You have found an item located in the Kentuckiana Digital Library.
2006-09-18 Interview with Dottie and Margie Priddy, September 18, 2006 Leg001:2007OH032 Leg 146 1:34:31 Kentucky Legislature Oral History Project Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries Legislators -- Kentucky -- Interviews. Women legislators -- Kentucky -- Interviews. Drug abuse -- Law and legislation -- Kentucky. Police -- Kentucky. ; Fire fighters -- Kentucky. School board members -- Kentucky -- Jefferson County. Priddy, Margie. Kentucky. Governor (1967-1971 : Nunn) Kentucky. Governor (1971-1974 : Ford) Kentucky. Governor (1974-1979 : Carroll) Kentucky. Governor (1979-1983 : Brown) Kentucky. Governor (1983-1987 : Collins) Kentucky. Governor (1987-1991 : Wilkinson) Carroll, Julian M. (Julian Morton), 1931- Brown, John Y. (John Young) Jr., 1933- Collins, Martha Layne Wilkinson, Wallace G. Kentucky. Education Reform Act (1990) Educational change Nunn, Louie B., 1924- Kentucky. General Assembly. Legislative Research Commission. Ford, Wendell H., 1924- Carter, Jimmy, 1924- Clinton, Bill, 1946- Drug abuse Threats Economic development Caucus Lobbyists Prisons Louisville (Ky.) – Frankfort (Ky.) Priddy,Margie Stovall, Thelma Wallace, George Judicial Criminal Committee (Chair) Truth in Sentencing bill Toyota Manufacturing (Georgetown, Ky.) campaigning camaraderie ethics legislation constituency concerns education reform campaigning Jefferson County School Board office space for legislators Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA) police and firefighter legislation Truth in Sentencing bill Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA) Term/District: House (1970-1991), 45th district Counties in District: Jefferson County (Ky.) Dottie and Margie Priddy; interviewee Jan Romond; interviewer 2007OH032_LEG146_Priddy 1:|11(3)|21(3)|39(10)|60(3)|80(11)|96(6)|107(5)|128(3)|165(4)|189(8)|206(2)|224(11)|241(6)|256(1)|282(6)|302(7)|321(9)|349(5)|364(4)|383(7)|393(15)|407(8)|424(8)|445(4)|461(10)|482(2)|493(4)|510(4)|521(1)|545(7)|563(2)|571(11)|592(8)|605(12)|620(3)|641(8)|652(6)|667(6)|681(13)|694(4)|713(2)|728(13)|745(2)|755(7)|775(1)|793(5)|805(13)|822(7)|837(13)|859(7)|880(2)|895(3)|904(7)|915(12)|930(8)|941(8)|956(10)|968(14)|990(14)|1001(6)|1017(9)|1033(2)|1050(9)|1069(6)|1082(1)|1090(3)|1108(5)|1129(1)|1143(14)|1164(2)|1172(6)|1188(14)|1209(5)|1222(4)|1257(5)|1270(2)|1290(5)|1314(8)|1340(3)|1356(4)|1373(2)|1389(13)|1404(16)|1414(11)|1436(2)|1456(9)|1464(6)|1496(2)|1516(13)|1539(2)|1561(4)|1578(2)|1603(2)|1624(7) audiotrans Legit interview ROMOND: The following is a follow up interview with former State Representative Dottie Priddy who represented Jefferson County in the Forty-Fifth District from 1970 to 1991. The interview was conducted by Jan Romond for the University of Kentucky Library, Kentucky Legislative Oral History Project on September 18, 2006, in the home of Mrs. Dotty Priddy, in Louisville, Kentucky, at 1:15 PM. Dottie, we were ending the last tape, talking about the drug situation in Kentucky and I wonder if you could say some more about that and about your role in drug legislation in the state? PRIDDY: All right. I was the chairman of Judiciary Criminal Committee. And there was a subcommittee appointed and it was on drug abuse or use. And so what I did on my committee, I took them around the state, and we talked to different areas about how the drug problem for their state. And we took along the gentlemen with the narcotics division of the city of Louisville Police. He went with us and he was explaining, when we had open meetings, he was explaining to parents and people of what to look for, how to prevent the drug use in homes, things that kids can get a hold of, what to put away, keep locked, and different things. What we were doing was we were getting ready to make a law on drug abuse. We was changing our present laws. We were gonna amend them, and we were trying to find out where our problems were in Kentucky. So it was very interesting. We usually meet at some courthouse in each county, each area that we was going in to. Sometimes we met at schools, but. ROMOND: Do you remember what years? PRIDDY: It was in the seventies, but I don't-- ROMOND:--in the seventies, okay. PRIDDY: I'm pretty much guessing it was around '74. Could have been '76. ROMOND: And what kind of drug problems were you finding at that time in Kentucky? PRIDDY: Mostly at the time, kids smoking marijuana. And when we took it to the legislature, after we compiled all our information, the state police got me a lot of different packages of marijuana, and I took that on the floor, and showed the other legislators what a kilo was, what a baggy was. ROMOND: That's what this picture is. PRIDDY: That's what the picture is. And on top of it, you'll see it's a rolled up joint. But it's got--the kilos was the big bag that I'm holding. ROMOND: Right. PRIDDY: And then it's got baggies. How they sell nickel bags, dime bags. How they smoke it, how they was rolled up into a joint. And that was passed around. And needless to say that the-- MARGIE: You lit it up and passed it around. PRIDDY: Yeah, it was lit up and it was passed around. And needless to say, the state troopers were knee deep up in the galleries. They were all sitting around watching to make sure where that pot was going. ROMOND: (laughs) Oh, they wanted it back. MARGIE: ----------(??) ROMOND: Uh-hm. And what kind of laws came out of that? PRIDDY: Well, one thing came out of it was the selling within so many feet of a school building. ROMOND: Yes. PRIDDY: And at the time that I was busy making laws about against it-- ROMOND: Yes. PRIDDY: There was people going around trying to get it legalized. So what we were trying to do was not make it hard on the user but get the people who was selling it to the school kids and around to any individual really, but it had in the law if how much, much--it depended on how much you had on what where you fell, it was in different categories, and I can't remember now what it was. MARGIE: It was over eight ounces, or under eight ounces. PRIDDY: But, if you had a joint or if you had four joints, there would be a deep difference, and if you had people who grew it, if you grew more than five plants, you were in trouble, you were allowed to grow up to five plants. And we just toughened them that way, making the law a little bit tougher for the buyers and sellers more than for the user. ROMOND: So the distributors and the people who were growing the plants. PRIDDY: Yeah. ROMOND: Did you ever feel threatened during that time when you were working on drug issues? Did you or your family ever feel threatened? PRIDDY: I never really did feel threatened but I did get a phone call from one of the dealers wanting me to meet with him privately at his at his own location, where he wants to meet and everything, without anybody around. And one of the narcotics wanted me to go, and they were gonna wire me up, but the chief of police wouldn't allow it because I was not on the police department and was not covered. But I had, had calls from dealers wanting to talk to me personally about why the bill was bad to them. How it just was gonna create more harm than help but I never went. ROMOND: Um-hm. PRIDDY: But I never was threatened. I never had any, any concern really that anybody was going to do any harm. No one ever mentioned anything about that. ROMOND: What about around issues? Did you or your family feel threatened by constituents or people in the state because of a stand that you were taking? PRIDDY: No. ROMOND: Okay. PRIDDY: I don't think my family ever was in danger of anything. I've never been threatened. Around campaign time I was-- MARGIE: ----------(??) Those threatening phone calls and those letters that came toward the end with letters and words cut out, put on (??) and also drawn in crayon. ROMOND: So threatening letters? MARGIE: ----------(??) That was her 'Truth in Sentencing' bill-- ROMOND:--yes-- MARGIE:--that Taylor and--what was the other guy's name? PRIDDY: I don't remember. Younger (??)? MARGIE: No. PRIDDY: I don't remember. MARGIE: ----------(??) Those guys that killed those Trinity boys to prison. ROMOND: The legislation that made it legal to bring up people's pasts. PRIDDY: Right, that was my bill. ROMOND: Before they were sentenced, not during the trial but before they were sentenced. PRIDDY: Right. ROMOND: Okay. So, that was threatening to some people, who let you know about it. MARGIE: Yeah, because we'd get the phone calls. She didn't always answer the telephone. I've answered it. ROMOND: So, family members got phone calls. MARGIE: We got the calls, and they'd ask for Mom, and then we'd give the phone to Mom. And they would threaten her, but we wouldn't know about it till after she hung up. ROMOND: And the letters? MARGIE: Well, the letters--yeah, I'd get a letter, and Mom say open the mail for me and I'm like, "What's this," you know. ROMOND: Letters glued on, cut-out letters glued on paper. MARGIE: Cut out letters, cut out words. People writing letters, and they would write with crayon but then, you know, if it was supposed to be a D, they would write B. Make it look like a kid wrote it. ROMOND: Right, right. Um-hm. PRIDDY: As, some of that did come during my meetings around the state on drug. ROMOND: Related to drug issues? PRIDDY: Yes, some of them did coming during then. Most of those kinda things happened during the 'Truth in Sentencing' bill. ROMOND: What do you think were the biggest issues that Kentucky faced during the time that you served in the General Assembly? PRIDDY: Jobs. ROMOND: Jobs. PRIDDY: Yeah, because I was in also on economic development and I took my crew. I had--I had a unique type of mind set that, if a legislator actually saw things with their own eyes, felt things with their own hands, and everything, they'd get a better grip of what really is happening in the state. And just to sit in a room in Frankfort and have someone say, 'We really got it bad down in Bell County,' or 'We really got it bad up in Ashland,' stuff like that. Instead of being told that, they go see for themselves. So we used to go around to all the counties and actually see their problems. See what was happening, ROMOND: Talk to them. PRIDDY: See their problems businesses brought in. ROMOND: Right PRIDDY: And so, I found that everywhere we went, that was the first thing on people's minds, jobs. If we could just get something built here, or if we could bring in something else to keep our people employed. MARGIE: Is it Daniel Boone National Parkway? Which one's still the toll road? PRIDDY: I think that's Mountain Parkway. MARGIE: You didn't ----------(??) but you started it. ----------(??) PRIDDY: Yeah, there was places that we really needed some rest areas and everything. And they didn't bother to put them in because of--well, the way the mountain drain is. They were having a hard time. But we found locations and everything and got rest areas put in and got jobs going. Little jobs but that was putting them to work and-- ROMOND: So you saw a difference in the job situation from the time you started in the legislature until the time you finished? PRIDDY: Yes. ROMOND: You did see a positive difference. PRIDDY: A positive difference, yes, because for one thing, our Governor was--well, I served under many Governors--but our Governors were made aware that they needed jobs at these places. And with the help of the legislature and their own local officials, they all went out and tried to get these jobs coming in. One of the big plants that came in was the Toyota. And it located there in Georgetown. And then, of course, we brought some different other kinds of jobs up to the Northern Kentucky mountains that they didn't think of having and I can't think offhand what some of them were, but I know we put most of them in places, in locations where they really needed work. We brought those jobs in. ROMOND: Um-hm. Did jobs remain the big issue in Kentucky over the entire time that you were in the General Assembly, or did that change? PRIDDY: No, jobs' been the main concern since day one, since the day I started to the day that I've been out all these years, but it's still number one topic. Jobs, that's all you hear people talk about. And we really got a big scare when we thought we were gonna lose the Ford Motor plants-- ROMOND:--yeah-- PRIDDY:--because that would put out thousands of people-- MARGIE:--heck, yeah-- PRIDDY: --and we didn't have anything to replace it. And thank goodness they did stay. I know, at one point, we almost lost the Fern Valley Plant. And the mayor and myself and the county judge went to Detroit, and we offered them a bunch of incentives. And I promised them that we'd get a legislation passed to get 'em some things done. And I had to come back home and get 'em all together, get the delegation from Jefferson County together to keep my promise. ROMOND: Yes. You had to sell your idea to them. PRIDDY: And it passed. ROMOND: Good. PRIDDY: And so instead of them moving to Brazil, they stayed where they were. MARGIE: And GE. PRIDDY: And did the same thing with GE. We had to give them incentives to keep them from moving out. So that was when I was on economic development. ROMOND: How did your experience in the legislature turn out to be in reality compared with what you expected when you first started? MARGIE: She learned the difference between a miner and a minor. (laughs) PRIDDY: Yeah. ROMOND: What is that story? PRIDDY: (Margie laughs) She is referring to a committee I was in. And I hadn't been in the legislature very long. They were trying to get a bill passed. It had to do with black lung. ROMOND: Um-hm. PRIDDY: And they were trying to get a bill passed in order to help the miners. And so they were talking about these miners cave and they needed, of course, help because of black lung, and they kept trying to pass the bill out and I kept voting against it, and they were always one person short, and finally they just looked at me, and says, "Why can't you see the help these people really need? They really need 'em." And I said, "Because I don't believe minors oughta be in caves down in the ground and everything." And they said, "What do you mean? That's their jobs." And then somebody called and said, "Wait a minute. Are you talking about little young kids or these guys with hats on with lights on their hats?" And I said, "Kids." And the whole table, everybody in there got a great big laugh out of that because I was--we had been debating that for, oh, I know three hours. ROMOND: Going around and around. PRIDDY: Going around and around, trying to make it to please everybody, and I was still voting against it every time. ROMOND: Because you didn't want the kids in the mine. PRIDDY: I didn't want the kids in the mine. ROMOND: And they were talking about having miners in the mine. PRIDDY: And I was thinking they were talking about minors instead of miners. (Margie (??) laughs) So that was kinda funny. ROMOND: Yeah. PRIDDY: Which I laughed, too, because I thought, I really must have made a big boo-boo then. (Romond laughs) And I know I kept'em there three hours when they could have been out and gone but they needed my vote in order to get it out. ROMOND: So did they get it? PRIDDY: They got it. ROMOND: Good. PRIDDY: And when it got up on the House floor, one of the persons that was speaking on it said, "Now, I'm talking about coal miners with the lights on their hats, not little kids," and he was making me--throwing it back to me. (laughs) So I guess everybody thought, Well, duh. We know that but I didn't. MARGIE(??): Now you do. PRIDDY: Now I do, yeah. ROMOND: Were there any surprises in your legislative experience? Did you have any real surprises about events that happened there, or people, or how it worked, or any part of it? PRIDDY: I was surprised about how you could get a bunch of people together and get them to agree on something, when everybody has got such different opinions, and you were trying to get bills passed, and it seemed like getting them all together to get a 100 percent or even in the 90 percentage of the votes, I was really surprised at that because I know you can get about six people together and you can't get none of them to agree. (Romond laughs) And how we got a hundred to agree, to get bills passed it, that kinda surprised me of how it worked. ROMOND: Just the possibility of it. PRIDDY: Yeah. Of course, I know it takes a lot to get it done though because you got to get out and sell your legislation. You got to get around to everybody and meet in different caucuses and tell them what it's all about. Get'em over on your side. They're just not gonna sit up there and vote because you said it was good. They're gonna want to study it themselves. Or, you do some small synopsis of it, send it out. So, people can get a general idea of what it's all about, but that did surprise me on how it could come together. [Pause in recording.] ROMOND: Where there factions in the General Assembly that you noticed? Divisions according to where people were from, or what their issues, or interests any reasons, factions? PRIDDY: Yes, as a matter of fact, Jefferson County has a hard time because of the people in Western Kentucky and Eastern Kentucky have a feeling that Jefferson County gets it all. And whenever Jefferson County wants to get something, you get the delegation all together, then usually the rest of the state will go along. But if you got the delegation bickering among each other, the Jefferson County legislators arguing amongst each other, you have a hard time then selling it to the rest of the state because you have little groups, 'Well, I'm with the city-side; I'm with the county side.' Since then, of course, we've merged and were now a metro area. So, it might not be as bad there now, but it was a city-county issue when we were in, when I was there. ROMOND: Did you have-- PRIDDY: And we, of course, had the Democratic-Republican factor where they voted along party lines. ROMOND: Sure. Who were your political heroes while you were in office? PRIDDY: While I was in office, I really liked Thelma Stovall, Lieutenant Governor. And on the federal level, I always liked Kennedy, Jack Kennedy. Other than that, I just, I got along--I knew Jimmy Carter. I served on a committee with him. He was really nice. I served on a committee with Bill Clinton when he was Governor. I served on a committee with him. And he was nice. But having heroes, the only person that I really ever looked up to, and I thought had a lot of guts and a lot of potential was Thelma Stovall because she was just right there with everything, and I was hoping that someday she would be Governor. ROMOND: What was she like? PRIDDY: She was very blunt. Full of fun. She was just a nice fun type person. She listened. And that's very important, when you listen to people, and she listened. But all in all, I just think she was an all around, one of the girls. ROMOND: Um-hm. PRIDDY: She was really a very nice person. ROMOND: Do you have any political heroes now? PRIDDY: I still favor Clinton. I hope that maybe someday he'll could be back in the White House, one way or the other. I think that, I think he was smart. He did things, what I would like to see some people do when they campaign. They make promises, and then they come in, don't do a thing, MARGIE: Do you know what? PRIDDY: And that's what really turned me on to him, that he had made promises, and he came in, and he kept 'em. MARGIE: There are a lot of similarities between him and Mom. The way they go about doing things. How they word things. And it's real eerie. I-- ROMOND:--the whole issue of putting your money where your mouth is. MARGIE: Yes. ROMOND: That you say you're gonna do it and you do it. MARGIE: Yeah, it's real--it's eerie because we've known him for years. And well, I really don't know how to say this. ROMOND: Because of who your mom is. MARGIE: Yeah, but. It's just the way he words things. How he talks to people, how he presents himself, and--getting his point across. Well, how he gets his point across. Mom was the same way. ROMOND: Reminds you of Dottie. MARGIE: Yeah. I'm like, "Mom, we missing a family member." (Priddy laughs) ROMOND: Who are some memorable people from your legislative days? People that you worked with? PRIDDY: In the legislature? ROMOND: In the legislature. MARGIE: ----------(??) PRIDDY: Oh, I've got several. I've got one thing. The speakers of the House, I had Norm Blume and Julian Carroll. I had-- MARGIE:--Louie Nunn-- PRIDDY: Yeah, Louie Nunn, he was governor-- MARGIE: -----------(??) PRIDDY:--and of course, there was other others, Don Blandford, he was speaker. Then I also had some other friends from other parts of the state that was in the legislature, like Joe McBride and Ralph Graves. And just actually, I kinda got along with them all, but I ran with certain groups and those was the ones I mentioned. But I even had good, good rapport with John Y. Brown. He was a good person. I couldn't--I guess, there's just so many I couldn't really name them all because of the length of time I've been in. And I'm sure I'm forgetting some of them right now. But, then my buddies from here from Jefferson County--Al Bennett, Archie Romines, just a bunch of those guys that I had ran with from here, but. MARGIE: Jerry Bronger. PRIDDY: Yeah, I didn't have just one or two, I was just with many. ROMOND: Um-hm. Um-hm. Who were the most powerful lobbyists when you were in the General Assembly? Who would you name? PRIDDY: I would think one would be Roy Strange. I think he's with Ashland Oil. ROMOND: Um-hm. PRIDDY: He was pretty powerful, at the time. The schools had real powerful lobbyists. Well, I guess when I say the schools, I'm referring to the national-- MARGIE: School boards ----------(??) PRIDDY: School boards, NEA, I guess is what it is. The auto dealers, they were pretty powerful. The ones I hung with though, that I thought was powerful in my situation, was the police and firefighters. And they're the ones I ran with. Police more than firefighters, but the police and firefighters had a real good lobbying team. And they're the ones that I would probably go out in the evenings with and having dinner with them all, and hang around hospitality rooms and such. But I guess the one that would be spending the money would be the like I said Ashland Oil. They're the ones that really spent the money to put on the receptions they gave for the legislators. ROMOND: Did you support the police and firefighters in sponsoring legislation related to their issues? PRIDDY: I was the one that drafted the bill. I was their sponsor. Most of the legislation that passed that had anything to do with law enforcement or fire fighting came from me. Because I usually sponsored all their legislation. And I guess that's reason why I hung with them so much, and knew what they were wanting and needing, and whenever they wanted a bill passed, I was there. MARGIE: ----------(??) PRIDDY: I've been around. Excuse me a minute. [Pause in recording.] ROMOND: The police and fire fighters. PRIDDY: They had hospitality rooms. Back when I was in legislature, there was a Holiday Inn. ROMOND: Yes. PRIDDY: And they rented the rooms out to the lobbyists and they had what they called hospitality rooms. And the whole front of the building, of course, I mean the rooms would be all glass. They would have their shades all open, and they'd have their signs in their windows, and you'd just go around pay visits to the different hospitality rooms. And in doing so, I always felt that was great because you really didn't know what they needed and why they needed it until you got in there and started talking. And really got down on the grassroots level. And you couldn't get that just by discussing it, or reading it in a bill on a piece of paper, but you could get it listening to the people talk. In my case, I got it firsthand because I went, I rode with them. ROMOND: Um-hm. PRIDDY: I got to get involved. ROMOND: Um-hm. Go ahead. PRIDDY: And I would come back home. I'd ride with the police out on their beats. And see what, how they were treated, things that they needed. And I been with firefighters, did the same thing. And actually got firsthand why they should have that bill passed, which made me more of a believer than when of course if I believe in something then I get out and there and try to sell it. And I think that's what you have to do. You just can't be told something and go and make it gospel. You just have to really see it, and I did. And I think those are the two most influential hobbyists, or I mean, lobbyists that I was paying attention to. Education, I knew a lot of them and was on first name basis with them. So I got to talk to them about their problems as well, but I got to see problems and I think that helped a whole lot. MARGIE: What about judiciary? (??) ROMOND: Um-hm. Um-hm. Go ahead. PRIDDY: I was gonna say that on the same point, when I was chairman of criminal judicial. ROMOND: Yes. PRIDDY: I would take my committee to the prisons. ROMOND: Really? PRIDDY: And they would see firsthand how the prisoners lived. They saw the cells. They saw the lunches that they were being served. We even had--they picked five or six of the inmates out to come in and talk to us, one-on-one. Listen to them and let them tell us their story of what they think is wrong with the prisons, and how we could help them-- not about their own problems--but about their living conditions. And it was really interesting because you were allowed to go with them to see how, like down in Eddyville, they have a wood shop and they make most of the furniture for most of the offices in government. ROMOND: Um-hm. Um-hm. PRIDDY: And they were showing us how they make the desks, how they turn 'em out, and all the work that they do. And it was just something that my committee would have never seen if they hadn't been taken in. So that's the reason why the chairman always made sure my committee got to do the on hands stuff instead of reading things in the paper. ROMOND: It sounds like it was very important for you to meet the people you represented right where they lived. PRIDDY: Yes, yes. I'd do that rather--if I was gonna have something to do with, say they need a new courthouse in--well, we'll say up in the mountains cause that's where they really had some problems. And they were wanting a new courthouse and they were coming to us for help. Well, only thing we could do was listen to what they say. And then, of course, you have tendency to, "Well I don't think it's that bad." They just gonna make it sound bad. Well, to me, I wanted to see. And I knew if I wanted to see, the committee would want to see. I'd want to go talk to the people. I want, want [to] be there, see where they're wanting to build a new courthouse, if it was going to infringe on anything else that shouldn't be, or if somebody was trying to keep you from building, whether it was for a good reason or not. I just I liked to go out to the people. And I liked to see what their concerns are and I don't like to read it. I like to go on hands. ROMOND: Make your own judgment. PRIDDY: Yes. And I felt like I did my committee justice by taking them with me. And so, we traveled a lot. I guess you could call me the traveling committee chairman. (laughs) I took my committees in economic development, I took my committee across the state, and in judicial criminal, I took my committees out. ROMOND: Um-hm. Um-hm. PRIDDY: Because I wanted them to see how the other half lived. I mean, if you live in your own little county and that's where you stay, you don't know what the other counties are suffering or doing. ROMOND: That's right. PRIDDY: You only know what your county's doing. So I always took them with me. ROMOND: Um-hm. Um-hm. And that was unusual, at the time. PRIDDY: Yeah, when I started it, I had to sell the idea to LRC because, you know, they're the ones that was gonna make sure the finances were being taken care of. They also were the ones was gonna make sure the other, where ever we were gonna visit, we had room, and had everything set up for us. We had a meeting on a boat one time down in Western Kentucky, and they got the boat. They got it all set up and made sure we got all our books, our workbooks, what you call workbooks. LRC would have to be the ones who took care of everything. So, whenever I would say I was gonna go out of town, LRC thought, Oh, we got a job now. We're gonna have to get this all together, and we're gonna have to make sure, we're gonna have to find a place for her to meet down there. ROMOND: There was a lot of details to-- PRIDDY: Yes, there was a lot of details to it. You don't just pick up and go visit somebody. You have to work it out, make sure that everything, and, of course, always the officials, the local officials would always want to be there. And maybe, at some time, the local officials were all gonna be out of town, 'Say can't you make it another day. Can't make it another day,' so we can be here. Cause whenever you take a legislative committee into a county seems like the local officials want to be with it. So it does--it's very detailed. And the LRC has a job getting it all together. All I have to do is just put my clothes on and get in the car and go. ROMOND: Show up. (both laugh) PRIDDY: But, it is time consuming. But it just--to me, it just worked better, just traveling like that. ROMOND: Dottie, what was it like for your family during the time that you were in the General Assembly? PRIDDY: Well, I guess the good one to talk to would have been Margie. The daddy was here. And he, of course, worked in the daytime. All my kids were in school at the time, except Margie. She was--when I went into legislature, as a legislator, she was born the first year. I took office January first, and she was born June seventeenth. So she was a baby all through it and she went with me most of the time. I would take her with me. And she would sit in her little car seat, or crib, whatever I had, on the secretary's desk, while I was in committee meetings. And the others, of course, were all working or in school. ROMOND: Um-hm. Um-hm. PRIDDY: They didn't seem to have a hard time at all. They enjoyed it because they got to go to a lot of things. I even--whenever we went national, you know, across the country to different things, my sister Sharon went with me to a lot of 'em. ROMOND: She did. PRIDDY: Yeah, I took her. ROMOND: And did you help with the children? SHARON (??): No, this is in her last year that she was serving. Go with her and even went into some of the committee meetings. ROMOND: Really. SHARON (??): Really, really, it was really very interesting. PRIDDY: But, we, I guess, we all just stayed pretty close. I came home on weekends. Of course, they were always in touch with me by phone, daily. Every day I'd talk to 'em. If they had a problem, I'd come home. Thank goodness, they didn't have too many problems. But, they enjoyed it. They enjoyed working in it. They enjoyed campaign time. ROMOND: Did they? PRIDDY: They enjoyed going out door-to-door, passing out things and when we'd have rallies, and I'd have matchboxes to pass out, my little boys, they were real little at the time. They loved getting out and passing them all out to people and giving 'em matchboxes. At first, they sold 'em, and I didn't know that. (Romond laughs) They were selling them for two-cents apiece, and someone warned me. Come up and told me, "Did I know that they were selling the matches?" and I said, "No." So I called them up and told 'em that they were free. Don't sell 'em. And they had a whole bunch of pennies. So I got on the mike when we started and told them it was a big mistake, and if they were sold a package of matches please come up and I'd give their money back to them but everybody got a big kick out of that. They thought that was something. Cause they were going around giving matches and somebody would say, "What do I owe you for this?" "Two-cents." They'd get their two-cents. They were really making some money. ROMOND: (laughs) They were, feeling so successful. PRIDDY: Yeah. ROMOND: You've talked about some of the accomplishments that you felt very good about being a part of. And I wonder if there were any disappointments, big disappointments, or small ones along the way, bills that you would have loved to seen passed, and they didn't, that kind of thing? PRIDDY: You know, I guess I was really fortunate. I really didn't, I really didn't see too many bills lost that I was interested in. Most of them all passed. And I didn't have, as far as I can remember, I had no disappointments back here, what Jefferson County could've received because we were always, we were treated very nicely, but I can't, I can't remember. ROMOND: Um-hm. You served under I think six Governors--Nunn, Ford, Carroll, Brown, Collins, and Wilkinson. And I wonder what your memories are about them? One by one--Louie Nunn? PRIDDY: Louie Nunn was all right. The only difference of us was we had difference of party. And he was harder to get in touch with. If he had a bill that he was interested in, of course, he would always leave it up to whoever their floor leader was, and you deal with them more than you would with the Governor. But with the Democrat Governors, you had the feeling you could go bust in their office anytime you wanted to, if you had any questions, MARGIE: ----------(??) PRIDDY: But with Louie Nunn, he was standoffish. I'm sure he--he did well with his party, but with Democrats, you didn't have that open door policy like you would otherwise. MARGIE: Who'd you kick the door in on? PRIDDY: Julian Carroll. ROMOND: Wendell Ford? PRIDDY: Wendell Ford was great. He was one of the boys. He served, of course, in the legislature before he became Governor, so he knew what our problems-- ROMOND:--he knew how it worked from both sides. PRIDDY: Yeah, yeah. Whenever a legislator needed to talk to him, he was there, right there. And you didn't have to go to him; all he needed to do was get word that you needed to talk to him and he came to you. I liked working with Wendell Ford. ROMOND: Julian Carroll? PRIDDY: Julian Carroll was another one that was good to work with. Julian Carroll had legislation that you weren't too fond of--before he'd let it get out there and get beat, he'd keep calling you back into his office. You'd have to keep going back. And like a bad kid, you had to go down to the principal's office all the time. And he'd keep talking to you, till finally you would agree to go ahead and support it. But, he was a jolly person. He was fun to be around. You were comfortable with him. But he was strong. And he also had an open-door policy. ROMOND: John Y. Brown? PRIDDY: John Y. Brown was a different type all together. He was strictly a businessman. And when you met with him, there was no nonsense. You talked business. You strictly--you could go into the other Governor's office and sit and talk about the weather, but you didn't do that with him. You talked business. And he was straightforward. If he didn't like something you were doing, he would say so, and if you were doing something good, he would tell you that, too. But he was not a playful person. He was just strict; just like I say, he was just strictly a businessman. But he was friendly and he had-- [Tape 1, side 1 ends; side 2 begins.] ROMOND: How about Martha Lane Collins? PRIDDY: Now Martha Lane was very seldom in office. She was always running. And she was out of town an awful lot. But, she would sit down and talk with you, but whenever she'd sit down and talk with you, she didn't do it one-on-one. She'd always have four or five of her people in the office at the same time. I guess she was very cautious of what was being said. If you had something that she didn't know, maybe some of those others did. But she was nice. She just, just there that much. I didn't have much dealings with her at all. ROMOND: Wallace Wilkinson? PRIDDY: I didn't have much dealings with him either. He was sorta standoffish. Whenever you'd try to get an appointment with him, he'd always have somebody else in, and whenever a legislator needs to talk to a Governor about a bill or something, they got to do it now or soon because it's coming up on the floor for vote. So, I just never had much dealings with Wilkinson. ROMOND: During the time that you were in office, Dottie, there were five U.S. Presidents and I wonder what your memories about them are? Starting with Richard Nixon. PRIDDY: I didn't have much feelings, no way, one way or the other, with him. I didn't really get involved with federal issues at that time. ROMOND: What about Gerald Ford? PRIDDY: Same with him. I didn't really get involved with the Presidents. I got involved with Presidents while they were--like Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton because they were on committees that I was on statewide, federal. The other Presidents, I didn't have much, one way or the other about 'em. ROMOND: Jimmy Carter was the next President, and were you connected with him on committee work while he was a President? PRIDDY: No. ROMOND: Or, while he was a Governor? PRIDDY: While he was Governor. ROMOND: And what was that work about? PRIDDY: I was on health and welfare, was one of them, and then it was on labor and industry was another. ROMOND: Okay. So Ronald Reagan and George Bush, the same? PRIDDY: No. No dealing with them at all. ROMOND: During the time that you were in office, here in Kentucky, were there national or international issues during the time you served that you felt especially impacted Kentucky? PRIDDY: No. No everything that I dealt with was strictly-- ROMOND: --statewide? PRIDDY: Statewide. MARGIE: What about the time with George Wallace? You were on the platform with him when the light broke, ----------(??) thought he got shot again! PRIDDY: Oh, yeah. That was the Governor, though; he wasn't President. MARGIE: Well, wasn't he running for President or something? PRIDDY: I think he was. George Wallace was running for President. And he's here on a committee with me. (laughs) We were sitting on the sitting on the stand, and somebody was snapping pictures, and one of the bulbs burst. Sound like a gunshot. Everybody ducked, dodged. MARGIE: He hit the floor. PRIDDY: He hit the floor, and he dodged but he just happened to have one of those plate glass things around him, around the podium. But, everybody just, it just like quick reaction when the bulb exploded, everybody ducked. Everybody thought it was somebody else shooting at him, again. But he was on the committee, one of my committees. ROMOND: Since you have been in office, have you had any changes of heart or mind about issues that you dealt with at the time? PRIDDY: (pause) No, I feel the same way now, as I did when I was in office. I just felt like everything that was done while I was around, I agreed with and I still do. I don't have any misgivings on anything. ROMOND: Um-hm. What do you see as different now about what Kentucky is dealing with, in terms of education, from when you were in the legislature? PRIDDY: Well, the money's tighter. I know when I was on the school board, and we were trying to get money for different programs, like full funding for kindergarten, we couldn't get it. If we wanted to have kindergartens, we had to pay for it ourselves, and to me, that's a very important issue in education. And I think the state should have helped. But, the state did not help and now, they are, now they're helping. They changed the way they are giving out their monies to the different counties now. It's called a SEEK Fund, and every county gets X amount of dollars. Well, the way it was, Jefferson County was putting all the money in. All these taxes and everything was going, the majority from Jefferson County, and getting none back. And that's changed now. Now Jefferson gets part of their monies back, and it's funding kindergarten. It just seems like today, the big problem is education because the fundings are just not there. Even in federal government, we got a lot of the fundings is cut out, and yet more restrictions come on you. So, I feel that things are just tighter today than it was when I was in office. ROMOND: What about healthcare? PRIDDY: Same thing. ROMOND: Are the issues different now and then? PRIDDY: I think you've got bigger issues. For one thing, AIDS is much higher now than it was when I was in office. And Medicare being threatened. I think that's a big worry with the legislature about Medicare, where as back when I was in that wasn't a problem. We funded it. And at the level that was needed, whereas now, they've done so many cutbacks because they can't afford to. And it worries me what's gonna happen for the future. ROMOND: What about the way the government is actually run now as compared to when you were in the legislature? PRIDDY: On state level? ROMOND: On the state level. PRIDDY: Well, it's pretty much the same, except I don't think the legislature and the Governor works together as close, like they did when I was in office. When we were in office, we had 'Governor's Bills.' He was interested in so many things and leadership would take these bills. And get 'em passed, and they would be the 'Governor's Bill.' But we all worked close with the Governor, and now it seems like they're wanting the Governor to stay out of their business. They do their thing, and then the Governor does his. And we get nowhere. We just don't get anywhere. I feel like we ought to work together more now like we used to, and they don't do it. ROMOND: Do you think there's any change in the comradely between the legislators now as compared to when you were a legislator? PRIDDY: Oh, yes, due to that code of ethics that's come out, they can't even--they're scared to go out and have dinner together. When I was in office, we had a small code of ethics, but it--it didn't mean anything for a bunch of legislators to get together and go over, and maybe a lobbyist pick up their dinner. You don't do that now. You can't do that now. If you legislators today are different. I can't--I don't know exactly how to explain it except that when I was in office, I felt like all the legislators, all of us, was we just like one big family. We could all just go join each other. MARGIE: They don't trust each other now. PRIDDY: Now it's to where you don't have that trust. When you got in there, you fought for your bill. You fought how you believed, and if somebody was against you, they'd be against you, but then you'd go out--the legislature, the-- MARGIE: --chamber doors. PRIDDY: Chamber would be--you'd leave the chamber and go on your own personal way. Everybody got together, and talked, and had a good time. Now, it seems like you gotta watch your back constantly. They don't have the same--I guess the word I'm looking for is comradely. ROMOND: Comradely. PRIDDY: Comradely, as they used to have because you don't get to sit around and have coffee with each other and you don't get to sit with the lobbyists. The lobbyists used to be able to come and sit in your office. I know when I was in office, I had one of the lobbyists used to open all of my mail for me and have it all set out ready for me to read. If it was something really important that I needed to know, it'd have the red tag on it that, that was something read now. I mean, I had no trouble at all with the lobbyists coming into my office. Like I said, this particular lobbyist, he just--there was such a pile of mail, he had it all opened and all ready for me to read, and you don't do that now. You don't go in their offices and sit. ROMOND: Um-hm. Um-hm. Did you ever have the experience of having a conflict between your personal convictions and the convictions of your constituents, the people you were representing? PRIDDY: Yes, I did. ROMOND: What was it about? PRIDDY: It was on the occupational tax--to increase the occupational tax. I made myself known as--well, I campaigned that I did not believe in raising taxes. But there came a time, and I knew my constituents was against it, but I knew it was needed. And that was raising the occupational taxes for schools. The schools needed it desperately. Not only in Jefferson County, but all over the state. MARGIE: What about the newspaper? PRIDDY: They really needed it. And I went ahead and supported the tax. That was--yet my constituents was all against it, I never was questioned why I did it. I just, and I did it because it was needed. I voted for it because I knew it was--I happened to be involved in it and knew it was needed. ROMOND: You thought it was the right thing to do. PRIDDY: It had to be that way, or we was gonna suffer in our schools. MARGIE: What about the newspaper bit? With the ink and ----------(??). PRIDDY: Oh. Oh, there was another tax that was trying to be raised. I think it was called a surtax. And the newspaper was trying--oh, no. I know what it was. It was the KERA bill. And the newspaper was really wanting us to support that tax. And it was the largest tax that was ever put on the people in the state of Kentucky. It really was a big whopping tax, and I was against it. ROMOND: Against the tax, or against KERA, or? PRIDDY: I was against the tax. MARGIE: And KERA. PRIDDY: Well, and KERA, at the time. Cause KERA was detrimental to Jefferson County. It didn't--it helped the other counties, but in Jefferson County, it put a cap on 'em. And we had to stay where we were, we couldn't go ahead and keep advancing on cause we had a cap. But the tax was what was worrying me about it. It was the largest tax to be put on the people and I was opposing it. So I made a speech one day that if Courier Journal wanted the tax so bad, than let them tax their ink and their newspapers and their equipment. Let them be involved cause they're exempt. Take their exemption away from them and let them tax the Courier Journal as well. That didn't go over too good. (Romond laughs) MARGIE: It came out in the paper that Mom didn't support schools. (Dottie Priddy laughs) ROMOND: That's how it was worded? PRIDDY: (laughs) Yeah. And I did, I voted against KERA. So did all the other legislators in Jefferson County. ROMOND: What did you think of KERA? PRIDDY: KERA was good for the rest of the state, but we were already doing a whole lot of those things. Going on, we were advancing even further on. And it didn't put a whole lot of red tape around us. It didn't--what we were doing were pilot programs. And we didn't have to answer to anybody except ourselves because these were programs we were putting on. When KERA come along, they put somebody over you. That would be the KEA, I guess, or. MARGIE: State school board. PRIDDY: State school board, yeah. We would have to do what they said. It really hurt because when we had some programs we wanted to put in effect, we couldn't do it if the rest of the state wasn't doing it. And it just, to me, KERA was detrimental to Jefferson County. And all the other legislators felt the same way and we voted against it. Course, it passed and we're living with it now. There's a lot of people who still like KERA; there's a lot that don't. One of the things I think really came out of it that was good was these councils, school councils. Now I think they took a lot away from the board members. Yet, but I think if anybody knows how to run their own schools, it should be the people who's involved in it daily. And part of the bill was good, and some of it was bad, and putting a cap on us was bad. ROMOND: What values that you brought to your life in politics do you count as the most important to you? PRIDDY: (pause) Well, I valued my constituents, to listen to 'em. That being able to--being able to listen to all my constituents problems. And trying to help 'em. ROMOND: So respect for their viewpoint. PRIDDY: Yeah. Yeah. I respected their viewpoints, and I tried to keep that in motion when I voted and everything. I tried to be their word, their voice. And so, I always wanted to hear 'em, Always wanted to hear from 'em, and talk to 'em, and listen to 'em. And the same with the lobbyists. I always wanted to hear and talk to the lobbyists because they're the ones that has to work with the issue. I guess I learnt to listen to others a lot closer than what I did before I became a legislator. [Pause in recording.] ROMOND: How did you stay in touch with your constituents? PRIDDY: I really didn't have a hard time. They always--it seemed like everybody knew where I lived and they were. ROMOND: They came to you. MARGIE: They would knock on the door. (all laugh) PRIDDY: Yeah, they'd come over visit. I had an open-door policy cause if they wanted to know something, or if they didn't like what was going on, or something, it didn't stop 'em from pulling up in the drive, and coming on up, and coming in and sitting talking to me. I did send out mail, letters. When I received letters from the constituency, I always answered them. Wrote back. MARGIE: Or called. PRIDDY: Or called, either way. But most of the time I called. Cause to me, writing, putting something into writing doesn't explain something as well as talking to them on the phone. So most of the time I called them. But I had meetings. I had, when I'd come home, if we had like a Monday was off, then the firehouse, or one of the schools would let me hold it, to have meetings. And I'd talk to the constituents about whatever they wanted to talk about. ROMOND: Did you have administrative help at the capital? PRIDDY: For a long time my help came from a woman that just was running with me. And I paid her, not a salary, but paid for her food and time that she spent with me, like that. But, then the Jefferson County delegation got a secretary. ROMOND: Ah. PRIDDY: And when with her, she helped me a lot. She's the one that took care of a lot of my phone calls and things. But they don't give you help. You either have to bring your own, or. ROMOND: You have to work that part out? PRIDDY: Yes. ROMOND: If you were just starting over, would you want to be in office again? PRIDDY: Yes. ROMOND: You would? PRIDDY: Yes. Yes, I think for one thing, I learned a whole lot and I met a whole lot of nice people. That was a big plus about being a legislature, the people that you meet and the things that you learn. I got a better education--in all the time I spent going to school and the time I spent going to college, I got better education being a state legislator than anywhere because you really learn from bottom to the top. It's listening to everybody else's problems, of all issues, health, prisons, education. It, that's just labor. It just seems that you have so many issues going on in your state that an average person is not aware of. I bet if you ask people in the state, 'How many coal mines do you have in Kentucky?' Well, someone would probably say, 'Well, I don't think we have any,' because I didn't think about coal mines before I became a legislator. That's reason why I couldn't tell the difference between a minor and a miner. (Romond laughs) I think that I got an education far beyond a college education being in legislature, and I met a very lot of nice people, and I met some bad people too, but you get the good with the bad. MARGIE: Mom has got so much time in that she only has, I think, maybe four hours of credits for college that she would have her law degree. ROMOND: Oh, my gosh. Wow, you learned a lot. PRIDDY: I did. ROMOND: What advice would you give to somebody who was considering going into politics? PRIDDY: Make sure you have the time. That's one thing I was very, very pleased and proud of is that my husband took care of the house and the kids. If he hadn't had been in there, I couldn't have done it. Because you've got to have, you've got to be away, you've got to have time. One of her questions that she had asked, Margie, was about how did the family feel while I was gone all the time, and I said one of the persons she could ask is you that was because you were in daily contact with me by phone. MARGIE: Oh, yeah. [Pause in recording.] ROMOND: Margie, what was it like for you and for your brother and your sisters? How many--two brothers, your brothers and sisters that your mother was a state legislator? What are your memories about that? MARGIE: I can't speak for the other four-- ROMOND: Okay. MARGIE: (pause) I didn't see any difference between Mom's job and everybody else's job, as far as like next door, or my friends and their parents, and working. There was no-- ROMOND: It was her job. It was your mom's job. MARGIE: It was a job. I just didn't understand that it was a higher level of work. I didn't really learn that until I got till about sixteen. Then it started sinking in then that not everybody lives this way, you know. (Romond laughs) PRIDDY: Well, you were in contact with me constantly. MARGIE: Oh, yeah. I'd call her three, four times a day. I'd call her just to ask her where she was at. (laughs) And when she was coming home, if she was coming home. PRIDDY: And then when she was really little, she was always up there. MARGIE: Yeah. ROMOND: So you grew up-- MARGIE:--yeah-- ROMOND:--this was part of your growing up-- MARGIE:--right-- ROMOND:--was right over at the capitol. MARGIE: Yeah, Frankfort's my first home, you know. PRIDDY: You were a page. MARGIE: Yeah, I was a page, a few times. Well, many times. But I hope to someday go back home. ROMOND: Go back to Frankfort? MARGIE: Yeah. PRIDDY: She wants to run for office. ROMOND: Do you? MARGIE: Yes. PRIDDY: She had no problem getting in and talking to the Governors and legislators. They took her over. She-- MARGIE: I was everybody's child up there. (Romond and Margie laughs) I belonged to somebody. PRIDDY: Yeah, somebody always had her. Even the secretaries. They always wanted her. But I imagine she missed out on the home, being at home, coming home to a mother. But, yet she was always in contact with me, and when she came home, she always went out and played with her friends, so. MARGIE: The only thing that I missed--well, actually I didn't miss it; she missed it--I'd have ballgames. PRIDDY: Yeah. MARGIE: Everybody else's parents would be there but mine wasn't. I just went on ahead and did my own thing. PRIDDY: Yeah, I missed a lot of her school activities. MARGIE: That and outside of school, you know. There's everybody else's looking up and seeing their mom or dad up there. And I was like, there's no need for me look up; I know they're not there. But there's a lot of things that I did that Mom nor Dad was there for. ROMOND: That was the other side of it. That you had opportunities-- MARGIE: That was the down side. Yeah. ROMOND: You gave up some things too. PRIDDY: Well, on the other side, she got to go to a lot of places and do a lot of things that other kids weren't able to do. MARGIE: Yeah. ROMOND: Incredible opportunities. MARGIE: Yeah, it was really dysfunctional. (Priddy laughs) But we put the fun in dysfunctional. (All laugh) Or we can. ROMOND: Are there things that you miss about those legislative days, Margie? MARGIE: It's quiet around the house. The phones not ringing off the hook anymore. ROMOND: Those are things you don't miss. MARGIE: In a way I do. ROMOND: Oh, you do miss them. MARGIE: It does. It gets quiet around here. And when she was in office, the phone was ringing off the hook. I mean there would be times that I would try to call home and I couldn't get through cause she's been on the phone for two or three hours with one person. ROMOND: That was before cell phones. MARGIE: Yes. PRIDDY: Yeah. MARGIE: I'd have to call the operator and have them cut through and tell 'em, it's an emergency, so I can get to talk to her. PRIDDY: (laughs) "Mom." MARGIE: Yeah. She'd say, "What do you want? What'd you do that for?" (Romond laughs) It was usually something, you know, wanting to know if I could go somewhere else or what we having for supper tonight. (Romond laughs) PRIDDY: Just regular stuff. MARGIE: It just really depended. Yeah, but if I really needed to get a hold of her, and it was something that I wanted to know, and the only way of finding out was having to call her, I would wind up having to call the operator and have 'em cut in on her, and tell her, somebody needs to talk to her. And she knew who it was; I was the only one that did it. But after the other party would get off the line, "Wait, what'd you do that for?" ROMOND: (laughs) "It was an emergency, Mom." MARGIE: "It was an emergency, Mom." "I needed to talk to you, what we having for supper tonight," but. ROMOND: (laughs) What do you miss about the legislative days, Dottie? PRIDDY: I think I miss being around all the people. The conversations we all used to have. And it wouldn't all be politics; I mean it wouldn't all be. What's going on in the world today, current events and stuff like that. I'd be able to talk to the girls, secretaries about their marriage, or having babies, or their home life. And then, of course, talking to the guys and them telling how they did things, how they raised their families. I just guess I miss the one-on-one action. MARGIE: I miss the campaigning. ROMOND: Yeah. MARGIE: Mom had some--for lack of better words, Mom had some humdingers. ROMOND: Campaign parties? MARGIE: No, not parties. Events, yeah. And events. (laughs) Fights over in the booth that she was at. They put her opposition right next door to her. (Romond laughs) And-- ROMOND: What was the fight over? MARGIE: We can't even remember now. We was talking about that the other day. (Priddy laughs) One guy had jumped ship. And he left Mom's campaign and went to work for the other guy. Was that (??) ROMOND: Campaign manager? MARGIE: No, no, it was just one of the guys that was on her campaign. ROMOND: Okay. MARGIE: Was out here at the Fairdale fair, at the Fairdale Fair. And Mom would have a booth there, over the weekend. Mom needed something to drink. She needed a Pepsi or something cause she her throat was getting real dry. About that time, they done run out of everything. So the guy brought her a beer in a cup. Mom was like, "We can't have this in here. I don't drink beer. I don't drink. Get this out of here." So, then the people next door started in and wanted--the guy that had left Mom's campaign started in. And the next thing you know, the one guy that was with Mom and the other guy that turned on Mom were going at it with nothing but a little pole between 'em. And I mean, Mom's just sitting there going, "We're all gonna go to jail tonight." (all laugh) "We're all gonna wind up in jail tonight." But she managed to calm that down. That was eventful but a--(Priddy laughs). ROMOND: That was a humdinger. MARGIE: But a, it's-- PRIDDY: Oh, seemed like something was always going on when the two sides met. MARGIE: I remember running into a guy that was campaigning against Mom, and he was all the way down at the other end. This was still out in Fairdale. I didn't actually know what he was doing, and I asked him, you know, what he was--who he was running against, and he said, you know, "Dottie Priddy." Of course, it was like ding, you know, light bulb went off. So I started to play with him. "You think you're gonna win?" "Well, yeah. Look at the people I got around me. Sure I'm gonna win." I just kept asking him questions and stuff like that, and finally he said, "And who are you?" I said, "I'm Dottie Priddy's daughter." (laughs) He bought, turned, I know fifteen shades of red. And the people that was in the booth with him were all laughing at him [be]cause he was just carrying on and wasn't thinking and just saying whatever. "I'm Dottie Priddy's daughter." I was good at doing that. (Romond laughs) Trapping people into-- PRIDDY:--but not only did, we have arguments and things when people got together. MARGIE: Oh, I loved the arguments; those are funny. PRIDDY: Some of the past oppositions that I had actually stood up and campaigned for me. MARGIE: Oh, yeah, yeah. PRIDDY: During the--I don't know if they know what they were doing but they'd say, "If I wasn't running today, I would vote for Dottie Priddy." MARGIE: And he actually did vote for Mom, instead of himself. PRIDDY: And this particular candidate, this particular one, when he got up to make his speech, we were at Sun Valley Club, and when he got up to make his speech, all he did was speak about how good of work I've done. Things that I did for the people. And he made this statement that if he wasn't running himself, he would vote for me. And we're all sitting there with our mouths open wondering, 'What in the world?' MARGIE: Kinda dumfounded like. ROMOND: Why was he running? PRIDDY: I have no idea. Have no idea. MARGIE: Maybe somebody put him up to running, and he really didn't want to, and he just went on ahead and said what he felt or he wasn't quite right. PRIDDY: But we had good campaigns and had some bad campaigns. But they were all fun; they were all fun. ROMOND: Dottie, how would you like to be remembered, (Priddy laughs) for your time in the legislature? PRIDDY: Well, I'd like to be remembered on one aspect, that I always listened to the people. I listened to them. And I felt that everything I did was for the betterment of my community and my children. Because if it was good for everybody, I know it's gonna be good for my children. So I well, I'd like to be remembered as a person who listened and worked to better the community and state. ROMOND: Is there anything else that you would like to add to this tape that we have not talked about? SHARON (??): I believe we just about covered everything. MARGIE: Tell her about the segregation thing. Did you, oh, I think we went over busing didn't we? PRIDDY: We did the busing. ROMOND: On the other tape. PRIDDY: Yeah. ROMOND: Yeah. Thank you so much for your time and your words, not to mention all your years in office. PRIDDY: Well, I know being on the school board was a step in a different direction but I enjoyed school board, too. Because I felt like parents are not being listened to. And when they called me, I listened to 'em. And then I did something. And the other legislators, the other board members would say-- MARGIE: That's not my job. PRIDDY: That's not my job. ROMOND: Really? PRIDDY: And-- MARGIE: Really it wasn't. PRIDDY: But being a state representative, I learned how to--even though it's not my job, if you just listen to people and help them, you know, they're gonna be around some time for you. It proved it, because in my last race that I ran, I didn't run. I just put my name down, and-- MARGIE:--she raised, she didn't raise any money. PRIDDY: Didn't send out any-- MARGIE:--did not campaign or anything. Just put her name on the ballot and that was it. ROMOND: And you won? PRIDDY: Won overwhelmingly. To this day, I have people saying, "Boy, I wish you were still in the legislature," or "I still wish you was on school board." So, I that makes me feel good when I hear that because if they're wanting me back, I guess I must have been doing something right. MARGIE: Well, that's because you were the only one that would stand up. And Mom would push an issue where as others wouldn't. I mean, there'd come times that she would almost cross the line, but. Mom being how she is, she'd just pick that line up and move it with her. (Romond(??) laughs) ROMOND: How long were you on the school board? PRIDDY: Twelve years. ROMOND: Twelve years. You went from the legislature to the-- MARGIE:--it was kind like going down, the way I see it. PRIDDY: But, it was settling on one issue where school--legislature was many issues, I went to just one issue. ROMOND: But you had no control over how things were done PRIDDY: No. ROMOND: And that's what KERA took out? PRIDDY: No. That's what KERA did away with. The school board lost control. MARGIE: And what I didn't--and still don't understand this--is why do they give a school board member a district to run in, they got all these people voting for them, but yet they can't help them. They took that part-- ROMOND:--because the power is at the site-based. MARGIE: Yes, the SBDM council. And I don't agree with the--me and Mom differ on that--I don't like the SBDM council. Was cause-- ROMOND: An entirely different set-up. MARGIE: Um-hm. ROMOND: Than the legislature. PRIDDY: Um-hm. MARGIE: Um-hm. There's nobody there to oversee the SBDM counsel. The principal is supposed to, but in reality, they're not. PRIDDY: Oh, a lot of times the principal is the problem. MARGIE: Well, that, too. PRIDDY: And they're the chairman of the-- MARGIE:--if you had somebody over that, and overseeing that like the school board, there'd be a whole lot of things that would be done differently because they knew that their butt was on the line and if something went wrong. It's not that way anymore. It's everybody's running around, you know, like loose cannons. But yeah, I just, I couldn't see-- PRIDDY:--that's the way I feel about up in the legislature. Used to, when I was there, you were exposed to the people. They would all come in, and sit around, and talk, and tell you their problems, and everything. Now, they've got offices and you'd almost have to beat somebody over the head to get into see one of them. MARGIE: Yeah, they don't have the little cubicles anymore. PRIDDY: They're in offices. ROMOND: So you're separated from each other. PRIDDY: Yeah, you're separated. ROMOND: You have to work harder at connecting. PRIDDY: Well, it's not like, 'I'll be right back. I'm going over to see Dottie Priddy a minute,' and you just run over and say, 'Hi, Dottie. You know, I want to do this. I want to have this bill up this afternoon, and I'd like you to speak on it,' or something like that. You can't do that anymore. MARGIE: You gotta leave the floor and go up to another floor. PRIDDY: And you also gotta--all these offices, you gotta go to the front desk. You gotta get a pass to even get back into where the legislators are. Then if you want to see one particular legislator, you have to reserve that through that person up front. And it just-- ROMOND:--there's more layers on the access to them. PRIDDY: Yeah. ROMOND: Yeah, and you go in the front door, and it was like the House was all over in the annex on one floor in cubicles. Now they had a big isle, I guess, that separated PRIDDY:--the cubicles-- MARGIE:--excuse me. PRIDDY: No, not the cubicles, but it separated the Republicans from the Democrats. PRIDDY: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. MARGIE: But they were still in the House. The Senate would be somewhere else. Now when you want to go see somebody, you either have to climb the stairs and go up because they're on another floor. It's just all mixed in all together. And House isn't on one floor, and Senate on another floor, it's crazy. ROMOND: It's like neighborhood's losing front porches. MARGIE: Yes. PRIDDY: Right. SHARON (??): Security play a part in it? MARGIE: Hm? SHARON (??): Security play a part in it? MARGIE: Oh, yeah. ROMOND: Well, thank you very much for your thoughts. End of interview Priddy (House 1970-1991, 45th district; Democrat) and her daughter Margie discuss legislation on drug abuse, police and firefighters, economic development, receiving threatening letters and phone calls, the effects of the demands of the being a legislator on family life, Priddy’s hands-on approach to committee work, the importance of communication with constituents, political heroes, impressions of the six governors under whom she served, and a change in camaraderie among legislators. The interview concludes with what Priddy misses about the legislature, her twelve years as a member of the School Board, daughter Margie’s inclinations towards running for office, and how the advent of separate offices for legislators has put additional layers of bureaucracy between themselves and their constituents. Part 2 of 2. insert here