MOYEN: All right. I am here with Richard Turner, who served the 22nd District, whichincluded Monroe, Allen, and Simpson counties, is that correct?
TURNER: That's correct.
MOYEN: And we were just talking about your family. Could you tell me a little bitabout your background? You said you grew up here.
TURNER: I grew up here, yes.
MOYEN: What do you know about your family history, your genealogy?
TURNER: Well, our people come in, they come in out of Virginia, my dad's people did,the Turners did, I think Fincastle County. And then we come down through the Gap and down the Cumberland and settled in this area. Some of my early people were, this was once a part of Cumberland County, this area here was. And we have, there's two brothers come in here, and that kind of started the group. And then most of our people then live in, well, in this county, for 1:00instance, and then in Adair and Cumberland. And over in Macon County, Tennessee, there's Turners, and we are all related, basically, and go back to that same stock. And we're the largest family in this county by far. We're probably, some people say there's about 4,200 of us in a 12,000, there's a large group here. And this area here is where most of our people settled and, you know, it's either, the land has been owned by direct descendants of mine or cousins of mine or, basically, and so that's what I know about them. And, of course, I can go back about, I can take my grandfathers back, you know, a long ways if I need to here, say, five or six generations, I guess. Way on back.
TURNER: Oh, yeah. And we were either here or we were in the area of Cumberland2:00County. So that's-
MOYEN: Do you know anything about your family during the Civil War? In this area-
MOYEN: would it have been a brother-
TURNER: Yes. Yes, I do.
MOYEN: versus-brother type situation?
TURNER: Well, evidently, I know that my mother's people especially, who wereCrosses, and they came out of the Carter County, well, they come out of Virginia also, but they came out of Carter County, Tennessee, up around Kingsport, down to Clay County, and then moved over into Monroe. And they were all Union people and very Republican, Lincoln, you know, Lincoln people. And I don't know, on the Turners, I feel, I think that some of them were Union and some were Confederate, because I can remember years ago when I was a kid there being some (laughs) discussion in the family of, you know, about maybe some of them were 3:00Confederate. I'm not certain, but I have a feeling they were because some of the early Turners were Democrats.
TURNER: And most of us became Republicans, believe it or not, during the Rooseveltera-
TURNER: which my granddad, I understood, considered Roosevelt no better than aSocialist, so you see. That, at least I've been told that. I know my personal grandfather was a very strong Republican, had about seventeen children, and when he switched, of course, he switched quite a few votes, as you can see.
MOYEN: Uh-huh. Sure.
TURNER: (Laughs), so that's, I know, and he was an old, he was a magistrate, a localmagistrate. Back then they held court and so on. And then my father was a magistrate. And my, I guess my paying attention to political events was that I used to, I know when I was quite 4:00young, my dad, my granddad had, probably had a better education than my dad did. My dad was able to read and everything like that, but I used to write his speeches. So I was very early, I guess (laughs) you might call it, an agitator (both laugh). I have strong opinions. (Laughs), I used to write my dad's speeches, and he'd give them, and then he'd go out and give them, you know. But my granddad was always busy, involved in the community, and my dad was, and as a consequence, I guess, I just followed. It was a natural thing to do (laughs).
MOYEN: Uh-huh. Now, when you were growing up and your dad was a magistrate,what exactly did that entail? What type of speeches-
TURNER: Well, we-
MOYEN: did you write?
TURNER: had stump speakings all over the county. And you had to speak, when youwas a magistrate, you spoke in your area. We would actually go out to the people out in the rural areas, and they would hold speakings at country stores or schools. And the whole county would 5:00come in. The whole, everybody in the county that run would come in, and they would speak at those things, you know. And there were some good orators. And some of it was slapsticky, get down really sometimes quite ridiculous, but it was a lot of fun. And, of course, it was, for me that was, there wasn't a lot of, there wasn't any TV, you know, much when I was a kid, so they, that was entertainment. And you know, and you were, basically you, I attended all those things. I always was fascinated by it.
MOYEN: Were there any that stick out in your mind even today that were particularlymemorable?
TURNER: Of the speakings?
TURNER: Oh, many times, yeah, some of the things they'd tell about people, some ofthe, you know, the illusions that they would try to create. Like, for instance, we had a character 6:00in this area here once. His name was, well, but I don't know, am I supposed to use names in this thing?
MOYEN: Sure, if you feel comfortable.
TURNER: Well, there was a fellow here that was deputy sheriff I remember. His namewas Barney Copas. (Laughs), he wore a large gun and he wore suspenders, like the old (unintelligible), a real black hat and a moustache. And he had real black eyes, like Jerry Colonna, you know, and they called him, not Barney Copas, but "Barney Google." And he run against this character one time. I remember as a kid, I was watching it all, and down here at Jeffrey, Kentucky, where they had a store. And they had this house that was built up on the side of a hill, and you could look back, they stored wood and so on back under that, and there was a door. So they, this fellow he was running against was Phelan Ford, who is a distant cousin of mine. And 7:00Phelan was, they called him "The Big Bad Wolf" because he was a tough lawman. I mean he would can you, you know. And this deputy of his, Mr. Copas, decided he was going to run against him, because he had fired him from the job. And I understand when he removed him of his duties, he said, "Come out of them harness, Barney," Barney Google, you know. So they were speaking, and someone had wrote Mr. Copas's speech for him, and they accused the local county attorney of doing it, that he wrote it. And he had it all memorized well. And he got up and he said, "Mr. Ford pictured himself as a big red apple up in the top of a high, high tree." He said, "My God, he is so rotten, if they ever hit him, he's going to stink up the area," you know (Moyen laughs). So, and he got off immediately and departed, and here Mr. Ford comes up to 8:00speak, and he runs like he's going to grab him, you know. And as he gets up to the porch, he stops and he looks back under the hole under the house, and he says, "I see them eyes back under there. Barney Google, you come out from under there." And I always thought that was kind of unique, you know. I, that was, that type of thing. There was a lot of that, you know. It was really a lot of it.
MOYEN: Different politics, huh (laughs)?
TURNER: Oh, yeah. And one time there was a guy running over here, and he toldabout, it was a three-way race and, well my dad was running. And my dad, he was running against these guys, and they were pretty good friends, but this one of them had got up and he talked about my dad, how what a bad fellow he was and all that. And my dad said, "Now, you all know all about me. My opponent's told you all about me, and I'm not going to say anything about him because I'm afraid he'll do me like he did his neighbor's bull." Of course, he had 9:00already planted the words around in there, "What did he do to the bull?" What he'd done, he'd caught the bull, the bull had got into this guy's heifers and was breeding them. And my dad, and he tied the bull to a tree and castrated it (both laugh). So that type of thing, you know. You can remember those things, and there was other things, some of them serious, but mostly it was pretty much slapstick, you know. But it was entertainment.
TURNER: Yeah, which was fun, you know.
MOYEN: When did you start writing these speeches? How old were you?
TURNER: Real, quite young.
TURNER: I'd say quite young (laughs), yeah.
MOYEN: Now, when were you born?
TURNER: Yeah, I'd say by the time my dad got to, was running, I was already showingsome interest in that sort of thing with my granddad, but I never wrote his speeches. But my dad, he served here about thirty years, too, in two different areas of the county and, as a 10:00magistrate. And I wrote, I'd write a lot of his speeches, and I've been a ghostwriter for a lot of candidates in the county, I must tell you.
TURNER: And sometimes me and my dad were on for different people, and I was theghostwriter. I'd do that, too. I just, you know, I was just, I guess interested, fascinated by it.
MOYEN: So if you were born in 1935 are your first memories, do you remember peopletalking about being in the Great Depression? Or was (unintelligible)?
TURNER: Oh, yeah, absolutely, I do.
MOYEN: Can you tell me a little bit about that?
TURNER: About that? Well the conservative, the reason so many people today,especially, I was kind of in the latter end of it, I guess. But I remember vividly the world war, World War Two, you know. I can remember that because of the people being killed around here. And I remember all that stuff, you know. I remember it quite well, and how bad it was and how 11:00people were scared, and you know.
TURNER: And, yeah, I remember a lot about that, I do, in that a lot of people went towar, and the kids, a lot of the kids and the wives had to do their farming and, you know, this type of thing. And I remember, of course, a lot of the people here leaving this area and going and working in the defense plants and so on when I was a kid. I know my dad did that.
MOYEN: Now, was your father also a farmer?
TURNER: Well he, most of all of us, you know, he was a farmer. He always ownedfarms, you know. He did, yeah.
TURNER: Mother was a farmer more than my dad, though. She could do anything.Tough.
MOYEN: Okay. Now, what were your parents' names?
TURNER: Clyde "Smokey" Turner and my mother was Ova.
TURNER: Ova Dee. She still, by the way, is eighty-six years old, and she still goes to aplant that my brother owns, and she works in that plant on the line with the rest of the people.
TURNER: Yeah, quite amazing lady.
TURNER: Yeah, yeah.
MOYEN: Now, how many siblings did you have?
TURNER: I have three boys and a girl.
MOYEN: Or how many brothers and sisters?
TURNER: Oh, oh, I'm sorry. Yeah.
MOYEN: That's fine.
TURNER: Oh, there was eight of us.
TURNER: Yeah. Seven of us lived. The first son died. I guess it was, they called it cribdeath back then, you know, but evidently that's what it was. But there was three boys and, two boys and five girls. So we were raised in a lady-dominated household, believe me, because Dad never was there much, and my mother was always the, she was the big, stout person, you know, 13:00and still is, by the way.
MOYEN: And you said that you grew up just over the hill here?
TURNER: Yeah the house, white house over the ridge here-
TURNER: yeah, is the place where we grew up. I was born, now my wife who's, like Isaid, she's from Chicago, and she was, she always had indoor plumbing and all that, but I was born in, actually in a log house up here in the end of one of these hollers up here on another farm that a friend of mine owns, but a two-room log house. And she till this day says I think I'm Lincoln so, you know (Moyen laughs), but that's, I've spent a lot of-but I've been, I've lived a lot of places and have done a lot of things and been a lot of places. You know what I'm saying?
TURNER: I went in the military when I was right out of high school, went in the Air14:00Force and stayed four years. And then I come out, and I had some college that I'd got in there, but I started to school in, I went down to Western the day we were supposed to start school, you know. I had no idea you had to go register and do all these things (Moyen laughs), you know. And I went down in my T-shirt, my khaki pants, and my black boots, you know, which was fine. I went on the G.I. Bill, and I taught about a year, let's see, I guess I had, yeah, about a year, about thirty hours. And then I took a job down here as a, I taught school.
TURNER: I taught school in a one-room school, a place called Mud Slash. I taught alleight grades.
MOYEN: Now, what county is Mud Slash-
TURNER: Monroe. Monroe.
MOYEN: In Monroe County?
TURNER: I taught in Mud Slash that year. I taught all eight grades, had about thirtystudents. And then the next year I taught again. And then Bert, you know, Governor Combs 15:00come along, and he, they, the legislature said, and I was getting college hours at night and all this. We had to go back, so I went back then and finished.
MOYEN: At Western?
TURNER: Yes. And then I went in, I taught about a half a year, finished up a highschool year. And then I went with a large company. They hired me away because teachers didn't get paid anything. I taught one year. The first year I got $1,348. Built a house, had a wife and a kid, and milked cows of a morning before I went to school and-
MOYEN: And around what year was this?
TURNER: It was about `58. It was probably about `58, I guess.
MOYEN: Let me ask you this. You were talking about teaching in a one-roomschoolhouse. Did you attend a one-room school?
TURNER: Yes, I did. Um-hm.
MOYEN: What was the name of that school?
TURNER: Mud Slash.
TURNER: I come back to my alma mater.16:00
MOYEN: Okay (both laugh). So how far is that from here?
TURNER: Right down the road here.
TURNER: You could, in fact, you can still, the old building is still there.
MOYEN: Could you tell me a little bit about that experience, going from-
TURNER: What? Teaching?
MOYEN: Or, no, well, both teaching, from the teacher's side and the student's side. As astudent-
MOYEN: how would you describe the curriculum, the textbooks and the teaching, thediscipline-
MOYEN: that type of thing?
TURNER: I would, I can show you. I'm an avid reader. I have a lot of books. I have alot of books in my home. And I have read, beginning when I was real young, I read just about everything you could find. I'd read the Bible. I read the Bible many, many times before I got through high school, all the way through it, lots, and as a consequence, I have a, you know, I can, if you make a mistake, you're a minister and you make a mistake, I'll immediately catch you. I'm 17:00not bragging. I just can. It's the way we were trained. And I have memory, a lot of, I have a good memory in that I can remember just about anything, and I read and read and read. And anything, you know, encyclopedias or it didn't matter what, I remember an old geography book I read, just about memorized the thing. Government books, anything. And not necessarily, you know just, I was just curious about it. So when I went to school, that's the kind of a school we had. We had a school where, if I was in the first grade and I was, and I want, and I was capable of reading something else or doing something else, I did it. I mean, you know, that's just the way it was. And we were encouraged to do that. And there was five in my eighth grade class, I remember, and all those people have been successful people, if you call me successful. I'd say, but all wound up being very successful people. And we all, we were trained in, you know, that 18:00way, and it was more or less a motivational thing. We felt like that, you know, we were raised to believe that we were not just down there to get a grade, we were down there because people expected us, they expected things of us, and they expected us to succeed, you know. We weren't told how or what, but we were told that it was expected of us that, you know this was, it was a privilege and that nobody didn't owe us nothing, but we could do whatever we wanted to do. And we, consequently, most of us have done about anything we wanted to do, you know. And I think that's what we got out of that one-room school. We got, made life--, of course, lifelong friendships, but everybody in the school was all, was kinfolks but maybe one or two, you know. 19:00And that was interesting. We didn't have, you know, and another thing, I know going back to the political thing of it, we even had, in my family, we have some of our family that are of one party, some of us another, so we never lose an election (Moyen laughs). We always won, you know. If I didn't, if my side didn't win, my cousin's did (Moyen laughs). So we understood that. Made us much more pragmatic, you know. And (laughs) we were all very conservative, but we all, we thought, some of our people thought we were liberal, I'm certain, you know. And, but that, I got that in the school. And when I taught school, of course, I'd been in the military and I'd trained troops and I'd come back with a gung-ho, I trained troops in the service. And as a consequence, I come back very gung-ho and, you know, can-do-this. And I run my school, when I taught the school down there, kind of like a military establishment. No one to come around and 20:00supervise you then, you know, so everybody was, we'd up to go to lunch, and on the bell, we'd be dismissed. We'd call them back on the bell. And even, the kids referred to each other as "Mister" and the girls as "Miss," and that's how we did it, and there was no discipline problems. There wasn't any. Just wasn't. No one would have dared challenge the teacher (laughs).
MOYEN: Why do you think that's changed over time?
TURNER: It's permissiveness that's gone, come into play in the country. We have, andthe parents, it's all traced back to economics essentially, I think, because people have left the homes to, the mother, the strong mothers have left the homes to get jobs in industry and so and so forth. That come about in the war. Basically that forced them to do that. And then the kids 21:00become, well, the churches are not as strong as they were then. Churches have become, I consider most of the churches extremely weak today. They don't take a position on anything, they just don't. Back then they did. I mean, you know, the old preacher he, you might, regardless of how you looked at it today, we were sent to, there was three different churches, denominations in this community, and we were always told to go to those churches and be respectful and listen and keep our mouth shut and to, that they were there for the good of the people in the community. And we were taught that. We were taught respect. And today the, many of the kids don't have any respect. They just don't have it. And consequently, that's all broken down. But it goes back to economics and the church. The church isn't as strong as it was. The church has become a social, 22:00much of it has become a social thing, where you go down and display your tie and your suit on Sunday, instead of what you're down there for.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Now, you mentioned that there were three churches in the area. Didyou all attend one specifically?
TURNER: I'm a Baptist.
TURNER: My wife is a United Churches of Christ. We, we're, I'm probably the mosttolerant fellow in the world. That is a personal matter, you know. My kids are, well let's see, some of my kids are Catholic, and some are Baptist, and some are Methodist, I believe, and I've got one that's a Presbyterian too, I guess. So we, you know, that's a, that's very personal, as far as we're concerned. And I don't believe that, I think that's something you find for yourself. You have to do that. I mean we gave them the basis for what we, you know, but you have no right to 23:00tolerate, to be intolerant of other people. You know, that's their business. And that's basically the attitude I've always had and still do, by the way. In fact, I mean, I am a Baptist, but I'm also I could become a, I guess I would be a great Episcopalian, and I guess I'd be a fairly decent Church of God, believe it or not. See what I'm saying?
TURNER: There's part, different parts of these that I like, and I think I belong to adifferent-I don't like denominations. I basically figure I belong to the "Big Church."
TURNER: You know? It don't have no building (laughs)? That's the way I see that. Ireally do, and that's basically how I think. And I think my kids basically think, that's the way they are, you know. They don't, but we believe very strongly in all we believe, but I believe in the "Big Church" instead of denominations more. 24:00
MOYEN: But you did grow up in church every Sunday?
TURNER: Absolutely. Sometimes three and four days a, three or four times on Sunday:Sunday School and church at Fairview Church, and then back to New Salem in the evening.
TURNER: And at least once during the week.
MOYEN: Let me ask you this before we move on a little further. Can you tell me about,you mentioned the area where you were born and the type of house. Can you just describe a little bit about family life or living in Monroe County in the `30s and `40s when you were growing up-
TURNER: Sure, sure.
MOYEN: and maybe how that changed?
TURNER: Well, of course, there was no, when I, from very early on, I remember, wellwe had-of course, eventually we had radios, but up until that time you entertained yourself, 25:00you know. You learned to play, and you were much more creative than the kids are now. We used to, we made our own wagons. We cut down an oak tree because it was and didn't bust, and we'd drill holes or burn holes through the wheels, make wheels. And we'd make wagons and call them truck wagons, and we'd ride those things. We didn't have any grease to put on the axles. We used lard, and stuff like that. But we would go out here to the streams, and we made, I remember gristmills in this area when they ran by water power. In fact, I have a mill myself. I'm going to rig it up one of these days, because I know how to do that. But we had a, we would work on, you know, we'd make mills, we'd make those things that turned by water power. And 26:00we would, we, I don't know-we were, I guess the reading sparked that also, because we'd make, I know one time I built a, took the binder, the canvas off of a binder that my dad had, that was a wheat binder to cut wheat, I took the canvas off that in the winter when the ice was on the ground and made a sail sled that would blow you across. And I'd rig me up a rudder like a boat and all that, you know. And I did well until the (laughs) spikes cut off and kind of got me airborne for a while. I, but we were real inquisitive about that, you know. We did things like that. And I had a bunch of cousins here that were real, real creative. We made hay balers. We would make, we would see something and we'd make it then, see, out of wood usually. But I think we 27:00were much more creative than they were, you know, than they are now. And my grandkids, I've got nine boys and three girls, and I want to tell you, they, of course, they've had about just anything, they've not had to be creative because they've have everything laid in their laps. And I think the danger of that is going to be, if we keep this up, we're going to-one of the strengths in this country is diversity, by the way. I believe that strongly. You don't need everybody thinking exactly alike; it's not even good for us, I don't think. You can't be original if everybody is channeled down one pipe. You know what I mean? You need deviation, and the greatest deviant, I'll make this statement, I love to do this, I make this statement because it makes some, gets, makes some people nervous. I think the greatest deviant that ever lived was Jesus Christ, 28:00and therefore, deviation has to be good. And I really think he was, you know. And, of course, Abe Lincoln wasn't exactly no follow-the-leader type either. You know what I'm saying?
TURNER: Society has been improved and changed by deviation. If you can't, if wecan't have deviants in society, then we have a real problem, you know, because we'll not be creative, we'll not bring about new things, we'll just be happy and sit here and wither away, you know. I think we need a lot more of that. We need to allow the real genius in the person to come out, and it will come out if you encourage it to come out. You know what I mean? That's what I think.
MOYEN: Makes sense. Let me ask you about this. When you went to Western, at thetime it was a teachers' college, right?
MOYEN: Did you know that you wanted to teach or did you (unintelligible)-
TURNER: Let me-
MOYEN: did you want to-
TURNER: let me tell you how I got into that. I left here when I was about eighteen tojoin the Air Force. And I never had really thought much about it, but I'd always wanted, as I said, I was always curious. And I joined the Air Force because some cousins of mine had. A lot of them, a lot of my people are career people, military people.
MOYEN: Would this have been during, in the early `50s?
TURNER: The Korean War was going on and all this, you know. And, of course, we, itwas, this was a continuous thing basically, but we knew this was the way up, a way out, I guess. And we, I went in the service, and I had no concept of rank, a military officer from an enlisted 30:00man, I knew nothing about any of that. I didn't know what I was, I was just going to the service. I got in there, and it didn't take me very long to figure out that there's some people in there that seemed to have a lot more authority than other people (laughs), and they were calling the shots. And some of them weren't any older than me, and I got, was very inquisitive about it. I got, begin to think, "my goodness," you know that, I got to checking, I found out there was commissioned officers and then there was enlisted men. And I found out the only difference in me and them was they had more education than I did. And I decided that something had to be done about this (both laughs). But I was, I guess, curious enough about those things till I passed. 31:00And I done fairly well, evidently, on the test, and they sent me to what they called Tactical Instructor School. That was my first encounter with, I guess, higher education. They started about sixty of us in that school, and there was about fourteen of us graduated. And we were the, that was the cadre. We became the cadre that trained the other people. And we had a, we were not commissioned officers, but we had, we wore a bar like an officer, and we had the authority of a, certainly an NCO. And we commanded about 110 troops. We trained them. We brought them in, and we trained them from everything on how to brush your teeth, to shine their shoes, to make their beds, close order drill, how to fire their weapons, brainwashing techniques, the whole thing. I, and I was an instructor in that. I learned that. 32:00
MOYEN: Where was this?
TURNER: Sampson Air Force Base, Geneva, New York.
TURNER: And I learned that. And we learned social diseases. I taught all that stuff.And I learned then that you could change, make big, you could really change people by educating them. And therefore I decided that when I got out of school, on the G.I. Bill I was going to go to college and teach, so I did. And you've got to understand, this country here didn't look like this now. It was, there wasn't any cattle. I've got more cattle in one field over here now than this lower end of this county had when I left here. It was honestly, that's the honest truth. There just wasn't much here. There was nothing. Sawmills and that type thing, you know, and 33:00(unintelligible) few small crops and tobacco. And tobacco was, is a dead-ender. But essentially, that's what got me interested in education. And what caused me to leave education was, and not pursue it more was that you couldn't live. I mean you had to work and, I mean, they didn't pay us, they didn't pay a teacher anything, and as I said, $1,348 for a year. And when I was working on my master's, and one, and this guy come to me, that's why, I guess because one of them decided to leave. A guy come to me and said, "They're looking for an assistant manager in, with a local dairy here, a cheese plant, Cudahy Foods Company." And I said, "Are you interested?" And I said, "How much does it pay?" By that time I was hired, it was the third year, and that they was going to pay me $4,200. I had a bachelor's degree plus some master's, and work. I said, 34:00"Sure I am. What are they paying?" And he said, "$5,200." A thousand dollars, man! I said, "I'll go talk to them." And I went and talked to those people. They hired me, so I went in that big plant again, and I did everything in that plant, from the most menial job, and then they moved me to Russell County and put me in charge of the plant under somebody else. But I stayed there fourteen years. I did every job there in the company, but I went up through the ranks in the company. When I left the company, I was division general manager and vice president of the Cudahy Company, which had nine plants. I run plants in Kentucky, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Missouri. And I did that for fourteen years until my wife passed away, and then I had three boys 35:00to raise. So I come back here and we settled in, and we started working at this. But I'm rambling a lot, but-
MOYEN: No, not at all.
TURNER: it's a, but that's essentially why I got into education, I think. I consider thatthat is, they can put all the money in the programs they wish, silly programs administered by bureaucrats, but until we educate every kid, until we educate every child totally, we're making a bad mistake because we are, our society is such that you're, if you just want to take, put the greed factor in it, if a kid can't make the maximum and can't have a good life, then your pension is in peril. That's what I'm telling you. It's in peril. And we can't afford to lose any minds. We can't 36:00afford that. We cannot afford to lose anybody. Whatever that takes, we have to do it. That's as, that's probably more critical than developing some new weapon, because that is a weapon in itself, the mind is, you know, and I really believe that.
MOYEN: You mentioned your wife. When did you get married through all this?
TURNER: Well, when I was in college.
TURNER: Um-hm. I think I was about 23. And then my wife, first wife died, my, themother of my three boys died. And I married my second wife and she-
MOYEN: Was that-
TURNER: she was from Illinois, yeah. And then we have a daughter. I have three boys.One of them is a colonel in the military. One is a- 37:00
MOYEN: Is he here in the States now?
TURNER: He commands the 623rd Field Artillery here in Kentucky.
TURNER: He is a full-time person, he's not, you know, he's assigned to the Guard asa-and I have another son that's, the youngest, well, my oldest son is, he's here, he helps me some, and, but he works also in the family business. Stitches Incorporated is a, we manufacture clothing, and it's Stitches Farms, Stitches (unintelligible) operation, and Stitches Clothing. And he works there, and he works also, he has a couple of farms. And then I have another son that is a, he is, has the western part of Kentucky, Louisville, all the way across the state. He is, he's 32. 38:00He is agency, he is an agency manager for Modern Woodmen of America. They're a fraternal insurance society.
TURNER: And he has about forty people that work for him. And I have a daughter,then, that works for the state Supreme Court as a, she's a social worker. And she works in the foster, she works-she serves basically as a social worker for these committees that are set up in each of the counties to oversight, have oversight over what the courts' dispensa--, how they handle the cases on these different kids, that's what she does. So that's what my family does. My wife is the dietary director of Monroe County Hospital, and she's a graduate of the University of Illinois.
MOYEN: How did you meet her?39:00
TURNER: Well, it was kind of interesting. When I was division general manager, ofcourse, my wife had passed on, and I was, when I was division general manager with Cudahy Foods Company, our company owned many different types of businesses, I just run one division of their company. They (coughs), we were in the dry-sausage business, we were in Van de Kamp Foods that you see in the frozen foods, and we were in the pepperoni, manufacturing pepperoni, prosciutto hams, American Salt, Kid Gloves, that brand is ours. We were in tourism; our company was in a lot of things. And they started a new division, a deli division. We were supplying other people. We decided to set up our own deli division, so my wife was brought in 40:00to head that up. And she, I met her, she come to my division to learn about cheese and this type thing, different cheeses: mozzarella, provolone, cheddar, Colby, different concepts of cheese. And we, I met her there. We had a, we done a lot of courting long distance, I tell you what (both laugh). But she's been here now, let's see, about twenty-eight years. And she's a hard worker. Tough lady, very tough. She come in after my, and took over and raised those three boys and just done great, you know. She did.
MOYEN: Can you tell me just a little bit about the plant operation, the dairy, is it dairyplants-
MOYEN: that you oversaw here? I don't, I wouldn't know the first thing about that.How would you describe-
MOYEN: what goes on?
TURNER: of course it, that again was another learning process. I, as I told you, I my41:00degree is in history and economics. They hired me, and I had to learn that business. And a lot of that gets into biology and this type thing, because you're dealing with bacteria and things of this type in cheese manufacturing. So what happened, we actually bought milk out on the farms, brought it into the plant, manufactured it into cheeses, whatever, different types of cheese. And we had a, of course that was, that in itself is a long process. You know, you have, different cheeses require different bacteria. And you have to, some of them you salt and some of them you brine. And you take it in, wick it in and just, it's a, it, that in itself is a, you can spend your lifetime and still not, you know. So there's no real simple way for me, I mean I can talk to you for a week about cheese-
MOYEN: Right, right.42:00
TURNER: if I needed to and really get into it. Even have you making some (bothlaugh). But you had to, what I had to do, I had to know about the dairying itself on the farm, from a farm level, and then I had to learn it in the plant, the manufacturing process, and then I had to know about the marketing. And that in itself, each, as you can see, each of those disciplines are pretty involved.
TURNER: Even the marketing itself drives most people insane, because you can makeall the, the best mousetrap in the world. If you can't sell it, you can't get any money.
TURNER: And that's usually, that's basically the problem we have in this, in Kentuckyor most anywhere, is not what we can make, but what can we sell. We have to learn again there. We have to learn to produce what people want, you know.
TURNER: I'm not going to wear no burnoose on my head like an Arab, for instance. It43:00doesn't do anything for me, but if I was over there, I'd probably want one, you know. You got to produce what people want to buy. So I did that. I run the-I was the division general manager over the plants. And what I did, I actually hired all the personnel that run those plants. I hired the salesmen. I had oversight over all of them. I merchandised. I had to, I was responsible for that, too. Also, the procurement, the purchasing. And it was very interesting, and we developed some new products also. We did some of those things. We made, we converted from American- style cheese, Cheddar and Colby, into processing cheese. When the pizza craze had just getting 44:00started, I converted the plants to, a lot of the plants, to manufacturing of mozzarella and Provolone cheese and, because of the pizza. And probably that was one of the things that saved our company, because we made a lot of money and I learned a lot about cheese, you know. And it's an area that you, it's kind of like having a degree in, well, some thing that no one else knows anything about-
[End of Tape #1, Side #1]
[Begin Tape #1, Side #2]
TURNER: effect. You know what I'm saying?
MOYEN: Right, uh-huh.
TURNER: You know, just like Swiss cheese. Actually the Swiss is actually, that, those45:00holes in Swiss cheese, actually the bacteria shoots itself like a comet through the product, leaves those holes. And, you know, another thing, of course, you go into a cheese stand and you see these different things, cheeses, and you know, you know what they're saying or what they're doing. The larger the hole in Swiss, the better the cheese. It grades higher. And so there's a grading standard for all that, you know. And if you want to make a pizza and you want it to be white, white cheese on the outside, you want to use mozzarella. But if you want a pizza brown, you want to use provolone, because the reason for that is, provolone has got more fat, and fat browns better. See, most housewives don't know that, but I know that (both laugh). So it's kind of interesting, you know.
MOYEN: Uh-huh. Yeah, it is.
TURNER: Yeah, it is.
MOYEN: So you did all that and then you decided to come back here?
TURNER: I come back here, and after the-46:00
MOYEN: Now, around, when did you return?
TURNER: Oh, let's see.
TURNER: Well, about twenty-eight years ago, I guess.
MOYEN: So in the mid-'70s?
TURNER: And I come back and I run, you know, I watched, I was always interested insomething, and I started, we started, opened up a Grade A dairy here. And we sold milk and raised cattle and did what most farmers do, I guess, but I always wanted to be involved in something else. So I, there was a seat come up for the legislature, and I decided I'd just run for that seat.
MOYEN: Was that pretty shortly after you got back here?
TURNER: Probably not too long, maybe three or four years. But I'd been watching it fora long time because I was interested, and I decided I'd run. And I, you had to time this thing just 47:00right, and I knew they didn't particularly, the powers in this county didn't particularly like me, but when another guy that I knew they liked even less than I did filed also, I figured that I could beat him. And I did; I beat him.
MOYEN: Now, was this in the primary?
TURNER: Yes. That was tantamount to being elected then here, you know, and-
MOYEN: Who did you run against?
TURNER: Tom Evans, an attorney-
TURNER: out of Louisville, and so I knew that if I, that the powers didn't like him atall, and they tolerated me, they'd just as soon to have me out of here, you can imagine. I mean I'm not a fellow that a dictatorship works too good on, you know. I mean I'll go to the walls with you if I have to. And that's what happened basically, and I got in. And I really wasn't sure what 48:00I'd done, and I was really sure that I didn't like the way things run in Frankfort. When I went there, I was an upstart again, and I refused to attend committee meetings, which you must do, but I didn't do it. I didn't attend any for two years.
MOYEN: Why was that?
TURNER: Because the Democrats dominated the thing to the point that they, you, theywould not even allow you to, many times not allow you to give input. You know, if a man wasn't, didn't have a forgiving heart he, I have to tell you, I-those people deserve to be beaten badly. They deserve to lose this state. They were terrible. I'd give speeches, I've got them on tape 49:00where I gave speeches. I had the balls to stand up and tell them they were like the Sandinistas, for instance. It was no different, you know. They wasn't killing anybody, I don't think, but there was some seedy stuff went on up there.
MOYEN: Can you think of any specific examples when you first got up there, or evenlater, where here was an issue or here was something that had to be dealt with, but you or the Republican Party could not get it dealt with because of-
TURNER: Well, all kinds of stuff. I've seen our leader-when I went there, there wastwenty-two Republicans. And, of course, you know, I'm not a status-quo man, you've got to understand that. I challenged our leadership almost immediately and beat them, and become floor, become caucus chairman, and then I become floor leader.
TURNER: And, yeah, I've seen Art Schmidt stand, and Art Schmidt is a wonderful50:00man. He is. But they, I've seen him stand for fifteen or twenty minutes and them not even recognize him, that kind of stuff. Yeah, I have, lots of times. Because they, what the Democratic Party did in Kentucky, did to us there, they would write the rules because they had the votes. But if we got them in a pinch, they'd change the rules immediately, you know. It's like a big kid. He whips you, but if you get a good lick in on him, they'd change the rules and they'd let him wear armor the next day. You know what I am saying?
MOYEN: Now, what do you mean by change rules? Would they-
TURNER: They'd actually suspend the rules and make, and change the rules.
TURNER: They did that all the time, and it was terrible. I mean you could really, if youdidn't have better sense, you could really become very bitter about some of the crap they pulled. 51:00You know, it's wrong. Basically wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
MOYEN: Is there any instance where you can think of where rules were suspendedwhere you were getting ready to either debate an issue or try-
TURNER: Well, they would usually allow you to talk about it, but they'd sit there like-I can name names, I don't want to go back and do that. That's not good. But really, honestly, but I fear that some of our people may take the same attitude, because they were pushed around so badly. I see, when I see Senator Williams bloodying their knuckles, I know why he's bloodying their knuckles. It's payback time, and they're paying for it. And some of them people were very 52:00unfair, but there was some good people in there that wasn't either. But I want to tell you what they would do. There would be, for instance a bill would be up, and they would, they'd tell you, "I can't vote for that thing. It's, that's awful, it stinks." But they'd put the thumb on them, and they'd always do what they were told. I felt good about being a Republican up there because we were the only free people up there. And I'm telling you that, and I'm not running for nothing.
TURNER: It was terrible.
MOYEN: Let me step back for just a minute. When you decided to run for this openseat-
MOYEN: how did you campaign here? Did you have a platform? Did you have, "Here'sthe three things I'm going to do? Here's-"
TURNER: Well, I was-
MOYEN: What did you do?
TURNER: I was always, I was known pretty well. Because of the plants and stuff,53:00people knew me. And I worked a lot of people, and I got along good with my employees. And people knew who I was, and I was one of the first people in the county to really hire any significant number of black people in industry here. See I told, my position was, I'll hire anybody that will work. I don't care what he, who he is. That didn't always, that wasn't the way it always was around here.
MOYEN: Let me ask you this real fast. I don't know what type of black-white ratio thereis in this area, but did you grow up-
TURNER: But we didn't realize how bad it was. And I remember segregated drinkingfountains in the courthouse yard, too. Yeah, I remember that stuff, all of it, every bit if it.
MOYEN: And at the time, you just-
TURNER: I didn't like it. I didn't think it was right. But the blacks that we had were54:00working people. They worked, and they weren't what evidently some of these people perceived the blacks to be. We hired, I hired anybody, and I, and by the way I was, the other night I, me and my wife were, they invited us, I was quite shocked, and I'm, was em--, I told her I was embarrassed, I'd never been there, but went to a black church. A lady that I hired, one of them early people, they invited us to come, and I spoke to them the other night. But they were good people.
MOYEN: Um-hm, um-hm.
TURNER: You know, they were good people is what I'm saying to you. They were, theplace was clean, it was nice. It was little, but it was nice. And it was class, it was a class act, and they did it. And, you know, I had a, we never had, we had some black people in this community, 55:00but we never-we called them, like Uncle Billy White sat over here, he was a black man. We called him "Uncle." All of us did. We did. You know, it's just a matter of, that's the way we were taught to see people. We didn't, we knew they was different, but we didn't know, we didn't know about a lot of this stuff till we left here.
MOYEN: I'm not exactly sure how we got on the race issue, but we were talking aboutyour campaign. Were you-
TURNER: How'd I do it? Right. I just, like I said, I was known and I had been veryactive, always been active in the church as a young man. I was, I know I taught Sunday school when I was fourteen. I taught the Adult Ladies Class, believe it or not. So I did things like that, and that, people knew me from that. And you'd sing in funerals and things like that. People just 56:00knew, a lot of people knew me, and they knew my dad and knew my granddad. And, of course, I was blessed to have a large, big family, you know, big, big family. And, but I went into other counties and, you know, I did well there. In fact, I'm probably stronger in Allen and Simpson County right now than I am in this county.
MOYEN: And why is that?
TURNER: Because I attended to my duties. I mean, I knew, I made it my business toknow, if you called me and you had a ditch, a mud hole out by your house, I'd know, I could see that mud hole, I knew where it was. Or when you told me where it was, I could see it. So I did a lot of that. I was pretty notorious for, I'd show up at, I held meetings, town meetings in nursing homes and things like that, you know. And I would, I was really, and I was, I involved myself 57:00with the constituents. And if a kid was, if a kid got recognized for being a good citizen, I, he got a letter from me. I watched all that stuff. And I, you know, and it was hard for, they didn't, they couldn't, they never was able to beat me in Simpson County. There's no Republicans in, there is now. When I went there, you'd walk all day and never find one. But I'll tell you this, they have a county judge that's Republican, they have a lot of other people down there that are. And a lot of that was the Old South. See, that old slavery issue was still there when I started running. It really was. I used to joke with them I was going to wear a pair of gray pants and a blue coat (both laugh), some of both, you know. But I just went around and talked to people, you know. And I did some things, too. I would never, when I went out and politicked with people, if, I'd have of 58:00course Democrats a lot of times would support me, too. And what we would do, after I got through the primary, what we'd do, if I had a Democrat opponent, I had Democrats that sponsored me, so I would go and we'd have meetings, and we would pick the friendly Democrats. We wouldn't send a letter to the troublemakers. You know, we would, or were the ones that was against us, not the troublemakers.
TURNER: We would just send them to people we knew was, I just tried to get my voteout. And that's what I did, you know.
MOYEN: So did you feel like when you ran, it had as much to do with what you'retalking about, you knew people from church, you had been here, you, was that as much a part of your getting elected that time and continuing to get reelected, as a certain platform or "Here's what I'm going to do?"
TURNER: Well, people knew. I was a right, a strong right-to-lifer. I didn't deviate ever59:00from that. I was also, I had a position, I wouldn't vote for every, I wouldn't vote for a tax, period. Because there's an old Democrat representative from up on the river told me one time, said, "Vote, don't vote for any of the taxes, but vote for all the programs" (both laugh). And he said, "If you want to survive." I could name that name, but I don't think I need to do that. His son's a judge now. He's a good friend. But, you know, there were some basic things, you know, you're, this is a Bible Belt area, and we know the alcohol issue is not looked on with favor; probably needs to be looked at differently. I mean it's become hypocritical. The bootleggers are the ones that win in keeping us dry, you know, just between you and I. If your law enforcement was doing its job keeping it away from the kids, it's none of my business to say an adult can't 60:00drink. None of my business. I don't propose to do that, but in this area, that could be a, that could get you killed quick, you know, wet-dry elections or that type thing.
MOYEN: Right. When you're elected in 1975, how would you describe your politicalphilosophy when you get to Frankfort?
TURNER: Well, I've always been, I've always been monetarily conservative, veryconservative on issues like that. But the thing you got to understand, you-many times new representatives don't understand what they're dealing with up there. They just don't. You need some time to learn that. That's why I've never been for term limits. I think that would be terrible, because the bureaucrats would get control if you don't have people that have some knowledge of 61:00what's going on. And most young representatives just don't have it for a year or two. They, I mean I don't care how smart you are, it's a different world. You got to learn to live, in other words, you've got to learn to use, move the pieces like a chess game. You got to know what each of them does in that atmosphere. And if you don't know how to do that, you're not going to move too far. You're going to checkmate before you start. See what I'm saying?
MOYEN: Right, right.
TURNER: And, see, that essentially is what I'm, I guess I'm saying.
MOYEN: Uh-huh. When you were elected, would the Republicans also, like theDemocrats, go to Kentucky Dam Village?
TURNER: Yes, sir.
MOYEN: And did you go down there?
TURNER: Yes, I did.
MOYEN: You were, you mentioned earlier that you had, as a Republican independent,as opposed-
MOYEN: to, so were you able to say to leadership at the time that you had mentioned,62:00Art Schmidt or maybe others-
TURNER: Mister, yeah, DeMarcus, Harold.
TURNER: Yeah. Yeah. William Harold.
MOYEN: Were you able to say, "Here's, these are the committees I'd like to serve on-"
MOYEN: although you eventually said that you didn't think it was worthwhile.
TURNER: I didn't go. I didn't care, no.
MOYEN: What committees were you appointed to, do you recall?
TURNER: Well, coming from a rural area, most rural people think they should be onagriculture. Education is a good committee. Transportation, of course, is a good committee, but you don't get all of those things-
TURNER: that you think you need to get, you know. Of course, your power, you and Iknow that, is A and R, Appropriations. Most freshmen never get a smell of that, you know. I, could I ask them for committees? Yeah, sure could. And sometimes if they needed me for the 63:00leadership position, I could bargain, that depends on how good a bargainer I was. I'll support you for leadership, but I want this committee, you know?
MOYEN: Right. Uh-huh.
TURNER: That's what it boils down to.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Were you able to do that to help you get on committees that you-
TURNER: Sure I was.
MOYEN: Can you give me an example of when that happened?
TURNER: When did it start happening?
MOYEN: Or an example when you were able to-
TURNER: Well, see, just let me say this. You could ask for certain committees, andnormally they would give you the committees, okay, if they could. However, many times the Democrat leadership would not allow our people to, they wanted somebody else on there. There's always a Quisling in every crowd, and that little Quisling will worm his way around. I could name you some up there. I don't have any, Republicans that I don't have any respect for till this 64:00day over that too, by the way. I could name, you know, one of them was a former lieutenant governor candidate, I might add. And I'd never vote for him for anything. He was terrible. He wormed his way in, and he was always in the Democrats' pockets. Always. "Uncle Tom" is what he was. You've got them, too.
MOYEN: Could you tell me, and maybe this is what you were referring to earlier, butdid you have any opportunity to actually work with, in any way, the Democratic leaders like Bill Kenton or Lloyd Clapp when you-
TURNER: I can, you could work with Clapp. Bill Kent--, "Boom Boom," we called him,you know. "Boom Boom" was-
MOYEN: Okay, uh-huh.65:00
TURNER: yeah, he could hammer that. He was very political, but one thing about him,he would let you at least state your case. Clapp was a genius at tactics. I like Lloyd Clapp. He was, we're still friends. Bobby Richardson, I could work with Bobby. I knew Bobby. Once, we had the same preacher-
TURNER: you know. Don Blandford, who was a, was as strong a leader I ever saw upthere. And if Blandford told you, "I'm not going to hear the bill," you could go home and forget it; he wasn't going to hear the bill. But if Blandford told you something, he did it. I respected him a lot, you know. I did. And he done a lot of good for this state. I don't know what he did on the other things that he was charged with, but I know this: he was, he would do what he told 66:00you, you know. I mean he would. He would, I remember once on a bill there, there's a bill, the first bill I ever got passed up there was a bill that allowed leave for a person who wished to adopt a child. I had a, Debbie Cassidy who lives in Simpson County, she and her husband, Ross, couldn't have children, so they decided that they wanted to adopt a child. Well they, that was a, become a fact, and Debbie wanted off some time to get to know the child and bond with the child. Well they, the company ended up terminating her, well, which is crazy. But I introduced that bill, and they called it the "Debbie Cassidy Bill." And I went there and brought her up there, and we testified and we got that bill passed. And by the way, that was one of Bill Clinton's bills 67:00that he passed or wanted to pass when he become president. And what was interesting about that, the Courier called me on that. They called me and said, "You were the person that introduced that bill." Says, "You're about twenty years ahead of the president." I said, "Well, it would, don't you think it was the right thing?" you know. And I did. And it, it was, it become law.
MOYEN: And was that during your first session?
TURNER: Yes, sir, it was.
TURNER: And, you know, that was, I believe it was the first session, first or second.But that type of thing, we, I did get, you know. It was an emotional issue with a lot of people, you know. They would work with you on that kind of bill, you know. And they did. They did some of that. Some people are better at-now I'll tell you a fellow that they don't mess with up there, and he's in the minority and always has, your little friend Napier down there is tough, don't 68:00let nobody kid you. He is a tough negotiator. Some of the Democratic governors, he could go in and carry off everything they had, and did. Wallace Wilkinson loved him, that's all there was to it (both laugh).
MOYEN: Speaking of governors, when you entered-
TURNER: Julian Carroll.
MOYEN: Julian Carroll, "Emperor Julian," was governor. What were your firstinteractions with him? [Telephone rings], can you give me-
TURNER: Yeah, I'll tell you, I remember one that I'm certain-[Pause in tape].
MOYEN: Okay, we're talking about Julian Carroll.
TURNER: Julian Carroll. Let me tell you one instance. I remember that Julian Carroll,the bail bondsmen law.
MOYEN: Now, I'm not familiar with-
TURNER: Well, they used to have bail bondsmen in the state of Kentucky, who wouldgo down here and you would pay, they were, it was a business. And, you know, they'd get down here and shake you down, these jailbirds, and make, just kind of kept them in servitude, you 69:00know. And so Julian decided that had to be handled differently. And being a Republican, you would have expected me to probably be for free enterprise (Moyen laughs). But that ain't free enterprise. But what he did, some of them kind of didn't want to mess with it, because a lot of, I guess they put a lot of contributions in the people's pockets, I don't know. They never me. But I remember some of them that didn't fall in line like they was supposed to, I reckon he removed their back-end real well (both laugh), you know. And I understand that, you know, he's supposed to be a minister. I understand some of it wasn't too ecclesiastical either (both laugh).
MOYEN: That's pretty good.
TURNER: Yeah. I understand that he just basically threatened them. I don't know whathe was going to do with them, but some of them come out and they had some strange adjectives 70:00used on them (both laugh).
MOYEN: That's good. Let me ask you this. That's exactly, there apparently is adifference between when you first served and then when you came back and John Y. Brown had, that's where a lot of-
TURNER: We begin to get things.
MOYEN: Right. Let me ask you this. What happened in the interim session? I don't evenknow. Did you get beat in an election? Did you-
MOYEN: just decide not to serve the one term?
TURNER: Let me tell you what happened. They had a system here, and the powers inthe counties, see you get two or three kingpins in the counties, and they get together, and they'd say, "Well, we'll let, he runs this year, and then he lays out a year, and he runs next year." Well, they had an agreement like that. Of course, I didn't agree to it. So they threw me into a four-way 71:00primary. And I didn't even campaign because I-and I got beat. But I come back, and when I come back, I refused to be a party to any agreement. And so I held it from then on, you know. I just stood up to them, and we beat them, and that was it. That was the end of it, you know. But what they were doing, they were keeping your representative so weak that he didn't have time to learn every, and so what you had, you had a nincompoop up there that just done what he was told. Very controlled up until then. And when Brown come in, I like Brown, by the way. I'll tell you straight up front I liked him. I liked him for the fact he was a management person; he had quality people around him; he didn't have political nincompoops, and if they, and they come to work when Brown was there. That bunch up there got their tails in gear and got to work at seven 72:00o'clock. And there was a difference in the atmosphere around there, because he'd fire you. He put the fright night into them. I did like him.
MOYEN: Uh-huh. Now, can you tell me a little bit about what, as I go around andinterview, different people have said that was it. You know, John Y. Brown comes in, and that really was this watershed event in legislative independence.
TURNER: It was.
MOYEN: Why was that?
TURNER: Because he didn't try to tell the legislature what to do. You know, just likemyself, I remember on a bill, I'd been against it, but I was against it for a reason. I was against it, so I could bargain with them. I knew they didn't have the votes, you know. And I'd done my homework back home, and they told me to do what I needed to do, you know, on that. And so I just told them, I mean you know, I might be inclined to look at that again, under certain 73:00conditions, but I want you to look at some stuff in my area, you know, before I commit myself. I want it in writing. I made them write it down. And I said, "Now, I'm not-" And I put the conditions down that would cause me to change my vote, because I could already change it. I wasn't bribing them; I was trading. And I told them, I said, "I want you to send the man into the county, and at the meeting I want him to stand up and say that the dirt's going to be moving on this town here by certain-certain date, because of your representative has saw, kind of explained it to us." You know, and they did that. They done it in Allen County. I can name you two or three places, and it's a fact today as a result of that.
MOYEN: Do you remember which pieces of legislation-
TURNER: Yes, I do.74:00
MOYEN: that were that, what were they?
TURNER: One of them was a banking bill.
TURNER: And the other one was multi-bank holding company bill. Of course, I wasn'tfor the bill, but I could have been for it. My banks at first wanted it, and then they changed, and I had no-but it's been a good thing for the banks, and it's been a good thing for us, too, the people too, because it made money easier to acquire. It busted up the old aristocracy that dominated the banking industry, and it allowed a younger person to get money. All of a sudden you could go in and you could get a loan, where used to, you'd have to take your grandmother and your grandfather and you'd have to count your chickens and all that, you know, and, to get $100 loan. It freed up the money. And it was a smart thing to do. But what I did it for, the reason I voted against it to start with was so I could bargain with them. You see, what they do 75:00up there, they-well, just a little caveat here, what they do, they will take and say, a lot of times, you'll have your people say, "Oh, you'd better elect a Democrat. It's a Democrat legislature." No, you hadn't be better off to elect a Democrat. You know, I learned real fast that if I was a minority, they've got to give you something; nobody wants to pick on a minority, you know. And how big your mouth is then, that's the wheel that gets the oil. So you learn that, you know. And if you can help them do something, you know, and bargain, that's how you got things done. And then you start to learn, you know. You learn then. And then you don't just give them your 76:00vote, because many Democrat legislators, they just vote party, period. Just pfft, they don't get nothing. They got them. They don't have to deal with them. See my point?
TURNER: You don't have to deal with them people. I mean we got them anyways. Andthat ain't the way it's supposed to work. It's supposed to work that you have to bargain with them.
MOYEN: Let me ask you this. When you were elected, that is nationally somewhat of alow time for Republicans-
MOYEN: in the wake of Nixon. Later in the `80s, when nationally and in the South,there's a Republican resurgence with Reagan and southern states electing Republicans for the first time since-
MOYEN: the Civil War. Why did that not happen in Kentucky the same way it did inother surrounding states, do you think? 77:00
TURNER: Well, it had, it was happening in Kentucky. It had begun to happen. It didn'thappen as fast. You see, when I become floor leader up there, they didn't even have a, there was no party apparatus at all to help us get elected. They did nothing. We just got elected. We spent our own money. We didn't know, we just got elected. When I become floor leader, I set up the first PACs, and I began to raise money. And I went around all over the state, and some of the boys that are serving right now, Lonnie Napier is one, Lindy Casebier, those are people that I recruited to run. John Harper, I recruited John Harper. I can name you, just go on and on and on. We began to educate and to run candidates and raise money for them. Not a lot, but we raised as 78:00much we could. We had a PAC, actually had a PAC that we set up. It was a modeled on GOPAC to some extent, but we had one. That was the first one, and you know, it was a matter of nobody wanted his brains beat out and nobody liked to be slurred every day. And it was a dictatorship. It was a one-damn-party dictatorship, was all it was. Sandinistas was aptly put, you know. It was. And you had lots of Democrats there that knew they weren't Democrats even then. They'd tell you that, say, "Hell, I can't get elected. I've got to be one." And what happened in the South, of course, was very apparent, why the Republicans took over in the South, you had in many of the states like Mississippi and Arkansas, you had the black people begin to run against 79:00the whites. Some of them had been in office twenty-five years. They begin to run against them, and they were losing the nominations for their party. And the only way they could win was to join, get, become Republicans and join with the Republicans to win it. That's the only way they could win the thing. And that's why you had this mass defection down there, and that's exactly why. Of course, some of these pundits will say, you know, that, "Well, the Republican Party is the party of the white man only." It's a party, it became the party of necessity for survival more than it did, you know, it did. I've got friends in Arkansas that are Democrats and have been on, had been in office thirty years and got beat. Let me tell you, they done some fast soul-searching. All of a sudden, they become, you see? 80:00
MOYEN: Uh-huh. That makes sense. During, I believe it was when John Y. Brown wasgovernor when you became caucus chair-
MOYEN: in `83, is that correct?
MOYEN: How did you push for that position and how were you successful? How didthat transpire?
TURNER: Well, how we did it, we did it by the fact that our caucus chairman, who wasRepresentative Ratliff, I believe. Ratliff played the, he was in with some of the Democratic leaders, to be very honest with you. They could, they'd gang up, and I mean, they got a, he got what he wanted, we didn't get what we wanted, you know.
TURNER: It don't take no rocket scientist to figure out what I did (Moyen laughs), youknow. I just pointed that out to people, you know. I mean what does it matter, and Herman and I 81:00are good friends. But Herman, I mean he, they took him into their confidence, he could talk and get things done he wanted done. He was a hero all the time. You know, they taught us to read, and that was dangerous. Don't ever teach a native how to read (both laugh).
MOYEN: What did you do in that role? What does the caucus chairman do?
TURNER: He actually conducts the meetings. We review the bills, we set up a programwhere we would go in and we went over every bill. We, when we became caucus chairman, we, what I did, I set up a program where we, and they still use it today, where we went through every bill every day. My men were, they knew what they were talking about. We didn't guess, we knew. And then we began to do some things to the Democrats. We would go, we would 82:00attend the press briefings, which is always earlier than the others. We had a guy that would go to their press briefings, and we would have our people briefed before they'd have copies of it on their desk and so on. And them people didn't even know what was coming off. We begin to make them look kind of foolish, you know, which they caught one of our people once and threatened to fire him. And they didn't though. But we did some of that. We begin to learn, too.
MOYEN: And did this help the minority party quite a bit and-
TURNER: We went from twenty-two to thirty-four, I believe, while I was in theleadership.
TURNER: And we're not much farther than that in the House now.
MOYEN: Right, um-hm. Is there any landmark legislation that you can think of that youeither sponsored or cosponsored during John Y. Brown's term that sticks out in your mind as something that you're particularly proud of? 83:00
TURNER: Well, I'm proud of the bills and so on, bills that had something to do always,of course, with people. Those were the bills that I think I made a difference in a lot of times. I was, I helped on some bills a lot of times that got some very positive things for my district, too. I got more money spent in my district one year than the Democrat floor leader did (Moyen laughs). We did. There was bypasses around Franklin and the straightening of Highway 100 between Scottsville and, and the trade schools, the new schools, the bridges that I could name, the road that they're, the new road they've worked on from Tompkinsville to Edmonton. It ain't done, 84:00but it's still in the mill. The 231 legislation that the 231 between Scottsville and Bowling Green. it's nearly completed now. It was a wonderful, I know how we got that started. We went down here and I brought the whole committee down there and rode them over the road when the traffic was changing, and that got their attention, you know. That was very, very important, and it will be very important to the economy of this area, too. And it will allow the state to tap the resources of Barren River for tourism and so on.
MOYEN: Obviously, roads are important for tourism and-
MOYEN: for business. How important are they to an elected official?
TURNER: Very, very much. You mean, explain what you're asking in that question.
MOYEN: I guess what I'm getting at is, how much does that help you to be able to say,"See what I was able to get for you here." 85:00
TURNER: It's very important, especially in a county of poor, in poor Republicancounties where they've never got their part, fair share of anything to start with. That you can point out that I did this and this. I can proudly say that I had, I was instrumental in getting the first four-lane road in this county. The first road in this county with four lanes, I helped get it. In fact, I traded for it. Metts, Mr. Metts, who was highway department-I did. I did that.
MOYEN: What did you have to, what-
TURNER: I didn't do it, it was just part of the, some of those things I said I want beforeI look at your bill. "I want you to come and look at my problem, too. My people need this. We've been lied to since the Stone Ages." Don't say, "Since 18-- and so on." Say, "From the beginning of time, you lied to us." You know, "I'll work with you, but you got to work with me. I've got to have, I have to have some things." Yeah. 86:00
MOYEN: You mentioned that you liked John Y. Brown as a governor and you respectedhim. What interaction did you have with him that you can think of?
TURNER: No more than anybody else. He was a, what I admired about Brown was thathe was a, maybe it's because I come from a management background, I don't know, but you don't have to be around a place very long to see if the personnel you got around you are efficient, proficient, that they're in there and they're operating in an orderly manner, instead of some political hack comes in out of the hills, hadn't ever had a, had never been bathed, and they put him in charge of licenses or something. I've seen that, too. I hated that, always just hated it. Old hacks, you know, that's what I call them, you know (Moyen laughs). And if the Republicans put any, some in this time, I'll say the same thing about them. They can get ready for it. And I like 87:00Ernie. I know him personally very well. But I'd tell him in a minute, "Don't do it."
MOYEN: Um-hm. Do you think that that's a danger?
TURNER: He's got one or two people, and I'll not mention who I think they are, buthe's got one or two people that I don't think really understand the people out here. They're, they are not, I didn't find them to be the most intelligent, you know. They may be smart, but there's a difference in smartness and intelligence, you know. I mean they, there's some of these people that I want him to be careful of. I would watch them awful close, you know. I think they're going to make another mistake. This is a little trivia that I'll throw here. I think the fact that 88:00they're, I like Mrs. Forgy in Lexington, who's running for Congress. She's a fine lady, but I tell you something: if Napier decides to run, he will drive them insane.
MOYEN: And why is that?
TURNER: Because he will, he'll work fifty times harder than they are, and heunderstands the people better than they do. He will drive them to drinking, he will. I just, I'm just laying back watching that race, because he is a, he is politically shrewd. I mean he is tough and he's more pragmatic, he is more of a pragmatist than he is a political ideologue, I guess, is what I want to say. He is a, he will drive them crazy. He will cover more territory in twenty 89:00minutes (Moyen laughs) than they'll cover in a year. And I'm glad that, I'm glad to see it. I remember once in Lexington, I remember over in Lexington once where, when Mike Moloney was the guru over there, and Scotty Baesler was-[animal making noises in background] better kill that, I guess.
[End of Tape #1, Side #2]
[Begin Tape #2, Side #1]
TURNER: But I was going to tell you about a deal where Lonnie Napier, there was abunch of firemen over at Lexington. They had a big, if I'm, this is, some of this is from recall, you can verify it. They had a big fund in the firemen pension plan over at Lexington on the fire, in the fire departments over there. And there was a group of people there that made very little money, 90:00and they got, was getting nothing, $75 a month pension and crap like that. And, of course, Scotty was mayor, and he told them, he told Napier, he run upon him one day there and he said, "Who do you think you are? Do you know who I am?" He said, "Yeah, you're Scotty Baesler." He said (laughs), "What's that supposed to mean?" He said, "I'll show you what it is supposed to mean." He sent his little lobbyist over there. He said-Lonnie introduced a bill to get them some money. And he said, "That bill ain't going nowhere. We'll not let it go nowhere. Mike Moloney's not going to let it go." Lonnie said, "Now, he'll either let it go or he'll go insane, and you will, too." Napier got a bunch of young people, young guys, college kids mostly. And he got them 91:00organized, and they set up a system, and they called Scotty Baesler and Moloney at all hours of the day and night. They picketed them in their homes, it was, absolutely drove them crazy. By gosh, he beat him [knocks on table]. He got the money for those people. And anybody that underestimates him is in for a real surprise. He is a tough little guy, I want to tell you something. He's a people man, you know. And you take a guy like that, and he's bad. And I'm kind of, I would like to kind of see that. I hope they butt heads (Moyen laughs). Because you know, I mean, I think the world of all three of them, but Napier is, he is the most political person I ever 92:00saw. He is. And he knows how to do it, and he understands people. He can talk to them, you know.
MOYEN: What other people in the House of Representatives do you recall thinking, atfirst maybe not thinking much, but after observing them, just realizing they are really politically shrewd? Really able to-
TURNER: Well, there's quite a few that that's the first thing I told them. I said, "Let metell you something." I've made this observation and told many people this. You look at a guy up there, and you say, "That guy, who in the world would vote for that guy?" Let me tell you something. He didn't get there by being stupid, completely stupid, you know. He's got something that sets him a little bit apart. He just didn't fall off the turnip wagon, you know. And I've said that about many people, because a lot of times in there, you'd see a guy and you'd say, "My God 93:00Almighty, man. Who would do that?" And, but that's not right. They've got a hold on something, I can tell you that, you know. There's some pretty shrewd people up there. Some of them are not polished very well, but there's some very shrewd, and some of them that aren't polished are your most dangerous ones, by the way.
MOYEN: Why do you think that is?
TURNER: Well, I think that's the way life is. It gets back to my individualism thingagain, the deviants. The deviant usually is unorthodox, comes across that way, but he's somebody you must always watch. I think the Germans found that out in World War Two when they had all this officer corps, you know, the Prussian establishment. And we brought ours out of Tuskegee, Western, and everywhere, our officers. But they couldn't ever project how our officers 94:00would react, and that drove them crazy. The more trained the mind is the more apt it is to be a, the more apt it becomes to be static. You don't see options. I really believe that. The more I see, I think that. I really believe that's the truth, you know.
MOYEN: Let me ask you about your decision, or your jump from caucus chairman tominority leader. When did you start thinking-
MOYEN: this is a position I'd like to have?
TURNER: I started thinking that way to start with, you know. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, youknow, you sometimes you have to take a step and you have to work your plans.
MOYEN: And how did that transpire? Who do you-
TURNER: Art Schmidt went-
MOYEN: To the Senate.95:00
TURNER: Senate. And that's when I took on Raymond Overstreet and some of them.Now, Raymond has always been more, he is what I call a labor, pro-union Republican, very liberal thinker. Well, it didn't take much for me to spook the Republican caucus into seeing him as a, as the Karl Marx of the (laughs), you know, that's exactly how I did it.
MOYEN: Now, Raymond Overstreet is from Casey County?
TURNER: Yes, sir.
MOYEN: Let me ask you about this. When I was reading newspaper articles preparingfor this, one article called Monroe County western Kentucky. Would you consider this western Kentucky?
TURNER: No, I would-see actually western Kentucky starts in, at Chapel Hill in AllenCounty. 96:00
MOYEN: And how is that?
TURNER: Well, that's, actually that's kind of the way the flow is. From there on youget, begin to get into a different topography, you begin to get into a different orientation on other things. You might notice, I don't know if you've ever looked at this much, but if you'd look across these areas, you will see that-take the churches, change. And that will almost, Monroe County is Baptist and the Church of Christ mostly; some Mormon, basically, some Church of God. You get into Allen County, all of a sudden you get less Missionary Baptist, quite a few Independent Baptists, General Baptists they call themselves, a lot of Church of God and 97:00Holiness people, more Methodist than probably Baptist, and a small minority of Catholic.
TURNER: And then if you go into, that's, and then that's, and then you go into SimpsonCounty, it's very Baptist, I mean, the big old Southern Baptists. And then you got more of that. But Allen County is an enigma kind of in its own. I always watch that, and I watch, I can go across the state here and tell you, and you can see that, if you'll look at it, if you're, you know, if you, and you can tell a lot about how those people are going to react by, that alone will tell you a lot about it, you know.
MOYEN: And I guess by registration alone, western Kentucky politically could bedefined as Democrat, overwhelmingly. Would you think that that would be a fair statement- 98:00
TURNER: It, registration-wise it is, but philosophically, no. Registration, this is seven toone Republican, Monroe is, but it's really Democrat in its thinking. You have to be careful here because it's, they ask you, "What have you got, what did you get for me?" Allen County tends to be, we want things, but we're not as much welfare-orientated as this county. You get into Simpson County, it's big flat land, more industry, more Old South, more conservative Baptist and conservative Catholic. And Catholic and Baptist, by the way, runs neck and neck. They'll, they both philosophically think about the same way. 99:00
MOYEN: Let me ask you this. Political scientists talk about politicos and different typesof political philosophies that you have to have. Not that you are going to go lie or that you're going to change who you are, but do you have to present different persona when you're, when you are in office, in different parts of your district?
TURNER: Probably so.
MOYEN: And how would that take place? How do you, how are you a good politicianby doing that? I mean, obviously, you understand the district really well.
TURNER: I do.
MOYEN: How does that work out in the way you campaign, the way you address whatyou have done, or why you did or didn't vote a certain way?
TURNER: Well, this county here, I'll just give you an example: take the gambling,100:00legalized, the track was a mess down here, you know. They established it in a Baptist/Church of Christ county down there, and that didn't go over good. I have never, I never was for it, and I'm still not for it, although because the people there, I considered myself an attorney for them, an advocate for them. The majority of those people were against that. The lottery was the same way. They were, defeated it badly. Allen County defeated it. Monroe County come within six points of passing it. That tells you about it, doesn't it?
TURNER: That tells you, tells me really here that a wet-dry election would probablypass in this county. They've not tried it, but they will. It's coming, I'm certain. You'd be an idiot 101:00to go to Simpson County and be for legalized gambling. You know?
TURNER: And you'd be an idiot to do it over in Allen County too, because you got theChurch of Holiness. And your Methodists are more tolerant, more understanding, more educated, but you don't get the Church of God after you over there, you know. But in this county here, it's pretty apparent that your approach to the matter would, could be different, you know. You got to deal with what you got to deal with, but you got to know that ahead of time or you'll destroy yourself, you know. But, now, that's just the way it is. And I don't think you're being dishonest. You're trying to represent those, you've got to give those people a voice in the 102:00process. You must, you know, I mean or you're not doing their job, the job for them. And that's what I'm saying, I guess. I don't know if that answered it or not.
MOYEN: No, it does. It, that makes really good sense.
TURNER: But you have to learn, you've got to know those people, you got to knowthose pressure groups, and that's what they've become is pressure groups, you got to know their likes and dislikes, and you, if you're going to be really effective, you really have to know that, or you can't do it.
MOYEN: Right, um-hm. Could you tell me a little bit about your decision to run foragricultural commissioner?
TURNER: Okay. Well, needless to say, I wasn't too enamored by the quality of most of103:00the agriculture commissioners. I thought they were, some of them were just, some of it was awful, just disgusting. I mean, you know, I'm not even sure we need the, that office to be an elected office. I mean I think it's, you know, it's just a, it's just full of political hacks, if you want to know the truth about it. And I thought that I could do better. Robert Miller, who was the last Republican agriculture commissioner, was my former teacher, and we had ideas about things that we thought we could do. Mr. Miller tried to do those and did some of them, on promoting Kentucky products and things like this. He helped, and I was involved in industry at the time, and so I know he did help us try to do these things. But most of the ag. commissioners have been 104:00very, very ineffective, you know.
MOYEN: What is, as best you understand it, the job description of the agriculturalcommissioner?
TURNER: Well, what I proposed to do was this: number one, I proposed that we be amore, we have a stronger PR program on Kentucky products. And then I also proposed that we do, that we have options; instead of being tied to tobacco, that we begin to develop other concepts. Later, Billy Ray, to some extent, has moved along that line when he was in. Just for instance, we don't, we import into this state most of our, just say, ornamentals and shrubs and so on that, for flowers. That's a big business, a huge business, you know. We could do that here. We 105:00need to do that. We bring in bulbs and so on that we sell people out of here. We bring them in from Oklahoma, things like that. I saw us as doing a better job on that type of thing, you know. I wanted us to work on that. I wanted us to work more with the upgrading the quality of livestock. And forestry's a sleeper out there for us right now. Dairying, and of course I have a big background in dairying, and I like that. I saw all kinds of potential in that for us because we're sitting here halfway to Florida, and they're bringing milk out of Minnesota. Don't you see the advantage on trucking that gives us? And the fact that we've got a milder weather and we can produce the forages and so on. Florida and Atlanta are sitting here, Birmingham, produce, buy all 106:00that we'll produce, so we could literally have a, well a garden of Eden as far as agriculture is concerned here. I think we need to do, move more in that direction. We needed a larger processing operation in the state, or a series of small ones. You know what I mean?
TURNER: To use local products and keep people, you, we have to use this, we have touse these hills and this land. I can see us becoming an area that produces, a big hay producer and shipping it south, but we got to change our procedure on processing and so on, you know. We need to do more of that.
MOYEN: Why have these things not happened or haven't happened even-
TURNER: Basically, because you don't have anybody that thinks, you know. Where I107:00see, I think the University of Kentucky should have a bigger say in, maybe that is where the Ag. Department should be, maybe it should be out of there. You know I mean it, maybe more like Tennessee is more orientated that way than we are. Maybe that's the solution to it, I don't know. But when you have your best minds up there, and you try to disseminate that information out through just the county agents and so on, that's a tool. But what happens, it's too narrow, because they work with only people, they usually work with ten or fifteen people, you know, in the counties, and you don't ever get it down to the mass at the bottom. And that's what I'm saying. Maybe the Ag. Department needs to be, maybe it needs to come out of the university more in a 108:00different way. I'm not certain. I think the county agent program is a good program, and home demonstration agent, but it caters to a select group of people, too much so. I've said that before too, by the way.
MOYEN: Oftentimes you said that agriculture in Kentucky was taking a backseat toother things. Can you give me examples of that in legislation where that has happened?
TURNER: Well, we have favored and continue to favor, and this is a sacred cow inLexington, the horse racing industry. The horse racing industry, you know, I know somebody asked me one time, says, "Could you support a tax on horses?" I said, "I'm not for taxes, but I could probably support a tax on horses. But if you try to tax mules, I'll raise hell" (both laugh). You know, like I was a mule. They thought I was, so I'd just as well tell them that, see. So what 109:00I'm saying is, I guess is, I think we have, I think agriculture, as far as a lot of those people are concerned, ends with the horse farms. And the horse farms, most of our people in this state, you know as well as I do, don't even care about racing. But yet we have to give them breaks on taxes. They're now wanting to have a lot, they're wanting to have gaming at the tracks and all that stuff, you know. If you're going to have gaming, let's have it statewide and not give it to just the racetracks. I really don't care whether Churchill Downs makes a profit or not. I'm more concerned about not having a tax on the citizens of this county to give us the infrastructure and the things we need here than I am about whether or not Churchill Downs makes a profit, shows a 110:00P and L positive this time. If you're going to a gambling state, let's have it statewide, let's quit Mickey Mousing with it. Let's police it, let the state tax it, and if they must gamble, let's take advantage of it. That's the way I see it.
MOYEN: Uh-huh. So why do you think that you lost to, is it David Boswell? Is thatwho-
TURNER: Well, that was labor, organized labor did that in Louisville. And, of course,you know, David had no experience in agriculture at all, whatsoever. He did not. I mean, you know, he's a good friend of mine, but he did not, and he knows he didn't, and he didn't do anything either, you know. That's the issue, you know, it keeps coming back. They don't get nothing done. I'm afraid Richie will be the same way. I'm scared to death, and I love him. 111:00
MOYEN: People know his name.
TURNER: Yep, that's right. If you put that name on Kentucky hams or something, wemight really sell them (Moyen laughs). Now I'm for that. I mean I, you know I, that's the way I see it. But that's what I'm, I guess I'm saying, you know. That don't need to be, this needs to be a long-range plan, I think, carried out through the Ag. Department needs to be run through the university. And if we're going to have good minds in that, let's give them some seed money and get them out here to working with some of these people that we're not really working with. Do you know what I mean? I used to do that when I run the dairy plants. I'd build, I'd have my men come out and build milk parlors, help the farmer get milk cows, and do stuff like that. And we'd do that, you know. We did it. We done a lot of that work. I see that as the way to go, you 112:00know, whether it's in beef or whatever it's in. The goat business now as a diversity is becoming a big business, you know. Sheep could be a big business. Kentucky at one time was noted nationally for its sheep production, around Harrodsburg and all that area. See, those are areas that we need to look back, we need to be regressive and look back at those times and see what they did or why they did what they did. See, there's a subsidy on wool. We're not producing enough of it. So, you know, those are opportunities as I see it.
MOYEN: Can you tell me a little bit about Martha Layne Collins being elected, and herrelationship with the legislature? How would you describe that?
TURNER: I liked her as governor. And my daughter, of course, loved her. She'd godown, she used to come up, go up there with me, and she'd go down every day and visit with 113:00Martha Layne. And she had her picture on her table even. But she was a class act, she was. She was, she had some, you know, of course, she had some association I always felt that was not as bona fide as it needed to be, but I always liked her. She was kind to my district, and she was kind to, you know, I've helped her with things. And I think she, I think it was good. I think she was a, she's a quality person. Now, I never did like Bill, I'll just tell it like it is, you know. I never, I always thought he was a little, you know, kind of like the Iranian rug merchant, you know, is the way I saw him. I don't think he's as smart, anyways near as smart as she. And I thought she did a good job, basically. She would help you if you needed it, and that's what I was up there for. I got along good with her.
MOYEN: Her big push, I mean she really wanted to be-114:00
MOYEN: in the industry-
MOYEN: with Toyota and what came there, and then also the education governor.
TURNER: She, and I think she's done, she did a good job doing, in what she did, youknow. I thought she was a good governor.
MOYEN: Do you recall, the first legislative session you had once she was governor, doyou recall anything about that session in terms of education? Because I know that that was a big push of hers, and yet nothing was accomplished during that session, which is why there was the special session the next year.
TURNER: Well the, you have to get the legislature in the frame of mind to want to dothings, you know. And she probably didn't have her ducks in a row at that time, that's the way I remem--, recall that. That was going to require, and did require as I recall, what was it, $900 115:00million additional revenue? It was an enormous amount of money, I remember. That was an enormous of money to ask for, it really was. And I think there was some reluctance on the part of some people to give her that much money at one time. And, however, she was a-the case was eventually made on, over a period of time on education. There was a group of people there that was very pro-education. They hadn't reached a consensus on which way to move. I had some trouble on the, this plan that we've got, too. There's some of that, philosophically, it was hard for me to chew, you know. But it's turned out much, it's much improved. We got some money in 116:00there, and we begin to do things, and you can see the difference now. You already can. I can see a big difference. But I don't know if that's a good answer to that or not, but I liked her. I got along good with her. She was, as I said, she was kind to my district. I had, I got about what I wanted.
MOYEN: When the special session was called in 1985 and you dealt with education, canyou tell me, what are your thoughts as someone who's not next door to Frankfort? You're not one or two counties over? When you go to Frankfort and you've got a family or, and there's a special session or the session, would you stay up there for weeks or would you come back? And how hard it that?
TURNER: Oh, I'd come back. I'd come back.
TURNER: I'd come-many times, this may sound crazy to you, but there's lots of times117:00I would milk seventy-five cows and drive to Frankfort and be there by eight o'clock. That meant I started very early in the night. I did that a long time, yeah.
MOYEN: Why was that? Any reason in particular?
TURNER: Well I didn't, I wanted to keep in touch with my constituency. I needed toknow what they said. And I did know what my people thought, I guarantee you I did.
TURNER: And I always asked, and I always knew. I'd ask, I'd just run up on a guy inthe street and I'd ask him, you know, about this. Or we'd bring it up, and I'd lead him into it. And I felt I voted their wishes. They'd say, "Well, we need to do something, but we don't need to do this." So you got figure out a way to do this and sell it, that's what you had to do. 118:00
MOYEN: Along those lines, with the Democratic majority, were there Democrats thatyou got to know where you ever said, "I really think this needs to pass. If I sponsor something or if I introduce it, will you support it?"
TURNER: I've had bills, I've had them to sponsor my bills. A lot of my bills become lawwith their name on it.
MOYEN: Can you think of any in particular off the top of your head?
TURNER: Well, there was a fencing bill. That may not mean, sound like it's veryimportant, but there was a fencing bill one time that-line fences. You look at a fence and you think, "Well, that's just a fence." But that's not really what it is. That has repercussions in every subdivision, it has, all over east Kentucky we get into another bag of worms where mineral companies own and don't want to spend any money. It becomes a nightmare; you ought to work 119:00that one out. That was a bill that become law.
MOYEN: Can you discuss that a little more? I'm not sure I understand it.
MOYEN: What the issues are.
TURNER: Well, see, logically you'd say out there, that fence, this fence out here? I ownthis side. Say, somebody else owns the other side. Right. I want that fence. That fence cost about $1,100 or $1,200 maybe, or whatever. That guy says, "I don't have any cattle. I don't want to build that fence, you know. What am I going to get out of it?" How are you going to resolve it? The old law was, the old common law was that if I wanted to build a fence, you've got to pay for half of it. I might live in a subdivision where it's, I've got a beautiful, I want to put up a 120:00beautiful fence, and the guy next door don't want no fence. How do you resolve it? We set up a system where you go to this, go into the district court and the district court decides, you know, the justification of it. And, I mean, they put some procedural things into it. I've had people to build a fence, and somebody build up within a post to where a cow couldn't possibly get through and not tacky, but get the benefit of it and never spend a cent. All that goes-
[Large portions of the next two pages of the interview are inaudible due to microphonefailure.] 121:00
TURNER: Now, why I say that is, we are privy to some of the best minds in thecountry. If you'll avail yourself of that, you can learn so much, you know.
TURNER: I think you could take a nincompoop in there and turn him into a rocketscientist, honestly. If you're an observer and you go and watch, you can learn so much, you know. And it's really kind of pathetic that many times these people that go in there, they come back and just don't do anything at all, try to do anything. They've got, they could help, be very 122:00helpful, you know. But, (unintelligible; microphone failure).
MOYEN: Is there a medium, a happy medium that you have to find between those whoobserve, learn what's going on, find out (unintelligible), versus those who, I mean in your time in the legislature, the amount of legislation that's just introduced has just skyrocketed. (Unintelligible).
TURNER: Some of these bills are not expected to fly. Some of these bills are, they callthem reelection bills, you know. Some of these bills are, they say, "oh, this is my reelection bill." 123:00Take for instance, well, anything that deals with sex or something like that. (Unintelligible). There's a lot of that.
MOYEN: Were you ever able to (unintelligible)?
TURNER: Well, if you knew what you were doing, you could. Of course you could,you know. Just like Martin Luther King's birthday. (Unintelligible). They didn't care if you had a birthday, but the thing we had to look at there was, that day off costs the state of Kentucky 124:00millions of dollars that could be better used on something else. No one had the gall to oppose it because, you know, there would be a loud outcry. "Oh!" You see, in other words, what I'm saying is people won't do what they know they need to do, just because, they do what they do because they feel like they have to do it, or they're going to make somebody very unhappy. (Unintelligible). And that happens all the time. 125:00
MOYEN: You mentioned earlier the bill (unintelligible).
TURNER: No. Believe it or not, we'd get together at night, nine or ten of us would, andwe'd actually socialize. We'd go to restaurants and eat and talk. And you learn a lot from those encounters, you know. We were kind of like, we were kind of a fraternity-type situation, where there's always a group of people, I know I'm a teetotaler, and there's a lot of them that are. Okay. We don't drink, so we don't do that. We don't go to nightclubs when we're off, so we 126:00talk. And we talk any issue, you know. (Unintelligible). How would you like a floor leader that espouses all that crap to come into your county? How's your constituents going to feel about that? It's a subtle way of intimidation. You'd better be right, brother, because they'll beat your butt next time. (Unintelligible), let them know that you're supporting a guy like that, you're going to look kind of wild, aren't you? You see what I mean? That's how you do it. 127:00
TURNER: Well, sure. Who wants to be, it's just like, you know, in the war, I told myson, he's a colonel, I told him, I said, "You know, I went in as a private, but I'll tell you one thing friend, I'd rather tell a guy how to climb up that hill with somebody shooting at him than for him to tell me." I'll tell you that real fast. It didn't take me long to figure that out, you know. I've heard these guys say, "Oh, I wouldn't want to be nothing but a private." I don't believe that's true. I think that's a damn lie, personally (laughs).
[Quality of tape returns to normal]
MOYEN: Right. Now, what about the dynamics of a meeting where you know you're128:00sitting around with a bunch of people who may want those leadership positions? What do you, how do you hash those things out, I guess is what I'm trying to get at. And how do you make those decisions?
TURNER: Well, first of all when you're a leader, you have to, you've got your agendaand then you have an agenda for the caucus or the group. And what you have to say there is that, you know, there'll be issues that you can't, can you be fair on an issue that somebody, that's important to some other district? And would you fight it or would you give, would you become the advocate for the representative from that district? You've got to be big enough, and they've got to see you as big enough to do that. If you can't do that, if you're, if you become so narrow 129:00and so, you know, so philosophical that you won't deviate, that's not the kind of a leader you need. You know, it used to be an old, well it wasn't an old wives tale, it was a truth. You know, there was no reason for us as Republicans not to have support of labor, but we continued not to have it, you know. I'm talking about organized labor.
TURNER: There was no, nothing that says we can't, that we're not in the mainstream,American mainstream. We, you know, our Constitution says a man can bargain. And that's fine, if he wants somebody to bargain for him. But I prefer to bargain for myself. That's the difference. Now, on labor legislation, I don't think I needed to get up, and everybody knows my thinking. I don't need to get up if Raymond Overstreet had a bill coming through there and kill 130:00him, if I was the leader. I mean that's not giving him due, that's doing to him what the Democrats have done to me. You have to be able to point that out. They got to see you in that vein, you know, or you can't win. Now, that's basically how you talk about it. You know, if you can say, just like Raymond, I remember he was for legalizing marijuana years ago, you know. And no one's saying that that might not be, I don't know if it's, it's not good for me because I hate the damn stuff, but I, you had to try to see it from where he saw it, where he sat. He's really right. It's kind of like bootlegging, you know. If it is regulated properly, that's pro--, and tax the heck out of it, which he advocated, but you go out here and tell somebody that, and I guarantee you 131:00they're going to run you out of town on a rail. You can't sell it yet. That's the point. And see, it made him look as, it made an extremist out of him, and he might not have been as much of an extremist as (laughs), but that's how you do it. You see. Yeah.
MOYEN: That makes sense. Would you tell me a little bit about, in 1985, your campaignin the primary, and then the general election for Monroe County Judge-Executive?
MOYEN: First of all, what does the Judge-Executive do?
TURNER: In this county? It does nothing.
TURNER: What did I hope to do with it? That, I guess, is the way we want to phrasethat.
TURNER: They-we have had traditionally here a, the fiscal court, of course, youknow, which the county judge is the chief executive officer of, we have had a, not unlike other counties I might add, but we have had county judges who were people that probably had never been over the other hill. You know what I'm saying? Just, I don't know what the right word, I guess you'd call them clods. They couldn't read and they'd never been nowhere, and they never saw, had any vision for anything, they just wanted a job.
TURNER: Yeah. Yeah, provincial, inward-looking people, that's what we had. I thoughtwhat this county needs is what, is something like Mike Buchanan has done in Warren County. He's been a fantastic, study that guy sometime. You'll be, he could be the next governor of this 133:00state if he wants to be, in my opinion. He is a visionary, he knows how to manage, he's got some political sense, he will take a political risk if it's good for the area. That's not been done in this county. I have made two or three runs at judge in this county, and this is one thing I can't win, basically because of my, I will upset the applecart. They know that. I don't make any bones about tearing the applecart up. I almost beat them this last time. I like, I come within a 150 votes of beating them, and I didn't spend a red cent [knocks on table]. I think that's a hell of a race. And I don't have to win. I want to talk about it. I want to discuss it [knocks on table]. And if my wife hadn't have restrained me and let me done what I needed to have done, I would have destroyed 134:00them (Moyen laughs). I mean, and I'd have beat him without spending a penny. And I would. And I may run again. I've not said I wouldn't.
MOYEN: So how did she restrain you?
TURNER: Well, she's my chiefest critic. My wife, when she come here, was a veryliberal Democrat, you know. And she was a pro-abortion at the time and all that crap. And, you know, she's not now, but she was. And the reason she was, she'd just come out of college and her daddy had been spending his money to send, and she was using his money. You can be liberal like that (both laugh). You see? When you start spending and you start working-
[End of Tape #2, Side #1]
[Begin Tape #2, Side #2]
MOYEN: In, okay, so we talked about the Judge-Executive race.
MOYEN: I read an article that discussed farm legislation and dealt with loan rates. Doyou recall what that may have been about? Certain federal regulations on loan rates for farms. Or what other type of agricultural issues with farms did you have to-
TURNER: Well I had some, I had quite a bit of that. We went through, because of realliberal spending by some of the banks and some of the loan agencies loaning people money for things they didn't need, that they thought they needed because somebody told them they did, led us into a, especially I guess this, some of this might have been during the Jimmy Carter era, 136:00I'm not certain. But they bought very high-priced property, and interest rates went from seven or eight percent to eighteen, and they were falling like dominoes around here. We had bank failures around here, you know, and I know a lot of that we were concerned about. We was, I was concerned about the fact that the banks had sold these people a bill of goods and then were foreclosing. And I was really, I fought that pretty badly, this foreclosing on people. I mean their whole life's work was wiped out, you know. And it was a, some of that, I know we did do some, I remember doing some work on that, but all I done was advocate that people be given some time and some consideration instead of just, you know, wiping them out and killing them. It was 137:00awful. I have borrowed money on one side of the street to pay the fellow on the other side of the street, and then I paid him back, so I could borrow to pay the other fellow back (Moyen laughs). That period of time in this country done more to dest--, it set me back twenty years. It was awful. I need not tell you it was just, and if I hadn't have been a good juggler, I probably would have been, I'd have been a statistic. I never did. I, we rode it out, we made it. But now I'll tell you, a lot of people didn't, a lot of friends didn't. And I did think that the banks were responsible for, as much as anybody, for loaning, making loans like that. They had no right to go out here and tell a fellow that could get by in an old Ford truck that he needed a truck that you had to have, use a stepladder to get down out of. You know what I mean?
MOYEN: (Laughs), right, right.
TURNER: It just, the economics weren't there. And they should have suffered for that,138:00not necessarily the poor guy that was borrowing it, because he, I mean he thought, he'd been convinced that, you know, every day was Sunday (both laugh), you know? Going to wear his good suit all week.
MOYEN: That's right (both laugh).
TURNER: Yeah. So I was, I was pretty vocal about that, I remember, yeah.
MOYEN: All right. Another thing during this time that did become an issue was theToyota plant and the benefits package-
MOYEN: involved with that.
MOYEN: Now, you did vote against that package, right?
TURNER: I did, yeah.
MOYEN: What was your argument?
TURNER: Why did I do that?
TURNER: I didn't think, well, there was two, let's put it in two perspectives. One ofthem was that it was more jobs to the, it was not, the jobs weren't any of them coming into my 139:00area, you know. And it's hard for me to see taxpayers' money that we're paying in be given to a foreign firm to come to Lexington or Georgetown and create jobs there and none of my people are going to benefit. I couldn't sell that. Yet, and also to be very honest with you, in some of my counties, one of them in particular, there was a lot of negative thoughts about the Japanese. People had been abused by them, some of them had been held prisoner by them during the war. Some of those people didn't take too kindly to people who went up there and voted for them. And I happened to, as I said I come out of a family of, that, of former military people, a lot of it. And some of them just didn't appreciate it. And we certainly didn't believe that they should just be given a blank check to just about-and they did. They got, they give a lot back, but we gave a 140:00lot, too. And I'm not saying that I wouldn't have done it if I'd been the governor either. I'm telling you, I was at that time trying to represent my constituency. And that's, I felt like I was being a good attorney, and I was representing my people.
MOYEN: Um-hm. I think that you also expressed some concern and said things like, andthis was a Herald-Leader quote, "I'm for Toyota as far as its coming, but I'm not sure I'm for all the goodies-
TURNER: That goes with it.
MOYEN: that are apparently in there."
MOYEN: And then you also expressed concern about the lack of information that thelegislature was given.
MOYEN: Can you tell me about that?
TURNER: Yes, I was, because it was a blank, it was a, it was cloistered in the leadershipgroup basically. They didn't want you to know what they were giving. And therefore, they didn't 141:00enlighten us on all of it. If some of the people that voted for some of that stuff had known what was in it, they'd have had a nervous breakdown, and I wouldn't vote for it for that reason. I wanted to know what we was getting. I don't like to buy a pig in a poke, you know. It could have no tail or no ears (both laugh). And I didn't know. I mean, you know. You could take there at Harrodsburg for instance. Boy, the Japanese still aren't popular there, you know, that Death March, all that? You had to know your district, you know.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Are, were there certain issues like that one, where you say, "I've gotto know my district in order to vote a certain way on this issue-
MOYEN: or that issue," and then are there other issues where you say, "Whatever my142:00district, this is how I've got to vote," and-
TURNER: Yes, abortion, liquor, issues on liquor, those issues were issues that I had abasic moral obligation to not deviate.
TURNER: Right to life. I'm, I'll just tell you right now I'm about as opposed to it as youcould possibly ever be. I just think it's a shame. What if they had aborted Jesus Christ? And I'm sure there's some people that would have done that, you know. You got, that's what I'm saying.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Would you consider the lottery, your vote opposing the lotteryamendment as one of those moral issues or- 143:00
TURNER: Yes, I do, because I think that is a tax on the least informed. It's a regressivetax on the least informed people that we've got, and I think it smells like, and what I objected to is the fact that the government becomes an evangelist for this crap. You know what I'm saying? I don't think that's the government's job. I think government should stay out of that stuff. Now, if they exist, then tax them. That's the kind of stuff you should tax. If you have to give it back to the poor slob that don't know any better, maybe you do. But I have real problems with that. I mean I don't like for government to aid and abet in the moral decline of the community.
MOYEN: Um-hm, um-hm. Makes sense.
TURNER: I don't think it's good.144:00
MOYEN: Right. In 1986, the same year with all the Toyota package and stuff, once thebudget was passed, there was only one Republican in the House, I believe, who voted against House Bill 398, and that was Woody Allen. And you said that the success of that was because a lot of Republican ideas were incorporated.
TURNER: That bill, what was that bill?
MOYEN: House Bill 398.
TURNER: What did that bill do?
MOYEN: And it was the budget.
TURNER: Yes, yes.
MOYEN: It was the budget.
MOYEN: You said that there were a lot of Republican ideas that were incorporated intothe Appropriations and Revenue Committee.
MOYEN: I think that you served on-
TURNER: Appropriations, I know I did.
MOYEN: Appropriations and Revenue. And then at the same time, there was somethingcalled the Free Conference Committee on the Budget.
TURNER: Right, I-yeah, yeah.
MOYEN: That apparently, if I understand it correctly, you all would go behind closed145:00doors, and basically lay it on the, can you tell me about those meetings-
TURNER: Yes, I can. I can.
MOYEN: what that was.
TURNER: What happens there, what happened to those, in those meetings is this: theyreach a-a bill can go through the House and it can go through the Senate, and if it's clean, it comes out. You don't have to go through any conference. It passes. But if there's, you reach, you, let's say that you, there's some disagreement, there's an amendment put on. What you try to do is to, if they assign that to a conference committee, conference committee, all it does is it meets and they agree to disagree, like the old British system where, you know, the British you agree to disagree, okay. Then you come back and say, "We disagree, we can't reach a consensus on this thing." So they say, "Well, we're going to appoint a pre-conference committee." That 146:00allows you to get in there and mix up the dough and so on and so forth. And what we did, do in a case like that, we would get in there and we'd say, "Well, we're willing to do this, but we have to have so much of this in it." And whatever we agree to, they have to, the whole legislature has to agree to it. So what you're really doing, you're getting, if you're on that conf--, you're a conferee, you're actually getting your ideas put in it or you're not in agreement with it. And especially a lot of times, that's where Republicans were very effective, because your Democrats weren't, maybe didn't have a consensus. And we could flip and decide which way it's going, so we become very powerful in that instance. That's how we did that. In fact, it's what happened.
TURNER: And we got some Republican ideas and some Republican things that wewanted in that bill that they'd kept out. But you see, how well we played, you see, you've got liberal Democrats and conservative Democrats, you've got liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats, so what we did, we would do, we was able with the minority, many times the minority, to go with the conservative Democrats or liberal or whichever they were and pass a bill by forming a coalition with them. And that's in essence is what we did a lot of, you know. And we do that a lot. And you do that by, not philosophically, but by area. You vote area then, you 148:00see? Like areas vote like ways, you know. And so you do that. And that's basically what you're doing. Pre-conference come out, and the pre-conference is, has agreed, then it's done, basically. And, yeah, that's done many times.
MOYEN: Something else about that budget-
TURNER: That was a budget on edu--, some of the colleges. It was, it involved thecollege, U.K. junior college in Henderson. It involved the agricultural deal at Western, and it involved a, one of the large buildings on the University of Kentucky that I wanted, me and Pat McCuiston wanted. That was some of the three I can remember.
MOYEN: Well the, I don't have any of the specifics, but I, what I did read was thatalmost all of them dealt with higher education. 149:00
TURNER: It was, and those are things we wanted and we wouldn't back off from. Theyhad tried to get some of those facilities for years, and we'd just had enough of it. And we decided we was going to, that was kind of a coalition that we formed ourselves within, you know. And we had enough muscle that day, obviously, to get by with it.
MOYEN: Do you think any of that would have had to do with the fact that, or, if youremember this or not, that the Republicans broke with the tradition that year and didn't offer a budget of your own, but rather said "We're going to (unintelligible)-"
TURNER: We're going to incorporate, right, and we did it. We concentrated onamendments that year. We did that. That's right.
MOYEN: Do you think that that was an important part of what-
TURNER: Yeah, they knew that those were things we were stressing. We had a, we had150:00seen this, them, what we call it, "Mickey Mouse around," with that for years, and we got tired of it. And so we went after it, and that's essentially right. You're correct there. But we wanted those things. I mean, you know, we needed, I can't remember what buildings that was at the university, it was, the University of Louisville got a, got something, and we demanded that they, they first took our building out at U.K., and we put it back in, in there, and let's see, some of them didn't want Owensboro to have a junior college. And I know I was one of the few Republicans down in here, and even Billy Ray Smith, a Democrat, voted against it too, but I voted for it because I thought it was right and can't-that's, I remember it distinctly. Old man McCuiston was a good old conservative senator, too. He was a Democrat.
MOYEN: Did you have any community or technical schools or colleges in your district?
TURNER: Yes, I had some. I had technical schools at county level in all three of mycounties. And I was, of course, very much concerned about all that, too. I remember I always was. The Kentucky Training School and some of that at Western too, I was concerned about, wanted. We had, of course, I had Ron Clark, who was on the board of regents in Simpson County that was a constituent of mine that, you know. I was always, I was usually pretty much, they usually knew I'd be, I was for anything that had education tacked on it. Unless I found somebody was just trying to pull some crap, and then I wouldn't buy it. But now, I was, I was always for the, and I was always for the classroom teacher too, because I'd been there, you know, seen that, you know. That's the only, that's-God we got to stay on top of it. I don't know how much more you push these kids, but we have to do it; got to do it.
MOYEN: Let me ask you about health care that session.
MOYEN: There was a House Bill 982 that passed. It contained portions of an OmnibusHealth Care Reform Act that failed. Do you recall anything about that health care reform act?
TURNER: Was I on the com--, was I not on the committee?
MOYEN: I'm not sure. I know what did pass dealt with long-term-care beds, and it-
TURNER: That was my bill.
TURNER: Yeah, I do know about that, and it saved the rural hospitals.
MOYEN: Okay, can you tell me about it?
TURNER: Yeah, I can tell you; I can tell you why it happened, too. They threw out,they threw two of my constituents out of some nursing homes. I can tell you one of them was named Viney Caufeld(??), and one of them was, let me think who else, it was two people, two women they put out. What they would do, let me tell you how it worked. They would come down to, they would go to a nursing home, and they'd move you from one level of care to another, and if you was moved, a lot of times you were moved out because there wasn't no bed for you, and you'd find yourself ninety miles down the road. They threw these ladies out, and I told them not to move, and we'd get a lawyer and we'd sue them. And we did. We went through it and we won. Okay, what they'd do, they'd have this character come down, you're, you just take it, for instance, you're an old, eighty year old person, and you're putting your best foot forward, and this young lady comes through every morning. She says, just a clerk, you know, says, "How are you feeling this morning, Mrs. Johnson?" Says Mrs. Johnson, "Oh, I'm feeling wonderful." She says, this girl, she says, "Good, I'll put you up into another level of care," and your butt's out on the street. That's what they were doing, in essence. Well, my bill dealt with, the only person who could do that would be a doctor. Creepo couldn't send their person around anymore to do that. It had to be the doctors to do that. And then we fixed it to where that hospitals who were not nursing homes and had empty beds, those people could go into those hospitals at nursing home rates. You know what I mean? And that really saved the Allen County Hospital, and it helped the Monroe County Hospital a lot. In fact, my county was the second county that was, my district was the second, first, it was the second district that that bill applied to.
TURNER: And I got that done. That's what it was. I remember that.
TURNER: Yeah, that was a big piece of legislation for them because I whipped them.And they changed it back under, the doctors out of Louisville changed that back after I left the legislature, I understand. And I never did like that too much. But, yeah, I remember it very well.
MOYEN: Okay. A couple of years earlier, there was some discussion I read about atFancy Farm, their having more than one speaker-
MOYEN: for a certain candidate's race, essentially allowing someone else to speak-
MOYEN: on someone's behalf.
MOYEN: And although I didn't see a follow-up article, it said that Mitch McConnellwas hoping to have you speak-
MOYEN: on his behalf. Did that ever happen?
TURNER: I've spoke for him. I, let's see, I don't remember, I did, I spoke at, and it mayhave been for McConnell, because I have done that a number of times.
TURNER: And I'm certain I did, because I've spoke at Fancy Farm many times. And Iwas a pretty fire branded speaker. I could take the stump and tear you up pretty good.
MOYEN: Well, from what you've said, you had plenty of practice-
MOYEN: early on (laughs).
TURNER: Yeah. But I was for McConnell back when it wasn't cool to be forMcConnell, because I saw him as a very smart, bright fellow that didn't necessarily understand agriculture and things like that, but could learn. And I remember that's what I tried to instill in people. I said, "The man's a pragmatist, he can make it work. You know, he can do that." He can't, he don't know how to raise tobacco, but he can sell it, and he's become the darling of the tobacco farmers, you know?
TURNER: Yeah, yeah.
MOYEN: Can you tell me a little bit about Fancy Farm?
TURNER: What about it?
MOYEN: What's the scene like?
TURNER: well, the scene is-
MOYEN: (Unintelligible), how important is Fancy Farm-
TURNER: pure bedlam (both laugh). You've got, you can imagine, it's hotter than pureheck, and kids running everywhere. You know, you can picture it kind of like a county fair atmosphere. You've got eating and standing in lines and sweating and cussing and then speaking off of a platform in a grove. And you'll have your cheerleaders on one side for one group and the cheerleaders for the other over here, and they'll get plumb nasty. And some of the candidates sometimes will threaten to take them to the woodshed, you know (Moyen laughs). They always harassed Senator Ford when he was down there. And he was kind of high-tempered anyways, and they would, he would threaten, "You want some of me? Just come on up here." This kind of stuff, you know. It was pretty interesting.
MOYEN: Is it sort of a slice of that old-time political-
TURNER: Yeah, like I was telling you about, only ours was not that elaborate.
MOYEN: Right, right.
TURNER: But it was a lot like that, it was. One fellow said he was down there one day,you know, the least significant your office hold that you're running for, is where you fall in the pecking order of delivery.
TURNER: And the character was down there one time speaking, and I told it on myself,but this fellow, they spoke and they spoke, and this, and the cloud was coming up, and people were looking up and seeing the cloud move in, you know, across the flat land. And there's a, all, they got it all the way down to my speech, and by that time half of the people had vanished. And there was one old guy that sat on the front of the podium, and he said, I said to him before I even started making any remarks, I said, "Sir, I really appreciate you waiting for me," you know. He said, I said, "You don't know what it means to me. I worked hard on this speech, and I want you to know that I appreciate you standing here and listening to it." He said, "Get on with it, young man, because as quick as you're gone, I've got to move the stage" (both laugh).
MOYEN: That's good.
TURNER: Yeah, "As quick as you can," he said. "This kid, get on with it." Said,"Look-" So you know, that kind of stuff happened a lot, you know.
MOYEN: That's good.
TURNER: Yeah. One night they took me to, they, the Republicans sent me into HarlanCounty, which is totally Democrat. And they said (laughs), I never will forget, I took a fellow with me and his job was, I'd told him, I said, "You walk around in the crowd and you see what the people are saying," you know. "And you kind of signal back to me." And we got up there, big, I can't remember who it was named after, but the building, big building, you know. And they had their candidates come out and I was to go up there, we thought we might could win it if I could get up there and stir the crowd up. (Laughs), we got up there, this character, this one character, there was four or five of them running for county judge, and I knew one of them. But this one character come out, and he had a, he'd cut his hair, it looked like a bowl had been turned over. And he had a coat that come down to here, and his trousers were up to here. The damnedest thing you ever saw in your life. And I thought, "My goodness," you know. But they, I keynoted and kicked it off, and I really put some fire into it, you know, and told them what all they'd done for everybody else but them and this type of thing. And this character got up, make, they begin then to speak. After I sat down, the crowd went wild and they shot in the air outside four or five times, seriously (both laugh). And they got up and they started speaking. And this one character that I just described to you that had had his hair cut funny, he got up there and he gave the awfullest speech I've ever heard in my life. And (laughs) later on I asked my brother-in- law, I said, "Did you ever hear any speech like that?" My brother-in-law was with me. "Did you ever hear a speech like that?" He said, "Yeah, did you like that speech?" I said, "Yeah." He said, "You ought to. It was your speech" (both laugh). He gave my speech (laughs). It's the truth. I never heard nothing like it. The crowd went wild. He delivered better than I did (both laugh).
MOYEN: That's something else.
TURNER: Well, I can tell you all kinds of stuff like that, you know. It was hilarious, butI'll never forget that. And the Republicans won. We won that thing up there. We won the judge's office, the sheriff's office, won all of it.
MOYEN: In Harlan County.
TURNER: (Laughs), yeah. I stopped on my way over there, I was going to tell you this,I stopped over there, friends of mine that lived over in, below London, and I asked him, I said, "Just exactly what am I getting into over here?" And he said, "Who are you speaking to?" And I told him. He said, "Oh, a Republican outfit?" "Yeah," I said, "yeah." He said, "Hell, they're all crazy anyways" (laughs). He said, "Tell them anything you want to" (both laugh). It was ready now. But they were. They were wild. That's the wildest place I ever saw but, you know, you had a lot of that. It's, it was a lot of fun.
MOYEN: So how did you get called in to speak in Harlan County?
TURNER: Oh, I did that. I still do that sometimes.
MOYEN: Uh-huh. Do people just call and ask you, "Would you come up here-"
TURNER: Well, the party sometimes will ask me, you know.
TURNER: I, you know, I gave a rousing speech at the Republican Convention a fewyears ago that was, I mean I stole the show from right out from under them, you know.
MOYEN: When was this?
TURNER: A few years ago. I don't know, say, maybe eight or ten years ago. But I'dbeen to London, and we'd got in a fight, and I had a gun drawed on me, and somebody cut me from here down to there. And they asked me, cut my face, a local bunch was resenting me going, you know. And so what happened was they come, the law come to arrest them.
MOYEN: Was this after a speech or just-
TURNER: Well, it was, yeah, right. I was going to preside over the convention. Andthe-
MOYEN: And let me say this for people listening on tape, the cut's from about your-
MOYEN: below your eye-
TURNER: Yeah, they cut me down the face, and what they did, they asked, they cometo me, the law did, and says, "Representative, you want those people arrested?" And by the way, they're from, it was from this county. And I said, "Hell, no, you leave them alone. We'll arrest them later on in our own way," you know (Moyen laughs). So I went on kind of into, I went on to the state convention the next day. I was the keynoter, and so everybody knew I'd done been in a, you know, it kind of made a Robin Hood out of me. And so you can imagine, it really, I brought, I tore the place apart. It really, we really had a-
MOYEN: And had a gun pulled on you before?
TURNER: Oh, yes, sure, that's nothing (laughs).
MOYEN: Had that happened before that?
TURNER: Oh, yeah, I've had that happen before, yeah.
MOYEN: And all of them personal, or were any of the other ones political?
TURNER: Oh, these are political. It's not personal, this is political. They played hardball.
MOYEN: So what would they say to you?
TURNER: They'd just-
MOYEN: Trying to scare you?
TURNER: Oh, yeah, try to intimidate you and, "Here's something," you know. We hada, it goes back to the, in this county here, us having a real contested county chairman's election. Of course, we was in it trying to throw over the, overthrow the oligarchy that had run the place for years. And we threw it over, we overthrew it. Of course, that don't endear you to anyone, you know, especially some people.
MOYEN: From, now obviously, all you can speak on authoritatively is your county. Butfrom speaking with other legislators, is it fair to say in your mind that Kentucky has been politically controlled to some extent by these county leaders?
TURNER: Oh, yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.
MOYEN: And has that been changing?
TURNER: It has changed here. You know, it's changed.
MOYEN: Is that because of you-
TURNER: People like me, you know. I think I had a lot to do with it in, as from theleadership out of Frankfort, because I went out and I recruited people, you know. And I was part of the planning to overthrow the Senate and get control of the Senate. I worked on that years ago. That just didn't happen with, it didn't just arrive. That was an erosion process (both laugh). It really was. That had been in process for some time there, you know.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Let me ask you about this. We've been talking about the differentspeeches that you've made. And in the fall of 1986, you know, following chronologically, you faced, I believe, F.J. Holcomb?
MOYEN: Of Scottsville?
TURNER: Yes. A fine man, friend of mine.
MOYEN: Um-hm. First question: How do you deal with elections where the people thatyou run against, either, whether it's in the assembly or for a leadership position or a race like this that you're, that someone that you really respect is running against you?
TURNER: Well, you go back to, you study the person first.
TURNER: You study him. He was a Democrat who, Dr. Holcomb was, who served onthe school board. And so my first, and the thing, the first thing I had to do to him was I had to, and being on the school board he was management, which a Democrat doesn't need to be in if he's going to be representing everybody. He needs, he can't get the liberal establishment that's out there like KEA to, you know, they don't like that. They don't like you to come from that. So what I had to do first of all was to keep him from getting endorsed by them. And I did that. I kept, they didn't endorse anyone. Because I'd come out with programs that were, I think are correct but he wasn't about to be for. And I, and, of course, the KEA loved it.
MOYEN: Like what programs?
TURNER: For instance, I believe that after ten years of teaching or twelve years ofteaching, that a teacher ought to be given, with pay, a sabbatical, and they should be able to go and study and learn something else, somewhere else. I believe that, and I advocated that stuff. You know, you're tired, you need to get out of there, you need to see what somebody else is doing, and if nothing else, you travel. I don't care, you travel. But they need to, they let, they need to do that to you. You come back recharged and re-motivated. I was for that. And I told them I come up with it. I mean I was the hat--, the one that hatched it. And, of course, I was for the shorter years on retirement too, to get some of this dead wood out of there. And I did that. I was for that. And they didn't exactly see it that way, and so I kind of, you know, I tied him up on the board to where he couldn't make any moves, if you want to know the truth about it. So then another issue I beat his brains out was, of course, our, this is a big hunting area. He got a C or a B with the National Riflemen, and I always got an A, you know. Of course, that's the Constitution. It's not wrong to-
MOYEN: Right, right.
TURNER: You know, why you want to argue it, you know? I might, I don't believe youneed a bazooka in your home or anything but, you know, I'm smart enough to know that you don't come out against stuff like that in this area. And I remembered that. I used that. And I used, another thing I used on him was abortion on demand. Although he would disclaim that he was a, was for that, he belonged to the American Medical Association, which that's in their very preamble. I just trotted their preamble out and I tacked it around his neck, and I beat his brains out with it every morning, you know. That's how you do it. He may not be for that, but why is he supporting something that is? You can't have it both ways, sir. I mean you got to-
MOYEN: Right, uh-huh.
TURNER: Um-hm, and I drove him crazy, and he was a good man.
MOYEN: Um-hm. So those type of elections, where you respect the other person and-
TURNER: You just, you have to tell the truth on him, totally. You can't leave it toimagination. You got to come with something and say, "This is what he sponsors, this is what he's, the kind of things he represents. You want him representing you?" You know. Why should, you know, why should a law-abiding citizen not be allowed to keep a gun in their house? I asked the question. I used the old lawyer trick of, you know, how high is up? I'll bite. How high is up? You know, basically, that's what I used on him, and he couldn't stand it. It drove him wild. They sent a young guy from the Democrat headquarters down here to manage his campaign, and we drove him wild. Beat him badly, too. And he's a good man. He's a friend of mine.
MOYEN: Did you have any particularly close elections that you were-
TURNER: The first race I ever ran, I think I won it by two or three hundred votes. They______(??) me and called me "Landslide," you know (both laugh). Yeah, I think I never had many close races.
MOYEN: Well, let me ask you about this. How have, talking about campaigns, how havecampaigns changed? We talked about from the time you were younger and these stump speeches and that type of thing. How have campaigns changed from that time through your time in the legislature to today? How do you have to run a campaign effectively and how has that changed?
TURNER: Well, the thing that's changed about it so much is that now it's assumed, andprobably rightly so, that money is the ultimate, you have to have it, you have to raise it, a lot of it. I never did have to use much money. I never did use much money in a race. I mean I just didn't. And some, I think that one race, that close race that time, I think I won, I don't think I spent anything to amount to anything mostly, you know what I mean?
TURNER: And I never did spend much. Never did have to. But now, see, I knew thosepeople. I got out and knew them personally. They, today, they can take a, you know, that snowman there and run him, and with enough money they can elect him if you're not careful. And it's really dangerous, I think. And that, of course, that's changed. You need to, you used to know, you needed to know the people, what they were thinking and more, I knew more about my people then than they do know, you know. It's dangerous now a little bit because you have two or three people who really don't have any support, many times, locally that happens to be sitting in a place. And if that area goes strong for someone, they'll think he did it, but he really doesn't do it at all. You know, it's just giving too much clout, and it's really dangerous.
MOYEN: Right, um-hm. Would you advertise in newspapers, radio-
TURNER: I was effective on the radio. I could, I tell you what I always did. EveryMonday morn--, every Monday for years, I had a radio call-in show that lasted for thirty minutes. And you could talk to me about anything you wanted to, and I'd just throw myself out wide open. I've had people call me and ask me who they needed to get to get their plumbing done (laughs). It's that wild, that's true. And I had some real interesting encounters with the constituents that way, I was well known that way. I mean they liked to call in and fry me if they could, you know, and it become a matter of keeping up on your toes on what you were doing. And then I had another program that I always had out of Glasgow, me and usually it was always a Democrat over there, but we would have that show together. Me and, I know, Bobby Richardson used to have it. We, it, that thing went all over this part of the state down here, and it was controversial.
MOYEN: You and Bobby Richardson?
TURNER: We would do it together, you know. We were both selling it.
MOYEN: So would, what would be the dynamics? Would you talk about an issue andshow your side and his side?
TURNER: We'd talk about what happened this week as far, from our vantage point.He'd talk from his vantage point, how he saw it. And I'd talk about it from how I saw it. And the people could call us in, and they could call in on any matters. Like there was, let's say there was an abortion bill or there was an adoption bill or there was a transportation bill or law and order bill, they could call in and talk to us about it. He gave his input, and I'd give them what I thought about it. And we did that. We did that always, always through the, each session.
MOYEN: Is that something that you could get sponsors for or would you have to pay forthe time to do that?
TURNER: No, no, that was public service that the radio station is required to give.
TURNER: And it was nice. I mean, you know, we would try not to, we would try torise above political philosophy and represent the people, you know, let them know this is what your voice, basically, his position on why he did what he did.
MOYEN: And would you have some political op--, or maybe not, or constituents whowere really opposed to you, would that be difficult to deal with their phone calls?
TURNER: No, it wouldn't be difficult at all because you could usually tell it. And ifthey persisted in it, you could see, you'd just tell them, you know, "Well, you're certainly entitled to your opinion, and I certainly am entitled to mine. And the, most of the people in this district, from what I've been able to glean, is absolutely not with you on that issue. And therefore, I have to go with the majority." And that's the way you'd have to handle it.
MOYEN: Uh-huh. Did you ever get involved with any television at all?
TURNER: Yes, I did. I campaigned with it once or twice.
MOYEN: Let me ask you this. In this area-
TURNER: Channel 13 out of Bowling Green-
TURNER: very good station.
MOYEN: Okay. Do you know which affiliate that is? Is it-
MOYEN: That's an ABC?
TURNER: Yeah, uh-huh.
MOYEN: Okay. So is that, people around here, when they want their local news, that'swhere they pick it up from?
TURNER: Most of them will go there but, of course, a lot of us now are on, we're oncable and a lot of us have cable. I, my telephone company provides that for us.
MOYEN: Does that come, so when you got cable, do your channels come fromLexington or Nashville or Louisville or-
TURNER: I can watch any station you watch.
TURNER: And I can watch them in Atlanta, Louisville, Nashville.
TURNER: I mean I can, I've got all those options, you know.
MOYEN: Okay. But you did use the Bowling Green.
MOYEN: Pretty effective? Did-
TURNER: I thought it was effective. I had the race won, but what it did to me, it justmade me into a more viable, the fact that I had TV on at all was-and I tell you something else I did one time. It was real interesting. I put out a newspaper of my own. I got in an uproar with an editor in one town, and I wrote a, I come out with my own newspaper. And I put on it, you know, "All the news that fits," weather forecasts, everything. Recipes, I had a recipe area.
TURNER: Tractor, farm tractors, me and the factory doing different things, you know,and it was a nice newspaper. I was proud of that paper. It was a real good one. And I got that idea from John Y. Brown, too.
TURNER: Yeah, I did. And it was very effective.
MOYEN: Is that something that he did?
TURNER: Yeah, he did that once, I remember.
TURNER: And that was a great idea, but we put that baby together and I put that out. Itold him, I said, "By God, you won't print the truth, I'll print my own newspaper." And their people knew I said that. So when it hit, they thought it was neat. It was a better paper than he had, you know. It was. It really was. It was nice. It was a good paper. And it had all political things in it, you know, and it had my family and my wife. And my wife's a dietician so it had her recipes. "All the news that fits" (both laugh).
MOYEN: That's good.
TURNER: It was good, yeah, it was nice. It worked. But that fellow, after that he, youknow what the newspaperman called me? A "silver-tongued devil" (both laugh).
MOYEN: What paper was that?
TURNER: Allen County News. He's busted, by the way.
TURNER: That's, he needed to be.
MOYEN: Okay (laughs). We are right at the-
[End of Interview]