BOWEN: The following is an unrehearsed interview with former StateRepresentative L.T. Hardin, who represented the 97th District in 1970, `72, and `74. The interview is being conducted by Judy Bowen for the University of Kentucky Library Kentucky Legislature Oral History Project on December the 6th, 7th, isn't it the 7th?
HARDIN: December 7th.
BOWEN: December 7, 1991, at a restaurant in Inez, Kentucky, at aroundten o'clock a.m. Mr. Hardin, could you tell me when and where you were born?
HARDIN: Here in this county.
BOWEN: Okay. And could you tell me your parents' name and what they didfor a living?
HARDIN: My father's deceased, is William Hardin. My mother is stillliving, Nollis Hardin. And during their lifetime, they had a store across the street, a market.
BOWEN: Okay. I was going to ask if your mother ever worked outside ofthe home, but she ran the-
HARDIN: She ran the store.
BOWEN: ran the store.
HARDIN: Yes, right.
HARDIN: She's retired now, of course, but-00:01:00
HARDIN: she, that's what she used to rear the children.
BOWEN: Okay. And do you remember your grandparents?
BOWEN: And what are their names and what did they do for a living?
HARDIN: On the Hardin side, Tom Hardin was past judge of this countyand sheriff. Frankie Hardin was, Frances was her real name, a wife, a housewife. Then Lucian Cassady, my mother's parents, he ran a clothing store here in Inez, one time appointed sheriff for a short time, and my grandmother Cassady, Betty Cassady, she was a housewife.
BOWEN: Okay. And how far back do your roots go in Kentucky?
HARDIN: (Laughs), the Cassadys go back to the first one that came inhere, 1715, he died 1824. That was Thomas Cassady. That was the first 00:02:00one that came into the county to my knowledge.
BOWEN: Okay. And how many people do have in your immediate family,brothers and sisters and that type thing?
HARDIN: Well, there were six of us. One's deceased. John died lastyear. Then that leaves five, three boys and two girls.
BOWEN: Okay. And do you have any aunts and uncles and that type thingthat live nearby to you?
HARDIN: Yes, most of them. Most of my aunts and uncles live right herein Martin County.
BOWEN: Okay. What do you remember most about growing up?
HARDIN: I remember what a difficult time it was here in Martin Countyprior to the coal being opened up and operation of coal. It was more or less a truck-farming type of community, gardening, things of that type. You had two employments, education and the gas company. And then the other was just survive where you could, working for other 00:03:00people in gardens, lawn work, stuff like that. And growing up, I sold, as a young boy, I sold newspapers. To get my spending money, I picked up the laundry for Quality Cleaners out of Lex--, or Paintsville. They'd come over here to the store, pick it up, they'd bring it back to that point, and I'd deliver it for a commission. And then, of course, I'd have some livestock, too, that my grandparents would give me to try to teach me the way to work.
BOWEN: That's a good way to learn how to work, definitely. Where, youwent to school in-
HARDIN: In Inez.
BOWEN: In Inez.
HARDIN: I went through elementary and high school.
BOWEN: And so it would be the Inez Elementary School. And then at thattime, it was the Inez High School, wasn't it?
BOWEN: Okay. And when you were going to school, what do you rememberabout your teachers and how they taught?
HARDIN: We had some outstanding teachers. I remember Daisy Roach,00:04:00English teacher. She was an outstanding English teacher. Two Russells, we had Russell Stepp and Russell Williamson that taught math, they were excellent in their fields of teaching. Troy Mills in the commerce department, he was very good with his teaching methods, and many others that we had. We had some outstanding teachers as we, as I went through school.
BOWEN: What was your favorite subject in high school or in-
HARDIN: I suppose history. I enjoyed history as well as any subjectthat I had, although I wasn't bored with any of them. But history, and for history, I had Herb Triplett, Herbert Triplett, world and American history. He did a fine job. His concept of teaching was very good for that period, and I think we learned a whole lot. 00:05:00
BOWEN: Okay. And what were your, what other topics were you all taughtback then? Did you have a civics course and that type of thing?
HARDIN: We had civics, we had science. We, at that time, had agriculture(unintelligible). We had, the state I guess paid the salary for the teacher that came in here. I'm not sure on that, but it was for two or three years. Mr. Arthur. And he taught the agriculture classes. I imagine the basic subjects would have been English, history, math, general math, algebra, geometry, (unintelligible) they had offered some physics at the time, general science, biology, and, well, just the basic requirements really, and maybe one or two other subjects added at 00:06:00that time to fill the curriculum.
BOWEN: Now, what year did you graduate from high school?
BOWEN: Okay. And did you have a favorite book when you were in school,in high school?
HARDIN: No, not a favorite book, I don't imagine (both laugh). I readseveral books, but not one in particular that I would cite because I enjoyed all of them.
BOWEN: Okay. And in your history studies, did you have a favoriteperson that you liked the best?
HARDIN: We only had the one I had to like or dislike.
BOWEN: No, I mean a historical figure.
HARDIN: Oh, you mean-
HARDIN: in the study of history?
HARDIN: Oh, I think Abraham Lincoln is the one I liked to study most,and I liked the Civil War period of history possibly better than even modern history and any other phase of history.
BOWEN: That's really, that's funny because every person I've asked thatquestion has cited Abraham Lincoln as their favorite figure (laughs). 00:07:00
HARDIN: Well, I'll tell you why: because it involved American people,brother against brother, father against son, and the nation torn apart. And it was sad. It was a sad period of American history, and I think that's what makes it so intriguing to me.
HARDIN: I enjoy books today, anything about the Civil War.
BOWEN: Yeah. Have you seen the PBS series that came out, The Civil War?It's out-
HARDIN: Parts of it.
BOWEN: Yeah, it's out on videocassette now. We rented it-
BOWEN: about two weeks ago and watched it in one, watched it in twonights.
HARDIN: But I'm-
BOWEN: It was really great.
HARDIN: I'm a Civil War buff, I guess, because I certainly enjoystudying it.
BOWEN: When you think back at your high school years, do you think thatthere was any teacher in particular that made an impression on you?
HARDIN: Daisy Roach.
BOWEN: Um-hm. When you were in high school, were you involved inextracurricular activities?
HARDIN: Band and basketball.
BOWEN: Okay. And when you were growing up, did you attend church?00:08:00
HARDIN: Oh, yeah. I've been in church since I was carried there thefirst time, a member of the First Baptist Church.
BOWEN: First Baptist Church.
HARDIN: And then-
BOWEN: And how do you think that your religious upbringing has affectedyour political views on things?
HARDIN: A very positive attitude toward politics. It's a positive_______?? and nothing under the table, or nothing negative to get something done, which in a positive approach.
BOWEN: You went to college, right?
BOWEN: And you were a high school teacher, right? Or school teacher?
HARDIN: Right. Uh-huh.
BOWEN: Okay. Where did you go to college at?
HARDIN: Georgetown, Eastern. I graduated from Morehead, hadpostgraduate work at Eastern and U.K.
BOWEN: And what was your undergraduate degree in?00:09:00
HARDIN: A.B. in social studies.
HARDIN: Area of concentration now, which would include some politicalscience as well as the social science.
BOWEN: And you went on to Eastern?
HARDIN: Eastern, postgraduate work now.
HARDIN: Eastern and U.K.
BOWEN: And you've got your master's degree?
HARDIN: I don't have a master's degree. I have certification for schoolsocial worker.
HARDIN: I worked as a social worker when I retired from education in`82. That was my position, that, transportation, buildings and grounds and title programs.
BOWEN: Oh, okay. And do you recall any of the more memorable collegeprofessors?
HARDIN: Well, I think Bill Berge at Eastern, he was very good. EdnaBlank at U.K. in postgraduate work, I certainly enjoyed her classes. 00:10:00Those two. Rader at Morehead, undergraduate work, was outstanding. Miss Graves, human growth and development, I thought she was outstanding. George T. Young. Then back to Georgetown, Dr. Fields, very good there, very good historian. And English professors that we had, very outstanding people, three or four of them. So most of the teachers I've had from elementary school right on through, I've enjoyed them. I've had maybe one or two that would be a bore, but outside of that, I'd have high praise for all of them. I think with what they had to work with they did all right.
BOWEN: Did you notice a big difference between Georgetown and, like,00:11:00U.K. or Georgetown and Morehead?
HARDIN: At that time-
BOWEN: Between the teaching philosophies?
HARDIN: at that time, yes. In the '40s, when I had undergraduate work,Georgetown was a very, very strict, very comprehensive school. They concentrated, I think more on academics than some of the state schools were at that time. But through the '50s, after I returned from service and went back to school, then I saw a marked change at Georgetown as well, getting fairly compatible with state schools I attended. They, during the '40s, they had a very difficult grading system now. And, but they had teachers that could present the material. If they had the students that would do it, then there was no problem. But I think 00:12:00Georgetown, along with one or two others in the state I won't mention, but I think they, as far as academics, they were outstanding at that time.
BOWEN: Yeah, because I went to Berea, and we-
HARDIN: That's a good school.
BOWEN: we met a lot of people from Georgetown all the time, because weplayed them in basketball.
HARDIN: But now Georgetown, their philosophy, well, I hate to say this,but most (coughs) of the philosophy of education has changed drastically since the '50s. Every year it changes, and I guess rightfully so. We're getting more liberal in many things to what we used to be.
BOWEN: Berea is not (laughs)
HARDIN: No, some of them still try to hold status quo.
BOWEN: They do-
HARDIN: But it's difficult to do in society today.
BOWEN: Yeah, because they-
HARDIN: I guess they have to apply-
BOWEN: Their social rules have not changed at all, and they don't intendto.
HARDIN: Well, at Georgetown, they have. They've changed quite a bit.
BOWEN: Yeah, because-
HARDIN: U.K., you see what's done down there, also the other stateschools.
BOWEN: I was shocked by U.K. when I went there, totally shocked-00:13:00
BOWEN: because I was used to Berea where-
BOWEN: you know, there were certain things that were no (laughs).
HARDIN: Sometimes you get a wake-up call. You know that, you know whatI'm talking about? When you get a wake-up call (laughs)?
BOWEN: Oh, Lord (laughs).
HARDIN: I know I've been in several of them and observed many, manyclasses, been a part, as I say, of Eastern, U.K., Morehead, and Georgetown, and of course, from Wisconsin, different things. But they know how to give you a wake-up call if they need to.
BOWEN: And you said in the '50s you went into the service.
BOWEN: How long was your break there for the service, and what part ofthe armed service were you in?
HARDIN: I was in the Navy. I went in the service in January, 1951,and then coming back from Korea I had surgery. Had a blood clot on my right lung that had to be removed, and I had surgery at Indianapolis in 00:14:001955. Then I came out of the hospital back to Georgetown, attended a year there that same year, `56-`57. Then I was married. And the next year my wife said she didn't want to go to Georgetown, so I transferred to Morehead where we both got our degrees. And I came back here and taught. I taught the school year `58-`59, and started the school year `59-`60, but I received my discharge from the Navy, September of that year, `59. So I was in service from January `51 until September `59.
BOWEN: Okay. And after that, I want to go through what you did job-wise.
HARDIN: Well, now-
BOWEN: (Unintelligible) since we've gone that far.
HARDIN: All right. When I graduated at Morehead I had applied for a00:15:00teaching position here at Martin County. And there was a position for both Virginia, my wife of course, and myself, and we came here and started teaching in the fall of `58. I stayed in Inez High School until December of `69. And that year I had run a primary and a general election, was elected to the state legislature. And I took a leave of absence from teaching because there was a question at that time as to whether or not a teacher could serve in the legislature. It was being questioned. So my superintendent said (coughs), "Well, if that's your opposition doing that, we'll just, we know how to handle it. We'll take a leave of absence." So I wasn't connected with education when I went to Frankfort the first time. And when I returned from Frankfort that was still in the air. They weren't sure. So I came back and 00:16:00worked at the Inez Deposit Bank from April of `70 until August of `71. Everything had been cleared by then, and I went back to education, back to the central office, and I stayed in the central office until I retired in `82.
BOWEN: Okay. And you were a superintendent, weren't you?
HARDIN: No, no. No, I was a school social worker-
BOWEN: A school social worker.
HARDIN: and handled transportation, buildings and grounds, and titleprograms-
HARDIN: out of the central office.
HARDIN: Mr. Clark, Sheldon Clark, was superintendent.
BOWEN: That's, I thought for a while, I got it confused, because I wasreading, trying to read the newspaper accounts to see what everybody was doing at that time.
HARDIN: Yeah. No, that was my position, school social worker.
HARDIN: And I, well, I spent about eleven years here in classroom work,and then I spent near that time in the central office, hardly as long, 00:17:00but near.
BOWEN: Okay. And what do you think about the changes that you'veseen in education in the past year with the budget changes, you know, education reforms and things like that?
HARDIN: Well, I think the bill that was so much controversy the lastyear, 940, I think they got the teachers some of the monies that they've been deserving for years. There are certain phases of it where you get lay citizens involved, unless they have a knowledge of what's going on, can cause confusion. And possibly the legislature, when they convene in January, might take a look at certain aspects of that bill and maybe iron a few wrinkles out. There are certainly some wrinkles I feel that needs to be ironed out of it, and have it all corrected. And everything will be moving smoothly after they get through with it. But 00:18:00I think it was a definite help to teachers financially. And through the years, even when I taught on up to this one and perhaps even today, they aren't getting the monies that other professions get for spending as much time in school.
BOWEN: That's true. That's very true. When did you get married andstart your family and everything?
HARDIN: October `56, I was married. The first child was born inSeptember `60.
BOWEN: And your wife's name is Virginia?
HARDIN: Right, uh-huh.
BOWEN: And do you have any grandchildren?
HARDIN: No, don't even have a son-in-law or a daughter-in-law yet (bothlaugh).
BOWEN: That's very good.
HARDIN: They've found a good place to stay, so they just stay with me.
BOWEN: Oh (both laugh). When did you start getting interested in00:19:00politics?
HARDIN: Oh, mid '60s, I suppose, I gave it a little thought. I didn'trun for office until 1969. But I had talked something about it prior to that. And then as things developed, then in 1969, I was ready to run for the first office.
BOWEN: Okay, and-
HARDIN: And I served three consecutive terms, then I got out. I gotdisinterested as fast as I got interested. So I got away and didn't seek an office after 1975.
BOWEN: Did it, I noticed that in your second term they changed and addedLawrence County into the 97th District. Did that change the way you had to run your campaign?
HARDIN: Oh, yes.
BOWEN: A lot?
HARDIN: It did because as you add more people, then you have to, when inRome, you have to do as-
BOWEN: Romans do (laughs).
HARDIN: the Romans do. That's exactly right. And you have to campaign00:20:00a little different. As a matter of fact, you don't really campaign the same way every two years. If you do, you're going to be beat. It's a different type situation every time you run for office. Every time you run for the same office even, you have to make modifications and changes in the type of campaign you're running, if you want to stay around. But I didn't want to stay around after 1975. I'd been approached to run for state offices. As a matter of fact, this last trip I was approached. I wasn't interested. I was approached in the '80s to, in the '70s as a matter of fact, to run for state office, but I just wasn't interested in that. I'd rather stay in the background and try to do something, at least for now.
HARDIN: And enough frost on the pumpkin, I won't bother to run, if youknow what I'm saying. Age would prevent me from running. You've got 00:21:00a type of voter out there today you didn't have, well, if I go back to when I made my first race, I'd be of that age category, but I'm not. I'd add twenty-one or -two years to my age. I feel that each year that passes it would be to my disadvantage to even get on a ticket because of age, although I'm not inactive. I've stayed, I stay rather active in trying to help people, because I can't get away. I've been there, and if they have needs they'll come and present them to me and see if something can be done. And I won't hesitate a minute to at least try to make an effort to help them, whatever demands they ask of it, if that demand or request is to help people and not a selfish type thing. 00:22:00
BOWEN: Okay. And I usually ask the question, had anybody in your familyran for office before, but you said your grandfather-
HARDIN: Oh, yeah. My grandfather Hardin was sheriff and judge. Yeah,we have political background. As I said, my grandfather Cassady, he was appointed sheriff. I don't know what happened to the sheriff, we can't find a record of it (Bowen laughs). But he was sheriff for a few months. They appointed him, and then he didn't like being in the office so he resigned. Then they had an election, and the man came in behind him.
BOWEN: Okay, and before running for state representative, have you everheld any other political office?
HARDIN: No, no.
BOWEN: And had you ever been involved in somebody else's campaign?
HARDIN: To a certain extent. That's probably where I first developedthe interest, about the mid-'60s, on local races. I had never taken an 00:23:00active hand in national or state races up to that time.
BOWEN: Okay. And your political affiliation was with the RepublicanParty?
BOWEN: And have you always been a member of the Republican Party?
BOWEN: Good (laughs).
HARDIN: Live by the sword, die by the sword (both laugh).
BOWEN: Okay. And what political affiliation were your parents?
HARDIN: All Republican, both sides.
BOWEN: Okay. And have you been an active participant in the party atthe local level?
HARDIN: To a certain degree. Not to be chairman or anything, but Ihad patronage at one time, and I didn't like that. There are certain aggravations that go with it, and I just didn't want that anymore. But yeah, I get involved, I get involved in these elections. 00:24:00
HARDIN: Especially if there's a candidate I'm impressed with, and one Ifeel that could do the job, then I'll show my appreciation toward him by trying to help him.
BOWEN: Okay. This is a three-part question. What professionalqualifications, personal qualities, or personal experience or knowledge did you feel that you, that qualified you for the General Assembly?
HARDIN: Well, as I said, I studied history. I had the A.B. degreeat the time, and I had the vim and vigor to do the job. That's why I went. I tried to do just that. The background, the education I had certainly helped me there, the knowledge of it, and of course, teaching that, blended some of that in with teaching history. And when I taught out here, I taught American history, I taught world history, I taught 00:25:00advanced government, comparative foreign government. And I felt I had the background and I would be qualified to serve as a state legislator.
BOWEN: Okay. And what do you think that you brought to the job thatmade you effective in politics?
HARDIN: Well, I brought to Frankfort, I guess, a concept that you onlyget what you ask for. You have to strive down there to try to meet the needs of your people, your constituents that you're representing. I don't go there to sit down and watch what goes on. I go there to be a part of what goes on and stay on top of things, listen to the requests of the constituents, and then go to the right people and present the situation to them, the request to them, and then see what can develop from that. 00:26:00
BOWEN: Okay. And when you went to Frankfort for the first time, whatdid you think the role of government was in the society?
HARDIN: Well, again, you go back to history, the Constitution, andknowing the interpretation of the Constitution as I would see it and all, the government is a watchdog of the people and to supply, through the tax monies and all that they have, to supply the needs of the people that's being represented by a certain body of government.
BOWEN: Okay. And how intrusive do you think government should be withwhat it does?
HARDIN: Don't, don't take too much control, don't try to use an ironhand. I think that might have had a bearing on my getting out. I don't want to be in a position to where I can point the finger and say 00:27:00it's this way and nothing else. I don't think that's right at all. I firmly believe in the democratic system, although I don't think we have that per se today. We're talking about freedom for other countries around the world, we're pushing for them to break away from Marxism, we're pushing for them to break away from other forms of government, going for freedom, democracy, when all the while that's happened here the last two decades we're drifting toward an oligarchy type of government where only a handful of people are trying to control everything. That's my concept. It's a government of, by, and for the people, but unfortunately we have about a third-plus of solid citizens that aren't concerned or aren't interested enough in going to the polls and try to preserve this way of life. And when you have that happening, then it gives way to other forms of government. And 00:28:00we're seeing that happen on local, state, and national levels, because, well, the presidential race, for instance: a third of the people in the nation have been staying away. Now maybe this next time they won't stay away. Then you can make some drastic changes, and the changes should be for the better.
BOWEN: I think it has a lot to do with the amount of trust that theyhave, because I noticed in one of my classes, it was statistics class, we were looking at statistics, of course (laughs)-
HARDIN: Oh, yeah.
BOWEN: and we were looking at the statistics of voting patterns. Andup until Watergate, the voting had been going down gradually. Less and less people would turn out to vote. And then right after Watergate it went up drastically-
BOWEN: because they didn't trust the government anymore. It had a lotto do with how much trust-
HARDIN: That's what I'm saying now.
HARDIN: This next time, it might, the percentage might be higher.
HARDIN: But now, there's one thing you're overlooking too: populationexplosion, more and more people. Now, when I ran for office, if you 00:29:00could get 3,000 votes out, here in the county I'm talking about, you're very fortunate. But today, up here at the high school for instance, 100 and, anywhere from 160 to 200 graduating every year, every four years, multiply. You can see how many new voters have come along since I left office in 1975, so that would account for it. And those people coming along are, well not all, but certainly a good percentage of them, and should be a high percentage of them, they're educated, they know their duties, their responsibility as voters, as citizens. And if they go to the polls, then that would account for that.
BOWEN: That's true. When you first went to the legislature, what didyou think your role would be as a legislator? 00:30:00
HARDIN: My role when I went there the first time, of course, I wasinexperienced. I first had to get acquainted with some of the people. That was the first step. I'd have to find people that I could place confidence in, people I could depend on. If my constituents needed something, I needed people that would, could give some votes, that could help our people. It's not a one-way street down there, and you learn what you have to do, early, to get something done for your area, as well as helping the people in other sectors of the commonwealth. And the role that I had was to represent my people to the best of my ability and do for them, in trying to help them to keep pace with the other parts of the commonwealth. That's about what I envisioned when I went there as a freshman legislator. 00:31:00
BOWEN: Okay. And what did you think after you'd been there for a while?Did your view of being a legislator change?
HARDIN: It changed more toward a positive attitude because you're moreat home the second trip through. You know more people there, you know the people you can place confidence in. You know if you have a piece of legislation that would certainly be beneficial to the constituents and to the commonwealth, and you know the people to approach more so the second time than you would the first time. And the third time, even greater, you'd have a greater influence. The longer you stay there, if you're doing the job and you're making friends, you're making friends that have confidence in you, then you can be an effective legislator. But if they don't have the confidence, then you, there's 00:32:00not a great deal you can do there. You'd just as well come home and let someone else try.
BOWEN: Okay. And when you went the General Assembly the first time in1970, did you think that you were elected by your constituents to vote in their best interest or vote the way they wanted you to vote?
HARDIN: Now, let's back up and rephrase that. Who wanted me to vote?
BOWEN: When you went to the General Assembly-
HARDIN: I follow what you're saying, but are you saying, would I votefor my constituents or the way they wanted me to vote? Who are they?
BOWEN: The way the constituents-would you vote in the best interest-
HARDIN: For the commonwealth?
BOWEN: what you thought was the best interest of the con--, of yourconstituents or would you vote the actual way they wanted you to vote? Like, if there was an issue coming up, and your people, your constituents, wanted you to vote one way-
HARDIN: Oh, no.
BOWEN: and you thought the best interest was the other, which way wouldyou vote?
HARDIN: I would vote the best interest.
BOWEN: The best interest?
HARDIN: I did that on several occasions. Because, as I say, you've gotJoe Blow out here, his interest is strictly a selfish interest, not concerned with other people. And I certainly wouldn't give him a vote or her a vote, just to satisfy her, if it's going to be detriment to the balance of the community or to the commonwealth. No, unh-huh. I wouldn't do that.
BOWEN: And I assume that you didn't change your view on that afterserving three terms.
HARDIN: Oh, no. No.
BOWEN: When you first went to the legislature, did you have an agendawhen you went in?
HARDIN: I had one thing of my own that I felt would be needed back here,and I still feel it's needed. I contact people about the program, and it was agriculture and horticulture. Because of our geographic location, where we're located in the commonwealth, we are going to be 00:34:00unable to attract big industry and other aspects of the economy out there. So I had a resolution introduced, and it was passed by both houses, asking for a million-dollar program to be instituted here, funded by the federal government, for grapes, agriculture products. And it was an agriculture-horticulture program for these strip areas. Well, it went through both houses on to Washington to the Secretary of Agriculture, I believe. It's still there. They say it has merit. Well, since I introduced that and it was passed, then you have seen two coal companies that have tried that, been very successful. Mapco today, look at their farm back there. If you're doing a project, go back and visit it. Island Creek, I believe it's Rebel Coal, they 00:35:00did this fruit trees, hay, corn, other products they would grow back there, just to show you it would grow. And I get sick every time I drive through the area, to see what could have happened, what might have been, had the federal government released the money and started the program in here to get the grapes. And, by the way, a winery came, a wine industry came to my home and said, "L.T., if that's approved, you'll get the biggest winery in eastern Kentucky that we have anywhere in the country." But it wasn't approved. That would have been employment for our people. That would have been employment for these farmers out here, encouraging them to grow grapes and also other fruits and vegetables. But so far that hasn't moved.
BOWEN: Anything like that too would bring in people who want to, a lotof people love to go visit wineries and-
HARDIN: Well, tourism.
BOWEN: and to see how people grow things too (unintelligible)-
HARDIN: You'd have many things, right. But now that was the, that was00:36:00one thing I had in mind. The other was the upgrading of our rural roads. Now in 1970 practically, well the only major blacktop that we had or any surfaced roads in the county was Route 40. And even Route 3 wasn't all the way. And you had to strive to-as I say, you wanted to balance it out. I spoke to the Rotary in Paintsville. I believe this was in 1970. And I told them, I said, "You people stay around long enough and the people in central and western Kentucky will look east. Their heads will be tilted back toward the east as we move on through the next decades coming." And subsequently it did. This coal started booming, the sales tax removed and the severance tax placed on it, so 00:37:00now the coal counties are carrying the general fund. And look what's happened since then. The highway, I guess the last one I was involved with, that was started before I finally got out, or started soon after, was 460 from Paintsville to Salyersville. Now, I'm not patting myself on the back, I just worked. I worked the county judges and everything else to get that. The other one is what you travel out of here. It was in the making before it finally- and it takes a few years to get things going, but 645, taking you from 23 to the high school, where it terminates now. Hopefully, one day it will go on into West Virginia and tie into the major highway there, running from Williamson on over to Charleston. But I didn't go down there and sit down on my haunches and say, well I'll draw my money, what little we got, and forget my 00:38:00people back home. I did try to make an effort to help.
BOWEN: Okay. And when you look back at the way that things operate inFrankfort, how do you think they do it? How do things get done? When you go there as a new legislator, what do you do to get things done?
HARDIN: Well, going back to what I said, the friends you make, thecommittees, you start working with committee members. Bills introduced will be presented to a committee, and if it's a worthwhile piece of legislation, you've got to lobby a committee in order to sell them on the idea that that is worthwhile. And if the committee can vote and approve, with their approval, and send it back to the floor to start the floor votes, saying we recommend that it be passed, then you got a good shot of getting that piece of legislation through. But if it goes to a committee and it stays housed up there, then it's dead, it 00:39:00will never get back to the floor, they won't bring it out. I can give you some specifics there. And there's a book Hoover Dawahare had out. Have you interviewed Hoover, by the way?
HARDIN: Hoover's in Lexington. You might give him a call. He ownsDawahare stores. The Mountain Caucus, are you familiar with that?
HARDIN: Well, on our second half now, we'll close this was one shortly.On our second half we'll get into that (Bowen laughs). But, now, the Mountain Caucus, now you have to have-with fifty-one votes I can move the capitol from Frankfort to Inez (Bowen laughs). You see what I'm talking about? That's one more than half.
HARDIN: But with the Mountain Caucus, we needed severance tax money,we needed all of this, all the money we could get at that time. You didn't have the finances then that you have had through the '70s and '80s with all this coal money. And the Mountain Caucus was formed to get enough votes to get some of this severance tax back. I had a 00:40:00bill in calling for so much. That died. They wouldn't, the governor wouldn't let it move out of committee. He watched everything. The day he presented his budget, Hoover Dawahare was part of it, Glenn Freeman from Harlan was another one, Pollitte, and many, many others. Clifford Sharpe, John Rowland, Randolph Smith, I could go on and on. We had enough votes that when Hoover would get on the floor and present this amendment to the budget calling for severance tax to come back to the counties, we had the votes to get it passed, which we did. We got it tacked onto the budget. I remember walking outside of the chamber, Wilbur Caskey, working for Ashland Oil, he came up and said, "L.T., you've won a battle, but you're going to lose the war." They 00:41:00had recessed. The governor was en route to Washington. He was at the Bluegrass Airport waiting to leave, but waiting until the budget was approved. Norb called him, Norbert Blume was speaker, said, "We've got problems over here." Said, "We've got an amendment on this budget. And what do you want to do about it?" "Get it off before I leave here." Well, they recess, they went to caucus. We came back onto the floor and Wilbur was right: we had won a battle, but we lost the war that day. One of the boys that had voted with us, they twisted his arm. And that goes back to voting for who. All right. They twisted his arm and he stood to the floor and he asked if he could change his vote. Okay, granted. And then they have another vote on it. We fall short. But 00:42:00the governor saw how people felt toward this on the floor, and that the people, constituents in eastern Kentucky, in coal-producing counties, were interested in getting that money to help their economy. So when he returned from Washington, Governor Ford called each of us in. He talked to us. He said, "Now, I see there's a great deal of interest in this severance tax." Now, he was seeing something else. He was seeing a race for the Senate. And he says, "I tell you what I'm going to do." He says, "I think I'll put an amendment to a key piece of legislation, designed after the amendment you boys had, and present it on my legislation, and we'll get it through that way." Well, sure we will. I knew that. I said, "Why not take mine out? Just let mine float out of 00:43:00the committee and come to the floor and get it approved that way?" "No, no." Said, "Let me put this. We'll have no problem" (Bowen laughs). Well, the problem was this. I would have been recognized statewide for that amendment, but Governor Ford was recognized. And then he ran for the Senate. And, of course, that greased the path right up to Washington for him. Now, you can read Hoover's book. He'll have a copy of it. I have one at home. If I think about it, I'll bring it. It's just a short thing of what really happened. And I asked the people then on the floor, and we did, we got the votes. As I say, you talk to people, but this was the opposite party that changed the vote. And, of course, Governor Ford was the opposite party. I asked them this. I made this statement on the floor: "If you people will just help us to help ourselves. Think about it. Help us to help ourselves. 00:44:00We have intelligent people back there, we have knowledgeable people. And if we have the resource, we can get the job done." That's what it is. That's all I'm going to say on that. And I think right there is where we can take up right after Christmas, if you don't mind.
BOWEN: Oh, I don't mind at all.
[End of Interview]