Governor who, who had all these people. Gip was the, was the brain trust for us in the Senate, and I think for Wendell and for a lot of people. He was smart enough to be able to assimilate information none of us could, and make budgets, and do all these kinds of things that very few of us were even, uh, capable of doing. So anyway, I sat next to Gip Downing, and there was really quite an experience, when you sit next to a, an Olympian person like him. And with people from all corners of the state, uh, Tom, uh, Harris who became secretary of agriculture, Joe Stacy, um, Floyd Hayes Ellis who became very active in, uh, with the, uh, rural electric, RECC activity. Uh, Delbert Murphy, Tom Garrett, Dee Huddleston, who, as I say, went to the Senate. Carroll Hubbard. Georgia Davis who, uh, along with Mae Street Kidd in the House and Hughes McGill in the House were I think the only three black members we had in the assembly in those days. And, uh, great friends and people that, um, set standards for handling tough issues, the civil rights type issues. And so, it was a wonderful opportunity for me to learn how the legislative process worked. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: And to be a part of a situation that was an important situation. And I was always pleased; I still have the little plaque on the wall that, uh, at the end of the session, the press corps designated me as the outstanding freshman senator. So, that was another thing, a guy who walked in from the cold, like, like John ----- ------(??)--(Romond laughs) back from the cold. ROMOND: Yes. MAZZOLI: All of a sudden, to find that my talents, and my attitudes, and abilities, my interests lay in that field. And that I can actually have an impression of those around me. And I, uh, just very much enjoyed that first experience. I enjoyed the second session, too, when I was a chairman of the education committee-- ROMOND: --um-hm, you were-- MAZZOLI: --it happened at the time when--(laughs)--we had a teacher's strike, which was not a happy situation, and there were times when I thought I was going to be thrown off the balustrade there and down to the marble floor of the Capitol. People were not happy. But I weather that storm and learned a lot about education, and when I went to Washington, I served on the education committee. Uh, the one story that I thought you might've read in your, looking through the morgue(??) is--uh, let me go back to one other thing I want to mention. Uh, uh, walked on the floor with Helen and with Mike and Andrea, and found my desk on the floor, and we had, in the old days they had microphones, and sort of large ones. And so, the kids were playing around with the microphone, and the, and the desk, and different things. And with that in mind, knowing that Charlie Fentress, who remained with the Courier-Journal for a number of years as a photographer and then came to Washington, I think, with, I think when Marlow Cook was the senator, I think that Charlie worked with Marlow. But he took this wonderful picture. It shows Andrea, who always has had delicate, uh, she liked to dance, and she had delicate features, and delicate hand movements, and she's there and Mike is just intensely interested in something, but she's got this kind of ethereal look about her, and her beautiful hands, and everything, and I'm there as a proud dad. Unfortunately, Helen is not in the picture. That picture was featured by the Courier the next day-- ROMOND: --um-hm-- MAZZOLI: --as the, as a picture illustrating the first day that convivial and ceremonial first day of an assembly, and so I've, I've treasured that picture. It's just one of the, the great pictures that we've ever had taken. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: But the story that I thought you might have dug up out of the morgue was the one that, uh, Hugh Morris wrote, who was one of the fabled, um, reporters, along with Livingston Taylor, and, and those people, uh, Leonard Perdue(??) and Dick ---------(??) and Bob Johnson-- ROMOND: --um-hm-- MAZZOLI: --and some of those great writers. But, um, without trying to be, do anything except what I felt comfortable doing, I've always try to do things I felt comfortable doing. Um, University of Kentucky was having, they have a basketball game at, at, uh, in Lexington. And so, it was routine in those days to invite members of the General Assembly to come down as guests of the University. Well, because the University was, along with the other state schools at that time--UofL was not in the system then--but the other state schools were up, um, asking for money for this, for that, they always had to do. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: In those days, the state was the source of most money for the private, for the public schools; now, each one of them has a very strong development, or, or all schools, Dr. Todd and the rest of them now have to raise an awful lot of money, almost as if they're private schools. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: But in those days, everything pretty much came from the assembly. So, in any event, I just didn't feel comfortable at this time when those matters were pending, to go down and, and to the ballgame. So, I stayed in, uh, Frankfort. And because we had no desk, I mean, no, uh, offices, I was on the floor of the Senate, at my desk, just doing some work. So, Hugh Morris was walking through the chamber, my best recollection, and came up and words to the general effect, uh, "What are you doing here?" And I said, "Well, I'm working." "No, I mean, why, why are you not in Lexington at the ballgame?" "Well, you know," I said, "I just didn't feel as comfortable as I should feel. I didn't think it was the best for me to do since the university will be down here asking for money. I just would feel more comfortable not going down there at this time." Well, the next day, big front-page story, I'd barely gotten to Frankfort, and front-page story, and-- (Romond laughs)--and Hugh wrote it, I mean, it was a straight story. He didn't put me in, in a position of, of being a, a hair-shirt or some sort of a finger pointer, or some reproach to, to, to my colleagues. ROMOND: Right. MAZZOLI: Lord, I love those people. But he, he fashioned a story fairly enough but because there was a picture accompanying this story, you know, "Senator Declines Going to UK for Basketball Game," or something, it became a rather a cause celeb. ROMOND: Hm. MAZZOLI: And, uh, I was quietly admonished, and, and, by several that, that was probably not the smartest thing I could have ever done in my lifetime, and that UK is no bad group, and they're obviously then-- ROMOND: -- ----------(??)-- MAZZOLI: --and now our wonderful, uh, advantages to the Commonwealth. But, in any event, I survived that. But it's very interesting that for years and years and years, and to some extent, to the people who still are -------------(??), who were involved in the assembly in those days, it's still something that people remember. But for years thereafter, people would still come up in the street and say, "You're the guy who gave those tickets back. Good for you." You know, and. ROMOND: Hm. MAZZOLI: And just as we talked a little bit earlier about lobbying and lobbyists, in a sense that there's a whole new era underway-- ROMOND: --um-hm-- MAZZOLI: --in Washington because of this Abramoff and because of Tom DeLay and because of golf trips to Scotland, skybox seats for the Washington Redskins and the Washington wizards, et cetera, and, because of what's happening in Tennessee, that so-called Tennessee Waltz, uh, debacle and what's happening in Ohio and another adjacent state. The, uh, states themselves and, of course, now almost at the end of a gun, the folks in Washington are reformulating their lobbying laws to make sure that-- ROMOND: --um-hm-- MAZZOLI: --these excesses are less likely to occur, though, the truth of the matter is, I've always said that the, the only way you get over these excesses is for the members to individually on their own part, not do it. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: You're not gonna find any law that doesn't have a loophole in it. Sure(??). ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: Or that can't be fashioned into a loophole by some smart lawyer. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: So no matter what law, whether it's McCain-Feingold that controls campaign finance or anything, there's always going to be exceptions taken to it. There will always be some loophole in it. So, the only way you really conquer the problem is to conquer it by individual, unilateral action. And the members are not willing to do that for good reason, because it puts them in a vulnerable position for elections, and it lets the other person raise more money. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: So forth and so on. But, um, in any event, both at the state level and the front page of today's, uh, New York Times carries a story illustrating this Tennessee Waltz, uh, um, scandal in Tennessee's, uh, General Assembly that the states themselves are on a track of changing laws. And, of course, Washington is, too. So, in those days, lobbying was a much less, uh, frenzied and, um, high pressured and, uh, and expensive endeavor than it is today. I mean, hundreds of thousands of dollars are exchanged in Frankfort now between employers who hire lobbyists. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: And, uh, it's just a big business. And when you get that much money hanging around, sometimes things happen that shouldn't happen that are unsavory. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: And in those days, in our days, it was almost ---------(??) because there just wasn't that kind of money, there wasn't that kind of temptation, wasn't that sort of active participation in the process. There were lobbyists there, there, clearly. But, uh, it was a very different kind of, uh, setting. But, in any event, that experience, which put me on the front page in my first few days in Frankfort, un-, un-, unwontedly, I should say, on the front page was also another evidence of my probably being a little bit different, a little bit, uh, a person of my own choosing. Some say, "March to your own drummer." ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: Uh, "Independent." Whatever terminology you use, it, it underscored and undergirded the idea that people had for my primary-- ROMOND: --um-hm-- MAZZOLI: --that, that probably I would be a little bit different. That, uh, I make my own mind up to the extent that I possibly can. And that's really carried through, I believe, when I ran--once again, I was always running, it looked like every year or two, but then when I ran for Congress in 1970, in a very different race against a two-term incumbent, a good man, Bill Cowger, who was our mayor, and, um, not, not a particularly emphatic person by his nature, not a particularly energetic person by his, um, physiology, and, and by his, uh, temperament, but a good person. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: But in contrast with me, and again I was thirty-eight at the time, and, you know, there was, the contrast was, was pretty palpable between the two of us. But I believe also the groundwork had been laid in the community, once again running for Congress was like running for mayor. It was basically the Third District, in those days, was the city, so I had the advantage of running a fairly recent race, not a successful race in the sense of winning, but successful in the sense of education of me. Uh, but I believe the groundwork had been laid for people to look at me and say, "Well, I think he's not going to necessarily take orders from anybody. He won't necessarily be looking to folks to give him thumbs-up or thumbs-down on an issue." ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: "More likely, he'll be thinking on it. He may not reach the conclusion that I want him to reach, but I believe he'll for the most part be thinking through the issues." And so, thankfully and happily, and, uh, perhaps, uh, incorrectly in some cases people got the impression about me that I wanted to give, which was in fact built upon everything I had done, I was going to try to think through the issues independently and, and on, on their own merit and demerit. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: Not because a President told me to do something, or asked me to do something, or because a speaker in the House of Representatives in Washington asked or told me to do something, but because I thought it was a pretty good bill, or because it was something that people of the Third District would, uh, find beneficial. And that's pretty well how I ran my lifetime. Very actively serving the people I constructed in office. Unlike most of the members with that, um, it, it's just fairly typical to hire people from your district, and move them to Washington, and you also have a local office, which is very important, but you generally take your people with you. Well, I didn't do that except in one case, because I wanted people who knew how to, how to run an office. I wanted people who knew what a member of Congress responsibilities were and, and the day-to-day functioning of an office, how it, how it's an efficient and effective office. So, I hired people who were there in other offices beforehand, had been on the Hill, but had Hill experience. And, uh, with one exception, there was a case-- now, the Louisville office always was Louisvillians, but that's, that's, and a very important office it was. But from the very early days, we fashioned our office as a service office to serve people. And bel-, I believe if I have any reputation, along with being somewhat independent in that setting was the fact that I really worked hard for the people. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: Even people who didn't agree with me on the issues, and I'll mention a few of them in a moment, but, uh, where they didn't agree with me on the issues, they would be almost, in unison, saying that I did in fact serve everybody. And I did in fact have people in the office who aggressively sought out aid where the person was entitled to some help from Social Security, or veteran's administration, or some local agency, county or city or state agency. And I was happy about that because I felt that was one thing that maybe Mr. Cowger had not done was to really openly set up an office to serve people. Most every member prior to that time had an office, a congressional office, in their law office, or in their, um, business office, but not really a separate place. So, I made about the only pledge I can remember making was that I would open an office in the federal building. ROMOND: Um-hm. MAZZOLI: And in fact I did. And I was there from day one, January of, uh, 1971 to January of 1995-- ROMOND: --um-hm-- MAZZOLI: --our office was always in the federal building. And, um-- [End of interview.] Mazzoli (Senate, 1968-1970 35th district; Democrat and U.S. Congress, House, 1971--1995; 3rd district) discusses his Italian heritage, growing up in a Louisville working-class neighborhood, and his Catholic education, including his undergraduate career at Notre Dame. He describes experiences in the Army during the Korean War, his decision to go to law school and his first job as an attorney for the L & N Railroad in Louisville, Kentucky. Mazzoli recounts his decision to enter politics, his first campaign, his resistance to the Kentucky Democratic Party's control over election candidates, factionalism within the party, lobbyists and his independence as a legislator. He reflects on the campaigning styles of Wendell Ford and Henry Ward. The interview concludes with Mazzoli's election to the United States Congress. Part 1 of 3. insert here