Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Willard "Woody" Allen, December 3, 2003

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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MOYEN: This is an unrehearsed interview with Willard "Woody" Allen for the University of Kentucky's Kentucky Legislature Oral History Project. The interview was conducted by Eric Moyen on December 3, 2003, in Morgantown, Kentucky.

[Pause in recording.]

ALLEN: Am I close enough to it?

MOYEN: Why don't you go ahead and say something?

ALLEN: Okay. Am I close enough to the microphone, you think?

MOYEN: Yes, I think you're fine.

ALLEN: Okay, that's great.

MOYEN: We'll scoot it up just a tad. I think that will be fine. All right. I'm here with Willard "Woody" Allen, who represented Butler, Grayson, and Ohio counties--


ALLEN: -- ---------(??)--

MOYEN: --House District Seventeen.

ALLEN: Well, we've moved around some--

MOYEN: --okay--

ALLEN: --when I first started, we had, uh, I had Ohio and all of Hancock and part of Butler, and then, that was in '74. And in '80, we redistricted, and, uh, I, I, I split up Hancock County, took all of Butler. And then in the '90 session, '91, why, as you know the court made a decision where you couldn't split a county--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

ALLEN: --in redistricting, unless it was, uh, large enough to have more than one representative. So, that put Ohio and Hancock together, or Ohio and Breckinridge County, and left me with, uh, Butler and Grayson and part of Hardin County, because it was large enough up there to, to have more than one representative.

MOYEN: Okay.

ALLEN: So I ended up when I retired with Butler and, uh, Grayson and about five precincts of Hardin County.

MOYEN: Okay. Is that, do you think you were unique in that? Um, most 00:02:00representatives--senators seem to be different--but the representatives seem to have fewer counties. Was that quite a few for--

ALLEN: --well, the reason we have fewer counties is because, you know, it's, when, when you redistrict we have to divide up what the number of people that we have in the state. And, and the Senate district is much larger. It's three times as large as, as a House district. I, I think my, I think now the appropriate House district is somewhere around thirty-six thousand or something like that. And of course the Senate runs up to--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

ALLEN: --a hundred or more.

MOYEN: Right. Could you, uh, tell me just a little bit about your family history, your background? How, how far back can you go with your family in, in this area? What do you know?

ALLEN: Oh, gosh. Um, my dad's people, the Warrens, um, came over from England.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: Came through the Appalachian Mountains and into North Carolina or into North Carolina, then in Kentucky, and went to Garrard County, 00:03:00close to you--

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: --I guess, up there.


ALLEN: Um, Lancaster, and then came down here in Butler and Ohio County. Of course, the But-, Ohio County line is some of my property--

MOYEN: --right--

ALLEN: --and(??) in Ohio County here. And they settled, uh, my great- great-grandfather, um, in the Cromwell area in, in, uh, Ohio County, and then, of course, drifted up here in, in this little community, the Gilstrap(??) community. So they've been here about 1840. Uh, that was my grandmother's people. My, my father's, uh, people, the Allens, uh, I haven't really went back that far in history, genealogy on them. Um, I think they also came from Britain.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: But, uh, they, they came in here, I understand, through Pennsylvania and down in Grayson and in Butler County. And my great- great-grandfather was, uh, one of the, was supposed to have been at the time the first Civil War veteran killed in the Civil War, Granville 00:04:00Allen. They have a statue over here in the courthouse yard. And of course he's, uh, buried up here in Ohio County in the Renfro Cemetery.

MOYEN: Uh, which side?

ALLEN: My father's side.

MOYEN: Union, Union or Confederate?

ALLEN: Uh, Union.

MOYEN: Okay. All right. Um, can you trace the, uh, political party, uh, you know, that Republicans are stronger here to basically the Union--

ALLEN: --a lot of it you can--

MOYEN: --influence?

ALLEN: You know, I, I think it takes, uh, I, I won't say a catastrophe, but a, a strong movement to affect or create a political party.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: And of course, at that time, uh, it, it was divided up. I mean, the people that fought for the, for the North--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

ALLEN: --and for President Lincoln were Republicans. And, uh, this is a Republican county here, and I, I can go back and look at the names. 00:05:00There, there were some Confederate soldiers here too, and especially in the Little Bend area and the Big Bend, which is, uh, mostly river- bottom farm areas. They, they were slaveholders. They went for the South. And, uh, these names, uh, such as the Martins and the Deweeses, are still Democrats today.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: And it, that did make a big difference in forming political parties.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: And, of course, that, the Democrat Party held, got their, held onto their stronghold in the South for many years, because people there hated, uh, the Republicans and Lincoln, because, you know, Sherman and the army that went down there destroyed the South and destroyed their way of life. And, uh, it's just now beginning to turn around a little bit. And even western Kentucky, you go down in Todd and Logan, Trigg County down there, it's like going down in the deep south of Mississippi. People still talk with the old southern drawl, you know, 00:06:00and fly the Confederate flags down there. Very conservative.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: Reagan people, and they still hold onto that. And, of course, my grandmother and grandfather and dad, they were Republicans, but they didn't, they didn't know why.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: They were Republicans, uh, uh, because their grandfather fought for Lincoln in the Civil War. Of course, when I become of age and got to wondering, you know, well, why am I a Republican, I, I, I found out why. I'm a conservative mainly, and the conservative, uh, uh, party mostly are Republicans. There are some conservative Democrats in the South, but most of us are Republicans.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: And of course, the labor union came along. And they changed the party some. They, they were, they catered to the Democrat.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: And, uh, of course, at one time when I was a small boy, they were Republicans too.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: So that, that, the Depression had a big impact--


MOYEN: --right--

ALLEN: --on political parties.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Now you mentioned that your parents were Republicans and didn't necessarily know why. Did they, uh, around your dinner table-- well, first of all, when were you born?

ALLEN: Nineteen forty.

MOYEN: Around your dinner table, were there talks, uh, did you talk about politics? Did you talk about these things or how did you get interested in public life--

ALLEN: --not necessarily. They, they didn't, the only thing, the only time they talked about politics was in the primary here in Butler County. We never have a general election here, because of, there wasn't any Democrats, uh, three-to-one or four-to-one--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

ALLEN: --to run for your county offices. And, and you know, politics are local. And the grassroots are local. And of course, they, they would talk around the dinner table of who they were going to support in the primary. But I, I never, you know, heard a lot of talk about Democrats and Republicans, unless, uh, in a presidential race or a U.S. 00:08:00Senate race. And, uh, of course, even though they voted Republican here in the county for, whoever ran didn't matter, as long as they were Republican.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Um-hm. You mentioned when you were born, uh, when I was coming into the house, you talked a little bit about where you were born and who else was born there. Could you recount that again?

ALLEN: Sure. I, I was born in, in the cabin, the log cabin out there, my dad and my grandmother and, and, uh, my great-grandfather. And of course, on down in the hollow there where there's a spring, that's where they came in here from Cromwell. Uh, some of them, as soon as they came in from Garrard County, went down there. This is all wild ground. No one had ever settled it, you know, virgin timber.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: And, and, uh, hewed out a way of life.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: A crude way of life, they had(??) at one time. I, I got in on some of it. I was twelve-years-old--of course I'd been, my dad left 00:09:00here in '43 with my mom and went to Detroit to work in the defense factories. World War II was going on. And I stayed some with them up there, but mostly I lived here up hollow here with my grandparents. And things hadn't changed there for, around here for, since the white man had been here, you know. We had no electricity, uh, dirt roads, um, fireplaces and little stoves to cook on, and dipping up water out of the branch, and I had me a hole up there in the branch where I took me a bath until Thanks-, about Thanksgiving. The weather run me out until spring. (Moyen laughs) And, and, uh, no showers, and, uh, I know I went to a one-room school out here. You came by the places where the churches were. When I was six- and seven-, eight-years-old, and, uh, walked out on a dirt road. And, uh, Governor Willis was a Republican and was elected in, I don't know, '46 or '47.


MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: And he began to rock the roads. And, uh, we was there in school one day and heard this roar. Looked out, and it was trucks with gravel, spreading that gravel up the roads. And I went out there and filled my pockets, I'd never seen white limestone rock before, and filled my pockets up with it. And ran home and showed my parents, and got my little red wagon and went up there, and scooped up enough off the road to bring back. And it, it, it was, it was something.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: Never seen anything like that.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: And then, uh, in '52, we got electricity. In '53, the bridge was opened up over here; we didn't have to take a ferry into the county seat. But in '44, the war was going on strong. And my dad sent word to my grandmother to bring me to Detroit. So we hired, uh, Wiley Daugherty(??) who had a mule, a team of mules and wagon, and, and met 00:11:00us up here where you turned off that little dirt road. Hauled us to Cromwell. And it was gravel road there, and Mr. Burton(??) had a, a taxicab, and he took us to, to Beaver Dam. And we waited there for the train. And gosh, you know, I'd never been on a train before, but hundreds of troops, maybe thousands.

MOYEN: And you remember all this?

ALLEN: I remember that.

MOYEN: Okay. Um-hm.

ALLEN: Going to Fort Knox and Louisville and there on up to the East Coast, getting ready for the invasion. And, uh, my grandmother, uh, we were the only civilians on that coach, and the rest of the guys had their uniforms on and everything, and probably a lot of them had families. She tore up an old dress and made a, a string, a little rope out of it, tied it around my waist, and tied to her, her, uh, wrist. And when I got off a little bit too far, she would--(Moyen laughs)-- reel me back in, didn't want me to get lost with them. Of course, these guys were having a ball. They were buying me cold drinks and candy 00:12:00and peanuts. And the train rolled into Union Station in Louisville, and there were thousands of troops there. Everywhere you looked was soldiers. And, uh, then we got a train and went on to Toledo and then to Detroit. I remember sitting up there on the curb, I, I never did like the city life much, although I lived in Louisville quite a few years and went back and taught school five years up there. But I never did care a whole lot for, I'm, I'm mostly a stick(??) person, I guess.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: But, uh, I was sitting on the curb, and, uh, this little kid came up to me, about my age, I don't know. And he said, uh, "Where are you from?" And I said, "Kentucky." He left and went back across the street, and was gone about five minutes. Here he came back again. He said, "My mom wants to know if that's the first pair of shoes you ever had." (both laugh) --------------(??)------------


MOYEN: Did your parents leave, um, you, you mentioned to help the war effort, but was, was it also to find any work? Was that--

ALLEN: --oh yeah, that, the, the Depression was on.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: I don't remember the Depression. I remember some of the results of it, how, how, how tough things were. My father was probably a little better off. He inherited this farm that his parents had left him. Had a pretty nice cabin, and they had added other rooms on it, white clapboard-type of home, and had a blacksmith shop down here, and he made coffins and a little money, forty or fifty dollars, maybe, at a time. But my mother's people were terribly poor. In fact, my grandfather went off to try to seek work in the thirties and couldn't find any. He came back, and they lived in, in a chicken house, two, two houses. Put the chickens out to the barn, I guess, and paste- boarded it up with cardboard.

MOYEN: Um-hm.


ALLEN: And just literally lived off the ground and the land with wild game and just, of course, they left in the forties too, going to Louisville, and got pretty good jobs. But my dad left out in '42 or '43 and went to Detroit. Got a good job with Ford Motor.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: Eventually followed them to Louisville. And there's where he retired. And never did come back home here. He, he died when he was sixty-eight.

MOYEN: Okay.

ALLEN: But I'd always, this was always my home. I came back during the summer and whenever chance I--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

ALLEN: --I'd come back and roam the hills and hunt and trap and have a good time.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Can you tell me a little bit about your educational background, your schools, uh, I guess, from the one-room schoolhouse that you mentioned up through, through college, I think, Murray State you attended?

ALLEN: I went to, uh, of course, Gilstrap one-room school, one(??) through the eighth grade. I've got to tell you a story. You've been wanting stories, but. When I was in the first grade out there, of course everybody wore overalls and a shirt. And some of us were 00:15:00barefooted. I was barefooted at the time in the fall. This door opened up, and I looked back and this old woman--I guess she was about twenty-two; I thought she was an old woman--she's still living; Mildred Clark, up at Owensville(??)--was a nurse. Had on a white dress and a little hat and a red cross, giving smallpox shots, a little black bag. Of course, the older kids that been there had already had theirs. And we all went after, the teacher put us outside, on a(??) concrete step going down to a little concrete patio there. And my friend, Charles White over here, they brought him in first to give a shot to. And some of the bigger guys, you know, they'd pick on small ones anyway. Said, "Well," said, "If it doesn't kill you, your arm will rot off." And, you know, I, I begin to come unnerved then. And of course, they give him a shot and he cried, and he came down the steps, and he missed the steps and just fell out there on the concrete. I thought, Well, it's killed him. And I took up this dirt road, running home to my grandmother's. 00:16:00And there was a big old flint rock sticking up in the road, and I stumped my toe and just tore the toenail off. It hurt a lot worse than that shot, but I didn't think of it at the time. I just kept going. But little things like that, that happens back in the rural areas. But I left here then. My, my, my father and mom, uh, took me to Detroit. And what a change it was in education, because of the, the grades and, and the department-, the subject was departmentalized. You know, I had an English, I had an English teacher and a social studies teacher and, uh, a home room. And it was really a good school system. I stayed up there, I guess, till the sixth grade, and then I came back and went to Western Junior High School in Louisville, and Shawnee for a while. And then when I was a junior at Shawnee, my grandfather had a heart attack. So I came down here and, uh, to, to, to be of 00:17:00some help to them and graduated then from Butler County High School. Uh, then I went back to Louisville and done a little work and took some hours at U of L. And then I lost my job up there. Well, I went back to Western, and went to Western about three years, and then, an industrial education major, and, and Murray had a fine department, so I transferred down there the last year and a half in my area. And, uh, got a job teaching school in Jefferson County for five years. And then it just got to be where I wasn't teaching, it was all administrative work, and I just kinda lost interest in it.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: If you're not interested, you don't need to be teaching. So I came back home and started farming.

MOYEN: Around what years did you teach and where?

ALLEN: Uh, '60 to '65. Most of it was Western High School--


MOYEN: --okay--

ALLEN: --out on Rockford Lane.

MOYEN: Okay.

ALLEN: And then I came back here and, uh, started doing a little farming, cattle and hay and hogs and tobacco.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: But I got a B.S. degree from Murray.

MOYEN: Okay. Any people in particular, family or education or, um, I haven't asked you about, uh, religion or your churches that you may have attended, who had a particular influence on you politically?

ALLEN: Probably not. I, I, I found out later, after I'd been elected to the House of Representatives that my great-grandfather, my grandmother's dad ran for magistrate here. But, you know, uh, I came back from Louisville and somebody wanted me to run for school board and being, uh, an educator. And, uh, I did and got beat. There was three 00:19:00of us; I came in third, and lucky I did; it was a blessing that I got beat. That was in the fall of, uh, '72. Then in the spring of '73, I, you know, I don't know what caused me to but I, I, I just wanted to run for another office, and I ran for state representative. And the incumbent, Theron Kessinger in Ohio County, quit. He, he, he wasn't running after eight years. So I had a lot of people in Ohio County, relatives that helped me, and I, I carried Ohio County and, of course, carried my part of Butler that was split in two, and ran against a very popular guy in, in, uh, Hancock County by the name of Ralph Boyd(??), who had been sheriff up there for several terms. And gosh, he, he ran better than Jesus Christ himself could've run up there. I mean, I got seventy-nine votes out of the whole county; he got the rest. (Moyen laughs) But it was a small county in the(??) primary. And of course, the rest is, is, is history.


MOYEN: When you decided to run, uh, you said that you weren't exactly sure why, did you have a platform? Did you have one, two, or three things that you told people you wanted to do?

ALLEN: Well, you know, at that time, we, we, we still had gurus in these counties. And Junior Henderson, the former sheriff of this county, just controlled the county. Uh, helped beat me in the school board race, because everywhere I'd go knocking on a door, he followed me up, and say, "Well, he's an educator. He'll raise your taxes." (both laugh) And nobody wanted their taxes raised. But he was for me in the school, in, in the, when I ran for representative. And, yeah, I, you know, I told them that, you know, a fresh face would bring new ideas. We'll hold the line on taxes. I'm(??) conservative. And would be there if, if, if they needed me.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: And, uh, I won by eighty votes. And, uh, was the closest race I 00:21:00ever had for representative.

MOYEN: Now, did you win that election? Was that still just a primary election?

ALLEN: That was a primary, but, you know, that, that was it--

MOYEN: --that was it.

ALLEN: Yeah, that was it.

MOYEN: Okay.

ALLEN: I did have Democrat opposition, but it did, never did amount to anything.

MOYEN: Okay. So when you were elected and you go, did you go to Kentucky Dam Village?


MOYEN: Can you tell me about that experience and then maybe your, your first day in Frankfort as a legislator? I mean, what's as you thought it would be--

ALLEN: --oh, I didn't -------------(??)--

MOYEN: --either at Kentucky Dam Village or in Frankfort, and what was completely different?

ALLEN: It was all exciting, you know. I, when I went to Frankfort to file my papers, uh, I had to ask, I couldn't find the Capitol. And I was down there and I asked this policeman officer, I, said, I said, "I'm looking for the State Capitol." And he just pointed up Capitol Avenue. I'd, I'd stopped right there. Said, "It's up there." And I went up there and filed my papers and came back. But, of course, the 00:22:00leadership, uh, elections were held at Kentucky Dam Village. And things were a lot more wide open than they are now. And they had Lobbyist's Row down there. I mean, fifteen or twenty little cottages where KEA would set up and, and, uh, the labor and, and whatever the lobbyists were there, you know, they had a special interest in the legislature. And we went down, and, you know, it was a wild place, really. I mean, it was wide open, wasn't any regulations or rules or laws governing it.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: Of course, we, well, each party then met, and a couple or three days after that, elected our leadership. Then we went in January met in Frankfort. Uh, of course, it was awesome, you know, to, to be a member of, of, of the legislature and the House of Representatives and 00:23:00to look around--and we have a beautiful Capitol, you know, marble and everything. It's just, just awesome.

MOYEN: Um-hm. When you first, uh, got to Frankfort, did you realize the way that the legislature was run at the time?

ALLEN: No, I don't think anybody does.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: I mean, you can take all the political science courses and all the history courses; it's nothing like it really is. Being a Republican at that time up there, you know, there was 19 of us out of 100. It was like being a stepchild. I couldn't get a Kentucky Colonel at that time. I had to ask my seatmate if he would help me. And, uh, I, I wasn't allowed to speak. But you know, I, I remember Art Schmidt was the floor, floor leader from Northern Kentucky, and, and I've seen 00:24:00him stand on the floor for two hours wanting to be recognized. And they would just adjourn and just leave him standing there. Really bad government, because, you know, good government thrives off of competition. There wasn't any competition. There was 19 members, and most of them was from Republican districts. Four or five incumbents from Democrat districts, but I think we had about 15 or 16 Republican registration-wise districts; the rest of them were Democrats. And I've seen as low, low as 5 or 6 in the Senate, out of 38 members. And we were just there. And, uh, they called all the shots. Of course, at that time, at that time, the Governor--which at that time was Wendell Ford, I served one time and then Julian Carroll; he was elected to the Senate--and Julian Carroll became Governor, was the most powerful 00:25:00Governor, the most powerful man in America. We, we didn't have the interim committee systems and everything. When we left after sixty days that was it, until two years, until we met again. We never went back. And the whole show belonged to him. And I remember, uh, the first session up there--well, this was the second session when Julian was the Governor. He had some problems with some of his own people there, you know, some bills that he couldn't get through. And sixty days was, was all that was allowed. But the days were counted by the clock upon the wall in the House chamber. And I thought, Well, it's 11:30 at night; they're not going to get through. But they unplugged the clock. And the doorkeeper stayed there and, and protected that 00:26:00clock, because that was the day, and we stayed there three days and nights to work out deals, and what-have-you until he got what he wanted. They got what they wanted. And then three days later, why, they plugged the clock up and adjourned sine die. And so things like that, you know, it, it was, there's a lot of difference in the members now than it was back then. We had people up there that, some were high school graduates, some were a few were lawyers and college graduates, and they usually become in leadership, committee chairs. And the other ones, maybe a coal company would send them up, and, uh, they'd have a good time and draw a, there wasn't no money, $460 a month. But they could keep their jobs at home and represent the coal industry. I'm just using them for an example.

MOYEN: Right.

ALLEN: And, uh, it, it, it was really a crude type of, a way of running 00:27:00the government.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: And the big change came with KEA--or KET, rather. Uh, when, when they brought in the cameras, it started cleaning people up, you know. Before then, you know, there was a few drunks on the floor, and they took their liquor back there in the restroom. And I've seen some of them passed out, you know. And they'd sleep in the chair. It was just, no way, you know, the people back home could know this. But when the KET cameras came, it really cleaned it up. And people started, you know, constituents started sending more sophisticated members to represent them, because they could see it on television. That was a big, major change. And then, of course, John Y. Brown, when we passed the constitutional amendment to give the legislature equal power with the executive branch, completed that change, although I don't think 00:28:00we have it completely yet, but, um, it's made a big difference. And, of course, the big difference is when the Republicans took over the Senate. Then we begin to have a two-party system. But it didn't work very well; we had such a stalemate. Things were stagnant there because, you know, well(??), when you have a party that has bounced the ball since the beginning and they had to share it, it took a while for them to get used to it. And I understand now, since we, especially the last year that the House and the Senate is really beginning to, to, to work well with one another. And of course, we have a Republican Governor now coming in. And I, I think you're going to see government very much improved, because you do have a two-party system, and you're going to have fresh faces and new ideas--


MOYEN: --um-hm--

ALLEN: --and, which that's what democracy is all about.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: So I've seen a big change in it.

MOYEN: Right. Right. Now when you were elected, that was, in something I read, it was a couple of years later, but it was in the wake of the last Republican Governor, when Louie Nunn--

ALLEN: --I went in after Louie.

MOYEN: Right, had been there. Now, was there any discussion or any feeling that that was something that might continue, uh, in terms of the Republicans gaining any prominence or winning the Governorship again or?

ALLEN: Louie screwed everything up with, with the tax that he imposed. And of course, I guess he was, they left him in a position like Ernie Fletcher's left in now. He had to do something. And of course, uh, the Democrats let him, and let him take the blame, although it was a two-cent sales tax, which is a fair tax. It's really one of the 00:30:00biggest producers we have in taxes, because each cent will produce anywhere from, depending upon how the economy--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

ALLEN: --is rolling, from half a billion to a billion dollars a year. And, uh, they had left the state in such bad shape that something had to be done, and of course, he done it when he raised the sales tax. And they had forty-six members in the House at that time, but when he passed that tax, you know, he, he was never elected to another office. He always got the name of "Nickel Louie." And, of course, we went down then to nineteen members. And just now building back up after thirty- two years. So, it, it really destroyed the party, and, and, and I'm hoping that Ernie Fletcher can find some revenue to take care of the state without, you know, he can get in trouble both ways. He could get 00:31:00into such trouble, he'd have to start cutting some of these programs and, and, uh, would ruin him, or if he has to come with some additional major taxes, then I'm afraid it's, it will be another thirty years.

MOYEN: Um-hm. You mentioned just briefly, could you expand a little bit on, uh, Julian Carroll's leadership style and the leaders in the House at the time, Bill Kenton and Harold DeMarcus, William Harold DeMarcus?

ALLEN: Uh, Julian ran, ran the government with an iron fist. I mean, he was like a dictator. And I understand that Louie Nunn done the same thing, because by the nature of that office, they could do it. I mean, we had no veto power; the legislature was just there because of, of the constitution. And if you wanted anything at all, you had to be pretty much in touch with the Governor--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

ALLEN: --because he could give and he could take away. And, of course, 00:32:00I, the first bill that I ever introduced was the Family Farm Act, and it was probably a pretty good piece of legislation, but they never would hear it in committee. And so, there was a fellow Democrat that took the same bill and, and, and went on with it; they just let mine die there.

MOYEN: Do you recall who that was?

ALLEN: Uh, Virgil Pearman.

MOYEN: Okay.

ALLEN: But at that time, you know, I begin to think, Well, I'm not going to do anything here until we, the Republicans, gain some membership and, and, and have some respect. And I will, was, you know, probably had the name all through the years of kinda being a rebel or a person that wouldn't go along, but, uh, and I, you know, I was the voice , the conservative voice for twenty-some-odd years there. But Julian, Julian 00:33:00was, he's pretty, pretty tough.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Can you tell me about that piece of legislation, the Family Farm Act? You said the first piece that you tried to introduce. What did that address?

ALLEN: Um, it, it, I'd, I'd have to go back many years, but I, I think the main concept was trying to protect the small family farmer.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: Maybe give him a little help and, and, uh, pass some legislation that, that would, that would help the, the family farm. But, uh, the farmers were for it. And, but they wasn't, they wasn't gonna let me see the light of day on it.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: They weren't gonna let a Republican pass a piece of legislation. Now, there has been some Republicans that has passed some legislation, but they've had to pay the price. They've had to, you know, "Hey, you, I voted for your bill; now you vote for mine, no matter how bad it is."


MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: And they always have had Republicans to vote for very controversial bills and taxes and everything, because these guys wanted to get their bills passed.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: I, I never would do that.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: I've always been very independent-minded, but it's a.

MOYEN: Were there any taxes in your twenty-plus years that you felt were legitimate that, that needed to be voted for?

ALLEN: There's been taxes on every session that I ever went up there. And, and, and of course, I'm not, I, I didn't object as much to the taxes at the time as I did the waste. You cut out the waste, and, and, and you streamline this government, and then if we need money, I'll vote for it. But I'm not gonna vote for these huge tax bills, and see all this pork running around here; I'm not gonna do it. And I didn't(??).

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: And I think the undoing of the Democrat Party started when they 00:35:00passed KERA. Not that we didn't need some overhaul in the educational system in the state. Certainly, certainly we had a problem and we need some now. But it was the way that they went about it. And the bill, when they introduced it, just, it stunk. I mean, it was smell coming out of the Capitol. I always told them that the buzzards were circling. Nobody wanted to vote for it, but they got the votes with the Democrats, by adding on an extra half a billion dollars of revenue. Uh, a half a billion, probably at that time, would take care of educational needs, but they, they passed, added another half a billion on it, $1,200,000,000, because of all these white elephants and this 00:36:00pork that they had to give all these members in order to pass it. And we had five Republicans voting for it, and they all got beat. And, uh, it's, it's something I think Ernie Fletcher will address. He's gonna have to, but people begin to get upset over that.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: And then you begin to see us increase the membership in the House a little bit. And then, of course, the Senate, I guess, four or six years ago, took over the Senate the first time in history of the state.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Getting back to, uh, some of the earlier years, and you had mentioned this briefly, John Y. Brown being elected, and that does seem to be one of these watershed events in terms of legislative independence. In the, in the sessions that you had been there before 1980, and then the sessions with John Y. Brown, what was different? How 00:37:00had things changed?

ALLEN: People that had come in before him, such as Wendell Ford and, and Julian Carroll, were more politically minded as far as power. They wanted their power and they wanted to build monuments in their name. John Y. didn't care. I mean, he was a multi-millionaire anyway, and I think more than anything else, when he ran for Governor, he wanted a stage for Phyllis to play on. And turned out, I guess, to be one of, I think, the best Governor that I've served with. And I, I won't have a chance to serve with Ernie Fletcher, but. Turned out to be a pretty good Governor. He was just business-orientated. He, someone asked him, you know, up until then, the Governors controlled the budget. They sent us the budget. And you vote for it or you don't 00:38:00get anything at home. And, and, and we'd get a list of all the bills on the Orders of the Day, and if they had a D by it, or, or, or a G by it, for Governor, you voted for it, if you, if you was in the clique. If it didn't have anything, you could fight over it. But, but he controlled the budget, which is the main piece of legislation there. And then he would put the roads to his cronies or to the people that, uh, gave him money to run on. It was the nature of the office. I, I, I'm sure Louie Nunn done the same thing. But when John Y. got there, I mean, he didn't care about that much. Uh, when the Governor gives his state of, the state address, you know, after that, the legislators go over to the Governor's mansion, have a little reception. And, uh, I 00:39:00remember me and George Plummer, a Republican from, uh, Vanceburg, Lewis County, was walking over there together. And, and, uh, Bill Kenton, the speaker, he asked the Governor, said, "Governor," said, uh, "What about all these certain things in the budget?" He said, "Hell, that's you all's problem. I mean, you do it. You all are supposed to take care of the budget." And he begin then to give, to give the legislature more authority and more responsibility on drafting a budget, which it should be.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: So, you know, along with the constitutional amendment, I think the legislative leaders at that time began to think, Hey, here's a Governor that may give us what we've been looking for: more power in the, in, in the legislative branch, making us more equal. So that's, 00:40:00that's, that's when they started with these constitutional amendments to create the, the, uh, interim committees.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: And it was a, uh, you know, members knew, like when I was elected, I went right up and was throwed right into the session, not knowing what was going on. Well, now a new member gets to serve a year in the interim to where he could, she could get an inkling of what's gonna happen.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: So it was a good thing.

MOYEN: You mentioned interim committees. What committees did you serve on during your time and did those change over time?

ALLEN: Uh, yeah, they, they changed some. I, I've served on a lot of committees. Um, probably the one that I started out with and served till the end was ag and natural resources. I've been on education, appropriations and revenue, economic development, probably every one up there. And I'd trade them around a little bit for leadership votes. Of course, I stayed in leadership longer than probably any other Republican, fourteen years.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: Floor leader and whip. When you're in leadership, you don't 00:41:00necessarily need the plum committees; and you'd give them to somebody that will vote for you for leader.

MOYEN: Right.

ALLEN: And, uh, but I'd, I'd, probably my favorite committee up there was ag and natural resources. And they changed a lot because of the responsibilities that the legislature took on.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: Had more responsibility in the committee system.

MOYEN: Um-hm. In nineteen, it was nineteen, before the 1980 session that you were elected whip, correct? For the first time?


MOYEN: --I believe that--

ALLEN: --I think so. You know, I can't remember.

MOYEN: Do you remember if you had any competition?

ALLEN: Oh, for whip?

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: Oh, yes. Um, the Republicans didn't have much.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: We couldn't be committee chairs or anything like this, so leadership always was a dogfight. And I think the thing that helped me the most is I had a relationship with the guys from Louisville, because 00:42:00I went to school up there and I could relate to them. I, I lived in Louisville eight or ten years of my life.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: Uh, I knew, I knew what it was like to live in Louisville and to, what things were like there. And I always got a Louisville vote, along with some rural votes. And so most of the time, in later years I didn't have much opposition for leadership, but.

MOYEN: Um-hm.


MOYEN: What changed when you became whip? What responsibilities did that include?

ALLEN: Um, it, it changed you, uh, in the way you done business on the floor, because instead of being so independent, an independent thinker, which I've still always been, I had, I had to cater some with the caucus.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: Uh, to go with the philosophy of the caucus, because they're, 00:43:00they're the ones that elected me. It, it changed me some there. It changed your responsibilities, naturally, of going around and lining up votes. And, uh, become closer, I guess, a little closer dealing with the members.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Um, when you were whip, I believe Art Schmidt was minority leader those first years. Was there any strategy, being outnumbered like you were, to here's, here's where we need to try and cooperate so we can, uh, was there any strategy or philosophy to try and help get things that you all wanted passed, past?

ALLEN: The strategy that, that, that we had to follow, if there was a split among the Democrat caucus--I think a good example of that--and 00:44:00I don't remember what year it was; '76 or '78--but Julian Carroll lost the severance tax. At the end, you know, he wanted all the severance tax in the fund that he could spend, that he could go to Pikeville and Hartford and say, "I'm gonna bring you so many thousands of dollars here to do this." And the mountain caucus wasn't satisfied with that. The coal was coming out of these mountains; they wanted more of the, of the revenue coming right back to them.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: And they, it was a bitter dispute, but they didn't have but thirty-some-odd votes against the Governor. Harold DeMarcus was floor leader. And we had a binding caucus. All nineteen of us went with these thirty-some-odd mountain legislators to take the severance tax 00:45:00from the Governor. And we did and have a certain percentage of it coming back to the counties--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

ALLEN: --in which the coal was produced. So that's, that's a good example of what we done, and I got some coal money coming back to Butler and Ohio County here.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: Directly to the, to the fiscal court--

MOYEN: -okay--

ALLEN: --which Butler County, I think, built, uh, their park with. ---- -----------(??) and their industrial park. And so it begin to help some of these communities.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

[Pause in recording.]

MOYEN: Okay. Were there any other major legislative accomplishments that, that you can think of during John Y. Brown's, uh, term as 00:46:00Governor that either you were able to get passed legislation that, uh, if you didn't sponsor, because of the things you're talking about earlier with being outnumbered as a Republican, that you really pushed for or just legislation in general that you think was important?

ALLEN: Gosh, that's been a few years ago.

MOYEN: Sure.

ALLEN: Uh, uh, I, I don't, I don't think, I can't think of any legislation, or any major legislation that, that we passed as a caucus--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

ALLEN: --while he was Governor. Of course, things were young then, as, as far as being, uh, beginning a two-party system there.

MOYEN: Um-hm. When Martha Layne Collins was elected Governor, uh, a big push of hers was education. In 1985, there was this special session that dealt with education. Do you recall, um, not that people 00:47:00disagreed that there was need for educational reform, but what types of reform did you or did Republicans want to see that may have differed from what the, what the Democrats wanted?

ALLEN: Well again, I think the difference was, even under her administration would've been--and education has always been a top priority in every year that I've been there. But I think the difference was, was how it was administrated. Uh, Republicans are a little more, at that time were a little more tightfisted. They, they, they wanted to see some cuts in other areas, and some of that money going into education and holding down some of the revenue and taxes. And, uh, she was a little more wide open about it, just wanted extra revenue from somewhere for education.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: That, that, I think that was the big difference on how the money was gonna be spent and where it was coming from and who was going to be in charge of it.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Um, I managed to read somewhere where you had opposed 00:48:00mandatory kindergarten because you felt like that the money should be used for grades one through three to help lower classroom size.

ALLEN: I've, I've, I've always been against, uh, mandatory kindergarten and daycare and what, what-have-you going on down--not that it's not a good program, or can be a good program, but we were so strapped for money that, that I thought that money should be used in the elementary school from first through the eighth grade and lower the classroom size and, and hire some better teachers and have better facilities instead of spreading it out so much where you lack, uh, strong, stronger grades and everything--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

ALLEN: --that, that we, we should have.

MOYEN: Okay.

ALLEN: We're just spreading it too thin.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: And, and to where that even today I think, you know, it's(??) 00:49:00used for babysitters. MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: Not that the program hasn't done some good, and Head Start and, and what-have-you, but you can, you know, I, I, I think that money can be better spent in other areas.

MOYEN: Um-hm. In, in 1984, you faced primary opposition from, from Al Cook, I believe.

ALLEN: A Democrat.

MOYEN: Oh, okay. Excuse me. Um, from Fordsville. How often did you face opposition in, in your different years? Was that relatively common or did you have a number of years where you didn't -----------(??)--

ALLEN: --I had a number of years in the, in the latter part of my term that I didn't, but the first eight or ten years I did, mostly I think because I, I lived in the smaller county. But the thing that helped me, uh, is my people; my relatives lived in Ohio County and I lived close to the line where I'd done custom hay-baling and farming around Cromwell, Rosine, and Horse Branch, the three biggest Republican 00:50:00districts in Ohio County. A third of the Republicans lived there. That was home to me.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: So I didn't have that much Republican opposition, but seemed like there, uh, Al Cook was a Democrat that came out of Fordsville, Martin Gross was, and, uh, I, I had a, uh, uh, John Parker out of Beaver Dam, but really no major problems. The only problem I ever faced, I guess, was in a primary when C. B. Embry ran against me. He was Ohio County judge, which he's the representative now. In fact(??), he came back and took my place when I retired. And we, we had quite a battle, and, uh, although he, he really fell short in Ohio County. Uh, and I think he carried it 400 or 480 votes, but, uh, again where he fell short was these three big Republican precincts here where I worked daily.

MOYEN: Okay. In what year was that? Do you recall when you faced him?


ALLEN: Maybe '80. I don't know exactly, but, but I think it maybe was '80 or '81.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: I'm not for sure.

MOYEN: Not that anyone is ever going to enjoy the prospect of possibly getting beat, but were you one who really enjoyed campaigning, enjoyed doing what that entailed, or, or not, not really?

ALLEN: (laughs) I enjoyed election night if I won. (both laugh) Um, I, I enjoyed campaigning for a while, but it, but, but it kinda got old, and, you know, right now it would just be almost impossible for me to make a house-to-house campaign. However, I did last year. I ran for Butler County judge and got beat. And I made, I made a, a big house- to-house effort and, uh, went to practically every house in the county. But there was such a split in the Republican Party. I had a primary, and there's three of us. And I never could get them together. So them two factions joined the Democrats and, and, uh, beat me for--


MOYEN: --okay--

ALLEN: --for county judge.

MOYEN: Do you think that that--well, you, you mentioned that there was already such a Republican majority here. I was gonna ask if you think that these types of, uh, fractures in the Republican Party are due toward, or, or due because of the dominance? Or, or?

ALLEN: Well, I, you know--

MOYEN: --or what would you attribute that to?

ALLEN: I, probably, uh, you know, I, when you get beat in Butler County, uh, although there were some big-name Democrats against me, they, they were always against me. But, but you're beat with the Republicans.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: And there's a lot of hard feelings in a primary, you know, and family-orientated, and, uh, you know, I probably got 60 percent of the Republicans in the final race, but the other 40 went with the Democrats, and beat me by about 600 votes.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: The Republicans are stronger, more active in Democrat counties. 00:53:00You're gonna have, Logan County, where, where the Republicans, Democrats outnumber the Republicans five-to-one, the Republicans are workers down there. They're organizers, they have meetings. In Butler County, you know, I, I guess they take it for granted, you know. "Well, we're, we're a Republican county. We don't need to do anything."

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: And they don't.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Let me ask you, uh, difference between challenges that you face in, in these general elections versus challenges that you might face in the legislature for the different positions like, as, as whip, I think you faced a challenge from Ken Harper.

ALLEN: Right.

MOYEN: Um, how does that differ, how, how do you go about campaigning for a leadership post? What, what ways do you try and convince people that you should retain that or vote for you for various positions?

ALLEN: In relative to running in, in a House seat at home?

MOYEN: Um-hm. Or, or what's, what are the different dynamics?


ALLEN: Oh, it, it, it's more vicious and tenacious in, in, in a leadership race. Uh, you're out for blood. I mean, it, it, it's like being in a swimming pool with a bunch of sharks, and, and whoever can eat the other one. And, uh, it, it's, uh, deals are made, and I'll put you on this committee, and, and we need someone from this area. And, uh, uh, if I was telling someone up there when I was running for floor leader, I was floor leader once and won on the fifth vote. If I'd have had all the votes that were promised to me, I'd have been speaker. I mean--(both laugh)--um, it, it's, it's quite different. When you're running for office out here, you know you got people that are citizens and are not politically-minded; they just want somebody up there that'll take care of them. They know you and either think you're doing 00:55:00a good job or a bad job. Whatever, but when you get in them leadership races, I mean, you better be prepared; you better go in there with a knife and gun both.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: I always said if, if the Republicans ever took over the House, they would need three or four extra people, because two or three of them would be killed. (Moyen laughs) They'd shoot one another -------- -----(??).

MOYEN: (laughs) Is it pretty difficult, once those leadership positions have been decided to be able to kind of mend the wounds, so to speak, or, or do, do the people, or did you or did others have, have pretty thick skin and understand, okay, we all wanted these positions and that's the way it goes?

ALLEN: Well, I, I, I guess I can use as an example the time that I was elected Republican floor leader, I think was in '87. And I was 00:56:00running against a guy from Tompkinsville called Richard Turner. The Fifth District is the old Republican Fifth, always likes somehow to have the floor leader there. It was kinda a tradition, although Art Schmidt broke it, and I did, but there's not many. Most of the time the Fifth District will team up with a person from Northern Kentucky or Louisville--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

ALLEN: --have them as caucus chairman and whip, but they will be the main honcho. And I challenged Richard Turner. And, uh, of course, he told me, he was running for judge of Monroe County. And of course, I was in line then to become floor leader, and he lost it like I did for judge in Butler. It's, it's, kinda tough to--I've won every legislative race I've been into, but I never have won anything else. The first one I started was flo--was school board member, and I got beat. I ran for commissioner of agriculture, got beat. I ran for judge this time, I got beat. So, I, I, but anyway, I challenged him, and it was bitter. 00:57:00It was bitter. And it went to five votes. The fifth vote I won it, because some guy come up to me and said, "I can give it to you. I can turn it around. Will you put me on appropriations and revenue?" He wanted that to take some pork home. And I said, "If you'll vote for me, yes." (Moyen laughs) And it never was, I, the whole two years that I was floor leader, my adversaries made my life miserable. I couldn't be the effective floor leader that I wanted to be because of the backstabbing. And they'd go around and say, "Look what he's doing now." We didn't come together. And say, "Okay, you've won(??) It for two years. Let's get behind it." I, I didn't enjoy that.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: And it, it's, it's something if, if, if you, it's altogether different.

MOYEN: Um-hm. While we're on the topic, what did you attempt to do as floor leader?

ALLEN: I attempted to lead us as a conservative caucus to have, to 00:58:00promote good legislation in, in, in, in, instead of so much trash. And there's three or four thousand pieces of legislation introduced every year, and I've probably looked at ninety thousand pieces of legislation. We, we don't need that. In fact I introduced a bill to limit, uh, a, a person to five bills. I, I figured that was enough to have some substance in it. And it didn't, it never, it didn't make, it went--yeah, it made it out--it did become law, but they never, they didn't appropriate enough money to, to make the study. But, uh, as, as floor leader, I, I, I emphasized good legislation, good Republican legislation without extra revenue if we could get by with it. And standing, main thing, standing together as a caucus on issues that 00:59:00would help the party. But again, the Democrats would slip in and pick off four or five from us, because they had some money for some projects or some legislation that the speaker, the floor leader said, "If you stay with them, you're not gonna get it." And it would've made a difference, I think, with the press, if we could have, just like I told you a few minutes ago about us nineteen members having a binding caucus with the, with the Eastern Kentucky coal people for the severance tax, the headlines in the papers was, "Republicans Take Severance Tax from Julian Carroll, Governor Julian Carroll," because we stayed together. But when you have a few that drift off, you can't do that.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: And it's hard for Republicans when you're in a minority such as that minority, nineteen or twenty, to do anything without the press. And the press, especially the two biggest papers, the Courier-Journal 01:00:00and the Lexington-Herald despise Republicans. And if you were a conservative Republican like I was, prolife and, and, uh, prayer in school, and they hated me. They really hated me. And they were the most biased and prejudiced group of people I've ever met in my life. They never told the truth. I was on administrative regs, and of course, this committee met four or five hours a day. And time you drove from western Kentucky or somewhere down here on the Mississippi River where Charlie Geveden lives, you know, it was a day's work getting up there and back, plus you had your committee. We got a hundred dollars a day at that time. We'd been doing that once a month for eleven months, but in December we went up and finished our business up and met for thirty minutes. And the press came out with an article, 01:01:00"Administrative Regs Legislators Meet for Thirty Minutes and Draw a Hundred Dollars." Said nothing about the other twelve months that we met five or six hours. Well, what did that look like with the public? And of course, they crucified me for every chance they could get. And it didn't matter in this conservative district, but I made the front page of the Courier-Journal in color with a red coat on, railing, they said, to let septic tanks empty out into the creek and the river. (Moyen laughs) But what I was doing, we had two laws already to stop this; nobody was enforcing it. Now they wanted another one with another fee to have your, a, a, a permit for a septic tank before they would 01:02:00hook you up or let you start building, which was all right if they'd done away with the other two or enforced the other two and not been, and I telling them this, but that's not the way it came out in the press. And just things like that. The most biased son-of-a-bitches that I've ever had any contact with in my life is this liberal press. They've held back a two-party system for centuries in this state. For centuries. And they're already into it with Ernie Fletcher.


ALLEN: It's their way, it's their way, it's their philosophy. More liberal, more liberal than, I've always said that they were to the left of Barney Franks. And, and, and it does make a difference to have an unbiased press or a press that at least will tell you the truth and give you an equal chance. Now, I wouldn't expect them to do anything for me but be truthful.


MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: And, and, but it's not gonna happen.

MOYEN: Can you think of any other instances, you mentioned one in the Courier-Journal where you felt like you had either been interviewed or, or, or, uh, mentioned some legislation and, and when you read about it the next day you thought, That is the complete opposite or is that, that's totally different.

ALLEN: Oh yes(??).

MOYEN: Can you think of any examples?

ALLEN: There, there's been dozens of them. I, I don't know if I can, the other thing I think of is that, on the day that we, we unplugged the clock, we stayed there all night. And at four o'clock, I got sleepy and I stretched these two chairs out and stretched out, had my suit and tie, well, the guy got up on the desk and took a picture of me and put it in the Courier, "Representative Allen Sleeps in the, in the House of Representatives." Well, what did it look like down here? You know, they didn't say at four o'clock in the morning and they unplugged the clock. Just, just little things like that, that, uh, and, and, 01:04:00of course, I've developed a very thick skin to, to, uh, got where it didn't bother me. But, and, and, uh, I never remember them jumping on the Democrats like that. They, I remember serving with an old fellow- -I won't call his name; I think he's dead now--from Eastern Kentucky. He would go to sleep in the committees. He was eighty-some-odd years old. And they'd call the roll. And, uh, "Representative, are you?"- -(snoring)--he'd be snoring. And one time we all got up and turned the lights off and just left him in there. But this was on education committee. And, and they, they had a bill there one day that, wasn't but nine of us there--I was one of the nine--and it took nine members to get it out. Well, I didn't like the piece of legislation--I don't know what it was--and I thought, We'll kill this one today. And when 01:05:00it comes time to, to, to vote on the bill, well, this old guy was coming by, and he said, uh, "So-and-so representative, how do you vote on this?" Said, "Aye." And just went on. And they passed it. I mean, this is some of the things that went on in the old days. Terrible.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: Ran by an iron-fisted Governor(??).

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: But the press, you know, they were something else, they never helped us.

MOYEN: Getting back to Martha Layne Collins's term as Governor, um, you questioned some personal service contracts. And I don't know if you remember this specific event, but there, there was an auditing firm that was going to look at the Department of Education. They were going to be paid $93,000, and it turned out that they had given money to some various Democrats who had run. Do you recall--

ALLEN: --yeah, I, I served on the Personal Service Contracts Committee. Everybody in there just about had got special treatment, sweetheart 01:06:00contracts, and this and that, and hundreds of thousands of dollars or a hundred dollars an hour. You looked at them, take their, get their name, and looked back; they were contributors to her campaign, and probably to every other Governor that went through. This is, this is how you pay people back. You know, if, if I'm running for office, and especially statewide office, there's not but two types of people that's gonna contribute to my campaign: my family and friends or somebody that wants something. You give me $12,000, you contribute $3000 and your wife, and your parent, and your mother, you're not doing it for good government; you're wanting something back. And, uh, you know, all these people then, it comes time to, to pay the piper. And they're wanting something. And this is, this is why, when we passed this election reform, the Courier and, and the Herald and, and all these 01:07:00liberal(??), they wanted to stop these people at the polls from paying five dollars or four dollars to vote, which was wrong--I was for that- -stop all of that; keep them away from the polls and, and keep them from being influenced by people that are running for office to pay them. Still writing up about it and should be, but they never addressed the big whores at all. Big prostitutes still run at large. The Leonard Lawson's and, and the Scotty's and contribute fifty and, and seventy- five and a hundred thousand dollars, for what? For good government? They're out here building the roads. (Moyen laughs) And Scotty's worth, how many hundreds of millions? And, and he's got started after I become a legislator. That's all he done was blacktop roads. How did he become worth a hundred million? And the Lawson's?


MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: By contributions to the right per-, people.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: It paid handsomely. A lot of it didn't, personal service usually took care of smaller items.

MOYEN: Um-hm. How would you go about actually reforming? I mean, there's been so much campaign finance reform, but you're saying these things still going. What, what do you do, in that(??)?

ALLEN: I was afraid you was going to ask that. (both laugh) I don't know, uh, un, un, unless, you know, if, if you do too much of it, where, where candidates are limited severely by spending any money at all, maybe the TV people and the, and the papers would donate so many pages of free advertisement for them. You, you, you could get down to the point to where, here's a rich guy, such as John Y. Brown or Wallace 01:09:00Wilkinson, or Owens, that doesn't care to spend--and you can't tell a person how to spend their own money.

MOYEN: Right(??).

ALLEN: That doesn't care to drop in fifteen or twenty thousand dollars, a million of their own money just to have a stage to play on to be Governor. But, uh, you know, I, I don't know how you can stop all of that. Uh, you could probably, uh, pass more legislation and limit the amount of money. I would, I, you know, I'd, a lot rather get a small contribution from a person because when I was running for commissioner of agriculture, I was up Oldham County, and this guy told me he was for me. And he opened up one of these old pocketbooks with a snap on it and gave me a dollar bill. Well, I was proud of that. That guy will go to the polls and back the dollar. I didn't owe him anything; I 01:10:00didn't owe him anything.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: I, I, I wish there was more of these small contributors, a fifty or a hundred dollars. I wouldn't mind giving you fifty or hundred dollars if, if I agreed with you and I thought you were going to be a, a good Governor. But when I'm forking out several thousand, you're gonna owe me something.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: So, I don't know. Un-, un-, unless, you know, can, can make it, uh, have more people involved and with smaller contributions.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: But as long as you let the big prostitutes run, uh, this, this casino gambling, I mean(??) is going to be a big issue in the coming session; a lot of money involved there.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: And of course, McConnell is a Republican, but he's good at it.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: He knows how to get the big bucks.

MOYEN: Um, do you recall in 1986 the House overrode Martha Layne 01:11:00Collins's veto of House Bill 310, which required the General Assembly to reauthorize all of the state's administrative regulations every certain number of years. And, uh, the Herald-Leader quoted you as saying that, uh, that bureaucrats had been writing the legislation.

ALLEN: Well, they have. And they still do it. The only thing is, we, we created this committee of which I was a member of un-, until I retired, administrative regulations. And we reviewed these regulations. Of course, when you pass a bill, you, you might, I might introduce a bill that all farm tractors have to have a roll bar. You know the difference between legislation and, and, and, and, uh, reg-, and, uh, regulations?

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: This bill would go to the Department of Agriculture, and then 01:12:00they would start the regulations on, has to be so tall, so wide, painted this color, and that, you know, and this. And so, you know, we would review the regulations every year or two to see if it was conforming with, mainly with the bill itself. And if we found something wrong with it, then it would sunset. It would have to go back to the General Assembly. But, but, the, the, uh, I'm trying to, I'm beginning to get a senior moment here. (Moyen laughs) Um, I can't think of, of what I was wanting to say. The departments up there, they have a big-, a, a bigger budget than, than, than what we have in the general fund. A seven billion budget. And, and, and, they, they, 01:13:00everything you do, from if you're an auctioneer or a barber or put in septic tanks, they raise the license and the fees on it. And we were concerned about this. That they were controlling government. And, uh, people that was businesspeople that was trying to operate in the state, they were just gouging. And they took this money, then, and run the administration with it, and their patrons.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: And we was wanting to see a change in that.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: And we, we got some-, somewhat of a change

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: Not good enough yet, -----------(??) not like I think it's gonna be. The state agencies are what I was.

MOYEN: Right, okay. All right. The other big piece or monumental piece of legislation during Martha Layne Collins's tenure as Governor, uh, was the Toyota deal. Did you oppose the incentives package for Toyota?


ALLEN: I did.

MOYEN: Can you tell me about that?

ALLEN: It, it, it, it probably turned out to, to be a mistake, a bad vote that I made because I think the, the Toyota deal, I don't know how many hundreds of millions she put into it now, but, but I think it did pay off because of the satellite plants that supports Toyota that, that's scattered out here in Kentucky. But it, it just left a bad taste in your mouth from states bidding against one another to give three-, four-, five hundred thousand dollars to bring a plant in, to give them tax incentives, and everything, like the one we lost here in Hardin County--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

ALLEN: --the last session that I had up there. Honda, I think, or 01:15:00Hyundai.

MOYEN: Hyundai.

ALLEN: Hyundai was coming in there, and we put up all we could: $530 million of incentives that we were going to give. Alabama outbid us with $560 and got the plant, or Tennessee, I think, it was Alabama.

MOYEN: Yeah, I think, um-hm.

ALLEN: You know, how far can you go--

MOYEN: --right--

ALLEN: --uh, in this direction? Morgantown over here done the same thing with, with, uh, Sumitomo. Sumitomo came in sixteen years ago, and, and, and Butler County and Morgantown give them a big tax break incentive to locate there. When these tax breaks were up, they left; we lost two thousand jobs. Uh, it's like a ghost town now. Butler County is in terrible shape. And, and, and these things that, that I resent to, to give so many tax breaks to bring foreign countries, uh, foreign companies in here to, uh, to build factories. And, and, and I 01:16:00don't think Toyota is gonna leave out, you know, I think they're here to stay. And it, it's, it was probably a, a, a bad vote--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

ALLEN: --on, on, on my behalf, but this, this was why.

MOYEN: Was there some talk also about that you all as legislators were not able to get the exact facts and figures on, on what was--

ALLEN: --well, we couldn't, you know. We, we was kept in the dark about this. Now I'm sure some of the Democrat leaderships, uh, the speaker, the floor leader probably knew, but the rank and file of the General, General Assembly, we didn't.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: We didn't know if it was gonna be two hundred million or three hundred million or four hundred million or where the money was coming from or even if it would pay off, but, but I think it has.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: But, but we wasn't really given, given all the facts of it.

MOYEN: When Wallace Wilk--or let me ask you this--why do you think 01:17:00Wallace Wilkinson was able to come kind of from out of nowhere and win--

ALLEN: --the lottery--

MOYEN: --the Governor's race?

ALLEN: The lottery. John Y. made the comment, said, "Hell, I'm, I'm the gambling Governor." I mean, he'd come out and, and, uh, with the lottery and promoted it in such a way that nobody was gonna pay any taxes. This lottery was gonna take care of everything in the state. And I had people from the church, deacons and elders, you know, I, I would go to them and say, "Well, you can count on me. I'm not gonna vote for that lottery." "What? Woody, this is a voluntary tax. Sure you're gonna support it." I thought, Wait a minute, you know. And this thing caught fire. And it's really a terrible way to finance government, gambling. And if, if, and, and I think, you know, I think even Ernie Fletcher is thinking maybe this casino gambling is gonna 01:18:00take hold and bring him in three or four hundred million to take care of the budget until things gets better, but it preys upon the poor people. The people lose it, and, of course, you can make the arguments they're gonna go to other states and do it anyway, but it's just not a good way to build a tax base. It doesn't last that long. Our lottery is going down now. Tennessee's taking money from us now, or will, when they get theirs going. And if you're going to have a tax base to take care of your needs in the state, you need something concrete. Something that, that will last and, and is decent, but not, not gambling.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: It's good for a while, I guess.

MOYEN: Um-hm. During Wallace Wilkinson's tenure, that is when you did decide to get, run against Richard Turner, um, for minority floor leader. Herald-Leader had this quote: uh, "Turner has strived to strike 01:19:00a more conciliatory approach with House Democrats; Allen has more of a reputation as a hell raiser." Would you consider that true or, or, or what actions do you think led that, a description as a hell raiser, or?

ALLEN: Because I wouldn't go along with everything. I wouldn't, I, I, I, you know, I wouldn't buckle up and, and come on with the liberal legislation they wanted, with, with the tax increases they wanted. And, you know, if, if, if I was for right-to-life or, or the Ten Commandments or prayer in school, I was, I was a freak, a screwball. And, uh, you know, I would raise hell on the floor about excessive legislation and taxes that went in. I just raved and ranted. And, uh, I, I guess we got the reputation I did from that.


MOYEN: When you were leader in the House for the Republicans, what kind of interaction did you have with Wallace Wilkinson? Did he feel like he, uh, could use your help, either on succession, or the different, or, or education reform, or the different things during his--

ALLEN: --he didn't need Republicans; he had enough votes there with the Democrats. I got along with him. And we went down and, and broke bread and, uh, talked with him on, on legislation, but I don't ever remember him asking me to support anything or any of the Republicans. He didn't need us; he had enough votes, seventy-something without it.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: You're going to take care of your own, unless they have a faction there or a split. Then, then they have to come, but the Democrats were going to make pretty sure that this didn't happen if at all possible.

MOYEN: Um-hm. How would you describe his leadership style, and was 01:21:00it an attempt to get back to the Wendell Ford-Julian Carroll-type Governor's, uh, power or, or was it something different?

ALLEN: Wallace, the best I can remember, had problems with Speaker Blandford. Uh, he, he didn't work well with Speaker Blandford. Uh, of course, I, I think he had problems with some of the former Governors too. But, but he, he was a guy that felt pretty, pretty big about his being Governor. I, I guess you, you could say a, a very bloated ego, an ego trip, that wanted things his way and was gonna have them, one way or the other. And, of course, Blandford stood up to him. And they, they begin to have some problems there, but, uh, he wouldn't give 01:22:00any. We had trouble with, I think, with the UK Board of Trustees. He was gonna appoint himself, uh, if, if, if things didn't go right, you know. And, and, uh, that's when they passed some legislation to bar that. And so, uh, I, I think, I think he did have some problems. I know he did with Blandford.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Did Don Blandford, would you tell me a little bit about his leadership style, and in the process, talk a little bit about regionalism, and tell me, was, would your district have qualified as western Kentucky?

ALLEN: My district was adjacent to his, Ohio County and Hancock; he was from Daviess.

MOYEN: Right.

ALLEN: Don Blandford was a good speaker. Probably one of, probably one of the best, if not the best, speaker that I served with. And, of 01:23:00course, Blandford and I were friends. And, and he was a person that I could go to if I needed something. He'd either tell you straight up or not. If he told you something, it was that a way. Uh, he was chairman of the agriculture and natural resources committee, which I was a member of, before he become speaker. When he was elected speaker, I thought, My God, he'll never be a successful speaker. But he was. And at two o'clock, if, if, if the House was to convene at two, the gavel would come down, and it wasn't ten minutes after two, or ten seconds after two, it was two. And if we had to recess for thirty minutes, it was thirty minutes. It wasn't forty-five minutes or an hour. He was truthful. Now if he didn't like you, he could cause you a lot of pain, but I got along extremely well with Don. And we trusted one another and done some things for one another.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: He, he was a good speaker.


MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: Got caught up in some things that, some bad things.

MOYEN: Um-hm. When he was speaker and Wilkinson was Governor and you were minority floor leader, at the end of that session, you said, "This marks my seventh session, and it is the worst one that I have served in." What was so bad about that session in your mind?

ALLEN: Probably some of the legislation that was passed and the way it was railroaded through. And, uh, the fighting between Wallace and, and I think Eck Rose was probably Senate president and, uh, Don was, was the speaker. And it, it was just, uh, we didn't accomplish much--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

ALLEN: --because of the, the fighting in, within the Democrat Party 01:25:00itself.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Election reform--and you mentioned this earlier--there, there was some election reform legislation that, um, session. Did you--you already mentioned the problems with that--did you feel like that legislation did solve anything?

ALLEN: Not much.

MOYEN: Okay.

ALLEN: The election reform that we had was the Courier-Journal's idea. It, it, it was, it was what they were promoting. It stopped some things that wasn't right, like in these communities, uh, buying votes and I'm sure some of it went on, but it never--as, as I said before-- addressed the big prostitutes.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: They didn't want us taking a meal or a drink from a lobbyist. Well, how stupid can you get? There's nobody influence me or any 01:26:00other legislator by buying us a meal or, or a drink while we sit down talking about something. They never addressed the issue. The issue was when you was in committee meeting, and an issue came up concerning this firm or whatever, you look back there and you see the lobbyist for this organization, and he's sitting there smiling at you, and you know, well, they've given me a thousand dollars last time. Well, I guess, "I, I, I'll vote for this piece of legislation." There's, there's the, the real influence there. It wasn't because he's gonna buy me a meal or a drink. I mean, looking at him sitting there and knowing that, hey, I've got a guy running against me at home, and I'm gonna need some money. These guys, these optometrists have given me a thousand dollars before. I, I, I bet if I, I vote for this bill, they will again. They 01:27:00never addressed that.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: And that, that's, that's what it's about.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: Not taking a meal from somebody, a little penny-ante or elementary thing.

MOYEN: Right.

ALLEN: That's what the Courier wanted.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: And, uh, of course, you know, a lot of people were afraid of these reporters, afraid they'd say something bad about them or badmouth them or give them a bad break. And of course, I survived twenty-nine years from them.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: And, and they loved to get on me(??).

MOYEN: Do you think some of that had to do with the fact that you were outside of those major metropolitan areas?

ALLEN: Um, I was just an outsider.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: Uh, um, a lot of it I didn't go along with, I don't know what the issue was now, it was something about people's rights or something that, that I spoke for, and it just shocked them. And I got a big positive write-up, "Even Woody Allen is, is, is voted for this." (Moyen 01:28:00laughs) Something they agreed on.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Let me ask you about, um, in late '88, early '89, you were defeated after, um, or you were defeated for minority leader position by, uh, Strong from Hazard. Was that a bitter battle as well?

ALLEN: Well, my adversary Richard Turner organized that.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: They had fought me for two years, and brought in a fresh face, which Bill Strong is a nice guy. He was a fresh face. He wanted the position too, the prestige that it held. And, uh, they siphoned off a lot of my support by promising some things that I didn't.

MOYEN: Um-hm. In what ways did you and Richard Turner disagree? There seem to have been some political battles between--


ALLEN: --well, I beat him for floor leader. That was--(both laugh)--the major disagreement right there.

MOYEN: But was that, were there a number of issues involved or was it just two--

ALLEN: --no issues at all, no issues at all; just two people wanting to be floor leader.

MOYEN: I see(??), okay.

ALLEN: He didn't want to give that position up.

MOYEN: Sure. Um-hm.

ALLEN: All politically motivated.

MOYEN: Okay.

ALLEN: Sharks in a pool, and I got eat up that time.

MOYEN: Can you tell me about education reform and, and KERA and what you saw as the educational problems and ways that KERA did or didn't address?

ALLEN: (laughs) I don't think we have enough time for that. (Moyen laughs) I, I think some of the major issues and, and I think the people that filed the lawsuit thought maybe that, against the legislature, when they did against Eck Rose and Don Blandford, that they would just 01:30:00get two- or three hundred million of extra money, and, uh, it would be over, and the money is what they wanted. But as Don said to Eck, said, "If they want a change, by God we'll give them a change. They're gonna sue us." And they did. And a lot of things that educators didn't want, but they got it anyway. I, I think a lot of KERA, uh, a lot of ideas in, in KERA was needed, but there're some things in there that probably wasn't or is still not doing well in it. I'm not so sure about all these tests, that they're teaching the test or, or what they're doing. Private schools are eating public schools up. And I know they have a little advantage, because if you're gonna send your kid to a private school, you're gonna take a little more interest in it. If you're gonna pay a tuition or something, and, and you get a little more of a better-grade student, I guess, than, than the public schools just 01:31:00taking anything. But four or five years ago, they had twenty-one Rhodes scholarships they gave out in Louisville; twenty of them came from Catholic schools, one came from Manual. And it's just, you know, private schools are thriving well. And maybe they have the discipline there. And, uh, you have to have discipline. I had discipline in my classes. At that time, I used a board. And I didn't hurt anybody, but some of the schools I had in Jefferson County were pretty rough. They'd run off six teachers before I came there. And the woman said, "Well, he does have some size on him." And I knew, you know, I was getting into something. (both laugh) But I did bring them under control. But I think under KERA, we've lost that and some other things. And I'm not so sure if under KERA we didn't penalize good schools. And as Lincoln 01:32:00says, "You, you, you can't help the poor by bringing down the rich."

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: And I think there were some outstanding schools in Lexington and Louisville and, and spread across the state that we penalize some in order to bring the other ones up.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: I, that was the major disagreement that, that I had, one of the major disagreements that I had with it.

MOYEN: Okay.

ALLEN: Outside of the extra $1,200,000,000 we raised that didn't go for education anyway.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

[Pause in recording.]

ALLEN: Like you say, you're gonna have a bottom half, no matter how smart the class is. What are you gonna do with them?

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: And whatever they do, they should be able to do well and, and paid, you know, for it.

MOYEN: Um-hm. In, in March of 1990, there were three people to vote 01:33:00against the budget in the House. You were one of them. You said it was a protest vote against pork projects. Is that essentially what you're talking about that was required to get KERA passed?

ALLEN: Right. And, of course, it, every budget had all the pork in it, but that--[telephone rings]--that--[telephone rings]--let me see who that is, I probably won't answer anyway. So much was pork, it's just terrible.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Um-hm. Um--[telephone rings]--when Brereton Jones became Governor, uh, a coup-, obviously the thing that dominated his first couple of years now historically is the BOPTROT invest-, the FBI investigation. Can you tell me a little bit about what you remember that day that the FBI investigation broke?

ALLEN: It was terrible. Uh, it changed Frankfort and the legislature, uh, forever, I guess, unless, you know, it was like walking into a 01:34:00morgue. Uh, people had a just a blank look on their face. And I think most of the people that made big mistakes was by talking to the FBI. You should have said nothing, uh, you know. Poor Art Schmidt, I mean, never was probably a more honest person up there, they took him back, and he talked to them, and he got to thinking. And the next day, he said, "You know," said, "I told you something." They said--that was an hour or two later--said, "No, you've done lied to us." It was a witch hunt on a, on a lot of people. And, and, uh, most of the people in the General Assembly are honest citizens. We, we disagree on 01:35:00legislation because of the nature of our districts over the state, but they're honest about it. Even some of the ladies from Fayette County and Louisville who are, are, are prochoice that I disagree with, their constituents evidently agree with them or they wouldn't keep sending them back. They're honest people in what they do. We, we're not a bunch of thugs up there; they're not a bunch of thugs. They represent you. And I've, I've seen people speak, say, "Well, 10 percent of the legislature were sent to prison." Well, probably 10 percent of most of your churches ought to be sent, members ought to be sent to prison too, the things that they've done. But the rank and file people that, that come out of Kentucky, especially in the House of Representatives, 01:36:00there's, there's a, there's a barber and a beautician and a farmer and a lawyer and a doctor and a dentist, and people that made up of all walks of life that bring all this expertise together, like, like it should be. The butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker, that's what it's about.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: Most of them are honest people, they, they're, they're not a bunch of thugs. But it, it, it was good politics, and, and they could be on television that night and say, "Well, we, we got so-and-so today. Uh, the speaker of the House or a member of the House that has been there for this year or that. And the FBI got him for obstruction of justice and lying to the FBI. He faces five years in the penitentiary and a $250 fine." Well, who can defend that? A $250,000 fine, you know?


MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: Some of it was justified.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: Some of it needed cleaning up, but there was a lot of it that didn't.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Looking back, were there ever times now where you could say, "Well, I wouldn't have noticed that before, but now that I know that some of this stuff was going on and needed to be cleaned up, I saw it or I, I was lucky that I managed to stay away from that place, or, or."

ALLEN: You know, I, I knew there, there were some lobbyists, there were some powerful lobbyists there, but there still is. Uh, Jay Spurrier had his claws into a lot of people and all that. But, you know, a lot of it, some of the things that they done was, I don't think was, I don't know if it was against a law or, or just a, there on the, on the line. But he was very instrumental in, in lobbying for his clients 01:38:00and, and getting the job done, but no more than they are now. No more than they are now. Just in a different manner.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: Special interest is powerful in Frankfort, and I guess it is every other place.

MOYEN: Um-hm. The eth-, ethics legislation that followed--I've, I've got a quote here from you; it's pretty interesting--uh, concerning the ethics legislation, you said, "If God had had editorial writers from the Lexington-Herald and two or three liberal members from this House when he wrote the Ten Commandments, it would have been 160 pages long, we could have all, all obeyed it, and still done anything we wanted to." Can you, can you tell me why that is? Explain--

ALLEN: --well, I've, I've, I've done addressed that. They had the little things, like, like stopping the meals and the drinks, but 01:39:00did nothing about this, this guy looking at you and coming into this meeting(??), that, that would get your vote.

MOYEN: Okay.

ALLEN: And, and, and other things too.

MOYEN: Okay.

ALLEN: And it was a long piece of legislation that, that meant nothing.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: That, that really didn't address anything except, I guess, maybe they thought it would.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: But, but it really didn't. And it really kinda helped the majority party at the time, because if you was a minority and could afford--(laughs)--to buy a few votes or something, which is wrong, uh, it stopped your organization. But they had a built-in organization that it never affected them.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Okay. Studying a lot about the legislature, I've, I've learned to under-, or I've grown to understand a lot of these issues. One issue that I still don't really understand well--and I'm wondering if you can address any of it--is health care reform that took place, 01:40:00uh, during this time. Do you know what the primary issues or problems were and the ways that the legislation for health care reform tried to address those?

ALLEN: Educ-, uh, medical, Medicare reform, or medical reform, you've got a turf battle there. You've got the pharmacists that wants their claws in there, you've got the doctors, uh, you've got the hospitals, you've got, uh, nursing homes, home health.

MOYEN: Insurance.

ALLEN: Insurance, they're all wanting a piece of this pie. All of the lobbyists are down there trying to fight and, and, and, and get what they want through. And, and, and who, who's the strongest? Is the doctors going to prevail or is the insurance going to prevail? This 01:41:00is what's wrong with, with health care in Kentucky and maybe the whole nation, your special interests. Uh, you know, the pharmacists, they certainly want, want to be taken care of, and the people that run the nursing home, or, or home health. And, and this is why that, that this thing is tore up so much; you can't get a consensus with all of them.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: Somebody wants to hold the trump card.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: And it was that way, I guess, in '92 when we--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

ALLEN: --uh, run some of the insurance companies out of the state and left one in here and Farm Bureau and maybe a couple.

MOYEN: Right.

ALLEN: Run the competition away.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: And, and it is a, a, a monumental task to whoever is going to try to tackle this thing because of the baby boomers coming on and more people involved with it. But there's gonna have to be some hard 01:42:00decisions, and I don't know if, if they can do it without the special interests trying to control it.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: It's like the one that Bush passed ----------(??)--

MOYEN: --um-hm, right.

ALLEN: A tough issue.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Can you tell me a little bit about your decision to run for commissioner of agriculture? Why did you decide to do that?

ALLEN: Um, I've always wanted to, I've never had a desire to go to Washington, but I don't guess there's ever been a kid that played in the little league that didn't dream on going up and batting in the majors. I thought this was a good step to come up, and, and the ticket looked good. Larry Forgy was running. He had a good ticket, not because I was on it, but he had other people that was known well. Of course, at the time, you know, at the, at the end of the campaign, I didn't 01:43:00figure that I was gonna win, because he would have to have won by about forty- or fifty thousand votes to took me in, even to have a shot at it. But I did, really thought he was going to win the Governor's race, up until, till the end. But I thought it would strengthen his ticket some if I got on it. Go around over the state and speak and I've known a lot of people and was really promoting Larry Forgy more than myself.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: Although I did go to farm groups and everything and had a platform--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

ALLEN: --program, but I, I was wanting to promote him to see the change there.

MOYEN: What types of changes did you think that you could do as commissioner of agriculture? What types of things needed to be done for the state in, in that area?

ALLEN: Well, not a whole lot different from the Governor's office. Of course, the commissioner of agriculture probably has more influence or 01:44:00hires more people, second, than from the Governor's office, more than any other department. That we needed some new faces and new ideas and, uh, to, uh, maybe promote, uh, some trade, get some markets in here for, try to get some new markets and some new products that we can use for our farmers, and knowing that tobacco was on the way out.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: Uh, I wanted to see an old cows, I wanted to see a slaughterhouse built for old cows. Now, you know, you have to ship them. Cause we don't have one. We have to ship them out west. By the time you take them out there, you lose twenty or thirty cents a pound. If, if we had some place here in Kentucky to take them, that, that was one thing that I was promoting there. And then to have some, uh, markets available for our fruit growers and vegetable growers and try to get some people, 01:45:00maybe some, some canneries that would come in.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: I was very interested in these areas.

MOYEN: Okay. Um, when Paul Patton was elected Governor--and he's the first Governor to, to have succession on his side, so he managed to serve two terms--uh, the Republican Party, even though he managed, um, to win two terms, the Republican Party has really started to grow during his tenure as Governor. Why is that? Is that following a national or regional trend at all? Or, or why do you think that the Republican Party is gaining influence in Kentucky to the point of Fletcher winning his election by a sizeable margin?

ALLEN: I don't think Patton had to, had anything to do with that starting off. Of course, he did there at the last, you know--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

ALLEN: --the trouble he got into. I, I think that made a big 01:46:00difference. Ernie Fletcher got a lot of anti-votes, against Patton for him, you know. You get two kind of votes when you're running for office; you get, uh, uh, an anti-vote, you, you can get an anti-vote and a pro-vote, but they both count the same--

MOYEN: --right--

ALLEN: --when you go in there. But I think timing, uh, we have a President in, you've got, uh, Mitch McConnell had a lot to do with that. He started out by electing, uh, a congressman from the First District, and, uh, Whitfield, and Ron Lewis from the Second, and just about had a congressmen from all over the state. This helped brings out closet Republicans. This one thing, if I had to say one issue or one thing happened that promoted Republicans through the state, I would say that it, it, it was having these congressmen from all over the state. The First District was, is a good example. Uh, for 01:47:00years, being a conservative area, there's a lot of closet Republicans there that are registered Democrats, but philosophically stay in line with the conservative Republicans, but never could come out until Congressman Whitfield was elected.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: And the same way by other areas in the state, and that helped bring the Republicans to the top and organize and everything. That's been going on for a few years. MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: Six or seven or eight. But I, I think it started, like I said, back with KERA.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: And continued to grow and, and then people, it just festered when, when Patton got into, got into his sex scandal.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: And, uh, you know, I think Ernie Fletcher would've won anyway without that, but it wouldn't have been by no 110,000.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: I think that really pushed everything over.


MOYEN: The dominant theme that I could find in, in the papers about you during Paul Patton's time as Governor was this push in '98 and 2000 to address the amount of legislation that was being produced every, every session, and, and you mentioned that. Can you tell me where you came up with the idea to limit the amount of legislation? When did you start to think that that might be something that was necessary?

ALLEN: I've been thinking of it for years, because when you see two or three thousand pieces of legislation introduced, and a thousand of it becomes law, then there's regulations put on that and, and fees that goes with all of that, and, and all the agencies just lap it up and continue to grow. And like I said, we've got a, over a seven billion budget, mostly because of all this excess legislation that we just 01:49:00didn't need. Let people alone.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: Unless it's just absolutely needed. Let them take care of their self back in Butler and Ohio County, and let the fiscal court and the school boards alone, and let people prevail and have their government without the state just continue, continue to, to introduce all of this legislation. I think, one thing I can say about David Williams and the Republican Senate, they've cut into this some. Not enough, but instead of eight hundred bills becoming law, there's five.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: And legislators, I, I guess they think if they don't introduce something, that they're not doing their job. And they'll sit and think and think and try to come up with something, if it's nothing but barbwire fences should be eighteen inches, the bottom strand from the ground. Or there is such silly stuff that, that they'll introduce, and 01:50:00just saying that I'm the author of this bill, or I, I made this piece of legislature to make it easier on you, this and that. And as I said, I probably looked at ninety thousand pieces of legislation, a lot of them I've looked at every year, just terrible.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: And so, you know, I thought what we need to do is cut down on this legislation. If I could get a piece of legislation through where we could just introduce five bills apiece.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: And have some substance to it, have some meaning to it, instead of this junk. And there's several other states--I don't remember what they are now--that has legislation like this.


ALLEN: But, uh, it didn't, it didn't go, may, maybe it will.

MOYEN: Um-hm. The types of things that you're talking about with all this legislation, I think speak a lot to your political philosophy. Has your political philosophy evolved over time from, say, when you 01:51:00first started to serve in the mid-seventies up through when you decided not to run again in, in 2002? Has, has it changed at all or has it pretty much stayed the same?

ALLEN: I think it pretty much stayed the same. I've always despised big government. It's expensive. There's so much that we don't need. Uh, local government is the best of all. I can go over here in town and, and rant and rave if, if I don't like something. It's a little harder to go to Frankfort and get something done and almost impossible in Washington. So, you, you know, let's keep it locally. It's, it's better government, you've got more people involved than, and it's less expensive. Mean, means something.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: But, you know, you just(??) it's gotten out of hand. Government's 01:52:00gotten out of hand. It's to the point to where I think people now maybe think they can't live, live without government; they've got to have it, they've got to have government to tell them what to do. And, uh, I've always been against mandatory seatbelts, because I, as an example of, of government. It's a way for the state police and other policemen to make more money. It's, it's a twenty-five fine plus court costs of a hundred and something. Uh, if they're really interested in saving lives, if, if that's their goal, why don't they cut the speed down on the interstate? That's what kills people. And there was a lady who lost their son several years ago in an automobile wreck, and she became interested in mandatory seatbelt legislation, maybe her 01:53:00son would still be alive. Well, I asked her, I said, "Do you think he would've obeyed the law?" She said, "Yes." I said, "Well, he was going 90 miles an hour in, in a 45-mile speed zone when he crashed. If he wasn't going to obey that law, why would he the seatbelt thing?" But they're not going to enforce that, because that's money too. Every trooper has a quota. And if you don't get too stiff on it(??), it's pretty easy to go out here on the interstate and get your ten speeders a day that makes your salary. They're not going to enforce that, where everybody drives 65 or 70, its money. The whole damn thing is money. So this, this is a good example I'm using about government.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Um-hm.

ALLEN: It, it, it's like the, they put up a big strong argument on, on the House floor about smoking. How much it costs us when someone dies 01:54:00of lung cancer, lays in the hospital. Well, most of these people are in their sixties, you save money when you die. If I kick out, you're going to save money because you're not paying my social security and my retirement. You make money by people when they quit producing. I want to live till I'm ninety, but if, if I kick out here after I'm retired, you're gonna save money. (Moyen laughs) They, they, well, they shut up after hearing this argument. And, and you say, "Oh, you should see somebody with his lungs eat up, laying there, he's sixty-five years old and we have to pay the bill." And you pay a hundred thousand dollar hospital bill. If he hadn't smoked and he lived to be a hundred, how much would you pay out? So let people alone. This is what America's about. If they want to eat greasy hamburgers and french fries and get so fat they put their stomach in a wheelbarrow and push it up the street, it's your business. This is what America is about. And it's 01:55:00changing.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: It's changing.

MOYEN: Now we sue the fast food company for making us fat. (laughs)

ALLEN: You're gonna see the time where they're gonna regulate what you eat, and you're going to think, Well, that's silly. But if they have taxes on the high greasy foods and not on the other, on a head of lettuce, you're gonna finally get down where you're gonna have to eat the head of lettuce. Oh, they're gonna do it.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Um, during your time that you served, what would you say are the two or three most controversial issues that you had to vote on?

ALLEN: I think, oh, I didn't have to vote for anything, you mean?

MOYEN: Right. Right.

ALLEN: Uh, of course KERA was, was, was a controversial issue, that, uh, and, and, the, uh, that certainly was. Uh, some of the taxes that 01:56:00they've had, and, and health care was, was a very controversial issue. It was so mixed up on the floor that most members didn't know how to vote. And they listened to both sides and they didn't know how to vote. And in order to do justice for their constituents at home. A lot of the legislation up there, people don't know what they're voting on.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: Especially there's so much of it--that I've done addressed--and at the end, you can go in for the Orders of the Day, there's sixty bills there. You can't go through all of that.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: But that, that's the system.

MOYEN: So pret-, pretty common for people to vote on legislation that they've not read?

ALLEN: Oh yeah, yeah. That's why I probably have the record of voting no, you know. (laughs) I'll put a red light up there if I'm not familiar with the legislation, unless it's some little rinky-dink something.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: Uh, and I tell the new members coming in, say, "You don't have to explain a no vote; just tell them, 'Well, I didn't have time to read 01:57:00the bill and didn't know anything about it, so I voted 'no.'" That's a lot better than voting yes on it and going home, and they'll say, "Why did you vote for this piece of legislation here? Do you know what that does?" You have to explain that.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Um-hm. What would you say, looking back, were your best and worst votes? What would you say, "See, that, that did exactly what it was supposed to and I helped," or, "Well, I thought that was going to be a good vote, but looking back I'd probably change it."

ALLEN: Uh, you know, the budget's always a good bill to vote for, because even though I protested on several of the budget bills because of pork in it, but it's a bad vote to cast because of your state workers and your teachers and your health care people and you could just go on and on, that depend upon--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

ALLEN: --that budget for their livelihood. Uh, I guess one of the, and 01:58:00I, I go back and, and, and probably one of the worst votes I made was, was on Toyota, after I got thinking about it, after it turned out the way that it did. It was probably a bad vote.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: But at the time, I didn't think it was.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: The worst vote and the most controversial vote--and I'm surprised that it's not in your notes somewhere--was something I got trapped in was, uh, spouse abuse centers. And I don't know if you have that in there. Did you? And there again, I, I was against these things because of more government and, and they was putting money into the churches, and all these people was coming up there wanting spouse abuse centers to, so they could get the money to, to start these things. Well, well, I was against them, the concept of this, not, not spouse abuse 01:59:00centers itself, because people, but they were bringing prostitutes in off of the street that got in a barroom brawl that didn't have any place to stay, said, "My husband or my boyfriend beat me." "Well, come on in, you know, we'll let the taxpayer take care of you." And I was whip, I was just elected whip. And Tom Riner, uh, a legislator now, a minister, wanted me and, I, it never dawned on me then why he didn't sign the letter and send it out, they was having a bill up there about liquor in certain areas, and wanted me to sign it, that I was against liquor being sold--I don't know what it was now--and, and spouse abuse centers. But in the back of the letter, I had my wife up there and was in a hurry to go to a ballgame, so I signed it. And it quoted some two women in Fra- , in Lexington that was running these spouse 02:00:00abuse centers that was known lesbians. He sent ten thousand copies all over the state out. Why, I come up there on a Monday morning, and the press, you know, I never got much press, you know - they was lined up, going into my office. I couldn't even get in for the press. "Did you sign this letter?" "Yeah, I, I signed this letter." "Did you read the back?" So I don't know what their names were now, evidently they were lesbians or they'd have probably sued me. All hell broke loose. You know, I had to leave after two or three days in Frankfort, things, every, "Woody, how could you?" And of course, I think people really realized then that I didn't do that. I mean, I signed it, but I did- -Riner was the one that done it. And it got so hot that I left for a couple of days and came home. And Art Schmidt was floor leader, Louis 02:01:00Johnson, a Democrat from Owensboro, Bob Heleringer, I called in my office, "What do I need to do?" And they all kneeled down and got hold of my hands and said, "Let's pray." I said, "Oh, my God. Pray over this!" (laughs) Of course, looking back with my experience, you know, I've done worse things, but I got myself in, into something there that, I was used, that I never did do again. But it, it was kind of ordeal, I'll tell you. All the press just, they, they really--(laughs)--had their field day with me then. I mean, God, and, you know, it was scary, and, uh, I went to Bobby Richardson--he's the speaker--and I thought, you know, I'll ask the speaker what to do. I said, "Bobby, what do I need to do?" He said, "Hire you the best lawyer that you can find." (both laugh) I thought, Oh, my God! But it blew over, like all 02:02:00storms. As Wendell Ford says, "When in a hailstorm, just hunker up and take it, you know." But, uh, it was the worst time in my life in the legislature. That two or three weeks was the worst time. And it got so hot on, on a Wednesday when that happened, I left and I didn't, I took off four or five days before I went back. But they really put it to me.

MOYEN: Now, what, what are some of your best memories, things that you either just collegiality or, or, or different stories that you might have that I'm not going to find in the Herald-Leader or Courier-Journal?

ALLEN: Oh gosh, you know, the first year, the first session up there was, was, was very exciting. And, and it was different than it is now, before BOPTROT. We had some fun. We'd done our job during the day 02:03:00and then at night we could go out and party a little bit and have some fun, which I don't know what happens to them now, they're gone. But I guess that one of the best things I've done, Ronny Layman was the representative and a good friend of mine in the Nineteenth from Grayson and Henderson County. And, uh, he's a card player, he played cards at night and made, won some money. And you'd come in about six o'clock in the morning, we all stayed out at the Quality, me and him and George Plummer. And he'd get two or three hours of sleep and just go in wide awake during the General Assembly, you know, do his job, about four o'clock, go home, lay down, and get two or three more hours sleep, and stay all night playing cards. And George and I went down and got a mannequin with blond hair and hung her, got the room, the key to his room, and hung her in the bathroom with nothing on but a pair of panties and a bra. And she was just swinging up there with a little light, 02:04:00and tore his room up a little bit, took the cushions out, and then the bedspread. Well, we heard him come in with that old truck. And he opened the door and as soon as he opened it, he slammed it back, he shut it. Of course, me and George was already awake and there by the door, you know. [knocks on the table] "Woody! Woody, get up! Woody!" "Wait a minute, Ronny. Let, let me get up and put some clothes on." Of course, I was out waiting back there with George just dying. Went out there and said, "What's wrong with you?" (whispers) "There's a dead woman hanging in my room." I said, "What?" (whispers) Said, "There's a dead woman in my room." Of course, George come out, you know, "What's going on out here?" "I tell you," he said, "you know," he said, "I can prove where I was at last night; I was playing cards but," said, "the people at home are never going to believe me." (laughs) We opened up the door there and there was the mannequin just swinging there, you know. And it, it broke all of us up. But things like that. And, uh, but, you know, it, people don't do them kind of things anymore.


MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: I guess they're afraid, you know. You, you see legislators around at a reception, but that's it.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: They don't ever get out and socialize and, and have a good time like they do in other, other businesses.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Is, is that good in some respects and bad in others or all bad?

ALLEN: I think it is. You can't go up there and keep a sober mind and just be a scrooge; you've got to relax and get the feel of the place. And if you go in and do your job and do your work, of course, we've got more responsibility now than we did when the Governor--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

ALLEN: --ran it. John Raymond Turner, you know, got up one day on the floor and wore them little old tinted glasses, stayed drunk most of the time. And someone was, was quoted about the stress upon a legislator, and his family was very rich, and his mother was superintendent of 02:06:00schools. They owned banks and coal companies. He said, "There's no stress to this job." Said, "My daddy has got the money to elect me. I got the money, my mother elects me, and the Governor tells me how to vote. What else do you want?" (both laugh) And it's probably true, you know. But things haven't(??) improved and, and there's more responsibility for legislators now than there used to be.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: Uh, but still, you know, I, socializing is just nonexistent there like it once was.

MOYEN: Um-hm. What type of advice would you give Ernie Fletcher, new Governor, having served in the legislature for as long as, as you did, from a different perspective, obviously not from the Governor's 02:07:00perspective, but from a legislator's perspective, on what he would need to do to be successful?

ALLEN: I would think, you know, to, for him to be successful, he's gonna have to have a good working relationship with the legislature, with the Democrats and with the Republicans. Naturally, I think he will with the Republicans, David Williams out of the Senate. But he's also gonna have to have a good working relationship with this Democrat House. If he gets crossways and they become the spoiler, it's gonna just stagnate. Anything that he wants to do, they're gonna stop it.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: And he's, he's going to have to bend over and work with these people, and I think that he will, since he's been a member of Congress and, and, uh, a member of the legislature. I hope he hasn't promised too much. You know, he's, he's promised that he's not going to cut 02:08:00these programs into the meat to hurt people and promised no new taxes. He's taken the new, no-new-tax pledge. The Democrats will make him live with that. The Democrat House will make him live with it. Uh, they're gonna make sure that he has no new taxes, they're gonna make sure that he doesn't cut these programs. And so really we, we've got the making of a good strong two-party system now that can craft and mold some of the best government we've had for years.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: Uh, it really has come a little bit over on our side, but there's still, you have the House there. And when you bring these three factions together, uh, it should be good government.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: Should be, if he doesn't get crossways with them.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: And I, I don't think he will.

MOYEN: Um-hm. What, what else have I left out that we should talk about?


ALLEN: I don't know. You've covered a lot. And, uh, uh, it's interesting just to, to see some of the appointments that he's gonna make. He's appointing some Democrats, and I think this is good, to show that he, he works with both parties. I think he can do, do well if he can get some revenue. Maybe, maybe Washington, maybe, maybe McConnell can, can throw some money his way until maybe the economy turns around. If this economy turns around, it will make a big difference in bringing in revenue.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: There's some cutting that, cutting in these departments that can be done, some reorganization. Too many people there. May, maybe putting a couple of agencies together, eliminating some jobs. He's 02:10:00gonna have to do that if he, if he, uh, balances this budget.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

ALLEN: But it, it's a challenge; it's a challenge for him.

MOYEN: Well, I thank you for your time.

ALLEN: Enjoyed it and, uh, enjoyed talking about old times and enjoyed you coming down. It's a long drive for you, but--

MOYEN: --well, I appreciate your time.

ALLEN: Maybe you've got something on there that will, uh, do you a little good and, and won't incriminate me--

MOYEN: --certainly--(laughs)--

ALLEN: --send me to the pen anyway. I think I, I could have told some other stories, but I don't think the statute of limitations has run out on it yet. (both laugh)

[End of interview.]