Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with William D. Gorman, August 10, 2000

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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BIRDWHISTELL: --meeting with me today, and this is our third session in a series we're doing on your life and career as mayor here in Hazard, Kentucky. How's the summer of 2000 in Hazard?

GORMAN: Well, the only problems that you have with the summer of 2000 in Hazard, we've got too many architects that are too slow. (Birdwhistell laughs) We've got a lot of projects, uh, uh, on the table and uh, to get them off the table and um, try to put foundations under buildings and all this kind of thing, it--it's very, very hard on old mayors. (laughs)

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) Are--are you an impatient mayor or are they slow?

GORMAN: Well, I'm a mayor that always has had a sharp toe, (Birdwhistell laughs) and uh, not that I use it, it's just that I let them know I have it, and uh--but the--the only thing is this is, is uh, progress is a--a great thing but it--it--it really works on you when you--for 00:01:00instances, this--we uh, had the groundbreaking about a month, six weeks ago, for the uh, um, Rural Law Enforcement Technical Training Center, which is a si--4.3 million dollar project construction, and we had Louis Freeh from--the director of the FBI down to help break the ground, along with the congressman, and people from the--the Justice Department in Washington, and the Justice Department in Frankfort, and- -and all the law enforcement officers in this section of the country and--and uh, (coughs) we're--we're doing real well with it, but uh, this uh, Friday, I think, I called the people who are doing the surface work and told them we needed information, and they promised to have it 00:02:00to me by this Friday. But uh, they're supposed to have had it in May--


GORMAN: --so, but--but--

BIRDWHISTELL: And here we are the middle of July.

GORMAN: Yeah, but the plans are uh, ongoing and the--and the architect, I thought, was gonna have something really to show us by July. This is July the eighteenth, and I haven't seen much yet. (Birdwhistell laughs) That's just one project.

BIRDWHISTELL: And that's just one. I know every time I call down here, you're either out at groundbreaking, or at a planning meeting, or you've got prospects in from out of town, it's--it's--I mean, it's very impressive the--just the uh, amount of activity that goes on in terms of uh, you're trying to develop this community.

GORMAN: Well, when you get to be my age, Terry, you don't have time to sit and wait.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) Well, I wanted to ask you a question about that, Mayor. Were you more impatient trying to get it up and running, or are you more impatient now that uh, you know, you might be looking at retirement at some point? (laughs)


GORMAN: Well, uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Or is it just impatience all the way across the board?

GORMAN: The--the only thing about, uh, starting these projects you're busy.


GORMAN: And then when you have to stop and wait for everything to catch up that's the thing that really gets you, I think, you know, just like y--out at the hospital, the UK Center for Rural Health is--


GORMAN: --what? Eleven, twelve million dollar project, and um, we've-- (cough)--uh, they've looked for two or three years to find out where to put it. (Birdwhistell laughs) And uh, of course, uh, um, Tony Gates says he wanted to put it out in front of the hospital. I said, "Well what's wrong with it?" I don't know whether I told you this before or not.


GORMAN: And (coughs)--and he said, well he's--said, "That--that high tension line there wo--won't allow us to build it there."


GORMAN: And so uh, I said, "Well, let's check it out." So I got with Charles Housely, who's the--uh, administrator of the hospital, and we 00:04:00called the power company. And the power company sent a couple of people over from Pikeville, and they said, "No, we can't build it there, there is that high tension line." So I said, "Well, get me somebody who knows something about transmission lines." So the next day they brought a fellow over that knew about transmission lines and he said, "No, you can't build it there because of--of that line." (Birdwhistell laughs) Well, the third day we met with him, I advised him. I said, "We would like to see, uh, your deed, and uh, we'd like to know more about that line." (Birdwhistell laughs) So uh, that day, they ducked their head and (coughs) they finally admitted that they didn't even have the right of way to do what they were doing. (Birdwhistell laughs) And they had made the hospital sit back a couple of hundred--fifty feet.

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?

GORMAN: And it cost the hospital about two and a half million dollars to do that.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, good--'cause they had to uh, dig out--

GORMAN: To give it clearance, yeah, and--and they had to build up and--



GORMAN: --put the pylons down, and all this kind of thing, and when it wasn't the kind of line at all, but the--the only thing is this, if you want to get something done in a town, Terry, you've got to talk, question what has gone on in the past, and so--

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, you got to have some good instincts it seems to me, Mayor, and--and a whole bunch of common sense to do this, right?

GORMAN: Well, uh, here wha--when I was younger, uh, I had a problem with the power company--that I had a line across the property that I owned and um--and I didn't think they had a right of way on it, because I had never seen any record of it.


GORMAN: And they came through and they would not let me build a subdivision--


GORMAN: --and they wouldn't let me build under that uh, power line because--or close to it, so they had a hundred foot right of way.


GORMAN: And I got to checking, they didn't have any right of way at all. (Birdwhistell laughs) So I did give them fifty feet, and--which is all they needed but um--



GORMAN: --uh, but anyway, this new building, the UK Center for Rural Health, it's gonna be a six story building, and it's going to have--they need three hundred parking places and it's gonna be quite something. They'll have about eighty-four pharmacist students, and-- and all the activities of uh, the rural health program.

BIRDWHISTELL: Now on these major projects that we're gonna be talking about today, do you stipulate, or do you uh, highly uh, uh, recommend, or is there any way to make sure that local people are involved as architects, as uh, uh, the construction--

GORMAN: Terry--

BIRDWHISTELL: --as far as the construction team--

GORMAN: --that's a wonderful idea, but it's not pragmatic.

BIRDWHISTELL: But it won't work?

GORMAN: It--it won't work. In other words, uh, we try to get as many-- as many local people involved as possible--


GORMAN: --but the--the problem that you have is, the fellow that signs the check makes the decision.


GORMAN: And all I want to do is build it, and provide the jobs.

BIRDWHISTELL: The jobs that come after re--


GORMAN: That's right.

BIRDWHISTELL: --construction jobs up front that's gravy, right?

GORMAN: Right. Well, we got--another project out there, uh, the um, East Kentucky Veterans' Center, which is a fourteen and a half to sixteen million dollar project. It would employ 156 people and uh, uh, have an annual payroll of three and a half million dollars. Well, that three and a half million dollars is forty-five to fifty thousand dollars a year in payroll tax for the city of Hazard, and uh, of course, the uh, UK Center for Rural Health we're pleased to (laughs)--to tax their payroll too. But that--and of course, when we build this um--we've got under uh--architectural contract with uh, CMW a new ten million dollar Justice Center down--downtown. And uh, we're working now on getting the property appraised and we're gonna tear down the block next to the courthouse in order to build that. And it--of 00:08:00course, it'll be some new jobs.

BIRDWHISTELL: Just like Lexington and uh, um, cities across the country, you mentioned in this article in The Courier-Journal, that John Ed Pierce wrote a few years ago that uh--that Hazard--the downtown part of Hazard would ultimately evolve into a government financial center and I guess, that's still the case, right? I mean, you're gonna--

GORMAN: Well, that's what's been happening and uh--of course, the only problems that you've got the--we've got some absentee ownership on Main Street.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh--oh you do?

GORMAN: And uh--the absentee owners do not maintain their properties like they should and uh, of course, uh, uh, one building down there, I think, used to bring in about six, seven thousand dollars a month in rent. Well, when the rent fell off because of the uh, business moving to a shopping center, um, uh, the people just not maintained the 00:09:00building. And uh--but uh, you know, the biggest problem, I think, with the cities like Hazard is their downtown. And uh, ours is re--really viable for two thirds of it, but then there's a section of it, it's got two or three bars in it and uh, um, things like that that we've--would rather not have but they're there, and uh, as long as they pay the rent, I suppose they'll stay there. (laughs)

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Now does that cause a problem for other people concerned about coming downtown?

GORMAN: I don't think so. Uh, the owner--

BIRDWHISTELL: It doesn't seem to in the daytime, I don't know about the night time.

GORMAN: Well, the um--we don't have any real, uh, serious problems with it. But the only thing is this; they don't maintain the appearance--


GORMAN: --and that sort of--and of course, you know, they talk about downtown renovations and all this kind of thing, well, you can only 00:10:00renovate to the sidewalk. (coughs) And uh, in other words, you can't spend public money on private property.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's right.

GORMAN: You can encourage the people to do it, but uh, to get them to do is another thing.

BIRDWHISTELL: It's funny you should mention that, Mayor. I was driving back from McDonalds on the street up above Main Street here, and uh, at one point I caught a building out of the corner of eye, I was thinking about the building you're gonna tear down and put the new Justice Center, and then I saw this building that wasn't maintained very well. And it's funny you saying this because I thought now, Mayor Gorman wouldn't like that building the way it looks. (laughs) Because I--I know how--I've gotten a sense after visiting with you now, this third time, that--the pride you take in this--in this community and the pride you take in--in what the community looks like.

GORMAN: Well, the uh, we--we do fairly well in most places--


GORMAN: --but some of the places we--we need a little help (laughs), the--a sharper toe.


BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. But the buildings that you've built and the buildings that are maintained make a very impressive downtown.

GORMAN: Well, we'll have about--well, (coughs) let me just list them right off of the top of my head.


GORMAN: The uh, UK Center for Rural Health--


GORMAN: --uh, which is anywhere from eleven to fifteen million dollars, the Veterans' Center which is fourteen and a half to sixteen million. The Justice Center is ten million. The um, Rural Law Enforcement Technical Training Center will be--we've got 4.3 million under contr- -or, we're getting ready to put under contract, and then there will be about two and a half million more going to it--


GORMAN: --so it will be what, seven--eight million dollars.


GORMAN: And the uh, (coughs) of course, we've got the--the new jail that's going up out here for 5.4 million, and uh, then we've got the new state police barracks that--next to the jail, which will be 00:12:00another almost two million dollars. But um, the uh--uh, in the--at the college we've got a six and a half million dollar expansion there and (coughs) Terry, the only thing that bothers me, the architects--we've got all these projects and--and at my age I don't like to wait on them. (Birdwhistell laughs) But the uh, um--and then, of course, there is a lot of bu--we don't have any place in Hazard for people to live. A lot in Hazard for residential cost up to sixty thousand dollars--


GORMAN: --and uh, over--across the river just in these shopping centers, uh, we've got a few lots left over there, and they start about a quarter of a million dollars a piece for um, a half-acre lot.


GORMAN: And--but uh, anyway, uh, I'm the only advocate that you know probably in the world that's for mountain top removal. Hazard has been 00:13:00built on mountain top removal.


GORMAN: Out--the airport there is a mountain top removal. It's a ten million dollar development and um, of course, named after our friend Wendell Ford--


GORMAN: --and uh, we've just finished a new million dollar terminal and the tarmac and all this kind of thing, and the people are moving in today into--to that building.

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?

GORMAN: And uh, of course, the Sikes people moved about a month ago, and uh, they're in a new ten million dollar uh, development out there at the--uh, at the industrial park, and of course, oh, uh, a year--a year and a half ago, the um, Trus Joist spent 132--100 or 135 million dollars in the building that wood products plant here.



BIRDWHISTELL: Lots of--lots of money involved. We--we ended up last 00:14:00time, I think, talking about the role of education in this community and the importance of Hazard Community College, the importance of the technical school. Uh, you brought in the Challenger Center as part of the--of that effort, um, and we talked, I think, briefly on tape or not about the--the still need for a four year opportunity in this region.

GORMAN: Well, I just read in--in The Lexington Herald today about engineering schools over Kentucky--


GORMAN: --and where the uh, uh, universities are going to all pitch in and train engineers.


GORMAN: Well, the only problem that uh--that's great but uh, you know, one of the things I have in my craw is the fact there is no avail--availability for a four year public education in this region. 00:15:00You either go to Morehead, which is two hours and a half away, or you either go to Eastern, which is two hours--two hours and a half away, or the University of Kentucky which is about twenty minutes (laughs) past Eastern.


GORMAN: And uh--but uh, now we have some small schools here that, uh, you know, that give four year degrees but--


GORMAN: --like Alice Lloyd, but uh--and uh over uh, in the Cumberland Valley but uh, we need a four year uh, availability here pretty much like they're doing with the--with the uh, engineering schools--


GORMAN: --and sooner or later if the boys in Frankfort or wherever, uh, don't do something about it, uh, Bert Combs, before he died, he and I discussed this at length. He said every kid is supposed to have equal 00:16:00education. Well now, we--they--they are not taking care of our people up here, so we might have to resort to the courts in order to see 'em do it. And I hate to do that but, you know, sooner or later you get a little disgusted.

BIRDWHISTELL: You mean like a--like a suit, like KERA for--for K through twelve, do a similar suit for higher education--

GORMAN: Ri--right.

BIRDWHISTELL: --meaning to provide equal opportunity?

GORMAN: Right.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's an interesting idea.

GORMAN: Well, the thing about it is this, Bert Combs, if he had lived--

BIRDWHISTELL: He would've done that.

GORMAN: --we were gonna do that. (laughs)



BIRDWHISTELL: Well, that's interesting, I've never given it much thought.

GORMAN: --but anyway, I don't know how much uh, uh--how successful it would be, but it would be an interesting kind of thing.

BIRDWHISTELL: Who'd win the fight over who gets it?

GORMAN: Well, as far as I'm concerned, uh, uh, you know, I'm sort of uh, (coughs) (both laugh) I think, you know, it ought to be in Hazard. 00:17:00(laughs)

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, I'm shocked. Mayor, you shock me! (laughs)

GORMAN: Well, the thing about it is this, this is a place, this is the center--


GORMAN: --and uh, uh, you know, when it gets to the point that uh, the University of Virginia, I think it is, is coming all the way from, where? From Wise, over here recruiting?


GORMAN: --and (coughs) and uh, then I read that, Dr. Custra from uh, Eastern is out--he was on television last night trying to talk people to come to Eastern.


GORMAN: Well, the thing about it is this, is its closer to Wise Virginia--


GORMAN: --than it is to Richmond Kentucky.


GORMAN: So--so you never know what tomorrow is gonna bring.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right. You've uh, reminded me of a question that might be of interest, uh, what type of relationship do you as mayor of Hazard have with, say, the mayor of Prestonsburg, Pikeville, communities that in some ways compete with Hazard?


GORMAN: Well uh, would--would you believe last night that I was on television with the mayor of Harlan, uh, Danny um, Howard--


GORMAN: --and we are trying to get him to build a road from Hazard to Harlan, or the Harlan area to the Hazard area. Now, here we are in the year 2000, and uh, historically, the roads have--all go down the river valleys.


GORMAN: Now, it's uh--we're twenty-five air miles to Harlan--

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?

GORMAN: --and we're uh, sixty air--sixty miles by road one way and ninety miles by road the other way. And so what we need to do, in order to help Harlan County more than to help Perry County--


GORMAN: --we need to get a better access road to where we can interact together, and um, there's a lot of unemployment. You know, when I was 00:19:00younger, Harlan used to have about sixty--sixty-five thousand people.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh--oh yeah.

GORMAN: Now they've got thirty-six thousand, according to the mayor, Harlan County.

BIRDWHISTELL: So it's shrunk by half.

GORMAN: Yeah, and so--(coughs)--and of course, we're--we're maintaining our uh, level pretty good here because we've got an advantage. I had people come to see me that were interested in the work force of Harlan County--


GORMAN: --uh, and putting a factory, you know, uh, where uh, they could capture--uh, capitalize on their workforce, and they made the statement that they couldn't get there.

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?

GORMAN: And once--once they got there, they couldn't get their products out. So uh, you know, with the building of Interstate 66, which uh, uh, has started, um, between uh, you know, with the money, between uh, Somerset and London, uh, Interstate 66 will be between Hazard and Harlan. So if we can get a road built, it would be an access road 00:20:00not only to um, Hazard but, it will--will be an access road to 6-- Interstate 66.

BIRDWHISTELL: So, will 66, when it becomes a reality in this area, you're saying it goes south of--

GORMAN: It goes south of Hazard.

BIRDWHISTELL: It won't follow the current, uh, Parkway 80?

GORMAN: It--it comes--oh, it--it might--


GORMAN: --but it comes out of Pike County, uh, and to the south of us, through--or to Knott County and I don't know whether it touches Letcher County or not but um, anyway, it comes through--right at uh, the jail for Viper, which is about three miles and it goes down to the west of us to the uh, Daniel Boone Parkway for--and Exit 56, so it will just touch us.

BIRDWHISTELL: I see, I see. That'd be better for you, I see--

GORMAN: I think so. Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: Hmm. So Haz--Harlan is thirty air miles?

GORMAN: Twenty-five.

BIRDWHISTELL: Twenty-five. Now, you've got--you know, I love maps, now 00:21:00I'm gonna have to get out a map and take a look (laughs)--

GORMAN: Here--here's one right here.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) I'll look at it before I leave because that's fascinating--

GORMAN: But uh--but the thing about it is this, is here uh, um, these people are over there and they are fine people and--and they've got a reputation pretty much like our--all the mountain people, well, you know uh, the uh, nicest people I know live in the mountains--


GORMAN: --and some of the worst people I know live in the mountains. (laughs)

BIRDWHISTELL: So Harlan doesn't feel any uh, resentment or jealousy of the progress Hazard has made in the last twenty years?

GORMAN: Well, uh, I think we're all enviable of each other--

BIRDWHISTELL: Okay. Just human nature, right?

GORMAN: Yes, but uh, I don't--uh, I'd hate to run for political office outside of Hazard because (Birdwhistell laughs)--or outside of Perry County (laughs) because we've--we've done fairly well, and uh--um, but the main thing is this--is--uh, we had a meeting the other day, uh, 00:22:00last Thursday at noon with the um, the uh, Industrial Foundation of Perry County and people from Harlan County. We had forty people from Perry County. They had about twelve. And what it amounts to, is the people working together to see that things come about.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. You know, you've uh, reminded me of something that came up during the recent uh, uh, primary campaign, that video they were running about Hazard having uh, two state senators.


BIRDWHISTELL: I think you were in some of 'em.

GORMAN: Well, yes, (Birdwhistell laughs) of course, the governor was kidding, and uh--and I--I think my friend Brereton Jones, who came into my office about--just before that started running, uh, g--uh, got that out of city hall here and uh, I had--


GORMAN: --one of our people tape it, yeah, and uh--of course, the governor was just kidding, you know, about how effective uh, we had been 00:23:00and uh, so uh, it upset me somewhat, that it was used in the campaign.

BIRDWHISTELL: Now for--just for the record people who might not know what we're talking about, in the state senate primary campaign, it was Benny Ray Bailey and--

GORMAN: Stal Turner.

BIRDWHISTELL: --and Stal Turner, and the issue was, uh, him caring more about--

GORMAN: Hazard.

BIRDWHISTELL: --Hazard and Perry County, which used to be in his district--

GORMAN: District.

BIRDWHISTELL: --but now is not. And so at--at some appearance, Governor Patton said, "Hazard bene--"

GORMAN: We--we--we--the governor announced the building of a six hundred million dollar power plant--


GORMAN: --in this area--


GORMAN: --and (coughs) the--the governor went ahead, kiddingly said, uh, here--uh, he was talking about Glenn Freeman and talking about Benny Ray Bailey, says uh, "Perry County is lucky to have two senators." 00:24:00(Birdwhistell laughs) Well uh, (coughs) but--but uh, the--the only thing is this, is this is the center, and all the things that we have accomplished is working together with all people.

BIRDWHISTELL: For the region?

GORMAN: For--for the region--


GORMAN: --whether they're in Perry County, Knott County, or uh, Floyd County, or Johnson County, or Harlan County, or wherever--


GORMAN: --because--Leslie and uh, Letcher and--now, those are hard people to work with, (laughs) the people of Letcher County. (both laughs) You know, Carol Smith is--is one of my relatives and he's the county judge up there, and uh, his uh--um, we met at the KRAD office yesterday, and Carol is quite concerned because 119 hasn't been uh, rebuilt from uh, Whitesburg to the Harlan County line--



GORMAN: --and Carol says that they ought to outlaw any trucks using 119. Of course, Carol is the one that wants to raise the minimum wage in Letcher County (Birdwhistell laughs) and so (laughs)--but uh, uh, he's got some wild ideas.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) Now, this video that was used in the campaign, how did--how did the campaign get a hold of that, did you say?

GORMAN: One of my people gave it to them.

BIRDWHISTELL: Gave it to whom?

GORMAN: Uh, gave it to Brereton Jones, and Brereton Jones who's--

BIRDWHISTELL: Brereton Jones?

GORMAN: Yeah, you know B--

BIRDWHISTELL: What was he doing in that?

GORMAN: Well, Brereton, uh, he's running for governor and--

BIRDWHISTELL: And he was involved in that?

GORMAN: Why, sure he was.

BIRDWHISTELL: And one of your people gave it to him?

GORMAN: Why, sure. He was a good friend of Brereton.

BIRDWHISTELL: Do you know who gave it to him?

GORMAN: Yes, I sure do.

BIRDWHISTELL: What'd you do about it?

GORMAN: I didn't do anything. (both laugh) I just--there's nothing I could do about it but uh, um--at least if I'd been Benny Ray Bailey, I would've answered it.


GORMAN: And uh--but here we've been working for twenty-three years to change the lifestyle of people of this area--



GORMAN: --and Benny Ray Bailey has been one of the--the--the greatest supporters, but--uh, when he represented us he did a good job, and he w--when he represented them he did a great job, but the only problem is this, the people over there in the Big Sandy shot themselves in the foot because the--the most--and they had two very influential people, Greg Stumbo and Benny Ray Bailey. And when they beat Benny Ray Bailey, it was crazy, because Benny Ray Bailey just uh, had worked all this stuff out in Knott County and Floyd County, and uh, I don't know what he'd done for Johnson County, but uh, he'd done a lot for all the area he's served. And um, of course, uh, he works over here part time.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, he does?

GORMAN: Yeah, at--at--down at the hospital.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah at--at the hospital.

GORMAN: He and his friends operate the emergency room, you see, and uh- -so um, he has an interest in us and of course, by the same token, uh, Jody Richards from uh, uh, Bowling Green--I've got a picture right over 00:27:00here with Jody and the governor, and let's see who else was--oh, let's see, there's all the politicians (laughs)--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. A whole bunch.

GORMAN: --uh, and that is--that was the groundbreaking for the Veteran's Center.

BIRDWHISTELL: I see. Di--did uh, did Benny Ray Bailey's defeat--did that--did you see that as a political setback, a--a setback for yourself?

GORMAN: No, but it's a political setback for Eastern Kentucky.

BIRDWHISTELL: For Eastern Kentucky.

GORMAN: Because, hey uh, Terry, I'm not ambitious. I don't want to go anywhere. I don't even want to take a vacation. (Birdwhistell laughs) My wife just got back from Boston, and she said, "Well, they missed you." I said, "I didn't miss them." (both laugh)

BIRDWHISTELL: ----------?? That's a great line. You gonna work with the new guy?

GORMAN: Whoever he is. (Birdwhistell laughs) Uh, of course uh, the--our 00:28:00new senator is--will be Daniel Mongiardo--


GORMAN: --a young--um, doctor--


GORMAN: --he's uh--eyes ears nose, throat specialist--

BIRDWHISTELL: Did you--but you weren't--that's the Democratic primary, right?

GORMAN: Well, uh, my position, Terry, as mayor of the city of Hazard--


GORMAN: --I don't get involved in partisan politics.


GORMAN: I was asked yesterday to be Gore--uh, be Gore--be Bush's campaign chairman--


GORMAN: --for this--


GORMAN: --I suppose Perry or the region, I don't know.


GORMAN: And I told them no, that I'd--I work with everybody and I'm not going to uh, put my city up on the uh--the stake where it--where it could be shot at.


GORMAN: And it don't make any difference who it is, I'll work with 'em.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. You know, one of the things from these uh, state senate races that the uh, Lexington paper was talking about, was the role of uh--of hauling voters to the polls. Uh, do y--they--they took 00:29:00the position that that was--determined the outcome of these races, was that--was that your view of that?

GORMAN: Well, it's buying votes. (both laugh)

BIRDWHISTELL: Was it--was it more prominent in these races than it has been or was the Lexington Herald just decided to take a look at it?

GORMAN: That's the way they beat Benny Ray Bailey.


GORMAN: They--they, as you will hear, the uh--here is The Kentucky Gazette, uh, came out, I got it today--


GORMAN: --it says, "Bailey overcome by flood of campaign contrib- -contributions."


GORMAN: "Turner hired nearly twice as many vote haulers as Bailey did." They used--there's your--

BIRDWHISTELL: And there's the margin of victory.

GORMAN: --the--the fourteen hundred votes, I think, something like that, and uh, Benny Ray, they've got this broken down, I think--


GORMAN: --uh, but I haven't had a chance to really review it but uh, uh, 00:30:00Benny Ray just got out-dollared and uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) Out-dollared.

GORMAN: --because he's--this--nobody had ever heard of this fellow Turner other than the uh--a few people over in the Big Sandy.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's a good line. Now--now, Governor once--Nunn told me once he got out-counted. (both laugh)

GORMAN: (laughs) Well, I've been lucky. I've--I've been on the winning end for twenty-three years, and, uh, I don't know whether I'll run again or not, but uh, uh, but I hope that the vote haulers are not around when I'm running.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) Now, (laughs) in your--in these mayor--in these races for mayor do you have to haul voters, or do you have to have election day money, or do you have to have things to?

GORMAN: Well uh, I don't know, I think the last time I ran for mayor it probably cost twenty-five, thirty thousand dollars. I'm not sure, uh, Terry--


GORMAN: --but um--and of course, my people out there--I never handled 00:31:00any money--


GORMAN: --and I don't even know who give--us--usually who gives to my campaign.


GORMAN: But um, the uh--for a job could pay fifty thousand dollars a year, and since I don't take a salary it's a little bit obvious, that it's--it's not a very good trade.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) Um, you talked about the--your relationship with Harlan and uh, people over in Whitesburg, Letcher County, what about over in Prestonsburg, is that a rival to Hazard?

GORMAN: (coughs) Well, Prestonsburg is uh--is one of these followers. I probably shouldn't say this--

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, it's your--it's your--

GORMAN: --but just like--


GORMAN: --the--we got the uh, Veterans' Center here--


GORMAN: --well, before we got it nailed down, here came Prestonsburg trying to take it away from us.

BIRDWHISTELL: Not trying to get one themselves, but trying to take yours?

GORMAN: Right. (Birdwhistell laughs) And uh, well uh, they have Thunder Ridge over there--



GORMAN: --that uh--and they ca--came to see me, and uh, they wanted to put a U-Bet parlor here in Hazard. Well, I thought it would be a good idea, and so uh, uh, every month, after the fifteenth of the month, they bring us a check in here--


GORMAN: --and it's going to the city of Hazard, just because it sits in the city limits, we get a hundred thousand dollars a year income from that uh, betting parlor. We get one percent of their gross.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's not bad.

GORMAN: And uh, well, the fellow out here, campaigning for city commissioner, and he says he's against gambling--


GORMAN: --well, I'm not--I don't think we're gambling. I think what we are doing we're just ripping them off.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's--(laughs)--that's not a gamble, that's a sure thing. The um--just to follow up on this sort of theme we're on right now, the uh--you know, you read about the--what is it, the Eastern 00:33:00Kentucky Leadership Conference and uh, the attempts to--to unite the region, and I guess I would ask you, as a longtime mayor in terms of the city officials, has there been more cooperation than not in terms of trying to--to deal with common issues in the region in terms of city developments?

GORMAN: Well, the--most of these cities, their mayors turn over pretty quick.


GORMAN: Uh, you know they talk about two terms and then you're out, you know, and this kind of thing, or that's what it ought to be. I think the uh, secret of the success that we've had in Hazard is the fact that we have ongoing good government.


GORMAN: There's not a single elected official in the city of Hazard that takes a salary, and uh, we work the devil out of them.



GORMAN: But the only thing is this, uh, we work with everybody and uh--but uh, it takes time to learn the ropes, uh Terry, and uh, whether you like it or not well, I started--well, politically, I started working at the polls when I was ten years old. My family have always been political in this county. Uh, my great-great-great grandfather settled here, and uh, his uh, son was a--a doctor in the Civil War and Mexican War, a colonel, and um, he came back in nineteen--in 1866 he ran for county attorney of this county, and then his son was circuit court clerk. And then his grandson (laughs) was mayor, but I've got a 00:35:00picture of a bunch of mayors in here. I'm kin to two-thirds of them in the last hundred years; (Birdwhistell laughs) over a hundred years.

BIRDWHISTELL: We--well, you know, one of the things I was thinking about in preparing for this session and I don't want to get--you know, the- -the horse before the cart here but, uh, we'll--we'll talk about these other things, but it is an interesting issue, considering your tenure as mayor, and considering the--what I think anybody would have to uh, say is the progress and the uh, work that you've done here, as you look toward a time when you might retire as mayor who fills that--that gap? Is there obvious leadership coming up through the ranks, that can do the same thing that you're doing here?

GORMAN: Terry, uh, I grew up in the banking, the insurance, and the 00:36:00coal, and the real estate and we've even been in the hotel business some, in the TV cable--

BIRDWHISTELL: Cable, yeah, um-hm.

GORMAN: --business and of course, I built the old Channel 57, the broadcast station that served Eastern Kentucky before Kentucky Central bought it. Um, during this period of time, uh, I worked for a fellow by the name of Dewey Daniel, he was my uncle--


GORMAN: --me and my brother L.D. and my Vern--and my cousin Vernon Cooper, and my brother Joe, and my cousin Dick Cooper. He didn't have any children, so he raised us all, really.


GORMAN: And uh, he was always making speeches to us about, you ought to pay for the space you occupy in your community.


GORMAN: And so that was from where--from whence we came--


GORMAN: --from the time we were lil--little boys. And uh, so, as uh, 00:37:00you know, when I first ran for mayor, I had no idea of running for mayor. In fact, I was in Florida, divorced, having the time of my life, and a bunch of these (Birdwhistell laughs) good friends of mine filed me for mayor. And that's (laughs)--

BIRDWHISTELL: With friends like that--(laughs)

GORMAN: --that's--that's how I got to be mayor, and I--I didn't seek the job--


GORMAN: --but after I got involved in it, I thought, well, somebody's got to do it.

BIRDWHISTELL: So who's--who's the somebody after you?

GORMAN: Well I--I don't know.

BIRDWHISTELL: Is it somebody in your family?

GORMAN: No. (laughs) No.

BIRDWHISTELL: Your son doesn't have any interest?

GORMAN: No, my (coughs) son is interested in UK basketball, and football, and the insurance business, and the banking business, a few things like that, but (Birdwhistell laughs) but uh, he's--he's not uh-- he's not really inclined toward the political side, but I think we got a fellow on the city commission that uh, will step forward and--


BIRDWHISTELL: I'm not trying to get you to name your successor in this interview but it--

GORMAN: Well--

BIRDWHISTELL: --it's a big issue when you look at the way city governments run--

GORMAN: Well, this boy is doing pretty good. He just sold out his business for three million dollars--

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh. (laughs)

GORMAN: --and uh, so he--he can probably afford to sit in this chair.


GORMAN: And uh--but he's just a young fellow, you know; well he's got grown kids, but young compared to me.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) Well that'll be interesting.

GORMAN: Well it should be.

BIRDWHISTELL: Should be. Let me see here. I'm gonna go ahead and turn this over, Mayor.


[Pause in recording.]

BIRDWHISTELL: Let me go back to uh, education as an issue again. We talked about the need for a four year college opportunity. How important is the Hazard Independent Schools to a city like Hazard? Is there a mutual need that those two entities have?


GORMAN: The uh--you've got the Perry County School system, the Hazard Independent School system.


GORMAN: The Hazard Independent School system has been a thing of pride with this community for a hundred years.


GORMAN: And uh, they have had great educators and great leaders. Um, Roy Eversole, died here a few years ago but Fred Stidham is superintendent now and of course, during my time of growing up and going through Hazard the city schools, we had a fellow by the name of R.T. Whittinghill, big, tall, stately, mean (Birdwhistell laughs) of German descent--


GORMAN: --and--and--and we were all scared to death of him, (Birdwhistell laughs) but one thing he insisted on was quality of education.



GORMAN: And uh, he's (laughs) I--I--I got to tell you a story.


GORMAN: When I was about a junior in high school, uh, I had this teacher. Her name was Miss Rogers, and Miss Rogers had just graduated from the University of Chicago. And she came back and she taught Government and Democracy. And uh, so we had a class election, and so the minute the floor was open, I nominated a fellow by the name of Dent Holiday. Well, uh, Miss Rogers says, "Dent cannot be the president of the junior class," says, "He won't study, he doesn't have passing grades, and (laughs) he's lazy," and uh, then she went ahead. And so I got up, and I made one of these great big democratic speeches. "Miss- 00:41:00-Miss Rogers you have said that in a dem--uh, democracy every man is free, every--everybody should have the opportunity," I said, "How do we know Dent wouldn't be the best president we could have?" And so I made a real good speech. Well, of course, she threw me out of the class. (Birdwhistell laughs) So I was sitting on the steps out in the hall, and here comes the uh, principal, Mr. Snyder, Jay Fowley Snyder, who used to be at Georgetown as a registrar or something--


GORMAN: --and uh, then he talked to me, and finally here came Mr. Whittinghill, and Mr. Whittinghill, he'd grab you by the ear. He just picked you up by it, and he says, "Billy, go back into class." So anyway, uh, I went back in the class and of course, I--I pre--tried to prevail on nominating Dent again, (Birdwhistell laughs) so Miss Rogers kicked me out again, and Mr. Whittinghill threw me back in. Well, uh, 00:42:00I went in the second time and I--but when I got home my mother spanked me, my father spanked me, and my uncle spanked me because--


GORMAN: Yeah, Uncle Dewey. I was never supposed to be uh--be rude, you now. So anyway, that uh--(cough)--but the school system was great.

BIRDWHISTELL: Why did you support him? Because he was a friend of yours?

GORMAN: I grew up with him. (both laugh) And--and--and I thought really that uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: He had leadership qualities?

GORMAN: Well, the thing about it, Dent lives here now up on the river, and he's worked for the post office department all of his life, and he's retired as assistant postmaster, you know--

BIRDWHISTELL: How about that?

GORMAN: --as assistant postmaster.


GORMAN: But--uh--but anyway, I tried to make a politician out of him.

BIRDWHISTELL: But, I guess, what I'm thinking is, if you did not have the Hazard Independent Schools with the name Hazard, Hazard High School and the Hazard School system, would it be--um, do you find that beneficial 00:43:00for developing Hazard as a city to have that independent school system?

GORMAN: I have people here, that we--we have a hundred--I think 139 doctors in Hazard--


GORMAN: --fifty-four hundred people last census, we have 139 doctors. Of course, I think about--a bunch of them with the UK Center of Rural Health and--and 120 or so on the staff of the hospital here. The first question they ask us is what is recre--what's education, what is recreation, and all these various things. And uh, I think the fact that we have a top school system brings these people to our community.

BIRDWHISTELL: And as having an independent Hazard system, you feel like there's more control over the quality?

GORMAN: Well, the--the uh, uh--the county systems historically are more 00:44:00political.


GORMAN: And uh, uh, our system here is uh, uh, not that large. It's about twelve hundred, fourteen hundred students, but they are--uh, when I--when I see what they do up there academically and everything else, basketball, football, (laughs) whatever, uh, I'm very pleased with it.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Does this--does the athletic competition between the schools, uh, cause difficulty in terms of trying to bring the total community of Hazard and Perry County together?

GORMAN: Well, you know, it's strange you ask that because that was the question that uh--in talking to Mayor Danny Howard, last night and uh, talking to Tony Turner, that same question was asked in Harlan County and I, uh--I don't think--I think it is with certain groups of people, 00:45:00but with us here uh, we--the city supports both the city and the county schools. The county high school is in city limits.


GORMAN: And uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: So--so while there might be rivalries and people who have resentment against maybe other schools, the movers and shakers understand the value of both, right?

GORMAN: Well, I think so.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. I mean, if Perry Central wins the state championship--

GORMAN: We support 'em.

BIRDWHISTELL: --you're happy about that?

GORMAN: That's right.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, but you'd rather Hazard win?

GORMAN: Well, (Birdwhistell laughs) after all, I am an alumni of Hazard High School.

BIRDWHISTELL: I think--ab--absolutely right, that's what I meant. (both laugh)

GORMAN: No, we--we--we do a lot for both of them--


GORMAN: And uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: But out in the parking lot, these cars have big H's on them. I assume that stands for--

GORMAN: That don't stand for Harlan. (laughs)


GORMAN: I say it doesn't stand for Harlan.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, it doesn't stand for Harlan. (laughs) It doesn't stand for hospital either.

GORMAN: Or--or Harrodsburg or where--


BIRDWHISTELL: Harrodsburg, that's--so uh--so I assume that shows pride and--

GORMAN: Well, they--they have a great deal of pride up here and they-- it's--the--the fun thing is to see these young people do as well as they do. If we had all the doctors and all the lawyers that graduated from Hazard City Schools, living in Hazard, Kentucky, we'd have more doctors and uh--and lawyers than we would citizens because--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. John Ed Pierce said if you had all the millionaires that Hazard had produced living in Hazard, you'd have something--

GORMAN: (laughs) We still got a few of them.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) Not all of them have gotten away, have they?

GORMAN: No, it is--my family is gonna stay here--

BIRDWHISTELL: There you go.

GORMAN: --and uh, we like it.

BIRDWHISTELL: There you go. Um, when you look at a city like Lexington, again, we're--you know, our theme of this is really about being--about the mayor and about city government. If you look at Lexington and all 00:47:00these issues about the--the Lexington Fayette County schools, well, Mayor Miller doesn't seem to have--I mean she might say something about it publicly, but not very often, and there's no real connection to the school system and the city government. But in a smaller town like Hazard, and especially like Hazard where--under leadership like you, there is an interconnected relationship between the schools and the city, that would be hard to unravel.

GORMAN: Well--well, the thing about it is, it's just like every time they float a bond issue in the Hazard Independent School system, I have to sign off of it.


GORMAN: So, uh, we're not really a part of each other, but the thing about it is this; our great affection for each other. Uh, for instance, we're spending probably a hundred--hundred and fifty, two hundred thousand dollars for a new band room and uh, for a new uh, leveling of a field up there for the uh, band for Hazard High School.



GORMAN: And uh, of course uh, we contributed about a hundred and fifty, two hundred thousand dollars to Perry County Central's new--for the seating for the uh, John C. Combs Arena down at Perry County Central.



BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?

GORMAN: And so uh, we--we try to be fair and--but uh, the--the site where Perry County Central sits on belong--half of it belongs to the city, and half of it belongs to the county. The city of Hazard gave them twenty-two acres in order to build that school.

BIRDWHISTELL: Did the county give them?

GORMAN: Gave them Lica Mountain.

BIRDWHISTELL: And of course, your family--your--you put your--your family's money into this school system, as I understand it?

GORMAN: Um-hm. Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's proof in the pudding right there, put your money where--

GORMAN: Well, it's not really mine, it's--I've got a corporate interest in it. (Birdwhistell laughs) And it's uh, both--both uh, schools have 00:49:00been supported--

BIRDWHISTELL: By your family?

GORMAN: By my family.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's wonderful. That's wonderful. Um, you've mentioned early in the interview about Bert Combs, and KERA, and education reform. In terms of the Hazard Schools has that been an important uh, part of that story?

GORMAN: Well, I--I think that this is probably the--the best thing that's happened to all of Kentucky, not only Hazard. I think the equalization in trying to support, uh, the school systems is just--is applaudable and uh, I think Hazard has benefited by it, like all the other communities we know of.

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, I was curious because, you know, if you have somebody in Lexington, if you ask somebody in Anchorage they might say, well, you know, KERA hadn't helped--you know, you might say site based 00:50:00councils are helpful or not helpful, but the distribution of money works against the richer uh, systems--

GORMAN: Well--

BIRDWHISTELL: --and Hazard might--you know, I'm thinking Hazard was probably doing pretty well before KERA as compared to say, some of the county systems around here and I'm wondering if it--if that had a negative impact in some--

GORMAN: Well, Peyton Hoge, who's mayor of Anchorage, is a good friend of mine--


GORMAN: --and I'm sure Peyton don't mind (Birdwhistell laughs) that-- what I'm saying is this, is uh, I understand that and uh--but I think Hazard pretty much supports itself, you know.


GORMAN: I don't think you need very much equalization.


GORMAN: In fact they might be over equalized.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, that's what I--that's--yeah, that's what I was thinking that in the Hazart--Hazard system, as opposed to the county system, it probably was doing fairly well. Uh, we talked a little bit about I-66, and that seems to continually be moving although it's years in the making as I understand it. It doesn't--

GORMAN: Well, the uh, uh--I-66 will--would probably be the greatest 00:51:00equalizer that we will have toward getting rid of the poverty in Eastern Kentucky. Um, you know, uh, you--until you get the roads, you're not gonna get the kind of factories that you want--

BIRDWHISTELL: You just got to have them.

GORMAN: --that--we--in Hazard, we've done well, but the only thing is this is, (coughs) if we had I-66 through here, it would change the lifestyle of the whole region. It--it would wipe out poverty along that route.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, that's a pretty bold statement, Mayor.

GORMAN: Well, it's a--look at I-75 (both laugh) or I-64--but uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, I was in Owensboro last week talking with some people, and uh, you know, since the mid sixties they've lamented not 00:52:00having an interstate through there. I mean, it's a very uh, prosperous and progressive city, but uh, no interstate has caused them no--

GORMAN: It cause--it causes problems. The uh, (coughs) I'm surprised Wendell hadn't stolen them one. They--they got the We--Wendell Ford (laughs)--


GORMAN: --Parkway there--

BIRDWHISTELL: --and the Wendell Ford uh, Expressway around the city, but uh, um, but you can tell a difference in ec--economic impact of, say, the Daniel Boone Parkway and the upgrading of 80 and then the bypass around Hazard, all those major--major uh, uh, incentives for economic growth?

GORMAN: Well, the thing about it is this is, uh, as far as economic growth is concerned, uh, you know, we--we used to be a railroad community, you know, but now we're a trucking community, and um, and 00:53:00of course, by the time we get through we're supposed to have a pretty good airport out here, but um, the uh--as much as they hate the trucks, that's commerce, and uh, they're bringing something from one place to the other and uh--but what we're hoping to do is--I'm--we're working on a couple more factories that uh, will employ--one about three hundred people and uh--and I don't know what the other will do, but all this tied together, uh, makes for a good economy, and that's what we're doing, that's what we're working on. But the roads--the education, the roads, medical profession, the communications, you know, Hazard communications center. It's uh, only fifty-four hundred uh, people town you know that's got two TV stations in it. We've got KET and we 00:54:00also have--


GORMAN: --Channel 57, W--uh, WYMT. And of course, we've got four radio stations and two newspapers.

BIRDWHISTELL: Four radio stations.

GORMAN: But--um-hm. And so, uh, we're--we're doing pretty good; keep trying.

BIRDWHISTELL: I keep thinking, Mayor, that you talk more like a governor than you do a mayor sometimes.

GORMAN: (laughs) I'm--I'm--I'm having uh, trouble saying my prayers over city hall. (Birdwhistell laughs)

BIRDWHISTELL: But you have a--you know, I guess as I interview more mayors maybe I'll see this as a pattern but you have a--a broader uh, agenda. I mean you--you--you see the interrelationship obviously between all of these larger projects and your city.

GORMAN: Well, the--oh, oh, we're--somebody wrote a poem about "No man is an island to himself" and uh, we've got to realize that, and that's 00:55:00been one of the great problems in Appalachia and Eastern Kentucky, um, that we all think we--we're on our own island--


GORMAN: --and we're not. Uh--but uh, we've got great opportunities and--and we ought to do something about it.

BIRDWHISTELL: Has there been a big fight with uh, trying to pick that-- the route for I-66, have you been involved in how that--

GORMAN: Well, they moved it, and we moved it back.

BIRDWHISTELL: How did you move it back?

GORMAN: We called them up, told them we had a public hearing and the public said this was where it was supposed to be. In fact, I'll--I'll show you a book here in a few minutes, if I can find it, showing where it's been moved to. And (coughs) then I talked to the planning people in Frankfort no less than ten days ago--


GORMAN: --and they said it's been moved back. And what it amounted to is, I think, they tried to move it down to the uh, Daniel Boone National Forest, uh, because of le--lower cost rights for it.


BIRDWHISTELL: They--they could get that land for nothing, huh?

GORMAN: Well, pre--pretty much, it wouldn't be as expensive, see.


GORMAN: And uh, of course, people in the, I think uh, London and Somerset are the ones that moved it back. (laughs) It's called economics.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, for that southern route? They moved it back up--


BIRDWHISTELL: --is that what you're saying?

GORMAN: Yeah. They moved it back where--where it cost more. (laughs) That's what I heard. I--I--I haven't studied it that much.

BIRDWHISTELL: So, uh, something like I-66 now, that's--Hal Rogers is right in the middle of that, right?

GORMAN: Um-hm. Uh, Jim Bunning, Hal Rogers, Mitch McConnell--

BIRDWHISTELL: All the senators acting?

GORMAN: --yeah, and all the congressmen across Kentucky. And of course uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Who do you call when you have a question about it? Who's the first person you call? Hal Rogers?

GORMAN: Well, I call Hal. He--(laughs)--he's an old friend of mine. I've known him for--

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh I would guess.

GORMAN: --forty years. The--the worst thing you can do, uh, Terry, is 00:57:00to get old because you know everybody. They uh--um, some--somebody asked me one day who was some of my classmates. I said, "Well, there was George Washington and (Birdwhistell laughs) Benjamin Franklin." (laughs) But um, anyway, it's--it's a fun thing to do.

BIRDWHISTELL: I may have already asked you this, but you--would you rather have Hal Rogers as your uh, congressman or your governor?

GORMAN: I'd rather have him as my congressman.

BIRDWHISTELL: Okay. I think I asked you that. And I think that's what you told me before.

GORMAN: I haven't changed my mind. In fact, I told Hal that. (both laugh)

BIRDWHISTELL: What did he say?

GORMAN: Well, he--he just, you know, he--he--he's wandering around in the uh, new bliss of matrimon--matrimony--

BIRDWHISTELL: There you go.

GORMAN: So it's--it's according to where his wife wants to live, probably.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) Okay. Let's talk about uh, some of the developments here. That uh--you've mentioned Buckhorn Lake and the 00:58:00development of that and how important that was, has--let me ask it this way, has tourism been as important to the economy of Hazard, and by extension Perry County, as you thought it would or hoped it would?

GORMAN: Well, I think uh, Carr's Fork and Buckhorn have certainly had their impact.


GORMAN: But the only thing about--I think our people here are more--uh, it's--it's a different kind of a situation here being a medical center. We got all kinds of people in the medical uh, profession. Um, you see them on the lakes every now and then, but primarily, uh, I think, uh, the city of Hazard is more commercially oriented than--than uh, from a tourist standpoint. We're a trading center.



GORMAN: Uh, we're--we're a logging center. We're a mining center. Like I say, uh, we're a communication center. We're an educational center, and all these various things, and of course, the tourism uh, dollars flow in too and so it's just (coughs) what the ingredients of the cake is uh, to be, you know, and uh--it's made up of all these things and that makes, the diversification, I think, makes Hazard strong. And it's--uh, we are certainly diversified.

BIRDWHISTELL: But you wouldn't necessarily, as the city of Hazard, hire a tourism director to--would you to bring people in to see something in Hazard?

GORMAN: I've got--I've got--uh, Charlie Helms is my assistant. We spent 99 percent of our time trying to attract new businesses--


GORMAN: Uh, we do not--um, our good friend, the former mayor of 01:00:00Prestonsburg, is [Telephone rings] Ann Latta, who takes care of tourism in Kentucky.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's--that's right.


BIRDWHISTELL: That's right. [Telephone rings] Okay.

GORMAN: Excuse--

[Pause in recording.]

BIRDWHISTELL: So if I understand what you're saying, Mayor, it's because of uh--Hazard has looked at uh, what it--what its best options are, and that is to continue its history as a city of entrepreneurs and a city of uh, economic industrial growth and development. And uh--and tourism, uh, is a part of that, but not--in--in no way is going to be the major part of the city of Hazard's efforts?

GORMAN: Well, and to give you an idea, I used--in the 1940s, I used to go down to the Tennessee Valley. I went out in the far northwest with the development of um, some of the things that they were doing out there with lakes and dams, and (coughs) we decided that we needed to do 01:01:00something about tourism and that's when we started working on Buckhorn and Buckhorn State Park, and later on Carr's Fork, the development of the Kentucky River--


GORMAN: --and uh, in my early days, I thought tourism was the answer. Well, the only thing about tourism, it's--uh, it brings a lot of low paying jobs, but it doesn't bring the uh, uh--I'd rather have a two hundred million dollar medical center or a three hundred million than uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: than a--a lodge out on the edge of town--

GORMAN: --yeah, that's right, it will--and well, I think Buckhorn they have about seventy--maybe a hundred employees over there; well, that's great. You've got thirty-five hundred people in the medical profession here, and they're all higher paid.

BIRDWHISTELL: I was gonna say, with medical salaries.

GORMAN: Um-hm. So it's a--but it--I think it's a mix of everything that 01:02:00makes a good community.

BIRDWHISTELL: So regionally tourism and tourist development makes sense, but for the city of Hazard that's not a main priority?

GORMAN: We don't have our own di--uh, dinosaur or--or--or uh, you know, we don't have any Big Foot or anything like that to draw attractions.

BIRDWHISTELL: Now, the cities like Owensboro, and I keep bringing that up because I have some familiarity from being down there, they tried to grow as a--not necessarily as a tourism--tourist destination because there's not that much to see in Owensboro but as a convention destination, and is that--let me ask you this, what is your--uh, it's my understanding that in terms of Hazard's development that one of--some--a concern that some people might have is the lack of uh, uh, adequate hotel-motel accommodations for such a--a business.


GORMAN: Well, the thing about it is this is uh, the president of our uh, Kentucky uh, Fire Chief Association was from Hazard a couple of years ago, and uh, he had to have his convention in Lexington because we didn't have a place to have it here. And the um, present president of the um, Kentucky um, Chief of Police is Rod Maggard, who's our chief of police here in Hazard, and I think he had his convention maybe over at uh, Paintsville. Uh, now we used to have a whole lot more facilities here than we've got now.

BIRDWHISTELL: What happened?

GORMAN: Well, uh, the commerce is so strong that they bought it--bought it up and made office spaces out of it.


GORMAN: There's a l--uh, let's see, the Citadelle is now uh, an engineering office and the radio stations is gonna be in there, a 01:04:00couple of them, and uh, out on East Main uh, the uh--what they call the Pleasure Cove is doctors' offices. Across the bridge is the old Townhouse and it's apartments, and uh, the Grand Hotel is--is apartments down on Main Street. And what's happened is, there's more revenue from that kind of thing than there is uh, from the hotel business.

BIRDWHISTELL: Was the Citadelle in the city limits?

GORMAN: Yes. I live right beyond it.


GORMAN: Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: How important was that to the development of Hazard?

GORMAN: (coughs) It's probably the greatest thing that ever happened. And um--the worst thing that ever happened to Hazard was when the uh, um, H. A. Spalding Engineers bought it and changed it to an engineering office.

BIRDWHISTELL: It was the best thing that ever happened to Hazard?

GORMAN: Well, I think it was. I think--


GORMAN: Well, it--it was--uh, it had a national reputation, and uh, the only thing, of course, is, uh, the uh, changing in the hotel business 01:05:00and all this kind of thing and--uh, but when my family owned it, it was very, very prominent in the area.

BIRDWHISTELL: Now did you all develop it?

GORMAN: No, Mr. Davis--L. O. Davis developed it.



BIRDWHISTELL: And then you all bought it?

GORMAN: Later on, yes.

BIRDWHISTELL: Hmm. 'Cause a lot of the photographs I've seen of you are of meetings and dinner parties and things at the Citadelle--


BIRDWHISTELL: --so it was a social--


BIRDWHISTELL: --a center of social activity then?

GORMAN: --it had the best food and the best (laughs)--had great--uh, um uh, you know, back in the seventies and eighties, uh, when the--the coal industry was really booming, the Citadelle was the heart of it--the city. Uh, all these people from Germany, and South Africa, Australia, wherever, they'd land in the Citadelle.

BIRDWHISTELL: So if the walls could talk there'd be some talked about deals made at the Citadelle?

GORMAN: Oh, there--that's right.

BIRDWHISTELL: Did you make some deals there?


GORMAN: A few. (both laugh)

BIRDWHISTELL: And why did you all sell it?

GORMAN: Well, the--(coughs)--the reason our family--


GORMAN: --got out of it is because uh, we were too old to fool with it--


GORMAN: --uh, you know. In other words, my--L. D. lives right across from it and he didn't like the noise, (both laugh) and uh, my brother Joe got tired of fooling with it, and uh, of course, I lived there a year and a half, you know, and uh--but uh, it was a--it was a great place and--and uh, did a great job for its time.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. You actually lived in the--the Citadelle?

GORMAN: Yeah. I--uh, I was single for a while and--

BIRDWHISTELL: And that's where you took up residence--

GORMAN: --I--I had a suite--it--I wouldn't pay a bit of rent but I lived there.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) I don't know much about it, but uh, would it be kind of like the Campbell House was to Lexington in that sense, like a--

GORMAN: Well--

BIRDWHISTELL: --sort of ambiance?

GORMAN: --well, I think--I think so, uh, the um--it was just--just a 01:07:00real, real nice place, and a good--good atmosphere--


GORMAN: --uh, clear skies, mountain view, and sw--swimming pool, you know, and--at one time they used to even have uh, uh, horseback uh, rides and things like that, you know. So it--but uh, anyway, its time has gone, and so it's time for something else.

BIRDWHISTELL: So is Mayor Gorman looking at uh, possibilities to provide a place where the Chiefs of Police Association, the uh, Kentucky Librarians, the uh, other such groups, especially medical groups now, could come and have--hold a statewide convention in Hazard, is that--is that in the future?

GORMAN: Well, (coughs) we're--we're working on an 804 seat uh, auditorium which is--will be build this year, and we're working on two motel-hotel types that we know about. In fact, we're looking for 01:08:00locations and uh--see, the problem we have here, Terry, is we don't have any place to build things.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Where would you put a--a facility like that plus parking, right?

GORMAN: Well, we're--we're working on it. (laughs)

BIRDWHISTELL: Are you? Well, I--I thought you might be, that's not all.

GORMAN: Of course, the--the uh, Roger Center will have uh, the forum, which is the auditorium and uh, just the electronics in this building is gonna cost over six hundred fifty thousand dollars, and it's gonna be tied in with a TV station to where that you can broadcast live from the stage--

BIRDWHISTELL: Interactive?

GORMAN: Yeah, and uh, of course, the uh, Justice--the Law Enforcement Training and Technical Center will have uh, all kinds of electronic abilities to do whatever they want to do around the world and uh, so it's--it'll work.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. So you think in uh, five years--ten years there'll 01:09:00be a major convention facility here in Hazard?

GORMAN: Uh, I don't know. (laughs) If (coughs) the uh--um, you know, uh, I--it would be nice, uh, but uh, we--we don't really know what direction we're gonna be going in, because we're so busy already.


GORMAN: You know, I mean uh, uh, it'd be nice to go out here and build a uh, convention center, but this uh--but I--I really don't think we need that. I think Buckhorn--they're building a convention center over at Buckhorn State Park now.

BIRDWHISTELL: That should be--

GORMAN: (coughs) So I--I don't think that the city of Hazard needs to-- to draw on its revenues in order to do that.

BIRDWHISTELL: Interesting, because so many cities think they have to have one.


GORMAN: Well, Hazard's already important.


GORMAN: You know, I mean, as--as far as I'm concerned, and uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: I understand. I think you're making an interesting distinction and I appreciate you doing that. What about the Black Gold Festival? Is that an important part of the city or not?

GORMAN: Well, I can show you pictures where there's--well, let's see--if I--we don't have a picture here. There's two hundred thousand people in Hazard on that day.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) Two hundred thousand.

GORMAN: Two--listen, for a town of fifty-four hundred, that's a pretty-- that's a pretty good turnout.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's--pretty soon you're talking a lot of people. (laughs)

GORMAN: What--what's the Kentucky Derby draw, a hundred twenty-five?

BIRDWHISTELL: Something like that, yes sir.

GORMAN: (coughs) The uh--but over two hundred thousand people there that day, and--and I mean that's a conservative estimate. That--that day is when the uh, Dukes of Hazard all came to town, you know, and brother they came out of--out of the woodworks. (laughs) And uh, we had a good time.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. So you like that--you--you think that's important 01:11:00to your community--

GORMAN: Well--

BIRDWHISTELL: --to bring in those types of uh--of activities?

GORMAN: Well, we got uh--we got the four--of course, this year we had-- uh, I was in Florida and I didn't get to see it, we had one of the best firework displays on uh, the year 2000 of anywhere in Kentucky, and of course, July the fourth is always a big day here.

BIRDWHISTELL: Out here besides the city hall?

GORMAN: So we--we probably entertain fifty thousand people with a fireworks displays--


GORMAN: --and uh, we fed three thousand people fish on the fourth, fish and hot dogs, and hamburgers, and um, of course, the--the Black Gold is always a huge turnout. So, (coughs) those are the primary times that uh, the city is involved and uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: You know it's interesting, Mayor, when I was--I walked around city hall from the parking lot, I always like to get a view of the river. The river's up, and it's nice to look at. And your people 01:12:00are out here working on the grounds, and I was looking at the fountain, and one of the guys working on it said, uh, he said, "Well, that algae's kind of discolored that water, but," he said, "On the fourth of July we had that thing looking really good." (Gorman laughs) And I was struck by the pride that your crew out there was taking in what that looked like, you know, this wonderful area you have out here beside city hall, and that beautiful fountain, and your--your maintenance guy wanted to tell me how--

GORMAN: It looked good on the fourth. (laughs)

BIRDWHISTELL: --yeah, he wanted to tell me how--it looked a lot better on the fourth, and so it--I guess that was what my question was getting at, that uh, these types of uh, activities, these types of community things build pride in the community, I guess, right? I mean, is that an overstatement?

GORMAN: Well--well, last week, for instance, we--we had a black school on Liberty Schoo--on Liberty Street and (coughs) it was part of the Hazard City School system, and it closed--about 1956 they went out of 01:13:00business from--all--everybody joined together.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, desegregate.

GORMAN: And uh, they had--last Friday and Saturday, they had the Liberty Street reunion--


GORMAN: --and they gave me this plaque right over here (laughs)--from the--and--and we had uh--we built a uh, monument up there to the school, and uh, we got a bunch of the--names of the people that were involved and uh, then the--that was two years ago. Well, every two years they come back, and we must've had about four or five hundred people Saturday--Friday and Saturday and uh--


GORMAN: --and we had the cookout for them and uh, um, all--all the things you have at a reunion and of course, on Saturday night I had to go to Richmond, 'cause uh, my wife's family reunion was uh, at Richmond 01:14:00and uh, so, I didn't get to be there but they sent me a plaque so I feel pretty good about it, (laughs) but uh, good people.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yes sir. Yes sir. So uh, part of being mayor is part of being--of making sure that the community has activities that--that try to pull people together, I guess.

GORMAN: Well, have you ever had a tour of Hazard, uh, Terry?

BIRDWHISTELL: Yes, your uh--

GORMAN: Charlie?

BIRDWHISTELL: --Charlie gave me a wonderful tour the first day I was down here.

GORMAN: Um-hm. Well, (coughs) it's a good town.


GORMAN: Good people.

BIRDWHISTELL: And it's nice to have a tour by somebody who knows where everything is because it's a--you really--I mean one can drive through Hazard and not get a sense of the scope of what's going on here and uh, you know, he too--he took me uh, all over and uh, it's very impressive when you do the--

GORMAN: Well--

BIRDWHISTELL: --all the things.

GORMAN: --uh, we feel pretty good about it, but I don't uh--I don't know where we're going, and I don't know where we've been, but we'll still 01:15:00be going. (Birdwhistell laughs)

BIRDWHISTELL: But you still don't know where. Let me put in a new tape.

[Pause in recording.]

BIRDWHISTELL: Let's look at the economic development a little bit more, Mayor. The uh--the Wendell Ford Airport is uh--is important to the community and your thinking is, I guess, that it will con--it--its importance will expand in the next decade?

GORMAN: Well, we're uh--uh, Wendell helped us get the thing off the ground when he was in the senate, and uh, we had to start out with a four thousand foot runway. We've got it up to five thousand. This is a new runway. Now, we've got a thirty-two hundred fifty foot runway besides this one. And we've gone from fo--uh, uh four to five thousand and we're going to seven thousand feet, and it's set in the uh, uh, Department of Transportation uh, plan for about five or six million dollars to be spent in the next five years.

BIRDWHISTELL: Now, Senator Ford was--uh, yeah, I think he told me that 01:16:00he was sorry he couldn't get that extension done before he got out.

GORMAN: Oh, yeah. We worked on it. (Birdwhistell laughs) But--uh, but he--we're gonna get it done. He's uh--it's--it's budgeted and uh--but he was--he is a great friend of our people here, very fond of him.

BIRDWHISTELL: In the--the--the airport expansion, the uh--lengthen the runway and the improvements you're doing in the facilities out there, is that for corporate economic development or is that uh, at some point for expanded uh, passenger service?

GORMAN: Well, the uh--what we're trying to do is try to get a little bit of both, and uh, we have people flying in here--in here now, um, for--in economic development, but uh, what I'd like to see is, I 'd like to see a shuttle from various cities. Hazard Kentucky is between four major areas.

BIRDWHISTELL: I was gonna ask you, where would you go from here in terms of c--

GORMAN: Well, you go--you can go to Lexington, or you go to Huntington, 01:17:00you go to um, Johnson City, Kingsport, or Knoxville.

BIRDWHISTELL: Which one is closest? Johnson City?

GORMAN: We're--we're about the same from all of them.

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?


BIRDWHISTELL: So you can get to Huntington as quickly as you get to Lexington--

GORMAN: Right.


GORMAN: Right.

BIRDWHISTELL: Hmm. So uh, do you as mayor talk to some corporation like ComAir or somebody like that?

GORMAN: Well, I've talked to UPS and--and uh, I've talked--uh, the question was, which comes first, the chicken or the egg? You know--

BIRDWHISTELL: Did you get an answer? (laughs)

GORMAN: Well the--so--so far, (coughs) I'm holding the chicken. (both laugh) Uh, the uh--no, I think it's just a matter of time, uh, because once we get the facility there--and of course, FAA says well why do we need to build a facility there un--unless it's gonna happen? And uh, so I talked to people of FAA and I told them, I said, "It can't have- 01:18:00-they're not gonna land till you have a place to land." And uh, so--but we've done very well with them.

BIRDWHISTELL: Now what would UPS do with the airport?

GORMAN: Uh--uh, freight, you know.

BIRDWHISTELL: Distribution?

GORMAN: Um-hm. This um--we're uh--what? Two hours--three hours from Louisville and uh--and of course, we're in the heart of where they need to be and uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: And where are they distributing from right now for this region?

GORMAN: They're--they're using charter service into Hazard--


GORMAN: --right now, um-hm.


GORMAN: Until uh--we--we've got a little--a few ducks in line, we just uh, haven't gotten them all uh, taken care of yet.

BIRDWHISTELL: Now, for a--for a uh, commuter service, your--is your runway already run--uh, long enough for like ComAir?

GORMAN: Yes. Five thousand people can handle ComAir. We've had DC-3s, and I don't know what all out there. But what they do when they go to seven thousand feet they not only lengthen the runway, but they also 01:19:00uh, strengthen the runway, you see.


GORMAN: And um, uh, when Bill Clinton was here last July the fifth, uh, he--he said, "Why, we can land here." I said, "You can land here, Mr. President, but you might've sunk down--


GORMAN: --because the blacktop is--

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, that would've been so--that--that was what Ford wanted to do, is get it fixed in time--

GORMAN: Bring--for the president to come to Hazard. And of course, uh, uh, Wendell didn't know I had advised the president to come, and of course, Wendell is out of the Senate, last fall, you know--


GORMAN: --last winter, which is like losing Benny Ray Bailey. I've lost two good friends.

BIRDWHISTELL: Shoo man. Yes sir, that matters too.

GORMAN: Yeah, but I've--

BIRDWHISTELL: Just got some left though, right?

GORMAN: Yeah, we got some left. Well, we'll have to make new ones every now and then. (Birdwhistell laughs) The worst thing you can do, uh, Terry, is outlive everybody.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) Well, I don't know if that's the worst thing. If that's the worst thing, I know what you're saying--

GORMAN: Well, I mean, you've got to make new friends all the time.


BIRDWHISTELL: I understand. I understand.

GORMAN: But uh, it's uh--it's easier to make friends, but there's nothing like your old, old friends. You know, Wendell Ford and I were in the Jaycees together.


GORMAN: And uh, uh, of course, um, we were talking last night about the--the Mountain Parkway, and I'd forgotten all about it and (coughs) somebody was--asked me about it, and uh, we met with Bert Combs the first time we drew out the Mountain Parkway. John Whisman was president of the Kentucky Jaycees, I was on the board or something. And John, and myself, and the fellow--Reverend Darcy, and a fellow by the name of Bob Mansfield, who was uh, president of the Hazard Jaycees, we all met in Prestonsburg and (coughs) we were talking about roads into Eastern Kentucky. And--and of course I was a big--a big dam man myself back in those days, and uh, we--we were in a restaurant and we drew out on 01:21:00the tablecloth just exactly what the Mountain Parkway should look like, from uh, Winchester to Campton, to Prestonsburg, Pikeville, to Hazard, and uh, on into Whitesburg. And uh, (coughs) and our discussions--we were able to get Mr. Spalding, Mr. H. A. Spalding who was an engineer here in Hazard, interested in it. And uh, and of course, I think he's the one who sold Bert Combs on the Mountain Parkway.

BIRDWHISTELL: Mr. Spalding did, um-hm.

GORMAN: I've got to go back just a minute, excuse me.


[Pause in recording.]

GORMAN: It's just about--in the 1960s--

BIRDWHISTELL: You don't have that tablecloth, do you--?

GORMAN: (laughs) No.

BIRDWHISTELL: --that you drew that road? (both laugh) I wanted to ask you, Mayor, what--and I may have asked you this before, in terms of 01:22:00your uh, personal collection of uh, correspondence, and memorabilia, and pub--from your years in public service, uh, do you have a collection of that material?

GORMAN: No, I--I decided not to do that. Uh, I'll tell you the reason why, is because--uh, at the time I should've done it--

BIRDWHISTELL: Now we'd love to have it at the university, if you have it. (Gorman laughs) It'd be nice to organi--help you--look at that, you've got--this just pulled right out of your uh--that's for Ronald Reagan--that's very nice. You might have more than you realize, Mayor. (Gorman laughs) You'd be--

GORMAN: Oh, here's some letters--you've--you've seen those over there--


BIRDWHISTELL: Yes, I've seen your presidential letters, um-hm. Well we'd be happy to help you organize any of this stuff.

GORMAN: Well--

BIRDWHISTELL: And put it in a--a collection at UK because it's a--

GORMAN: Well--

BIRDWHISTELL: --we're trying to document, not only politics in Kentucky, but the development of public policy, and I think uh, the--the things you've done over your career would certainly be uh, an important part of that story.

GORMAN: Well, we've had a lot of fun.


GORMAN: I would like to uh--find that one thing because it mentioned-- mentioned some of the old timers, John Whisman and--


GORMAN: --all that crowd that--that we all worked with and I always--uh, Beverly is always making fun of my--

BIRDWHISTELL: Your filing system?

GORMAN: --my filing system. (Birdwhistell laughs) Right, Beverly?

BEVERLY: No not very much.

BIRDWHISTELL: She might say you don't have a system, right? (laughs)


GORMAN: Here's a--I don't know what this is--this is something. (laughs)

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. "Small Town Heroes." [papers shuffling] Recognized as a hometown hero.

GORMAN: (laughs) Oh, well, that's just so--so--some of the stuff that-- and here's something about Wendell Ford, he's--


GORMAN: "Ex-Senator Ford will Advise Law--Law Firm."

BIRDWHISTELL: Of all the uh, economic development activities you've been 01:25:00involved in, Mayor, the coal fields, regional industrial park, uh, DJ Plastics, Trus Joist MacMillan, Whayne Supply, Perry Manufacturing, are all your economic development projects like children? Do you love them all the same?

GORMAN: Well of course, the--the only thing I think--uh, uh, the hardest one we ever had was Trus Joist MacMillan.

BIRDWHISTELL: Why was that hard?

GORMAN: Well, they--they had such difficulty in finding a site for them.


GORMAN: And uh, uh, don't--don't quote me, but I found the site for them.


GORMAN: And uh, that was um, uh--and what we had done, we had uh, put a water tank out there above that site and uh so uh, they needed water and they needed all these other things, um, that goes with the 01:26:00development. And when you--uh, but when they build the waterline to the airport, I told them, I said, "Let's put a tank on that mountain over there where--above that strip mine," and uh, it paid off, because when Trus Joist MacMillan came to town, uh, one of the things they needed was an abundant supply of water.

BIRDWHISTELL: Hmm, and there you had it.

GORMAN: And uh, we had it. Well, I can't--go ahead, Terry, I'm--

BIRDWHISTELL: Okay. All right. How important, um, and I know you realize that uh, I'm here because the Kentucky League of Cities is interested in hearing about these life stories of mayors--uh, some mayors. What role does the Kentucky League of Cities play in uh, the 01:27:00life of a mayor like yourself?

GORMAN: Well, of course uh, what I did when I first became president- -been--became mayor of Hazard, Willie Dawahare was one of my go--good friends, and Willie insisted that I become involved in the Kentucky League of Cities. And uh, so um, he went with me, you know, the first couple--three years to the conventions, and--and of course, I was put on the board the first year.

BIRDWHISTELL: The first year?

GORMAN: And uh, and I've been on the board for twenty-two or twenty- three years, served as president in uh, 1984, I think it was, and uh, uh, the uh--the league has uh, certainly--it--when I was president the league had about four employees; now they must have fifty or more, maybe sixty.

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, that's a big change.

GORMAN: And uh, so uh, Sylvia Lovely and her group, they are very, very 01:28:00effective in vise--advising cities just exactly what to go and uh, they got an insurance programs and all this kind of thing and they--uh, of course, the convention allows everybody to get together and--and uh, cry over what's wrong. (Birdwhistell laughs) But--(coughs)--but uh, anyway, I--I think it's very beneficial for the city--cities to participate.


GORMAN: And uh, I--I know it's been uh re--real helpful to me.

BIRDWHISTELL: Okay. And I guess some people would say you've been really helpful to the League of Cities?

GORMAN: Well, they've been more helpful to me than I have to the-- (laughs)--to them.


GORMAN: The--what I'm saying is, we've--we've--you know, uh, I think you get out just exactly what you put in--


GORMAN: --and uh--and I--uh, I feel pretty good about my relationship with them.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. When you got involve--when you became mayor, and 01:29:00you went to the League of Cities conventions and you got--you knew some mayors already from your work here in the region, but you got to meet, uh, for example, you mentioned before we turned on the recorder about uh, J. R. Miller was president before you, I guess, and you meet mayors from around the state, and what was your initial impression of all these characters? Did--did you think--

GORMAN: Well--

BIRDWHISTELL: --that was a good group or did you--well, I don't know how these cities make it with these guys?

GORMAN: Well uh, 90--99 percent of the people I met are just great people--


GORMAN: --and--and dedicated, you know. Uh, nobody's gonna work for a mayor's salary in this country, uh, uh 'cause you--you can't eat, (laughs) uh, but uh, the--without the dedication of the--of the individual himself, uh, because um, it's--here in the city of Hazard, this year our budget's twenty-three--almost twenty-three million 01:30:00dollars for fifty-four hundred people, that's pretty good.


GORMAN: And the uh, um--but the salary, that is set upon the books, uh- -the--a third-class city salary is fifty thousand dollars a year but, the salary that's set upon the books is twenty-five dollars a month for the mayor, and twenty-five dollars a month for the commissioners. Now the whole idea of this is this, is if you are not--if you don't want to be committed, you certainly aren't gonna go for the money. And uh, so, like I told you earlier, not a single one of my elected officials in the county take a salary.


GORMAN: But uh, I met Jerry Abramson, you know, the mayor of Louisville. I worked for him a number of years, and of course, J. R. Miller and-- and they mayors of Paducah to Pikeville, and from uh, Maysville all the way to--to Harlan County.


BIRDWHISTELL: I'm gonna put you on the spot, Mayor. Um, you don't have to answer, of course, but you don't have to answer anything--

GORMAN: (laughs) Well--

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) Uh, the League of Cities selected you to be interviewed in this project, and I--and I assumed--and now I--I know why, because of the things you've done here, when--in--in your time as mayor, as you look around the state, and uh, I know this is not a fair question, but who would be the mayors that you watched, or got to know, or looked at, or observed that were the best, the most successful, the most progressive, the people you stole ideas from? (laughs)

GORMAN: Well uh, I'm not a thief, but I've stold ideas from all over Kentucky, and all over the nation.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) Well uh, successful people take ideas that don't belong to them.

GORMAN: Well, uh, when--when I look back--uh, of course, I knew everybody from Roy Arnold, the mayor of uh, Danville to Peyton Hoge, the mayor of Anchorage, uh, Jerry Abramson, the--the mayor of 01:32:00Louisville, and of course, our old friend J.R. Miller, the mayor of uh, uh, Owensboro. (coughs) Uh, I--I think, basically, uh, uh, I admired all these people, and--and uh, and I sought information from them, and uh, uh, and working through the league, we got a lot of help through the league and uh--and uh, a lot of association of uh--there's- -there's hundreds of them out there, Terry, that have contributed to what little knowledge I have.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. And I guess over--since you've been mayor and been involved in the league for, I don't know, well over twenty years, right--?

GORMAN: Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: --uh, and you talk about the turnover rate of mayors across the state, you've met a lot of mayors over a quarter of a 01:33:00century, right?

GORMAN: Right.

BIRDWHISTELL: You've seen a lot come and a lot go.

GORMAN: Well, the uh, the--I've (coughs) (laughs) I met a lot of them. (Birdwhistell laughs) And of course, I've met a lot of them on the national scene and uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: So you--you've been involved nationally in other cities?

GORMAN: Well, I've--some years ago I was, when I was president of the league, and when I was going up the chairs, you know--


GORMAN: --and uh, so uh, you get to know them all, and you respect some, and (laughs) you can't stand some.

BIRDWHISTELL: Are there common issues--there must be, I guess, uh, common issues between Hazard and Owensboro, Louisville, Pittsburg, the larger cities across the nation. When mayors get together at the national level, does the mayor of Hazard have a lot in common with the mayor of uh, Kansas City?

GORMAN: Well, (coughs) uh, we have a--a lot of the same general problems, you know.


BIRDWHISTELL: It's just a matter of scope, I guess.

GORMAN: Yeah, and uh, um--I know uh, probably the thing that shakes you up more than anything else is the EPA (laughs) and wh--water and your sewer, and I mean I--I--I believe I've heard the EPA mentioned more prominently than--than I have the presidency of the United States.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) Um, for a young person, or a person coming into this community, in twenty-five or fifty years from now, and they're looking back at the history of this city, at the turn of--what they would call the turn of the century--

GORMAN: Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: --as the mayor of Hazard at the turn of that century, what would you want to tell them about what you tried to do as mayor during the quarter century that you served here? What--what message would you 01:35:00think you'd want to send across time to the people of Hazard in the year 2050?

GORMAN: (laughs) Well, (coughs) when I was elected mayor, the city of Hazard owed five hundred fifty-five thousand dollars in current debts. And then two or three weeks later I found out we owed a hundred ninety-four thousand dollars to the gas company (coughs) I just hope, that whoever the mayor is, don't turn over the city to them (Birdwhistell laughs) in the same shape that Hazard was turned over to me. But (coughs) the budget was seven hundred fifty thousand dollars a year in 1977-'78; in the year 2000 it's almost twenty-three million dollars. Of course, that's build--building projects and all that kind 01:36:00of thing. But the main thing is, Hazard is a good town. It's made up of good people, and you have to love the town and love the people to enjoy being mayor.

BIRDWHISTELL: When you--do you ever ponder the future of--of Hazard and what it might be like in the year 2050?

GORMAN: Terry, (coughs) I haven't had a time since I've been mayor to-- to look to 2050. (Birdwhistell laughs) I--I'm serious. You know--

BIRDWHISTELL: You're in the church of the here and now, right?

GORMAN: I--I'm in the church of the here and now, brother! (both laugh) The uh--you know, they just uh--you know, really we've got so many projects and so many things going on, and uh--uh the main thing is this, is to get them done. And uh, I might even run again. I'm just seventy-six years old.

BIRDWHISTELL: You're a young man.

GORMAN: (coughs) Wha--what's wrong with running for mayor when you're seventy-eight? Ronald Reagan ran for president when he was seventy- 01:37:00eight, didn't he?

BIRDWHISTELL: I think so. I think so.

GORMAN: (laughs) But I don't know, I--

BIRDWHISTELL: What do you hope the people, fifty years from now, think of Mayor Gorman? Do you care?

GORMAN: Oh, yes I care. (Birdwhistell laughs) The thing that I wanted more than think about me is think about Hazard. And you know, love their community and take care of it because, you know, the town is just as good as the people that's in it. And uh, it's just a--I--(coughs)- -I hope they remember me. There's--I'm--I'm afraid they will, whether they like it or not. (laughs)

BIRDWHISTELL: (both laugh) That's right.

GORMAN: But it's uh--it's been a lot of fun and uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Well it's a great story, Mayor.

GORMAN: Well, it's--well, it's just like this thing here--whoever-- 01:38:00whoever heard of trying to build a highway to Harlan? Uh, the whole idea of that is--here, we have US-421 coming through Harlan to Hyden. Have you ever been over to Abingdon, Virginia, um, Terry?

BIRDWHISTELL: I--I have not.

GORMAN: Abingdon, Virginia, if you look on the map, has alternate 58 going up and down almost to Middlesboro in Virginia. Then (coughs) they've got uh, uh, US-58 coming from Abingdon to go across the lower level of Virginia, that way the federal government paid for both roads, the alternate road and the main road. What we're proposing here is to try to get uh, the uh, federal government to pay 90-95 percent for the alternate road as well as 4-21. And 4-21 hasn't had anything done on 01:39:00it for fifty years. So uh, we--the mayor of Harlan and a group of us got together, and we think we might be able to sell this. They--they've sold it in Virginia. You ought to be able to sell it in Kentucky.

BIRDWHISTELL: Now what is the argument for building the 4-21A rather than just improving the current 4-21?

GORMAN: Well, the--(coughs)--it'd be closer probably, plu--plus the fact, uh, Harlan County's a pretty good sized county, and uh, the people in Harlan have an investment in this um, indust--industrial park out here and so uh, if you come from the Cum--Cumberland side there, it's uh--you're twenty miles--twenty-five miles closer than coming from the other side of Harlan, see.


GORMAN: So you know, it's just a--we're--we're just giving an--an alternate--alternate route.


BIRDWHISTELL: And there's no road currently where you've drawn this line?

GORMAN: I don't think so. Well, uh, just a minute. Oh this is an existing road right here.


GORMAN: Yeah. This is, I think, 6-99, I don't know what it is.


GORMAN: Um, but this is uh, from Harlan to um, Cumberland is twenty miles and over here it's about twenty-one miles to Hazard--


GORMAN: --after they come through here see, or--or to uh--uh, not Hazard but to uh, Jeff.


GORMAN: And it's a new three lane highway here, and then you go back on the Daniel Boone to um--to Hyden, you're back to Hyden. And uh, so you just loop this--is alternate 4-21. And, uh, uh, I'll show you a map of Virginia where they've done that.




BIRDWHISTELL: Well, I mean that's an age-old uh, approach in West Kentucky forty--US-41 and US-41A, uh, went through Hopkinsville.

GORMAN: Yeah that's right, I'd forgotten about that. But I've been using Virginia; I thought that it would make the congressman madder if he thought it just happened in Virginia.

BIRDWHISTELL: Well there you go, there you go.

GORMAN: But uh, (coughs) anyway, that's uh--the governor is coming up here for uh--Thursday--


GORMAN: Yeah, will be on TV on--at four o'clock, so we're gonna meet him at three forty-five, and hit him with that. (Birdwhistell laughs) It just takes time.

BIRDWHISTELL: Persistence?

GORMAN: Well, I don't know, we've got to--I told you the story of Highway 80, didn't I?

BIRDWHISTELL: I don't know. Tell me again.

GORMAN: Well, let's go in, I'll let you read a letter.


GORMAN: It's on the wall.


GORMAN: I've got a bad habit of putting letters on the wall.


BIRDWHISTELL: Is it in this room?

GORMAN: It's in the other room.

[End of interview.]