Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Arthur L. Schmidt, November 18, 2003

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
Toggle Index/Transcript View Switch.
Search this Transcript

MOYEN: Okay. I am back with Mr. Art Schmidt for our second session. I believe last time we got about through 1970, which is a pretty good chunk of your life. So, we're doing pretty well. We talked a lot about NKU and your discussion with Louie Nunn. Could you review that?

SCHMIDT: Oh, sure.

MOYEN: Real quickly, how that transpired?

SCHMIDT: Well, sure, because I just got a letter from, or a photograph from Dr. Votruba (??), president of Northern now and here was a photograph of the signing of the bill that created Northern Kentucky 00:01:00State College. Well, what had happened, the photograph has just four of us, or five of us from Northern Kentucky. And Louie Nunn took the photograph with the Republicans from Northern Kentucky who voted for the tax increase. (both laugh) There were a lot of people who wanted to be in that photograph. But this is one that was really, really ----------(??), because it was another Republican--well, Republican Don Johnson, who it was, who was the senator from up here, who voted against the tax increase. And so, for some reason he wasn't in the photograph. (laughs) That's the kind of games they played all the time (??).

MOYEN: Right.

SCHMIDT: But anyway, ----------(??) the Chamber of Commerce was a moving force behind the establishment of the ----------(??). There's no question of that. And I was on the board of directors of the Northern Kentucky Chamber (??), and they had just merged the Campbell County Chamber, Kenton, Boone Chamber had merged, and Frank Middleburg was chairman of the Education Committee, and he pointed out the need for a 00:02:00four-year school in Northern Kentucky. I think I touched on the fact that--they they did a study to show the number of students from Northern Kentucky who went on to college. And the percentage of them that went to college was much lower than the state percentage. As to say, the state percentage was lower than the national percentage. Well, you can understand that because Kentucky was considered a backwards state, and all that, but why would Northern Kentucky, which was in a metropolitan area, be lower than the state average? Well, effectively what you were doing is denying the opportunity to go because the only way a kid could go to college was to a private school, which was expensive; go out-of-state, which was expensive; or go to a dormitory school because there was no way you could commute. So anyway, that was the big thing, and I was fortunate that I had supported Louie in '63 when he lost to Ned Breathitt. And I was close to him when we were in the Young 00:03:00Republicans, and I always liked him very much, and that was the one thing I'd asked him for, that four-year college.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

SCHMIDT: When (??) he said, 'I'll do it,' and he's gonna do it. And so, he did, and so it--that's how the college was established. And I received a lot of credit for it, which I am very proud of. But believe me there were an awful lot of people involved in that. The Chamber of Commerce. And just a lot of people, and the Governor, no slouch on it either, because even though we got an increase in revenue, which allowed Louisville to come in the system and Northern to come in the system, there's still an awful lot--you never have enough money. I don't care what it is. I've never seen a government yet that had enough money. (both laugh) They're going to spend it no matter what. And the other universities did not want Northern because--and I can understand that. But anyway, we got it, and I am very proud of it.

MOYEN: Let me jump ahead just a little bit.


MOYEN: In 1985, I noticed that there was a Council on Higher Education 00:04:00that issued a report and some comments were made, and you made a comment, too, about being concerned that UK didn't essentially try and fight everyone. And I think the debate was that we got this flagship university, and then UK's worried that the regional universities like Northern Kentucky, or Louisville, or Murray, or Morehead are taking away from those things. Being as close as you are to Northern Kentucky and serving, were you ever witness to the type of politics that goes on over the budget essentially for higher education?

SCHMIDT: You know, whenever you ask me one of these questions I start telling another story.

MOYEN: That's fine. (both laugh) (??)

SCHMIDT: ----------(??) I told you about when I first got involved in politics, and we were--we started a Young Republican Club, and we went to meet with the executive committee of Republican Party in Campbell 00:05:00County, and told them what we were going to do and that was Eisenhower running in 1956. And they said, "That's fine. You can get involved, if you want to, in the federal elections, and that and that--but stay out of big-time politics," which was Campbell County politics because- -and you knew this. (laughs) County politics and both parties worked together. They selected judges, and they selected prosecutors, and the gambling was wide open up here. A person would come into Northern Kentucky in the late fifties and first part of the sixties, you wouldn't know the difference between Las Vegas and Northern Kentucky, except for the fact that they really didn't advertise it outside. But you could walk in the building was wide-open, crap tables, just a regular casino. And they had high-named entertainment. You know, you had all the big name entertainments would come in. Campbell County had Beverly Hills, the Yorkshire, the Flamingo, the Merchants Club, and Club Alexandria, I can think of those (??) off the top of my head. 00:06:00Every one of them had big-time casino gambling. And so, they didn't want us to do it. I guess I'll go back now to your real question about the Council on Public Higher Education and how they were finally made to be a lot more effective. Cause you talk about politics, running the state government, the budget, or anything, you didn't know politics until you got involved with higher education--(laughs)--because these guys knew the game and knew how to play it. And, like, of course, Martin was in--he was president of Eastern. Adron Doran was Morehead. I can't think of the two from Western Kentucky, but they were big- -they were big-time movers, you know. I think they really had more control than UK did because the legislators from those districts, a lot of them owed their elections to the higher education because it's like school superintendents. In the older days, not as much today, 00:07:00but you couldn't--you weren't gonna win an election unless the school superintendent was on your side. Cause the school superintendent had all--most of the employment in the county was through the county schools. The employees all better toe-the-line or they're not gonna have a job. You know all that has changed; thank God, it's changed, you know. But it gets back to the original question. There's a lot of politics involved and they ran things. I don't think it was ever gonna really take the flagship away from UK, although they didn't want UK to have too much power either.

MOYEN: Right. Um-hm.

SCHMIDT: You know, when the council finally--and I'm not sure, I guess it was around '85, in that era, in that era anyway--were the council was finally given the auth--well, they took the presidents off, as voting members, off the counsel--that's right. That was one thing. And the counsel really started running higher education then. And, I think it was by far the best. They would control, or they tried to get 00:08:00rid of some of the programs that really weren't necessary. One of them might have been the law school at Northern, you know. That was--we brought that in through legislation, the council did that.

MOYEN: Right.

SCHMIDT: Clyde Middleton was the main mover for that. He was a senator, from Kenton County, and he went to Chase. And so we got--he introduced the bill that gave Chase--Chase was looking for a sponsor because it was law school standing by itself in Cincinnati. And in order to keep their accreditation they had to be associated with a college or a university. And that's when Clyde came in, and we associated it with Northern Kentucky. And I think--(laughs)--because of the way--the legislator's view (??)--Northern Kentucky didn't fight it; they wanted this.

MOYEN: Sure.

SCHMIDT: But they were gonna get it whether they wanted it or not. (both laugh) They were gonna see to it that they did, you know. But anyways, it's all these (??) power moves all the time that--then you've got U of L and gave them mission statements to U of L and to UK. And 00:09:00I guess that was really the first time they had mission statements and (??) the regionals were assigned certain responsibilities and UK would be a flagship, and I think Louisville came in as more of an urban studies and that. And you could--well, they're both research universities but they weren't--they were encouraged, strongly encouraged not to duplicate a lot of systems.

MOYEN: Um-hm. And, as best as you can tell do you feel like that system is running well today?

SCHMIDT: Oh, I think--well, I think as much as any government can run well. (both laugh) Well, there could be a lot of improvements, as matter of fact I don't think this might be over with what Dr. Shumaker did in Tennessee and the problems he got into it. I would imagine that they're checking pretty closely U of L, and I know Jim Ramsey. And I think Jim Ramsey will straighten it out, if there is anything to be straightened out. Because I worked with him pretty close when 00:10:00he was commissioner of finance, or--yeah, finance commissioner at the Capitol. And he's a smart guy and knows what's going on. I think he'll straighten it out, if it needs straightened out.

MOYEN: Right.

SCHMIDT: I don't know that it does.

MOYEN: Right. Um-hm. Another thing that we had touched on, right at the end of our last interview, we mentioned just briefly but didn't address it in full. Tell me a little about Julian Carroll's leadership in the legislature.

SCHMIDT: Oh, wow (??). Oh, yeah. I served with Julian, you know, I guess in the first session in '64. And he was just--I never--I shouldn't say it this way that I wasn't really impressed with him. He really didn't stand out or anything, although, you know, he was a good legislator, as far as I knew. I didn't associate with him that closely cause he was a Democrat and I am Republican. I probably shouldn't tell this story but I know that he got into a fistfight once. (laughs) 00:11:00Although I don't know if they actually swung at each other but I knew it came close. Mitch Denham who's a doctor from Maysville was majority leader. And he and Julian had a strong disagreement on something. And they went out in the hallway and I don't know whether people stopped them, but I understand--I didn't see it--I understood it came close to--(laughs)--you know. That's one I remember, one of the things about Julian. Well, then later on, he became speaker and was an excellent speaker; there was no question, he ran things. He knew the rules, knew how it worked, and became speaker. And of course, when Ford was elected he--let's see; Ford was like the vice-president, and then Julian was the--let's see. Well, I guess--I'm not sure; I got them mixed up-- anyway he was vice--he was Lieutenant Governor under Ford, right?

MOYEN: Um-hm.

SCHMIDT: And then became, when Ford resigned to take the Senate seat and the Julian came in for one year.


MOYEN: Then he was elected. ----------(??)

SCHMIDT: Right. I think Julian was a good Governor. I really do. He knew what was going on, he knew how the system worked, he knew how to play the game. And which some of them don't, but he did.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

SCHMIDT: I think he did a good job.

MOYEN: Um-hm. What about the Republican leadership line? I believe Harold DeMarcus and--

SCHMIDT: Harold DeMarcus, yeah. Harold DeMarcus, you know, was a good legislator. And I got along real good with Harold. As a matter of fact, I guess I ingratiated myself with Harold more than anyone. Some bill came up and Harold was trying to convince all the Republicans, get their votes together, and vote for it. And then he voted against it. (both laugh) I'll never forget it. Well, a bunch of them came to me, and they wanted to throw him out as leader, and they wanted me to take over as the leader. And I wouldn't do it. I said, "No, I'm not gonna do it." I said, "You know, he was elected for two years, and if you don't like him in two years, do it then, but I'm not gonna get a 00:13:00lot of publicity and everything else," and he heard about it and really appreciated it. I think that's one of the reasons later, when he did get out, that he supported me and helped get me some votes. But, Harold was a good leader; he was a tremendous speaker. He was one of the few who could get on the floor and really move you, you know.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

SCHMIDT: (laughs) He didn't necessarily get the votes. (laughs) But he was just a tremendous voice and tremendous speaker.

MOYEN: Could you tell me a little bit about in 1970, you became minority caucus chair. How were those decisions made for leadership in the minority party, and then what did you do in that, House?

SCHMIDT: You say, "In the minority party," does that mean you know how it's done in the majority party? (both laugh)

MOYEN: No, I don't.

SCHMIDT: I just thought maybe that was the (laughs) ----------(??) because the Governor usually did it, you know. The Governor tells you who what he wants. Oh, okay. In that, truthfully, that's what happened with me. Don Ball was minority leader in '68--I guess 00:14:00you know Don's from Lexington, and a real good man, and a real good legislator. He--I was an assistant minority leader and all that meant was Don named me that. You know, didn't mean a whole lot; you weren't on the Legislative Research Commission, or anything. Then in '70, I wanted to try to get in the leadership. Herman Rattliff and Walter Baker were together and we were down in Kentucky Dam Village and we're--I'm out working trying to get the Republicans to vote for me and Herman, who was a good friend of mine, was working for Walter Baker to get him to be the caucus chairman. And I had one vote and Herman had- -I guess Walter had eight or nine, I don't know how--he had a lot more than I did. But my vote was Louie Nunn. (both laugh) It's the truth. 00:15:00And I know cause I talked to Herman later and Louie was trying to get a hold of Walter--or Herman--trying to get a hold of 'em and they were hiding out, so that the ogre couldn't get 'em. Well, the state police, I think, probably found them, and they went over to the Governor who was staying in one of the executive cottages. And the Governor had a little talk with them, and they thought that they would support me. (both laugh) That's terrible but that's the way it worked, you know. Cause I remember the Governor saying to me. I told him, I said, "I don't have the votes." "Do you really want it, do you really?" "Sure I'd like it." "Well, if you really want it, you know," he'd do it. And that's the way--Governor picked--and, of course, he didn't pick the Democrat leadership, although I think he had a lot of influence on it. (laughs)

MOYEN: Um-hm.

SCHMIDT: Matter of fact, I know he did cause Freddie Morgan was the main--no, not the minority leader but very influential legislator who from down in the Midwestern Kentucky area, and he helped Louie. Of 00:16:00course, at the same time, there was former Governor Wetherby--I believe it was--was in the Senate. And the Governor was pretty close with him too. Governor, you knew how, he knew--Louie knew how to play the game. He had been involved in that kind of politics, along with his brother, Lee ----------(??) was very, very active in national politics. And, they knew how the game was played, and how to do it. (laughs) Twisting arms.

MOYEN: (laughs) That's interesting that Louie Nunn, who's from the same area as Walter Baker.

SCHMIDT: Oh, yeah.

MOYEN: Would support you (??) but do you think that's maybe--


MOYEN:--that's from the tax increases and your support of the Governor's budget (??)?

SCHMIDT: Right, that--I am sure that had something to do with it. I am sure it did.

MOYEN: Okay.

SCHMIDT: Because I know, it did. Yeah, yeah. Because, no, he wasn't against Walter, or anything like that cause Walter's a good man. There's no question about it, a good legislator. Well, he was a supreme court justice and got appointed but they're still there. 00:17:00(laughs) And then Walter and Herman, no, there was no animosity after that. They knew how it was played. They knew what was going on.

MOYEN: Right. In 1972, when Ford is elected Governor, that's the last time we have a Republican Governor--


MOYEN: --elect, until right now.

SCHMIDT: Till now. Right, right.

MOYEN: Till 2003.


MOYEN: Why is that? In your best estimation?

SCHMIDT: Well, I can tell you--I don't know who's--I don't know who's gonna read this, or see this, or say anything about it but I can tell you right now. (laughs) When Louie Nunn was elected--[telephone rings]

MOYEN: Do you need to get that?

SCHMIDT: Can I get that?

MOYEN: Sure.

SCHMIDT: Just give me a minute.

[Pause in recording.]

SCHMIDT: After the election in 1967, Ned Breath--yeah, Breathitt announced that there was a revenue shortfall. I don't know but I'm pretty sure that the number was like thirty million dollars, which 00:18:00was a significant amount of money at that time. And the budget, we weren't near a billion dollar budget yet. Cause I think Louie Nunn had the first billion dollar budget. But, so we, you know, there's a shortfall and what we gonna do. So, Louie's in and we went back and forth--in fact, I even argued with the Governor, and there were all kinds of plans advanced. The bottom line was that the only thing that would solve the problem, and allow us to get Northern, and take care of education, and primary and secondary education, teachers' salaries, was a two-cents sales tax increase. I was prepared for one-cent--I never will forget; Don Ball and I, we were in there, and Louie says--and Larry Forgy was there and Mr. Christenson who was Larry's boss--but anyway, two-cents sales tax was all we could do. "Well, you're never gonna pass something like that," so anyway, "Well, we'll pass it," and he did, you know, twisting arms. What--and I better stick with the story. (both laugh) But anyway. So we did it and the two-cents sales 00:19:00tax increase and that was "Louie's Nickel." And Louie ran again for the Senate, and again for Governor later on, and "Louie's Nickel" haunted him forever, and I think that's why the Republicans--I think that's one of the major reasons. Now, there's other reasons too, because we've had some candidates that maybe were not as great as candidates should have been. But we've had some good candidates, too, like Forgy and Jim Bunning, and we had people like that run who, I think, would've been great Governors. But, they still never overcome that Republican idea of tax increase. I'm gonna take, bring it up to the present time. Fletcher's probably in worse shape than Louie was in 1967. The deficit is much larger. Even with inflation, I think it's a much larger percentage of the budget.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

SCHMIDT: I don't believe, and I think that Julian Carroll and Louie Nunn 00:20:00said the same thing, 'There's a prayer that you're going to be able to make up that deficit like by cutting expenses.' By cutting out--you could cut out this program, you could cut out a lot of things and save some money but I don't think you're going to be able to overcome the deficit by doing that. Schwarzenegger has the same problem. (both laugh) But anyway, I'm just hoping and praying now that if they do have some significant tax increase that it won't put an odious on Fletcher now and Republican Party for another thirty years. There are ways they can do it. But I'm not so sure--I think that casino gambling, and it's not popular, and I know a lot of people don't like it. But we've got casino gambling now within about an hour's drive of 85 percent of the pop--maybe 90 percent of the population of Kentucky. And if you want to go, in less than an hour you can be in a casino. And if you go to some of those places, there's an awful lot of Kentucky license plates 00:21:00that are there. (Moyen laughs) So, they would say, 'We don't want the problems with gambling.' Well, we've got the problems with gambling already. So, why not get some of the benefits. And I think that probably would take care of the biggest part of that deficit, if not all of it. And then, with cutting some costs--there's plenty of places you could cut--along with some kind of a tax increase, that would cover it.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

SCHMIDT: I believe that's why it's been so long--so long not having a Republican. I think the main thing, not candidates, but the main thing was that tax increase.

MOYEN: Tax increase (??), okay. All right. After Ford was elected, you became minority whip.


MOYEN: Could you tell me a little bit about the difference between minority caucus chair, and that role, and then minority whip?

SCHMIDT: Not a whole lot. (both laugh) Caucus chair--the whip in the Federal Government is second in-line; in Kentucky, the caucus chairman is second in-line. And you do preside over caucus meetings. And 00:22:00that's it. The whip is supposed to be able to try to round up votes, and give some report back on votes and that, where you can. The caucus chairman presides over the caucus. The big thing about both of them is you are a member of the LRC; that's the main thing. And that's where a lot of these decisions are made in the LRC.

MOYEN: Can you tell me a little about that? Explain how are decisions made.

SCHMIDT: Okay. Legislative Research Commission is made up of both Democrat and Republican leadership of the House and the Senate. The ruling party, which is, in my memory until a couple years ago, was always the Democrats. So, you had the three leaders: the caucus chairman and the whip of both parties, six, and then you had the speaker and the speaker pro tem. So you had five Democrats and three Republicans in the House and the Senate. Now, today, with the Senate being in the hands of the Republicans, you have five--well, five--eight 00:23:00members of the Democrats and eight members of the Republican Party with joint control over the--with Williams [David Williams] and with Jody Richards. And, of course, that's one of the reasons why they had some really ----------(??) and they didn't, some of the committee meetings didn't even meet. Well, what the LRC does, is--well, of course, they are in charge of all the employees. They hire the director of the LRC who then is--they are the board of directors that's directing everything, as far as the legislative branch of the government is concerned. That's really it, I guess. I don't know what else to say.

MOYEN: All right. Do you think that that's all together bad, moving up to present, that there seems to be a bit of tension and head butting and tripping? Is that, you know, obviously people say that's 00:24:00frustrating but in some respects it's not--

SCHMIDT: Hey, it's not--sure it might be frustrating, but you don't like it, you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen. I think Harry Truman said that. No, it's not because I'll tell you what happened. Well, the Democrats had--and this would be the same thing with the Republicans; I don't mean to pick of the Democrats--but we had a--I can't think of the--we had six out of the sixteen. (both laugh) Something like that, you know. The Democrats would come in, and out of courtesy, in the last few years, when I was on, they would give you the agenda. You knew what was on the agenda. But, if you got a hold of one of their copies, they would caucus ahead of time, and they had already marked what the votes were gonna be, you know. (laughs) They- -and you could--and the good thing about it was, even though you were in a minority, you could question. The press was always there. You know, if something you thought was wrong, you could raise cane about it, and it would usually be reported. But it was gonna go their way. Now, 00:25:00they've got the--and they really didn't even have to be too careful. They didn't have to be too careful about what they were doing because they were gonna win, and that was it. And you were there almost like window dressing, and that was it.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

SCHMIDT: But now, with the both sides--both sides, Republicans can't come in just be the obstructionists either. They had better try to have their argument--they had better be well prepared, or they're gonna get blasted in the press. And the same thing with the Democrats. Now, I think, I think it's much better, I really do. I would like to see the Republicans in control. (laughs) But I wouldn't want it to be for thirty years. I really wouldn't. I really think that what's going on in Washington right now with--well, I won't get into the Judiciary cause I think that's terrible the way they do with the judges, and all that, the way they run the Federal Judiciary. But still, I think it's good to have mix of both parties, I really do.

MOYEN: You mentioned raising cane and getting the press to report about things. Obviously, in Central Kentucky, you have got the Herald-Leader 00:26:00and in Louisville the Courier-Journal, but the Cincinnati paper isn't necessarily gonna deal with Kentucky politics. So if you're from Northern Kentucky, what are your hopes of getting your constituents to read?

SCHMIDT: Okay, you're absolutely right. Up when I first went into the legislature, Clay Wade Bailey was the reporter for the Kentucky Post and a good reporter. He was excellent. But he was kind of second in-line. I think he was a first-class reporter. But to go back to what I said earlier, I think that Northern Kentucky really felt like part of Ohio. Told the state, 'Leave us, don't bother us, and we won't bother you,' and that was pretty much a feeling, you know. And that was partly due because of the press, too. Well, the Enquirer who had two papers here, and the Enquirer had Jack Hicks who was a reporter and stayed in Frankfort, and they had a Kentucky bureau, and they did some 00:27:00real good reporting. They have since discontinued. They still have a Kentucky Enquirer but it's not, it's in Cincinnati. The Post thought, I think, is an excellent paper, although--(laughs)--I disagree with many of their positions because they're something like the Courier-Journal, you know. But they have some excellent reporters. They have had Tom Loftus, who's now with the Courier-Journal, who was with the Post. Courtney Kinney is a reporter now. They stay in Frankfort. They're not a--they're a Frankfort bureau, but I think the Post does a pretty good job of reporting Kentucky news now. A real good job, honestly. I think as good as the Courier or the Lexington. As a matter of fact, I think--who's that, "Comment on Kentucky," oh, Al, oh, Kissinghouse?

MOYEN: Al Smith.

SCHMIDT: Al Smith, yeah. He's--his "Comment on Kentucky" and every once in a while they'll have Bill Schaub (??) who is ----------(??) 00:28:00hard--he was the Kentucky Post reporter, and they're--from Northern Kentucky--and they'll have the Northern Kentucky reporter on. Up until a few years ago, I don't think Al Smith knew where Northern Kentucky was. (both laugh) You know, I like Al; I'm not knocking him. But I mean, you know, they just, they just didn't pay any attention to it. But now, you watch "Comment on Kentucky," and more often than not, they will have a reporter from Northern Kentucky along with Lexington and Louisville.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Um-hm. Getting back to Wendell Ford's time in office, can you tell me, in your mind, were there any legislative milestones when Wendell Ford was Governor that you can think of? Any important legislation or bills?

SCHMIDT: I'll tell you a funny one.

MOYEN: Okay. (Schmidt laughs) That'll work.

SCHMIDT: This is terrible. I shouldn't tell you this but I will. Gone too far now. There was a bill that the Governor was backing, House 00:29:00Bill 236. And it was an industrial loan bill. And what it meant was these loan companies, small loan companies could charge interest up to, I think, it was like 36 percent, which was outlandish, you know. And the Governor was backing this bill. Their argument for it was that people want to buy a television set for a hundred dollars, and they don't have a hundred dollars, the banks aren't gonna loan them the money. Where they gonna get the money? So isn't it better to let somebody borrow the hundred dollars and pay back a hundred and thirty six and get the television than to deny them all together? That was the argument for the bill. Of course, the argument against it was, it was obscene. I mean, really (??) (both laugh) So, anyway, he's pushing the bill, and we defeated it. It lost, and the Republicans were all against it. The bill lost, and a couple of days later, it's resurrected again, you know, somebody got talked into, and they got it 00:30:00back. Well, we decided, oh, we decided (??)--I'm gonna mention some names now, because I'll probably get in trouble with this, too--Larry Hopkins from Lexington, Oz Johnson who was assistant superintendent of schools for Louisville, and I can't think of the other guy's name. Anyway, they're up at the Holiday Inn and they're having dinner, and they decided that, we gotta do something about this bill, terrible bill. So, they decided, they to go up to the game farm. Now, a turkey represents a payoff; a "Turkey Bill" is a payoff. They went up to the game farm there in Frankfort and talked to the game guy in charge of it and said they needed a wild turkey for a legislative committee meeting. So the guy gave it to them. Put it in a box. They put it in their trunk of their car and came in the next day. Got the guy from the Kenton County. They had hid it in the caucus room. They had it in a box in our caucus room. Our caucus room is where the speaker's office is now. Anyway, we had this turkey in the box, and I didn't 00:31:00know anything about it. So I'm gonna speak against this bill, I'm gonna speak, and I don't know who it was, Larry or one of them came over to me, "How long are you?"--no--anyway, someone came over to me and said, "How long you gonna talk," and I said, "I don't know, two, three minutes." "Make it a little longer," and I said, "Why?" He said, "The damn turkey coming," and I said, "What! There's a turkey coming?" "Yes, it's loose in the caucus room." (both laugh) And they said, "That damn thing was flying around," and we had a great big long table, and that they said it flew down tried to land. Well, the spurs wouldn't go on the wood table, so it slid, and knocked glasses, and water, and everything all over the room. The room was a mess. Well, they finally caught it. J.T. Skaggs, that's who it was; J.T. Skaggs was a country boy, and he caught it, put it back in the box. So, I'm up speaking, and I'm talking and all of the sudden, up against this--the door opens in front, they distracted the doorman, the door opens in front, and this box through the--(laughs)--there were the press. If 00:32:00you're looking at the Capitol, if you're looking at the speaker's desk from your desk, the press was on this side around tables, and then over in the other corner is where they have the television cameras. They threw this box in the kit, the box hit the floor, it busted open, the turkey ran out. Ran across in front of the speaker's, I think. And up to the television and somehow took out the television--can't think of the guy's name that's with the University of Kentucky now, television reporter who had his own camera, film camera, was over there, and it ran through his tripod he's got. (laughs) Trying to get it. Ran under the speaker's desk and over underneath the press table. (both laugh) Then, and I'm insulted. They did this thing while I'm speaking, you know. Anyway, anyway, Bill Kenton! Was it, Bill Kenton was the speaker? I am not positive who was speaker then. It might have been Bill Kenton. But anyway, this was terrible. And they finally caught the turkey, 00:33:00put it a box, and they say the turkey died, I don't know but they say--

MOYEN: --was it Norbert Blume? Sorry.

SCHMIDT: Norbert Blume. Norbert Blume, Norbert Blume, you're right. Norn Blume. Anyway, he was just incensed, you know. And everybody's so daggone mad. 'We're gonna have a hearing, we're gonna have hearings on this, and somebody, heads are gonna roll.' (both laugh) Anyway, I said, "Since I was speaker, I wanta be the first one to speak at this hearing." "Okay, but there gonna be closed hearings." I said, "No, they're not. They're gonna be open, public, and press, everybody's there." "Well, I'll tell you what I'm gonna say. I'm gonna open that meeting by saying, 'I wanna know which turkey died: the one that flies or the one that buys?'" (both laugh) And they--then they got all excited. So anyway, finally, it boiled all down to if Oz and Larry would apologize, they would call the whole thing off. Well, they said, they're not gonna stand up and apologize. "Okay, well, if they apologize in private," I think that what it. (laughs) Anyway, that's how it ended up. There were no hearings or anything else, and it kinda 00:34:00brushed over with that, and the bill passed. House Bill 236 became law. Those were the days. (laughs)

MOYEN: I'm not sure that would happen today either.

SCHMIDT: Well, I doubt it, I hope not. There was a lot more ruckuses back in those earlier days. Like I told you, the first year I went down, you know, there was whiskey bottles in the restroom, and then you wouldn't see anything like that now.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Well, why is that? Good and bad.

SCHMIDT: Well, I think it's good. I think it's good all the way. Nobody paid any attention to it in those earlier days. The government was run by the Governor. And that didn't make any difference who the Governor was, Chandler, or Combs, Breathitt, or Nunn. And it was just--I don't think there was much respect then. And Norb Blume had a responsibility over this, too, trying to restore decorum, some decorum to the place. And Julian did, I know when he was speaker. I think 00:35:00the longer you went, the more responsible the individuals felt about appearance, what appearance would be the public, and in the press too.

MOYEN: So would, do you think TV had something to do with that, more cameras, more often--

SCHMIDT: Yeah, yeah. But, I'm not--but I mean--you're gonna say KET, and I don't know if KET did it. But there's no question about it. Different reporters, and then more awareness what went on, what goes on in Frankfort, you know, other than, it's just like an another city council meeting.

MOYEN: Right. Right.

SCHMIDT: It attracts too many people.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

SCHMIDT: But those were the days.

MOYEN: Okay, so that stuff was going on politically. What about personally? How are you juggling, holding a job, being a legislator, and raising a family?

SCHMIDT: You know, this was really was a problem, and that's one of the reasons why I never ran again. Well, after '92. I didn't have any problems at all up until the eighties, the early eighties. First 00:36:00of all, I worked at Cincinnati Bell. They were very good. I took a leave of absence without pay during that same session. You met for three months. At the beginning you didn't need ----------(??), you didn't have committee meetings. And if they did, they were very, very seldom, you know. And there's good and bad to that I guess. But, then in '83, is when my wife was diagnosed with MS, and she was in the kitchen and had a walker and fell and broke her hip. And that was the year I was elected to the Senate. Well then, you know, I stayed in Frankfort all the time up until then, and then, from the Senate I came home most of the nights. The last term I came home every--I don't think I stayed in Frankfort one time during session. Because I wanted to be home. And that and that worked too. It made a difference even though I gave them a leave of absence during the session. Now, I am 00:37:00having these committee meetings. And there's at least one a week, or maybe two a week, and that really starts interfering with your job. Well, of course, '83 I retired from Cincinnati Bell and that made a big difference. If I had--I don't think I could have kept my job at a major company, any job, I don't think any major company would have allowed you to serve today with the demands that are on you because you're almost a fulltime legislator, and that's bad. I can tell you a story Louie Nunn told me about Congress. The worst thing that ever happened to Washington. All the--throughout the history of this country, nothing has done more harm to the Federal Government than air conditioning. I don't know if you've heard this but air conditioning has ruined the Federal Government. Up until the forties or early fifties, Congress met until the first of July and they always adjourned 00:38:00and went home for the Fourth, the (??) holiday and stayed home. In other words, they got their work done in June. And then they were back with the people, had to live, and had to see how the people were living. Well, then some yo-yo came along and air-conditioned those buildings up there and Washington gets pretty hot in the summertime. Now, they stay there all year long, and the only time they come home is to run for office and send their newsletters back, which are all cut and dry, and there prepared and slanted.

MOYEN: Um-hm. ----------(??)

SCHMIDT: That's right. (laughs) So, now look at the Federal Government. See, it's much worse than it was before. (both laugh) I blame air conditioning (laughs) (??) Air conditioning ruined this country.

MOYEN: There actually--

SCHMIDT: There is some truths to that believe me.

MOYEN: This is beside the point, but there is a scholarly paper written on how air conditioning changed the South, and how people used to--the community, and sitting on the porch, and you knew everyone.

SCHMIDT: Sure, you had the symphony, or the orchestra, or the band, the bar house band or the college band played in the gazebo out in 00:39:00the park. You never do that. Ice cream socials, you never do that anymore. That's right. (laughs)

MOYEN: Well, back to what we were talking about, when Julian Carroll became Governor when Wendell Ford left.

SCHMIDT: Right, right.

MOYEN: Is the dynamic different? Was the dynamic different when the Governor hadn't been elected?

SCHMIDT: Okay, I know what you're saying.

MOYEN: Pretty much the same dynamic before and after his election?

SCHMIDT: Of course, I'll tell you why--I didn't notice any difference, and the reason I did--I did not was that first of all, I think that everyone knew that Julian was gonna head there anyway. Julian was Lieutenant Governor. Julian was groomed from speaker, from legislator to speaker, to President of the Senate, to Lieutenant Governor, as president of the Senate, and now, and that was one reason. And I think another reason was the period of time was not very long. I'm not sure of it anymore but I think Ford had one year to go as Governor, his term 00:40:00for Governor, so Julian came in like one year before his election. And I didn't particularly notice any difference, and I don't know if there really was any.

MOYEN: Um-hm. What about the leadership change in the House from Norb Blume to Bill Kenton? Did that change any dynamics in terms of leadership?

SCHMIDT: Really I don't--

MOYEN: Still the Governor's show at this point in time?

SCHMIDT: Yeah, yeah. It's still the Governor's show, sure. Of course, I don't know if Norb--what ambition Norb had. I know that Kenton was being groomed for Governor; I don't think there's any question about it. I think Kenton--and Bill was a good man, a really, really good legislator--that he was working, aiming towards that same, I think, tour that Julian took. I'm pretty sure of that. That's what he had in mind. Of course, then he passed away.

MOYEN: Right.

SCHMIDT: But Bill was a good man.


MOYEN: Um-hm. Speaking of trying to position yourself, or being groomed for Governor, can you tell me a little bit about what your thoughts were when Julian Carroll left the state and Thelma Stovall called this special session, which apparently now is all--at least, most people say, well, that was her attempt to get, you know, get, shed some light on herself for the Governor--

SCHMIDT: I don't know what it was, but I know as soon as Julian came back, they cancelled it, you know, which we said--Republicans said he had no authority to do. He did not have the authority--the Governor calls special session. Once a special session is called, the only ones that can adjourn are the legislators. So, on the day when it was supposed to be there, a bunch of us ended up down at the Capitol. And Louie DeFalaise I know was there, and myself, and Harold DeMarcus probably, and I don't know, but there was a bunch of us. We were there, we were down, and they locked the Capitol, and they wouldn't 00:42:00let us in. (both laugh) There was some reporters out there but it was a big windstorm with not a lot of wind. (both laugh) And we all went home and that was it. But I'm sure that--cause--well, Thelma wanted to be Governor, you know, I'm sure of that. And this was, she saw this as an opportunity to make some waves, the same as--cause it happened before, that's what Chandler did.

MOYEN: Right, right.

SCHMIDT: Okay, I wasn't here then. I wasn't there. But that's what I'm sure that that's what she was trying to do. But Julian handled it pretty good because he just cut her off at the pass.

MOYEN: Now didn't he cut off the session but agree to meet and discuss some issues later, if everyone would go home, and, you know, the storm was over (??), or do you recall?

SCHMIDT: I don't recall that.

MOYEN: Okay.

SCHMIDT: First of all, I think Julian--I'm not saying that he didn't do that cause I think he would be willing to meet, you know, within reason now, but now if you wanted to get together, if you wanted to have a 00:43:00meeting with Julian or something, he'd do it. Matter of fact he's called me here already now, I talked to him less than, I don't know, six months ago, I guess. And I don't know what it was about anymore but he'd call up about something and--I can't think of what it was--but anyway, he was easy to talk to, and agreeable. And you gotta do it his way--(both laugh)--but at least you get your point in. That's what I like and count on, in many of these (??) cases. (both laugh)

MOYEN: All right.

[Tape 1, side 1 ends; side 2 begins.]

MOYEN: Okay. All right.

SCHMIDT: Okay. No, I got doing a lot of crazy stuff. I know, I remember we had a committee meeting in the Senate--I'm not sure if this was Julian or Wendell--but Damian Harris (??) was the commissioner of finance. And we asked what he was doing with all the money that we gave him, you know, to bring industry and that into Kentucky--did I 00:44:00already tell you this already?

MOYEN: No, I don't think so.

SCHMIDT: About the mushroom? Okay, okay, well anyway, what he was doing to bring industry? He's got all this money; what's he doing to attract business?

MOYEN: Who is this now?

SCHMIDT: Damian Harris (??).

MOYEN: Okay.

SCHMIDT: And he was commissioner of finance.

MOYEN: Okay.

SCHMIDT: And I'm 99 percent--that's the thing about it (??)--he was commissioner. And like a secretary today, they didn't have secretaries then. Anyway, so we asked him and it was like I really helped the guy out. I really did him a favor cause--"Oh, absolutely," he said, "We're doing things here to bring industry in and we're trying to create a climate. "One of the things were doing," he said, "And this will be interesting," he said, "you know, we've got all these abandoned caves and mines in Kentucky. And they are the ideal environment for raising mushrooms. We can raise mushrooms, and we're gonna try to bring canneries in, and this will be in our areas where we need jobs, 00:45:00and we can raise these mushrooms and can these mushrooms and provide a lot of work." Really, he went on and on like that. And I was laying in bed that night, thinking about it, and what's the main ingredient was mushrooms and this horse manure.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

SCHMIDT: And so anyway, I drafted the bill the next day that, 'Whereas Kentucky has those who need a job and whereas we want business,' and all that, and 'Whereas we have the best quality horse manure in the world and that is the main ingredient we have these (??) and therefore the mushroom will be the Official State Fungus.' (both laugh) Cause, everybody, every year somebody comes up with one of these crazy official state rock, the official state this, the official state that, so I thought official state fungus. So I introduced the bill. And Ed Holloway, he wants to be a co-sponsor with me, so Ed gets on it. (Moyen laughs) Anyway, we introduce the bill and I know it's not going to go anywhere but I thought we could have some fun with it. A reporter from down in Western Kentucky, and I don't have any idea what his name was, but he said, "Did you introduce that bill about a mushroom?" I said, "Yeah." He said, "Can I interview you?" I said, "Well, sure." So he sets up his camera--he had film cameras; they didn't have 00:46:00television--so he hands me the microphone and told me to stand here and then he focuses everything, and then he comes right over and holds the mike and he said, "Representative Smith, I understand you introduce this bill on the mushroom?" I said, "Well,"--now I forget what his name--"Well, before we go on can I ask you a question?" He says, "Oh, sure." I said, "Where does your television station cover?" He said, "Well, down in Western Kentucky, Paducah area." I said, "Well, does it get up into Northern Kentucky?" He said, "Oh, no." I said, "Okay, let's go on then." (both laugh) Well, he knew something was coming. Anyway, so I said, I went on and I told him about introducing it and why we introduced it. Now, I started getting a little more excited. I said, "This is a great idea." I said, "I think we should pass this bill and there should be a lot of publicity with it because when this is known nationwide, across the world," I said, "I can see where we could have a mushroom festival in Kentucky. We could have a mushroom festival that would rival the Kentucky Derby Festival. We could have chefs come in from all over the world and they could be preparing mushroom recipes." 00:47:00He said--I said, "I think this is stunning." And I said, "Another thing, you know, that the mushrooms are raised in horse manure," and I said, "What we could do, we could have a choice mushroom, and can you image if we raffled this off each year, what a mushroom raised in the droppings of Secretariat would bring." (both laugh) He almost dropped his microphone, you know, and he was laughing and we cut it off right then. (both laugh) Anyway, he told me later on that they played that I don't know how many times down in Western Kentucky, and I kept thinking, Thank God, it never came up to Northern Kentucky, where people--(laughs)--cause you're supposed to be down there doing all these people's business and I'm down there with crazy mushrooms, you know. Well, the bill never got out of committee, but what killed it mainly was that somebody put an amendment on it to change it from a mushroom to athlete's foot. (both laugh) I remember the paper reporter and they asked me what I thought of that and I said, "That I think it's terrible because everybody knows the mushroom is native to Kentucky and 00:48:00athlete's foot was brought in from the North by these Yankees." (both laugh) And that did it, you know; that was the end of the mushroom.

MOYEN: (both laugh) That's, that's good. Now, let me ask you about this. Did you also do something similar, propose some legislation when John Y. Brown--

SCHMIDT:--I sure did (laughs)

MOYEN:--was Governor?

MOYEN: I think I read about that. Why don't you tell me a little about that?

SCHMIDT: (laughs) Okay. When John Y. Brown was Governor--and again, I was lying in bed; I think about these things, happen when I can't sleep. It was, again, going through one of these sessions where the 'Official State,' this and that, a bunch of bills had been introduced to change the name. Julian had one about changing the name of the state tree to the coffee tree. I think his wife wanted the coffee tree. And any bit, there was going on, but, when Brown was there, I got laying in bed, 'Hey, that's a good idea,' you know, so I drafted up this resolution that the, 'Whereas they have hired a contractor to paint the Capitol's dome in stripes of white and red, and they were installing 00:49:00a drive-up window in the rear of Room 100,'--which is the Governor's office--'in order to dispense goodies more readily.' (both laugh) And a couple, more whereas, 'Whereas is now there for the Official State Bird should be changed from the cardinal, cardinalis, to a fried chicken.' (Moyen laughs) And I couldn't think of, couldn't find a fried chicken, Latin word for fried chicken, so 'to fried chicken, mortus polus.' (both laugh) And I introduced it, you know, and, of course, it didn't go anywhere either but, I mean, it did get some laughs. And, you know, people say these things are crazy and I did several of these, I got some good ones. But, 'Drivers,' is one I got to tell you about; I have told you about that. But, I think, it relieves a lot of tension. I mean, you can--believe me, I've seen fistfights. You know, where people got so mad and they have to be restrained almost because you 00:50:00get so emotional and so involved in the thing, and some of these things really relieve the tension, and they really don't hurt anybody.

MOYEN: Right.

SCHMIDT: I mean I can understand where, if you're running for office somebody wants to use it against you, they could do it. Of course, I knew I learned a long time ago, too, that--I might have said this--but when you're looking at legislation, look at it and don't worry about the consequences. Do what you think is right. Cause I'll take any bill, anything--I want to run against you, you vote for the budget. I can say, "You know, he voted to give the Louisville Symphony Orchestra a hundred thousand dollars." I mean, "He voted for that bill." Or you vote against a budget, you know, "he voted against giving the teachers a salary increase, that's terrible." So, you want to demagogue something, you can demagogue anything. So, the bottom line is look at the thing, analyze it, take your best shot, vote for it or against it, whatever you think is best, and forget about it. Don't let it eat on you. You know, cause you're gonna make mistakes; everybody does. But 00:51:00anyway, I thought that was a good one.

MOYEN: Did Governor Brown ever say anything to you about that? Was he able to laugh about that, or?

SCHMIDT: I don't know if he did or not. I know--I was minority leader. And I was in his office, just the two of us. About something, I disagreed with him, and he was trying to get me to go along with him, and I said, "No, I can't do it." And he said, "Okay, that's it." After the last session when he was Governor, and he was interviewing with the press--the press was doing it, the legislature session was over now, and he's saying, "How did you get along with the legislator?" "Oh, fine, I get along with them fine (??)." And then he'd say--the ----------(??) reporter told me he stopped, "All except that damn Art Schmidt." (both laugh) Otherwise, it was all pretty good, you know. 'Well, dang it now. That's all right,' you know. No, but I--I liked him. He invited me to his house. We were over in Maysville where he 00:52:00lived, and there was Phyllis. And I think he's a good guy but I just disagree with some of the things. One of the--I know what it was that we disagreed. It was over the bond issues. Some of the bond issues, I thought they were too high.

MOYEN: Can you explain go into that a little further?

SCHMIDT: Well, yeah. Bond indebtedness, what percentage--the bottom line is this, I guess. It's the same thing as a deficit, federal deficit. You argue about the federal deficit, that it's way out of control and it's terrible. I think what you have to do is look at as a percentage of the gross national product or percentage of the federal budget. And that was the same thing we were trying to do with the state. Of our entire budget, how much of it is debt? What percentage should it be? And you could argue it could be anything. But your personal debt, how much debt should you be in? And they'll say, you know, you oughtn't to spend more than for a house maybe twice your annual salary and no more than that. And those are all just rules of thumb and they're not cast in concrete but we thought at 00:53:00that time that the same deficit--when I say we, I mean the Republicans (??)--that the debt was too high for the amount of revenue that we had. That was a one thing. And another argument we made and I feel much stronger about this one is that you should not be using debt bonds to pay for recurring expenses. In other words, if you've got recurring expenses, that has come out of current operating revenue. Debt you use for capital investment like school buildings or something like that. That's something that you can reasonably believe should be debt cause people are gonna benefit from it over a long period of time. But to sell bonds to pay for teachers' salaries would be totally wrong because all you're doing is delaying the inevitable. That's the bottom line.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Um-hm. Right. Do you remember specifically, was that a piece of legislation where that disagreement came to a head with the Governor, or just in general?


SCHMIDT: I think it was just in general, I don't--I don't remember any specific piece of legislation anyway.

MOYEN: Okay. Let me ask you about this. When John Y. Brown was elected--well, first of all, during the election or during the campaign, did you have any idea--I guess a lot, it really surprised a lot of people ----------(??).

SCHMIDT:--it did. It surprised everybody. He came out of the woodwork from Florida--(both laugh)--with this good-looking girl on his arm. Ran around the state. And I forget who his main opposition was, I can't remember who was gonna run. But, any who was running then, but he just set them all aside and ran, you know.

MOYEN: Right, right.

SCHMIDT: And, you know, he's a good-looking guy, has charisma, his father gotta perfect name. Who hasn't heard of John Y. Brown?

MOYEN: Right.

SCHMIDT: You know, he's rotting into the grave, you know. (both laugh) ----------(??). No relation maybe, but he just had a perfect name from a good part of the state. And his father had served in government for 00:55:00a long time, and he had money. And boy, you can't really beat that combination. (laughs)

MOYEN: Right. So when he wins, now you are a Republican, so maybe it doesn't seem quite as big of a deal, but this is when, especially Democrats, I guess Republicans and Democrats, start talking about legislative independence.

SCHMIDT: Oh, they talked about it long before then. But they never achieved it, you know. And, you know, if you want to talk about legislative independence, I'd say you have to start with Nunn. And Louie controlled it; believe me he did. But Democrats all the sudden did not have a leader that told them, you know, when to go to the bathroom. (laughs)

MOYEN: Um-hm.

SCHMIDT: And now they were a lot more independent. And they did a lot of things in the legislature. Matter of fact, the first sales tax bill that passed--I think we talked about that--you know, lost because of 00:56:00the putting the exempting of food and medicine from it. So, and Louie lost that one but he got it back. So, I think but that the Democrats started feeling that independence then. I think that Ford ran things. But I think--but then under Ford, the Legislative Research Commission- -cause his friend who was a--can't even think of his name now--but who was chairman of the Legislative Research Commission. They started getting a little more rambunctious. So I think it was evolved over time. You, maybe you're right, maybe Brown might have.

MOYEN: It might not have been the beginning but it was a wash (??).

SCHMIDT: You're right, you're right, Brown might maybe a little bit more of the waterfalls started going. Water started flowing a little faster. And, of course, once you lose that control, it's awfully difficult to get back, right. Of course, Wilkinson, didn't Wilkinson follow, Martha? I forget, Martha Layne?

MOYEN: Martha Layne followed John Y. Brown.

SCHMIDT: Martha Layne, well, she was, I think, she's a good Governor 00:57:00too. And then, but again, that was--you know, I think she still controlled a bit. She didn't have the control of the earlier Governors had, that's for sure. I think it was something that was kinda snowballing and it was going to be impossible to stop after John Y. Brown. Cause John Y. did not really have the contacts that--but John Y. had some good people around him. That was the--John--I forget some of the people that were running legislation. Floyd Poore, I think was one--anyway, he has some good people that knew how to play the game and knew how to do it. But, still I get--I would say he was one of them ----------(??). See, the Governors wanted to control everything up till then, and then, now they guess they were more--they were single shooting rather than shotgun.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Um-hm. Can you tell me, was there any legislation during John Y. Brown's term, either landmark, or very important, or difficult 00:58:00to vote on, that you recall?

SCHMIDT: I can't think of any that Brown had. I think--the one really good thing that he did, that was no question, was the AA Highway, and he pointed this out too. And anybody who wanted to could look and see it. If you looked at a map of Kentucky, the highways are vital, you know, for development. If you look at a map of Kentucky and you took from Northern Kentucky to Ashland, there was no way to get there reasonably. You know, you drove KY 8 at the time, which was a terrible two-lane highway. And so, the only way you go to Ashland was to drive to Lexington and then drive up. And the AA Highway had been proposed for years and years, and AA was Alexander to Ashland. Well, it goes from Wilder to some other city. (laughs) And they still called it the 00:59:00AA. But, I mean that he was responsible for the AA Highway and that has been a boom; there's no question about it. I mean it has opened up the whole area. And--maybe, one of the reasons why Ashland Oil moved their headquarters to Northern Kentucky.

MOYEN: Right.

SCHMIDT: It's easy to get back and forth now. (laughs) And they wanted to be in a metropolitan area, which Ashland wasn't, but they're still close enough.

MOYEN: Right. Um-hm. Let me ask you about this. What did you think of John Y. Brown's leadership style? Did he--he definitely wasn't this hands-on as the other Governors, right?

SCHMIDT: Definitely not. I mean, you know, John tried twisting arms, there's no question about that. He used parties. He did invite legislators, if ever they had parties, either at his house--the mansion, I think was being renovated at the time, so they were going over to his place in Lexington. But I think, I think--I guess I'd say 01:00:00John Y.'s ----------(??) greatest asset

was ----------(??) the fact that--it was the same thing as when he was in business. I don't think anyone accused John Y. of being a Rhodes Scholar, or, you know, a genius but he was because he knew how to gain good people in the government. And I think almost anybody you talk to would say--and I can't even think of most their names now--but he did. He brought people into government who were concerned, and caring, and knew, and were convincing, and knew how things worked.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Um-hm.

SCHMIDT: And he did a great job on that. I think he did the same thing in business. That was one of the reasons why he was so successful in KFC.

MOYEN: Right. Did the legislature notice how often he was gone? I read somewhere about how many days he was--

SCHMIDT: Oh yeah. He--see, he--(laughs)--no, I don't think they did. I don't think they cared.


MOYEN: Um-hm.

SCHMIDT: Yeah, legislature really don't care that much about the Governor unless they want something or unless they're trying to duck him. (both laugh) They're trying to stay away from cause he's gonna twist their arms. But he didn't twist their arms. He had his people doing it, twisting arms.

MOYEN: Let me ask you this. By 1984, at the national level, Ronald Reagan had in some respects--not in some--had really elevated the Republican Party.

SCHMIDT: No question.

MOYEN: And the economy was beginning to zoom at a rate that would continue for many years besides the recession.

SCHMIDT: You get arguments about it but they say that's the tax cuts that he did were the greatest thing that ever happened because that was the most sustained growth period that the country's seen forever, I guess.

MOYEN: Right. At the same time, Kentucky was still having trouble with their budget, by '84. At least what I read in the paper, Mike Moloney and the Senate's talking about the trouble that we've got with the 01:02:00budget. And, why, did you sense that?

SCHMIDT: Yeah, I was on the committee with Mike. Well, not in '84--yeah,'84, yeah I was. I was in the Senate; I was on the A & R Committee. The only thing the way I'd answer that and you show me a newspaper article where Mike Moloney said everything was great and rosy. (both laugh) You show me that one where Mike Moloney announced to the press that revenues were great and we got more money than we need. We're gonna fulfill all the needs and we might even give a tax cut. Now you show me that and I'll show you Santa Claus. (laughs) Cause the words about Mike and Joe Clarke being the 'Gloom' and 'Doom' were really true. Now they're both, I think, both outstanding legislators. But, I can tell you a story about Mike, too, that shows you how kinda power the Governor had, and this was when I guess Martha 01:03:00Layne was Governor. Anyway, yeah, it was Reagan. They had passed a depreciation bill in Congress. Part of the tax structure was to accelerate depreciation. The idea was if you could accelerate office equipment, cars, computers, and so forth, accelerate the depreciation, then companies would get rid of the old, buy new cause they would (??) pay for acceleration. So Kentucky, I wanted--I got Moloney, I got the amendment on our budget bill in the Senate to do the same thing for Kentucky cause two things I hated. Number one was that we had to have separate tax structure from the Federal Government then, you know. And I tried to pass another bill--I'm gonna have to change the story a little bit--to require--and I think Congress should do this--to require every legislator, every Congressman, and every Senator to make it a felony and illegal to prepare, to have someone else prepare 01:04:00their income tax. In other words, you have to prepare your own income tax and suffer the consequences. And if anybody else helps you, I mean, you go to jail, that's all there's to it. Well, you talk about simplifying taxes--(both laugh)--in a hurry, that would do it. Cause I know I gave up back in the eighties, I used to do my own. I pride myself in doing it, but I gave up on it. Cause it's a shame. I mean I never--I call, when I was doing my own taxes, I wanted to find out about something, a question I had. I called Louisville office, the Covington office, and the Cincinnati office, got three different answers. You know, cause and try that sometime; it is unbelievable. And these are supposed to be the people advising you, you know.

MOYEN: Right.

SCHMDIT: And so, I just think it's terrible. But I wanted the depreciation to be the same. Mike agreed with me. We got it on the budget bill. It came to the floor and they took it off. And I go over, "What the hell's a matter? What's going on?" "Governor don't want 01:05:00it. Saying it's gonna cost us too much money." And I said, "Mike, it isn't gonna cost you money," I said, "You know that. It's gonna cost you money the first year but then you bring in more as more sales tax and everything else that you're bringing in." "I argued with them, Art, they don't agree, and I can't do anything about it." That was it, you know. (both laugh) But anyway, back to your original question. I don't think we were in really in bad of shape as Mike says we were.

MOYEN: Let me ask you about this. Could you tell me about the events surrounding your move from the House to the Senate?

SCHMIDT: Yeah, sure.

MOYEN: How did all that transpire?

SCHMIDT: Okay, I'm minority leader in the House. I'm happy. I'm happy with this (??). Governor's race is coming up. Martha Layne's race is coming up. And the Republicans don't have a candidate. And they need a viable candidate to run. Jim Bunning's in the Senate, and he's majority--minority leader in the Senate. And he comes over to me, and 01:06:00says he's thinking of running for Governor, and they're after him to run, and would I run for his Senate seat. And I said, "No, I don't I don't want to." I said, "I'm happy where I'm at," you know. And he says, "Well, we're gonna lose that Senate seat in Campbell County if you don't run," and he said, "We talked about it with some people and they think you're the only one who can win," and I said, "I don't really want to." "Well, I ain't gonna run for Governor unless you run for the Senate." (both laugh) And I got to--and I had mixed emotions because being a senator--you're a representative, that's it, but when you're a senator, you're a senator all the time. (both laugh) You know, ----------(??) senator. Anyway, well, it kinda appealed to me. The four-year term didn't appeal to me because I was at a point now where now nobody's running against me anyway, you know.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

SCHMIDT: So, anyways, I said, "Okay, I'll do it." Well, and I did, and Dave Pribble from Pendleton County--and thank God he was from Pendleton County. Cause it was close. It was a close election and I won. 01:07:00And Jim ran and lost. But then Snyder retired later as Congressman, Jim ran for that and won fairly easily. Ran against Terry Mann and won fairly easily and--no, he didn't either--well, anyway he ran and won. Then Terry Mann, the next time Terry Mann ran against Jim and Terry beat him in Campbell County--this is they're both from Campbell County. So, now I'm running for the Senate seat for the second term, Terry's running against me now. So, everybody's just agreed that I was a goner. (laughs) They were writing it off. Well, that made me mad cause I'd lost once back in '66--'65. And I wasn't gonna lose a race again and I really did. I worked hard. My daughter who works for Provident Bank took four days off--or four weeks off, a leave of absence, and she ran my headquarters. And we won. Won fairly easily, that was a great victory. But I'm jumping ahead.

MOYEN: No, not at all, not at all.



MOYEN: How did your district or constituency change between being representative and then a senator?

SCHMIDT: Not really a whole lot. My district was mainly southern Campbell County, Fort Thomas, southern Campbell County. And then when I get to the Senate, it was Campbell County, all of Campbell County, which brought in a lot of Democratic area. Newport, Bellevue, and Dayton, which is normally Democrat, and then Pendleton County, which is Democrat county. But, it was almost three times as many votes. But, I mean, it--it was a Democrat district but not a substantial Democrat district. And they had voted Republican, you know. Cause Jim had won it. And so, it changed but not tremendously.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Okay.

SCHMDIT: I guess the one thing that's funny about it is that. When I ran for city council--I know we talked about that--I'd get calls all the time about dogs in the yard, and paper not thrown away, 01:09:00and all this kinda crazy stuff. And then when you run for state representative, there weren't as many few, as many calls. You didn't get as much bother. Nobody bothered you quite as much, you know. (laughs) Cause now, I mean, I guess they think you're a bigger shot. Then when you run for the Senate, even though you got a bigger district, they even fall off more because they're running, they're calling their representative, that's the people's branch of government, you know. (Moyen laughs) Well, I finally figured it out. Bush doesn't get any calls he doesn't want. (both laugh) He never answers the phone. People got a complaint, you know. (laughs) Nobody gets through there unless he wants it to. So the higher office you got, school board and city council are the worst jobs you can have because everybody's on your back all the time. So you want a have a nice plush job and want to be in politics, run for President cause nobody will bother you. (both laugh)

MOYEN: That's pretty good advice.

SCHMIDT: I don't know if I answered your question.

MOYEN: ----------(??)

SCHMIDT: ----------(??) I didn't say you win, you know.


MOYEN: When you won the Senate seat originally, who did you say you ran against?

SCHMIDT: David, David Pribble, who was county judge in Pendleton County.

MOYEN: Okay, all right--

SCHMDIT:--good man (??)--

MOYEN:--that's much more rural than--

SCHMIDT: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Pendleton County had maybe nine thousand, and we had, I guess, eighty thousand, something like that.

MOYEN: When you took your position in the Senate, did you get to serve on corresponding committees--

SCHMIDT:--yes, yes--

MOYEN:--the same ones you'd served on in the House?

SCHMIDT: Yeah, I went to the Senate and--I'm trying to think who was. Joe? I can't think of who the minority leader was--but there were so few of us. There were not that many senators. I think there were only eight when I got in. (both laugh) Out of thirty-eight. But, so we served, pretty much to serve on any of the committees that we wanted. I got on BOP, Business Organization Professions, revenue committee-- 01:11:00Banks and Loans Committee, which was the choice one. The other one the choice one was education. I wasn't particularly interested in that. I think I got some other committees but those were the two.

MOYEN: Okay. Tell me a little bit about the difference between the workings of the House and Senate and just the feel when you're there.

SCHMIDT: Of course, the House is rambunctious. There's a hundred people. They all got their own agenda. They all got their own ideas. You know, and it's all kind a raucous and all that kind of stuff. And the Senate was much more quiet, sedate. Didn't go by the rules as much as they did. I remember when Steve Beshear was president of the Senate. I got into an argument with him once, and because over the rules. And as a matter of fact, it's in the Journal of Senate 01:12:00somewhere. That they retroactively made a motion to retroactively suspend the rules, so that they could accomplish what they had accomplished. (both laugh) Some screwy thing like that. Cause when I was in the House I tried--the only way you could really fight some of these things was know the rules and know how to rules and procedure. And that's why the speakers had to be on their toes too. Like if you'll notice, they'll--when you stand up to be recognized, they never say, 'The Chair recognizes the senator from Campbell,' or, 'The gentleman from so and so,' 'For what purpose does the Senator from Campbell,' and you rise up and you'll say, 'I want to make a motion,' and they'll say, 'You can do that in motions or petitions,' you know, or, cause you'd make a motion to adjourn, well, they gotta vote on it, or you make a motion to bring a bill out of order. You could do anything. What--and a motion to adjourn is not debatable.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Um-hm.

SCHMIDT: So, you know, so they got to be careful and so that's why they always say it that way. But anyway, you learn the rules and then quit. 01:13:00Of course, when I first went down there, the rules didn't make any difference, you know. (laughs)

MOYEN: Um-hm.

SCHMIDT: That shows you the progression, how it went. They did--they didn't like the rules. They'd say, 'Forget about it, do it.' (both laugh)

MOYEN: Right.

SCHMIDT: But the Senate was a lot quieter, a lot. I think, same thing, you're still passing the same bills and everything. It wasn't (??) nearly as formal as, you know, making sure everything, all the ducks were in order and all that kinda stuff. But I enjoyed both of them.

MOYEN: Did you prefer one over the other, the workings, how they work?

SCHMIDT: Not really, no, I don't think I did.

MOYEN: Okay. When you were elected to Senate, Martha Layne Collins is elected Governor. A big push of her's--she's a teacher. She wants to really push education. I noticed there was one bill, Senate Bill 169 that dealt with teacher's testing having teacher's aides, getting money for remediation classes. Senate passed it thirty-six to one.


SCHMIDT: I'm the one vote.

MOYEN: And you're the one vote. Do you recall anything about that? Every once in a while there'll be--

SCHMIDT: Oh, yeah, there'll be one vote. I really don't know. I know-- I wanted--was there anything, was there something to do with counselors, high school counselors? I had met with some people from down in Eastern Kentucky--and I can't remember their names anymore--but they were really pushing to have an increase in counselors for high school, and I talked to them, and they convinced me that, that was really a vital thing. That counseling high school students because so many of 'em were in trouble with drugs, and trouble with pregnancy, and trouble with home, and they had come to counselors, and some schools didn't even have 'em. And I wanted to get that in every school, at least have 01:15:00one counselor in every school. We finally did it because I know they came up and gave me some kind of an award or something like that. That might have been because it wasn't in there and I wanted it in there. That could have been it, I don't know. What else--I know, no, that wasn't under Martha Layne--KERA, I opposed KERA.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Um-hm.

SCHMIDT: And that was, the reason for that was the testing program. I argued with it and I lost. I argued with Walter Baker and David Williams; they were two that voted for it. That I thought the testing program was absolutely stupid. And the reason I did was because that was back from Cincinnati Bell. When you are evaluating people, there is nothing I think more traumatic or more important than how you evaluate and being fair in your evaluation. And the way that thing was set up, it wasn't gonna work. And it didn't work either; they changed it.


MOYEN: Um-hm.

SCHMDIT: I never thought--talking about Cincinnati Bell, I said I got a couple pretty good promotions and talking to my boss, one of the things I don't particularly like is managing people, and I really didn't. And the main thing was because of these evaluations. I said, "You affect them, especially a young person, their whole career could be affected by what you say, rather be it one word, one just something that somebody else picks up and reads and then misinterprets even. So you've got to be extremely careful." And that's what was happening in education. There had to be a better way of evaluating these things than they had it set up. And I forget all the arguments, but that was my main objection to that, but KERA, I think, there was no question we had to do something--well, not just--because the Supreme Court ruled that.

MOYEN: Right.

SCHMIDT: We had to do something cause education was just horrible and- -shouldn't say horrible--but close to it. And you had counties that 01:17:00were just--you had to be ashamed of. And the taxes in the system was a PVA-- another one of the big pushes I put and lost cause, take the PVA, the private property evaluator from elected office. That's strictly a technical job and that thing ought to be appointed, where the guy can do his job objectively, and not do his job where his election depends on it. But anyway, that's.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Well, why don't we stay with this?

SCHMIDT: Okay, sure.

MOYEN: That was 1990 Senate Bill 288, where you wanted to appoint tax assessors rather than have them elected.

SCHMIDT: Yeah, right.

MOYEN: The Senate leadership sent it back to committee.

SCHMIDT: Oh, yeah, and they killed it.

MOYEN: And that, why? Why would people not be for that?

SCHMIDT: Well, the biggest push was the PVA's. (both laugh) PVA's. PVA's in every county. PVA has employees in every county. You're 01:18:00from one of these counties and the PVA talks to you--I had Bracken County at that time. And I went up to Bracken County to the courthouse, you know. They liked to threw me out of the courthouse cause I'm taking away her job. And I said, "I'm not taking away your job." I said, "Read the bill. The bill says that you stay in office. You are elected, you keep that PVA's job, and you're on a merit system. So the only way you can be thrown out is if you don't do your job." Well, they were still against it. You know why they were against it? Cause none of them were doing their damn job. (both laugh)

MOYEN: Right.

SCHMIDT: None of them were doing their job and they knew it. They knew if they were appointed at that job and they were given four years to do the right thing, they were gonna increase the assessment on 99 percent of all the property in their county and 99 percent of the people that lived there would be mad at them, you know.

MOYEN: Right.

SCHMIDT: So I've even came up with ideas like, well, every PVA will be a merit system employee but they will go to another county. (both laugh) 01:19:00Switch counties there. Do anything because it is absolutely stupid to have a job where you are elected, and if you do a good job you're gonna get fired (??), and if you do a lousy job, you're gonna re-elect you.

MOYEN: Right.

SCHMIDT: And that exactly what's happened. Well, I guess almost everybody agreed with me but nobody's gonna vote for it. (laughs)

MOYEN: Now forgive my ignorance but has that changed?

SCHMIDT: No, no, no.

MOYEN: I didn't think so.

SCHMIDT: No, no. Like I said, they are trying to do a better job. They put--I forget how they're doing it now but they've given more authority to the state to take out of PVA, or to remove a PVA, and to give them assistance and reassess. The objective was--and I think it's working to a degree--to make it look like the state is reassessing and not the county. And in some counties--I don't remember where they were--but they removed the PVA even without that bill--they removed the PVA 01:20:00and then sent the state in and reassess them, where the assessor was just terrible, you know. They've done that in one or two counties. And they have the authority to do it in every county, if they want. So, that's keeping the PVA's more in line too. And then House Bill 4--House Bill 44, I guess, it was, which I think was a terrible bill in a way. If they raised the assessment 50 percent, they still have to lower the tax so they don't get more than the 4 percent increase. You know what I mean?

MOYEN: Right, okay.

SCHMIDT: So you see, that helps protect the PVA's too, or the people who do the assessments.

MOYEN: Am I wrong in this? Would that have been the bill that was passed during the re-adjournment of the special session with Julian Carroll? Am I, or?

SCHMIDT: I think it was. I think, I don't know--I know it was--and I'll tell you why it was a bad bill. I voted for it. (laughs) But I'll tell you what was bad about it was, there was no sunset clause on it. There should have been a phase-out or something. Because one mistake, the 01:21:00state revenue, for example, camps and property taxes. Well, I don't know what we were getting but since the assessments went up and all new assessments, the state tax has to go down, and that means you're not getting any new revenue, and the state taxes on property is way really low now. Probably less than what it was back in these day, you know. If we'd have just froze it, even, or allowed it to grow with it, the way we did county, it might have been better, but we didn't do it.

MOYEN: And you proposed that as well.

SCHMIDT: Oh, yeah, that bill, you know, that wasn't a popular one but it makes sense. (laughs) It makes sense. A hell of a lot more sense than mushrooms. (both laugh)

MOYEN: That's right. Let me ask you about this. In 1985, there was some Republican dissension, I believe, over trying to elect leadership.

SCHMIDT: Oh, yeah.

MOYEN: I believe there were ten Republicans.


SCHMIDT: Ten republicans. There were five and five.

MOYEN: Right.

SCHMIDT: And Clyde Middleton and Joe Lane Travis. I remember it.

MOYEN: Eventually, you and four others walked out and I don't even know the resolution. Can you tell me where the factions were, and why they were--

SCHMIDT: It was really funny. Here we are, we're ten members of the Senate with thirty-eight; we're no power at all. Except you were, that Legislative Research Commission membership was important. So anyway, cause you were--you had--we are an inner circle at least. Joe Lane Travis wanted to be the caucus chairman and so did Clyde Middleton, and Clyde Middleton was the present caucus chairman. And we had our votes lined up, and there were five for him and five for Clyde, and they weren't gonna budge. And the Democrats were getting pretty mad because they wanted to make the announcements and get the heck out of there, you know. So, finally I remember talking to, Clyde, and I said, "Look it at. All you gotta do is read the rules." I said, "There's nothing they can do. The rules say very clearly that you're in,"--not 01:23:00different but any other; this is Robert's Rules [Robert's Rules of Order] for anything--"that you are elected and you serve until your successor is dually qualified. Well, you're serving. You're it." (laughs) Cause I like Joe Lane Travis but Joe Lane doesn't have the votes. He's can't be qualified and you can't be for this new election, and so you continue to serve and as long as none of us die or anything like that, you're in. (laughs) Or change our mind. Anyway, so I think that's finally the way it ended up that Clyde was just assumed that, and I don't know that there was ever an official vote or not.

MOYEN: Do you recall who were--which senators were on which faction of that leadership struggle and why?

SCHMIDT: No, I think geographically had something to do with it. Cause Joe Lane was from down Barren County, down in that area. It probably- 01:24:00-although I don't know this for sure--might have been a rural-urban kind of thing. Yeah, yeah. Cause that's the only thing I can think of.

MOYEN: Okay.

SCHMIDT: And personalities, I don't think any of us were really mad, we didn't get--

MOYEN: --just irritated.

SCHMIDT: Just irritated. Yeah, right. (both laugh) Well, another reason for being LRC too, or being leadership, you appoint the committees. And the Democrats finally agreed that, to let the Republicans appoint their members, and the Democrats would appoint their members, and that happened back before I was even in leadership. And they only reneged it once. That was Jim LeMaster and Bobby Richardson cause one of my guys who I had appointed to committee that he wanted, said he wanted and wanted to change later on, and I told him no, and so he goes to the Democrats and they put him on the committee anyway. I won't tell you what his name is cause I hate him. (both laugh) No. (both laugh) I don't think I hate anybody, really.


MOYEN: Let me ask you about this. Same year, 1985, there was some discussion of a residency requirement bill with Martha Layne Collins. She wanted a residency requirement bill and I don't even know all the details of that. But you were quoted, at least in the Herald-Leader, as saying that you were going to oppose that because you didn't want to give the Governor any excuse to call a special session. Do you recall anything about the debates over special session? I believe that she did eventually have a special session that dealt with education in 1985.

SCHMIDT: Residency, I can't don't recall anything about a residency bill.

MOYEN: Okay, and it was very small, there wasn't a whole lot on it.

SCHMIDT: The only thing I can comment on that was that when a reporter would interview me and talk to me about something, I couldn't wait 01:26:00to get the paper the next day to see what I said. (both laugh) You understand what I'm saying, right?

MOYEN: Right, I understand what you are saying.

SCHMDIT: And I have a lot of respect for reporters. I think that people, who can take, cover a session, take complicated issues and bills, and reduce them down into language that an average person can read in a hurry, and put it in, and average person can read it and understand, has a tremendous talent. And I think good reporters have that, and I respect and admire them.

MOYEN: Okay.

SCHMDIT: But I don't remember that one.

MOYEN: Right. Let me switch this tape.

[Tape 1 ends; tape 2 begins.]

MOYEN: All right. While we turned the tape off, you had mentioned wanting to talk about highways. You want to talk about that now? Or, let me ask you one-question highways (??).

SCHMIDT: Why sure. Go ahead. Go ahead.


MOYEN: You mentioned sometimes you couldn't wait to see what reporters had written--


MOYEN:--about what you said. Did you ever have any examples of where you found what was said humorous, or where you had been interviewed and the next day you were just fuming mad cause you felt like, Wow, that's really a manipulation or a twisting of the way I had worded anything.

SCHMIDT: There's no question. I didn't like the way some things were reported. Or I didn't think that, or I thought maybe it had a slant on it that wasn't intended. And I think especially on some of the education bills and that. But where it was actually really a distortion or I got angry about it, I can't think of anything, I really can't. I would prefer a lot of times that they weren't around.

MOYEN: Um-hm. (both laugh)

SCHMIDT: But no, I think, I really would have to say overall--I can't 01:28:00think of that guy's name from Louisville that had the camera--Ferrell Wellman. You know Ferrell Wellman? Ferrell Wellman, okay. I think he's at UK; he might be at Eastern, I'm not sure. But anyway, it's one of the universities. But okay--

MOYEN: A professor, or administrator, or?

SCHMIDT: I have no idea. Probably a professor, I think. But he was the guy on the camera with the turkey. (both laugh) No, overall, and I cannot--and if I had to pick out any reporter that I didn't like, I really couldn't tell you one. I think they all do a very good, responsible job.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Um-hm. All right, let's get back to highways.

SCHMIDT: Oh, okay, I said that after the mid-eighties--I forget when it was--but I know when I was going back and forth all the time, cause I had just wanted to be home, it just bothered me on the highway going down from here to Lexington or to Frankfort and back, people driving 01:29:00in the fast lane. And I'm not a fast--I'm not a slow driver, I'll tell you, cause I know the speed limit was 65, or when it was 55, and I knew they would give me five miles an hour, and I could go, pretty sure they'd give me five and maybe even a little more, so. And thank God I had cruise control, otherwise I'd be in jail cause I would set it six or seven miles over the speed limit, and I'd take off, you know. So, and then cars driving with no traffic, driving in that left lane. I'd drive in the right lane, the only time I'd come out was to pass. And them driving out there with nobody around or driving slow and that it'd really make me mad. And it seemed to me that the majority of them were Ohio drivers.

MOYEN: Ohio drivers. (both laugh)

SCHMDIT: Oh, you know about that.

MOYEN: I read about it.

SCHMIDT: Oh, okay.

MOYEN: But they haven't, so you keep going.

SCHMIDT: Most of them are Ohio drivers, so anyway I get down there--

MOYEN: --let me say this, I didn't have to read about it either; I've had the same experience.


SCHMIDT: Oh, okay, right. So you know what it's like. So, anyway I got to thinking, This is terrible. So I make a bunch of 'Whereas,' again, and 'Therefore that anyone from the state of Ohio who wants to operate a vehicle in Kentucky has to pass a test proving they can read and understand signs that say, keep right except to pass.' (both laugh) Well, I introduce it, and all the papers pick up on it right away, and it's, you know, a big story. I got some cousins that live in Cincinnati. I get this letter from Mary Ann Schmidt, who's a cousin of mine. She writes a letter, "I cannot believe that you would do something like this, that you would introduce a bill that would discriminate like that against us Ohio drivers," and all that. So, I wrote a letter back to her--and we're good friends now. I didn't see her that often--but I wrote back to her and said, "I really probably should have thought about this and I wasn't thinking very clearly but I am going to immediately put an amendment on this bill to eliminate first generation Kentuckians." (laughs) "So that you will be exempt 01:31:00as long as you're one generation, but your kids are gonna have to pass a test," or something like that. (both laugh) Anyway, I had more fun with that and I had people get mad. I had people actually getting mad, writing letters, you know, that, 'How can you do something like this?' 'This is terrible,' and all that kind of stuff. (laughs) You know, even if the thing would have passed, it wouldn't have gone anywhere. But, I just, I had a lot of fun with it.

MOYEN: Did you get letters from Kentuckians or primarily from across the river?

SCHMIDT: Ohio, Ohio. No, Ohioans, definitely Ohioans.

MOYEN: (laughs) Well, they weren't voting for you, so.

SCHMIDT: That's right I didn't worry about it. (both laugh) I figured I had enough of cushion, if they had relatives over here.

MOYEN: Right. Did the Cincinnati paper write anything about that?

SCHMIDT: Oh yeah, sure they had. I had one from--someplace like in West Virginia or someplace where else the guy was having same trouble like Virginia drivers, you know. (both laugh) So I sent him a copy of the bill. (laughs)


MOYEN: Well, let me ask you about that. After Martha Layne Collins's tenure was over and Wallace Wilkinson became Governor, in some respect a couple of other people I've interviewed have likened that to John Y. Brown in the sense--


MOYEN:--that a very wealthy person kind of came out of nowhere.

SCHMIDT: Came out of nowhere and bought the election with money and lottery. (laughs)

MOYEN: Right, right.

SCHMIDT: And, now--he, see, Wallace was another one that had some good people around him. Wallace was--right, I never really kinda compared the two, but Brown and Wilkinson were quite a bit alike because, you know, they really had--were able to bring good people into state government. Right.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Um-hm. When he was elected--after his election, there was a special session that dealt with worker's comp. And he wanted 01:33:00to be in on that even though he was just Governor-elect. He wasn't actually the Governor. Do you recall anything about that, special session at all?

SCHMIDT: No, except that worker's comp was really a big problem in Kentucky and one thing I remember most about it was that you could get lifetime benefits for permanent injury or disfigurement. And that was really expensive. It was keeping a lot of businesses out--not to (??) them, maybe all of the businesses in Kentucky. There were two things wrong with the workman's comp bill that I remember and that was the coal industry was basically exempted from paying. Practically, they paid very little and they got most of the benefits. And it wasn't fair that way. Cause the idea of workman's comp is great. I think the theory is wonderful because it eliminates a lot of court suits and that. It does provide the worker with income, and it encourages the 01:34:00businesses to provide a safe environment. Well, you can't hardly beat those three things, you know.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

SCHMIDT: But if I had even a scar--well, I got a couple scars here-- that's permanent disfigurement, and I could get lifetime benefits from that. Now this happened now, that happened right here, that happened on the job, too. But when I was an installer, I was working in a building in Covington, and the window fell down, and I reached to grab it, and well, the cord broke, and I put my hand through the glass, and it came and pulled the skin back. They put a few stitches in and that was it. But, you know, I could show you that pretty closer; there's a scar there. Well, that's a permanent disfigurement.

MOYEN: And this is on his finger because we can't see.

SCHMIDT: Oh, yeah. I'm sorry; I keep forgetting we're on tape. But, I mean that's a good thing probably. But anyway, so I'd get lifetime benefits. That's wrong. Now, if I lose a leg, or an arm, or something like that, or if I'm blinded, for crying out loud, there's no question 01:35:00that they should be compensated for that. And black lung was a big one too. And black lung is--they say the only way you can really determine black lung is an autopsy. And that's pretty extreme. (both laugh) You're gonna do an autopsy, a little late to worry--

MOYEN: ----------(??)

SCHMIDT: That's right, it's a little late for workman's comp, but. So, there had to be a lot done and that's what I mainly remember about that.

MOYEN: Okay. Once he does become Governor, Wilkinson is dead-set on getting gubernatorial succession. And at the same time, the Senate's got a new leader. Eck Rose is now the leader in the Senate. Can you tell me what your observations were about, what seemed to be a new tension between the Governor and the legislature, particularly this Senate? Did you observe that or did you think that was going on?


SCHMIDT: No, really didn't--I'm trying to think--of course, Eck was, Eck Rose was a strange kind of a leader. He really was. I mean, cause I used to get into arguments--I got into a big argument with him over the redistricting bill. And he'd say, "I agree with you, you're right," and then he'd go do it. (both laugh) He was honest that way, you know, cause--and I would show him, "You're absolutely wrong." I said, "It says it's blatantly unconstitutional." He said, "That's what they got lawyers for." (both laugh) Eck was something else. But, I don't remember any particular tension between him and Wilkinson, and the Governor's succession was not gonna pass, and if it did pass, it wasn't gonna include the current Governor.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Right. (laughs)

SCHMIDT: You know, you could bet on that cause I don't think Wilkinson got along that great with a lot of the Democrats. But, I mean I never noticed any real tension, or anything. Anymore than was normal.

MOYEN: Let me ask you this. There wasn't any real discussion of it but 01:37:00mentioned in the paper in April of '87 where Jerry Lundergan took a helicopter up here to Northern Kentucky. And I guess it was you and Gus Sheehan and John Weaver had a meeting. And do you recall that, and was it at some hotel or something, and apparently, the discussion was about gubernatorial succession? Does that ring a bell at all, that meeting?

SCHMIDT: I know Jerry, I mean--well, there's pa--can we--

MOYEN: Sure, we can pause it.

[Pause in recording.]

MOYEN: So you don't really recall anything about that meeting?

SCHMIDT: I don't recall--I don't think it ever happened. That was in the paper?

MOYEN: I think so.

SCHMIDT: No, that's all right. And Jerry knew me well enough that- -(laughs)--cause I was under the impression, under the opinion, and strong opinion as the committee chairman holding these bills is wrong. 01:38:00I mean, if the committee--should at least let the committee have a vote on it. And if the committee has enough votes to get it out, then it should be voted on the floor, and you don't keep recommitting and to different committees in order to kill the bill. And Eck Rose was good at that, and so were a lot of the other ones, you know, where they wanted a bill killed, so it comes out of a committee, they recommit it to another committee, which was usually Appropriations and Revenue. And Mike Moloney was busy, and Mike Moloney knew when he had a bill to do with workman's comp, or something, whatever, it wouldn't pass. [telephone rings]

SCHMIDT: Can I get this?

MOYEN: Sure.

[Pause in recording.]

MOYEN: So this meeting, which was probably about a discharge petition, is that something where you say this has to come out and has got--

SCHMIDT: Well, you need so many votes. You need so many votes to sign the discharge petition. And then they have to come out and vote on it on the floor. But all they would do is suspend your rules, and when 01:39:00you suspend the rules, they can do anything. There were no rules, so send it back to another committee, you know. I've never seen a discharge petition work except that it brings attention of the public to it. It brings the public's attention to it. But I don't remember- -I know Jerry--I don't remember meeting Jerry with a helicopter cause I would have asked for a ride. (both laugh)

MOYEN: Let me ask you about the race. You mentioned briefly in 1988 where Terry Mann ran against you. And do you recall if that race was very close, or did it seem like it was going to be but then you managed to pull it out?

SCHMIDT: It was very close. It was, as a matter of fact, four weeks or so, a month before the election, we did a survey, polling about it, and I was losing. There was no question about it. And I knew something had to be done, and I wasn't sure what. That was when I talked to--oh, 01:40:00and I had never do this before either--I had hired Deets (??)--I can't think of--who's a young guy from college to be at my headquarters. I had a headquarters up in Highland Heights, and he ran the headquarters. And just nothing was working right. Well, my daughter who lives next door, and I've got two of the best girls--I wish I wish you the same luck with your daughters as I've had with mine--

MOYEN: --thank you.

SCHMIDT: Cause they are just exceptional women, absolutely astounding. She is--well, she came to me, and she said, and she's working for me then, she said, "We really gotta do something, and well, I'm gonna take off work." And so, she went to her boss and said she was gonna take four weeks off till the election to work in my campaign, and that she hopes he lets her do it cause if he don't she's quitting. 01:41:00(laughs) That's how much she felt about it. I think that was just a strange thing. I don't know what it is about winning, you know, you gotta win that's a--so anyway, she did. She took off, went down to headquarters, had people in on the telephones, and took care of newspaper advertising, and everything else. And on election night, we won not--I forget what the vote was but I mean, you know, we won fairly comfortable. There wasn't gonna be any recount. And the reasons--see, Terry is--Terry's a good guy. Terry had served in the House. Terry ran against Jim Bunning for Congress, and won Campbell County. So, he was a synch to win. And, really on election day, they had--or after the election, they had a picture of Mary Ann and me, hugging each other cause I was the winner, and they showed another picture of Terry and I think it was his daughter, or wife, or something, and kinda sad, gloomy, and I really felt sorry for him cause I know he felt he was 01:42:00a lock. He had a lock on it, and then lost. So I really did feel sorry for him. But, since then he's chairman of the Campbell County Democrats now, and that. But that it was a great feeling.

MOYEN: Right. Did any of the campaigns that you were in, did they stay pretty amicable in terms of where they, were you friendly with your opponents, or were any of them frustratingly negative in any respect, or?

SCHMIDT: I cannot remember. I really don't remember about the first primary too much because I didn't know what I was doing. (Moyen laughs) But no, I've run against like Bud Oberman (??) who beat me--I beat him--I beat him, he beat me, then I beat him, and Bud and I were friends. Terry, I have nothing against Terry, or Pribble. No, I can't think of anybody. None of them were really nasty. You know, we didn't get into name-calling or anything like that.


MOYEN: Um-hm. After that election, we already touched on the next big legislative issue, which was KERA. And talk about some of that. Are there things that you mentioned that you voted against that--are there things that you think were beneficial about KERA other than the testing?

SCHMIDT: Oh, oh, most certainly. First of all, inequity in funding was obvious to anybody it should be and that had to be corrected and KERA did that. I think that they probably did--if I could have changed it, I would have changed the way that it affected the wealthier schools because I think it affected like Fort Thomas and Beechwood more than it should have. It's really hurt them. But it was worth that. If I had to balance it, I would still do it. I would have let Fort Thomas, Beachwood, some of the schools that were doing a good job, and I'd let 01:44:00them have more money or have more growth. That's basically it. The school building authority, too, was changed. I don't know if that's part of KERA, but. That was strictly politics and I think we got that out of it.

MOYEN: We'll pause for a second.

[Pause in recording.]

SCHMIDT: I think the main thing, of course, which was--which the schools think so too--is the funding as the big thing. What else was there?

MOYEN: Well, the nepotism probably.

SCHMIDT: Oh, nepotism too. We might have gone too far, but if you had to error one-way or the other, we error correctly. (laughs) Or, the legislature did because it was just too much. And it--too much control to the superintendents. I think the school councils are a good idea to get more people involved in that. I think taking the nepotism out of it. There was one other one, I can't think. Well, most of the 01:45:00program, most of it was good; there's no question. I think that if my vote would have been the deciding vote, I probably voted for it. So I wanted to register my total disapproval of that the way they rated schools. And I'm not so sure the one the Federal Government's got now is any better, that "No Child Left Behind." The objectives are great, the objectives are good, but I'm not sure, I'm not sure how you can do it objectively.

MOYEN: Right, right. Let me step back just a second. Something I skipped over here in my notes is another big vote. How did you vote on the Toyota?

SCHMIDT: (laughs) You know how I voted on that.

MOYEN: Actually I don't. I really don't.

SCHMIDT: You don't? I guess I'll have to tell you. I'm 99 percent sure--90 percent sure I voted no, and the main reason was the bond issues again.

MOYEN: Okay.

SCHMIDT: The bonds. Although Toyota was--no question about it--a 01:46:00good project and it has really turned out, I think, better than even Martha Layne or anybody else expected. And especially up here in Northern Kentucky, you know we have the national headquarters for Toyota Corporation over in Florence. And it was a good thing. But my objection again was on bond issue.

MOYEN: Right.

SCHMIDT: I have a real hang up with bonds. About the, you know, how you spend them and what you do with it.

MOYEN: Investments.

SCHMIDT: Right, right. That was mainly it.

MOYEN: You mentioned Toyota having some headquarters here, and then you mentioned Ashland moving here, and I know that they were deciding between the Lexington area and here. Could you tell me, did you ever notice any regionalism in the legislature? Some in fighting about, okay, a company knows they're gonna be in Kentucky, but where they're gonna be? Did that ever become an issue?


SCHMIDT: I don't think it ever has come an issue. First of all, it's nothing we can do anything about. I'm sure it's an issue. Believe me; I know it's an issue. Matter of fact, that big deal down in Western Kentucky that fell through--


SCHMIDT:--was a big issue. Cause they wanted to spend a lot of state money to develop the parks, see. That's something that Toyota--Toyota was there before when we spent a lot of money to buy that land, and everything. I don't know of anything--it's pretty much, truthfully, I guess the same with Ohio and Kentucky. We're in a lot of competition, but if they're gonna bring company to the area, we'd rather have them come to Ohio than lose them all together. And I think that they worked pretty good to--the tourism convention bureaus work good together, and I think the industrial development work good together, although we favor Kentucky. We favor Northern Kentucky first, Kentucky second, 01:48:00and the area third, or maybe the area second and Kentucky third, I'm not sure. But, I don't know. I don't recall ever getting into any kinda an argument over location of any of these places. And the reason for it is it never comes before legislature. I'll guarantee you when Ashland Oil decided to move to Northern Kentucky, they didn't go to the legislature and ask where they should go, and the same way with Toyota when they built the national headquarters over here. I doubt if Kentucky knew a hell of a lot about it. (laughs)

MOYEN: Right, right. Um-hm. Can you tell me a little bit about your own interaction with Wallace Wilkinson? And any discussions you had with him? What you thought about him? His leadership style?

SCHMIDT: You know, I can't--I know I've talked with him and everything. As a matter of fact, I got a picture of him hugging me. Of course, he was a great hugger.

MOYEN: (laughs) Right.

SCHMIDT: Anyway, I can't remember anything specifically that we argued 01:49:00about or favored. I can't think of anything.

MOYEN: Okay.

SCHMIDT: Tom Dorman who worked for Wallace, I think, ended up at the hotel, that hotel came into with--what was the insurance company in Lexington? The Kentucky--I don't have any--they bought the hotel finally from Wallace. And there was a lot of smelly, that thing--you talked about turkeys earlier, that thing really smelled too. (both laugh) But I didn't know anything about it.

MOYEN: In 1991, you were caucus chairman now in the Senate.


MOYEN: Any different than being caucus chairman in the House?

SCHMIDT: No, except some of the guys acted too daggone independent. (Moyen laughs) I think you said the difference between the House and Senate, I think, I would--I really wanted to do this and I think it really benefited us to get together as a unit to discuss what was going 01:50:00on in the committee meetings and to discuss the bills that were gonna be coming on. So, we had a standing rule that a half an hour before the session started, we would, we would meet in caucus. And I don't know of more than a dozen times that I had all of them there, you know. And the whip wasn't there half the time either, so. (both laugh) No, I don't know that's true or not. Cause everybody knows the whip, from Jessamine County.

MOYEN: Oh, that right. (laughs)

SCHMIDT: Yeah. (laughs) Anyway, but no--I don't remember anything-- forget the question now.

MOYEN: Just asking if there was any difference being caucus chair in the House versus--

SCHMIDT: Oh, yeah, yeah, except you had a lot more members in the House, even though were still a big minority, than you had in the Senate. And you had a lot more to cover too--not more to cover but fewer people, you had to stretch 'em kinda thin on what was going on their committees 01:51:00cause a lot of them had two or three committees.

MOYEN: Right, right.

SCHMIDT: So but still, it was interesting and I enjoyed it.

MOYEN: When Brereton Jones is elected Governor, was there any change in temperament or tone between the Senate specifically, or the legislature when--

SCHMIDT: No, cause you see Jones was president of the Senate. That was the last one Lieutenant Governor that was President.

MOYEN: Right.

SCHMIDT: I'm sorry Patton was one time. Yeah, that, Patton was president of Senate when he was Lieutenant Governor, but then they cut it out after that, and that's when Eck Rose came in, right. But anyway, no, Jones, I think Jones got along pretty good with the legislature, with the Senate. I did. I never had any problems with him or anything.

MOYEN: Um-hm. How often did the Lieutenant Governor actually do anything? So was that an active role--

SCHMIDT:--oh, yeah--

MOYEN:--as president of the Senate?

SCHMIDT: No, they had nothing else to do.

MOYEN: Right. (laughs)

SCHMDIT: You see I was--

MOYEN:--so what do they do now that--


SCHMIDT:--nothing else. That's why I tried to get rid of it. I mean I tried several times to get rid of a lot of elective offices. You know, we should not have a secretary of state. We sure in hell don't need that. We, at the very most--agriculture, we don't need the commissioner of agriculture, even though he's a Republican. At the very most, you need maybe an attorney general and possible an auditor. But if you look at the Federal Government, you only got one you elect. Courts and everything else are all appointed. And I think you have a much better chance efficient good government through appointment than you do by elected. I've yet to see an election that bestowed any brilliance on an individual. (Moyen laughs) Myself included. You know, it don't install, instill you with being smart, or talented, or anything else. All it means is you have more votes than the other guy.

MOYEN: Um-hm. That's a good point. You had been--by the nineties, 01:53:00you had been serving for quite some time. How had the legislature in general changed over that time?

SCHMIDT: Oh, well, dramatically as far as more individuals were being responsible. I think--I don't want to say they were smarter, I just think that--if you are a sheep, and you're being lead, and all in one direction, and you're gotta follow, and you know if you don't follow, you're gonna get beat up, so you just follow and you don't really much care about what's going on, you're filling your time in, that's one, I'd say, that was probably the digression at the beginning. At the end, you still had the sheep but they all pretty much had their own identity. They were all kinda had their own ideas and moving in their 01:54:00own direction. And I think it was much, much better, much better. Cause even if you didn't get your way like, at least you had an opportunity to make your point.

MOYEN: Right, right. During Brereton Jones term, that's when all the BOPTROT stuff--

SCHMIDT: --I knew you were gonna get to that. (laughs)

MOYEN: Just part of the story.

SCHMIDT: You had to get to BOPTROT.

MOYEN: But you get to tell your story.

SCHMIDT: I know.

MOYEN: In March '92 the interview or the FBI meets with you for the first time, can you tell me what you talked about?

SCHMIDT: I sure can. And what I want to tell you is, 'Let's quit the interview right now. Let's cut it off.' (Moyen laughs) I really do cause I thought, I know he's gonna get to BOPTROT. There's nothing in my life that happened like BOPTROT. I mean I get kind of a chill right now just thinking about it. Of all of the experiences, I've had I've never gone through anything like that. I remember the secretary came 01:55:00in--see another advantage to being in leadership is that you have an office. Nobody else had office. Well, they had the cubicles but you didn't have cubicles up unless you were in leadership. That's one of the reasons why I wanted to be in leadership cause I'd have a place I could go. So anyway, the secretary came in and said, "There's two guys from the FBI want to talk to you." I'd said, "Well, sure," you know, and they came in. Cause I'd talk to anybody. I didn't care who, you know. And I didn't have any, any inkling or any idea. So they came in and sat down. And they asked me--oh, the first thing that they asked was, "Do you care if we record this?" I said, "No, I don't care. No, I don't care." So they put a recorder on the desk and then they started asking me about where I was from, and how long I'd been in the legislature, just normal questions. And I had no idea what they were leading to but I was answering, I was talking the way I'm talking now, and then all the sudden, one of them said, "You took money from a lobbyist in Las Vegas on such a such date, didn't you?" It was like 01:56:00a--I'll never forget it. It was like a--it started raining snow, or ice, or something. (Moyen laughs) "What what do you mean?" "That a lobbyist on such a such day when you were in Las Vegas." And I said, "No," and that was the biggest mistake I ever made. I said no because they scared me. They really--I don't think that anything can describe that. I know that when my dad died, who I loved dearly, I was really, really hurt, but you kinda get over that after a while because my Dad was no kid. This thing here lasted for--well, it's still there. And anyway, they said that. And I said no, and then they went on to some more questions, and then they give me a subpoena. I think they gave me the subpoena. They wanted all my records from I don't know how many years of income tax, of vouchers, and payments, diaries, and anything 01:57:00pertaining to the legislature that I had for like how many years. And so, got it all together, and I'm worried now, and I'm thinking, I know I shouldn't have said no, so I wrote a letter with the check, and I took it to Louisville with all these documents. I know what happened. John Hall was in a casino, and we were in a casino in Las Vegas. And he gave me two hundred dollars, but he was paying me back the two hundred dollars that I had lent him. And that's what I'm sure that what it was. But then, I left it go. Well, I thought maybe it would be over with. Well, of course, it wasn't. I don't know how months later they came back and wanted me to come to Covington and to another two more FBI agents. So, I go in. You mind me just ramble on with this. Are you okay?

MOYEN: No, go right ahead. This is--

SCHMIDT: So anyway, I go over there. And now they're like good cop/bad cop type of thing, and they were really. And I--I forget all of what 01:58:00happened. It ended up anyway, they said, "Okay, we're going to the grand jury, and we're gonna get an indictment for you for obstruction of justice and lying to the FBI." And I didn't know what to do. I walked out of that place. I walked around the block, and I was crying, and I didn't know what I just didn't know what to do. And Clay Crupper had was one of them who was all--he had gone to Tolliver (??) and I knew Phil Tolliver (??). So, I went over to see him. And so, he'd take care of it, you know, he would be my lawyer. One of the first things he did was a lie detector, "Let's take a lie detector test. Would you do it?" I said, "Sure." So I took a lie detector test and passed it. It was no problem. So he said, "Well, I don't think were gonna have any problem at all." And so, go down to the justice department. Again, I don't know how long after that was. I'm down 01:59:00at the Covington office, and we go in there, and then the FBI wants to give me a lie detector test. So I take another lie detector, and that's--I forget the words he used but it was an indeterminate, or something, or they wasn't sure what I was doing. So I didn't know--I'm really getting sick of it now. Well, the very day that the indictment is supposed to come down--first of all, Tolliver (??) tells me that they're gonna get the indictment, and I said, "Well, how can they," I said, "I wrote them the letter." I had absolutely no knowledge and I swear to this day I had no knowledge of Spurrier and the payoffs with Bruce Wilkinson, and Blandford, and Bill McBee. I had not even an inkling of any of that going on. And I said, "Well, if I go before the grand jury, I mean, I think I can convince them that they're wrong." And he laughed. And I said, "That's not funny," I think like that. And I said, "What do you mean?" And he said, "You ain't going before 02:00:00the grand jury," said, "This is a Federal Grand Jury," he said. I said, "Well, they won't indict." He said, "They'll do anything his attorney tells them to do." And that's when I started finding out something about grand juries and Federal Grand Juries and that. It is--I have lost complete and all respect for the Federal Judiciary. I guess, except for Judge Hood [Judge Joseph M. Hood], I gotta respect 'em, and most of the judges, I guess, are different. But as far as the United States attorneys and the FBI, I think they're bottom feeders.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

SCHMIDT: And maybe it's because they deal with this type of people most of the time. That's why I'm trying to rationalize how they are. But they were--I think they were absolutely unbelievable. So anyway, the very same day this indictment's coming down is when we were gonna have our lawsuit on redistricting. See, they had redistricted, and by district, I no longer have a district now. They took Campbell County and put it in three districts.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

SCHMIDT: Joe Fischer, I'm his star witness. (both laugh) And I say, 02:01:00I called him up the night before and say, "Joe, I can't come." "What do you mean?" I said, "I'll be very honest with you. I'm gonna be indicted tomorrow." "Oh, my God! ----------(??)." And so I said, "And I can't come." So anyway, I did. And--anyway, the indictment came. I don't know what all happened but I'm just--really, I'm losing weight. I really couldn't sleep. And now Tolliver (??) tells me--we have more meetings with the U.S. Attorney's office, he did. We're riding back in the car and Tolliver (??) tells me that they're gonna go to court. They're going to court, and it's gonna be in Lexington, and that be a jury trial, just the way the rest of them were.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

SCHMDIT: And that he thinks that I've got a 90 percent chance of getting off. He said, "Because I really don't think they've got anything." 02:02:00And, so anyway, 90 percent chance now. I'm sitting there thinking, My wife is sick, and I'm out of the legislature anyway, and I'm sixty-five years old. You know, 90 percent chance, I'm a gambler, I like to gamble, I like odds, but I don't like even 90 percent when the option is jail. And that's what they said, guilty under federal guidelines, if you're found guilty, it's five years prison, $250,000 fine; that's what it is. Okay, I have three options; he gave me three options--the U.S. attorney had agreed to this--if I pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, I would get a small fine and I would get no jail time, promised no jail time; if I plead innocent, they're gonna go to trial, it's gonna cost me between $100,000 and $150,000 in court, if I'm innocent; if I'm guilty, it's gonna cost me between $100,000 and $150,000 in lawyer 02:03:00fees, plus almost certainly go to jail and a big fine. You know, I'm laying awake thinking, You don't really have any option? There is no options. But now, if I plead guilty, I'm committing perjury. That's what's going through my mind. If I say I'm guilty when I know I'm not guilty, I'm committing perjury. So, the way I rationalized it was, and I finally did. I said that I would, I did lie to them, and I admit that, and when they asked me about that $100--$200 and I said no. But in the indictment, they said it was $200, and so that's where I rationalized what I'm gonna do. In the indictment, they said that I took the $200 from a lobbyist. And for a--they wanted to make it for a vote. They couldn't--there was nothing there to do on that. But--and I didn't find something else till after, but I'll get that--so they 02:04:00said I took it from a lobbyist. John Hall is not a lobbyist; John Hall is a senator, and I told them that. McBee, and Hall, and Crupper, and--there were several others there. Lundergan--not Lundergan, but from Louisville, several of them, we had given money to each other all the time, and we had pooled our money to make bets on the horses while we were there. The reason we were in Las Vegas, first of all, because we were invited there by the jockeys. And you can argue about it. Believe me, I think image is important there too, whether we should go or not, but I think we did some good. I honestly do. Because directly, because being there, because the Jockey Guild moved their national headquarters from New York to Lexington--


SCHMIDT:--to the horse park. Also, the University of Louisville has an equine program now that they didn't have before. And I'm rationalizing that the horse business in Kentucky is one of our signature business, and it's more than just racetracks; it's all the breeders, and all the 02:05:00horse farms, all the people associated with it, and all the different breeds of horses, so I thought it was worthwhile doing it. So anyway, we decide I'm gonna plead guilty, and I'll rationalize it. I cannot lie. I'll tell the truth that I lied. So anyway, I get down there. I go. We drive to Frankfort, down to Frankfort to the courthouse. The day before we drive to Frankfort, there is an editorial in the Kentucky Post. The editorial is unbelievable. I couldn't believe it. I would not have written it because I probably would have been found guilty. (laughs) It started at the headline on the ed--the editorials, like a couple columns out here (??), and the whole thing, the whole thing. "An unfair indictment," and that's the way it started out, and then it went on, told about everything, pretty much what I'm telling you. And that this was unfair, and that it should never have happened. And that's in the Post, and the Post was not always friendly with me either, you know.


MOYEN: Right.

SCHMDIT: So, we get to Frankfort. I go into the courtroom. Oh, the first thing, we do down there, part of the agreement was I have to tell the FBI everything that I know. So we go in and meet with the FBI. They're sitting there. There's several agents in there, and they're asking me about Humana. I said, "The only thing I know about Humana was what I read in the paper. That George Atkins supposedly given money to several people." I said, "I never got any money from George Atkins and I never saw any money change hands." And then, "Did I know anything else about this?" And I told them, "No." And so they got nothing cause I didn't know anything. So they left. Meantime my lawyer and the United State's attorney is meeting. So I'm in the courtroom waiting, sitting in the courtroom with my daughters. There's a trial--not a trial but there's a case before me. There was no juries or anything. And the judge, the judge who ruled that same judge who calls me. Calls the United States vs. Schmidt, or something like 02:07:00that, and I'm sitting there thinking, And I joined the Navy. I was for the United States. I'm never against them. (both laugh)

SCHMIDT: That's going through my mind, you know, I'm thinking, What the hell chance do I have? (both laugh) So anyway, I get up, and I walk up, and the judge looks at me and says, "Where's your attorney?" And I said, "I don't know." (both laugh) And he wasn't there. And I don't know. And he kinda shook his head, and I said, "This is well. This is fine." And, you know, here I am with my life in the hands. This guy can send me to prison, all he has to do is say so, and I'm gone, and my lawyer is out gallivanting someplace. (Moyen laughs) So he said, "Okay, go on back and sit down," and he called another case, and it was a drug case, and he talked to this kid, and he finally sentenced the kid. I'm sitting back there going, "Now, where in the hell is Tolliver (??)?" And my daughter Mary Ann, she's looking for him. Well, he's in an office with the United States attorney. The United States Attorney seen the editorial, and he's mad cause of this editorial. So, here 02:08:00comes Tolliver (??) now and Tolliver (??) comes to me, and he's got a pen and a piece of paper, and says, "They want--before they go along (??), they want you to sign this." I said, "What the hell is it?" And it's some, I didn't even read it, but he told me. He said, "That they have treated me with respect, and they have not coerced me," or anything like this and that, and that's from the attorney, from the United States attorney. I said, "I don't give a damn. I'd sign it." I would have signed anything. But they were not going to go unless I (??) said that the editorial was all wrong and that sort of things. (laughs) It didn't really say that, but they had treated me with respect.

MOYEN: Right. Um-hm.

SCHMIDT: So I did. I signed it. And then went before the judge, and that's when I really gained respect for Hood cause he really must have done his homework. But he said, "Senator," he said, "I've looked at your record," he said, "and you have an outstanding record, and this is nothing more than a blip, and you should forget about it." or something like that. He said, "Because I have no choice, but I have to make an example. I'm--a fine of two thousand dollars and two years 02:09:00probation, unsupervised probation, and you have two years to pay the two thousand dollars," something like that. "You don't have to pay it now; you can pay it over time." So I wasn't sure what probation meant or what unsupervised probation was. What it meant was just don't get in trouble for two years; you don't have to report anywhere, nobody's watching you, or anything else. And then the two thousand dollars, I wrote a check the next day. (laughs) You know, because I wanted to get it behind me.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

SCHMIDT: But that was really--that, it--it really does. It still kinda gives me a chill to think about it because I told the judge this. I said, "Everything in my politics, and I made a lot of mistakes, I know but I've tried, I've only tried to do what was right. I tried to do what looked right," cause you can do a lot of things that are not illegal or anything like that but they look bad or they're unethical.

MOYEN: Right.

SCHMIDT: "And I tried to avoid anything like that, and then this thing happened." And, "Oh," I said that, "I still think that they were wrong 02:10:00about saying that he was a lo--how in the hell was I supposed to know that he was a lobbyist"--


SCHMIDT:--"when he's a senator?" And it would be illegal for him to be a lobbyist, but the FBI still in that indictment says that he was a lobbyist for the racetracks, you know. So anyway, I've tried to put it behind me. And I have as much as I can, but I'll never forget it. Shew. (laughs)

MOYEN: Let's put it behind us.

SCHMIDT: Okay, good.

[Tape 2, side 1 ends; side 2 begins.]

MOYEN: Well I said we were gonna leave that behind, was there any other closing thoughts on the "blip,"--we'll call it, "The Little Blip."

SCHMIDT: (laughs) It was more--it was more--it was a blip but it was more than a blip to me. No, it's just that I--(laughs)--I don't know. It's amazing how the legal--another thing I was thinking about was like between United States attorneys and defense lawyers. It's just a game. It's an absolute game where--and they keep score. As a matter 02:11:00of fact, my lawyer even told me what the--even though he said, "You've got an 85 percent chance of beating this; the Federal Government wins most of their cases." And they win X percentage of their cases, and they do, you know. And I think a lot of that, and that is why I would never serve on a jury. They would never let me serve on the jury. Cause if I served on a Federal Grand Jury, or any jury, I would be 90 percent inclined, before I walked in, to let the guy off.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

SCHMIDT: I think before this happened I would have been probably the other way thinking that, Boy, the government said there's a case, they're probably is. And believe me, that's not the case. (both laugh) Cause I think, I think what the speaker did, you know, where he actually took money from a lobbyist and--they didn't ever say what it was he was going for, but there was no question that McBee and Spurrier 02:12:00were lobbyists, and he was a legislator. And it shouldn't have been. The same way with Atkins was a lobbyist for Humana, and some of these guys took money from him. But I mean it wasn't anything like that in my case, not even close to it. And that's what I think, that's what hurt even more. I guess, if I felt I was guilty, I would feel I would be a lot different for cause I would feel I didn't have to do anything I got out. Pretty easy, you know. (laughs)

MOYEN: Right. Well, tell me about your pardon. You got a pardon shortly thereafter, right?

SCHMIDT: Yeah, well, that was kinda funny. I guess I don't know whether I should tell you this or not. (both laugh) Cause it's not a pardon; it's a restoration of rights. I didn't know. Of course, I wanted it but I didn't know what was going on. And Walter Baker told me, "Well, you know, the Governor can do that. Can restore rights, so you can vote and everything else." And so, he I think talked to Jones about it. And Jones--and they had it prepared, and then Jones said, no, he 02:13:00wouldn't do it because he didn't think--the word was that he didn't think it was right because this all happened when he was Governor. And he thought it would be--it was towards the end of his term anyway, even though he agreed to do it, he agreed it should be done for Clay and me both--I don't anyone else--cause Clay was, Clay was a little different than mine but pretty similar, Clay Crupper--but anyway, so he said he didn't think so. So anyway, then Patton came. And the thing was laying there on Jones's desk, I guess was laying there. I said something to--I don't know. I don't know how it happened but. But Baker anyway must have said something to Karem about it, and David Karen--now, this is secondhand but it was told to me like this--that David is meeting with their normal legislative meeting with the Governor to go over the 02:14:00legislation, and David Karem is majority leader in the Senate. He is going over the legislation that they're gonna have for that day, and they had pretty well finished with it, or whether or that, and David said something to the effect to the Governor, "Who's gonna handle it for you?" And the Governor said, "What do you mean?" He said, "I'm not gonna do it. I'm not gonna handle any of your bills." And the Governor said, "What are you talking about?" He said, "I'm not gonna do anything until you sign that restoration of rights for Art Schmidt." (laughs) And he--now, I never talked to David about it. I thanked David. But never talked to him about the particulars, that supposed happened, and Patton signed it, and David handled the bills. (laughs)

MOYEN: Okay.

SCHMIDT: But, I guess, of course, Dave and I were good friends, even though we were opposite sides. David set next to me when he--as a matter of fact, it was funny. He sat--but Bill Kenton was on the end, and David Karem was in the middle, and I was on the other end. There 02:15:00was three seats in that row. And I smoked a pipe, and Kenton smoked a cigar, and David didn't smoke at all. And Kenton and I would talk all the time, and David said we shortened his life by I don't know how many years. (both laugh) But that, that I think David respected me, and I surely respected him, and then when he went to the Senate and I went to the Senate. And as a matter of fact, David even handled one of my bills. I told you before that on my bills I didn't--if I wanted them to pass, I didn't sponsor them.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

SCHMIDT: So I wanted to pass on Kids Helping Kids. It's a program. And I had the bill drafted, and I gave it to David, and David put it in, passed it, it's law today. If I had sponsored it, still be looking for it. (both laugh) But David was a great guy, and that was the end of that.

MOYEN: Tell me about your family support through that whole tough time and--

SCHMIDT: You couldn't believe it. That's one of the things about my 02:16:00daughters. Of course, my wife couldn't be there. She wasn't with me but both of my daughters took off work every time I had to be some place. My brother, who's a priest, was there. And the whole family was very, very supportive. But again, I really ----------(??), I really wish and pray that you'd have two girls the way my two girls are. (Moyen laughs) I'm not kidding you. Karen, you know, went to UC. I think I told you [she] tried to start law school and didn't want to do it. She works at the university now and she's probably, she could retire, as a matter of fact. She has a good job in purchasing, and stays here at home, and I couldn't keep Miriam with me if it wasn't for her. She's just a real, real blessing. Mary Ann is married with two kids. Lives right next door. She's the one that told her boss she was gonna quit if he didn't give her four weeks off. (Moyen laughs) To 02:17:00work on my campaign and she's been that way all the time. Both of them are just, and they keep telling me, you know, every once in a while, somebody will bring this thing up, and they'll know how it effects me--[buzzer rings]--and you should forget about it--it's the mailman.

MOYEN: So they told you to leave it behind.

SCHMIDT: Yes, I should leave it behind. And you should, and I know that. It's--it's like telling, 'Oh, you forget about your dad,' my dad who I loved so much. And, of course, Mother, the same way, but Mother was one hundred and three; it's a little different. Dad had just retired, and I think one year, and then passed away. And, you know, he was looking forward. He had a house that he'd bought down here, and the garden that he loved, and all that. So, you know, but I'll never forget either one of them, you know, that. And that's the same way with this. This was just a traumatic experience.

MOYEN: Let's talk about while that was going on redistricting. Can 02:18:00you tell me about that redistricting issue specifically, and then the redistricting game in general that's played?

SCHMIDT: Yeah, of course, that was the House redistricting. You didn't have to really worry too much when you were in the House, except they put two guys together. They'll try that once in a while. Put two legislators together to do it. And we had a--I had a good relationship with the Democrats up here, with Bill Donnermeyer, Terry Mann, and Jim Murphy before him. I didn't really have to worry too much about them doing anything to me in the House. So I was fairly comfortable that I had a Republican district. I was surrounded by Democrats. They didn't want my district and I didn't want theirs, you know. So I didn't have to worry and I had a good relationship with them, but then in the Senate is where it really soured. Not the--yeah, the first redistricting. Joe Meyer who was primarily responsible for it and he 02:19:00was one that Eck Rose--I went to talk to Eck Rose about it. He agreed that it was wrong and shouldn't have happened but he ain't gonna do anything about it. (laughs) But Meyer came up with this idea that we will have in Northern Kentucky, we will have a river district, an urban district, and a country district. (both laugh) And the fact, the truth was that Kenton County had two Senate districts, and they were becoming more and more Republican. And Meyer thought about the only change that he had to be reelected was to get more Democrats in his district, and the only way he could do that was to come across into Campbell County and Kenton, and take the river district. In other words, Newport, Bellevue, Dayton, Covington, Ludlow, Bromley, which are predominately working class Democratic districts. And then he made another district, which is the urban district, in the middle of all three counties, and then the country district with the rest of it. And, of course, now I'm 02:20:00here and I--he did--I give Joe credit for this. 'You can have either one of the districts you want. And we'll put your precinct'--and that's how close it was to my precinct--'and which one do I want: the urban or the rural. I don't want either one.' I already, I knew already I wasn't gonna run because I made an agreement that I was done because of Marian, and everything else, I wasn't gonna do it. This was before BOPTROT.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

SCHMIDT: Okay, so anyway, they had--so I said, "I don't care; I'm not. I'm gonna fight it every way I can." So the redistrict was done. The Senate's passed it. The House never interferes with the Senate district cause the Senate never interferes with House, especially since both of them were Democrat. So they weren't gonna, you respect the other bodies. So then, I gave a speech on the floor. And I thought it was a pretty good speech, too, and Joe Fischer was the one that was home, and he saw it on KET. And that's one of the advantages of educational television. So Joe--in the meantime, I had called Bob 02:21:00Gable who was chairman of the Party--I think I might have said this before--but anyway, I called Bob Gable, and in Lexington, and said that, "This is blatantly unconstitutional. They're taking two of the largest counties in the state and splitting them three ways." And he says, "Art, I agree with you." He says, "But it's gonna cost us a quarter of a million dollars to fight that thing," and he says, "If I had quarter of a million dollars," he says, "I'd spend it on campaigns not on lawyers." So I kinda (??) agree with him. So anyway, that night or a couple nights later, Joe Fischer called me and said, "You know, you gave a hell of a speech, and you're really right," he said, "What you gonna do?" And I said, "Well," I told him about Gable and says, "I ain't gonna do nothing but what can I do. I'm not gonna spend a quarter of a million dollars. I'm out of it anyway." So he said, "Well, I'll take the case," and he did. And then he met--the first time he goes before the circuit court here in Campbell County is the very day I found out about the indictment. And so, that's when I couldn't 02:22:00testify. He lost, he lost in that local court, which is probably not too surprising; it's a Democrat court. Of course, judges are never political. That's why Congress, or our Senate has such an easy time converting, confirming all of them cause there's never any politics involved. (Moyen laughs) If that's the sarcastic look that the camera, microphone can't see, it sure in hell is. (Moyen laughs) But anyway, so he take--he lost and he appealed it and right to the supreme court. I didn't think we'd win, I really didn't. I said to Joe, and I don't know whether he did this, and I don't think he did. I said, "What we should do was we should draw up the seven supreme court districts and center all of them in Louisville and make sure that we draw them so that two of the judges are in the same district, you know, and branch it out. Lexington, and Louisville, and Northern Kentucky maybe in one district with three judges, and then another one where--you know, and make them all scrambled, the same way as the legislature is doing with 02:23:00us, and lose that map some place in the Supreme Court building." (both laugh) New Supreme Court districts. (both laugh) I'd have loved to done that. I don't know if he did or not, but I was in enough trouble; anyway I didn't think I could do it. (laughs) Anyway, reminds me of one time when Bob Lukowsky was on the supreme court, not Tom Loftus but another reporter for the Post were in the Capitol on the second floor, and they were talking to each other. And I had just introduced another one of my famous bills that required the supreme court to give a license to practice law to any legislator who has served more than five terms or something like that. (Moyen laughs) And I introduced it in on a couple days before the Senate session ended cause I was afraid they might pass it. (laughs) That might have been one they'd have passed on my side. Anyway, I introduced the bill as a joke, and as I'm walking down through the second floor of the Capitol, Lukowsky 02:24:00and this reporter from the Post are talking. Anyway, they're talking, and Bob looks over and, "Come here. Come here." He comes over and says, "Why did you put a bill--I saw that bill you put in," like that. Then I said, "Listen to that. Listen to that. Tom, here's a supreme court justice threatening a legislator on the floor of the Capitol in front of a reporter." I said, "If that don't get into the paper and don't get me some," you know. (both laugh) They just laughed, and that was it, you know. But it was funny, I've got to admit, but anyway, I forget what my point was. The redistricting, so then anyway, Joe took it, the supreme court finally ruled that it was unconstitutional, and we got the old district back. And I'd had my rights restored then. And they'd said that, "Would you want to run for that Senate seat again?" And that is when I told them that, "If the salary was a hundred thousand dollars a year, you promised I didn't have any opposition, you also promised I didn't have to go to meetings, I'd still tell you where 02:25:00to go. I'm not running it. Period. I'm out of it." (both laugh)

MOYEN: So, with that comment, when you were there, your last official day, what kind of thoughts went through your mind--

SCHMIDT: Well, first of all, really, really kind of satisfying. Bunch of speeches. They even had a resolution honoring me. Presented me with a big old plaque with a picture of me when we first went to the House, and then a present picture and I'd aged a little bit in twenty-eight years. (both laugh) You know, and some really nice words and that. And very, very proud, no question about it. That's when everything keeps coming back to that crazy BOPTROT. Cause if it hadn't been for that, I don't think there could have been a more satisfying moment, you know. Cause I felt that I had accomplished some things, and I hoped I had anyway. And everything, tried to do right, and then 02:26:00just that one thing, and you say a blip and the judge says a blip but it was more like a sledgehammer. (laughs)

MOYEN: Right. It also probably makes a difference just chronologically that it happened to coincide right with the end--

SCHMIDT: Oh, yeah, right at the end. Right, right at the end, right.

MOYEN: Tell me some more about--can you think of any of these other bills that you introduced that are so lighthearted, or funny, about either law degrees, or state birds, or?

SCHMIDT: There's only, there's only one that I can think of with that was when Julian, I guess Julian was Governor and George Atkins was the auditor. Pretty sure, that was it. And every year in Frankfort they had what they called a varmint dinner. And they would have like squirrels, and possum, rabbit and everything up at the National Guard Armory. I don't think they do it anymore, but they called it a varmint dinner, and all the legislators were invited. They'd have wild turkey 02:27:00and all this kind of food spread out. Really nice feast (??). Well, I had to go on to--in the meantime, I knew that Atkins and Julian were having, not getting along. They were really having some differences. So I'm laying in bed again at night, thinking about what I can do the next day, and why not an Official State Varmint. (both laugh) So I started writing these wherefore's, 'Whereas that the auditor, you know, is kind of an irritant to the Governor,' whereas this, and all that kind of stuff, and, 'Now, therefore we'll name George Atkins the Official State Varmint.' So, I put--I got enough sense not to just throw that one in cause I'm talking about somebody personal now. So I call George the next morning, and I talk to him. And I said, "George I got this," I read it to him, and he laughed, "Hey, that's a good idea." He said, "Why don't you do that." No, I called him that night. I called him that night. "That's a funny--that's a good idea why don't you do that." So anyway, the next morning before I was out of 02:28:00bed, the phone's ringing, and it's George, and he said, "Art, did you put that bill in, that resolution in?" I said, "No, I'm gonna do it this morning." "Please don't, please don't," he said. He said, "I got to thinking about it and I'm in enough trouble with the Governor now. I don't want to stir anything up. I don't want to stir anything up." So anyway--(laughs)--I didn't put it in but I gave him a copy of it. The copies were circulated but it was never introduced. I gotta run in here a minute.

MOYEN: Sure.

[Pause in recording.]

MOYEN: So you decided not to introduce that bill?

SCHMIDT: I didn't introduce it.

MOYEN: Okay, okay.

SCHMIDT: No, I never put it in cause I didn't want to cause any more problems, and I've still got it around someplace.

MOYEN: Let me ask you about this. In 1980, you were an elector, I believe.

SCHMIDT: Very proud, very proud moment of mine.

MOYEN: Tell me about that.

SCHMIDT: Well, first of all, I was involved in politics quite a bit. I was a delegate to--I'm the only guy in Kentucky who legally voted for Nixon to be President four times. (both laugh) Now, is that something 02:29:00to be proud of, I don't know. But I was a delegate to the '64, '68, and '72 national conventions. And, of course, Goldwater was in '64, and then Nixon in '68 and '70. I said four times, three times cause he didn't get the nomination the first time. But I voted for him to be President, nominated, and then he lost the election to Kennedy.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

SCHMIDT: But anyway, in 1980, I was attending the local conventions, and that's when electors are elected, and they asked me to be an elector from the Fourth District. So, you know, I said, "You know, I'd be proud to." So, of course, Reagan was elected, and then I was elected. And the funny thing about it or the good thing about it was it had me--gave me a chance to tell a lot of people about why electors were important, and why we have electoral college, and why each state has two Senators, 02:30:00even though they got one Congressman, and maybe California's got sixty or whatever, you know. Is that were the United States of America were not the United America, and the states are still, supposedly they are sovereign states, and they have control of their own destiny and were not part of one just--you know, they're not all the same. You might not like it, but that's the way it is, and it's not gonna change. A guy who leaves a letter to the editor about George Bush--not too long ago, I read about it--"We gotta do away with electoral college because it hadn't been for that George Bush would not be President," you know.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

SCHMIDT: Well, you're never gonna do away with it. That is my opinion because the smaller states will never agree with it. It has to be a constitutional change and the smaller states aren't gonna want to give up all that power. But, and it's a good idea because I do believe the way it was set up with the states being sovereign and only those powers 02:31:00granted to the Federal Government should go there, although it's been deteriorated tremendously by the courts. I still think the system is right. So anyway, I was elected to be elector, and we met in Frankfort on a, I guess, it was in December. I'm not sure, but anyway, whether it was December or January, but we met when we were supposed to. And John Sherman Cooper was one of them. I forget several of the others but when they--a proud moment was when you have to elect a president of the college. And John Sherman Cooper makes a motion that I was to be elected as president of the college, and somebody else seconded it, and that was it, and I was president. All that meant was that I signed most of the papers. Saying that Reagan was Kentucky's choice to be President, and I did that. The other thing about it was really great when I was talking to guys like Singletary at UK, or any of these other 02:32:00presidents, you know, they're president of a college, so am I. (both laugh) I'm a president. And I can prove it see. And I got just as many votes as you did. Cause you got the votes from the regents; I got it from the elector. (both laugh) It didn't carry the same weight for some reason. Salary was a lot different too. I think we got--I think we got fifteen dollars. Got the same pay as a legislator got. But it was--I was proud and happy to do it. And I think Reagan was a good Governor, or good President, good Governor, too, but a good President.

MOYEN: Looking back on your career, what would you say are the one or two contentious legislative issues?

SCHMIDT: Whew. Well, I think the sales tax in '67 with Louie Nunn had to be a real hot one. KERA was a good one. There's no question about that. I guess Toyota generated a lot of--I mentioned that. Probably 02:33:00also changing the Council of Public Higher Education. Giving the Council of Public Higher Education some, I guess, some muscle rather just being kind of a debating society was a big one. Those are some of the major ones.

MOYEN: What about social issues like say abortion or other things like that?

SCHMIDT: Oh, okay.

MOYEN: Or, are those--were those ever tough issues for you?

SCHMIDT: Oh, sure. They weren't tough to me cause I'm pretty strong where I feel in all of them. I think I told the story about Carl Bamberger and I going to Kentucky State, watching a basketball game, and then we went down to this restaurant. That was a open public accommodations. And--I just never thought about how blacks were 02:34:00discriminated against at that time cause I was never, was never exposed to it, and so I think the civil rights bill, and Breathitt deserves a lot of credit, I think, on that. Getting the civil rights bill through. Abortion issue, it's very emotional and contention but Kentucky does really have a whole lot to do with it because of the Supreme Court.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Right. Um-hm.

SCHMIDT: I can't think of any others that.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Looking back now, what can you say in retrospect, where your best and worst votes? What would you say, 'I voted for or against that and now I wish I hadn't,' or, 'See that one was a good one?'

SCHMIDT: (laughs) Well, I guess I should answer you with the statement that I made earlier, and I really mean this, too. I tried the very 02:35:00best I could to learn everything I could about every issue that we voted on, and believe me, that was difficult because--and I think I did a better job than 90 percent of them. I really do because of the position I was in leadership. And talking to all these guys, and being a Republican, too, by being more aware of all the different ones from the, our caucuses. That rule we had about having a caucus every day. So I would listen to them, and try to do, to think what was best, and then vote that, and then forget it.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

SCHMIDT: Cause don't let it eat on you. Cause believe me, one did, it was the change of the classification of a city, and Fort Thomas didn't want it, and they passed it, and it really bothered me. It really, really bothered me. And that taught me the lesson is do what you think is right, cast your vote, and forget it. Now, if you made a mistake, and you have a chance to correct by another bill or something, do that, 02:36:00but don't sit there and agonize, or. So, I can't--I guess I'm proud of that vote for the sales tax increase in '67 because that was a time that got us Northern Kentucky University. It also helped education throughout the whole state, and without that tax increase, we'd have been in big trouble.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

SCHMIDT: I don't know what would have happened. But, I don't really have any regrets or any real worry about any of them. None that pop out anyway.

MOYEN: What about would you say was your best memory of your time in the?

SCHMIDT: Best memory, oh, gosh. It might have been the election of the second time in the Senate because I wasn't supposed to win. That might have been it.

MOYEN: Something good.

SCHMIDT: But that was also a sad one, too, because I really did feel sorry for Terry. I honestly did because I know he worked hard too, but 02:37:00I think that was probably one of the best ones. As far as being down there and that--I'm sure there were many of them, but I can't, I can't put my finger on any right away.

MOYEN: Okay, so what have you done with your time since serving?

SCHMIDT: Well, I could tell the same story I think I told my, I told you about my boss at the telephone company. About a year after I retired, I went back over to him, and asked if I could get my old job back, and he looked at me, and said, "What's a matter, Art? Are you in trouble?" I said, "No, I need a rest." (both laugh) I'd been retired about a year. I think that since I've been retired in '92, I have no problems with filling my time, none at all. I mean here at home, takes things. I've got things that I promised my daughter I was gonna do, as soon as I retired from the telephone company, and I was definitely gonna do when I retired from the legislature, and the basement is still a 02:38:00mess. (both laugh) I haven't done it yet. And so, I don't have any real regrets. And my time's filled. I have plenty, plenty of things to do. Yesterday, you'd have saw me on the roof cleaning the gutters. (laughs)

MOYEN: Well, be careful up there. (laughs)

SCHMIDT: Yeah, my daughter said she was getting something for me for Christmas, and I said, "I don't know what I want." I said, "Besides I don't want to worry about it now cause I gotta get up and get those gutters out before it starts pouring down rain." "So, okay, I'll wait until after you get done to see whether you'll still be around for Christmas." (both laugh)

MOYEN: And, you've got some grandkids, I think you mentioned two grandchildren--

SCHMIDT: Two grandkids. Yes, I got. The oldest one is in high school, a senior and joined the Marines. (laughs) This is what he wanted to do. The other one is in grade school in the sixth grade. And she's a, just a little sweetheart, you know.


MOYEN: Um-hm.

SCHMDIT: And both of them are really good kids. But, if I added everything up, I've got an awful lot to be proud of, with my parents, and then my brothers. I got four brothers, and they're all just great. They were--Bill passed away but they're all just--that was one of them that called on the phone earlier when I interrupted. And then my two daughters are just, you know, you couldn't have ordered up two better kids than that, and better citizens now, they're just great. And a son-in-law shouldn't forget Mike. (both laugh) No, he really is. He's a great guy, he is, and I don't know what I could do without him either. He's been great--

MOYEN: So, what have I missed? What else do we need to cover?

SCHMIDT: (laughs) If you missed anything, I sure as heck don't know what it is. It seems like you did your homework too.

MOYEN: Well, thanks.

SCHMIDT: I sure do. Cause the only thing I guess I could change, and 02:40:00it's been a long time, I don't know how many hours, but quite a few hours, if you could eliminate the BOPTROT, I would appreciate it. And I'm only kidding; I know that's part of it. That was--that really was the only thing I really totally disgusted with. Oh, one thing I found out about after that and this really bothered me, too. Well, the United States attorney was on television, and I got the tape of it cause I tried to keep all of it. And that the only thing he had, you know, was that I had lied to the FBI about taking two hundred dollars. And if I had, if I had taken it, and anything--like they were trying to prove that I was going to vote for the bill or do something in return for the money. And they said there wasn't anything there like that. Well, what--if I'd just said yes, it would all been over cause there's nothing wrong with taking money even from the lobbyists. If I 02:41:00wanted to give you five hundred dollars right now, and you don't report it, you don't do anything, I don't report it. You know, up to ten thousand dollars, there's nothing wrong, and the attorney said that. There's nothing wrong with giving or taking money from somebody unless the purpose of what you do with it. Unless, you know, they can prove for some illegal purpose, unless it's over ten thousand dollars, and if it's over ten thousand, you've got to report it. Well, I've got a strange thing about bribery and that. I don't know if there's enough money that I would take for a bribe because the good Lord's been good to me. I've got everything I need. I'd probably take one, the only reason I'd take a bribe, if you could promise me a cure for Marian. I might, I'd think about it then. But, you know, there's nothing that- -oh, I know what it was. There isn't enough money--if you gave, say if you gave one hundred thousand dollars to bribe somebody, and you had 02:42:00one hundred thousand dollars in cash, now what you gonna do with it? Now, you know, you can't spend it, you can't spend cash. You can go out and buy an automobile with it, they'll report it cause anything ten thousand dollars in cash transactions have to be reported. So you'll be sitting up, watching it all the time, you know. Whatever you did, you'd be worried about it, and if it isn't over one hundred thousand dollars don't bother me. (both laugh) Cause it just isn't worth it. So, I don't know. It's just a--it's crazy.

MOYEN: Well, I'm not gonna let us finish on a negative, so I'm gonna-- there's one last thing that I thought of I want you to--maybe there's no story behind it but I read somewhere, just a little blip in the paper about how you used to try to shoot rubber bands?

SCHMIDT: (laughs) I was awful.

MOYEN: (laughs) So tell me about that.

SCHMIDT: That's terrible. I was in the front row of the Senate, and they got these light fixtures up in front, you know. And I think I was mad about something--no, Benny Ray Bailey was sitting next to me. 02:43:00You know Benny Ray Bailey? He's a senator. And he's sitting next to me. And we would talk all the time, and I remember this one time we're talking, and he's saying, and I'd tell him, "Look at this bill; this is unbelievable. How the hell this thing ever get out of committee?" He's like, "Boy," he says, "Art, you're right. That's stinks, you know. How can they do it?" I don't even know what the bill was. Anyway, they called the roll call, and they called alphabetical, and they called Bailey. He goes, "Aye." (Moyen laughs) And I'm sitting there, "What the heck's a matter with you?" He said, "Art," he said, "You don't understand." He said, "How this thing works." He said, "Don't you realize that if nobody voted for these bad bills, they couldn't pass." (both laugh) It was just awful, you know. But anyway, I would get in moods like that somehow, and this place really stinks, and so I'm gonna help stink the place up. And the chandeliers are up front along side of the president thing, and they're open at the top, and there's a light bulb inside. So I try to get a lamp, a rubber band to land on 02:44:00top of the hot light bulbs. (laughs) And I think somebody caught me. And so, they got, ended up in the paper. So I guess I'll be forever known as the 'Rubber Band Guy.' (laughs) That was a--I don't know. I don't think I ever hit one. I hit the chandelier and inside but I don't think ever hit the light bulb. And now I probably shouldn't have told this to you because somebody's gonna go up there and have to change that light bulb. And when they do, it'll be all melted rubber around, they won't be able to get it out and I'll get billed for a fixture. (both laugh) And then I'm gonna have to swear that other people were doing the same thing. (both laugh) But it was--yeah, you're right, I did that.

MOYEN: Well, thank you so much for your time. It's been a pleasure. I've enjoyed it.

SCHMIDT: Well, I have, I have, too. I really have. But I better get going too cause I better go get lunch for somebody. (laughs)


MOYEN: That's right. That's why we started a little earlier.

SCHMIDT: That's right, I appreciate it

MOYEN: Thanks.

[Tape 2, side 2 ends.]

[End of interview.]