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2006-06-27 Interview with Charles R. Holbrook III, June 27, 2006 Leg001:2006OH142 Leg 132 1:24:30 Kentucky Legislature Oral History Project Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries Legislators -- Kentucky -- Interviews. Republican Party (U.S. : 1854- ) (U. S. : 1854- ) -- Kentucky. Political campaigns -- Kentucky. Educational change -- Kentucky. Alcohol -- Law and legislation -- Kentucky. Kentucky. Governor (1971-1974 : Ford) Kentucky. Governor (1979-1983 : Brown) Kentucky. Governor (1983-1987 : Collins) Educational change Real property Alcohol -- Law and legislation Coal trade Politics, Practical -- United State Ashland (Ky.) Stuart, Jesse Weaver, Charlie Ford, Wendell H., 1924- Brown, John Y. (John Young) Jr. Collins, Martha Layne McBrayer, W. Terry, 1937- University of Kentucky Ashland Oil, inc. Co. Judiciary Committee (Minority Chair) Cities Committee (Minority Chair) Banking and Insurance Committee (Minority Chair) Rules Committee Bicycle Commission military service law school real estate campaigning bipartisanship role of legislator legislative independence annual sessions negotiation Coal mines and mining education reform Lobbyists national politics Term/District: House (1972-1986), 100th district Counties in District: Boyd County (Ky.) – Greenup County (Ky.) Charles R. Holbrook III; interviewee Roy Salmons; interviewer 2006OH142_LEG132_Holbrook 1:|23(10)|50(10)|68(8)|95(2)|116(10)|147(4)|162(11)|184(2)|201(2)|231(1)|255(8)|271(10)|305(8)|337(2)|359(13)|382(6)|408(6)|422(7)|438(9)|462(12)|479(2)|503(12)|521(6)|546(7)|565(2)|591(2)|615(14)|633(12)|656(9)|680(7)|701(5)|721(7)|739(6)|763(2)|787(2)|814(3)|842(7)|866(11)|889(3)|907(13)|924(4)|947(8)|969(2)|985(7)|1010(1)|1033(3)|1058(2)|1080(5)|1102(2)|1119(8)|1140(9)|1156(11)|1181(1)|1205(7)|1227(8)|1250(1)|1269(1)|1289(7)|1306(2)|1338(6)|1368(7)|1389(2)|1408(7)|1440(1)|1458(3)|1483(11)|1504(5)|1521(13)|1540(9)|1566(14)|1589(7)|1604(16)|1624(4)|1658(6)|1677(11)|1701(1)|1723(2)|1743(3)|1766(13)|1788(4)|1806(3)|1826(12)|1849(1)|1868(5) audiotrans Legit interview SALMONS: The following is an unrehearsed interview with former State Representative Charles R. Holbrook III who represented Boyd County in the 100th District from 1972 to 1986. The interview was conducted by Roy Salmons for the University of Kentucky Library, Kentucky Legislative Oral History Project on June 27, 2006 in the office of Charles R. Holbrook III in Ashland, Kentucky, at 4:30 PM. [Pause in recording.] SALMONS: This evening, I'm talking with Charles Holbrook III. Mr. Holbrook, could you please tell me where and when you were born? HOLBROOK: I was born in Ashland, uh, in 1938. September of '38. SALMONS: So, you've, you've spent your whole adult life and childhood in Ashland? HOLBROOK: Except for three years in the army and eight or so years in college, and I think three years when I was in junior high school, I lived in Louisville. My father had a job down there, uh, when I was, my three, my four, three year of junior high, uh,career I'd call it. That's back before they had middle schools, and it was a junior high then, I guess, grades seven through nine. SALMONS: What years were you in the army? HOLBROOK: Uh, I believe it was '62 to '65. SALMONS: Okay. HOLBROOK: Three years, somewhere thereabouts. SALMONS: Was it an interesting experience? HOLBROOK: Yeah, I spent, uh, my whole, entire army career, uh, making myself indispensable to people, so I didn't get sent to Vietnam. And so I spent three years in Cincinnati, Ohio at a missile base. SALMONS: So, how did you manage that, because I know at that time period most young men from this area were going, esp-, especially in the South, were going to Vietnam? HOLBROOK: Um, the, the army, I was about to get drafted, and the army had a program, uh, whereby you could, um, pick a MOS, which is a job. And, uh, and I thought the missile base thing sounded, uh, interesting, and plus there was one in Cincinnati, and I was just kind of hoping to get there. And, but of course there was no guarantee, but they guarantee you like at least six months at where it's your first assignment after, after basic training. And so, sure enough, I got sent to Cincinnati. And, uh, and I just, I just worked myself to death to make sure that my superior officers appreciated my work, and they went to bat for me to keep me there. I got sent to, to, uh, Vietnam once or twice, and Germany once or twice, and ----------(??) a couple of times. And, uh, so they, the, uh, my commanding officers were able to get the orders countered, how-, however they did it. I, I don't know how they did it but I was grateful. And, uh, so I, yeah, I, I was a pretty good soldier, and so they kept me there for three years. SALMONS: Were you tempted to re-enlist, or, or once your term was up-- HOLBROOK: --no, I, I wanted to get back out and go to school. I started off to be an architect and, and I ran out of money and, and ran into calculus, second semester of calculus. And so then I was about to get drafted, so, uh, I took some, a few courses in, in the army. And at first I thought I might want to be a teacher, but, uh, that was kind of discouraging. Some of the professors I had and, uh, my father was a lawyer and he, he talked me into going to law school. And so when I got out, I went back to the University of Kentucky, and, uh, finished up there. Got my undergrad and grad degrees both at UK. SALMONS: So, what, uh, did you, I know Kentucky now does not have specialty in law, did it have a specialty at your time, at the time you was in school? HOLBROOK: In pre-law you mean? SALMONS: No, when you, you went to UK's law school? HOLBROOK: Yeah, oh yeah. SALMONS: Did you, did you specialize in a certain type or was it general? HOLBROOK: Uh, law school, you, you get, you start off and you, you have take, everybody takes, then, I don't know if it's that way now, but everybody took basically the same courses the first two years. Then the third year you had some electives. But, but, I, since my, my father wanted me to come in with him, he did predominately real estate and things related to real estate and probate, uh, I took all the courses in, in those areas that I could. But, uh, back then there wasn't a whole lot of specialties in law school. You had, uh, they, I think it's still the same way; they wanted you to get a broad general background in, in the law. In fact we had to study some California law and stuff that really rankled me, but. (both laugh) But if I wanted to stay in school I had to do it, so, uh. SALMONS: This, this leads me to, uh, questions, questions I can ask about your family. What were your parents and their background? HOLBROOK: Uh, my father was born in Blaine, Kentucky. And-- SALMONS: --what was your father's name? HOLBROOK: Uh, Charles R. Holbrook Jr., strangely enough. (laughs) And he, but he moved, he and his father and family moved to Ashland, I guess, when he was probably in grade school or something. So he basically grew up in Ashland but he had some, some memories and stuff from, from, uh, Blaine and Lawrence County. But he basically grew up here. And my mother, uh, was the son of a West--uh, son, a daughter of a West Virginia coal miner who, who, uh, came to Ashland and got a job at the steel mill here in, uh During the Depression, he put two, he had three daughters and he put two of them through college. And he would've put my mother through, but she didn't want to go to college. So she, she married my father shortly after graduation from high school. And, uh, they subsequently divorced. But, uh, my dad, uh, served in the navy during World War II, and, uh, so. SALMONS: So, military has kind of been a tradition in your family, for you and your father? HOLBROOK: Um-hm. SALMONS: Did any of your children go to the military? HOLBROOK: I only had one child, one son, and he's, uh, he's not, he's forty, so I don't guess he will have to serve anytime, uh. SALMONS: And so, your family's always been tied to eastern Kentucky. HOLBROOK: Pretty much so, yeah, I think, think my, my son was born in, in Kentucky, although he lives in, uh, North Carolina, but I think he was a sixth-generation Kentuckian. Either fifth or sixth, I've, I've got all the that genealogy stuff at home, and I can't remember, I have to have the paper in front of me. But he's either fifth- or sixth- generation Kentuckian. SALMONS: What's, uh, your memories of Ashland here growing up? How do you remember this city? HOLBROOK: Oh, it's favorable; it was a great place to grow up. SALMONS: But what, what changes have occurred since then, how is it different than when you were? HOLBROOK: Uh, it, it hadn't changed a whole lot. The, uh, the, the steel industry has declined a little, but it's still a factor(??) here. And, uh, the refinery was an Ashland, Inc., their headquarters here was a huge, uh, factor in the, in the economy here. And they're gone but they've been replaced by the, the hospital, medical professions, and, uh. So there's not really a whole lot of difference. Uh, the, the economy stayed pretty much the same. It's, uh, it hadn't, hadn't, the, the population shrunk a little bit. And, and I think the population has aged, like me, but, uh, I don't think that we have as many young people here as we used to, because they're just, like a lot of small towns, there's not that many job opportunities for, for college graduates. And we're, we're blessed with, uh, good school systems around here. And so quite a few of our high school students go on to, to higher education and they, unless they want to work in, in the, uh, refinery business or the, uh, steel business, uh, or the hos-, or the medical professions, they, there's really isn't a whole lot for them here. Retail, there's a lot of retail, but there probably more retail here now than there used to be. But, uh, a lot of it's, uh, big box and things like that, like everybody else, we, we have the same problems that, that the other, other small communities have, so. SALMONS: So, you would say since you childhood Ashland has developed from a, uh, heavy industry to more of a soft industry? HOLBROOK: I, I think to a certain degree, it's still, there's still a lot of heavy industry here. We're, we're anchoring both ends with the steel factory and the, and the refinery, and then right in the middle you got a coke plant. And then across the river, there's all, there're all sorts of chemical plants over there. So we're, we're still pretty heavily industrialized. I was told, in fact until just recently Boyd County was, uh, a non-attainment area as far as the EPA was, uh, concerned, and I, I think they are in the process of lifting the, the, uh, their sanctions on us I think but, uh, so we're, we're still pretty industrial. Perhaps not as much as we used to be, but, but pretty much so. SALMONS: How would you describe your childhood neighborhood? HOLBROOK: It was a neighborhood. That's, um, we still have some in Ashland, and it's, uh, it's pretty nice. It's, uh, I, I think the, the school system made, the Ashland city schools made a major mistake in, in decommissioning a lot of the little neighborhood schools. But, uh, every-, everybody in the neighborhood knew everybody else. And it's like, like life's supposed to be, you know. And we've sort of gotten away from that after post war but, uh, I think there's a trend back to it now. We're not building any new little schools, but, uh, I, I think we're doing, people are coming to the realization that, uh, some of the old ways are better than some of the new ways. Uh, the post-war, uh, planning and zoning, uh, ideas are now pretty much discredited, but, but the old ideas die hard, and, and there's hardly any way to put back the neighborhood grocery and the, and the neighborhood school and the neighborhood drug store. So, we may never get back to where we were, but, uh, uh, there's, we still have neighborhoods in Ashland, which I think it's a great thing. SALMONS: Do you mind if I ask your religious affiliation? HOLBROOK: I'm a Presbyterian. SALMONS: Okay. How would you say was, was the role of religion in your life as a child through adulthood? HOLBROOK: Was-- SALMONS: --how, what was, what was the role of religion in your family? HOLBROOK: Oh, it was, it was, I, I, I lived with my grandparents, uh, during the better part of, uh, grade school because, because, I guess because of the divorce, and so forth, and, and my grandmother was a very devote Baptist. And, and she'd make me go to the Baptist church. So, uh, it, it played a pretty big role. And, but, uh, I, I got to go to the Presbyterian church some too, because that's where, uh, my father and grandfather went. So, uh, uh, you know(??), it, it played a pretty big role in my upbringing. Went to Sunday school a lot and stuff like that. But most kids did back then. SALMONS: Get in trouble at Sunday school? HOLBROOK: Oh yeah, oh yeah. (laughs) SALMONS: You mentioned several times that your parents were divorced. HOLBROOK: Um-hm. SALMONS: At, at that time in the U.S. divorce was relatively rare, wasn't it? HOLBROOK: It, it was fairly rare but with, I think, the advent of World War II, it became more and more common, because people were separated and, uh, things just happened, you know. And, and, and women became more liberated and, and cause, maybe not cause they wanted to, because they had to. And, you know, the, the industrial effort(??) needed them. And, uh, they were patriotic and they wanted to work and, and they did. And, uh, I think that maybe contributed to the increase in, increase divorce rates. But, uh, I don't think there is, I don't recall ever having any stigma or anything like that attached to the fact that I was a child of, of a failed marriage, so. But in that respect, I don't think it made a lot of difference. But it was more rare then than it is now but it wasn't unheard of. SALMONS: Okay, if you don't mind, I would like to ask some questions about your early schooling and work. HOLBROOK: Um-hm. SALMONS: Okay. When you were, you said, um, talking about local schools, what school did you attend? ----------(??) HOLBROOK: Well, I went to Haggar Grade School and it was, uh, right now it's, it's in Ashland. It's sort of the, uh, the snob grade school, but back when I went to it, uh, we had two, uh, blotted(??) areas, Avondale and Boxtown(??). And the kids from Avondale and Boxtown went to Hagar. Uh, Avondale is where the tennis center is now. And there was an open sewer running down there, which Long Branch Creek now is not too bad. And Boxtown is just what it said it was; it's where the new high school, the high school is now. And, uh, and people lived in boxes, sort of, uh, updated boxes there. And, and the Avondale people and the Boxtown people didn't get along for some reason. Because we actually had gang wars. They, you know, wasn't, no guns or knives or anything like that, but mostly fist fights. And, and you were either Hindu or Muslim. And I was a Hindu. (Salmons laughs) And it, I, for some reason I threw in with the Avondale bunch, and they were, they were nice people, they were woefully underprivileged but, uh, they were nice kids. Mean but nice. (laughs) SALMONS: With your father's background as, as an attorney, of which I would assume put you at a, a higher financial bracket than most of those kids. HOLBROOK: Yeah, probably, yeah. SALMONS: Any, any of them react to that, or was it? HOLBROOK: No, you didn't have that class jealousy back then, I think, that you have now sometimes, so. Other people didn't pay any attention to, to your parent's money, that wasn't that really wasn't a factor. Had another really good friend who was, uh, a grandson of Charles Parsons, that Dr. Parsons that owned the big department store. And he, he ran with the Avondale kids too. So, uh, his, his, his grandfather was a multi-millionaire, I guess, or, or what would be equivalent to one now in today's dollars. But didn't, didn't really affect things like that. SALMONS: Then, after grade school you said you went to Louisville? HOLBROOK: Yeah. SALMONS: For? HOLBROOK: Three years. SALMONS: What school did you attend there? HOLBROOK: Uh, the Southern Junior High School, which is not connected to Southern High School. I don't think, I don't think there was a Southern High School then. But, uh, it's out in the south end of Louisville, near -----------(??) park, a nice little, -----------(??) neighborhood. (laughs) SALMONS: What difference did you notice between Ashland and Louisville when you attended that school? HOLBROOK: You know, kids don't notice much difference. Other than(??), the main thing I remember, I had to make new friends. And other than that, I don't remember any great changes. And of course, uh, junior high was a little tougher than grade school. And, and you were a little bit more on your own. But, but, uh, I, I think the fact that I was in a bigger city didn't seem to make a whole lot of difference. SALMONS: After junior high, you said, you came back to Ashland? HOLBROOK: Yeah. SALMONS: What high school? HOLBROOK: My father moved back here. And, uh, I came back here with him. SALMONS: Did he come and open his own practice here, or was he? HOLBROOK: Uh, he, he started off in, in building houses. And, but he, he had this passion for building houses. And he did that for several years. And, uh, it wasn't really that profitable, so he, he, he decided to practice law again, so he did. SALMONS: That's, that's an interesting, uh, way to look at some-, somebody going from lawyer to house building to law again. HOLBROOK: Yeah. SALMONS: Did he ever, later in life, talk about what he enjoyed more? HOLBROOK: Oh, I think, I think he enjoyed both of them. He, he was the kind of guy that just he was pretty happy with whatever he did. And he was, if he had an enemy in the world I don't, I've never found them yet. So he was just really easygoing and, and easy to get along with, and, and very pleasant. Uh, you know, had some knockdown drag outs when I first got out of law school, because I thought I knew it all, and it took me about six months to figure out that he, he knew a whole lot more than I did. (laughs) So, so everything got back to normal after that, but we had some, had some pretty tough arguments early on, but. SALMONS: Did you take a break between your high school attendance and then going to college? HOLBROOK: Yes, I, I worked at a refinery for about a year and a half. SALMONS: What did you think about that experience? HOLBROOK: It was, I think it was a great experience. It's a good encouragement to go on to, to law school, because, you know, you start off in labor gang and, and work your way a little bit, and it's, uh, hard, it was hard dirty work, and I presume it still is now. So, uh, used to take a sample ball of kerosene in the shower to get the motor oil off of you, and stuff like that. But it was, uh, a good experience, I made a lot of friends and learned a tremendous amount, you know, just about human nature, and the way things operate. And, uh, it was a great experience. SALMONS: Was that one of the experiences that enabled you to judge people as when you became a lawyer, ---------(??) be able to read people? HOLBROOK: I think it helps a whole lot, yeah. I think any kind of life experience like that helps you with anything you get into later. SALMONS: I've heard several, I've read several newspaper and articles about want, wanting to implement a policy of, before you go onto college after high school, you do a year in some type of either public service or some type of work. What would you feel about that happening? HOLBROOK: I, I would be against making it mandatory, but, uh, the more you could make it, make that sort of thing possible for, for young people, I think it would be great. Especially for young men, because, you know, a high school graduate has no idea of what he wants to do, especially, especially boys. Now some girls say, "Oh, I'm going to do this and that," and they generally do it. But, but again, I didn't really know what I wanted to do when I got out. I thought I wanted to be an architect and probably would've if I, if I could've done better in the higher math, but I, I, the physics was okay and the design and that sort of thing, but, uh, I just, somehow or another hit a stonewall when, when I got into the second, second semester of calculus. SALMONS: So, would you say calculus is the class you disliked the most in school, or something you liked even less? HOLBROOK: I, I, I didn't like it because I couldn't see any practical application for it, and maybe that, that was my downfall, I don't know. I did okay in, in high school in Trig and Geometry and ------ -----(??), cause you can actually see what you're actually doing. But I never could figure out how I would ever used what the area of that thing under the curve was. What would you use that for, I don't know, so I don't, I just, it was beyond my, my, I guess whatever my field of knowledge was, was allowing me to go, but. SALMONS: You've had an extensive education, in multiple, you know multiple levels. HOLBROOK: Yes. SALMONS: If you had to pick one teacher that was the most inspirational in your career, in your obtaining an education, who would that be? And what did they teach? HOLBROOK: Boy, that'd be really hard now. Uh, I, I think what little success I had in, in, in college was due to English teachers I had in, uh, both junior high and high school. They, they were mean and they, they insisted that you learn to read and write English appropriately and, and properly. And, uh, and I was scared to death of my high school English teacher, she was related to me. And she was a good friend of my dad's. And, uh, she didn't cut my any slack, didn't give me any extra, any favors, or anything, in fact she may have worked me harder than she, she needed to because, uh, she just did. And I, I, I truly -----------(??) what success I had in higher education to, to the, uh, English teachers I had both in junior high and high school. I had a really good one at, at Southern Junior High named Ms. Snyder. And she was, uh, I guess, what do you call them now? Uh, a single lady, and, uh, she was very, um, very caring and, and very concerned that you get a, uh, proper education and she'd have kids over to her house. And, uh, she was just a good teacher. Those, those two stand out, and I had, I had some good math teachers, and which didn't, in spite the fact that they were good, didn't help me any when I got to calculus. But that's not their fault. Uh, basically those are the ones I remember. The two English teachers more than anybody. Had some, had some good, uh, history professors at UK, but I, the names, uh, I don't remember their names, to tell you the truth. There were a couple that were really great. But, uh, one, one of them was my advisor, and he was head of the history department. And I wanted, I was more interested in ancient history than, than, uh, English and American history. and he, uh, ---------(??) me into doing, taking, majoring in English history and turned out that that's great because it's a good background for law, you know, just a whole lot of our law in the United States is based on English law, so it was a good background. and he was right. And you have to write a lot in law school. When I went to law school was almost all essays; there were no multiple choices. Uh, you didn't have one multiple-choice exam a semester. So he was right. (laughs) SALMONS: Was it Dr. Thomas Clark? HOLBROOK: No, it was before his time. It was back in the sixties. Yeah. I don't remember his name now, I'm sorry. SALMONS: That's okay. You finished school, and then you started practicing, you finished law school, then you started practicing law. HOLBROOK: Right. SALMONS: How, how long did you practice law before you decided to go into politics? HOLBROOK: Well, not very long cause I, because I got out of law school in '70 and I ran in seventy, 1971. Um, there, there were, uh, as a Republican, you'll appreciate this, the, a lot of the Republicans, not a lot but maybe half a dozen to a dozen would meet once a week at the old Henry Clay Hotel at a big roundtable up there and have lunch. And, uh, Jesse Stuart was, was a regular there. And I, I really, I admired him a great deal. And, uh, he and my father talked me into running. And Charlie Weaver(??), who you, you previously interviewed was, uh, giving up his House seat to run for the Senate. And so, they, they talked me into running for his seat. And, uh, plus I had a, another law professor who was a classmate of my dad's, uh, Professor Richardson. And, uh, that's back in the day in the seventies, sixties and seventies, you, you couldn't, uh, advertise much if you were a lawyer. and he advised, he advised everyone to, uh, when they got out of school and passed the bar, to run for public office, just run like the devil and, and hope you lose, because that's a good way to advertise your practice. So I did exactly what he said; I messed up and won. So, uh, but Jesse Stuart and my dad were, and Charlie Weaver were pretty much the ones that talked me into doing it, because I really never even thought about something like that. It's the furthest thing from my mind, but they, they persuaded me that was, uh, sorta my responsibility and duty to do that. So, uh, I thought I had already fulfilled my responsibility three years in the army, but they said, "No, you got to, got to run for the legislature," so I did. And served seventeen years. There was a three-year term in there because of a, a constitutional amendment that changed the election date; that's why it was an odd number because, you know, the House is two-year term. So, you tell people seventeen, say, "What? Did you quit, you resign or something?" No, just had 1 three-year term. SALMONS: You might, uh, I was wanting to ask, I wanted to talk some more about your political career, but you put up a question, a comment I was, have a question about. You first got out of law school, you weren't allowed to advertise? HOLBROOK: Lawyers weren't, in Kentucky weren't allowed to advertise very much then. Phone book and things like that were about, about all the public announcement. They, uh, they had restrictions on advertising for lawyers, which I think was a good thing but whatever. It's, uh, there still, still quite a few restrictions, if you want to run an ad in a, uh, magazine or something you have to get approval, you're supposed to get approval from the bar association. But, uh, I don't worry about it because we, we don't advertise very much. There's no need to. SALMONS: After, uh, Mr. Wheeler, Jesse Stuart and your father talked you into running-- HOLBROOK: --um-hm-- SALMONS: --how did you do your first campaign? Was it a grassroots campaign, or did you have some -----------(??)? HOLBROOK: Very, very grassroots, and it didn't cost much money back then. And mostly I, I'd, uh, knock on doors. And run some ads in the paper. And, uh, I don't think I ever wrote any letters. ---------- --(??)---------- letters out. I, I knocked on an awful a lot of doors and had some real good(??), funny experiences with some of those. But, but, uh, it was a good experience, you met a lot of people, and, and it worked, so. Uh, and I continued to do that, not, not as much after the first couple of elections, but I continued to, to do the, uh, the door knocking, or whatever, two or more people are gathered in public, you show up, you know, uh, and that sort of thing. But, uh, as, as I, uh, my time in the legislature wore on, it got more and more expensive. It got very expensive. I know one year the, uh, Republican National Committee came in here, I don't know why they picked on me, but they wanted me to make sure I got reelected. and they did a phone survey, well, actually they told us what to do with the phone survey, they'd get volunteers, and it turned out that if, if you were a registered Republican voter in my district, you got like four letters from me, two postcards and two letters. So, you know, and, and it worked because I won, of course, but, uh, I was fortunate, I never lost an election, so. SALMONS: What was, you said it was relatively cheap to run? HOLBROOK: Yeah. SALMONS: How much would you say it costs to run at the time? HOLBROOK: Oh, I would say eight or nine hundred dollars, something like that. You know, newspaper ads weren't so expensive then, and you didn't have to run them. Yeah, I'd run one a week maybe, or something like that, about a month before the, well, it may have been more than that because you have to buy signs and yard signs and cards, but, you know, back in, in, uh, '71, things like that didn't cost too much. SALMONS: I know current-- HOLBROOK: --and nobody, nobody in a local race like that, nobody bothered with television, because all the television stations here in West Virginia anyway. So you'd be paying for a lot of stuff that, that didn't help you any. So, so I didn't get into television until they added in a cable, cable was, was less expensive than, than, uh, getting on the three network stations in Huntington. And probably reaches as many people anyway. It was probably about 10 percent as expensive, and it probably reaches maybe 75 percent as many people, so. Uh, Dave Carters, uh, he's retired now, but he was an advertising guy here in Ashland. In fact he used to have an office in this building. And, uh, he, he sort of just advised me. And, uh, he told me what days of the week to run, run the ads in the paper, and he designed my bumper stickers and yard signs and things like that. He, he did ---------(??) which was, yeah, you'd have to pay a lot of money to get somebody's expertise. So that was always a big help. SALMONS: Did you ever have a campaign manager, like a professional come in and do your campaigns? HOLBROOK: Just, just that one time when, uh, Republican national, uh, committee came in here; that's the only time I really had. Uh, well, yeah, I had, uh, Pete --------(??), he's a, he's a, Pete ----------(??) III, he's now a stockbroker, but then was a banker at the old Second National Bank, uh, was my campaign treasurer. And, so I never was very good asking for money, and so Pete, you know, bankers, they don't care. So, so he, he was my money raiser and, uh, and the last two or three times I ran, I hired a, a young lady to just sort of, you know, manage things, and basically talk to my dad and find out what I'd be doing. My dad was the chairman of the Republican Party in Boyd County for a while. He never ran for anything, but he always had his finger in it. And, uh, he, I pretty much did what he suggested. Uh, do you want to hear a funny story? SALMONS: Yes sir. HOLBROOK: Okay, we're both Charlie Holbrook and, and up, up the street here is a chimney corner(??). We used to go up there every now and then to, uh, for lunch. And then I would walk up there, and one day we were going up, and these two, two elderly ladies came up and started talking to my dad and said. "Charlie, I think you're doing a great job in the legislature. I'm going to vote for you again." And I started to say something and he nudged me and said, "Just don't"--(laughs)--"don't say anything." So, I kept my mouth shut. So they thought they were voting for Dad, which was fine with me, you know. SALMONS: As long as you got the vote. HOLBROOK: Yeah, as long as it's honest, and you get them, and then, uh, whatever. SALMONS: Cause I know right now they, they almost spend almost a year before the, the election campaigning. HOLBROOK: Yeah. SALMONS: How long did you spend campaigning usually? HOLBROOK: Oh, I, I, I was trying to practice law, so I didn't spend all that much time. I spent a lot of time in the evenings, uh, knocking on doors. And, uh, you know, that sort of interfered with my family life, but whatever, you know, you got to do what you got to do. But I, I'd spend maybe anywhere from two to four hours in the evening, uh, knocking on doors. And some funny things happened, dogs bite you, and people come to the door naked. And all kinds of weird things. (laughs) SALMONS: What was the funniest things that ever happened while you were knocking on the doors? HOLBROOK: I think the funniest thing was, uh, I was, it was a nice, as I recall it, it's a pleasant evening, and there's a lady sitting on her porch, and it was over in, on Ranch Corner, somewhere over there in that neighborhood. And, and so I was walking up her sidewalk to talk to her and give her a card. And, and this little dog came out and, and locked onto my ankle. And she said, "Oh, don't worry about him; he won't bite." And he was chawing, chewing on my ankle and ate a hole in my sock. And I was bleeding. And she kept saying, "Don't worry, he won't bite you." And you can't say a word, because if you'd start complaining about her dog, she won't vote for you. Cause it was obvious she loved that dog more than anything. That, that's probably one of the funnier, funniest things that, and the couple of people that came to the door with no clothes on. They're all men but daggone it, but. (both laugh) But, uh, there're people, some people just came to the door, and stark naked, you know. And one, a couple of times during the World Series, people invite me in, and, uh, we would watch an inning or two of the World Series, that's back when the Reds had a good team. We would watch a couple of innings of the game, and I'd say, "Okay, I've got to go, I'll leave you a card," and they say, "Fine, come, come back next, come back the next game," or something, you know. (laughs) So, uh, it, it was, it was a pleasant experience. Very few people would slam the door on you, or say, "I wouldn't vote for you, if you, if you're the only candidate in the world." So, but, but some did, but most, by and large, most people are really nice. Some are kind of, um, um, standoffish and they want, I learned early you don't ask them to vote for you or get a commitment out of them. You, you ask but you don't say, "Will you?" You say, "I'd sure appreciate your vote," you know, but. Cause some people don't like to be pinned down, and live a secret ballot, and a lot of people like to protect that right, I guess. So you don't try to pin them down, but, um, you ask. SALMONS: Did part of your district go into Greenup County, or was it just all-- HOLBROOK: --uh, one, one, one election, uh, I had, I had the Bellefonte, the city of Bellefonte, the precinct of Bellefonte. And that's really, that was interesting that you ask, because those are really close elections right after the, the wet/dry, uh, situation, I don't know if you're familiar with that. SALMONS: Please tell us about that. HOLBROOK: Okay, the Ashland, Inc. was, uh, and, and some, some other city leaders were, uh, concerned that Ashland was dry. And Ashland, Inc. wanted a hotel to, to be able to put up people who came into town. Uh, we, we thought, and, and the downtown was sort of dying, and we thought it'd be a good idea to get Ashland wet. And, and of course there was tremendous opposition to it, and the churches were really opposed to it. And, uh, because it was a real bitter struggle. It took three tries but I was sort of the leader in the legislature to get Ashland wet. And, uh, I lost my train of thought here. What was we talking about? SALMONS: Oh, we're talking about the close election after the, getting the-- HOLBROOK: --oh, on, on Bellefonte, yeah, okay. SALMONS: Um-hm. HOLBROOK: So, so it was a real tough election, and I think I won by about forty, thirty, forty votes, but in, in Boyd County in my district, I'd lost. And I was ready to go home and go to bed and forget about it. And then I remembered that I still had Bellefonte precinct. And I won overwhelming in Bellefonte, got every absentee ballot there, and there was a bunch of them because there was a lot of college--(coughs)- -excuse me--college kids in Bellefonte. And so Bellefonte carried the election for me. But the next election it was, it, they put it in another district, which, which I hated to see that happen. But I had some good friends in, in Bellefonte who had, uh, one of them called me up, she said, uh, "I'm, I'm not gonna make anymore phone calls for you, Charlie." I said, "Well, what did I do? Said, "Oh, nothing just all, all my other friends are calling me." Said, "You've got enough phone calls; I quit." And sure enough, she was right, because it was just an overwhelming victory in Bellefonte. I don't know why that was but it was. But I had a lot of people out up there working for me. There were a lot of Ashland oil people who appreciated that, uh, the, the, the sacrifice I made on wet/dry, but the police had to, uh, keep a squad car at my house all night during, during the legislature because I got bomb threats, and all sorts of things like that. But, but I think it was just pranks; I don't think anybody was serious about it. But it, it was kinda trying, you know, to be in Frankfort and you have your family back here. And, uh, but it, it worked out okay. SALMONS: What year was that in? HOLBROOK: Uh, see, was that? Well, it, it took two tries in the legislature to get it through. It was in, uh, the early eighties, '82 or '84, something like that. I'm, I'm not good at remembering dates, but, uh, it was the eighties. SALMONS: Being a member of the Presbyterian Church, did your church give you any problems with supporting the, the wet amendment? HOLBROOK: I, I think, by and large, the, the parishioners were, were for it. But, uh, the, the church took no official stand on it. Uh, my, my biggest assistance came from the Episcopalian church and the minister there, that, that sort of went to bat for me when, when some of the, uh, fundamentalist ministers got after me, and they, he, he sort of came to my aid, Father Jack Weiss(??). He's a brilliant guy, I hate to see him go, but he, he's lives(??) up in West Virginia someplace now. But he was really good. SALMONS: Did the, the push to get Ashland wet, was there any division in the Republican Party over that, or was it? HOLBROOK: Oh, I'm sure there was. Yeah, I'm sure I lost some Republicans votes for it. I think that's why the RNC says I had to, uh, spend a lot of time and money with the registered Republican women because I, I presumed a lot of them were probably dry. So, uh, I, I presumed that's why they got so many letters from me. RNC never told me why, they said, "Well, we've analyzed your poll and here's what you need to do." And I didn't have time to ask them why. (both laugh) Actually I think they did tell me why. they, in fact they, they handed me, uh, a printout, I may still have it someplace that, that told what the results of the poll were, and why I needed to do this, but I don't think I ever read it. I think I just did what they told me to do. SALMONS: During this time in running for a legislator, you had the backing of the local party, um, party elites, some(??) I guess. HOLBROOK: I guess pretty much so. I had a, had a primary the first time I ran and never had a primary after that. So, uh, didn't have to fool with that. You know, an election every other year is bad enough, but if you got a primary and an election, that's just gruesome. I'd probably quit a long time, a lot sooner than I did, but, uh, uh, we had a, uh, uh, sort of unwritten rule that, that you didn't take part in primaries. So that I guess, I guess you just all Republicans thought that I was doing okay, and so they wouldn't, they decided not to oppose me, but I never had a Republican opponent after the first election. I had two in the first election but after that I didn't have any, so. SALMONS: Did the backing of, of the, um, local party help you in statewide, because I noticed when I was looking over your legislative record you introduced a lot of bills and a lot of them got passed? HOLBROOK: Yeah. SALMONS: Would you say that you were helped by your local connections? HOLBROOK: Uh, not so much as the fact that I got along with the Democrats, and that's, that's, because we were in such a minority then that, you know, if you didn't cooperate with the Democrats, and as I said, Terry McBrayer was, was, uh, a really good friend. ---------- (??)--------- made a big help to me. He and I cosponsored bills. And, uh, whatever, and helped each other out, but, but always tried to get along with everybody, because that's, if you want to get anything done for your district you have to do it, you know, whether you, whether you like it or not, you have to get along with everybody. And actually I enjoyed getting along with everybody. So, there were some, during my, my term down there, there were some freshman Democrats that took them maybe a, a term or two to figure out that I was Republican, so, and that, that helped quite a bit pass some bills. SALMONS: You sponsored one very interesting--well, cosponsored with several other people, one very interesting House Bill 115 in 1972. The, it was a bill pushed to, uh, exempt from tuition for up to three years at any state-supported vocational or institution or college of higher education, children of a member of the armed forces held prisoner of war or missing in action, in addition to children that are permanently and totaled disabled veterans. HOLBROOK: Hm, I had forgot about that, but-- SALMONS: --that was a very important-- HOLBROOK: --it probably had a lot of co-sponsors, because, you know, how could you be against something like that. Actually practically the entire House, you know. SALMONS: Would you say that one reason you were behind that was from your military experience, or just? HOLBROOK: Well, it just seemed like the right thing to do, you know, um, because people that, you know, sacrifice their lives and their time, their liberty, uh, for the country just made sense to, you know, and, and they, they're probably at a financial disadvantage, because they all this time where they're weren't really making a lot of money or no money. And, uh, just making, well, if they're dead, they, you know, their survivor benefits generally not all that good. So, just seemed like a, the, a just thing to do. And I don't think it hurt anybody, didn't, didn't bankrupt any, uh, any educational institutions, so. SALMONS: Right now we're living in an interesting time with our current military. HOLBROOK: Right. SALMONS: And you served during the time period of the Vietnam era-- HOLBROOK: --they were also a very interesting time, would you, do you see any comparisons between what happened in the Vietnam era and what's happening now? HOLBROOK: Well, I think there're some analogies, but it's, you know, totally different but it's the same thing. That's, you know, we, you know, it's nothing at all like World War II, or World War I, for that matter, but, uh, you know, there, there're similar wars, it's kind of hard to tell who the enemy is, you know. SALMONS: How would you compare this to the Vietnam era conflict? Would you see any-- HOLBROOK: --uh, I, I, I think despite what the press says, I think there're probably more support for what we're doing in Iraq than there was in Vietnam. And I think, now that's just my opinion, and people I talk to, anyway. Some, some of the politicians and a lot of the liberal press don't want you to think that, but I think that's, you know, they're misleading a little bit, but whatever. SALMONS: Let's go back to you won your first campaign. And you were a freshman-- HOLBROOK: --yeah-- SALMONS: --representative. What was your initial view when you first walked in the door of the role of government? What do you think the role of government was when you went-- HOLBROOK: --government or as a legislator? SALMONS: As a legislator. HOLBROOK: Well, I just, to, to do what you could for your district. That's, uh, basically my only motive for being down there. SALMONS: What, you, I know you when you went you probably had certain expectations-- HOLBROOK: --let me back up on that, that wasn't my only reason for being there, I also think you had to do what, what was right for the commonwealth and, and sometimes at the expense of your own district. But, but, you know, your first priority is your district and the second priority is the commonwealth. So, that was my outlook on what I was doing there. SALMONS: That's an interesting point. Is there anything that you supported that was good for the commonwealth that you remember that was bad for your district and could've cost you votes? HOLBROOK: You know, I'm sure there were but I can't think of any right now. I really can't. Um, I just can't. SALMONS: You were in the legislature for an extended period of time, uh, seventeen years. HOLBROOK: Um-hm. SALMONS: How did issues change over that time? HOLBROOK: Uh, I, I was there at a very interesting time, because, uh, during my time there, the legislature gained a tremendous amount of independence. When I first came here, the, the Democratic members of the House got a list everyday from the governor's office telling them how to vote. And during John Y. Brown's era that ceased to happen, you know, people, the legislature, uh, the leaders of the legislature assumed almost coequal power with the governor, not quite, but al-, almost. Uh, I was sort of opposed to the annual sessions but it's actually given the legislature more power, if, if they would use it but they can't seem to agree on anything. (laughs) It's kind of frustrating right now, but, uh. SALMONS: What enabled the legislature to seize that power? Do you think? HOLBROOK: Uh, well, I think just, it just happened with the times. I think Governor Brown was, was a big factor in it. He, you know, I think he said, "Well, you guys do your thing and I'll do mine and we'll get along fine." And, and we did. And, uh, I, I really enjoyed serving under Governor Brown; he was, uh, oh, he was a Democrat, of course but, uh, he did an awful lot for my district and he was awful helpful to me too. Uh, we, he and I built this new bridge down here. And, uh, you want(??) time for an old funny story? SALMONS: Sure, always. HOLBROOK: Okay, I had a good friend Ed Holloway from Jefferson County, and he and I were philosophically, politically pretty much on the same wavelength, you know, he was a big city boy. And, uh, the session had adjourned one day and we were walking, uh, walking down the, uh, steps and out the Capitol, and you go right by the governor's office to get to the legislative offices over in the Annex. And, and Governor Brown and a couple of his buddies were out there, and he says, "Hey, Holbrook, come here." And I said, "Yes, sir, Governor." He says, "You're gonna vote from my, uh, truck tax tomorrow, aren't you?" I said, "Governor, I think it's unconstitutional. I don't think that, I think, I don't think you can do that." He said "Hell, I didn't ask you that." Says, "Are you gonna vote for it or not?" I said, "I've been inclined not to." He said, "Well, you know, that bridge in Ashland that you've been asking, you guys have been after it for thirty years?" He said, "If this bill passes I'll build you that bridge." And I said, "Well, you know, that's, it won't hurt my district any, and it'll sure help get that bridge." And he said, "How about you, Holloway?" He said, "Well, I was gonna vote against it too, but if Holbrook votes for it I will." And so, the bill passed 51 to 49 the next day in the House and then, then it passed the Senate later. Or it may have been a Senate bill, I don't know. But, uh, passed by one vote, or actually two votes, but if Holloway and I had voted the other way--(laughs)--it wouldn't have passed. And, uh, the, the day after it passed, the governor, I got a message, "Come down to the governor's office." He said, "Where do you want that bridge, Holbrook?" I said, "Well, you know, people in Ashland are arguing about that for, for twenty years, or at least as long as I can remember. Would don't you have your engineers pick out the best place and just do it?" And he did. And that's what they did and everybody is not happy with where it is but, but, you know, it's better than arguing about it for twenty years. And, and he built it in record time. It was almost no time before they broke ground and it was up, up and running. He was a very effective governor. He, uh, he was, uh, helpful in keep Armco, now AK Steel, uh, afloat. He made a lot of trips up here and, and, uh, did a lot of good things for Ashland and our area. So, I enjoyed working with him. He is a man of his word too. His ex-wife, Phyllis, was amazing. She, uh, you know, traditionally after the governor gives his state, state address, the governor invites the legislators over to the mansion for a reception, and I walked in the door and had never laid eyes on, on Phyllis. And she'd never seen me either. And, and she said, "Hello, Holbrook," said, "Representative Holbrook, uh, um, you met the governor?" "Yes, yes, ma'am." Uh, "I understand you need a bridge up there." Says, "Yes, ma'am." And that stuck in his head so. When his bill passed, uh, he called me the next day. You could count on what he told you. SALMONS: You worked with I believe four different governors. HOLBROOK: Uh, yeah, I think so. SALMONS: Who would you say was the worst governor to work with? HOLBROOK: Uh, Martha Layne Collins was the worst, because, uh, Governor Brown was sort of, of the opinion that he didn't, uh, he thought we ought to be doing our own thing, and she was of the opinion that we, we ought to go away. And she, I, I don't think I ever had a conversation, a serious conversation with her. I don't think I ever did. SALMONS: If I'm remembering her term, she got very little passed through the legislature. HOLBROOK: Well, the, the biggest thing she did, I think, as governor was the, uh, Toyota thing. And I agonized a long time about that, and I finally ended up voting for it. But it turned out to be a pretty good vote. But, uh, I was very skeptical about all these giveaway programs for a foreign corporation. But gosh, they've created a lot of jobs and spinoff industries all over central and southern Kentucky, so it, it turned out to be a good vote. I was very reluctant to do that, but, uh, it turned out okay, I think. SALMONS: Do you have any votes that you made that you, that you remember that you regret making, that you would change if you could go back and change them? HOLBROOK: I'm sure there are some but I, I try to forget about things like that. I can't even remember any, to tell you the truth. SALMONS: What one are you the most proud of? HOLBROOK: Hm. Well, I guess, I guess the governor's truck tax bill because it, it got us a bridge. But, uh, and there, there are, another, another one of my big deals in the legislature was, uh, the, the Belzbergs Brothers were takeover -----------(??) Canada, I believe, and they, they were in the process of a takeover of Ashland, Inc. And what they did was they bought companies and sold, sold off the property in pieces and just junked the rest of it. And that's what they would have done with Ashland. and so, uh, it was toward the end of the session, they waited a week to, to announce that, you know, you have to file a SEC what they were going to do, well, the legislature would've been gone. But we got a bill passed in record time and the, the anti- takeover; we called it the Anti-Shark Bill, and that, that was pretty important. Uh, it wasn't just a vote; it was all the work I did. Cause I just dropped whatever else I was doing and spent the, the last week of the session on that. We went talked to the governor and, um, had a lot of help on it. Because they're, because Ashland at the time was the largest domestic corporation, and nobody really wanted to see it broken up and sold off in pieces. And that kept Ashland, Inc. here for another, what, fifteen, twenty years, so, it was a, it was a good effort. That's all I got done that last couple of weeks, cause(??) you just, you know, just constant doing this and that, because we were out of time, really, we, we were too short of time to get a bill cleared at both houses, so it took a lot. The, uh, the procedural stuff that Terry McBrayer taught me worked really well. SALMONS: Was it a bipartisan bill, or was it? HOLBROOK: Very bipartisan, yeah, very, very. We couldn't have got it done if both sides hadn't been for it. SALMONS: You're speaking of the bridge that was put into Ashland. HOLBROOK: Yeah. SALMONS: How important was that to Ashland as a whole? HOLBROOK: Well, it, it seems more important now than it, it did at the time because the, the traffic on that bridge every, every work day is atrocious. I hate to think what it was like when you still had that one two-lane bridge. We've got five lanes now instead of two. And it's still busy. And the, the intersection down there is really crowded. But, but it seems more important now because there's, there's more, more of a flow now between workers and, and the three states here. And my wife, for example, practices law in West Virginia, and she crosses that bridge twice a day, or each bridge once a day, and goes through Ohio to get to her, her office in Huntington, which is, by far and away, the most direct route. And she had a heck of a time getting to and from work if we didn't have that extra bridge. ------- ---(??) the three states' economies are so intertwined now that, uh, you really need transportation. We probably need another bridge up around Catlettsburg going across the Ohio River. But, uh, I don't know if I'll live to see that or not, but. SALMONS: After your extensive terms in office, if right now if you were gonna sum up, what would you think is the overall role of the government, the Kentucky state government in the life of the common person? HOLBROOK: Hm, it kinda depends on who you are, who the common person is, and what they want at that time. Because, uh, you've heard the old expression, "No, no man's life, liberties, and properties are safe while the General Assembly's in session." And that's true but now in the middle, you know, back especially when we had the biannual sessions, and in the off years(??)-- [Pause in recording.] SALMONS: Okay, we were talking about the role of government before the tape stopped. And how it affected that, you were telling a story about, uh, legislature was biannual, how it was different now. HOLBROOK: Yeah. SALMONS: Would you please continue with that? HOLBROOK: Well, I think I've said about all it-- SALMONS: --okay-- HOLBROOK: --it's, uh, you know, different people have different interests in different levels of government. A lot of people are, are highly interested in the local schools. And a lot of people are vitally interested in, in city government and, or county government, or both. A lot of people are more interested in the state level. And a lot of people don't care about anything about those; they're concerned about the federal government. I think it depends on your occupation and, and your outlook on what's going on and what your, what you think is important. Um, some people are interested in all, all levels of government. But, uh, you know, it's, the state government is very influential on everybody's lives but sometimes I think maybe, uh, sometimes I think maybe, uh, local government is more, uh, more on a day-to-day basis important to people than state government. But that depends on, on your situation I think. SALMONS: Okay, as a person who practices real estate law, you have had to suffer under one the worst things in Kentucky we did early on, the broad form deed. HOLBROOK: Um-hm. SALMONS: And how, I know it, it was in the seventies that they finally fixed all that wasn't it? HOLBROOK: Yeah, I think the courts fixed it more than anything, yeah. SALMONS: Um-hm. How do you see effects, items like that affecting people, how do you see the legislator's, legislation's role in trying to find those and fix it before it has to go to the court? HOLBROOK: Well it's always better if they can, because the, you know, the courts should not be legislators; they should interpret the laws as, as passed by the, by the legislature and enacted by the government. Uh, so it's a lot better if the legislature can address it first, because they're really are the voice of the people. They represent people more than any other form of the, any other branch of the state government, but it doesn't always work that way. There's some, some, some issues for some reason-- SALMONS: --hold on one second, sir. Our my microphones are going crazy. [Pause in recording.] SALMONS: As we were talking earlier before the microphones cut out, the role of legislatures before the, uh, courts get involved, it's more the legislator's role to? HOLBROOK: It's the people's branch of government, and it's the best, best place for, for, uh, and, and the way our founding fathers intended, that's where, uh, where, where laws are, are, uh, are made and, and problems solved and, and in the matter of which they solve them, uh, should be but it doesn't always work that way. Sometimes for political reasons, uh, legislatures are unable to act or are unwilling to act, but, uh, that's unfortunate because I think, the, I, I'm, I don't like the, the proactive judges. I think the judge's role should be limited in our, within our framework of the, of the three, three branches of government. Doesn't always work that way. Idealistically it does, but. SALMONS: Okay. What was the biggest issues in Kentucky during the time that you served in the legislature? HOLBROOK: Well, the budget is always the biggest issue. And it's really funny, uh, when, when the times are good and the state has a lot of money the, the fights are just as intense as it is when the state has no money because there's more pie to divvy up, but when there's less to divvy up, the fighting perhaps becomes more intense. But, the, the, the budget the money is generally the biggest, biggest issue. There, there're issues that crop up from time to time and sort of fade, like abortion was, uh, was a major issue during a lot of my, my term. The broad form deed was very important for a while. There was, there was hardly a day that went by that it wasn't debated. And , uh, it's, you know, just, yeah, I think changes from, from time to time, what the big issue is, but, but overall, it's always, it's always the big one. How to, how to raise the revenues, how to spend the revenues, that's basically what it's all about, so. SALMONS: As a person while in legislature was involved in a lot of bills that dealt with education. HOLBROOK: Um-hm. SALMONS: What do you think about the current trend in the budgets of putting less, you know, less increases for education, which forces these schools to raise their tuition and all their fees? HOLBROOK: Well, it's, it's, it's a, probably a necessary evil. I think, it's not a good thing at all. But, but again, again were in, in tight financial times for state and local governments. And, uh, it's unfortunate in Kentucky that the schools have little, uh, have little leeway on how they can raise their money. Uh, another thing I'm proud of is, uh, Ashland had a, uh, uh, it was one of them(??) opposing the municipal utility tax to support the local schools. And, uh, there was a lot of opposition to it. In fact it was put to a vote and it was defeated narrowly, very narrowly defeated, so. And one of the objections that the public said was, "Well, there's no provision to current law to put a time limit on it or to make it, you know, to make it expire by its own terms." And so, the first bill that John Y. Brown passed was my bill to, to enable, uh, local school districts to put a time limitation on utility tax. And, uh, the, the first bill he signed had, by the way had a lot of help from Nelson Allen, the Democratic senator from Greenup County, who was chairman of the, uh, education committee. And he made that a priority as soon as it got out of the House, its first bill out of, out of his committee and it was the first bill that, uh, Governor Brown signed. so it helped to keep the Ashland school systems, uh, up to snuff and helped them in, in their building programs and maintained their buildings. and it's recently expired by the way, and it's been really quit, nobody's been really opposed to reenacting it. So, uh, it worked, that's another one of my things I'm proud of that I did in the legislature but, uh, yeah. SALMONS: You were, were you involved in, I know that during Governor Nunn's, uh, tenure they raised the sales tax to five cents. HOLBROOK: That was before my time. SALMONS: Then they raised it to six cents, do you know? HOLBROOK: Now, the six cents was after I left. It was five when I got there and five when I left. So, I didn't have to fight that battle. (Salmons laughs) It was a very controversial battle. SALMONS: What do you think about, as a, a private citizen, when they raised that, what did you think about it, when they changed the sales tax? HOLBROOK: Um, you know, I, I, I was, uh, a college student then, I don't think I thought very much about that, to tell you the truth. I wasn't, I wasn't all that political until, uh, until Jesse Stuart and Dad and Charlie Weaver and some of the other roundtable people talked me into running, so I, I, I never really paid that much attention to it. Probably all I cared about, cause(??) I wasn't happy with sales tax but, uh, it's, it's, you know, it's one of those ---------(??) taxes where people pay and don't, don't think anything about it once, you know, after it's been enacted for a, a month or two they forget all about it. That's, that's why it's, it's, uh, a popular tax to enact, but. SALMONS: You have mentioned several times the roundtable in Ashland. HOLBROOK: Um-hm. SALMONS: How much control did they have over the Republican candidate for the House of Representatives, the Senate? HOLBROOK: I, I wouldn't call it control, but they had a lot of influence. They would, they could talk people into running, like me. I'm, the furthest thing from my mind. (laughs) And, and I, I went there just to be with my dad and they were very interesting people. And, and, of course, I liked Jesse, as I said before, and it was, it was very interesting. And, um, they, they would talk people into running. And we had a lot of, like, county officials that were Republican then, they would, they would generally, most of them show up, and, and they had a lot, they had, they knew everybody, and they knew what offices were vacant, and, and knew who would have a good shot at getting elected. And so, I, I wouldn't say they control things, but they sure had a lot of influence over, over who ran and who didn't run. But now they, you know, they, they, these people talked me into running, but that didn't stop two other people from running, Republicans run against me in the primary. So, I wouldn't say they had the control but they had a lot of influence, and I'm sure their support probably helped me win that first primary. SALMONS: You've, of course, been Republican throughout your career. HOLBROOK: Um-hm. SALMONS: What do you think about the current resurgence of the Republican Party in our legislature and Senate? HOLBROOK: Well, I think it's good but it's, it's been kind of disappointing. There, you know, we have a Republican governor, Republican Senate and, uh, uh, more, a whole lot more Republican House members than they ever had when I was there. but due to that, that conflict between the Senate and the House, there doesn't seem to be much getting done, which some people thinks good, because, you know, some, some people say, "We have too many laws now. And let's just leave everything the way they are for ten years," or something. But, I, I had a good friend who, uh, John McKenzie who was a lawyer; he's, he's dead now. But, uh, he was sort of a character, and a really good trial lawyer. And I used to run into him all the time and, and around town and, and he, he smoked a cigar all the time, he's always a little hoarse. So, I don't know he, I don't know how he kept it burned down that far but he did. But, he'd say, "Vote against everything, Holbrook, we've got too damn many laws now." (both laugh) He'd twirl that cigar and say, "Vote against everything, vote no." (laughs) SALMONS: Right now, the, of course, nationally the Republicans are overall are on a resurgence. HOLBROOK: Yeah. SALMONS: What do you think has led to that resurgence? HOLBROOK: Well, I think that it's just a, a pendulum that goes back and forth. You know, uh, people will get tired of Republicans pretty soon, they'll, they'll vote the Democrats in again. It happens. You know, it's just, it's a cyclical thing, it's like depressions, you know, they're, whoever is in office gets blamed for it, but really it doesn't, doesn't, it's just a cyclical thing that, that you can't do a whole lot about. I think the, the fed has done a good job, uh, under Greenspan and, and his ilk, uh, kinda making the economy a little more stable But, but, uh, we'll probably have another depression. Like we had stock market, uh, serious declines, we'll have them again and the stock market will surge again. It just goes on and on. And, and, uh, I think, I think basically there are a lot of people in the United States that are basically conservative. And, and, uh, we, they, they've tried liberalism since the Roosevelt era and, and we spent a lot of money on these, uh, entitlement and welfare programs and they really haven't worked. You have as many, we have more poor people now than we had during the Depression I think. So, I think people, you know, they're, and taxes are, uh, hell(??), in the United States are low compared to other countries but still significant. And there's so many hidden taxes that when people sit down and think about all the taxes they're paying, uh, it's pretty significant. And I think a lot of people want to, want to see taxes reduced and I'm a little disappointed in the Republicans nationally because they haven't, haven't really done a whole lot. They don't lower my taxes any. SALMONS: What do you think about the welfare system in Kentucky? HOLBROOK: You know I really don't know that much about it. Um, um, it doesn't seem to be as rampant as it used to be. I think they've, they've cracked down on it and they've tightened up on the, the requirements for qualifying for some of these programs. And some things they're doing like, uh, paying, uh, single mom's tuition to the community colleges; I think it's a great idea. They get out and get a job and get off welfare and all, and gain, gain them self respect and respect for their children. I think that's a great idea. I don't know who thought that up, but I wish I could take credit for that but I can't. But I think that's a great idea. I think any back to work program, like that, or, or back to education program is probably the only solution to the situation, cause you, like, like the old expression says, "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, and teach him how to fish and you feed him for life." It's just a, it's just, it's a cliche but it's true. SALMONS: Are you familiar with, uh, the Kentucky Education Reform Act, KERA? HOLBROOK: Sort of, you know, I'm, I'm not authority of it by any means. But, uh, I can, what little I know about it had some good points and some, some failures but, uh, I think it was a step in the right direction, something had to be done. And that, you, you asked earlier you asked about the biggest education, uh, biggest, uh, issues in the legislature, education was always one, every, every, every two years it was an issue. Uh, and what to do about and how to improve it. But I, I think, then and probably now, even more so now every legislator realized, uh, the key to the ---------(??) the economy in Kentucky, and keeping our kids here is education. I think there's an article in the paper the other day somebody said, "We've got to double the number of college graduates in Kentucky to be competitive." And that's probably true. I think it can be done, but it's going to be difficult. And, and you, you've, have that other problem opposing problem where, uh, the tight budget so you have to raise tuition, which makes it harder for everybody to go, so. It's, uh, it's, uh, a tough question, it really is, always has been. There's some question in my mind about, you know, how cheap should a higher education be. And if it's given to you I think a lot of times you don't appreciate it. So, I, there's just, you know, there's just a lot of things about it I don't know, and I don't -----------(??) to be an expert on it but. But I, I think that these, these, uh, coop programs, like they have at the University of Cincinnati when I started off in school were great, because like in engineering and architecture, you, after the first year you'd work for a, a period of time, and then you'd go to school for a period of time. Sort of what we were talking about earlier, about the work experience. And I thought that was a great program. I never got that far to get into it, but I did, I did work for the architects in the summer some, so. Uh, but it's, you know, I think the hands-on part is really good. SALMONS: Kentucky is lucky that it has two work-study colleges right now, do you, are you familiar? HOLBROOK: Two what now? SALMONS: Two work-study colleges. HOLBROOK: Berea, and what's the other one? SALMONS: Alice Lloyd College. HOLBROOK: I didn't know that. SALMONS: Yeah, they both require work studies. HOLBROOK: I knew Berea was but, uh, I don't think, I'm not familiar with Alice Lloyd. SALMONS: Who was your political hero while you were in office, or did you have one? HOLBROOK: Well, I always like Reagan. And, uh, I thought John, John Y. Brown was, was a pretty great governor. So I guess those, you know, the two I can think of. Historically I like Winston Churchill, and, uh. SALMONS: What do you admire in the men(??)? HOLBROOK: Those three people? SALMONS: Um-hm. HOLBROOK: Oh, well, their, their abilities and, and their integrity and, and their intelligence. SALMONS: You're in, uh, the legislature at the time of the rise of the lobbyists. HOLBROOK: Um-hm. SALMONS: What do you remember about the lobbyists, how did they change from the time of, of Governor Nunn, when they were relatively weak with the Republican Party, up through the eighties where they became more of a force? HOLBROOK: Well, they became a force. And, and, uh, they're, obviously like everybody else, there're good ones and bad ones. But in my experience the ones that, that were, were not good didn't last very long. And if they ever lied to a legislator, you, you know, they're, they lost all their creditability. And none of the other legislators would, would, you know, would pay attention to them and then they lost their job, so. Uh, my experience with lobbyists was very, generally pretty good. I'd acquire a lot of information from them, because they're, back then, I, I guess it's still the same, they're like two thousand bills introduced at every session. And if I sat here and told you I knew something about all of them, you'd laugh at me, but. And, and so you could, the lobbyists that you trusted, you could go to them and say, "What about this," you know, and some of them would go to great lengths to explain it to you and do research for you, and, uh, produce, you know, produce literature, and all kinds of stuff. And some would give you too much because, you know, in a sixty-day session, you don't have all that much time, really, but, uh, but some of them were very helpful I thought. SALMONS: Who, what lobbyists do you remember the most, what were they lobby for? HOLBROOK: Uh, well, one of my favorites was, uh, a lobbyist for Ashland, Inc. He and I practically lived together during that Belzberg, uh, anti-takeover bill thing. And I got a great deal of respect for him. He was, uh, name's Stephens(??). I, I think, I don't know if he's still with the company or not, but. I think, I think he's retired and maybe works for a law firm now that does a lot of lobbying, I think. I haven't seen him for a long time but I had a lot of respect for him. There was, uh, as I said, for the most part they were, they were good people. There was some that you didn't like, but there were some legislators you didn't like. So, so what. SALMONS: That's leads us to the next question I was going to ask you actually. What kind of factions were they in the General Assembly while you were there? How did it break apart? HOLBROOK: Well, of course, the Republican and Democrat. But, but there were a lot of divisions in that because some of the western Kentucky Democrats, who are now Republicans, I got along with them more than I did with the Fifth District Republicans, who were pretty liberal. So, you know, it's, uh, it was sort of, sort of the same thing, liberal/conservative, and the same thing that's going on now. And they crossed party lines a good bit. Uh, not significantly but, uh, a good, a great deal more than you'd think it, it did cross party lines, the philosophical differences. But, and there, there were, uh, there're differences between the big city people and the, and the, uh, the, the rural people and the small town people. And, uh, you know, and the, the farmers and everybody else in the world, in the commonwealth, were sometimes at odd. But, uh, there're just different factions, and they, the factions shifted from issue to issue, so it'd be really hard to, you know, pin it down. But, uh, some-, sometimes it's pretty funny. Uh, Albert Robinson's, I think, still in the Senate; he was in the House sat across the aisle from me, when I was there for a session or two. I, I remember when they were building the, uh, the entertainment center there in Louisville, where they, I don't know what they call it now. It's right downtown. There's, a very nice facility. SALMONS: The riverfront area or the-- HOLBROOK: --it's, it's down near the riverfront. It's, uh, you know, it's a cultural center. Uh, they, they got a huge state grant for that. And Albert Robinson got up to complain about it and he says, says, "You big city boys is taking all the cream and leaving us country boys the blue john." I didn't know what blue john was at the time, I had to ask. But in hindsight, it's pretty funny. (both laugh) SALMONS: Uh, the county closest here is Greenup County HOLBROOK: Yes. SALMONS: And if I remember right that Greenup has traditionally been a Democratic-- HOLBROOK: --um-hm-- SALMONS: --county. HOLBROOK: Yes. SALMONS: It's been as long as I can remember it and through research. How well did you work with the Democrats in Greenup? HOLBROOK: Uh, great, got along fine with them. Ron Cyrus was a, later on, Cyrus was a good friend, and he and I ganged up on issues that involved our community, and, uh, Terry McBrayer was a great help to me because he, he already had a lot of experience when I got there. Um, Nelson Allen, the senator I got along great with him. Uh, uh, northeast Kentucky legislators generally worked pretty well together across party lines. I'm kind of proud of that. I think that's a good, good thing to do, you know, but, uh. Rocky Adkins, he, I didn't serve with Rocky but, uh, he's a good friend. He, he gets along fine with, uh, John Benson, my, who has my old seat now. And, uh, I think northeast Kentucky people worked together really well together. Robin, uh, Robin Webb and, and, uh, Tanya Pullin, I think they all pulled together. And across party lines so. I don't think it makes a lot of difference. SALMONS: During your time in your legislature, there was three really interesting things that happened in modern American history; there was the Iran Contra scandal, the Iranian hostage, which ---------(??) from Carter to Reagan and the fuel shortage. HOLBROOK: Um-hm. SALMONS: How would you say those affected Kentucky? HOLBROOK: ----------(??) SALMONS: --I know the fuel shortage since you're from Ashland and it's a heavy fuel producer. HOLBROOK: Well, the fuel shortage affected people in their pocketbooks; the other two in-, uh, incidents were more emotional, I think, they affected people emotionally I don't think anybody here lost anybody in the, in the, no-, nobody had relatives that were hostages. And, uh, the Iran-Contra thing I, I don't know I don't think that, hell, people, people took sides on it, but it didn't really affect anybody physically or financially. But, of course, the fuel crisis did. SALMONS: How did that affect your region? HOLBROOK: Well, not, probably not as bad as it did other regions but, uh, I, I don't think, you know, it's something that we got over, we lived with and got over. Nobody liked it. Everybody complained bitterly but, uh, it's like the weather there's not a whole lot you can do about it. SALMONS: What was it like for your family, you being in Frankfort sixty days a year, and them being here, how did that affect your family relationships? HOLBROOK: Well it's actually a lot worse than sixty days because a little latter, in the latter part of my, uh, career in the legislature, I was in Frankfort at least one day a week. And that's, that's one reason why I had to quit because I couldn't, my father was declining in age, and he couldn't cover for me. and , uh, I couldn't give up 20 percent of my work week, I really couldn't because, you know, the courthouses are generally closed on, on the weekend. And I got to the where I couldn't just give up that much work time. And plus it was a horrible strain on my marriage. I'm, I'm divorced now and remarried, but, uh, I think that was a huge factor, I think my wife and I just sort of grew apart because we weren't ever together; I was either in Frankfort or down here working or out campaigning. And she'd help me campaign but we'd go different directions, you know, she'd work one neighborhood and I work another. I think she got bored with that and quit doing it. And so, uh, it just, I think, I think it was a big factor in, in my marriage falling apart. Uh, it's tough. I, I really admire the people that can go down there now and put up--it's a lot, it's like living in a pressure cooker then but it seems worse now, because there's all this acrimony and people don't seem to get along at all. And you, you've got, instead of just inner party, of the two parties struggle against you, you've got the Senate struggling against the House and on the governor and throw in, it's just, it's just kind of a mess. And I admire anybody right now that can do it. I couldn't do it. I just I couldn't, couldn't spare the time to start with. And, uh, I don't think I could put up with the pressure anymore. I wouldn't want to. It was a great experience but I would never do it again. SALMONS: When you were in, uh, Frankfort for the legislators, legislative meetings, where did you stay at? HOLBROOK: Uh, different places, uh, started off staying at a, a motel. And then, uh, a couple of times I tried renting an apartment. And, uh, didn't, ended up the last couple of sessions staying in the Capital Plaza Hotel; it was the most convenient. And, uh, if you have an apartment, you, you know you're trying to get somebody to clean it, and all that kind of stuff. And you don't really have time to cook and all that sort of thing, so the, the advantages of an apartment are, they kind of dwindle. But, uh, I had, had a apartment a couple, a couple, three sessions. But, uh, most of the time I stayed in a hotel or motel. SALMONS: I know I was talking to, um, your predecessor. He said they per diem was sixty dollars a day. Did they raise that during your time? HOLBROOK: Oh yeah, quite a bit, yeah. But still, you still didn't make any money because, you know, you've got your usual expenses back home, and plus you've got those expenses down there. So the, then the per diem didn't really cover it, so. And your income at home dwindles because the kind of law I practice, you get paid for what you do really. And I was doing 20 percent less and so I was getting 20 percent less money here. And it was really a, a losing proposition, so. As I said I would, I would never do it again. I'm glad I did it, but I would never do it again. SALMONS: How, uh, one thing you said that you did less work but overall did it end up helping or hurting your career as a lawyer? HOLBROOK: I think it hurt it, because, uh, a lot of people, a lot of people have a concession that you're like in Congress and you're there all the time. And I'd, I'd run into people all the time, say, "Well, I needed a, I needed a will but I knew you were, you were out of town, so I had somebody else do it," you know. I said, "Well, you know, whatever." You can't, you can't argue with them. But I, I, I think it hurt my career as an attorney quite a bit. I mean, it didn't hurt it, just sit it back, you know. I could have been, I could've been making money, a lot more money during those seventeen years than I did, so. But that's okay. SALMONS: Once you got out of the legislature and resumed your private practice, just, you decided not to run, correct? HOLBROOK: Yes. SALMONS: Did your contacts help your career any, or is it? HOLBROOK: Not a whole lot. I, I didn't really use them. I, I probably should've, should've used them a little more. But I didn't. I just sort of, I just dropped out of the political arena for a, well, I'm still out of it, pretty much. SALMONS: So do you have any involvement with the local Republican Party? HOLBROOK: Yeah, I'm, I'm on their executive committee, and, uh, I attend fairly regularly. Pretty faithfully. SALMONS: What type of committees did you serve on throughout your career, did you have certain ones you wanted to serve on and stay with, or did it change session by session? HOLBROOK: It was, you know, it was pretty nice because Republicans generally got the committees they wanted. I don't know how that happened. but I was on the, I was minority chairman of the judiciary committee which ties in with the practice of law, and the minority chairman of the, um, cities committee, which I thought was, you know, pretty helpful , uh, being from a city. And, uh, I was on the, uh, banking and insurance committee, and I was off and on minority chairman of that, too, which was good because I, we do a lot of work with the financial institutions, and I think I have, you know, a good working knowledge of what they need and what they don't need. So I think that was helpful too. I was on, I was on the rules committee the last couple, two or three terms which is, then is apparently more powerful than it is now, because if you, you didn't get a bill out of the rules committee, it was dead. Apparently the rules committee doesn't have that much influence anymore, but it was probably the most powerful committee in, in the House at that time. Uh, I served on some special committees, which were pretty interesting though. Uh, we had a, a special pensions committee. Uh, got interested in that because the city of Ashland had, uh, a under the old law they had locally owned, uh, locally run, managed pension fund and it was made up of policemen, firemen, police chief and fire chief. And they had, you know, virtually no regulations or anything, and they made some really bad investments, and it was the good old boy system. If they had somebody that liked them(??), give him medical retirement if he wanted it. And, uh, so I worked for, for like two or three sessions to get a state-wide pension system for police and firefighters. And, uh, worked really hard on it and had to, had to make a couple trips to Washington to, to study acturialism, or actuarial and how they work, and all that sort of thing. It was real educational. And, uh, had, had a good friend from Northern Kentucky who was interested in it too. And, uh, when I, when I, when I quit the legislature, we hadn't got done yet but he carried it on. The next session it passed. And the police and firefighters I talked to we're just thrilled with it because it, you know, it saved the cities a lot of money. The city of Ashland still has a debt from the old system. And that's been what, 20 years ago. So it's, it's, it was just very cumbersome for the city. That was one of the special committees I was on, uh, I thought was very interesting. SALMONS: Being on the city committee were you able to help your constituents any? HOLBROOK: Yeah, quite a bit. I had pretty close contact with the, uh, city officials and the city management. Uh, helped them get some things done that(??) they needed done. SALMONS: As we talked about earlier, you worked with four governors. We've talked about your relationship with, with Governor Brown and your views on Martha Layne Collins. HOLBROOK: Um-hm. SALMONS: How would you describe Wendell Ford, as working with him? HOLBROOK: Oh, you didn't work with him; he was a dictator. (laughs) He told you what he wanted done. If you didn't do it, then too bad, that's your problem. SALMONS: So, there's no conversation back and forth? HOLBROOK: Very little, very little. SALMONS: And then after Ford-- HOLBROOK: --I mean, he, he and I socialized some but, uh, uh, didn't, you know, we never really discussed any issues because he didn't need me. He had his Repub-, I mean, Democratic majority that pretty much did his bidding. So, he didn't need to offer me anything and I didn't, didn't have much to offer him. So, same thing with Governor Carroll, same, same situation, they were, I couldn't tell any difference between the two governors, but. (laughs) SALMONS: Because in the time, uh, before Ford, Republicans had made some really good gains in the House and-- HOLBROOK: --right-- SALMONS: --but they lost it with the Ford era. HOLBROOK: No, they didn't lose it they just didn't make any ground. It just, I think they took up one, one session, lose a couple the next ones. It stayed pretty static, like, thirty out of a hundred or something like thirty-two out of a hundred or something. No, there were, the, the, Carroll, and, and, uh, Carroll and Ford didn't need the Republicans, so they didn't, you didn't have much dealings with them. (both laugh) Governor Carroll did invite me once to a, to a Democratic caucus in the governor's mansion because it had to with. I think I'm probably the only Republican that ever went to the House, the Democratic caucus because it had to do with coal issues, and I was very inter-, interested in coal at that time, because it had an impact on my district. And, uh, so I got to go to the Democratic caucus meeting, solely concerned with coal, and it was, it was interesting. SALMONS: Speaking of coal that brings up something I personally have an interest in and wondering your views on. What's your view on mountaintop removal and its effect on the area? HOLBROOK: Another subcommittee I was on, special subcommittee was the, the, uh, coal mine, uh, subcommittee. And we traveled all over western and eastern Kentucky. And at the time I, I thought mountaintop removal was probably a pretty good thing. Uh, we saw some, some areas that had been reclaimed that were pasture land and, uh, orchards and things like that, so, you know, I, I, I've got, got sort of mixed emotions about that. Now. I think it's a necessary evil right now. I don't like to see it but, uh, I, I think that if, if we, if we enforce reclamation laws strictly, it's probably not all that bad, but it's not a good thing. but we're so dependent on coal in this country, I don't, I don't see and our economy is so, in Kentucky, is so dependent on it, I don't see how we can, can do away with it. But, uh, I've got mixed emotions about it, I really do. SALMONS: As I was, I was talking to your predecessor-- HOLBROOK: --um-hm-- SALMONS: --um, Dr., uh, senator, um, Representative Waller, and he was saying that Ashland is making a big push toward tourism and that they are doing a riverfront development. SALMONS: Are you involved with that at all? HOLBROOK: Uh, just peripherally, I don't have a whole lot to do with it. I'm, I'm on the state bicycle commission. And I'm, I'm trying to make certain there's bicycle and pedestrian accessible. Uh, and so far it is it's going to be, so, uh, that's my main interest in it, uh. SALMONS: What do you think that, that addition to the city of Ashland will do for the economy in Ashland as a whole? HOLBROOK: Well, it'll help a whole lot, I think, it'll help, help our tourism and, and quality of life and things like that. You, in order to attract high-paying industry, now you've got to have quality of life, uh, attractions that, that, uh, the higher paid people will want to come here and participate in. And if you don't have that, you're not gonna get the high-paying jobs. And I think that's one of the things that we, you know, we could, uh, we could tout to, to people who we want to attract here industries and executives, and we want to attract to our area. I think that'd be one of those things we could sell. So, I think it will be a big, big help. I'm all, I'm all for it. I'm excited about it. SALMONS: Okay. During your time in office, nationally, we went from a Democratic- to a Republican-ran government. HOLBROOK: Um-hm. SALMONS: What do you remember about, uh, the presidents, that were in office as you served in the state government? HOLBROOK: Well, I made a few trips to Washington. That's, um, we, state government doesn't really have a lot of contact with the, with the president. But, um, I, I remember going to Washington for, I think, it was for one of those, uh, seminars on, on actuarial studies and pension, pension systems. And I know that the cab drivers in, in D.C. always loved, every one of them loved Nixon, because he put a cop on every corner, and they weren't worried about getting mugged. So, that's my, my main recollection about the presidents. You know, I, I didn't really have that much contact with any, any presidents, Republican or Democrat. But, uh, it wasn't a factor in what I was doing in Frankfort too much. SALMONS: Looking back over your considerable career in the legislature, you've done some really, had some really important impact. HOLBROOK: Hm. SALMONS: What do you think was your accomplishment that if you was to told someone one thing that you did, what do you think it would be? HOLBROOK: Well, I think it's kinda hard to say, I've, I've mentioned-- SALMONS: --you've mentioned several-- HOLBROOK: --yeah, I, I guess getting Ashland wet was the hardest one, and the, and the most trying and difficult. But, uh, you know, I'm, I'm, and, and I'm proud of the, the utility tax and, uh, the, the public library bill that I got passed, uh, that, that enabled Ashland to go from, uh, a city library to a county-wide library. I, I don't recall all the details of the legislation now, but, uh, kind of proud of that. And, um, I just, I don't know, it's, it's kind of hard to say. SALMONS: Okay. HOLBROOK: I didn't, I didn't make a list as I went along, but, uh, I think the ones I mentioned are the ones that I'm most proud of. SALMONS: Were there ever any conflicts between your personal convictions and the things you need to do that would make your constituents happy? HOLBROOK: Not really, not a whole lot. Not, not really a whole lot. I think maybe the wet/dry thing was the biggest conflict because I think maybe the majority of my constituents at that time were dry. And, and it was my, my opinion that they were wrong, so. I may, maybe, uh, I know I made a lot of them mad. (laughs) But, uh, I still think I did the right thing. SALMONS: What effect did making Ashland dry have on this, this district? HOLBROOK: Making it wet? SALMONS: I mean, wet, yes, sir, I'm sorry, making it wet. HOLBROOK: We, we have, we have, uh, uh, it's improved our economy. We have a hotel, we have some restaurants, we're getting some new restaurants all the time. We would have never had that mall down there, uh, if the city hadn't gone wet, that was one of the things that was contingent on the developers, uh, having happened first. Uh, I think it's been really good for the economy here. That, that and the, the rise of the hospital and medical industry here, about two things that have kept Ashland afloat. Especially since Ashland Oil left. SALMONS: If you're speaking to a young man getting ready, or women, I should say, getting ready for a political office right now, what advice would you give to them? HOLBROOK: Well, it would probably be outdated because it's been twenty years since I ran. But, um, as we discussed earlier, I think the personal contact is, is probably the most important thing you can do. And, uh, Rocky Adkins is a good example of that. Any, anyplace you go or event you go, ------------(??) he's always there and he's always willing to talk to you and listen to your ideas and tell you his ideas. And, uh, I think the personal contact is, especially in a local race, is by far and away the most important thing. If you're running for the US Senate, you've got, what, four million people now you've got, uh, of course, not all of them are voters but, uh, you've got a lot of voters that you've got to contact. And there's just no way in the world you can meet face-to-face with them, but in a local, uh, election where you've got 35,000 constituents, or whatever it is, now forty, uh, it's possible to meet a whole lot of voters. And, uh, get out in front of them, I think, I'd advise them to do that, number one. Number two, uh, letters, letters to, to, uh, the potential voters are very, I think, they're very important now. Uh, a lot of people don't get a lot of mail. I get more mail than I want but a lot of people don't. I don't know how they managed that, I wish I could, could eliminate some of mine. But, uh, I, I think, uh, just personal contact, by far and away, for any kind of local race is, is the best thing you can do. I don't think you can beat it. You can spend all the money that you want, but if you don't go out and press the flesh, it's not gonna do you a lot of good. SALMONS: What, what pitfalls would you warn them of, of once they get in Frankfort, and start working there? Was there anything that you could point(??) to them to watch out for that could be damaging to their career? HOLBROOK: Hm, well. Not really, you've, you've got to try whenever possible to reflect the wish of your community. Now you can't always do that, but so if you go against the wish of your community, you're gonna have trouble. I had trouble, because I had some really close races there for that wet/dry, after the wet/dry votes. And so, you, you have to be, you have to sort of have the same philosophy as your constituents. SALMONS: And, uh, I have a, one little(??) final question. HOLBROOK: Okay. SALMONS: What, uh, being involved with the politics, what does it bring to your life? How did it enrich it or hurt it? HOLBROOK: I've met a lot of, very, very interesting people. And , uh, I think I learned to get along with people better, I think I'm a better lawyer for it, because I can, you know, I can relate to people better than, than, than say I hadn't been down there(??). Uh, I think it's been, I think it was a very helpful experience. And just, and a very educational, and it helps a lot, helps your law practice a lot, because you, you get a good insight about why the law is the way it is, especially the ones that were enacted in office when I was down here. And I can say, "Yeah, I, I know why they did that because," you know, and say, "How did you know that?" "Well, I was there." (laughs) But, uh, it's, uh, it was very educational process. And, and overall a pleasant experience, a very pleasant. But, uh, the longer I was there the more difficult it got, and it seemed like the more pressure was on you, and more responsibility, and, and, and politics can get very hostile, you know, people, if you've got any skeletons in your closet, they're gonna come out. And it used to be that you didn't do that. You know, you just, that was your own business and nobody bothered with your personal life, but they do now. And it's pretty brutal. SALMONS: Would you, would you say that the brutality of politics is the biggest change since you were there and now? HOLBROOK: I think so, yeah, I think it is. Just the, the viciousness of the campaigns are just, and, and people are getting sick of it. I, I think it will end one of these days. I think it's another one of these cycles were going through, because I think the candidates are gonna realize that people are tired of that. I mean, I know I'm tired of it. I don't, I don't want to hear about somebody's dirty laundry. You know, and hopefully we will become more issue-oriented but, uh, I don't guess we've ever been totally issue-oriented but, uh, that, that should be the goal. But I think even Abraham Lincoln was, ----------(??) stoop to name-calling and stuff, so. SALMONS: I want to thank you for your time today, sir, I've really enjoyed it-- HOLBROOK: --I think it's been very enjoyable. SALMONS: It has. HOLBROOK: And it helps me to remember, try to remember some of this stuff because I might want to tell my grandchildren someday. SALMONS: Would you, uh, if, after I review this, and if there're some other issues that need covered, would you be willing to do another interview? HOLBROOK: Yeah, I've, I've got a little time problem, but, uh. SALMONS: I can be very flexible. HOLBROOK: Okay. SALMONS: Well, thank you for your time today, sir. HOLBROOK: Hey, thank you, and good luck with your, uh, with your, uh, pursuit of your masters. SALMONS: Thank you. [End of interview.] Holbrook (House 1972-1986, 100th district; Republican) recalls his childhood, military service, and law practice. He discusses his decision to run for legislature, support of the local party, committee work, campaign anecdotes, legislation on wet/dry county, education, economic development and infrastructure, impressions of several governors, and his political philosophy. insert here