Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Joseph J. Leary, July 2, 1976

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:05 - Labor support in Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: Uh, he had access to, to, uh, the labor hierarchy.

Segment Synopsis: Leary recalls the primary election in Kentucky, including a hostile dynamic between the existing senators and A. B. Chandler.

Keywords: Alben Barkley; Bitterness; Candidates; Changes; Dave Beck; Hostile neutrality; Kentucky politics; Labor supports; Louisville (Ky.); Margins; Philosophy; Political changes; Political enemies; Political rivals; Primary elections; Senator Barkley; Television stations; Vacations

Subjects: Barkley, Alben William, 1877-1956; Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Clements, Earle C. (Earle Chester), 1896-1985; Elections; Kentucky--Politics and government

00:03:34 - Primary election and subsequent runoff

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Partial Transcript: But, now to return to Chandler, my, my... first knowledge of him was in 1934. He was then Lieutenant Governor.

Segment Synopsis: Leary details his first encounter with Chandler, which happened during a campaign speech made in Covington, Kentucky.

Keywords: Appealing; Beginnings; Captivation; Charisma; Covington (Ky.); Kenton County (Ky.); Kentucky politics; Latonia (Ky.); Local elections; Northern Kentucky; Political campaigns; Retti's Corner; Runoff elections; Sales tax; Speeches

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Covington (Ky.)--Politics and government; Elections; Kenton County (Ky.); Sales tax--Law and legislation--Kentucky

00:08:04 - Chandler's first administration

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Partial Transcript: Now, you were in his first administration a little later though, were you not?

Segment Synopsis: Leary reflects on Chandler's first administration's accomplishments, focusing mainly on the economic development seen during Chandler's governorship.

Keywords: Attorney General; B. M. Vincent; Bonds; Commissioners of revenue; County warrants; Debt collectors; Debts; Department of revenue; Economic security; Economic triumphs; FDR; Fiscal courts; Franklin Delano Roosevelt; Graduated state income taxes; IOUs; Implementation; James W. Martin; John Buckingham; Law practices; License taxes; Partnerships; Regressive tax; Rural electrification; Sixth assistants; Social changes; State legislation; Treasurers; Unemployment compensation; Whiskey taxes

Subjects: Budget; Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Debt; Economic development; Economic security.; Kentucky--Economic conditions; Kentucky--Politics and government.; New Deal, 1933-1939--Kentucky; Sales tax--Law and legislation--Kentucky

00:18:38 - Chandler's lack of alignment with FDR's New Deal social order

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Partial Transcript: Uh, are there other things that you would rank along with these accomp--as the great accomplishments of his first administration, Mr. Leary?

Segment Synopsis: Leary recalls Chandler's first administration's biggest accomplishments, including rural development. Chandler did not align perfectly with Roosevelt's debt policies.

Keywords: Debts; FDR; Finances; Franklin Delano Roosevelt; Inconsistencies; New Deal; Pay as you go; Rural Electrification Act (REA); Rural electrification; Rural roads; Social orders; Special sessions; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; New Deal, 1933-1939--Kentucky; Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945; Rural electrification; Rural roads

00:22:06 - Labor support in the 1938 senatorial election

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Partial Transcript: Now he didn't serve out his--that full first term, did he, Mr. Leary?

Segment Synopsis: Leary describes the relationship between the candidates of the 1938 senatorial election and the laborers of Kentucky.

Keywords: 1938; Alben Barkley; Chandler Organization; Dan Talbot; Elections; FDR; Franklin Delano Roosevelt; Governors; John L. Lewis; Kenton County (Ky.); Kentucky governors; Labor support; Organizations; Reorganization Act; Senatorial campaigns; Senatorial race; Terms; United Mine Workers of America (UMWA); Voters; Votes

Subjects: Barkley, Alben William, 1877-1956; Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Coal miners; Congress--Elections; Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945; United States. Congress. Senate.

00:31:21 - Campaign fundraising for Chandler

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Partial Transcript: I have, of course, have talked to Dr. Martin and will talk to him much more extensively.

Segment Synopsis: Leary explains the process of fundraising for Chandler's campaigns and whether state employees could be fired for not contributing.

Keywords: 1955; 2% Club; Accusations; Bob Hensley; Campaign funds; Claims; Coercion; Contributions; Federal funds; Fund raising; Funding; Happy Club; Influences; Modest sums; Pins; President of economic security; Records; State employees; Suasion; Traditions; Two percent club

Subjects: Campaign funds--Kentucky; Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Fund raising

00:42:45 - General election of 1955

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Partial Transcript: ...the 1955 campaign. It was an amazing thing.

Segment Synopsis: Leary recalls the 1955 general election and the roles Kentucky senators played in it.

Keywords: Alben Barkley; Bitterness; Congressmen; Earle Clements; General elections; Grey Hound buses; Lawrence Wetherby; Luncheons; Old state fairgrounds; Rallies; Roughness; Televising; Washington, D.C.

Subjects: Barkley, Alben William, 1877-1956; Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Clements, Earle C. (Earle Chester), 1896-1985; Elections; Kentucky--Politics and government.; Political campaigns; Wetherby, Lawrence W. (Lawrence Winchester), 1908-

00:52:15 - Chandler's appointment to the United States Senate

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Partial Transcript: That's all very interesting, Mr. Leary. We, we have jumped a little--

Segment Synopsis: Leary details the difficult decision for Chandler to resign from his governorship and appoint himself to the United States Senate.

Keywords: Alben Barkley; Death; KY senators; Keen Johnson; Kentucky senators; Lieutenant Governor; M. M. Logan; Resignations; Self-appointing; Senators; U.S. Senate

Subjects: Barkley, Alben William, 1877-1956; Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Johnson, Keen, 1896-1970; Kentucky--General Assembly--Senate; Kentucky--Politics and government; Kentucky. Governor (1935-1939 : Chandler); United States. Congress. Senate.

00:56:25 - Relationships during Chandler's first gubernatorial administration

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Partial Transcript: Before we, before we leave his first administration, which we're now about to do, obviously... what, what were Chandler's relationships with the people in his administration, Mr. Leary?

Segment Synopsis: Leary reflects on Chandler's attitudes and relationships during his first administration.

Keywords: Administrations; Character; Closeness; Dan Talbot; Department heads; Friendships; Personal relationships; Personality; Relationships; Support

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Governors--Kentucky

01:01:00 - Crowds and speeches during Chandler's campaigns

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Partial Transcript: --but Willy was a great, uh, committee man, and Willy thought that you give everybody a job and, uh, and--well I had more generals than anybody you ever saw.

Segment Synopsis: Leary talks about how he built crowds to support Chandler during his campaigning. He talks about writing speeches for Chandler, which he says Chandler used as a vague outline and improvised from. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: "Clementine and Wetherbine"; Alan Trout; Canvassing; Captain John Jones; Captivation; Committees; Connections; Crowds; Enthusiasm; Haters; Letters; Lexington (Ky.); Newspapers; Planning; Political administrations; Pre-established crowds; Preparation; Public speakers; Public speaking; Relationships; Speech writing; Speeches; Spontaneous; Supporters; Writing

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Committees; Governors--Kentucky; Political campaigns; Political campaigns--Kentucky