Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Arthur L. Schmidt, October 30, 2003

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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MOYEN: Okay. Well, I'm here with Arthur "Art" Schmidt, who served in the 69th House District and the 11th Senate District for . . . what was the total number of years?

SCHMIDT: Let's see. Twenty-seven years.

MOYEN: Twenty-seven years.

SCHMIDT: I spent . . . I think I spent nineteen in the house and then nine in the senate.

MOYEN: Okay.

SCHMIDT: That doesn't come out to 27, [both chuckling] but I never was good at math. It's a . . . I'm the only . . . I think I'm the only legislator ever to have been elected to a two- year term, a three-year term, a four-year term, and a five-year term. And the way that happened is, . . .

MOYEN: [Inaudible].

SCHMIDT: . . . I was . . . when they changed the Constitution to put the legislative elections on odd . . . even years instead of odd years, I was elected to a three-year term in the house, and then ran for the senate and was elected for a five-year term in the senate, and then, again, a four-year term. That's how that screwy mess-up happened.

MOYEN: Well, that's pretty neat. Let's talk about . . . let's go back a ways. Can tell me 00:01:00about your family? Do you know how your family ended up in northern Kentucky, something about your parents?

SCHMIDT: Let's see, yeah. My grandfather on my mother's side came from Germany, and I don't know how old he was, but they were trying to get out of Germany, I think. This is long before Hitler or anything like that. This was back maybe even before the Kaiser in World War One. Anyway, he came over. He was a shoemaker and settled right on [inaudible] mountain here, had a little shoemaker shop and then . . . and then a little grocery store. And then when my mother . . . when she was older, kind of ran the post office. It was a little post office. It was right in the store with the shoemaker shop and that. And my dad's family, I think . . . I'm sure the background was German, too.

MOYEN: Uh-huh.

SCHMIDT: But they settled in Alexandria. He was a blacksmith, and my dad drove a 00:02:00bus, one of the first bus lines that was here between Cincinnati and Alexandria. And then when he went to World War One and served there and came home, and then went to work for Cincinnati Bell. Or it wasn't Cincinnati Bell, it was Citizens Telephone Company at the time. And so we settled here, and that was it.

MOYEN: Okay.

SCHMIDT: And anything else on that, [inaudible].

MOYEN: Now, when were you born?

SCHMIDT: 1927.

MOYEN: Okay.

SCHMIDT: May the 1st, 1927, and I had four brothers and no sisters; there were five boys in the family. And we were all very good, never got in trouble. [Both chuckling] Believe that, I'll tell you some more. But, no, we had a great family. It was all raised right . . . well, the churches, St. Joe's . . . Joseph's Church is right over here, and the old church was down the road, with the St. Joseph's Orphanage. And the orphanage closed, but the new church was built up 00:03:00right where our house used to be.

MOYEN: Okay.

SCHMIDT: Yeah. And that was, gosh, thirty-some years ago.

MOYEN: Okay. So what was Cold Spring like in the . . . I guess your first memories are going to be the beginnings of the Great Depression?

SCHMIDT: Yeah. Well, it really was. They . . . I didn't know much about the Depression.

MOYEN: Right.

SCHMIDT: My dad was very fortunate because he worked for the telephone company. He had a job through the Depression, although he didn't work full-time. They were . . . they took days off or something. Anyway, we had a grandmother who lived over there too, on my mother's side, who had a pasture down in the back. We had a cow, I remember that. They'd milk that cow every morning and night, and then we'd go to work. And there was a two-lane road . . . US 27 was just a two-lane blacktop, something like Winters Lane is today. And it was . . . we were a very good, close family, and just had a great family life growing up. When my 00:04:00oldest brother went to . . . was in the ROTC at Xavier at the start of World War Two, and he was a . . . served in World War Two. My second brother was in the air force, and I was only seventeen and I was afraid - that was in '45 . . . '44 - and I was afraid the war was going to end before I could get in [chuckle] and help win it, you know.

MOYEN: Uh-huh.

SCHMIDT: So I begged my dad and mother to let me enlist. And I wanted to go in the navy. Bill was in the army, my second brother was in the air force, and I just thought the navy would be great. The biggest thing I'd seen on the water was the Island Queen, you know, until that time. But I just really had to get in, and I begged them. They finally let me . . . signed up for me, and went to Great Lakes, and then served in the South Pacific and Enewetok, and then the occupation of Japan. And that was really a good experience, it really was. I wasn't sorry I did it 00:05:00at all. But I left my junior year in high school, so when I came back that was one of the conditions, that they had made me promise that I would . . . they would sign for me if I finished high school when I got out, so I did. And that's how . . . and after that I went to the community college here in northern Kentucky, the University of Kentucky Community College, and that was just great.

MOYEN: Umhmm.

SCHMIDT: I never graduated or anything, but I attended and took a couple of courses. [Chuckle]

MOYEN: Let's back up just a little bit. Did you attend public or Catholic school?

SCHMIDT: Catholic schools.

MOYEN: Okay.

SCHMIDT: I attended St. Joseph Elementary School for eight years, and then Newport Catholic - the high school was in Newport - and I attended that.

MOYEN: Okay. Anyone there . . . any teachers stick out in your mind . . .

SCHMIDT: Oh, yes.

MOYEN: . . . as having a particular influence on you?

SCHMIDT: Oh, yeah, there are several. I know Father [sounds like Hagan], our . . . was a teacher, then later was principal, was really an outstanding guy. He was the principal when I left to go in the Navy, and he stood out to me as just an outstanding man and was the one that 00:06:00really twisted my arm and made sure that I came back and finished high school . . .

MOYEN: Uh-huh.

SCHMIDT: . . . because I think he would . . . he was the kind . . . just an outstanding guy, but he would have probably beat the heck out of me . . .

MOYEN: Uh-huh.

SCHMIDT: . . . or me dad would. And then there was Father [inaudible], who I know was Spanish and English teacher. And he was another . . . and there were . . . they are all gone now, but they were just great guys.

MOYEN: Now, when you returned, was the GI Bill already in place? Did you think about going to Xavier at all?

SCHMIDT: No, no, no. I just really didn't like school that much.

MOYEN: Okay [both chuckling].

SCHMIDT: I was not enthusiastic about it, although it was my choice to go to the community college. But the reason I went there, I . . . when I came back from the Navy, I went to work at the telephone company. And I was a lineman for a while and then an installer, and I guess when I was an installer, I realized that you were going . . . you know, the value of 00:07:00education a lot more than you ever do when you are in high school, and so that's when I went to the community college. I took courses in English, because my writing was terrible. In English and accounting, I thought they would really help me and that's all I did. MOYEN: Okay. Let me ask you about growing up this close to Cincinnati . . .


MOYEN: . . . but living in Kentucky. Did your family or did you consider yourselves essentially Greater Cincinnatians or were you definitely Kentuckians? And explain that . . . those different mindsets.

SCHMIDT: That's a good point, I think. No, we were Kentuckians. I don't know, but by the time I was in high school, I hadn't been to Cincinnati two or three times. I can't remember that much of it anyway. I knew that once in a while we would go to Coney Island, which is 00:08:00right across the river here, the old Coney, and we would go there and they would have the rides and that. But that wasn't every year, that was a real outing. And that . . . I know, I remember now too, that was in connection with the picnic. The telephone company would have family outings-like, and they would have a picnic. They'd usually have it at the Grove at Coney Island, and we'd go to that. But as far as downtown Cincinnati, very seldom. And Northern Kentucky at that time was really unique - I hope we can get into this a little bit later on maybe - Campbell County was Campbell County, Kenton County was Kenton County. You didn't . . . the river was really wide, you didn't communicate. Boone County didn't exist, that . . . this was some country over there, you know. Cincinnati was like . . . it could have been Europe. [Both chuckling] [Inaudible]

MOYEN: [Chuckle]

SCHMIDT: And the same way with Frankfort or Lexington, they just didn't exist. You drove to Lexington, it was an all-day trip to Lexington, because you went down 27, which was 00:09:00just a two-lane black road . . .

MOYEN: Right.

SCHMIDT: . . . blacktop road. The interstates or nothing like that was around. And so, you know, you were just a community yourself. You didn't have . . . the community of interest, if any, was Campbell County.

MOYEN: Okay.

SCHMIDT: And that's where most of the activity was.

MOYEN: Okay. What do you think has been gained and lost, sitting here in 2003? And that's not so much the case anymore, that we're separate [inaudible].

SCHMIDT: There's . . . right, oh, no . . . it's so much better, there's no question about it. I could get into . . . something that got me involved in politics, if I could. Okay, that had . . . because that . . . this has as a bearing on it. A friend of mine who also worked for the telephone company wanted to go to Lexington. It was in 1956, I remember that. And was going to go to Lexington and wanted to know if I . . . he and his brother were going, if I would go with them. And they were going to the airport there because the President of the United States was flying 00:10:00into the airport. Well, the President of the United States could have been the king of England, as far as I knew.

MOYEN: Uh-huh.

SCHMIDT: I didn't really care that much. Anyway, we went . . . we drove down, went to the airport, and it was really something. I remember sitting there, and we were waiting for the planes to come in, because they always tell you when the president is coming in at 10 o'clock, it's really going to be 11. And so you get the crowd, you know, all that [both chuckling]. So I didn't know that then, but anyway, we were standing there and some guy said to me, "That's a state representative [inaudible]." And you look around, just 'Jiminy,' there he is, you know, a state representative. And a little bit later, sitting . . . Chandler came in, who was the governor. And he came in and everybody was looking around at Chandler now. And when the plane landed, it was landed . . . first of all, the press plane landed. It was a Constellation four-engine prop plane. But it landed and . . . the press plane landed, and the president's plane was behind it. 00:11:00And while the planes were coming in, I look over, and there are sitting on a park bench talking to each other was John Sherman Cooper and Thruston Morton. And there was two United States Senators. Well, you know, what the heck is a United States Senator [chuckle]? This thing just boggled my mind at the time, you know, so . . .

MOYEN: And what year was this?

SCHMIDT: This was '56.

MOYEN: Okay.

SCHMIDT: 1956. And it . . . you know, it just . . . I had no interest in politics. My family had never been involved in it, in anything like that, on either side of my family. They'd never . . . well, Dad did get involved a little bit - I'm sorry - when the city . . . when they tried to form the city here, Cold Spring. It just . . . it wasn't an incorporated area. Highland Heights had incorporated, and Cold Spring incorporated to keep Highland Heights from taking them. You know, that's kind of a game. Anyway, but that was not what I call politics. Anyway, I remember coming home, and we were all excited about the trip. And Jack Cooke, who was one of the guys that was with us . . . or was the guy, "We ought to start a Young Republican Club in 00:12:00Campbell County." Well, two of us are starting this club. So neither one of us wanted to be president [chuckle], you know, so we talked some other guy into being president. And then we had three people. I remember telling my mother I was going to be . . . I think I was the treasurer and something, but I remember telling my mother about it. She said, "Arthur, I don't know if you want to do that." And I said, "What do you mean?" "Politics is dirty, I don't know if you want to get involved in politics." [Chuckle] I'll never forget that. But anyway, one thing led to another, I guess, and so it was in . . . that got us involved. We got the Young Republicans started, I think it was '59 then. That started the involvement in the state too, because you were associated with the state Young Republicans then. In '59, we were selected as the best club in the state, from Campbell County. And I was president then, and that was . . . really made us feel good. And the next year, in '60, I was elected state president of the Young Republicans. And 00:13:00how all these things happened are just unbelievable, you know . . .

MOYEN: Right.

SCHMIDT: . . . because everything has to fall in place. I know I was elected state president. And one thing I accomplished, I guess, as state president, we established the College Republicans. And there was no such thing as that. Nationally, there was, but not . . . no such . . . we established the College Republicans. UK was the only one we had at the time, but that was it. And then we tried to organize on all the college campuses, but that was how I got involved in that.

MOYEN: Okay.

SCHMIDT: But to answer your question, even . . . Campbell County was still Campbell County, and an interesting thing happened about that in . . . I guess it was . . . it must have been 1960 that the Campbell County Senior Executive Committee, which ran the Republican Party, I remember Jack and I wanted to go to one of their meetings, we could never find out where their meetings were. And we finally found out where they were going to meet, so we went to one of their meetings and we told them that we were . . . it was before 1960, when we were starting this 00:14:00Young Republican Club. We had established the Young Republican Club, and we wanted to get involved in county government. And the President was going to run, and there were two United States senators that were up. One of them was up anyway, but we were going to really be involved in that. They said, "Well, you can mess around . . . ." The bottom line was, "You can get involved in county . . . in government . . . in the federal government if you want to, or nationally for the President, but just keep your nose out of county government." [Chuckle] And they told us that. They said, "Don't mess with county government." Well, you have to go back a little bit in history to really understand . . . I didn't know what they were talking about at the time. See, the personal gambling was wide open up here. Gambling, in the '50s and early '60s, you could go to seven or eight casinos, and I mean full-blown casinos, the Yorkshire, the Flamingo, the Beverly Hills. All of them had crap tables, slot machines, roulette wheels, just 00:15:00regular casinos, you know.

MOYEN: Uh-huh.

SCHMIDT: And they were wide open. The only time they closed was when the grand jury met, and that was like twice a year. And then they would close down, because they thought maybe the grand jury would come in and do it. The way they could operate was it was state law at the time that the state police could not come into an area, an incorporated area, unless they were invited by the officials. In other words, the police couldn't come in to enforce state law unless they were actually invited. That was the law, and people didn't really complain too much about it, because it was wide open if you looked for it, but couldn't . . . you know, they didn't advertise with signs out on the highway. If you went to Beverly Hills for a dinner and a show, and they had top-flight entertainment. You know, that was all over with these places, the Lookout House in Covington . . . or in Kenton County would have really name entertainment from . . . the same as the casinos would in Las Vegas. It was just like that. But you had nowhere 00:16:00to go. They denied it, but you'd you go into the casinos, and they could close them down real quick too in case something happened, but that was the idea. The parties . . . and I think both the Republican and Democrat were in cahoots as far as who was going to be elected the county prosecutor or county attorney, the commonwealth attorney, the judges, the circuit judges. They were all, you know . . . I don't want to say on the take, they weren't on the take, but they sure as hell didn't look for anything [chuckle], you know. And most of them went to jail later on, you know. But what started that was in . . . that's when George Ratterman - I don't know if you've ever heard of George Ratterman. George Ratterman was the quarterback for Xavier . . .

MOYEN: Okay.

SCHMIDT: . . . when Xavier had a football team. No, I'm sorry. He went to Notre Dame University and was pretty good, and then played, I think, for the Cleveland Browns, but he played behind another . . . Otto Graham, I believe. But . . . so he wasn't first-string, but he 00:17:00was a good quarterback, and he was from Northern Kentucky here. So they wanted to run him . . . he wanted to run for sheriff, and I guess it's the '62 election. Anyway, so the Republican Party put together a ticket, with Ratterman as sheriff and . . . oh, a whole ticket, we had everybody on it. And we had everybody that was up. We got the ticket going, and Ratterman, who was a friend of a guy named [inaudible], and this is all in a book by . . . Hank Messick from the Louisville Courier-Journal wrote this book. Syndicate Wife, I think, was the title. Anyway, to make a long story short, Ratterman got caught with a stripper in a hotel in a casino in Newport, the Tropicana Hotel. And they have a photograph taken . . . a photograph of him there. Well, 00:18:00this was going to ruin his election. So anyway, it ends up going to court, and in court they get the photographer, who had been hired the day before it happened to be there to take the photograph [chuckle]. See, so they had doped him. They slipped George a mickey and put him in bed with this prostitute. And it would have worked. The whole thing would have worked, except the dumb idiots paid the photographer to come to take a picture or something, you know, [inaudible] the day before it happened, you know. [Both chuckling] And that's what blew the whole thing. So anyway, George was elected sheriff, and that started the whole cleanup. Well, I shouldn't say started. There were many, many people involved, the Committee of 500. It was a moral . . . it's a religious group that started, and they wanted to get 500 people together to really try to stamp out this wide-open gambling. And the whole thing . . . the bottom line, it all worked, you know.

MOYEN: Uh-huh.

SCHMIDT: And then I was elected on that first ticket. And that's how I got in the . . . well, I was on the city council first, I'm sorry. I was elected to the city council. Some people 00:19:00came to the house and sat down and wanted me, because I was in the Young Republicans, they wanted to know if I wouldn't run for the city council. So I said, "Well yeah, I would do that." Nobody really wanted to, but I said, "Okay, I'll do it." So the five of us on the coun- . . . on the one ticket, [inaudible] five trustees for a sixth-class city, five of us ran and they ran against the five incumbents. Four of the incumbents won, and I was the only one elected from the other ticket. I didn't know why or anything else, other than just lucky. I think it was because my dad and mother were well known and really had a good reputation. Anyway, I got on the city council, and then from city council, served one term and then ran for the state representative [inaudible]. But we were still individual counties. That goes back to your question.

MOYEN: Let's back up just a little bit . . .


MOYEN: . . . and talk about your time in the Navy, and particularly your time in Japan. You said that was a great experience.

SCHMIDT: Oh, it was.

MOYEN: Can you tell me about that?

SCHMIDT: Sure. Sure. Okay, I went to Great Lakes. I signed up in May of '45 and 00:20:00went to Great Lakes for boot camp. After Great Lakes, we went out to San Bruno, California, and we were doing landing craft training for landing crafts. And that's when I first saw my first big boat too [chuckle]. Anyway, you know, wow, I don't know if I did the right thing or not. But we were there and then we got . . . then the war ended. And we were on . . . we boarded ship anyway and we went to the . . . Enewetok, Marshall Islands, which is just a coral reef, like. But there had been some pretty good fighting there. And that's the first time that that island had concrete, but it just . . . nothing was there, you know. So we left Enewetok, just laid over there, like, a day or two to unload some supplies and then headed up to Japan. And that's when that typhoon hit off of Okinawa. And there was another ship following us, and it was amazing, that ship would come up out of the water, you could see the screws turn on the back and then see it 00:21:00go down. And you wouldn't even see the ship, it was gone in these big swells, you know. I got sick the first day out of San Francisco, but I was well after that. But it was something. We went to Tokyo . . . we went into Tokyo Bay at Yokuska. Some say Yokosuka or Yokuska, but that was a big dock area that . . . for Japan. Everything had been bombed out, and there were . . . it was amazing when we came into Tokyo Harbor there, which was . . . you know, you couldn't even see across it. It's a large area of water, but it . . . there were ships from one side to the other, and at night they'd all be flashing their lights and everything on, you know. It was . . . I guess I got there . . . the war was over in August, and I was there in October. Nothing happened too much after it was over. So we went in, and when we got off the ship, there wasn't any place on land . . . we were going to be unloading supplies for the troops. And there wasn't any place to 00:22:00live on land, so we took . . . there was an LST, a landing ship tank, that they had converted the tank deck into bunks five-high, and we lived on the tank deck. And then we . . . it was tied up at the dock. And we'd go ashore, and they operated these . . . I was running one of those big cranes. And they'd let 17-year-old kids or 18-year-old kids do anything, you know [chuckle]. It was quite exciting, and we would unload the ship. Also, I really was . . . and a lot of people won't agree won't this, but I'm really glad they dropped the atomic bomb, I don't care what anyone says. I know there were an awful lot of innocent people that were killed by that, but there was . . . you know, there was a lot of innocent people killed everywhere in that crazy war. But if they hadn't dropped the atomic bomb, and we would have had to invade Japan, it would have been just unbelievable, because they had networks of caves that were just . . . you can't 00:23:00imagine. I know we went in this one that had racks of bicycles they would pedal, where they were generating electricity made by manpower. That's the way they generated electricity underground, you know. And they would . . . they had these midget submarines. They were one-man submarines, and they were stacked up on . . . where we were at the dock, with warheads with one man, they were suicide submarines. They were designed, then, when we landed, these things would . . . I don't know how long they could stay under the water, but they would go out and sink the landing ships. And just like the airplanes did, the kamikaze airplanes did, when they were trying to land on Okinawa. And you know, you could say the Japanese didn't value life and all of that kind of stuff, didn't give a damn, and all those yellow monkeys. They were human beings just like anybody else [chuckle], and they . . . but I mean, they loved their country and they would have done anything for their country. You know, I would have been the same . . . if the situation had been reversed, when you're a 17-year-old kid and you're 00:24:00involved in something like that, when they tell you to do something, you don't ask them why or anything else, you do it. And I'm sure . . . well, and a lot of Americans did it. You know, a lot of Americans gave up their life willingly, because they thought it was for a greater good. But I think that's the way the Japanese felt about it. It wasn't they were nuts or they were doped up - they might have been doped up or something. [Telephone ringing] Can I grab that?

MOYEN: Sure. No problem. All right. We were talking about the Japanese and . . .

SCHMIDT: Right. In my time there, the Japanese . . . I got to meet some Japanese, and you know, when you're that age . . . I wish I had done so much more. We could . . . the trains were operating then, and they had restored the tracks, everything was [inaudible]. We could . . . we . . . you had Tokyo, Tokyo Bay is Tokyo . . .Yokohama and Yokuska, and we were at Yokuska. And we could hop a train and go up to Tokyo and come back. And I know one time we went up to Tokyo and I got to see . . . MacArthur was coming out of the building that he was 00:25:00in. And of course, MacArthur was . . . the emperor was the god, well, McArthur was the emperor's god, I guess, as far as the Japanese [inaudible]. But you'd walk down the street or a sidewalk, and they'd get off the sidewalk, you know, step in the street so you could walk by. And I guess it was out of fear and respect. And of course, when we first went in . . . went ashore, we were given carbines and we were . . . we carried our rifle and that with us, no ammunition. We were allowed ammunition once you were on guard duty, [chuckle] but had . . . you carried that. And when we were on guard duty, they'd give you a clip of ammunition. Then you had to turn that in in the morning, and then if any round had been fired, you had to explain why it was fired, you know.

MOYEN: Mm-mm.

SCHMIDT: But . . . and the Japanese - and I don't blame them for this - they would steal out of the warehouses. Not a whole lot, and then we would search them as they came in . . . 00:26:00if they worked for the Americans, they got an extra ration.

MOYEN: Mm-mm.

SCHMIDT: And I could go on and on with stories about this. But we would go to chow hall, and we'd come out, we had the trays. And you didn't have bowls or anything, you put the stuff on [inaudible] metal trays. When we came out, they had garbage cans there, and we'd separate . . . like anything leftover, meat or potatoes or vegetables, in a separate garbage can. I didn't realize it at the time, but they were taking that. They were eating that. You know, that was . . . they were eating what we had thrown away. And it was like . . . you know, it was a godsend to some of them, I guess. But they would . . . when we would . . . they would come on base and work, we would search them as they left, as they would get off and go back off the base. And they'd have like a bar of candy or something stuck down in their leggings or something like this. And they'd take it away from them and that. But they would . . . I don't really blame them for doing it, because we had gobs of stuff. You can't imagine the things that we had that we just threw away, you know, because . . . and it's necessary, I guess, when you're 00:27:00right after the war and when you're like that, because so much stuff is lost and destroyed, you want to make sure you have it. But after we . . . we lived on this LST, and after a while there was a Japanese hospital that was on the base that had been converted to barracks, and so we lived there. And I had a hospital room all to myself, you know, which was great. It had a little end table, and I'd have . . . and I didn't, you know, spend money for anything. You had candy bars and soft drinks, and I had [inaudible] that stuff, you know, I had my end table full of that. Well, the Japanese would come in and clean up, they wouldn't touch any of your stuff personally. You could have things laying out, and you know, none of them would take it, even though you knew how bad they must have wanted it. And this just impressed me, how decent . . . most of them really were respectful and decent, and hopefully, you tried to do the same thing to them.

MOYEN: Right.

SCHMIDT: When you first went in, you know, they were a bunch of dirty Japs and that.

MOYEN: Right.

SCHMIDT: Of course, another thing I think that they put us . . . I had never been in 00:28:00combat. And any of the Marines and that that first went in or any of the personnel that were in real bad combat didn't stay very long, they got them out of there, and . . . as soon as they knew things were settled. It wasn't anything like Iraq, it was no leftover animosity or where there were people coming in blowing things up or anything like that. And they put people who hadn't been in combat there, because it was just a much better situation, you know.

MOYEN: Mm-mm.

SCHMIDT: I don't know anything else I can say about that. It was just a . . . really a wonderful experience to go through that.

MOYEN: Now, you have mentioned Cincinnati could have been another country. What did you think about being in Japan?


MOYEN: What were your thoughts of just that experience?

SCHMIDT: Just . . . of course, see, I think it was kind of different. And I don't know how to put this is words, but you know, it was a wonderful experience, I felt that. I wish I had been a lot more mature, because we would take the train and go to Tokyo and just look around 00:29:00and not really have any destination. Yokohama, which was the big manufacturing town, had just . . . the areas we went through there were just absolutely flattened. It was just real . . . block after block after block had been burned down. And of course, the Japanese had a lot of wood buildings and that. And we used incendiaries on that, and it just . . . you know, it just must have been hell there, because everything was just flattened. I also wish I would have taken some trips down to Southern Japan, which I could have done and didn't do it. And . . . because, you know, you just went along with the gang and having fun, you know . . .

MOYEN: Right.

SCHMIDT: . . . that sort of thing. That's the way it was. And I loved operating those cranes. You know, it just . . . that was something that . . . I guess any kid liked any big equipment that you could do, you know, but it was just a great experience. But it wasn't what . . . I should have done a lot more. That's what I guess I'm thinking about.

MOYEN: Now, you mentioned . . . you talked just briefly about the atomic bomb. Can you tell me what your reaction and thoughts, feelings were the day you heard about either one of 00:30:00the bombs?

SCHMIDT: Yeah, sure. I guess . . . I think I was in California. And of course, we were doing landing craft. Well you know, if you've seen any of these war pictures . . . of course, they didn't show a whole lot of that either during the war. You didn't see . . . I remember Tarawa, I think, was the first time they showed some Americans dead, where the bodies were floating in the surf and that. And you know, I guess . . . I'm not sure of my emotions. I was glad, because I thought when the first atomic bomb went off, they were talking about this super weapon that they had, nobody knew what they were talking about, I didn't anyway. And I guess a few days later, it wasn't too many days later that the second one blew at Nagasaki . . . Nagasaki and Hiro- . . . Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Anyway, and then the war ended, and you pretty well knew, you could tell by the tone . . . well, even before that, you knew the war was going to be over. There 00:31:00was no chance after the invasion of Okinawa and conquering it, that Japan could win, it was just almost impossible. I mentioned that typhoon that was off Okinawa. I forget what the Japanese word was, but in history, Japan had been saved from an invasion, I think, by China by some typhoon that sunk the whole invasion fleet, and they were thinking the same thing was going to happen.

MOYEN: Uh-huh.

SCHMIDT: And I learned that afterwards. That this typhoon was a godsend, because it was going to sink the American fleet, and they wouldn't be able to do the invasion. Well, technology was not as good as it is today, it was a little better than that. So when I was in that typhoon even, we went back, we didn't go forward. But I . . . my impression was, you know, well, thank God it's going to be over, and that's it.

MOYEN: Mm-mm.

SCHMIDT: And I had no sympathy or sorrow at the time about it, like some people think it was a . . . we should never have done it because there were so many innocent people 00:32:00killed. Well, I don't know, but . . . where was . . . Hamburg in Germany, where they did the big incendiary bombing. And I think there were more people killed there in that one big raid than even here, but it was individual weapons rather than one . . .

MOYEN: Right.

SCHMIDT: . . . gigantic weapon. So no, I wasn't sorry it happened, I was glad it happened. And especially after it was over and you realized what you were going to get into.

MOYEN: So when did you find out you were coming home?

SCHMIDT: Okay. They . . . we . . . they had a point system. And we were in the hospital, I guess, and I forget when I did go home. I was there for Christmas and then New Year's and I guess the first part of the . . . maybe in March or April of '46 is when I had enough points, because this point system, if you were in combat, you got so many points, you got so 00:33:00many points for being in the States, so many points . . . extra points if you were overseas, I had enough points to be discharged. So I had my points and we boarded the ship again and came back. On board ship, it was hotter than blazes. And you lived down in these bunks. They would be four or five bunks high, you know, in these ships.

MOYEN: Uh-huh.

SCHMIDT: And when you'd roll over, your nose would scrape on the canvas of the guy above you [chuckle], so it was really tight quarters there. In really warm weather we slept up on deck and played pinochle, we played pinochle. For a while, we had only two meals a day. You'd get breakfast around 10, and you'd have dinner, maybe, at 4 or 5 in the afternoon, and that was it, because they had too many men on the ship and they didn't have enough food. So [inaudible], but we'd sit in the chow line and playing pinochle and then . . . till the next time to eat, you know . . .

MOYEN: Uh-huh.

SCHMIDT: . . . and sleep on deck. It was . . . I guess because of my age, it was almost like a Boy Scout outing.

MOYEN: Uh-huh.

SCHMIDT: I guess that's about the best way I could explain it.


MOYEN: So what were your feelings when you . . . did you return to San Francisco or . . .

SCHMIDT: Yeah. Well, that was funny. We came back to San Francisco, stayed at Treasure Island, which is still a Navy base. And we went . . . on Treasure Island, we had a three- day leave, while we were there, before we got a train back to Great Lakes.

MOYEN: Okay.

SCHMIDT: So we went ashore and went . . . about six of us, so we went into San Francisco and we got a hotel room. Well, we're going to be big shots now, we're veterans, you know. We're . . . and so we went down to a liquor store, we were going to get a bottle of liquor . . . a bottle of whiskey and go back to our room and that. We went to a bar, I think. They wouldn't serve us in the bar, so we went to try to buy a bottle of whiskey. Well, they wouldn't sell us whiskey either. And here we are veterans. You know, we're 19 years old, and they won't sell us any whiskey [chuckle]. So we went back to the hotel room and the bellboy got us a fifth of whiskey. That's the first time I ever got sick [chuckle]. And I thank the Lord I got sick. [Both chuckling] But we did, and then we just roamed around San Francisco and didn't know 00:35:00what we were doing either. stop

MOYEN: Uh-huh.

SCHMIDT: You know, just looking around, and I had a good time and then went back and . . . to Treasure Island, and then we took a bus to the train station and then the train back to Great Lakes, and I was discharged from Great Lakes.

MOYEN: Okay. Now, where was Great Lakes?

SCHMIDT: Well, outside of Chicago.

MOYEN: Okay.

SCHMIDT: Great Lakes Naval Base.

MOYEN: Okay. Okay.

SCHMIDT: It's still there. It's Great Lakes Naval Base, just north of Chicago. And Chicago was a big town [chuckle].

MOYEN: Mm-mm. Sure. Now when you returned - you mentioned going back to high school - were you able to go back to school?

SCHMIDT: Yes. No, I got the equivalency or whatever it is. I went down and I . . . that was funny, because when I got back [chuckle] . . . I shouldn't tell you this, but I will. I got back home, and they had what they call 52/20 . . . we called it 52/20 Club. And what it was is 00:36:00that you got $20 after you were discharged for a year. For 52 weeks, you'd get $20 a week from the government. All you had to do, go over to some office in Covington. I took a bus over, and sign your name and they give you $20. Well, I came home - we lived right over here - and I came home and I had the $20, and I guess I'd been home about a week. And my dad says, "What are you going to do?" And I said, "Nothing." "What do you mean, nothing?" And I said, "I don't do have to do anything, I get $20 a week." He kind of looked at me and said, "Where are you going to live?" I said, "What do you mean?" And he said, "You get a job or you're not going to live here." [Both chuckling] I couldn't understand that. Anyway, so I did. I went over to the tel- . . . Citizens Company, and I applied and I got the job as a lineman and had to go through school. But my first paycheck, I think was a little over $20. They took out taxes, they took out something else, and then I had to take a bus to go to Covington to get to the garage 00:37:00where I worked, two ways on a bus. And I came home and I showed Dad the first paycheck. Hell, I was losing money. I'm ending up with like $16, $17 a week, and I'm throwing away $20. And I said, "This is crazy. I'm going to quit and get back in that." He said, "Where are you going to live?" [Both chuckling] "What do you mean?" He looked at me and he said, "If you're living here, you're going to work. You go to school or you work, one of the two. You go to school or you work." So anyway, [chuckle] I guess it wasn't too many months, I think, that I got a raise and then . . . well I guess in the first year. I only was a lineman for about a year, and then I was an installer and I was making a little over $20 a week. But I never did understand how my dad was so daggone dumb and didn't understand finances and economics [chuckle]. No, I had a wonderful father, I really did. He didn't put up with any foolishness, but he was just great, 00:38:00Mother and Dad both. But anyway, that was the experience [inaudible].

MOYEN: Uh-huh.

SCHMIDT: That's why I got to work with Cincinnati Bell.

MOYEN: Now, you have mentioned your other brothers. They also were in the Service?

SCHMIDT: Yeah. Yeah. It's funny. Bill was . . . went to Xavier University in the ROTC. He passed away here just two years ago. He ended up . . . he stayed in the military. And well, I shouldn't say that. He came back and worked several places, but he stayed in the reserves. He was . . . when I was in Japan - and I didn't know this till after the war - he was a captain and had served in the European theater, he was in the Engineers. He came back from Europe on a ship through the Panama Canal and then across the Pacific and up to Japan with this equipment for the invasion of Japan that they [inaudible]. I'm Yokosuka, which is like twenty miles away, and he's in Tokyo. He is a captain, and he's got a jeep and a driver driving around 00:39:00all over Japan. And I'm sitting down in Yokosuka, you know [chuckle]. And I didn't know this till after . . . [inaudible] told us after this. I could have gotten . . . if he could have known about it, if he would have, he could have come down and picked me up, and me, I would have been king of the hill, you know, a big shot riding around with this captain. Because an officer at that time, it was like me with these state representatives [chuckle]. Anyway, so Bill was in there, and he served again in Korea. He had two tours in Korea, ended up as a colonel . . . retired as a colonel. And my other brother was in the Air Force, and he served in the CBI, which is the China-Burma-India theater, which is now the . . . Vietnam and Cambodia and that area and . . . in World War II. And then I was in the Navy. And the next brother, the fourth one, is a priest, is Leo Schmidt. Father Leo was pastor of St. Augustine in Covington. And when he was . . . 00:40:00after he was studying to be a priest, he was in Belgium, he studied and was ordained in Belgium. And they would have eight weeks that they . . . during the break at school that they could have off. Four weeks had to be spent in some kind of a church-related thing, and four weeks they could do some sightseeing. So he was at Frankfurt Air Force Base in Germany, and I'm saying he was a chaplain. He was an assistant chaplain, so he served in the . . . not legally obviously . . .

MOYEN: Yeah.

SCHMIDT: . . . but he served there and that. And then Hank, my youngest brother, was in the Marines. And he played basketball at Xavier, was on their NIT team. That was when the NIT was bigger than NCAA, you know, and they played in Madison Square Garden. And they won the NIT. He was the sixth man, he didn't play the first string, but he was the sixth man at Xavier, a good basketball player. He joined the Marines or was drafted . . . I think he joined, 00:41:00because he knew he was going to be drafted with Vietnam and that. And then, talk about cheap. He goes out . . . he comes through his boot camp and everything, but he gets on the basketball team, and they'll tour a base or something. So he spent his time in the Marines playing basketball [both chuckling]. We kid him about that all the time, but . . . and he's . . . he lives right down the street. And yeah, we're still very close, the whole family is. That's the five of them.

MOYEN: So when you came back and you got your job, when did you decide to take some classes? What brought about your decision to do that?

SCHMIDT: Oh, okay.

MOYEN: Or when did you take your equivalency exam and then decide to . . .

SCHMIDT: I took that before I went to work, I think. I went down to Newport Catholic, and the first thing . . . one of the first things I had to do was go down Father [sounds like Hagan] there, who was principal of Newport Catholic. Went down to see him, and I don't remember a whole lot about it. But all I knew was [inaudible] [both chuckling], and then go to . . 00:42:00. I decided to go the community college . . . we didn't have a university. I definitely want to tell you about that, but we didn't have a university or college here. The only thing that was the University of Kentucky had the community college. And so I went . . . that was in downtown Covington in a 4th Street school building, elementary school building. And I went there to take those classes there, and that was after about a year after I went to work for the telephone company.

MOYEN: Okay.

[End of Tape 1, Side 1]

[Begin of Tape 1, Side 2]

MOYEN: All right. So you would go to Covington and take classes.

SCHMIDT: Yeah, downtown Covington, and took Accounting and English, and that's all I did.

MOYEN: Do you feel like that helped you at all, even those couple of classes, or . . .


SCHMIDT: Oh, I think it did, yeah. And it helped me personally, I don't know whether it helped with the job or anything.

MOYEN: Right.

SCHMIDT: But I felt better about it, and then I can always tell people I went to the University of Kentucky. I didn't graduate, but I went to the University of Kentucky, [both chuckling] which was [inaudible].

MOYEN: Right.

SCHMIDT: But [chuckle] [inaudible] . . . but I mean, I didn't . . . yeah, I definitely think it helped me, because later on after I got into different jobs in the telephone company, I know the writing and that did. Although I never will forget that when I got one promotion my boss said something . . . what he wanted me to do was market research and that, but he told me what the job entailed, and I said, "Are you sure I can do that?" And I said . . . it was writing reports for different businesses and that. "What do you mean?" I said, "Well, it sounds like there are some legal problems with that. Ought to know something about a legal background." And I said, "My writing is atrocious, you know. My spelling is terrible." And he kind of 00:44:00laughed, and he said, "Oh," he said, "We got lawyers to take of the legal stuff, and we got secretaries who will take care of the spelling and writing." He said, "What we don't have enough is the people with common sense. You've got the job." [Both chuckling] I'll never forget that, and it was true, you know. [Inaudible] true, but he made . . . he knew how to make you feel good . . .

MOYEN: Uh-huh.

SCHMIDT: . . . and confident in yourself. And that's what I needed at that point.

MOYEN: So we got into talking about running the Young Republicans Club here. Let me ask about this. Growing up in the Great Depression, how did you . . . you said your family didn't talk a whole lot about politics or whatever. How . . . when did you realize 'I'm a Republican.'

SCHMIDT: That's a good . . . you know, that is really a good point, because I think . . . I used to talk to people about that. I think politics is something like religion. You can . . . you ask me how many people choose their own religion, and if you say most of them, I'll tell you 00:45:00you're lying. Your religion is based on first your family and your parents, and next because of the friends that you make, your friendship gets you into it. Going out and examining and reviewing and studying the various kinds of religion and then you picking one, I'd say if there's one percent of the population does that, it's a lot.

MOYEN: Right.

SCHMIDT: I think . . . I really believe that. Politics is almost the same thing, maybe not quite as bad. But I think your politics because of your family are . . . more it's in the family is because of the friends you make, and that was in my case. You could be a Republican or a Democrat and feel at home in either party, in my opinion.

MOYEN: Mm-mm.

SCHMIDT: I think Republicans tend to be more . . . we're a little more conservative, but there are some really liberal Republicans. And Democrats seem to be more liberal, but there are some really conservative Democrats. So if you . . . whatever party you choose, you could find a home in it, I think, unless you are a really an oddball on either end.


MOYEN: Uh-huh.

SCHMIDT: And either end's got them, both parties have got the oddball. I became a Republican . . . well, Dad . . . my dad never really talked about politics. He voted . . . I remember Stan Moebus was the county judge. Let me back up again. The first time I voted . . . of course, you had to be 21. The first time I voted, I asked my dad about voting, you know, who he was going to vote for. And he said, "Well, Stan Moebus is the county judge." He said, "I think he's a good man. Vote for Stan Moebus." So I went in to vote, and it had this whole sheet of names on there. And I'm saying, 'What the hell is this?' I found Stanley Moebus, but here are all the rest of the people I'd never heard of, you know. And I swear . . . I started picking some names that I thought I [inaudible]. And if "Baby Face" Nelson or Dillinger's name had been on there, I would have probably voted for them because I'd heard of them [both chuckling]. I think that's terrible, and that really bothered me, it really bothered me. And I think that was my 00:47:00first taste of politics and why maybe I got a little interested in it too. But Stan Moebus, I think, was a Republican, but I know Dad also voted for Chandler. I remember that, because . . . and he was a Democrat, so . . . and Mother was a Democrat. Because the first time I ran in a primary election, my mother couldn't vote for me, because she was a registered Democrat and here I'm running in a Republican primary. So I told her that was all right, but she had to get two of her friends to vote for me. But anyway . . . so you didn't . . . really, Jack Cooke is who I am saying did it, who was a friend of mine who was . . . had been active in politics a little bit. That was who I went to Lexington with that time . . .

MOYEN: Right.

SCHMIDT: . . . to see President Eisenhower when he came in.

MOYEN: Right.

SCHMIDT: And he's the one that got me to be a Republican, I think. I'm not sure . . . I'm pretty sure I had registered Republican, but I'm not sure why. Yes, I do know why too. Ed Sheehan was the county clerk. And at that time - the same as they do today, maybe not as 00:48:00blatantly today - you went in to the county clerk to register to vote, and they'd ask how you wanted to be registered. And you'd say, "Well." "Well, we'll just put you down like this," whatever party they were. And that's the way they would do it, you know.

MOYEN: Uh-huh.

SCHMIDT: And I can tell you a story about the county clerks, because it was just unreal, the way voting and registration was conducted up until the '60s. And there's one county in Kentucky - and I'm not sure which it was, I want to say Jackson, but I could be wrong in that. If anybody quotes me on this, then let them do it. The census in 1960 showed they had more registered voters than the census showed they had people. Now, think about that. [Chuckle] I mean, not only are all women and children registered to vote . . . I mean, all children, but probably a lot of livestock and many people who were under a tombstone. And the problem was 00:49:00not only that there were more registered voters than there were people, but most of them voted. [Both chuckling] It was terrible.

MOYEN: Uh-huh.

SCHMIDT: But anyway, that's how . . . I just became a Republican by accident, I guess.

MOYEN: Mm-mm. Now, once you started getting involved . . . well, let's talk about . . . you served just one term on city council?

SCHMIDT: Yeah, one term, '62 or '61. '61.

MOYEN: What made you decide to, 'Hey, I'm going to run?'

SCHMIDT: Oh, okay. Well, I said . . . when I . . . for city council?

MOYEN: Uh-huh.

SCHMIDT: Okay. I had no idea of doing it. Some guy rang . . . two guys rang the doorbell one day, right here, and came in and sat on the couch and, "Can we talk to you, Art?" And I said, "Sure." And I knew the one, [sounds like Schultz], but I didn't know the other guy. And they introduced themselves to me and said, "You know, we want to talk to you about city council." I said, "Sure. What's the matter?" And they said, "We'd like for you to run." And I thought . . . I had no idea about running. So, "We got . . . we've got four of us here, and we 00:50:00need five people on the ticket." And somebody they had on it didn't want to run. "So would you do it?" And so I said, "Okay, I'll do it, you know." And they were the incumbents. They were on the city council. And another, who is a friend of my now, even though I don't think he was then, Dick [sounds like Nock], who owned Intermobile . . . now he owns Intermobile Transportation and lives over in a big house in Boone County. At the time, he lived in a little shed over here [chuckle]. But anyway, Dick got on the ticket to run against the incumbents, and when all the dust had settled, Dick won as mayor . . . or it wasn't really a mayor, because there's five trustees and they elect a mayor. So four of their people won, including Dick. And I was the one that won on the incumbents' ticket, and I wasn't an incumbent.

MOYEN: Uh-huh.

SCHMIDT: So that . . . people get mad about the craziest things in city council races. But anyway, so we got elected and, you know, I was happy to be elected. It was great, but I 00:51:00didn't have any great desire, I didn't have any burning ambition to get into it like that, [chuckle] but I did.

MOYEN: Did you enjoy what you were doing on the city council?

SCHMIDT: Oh yes. Yes. Yes, definitely. Yeah, we got . . . let's see . . . I think we got $5 . . . no, we didn't get that much. We got $5 a month, that was the salary, and we had two or three meetings. And I learned a good lesson . . . one good lesson on city council. Winters Lane here is a through street that goes down to Brent . . .

MOYEN: Okay.

SCHMIDT: . . . 27 down to Brent. There were potholes all over that thing when I was on the council, just crazy with potholes. So it was one of the things we wanted to do, to get that fixed. So we went to the county and said, "Most of the traffic is not city traffic, it's county traffic. And you should take responsibility for that road." "No, we can't do it. We don't have the money, we ain't going to do it. Maybe the state can help you, but we can't." So a group of 00:52:00us went down to see Henry Ward, who was highway commissioner. And we went to him, and that was one of the few times I'd ever been to Frankfort. And they went in to see him, and I don't remember if I went with him. I know that the bottom line of the meeting was that the state didn't have any money to do things like that, but the federal government has a program that they're doing, and if this program passes, the state will get additional money. And the state will get that money, and they will try to get some of it back to the county, and maybe the county then can afford to fix the road. And I was sitting there thinking, 'Damn. They're going to spend a multi-billion dollar highway bill in Washington so that the state can get probably a hundredth of that - because there's fifty states - and we ain't going to get our share. And then they might give some of it to the county, and then the county might fix our road, so we're supposed to go up there to fight for this federal highway bill because of the potholes on Winters Lane. Something just don't add up!' [Both chuckling] Well, I don't remember if the bill passed or not, but I do 00:53:00remember that we finally made a deal with the county that they would sell us the blacktop if . . . but they wouldn't put it down. They would . . . we'd go out to the county garage and had a truck, they would sell us the blacktop at cost, and then we could patch the holes. So one Saturday we were out there, we drove . . . and we borrowed a truck from [inaudible] who had a dump truck, drove out to the county garage, loaded the blacktop filler in the back of the dump truck, got of a couple of shovels and a tamper, and we were walking behind the truck on down Winters Lane to blacktop and then tamping it in. [Chuckle] And I thought, "This is not what you was elected to do," you know, but we did it.

MOYEN: Uh-huh.

SCHMIDT: But it taught me a lesson about how screwy the system is, how screwy the system is, that they wanted us to get this federal bill passed so we could get $100 worth of blacktop. And $100 . . . they tell you - I think Everett Dirksen - you can't find $1 million in the federal budget, you know, $100 million . . . $100 million, they don't want to bother with.

MOYEN: Right.

SCHMIDT: Oh, it was just funny.


MOYEN: So how long have you lived here?

SCHMIDT: I . . . well, let's see. I got married in, gosh, '51. I got married in 1951 and lived in Bellevue for a few years and then Fort Thomas. And then when my oldest daughter was six years old, we didn't want her to cross the street to go to Woodfill School, Fort Thomas, so we bought this lot here and then moved out here. I guess it was about '59.

MOYEN: Okay.


MOYEN: Okay. Can you tell me a little bit about how you met your wife and . . .

SCHMIDT: Oh sure. I remember now we had . . . those two of my friends again, Jack Cooke, and Chuck Wolfe was another friend of ours. And we were just going out on . . . just looking . . . dating then. And it was a blind date. I think Chuck Wolfe's wife - she . . . they were married - fixed me up and . . . with Marian. And she lived in Bellevue, and I liked her and 00:55:00we went . . . I think . . . this . . . yeah, this was before Jack Cooke. This was before then. This was . . . because I met Marian . . . yeah, because I wasn't involved in that. It was in the late '60s, after I got out of the Service, and Wolfe worked at the telephone company too. But they were having some kind of a dance over at Cincinnati at the Gibson Hotel. I think they called it a Tennis Club Dance. Why a tennis club, I don't know, because there wasn't any tennis around here. But anyway, we . . . they fixed me up with a blind date, and I met Marian that way. And we went out. She was only about the third or fourth girl I've ever gone out with. And it was . . . I don't know if it was love at first sight, but I kind of liked her.

MOYEN: All right.

SCHMIDT: But it was mutual. And . . . you know, I don't know how long we went . . . I don't know how many years . . . we didn't go out too long. Well, I guess I was about maybe 20, 21 or something, and we got married when I was 24.

MOYEN: Okay. And how many children?


SCHMIDT: Two. Okay, Karen came along right away. We were . . . she was . . . we were married a year, and then Karen was born. She's the oldest one. And then about five years later, Mary Ann - that was Mary Ann who called on the phone before - and she lives right next door.

MOYEN: Okay.

SCHMIDT: Karen still lives at home, and that's one of the reasons why I've been able to take care of Marian, because she works at the university, but she lives here. And then my other daughter lives right next door. She's married and has two kids, a boy and a girl . . . a little boy and a girl. The boy just joined the Marines [both chuckling], so he's not little anymore.

MOYEN: Uh-huh. Before we get into your time in the state legislature, I'm trying to think of a few other things I wanted to ask you about.


MOYEN: Can you tell me a little bit about your church and what role that played in your rearing?

SCHMIDT: Well, you know, of course, it was a Catholic . . . the church has . . . I 00:57:00remember since I was old enough to remember anything, we went to church. We always went to church on Sunday and usually during the week, maybe once or so. And there was always prayer at home. You always had prayer before and after meals, and it had a great impact on me, I think. I'm not sure how much different I would have turned out, but I think . . . you're always thinking of the moral issues. I know I do, in almost everything that you do. I guess that's one of the reasons why I think that the Catholic education was good and why I had my kids do the same thing is that I think every . . . almost everything that you do ought to have a moral tone to it. I . . . somebody asked, like, why do you get involved in politics and all this kind of stuff. One of the things that I . . . I really believe in this too. There are really only two things in life, two things only that are important, nothing else. The two things are politics and religion. Think about. 00:58:00They are supposed to be the two things you never argue about.

MOYEN: Right.

SCHMIDT: Well, you don't have to argue about it. I say that, because I think everything on a spiritual or moral level gets back to religion. Not necessarily the Catholic religion, I don't mean that. I mean any religion, because you know, that's where your basis is. And everything to do with the material world has to do with politics, from blacktop on Winters Lane to the house that you build. You can't do anything materially without getting involved somehow with politics. You can't drive a car without a license, you can't . . . everything has to do with politics . . .

MOYEN: Mm-mm.

SCHMIDT: . . . that's on material things. So those are the only two things that are important. And if you remember that, I think you're going to get by pretty good.

MOYEN: Uh-huh. [Both chuckling] Now, one other thing. I'm not sure how much of an issue it was or how you recognized it, but you grew up in Kentucky on the south side of the Ohio River. What about race issues in Kentucky growing up?


SCHMIDT: Yeah, I remember . . . okay, there was one . . . with racial issues, I guess. There was one black family that lived in Cold Spring. And they lived on . . . Jefferson was their last name. And they lived on a road, Bunning Lane, which is pretty far back off the beaten track. And I think the mother cooked at some . . . one of the little . . . like a quick lunch oufit, you know.

MOYEN: Mm-mm.

SCHMIDT: There wasn't . . . they didn't have the quick lunches now, but saloons, every saloon had plate lunches. Well, she cooked, I think, in Alexandria in one of those places. And I remember going fishing . . . this is one of the things that really stuck with me, because it benefited me later on in the legislature. I remember going fishing, when we were kids, with our fishing pole. And there's this one black kid, the Jefferson kid, Tom, and he would be there once in a while. We talked to him, and I never thought anything about it, never thought about where 01:00:00he went to school or anything either, you know.

MOYEN: Uh-huh.

SCHMIDT: And I found out later that they had to go to Newport, because that was the only black school there was in the area. They went to school in Newport. They couldn't go to Cold Spring, which was right . . . walking distance from where he lived, because they wouldn't allow blacks in there. And the reason I said this benefited me, because I had . . . I just didn't think about it. You didn't . . . it was just nothing that occurred to you. I remember . . . I think that Mr. Jefferson had a buggy . . . a horse and buggy or horse and wagon and used to pick up junk and drive to Newport, and they would say 'Nigger Tom,' they would call him that and not think anything about the term or how degrading it was or anything about it, but just the name, that's all. And of course, you learn later on what an insult that was. And I don't think . . . I know we did it as kids, at least I did. I don't believe we did anything that would have been against them racially. They were just people as far as I was concerned. And then when I went to 01:01:00the legislature, though, and we had . . . my first session in the legislature, when the civil rights thing came up, and I don't know if you want to get into it now, but . . . well, okay. Carl Bamberger and I were first-term state representatives, didn't what the hell we were doing [chuckle], all we knew, we were in Frankfort. Well, we would go to basketball games at Kentucky State, because they'd give you tickets, you know. You walk in the arena, and at night, you didn't have anything much to do in Frankfort at the time, so we'd go to a basketball game. Went to the basketball game, and then after the game we wanted to get something to eat, and the only place open in Frankfort . . . Holiday Inn, there were none of that there. So we went to a little short-order joint, a hamburger joint, right across from the bridge in Frankfort. Well, we went in, and we're sitting at the counter and got a hamburger and a cup of coffee or something. And this black guy came in and ordered a hamburger, and the guy fixed him a hamburger, put it 01:02:00in a wrapped-up piece of paper, put it in a paper bag and handed it to him, he left. When Carl and I left, we walk out and he's sitting in a car . . . in a truck eating his hamburger. Seemed kind of funny. Anyway, so that's . . . and then Kentucky State students started coming down about we want a public accommodations bill, we want to pass this bill. And Breathitt was governor at the time. Well, you know, public accommodation, what the hell are they talking about, you know?

MOYEN: Mm-mm.

SCHMIDT: They wanted to be able to eat or go in places that white people go into. And you know, that just really amazed me because I really didn't realize it, I was never told about it. So that next day, I went down to this hamburger joint again. And the same guy was in there, because I guess he owned it. And I asked him if I could ask him a question. And he said, "Sure. What is it?" I said, "Last night we were in here and we were eating and this black guy came in and you . . . he asked for a hamburger, and you put it in a paper bag, and he would . . . 01:03:00he went out and ate it in the truck. Wouldn't you let . . . why wouldn't you let him eat it in here?" "Oh, I can't do that. I couldn't do that." I said, "Why not?" He said, "I'd lose all my white customers." I said, "What would you do if we passed a law said you had to do it?" "I'd be glad." He said, "I'd be glad." He said, "I don't like doing that, you know." And that . . . you know, it really struck me, so I went back and I was a big champion, then, for public accommodation. It didn't pass, but it did in next session. Breathitt was the one that pushed for it. But you know, you didn't . . . I know it sounds naive and it sounds out of place, but you really never thought about things like that. There were more important things like baseball and [chuckle] . . . you know, when you're that young.

MOYEN: Uh-huh.

SCHMIDT: But it really was a good lesson it taught me.

MOYEN: Just . . . step back just a little bit.


MOYEN: When you were on the city council, when did you first start thinking about running for state representative?


SCHMIDT: When . . . there was a redistricting bill that came through and they redistricted. Campbell County had two state representatives, and now they were going to get three. Charlie Wirsch, who was the state representative, wasn't going to run. I didn't know this, but Jack Cooke who was more active in partisan politics than I ever thought about being, you know, he said, "Well, and then we've got to find a . . . candidates for this thing." He said, "You're going to be from the one district, from the 69th. I said, [chuckle] "I don't know anything about it." "Yeah, you're the candidate." He did, he said that. "You're the candidate, and we'll find somebody that's on city council . . . a Republican on city council somewhere else to run in the other district, in the 68th district." So he got Carl Bamberger. And Carl agreed to run, and I agreed to run, although I had a primary. And that's why I said my mother . . . I can't think of the . . . I can't think of the guy's name now that I ran against, but he was from Fort 01:05:00Thomas and . . . in the primary. And that's when my mother couldn't vote for me, because she was a registered Democrat. But we had the primary, and then I won the primary and then won the general election fairly easily.

MOYEN: Can you tell me about campaigning?

SCHMIDT: Oh, yes.

MOYEN: Did you like it? Did you dislike it? And what did you do?

SCHMIDT: Well, I think at the time I liked it, because . . . well, it really taught you something. I guess you learn from everything, but I had some signs made up and some bumper stickers, but not a whole lot. I went door to door in some areas, but not everywhere, just more or less went along, and I figured that the people that voted for me, they did or they didn't. I wasn't that concerned about it, and I didn't really work that hard. Not that I didn't want the job, because I guess I did, but I never really thought much about it. And I won fairly easily. And that was in '63. In 1965, George Ratterman, who had been sheriff now, was running for county 01:06:00judge. And that was the cleanup guy, cleaned up Campbell County. And he did a good job as sheriff, there's no question about it. And they had the grand jury in all the time, and they ran the gambling out, just . . . the law had been changed, now the state police could come in. And the gambling joints were all closed. But now George is at the top of our ticket running for county judge. We had candidates for . . . Fred Warren, who was a lawyer who had been in charge of all the reserves in the United States Army. He was a general, and he was going to run for county . . . for judge . . . for circuit judge. We had a guy running for commonwealth attorney. And all the way down, we filled out the ticket. And this was the second time now I'm running. Well, I'm going to win because, I mean, I'm the incumbent. Well, people . . . [sounds like Andy Jolly] ran against George Ratterman, and the people came out in droves and beat the hell out of all of us. [Both chuckling] It . . . and I think it showed how . . . I guess fickle, the way people are. They 01:07:00didn't want the gambling, but they didn't want somebody to come in there and tell them how to live either.

MOYEN: Right.

SCHMIDT: I think that's what they interpreted George was doing.

MOYEN: Uh-huh.

SCHMIDT: Telling them they had to live . . . how they're going to live. And but anyway, we all lost. And then . . .

MOYEN: Who beat you?

SCHMIDT: Bud Overman, the same guy who ran against me in '63 . . .

MOYEN: Okay.

SCHMIDT: . . . beat me in '65. And then in '67, that's when I made up my mind - and he's running again - that I'm not going to lose. Now I want the job.

MOYEN: Mm-mm.

SCHMIDT: You know, I mean now they can't do that to me [chuckle]. I want the job. So I did . . . I got a . . . Ed Pendery, who was a good friend of mine - he's passed away too - was my campaign manager-like. We got a storefront down in Highland Heights, we opened up a headquarters, which was unheard of for state representative. We had . . . my wife had . . . some of her friends would come in, and they were doing the mailing. We did mailing, we did door to 01:08:00door, we had signs, we did everything that . . . oh, and the Republican National Committee came out and gave us some advice. They sent somebody in, one of their field people in, to see what we were doing. "You're doing everything fine. Maybe you ought to change this or this or that." And we did newspaper ads. You didn't do television, that was just out of . . . the radio, that was just unheard of.

MOYEN: Right.

SCHMIDT: So . . . but anyway, I won big, beat the same guy that beat me and won really big, then never lost again.

MOYEN: Uh-huh.

SCHMIDT: But it was just hard campaigning. And then I think only two or three times after that did I have opposition for the house races.

MOYEN: Right.

SCHMIDT: I did for the senate but not in the house.

MOYEN: Mm-mm.

SCHMIDT: But . . . so it was good. That was . . . it was fun.

MOYEN: Okay.

SCHMIDT: It gets old after a while.

MOYEN: Uh-huh.

SCHMIDT: It does, [chuckle] because I figure after . . . the reason I didn't run anymore, in '7- . . . in '92, they redistricted the seven districts. They put my district over in Boone County and through Campbell County. And my precinct in the southern part of Campbell County is all 01:09:00that's left in my district. They put three districts in Campbell County, which had been one, split it three ways. We wanted . . . I wanted to file suit, and I went to Bob Gable, who was chairman of the Republican Party. He said, "Art," he said, "I think you're right. I think it's unconstitutional." Said, "But it would cost a quarter of a million dollars to file . . . to fight that." He said, "If we had a quarter of a million dollars, we'd spend it on candidates and campaigns, not on lawyers." I couldn't argue with him, you know. But there's a guy named Joe Fischer from Fort Thomas, and he is in the legislature now too. And Joe heard me give my speech on the senate floor about how unfair this was and how unconstitutional it was. And he called me up, and he said, "You know, you're right. What are you going to do?" I said, "I'm not going to do anything." He said, "Well, I'll be your lawyer, I won't charge you anything." [Chuckle] And he did. Anyway, he took . . . he filed suit. The circuit court in Campbell County threw it out. It said, "No, it didn't have merit." So we appealed to the Court . . . appealed to the supreme court. 01:10:00The supreme court heard it and ruled in its favor, which at . . . it was unconstitutional the way they did the districts. Campbell County is large enough, it should be one district. So we got the district back. The guy that did the bill . . . that did the districting lost in his next election, and that was Joe Meyer. And [chuckle] then . . . now we got the district back, they came to me and they wanted to know if I'd run again for the senate. And I told them this, in exactly the same words, "If the job paid $100,000 a year, you promised I wouldn't have any opposition, and you promised I didn't have to go to any more meetings, I still wouldn't run. I'm done." [Both chuckling] I feel I've served my time in jail, so [inaudible].

MOYEN: Right.

SCHMIDT: So anyway, that was it.

MOYEN: Uh-huh.

SCHMIDT: And I just . . . I really don't. I wouldn't do it again for anything, but I wouldn't give anything for having done it.

MOYEN: Right. Right.


MOYEN: Going back to your first election, you said you didn't work that hard and it wasn't that big of a deal, but you did win.


MOYEN: Who was the first person you got a phone call from . . .



MOYEN: . . . after you won? Do you recall? The first politician?

SCHMIDT: Oh gosh, I don't. I don't know.

MOYEN: Did a leading Republican or did the governor call you or . . .

SCHMIDT: No, because if the governor called, that would have been unheard of, although I . . . Louie Nunn called me in '67 when I won that one and . . . because he won the governor's race.

MOYEN: Right.

SCHMIDT: And I had met Louie in '63 . . . '62. Louie was in Young Republicans.

MOYEN: Right.

SCHMIDT: And we . . . in '61 or '62, I met Louie at Cumberland . . . DuPont Lodge at Cumberland Falls. I remember he was in my room, and we were having a beer. He's in my room, he's laying on the bed and I'm sitting in a chair, and talking about it, and he had been elected county judge in Barren County. Said, "I'm going to be governor someday." And I said, "Yeah, you and me both." [Both chuckling] And he said, "No." He said, "I'm going to do it." He said, "I'm going to probably run this next time out." And I said, "Well, if you do, I'll sure help you." 01:12:00Well, he did, and in '63 he came up here, and there were like . . . they called us the apostles, there were like twelve of us. And I was one . . . representative in Northern Kentucky . . . his representative in Northern Kentucky. And Marlow Cook, who was very popular - and by the way a Catholic, this is a pretty Catholic area - ran against Louie for the primary in '63 for governor. And Louie won, and Louie won Northern Kentucky, and I worked my tail off, I really did.

MOYEN: Uh-huh.

SCHMIDT: And got him the votes. I . . . it wasn't just me, I mean, I got the help to organize it. Anyway, so he never forgot that.

MOYEN: Mm-mm.

SCHMIDT: And it paid off in spades later on. But . . . because I liked Louie. I think Louie was probably one of the best governors we've ever had, and not just because he was a Republican. But one of the reasons I say that . . . I ramble too much, you tell me.

MOYEN: No. You're doing a great job.

SCHMIDT: Okay, because one of the things that worries me this time about the election 01:13:00between Fletcher and Chandler - and I like both of them, I like Chandler, I've met Ben several times - it's a situation that's a lot similar to what Louie took over when he was elected in '67. The state was spending more than it was bringing in, and they had a debt. And they didn't announce that until after the election, you know. Breathitt announced that there was a shortfall and they weren't going to have enough money to even finish out the fiscal year without cutting, so Louie comes in faced with that. And that was when the 2-cent sales tax was put on, and it took a lot of guts to do that. And . . . but Louie knew how to work. He knew how to work the legislature, because here was a Democrat house and a Democrat senate, nobody wants to raise taxes, nobody wants to vote for taxes. Well, he got that 2-cent sales tax increase through the legislature, and by doing it, put a lot of money in education, primary and secondary education 01:14:00and higher education. And that's one of the reasons why we got Northern Kentucky University. And the University of Louisville was not in the state system at that time. He brought Louisville into the state system, which makes all the difference in the world for Louisville, because it was a municipal school. But . . . so the reason I bring it up is that they . . . Chandler or Fletcher, whoever gets elected, is going to be faced with some of the similar problems. They say they can make up for the shortfall by cutting overhead and cutting expenses and all of that. Good luck. [Both chuckling] Because I don't think they can do it. I think they're going to have to raise taxes. One of the ways, if I could do it, would definitely be to put in casino gambling. It's . . . it is stupid not to do it. It really is, because gambling . . . casino-type gambling is available to, I think, about an hour's drive, with like 85-90 percent of the population of Kentucky already. And you know, from all along the Ohio River and West Virginia and Tennessee . . . below 01:15:00Tennessee, so you can drive with an hour . . . Lexington is the only population area of any size at all, and they're not much more than an hour. You could make it . . .

MOYEN: An hour and a half to . . .

SCHMIDT: Yeah, right. In a hour and a half, I'll bet you can make it to Argosy.

MOYEN: Oh, yeah? Uh-huh.

SCHMIDT: And in Owensboro, you can make it in an hour, depending on what part of Lexington you live in.

MOYEN: Right.

SCHMIDT: And . . . but anyway, that's . . . that . . . if they do that and do it right, which I . . . and I definitely think they should do it, they could bring in some money. The racetracks agreed to give them $500 million up front. I don't know if I'd go for that, because I think they want exclusivity, and I don't think that's a good idea. But anyway, I think whoever gets elected governor is going to have one hell of a job being reelected to anything after that, because if they have to raise taxes and they might have to. And with Louie, who I think was an excellent governor, ran for governor after that, ran for Senate after that, and never even came close to getting elected. And I think that was mainly because they recognized him, not for what 01:16:00he did . . . the good things he did, but because of increasing taxes.

MOYEN: Mm-mm. Mm-mm.

SCHMIDT: People remember that.

MOYEN: Now, did you vote for his tax increase?

SCHMIDT: Yes. Yes.

MOYEN: How were you able . . . so many people after that lost their races. How were you able to justify that?

SCHMIDT: Hard work, hard work. [Chuckle]

MOYEN: Okay.

SCHMIDT: Because I knew . . . see, I'd just been elected in '67 after losing in '65, so now I'd lost. And of course, there's nothing better for you than losing the election to learn how to run.

MOYEN: [Chuckle] Uh-huh.

SCHMIDT: So, '67. Then I go down to Frankfort for the '68 session, and the governor is talking about what he has to do. And I'm prepared to go with a penny increase, because I'd talked to him and that. Anyway, he called . . . and I'm fairly close to Louie. We get down in the governor's office one time and he says, "Art, I'm going to tell you." He said, "I'm really going to need your help." He said, "We're going to go for a 2-cent tax increase." [Chuckle] I'm just kind 01:17:00of stunned. From 3 cents to 5 cents, yeah, that's really going to be tough. "And I think we can do it," he said. "We're going to go for a 2-cent sales tax increase, and I'm going to need it." And so I said, "Okay, if that's what you're going to do, I'll help you, I'll do what I can." Because I would have, I mean, even if it would have cost me election, I still would have done it, because after looking at everything . . . Larry Forgy was budget director and . . . Albert Christen, I'm sorry, was budget director. Forgy worked for him, and you know, I . . . there was no other way to do it that I could see or anybody else could see. You could . . . we figured all kind of taxes, cigarette taxes, you could do a little bit here, a nibble here and there, but . . . and raise the income tax. And they would have all been extremely difficult to pass, and they would have still been tax increases, so you might as well bite the bullet and do the sales tax. It might not have been the best way to do it, but that's what we did. So when I came back home, I went back to work at Cincinnati Bell. I've got an office now . . . by that time I was in management, and I've got an office in the old headquarters building downtown Cincinnati. And I come walking in my office 01:18:00- I'd taken a leave of absence - and after that, so I came back. They had a chandelier and they had a rope around the chandelier with a little doll baby, and it had a noose around the doll baby's neck and a nickel was taped on its stomach [chuckle]. In other words, buddy, I'd had it.

MOYEN: [Chuckle] Uh-huh.

SCHMIDT: I knew I was dead, you know. Well, I can't think of who I ran against that time, but I did . . . I was just . . . worked like heck and tried to tell people that it was necessary, we had to do something, and I won. Carl Bamberger lost though. He lost. Of course, he didn't work as hard either. I mean, people . . . it's funny, but people usually . . . what's funny is about it, if I go to you and ask you to vote for me, and you say . . . you might not . . . you know, you tell me what I want to hear. Most of the time, those people will. 'Sure, I'll vote for you.' But then if you follow up on it, they feel almost obligated. And what I would try to do when I'd ask 01:19:00somebody to vote for me, make . . . especially if they were somebody that I thought influenced other people, and then they'd get a postcard before the election. You know, "I talked to you so long a time ago, and I sure would . . . remember you promised to vote for me. I want you to remember that I need your vote in November, you know, on election day." And that would . . . if nothing else, they had a guilty conscience. [Chuckle]

MOYEN: Uh-huh.

SCHMIDT: But I mean . . . but just door to door. And I remember Louie Nunn telling me something one time. He said . . . I was talking about signs. He said, "If signs won elections, Rock City would be president." [Chuckle] That's one of his favorite ones. And it's true, the signs don't win it, but what signs would do is encourage your supporters that something's going on and that sort of thing.

MOYEN: Now, when you voted for that . . . I'm not exactly sure of the timeline here.


MOYEN: Were you able to justify . . . did you know that this money was going to help 01:20:00fund Northern Kentucky University? Were you able to tell people that?

SCHMIDT: See, that was . . .

MOYEN: Or did that come later?

SCHMIDT: That came later, but I . . .

MOYEN: Okay.

SCHMIDT: One of the things after the session was over and we were . . . we passed a bill establishing Northern Kentucky State College.

MOYEN: Okay.

SCHMIDT: And we also passed bills establishing one in Glasgow, one in Carrollton. [Chuckle] See, that's how you got votes.

MOYEN: Yeah.

SCHMIDT: So after the election was over . . . after the session was over, I got a call from the governor and asked me if I could come down on the weekend to Frankfort, that he had these vetoes for that session, and he wanted to review the bills with me. So I went in the office, and he had three stacks, a stack of bills that he had to sign, a stack of bills that he felt he had to veto, and a bunch of them were going to be vetoed by sponsor. [Both chuckling] And so anyway, you know, whether or not you were a good boy or not.


MOYEN: Uh-huh.

SCHMIDT: So anyway, he . . . you know, we went over the veto messages and all that, and we were walking back to the mansion. He said, "Come on over for lunch." And we're walking up to the mansion, and he said, "Art, I really appreciate everything you've done for me." He said, "You know, is there anything . . . what do you want? What can I do?" I'm sure he thought I was going to say I want to be Parks commissioner or I want to be something like that. I said, "Governor, there is only one thing I want." I said, "We passed that Northern Kentucky State College, and I really wanted to see that college in Northern Kentucky. And if we get it in Campbell County, it would be great, but I'd like to see it in Northern Kentucky." And he said, "You're serious?" I said, "Sure." And I'm sure I told him this before, but we had some statistics, and I'm going to be wrong in these statistics, but they're symbolic. You take - and this goes back to my community college . . . when I went to community college too - the high school graduates from Northern Kentucky . . . the percentage of high school graduates that go to college was less 01:22:00than the percentage of high school graduates from the state of Kentucky as a whole that went to college. Now, you're living in a metropolitan area where you would think that education would be valued higher, and you had people from Eastern Kentucky in the mountains and Western Kentucky flatlands, a greater percentage of these kids going to college than you had up here. And the . . . of course, the average of Kentucky was less than the national average.

MOYEN: Yeah.

SCHMIDT: It just didn't seem right that Northern Kentucky should be so far backward of the state and also of the federal thing, until you start looking at it. Common sense would tell you that a kid that graduated from high school in Eastern Kentucky, Western Kentucky, Louisville, Jefferson County, Franklin . . . or Frankfort or anywhere else didn't have far to go to college. But if you were . . . lived in Northern Kentucky, the only way you get a college education was to go out of state to Xavier, to UC, to St. . . . Mount St. Joe or someplace else. Or 01:23:00you could go to . . . at the time it was Villa Madonna, which is now Thomas More. You had Thomas Moore that was a college that was here.

MOYEN: Right.

SCHMIDT: But that was a private college.

MOYEN: Mm-mm.

SCHMIDT: And the only other way you could go was to pay tuition at a state school somewhere else, go somewhere out of state. And it just . . . so economically, you were denying these kids an opportunity for college. And the governor realized that. And that was when he said, "By God," he said, "You'll get it." He said, "I'll promise you, you'll get it." He put John DeMarcus on the job and David Karem . . . not David . . . Fred Karem and several . . . but John DeMarcus was one of the big leaders to get the thing established. And we went through blazes. I could give you stories on that, but it is amazing. The community college belonged to the University of Kentucky, okay. That flashing again, does that mean anything? Or . . .

MOYEN: Yeah, let's go ahead and flip this over.


[End of Tape 1, Side 2]

[Begin of Tape 2, Side 1]


MOYEN: All right.

SCHMIDT: But the community college was with the University of Kentucky. They had around 1,000 students, it was one of the largest community colleges in the state. You've got to realize that a lot of kids from Northern Kentucky went to Morehead and went to Eastern and to UK. Morehead and Eastern depended a lot upon this, so none of the universities wanted Northern to be established. They were opposed to it. Kentucky . . . the University of Kentucky didn't want it either. Also happens at the time, the governor by virtue of being governor was chairman of the boards of regents of all the schools, so even though the presidents and so on didn't want it, they weren't about to buck the governor too bad on this thing. Well, to establish Northern you had to have some kind of a base, a base for bonding to get some buildings and that going. Well, you know, you . . . where do you get . . . what comes first, the chicken or the egg [inaudible]? Through a bunch of legal maneuvering . . . well, all of the community colleges were 01:25:00on a bond issue, one bond issue. And the income from the students was pledged to these bonds, so the community college in Northern Kentucky was all part of that bond issue. So legally how he did it, I don't know and I don't want to know, but all of a sudden the University of Kentucky got some money from the governor's contingency fund, I understand, and the university . . . the lawyers and the bond attorneys had the student body of the community college released in the [inaudible] from that debt, paying that debt on the bond issue for all the community colleges. So now you've got 1,000 students, built in, that are going to school, and they are free and clear of debt. And so instead of belonging now to the Northern Kentucky . . . or to the University of Kentucky Community College, they are all of a sudden students in Northern Kentucky State College. A lot of them didn't like it, because they wanted a Kentucky . . .


MOYEN: They wanted UK.

SCHMIDT: Yeah, they wanted UK. And what the hell, I remember a teacher talking to me, "You'll never . . . this is terrible, because you'll never get accreditation. These kids are not going to be . . . they won't be accredited when they get . . . ." Well, that was also . . . they did . . . the groundwork . . . the background work that people in the know did was amazing. But we got the thing done and in this area now, and you can see what it is. It's . . . it really is a tremendous asset, not just to Northern Kentucky, but to the state.

MOYEN: Right.

SCHMIDT: And yeah, that was basically how the whole thing started.

MOYEN: Let me ask you this. You mentioned and it was certainly true that the other schools were opposed to it.

SCHMIDT: Absolutely.

MOYEN: Can you think of any specific examples where that was said to you or where Governor Nunn said, you know, here . . . or it was just understood?

SCHMIDT: Oh, it was understood. I cannot give you any specifics. I . . . you knew it, you knew damn good and well they didn't want it. And I understand their position. You know, 01:27:00looking at it from a selfish point of view, all of a sudden you've got two new universities coming in. Of course, they weren't universities at the time, but . . . Louisville and Northern Kentucky, that the pot . . . the money pot's going to be divided even more. Our student body, where we draw a lot of students, that's going to be gone. And you know, they just didn't want it.

MOYEN: Mm-mm.

SCHMIDT: And I heard it all the time. I cannot give you any specifics, but I understood it and why it was done. And the politics was unbelievable. And at the time too, the university presidents pretty well ran everything. I don't know if you ever get a chance to see, there's a photograph in the Courier-Journal that's really funny. It shows Adron Doran and Bob Martin, president of Morehead and Eastern, Single- . . . not Singletary, but . . . I can't think of the two presidents from Murray and Western. And they're leaning on the rail up in the balcony of the senate, and they're signaling how . . . people on the floor how to vote. And as . . . and the 01:28:00photograph's entitled: 'Birds on a Rail.' And it was in the Courier-Journal. But they did, they used to . . . you know, they had their people that just wanted to know how to vote on every issue and they would follow blindly. And believe me, they still do it. Some of them do it [inaudible]. Now it's a lot more secretive [inaudible] . . .

MOYEN: Right.

SCHMIDT: . . . because the press and everything [inaudible]. But anyway, we got it done, that was the main thing.

MOYEN: And what year was it established?

SCHMIDT: '67, '68. '68 . . .

MOYEN: Okay.

SCHMIDT: . . . is when it was first established.

MOYEN: Okay. For you politically, was that automatically an asset or was it still a liability like you . . .

SCHMIDT: No, no. I think it was an asset. I mean, there wasn't anything here. By '69, they had . . . the ground had been purchased and we knew it was going to come. And of course, I was on the board of the Chamber of Commerce at the time, which a lot of influential people were on the board, and I think that really helped a lot. And I think most people, if they were 01:29:00reasonable, realized that something had to be done with the money issue. And I didn't win by as big a vote, but I did win fairly comfortably.

MOYEN: And it's pretty fair to say that your discussion you were talking about with Louie Nunn at the governor's mansion played a major role in that.

SCHMIDT: Oh, I don't think there's any question. I don't think there's any question about it.

MOYEN: Uh-huh. Uh-huh.

SCHMIDT: Yeah. I know it did, because he would . . . you know, we talked quite a few times, not just during the session, but after that about things that are going on. And when we got Frank Steely in as the first president, they asked me . . . he asked me whether I would meet him and bring him and take him on a tour of the area, because there were several applications . . . applicants, but they had told me that he was the one they wanted. And he was from Wise, Virginia. And so I took him around and showed him the tour. As a matter of fact, it was funny. I had an old automobile, a Chevy, and I had . . . Ed Pendery, who was my buddy and my campaign manager, he had a new station wagon, so when Frank Steely and his wife and 01:30:00two kids came up here, they stayed at a hotel in Fort Mitchell, I guess, I borrowed Ed's car, because I didn't want to take them in my own car, took over and get him . . . and I didn't want to drive past Newport Steel with the pollution and everything, took him a round-about way to show him where the campus was [chuckle] and all that kind of stuff, you know, because . . . but it was just funny. Frank made an excellent president, I think, too, starting out as a president, you know, in a brand-new college.

MOYEN: Now, was he the president at what I think is now the University of Virginia at Wise, Virginia?

SCHMIDT: Wise. Yeah, he was president at Wise, right.

MOYEN: Okay.

SCHMIDT: Wise, Virginia. I think he was president there when he came here.

MOYEN: Okay. Let's step back just a little bit and talk again about your first term. And we didn't ever address, when you get to Frankfort . . . or did the Republicans . . . did they also go to Kentucky Dam Village at this time? Do you recall?

SCHMIDT: You know, I don't recall whether we . . . we did after that.


MOYEN: Mm-mm.

SCHMIDT: I know in '67 we did. I don't think I went.

MOYEN: Okay.

SCHMIDT: No, I'm almost sure . . . see, because that was more the ones that were in.

MOYEN: Mm-mm.

SCHMIDT: That was . . . the new ones, I guess now they are invited, because that was kind of an indoc- . . . we didn't have an indoc- . . . we . . . the only indoctrination we got . . . that's right, I remember now. We met in a room in the Capitol, down in the basement I think it was, and Fred Morgan who was a Democrat who was really knowledgeable about the legislature came and spoke to the freshmen on about what to look for and what to expect and things like that. And no, they didn't have . . . there was nothing really that organized. The LRC was there, but the LRC was an arm of the Democrats' leadership, period. And so in '67, I think, was the first time I went to Kentucky Dam Village.

MOYEN: Okay. So when you show up, I guess, your first day or the day before, what 01:32:00is . . . what sticks out most in your mind or what was as you thought it would be or worlds different than you expected?

SCHMIDT: I really don't . . . I'll tell you how it was. It was funny, I don't remember any specific things, except that when you got to Frankfort, I knew where the Capitol was [chuckle], but not much more. And we went in, and our office was a desk on the floor. And they had some telephones and phone booths on the side that you could go out and use the telephone. And the messages or anything else, they'd bring to you. And you did all your work, you're reading the bills and everything else, right there. That was it. You didn't have an office, you didn't have a desk anywhere else. Everything was . . . that was it on the floor, and you had no telephone either, except out in the hallway.

MOYEN: Mm-mm.

SCHMIDT: And we still got things done.

MOYEN: Uh-huh.

SCHMIDT: Of course, the things that were done were 99.44 percent what the governor wanted done [both chuckling], because the governor had the leadership. I remember one meeting 01:33:00that we were in . . . and oh, you would get appointed to committees. They would appoint you to committees, and the committee that you were on . . . usually like if it was prestigious, you'd want to be that. Everybody wanted to be on Education and Transportation, because those were two big committees that could influence votes back home, you know.

MOYEN: Right.

SCHMIDT: So there must have been 30 people on each of those committees, you know. And I was on Transportation, I remember. And I went, 'Wow. I bet they put me on Transportation. Don Ball from Lexington . . . I don't know if you know Ball Homes?

MOYEN: Yeah. Yeah.

SCHMIDT: Okay. Don was there with me in '63 and in '67. Anyway, in '63 . . . I'm pretty sure it was '63, we are at this meeting of the Transportation Committee, and Cottingim was chairman. And we're in this big room, all these people, somebody made a motion that the bill should pass, and Don Ball and I were against it and we didn't vote for it, and they voted . . . 01:34:00we voted no. And they just weren't paying any attention, and the guys that voted . . . we had more that voted no than they did. So Cottingim said, "Well, the bill passed." "Wait a minute, those votes . . . there wasn't enough votes." So to the secretary, [inaudible], "He's right. [Inaudible] Well, he's right." "Okay, well, we're going to take the vote again." So he got the votes lined up. And . . . "Well you can't." "What do you mean?" "Well, the only way you can cons- . . . reconsider it is you have to have somebody on the prevailing side, which was losing, to make the motion." "Oh, cut this stuff out," he said. "Somebody make the motion that we do it." And none of us would make the motion. [Chuckle] So he didn't know what to do. Well, they adjourned the meeting, probably had a little quick meeting, you know, and they called another meeting that afternoon. And I remember going back in, and he said, "Okay, somebody make this motion now. We're going to reconsider it." Nobody made the motion, and he said, "Okay. I 01:35:00make the motion that we reconsider and have the vote on it." And the bill as passes quick like that, and it's law today, just ignore all the rules and everything else, doesn't make any difference. He said, "We ain't going to put up with this stuff." [Chuckle] And we could raise Cain and yell and everything else. Like you go to court, the courts will tell you they never look behind the passage. You know, if it's passed, it's passed.

MOYEN: Uh-huh.

SCHMIDT: Now, they wouldn't do anything like that today, I don't think. They'll play games, but I don't think they'll do anything as blatant as that, but I never will forget that. And we had some episodes like that. The civil rights thing stands out more than anything.

MOYEN: Can you tell me a little more about that?

SCHMIDT: Just that the students at Kentucky State University really lined up the gallery, and they had their picture books with all the legislators in it. And they had heroes and villains and things like that, you know. I was one of the heroes though [chuckle]. Anyway, it was just a contentious thing, and there were . . . there was demonstrations and that, but not 01:36:00anything out of the ordinary. Not like they had in the '60s, you know, later on in the '60s. But you know, and Kentucky was the first state to pass that . . .

MOYEN: Right.

SCHMIDT: . . . the first Southern state to pass it. And Breathitt deserves credit for that. He really does, because he went out on a limb. I think . . . you know, you never know how the public's going to accept it. And I'm sure if you took a vote, they'd have voted against it, only because they didn't know what the hell they were doing, you know.

MOYEN: Uh-huh.

SCHMIDT: But anyway, that's beside the point. I don't remember a whole lot more about it. Let's see, what's it? Forty years ago, right?

MOYEN: Uh-huh. Let me ask you this. You were talking about - and it . . . I think it's true - that Breathitt deserved credit for that, because they passed it. And had that been put to a public vote in Kentucky at that time, it would have lost. How does that . . . where does that fit in into your political philosophy, especially when you think about things like most of us say, 'Oh, 01:37:00we're for democracy. We're for, you know, letting the people decide.' And then you realize the people on this one would be wrong, like . . .

SCHMIDT: Yeah, that's a good question, and I can answer it like this. I don't believe in democracy, I don't. I believe in a representative republic. In other words, you couldn't exist as a democracy. It . . . the country could not exist, they just couldn't do it. I think that we're so much better off - the public is, even if I'm not one of them - the public is much better off to elect representatives to represent them under a constitution, so that they can't . . . because they're going to be wrong too, they have to be bridled in by the constitution. And I always said like . . . it's like a good corporation. You have a board of directors, that's going to be the legislature, you have the stockholders, which is the public, and the governor is the chief executive officer, and 01:38:00that's about it, you know. And in the . . . in a corporation . . . a big corporation or even in a small corporation, where you have directors and stockholders, the stockholders don't have a heck of a lot of say other than electing the directors. And the directors then have the responsibility of supervising and overseeing the chief executive officer, who has the responsibility of running the business under the rules.

MOYEN: Mm-mm.

SCHMIDT: It's the same thing.

MOYEN: Yeah. Uh-huh.

SCHMIDT: Because a democracy wouldn't work, couldn't work.

MOYEN: Did your political philosophy change at all or did it take serving that first session to even develop a political philosophy, what you knew . . .

SCHMIDT: Yeah, I think you develop it all the time, it's still developing.

MOYEN: Mm-mm.

SCHMIDT: I think . . . yeah, because you know, I have certain things that I believe in. I believe, you know, in moral issues and what position government has, what government should 01:39:00be doing. Like I always said . . . well, okay, I think the federal government should keep their nose out of education. I really think that most . . . you should not be running education from the federal government. I think the federal government's first responsibility is national defense and . . . which now would include domestic terrorism too, but I mean with an umbrella, domestic . . . or national defense. The state's primary responsibility is education. Now, that doesn't mean you can't have some overlapping and you can't use some incentives, but I think the government has probably going way too far on so-called incentives when they're not incentives anymore, because now they're requirements.

MOYEN: Right.

SCHMIDT: You have to do something because of the federal money, because you couldn't operate without it. But I think all of that. So I mean, what I'm saying is, it's developing. I can make this as black and white lines, the federal government is national defense, 01:40:00the state government is education, local government is some zoning . . . planning and zoning or something like that. You can make them, but every one of them overlap, and I realize that.

MOYEN: Mm-mm. Mm-mm. Were there any other pieces of legislation during your . . . that first term that you served that you . . . that stick out in your mind?

SCHMIDT: No. One, which I was wrong [chuckle]. And I'd had it. That was the same time that the Supreme Court came out and ruled against prayer in schools, that was the first time. And I introduced a bill . . . I think I . . . as far as I remember, I only really introduced two bills. I introduced a bill to reestablish the prayer in the schools. It didn't go anywhere and it would have been unconstitutional if it had, probably. But that was one that didn't go anywhere. The other bill I introduced was to change of the city of Cold Spring from a sixth-class to a fifth- class city, and that passed.

MOYEN: Okay.

SCHMIDT: [Chuckle] You know, I think that's one of the only bills I've gotten passed. 01:41:00I'm serious. Because I learned a lesson in those first few years, that if you want something to pass . . .

MOYEN: Mm-mm.

SCHMIDT: . . . don't put your name on it. [Chuckle] I had . . . I've got several bills that . . . a lot of them, as a matter of fact. Well, the one that . . . I guess outside of Northern Kentucky University, was changing the election system in Kentucky. I had a friend from South Carolina, and he told me about . . . he . . . they had a computerized voting system in South Carolina. And so I questioned him about it and asked if he would send me a copy of the bill, and he did. I met him at a conference someplace. And I read that thing, and boy, it was something else, I thought. Because at the time, what we were doing, each county clerk was in charge of their own voter registration. And twice a year, primary and November election, they would type every name and four copies: one copy for the precinct, a copy for the Republican 01:42:00Party, a copy for the Democratic Party, and I don't know what the other one went to, but anyway, they typed those things and they had typists doing them and there were mistakes on them. And that's . . . that was the only record. And the clerks got paid 15 cents, it was, for every registered voter.

MOYEN: Mm-mm.

SCHMIDT: So there was no incentive to take dead people off or to do anything, because they'd lose 15 cents every time they took somebody off. Well, this thing I got from South Carolina just was amazing, it computerized the whole system. So I worked on it with somebody in the LRC, and we changed a lot of things, but basically what we did is, every . . . all registered . . . voter registration was still handled by the county clerks, but it was centralized in the Secretary of State, it was on a computer in the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State then kept those registrations there. They also got information from Vital Statistics in Human Resources to send all births . . . not births, but death notices to them. And . . . oh yeah, that's 01:43:00right, they sent out . . . everything was keyed to Social Security numbering. So that if I moved from Campbell County to Kenton County and put my Social Security number over there, it automatically flagged Campbell County. So each . . . several times a year every county clerk would get a purging list of people who had moved out of their county or had died. So there was no reason why they shouldn't purge those names off. It didn't make them do it, but they do it. Also, you had a central location now, and that thing was by age, it was by party registration, it was by how that you voted . . . not . . . if you voted, not how you voted . . . if you'd voted in the primary, general election, this thing's all centralized now. And so I got the bill all drafted, [inaudible], introduced it, and I tried getting the committee to hear it, you know. And they had a hearing - and I forget what year this was - but they didn't [inaudible] too much interest, this is 01:44:00too involved, it's too detailed. So that was it, it died for lack of . . . didn't go anywhere. The next year the very, very same bill, signed by Senator Pat McCuiston, word for word, word for word, he introduced it in the senate, see. And I saw it, I didn't say anything, but I knew what they were doing. So it passed the senate and then passed the house and it's law today. And that's what . . . that's the bill we've got, and there's been very few changes in it since then. So that really taught me a good lesson. So now I know how the game was played. You know, it takes me a little while to learn something. If I have a bill that, you know, I really want passed, I'm not going to sponsor it, somebody else is going to sponsor it. It's going to be somebody that knows how the game is played.

MOYEN: Right.

SCHMIDT: And I got one bill that way now. And I had several, but Walt Dunlevy, who was chairman . . . or president of the Chamber of Commerce came to me, and he said, "Art," he said, "We want to establish a Northern Kentucky Tourism and Convention Bureau. And 01:45:00under the law, they can't do it because it . . . you can't have multi-counties, it can only be single counties. Lexington has one and Louisville has one, but we don't want one for Campbell County, we want to have one for Northern Kentucky." And I said . . . I can back up a little bit, but that's one of the things that Northern Kentucky University did. We talked about our community of interest. That brought Northern Kentucky together as a unit.

MOYEN: Okay.

SCHMIDT: So anyway, Walt then said, "I've got this bill. Will you do something? Can you take care of it?" So I met with Will Zeigler, who was their attorney, and we got the thing all drafted how we think it should be. So then I've got the bill to establish a Northern Kentucky Commun- . . . or Tourism and Convention Bureau. What am I going to do with it? See, I'm not going to sponsor it, because I know what will happen. So I go to Bill McBee. Bill McBee was in the house, and he's chairman of one of the committees. So I said to Bill, I said, "Bill, look at this bill. It's a good thing, it's something for Northern Kentucky." I said, "Will you sponsor it?" And 01:46:00he said, "Well, okay, but you handle it." I said, "Yeah, I'll handle it. You just sponsor it." So he sponsored it. Get it assigned to the committee, that afternoon the bill's reported out of committee. It goes to the floor of the house, it gets three readings. On the third reading, Bill stands up and says, "I want the bill passed," or something like that. They all vote for it and it's over in the senate. [Chuckle] Just like that. I'm not kidding, like, four days. So now it's over in the senate, and now . . . and it's assigned to a committee. Lacey Smith, who was a senator from Louisville, is chairman of this committee. This is a true story, so help me. He's chairman of this committee. And so I go over and talk to Lacey, and I said, "Now if you're going to have hearings on this, you ought to get it going. "Oh sure. Next week, next week." A week goes by. "Well, next week." Said, "We're busy, we're awfully busy." Now I'm getting to suspect something, see. A guy named Tinsley, who was chairman of the Louisville Convention Bureau . . .

MOYEN: Now when is this?

SCHMIDT: This is . . . it was in the '60s . . . '7- . . . it might have been early '70s, I'm not sure.

MOYEN: Okay.

SCHMIDT: Tinsley, who was chairman of their convention bureau . . . Todd Hollenbach 01:47:00is . . . I don't know if you've heard of Todd. Todd was judge of . . . county judge of Jefferson County. "I understand Jefferson County is holding it up, because they don't want any competition up here on their convention thing." "Oh!" Todd Hollenbach comes down . . . comes into the legislature for something, and I said, "I understand . . . ." "Oh, no. What do you mean, Art?" I said, "Don't tell me that." I said, "I understand you guys are . . . ." "And you better not . . . better lay off of it, else I'm going to tell on you." So I go then to Bill McBee, and Bill McBee is . . . Wendell Ford is the governor. Bill McBee is a good friend of Wendell Ford, I know that, that's one of the reasons why he sponsored it.

MOYEN: Uh-huh.

SCHMIDT: So I go to Bill, and I said, "Bill, they're killing your bill." He said, "They're what?" I said, "They're killing your bill in the senate." "What do you mean?" he said. "They're going to hold it up, they're not going to pass it." "Come on," he said, so we go downstairs. [Inaudible] see the governor. So we go downstairs, and June Taylor is the governor's secretary. If you ever go in the governor's office, there's like four doors . . . ways to get into the governor. 01:48:00He can escape lots of ways. So as you're looking at the extreme left-hand side, there's a small office, and June Taylor was in there. So Bill knocks on the door and comes walking in and said, "We've got to see the governor." She said, "Well, Bill, he's busy." "I don't care. We've got to see him. It's important." "Well, just a minute." So she goes into his office, she comes back out and says, "Just wait a minute. He'll come out." He's having a meeting with somebody. We don't care. Bill don't care. So here comes Wendell come walking out, and Wendell said, "Well, what the hell you want, McBee?" Like that. But he said, "Tell him, Art. Tell him." [Chuckle] So anyway, I said . . . I told him about the bill. I said, "We need it in Northern Kentucky, and they're holding it up in the senate." "Okay, okay. I'll take care of it." So he went back in and Bill said, "He'll take care of it." I think that afternoon they called a meeting of the committee in the senate, and they passed the bill out, got its three readings and passed on the floor, and the governor signed it, and we got the bill, [chuckle] so help me. But that's the way the system 01:49:00worked.

MOYEN: Uh-huh.

SCHMIDT: You got to figure . . . it didn't take you too long to figure out how it works. There were several bills I did that way. I did . . . you know, I can't think of . . . that was a fun one, that was really funny the way that worked out. But you just get somebody that you know and you trust that will sponsor it and do it.

MOYEN: So I'm presuming that it is essentially a creature of serving in a Democratic- dominated legislature.

SCHMIDT: Absolutely. Absolutely.

MOYEN: What other type of dynamics were there that you dealt with as a Republican in a Democratic-dominated house? And then, I wouldn't say dominated, but [inaudible] . . .

SCHMIDT: Well, [inaudible]. Yeah, because at the very first like with Breathitt, with Louie Nunn . . . now Louie Nunn was different because a Republican with Democrats, but with Wendell Ford, which was . . . followed Louie Nunn, and then Julian Carroll, they pretty much ran it. Julian, of course, had been speaker of the house so he . . . and he was a president of the 01:50:00senate as lieutenant governor, so Julian knew the system. And they would send up a note on how to vote on bills to the Democrats in the leadership. And we would highjack them sometimes, and we would try to change the orders [both chuckling]. But they were told what to do, and I can . . . you know, it's . . . I understand that. But sometimes it would just get blatant, like I know I was trying to get the floor on something - and I forget what the bill was - but I was trying to get [the floor], and they just won't recognize you. And I had . . . I know one guy from down in Eastern Kentucky, that was when they had the old hand mikes, was standing on top of his desk with his microphone yelling, and they went ahead and voted, and then the speaker said, "Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't see you there," things like that that would go on. And the first time . . . and I remember in '63, in the restroom, whiskey bottles, and there was drinking all the time and on the windowsill even there, and that happened, I guess . . .


MOYEN: In the Capitol?

SCHMIDT: In the Capitol building. And then after that, it really . . . I know in the later years it really became more businesslike. I give Bill Kenton a lot of credit for that when he was speaker, and . . . I tell you, it just kind of evolved. I think the legislature was nothing more than a mob to begin with. And you had to have somebody control the mob, and that was the governor. And then slowly and surely they gained independence . . . more independence. You never elected your own leadership. The leadership was always elected . . . appointed by the governor and then elected by the membership according to his appointment. Well of course, he couldn't do that with the Republicans, but even Louie Nunn did that.

MOYEN: Right.

SCHMIDT: But . . .

MOYEN: Now, you mentioned Bill Kenton. Could you tell me a little bit about . . . is it Shelby McCallum?

SCHMIDT: Shelby McCallum was the speaker when I was first elected.

MOYEN: What type of interaction did you have?


SCHMIDT: Very little with Shelby.

MOYEN: Okay.

SCHMIDT: I'd only see Shelby . . . the only time I saw him was when he was presiding. I don't remember a whole lot about him, except that it was kind of a raucous outfit, and that was it.

MOYEN: Uh-huh. [Chuckle]

SCHMIDT: [Chuckle] Shelby, he . . . I'm sure he was . . . he ran things well because they got things done.

MOYEN: Right. SCHMIDT: It depends how you want to evaluate. Do you evaluate on the results or how the results were accomplished? MOYEN: Mm-mm.

SCHMIDT: [Inaudible] How the results were accomplished, I think, were terrible, but the results were probably good because that's what they wanted.

MOYEN: Uh-huh. At the time when you first began serving, who would be the leading Republican have been? Was it Leonard Hislope?

SCHMIDT: Leonard Hislope was the person we elected, yeah. Leonard was elected as floor leader.

MOYEN: Okay. So as floor leader with this minority of Republicans, when you get together [chuckle] and say, 'Okay. What are we going to do?' how do you address that?


SCHMIDT: I'll tell you what. That's a . . . I'm glad you asked that. That is a [inaudible] good question. Because we didn't have too many members, we met every day before the session. And what we would do, we'd have the Orders of the Day and we would go over the Orders of the Day. And I can tell you right now, we were better informed than most of the Democrats. David Karem, sitting next to me in the floor of the house . . . do you know David?

MOYEN: Right.

SCHMIDT: Okay. David is from Louisville. David would even ask me sometimes about some bills. And I remember he commented once, and I think another guy [inaudible] sat behind me, because he knew we read . . . we had somebody read the bills. What we'd do, we'd assign different bills to different people, and especially if they were in your committee, if they came out of your committee, then you'd tell them about what the bill is about. And I remember Dave saying one time, I explained the bill to him, about what was all that was in it, and I said, "I'm going to vote for it, but maybe you better not." I told him that, because it was a position 01:54:00that they took. Anyway, you know, Leonard . . . so we . . . at least we thought we were contributing to what was going on. As far as impact on legislation, very low, honestly, honestly.

MOYEN: All right. How did that change for you when Louie Nunn was governor, if at all? [Inaudible]

SCHMIDT: Truthfully, very little, except the governor still got what he wanted. I remember Bill Cox from Western Kentucky someplace was in the legislature, and when we passed the tax bill, Bill voted against it and John Isler from Covington got up and got an amendment passed to exempt food and medicine from the sales tax. Well, that killed it, you know. You couldn't do it, because you lost more money than the 5 cents would bring in. So they . . . it passed. The bill passed and they adjourned. Don Ball got up and moved that we 01:55:00adjourn, so now we've got to reorganize and see what they're going to do. So we met down in the governor's office and all that now to re- . . . we're going to reconsider, make sure we've got the votes to kill Isler's amendment, and we've got to reconsider . . . now we've got to have somebody to make the motion to reconsider it who was on the prevailing side. And Cox got selected. I can't think of that . . . he's a . . . he's well known, he has a trucking company down there. Anyway, he got up the next day and made the motion, said, "Mr. Speaker, I'm going to make a motion." He said, "Before I do, I want to explain the motion." Said, "It was explained to me yesterday. There is a community college in Hopkinsville or wherever . . . there is a community college in this budget in Hopkinsville, and we need that community college, and we ain't going to get it if this bill don't pass. This has been explained to me." He said, "There are 01:56:00some roads down here." He said, "It's been explained to me these roads aren't going to be there." And something else . . . some other things . . . there were a bunch of other things, and it was explained . . . he kept saying said that it was explained to him. People were snickering, they knew who did the explaining, see. [Both chuckling]

MOYEN: Uh-huh.

SCHMIDT: Because Louie did. Louie explained all these things to him that wasn't going to happen unless he made this motion and voted. So he made the motion, they reconsidered, the bill passed and it went to the senate. But that was . . . you know, I don't know whether it answered your original question, but [chuckle] Louie had just a tremendous ability to work with the legislature and to strong-arm them. Sure, he strong-armed them, every governor does. And they just . . . except they think they . . . they've lost a lot of their power now, because the legislature . . . well, first of all, vetoes. At the time, you had your 60-day meeting and then you went home. All the bills passed at the end of the meeting, I wondered why they did that, why we couldn't pass some of these bills earlier. Well, [inaudible] any bill that had any kind of 01:57:00significance went towards the end of the session, because then you adjourn and the governor had ten days to look at them. And he vetoed them, you couldn't do anything about it, because there is no such thing as a veto session.

MOYEN: Right.

SCHMIDT: Now there is and you can override a veto, but . . . so many of those things have changed, but they were just in the past few years.

MOYEN: Mm-mm. Mm-mm. Would you tell me a little bit about some other important legislation? I think the open housing law was another . . .

SCHMIDT: Open housing . . . yeah, public accommodation, open housing. I don't remember too much about that. There didn't . . . it seemed like the big problem . . . see, some of this passed, too, in '65 or '66 when I wasn't there . . .

MOYEN: Okay.

SCHMIDT: . . . the second year of Breathitt's thing. And there wasn't a whole lot of discussion or argument about civil rights except that first year. Otherwise, I think the legislature had matured a lot, and there was some politicking played, I think, in Louie Nunn's election when 01:58:00he ran against - not Breathitt, Breathitt beat him - but when he ran against Henry Ward. There was a circular going out with a handshake with a black hand and a white hand shaking hands and trying to get some racial situation. And I don't even know who put that out, but I don't think any of it worked very well.

MOYEN: Uh-huh.

SCHMIDT: None of it worked very well.

MOYEN: So when Louie Nunn was elected governor and served his term, did Republicans . . . were they optimistic about their future political clout in Kentucky at the time or not necessarily?

SCHMIDT: I'm not . . . Simeon Willis was the last governor before Louie to be a Republican, and nobody remembered him, you know. And I think we were all excited to have our own governor, you know, we thought that was great and that . . . but I don't remember anything specific other than just winning the election, you know. And I guess . . . I think . . . I 01:59:00do remember telling the governor one time, and he raised his eyebrows at me. I said, "It's a hell of a lot easier serving with a Democrat than it is with a Republican." [Both chuckling] And that's true, it's really true. I don't whether he misunderstood me, that I'd rather serve. I wouldn't rather serve with one, because it was easier because you didn't have to do anything. [Chuckle]

MOYEN: Right.

SCHMIDT: What is it? You can point with pride and view with alarm? [Both chuckling].

MOYEN: That's right. Could you go into a little more detail about Julian Carroll and his leadership style and your interaction with him?

SCHMIDT: Yeah. Jul- . . . of course, I first knew Julian when he was a member of the house, before he became speaker. And then Julian became speaker. I always liked him, we got along good. Even when he was lieutenant governor, I'd talk to him when we'd have some bills or some interest and that, and even when he was governor. Now, I was never close, I was never 02:00:00in the inner circle or anything like that, but I liked Julian and got along with Julian. I think Julian . . . Julian loved to play the game, he was good at the game. You know, he knew what he was doing and knew how to do it and he didn't make a lot of enemies doing it.

MOYEN: Mm-mm.

SCHMIDT: Now, Wendell was a little different. I think Wendell . . . I remember one time when I was over at the mansion, Wendell was having a party and . . . one evening, a barbecue out in back or something. I was coming out and I was . . . I shook hands and thanked the governor and that. He said, "Gee, I even take care of my enemies." And I don't know what I did to him, and I don't remember being an enemy.

MOYEN: Uh-huh.

SCHMIDT: But, "I even take care of my enemies." But I probably had voted against something that he wanted or something.

MOYEN: Uh-huh.

SCHMIDT: But I voted the way I thought, and the hell with it. [Chuckle]

MOYEN: Uh-huh.

SCHMIDT: Because I knew I wasn't going to get anything anyway, so [chuckle] . . .

MOYEN: Now, by 1970, you had served a number of years.


MOYEN: What's that like on your family? Now you aren't in far Western Kentucky, 02:01:00but you're not next door.

SCHMIDT: See, I could come home every evening . . . not every . . . every weekend I was home. I think I missed one weekend when they had a big snowstorm. Otherwise, I was home every weekend. And of course, it wasn't that long a period of time: January, February, March, and you had a lot of holidays in there too. So it wasn't . . . it was very seldom that you were gone for five days, except towards the end of the session. You didn't go into session until 4 o'clock on Monday, you got out before lunch on Friday, so I didn't leave till noon on Monday and got home for dinner on Friday, for lunch even sometimes. So it wasn't bad until I ran for the senate in '83. Well, Jim Bunning was going to run for governor, and Jim wanted me to run for the senate seat because they didn't want to lose the senate seat and they thought if I ran for the senate seat, he was going to run for governor. He made it sound like he wouldn't run for 02:02:00governor unless I ran for the senate. I don't believe that's true, but it's the way he made it sound like, so I said I would run. Well, that was the same year that Marian fell. I knew she had MS, but she fell and broke her hip, and so she was pretty much an invalid then. But . . . so when I was in the senate, I tried to come home almost every night. I tried to, I couldn't do it all the time. The second term, though, I did. I'd go down during the day and come home at night and go back down the next morning. And that worked pretty good. You know, it worked for her pretty good. But . . . so on the family, it wasn't . . . it wasn't easy - don't misunderstand me - but it wasn't that great a . . . that difficult.

MOYEN: Mm-mm. Some politicians or people who serve public office talk about the frustrations of living in a fish bowl. Was there any type of pressure like that on you necessarily?

SCHMIDT: I don't remember feeling any . . . I think you make the pressure yourself. I . 02:03:00. . okay, I guess one pressure . . . this was kind of interesting. I shouldn't give you the names, but I will [chuckle]. The largest political contribution that I had ever received up to that time was from the Kentucky Medical Association. Well, political contributions, people say they're not going to be influenced by them and everything. I think it's pretty daggone hard not to be. So anyway, that was . . . I got 750 bucks, and I've never got that much money from anybody. That same session, there was a bill in the legislature for the optometrists, so they could prescribe drugs, they could use prescription drugs to diagnose eye trouble. And of course, the physicians were opposed to it. An ophthalmologist who is a medical doctor, that's fine, but an optometrist should not have access to prescription drugs. Well, I studied it and I looked at it and talked to people. The drugs they were asking to use were diagnostic drugs. There was very little danger associated 02:04:00with them. And our logic was that a lot more people go to an optometrist than go to an ophthalmologist for their eye trouble. And if they could diagnose two or three people or one person with a [inaudible] . . . with an eye disease that might save his life, and refer him to a specialist, rather than let it go undetected. It was a no-brainer to me. And I remember talking to one of the doctors, and I said, "I know you're opposed to this bill, and you probably don't want me to vote for it, but I'm voting for it, because I really believe that's right." "Well, you're wrong." You know, "You're wrong, but we respect your opinion." And that's what made it easy. I never really worried about it. Another situation happened at the telephone company. I'd spent 38 years at the telephone company and I knew where my livelihood came from. My livelihood didn't come from the legislature.

MOYEN: Right.

SCHMIDT: And one session - I don't know what it was - but word came back to me that they had talked to the telephone company, and if I didn't vote for something, they were 02:05:00going to make it tough on them on some bills or something. Well, the telephone company had lobbyists down there. And he didn't tell me, but came . . . word came a roundabout way. And so I went over to see my boss, and I went in his office and sat down . . . not my boss, my boss's boss.

MOYEN: Do you recall when this was? Sorry to interrupt.

SCHMIDT: It had to be . . . not long after Louie Nunn was elected. It was . . .

MOYEN: Okay. Okay.

SCHMIDT: Yeah, because . . . I won't tell you the guy's name . . . well, he's dead, but the guy that . . . there was a . . . one of the guys that I mentioned the name already is dead [chuckle]. Anyway, he was the one that was pulling the chain. It was something about a manhole bill, as I remember. You had to have two people standing at the top of a manhole anytime the cover was off, because of the danger that might be involved. Well, the telephone company didn't want anything to do with that. Anyway, I went back and talked to my boss and told him what was happening. And they said that they're going to do that if I don't vote for their bill. And I said, "I don't want to vote for their bill." And he said, "Well, what are you going to 02:06:00do?" I said . . . he said, "What would you do if I told you you have to?" I said, "Well, I'll probably do it, but I'd never run again." And I meant it, I would never run again. And he said, "Thank you." He said, "You do what you think is right, no matter what it might do to the telephone company, and I'll promise you that nothing will ever happen to you, no matter what it is. You do what you think is right." And I said, "Well, I appreciate it, because I wouldn't run if you hadn't said that." I wouldn't have either. And he said, "I'll tell you why I said that." He said, "You're prejudiced already. You know, you're inclined to be prejudiced this way, the same as if you were a doctor or you were a lawyer or you were anything [inaudible].

MOYEN: Right.

SCHMIDT: And he said, "Chances are you'd be voting for what would be benefit us because that's what you believe in. But you do what you think is right and now don't worry about it." And I did that all the time. And I voted for things I'm sure were wrong, but I never 02:07:00got sick over it, because I . . . I'll tell you something else. That first session of the legislature, I damn near did get sick. I was just . . . I just couldn't believe it, because there was a bill for the city of Fort Thomas that the city did not want and Jim Murphy, who was the representative, that didn't like the city, was getting passed. And they passed the damn thing, and I couldn't stop it. And I really felt bad about it. And you know, and I thought if this is the way the system works, I'm not going to do it. Then I thought, 'That's silly. Don't . . . just do what you think is right. Win or lose, forget it.'

MOYEN: Uh-huh.

SCHMIDT: And that's all you can do.

MOYEN: Uh-huh.

SCHMIDT: And I've done that, and I did that my entire career.

MOYEN: Mm-mm.

SCHMIDT: I have no regrets.

MOYEN: You talk about how you managed to do that, but you did say the one time, the first session, you sponsored re-instituting prayer in schools. When did you change your mind on that and what . . .

SCHMIDT: Well, see, I meant it. I believed in it. I was . . . it's something I believe in. I still think they should do it. I think they should allow it, but I mean, I know now that it's 02:08:00unconstitutional. And I guess the reason I changed my mind is, I look at the extremes you could carry that to. I think it's extreme now. I think they're going to extremes now by saying the Ten Commandments cannot be displayed even in a historical reference or something. But at that time, most Protestant ministers were also schoolteachers. And you know, their influence on the schools would . . . had to be tremendous. And the reason they were, they were . . . and there wasn't anything wrong with being a schoolteacher, but they were among the few really educated or college-educated people that were available. And so I . . . and . . . you know, I don't know . . . I wouldn't want . . . I guess the same that they have in the Catholic schools or in the Baptist schools or anything else. I wouldn't want the crucifix displayed on the wall, I don't think. I think some kind of a moral thing would be great, rather than just having strictly . . . what is the 02:09:00term, you know, without any religion at all.

MOYEN: Secularized?

SCHMIDT: Yeah, right. Right. But I mean, so . . . no, I meant it when I put it in, but I realize now that I was probably wrong in trying to say that they should have prayer in school all the time.

[End of interview]