Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with George Street Boone, October 30, 1990

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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SUCHANEK: The following is an unrehearsed interview with former State Representative George Street Boone, who represented the 16th District, which consisted of Todd and Logan counties, from 1972 to 1973. The interview was conducted by Jeffrey Suchanek for the University of Kentucky Library Kentucky Legislature Oral History Project on October 30, 1990, at Mr. Boone's home on West Main Street in Elkton, Kentucky. [Pause in taping]. This afternoon I'm here with Mr. George Street Boone. Mr. Boone, could you tell me when and where you were born?

BOONE: I was born in Elkton, here in Todd County, on August 27, 1918.

SUCHANEK: Can you tell me your parents' names and what they did for a living?

BOONE: My father was a medical doctor. His name was Benjamin Edwards 00:01:00Boone, and he practiced medicine here in Todd County. He was practicing here when I was born, and continued to practice until his death in 1953.

SUCHANEK: Um-hm. And your mother's name was?

BOONE: My mother's name was, she was known as Manie, M-A-N-I-E, but her given name was Susan Marion Street. And both of them were born here in Elkton.

SUCHANEK: Um-hm. Do you recall where your father went to college to get his medical degree?

BOONE: My father was a graduate of Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt had a prep school here at Elkton.

SUCHANEK: Oh, I didn't know that.

BOONE: It had two prep schools, one in Elkton and one down in Tennessee. And both my mother and father went to Vanderbilt Training School, they called it, and all their siblings did also. So that was, that closed when there was a big lawsuit over the control of the school, Vanderbilt University, by the Methodist Church, back about 1910 or 00:02:00'11, or something like that. And when the church was deprived of full control of the university, they stopped supporting the prep schools, which were filled with student sons of Methodist ministers. But it had a considerable impact here for several decades here in Elkton. And so our orientation, Nashville is the main center of interest, shopping, and our radio and television and things come from Nashville.

SUCHANEK: Oh. How far away is Nashville?

BOONE: Nashville is sixty miles from here.

SUCHANEK: Oh, that's, sure.

BOONE: We're on the southern border, you see. But we've had a great many people, my older brother and my younger brother both went to Vanderbilt as well.

SUCHANEK: Okay. So there was that Vanderbilt connection with your parents then.

BOONE: Yeah. I was third generation myself at Vanderbilt. Had an old cousin who went down there named James Clark McReynolds, who was on 00:03:00the Supreme Court, one of the "nine old men" that Mr. Roosevelt tried to purge.

SUCHANEK: Oh, is that-

BOONE: He was born here in Elkton.

SUCHANEK: Oh, I see. Uh-huh.

BOONE: I remember him from, he had, his family home was here, and I used to see him frequently when he would come back. He was related to my mother and father both, and so we knew him quite well. Saw him as a kindly old gentleman, not the curmudgeon that he was viewed in many circles.

SUCHANEK: Sure. Right. There's been, I think that's the way he's described in many books on the Supreme Court.

BOONE: But a rather interesting thing, observation by Dean Acheson, who was a, as a clerk to one of the justices, to one of the Jewish justices, was assigned the duty of working out his schedule with Mr. Justice McReynolds. And he went with considerable trepidation because he knew the reputation of Mr. Justice McReynolds was anti-Semitic and very difficult to deal with. And he said he, it was amazing; said 00:04:00he met this rather courtly, large and strikingly looking man with a courtly manner, and said he put him at ease immediately. Said, "Young man, simply the reason that I don't get along with your Justice is, it has nothing to do with yours and my getting along together and working out these scheduling problems." Said, "It's a matter of principle, and I don't think we'll have any difficulty." And Mr. Acheson in his Fragments of My Fleece says, "He proved to be a highly intelligent and competent gentleman, a man who would have made his mark in any field in which he undertook to work, mis--, perhaps misplaced on the court" (both laugh. That always amused me, "perhaps misplaced on the court."

SUCHANEK: Did your mother ever work outside the home?

BOONE: Never for pay. Father and Uncle were the principal people in a bank here that old Justice McReynolds's father had been the president 00:05:00of, the Bank of Elkton. And she sometimes helped at the bank, in times of rush and so forth, but she never was gainfully employed, shall I say.


BOONE: She had seven children and she married in 1915, and women's careers were less important in those days.

SUCHANEK: Considerably different than today, sure. Did you ever, did your father ever take you with him on house calls?

BOONE: Oh, I learned to drive an automobile by going to the office and going with him on calls. So I saw him very frequently, and it was, went many times with him in the, this was before we had paved roads. The paving of the highways here began, basically, with the, outside the city limits, began with the WPA road projects in the `30s. And I was, I learned to drive on an old Model-A Ford in the late `20s. I was 00:06:00about twelve at that time, and he taught me how to drive. I learned to drive on slick mud roads. It stood me in good stead for ice later on.


BOONE: But that's the way I learned it, and had many long rides with him in the afternoons. I'd just take a book along or two maybe. If I wanted to study I could, but riding out with him. And it was slow going, and I learned all the techniques of how to get in and out of mud holes, and how you watched which, where the other side of the mud hole the tracks came out, to know which one you'd go in, and that sort of thing.

SUCHANEK: (Laughs), I would never have thought of that. Yeah, uh-huh.

BOONE: You see, if they came out on the other side, that's the one you want, that's the one to go to.

SUCHANEK: Sure. Sure.

BOONE: The rule, never let, never stop. Never put in the clutch or change gears in the hole. You decide what you've got to have to go through it, and start those wheels turning and never let them stop (Suchanek laughs). Stands me in good stead yet.

SUCHANEK: Uh-huh. Did your father have an office in town?


BOONE: He had an office on the square here. It was, had two or three different places. Most of the time it was in the old Bank of Elkton building, a building which I still, in which I practice law, the same office in which I practice law, but it's in the process of being sold. It's on the National Register now, but he practiced there for, oh, thirty or forty years.

SUCHANEK: Um-hm. What can you remember about Elkton back in those days, besides the dirt roads?

BOONE: Well, it was, had grown up as a farming town. The house in which you're sitting was built by a man, the back wing, the north wing, was built by a man named John Gray and his wife, Betsy Edwards Gray. This is Mrs. Edwards's brother here, Elisha(??) Bell Edwards, the portrait here over the mantel here in this library. And Gray was a lawyer and developer, land developer, and he wanted this to be the county 00:08:00seat. And so he laid out the town plan in this yard in 1819. He was living here. He laid that out in 1819 and persuaded the legislature to accept it as the town plan. It's a rather progressive town plan for 1819 in the country. It's not just a row of lots on each side of a main highway. It, the square which you came through, is at, it has a peak in the center of it, which is the place, the location of the courthouse. It's not actually square; it's much wider on the north side than it is on the south side. And he laid out four roads leading away from the center of town, and then side, the side streets. The main highway, main road is eighty-eight feet wide, down to the original small town on the creek. And all the lots were accessible on three sides. You'd have two lots and an alley, two lots and an alley, 00:09:00and then an alley across the back or rather farsighted for his time. He had served in the federal congress, and I wondered if he perhaps had known L'Enfant when Washington was being laid out, because this was laid out with some care when you compare it to the other towns around. But it has grown as a consequence. It, the plan conforms to the terrain. It drains properly; we don't have any spots in the original plan which have problems of drainage of water and that sort of thing. And so it was developed as a market town. Our main port of entry for heavy materials before the development of the railroads was Clarksville. The Cumberland River's down at Clarksville, about twenty-five miles away. And most of the things were brought overland from Clarksville, though 68, Highway 68, which is Main Street of Elkton, east and west, it is, would date back to the 18--, 1790s, so 00:10:00it's a very old highway. But Clarksville was where anything large was brought in, because it had to be, come by the water, by river. And so we were primarily farming. This is a very, a rich farming land, a strip, which begins over around Cadiz, comes through south Christian, south Todd, south Logan, and tapers off around Franklin, Simpson, and Bowling Green. But it's deep, very deep, and very fine farmlands. And my family, the Edwards side, had come in originally from Virginia, they, and by way of Maryland, settled up near, oh, in the central part of the state. And then Benjamin Edwards was my great-great-great- grandfather, and his favorite daughter, Betsy, married this man John 00:11:00Gray. Benjamin Edwards had been representative in the federal congress in 1792 from Maryland, and his brother, John Edwards, was a senator from Kentucky, when Kentucky came into the union. And so we had been interested in farming and tobacco-raising from Virginia and Maryland, and then he had settled up in the central part of the state in Bourbon County. And when Betsy married John Gray, he decided, as an old man, he moved down here and built a very nice house called Edwards Hall, and he's buried there. Just discovered recently that this A.G. Edwards and Company, the brokerage firm in Saint Louis, I've just confirmed that he was a grandson of this Benjamin Edwards.

SUCHANEK: Is that right?

BOONE: This movement, you see, from this county we had the movement from 00:12:00Todd, Logan, and Christian. Truman, the Truman family went to Texas, the Stevenson family went to Illinois, and the Johnson family went to Texas, and the Truman family went to Missouri. It's interesting. This was a-

SUCHANEK: The Truman family?

BOONE: place-Harry Truman. Harry Truman's family.

SUCHANEK: Harry Truman? So you're connected somehow to-

BOONE: No, no. He just lived in this area I was talking(??) in. But we're about, about six miles, seven miles from here is the Jefferson Davis monument, where Jefferson Davis, and he, of course, went to Mississippi.

SUCHANEK: Right. It's almost a gateway to the west.

BOONE: But this was a point of transience, and we have had a lot of connections always, family who were coming back. And we've kept-our family was always here, we came, settled here. The Boone line, Boone group came down after the Battle of Blue Licks. My grandpa, the great-great-grandfather Boone, was wounded in the Battle of Blue Licks, and was, he was given land in this county. He was a nephew of Daniel 00:13:00Boone's. His name was Squire. He wasn't the more famous Squire. But he came here, and then his son, Hickerson Grubbs Boone, Hickerson Grubbs was a prominent man up in central Kentucky, and his wife, his sister, Anna, married Squire Boone, and then they had a son named Squire, named Hickerson Grubbs Boone, who married Martha Maria Edwards, who was the granddaughter of this Benjamin Edwards of whom I spoke. I don't know whether I'm talking more than you want to know about family connections-

SUCHANEK: No, this is fine. This is fine. I'm trying to establish your roots here in Kentucky, and I can see that, well, I had known before that you had been related somehow to Daniel Boone.

BOONE: Yes, well, Daniel-I'm descended from an older brother of Samuel's, of Daniel's, by the name of Samuel. And he is buried just outside Lexington near Athens, Kentucky? You know Athens, Kentucky?


SUCHANEK: Yes, um-hm.

BOONE: There's a marker up there. I took my uncle up there when Dr. Clark, Dr. Tom Clark, dedicated that marker. And I took my uncle who was living in the family home at that time up to observe that massacre.


BOONE: But his, he was older than Daniel, and his son Squire was with the group at the Battle of Blue Licks, and I think one of the two wounded people who survived that massacre.

SUCHANEK: Um-hm. Now Blue Licks was in 1783, was it?

BOONE: I think it was, approximately, it was fought, I think, after the Revol--, it was a Revolutionary battle fought after the Revolution was over. About 1783 is-

SUCHANEK: I think it's mentioned always as the last battle of the American Revolution.

BOONE: Um-hm. I think Cornwallis had already surrendered at that time, but the word hadn't gotten through.

SUCHANEK: Right, right. So your family has real vested interest here in Kentucky.

BOONE: Yeah, we've been here some time.

SUCHANEK: Yeah. Do you remember your grandparents at all?


BOONE: Remember all four of them.

SUCHANEK: Um-hm. What did they do for a living?

BOONE: Well, my grandfather Boone was Benjamin Edwards Boone, and he had a, what was called a dry goods store. It sold clothing and things of this nature, piece goods and threads and all this sort of thing. It was a three-story building on the square, and his father had run it before him. That was, I think, founded in the, in probably the 18--, I think the 1840s. And it was still running until my grandfather's death in 1935. And he married a Martha Phelps Lewis, which was the Meriwether Lewis line out of North Carolina. And she was a housewife, and my grandfather owned some farming lands and was, did things. He 00:16:00served on the town council and was active in civic affairs here all his life. His father, incidentally, was, the Hickerson Grubbs Boone of whom I spoke, was the representative in the state legislature just 100 years before I was.

SUCHANEK: Is that right?

BOONE: Um-hm. In 18--, I guess it was probably the 18--, late 1860s, early `70s. Then my other grandfather was named George Park Street, and he was actually born in Trigg County. His father was also George Park Street and had a, after, he had to go to work after the Civil War because his slaves were freed. And he opened a boys' school, and he died comparatively young. And his wife was a McReynolds; she's an 00:17:00aunt of the Justice James Clark McReynolds of whom I spoke. And she brought her daughter and two young sons here to Elkton from the, down south of Cadiz because Uncle Jimmy McReynolds was starting the bank. He organized the Bank of Elkton in 1866. It's now the Elkton Bank and Trust Company. He organized that, and my Uncle John and my grandfather both came up and worked in his bank and stayed with it until that, both of them died without having worked elsewhere for many, many years.


BOONE: But my Grandfather Boone, I think, was born in 1847, and my Grandfather Street, probably in 1846, something like that. So I remember them well enough. My Grandfather Boone told me he remembered the, hearing thunder on a bright, sunshiny day when he was plowing in 00:18:00the fields, early spring, or late winter, I think it was, would have been. And it turned out that he was hearing the cannonades at Fort Donelson. It was within sound of that.

SUCHANEK: Is that right?

BOONE: We were, by as the crow flies, probably twenty miles, twenty to twenty- five miles, and he could hear that. So both grandparents remembered the Civil War quite well, as did my-one of my grandmothers, I don't remember this, the first one to die was, died about 1927 or -8. And I was a fairly small boy, and I never got any, I was first- grade school, I think, when she died. But all the others I knew a little bit better. Particularly my Grandfather Boone, who lived until 1935, when I graduated, the year I graduated from high school.


SUCHANEK: Um-hm. And it sounds like your family has been involved in politics for a long time here in Kentucky.

BOONE: Well, many of us have done-I've been city attorney here in Elkton, and my mother's brother was in the legislature back in 1921 or -2, I guess-

SUCHANEK: Is that right?

BOONE: something like that, `18, `19, something like that. Ben Street. And we've just always been interested, never been real active any. But I managed, my claim to fame is I managed Bert Combs' first campaign in Todd County and carried the county for him.

SUCHANEK: Oh, I didn't know that.

BOONE: He lost the state. But he carried, I carried the county for him by 38 votes.

SUCHANEK: Fifty--, that would be the `54 primary. Uh-huh, uh-huh. How many were in your immediate family?

BOONE: I was the second of seven children.

SUCHANEK: How many brothers and sisters did you have?

BOONE: I had one older brother, and then four sisters and a younger brother. All the girls were younger than I, and the youngest was a girl. The, my second brother, my younger brother, was the sixth child. 00:20:00He lives in Nashville now. His name was John L. Boone.

SUCHANEK: Where did you live when you were growing up?

BOONE: I was born in my Grandfather Boone's home, which was about three blocks east of the square on the south side of US 68. My father had begun to practice medicine, and there were twenty-seven doctors practicing in Todd County at that time.

SUCHANEK: Twenty-seven?

BOONE: Twenty-seven. And it was not, shall we say, a lucrative-he was one of six in his family who were medical doctors. He was the only one practicing here in Elkton, but the family sort, was sort of turned that way. And so when I was nine months old, my father bought a home up on Clarksville Street about, one-two-three, now four doors from the 00:21:00McReynolds home. You were there this morning. Carl Hadden lives right next door to the old McReynolds place.

SUCHANEK: Right, uh-huh.

BOONE: And we lived four doors up from that McReynolds place. And I lived there until my father, it was a three-bedroom house and there were seven of us children, and so my father eventually, in 1935, bought a larger house down on Russellville Street. And then I lived there until I moved down here. That was home until that time. And we moved down here when Uncle John Street and his wife had both died. They lived here, and then their daughter Christine died, and they were both kin to my mother and both kin to my father. And they wanted this old place to stay in the family, and so my mother and I bought this at that time, about 1959. And then she died shortly thereafter, and I've lived 00:22:00here since.

SUCHANEK: Um-hm, um-hm.

BOONE: So everything, there's been a continuity in the house and its holdings, and the house has never been cleared, actually (Suchanek laughs), from the time it was built.

SUCHANEK: This is kind of a general-type question, and it might be hard to answer, but I'm going to throw it out there. What do you remember most about your childhood? What stands out in your mind when you think about your childhood growing up say through high school?

BOONE: Well, I was one of a big family, and we were, had our usual difficulties and problems, but there was a strong feeling of family relationship. But I remember we were fairly competitive and interested in education. My father served many years as the chairman of the school board for the city schools. Having seven children in school, 00:23:00he was quite interested. And I remember little things, like we always tried to wait dinner until Dad came home to dinner. In those days you always had cooks, and it made it sort of hard on them sometimes, but it was a time when we all got together and discussed things and made, had arguments, and it was just a social and challenging time. And back when I was about early teenager, I guess, the Time magazine was becoming a very popular magazine, and they used to put in quizzes on the current events. And this was one of our favorite devices. Dad would bring that home form the office, and he would go over those questions, asking us the questions, starting with the youngest, and to see if we could, how much we knew was going on, and those were challenging times. It was fun. And my father was the sort of person, he was an intelligent man and responsible, and you could ask him 00:24:00anything without shocking him. I mean you didn't get put off, you got a, sometimes you were told more than you wanted to know (Suchanek laughs). That's, my wife says that the children would come and ask her for something. They didn't have time to ask their father (both laugh) because they would hear more than they expected.


BOONE: But I remember I did the usual things, went to school, and I was on the debating team. And we had no public playground or anything like that. We had spaces behind the old high school where there had been tennis courts, and we, some of us boys, would get out with hoes and scrape those, the grass off and get them lined up. And the young men around this square would contribute money to buy the lime to lime those off, or to buy the chicken wire to make the backstops. We had, we did have a swimming pool here, and we all learned to swim. The Red Cross gave the lifesaving courses, and we took those. And then we were, I 00:25:00was seeing that one of the things being done today is the, we're trying to revive Chautauqua as a part of the Bicentennial celebration. And I remember the Redpath Chautauqua coming through, and they would put a tent up. And they, various businessmen around town would buy season tickets for the children and for themselves, and we'd attend those shows, had lectures and musical performance, whether it was a singer or a bell-ringer. We'd have plays. It was just typical country growing- up, and didn't travel a great deal. I remember my father sometimes went to medical meetings and would take us with him. And he took us to the fair, drove to the Chicago World's Fair in `33 and things like that.

SUCHANEK: Is that right? Uh-huh.


SUCHANEK: That must have been quite a trip.

BOONE: Oh, that was quite a trip in those days. Four of us went in, four children and Mother and Dad went in his little, he had a small Chevrolet, and we drove up and rented a small apartment in, really, the 00:26:00slum area, but it was within walking distance of the fair.

SUCHANEK: That must have taken a week to drive up there.

BOONE: No, we did it, I think maybe had to stop one time on the way. About 400 miles, I think, or 450, something like that. But I remember coming out and hearing an "Extra!" The first time I'd ever heard of an "Extra!" newspaper, that Bruno Richard Hauptmann had been arrested for the kidnapping and killing of the Lindbergh baby. That was `33. I remember that very well.


BOONE: But the house was a fairly, we had a lot of relatives and connections, and there were, people always came back for summer, came back on visits, and we had a good many contacts that way. But there was a railroad, when I first remember, we had a branch-line railroad that came in here, which was built, the custom was that the main lines 00:27:00would be constructed, and then all the small communities that wanted to join it would manage to have their own branch made to connect. And Hetty Green put a line in through, our first line in came through Todd County about 17--, 1858 I think. And then the second one came through about 1870, and they crossed down near Guthrie. Rather, there wasn't a town of Guthrie. Guthrie was named for the president of the L&N, because the town, the small village called Graysville picked up and moved over to be on the railroad and became Guthrie. And they built a railroad in. Man named Ben T. Perkins, who was an older brother of my Grandmother Street, was the one who organized that. And they tell the story on bringing that railroad in, that when the railroad had been constructed, and the emissaries went to bid Hetty Green in 00:28:00her den about accepting that as a part of the system, and she sent her engineers out to check to see if it was built to standard and so forth. And they said it was a quite competent job, they thought it was perfectly feasible. One thing they could not understand, it came down the grade into Elkton and suddenly swung over for a switch, and then back into Elkton, and said to do this on a grade was very hard on the engines. And they did not understand why any right-thinking engineer, any properly-instructed engineer, which the builder clearly was, would have done this. And they, the explanation straightened this out immediately. They said, "Well, if that track had come straight as it was coming, and had to come into Elkton, it would have gone right through General Bristow's asparagus bed" (Suchanek laughs). General 00:29:00Bristow was a famous son, he was another great grandson of Benjamin Edwards and was the secretary of treasury in the Grant cabinet. And this would have gone right through his-

SUCHANEK: (Laughs), that's a good story. Yeah. Sure. You said your father bought another house in 1935.


SUCHANEK: How did the Depression affect your family?

BOONE: Well, two, my great uncle and my grandfather were in the Bank of Elkton, and it was a rather conservatively managed institution and it survived. But the family, it was almost entirely family-owned and family-connected, and they had to assess the stockholders based on 00:30:00the stock they had to contribute, capital, to keep the bank open. And there was another bank in town, the Farmers and Merchants Bank, and it was in worse condition than the Bank of Elkton. But the, it appeared that the banks could be saved by combining and tak--, getting some funding from the RFC, the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, which at that time I believe was headed by Jesse Holman Jones, who incidentally was born down near Springfield, just across the Kentucky line not far from here. And so that bank, the two banks combined and became the Elkton Bank and Trust Company, and nobody, no bank depositors ever lost any money in those banks here in Elkton. Now, they had banks in Guthrie that closed, banks in Allensville closed, banks in Kirkmansville closed, but the, our two banks managed to survive. And, 00:31:00but I remember when money was almost nonexistent, and my father's bills were not uncommonly paid with fresh hog meat, if they killed a hog. I remember an enormous bill for, a family had a siege of typhoid fever, but they had milk cows, and we used to get Jersey milk at 25 cents a gallon until they paid off the several hundred dollar doctor's bill. But I wore my older brother's clothes as he outgrew them. They were passed on down to me, and my mother was talented with her fingers, she loved to sew, and did very well with this. And, but we just didn't have any money. What, my father bought a home in `35, but that happened to be a small insurance policy that my grandfather had had. And he had given more, distributed more funds to his other two sons 00:32:00because my father was practicing medicine, and these other boys had gone into his store with him. And so Dad got $5,000 in cash, and he bought a very nice house at that time. It was about a 12-room brick, which was built in 1911, twenty-five, twenty years old and was a good, solidly constructed building. He happened to have the cash when the former president of the bank had to sell his home, and Dad had the cash to buy it. So we survived because we were close to production. People used cow, used, had their own milk cows, and the pasture back behind this house, I remember, was a great many, a good many people sent their cows down to Street's pasture to graze, and late in the afternoon 00:33:00they'd take them home. But we were close to the producing foods, and you had plenty to eat. Nobody, I think, went hungry here. They didn't fare too well if you had to have cash.

SUCHANEK: Um-hm. It wasn't a dust-bowl scenario.

BOONE: No, it was a, reduced to barter in a good many instances, and farmers didn't expect to pay their bills except once or twice a year when crops were sold. Tobacco was our main cash crop, of course. And we managed to survive it. I don't know what we would do in these days if, considering the problems with, in the Near East and the cost of gasoline, because you could feed your corn to the mules. You had your fuel there. And if, we've almost lost, almost totally, the type of labor, there was a great deal of hand labor in tobacco in those days, and a lot, almost all the plowing was done by mules, at best, a 00:34:00team of mules. And we are in a different economic situation from what we were in those days. But as I say, I don't think many people were prosperous here, but they managed to get by. I remember the Depression quite well. I was, there were three of us in college at that time, you see. My sisters, all four of my sisters went down to Agnes Scott in Decatur, Georgia, a Presbyterian school now, a very good school. And all three of us boys went to Vanderbilt.

SUCHANEK: This is during the Depression?

BOONE: This was, it started in `33-


BOONE: going off to school. My older brother went off in `33, and it continued until the `50s.

SUCHANEK: Well, to go to, to have that many children in college, your father must have been doing quite well with his practice, to be able to send-

BOONE: Well, he never made a great deal of money. And we had help. When I went to Vanderbilt I lived with an uncle, a childless uncle and 00:35:00aunt over there.

SUCHANEK: I see, uh-huh.

BOONE: And so did my brother Ben. By the time my brother Johnny went to school, he could live in the fraternity house. We all joined fraternities and this sort of thing, but we-I remember seeing my father switch from Camel cigarettes to Twenty Grand, because it went, that went from fifteen cents to ten cents (Suchanek laughs), and he had to watch his corners very carefully-he was a good manager and careful, but he never made a great deal of money. And he died in `53, and the doctors hadn't really come into the type of production that they later got into. But we didn't-I remember, just as an example, we were always taught you should save your money. And we had banks that were given to us when we were born, and you put money, your pennies and your nickels, and you got a couple of dollars for Christmas, you saved part of that. And I remember the really shocking thing when our father once told us that the Encyclopedia Britannica had put out an edition for $100, 00:36:00or $99, and we four older children had enough money in our savings accounts to pay for that. And he said he really thought he couldn't do this, but he thought it was worth the expenditure, that we would each be permitted to draw out one-fourth of the price of the Encyclopedia Britannica, and he would buy the table to hold them (Suchanek laughs). And this was a great triumph for us, and they were quite actively used. It was that great thirteenth edition.

SUCHANEK: Uh-huh. Well, it seems as though your father took great pains to alert you to what was going on in the outside world, with using the Time magazine current events questionnaire and Encyclopedia Britannica. Apparently, he wanted you to know that there was life outside of Elkton.

BOONE: He was much interested in it. As a matter of fact, it had run in the family on both sides, though. I've got a run of newspapers from my 00:37:00great-great grandfather Street, the Niles' Weekly Register, which came out of Baltimore, Maryland. I've got about a ten-year run of that. He bound them in leather. Eight--, from about 1813 to 1820- something, '22 or -3, something like that. Proclamations by Mr. Jefferson. They're upstairs-

SUCHANEK: Is that right?

BOONE: But the library is continuous. Some of the books, I've got one or two books that will date to the late 1690s. And the library, the vestiges of, my mother would give anything to any church school that came by and wanted books. She'd let them pick over anything they wanted. And I'll never forgive her. I had an original copy of The Book of Mormon, which my great-grandfather had gotten. And she let somebody come in and take that away, and I've never quite forgiven her for that.

SUCHANEK: (Laughs), let's talk a little bit about your education. Where did you go to school-


BOONE: Well-

SUCHANEK: here in Elkton.

BOONE: well, went here. There was a public high school here. And all my family, prior to that time, had, they had basically gone-the town has always been interested in education. And there's an old Green River Female Academy here that H.G. Boone was the treasurer when it was built. It was built in Benjamin Edwards's yard in 1835, and the family was interested in participating in that. And there were schools, little schools, all around. There were two colleges in Russellville and a college in, two colleges in Hopkinsville. My Grandmother Street, Perkins, Lillie Perkins Street, graduated from South Kentucky College in the 1870s, a woman, and was well-trained musically there. But I went to the public schools because there was no money for us to go to private school. So my father's reaction to that was he was active on the school board, and we had some first-rate 00:39:00teachers there. The principal of the high school when I, was a man named Wilson Gore Parria(??), who was a brother-in-law of Dr. Ed Mims, who was the head of the English department at Vanderbilt. And he had been at Bell School, and they, Bell, not, at Webb School. And they had closed down during the Depression, and he didn't have anywhere to go, and he had two children. And so he came and lived in one of the old dormitories, had an apartment in the old dormitories from Vanderbilt Training School. And the main building was then our high school and grade school here. And so all of us went through this. We got a new high school building in 1937. I was the last of the family to graduate from the old Vanderbilt Training School building.

SUCHANEK: Was that new building part of the WPA?

BOONE: The 1937 building was a WPA building, and my sister Martha graduated from there. She was next after me, and she graduated from 00:40:00the new building. But I was the one who went to the, last one to go to the old, of the family to go to that old Vanderbilt Training School building. But then when I got out of high school, I went over to Vanderbilt and I took my B.A. and L.L.B. from there. And then I was, it was, I graduated from law school in June of 1941. By this time I'd already registered for the draft. And I had some respectable offers of jobs, but the draft was breathing down my neck. And I was classified as 4-F because it was discovered when I was examined that I had an inguinal hernia. And so I had that repaired and got the draft board to guarantee me that they wouldn't draft me until I'd get a chance 00:41:00to volunteer, because I didn't want to go in the army. I was more interested in going in the navy. And there were opportunities offered for persons with legal background, at least educational background. And so I went into the navy in, under the V-7 program.

SUCHANEK: I don't know, what is that?

BOONE: That's a training program where you, if you had a degree or so, and I had my, a couple of degrees. And it was, they trained me to be a line officer. I went one month at, up to Notre Dame, and then was transferred to the old battleship Illinois, called then the Prairie State, in New York, and had three months there. And then I qualified and was commissioned an ensign. We were the 120-day wonders. And I was, after I graduated from there, I, they gave me further training. And I was given, took a six- months course down at Annapolis, the 00:42:00post-graduate school in communications. I had been a math major and philosophy minor, and always had been interested in making good grades. And so I'd worked at it when I was in the V-7 program, and they, so they sent me down to Annapolis, and I spent, the only place I was ever treated as a gentleman was in Annapolis, and I spent six months there, and then was assigned to the amphibious force. And went first to, stationed in Norfolk, and then we were shipped, I was in the first training flotilla of the Landing Craft Tank, LCT. It was "Flotilla A" at that point, and then they later began naming them. And I was an executive officer of a group of twelve of those craft, and we went to North Africa, went into Oran, and then later went on over to Bizerte. And we carried Patton into Sicily and carried Mark Clark into Salerno. 00:43:00And then by this time, I was, they broke up our groups and sent part of us from North Africa to Italy, to India, and the other part went to England, and I was among those sent to England. And when I got there, they, I was assigned to do the training and write the memoranda transferring the American sailors, the quartermasters primarily, to the British chart system. We used, shifted to the British charts in England. And of course, the minefields and the obstacles and so forth in the British channel were numerous and constantly changing. And so I was teaching, they set up little depots all over southern England and 00:44:00on in the Bristol Channel to instruct these quartermasters how things were marked and so on. And then when I finished that up, and this was, oh my dates, I'd have to, probably it was `43, I would guess about `43, and then I was, that job being completed, I was sent to Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsey. I was attached to him for the landings in France, but-

SUCHANEK: We can just stop just a second while I flip this over.

[End of Tape #1, Side #1]

[Begin Tape #1, Side #2]

SUCHANEK: Okay, we were talking-

BOONE: So I was assigned to Sir Bertram Ramsey, who was in command of the forces, of the naval forces for the invasion. Eisenhower was in command of the ground forces, and Sir Bertram Ramsey had headquarters 00:45:00near Southampton, an underground there, very much like the Eisenhower underground, that area. And so I was one of about six officers sent over there because I was well familiar with the landing craft capabilities and knew people in all of these, I've just been thinking, I served under Admiral McCain in North Africa. The, his son is now having problems, you know, with the, John McCain, Senator John McCain, is being charged with possible irregularities in conduct with the savings and loan-

SUCHANEK: Oh, yes, that McCain, okay.

BOONE: Yes, that McCain. So I stayed with Admiral Ramsey until I was sent on special duty from him to Paris with my own chief. We were having some problems, and I spent about six months in Paris. And then 00:46:00I came back and came, and things were pretty well over. The war wasn't over in Germany, but it was, we were underway. I was in Paris during the breakthrough and that time, and in no real danger, I mean. But it was an uncomfortable time, and so I came home and took more training up at Harvard for joint marine, navy, and army operations for the landings in Japan, and was given, finished that and was assigned orders to report to the commanding chief for the British Pacific fleet as liaison. And he was, that was in Sydney at that point. And so I got as far as California, and the bomb had been dropped, the atomic bomb had been dropped. And this gave us, I was, I proceeded on to, even 00:47:00to Honolulu. I was on a plane taxiing down to takeoff, heading for Sydney. The Navy was giving me a real sight of the globe. I'd been through all the Mediterranean and North Africa, and now I was going to get to see Au--, but they called the plane back to take me off. My orders had been cancelled, and I was then sent to be commander, to be the communications officer at, in the Marshall and Gilbert Islands, on Kwajalein.

SUCHANEK: Kwajalein.

BOONE: And I was there, when I got there, then they kept having problems, people were getting, accumulating points enough to get out and so forth. And I was unmarried, and I couldn't accumulate enough points. Battle stars didn't matter much for navy people, and that sort 00:48:00of thing. So I wound up as exec on that naval air base, and that's where I finished up my career in the navy. Then I came back to the United States, and I had, this was in early `46, and I felt I wasn't in condition to go back and practice law having been completely out of touch with all these things dur--, from the time I had gone to the service. So I never did any legal work in the service; I really wasn't that anxious to do, in times like that I was not looking for office work. And so I decided I should take some advanced work. And I talked to one of my old professors over at Vanderbilt, and my records over there had been very good. The Vanderbilt law school closed completely during World War Two.

SUCHANEK: Is that right?

BOONE: Um-hm. But he had discussed some of the opportunities, and so I 00:49:00decided to try to go to Columbia. I had been at school at, up there on Prairie State, and some of our activities had been around Columbia, and I'd liked New York and thought it would be a good opportunity to see the city. So I went up there and took an LLM under Walter Gellhorn and-

SUCHANEK: Gellhorn?

BOONE: Gellhorn, G-E-L-L-H-O-R-N. He was a professor of administrative law there at Columbia and had done a landmark study of administrative procedure at the request of President Roosevelt.


BOONE: He was the out--, he was the authority at that time, and so I went up there and had a, really a remarkable time. I had Philip Jessup in international law, who later became Justice of the International Court. And I had Patterson, who wrote the model insurance law, had insurance under him. And I had conflicts of laws under Elliott 00:50:00Cheatham, one of the most sophisticated minds I've ever known. And I had commercial transactions under Karl Llewellyn, who wrote the Uniform Commercial Code. It was a time, really, of remarkable quality, and it was very stimulating and I enjoyed it very much. And I wrote a dissertation on Tennessee administrative procedure. I thought probably I would practice in Nashville, and so I did some research and came back and lived in Nashville for a while, and used the facilities there and wrote a dissertation and was granted my degree. And then Vanderbilt wanted to publish that, so they published an abbreviated form. They had started a Law Review by this time, so they did that. I thought I would see if I could find a job in Nashville, but they were unaware, many of the older lawyers, that there was an administrative procedure, and they thought there were courts of law and courts of justice, and they damn well better be left alone (both laugh). So 00:51:00I was offered several jobs, but they didn't look as if they would be very interesting. They would, they were, would want me to start out by going out and maybe investigating automobile accident claims and stuff like this. And at home, things were, my father wasn't very well and everybody else had left, and we were short on lawyers here. And the suggestion was made that I ought to practice in Elkton. And the banker, the head of the bank here, a man named Bowling Trabue, had been my Sunday school teacher, and he was a cousin. And he said if I came back, he was sure that things would work out, I'd be able to-so I came to, opened an office here and practiced here until I retired.


BOONE: So, kind of a run-down, yeah.

SUCHANEK: That's a capsule history of all that. If we could go back a little bit, when you were growing up and through your college days and 00:52:00even your military days, did you attend church?

BOONE: Yes, pretty regularly.

SUCHANEK: What church did you attend here in Elkton?

BOONE: Disciples of Christ. We, this is one of the things; my mother's family had always been closely identified with the Disciples of Christ, from the time of her grandfather, George Street. My father's family, on the other hand, had been very clearly identified with the Baptist Church. The first Baptist preacher to preach in Kentucky was supposed to have been Squire Boone, you know. He preached up in Louisville before anybody else got around. So neither of my parents would tell us which church we should join. So they worked out a system where we seven children, when the quarterlies changed, we would change from the Baptist to the Christian Church and vice versa. And so there were seven of us shifting back and forth, Christian and Baptist, Christian and Baptist. And the, we won the attendance contest regularly for the, 00:53:00the Methodists never could persuade us to come over (Suchanek laughs). But all of us, none of us joined the Baptist Church. My father would not leave it because he, it would have broken his mother's heart, he said, if he did it. But he really much preferred the Christian Church to the Baptist. And so we all wound, most of us wound up, if we, if there were Christian churches, but in many places there were not Christian churches, and we were, the Christian basically came out of the Presbyterian Church. And so those of us who haven't remained in the Disciples of Christ have been, frequently, have joined the Presbyterian Church. My sister Lillian, my brother Johnny both joined the, have joined the Presbyterian Church. But my Grandfather Boone, my great-grandfather Boone was sixty years the clerk of the Baptist church 00:54:00here in Elkton. But the Streets were as long-lived Disciples of Christ followers too, so-

SUCHANEK: When you were going to school here in Elkton, did you have a favorite subject?

BOONE: Why, I think probably I liked math about as well as anything else. I always found it easy and entertaining, and had a very good math teacher. Had a couple of good math teachers.

SUCHANEK: Do you remember their names?

BOONE: Yes. I had algebra under Tommy Grain, and then I had geometry under Mrs. Jim Scruggs, and I believe I had trigonometry under, plane trigonometry under Mr. Parria(??).

SUCHANEK: Um-hm. Did you have any history courses?

BOONE: Yeah, I had some history courses, but I didn't have, they were not as well- taught, really, not as interesting. I was always 00:55:00interested in history, but we have suffered badly in Kentucky for want of good Kentucky histories, school histories. And there were some rather poor ones, but we had world history. That was about what we, I believe I probably had a course in American history and then a course in world history at the high school level.

SUCHANEK: Was there any historical figure that you particularly liked?

BOONE: Well, my father was a great admirer of Thomas Jefferson, and I always admired Jefferson, too. And I always, I was particularly fond of Robert E. Lee. There were some family connections there, and I was, always thought he was a, the fine example of what a man should be.

SUCHANEK: Okay. Do you remember having a civics course?

BOONE: Yes. Abysmally taught, I thought it was terrible. I've 00:56:00always been interested in government, but this was not well done, not well-taught. But I had that in the seventh grade, and it was, that's a little young to teach it. At the present time, the Department of Education has taught Kentucky history in the fourth grade. And I skipped the fourth grade. I never did attend the fourth grade and-

SUCHANEK: You could do that back then.

BOONE: You, if you were bored and your, and if the teacher saw you were bored, and we had two rooms, two grades in a single room, you see. And the teacher, any reasonably bright child, if they just listened they could pass the tests in both classes without difficulty. And so at the fourth grade level, I was a little young for my group, a little small, but there's no point in keeping me going over the stuff I already knew. So I went from the third to the fifth grade, and then 00:57:00I should have done it again except it would have put me out of phase, all the girls were taller than I was (Suchanek laughs), for instance. And I graduated young and small, and so they didn't, the teachers, the classes were fairly small, that's true. So I read widely and did other things, but I didn't skip any more after that. But I liked history and I liked reading, and I was fascinated by the, there was an old series of books, all, both sides of the family were readers, and my father had accumulated a, he and his brothers, an extensive collection of G.A. Henty. Are you familiar with G.A. Henty?

SUCHANEK: No, I'm not.

BOONE: He was an editor of the Manchester Guardian. And as a sideline, he wrote historical novels for young people, didactic. And he wrote such things as With Lee in Virginia, With Kitchener at Khartoum, The Lion of the North, In The Reign of Terror, just, he wrote dozens 00:58:00of them. And we had quite a few of them and I found them quite interesting and, I think, accurate historically. And he'd embroider a little romance or a challenge about them, and I learned a great deal of history. I knew a great deal more about Venice, for instance, from the Lion of St. Mark than I ever learned in history. And the same thing was true, the people, the religious wars in middle Europe, he had stories about all these. And the, With Clive in India, I learned a good deal about that. And he had, facing death was a thing he wrote about, young people in the mines in Wales, very instructive. I think they would absolutely bore children to death today, but I went through 00:59:00the Waverly Novels, and I went through Thackeray, and I went through whatever was available.

SUCHANEK: Um-hm. So you were pretty widely read.

BOONE: And so I had read a good many books, which was not uncommon. Family had, I know my Grandfather Boone, school was closed when he was in the Civil War days, but he was taught at home, and he was a lot more proficient in his Latin, his Latin and Greek. I had four years of Latin in high school, and I loved Virgil, but Caesar I didn't like, and I didn't like Cicero. My grandfather, as an old man, never having been to school except at home, was much more proficient in the languages than I was. His Latin and Greek were still good. My, both my grandparents were much better linguists than I ever would be. They had had no chance to do this. My grandfather occasionally went to market in New York, but he, educationally, he didn't even have the high school to attend. But the family was interested in things like this, 01:00:00and we always had books around. And this is what you always got for Christmas, you got great books. I was extremely interested and I loved the mythologies, and as a consequence, I'm, I have always loved Milton because his classical allusions were talking about old friends. And you've got, "Hence loathed Melancholy/Of Cerberus and blackest midnight born/In Stygian Cave forlorn/Seek out some uncouth-" (Suchanek laughs). And I learned those things, and I knew who Cerberus was, and I knew the problems, and I enjoyed that. And I had an old book that had been taught at the Vanderbilt Training School. It was a textbook, one of the issues of the J. Loughran scholar edition of Bulfinch's Mythology. And it did, I was curious because it did say in the beginning that there were, in the preface that there were some tales, which really no, 01:01:00that they didn't think were proper for school, to be taught in school, and that they were omitted, and no person should be ashamed to confess ignorance of such corrupt tales (both laugh). I've still got that book. We all read and didn't travel a great deal. A few of the, or a few of the family traveled abroad before the Depression. But then the Depression hit, and then I suppose I was the next wave who didn't get to travel much until we got in the service.

SUCHANEK: Um-hm. And then you saw the world.

BOONE: Then I saw a good deal of it. I've seen more of it since, but it did give me a taste of what it was like.

SUCHANEK: Yeah. Well, when you got back here to Elkton, then, after the war and after studying at Columbia, when did you begin to get interested in politics?

BOONE: I'd always been interested in government and, of course, when 01:02:00I, in studying administrative procedure, I was there in a hotbed of it because most of the people at Columbia had done something in government. And I was interested and I became city attorney, and this was the turning thing of my interest, I've always been interested Kentucky constitutions. And when I look back over the various constitutions Kentucky has had, some member of my family has been involved in all of those conventions, except the 1849 one. So it wasn't unusual for me to be interested and concerned about these things, and I saw how absolutely inadequate the plan was for cities. And I had been oriented fairly liberally, and I began to see, studying the Supreme Court decisions, and I recognized the problems of black 01:03:00education and how inadequate, I remember the black schools, up on stones, frame buildings and heated with stoves. And I had a good, solid, old brick building which didn't heat very well, but we were certainly better off than the blacks were.

SUCHANEK: Here in Elkton, you mean?

BOONE: Here in Elkton. Yeah. We had two completely different school systems, you see, here. And it was, one of the things that interested me is that we were required by law to separate those school systems by the Day Law, which wasn't passed until the 1890s. Jim Crow was imposed-my church, my Christian church down here, had some old people, when I first remember, old black people who had been members of our church, because it was, they were considered that they, worshipping the same Lord and going to the same church. They later joined other 01:04:00churches, but I still remember Amed Kennedy(??) and a few others whose parents had been owned by the family, and they were members of the Christian Church here. But, so I had this background of interest in government. And, of course, Justice McReynolds was a model for us if we were interested. But my political views were somewhat different from his but still he was much respected. And I know, I saw him as a fine old man in many ways. My father and mother were both delivered by his father, who was the doctor here, and he kept, Justice McReynolds gave my father money regularly as, to use to buy medicines for the indigent people here in Todd County.

SUCHANEK: Is that right?

BOONE: Regularly. And he'd call, say, "Edwards, do you need any more money?" And all the doctors knew it. It was not given publicity 01:05:00because you didn't want, if the doctors, if they called a doctor and the doctor couldn't, saw the person couldn't get medicine, couldn't afford the medicine, they could call Dad and he could get it. It was, Justice would, he's considered a terrible old man, but he was generous in this fashion. And he thought the future of the blacks was to be given, told, taught trades. Not high education so much, as make them able to do things they could do with their hands. And he built, out of his own pocket, and Supreme Court justices were not paid that much in those days, he built a trade school to attach to our black high school here, and supported that. And I, when I hear him criticized as a malevolent, vicious old man, actually, he was, won his fame, his spurs were won in the battle to break the tobacco trust. 01:06:00It was an anti- trust thing against Duke. And he was so vigorous and so successful in that, that he was kicked upstairs from attorney generalship to the Supreme Court. And the truth of the matter was, he was not, he was considered fairly liberal for his day because he felt that the government had a duty to intervene and enforce the anti-trust laws, which was considered anathema to the robber barons. But he never changed. He was rigid, and never gave up.

SUCHANEK: Well, you say your political views differed from his. How so?

BOONE: Well, I thought that Roosevelt was correct in many ways in trying to address the problems we had economically and socially. And I couldn't see the idea, the "separate but equal" was not a practical 01:07:00solution, as some members of the Supreme Court said. And so my orientation, possibly from the association at Columbia, with the people up there, that you could see how badly the blacks were mistreated in the South. And if I was going to live here, my idea was that they should be treated equally, and Mr. Justice McReynolds thought the government should not intervene. You remember, he was one of the dissenters who overthrew the NRA and several other organizations, which Roosevelt felt were necessary. He thought, Roosevelt was anathema to him, he was a, and, but I could, to my mind, he was out of touch with the needs of the generation, and he was, he stayed on the court for 01:08:00forty years, something like that. And I, while I respected him and he was always kind and cordial, I'd have dinner with him when he was home. He loved pretty girls, and he'd had an unfortunate, a sad love affair, I think, and was, possibly his, the light of his life had died as a young girl and so he had carried a torch for her. But he was, he would invite us down to dinner, he had a good cook, and, who looked after him, and he lived in a, was, he never owned the home. It was his father's home still. And he would invite my sisters and me down to have dinner with him. I found it very interesting, entertaining. He was sort of courtly in manner. And, of course, I had a good roommate up at, not a roommate, officemate, up at Columbia, who was a boy named Mike Gollub. He was a Jewish boy who was studying labor law under Paul Hayes, I think, and he couldn't understand how I could be related and 01:09:00connected with this man (Suchanek laughs). And he said, "George, I just don't see how this works." He said, "Suppose you were walking down the street, and he came striding down the street. What would you say to him and what would he say to you?" I said, "This is so easy to chart, I know exactly what he'd say to me. He'd say, 'Well, hello, George. What are you doing in town? How's your mother?'" (both laugh). And he would relate to people and things, and he, I had a first cousin, he paid his expenses at Vanderbilt for one year while he flunked out playing football and (both laugh), but my father didn't have to have any help like that. I think if I'd needed it, I probably could have asked for help, but my father always managed on his own. When I went off to law school, it's true, when he got us through college, 01:10:00he thought we ought to be on our own. And I had three, I had five younger siblings behind me to be educated, so it was on me to make my own arrangements. And I had another, he had another first cousin named John Oliver McReynolds, who was a first cousin of Justice McReynolds, who practiced, he was an eye, ear, nose, and throat specialist in Dallas. And he, they came back and forth here, and he restored the old Benjamin Edwards house there in the `30s. And his wife, Katherine Seay McReynolds, was a wonderful woman, and she had organized a funding thing for students, doctors' children, out in Texas. And so with her, at her suggestion, I turned, I qualified to borrow money from them to go to law school. And so I lived with my uncle, and I borrowed the 01:11:00money and went through law school on that, and then paid it back while I was in the service, $150 a month. Of course, when I was in North Africa and Italy and through there, you couldn't spend a penny. So I paid all that off and came out, I'd saved another two or three thousand dollars, and that's what I went to Columbia on.

SUCHANEK: Um-hm, I see.

BOONE: I got the G.I. Bill, but it didn't begin to pay my expenses. But then I, but I had accumulated enough money. See, I am Scotch- Irish on one side.

SUCHANEK: (Laughs), a little frugal, is that what you're alluding to?

BOONE: Well, I didn't have, grew up without very much money, and you tried to get things, pieces, buy good clothes, but you wore them. You didn't change for the fashion, you bought conservatively. And I, just now that I'm losing weight, I'm just delighted that I can go back and buy some of those Brooks Brothers models that I wore twenty years ago, and they haven't changed (Suchanek laughs).

SUCHANEK: How did you get to be city attorney in Elkton?


BOONE: By default. There was nobody else wanted it, needed being done. So I was asked if I would do it, and I was paid $25 a year.

SUCHANEK: Um-hm. Who asked you?

BOONE: I believe Percy Shelton may have asked me. He was the mayor at the time, and he was the chairman of the board of my church and a fine Christian gentleman, and they needed help. City budget was about $4,000 a year.

SUCHANEK: Okay. It wasn't an elected position? It was appointed?

BOONE: No, it was appointed.

SUCHANEK: Okay, um-hm.

BOONE: And nobody wanted it. And so he asked me if I'd do it, and I saw-

SUCHANEK: This was what year?

BOONE: This was about 1947, I guess, approximately.

SUCHANEK: Okay, um-hm.

BOONE: And I got in and I saw the people were serving, the councilmen maybe were paid $5 a meeting or something like that. And the mayor was a fine man, but he had a couple of nephews on there who, on that council, one of whom ran a dry-cleaning plant, and his idea of the 01:13:00importance of things was to pass a law that would require outside dry- cleaners to buy $500 licenses to come in. And he didn't care about the quality of the cleaning, he didn't care much about it. And I saw this, and they always, "I wouldn't serve." Just, "I've got to do it, there's no way to get people to run the town." And so I took them at their word, they didn't want to serve. So when the next election came up, I just rounded up a new council and persuaded them to come in, and so got a completely clean slate. You see, this is one of the problems. We elect our councilmen for two years under the 1890 Constitution, `91 Constitution, and you don't have any continuity. But I was glad not to have any continuity with that group because they were businessmen in town and were there to protect their own interests.

SUCHANEK: Yeah, uh-huh.

BOONE: So I rallied up some people who were not that particularly oriented, a different, and had some of my family put pressure on others 01:14:00to serve. And so we had a complete clean sweep, and we put in parking meters and ruined, the mayor was a first cousin named George Street, and it ruined his business but it gave the town some money for the first time. And now our budget is running in the hundreds of thousands now. But we started out, and we got the town on a good fiscal basis. The treasurer of the Baptist church was a very bright and sensible woman named Elizabeth Russell, and she agreed to serve and worked with us. And you could count on Elizabeth. She knew what we took in in May of last year and May of two years before. We began to get some view of how taxes fluctuated and how things were. We had been using the city, the county tax assessment, and just copying it; had to hire someone to copy it. And I made the mayor, the sheriff awfully mad because I said, 01:15:00"Let's do it differently. Let's get our own tax assessor." And we more than doubled our taxes. We got an old retired banker who didn't have anything to do and was a very sensible man. And he went door to door, knocked on every door and, "Who owns this house?" And he listed all the property, and more than doubled our income. We had lots of omitted property. And this woman had just been copying what the tax assessor, who was a popularly elected official, and we didn't have to have a popularly elected official. And so we got the town back on its feet.

SUCHANEK: Well, how did you get to be counsel for the town of Allensville? When did that happen?

BOONE: Well, I was, I don't remember how, when that happened. But they didn't have any money, and I was doing it for Elkton and familiar with city things, and so they asked me if I'd do it. I reckon they paid me something like $25 a year, something like that. But it was somebody they could turn to and talk to and was interested in questions such as theirs. And I did it for Guthrie. I did it for Trenton.

SUCHANEK: Oh, I see.

BOONE: I just knew something about it, and was, I wasn't interested in 01:16:00charging the towns because I knew they didn't have one penny to rub against the other, and they needed help. And I had some expertise there, and I wasn't so busy that I couldn't use some of it for them.

SUCHANEK: Um-hm. Now, before your candidacy for state representative, had you run for any public office before?

BOONE: No. No. I had, they had tried to run me for county judge. They had a man here named Jones, who was a lawyer, pretty poor one, but a pretty good-hearted fellow. His brother, Frank Jones, was a respected but highly political judge up in Glasgow, a circuit judge. And his father had been county judge up there, and they were trying to run me against him on a write-in ballot, but I never did agree to that. Louie Weathers, who was watching the count, they had paper ballots 01:17:00at that time, and he said that I had won that election, but that I had been counted out of it. But I didn't want to be county judge. It was a full-time job, and I, hiring and firing people and running the thing. It was the last thing in the world I wanted. I was much more interested in practicing law than that, so Louie said, "You contest that, you can win that election." And I said, "I don't want it. I won't contest it." So, but I had never, I never run, I had never run for office. Actually, the legislative office was the only one I ever really would like to have held because that is a constructive thing; you're writing laws, you're planning what's happening. And I just found that much more interesting. And I was interested in draftsmanship, I had been interested in that always, and so I decided-it was just a fluke that I ever won this. We were in a district composed of Todd and Logan counties. And we had sort of an informal arrangement of 01:18:00shifting back and forth. Let us have it one term, and then somebody else have it two terms, Russellville have it, Logan County have it two terms. They were two and a half times our size. And we had a, it was our time to have it, and "Doc" Beauchamp was in power at that time. And our representative that had been there a time or so before was the richest man in the county, the man who owned more land than anybody else, named Hays Hampton. He has a, had the milk route and he built that up, and he was industrious, and he accumulated farmlands during the `30s, and the value's gone up, and he got, had a bunch of sons, and he hired people, and he ran an efficient business and made a lot of money. But he was completely in the pocket of "Doc" Beauchamp, who was 01:19:00not a corrupt, but shall we say, a dedicated political figure. He was a, he held several different, he was lieutenant governor at one time, he was treasurer at one time, he was super--, secretary of agriculture, and always did a respectable and honest job in those things. And I had generally gone along with him, but Mr. Hampton wanted to go back to the legislature, and here I was with some training and some interest. And I wanted to run, I wanted to be, so I told Mr. Hampton I wanted to run, and then I went up and told Mr. Beauchamp that I wanted to run. And then I told Mr. Beauchamp, I didn't want to get on the wrong side of him, so I told him before I announced that I was going to announce at such and such a time. And Mr. Hampton announced the day before. And so I could see the handwriting on the wall. But 01:20:00Mr. Hampton was a large and imposing figure and very agreeable and pleasant, but had no great personality, and he was not one who would go out and ask people to vote for him. He expected to be elected by Mr. Beauchamp's friends, and that he would ride in on the coattails of whoever the incumbent was. And, of course, Beauchamp had been a successor to Tom Rhea and that machine. And there was a young man named Harris, I believe. Oh, what was his name? I'll think of it in a minute. Yeah, his name was Harris. I'll think of his first name.

SUCHANEK: Wayne Harris.

BOONE: Wayne Harris, who was a person of suspicious qualifications. 01:21:00He'd been in business in Russellville. And he announced, and he started campaigning hammer and tongs. And the people in Russellville were scared to death he was going to get elected. And "Doc" Beauchamp got sick, and so "Doc" died before the election. And I had some substantial people, "Doc's" sister-in-law, Mrs., oh I'll think of her name in a minute, a nice lady, was very interested in me and my election. And I had all of the independent, non-political group over there. Of course I, my father knew all the doctors, and I knew all the lawyers. And so I won that election, not in my own home county. I won it in Logan County.

SUCHANEK: Yeah, I was going to ask you about that. I've got a lot of 01:22:00questions to ask you about that election.

BOONE: I don't know whether I can answer them, but I didn't spend any money to speak of because I just didn't have it and didn't approve of it.


BOONE: So I had to campaign.

SUCHANEK: Yeah. When, just as a point of reference for me, when did you get appointed to the Kentucky Constitution Revision Assembly? When was that?

BOONE: That was in 1965.

SUCHANEK: Okay, that was much, well, that was before your election.

BOONE: That was before, you see. This is before the election.


BOONE: And how did that happen?


BOONE: Well, there was a four-man group who selected those, the chief justice, the attorney general, the governor, and I forget who, it was set up by statute who they would be, those four people were making the appointments. And Ned Breathitt was a cousin of mine.

SUCHANEK: I didn't know that.

BOONE: Oh, very, very distant. We never were exactly sure, but he comes 01:23:00out of this Hopkinsville, out of the Edwards-Steele group. And he was a little younger than I, and I had known, well, we'd known the families always. His aunt, Miss Louise, over, lived in Hopkinsville, worked over at the bank. And he was in partnership with Seldon Trimble, who was my cousin. And so I was asked to serve on that commission, and I was delighted, really. I was very pleased because it was something I was interested in and I knew the needs of the towns and how bad the constitution was. So he asked me to serve, and so I did, and served under Earle Clements, who was probably the best governor Kentucky ever had, in this century at least. We've had some good ones, but he had more detailed knowledge. He had been county judge, he had served in the legislature, he had been commissioner of highways, he had been 01:24:00commissioner of personnel, he knew the details of administration, he knew the problems. And he had, he was the one who set up the first legislative revision group, constitutional revision, legislative revision, back in the late-

SUCHANEK: Forties.

BOONE: `40s. And he was very knowledgeable. And I remember being absolutely horrified that Ed Prichard was appointed to this group. I had met Prich a little, casually. Of course, I was interested in politics and Roosevelt and this sort of thing, and he was. And I thought to put him on that group was one of the, was a real difficult thing for the group to overcome. And, you see, we were working under a completely different assumption. We were not following the procedure 01:25:00for calling a constitution convention, which was outlined in the constitution, which requires, the constitutional provision we have now still exists for calling conventions, makes it impossible to maintain a cohesive group, because our legislatures were turning over, there'd be a third to a half new legislators every time you had an election.


BOONE: And if you had to have two legislatures pass it, if you got the steam up to get it through the first one, most of those people wouldn't be in, many of them wouldn't be in the second legislature.


BOONE: And so we had gone for nearly 100 years without calling one. And so they decided they would try a device, which had been used in other states, in taking a phrase out of the constitution which said, "All power reposes, is reposed in the people." And so they set, the 01:26:00legislature set up this thing they called a constitutional convention and have these people named by a blue-ribbon group. And it was a, had all of our representatives, had all of our senators, had members of the Supreme Court. It had, it was a, I was one of the young and obscure ones on the lot. Dr. Clark was serving in it, and a man from Ashland Oil, a fine man, very progressive and-

SUCHANEK: Paul Blazer?

BOONE: Paul Blazer, uh-huh. And so we met, did a thorough job. If you ever want to look at a thorough job, Earl Clements was the leader of it and Jim Fleming was the clerk of the court, I mean clerk of the-

SUCHANEK: Committee?

BOONE: House. And he was working with us. But Dee Ashley Akers, Dee 01:27:00Akers, was the clerk. He's a professor up at University of Louisville in-

SUCHANEK: I'm not familiar with that name.

BOONE: He's still on the faculty up there. And we were well-staffed and well- served, and I know it was great fun. And I learned to like Prich and be absolutely amazed at his knowledge. He was incredible. And I got real fond of him. I never learned, I learned never to turn my back on him, but basically he was interested in government and this was, I think he saw as his chance to redeem himself after having been caught in an absolutely senseless and immoral prank in stuffing a ballot box in an election that didn't mean anything, and then told Judge Ardery about it. And then got sent to prison for it. But-

SUCHANEK: Is that why you objected to his being put on the-

BOONE: Well, I saw him as a person who had been released from prison, 01:28:00coming, and put in to do this. And I thought this in itself would be a fatal blow to any work that was done because it gave a focal point for people to object. But it turned out his knowledge and information was just incredible. And I think he tried his best to do a good job, and he then later, afterwards, was appointed to head the study of higher education. And it became known as the Prichard, it was named after him. This was set up by the Council on Higher Education to study the needs of our schools, the high, of colleges. And my wife was on the Council on Higher Education when that was set up, so I was named to that, too.

SUCHANEK: Um-hm. Okay, well, I'm going to switch tapes here.

[End of Tape #1, Side #2]

[Begin Tape #2, Side #1]

SUCHANEK: Okay, this is tape number two of the George Street Boone 01:29:00interview on October 30th.


SUCHANEK: Go ahead.

BOONE: Is this the proper time to tell you this story?

SUCHANEK: Yes, go ahead. We were talking about Ed Prichard.

BOONE: I, this goes back, it begins a little earlier. There was a study group in Kentucky known as the Kentucky Government Council. I don't know whether you ever heard of it or not.

SUCHANEK: Yes, uh-huh.

BOONE: And the real brains behind it was Mr., was Dr. James Martin, who was a very smart old man, a very able man, and a good man. He had been one of the real thinkers who made "Happy" Chandler's first administration a good administration.

SUCHANEK: Was he the one who just passed away?

BOONE: He died just recently, about '98, '99, a fine old man. He didn't, had Alzheimer's, and he'd been completely out of it for two or three years, though. And he was the chief one, that was funded, the 01:30:00Kentucky Government Council was funded by a man named George Stoll, who was interested in good government. It was sort of modeled after the Good Government League in Chicago. And we studied questions of public importance, and we'd assemble, no money available, we had one paid secretary, a man named Bill Bowmer, who was a liberal from Louisville.

SUCHANEK: What was the last name? I'm sorry.

BOONE: Bowmer. B-O-W-M-E-R.


BOONE: If you haven't interviewed him, he certainly should be interviewed.


BOONE: Because he was the head of the Good Government Council, I mean he was executive secretary. And our headquarters were in an attic in a nursing home that Mr. Stoll owned there in downtown Louisville. And we had no money except what was given every now and then. But we studied things like idle state deposits. And we had real good cooperation from the Courier, we could count on getting good displays, 01:31:00we'd make a report. And we studied personnel problems, and we got Nell Penick, who had been assistant director of personnel under Ned, under, I believe in the time of Bert Combs, to make a study of this and make, we made recommendations. We'd get a study of education and made recommendations, much of which were later adopted in the restructuring of the Council on Higher Education. And we, and any public issues that we thought we could do, have impact on, we studied and made reports. The Courier gave us good coverage, and I had gotten, been quite familiar with the Council on Higher Education in drafting model legislation for them. And so then I went in the legislature afterwards. I left, I was, we had had two or three people, Dan Fowler, 01:32:00Ben Fowler, had been chairman of the Kentucky Government Council, and then we had three or four, I was succeeded when I went into legislature by Jackie Swigart. And then Mr. Stoll was getting along in years and couldn't get around. But we had blue-ribbon groups around who really put a good deal of time, people like Milburn, who'd been head of the schools in Louisville, was active in drafting things for the legislative programs, and this sort of thing. And we had people from the bonding houses in Louisville, in Lexington. Oh, I'm trying to think, it's not Brashear, Bradshaw, not Bradshaw. I can't think of the name, but they're in that Dupree business up there, the Dupree brokerage firm that sells municipal bonds. We had really first-rate 01:33:00people, non-partisan, who worked in trying to do these things. And so I was a bit familiar with higher education, and was serving on the legislature and on the Education Committee, and we passed some of the legis--, some of the legislation. And then after I got out, and Joy and I, let's see, were we married? Yeah, I belie--, I don't, I believe we were married. She was on the Council on Higher Education. And if you will recall, one of the main criticisms made of higher education in those days was duplication of effort. We had so much duplication. We could save money by removing the duplication. Well, this was one of the things the Prichard Committee studied. And it was interesting 01:34:00that it was so tied in with our political activities. And we had two law schools: University of Louisville, University of Kentucky. And University of Louisville, at the time, earlier, had been a municipal university rather than a state school. And they came into the state system. The University of Louisville came in, and the state accepted them, but did not increase revenues one bit. This meant that we had two medical schools, two law schools, two engineering schools.

SUCHANEK: I know there was a lot of talk at one time about merging those.

BOONE: And they were, this was a major issue in those days. And Louie 01:35:00Nunn was governor, and Louie did good things and bad things. One of the good things was he raised the sales tax from three to five cents, and he spent the money well. He did it for libraries, he was for education and so forth. But he was determined that he was going to have his successor, this is a completely different story, but he was determined he was going to have his successor, but it ties into education and I think it would be interesting.

SUCHANEK: Was that Tom Emberton?

BOONE: Yeah, he wanted Tom Emberton. And this was crucial, he felt, to get the support of the Republican establishment in northern Kentucky. And they were very anxious to have a law school. They wanted a university up in Cin--, in Covington. They had a two-year college, one of the-

SUCHANEK: Community college.


BOONE: community colleges. And Salmon P. Chase, who was an old Supreme Court Justice, you know, had this night law school operated by the Chamber of, by the YMCA in Cincinnati. And the American Bar Association had adopted regulations that law schools couldn't be independent, they couldn't be free-standing; they had to be a part of an educational group. And so they shopped around in Cincinnati trying to find somebody to take Salmon P. Chase on, or they would lose their accreditation. They had University of Cincinnati law school already there, and they tried with all the schools up there and nobody would take it. Well, Louie Nunn conceived the idea that he would bring 01:37:00them over into Kentucky, and the people in Kentucky wanted this. The Council on Higher Education said, "They don't have any library, they don't have any funds, they don't have any endowment." Their library was very, very poor. And the Council on Higher Education studied it and said, "There's no reason for us to have a third law school, in the first place, and they're bringing us nothing except an additional mouth to feed, and we disapprove of it." Well, there was a chapter of the legis- -, about the legislative activities existing at that time, about Chapter Six I think it was, which permitted the governor to reorganize various government activities. Well, Louie exercised his powers under that and completely reorganized the Council on Higher Education, replacing those 01:38:00people who had turned him down and putting friends who would be more-

SUCHANEK: Amenable.

BOONE: amenable to his wishes. And so they recommended the acceptance of the, that as a law school, and made, they hadn't even had two-year graduating, there was just about one graduating class out of the community college. And so he gave them a law school right there (Suchanek laughs). Made it a four-year college and gave them a law school, and made it stick with the legislature. About a couple of terms later, the legislature repealed those powers of reorganization, but we still have the law school and all this talk about duplication. And we are the only state with three law schools. Some of them have two, but not many of them even have two. But I was familiar with this, and so I was put in on the Prichard Committee to study these things 01:39:00and look into the funding of them and how we could be more economical, and comparing what was done with two dental schools. We had two good dental schools, we had two, the law schools varied rather markedly, we had two engineering schools, we had duplication of considerable quantity. Whether it was unnecessary was a different matter. You've got to teach people English wherever you go. You can't have everybody go to Lexington and take college English.

SUCHANEK: Right, but you don't have to have two med. schools.

BOONE: But you don't have to have two medical schools, and Louisville had stood out against letting "Happy" Chandler, he never was successful in Louisville, and they'd stood out against him running their schools, but then they turned around after his time and surrendered the entire university to the state because they could, they were not willing to 01:40:00face the problems, if they could have, of funding this. And so we wind up, "Happy" having the Albert Benjamin Chandler Law, Medical School and the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville Medical School, and funding neither of them adequately. And the technique being used for funding, they would give all of the schools, the regional colleges, regional universities, state universities, that was a major mistake I always felt, was to make universities out of these normal schools. They could have been made colleges and maybe permitted to do masters degrees in a limited number of fields, and then focus the other funding in the University of Kentucky and have a first-rate school. We'd have enough funding. But it sounded good to have a University 01:41:00of Morehead, have Western State University, or have Eastern State University. But it was not accompanied by funding to let them really become first-class institutions. And the techniques that were being used in the legislature were, we were still in a growing economy, and the income was, from the taxes, was growing somewhat, not greatly. But so what they would do, they would give every school a percentage of increase of what their budget had been the year before. And then what was, after they all got their percentages, what was left over would be divided between the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville. Well, with an expanding economy, this was fairly large. And this didn't suit some of the regional universities, who would have 01:42:00their people teaching English at a very substantial amount less than the University of Kentucky was paying and the University of Louisville was paying. And Bobby Richardson was the Speaker of the House, and it looked as if the legislature was going to pass something to equalize the funding of the-we'd gotten into that in the lower schools. We'd had the Minimum Foundation program and things like this, which equalized the poorer schools, gave them some hope, some help. And so they were studying, we were trying to draw legislation to equalize the support of the schools and see that every school had at least the bare minimum to get by on, and that the salaries were going to be improved. And the University of Kentucky was very proud of its basketball team, 01:43:00and they were proud of its various colleges, the community colleges, which gave them a good deal of clout, political clout, the president, the University being able to appoint advisory boards in all of these various places. And so Bobby was, as the speaker, recognized that we were going to have some major problems on funding. And so he asked me, I had been a freshman legislator with him and had been beaten, because my people didn't want, they were much more satisfied with a man from Logan County who was in the pocket. So I won my first round and had a good time doing it, but then when the time came up and they got their forces together in Logan County, we've never had a representative from Todd County since because they're about two and half times our 01:44:00size since they organized. And so I ran two more times and was beaten both times. So I decided, well, no point in beating your head against a stone wall. But I was interested, and I had made good friends in the legislature, among them Bobby Richardson, and he asked me if I'd come up and serve in his office to do, to look after this legislation. So I did, and I recognized early, having worked in the thing, that a layman, or even an informed layman, can't compete with a college budget. They can't really understand the ramifications, and they, the Council had tried to set up uniform reporting of budget requests so they could compare what was being done in one school and have them fill out the formulas. Well, it didn't match. The schools, they could use different names. They didn't have the same types of courses of 01:45:00study and so forth, and so those formulas helped some, formula funding. But what we did, I didn't know anything about this, but I did know some good people, and I learned, I had three college presidents, three university presidents, who would take anything I sent them and report back to me very promptly of how it worked, of whether it would work, what it would do.

SUCHANEK: Who were the three? Was Adron Doran one?

BOONE: Adron Doran was not competent to do this. He was not an educator. He was a politician, basically. But, well, I suppose I might as well say it because it ought to- one was Don Zacharias down at Western. An able man. Probably the quickest of the whole lot was the 01:46:00man from Murray, Dino Curris. And the third was A.D. Albright, who had been vice president of the University of Kentucky and also had been executive director on the Council of Higher Education.

SUCHANEK: And later was president of Northern?

BOONE: And later was president of Northern.

SUCHANEK: And Morehead.

BOONE: And Morehead. Well, now, we tried to develop a formula where they would hold hearings across the state at each university and have input, and say what was, they needed, and how they were being paid, where these other universities could look at what was done at each other. And we developed a formula and a procedure for going around and holding hearings in every one of these universities to develop that formula. And this brought tremendous improvement to all of the universities, at somewhat at the expense of the University of Kentucky 01:47:00and University of Louisville. And Prich felt, we had made our report, we were no longer in existence. And he called a meeting of the Prichard Committee in Louisville. We met up at the, one of the banks up there, and I went. I was fond of Prich. I had been in his home and he had been in my home and things like this. And Joy had served on the Council with him, and I thought he was just an incredibly bright fellow, and I liked him. And we would working, trying to get this formula set up, and I was doing drafting. We had good people in the legislature doing the drafting. And we'd try to write something again, and then I'd, they would submit something, and I'd do a draft, and I'd send it out to the three people who were looking at it, and they, get 01:48:00their comments on it. And the idea was proposed that we continue to give everybody their percentage rises-[telephone rings] I don't know where Joy is, can you stop the-

SUCHANEK: Sure. [Pause in taping]. Okay.

BOONE: So the formula for a long time had been that each school would get a percentage rise in their budget, and then the rest would be divided among the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville, and they would cooperate to divide between them, and nobody else knew quite what they were getting.


BOONE: But we were developing a formula to divide this among all the universities, that's what we were working so everybody would get a fairer share and have some say in developing this. And Prich called this meeting to discuss the, what the University of Kentucky, University of Louisville approved program was, which would give them 01:49:00their, everybody that percentage and then divide the rest. And he said, "I really don't have any official right do this, I suppose when we're no longer in existence." There were probably, the Prichard Committee had about thirty-five, 30-35 people on it. There were probably 20-25 of us there. I was in, staying in Frankfort, and my wife had gone over with me because she had been on the Council on Higher Education. And I was being, receiving some threats from some of the people in the administration of the University. I knew all the presidents and, but some of the, "You'll never amount, politically your name will be mud if we don't get our way," etc., and so on.

SUCHANEK: Hmm. That's interesting.

BOONE: It wasn't from Otis or from the president of the University of Louisville, Don Swain. They weren't doing it, but some of the people 01:50:00down in the finance were very outspoken in the danger that I would interfere with their playhouse. So when we were called over to see Prich, one of the things that came up was the budgeting that was being suggested. And he made some rather scathing remarks about some of the people in higher education, and how they, what bad jobs they'd done, some things I didn't agree with necessarily. And then he said, "But I think we just ought to approve what's being proposed, to continue the funding with the percentage of, as we've done in the past. That will take care of it." Well, I said, "I can't agree to this, Prich." There were no reporters present, it was in the Jefferson Club, is where it was, and there were no reporters present. And I said, "Prich, I can't 01:51:00agree to that. I'm supposed to be working in Bobby's office working on a formula, and if it comes out that I approve of this, my name is mud with all these university presidents and other presidents who think that I am an impartial when working on the problems that exist. If I endorse this, if this group," I said, "if it comes out that the Prichard Committee endorses this, and I'm a part of this, my usefulness will be ended, and I can't do this." And this was held at night at the Jefferson Club, and we came home. And I'm a great reader of the Courier-Journal. The Courier has, in the past, not so much now, but it used to give excellent coverage of the legislature. And I had known the people who, who the reporters were and so forth, and Dick Wilson was doing all the reporting on educational matters, so Wethington knew the score.

SUCHANEK: Right, um-hm.


BOONE: And so we got in about twelve o'clock, and so I got up about 6:30 and I told Joy, I said, "This will be leaked to the press, I know it. And if it appears that the Prichard Committee, with me involved, has approved this, my usefulness will be over and what I've been working for." So I called Dick Wilson. I said, "Dick," I'd always had good relations with him. I'd never leaked anything to him. But I said, "I just want to tell you something because I'm sure you'll find out about it. And I would have a request to make, and that is, if you get this information and write a story about it, would you show, if you mention me at all, that I did not approve of this?" I said, "It's necessary, if I'm going to go into work with these university presidents, that I am not identified with this." And blessed be, it leaked in full. And 01:53:00he gave me a line in there and said I attended the meeting, but that I did not approve of this. It saved me, and we got this thing changed. Now, Prich did this to me, and I was having dinner with him at his house, and he was visiting us here, but I knew what he was going to do. He was going to, he was devious, and-but I approve, but he thought we couldn't have good universities except one, and he was prepared to reach that end. And he was, this was leaked, and that I had found, had guessed how it was going to be done, and so I was able to finish my work and get that funding formula that was adopted by the legislature.

SUCHANEK: Seems as though Prich knew a lot about leaking things. He tells that story when he was in the Roosevelt administration, that story, the funny story he tells about leaking-


BOONE: Yeah.

SUCHANEK: And (laughs) seems like he was in on a lot of leaking.

BOONE: Oh, he, it was a way of doing business, and it just happened that I knew the people that he'd leaked to. I knew the ones that were getting it, and so I thought they were interested in honest reporting of what was going on. And if I was included as in that group and hadn't, and not disassociated from it, you could see that everything I'd been working towards-and this has brought considerable strength to the various universities. Because we have a-now, the formula has to be changed; it has to be modified and enlarged. And now with more funding, there are a lot of things to be, that are needed to be, I didn't like the idea of having to have all these universities. But if you're going to have them and call them universities, you can't starve these people to death. Now, I felt we've done terribly, the legislature and the University of Kentucky, had done terribly unfair things to the community colleges, because they get people to come out and teach courses, which, who are people who are not professional 01:55:00teachers, give them absolutely no benefits whatsoever. And it makes it awfully hard for a college professor to subsist if a local attorney can come out and teach courses in the community college and not have to pay his medical benefits or anything like this, to compete, and so the Uni- -, the community colleges have been hard on the system in that. They should have been paying their people more. They've been considerably underpaid. And yet, how do you combat this? I've worried about this, and I've been worried about the, one of the mainstays of this, of course, has been Charles Wethington, who came in as head of that group. I was on, I was on the college board back in 18--, 1965 or -6 when, or `62 or -3 when the community college was founded in Hopkinsville. 01:56:00And so I had known this. I had gone through that study that was done by Kern Alexander, in which they suggested that they ought to be disassociated from the University of Kentucky and assigned to the regional universities. I was opposed to that because I thought the University of Kentucky had higher goals and had superior aims to the, than the regional universities did. And I thought the University of Kentucky, and watched fairly closely, you could follow people leaving the community colleges and getting into the main campus and see how their averages held up. And they did pretty well when they moved into the main campus. At Hopkinsville, they would drop the first term and then come back up the second term and be able to hold their own. And that made me think that Hopkinsville probably was doing a reasonably 01:57:00good job. I've seen the same thing happen with students who make straight A's in high school in Elkton here now, going to Austin Peay or to Western or to Murray, and just, their grades just plummeting. Now, that isn't necessary. If they have learned to study in high school, they can make it in those schools because those schools are not hard. I took some summer courses up at Western, and I know they didn't work me as hard. But when I went from Elkton High School to Vanderbilt, my grades didn't drop severely. I was able to hold my own from a little country high school. But-

SUCHANEK: Well, you graduated with honors.

BOONE: What? From-

SUCHANEK: From Vanderbilt, did you not?

BOONE: Well, I was first in my class in law school.


BOONE: But in undergraduate school, I made A's and B's my freshman year, which was the time that my preparation was adequate to get in. And when I see people having trouble, honor students in high school, we didn't have Beta Club or anything like that, there were no honor societies in our high school. We had ninety people in the high school. 01:58:00But I was worried that the high schools were making parents and children happy at the expense of education by letting them go to the universities, universities not famous for their standards, and still having difficulty. And so you've got to, we're-education is such a long-term process. You have to begin in the first grade.


BOONE: And when you see now, the test scores, after as much money as has been spent, and I think we've attracted younger and more competent people many times, but the, I'm not sure that television isn't anathema for education at the present time. I think we've got some good teachers now. Maybe no, we've no better teachers than we had before in many instances, but it used to be that the wives taught. I didn't have, I had two male teachers in high school. They were the only male 01:59:00teachers I had. But the wives, people, taught and they were dedicated teachers, and I had some very good teachers and some poor ones. But I think it was, it had to do with the fact that they could afford to teach because somebody else was bringing home the bacon.


BOONE: And if we're going to get a school system that stands on its own, women now ought to be paid for their services as well as men. And you can't depend on them giving free services to teaching in the grades they way they used to. And so you watch all aspects of it. And I knew Prich well enough, and very fond of him, but I knew him well enough that he was going to try to swing that, which he did, but he, I was-

SUCHANEK: Did he ever talk to you about it after?

BOONE: No. No (Suchanek laughs). Never mentioned it. But no, no, but he was- we got along fine, and as a matter of fact, the understanding 02:00:00was that he was planning to interview me for this program.

SUCHANEK: Oh, is that right?

BOONE: He had talked to me about interviewing me for this program.

SUCHANEK: Uh-huh (laughs). That would have been interesting.

BOONE: I mean, oh, he was, he was a man of a lot of style and very bright, but this was not uncommon. I mean things like this happened all the time, but I just had to save our program, in some fashion, and was lucky enough to have the rifle at hand to do it.

SUCHANEK: Yeah. Well, Prich now is, has been credited with being really the shadow behind the throne during the Bert Combs' administration. And you had mentioned that you were the, you had run the campaign here for Combs-

BOONE: Um-hm.

SUCHANEK: in the first, were you involved in Combs' second campaign in `59?

BOONE: I supported him that year. I was not, I supported him, but I was not involved in electing him.


BOONE: But, now, Prich, Bert always called him "The Philosopher." And 02:01:00with Bert is a mind and a character all his own. He took advantage and used what Prich offered him, and, but he was a good judge of what was good. And Prich generally wanted to do good things. But he was not above reproach.

SUCHANEK: A little chicanery from time to time.

BOONE: And then I've always thought it was smarting off that got him into that, into stuffing that ballot box. He was just showing them he knew how these things worked, and he was going to show them how it worked.

SUCHANEK: Um-hm. And he got caught with his-

BOONE: And it was, had some people who had it in for him, and were so happy to have an opportunity to do it.

SUCHANEK: Uh-huh, uh-huh.

BOONE: It was sad because I think it blighted him. And you know, it was said, he was described as the one who was going to become future governor of Kentucky. And I know they tell the story on him at the 02:02:00law school, I've forgotten, I've seen that in detail somewhere. They had a really-law school professors are a wide and varied lot, and they had one professor at the Harvard Law School that just devastated students, and nothing better than really putting them down, really making them look like fools. And Prich, he took on Prich and Prich bested him, and that was recorded, reported, and it was just absolutely marvelous. I ran into this at Columbia myself. We had a professor there named Richard, oh it was not Patterson, he was professor of, he 02:03:00was the leading professor in property law. Not, oh, I'll think of his name in a minute, but he had the reputation of being absolutely the meanest man in captivity. And he would get somebody up and question him. He told me once that he said he had gotten his classes worked up so well that he didn't have to spend more than about eight hours of preparation for a class. Now, he had all of his notes and everything where he'd have to review all those and check all those subsequent decisions and so forth. And so he had it down to a fine art, and he just had to check these things out, and in eight hours he could be ready for an hour of class work. And he, we invited him once to come and talk to our group of graduate students. They were, we had the largest graduate law class, law school in the country at that time, 02:04:00and I think we had seventeen members. And we were, had _______(??) talk to him. And he would get a student up and then ridicule him and make him reverse himself, show what foolish statement, position he'd take, and make him reverse himself, and then turn him around again. I mean it was humiliating. He'd get those people so they'd just be ready to go up and smack him, just really hit him. He'd ridicule them and, but ________(??) he was a major professor of my closest friend, a man named Dave Watts, who was studying in future interests and taxation. And we asked him what in the hell he did this for. He could have been so popular because he was a charming and delightful person. He said, "Look, I'll tell you what I'm doing. I'm brought up here to make lawyers out of you boys, out of you men. And I could 02:05:00be popular if that's what I wanted to be, but I'm not supposed to be popular, I'm supposed to make lawyers out of you." And said, "When you get out of court here, get out of class here and you go into court, you're going to be faced with sophisticated, educated men, with a great deal of background and a great deal of help. And they're going to make it as hard on you as they possibly can, and you need to defend yourselves. And what you're getting at my hands is an immersion into that firestorm that you're going to get when you go out to practice." And viewed this way, you can see that it-Dickie they call him? All the other professors, everybody who had anything to do with him thought he was wonderful, but for the student he was just considered a-

SUCHANEK: A terror.

BOONE: a holy horror. Yeah, a holy horror. But he said, "The reason behind it is to make you independent thinkers, able to think on your feet, and to respond to arguments and not to be buffaloed by anybody 02:06:00that tries to do this sort of thing to you." And, but if he explained it to them, he'd lose his effectiveness. So he contented himself with really, Powell was his name, Richard Powell. He did the Restatement of Real Property, was a principal reporter for that, and a brilliant man, but I, it makes you understand, Prich was able to confront the man at-I remember during the, one little incident during the constitutional convention, the constitutional revision assembly meeting. And somebody got up and said, "No veto of the governor had ever been overruled by legislature. They'd never override, overridden a veto." And Prich said, "Oh, yes. Oh, yes, they did." He said, "If you remember, this 02:07:00woman," and gave her name, "who was commissioner of parks in 1933, got a bill, a certain bill through of," and he said what it was about, of no particular consequence. And said, "She got that thing passed, and the governor vetoed it, and then the legislature passed that over his veto." Said, "That was done on May 17th, so and so." It was a totally inconsequential bill, but he knew what had happened and who was involved. And he could ask me about the most obscure politicians down here. He knew them all, and what they'd done, and what their voting records were. And I was looking forward to him interviewing me because I thought I'd learn a lot, a great deal, because he was an incredible mind. And I know I, one of the things I regret most, I was practicing law at the time, and we were being paid $150 a month or something like 02:08:00that, before they made the raise anything much for the legislature. And I was having to make money, having to make my living on the weekends and on Mondays, and didn't have anything much to fall back on. I wasn't married, and so I was getting along pretty well. But I needed to get back and do some work. And the historian from State University of New York, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. was an old friend. And he was coming down to Prich and going to spend the night and have dinner with him. And Prich called and said, "Joy, George, come over and have dinner with us, won't you?" And I had appointments lined up down here. I said, "Prich, there's no way that I can come. I've promised people I'm going to do these things. I've put things off, and I can't come." And I've always hated that because I have admired his writing. He did The Age of Jackson, you know. And I thought what a 02:09:00lovely time that would have been, that I couldn't do, because I had to make a living practicing law. But that's, you have to make selections.

SUCHANEK: Yeah. You were talking about Prich. What can you tell me about "Doc" Beauchamp? How well did you know "Doc" Beauchamp?

BOONE: Well, I wouldn't say that I knew him well. I was-remember back to the days of Tom Rhea, and Tom Rhea was the candidate for governor, you know, that "Happy" Chandler had the runoff with?


BOONE: And "Doc" was one of his lieutenants and "Doc" had held a lot of jobs in Logan County. And I had a lot of respect for "Doc." He was a consummate politician, do what the-you carried your point as best you 02:10:00could, but I don't think he was in the sense "for sale." He, what he did, he might raise the money for it, and to publicize programs and so forth, but he died a relatively poor man. I think he was honest and cared about the government. But given a job to do, he used all the forces available. And he was not in manner a person who would, you would, he looked like a ward politician, he was short and fat and gravelly-voiced. And, but I think he generally was considered a person who kept his word and did an adequate job wherever he had a job, wherever he was placed, and a good organizer and a reliable person. Now, that doesn't mean that he wouldn't pull dirty tricks. He, you know they claim that it was, one of their representative's election 02:11:00was stolen down in Logan County when Carroll Hubbard, I believe, won. Wasn't it? Was that the race, was it the Hubbard race? Or was it I believe, no, Foster, Willy Foster ran, didn't he? Did Willy Foster run against Stubblefield? Do you remember?

SUCHANEK: I don't remember.

BOONE: Anyway, it was somebody down there. And it was, he was to have been counted out in "Doc," Logan County. And they, Logan County has been famous, he told stories about how his father beat him out, cheated, out-counted him. He knew who was voting in his own home precinct on something, he'd campaigned hard for somebody and found out he lost when his father counted the votes (both laugh). He told that story on himself, yeah. He was a jolly sort of person in many ways and, I think, was, I was never, he was pretty conservative and didn't believe in rocking the boat. But he was, I think, a reputable officer, 02:12:00and I don't think he would take advantage of, for personal gain, take advantage of the public till.

SUCHANEK: Um-hm. I've got to switch this over.

[End of Tape #2, Side #1]

[Begin Tape #2, Side #2]

SUCHANEK: No, this is fine. Now, when you went and told "Doc" Beauchamp that you were going to run for state representative, what was his reaction? What did he tell you?

BOONE: "Thank you."

SUCHANEK: That was it (both laugh)?

BOONE: No, he didn't say he would give me his support, didn't say he would oppose me. But his candidate announced the next morning.

SUCHANEK: Um-hm, um-hm. Do you think Beauchamp's political organization was held together more by political philosophy or force of personality?


BOONE: It was a combination. He had patronage control, and people knew this. And Larry Forgy's father was the head of the Republican Party over there, Lawrence Forgy. And Lawrence always managed, the state always managed to find a little thing for him to do, not a major job. But they got along well. They were never left completely out of it in Logan County. And I think "Doc" saw that you didn't beat your opposition into the ground. Force of personality had something to do with it. He had several able people around him over there, the county, had a good county judge, had a good sheriff, and those people would get out and work. But "Doc" was a worker, and he was conscientious. 02:14:00It was just like any, most any job work, you get a conscientious man who works intelligent and hard with something. He wasn't just a trickster. Now, we have had some people, we had a sheriff here once who would rather win an election in some tricky way than honestly. He just gloried in outsmarting people. Well, now, "Doc" wanted to get the votes, but he wasn't, he would much have preferred to have them honestly given to him. But if he, if some of his cohorts did a something a little questionable, I don't think he would scold them too hard on something like that.

SUCHANEK: Um-hm. What did your family think about your getting involved in politics and running for state representative?

BOONE: Well, my mother and father were both dead. And the only other one in, my brother was still alive, in the county, and he was, he ran 02:15:00the paper here.

SUCHANEK: Um-hm. Oh, okay. That was your brother?

BOONE: Um-hm. Ben. And he was glad for me to do it. He was interested because he had served on the city council. He was a city councilman.

SUCHANEK: I know he endorsed you.

BOONE: And he endorsed me (both laugh).

SUCHANEK: Right. Now, Al Smith, who was then the editor of the News- Democrat in Russellville, described you as a scholarly, reserved-type person (both laugh). Is that a fair assessment of your demeanor?

BOONE: Well, I think scholarly is a little too, I, maybe I come through scholarly, I don't know. But I'm not one, what I'm saying to you is more or less private. And I, for instance, I wouldn't want to hurt somebody's feelings, and I wouldn't get a, and denounce somebody, other than maybe the Reverend Delbert Butts, who told some lies on me, and (laughs) in the campaigns. He was the head of the-



BOONE: You know who he was? The head of the-

SUCHANEK: Right, I'm going to ask you about that. Yeah, okay.

BOONE: But I suppose that scholar may be a little bit too unrealistic for me.

SUCHANEK: Okay. Now Al Smith, in an editorial during your race in the primary, stated that, quote, "George Street Boone is one of the most qualified men who ever offered for the Kentucky legislature," unquote. What professional qualifications, personal qualities, or experience did you feel you had that qualified you for the General Assembly?

BOONE: Well, my background was legal. I had studied administration of government and administrative agencies, and I had studied law. And I was interested in the constitution, I had worked on the revision of the constitution, and saw the terrible problems we had with a legislated 02:17:00document 100 years out of date.


BOONE: And we had been sending people up there for a long time, which really didn't care-legislators are not very well equipped, basically, to do constitutional change. The pressure is so great during the sessions, just to meet the daily needs and the legislative ones, that they don't have time to think philosophically about the problems of government. And I will call to your attention the fact that when we had this last revision, the legislature set up a group to study the constitution, including Dr. Clark and Louie Nunn and many other knowledgeable people. And we made about sixty or seventy recommendations to the legislature at their request. Doctor, Judge Howerton, you know, was the director of it, and I was vice chairman. 02:18:00And I, and then I chaired the committee on the bill of rights. Those legislators, having given us that mission, then proposed not a single item that we had brought about in our study. The only thing they were interested in was changing the provision about the lottery. Now, we did recommend that that be done. We thought for it was time to be done. And so that, in that case, they did, but that's the only one they took. And talking to the legislators, they-if you will recall, historically, after the convention, the Constitutional Convention met in, when it met in Philadelphia they recommended that the approval of their document not-[telephone rings] see if she gets that.


SUCHANEK: Watch your microphone. Watch your microphone. [Pause in taping]. That's okay, go ahead.

BOONE: We were talking about-can't see the clip well enough to put it on. We were talking about the, thank you, the Constitutional Convention in-

SUCHANEK: Philadelphia.

BOONE: Philadelphia.

SUCHANEK: Yes, um-hm.

BOONE: And if you'll remember, without any authorization at all, they directed that their document not be submitted to the legislatures, but that it be submitted to separately elected conventions. Recognizing that it cut so deeply into the prerogatives of the legislators, and with bicameral bodies, it would never have been accepted by the legislatures. And so they suggested that the constitutional bit 02:20:00should be left to delegates who did not have to worry about succeeding themselves. And I think this is a true, legislatures can make small things, but our revision in constitutional matters, whether it was the judicial article, this was done basically at the governor's behest, and it was headed by a man selected by him, a first rate-man, Morton Holbrook. And that was done outside of the legislative bit; the legislators took what Holbrook wrote. The same thing happened with the legislative article when that was revised. That was not done by the legislative committees. It was done outside of that group. And it just happens that the legislators are ill-prepared to modify the 02:21:00ship they're sailing on, except with, in limited time, limited areas. If you have to think of the whole bit, have to have the picture of the whole functioning structure, time is not permited. And you can only adopt constitutional amendments in regular sessions of the legislature. You can't even have a special session of the legislature for no other purpose, you see. Your governor can't call a special session to do constitutional changes.

SUCHANEK: I didn't realize that.

BOONE: It has to be done in a regular session.

SUCHANEK: I see, um-hm. That's by the 1891-

BOONE: 1891 Constitution.

SUCHANEK: Okay, okay. Now I've reminded you of all the good things that Al Smith said about you (Boone laughs). Now I wonder if you could tell me about Al Smith. What role did Al Smith and his newspaper play in Logan County politics?


BOONE: Oh, the politicians didn't like him very much, but they couldn't wait to see what he said. He went in there-is this being recorded, too?

SUCHANEK: Yes, uh-huh.

BOONE: Al had been a reporter in New Orleans, a police reporter in New Orleans. And he's sophisticated. He understood political corruption at really one of its highest levels. And he came up to be the editor of a paper in, of an establishment paper in Russellville. He'd had a severe drinking problem and he was fighting this battle, and he was editing a paper that had been owned by Mrs. Evans. And he's a 02:23:00good newspaperman, a good reporter, and an imaginative man. And he was putting out a good paper over there, but he wanted to run the paper. And it came to the point where he went out and organized an opposition paper. And one was called the Logan Leader and one was called the News-Democrat. And so he was, he had come up, I think the News- Democrat was the one that Mrs., I think that was the one that Mrs. Evans owned. And he, I think, liked and respected her, but he was unwilling to take the controls. He thought they needed a wider swing than they were getting, and he organized his own paper and left her paper. And they both ran for a while, and people subscribed to 02:24:00both of them. And Al was recognized as very much community-oriented, concerned, willing to work, courageous, all of these things. And he had a cadre of people who backed him in his new paper, and they were good to him and respected him and understood his problems. My brother running the paper over here knew him, and they were close friends and liked each other very much. And Al was very supportive, and the community benefited very much from his being there. And since he left it, the paper has lost a lot of the zing. But he could say things in a way that people would accept and believe. And yet, he could get the information across, and people not really feel that he had treated 02:25:00them badly. I mean they'd think he'd treated them fairly. Maybe they didn't want to be treated fairly, but he had treated them fairly (Suchanek laughs).

SUCHANEK: Now, how did you campaign during your primary?

BOONE: Well, I went from door to door and also put some ads on the, in the, on the radio, the Russellville radio and then the Hopkinsville radio. We didn't even have a radio station in Todd County, didn't at that time. We have a weak one now. But I put it on those, and then I put a few, I believe a few ads in the newspaper, not a great deal. Mainly it was going from door to door and talking to people.

SUCHANEK: Um-hm. Now, I think your primary race became intertwined with the larger statewide contest for governor between Bert Combs and Wendell Ford, didn't it?

BOONE: I think so. And I think, I was told, I don't know whether this is true or not, but that the Ford campaign gave some funding to my 02:26:00opposition. I don't know whether it's true or not, but I heard it. And I'm not-I did support Bert and I thought, think, I think Bert made us a first-rate governor, and I think Wendell was a respectable governor but nowhere near the mental, moral stature of Bert Combs.

SUCHANEK: Um-hm. Now, even though "Doc" Beauchamp had died on March 26th of `71, the newspapers claimed that his faction in Logan County played a key role in your election.

BOONE: Um-hm.

SUCHANEK: What role did the Beauchamp faction play?

BOONE: I think many of them supported me because they thought that Hays Hampton was not asking anybody to vote for him. He was making no moves at all. He was willing to pay for anything, I think, they wanted to do, but he wouldn't get out and campaign. He never had campaigned. And he was an older man, and he had a substantial business down there. 02:27:00And he hadn't ever campaigned, and was not a man of a great deal of education, and he hadn't, I never heard him make a speech in my life. He had no particular qualifications, except he was a substantial property owner and an intelligent man, and I don't think was subject to being bought. I think he was above this, but he was conservative in the sense that farmers are often unwilling to accept any change. And I suspect that he probably hadn't voted for a Democratic candidate for president in many years. Might have voted for Roosevelt early, might have, because the farm difficulties were so bad. "Happy" Chandler is a cinch, you know. "Happy" benefited so much, his first election, he had people like Dan, what am I trying to say?

SUCHANEK: He had Jim Martin.


BOONE: Jim, James Martin and, but there were others there, too. There were, he had three or four people around him who really were seriously interested in government. And they, I'm not sure they didn't hinder constitutional reform by finding ways to get around the debt limit, by finding ways, the "rubber dollar" decision, by making, having a Department of Finance and leaving the treasurer out there dangling with no constitutional duties especially. And that, I wonder if he had, if we had gone to the mat on one of the, one or two of these bad regulations, like the $5,000 salary for governor, if we might not have been able to get a constitutional convention called, I don't know.

SUCHANEK: Back in the `30s, yeah, um-hm. Or after that anyway. Now, 02:29:00you said that, earlier that Hays Hampton was a Beauchamp man. And the newspapers said that you were both supporters of Bert Combs, while your opposition, Wayne Harris, for whatever reason, sided with the Ford faction during the primary.

BOONE: Um-hm. Um-hm.

SUCHANEK: And eventually the Beauchamp faction of the Logan County Democratic Party decided to either-they had to make a decision to back you or Hampton. And they decided on you but, apparently, according to the newspapers, they decided to back you after someone had approached you and asked you to withdraw. Is that, do you recall that? That you and Hampton had both been approached for one of you to withdraw?

BOONE: You know, I don't recollect that I was ever asked this. I don't recollect that. It may have occurred, but I, if it did, I had made my decision and announcement, and I would have given it short shrift. 02:30:00And if it was ever suggested to me, it may have been done rather delicately, and I just said I wouldn't think of this. Now, I could have been asked and not really recognized the significance.

SUCHANEK: Yeah, okay.

BOONE: But a good many of the Hamp--, of the Beauchamp forces did turn to support me because they thought I was better qualified, and they were afraid of the Harris-

SUCHANEK: Now, do you think they were afraid of Harris winning and Ford winning the gubernatorial primary and eventually the governor's chair, and in that, the Beauchamp faction would perhaps lose patronage if Harris would win?

BOONE: If so, I was not privy to any speculations like that.

SUCHANEK: Okay. Okay.


BOONE: I was running my own race, and I was, I made no bones I had supported Combs before and I would support him again. But-

SUCHANEK: Now, in that primary election, you eventually lost to Hampton in Todd County. Were you surprised or disappointed over that?

BOONE: I was disappointed over that. I was disappointed because I was, I knew a lot of people here and they knew me and knew what I'd been doing, and I thought if they knew me, I hoped they would support me. But I recognized that my views were somewhat more liberal than many of the others, and he was what we would say a, quote, "safe" candidate. No boat-rocker, he. And-

SUCHANEK: So that's how, what you attribute, perhaps, your defeat to?

BOONE: Well, I think they felt there was no danger from him. And I don't remember what the figures were. Do you have the figures there by any chance?

SUCHANEK: Oh, I could, I have them, but I don't-

BOONE: I don't remember what they were either. It was lost by a, it was a respectable race, but he carried it. See, he had been up there a couple of times before. And he was, he owned a bank, and people, a 02:32:00good many people, had worked for him, and he was, I always liked Hays. I'd always supported him when he'd run before, but he was just going to keep on running. And I was, the time was coming when I had to make a move or I wouldn't ever get there.

SUCHANEK: Right. Now, in the general election, your opponent was Ervin Coleman from Russellville, who ran on the American Party ticket. Now, what were the issues in the campaign and what was the American Party's platform? Do you recall?

BOONE: Oh, he was a minor-league David Duke, I think (Suchanek laughs).

SUCHANEK: Oh, is that right?

BOONE: Yeah. He was no serious candidate. He was a frivolous candidate, basically. And I don't think he carried, got very few votes. He may have gotten a few opposition, people who were opposed to my positions, but-


BOONE: I don't think I upset very many people in the legislature, 02:33:00but I was, at least, for the Equal Rights Amendment, which was not necessarily popular in these areas.

SUCHANEK: Right. Now, before you went to the 1972 session, with all your experience in studying law and studying government, what did you feel the role of government was? How intrusive was government? And how intrusive should it be?

BOONE: Well, I felt there was some responsibility to see that people had an opportunity to take care of themselves, or if they were not able to, that they should be cared for. I thought primarily, after maintaining order, our major obligation was to educate people. And if we got people educated enough, I didn't think necessarily that the state would fade away, would melt as the Russians proposed, but I thought decisions 02:34:00could be made on a rational basis, and they could make their choices.

SUCHANEK: Um-hm, um-hm.

BOONE: But I thought after preserving order, the next most important thing was to educate people.

SUCHANEK: In that same philosophical vein, what is, or should be, the role of a legislator?

BOONE: Well, the legislator is to address himself, or have the state address itself, to problems which fall within the government's functions. I thought we needed a pattern on, in the legislature, a broad pattern, you see our state constitution is much more a legislative document, it attempts to give a great many details, regulations of levels of taxation and the size of cities. It tries to set details instead of giving us the general pattern. And it's exactly the opposite of the federal Constitution, which is a grant 02:35:00of power. The state constitution is a limitation on powers, all powers being vested in the people, as our Bill of Rights says. And the state constitution limits those powers; the federal Constitution grants certain of those powers to the federal government. Completely different type of documents. And I thought ours did not give us a very good pattern to work, we had to work around it, and it has been very difficult for our courts to keep things functioning with these debt limitations and so forth. We've got to still have in there a $500,000 limit on state debt, and we're facing the thing right now, all this legislation going on up around the, about the bond issue. And William Graham, who was a partner of Prich's, you know, has made the decision that he couldn't see that that was a valid bond issue, because there 02:36:00were no funds to pay it off with, and that he thought that the device used to, of revenue bonds, where you, been used so widely in education to pay these bills off, there were no revenues being produced by this bond issue. And he thought it was beyond that bill, and I think he's got a fairly good-

SUCHANEK: Argument.

BOONE: argument, yeah.

SUCHANEK: Well, do you think legislators are elected by the people to be leaders or to be messengers? Or what should be the role of a legislator?

BOONE: Burke was one of the great legislators at the time of the Constitution, and he was in the British Parliament. And he said that while he was supposed to carry the message of the people, that if he denied them the benefits of his judgment and experience, he was not 02:37:00fulfilling his function, that he would frequently know more details and more about it. He should express their wishes, but only the wishes as he felt they would do if they were as well-informed as he was. And if he didn't use his judgment in cases like this, that he was denying them the full scope of his talents. And I, that was more or less the way that I addressed it. There were many issues that came up I thought inconsequential, that the legislature shouldn't be fooling with. But if they were going to pass things, try to do the best job you can and use what information you had, and do a respectable job.

SUCHANEK: Um-hm. So your philosophy would be about the same that John Sherman Cooper had.

BOONE: Well, I think most any responsible legislator takes this. If my, if it was just a matter of taste, not of any more consequence 02:38:00than that, and I knew that people, taste was something different, I'd probably vote what they wished. But if it's a matter, a broader matter of, I could sit down and talk to them, hoping that they would listen to what my reasoning was, if I thought they'd have a chance of coming along, then I'd be likely to vote my judgment.

SUCHANEK: Um-hm, um-hm. Were your concerns as a legislator with issues brought before the legislature? Was your first priority your constituency or would it have been the state as a whole?

BOONE: Well, I was given assignment on two committees. One was education and the other was constitutional law, or constitutional reform and elections. And I thought to a marked degree, those both affected my 02:39:00constituents. I don't think it would affect them in the same way that getting a bridge built would. It's, I thought if I strengthened the school system, that I would strengthen my county. If we change rules about the way the county government was set up or how the cities were governed, I felt that I would try to do something that would be good for these-but I was not in a position to control patronage or anything of this nature. You might say at the education bit, might have been interested, it was not a big thing, the nepotism was not of a great deal of attention, but I understood that in many counties the principal 02:40:00political force was the superintendent of schools. And I didn't think this was necessarily desirable. When we were trying so many things financing was one of the major problems of the school system, how you could do this. And so I really had more conflict in the constitutional bit than I did in the education committee. Of course, I was chairman of neither of those, you see. I was a freshman.

SUCHANEK: Right, right.

BOONE: But I was active in the trying to pass the Equal Rights Amendment.

SUCHANEK: Now, when you took office in 1972, what was the theoretical role of the governor's office during the session? And what role did the governor play in reality?

BOONE: Well, it was the balance of power between the executive who wanted to pass certain laws and financing. One place I differed 02:41:00with him, I voted against his budget. And I voted against his budget because it was granting, it was taking the tax off of food, and I wasn't prepared to reduce taxes until education was better funded. I thought, this was my objection to his budget: I wanted, I would have been happy for some device to be used to give some protection to the poor, but they didn't need to protect absolutely everybody and the most esoteric foods to do this. And I wanted money, I couldn't see that the schools were getting enough money, either the universities or the common school system, and I wasn't going to drive a wedge in that tax base. I feel the same way about this Constitutional Amendment Four. 02:42:00When I see what they're trying to do, I think it's a shoddy thing, and I'm ashamed of my church for participating in it because what they're trying to do is to open the door to have the churches own business properties and not pay taxes on them. It has to do mainly with that exemption of intangibles, which are used for pension funds and to maintain condominiums, and for the school, for the church people. It's not to, for the religion, it's to give advantages to bring the funds in from the church, from the Presbyterian Church into Louisville. And they have run, I think, a shoddy campaign of trying to make all these little churches think they're going to have to pay taxes. And you read Section 170 of the Constitution, they are exempted. If they wanted to save these little churches from a threat, they could have enlarged the 02:43:00acreage and this would have taken care of it. But it's the intangible bit, and this, and I just saw a story in the Nashville Tennessean last week showing the McKendree Methodist Church, seventy-car parking garage downtown. And I know the Methodist publishing house, a vast majority of its publications are commercial publications, not church things. And I don't want these religious groups competing with other, with persons who have to pay their taxes. And if you cut a large block, you narrow the tax base. That means other people are going to have to pay more taxes to pick up what is exempted. And I don't, if I had it to start with, I don't think churches even deserve the tax exemption for the church property. I recognize, here again, if I was on the bench 02:44:00and they said to the, "Is this exempt by the constitution?" I would say, "Yes, and it should be enforced." But to enlarge it is in the wrong direction. I think they are getting police protection, they're getting fire protection, they're getting the education of students and so forth, and I think there's no reason why they shouldn't pay taxes and bear their share. And I think it's an exception, it's an advantage to them not to do this. And to enlarge this by saying any intangibles they own, all these pension funds and retirement funds, be, not be taxable at all, I just think it's a, really a major infringement on the state's rights to be, have them pay their share of the benefits they get. And my church has gone right down, right, passing out the-the same cartoons and the same pictures are being passed out by the Baptist 02:45:00Church, by the Methodist Church, by the Catholic Church. There's a small group, I'm sure, in Louisville who have organized this campaign and frightened all of our ministers they're going to be taxed. When you read that section of the constitution, it's simply they're not. And if they are going to be taxed anything, they have over two acres, hospitals are exempted, libraries exempted, houses that take care of poor people exempted, all of these charitable things are exempted not as church exemptions. And I think for the churches to say that they are threatened with being taxed out of existence is a shoddy way to go about it, because it's simply untrue.

SUCHANEK: Were you surprised by anything once the regular session got underway? Were you surprised at how the legislature operated?


BOONE: Well, I was very interested in it, and I was surprised a bit at the indifference of many of the members to what was going on, and how they would not attend the sessions and come ill-prepared to the, some of them. They would have only one or two interests, and they wouldn't care what happened otherwise if they were taking care of their constituents or, and their constituents were not necessarily voters, they might be government interests. And you, I learned to value some lobbyists and to detest others. Some lobbyists were very helpful because they would give you information. But some were simply trying to mislead you, and you learned which ones you could depend on and which ones you couldn't. But I was surprised at how many legislators didn't really care what they were doing. It was a party for some of them. 02:47:00There was a cadre of good ones, and they've done, we've done amazingly well, considering the quality that they elect up there many times.

SUCHANEK: Who were the ones that you thought were good legislators?

BOONE: Well, Joe Clarke was good and Mike Moloney was good. And our speaker, I was opposed to him when I went because I was told by the governor that I had to, by, oh, what was his name? Speaker-

SUCHANEK: Speaker of the House?

BOONE: The Speaker of the House was-

SUCHANEK: Is that Norbert Blume?

BOONE: Norbert Blume. And I was told by the man from Owensboro, Miller, J.R. Miller, that I had to vote for Norbert Blume because that was who the governor wanted. And my response was that I thought the legislature selected its own candidate, its own leader.


SUCHANEK: A bizarre notion (laughs).

BOONE: Well, but at that time an attractive young man, handsome, blonde young man was running for that office. You know who I'm talking about, he's now on the Council on Higher Education, and I believe he's chairman maybe of the, of KET, of the governing board. I liked him very much and still do, but he was running for that office. And I told him if he ran, this was done down at the pre-legislative conference at Gilbertsville. And I, he'd asked me to support him, and I thought he was much closer, he came from Greenup, and he was much closer to my background than Norbert Blume, who had been a business agent of a labor organization in Louisville. And so I told him I would support him, and when J.R. comes and tells me that I have to vote the other way, I just 02:49:00explained that I wouldn't. And this, I think, was not well-received. And so, but then Norbert and I got along very well when I was-he didn't hold this against me. As a matter of fact, he was very supportive of me. We shared many ideas, and I liked Norbert and thought he was a good legislator. I was sorry to see him leave the legislature. But I had to learn him, and he had to learn me. And I was pleased with the job he did. And he was very interested in upgrading the quality of the legislature, and he expected people to do their job and be interested in it. And you had a lot of, not a lot, but you had several clowns around there that were just waiting until three o'clock in the afternoon to leave and start drinking, and we had quite a few people that didn't carry their weight. And, but there were some first-rate 02:50:00ones. Nick Kafoglis was there at the time, and Nick was good. And Joe, oh, the legislator, Republican legislator from Lexington, his-

SUCHANEK: Not Joe Prather.

BOONE: No, Joe, his father had a store, a men's store. Joe-he's Andrew Carnegie's great-grandson. Graves, Joe Graves. Graves-Cox. Joe Graves was a good, serious legislator. And then I was, I believe the next speaker, Bill-

SUCHANEK: Bill Kenton?

BOONE: Bill Kenton was there, and Bill was good. Actually, he worked extremely well with the legislature, the legislators. They knew him, 02:51:00and he knew them. And he worked much more closely with them than others have done.

SUCHANEK: Well, he was the first one elected to three speakerships, three consecutive speakerships.

BOONE: Um-hm. And he grew in the job, too.

SUCHANEK: How long did it take you to learn the ropes in the House?

BOONE: I don't know that I ever learned them. I learned a good many of them, but I had made some study of it, and learned early about getting seats. I tried to get a seat where I would want, and I had gotten accepted for a seat, and then Mae Street Kidd had me ousted because she wanted somebody else there.

SUCHANEK: Oh, is that right?

BOONE: And she was senior to me and had the priority, although I'd been given the seat. So I- SUCHANEK: What committee was that?

BOONE: Well, a seat on the floor.

SUCHANEK: Oh, on the floor, I see.

BOONE: And I learned better, that I was better off after, because I got a different sort of seat. I had gotten down fairly close to the, 02:52:00about the third or fourth row and she was next to me. And she wanted somebody else to be there, and they told me I could have it. And so then I wound up towards the back, and I was pleased, I later found, because I could see what was going on ahead of me. And I was glad I was back there instead of in the front, because you don't know who's standing up behind you, and you turn around and try to see, and it was hard, necessarily, with that many people, 100 people in that body to see them. And so I found out two or three rows from the back was a much better vantage point. And I-you pick up pretty quickly who's got some sense, and who doesn't have some, and who's interesting.

SUCHANEK: And who's got some clout and who doesn't.

BOONE: And so I worked to find me a proper apartment, well located, and I got one in that little complex right up near where the restaurant 02:53:00is up on top of the hill, you know. And got one there, and Nick Kafoglis got one close to me. And I went to some trouble to make it comfortable, and I laid in a proper supply of liquor and that sort of thing, and started inviting people to come up and have a drink after the session. People I thought were interesting and had something to say, I wanted to hear what they were about, and couldn't always find out on the floor. And so I, people like Joe Clarke and David Karem and Bobby Richardson and Nick Kafoglis and Joe Graves, people like this. And we got sort of a formal, informal little club, and we would invite people to go out to dinner with us. We'd go to one of the restaurants and just sit around and talk. And it got to where, late in the afternoon, all the old hands were not paying attention, they'd gone, knocked off for the day, and things could really, you could get 02:54:00something going, and with about five or six of us, across the room, one makes a motion and the other stands up over here and seconds it, it begins to sound as if you've got something working. And we were able to get some things done, which surprised some of the people in the legislature, and it was fun. And I've kept still, I'll be seeing Nick Kafoglis; we're going up and spend the weekend in Barren River Park this weekend. And I was in, see these people, see David Karem all the time. This call was from Sherry Sebastian, you know who she is, and she's working right under David.


BOONE: So she's going to call me back tomorrow.


[End of Tape #2, Side #2]

[Begin Tape #3, Side #1]

SUCHANEK: Okay, this is tape number three with George Street Boone on October 30th. Mr. Boone, we were talking about when you were in 02:55:00session in Frankfort, you had a little place, a little apartment that you would invite legislators up and discuss things, and then you would go out to dinner and invite other people. Could you elaborate on that a little bit?

BOONE: Yes. Well, we just found it useful. We were interested in the same things, and we exchanged views. And we'd find somebody who was particularly well-informed, we'd invite them over to talk to our group and discuss it with people like Dr. Martin and Ed Prichard and anybody in government we wanted to, and just, we'd invite them for dinner. And there would be no compensation, but we'd exchange views. And it got to be that it was a conventional thing, and everybody would just say, "Well, when things are over, let's meet up at George's and have a drink." And it was-I think I had more connections than many people did because I was doing, approaching it, made a social approach to it. And if a problem arose, I could have talked to Joe Graves about it 02:56:00or talked to David Karem or talked to Nick Kafoglis. One of us would make a motion, bring something up, and somebody across the hall would, across the chamber, would rise in support, and another one over here would rise in support. We sounded as if we had a real group supporting things, and we were able to get several things considered. People thought we had a large body of supporters. And most people would just not pay much attention to what was going on.

SUCHANEK: Would you say your little group formed a little clique then that was interested in good government? Interested in getting things done?

BOONE: Well, I don't, I think we never even got so far as to say we were a clique or interested-they were selected because they were interested in good government, and invited. And we just found it socially desirable and interesting to discuss these things. We never had programs or anything like this, we just had roundtable discussions.

SUCHANEK: Did a lot of business get accomplished during those informal sessions?

BOONE: Well, we would find out what was going on in the legislature. 02:57:00And among the people we would invite, Jim Ausenbaugh was the head of The Courier-Journal thing. And he said he knew more what was going on than any, than the government did, because he had all these reporters following it. And we'd invite him, we'd invite other reporters, and they'd come and have a drink. And we had good relations with them, they would tell us what they knew, and we would tell them what we knew, and it was just a very nice way to do business.

SUCHANEK: Um-hm. I had one legislator tell, former legislator, tell me that there is so much legislation that goes on up there and some of it is so lengthy, that you'd spend five years trying to read through all of it just through one session, that's proposed in one session. And he said other than bills that he proposed himself, the way he found out what a bill was really about was to read the Courier-Journal.


BOONE: I think there's no question you need it. I thought, think it was a most helpful thing. I early formed a pattern that I would read the bills that were submitted to my committees first. And I would not try to search out other bills until they had gone through the committee process and were coming on the, I tried to keep ahead of that, know what was going on. But we were spread across a good many committees, and we'd know what they were interested in, what the bills were going on, but the Courier gave us a, I always got up first thing in the morning and read the Courier, what their reports were. And they were very good about telling you a good deal about that fine print about who was voting and who made motions, and I found it was far more useful to read than the Journal. And the reporters were, turned out to be friends. Jim Ausenbaugh had, my brother ran the paper, you see, 02:59:00and I had for many years written a newspaper column called "Kentucky Reflections," and mostly about political matters because that's what I was interested in. I gave it up when I went to legislature. But then I took it back up again and did it for several years after that. But I knew the newspapermen, and they knew me and knew my brother. And he had been active in the Kentucky Press Association. And you, they were, Wade, Clay Wade Bailey, for instance, was an institution up there. And when nobody else knew you, Clay was an ugly, unattractive-looking little man, but he remembered everything that happened. And you could get Clay Wade, if something was bothering you. They used to didn't keep the records of the legislature at all. They were just left in the hands of the clerk, and no place to store them or anything like this. And you couldn't find what had happened in previous sessions of the 03:00:00legislature. And you'd call Clay Wade, and Clay could tell you exactly who did what, always remembered these things. And now the Legislative Research Commission, the legislature is a far more organized and responsible group than it was earlier, because when it went out of session in years before Earle Clements, somebody might take the, the clerk might take the things and store the old records. You had the Journal, and that was all you had. And that virtually un-indexed.

SUCHANEK: I know it's difficult for me to use.

BOONE: Yeah, um-hm. And the Legislative Research, I've gone through that, Vic Hellard was one of our group, you see, and a very good and able man, and lots of fun.

SUCHANEK: Well, this project is almost Vic Hellard's idea, to do the Kentucky legislature.

BOONE: Um-hm, yeah.

SUCHANEK: When you went to legislature, how long did you intend to stay?


BOONE: I was glad to be there and I would have stayed until I was beaten, and I did (both laugh).


BOONE: This type of thing, legal drafting and planning, interests me a great deal. The administration of it, other than knowing enough to try to draft something that would work, I didn't want responsibility, I never wanted to be governor. I never wanted to be president of the Kentucky Historical Society; I've fallen into that (laughs). I mean that's not really what my interest is. I hope I can do a decent job of it, but I didn't realize when I was elected to third vice-president, I didn't know enough to know that I was getting in line to be president, and I tried to gracefully get out of it and couldn't (both laugh).

SUCHANEK: They know a good man when they see one.

BOONE: Well, administration is not really my forte, but I do, I'm interested in ideas and planning and drafting. I'm interested in the language, and I would like to be, to put something out that would be 03:02:00useful and have legislation which would help direct things and give people assistance and not obscure what the ideas are. And I've thought many times we ought to have good newspapermen writing bills and not the bill drafters we have.

SUCHANEK: Um-hm. There have been, there's been plenty of talk lately of annual sessions for the legislature or, in lieu of that, the legislature having the power to call special sessions. Do you think the idea of annual sessions is a good one?

BOONE: It's used in many states, and I have been in favor of annual sessions in the past. To plan two years in advance is very difficult. I recognize the burdens you put on legislators if they had annual sessions. I wonder what impact this would have on the quality of the legislators. I think if I had to choose, I'd say choose annual 03:03:00sessions. I'm going to support the amendment to let the legislators call themselves into session. I'm not going to support the one where it would let them overrule, let a committee overrule regulations, the regulations, because I've known too many weak committees now. The overall body usually has some strong enough people in it that I would trust their judgments, but I don't want Jim Bruce, as Chairman of the Banking Committee, making any major decisions involving the banking business. I'm too much interested in banking. Right or wrong, I think he's proved to be not a person who seriously considered all aspects of questions. Now, if it were left up to somebody like Joe Clarke, I'd say that's fine. But so many of the committee chairmen really have no interest in what they're doing, or interest only in what their own 03:04:00prospects are.

SUCHANEK: Now, back in the old days, legislators used to only serve one or two terms in the General Assembly, by choice. Nowadays, legislators are sticking around for longer periods of time and serving multiple terms, and there seems to be a movement towards making the legislature a career. Do you think the legislature as a career is a good idea?

BOONE: We look for examples in other places, and I think that the legislat--, that the Congress as a career has been not too good for the country. I think that they are so very much interested in reelection that it's rare you find someone like Natcher who will call the shots as he sees them and take the bad ________(??). The fact they can't come to any budgetary thing, because nobody wants to take the responsibility. 03:05:00I think we've got some pretty good leadership in the Democratic Party at the present time. I'm worried a little bit, I don't know whether it should be done or not, about the type of constitutional amendment that Oklahoma is proposing, limiting the time to ten, twelve years. I see this as putting a great deal more power in staff, who have the history, the background, the knowledge, and would be answerable to no one. I think that's a danger of limiting it. I think I would vote against limiting terms now. But I think to make it so subject to purchase, as the governor's office has become, is really a scathing indictment of the people, who don't take the trouble to find out what's going on. 03:06:00And when I see what's happening on this Constitutional Amendment Four, I see how easily people are misled. My preacher fought, and he is a lawyer and is in school at Vanderbilt at the school of religion and is preaching here. And he read, I talked to him Sunday, and he read that legislation, the propaganda that's been put out, and he thought they were taking away the exemptions for churches. That's what they, that's what he was afraid of, that they were being deprived of their exemptions. When I, he said that it's very confusing, the way it comes out, even to a lawyer. Because that's what he had interpreted it to mean, and it's exactly the opposite. They're just opening the door to enlarge that exemption, they're not taking away anything. And yet a lawyer who is interested in the subject had misunderstood it. And, well, I think the American, that Kentuckians are gullible. We 03:07:00elected Wallace Wilkinson in a gullible bit that so many people thought they were going to solve all their problems by a lottery. And they didn't listen to what the more serious candidates were saying, and we wind up with Wallace on our hands and probably his wife to succeed him. Unless I think if they nominate Martha, I think probably we'll get a Republican. I'll think we'll, in that case, Larry Hopkins will announce and step in and probably beat her.

SUCHANEK: Um-hm. We've talked about philosophically what the role of a legislator is and what the role of government is. Let's take it from another angle. When you were representative of your district, what did you expect of your constituents? What did you see their role as being 03:08:00when you were in the legislature?

BOONE: I thought at least they were obligated to let me know their wishes, and also to listen to what I said. And I read the papers diligently and was always available. My phone, I was, kept my home here and my secretary would take any messages. And I would return all calls, but I felt that it was, it should have been an exchange back and forth, but most of them didn't know or care much what was going on. I mean, we were so far away. And when I look at various organizations now, I was just criticizing the Humanities Council, because if you look at the group who are running this operation, not a person from Owensboro, not a person from Paducah, not a person from Hopkinsville. We are considered sort of beyond the pale. And it is a job to go up 03:09:00there; it's 400 miles up to Lexington, 420 miles to Frankfort and back. And that's expensive to make that trip, and it's tiring. And I've thought sometimes we'd be better off if Kentucky and Tennessee were combined and cut into three fairly square groups, but it's not likely to occur. But it's hard for somebody down here to feel they're a part of Kentucky, when much of the leadership thinks the state stops just a few miles west of Elizabethtown. Our sense of geography is very poor. And when you see how long this state is, and the type of state we have down on the Mississippi, and how different it is from that around Cincinnati, or that over at the Virginia-Tennessee border, we, Tom 03:10:00Clark has a marvelous book called Kentucky: Land of Contrasts. We are. Enormous differences. Even within counties we have such contrasts.

SUCHANEK: Did you find that you had common interests with legislators from eastern Kentucky? There seems to be three distinct geographic areas. There's the Bluegrass, there's eastern Kentucky, and then there's the rest.

BOONE: I had more difficulty relating to the east Kentucky legislators. Now, one I could, he was not in the legislature with me, but Terry McBrayer. I could talk to Terry McBrayer.

SUCHANEK: He's from Ashland.

BOONE: And basically, it's Greenup, is where he's from.


BOONE: And, but they don't send many thoughtful people to the legislature. I mean the, it's, it was hard to communicate with them, 03:11:00because they so often came with no interests except a fairly narrow, limited concern, local concerns.

SUCHANEK: Like coal or-

BOONE: Yeah. And Louisville was the center, many of them centered in opposition to the urban groups. And Louisville could never get its act together; you had such a wide range of people. And I thought the representation in the House, I knew the House better, much better, than the Senate, of course, and I thought the representation in the House had some first-rate people in it, but not enough. And they, and people who knew and respected Joe Clarke, who knew him as an honest, honorable 03:12:00man, they didn't pay much attention to his judgments. They believed him, but they were much more concerned with their own particular trades and exchanges. I was not comfortable that I had people who could tell me what the issues were in eastern Kentucky. You under---


BOONE: In the same way that I could, some of the people in Louisville and Lexington I could talk to, and we could understand each other. Even if we differed, I could get accurate pictures. And I just didn't find this-

SUCHANEK: Well, was there a difference, do you think, in educational background? Was that part of the problem?

BOONE: To a marked degree. Now, I'm a country, I was raised in the country, grew up in farming area, but I can talk to the people in Louisville or talk to the people in Lexington and we can come, at 03:13:00least, to a common understanding. But you take the, many of the educators who have run for the legislature from eastern Kentucky, I just had trouble getting what I thought a balanced view from them, of the issues that were, the legislature, maybe what I'm saying is they came more as the proponents of narrow interests than some of the-

SUCHANEK: They were more messengers than leaders, would you say?

BOONE: Usually, usually. And not responsive to reasons and argument too often. I just didn't find many that I could find common ground to sit down and talk these things over.


SUCHANEK: Okay. They wouldn't be ones that you invited to your apartment for drinks or-

BOONE: Not often, not often. Because they, well, their interests, you didn't sit down and talk things over like this. You understand-


BOONE: what I'm saying.

SUCHANEK: Do you think that they felt the same way about you?

BOONE: I'm sure they did. I'm sure they did. I found, for instance, Mae Street Kidd just typical of an area in Louisville. She would have, in her district, 700 or 800 people would vote in the primaries. And she had some backing, and she was, of course, very much interested in black questions. And I found Mae was, she didn't agree with me on 03:15:00many issues, but I found that some of the things she believed in very strongly, I agreed with. And we got to be very good friends, because she needed help in how to do things. I mean just the normal, she'd been there for some time, but she didn't know why things were going wrong, or what she should do if the decision was made this way. And I found, talking to her and explaining these things, she would try to understand my points of view. And she came to where she would come and ask me what I thought about questions that didn't affect either one of us. What I'm trying to point out-


BOONE: I was able to establish a relationship with her with a totally 03:16:00different background. And I made a terrible remark once, I didn't realize it as being facetious. This was a time when people weren't as conscious of it. And somebody, her name is Mae Street Kidd, and I had asked her where the Street came from. I had crossed swords with her at one point. Of course, I, she ran me out of a seat I wanted. And, but I recognized that she had the seniority, was entitled to do that. And so I asked her once where her Street, where she got the name Street. And it was her first husband, and he came from Cadiz, Kentucky. And somebody said to me once and said in all innocence, said, "Are you any relation to Mae Street Kidd?" And I said, "No, I think not." I said, "Street is not her name, it's what she was, what her husband, who was 03:17:00treasurer of the big, great Mammoth Insurance Company, something like that, I think dead now." And I said, "He came from Cadiz," and said, "I suspect that Kidd was probably owned by some member of the family." The families, many of the slaves took names from the families that owned them. And I've known Streets down there, black Streets down there. And I said, "I suspect probably that that was owned by a member of the family back before the Civil War." And this just really shot through some-I hope Mae never heard it, that I had said that we probably owned Mae Street's husband (Suchanek laughs). I was just explaining how names derived, and I think it's probably the truth. We have lots of McReynolds Negroes here in Todd County. And there are, I have never run into any Boones, but I don't think the Boones owned many slaves. Now, the Edwardses and the McReynoldses did. They were large slave 03:18:00owners. But I can accept this. I knew a few slaves, a few of them who used to come and see my grandmother because she was born in 1853. And those who remembered the old days, the relationships were very, usually rather warm in many instances, because they helped raise the children. And I have now a good many black people around here who know me and know my family and trust us, and we try to see that they're not treated badly. And they do not get a fair shake before government yet, and they need somebody to talk to and take interest. But I could, I never was able really to get a significant east Kentuckian that I thought I could accept, could establish this sort of relationship. I could in Louisville or Lexington, I could to the far west, or the blacks in 03:19:00urban areas, but just never-of course, I was there only one term, one regular and one special session. And given some time, now, we learned early that our friend Bobby Richardson could talk the language of these peoples far better than we could. And if we had something that we wanted to, we thought was a good project and needed support, we'd delegate to Bobby the sounding-out of some of these people, because he could do this. And Bobby was far better, I told early, I said, "Of all our group, if there's one of us who is likely to be governor, it will probably be Bobby, because he has that ability to relate to all types and groups of people." And I've always cherished Bobby's friendship. We've kept close all through the years. And he called me and asked me to talk to some people before he announced he was going to run for lieutenant governor. And I think he's a very able man. I hope he does 03:20:00well in this. I don't see how that's going to develop at the present time, but what I'm saying is you learn talents. Now, Nick Kafoglis, who's a wonderful person, got up and wanted to ban strip mining. He made a, filed a bill to ban strip mining. I was, I recognized this was a totally unrealistic position myself, wouldn't do it, but I offered almost no legislation, if any, because I was much more concerned with seeing we got good legislation passed than getting my name attached to bills.

SUCHANEK: Um-hm. Well, it seems to me it's difficult for a freshman-

BOONE: A freshman.

SUCHANEK: to do that anyway.

BOONE: It is. It's very difficult. And I was, I thought, able to get attention two or three times from the leadership, and they treated me very well, Norbert Blume. And I was once, just as an example, we 03:21:00had been try--, Nick and I were in the constitutional committee and something was brought up, and it was defeated in the constitutional, in the committee meeting. And I picked up the Journal the next day and saw that it was, it had been passed. It had not been passed, so I rose to a point of order to correct that. And I said that I had attended every meeting, and it had not come up except the time it was defeated, and I was opposed to it, and that it was not done in regular meeting, though it was reported has been done. And a man from down at Carlisle, a very nice fellow, was the chairman of that committee. He's dead now. He ran the paper down in Carlisle, and he was a good 03:22:00friend and I liked him. And so it appeared that some of those people who were not attending committee meetings had gotten together, and they had gone to the committee chairman and told him they wanted to do this, and a majority of them had done it. Well, they hadn't had us there to argue against it. And so I told the House that this was not done in committee meeting, in the meeting of the committee, and I objected to it. And he was sympathetic with me. It was a liberal thing that, I forget what it was now, but Norbert simply adjourned the House and said our committee would meet and pass, whether that should, whether this should be the committee action or not. Well, this happened in the afternoon and some of those people were gone. Our committee met and still held firm against it. So I forget what his name, I ought to 03:23:00be able to think of it because he was a nice guy. But when I'd make a statement in committee, I heard him once say, somebody said so and so was done. And I said I didn't understand that it was done that way, I think so and so was done. And he said to this man, "You'd better be careful." He said, "He does his homework, he knows what he's talking about" (both laugh). If it was something that didn't upset him, it didn't bother him particularly. But I was going to say the leadership, when I did take issue with them, they listened. And I think in time, I probably could have become an effective legislator. I was not, but I was interested at least.

SUCHANEK: Now, when you went to the General Assembly in 1972, Wendell Ford had been elected governor. In light of the fact that you personally had been a supporter of Bert Combs in a primary, and even though Ford did carry Todd County in the primary, did this cause you any problems with the administration during your term?


BOONE: Well, I think not much during the administration. I felt that the executive director of the Legislative Research Commission, Jim Fleming, was more a representative of the governor than of the legislature. And he later, you know, left and went to head Wash--, headed the Washington office for Ford. He was an able man. I had worked with him back at the time we had the Constitution Revision Assembly. And I had served on another committee, which had revised the rules of the House before I was in the legislature. It set up the thirteen parallel committees and that sort of thing. And so I had known him and, but I think that I was never considered a safe vote 03:25:00by the administration, though I was given their daily list, you know, of what the governor wants to pass, and I generally supported him. I thought he made a very good governor, and I generally was in favor of the things he was in favor of. And I have long been a strong believer in some party discipline, because I don't think, we see now what's happening in the federal Congress when there's nothing for people to stand by. And other things being equal, I vote the party line. But I have, if I feel it's wrong, then I'll try to get it changed.

SUCHANEK: What were your impressions of Wendell Ford as governor?

BOONE: Oh, I thought, I knew him when he was lieutenant governor, and I liked Wendell. I think he's not a man of a great deal of class(??)-a lot of energy and practical intelligence, but a man of no particular depth or philosophical wisdom. I think he's done a very good job 03:26:00considering his qualifications, but he's not an educated, nor does he have a trained mind. He's been effective as a legislator because he understands the language and has learned the mechanics. But I don't get much dedication to what I consider the understanding, profound understanding, of government. He's, well, I've been a little bit embarrassed from time to time with his insurance connections. It hasn't always sounded too good for him, his brother there running an insurance business, and what benefits he has derived from that. But I recognize that I may hold him to a little higher standard than I would some other people. But I think, basically, they felt sure enough of me to send me notice of what they were doing. I wasn't, I was not a dissident 03:27:00element, but I suspect that was because of the speaker's doings, whom I had opposed when he was elected. He came to think that I was interested in doing a good job and had some respect for the House.

SUCHANEK: What was Ford's administrative style? Was he apt to call in legislators individually about things? Or did he prefer to work through the Democratic leadership?

BOONE: I think more through the Democratic leadership, I think. He never called me in. And I was very fond of the majority leader the, oh, John-

SUCHANEK: Swinford.

BOONE: Swinford. I thought John was a fine man. I really-and a bright man. I was very fond of him. I had a great deal of respect, and when something came up where I needed some help or wanted to get his help, 03:28:00I always found John patient and willing to listen and discuss matters. If we hadn't finished work on a bill or I didn't want it brought up or something like this, I'd mention it to John and he always, I don't think I ever asked him anything that he shouldn't have done. But I found that he was a very responsible and decent man.

SUCHANEK: Um-hm. In 1970, under the Louie Nunn administration prior to your coming to the legislature, the House had passed a resolution declaring the independence of the legislature from the executive branch. In your opinion, in 1972, was the General Assembly independent from the governor's office or influence? Or did Wendell Ford control the legislature much the same as Democratic governors previous to Louie Nunn had?

BOONE: He had much the same ability to control, maybe not as much as some others, but I don't think he, also, he didn't have any major 03:29:00goals that he was seeking to accomplish. I mean he was more a go-along type himself. And he was interested in popularity, and one of the most popular things he did was to cut the tax off of food. And I just thought that was wrong when I saw how short funding was. I'd be happy for him to give exemptions to poor people, or give them allowances or something like this, but not to take it off of my food and his food when it was needed so badly.

SUCHANEK: Was there an anti-administration faction in the Democratic Party in the legislature in 1972? I understand that Terry McBrayer was not a favorite of the administration, that he had been offered the speakership, but the offer was withdrawn when he refused to swear obedience to Wendell Ford. Were legislators like McBrayer and yourself too independent for the administration's tastes?


BOONE: Well, I think J.R. Miller called a good many shots. You see, he was the head of the Big Rivers electric combine in Owensboro, and was markedly influential in the selection and election of Wendell Ford. And I think he was overbearing, much more so than was Wendell. I didn't find personally Wendell was overbearing, but I do think that J.R., he was the one who told us we had to elect somebody, so and so. And I didn't care to be told that.

SUCHANEK: (Laughs), I can tell. Now, I know you co-sponsored, along with Joe Clarke, Nick Kafoglis, and Bobby Richardson and Terry McBrayer, a bill that would have prohibited secret meetings of public bodies, and 03:31:00that piece of legislation was killed, I think, in committee or-

BOONE: Yeah. Yeah, it was an open records bill, is basically is what it was. I think it's very important that we know what's going on. And I hearken back to the fact that George Washington imposed strict secrecy on the Constitutional Convention (laughs) successfully, but I do think we need to know what's happening, and I don't know any substitute for it. The newspapers, I think, are absolutely essential, and it worries me that they feel less and less obligation to give you full pictures than the Courier used to.

SUCHANEK: Um-hm. Now, you introduced House Bill 524, which proposed a constitutional amendment on constitutional revision, which never made it out of committee.


SUCHANEK: What did you have in mind with that bill?

BOONE: I forget what the provisions were. I really don't remember.

SUCHANEK: Okay, that's all right.


BOONE: Forgive me. If you could give me the bill, I could, but I don't know what it proposed.

SUCHANEK: Sure. Okay.

BOONE: I simply don't recall it.

SUCHANEK: And during that session, you also introduced, along with Kenneth Imes, House Bill 549, which proposed a constitutional amendment on the superintendent of public instruction, and it too never made it out of committee. Do you recall what that bill was designed to do?

BOONE: I believe that was designed to remove the superintendent of public instruction from popular election. I believe the, just to do away, I think that was to do away with the musical chairs. You understand how we had superintendents of instruction who really weren't interested in education at all. They-it was, well, so many of these offices, it was just a familiar name they get elected.


BOONE: And I suspect that was to design, that was-Imes was on the, he 03:33:00was the chairman of one of the, what committee? He was chairman of the, I forget which committee. He was an undertaker from down in the central part, I think that's what it was designed to do, was to make maybe superintendent of public instruction chosen by the school board, state school board, but I'm not certain I'm right on that.

SUCHANEK: Now, in your reelection campaign, Al Smith claimed that you made the Ford administration angry because you had voted against some administration bills. Now, you were only one of three House members who voted against House Bill 337, which was an administration bill introduced by John Swinford, which exempted the food from the sales tax.

BOONE: Yeah. Yeah, that was the one I voted against.

SUCHANEK: Okay. And we already discussed why you had voted against that.

BOONE: Yeah, um-hm.

SUCHANEK: In the special session called by Governor Ford in 1972, one 03:34:00of the big issues was the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, and you voted for the equal rights bill. Do you recall if this bill created any controversy in the legislature?

BOONE: Oh yes, a great deal. And the major speech I made was on that, and I had done a considerable amount of research on the subject and had found a remarkable law review article from the Yale Law Review, a long article discussing all aspects of it. And I just basically reported this was true. And two or three of the women said it was the best speech that was made during the session, but it was based on facts. The clerks, the staff was very pleased with what I said, but it was not a passionate speech, but it was well documented and I was, I'm glad 03:35:00I made it. Sorry we lost that.

SUCHANEK: Was there a lot of debate on the floor with that bill, do you recall?

BOONE: There was a good deal. Was a good deal.


BOONE: Not a tremendous amount, but there was a good deal of excitement about it, and I couldn't see, I thought they deserved it.

SUCHANEK: Now in April of 1973, you were reelected to the steering committee on consumer problems for the Southern Conference of State Legislatures at the group's annual meeting held in Williamsburg, Virginia. How did you get on that committee, and what was its function?

BOONE: (Laughs), I remember going to Williamsburg, but I don't know how I got on that committee. I really don't recall, except that generally 03:36:00was by appointment, designation by leadership. And I had not been reelected, and I didn't think I ought to go to that convention. So I talked to Norbert Blume about it. I said, "Since I won't be back up here to work on legislation-" He said, "Well, I think you should go, that you have a contribution to make. And while you won't be voting on it, at least you'll be contributing to the work that committee does." And he said he thought I should go, so I went. And I found it was interesting. That level, you, almost always you're running into legislators who are interested in the job. It's a, there's a sort of a winnowing. If you've gotten up into the groups like that, there's a, you're running into people who are seriously addressing the problems. And so I went and found it a very good and useful experience, though 03:37:00I never had a chance to do anything about it in the legislature. I'm-these people who criticize junkets, I think they can be extremely useful educational devices for legislators. I don't see traveling and going shopping and this sort of thing, but if I went to one of these things, I went to one in Florida, and I attended every meeting, and I learned a great deal down there. But a lot of people think you go up there and you push the buttons and you don't need to be informed about these things. And I think a legislator is supposed to accumulate information, and then apply it to his local situation.

SUCHANEK: Um-hm. Let me make one more turnover here.


[End of Tape #3, Side #1]

[Begin Tape #3, Side #2]

SUCHANEK: fountain of information (Boone laughs). Okay, in May of `73, you were elected vice chairman of the State Board of Ethics. Shelby McCallum, the former Speaker of the Kentucky House, was chairman. This committee was created during the `72 regular session, I think, to investigate complaints of unethical conduct by legislators. What were those allegations? And did the board take any action or make any recommendations? Now, before you answer that, I want to remind you that you had warned the board not to assume the powers of prosecutor as well as judge.

BOONE: Um-hm.

SUCHANEK: That the proper disciplinary power rested with the legislative House from which the offending member came. What were those allegations? And did you make any recommendations? Do you recall?

BOONE: I have no recoll--, I remember it, but I have no recollection of 03:39:00what the challenges were. I was always interested in this field, and I know Shelby, knew him. Well, Shelby was not in the legislature at this time.

SUCHANEK: No, he was retired.

BOONE: And we held, I think we held some hearings. But I can't for the life of me remember what they were about.

SUCHANEK: That's okay.

BOONE: Sorry.

SUCHANEK: Well, it leads me to believe that they weren't, must not have been too serious.

BOONE: I think, well, I don't think they were particularly significant. Meaning, no earth-shaking disqualifications that would want to kick somebody out of the legislature or something like that. But I might change my mind if I saw what the charges were, but I simply don't remember.

SUCHANEK: All right. Now, the Capitol Press Corps named you the outstanding first-term member in the House after the 1972 session, which is very high praise coming from those veteran observers of Kentucky politics. Al Smith wrote in the Russellville News-Democrat 03:40:00that you were "one of the best informed and most independent men in the General Assembly." That must have been pretty gratifying for you to-

BOONE: Well, it was gratifying to know that, because I did value their opinions and, but my constituents did not apparently (laughs). And so, but it was very nice. But you see, I had known many of those people. They knew my brother Ben, who had been a newspaperman. And what I did, regularly, they could see me. I stayed at my desk, we didn't have an office or anything like that, and I stayed at my desk and read all of the things that I was supposed to read before I went home. And they understood what I was, that I was working at it, and so they, and at least I was not showing off and it was conspicuous that I was doing my homework.

SUCHANEK: Well, as you mentioned, despite all that you had done, being named made outstanding first-term member, being vice chair on the ethics board, representing Kentucky on national committees, it was not 03:41:00enough to win you another term in the legislature. How could that be?

BOONE: Well, they vote along county lines. And we're about a third the size of Logan County. And they sent a man up there by the name of Lewis-


BOONE: Foster, an insurance man, who accomplished nothing except got a great many insurance contracts for his firm. But he was a native boy and was in with the establishment. So I, my campaign, I don't think that people cared this much about what happens in the legislature. And he was a local man, and they'd rather have somebody they can call locally and this, but I don't think he ever accomplished anything. Neither did I, so maybe it didn't make much difference, but I had 03:42:00hoped that at least the recognition would lead to having some more responsible positions in the House. I thought maybe it was a fluke the first time, so I ran again. And it was the same result, but nobody has represented, the same thing is true in our commonwealth attorney, our judges, we, Logan County has just dominated the thing. They're more politically conscious than we are in this county, and they get out to vote better, people are more accustomed to doing it.

SUCHANEK: Um-hm. Well, Al Smith, in one of his columns, attributed your defeat to a couple of other things as well. He claimed basically that two men were responsible for your defeat, mainly Judge Bob Brown and Wendell Ford. He claimed that Judge Brown used you as a pawn to 03:43:00gain control of the Logan County courthouse, and that the state highway employees were instructed to be against you because of your vote on certain administration bills.

BOONE: Um-hm.

SUCHANEK: What would you say about these assessments by Al Smith?

BOONE: I think they make, he's in a much better position to make that judgment than I was, but I never felt that Bob Brown was a friend. I mean I tried to keep in touch with him and communicate with him, but I never felt that. I felt he was much closer in style to Lewis Foster than he was to me. That they had grown up in the same political climate, and that he could be, Lewis would be more, much more sympathetic to his attitudes and wishes than he would be to mine. And 03:44:00I never, I don't remember seeing that quote, but I think I, I think it's probably an accurate observation.

SUCHANEK: What role did the Temperance League of Kentucky play in all of this?

BOONE: Oh. I was really distressed by the acts of the Reverend Delbert Butts because I had voted at one point on a minor bill to let people vote, local option. I forget what it was about now, it was a local option bill, and I thought the people ought to make their own decision. And so he made some false statements about what I had done.

SUCHANEK: It was on a liquor bill wasn't it?

BOONE: Uh-huh. I forget what it was.

SUCHANEK: Local option.

BOONE: But it was local option, and my vote was simply to let people decide. And he said that I had voted to turn some place wet. That was 03:45:00not true. I simply said that I thought that local option should apply. And he said I had voted to turn it wet.

SUCHANEK: What did that mean in this county?

BOONE: Well-

SUCHANEK: I mean this was a dry county.

BOONE: this is a dry county, and the people are dry. I mean they'd vote, they believe in drinking but they believe in voting dry. You know, that's, so much of Kentucky is this way. Russellville since that time has voted liquor into Russellville, but almost no rural counties vote wet. Even counties where they make whiskey are dry. And he made false statements about me, and I demanded a retraction.

SUCHANEK: Sounds very damaging to your campaign.

BOONE: It was not helpful. And he made a retraction, but he made it too late to get in the press before the election.

SUCHANEK: Right. I was going to ask you about that. The retraction came, but was printed, at least in the Todd County Standard and 03:46:00Russellville News-Democrat, after the election.

BOONE: Yeah, after the election.


BOONE: It may have made the difference, I don't know.

SUCHANEK: In your opinion, was the director of the Temperance League duped by someone in Judge Brown's political faction to make those statements?

BOONE: No. I think that group is, he was there, he knew what was happening in the legislature. And I think it may have been in cooperation with Judge Brown and Lewis Foster, I don't know, never could fix anything. But his timing was so skillfully done I suspected that he had local connections.

SUCHANEK: Right, right.

BOONE: But it was not something I could prove.

SUCHANEK: How did you feel about losing?

BOONE: It's not pleasant. I didn't like it. Hurt my feelings. And I enjoyed what I was doing. It was something I liked to do and worked at hard, and I got a great deal of satisfaction out of it. It was a 03:47:00disappointment to be told you may have gone a good job, but we don't want you up there. And it hurts when you think that your work, serious work, is not appreciated.

SUCHANEK: Since your term in the legislature, what have you been doing since then? Are you still active in politics in any capacity?

BOONE: No. I might speak on a constitutional amendment or something like that, and I was on that revision group, served as vice chairman of that in `87. But I haven't, I suppose I've been active on the Prichard Committee, and the bar association, and the bicentennial commission more recently, interested in working on the encyclopedia, trying to get a proper encyclopedia for Kentucky history, which I think will make a great contribution. With John Kleber bringing the things together, I'd love to have that and have a good volume for that.


SUCHANEK: I hope we can see that.

BOONE: So do I.

SUCHANEK: When did you, are you still practicing law?

BOONE: No, I closed my office in `86, 1986.

SUCHANEK: Okay. Where do you think the Kentucky General Assembly is headed in the future? Do you envision a legislature even more independent than it is now? Or do you think a strong popular governor could reverse the tide and gain some control over it once again.

BOONE: There have been some fundamental changes that I think would be very, would require constitutional changes to get reversed. Principal among them is the timing. The legislature now is organized before a governor is elected. And prior to that provision, the legislature was organized immediately after the governor came in, when he was in his peak of his power, his patronage gifts were the largest. And I think a 03:49:00strong governor could do a great deal because he has many tools, but I don't think that they can put the genie completely back in the bottle. I think the legislature's independence is markedly permanent.

SUCHANEK: Um-hm, um-hm. Getting back just to your reelection campaign, we were talking about Bob Brown. Do you think Wendell Ford was happy to see you defeated? BOONE: I suspect so. I really don't know. I'd like, I wouldn't have asked him, but I'd like to know if he was. I think J.R. Miller was glad to see me defeated, but I think I had gotten into position where Wendell understood that I was basically on the Democratic side and listened and cared. But the budget bill is 03:50:00the main thing most governors pass, and when I voted against it, it was a three, only three people voted against it. And that was just a situation I don't know whether he even knew why I voted against it.

SUCHANEK: Um-hm. That made you a marked man.

BOONE: But I think it marked me.

SUCHANEK: Yeah. Is there any legislation or anything that you want to mention or talk about that I missed bringing up? Or that is important to you that you think we ought to talk about at this point before we close the interview?

BOONE: No. No legislation, but I do think very strongly that we, the whole state is greatly handicapped by the current constitution we have, and I don't believe that that can be rectified entirely by amendment process. I'm going up to that conference at Shakertown this coming month on constitutional reform. As it happens, I'm going to miss a 03:51:00good part of that because they've scheduled the business meeting of the Historical Society the same day.

SUCHANEK: And you're going to be installed as the new president.

BOONE: I, well, I haven't been told this yet, but it looks as if (laughs) the railroad might be working. But I hate to miss that, but I do think that we need to take seriously the requirement that we have a basic document that would effectively, for instance, we pay so much more in interest on debts because we can't have general obligation bonds. And we, the difference between 1 percent, the difference between 4 percent and 5 percent, or between 6 percent and 7 percent, that's a large difference on service of debts these size. And I think we ought to be able to have a balanced and business-like approach 03:52:00to state debt. And we get, we dig ourselves deeper and deeper in by voting these bond issues on which we have to pay more than we'll ever get. And I'm watching with considerable concern this $600,000 bond debt that's on, to build roads that Wallace Wilkinson wanted to get. And I know the government, I mean the legislature, thought that could be avoided. But the governor still wanted the bond issue, and it makes you suspicious a little bit of why he would want to pursue this. And it looks as if the board, the courts, have thrown a major block in his way on that. I'm watching that with a great deal of interest, but this basically gets back to that constitutional question.

SUCHANEK: Right. Well, now, the last question I have for you is: how would you like to be remembered as a legislator?


BOONE: I suppose almost it would have to be in general terms as one who thought the legislature was the people's branch of government, that's the one closest to the individual citizen. And I was one who was concerned about their needs and wishes and did his best in his time to represent them.

SUCHANEK: Okay. Well, I thank you for taking the time to talk with me today (Boone laughs). I've taken up far too much of your time, and you've been most gracious and helpful. Thank you.

BOONE: Well, I've enjoyed it.


[End of Interview] 1