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MOYEN: The following is an unrehearsed interview with David Karem, who served in both the Kentucky House of Representatives and the Kentucky Senate. The interview was conducted by Eric Moyen for the University of Kentucky's Oral History Program and the Kentucky Legislature Oral History Project. The interview took place on February 16, 2004, in Louisville, Kentucky.

[Pause in recording.]

MOYEN: All right, I'm here, uh, today, with Mr. David Karem, who served House District Thirty-Four, uh, '72 to '74, I believe. At least the sessions. And then Senate District Thirty-Five, uh, from, from your election in 1975 through today, in 2004. Um, we're in Louisville. Thanks for meeting with me. Could you, uh, start by just telling me a little bit about your family background, even your genealogy? How, what do you know about your family and tracing your roots to, to where you are now?

KAREM: I'm gonna get some water(??).

MOYEN: Okay.

00:01:00

KAREM: So, um, background, um, from a genealogy point of views, um, I would be your classic American mutt. My mother's, uh, family is English and Irish, Scotch. Um, her family, there's a person in, in, um, her family who's done an, an enormous amount of genealogical research, uh, some parts of her family go way back into the, uh, I think they've traced them back as far as the early 1700s, uh, where they were originally from Virginia. Um, another part of her family, uh, is, uh, English, uh, folks, Mansfields(??), my mother's maiden name was Mansfield. And, uh, they actually know where they came from in England and they have the city or the village that they came from, uh, in England. And then, her, si-, another side of her family's Irish, 00:02:00and they know, she has the roots, um, on, on where they came from in Ireland, and, and, a fairly good picture of when they came here.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: On my dad's side of the family, um, my father was, uh, born in, in the Middle East. He was born in Lebanon. Um, came, uh, his mother and dad were, uh, from a small city in, uh, small village in Lebanon. Bsharri, Lebanon. The, Bsharri is the name of the city, the great claim to fame for Bsharri is that it's the hometown of, um, of Kahlil Gibran who wrote The Prophet. And in fact, my grandfather and, uh, his family knew Kahlil Gibran. Uh, leaving that alone(??), my dad came over when he was about four- or five years old. Uh, my grandfather had already come over, then sent for my grandmother, and at that 00:03:00point, she had I think three small children. Uh, the youngest one she actually left there with relatives. And then, um, came over with my father and my uncle. And, uh, so the family's that side of the family is Lebanese, and that's, that's where they, they came from the Middle East. So I had a pretty good picture about where my family's from.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Did they settle here in Louisville?

KAREM: They came to, um, they came to Louisville, Kentucky, because my, my grandfather's brother actually was the first, um, Lebanese, uh, person--there's a pretty good size Lebanese population in Louisville, and the first person, uh, that came over from Lebanon, which was in the late 1800s, was my great-uncle. And my great-uncle actually came originally to New Orleans. Did not like the climate in New Orleans 00:04:00and, um, some people said to him, apparently at some point in time, that Louisville was, uh, a prosperous community and that he might do well, uh, in Louisville. And, um, he, he came up literally on a steamboat from, uh, New Orleans to Louisville and settled in Louisville and so that when my grandfather came over, uh, he had been sent for by my great-uncle. And they came, they did come right to Louisville, so. And in fact, they did a, they recently did an encyclopedia of Louisville. And one of the entries was on the Lebanese community and they asked, the guy who, uh, did the encyclopedia, John Kleber, asked me to do the entry on, um, on the Lebanese community, because there's the significant size community here, which I did and did a lot of research at that point to be absolutely sure and also try to make sure 00:05:00everybody's, when you start doing this kind of stuff, you want make sure everybody signs off on it. (Moyen laughs) So, um, several big clans, I guess you would say, of Lebanese people in this community, uh, plus a huge population that goes to the, uh, St. Michael's Orthodox Church, and so, I went around with everybody to try to verify and everybody--knock on wood--agreed that, uh, that my great-uncle was the first one to, I mean, he really started the migration over to here by saying, "This was a good place to come." And most of them settled in what was the old Haymarket area. At the time, there were, uh, most of, of that generation of people were, uh, were in the produce business, or the meat business, or peddlers of some kind. And so, there was a fairly large Haymarket where everybody did their shopping. Um, and bunch of those people, in fact, for years most of the Haymarket 00:06:00original community was either Italian, Lebanese, or Jewish.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: And, um, they, uh, in fact, one of the things we talked about in the article was the connectivity of the Jewish community here and the Lebanese community, which has always been very close. And, uh, because they all kind of grew up in that same area. So, I, that's my family background.

MOYEN: Okay. Now, uh, your father moved here when he was young, what occupation did he, uh, and your mother pursue? And, and what were their names?

KAREM: My father's name was Fred J. Karem. Middle initial "J". Mother was Mary Jane Mansfield Karem. And, uh, both of them professionally became attorneys. And, um, practiced, uh, and the, and the older brother, my father's older brother became an attorney. And, uh, 00:07:00in fact, I've, when I became a lawyer and my older brother became a lawyer, and at one point my father, mother, and my brother, all four of us practiced law for a short period of time together. That's, so they became, uh, attorneys. They also both taught school at various times. Uh, my dad, uh, taught school at, uh, ------------(??)---------- High School; he, he taught at Bellarmine College; uh, he's taught classes at U of L. Uh, my mother taught at high school at a Catholic girl's high school, Loretto High School. Uh, but ended up, both of them being lawyers. My grandfather was actually a, my grandfather was a peddler. He was a guy that, uh, uh--in fact it was really interesting. He was, uh, I guess you'd call him a tinker, or whatever the terminology is. He would go out through parts of the state, and with a wagon literally, and he had sold pots and pans and eyeglasses, and things 00:08:00of that sort. In fact, I still have, uh, uh, one of the funny things that, uh, that's kind of a fun thing I have is--and I don't know how I ever got hold of it--but he had a thing that looked like a big tool box. And when you opened it up, it had like, uh, eighty or a hundred lens in it. And then it had different frames and then there was a master thing and so you put it on, you put these glass, you put this master glasses on, and it had clips, and you would take, you would just go through the lens until you came up with the ones that worked, and then he assembled those together and sold them to farm people, um, out in the states. So, he was the guy that did glasses. Ironically, one of the funniest things is when I very first went to the legislature, my grandfather's name was Peter Karem, um, and when I first went up to the legislature, there were, there was, uh, there were two or three legislators, uh, one specifically who said, "Were you any relation to Peter Karem?" And I said, "Yes, he was my grandfather." And he said, 00:09:00"He would, I grew up on a farm, uh, down in Edmonson County," or Larue County, or places like that, down in, in central Kentucky, and they would say, "The most wonderful thing in our life was when Peter Karem came by, because he, he really brought all these different things, things we'd never seen before. And he would stay with us. He'd stayed in the house. He would come by, and he'd sell pots and pans, or he'd sell these glasses, or he'd have, um, he had yard goods, or he would have things, he'd brought the market, if you will, to us, because we liter-, literally didn't have them." I mean these were pretty rural days and those things(??)--

MOYEN: --um-hm, um-hm.

KAREM: I was always, it was so funny, I'd never thought in a million years when I went to the legislature, there'd be somebody who would say they remembered my grandfather being, uh, this basically a peddler.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: And, um, he was, uh, I think he did all this, all the way through the Depression. And in fact, my dad always said that, um, they lived 00:10:00reasonably well, because, um, uh, he was, he peddled through that period of time and some of the people who had, uh, cash, were some of the farmers who had, who did have some cash. Uh, and/or they would trade for, you know, they would trade in-kind stuff.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: So, that he might get produce or stuff like that. And it was a fun to listen to that kind of background.

MOYEN: Um-hm. So, how did your family get involved, were, were, were your parents or your grandfather or uncle were they involved in either neighborhood or city or county politics at all?

KAREM: Actually, the guy who, who, who--I never knew this until later on--and, um, but the, the great-uncle, whose name was, in Arabic it was Lahoud. But translated it be Louis. Louis Karem the great-uncle was very involved in Democratic politics. Uh, I've never known why he 00:11:00was involved in politics or what the real history behind that was, but he was, he was very involved in politics. And in those days, um, when things were much more, um, I guess clannish, if that's the right word, you would have like, there was, uh, a Jewish neighborhood, or there was a Lebanese neighborhood, or there was an Italian neighborhood, or there was Germantown, or an Irish neighborhood, um, you had a particular person who was sort of the clan leader. And that person, uh, uh, could deliver a great deal of political clout because he could deliver votes. And this great-uncle of mine--and I've seen over the years a lot of, there were newspaper clippings about, about him, and stuff where he was sort of the family boss, if you will, and so, uh, he was lined up with the Democratic, uh, Party and, and he would, he was relatively powerful 00:12:00because he could, there was a pretty good size community and he could get deliver the votes for people, in the same way the whoever was the head of the Italian neighborhood, or so forth--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

KAREM: --could deliver the votes, or Irish. So, he was always, uh, involved with it. My father was, um, was, um, politically-involved, but, um, not nearly to the level that, uh, that his great-uncle--that his uncle was, my great-uncle. But he was involved in Democratic politics at, uh, certain level. And my mother was involved in--I'd say actually my mother was a bit more involved in politics than my father was. My mother was a, uh, in the days when Democrat, when, when the political parties had precinct captains who really did things.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: Uh, my mother was a Democratic precinct captain for many years.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Now, so when you grew up, around the dinner table, or 00:13:00whatever, politics was, was that a big part of the conversation piece? Or, or what were--well, let me first get to this: when were you born?

KAREM: Uh, when my mother gave birth. (both laugh) August 31, 1943. Um, in fact, my parent's wedding anniversary was September the first, and I was a treasure for my mother. I was an anniversary present for her. (Moyen laughs) Um, I'm, I'm one of five children. And, uh, I'm the second youngest. My parents were, uh, both, um, uh, fairly serious Roman Catholics. Um, uh, church every Sunday. Uh, all, uh, observing all of the po-, the, the religious holidays, etc cetera, etc cetera. But, by the same token, my parents were both very, um, well-educated. 00:14:00My mother was, uh, went to college in a time when very few women went to college.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: Um, then went to law school and, uh, in a time when there're very few women, uh, went to law school. Um, there've been several histories written about women lawyers in Kentucky and she's one of the, uh, folks that's been cited as one of the pioneering women in the law profession. Um, there's reason to believe--as an aside--that, uh, she was the first woman in the state of Kentucky, as we understand, that from the history of the state, to argue a case in front of the United States Supreme Court. She had a tax case that she--I don't know that she, I don't know that she won or not--(laughs)--but she, she's supposed to be the first woman who ever, from the state of Kentucky to argue before the US Supreme Court. But anyway, my folks were very intelligent people, very well-educated people. Um, my father was a particularly 00:15:00loved to encourage, uh, debate. He loved, he taught debate. He loved to get into long discussions. Uh, we were very, uh, dinner, family dinner was extraordinarily important. I mean, it, you, seven days a week, you had dinner together. There was, uh, there, there was very little exception to that. And on particularly Sundays or Saturdays, and things of that sort, especially Sunday, you'd, you'd, um, you know, you might sit around the table for quite a long period of time, and as the kids got older, I mean, we would get into great discussions about things. And, and, um, there were very few topics that were ever taboo. We could talk about religion and we could express con-, you know, disagreement or agreement. We could talk about politics. We could talk about, uh, probably not very much sex, because it was still pretty conservative sort-of an era. Um, but they were just very open to and they believed that kids should argue. So we would sit around the 00:16:00table. I mean, that's still is a tradition in our family.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: I've, that's one I've carried on with my two sons. We always tried to have dinner together and my wife and, and, uh, our boys always, and we always encouraged open discussion at the dinner table. And I think, uh, I think probably the biggest thing that ever got me involved politics was, if, if anybody said, "What's the thing that really got you involved?" It probably was the dinner table. It probably was the fact that we were encouraged to sit around and have these kinds of discussions. And, uh, and, and my dad was the kind of person also who was, you could say virtually anything you wanted to say in making an argument, but you better be prepared to back it up.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: So, you couldn't say, uh, you couldn't say, "Well," in a very authoritative voice, "this is the such and such," without him saying, "Well, what, what's your reference for that?" Or what, I mean, literally, we'd get, he'd get up from the dinner table and pull the 00:17:00encyclopedia off the shelf, or pull off a reference book, or pull off some, you know, a Shakespeare, you know, that--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

KAREM: --the complete works of Shakespeare were there and so, if you said something about Macbeth or something, don't be saying it--

MOYEN: --right, right--

KAREM: --unless you're serious that you know what you're talking about because he'll get the book off and--

MOYEN: --right(??).

KAREM: My dad died unfortunately as a, far too young. He was sixty- three at the time he died. And I can remem--and he died, he had cancer, and he had a three month period of time--this is an aside--but just to show you the kind of, I can remember like ten days before my father died, when he was in extraordinarily, uh, ill health and terribly in pain, getting into to--we were all, a bunch of people were at the house, and we got into some debate and he made us get the encyclopedia off the shelf. (both laugh) And he proved somebody who was making some point wrong. I mean, he said, "You're just not right about that. ---------(??) Get me that. Bring it over here." I mean, that was just the kind of way you--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

KAREM: --you, you, you better backup the argument.

00:18:00

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: So, we were just, we grew up in the, in that kind of, uh, situation. I also, um, we grew up in, uh, they had a lot of belief in public service. They had a lot of, my dad always believed he had, um--he was a funny guy. He, we lived well, as I, as I think back on it. I never, you know, I don't remember whether I was rich or poor, or whatever. We lived reasonably, we lived reasonably well. Uh, but my dad was one of these kind of people, he, he thought that practicing law was a calling. It was almost to him like, like being in the clergy.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: I mean, he really felt that--and nobody ever got turned away from his law office. If someone came in and they couldn't pay, um, he didn't, he, he, he represented them. Did whatever he could to help people. And he, I mean, sometimes they couldn't do any(??), I mean, sometimes we'd get a bushel of corn or something as, uh, a legal fee, 00:19:00or, um, somebody, one of the first, in fact, the first television set that we ever had--we were one of the last families on the street to get a television--and a guy he done a really, uh, bang-up job for some -------(??) didn't have, uh, uh, enough money but he had a TV set and he wanted my dad to have the TV set. So he gave my father the TV set. So I mean, it was that, he really believed in that sort of calling, so there was always this, in my mind, there was always a, uh, very strong, uh, public service attitude that you need to be involved in the community. It was very clear message from my father and mother, both. Uh, also I should say, the youngest of the five children, my sister is a person who's, um, born, the term would be I guess mentally retarded. I've never known what's the politically-correct term to use. But, um, uh, she, she's a, she's always a very important factor in the family, because at the time my sister was born, um, the, the, uh, 00:20:00all, every doctor and all the medical profession and everything that dealt with my sister in some way told my parents that she should be put in an institution, and because she would never be able to take care of herself, and she would never be able to feed herself. She would never be able to do anything for herself.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: And they should just go ahead and make the political--not the-- they should go ahead the social decision, or whatever the term is, just to put her in an institution. Uh, my parents were just, never agreed with that. And, uh, just refused to accept that. Um, they believed that she could learn. And they believed that, uh, they, and they, they just, they were the most tenacious people in the world about making sure that my sister did well. And if you would meet my sister today, who's, um, in her fifties, you would be stunned that anybody would say she should ever be institutionalized. I mean, she can carry on a 00:21:00conversation with you.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: She, um, she can, uh, she takes total care of herself. She needs no assistance in taking care of herself. In fact, when my mother, when my mother got quite elderly, my sister was in many respects a caretaker for her. So, um, she's, uh, a, she has a great time. And she has a wonderful life. And, and, as a, she's a real celebration of life. And I think that was very important, the more I thought about my political career, because I've always been extraordinarily interested in education. And I think part of the social conscience or part of the belief that, in education came from the fact that my parents just insisted that she was not gonna be put someplace and that she was not gonna be given up on. And they spent every amount of energy and effort they could to find something that would work for her. They found a 00:22:00neat program at, believe it or not, uh, at Indiana University, where it was a residential program, where they were training, uh, psychologists and social workers and it was a residential situation. And she had almost one-on-one, uh, she, she lived there for several years. And she had almost one-on-one work by people who were in this program, and they really brought her out. And, um, just my parents kept pushing about it. So, as you say, I'm rambling, but, uh, that I think that's a lot, I think that dinner table conversation, my parents' social conscience, my dad's belief that practicing law was like a religious calling, and my parents' attitude toward my sister was very formative in--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

KAREM: --why I got interested in politics.

MOYEN: Um-hm, um-hm. Your, just going through questions down my list here, let me ask a couple of questions here. One is can you tell me about your schooling background? Where you went to school? I mean, from, from elementary, secondary, and higher ed, and then how all this, 00:23:00you, if, if your schooling did or didn't play a part, and then what you're saying, how that influenced your political philosophy and how you might articulate what your political philosophy is.

KAREM: Okay, let's see. (both laugh) I went--

MOYEN: --you want more, you want one of those(??)--tell me a little bit--

KAREM: --I went to--

MOYEN: ---------(??)---------(both laugh)--

KAREM: --I went to, to, um, I was one, I, I did go to kindergarten. In those days there were not very many kindergarten programs. I guess my parents believed strongly in education and they found a kindergarten program. It was a public school; it was a Longfellow school. Uh, I went to kindergarten there. Then, after kindergarten there at Longfellow, I went to, all the way through, uh, St. Agnes Elementary School, which is still here in town.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: And, um, that was eight years of, of Catholic school. Left there 00:24:00and went to St. X High School, St. Xavier, again, which is here in town. Uh, so my basic undergraduate--I'm sorry--my basic elementary and secondary was in the Catholic school system. Um, and college, I, um, I got very interested in the, um, in design, actually in design work. And was, had a part-time job at a place, uh, when I was, uh, in maybe sixteen years old or so, a place called Hubbuch in Kentucky, which was an interior design, uh, firm here in town. Then I started thinking I wanted, I was going, I was very interested in getting into the design profession. So, I, uh, there was a very strong program at the University of Cincinnati. And so, as I got out of high school, I started looking, or I got near the end of high school, I started looking at that. I applied to the University of Cincinnati. In those days it was the College of Design, Architecture, and Art. Um, 00:25:00and I got accepted there. It's, uh, that's a five-year coop-program. Uh, your first year, you go full-time and then that summer you start working at a coop job and then you, then they, uh, it, it went to a quarter system and so you were, one quarter you're in your school, one quarter you're working in a coop job.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: Um, I, I graduated from the University of Cincinnati, uh, in 1966. Uh, about in that five-year program, in, in the fourth, maybe early part of the fourth year of that program, I was kind of becoming, um, I don't know what the word is--disaffected with the profession. I didn't, I started thinking I didn't really want to be in the design field. Um, so I started looking around and I think to my parents' 00:26:00enormous surprise, I started talking about law school. I think they were stunned. At that point, my one brother was in law school. He was in law school at night. He was a night-school student. And I went to the admissions office at the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky Law School. And I asked, I, I was asking if I needed to transfer into some other, um, did I need to transfer into some other, um, college and they looked at my transcript and my transcript was pretty strong. We had, um, we had, uh, four or five years of history. We had four or five years of literature. I had psychology. I had sociology. Uh, I had a class in physics. I mean, we had a pretty decent program. And they looked at the curriculum that I'd taken, and all of them said, "No, just finish up what you're doing. Take the LSAT 00:27:00test. Uh, finish up and if you do okay on the LSAT, your curriculum's fine." So, I finished up the five years there and then went full, went to day, full daytime school at U of L law school. So, graduated from Cincinnati in '66 and University of Louisville Law School in, uh, '69.

MOYEN: Okay, okay.

KAREM: And as a funny aside, actually the first time I ran for political office was I, I lost. It was in the--and I was a senior in law school when I ran the first time. Um, I ran in 1969, the same year I was gonna graduate. And, um, lost in the Democratic primary.

MOYEN: For what position?

KAREM: State Representative.

MOYEN: Okay, okay.

KAREM: Ran for the same position that I(??)--

MOYEN: --okay.

KAREM: And then two years later--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

KAREM: --uh, I, I, uh, won that seat. So, the first year I ran was a, I was still in law school.

MOYEN: Okay.

KAREM: So, I guess I was pol-, politically bitten early.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Do you think that you, looking back, did you pretty much 00:28:00know this was something you were gonna try and do? And just always kind of thought, Well, I'm going to run for some sort of office?

KAREM: Never, I had no, if somebody had told me, if somebody said, "You're gonna get into politics," I would've said, "Absolutely not." I, um, actually it was really funny. When I got out of, my mother, as I said, my mom had been a Democratic precinct captain. And when, um, I graduated from the University of Cincinnati, by the time I came home, um, my--of the five children, the oldest three were married and out of the house. So, when I came home in 1966 from under-, from graduating from the University of Cincinnati, there was just my younger sister and myself and my mom and dad at home. And my mother, when I came home, my mom said, um, "I've been doing this precinct captain thing for twenty 00:29:00years," or whatever it was, "I'm not doing it anymore; you're gonna be the precinct captain. And, um, uh, the Republicans have a young guy, a young fellow who's, who's doing the, who is the precinct and you and he will get along fine." And in fact, it's really funny, because the guy who was the precinct captain in the precinct where we lived at that time, I had gone all the way through school with his sister, through elementary school with his sister at St. Agnes. And we had actually for a period of time lived next door to one another. So, it's, here was so(??)--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

KAREM: --flash-forward, um, we're precinct captains. So, she said, "You're gonna take over this precinct captain thing," and so, I did that. And, as, the only reason I ever even got interested in, I, in, in running for public office was that I started doing this precinct 00:30:00work. And it appeared to me that the, at the time the fellow who represented this area in the Kentucky House of Representative was a Republican. And, um, this was, it, it appeared to me that this whole neighborhood was changing a lot. That it was becoming much more Democratic. Um, and that, that kind of persuasion was going that way. It was, uh, you know, this was a lot of the Kennedy-kind of era.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: And there were a lot of young people getting involved in politics. And it surprised me that, that the Democrats didn't challenge this guy. And, uh, I thought sort of on a lark, I'll run for this thing! And, um, it was really weird. At the time that I decided to run, I was the first person who expressed an interest in running 00:31:00for this thing. And, um, when I went around and talked to some of the different political people and I was, they were very encouraging about, they were encouraging about running. At the, and after it got sort of out that there, people started talking about this district, two other people filed in the Democratic primary; one of whom was, if you're a student of history, one of our, uh, better known Democratic politicians was a guy named Wilson Wyatt. Wilson Wyatt was, uh, mayor at one point of Louisville and Lieutenant Governor of the state, and had run for US Senate, and so forth. Um, his son decided to run for the same seat.

MOYEN: Okay.

KAREM: And then, there was, uh, a woman who decided to run for it. Uh, her husband was a fellow named Sam Ezelle. And Sam Ezelle at the time was the head of the state, he was the, head of the state AFL-CIO. And 00:32:00his wife's name was Dorothy Ezelle. And so, uh, all of sudden where nobody had any interest particularly in this seat, um, there were three people running for it. And, um, the, because Wilson Wyatt's son and the labor union guy's wife were in this race, it got a lot of attention. Much more so than normally--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

KAREM: --you would get in, in a race like that. And there were several articles in the paper and there were some TV stories about it, and so forth. And it was kind of, one of the funny things was that they said, um, uh, "The business community-type is Wilson Wyatt Jr. and then the labor person is Dorothy Ezelle, these two powerful, uh, forces of the, the, sort of pro-business force, and pro-labor force are running. 00:33:00And then there's a third person who is, um, got, grew up in the neighborhood, and has some friends," or something. (Moyen laughs) It was kind of, it was pretty dismissive. It was almost kind of humorous. It was like, oh, yeah, there were--and then I ran into this other--it was really funny--Wilson Wyatt, actually at the time, Wilson Wyatt Jr. was a maybe three or four months younger than I was. But everybody for some reason, I guess because of the name Wilson Wyatt, they thought he was much older than--and so people would, you'd run into people and say, "Well, you're awfully young for this thing. And, you know, that Wyatt boy seems just to be" ----------(??)--I'm like, he's younger than I am. (Moyen laughs) Never made any headway with that. Um, but it got a lot of notoriety with just sort of me being--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

KAREM: --kind of dismissed in the whole thing. But then, uh, at the, when the primary was over, Wilson Wyatt Jr. won the primary, and I came in second, and, uh, Dorothy Ezelle came in third. And, um, she came in pretty far behind. And, uh, I, I, I was not embarrassed by the 00:34:00showing. I mean, I think people were surprised by how many votes I did get. Um, Wilson Wyatt served one, Wilson Wyatt Jr. served only one term in the, uh, House of Representatives in Frankfort, and didn't seek reelection, uh, for, because of personal, family reasons why he didn't seek reelection. And, um, the, uh, so, I ran again. So, I thou-, you know, so--he won.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: Uh, he won the general election and beat the fellow, um, who was the Republican. And, uh, and the incumbent, he took the incumbent guy out. And then the next time I, uh, he didn't run for reelection, and I filed in the Democratic primary, and I had stayed very active. I, I, I decided to go ahead and help him in his general election and I did work pretty hard for Wilson in the general election.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: So, I stayed kind of involved and stuff and stayed as a precinct captain and then it came, the next time came around in '71, and, uh, 00:35:00nobody's filed against me in the primary. Uh, had a guy filed against me in the general election who was a Republican, and I beat him.

MOYEN: Do you recall his name?

KAREM: Um, the guy that we, the guy that we beat, uh, the guy who was the Republican originally was Lou Ballenger. And then the guy who ran against me--oh gosh, what was his name? I can see his, he was a, actually a very nice man and we were very polite to each other throughout the whole thing and I can just, I can see him as clear as a bell, but I just cannot recall his name right now. He's very nice guy.

MOYEN: So, did Wilson Wyatt Jr., uh, give you any support when you did try and run, or were there any, uh, local--I don't know if you call them power brokers or powers-that-be that endorsed your campaign that really helped you in the general election that you know of? Uh.

KAREM: You mean the next time?

MOYEN: No--

00:36:00

KAREM: --no, when I ran--

MOYEN: --in '71.

KAREM: When I ran successfully?

MOYEN: Um-hm, um-hm.

KAREM: Actually, the, uh, Wilson Wyatt Jr., um, didn't run for reelection because he, uh, shortly after he got elected, um, or, or some period of time after he got elected, he, uh, divorced his wife. And I think one of the, I, I, I've always, although I never knew directly, I always thought his father probably thought he shouldn't run for reelection, because he didn't want this whole divorce issue to come up.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: Um, he, he, I think, at the time had been taking a--I don't know what happened to Wilson. I know he, I know where, where he is today, but it, he, he may have taken a job with somebody who worked--actually the person who was really helpful was his wi-, was his wife, who he had 00:37:00divorced. His wife, uh, remained in the neighborhood and she was very helpful to me with a lot of the people that she'd worked very hard on his election.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: And she was very helpful. Um, and yeah, I mean, once you, once you got past the primary, um, uh, you know, the political structure, or whatever you want to call it, wants you to be successful, so you got some help from--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

KAREM: --um, people. I, most of my political campaigns have always been, uh, uh, just people that I've brought into to that have helped me out. I mean, you get some help, um, but by the time that I was getting involved in politics, there was the Democratic Party structure--if there's, if, if that's the right term--was less and less, uh, powerful in, in these elections. There was a lot of, um, effort back in those 00:38:00days to have what they called open primaries. When I first started getting into, uh, when I first became precinct captain, uh, literally the political party structure said, uh, this person will be, uh, our candidate for--

MOYEN: --right--

KAREM: --Congress.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: This person's going to be our candidate for state representative, this person's going to be a candidate for state senator. I mean, there was a lot of that, the executive committee of the party in the, you know, they sort of picked people, then went and sought out people to, that they thought would be the best candidates. There was a lot of pushing in, it was because this sort of awakening, if you will, of young people, I think a lot because of the Kennedy kind of image that, you know, invigorated younger people into the party. Um, there were a lot of, there was a lot of push to say it was not appropriate for the party to pick people. You needed to have, uh, you know, you needed to have, um, open primaries. Around the same time that I got involved with it, a little, a little before I got elected, uh, actually 00:39:00one of the guys who really, uh, started to change some of that was Ron Mazzoli. Ron Mazzoli was, um, uh, later on a United States Congressman for many years, but his first political, uh, his first political, uh, foray--if that's the right term--was to, was State Senate. In fact, I'm in the Senate seat that Ron had held at one point. Um, Ron, uh, ran a campaign, I got involved to some degree in his campaign, he ran a campaign out of his basement when people were saying--without the blessing of the party. And, uh, he kind of was one of the barrier breakers about people saying, "Okay, you can put together, you can put a campaign together, and you can win this thing." And so, my, you got help from people and there always, you know, but I always had my own organization, if that's the right term. I mean, you just, that's the way I think you win these races.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: Is you have people who're willing to come out and bust their rear 00:40:00end to help you. And, um, we always, uh, relied enormously on our own structure, if that's what you want to say.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: I don't--um, that's not to say the party didn't do things. You know, they paid for some mailings, and they had some group political pieces that they put out. But basically, all my races were, uh, 85 percent or 90 percent we were in it in some way.

MOYEN: Okay. And you really came into political life also when Democratic factionalism was coming to an end, as well, I guess, with, um, Chandler, and Combs, and Clements, and the different political infighting there. Was there ever any discussion of, of that, in terms of which faction in the, in the Democratic Party you may have aligned yourself with, or, or was there discussion of let's put factionalism 00:41:00aside, so to speak?

KAREM: Oh no, there was, uh, that's funny you asked that question. There were some, cause some of these people are still good friends of mine. Um, there was, uh, when I ran in that first primary there was no, uh, there was some people who, there was some people who I'd gone to and asked for support, who said they would support me, and then Wilson Wyatt got into race, uh, they forgot they had ever met with me. And they couldn't remember, and, uh, it was, you know, it was like, it was back to that, you know, "You're too young." "But he's younger than I am." Uh, "Well, his dad put the heat on me," or this or that. There were, there were some pretty, uh, that was probably, actually that first race probably one of the most important things in my political career was losing that race. (Moyen laughs) Uh, I think it did a number of--this doesn't directly answer your question but it's 00:42:00going there--I think that, um, it told me that you never have, I think losing that race told me that you're never entitled to an office. That you have to work for it each time. Uh, I, I think it told me that, uh, you have to watch your back all the time. Uh, literally there were people who were very good friends of my father's, who were politically, uh, active individuals, including elected officials who I went to and they, and said I was gonna run for this and they, they said they would support me. Um, and, um, as, when Wilson got into the race, they, you know, as I said, they had this memory loss. And, um, I think that was a real eye-opener for me. I mean, I, I was, I grew up in a family where my father would've said, "If you give somebody your word, that's, you know, it's very important."

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: Uh, that was a really serious political lesson for me. It probably has helped me out, uh, throughout the process. Um, when I did 00:43:00get to run the first time and successfully, in, in, uh, that was the same time that, um, uh, Wendell Ford was running for Governor, and, uh, against Bert Combs.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: And, uh, a bunch of the--there were two guys who, one of whom has remained a very good friend of mine, who were working for, uh, Bert Combs and they called me up and said they wanted to meet with me. And I went over to, they, it, it--I had committed to Wendell Ford. I was going to be a Wendell Ford person(??).

MOYEN: Okay.

KAREM: And, um, uh, I'd been, I was going to be a Wendell Ford person even before, uh, I'd started, before I realized that this other guy was not going to run for reelection. So, all that's kind of confusing(??), 00:44:00but. Uh, in any event, there was, uh, I had just started practicing law. Wendell, I don't know, I can't recall why I was particularly attracted to Wendell Ford, but I was, I was very attracted to Wendell Ford. He seemed young and fresh. Um, I, I can't remember who introduced me to him, or whatever it was, but I got involved in his campaign. And there was, he, he asked, he, there were three of us, he asked if we would form an organization and called Young Lawyers for Wendell Ford. And it was, one of them was David Armstrong, who was later on, uh, our, our attorney general and county judge and mayor. And one of them was David Karem and one was Dan Snyder. And Danny Snyder later on became a circuit judge. And, uh, we actually 00:45:00formed this organization called Young Lawyers for Ford. Had our own letterhead. Uh, we solicited, uh, support from other young attorneys. And as that whole thing was unfolding is when, uh, is, is the time when Wilson Wyatt Jr. decided he wasn't running for reelection. And so, I, um, got a call from these two guys and asked to come over to the Combs's headquarters. And they had this very nice discussion with me that, um, you know, looked like I was gonna luck out and not have a primary but if I didn't drop my support for Wendell Ford, I was gonna have a primary. And, um--

[Pause in recording.]

KAREM: --------(??) They called me up, and I walked to this, to the second floor of this headquarters. It's on Fourth Street. I can remember exactly where it was. It was a little place on Fourth Street, and I sat down with these two gentlemen, and they said, "Now, you're gonna have to get out of the Wendell Ford thing. And, you know, you're 00:46:00just gonna have to stay at neutral in that race." And, uh, I basically sat there and smiled, and, and in so many words kind of told them to go to hell. (both laugh) I was gonna do, you know, I committed to Wendell Ford and I was not gonna back up on my commitment to Wendell Ford. And they said, "You're gonna get a primary opponent." And I said, "Well, so be it. You know. I had a primary opponent before." Um, so, uh, but I never got one. I, I left that, uh, little meeting with those people and nobody ever did file. And, uh, I was a very big Wendell Ford supporter. And, uh, there was a lot of factionalism cause, of course Julian Carroll, who got elected Lieutenant Governor, was really a Combs's supporter.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: And so, it was an interesting, that was kind of an interesting time. But, um, I think Ford was so, I think Wendell Ford was such a, uh, powerful political figure, just seemed to attract so many people 00:47:00that, um, I, if, if somebody said, "Who, who would've help evaporate some of that?" I really do think Wendell Ford helped evaporate--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

KAREM: --a lot of that.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: I think Wendell Ford, uh, uh, took, uh, well to Julian Carroll, and they got, you know, they got along tolerably well. And, uh, they never got into a great deal of factionalism. And Julian was smart enough not to get into a bunch of that carrying-on. And then when Wendell, uh, became US Senator, obviously Julian was, uh, took over as Governor a year, uh, you know, a year earlier than, uh, than his, than his formal election. And, um, I think Wendell evaporated a lot of that.

KAREM: Um-hm. Did you have any sense that maybe some of the help there to cool that between Julian Carroll and Wendell Ford was his Senate bid, because of, just because that would make the Carroll faction 00:48:00essentially get what they wanted, which was the Governor's mansion, do you think that played into that?

KAREM: Oh yeah, oh, I don't think there's any question about that.

MOYEN: Okay.

KAREM: But, you know, Wendell had, I mean, you know, clearly there's factionalism. I mean, there's still some--

MOYEN: --sure--

KAREM: --you know, maybe factionalism in places(??) but I, I, I think Wendell--people who were in other factions from Wendell saw his kind of grassroots popularity. And the guy, uh, the guy wasn't an establishment; I mean, he was running against Bert Combs's, for heaven's sake, who's--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

KAREM: --still, uh, you know, a legend in the Democratic Party. And, um, people saw that, uh, Wendell had been, as I recall, president of the, uh, National Jaycees organization. He had, uh, a lot of personal charisma that attracted people. He had the, he, uh, was one of the first ones, in my opinion, to give a lot of women very involved in 00:49:00politics. And he put women in, in, in positions in his administration and he surrounded himself by, um, some very strong, uh, women in, in, I think, women politically liked him, because he was progressive, and he was sensitive on women's issues. Um, you know, he's actually the one that, he pushed the, the, uh, ERA Amendment in the, that we, we adopted the ERA Amendment during his time. Um, so I, you know, I think, uh, people, even factions, saw Wendell Ford as a, uh, strong political figure that was gonna remain there.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: And then once he got to the Senate, it became pretty clear, uh, that he was gonna do very well there. And he did.

MOYEN: Um-hm, um-hm.

KAREM: And I think he just, uh, sort of help evaporated a lot of stuff(??).

MOYEN: Um-hm. Now, when you decided to run the first time, were you(??)--Kentucky had a Republican Governor.

KAREM: Louie Nunn. Rest his soul.

00:50:00

MOYEN: Right. And you had a primary opponent second time around. Um, there's, there's, I guess he's still in office, there's gonna be a, a Democratic Governor, although I guess that's still up in the air at that time. How did your platform change at all, or did your platform or, or what you campaigned on changed from the first time you're in a primary race and the second time it's just a general election? Wa-, was there any difference or did you basically say the same, same things, or do you recall?

KAREM: Oh, I recall. (both laugh) I recall very well. Um, I guess this is a terrible admission. Uh, I don't think that there, uh, I don't think there were major issues out there. Uh, I think the, the, um, I think I won because of just raw, hard work. And, um, uh, there 00:51:00were forums and things where you spoke to people about and different things, but they were, there weren't really, you know, horribly(??) weighty kind of issues. There, there were some that came along, uh, in fact, uh, when I ran for the Senate, the busing stuff was still a big hot issue. Or it was a huge hot issue, and, and, uh, later on, some of the abortion things became big hot issues. But the first time that I ran and, and the, and then the first time that I ran successfully, um, there weren't, I didn't, can't, you know I hate to say it, but I didn't campaign on, um, what you would call a lot of weighty issues. What I campaigned on was, was, were, were things like accessibility, uh, you know, I'm, I'm your neighbor. I grew up in this neighborhood. 00:52:00Uh, uh, um, I understand the neighborhood. Um, I'll be available. Um, I'm going go door-to-door to every house in the district, so that I'll ring doorbells and you'll know who I am. You'll be able to find me. Uh, and really, you, and, and I ran, we did some pretty, we did some pretty interesting things in the, in the campaign. I can remember one of the things we did was very successful in one of the, in some of my early campaigns. I would get, um, my, uh, sister, my mother, my mother-in-law, uh, my wife, uh, to take a precinct list, and handwrite to every household in that, on that precinct list a little note. And, uh, we would, we went out, I can just remember as clear as a bell, we went to, um, Kmart and we would buy pads of inexpensive notepaper and inexpensive envelopes. And, um, we had little cards 00:53:00printed up that was "Karem for State Representative," and my mom would, you know, write a note, "Dear, uh, Smith family, my son's running for, you know, state representative, and he's a good boy." (both laugh) Uh, "he's trustworthy, honest, loyal," etc cetera, and "Here's a card," and "Help him on November," whatever. And she would do, we would, she churned out three, four hundred of these letters. My wife would churn out three or four hundred, my sister did a bunch of them. I had, uh, a friend of mine who was, uh, a schoolteacher do a bunch of those letters. I wrote some of them, said, you know, we, we probably sent out maybe to ten or twelve--my mother-in-law even did them. Um, she, she was living in Bardstown at the time. And she wrote letters to two or three of the precincts, several of the precincts. And I still camp-, years later in campaigning I still ran into people who said, "Your mother-in-law wrote me the sweetest note." And it was--(laughs)- 00:54:00-I mean, it sounds terr-, but I mean they took it very personally. It was like, she really connected with them. And, um, that was so sweet. I mean, to think a mother-in-law, when your sister wrote me this wonderful note, you know, and of course, some of them they didn't, they would go through and would know.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: I mean, you'd try to give them a precinct where they might know some people, so that my mother wrote notes to the precinct in which she lived.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: My sister at the time lived in one of the precincts. And so, so she might know some percentage of the neighbors.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: But it was an incredibly effective thing. And it was much more that kind of thing. I walked to every household, uh, we did, uh, we would do some, what we would call like literature drops, or something, so that you would--uh, we didn't do, we didn't have enough money to, to do a whole lot of mailings in those first campaigns. But we did literature drops and things of that sort. And, uh, that's, I, it was more that than, than any big issue. I don't, I don't think in 00:55:00my political, my personal, political career, I don't think any single issue ever became like the deciding--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

KAREM: --unless you would say, I did get a reputation over the years-- and this is years later--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

KAREM: --I got a reputation for being a very independent. I got a reputation for being a very accessible, I got a reputation for being pretty outspoken. The House district and the Senate district, that is very appealing to the people in there.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: The, my Senate district, uh, highly educated, uh, group of people. Um, um, my Senate district frequently is the highest voting in the state. Um, and, um, they, they liked independence. They liked somebody who was outspoken. They liked somebody who was accessible. I mean, I, you know, I'll, I'll never had an unlisted phone number, or 00:56:00never tried to avoid phone calls, or never, you know, I mean--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

KAREM: --people'd stop me at the grocery store, want to talk--I, I think that always became a bigger issue than some specific thing(??).

MOYEN: Um-hm. You may have just answered my question, I was going to say, but, talking about the letter writing and stuff, isn't that, would you say that when people go out and vote, it maybe a lot less over an issue than it maybe, "Hey, they've returned my calls," or "they've talked to me," or "I think they're honest and hardworking." Do you think that that's true?

KAREM: I think of the, I'm thinking in, in, in very specifically in my situation, it was, it was much more the perception of accessibility and the perception of hardworking, um, and you do, you know, I, um, my oldest son was born in 1973. Uh, when I was running in, uh, '74-- 00:57:00'70--'73, I was running in '73, and then again in '75, I can remember, um, taking in, my, uh, son on a, in a backpack, going door-to-door, campaigning door-to-door. And, um, he got a big, he, he was a happy person, because I was just walking and he never fussed when I was doing that. And that was again one of the most powerful political things(??), I, I, I still would run into somebody to this day who says, "Oh, I can remember when you came by my house,"--I can remember two or three occasions where I rang the doorbell, and of course if it's a single male ringing the doorbell they might be a little skitterish, but somebody looks through the door to see this guy with a baby in the backpack, "Okay, cool."

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: So, and, uh, I can remember people answering the door and, uh, 00:58:00women saying, "Oh, Harry, get out here and look at this. This is the cutest baby you've ever, this man"--(Moyen laughs)--"and he's, and he's running for public office," or something. And so, you know, I just, uh--yeah, the image that you were a hard worker, that you were accessible, that you were available, I mean, just that seemed to always be a bigger--cause there're people who have to, I mean in the political process to, to get, keep getting reelect, you have to have a lot of forgiveness.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: I mean, people, every time you take a vote, you maybe irritating somebody. I mean, there's, um, you know, I, uh, I'm out of sync with my district on some occasions.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: But I think the people, the perception is if you're going to work, that you're a hard worker, that you're concerned, or that you care about the things, it seems to be compelling to people. Um, I'd say, just as an example, I have never been a supporter of the death 00:59:00penalty. Um, I couldn't ever throw the switch myself, and I think this is something that came from my religious background. My father was a, a very, uh, gentle human being. He would've been very much opposed, I believe, to the death penalty. Um, I, I, I think that if you polled my Senate district, you would probably find the majority of the people in my Senate district would support the death penalty. Might not be overwhelming majority, but I probably 55-60 percent of the people would. Well, they've got to forgive you on that(??).

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: I mean, they, you know, nobody's ever, uh, made that a big issue when I ran for election. Um, so, I think you, there, there's this, you try to create an overriding image and then understand that the people in your district have to have a lot of forgiveness. I mean, you know, thirty--the end of this year, thirty-three years in public office, and, um, the, the, the voters have not, I'm checking out on 01:00:00my own terms; the voters are not sending me home, which is, you know, quite, uh, wonderful for me personally. And that says there's a lot of forgiveness out there. Now, I don't know another word to use, other than to say, they, the, apparently the voters in the Thirty-Fifth Senate District have been very kind to me.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: And forgiven some of the things, because they obviously don't always agree. I mean, I would be, I'd be, uh, I'd be a fairly liberal person for the state of Kentucky, and I'm sure there're some people who don't agree with some of my thoughts on things. But, uh, the district's pretty progressive.

MOYEN: Um-hm. All right. Getting back to when you did first run for office successfully and you supported Wendell Ford, did that, did you feel like that helped you in any way with committee assignments, with any legislation that you were particularly concerned about during 01:01:00the first session, any concerns that you had? Accessibility to him? That, did that helped you in any way, that you had supported him? Any tangible way, I guess.

KAREM: Not really. Um. (both laugh) Um, I was a pretty independent person, uh, even at the, even in that, even in that first session, I was pretty independent. And I, I can't say that I, I don't, I can't think of any particularly tangible thing that it did for me. Those were the, of course, that was an era when, um, the Governor totally dominated the legislature. I mean, it was, um, you know, I can give you four hours on, of dissertation on how little, uh, you, how little 01:02:00you were when you went up there. I mean, you go, you know, you think you go through this election and you think, you know, and of course I thought, um, you know, I'd run in the primary and been beaten, and then I run a year--so, you know, you slightly puffed up thinking that you're gonna go up there. And, and then there's gonna, I'm gonna be able to participate and that--(Moyen laughs)--I mean, that, that was, uh, I was disabused of that as quickly as it was humanly possible to be. I mean, you just didn't, um--I guess, it, the Wendell Ford relationship, instead of benefiting me, in some way--and this is gonna sound really strange--probably, maybe kept, instead of doing positive things for me, it probably kept me from getting punished for my attitude. (Moyen laughs) I mean, I can, um, I got away with some things maybe that, 01:03:00uh, some votes or something that, um, other legislators might've been, uh, smacked up the side of the head for. I, I can remember a piece of legislation, um, for example, that, um, they wanted, uh, the administration wanted us to vote for. And I thought it was a terrible bill. And I can remember the guy who was either the caucus chairman or the whip called me into his office one day, and he said, "Now, you know, later this week, this such-and-such a bill is going to come up. And, um, you know, this is an opportunity where we have to be together on this one. This is, uh, um, payback for these people because they helped out. And, uh, they helped the Governor out and we're gonna take 01:04:00care of them on this." And I can remember the guy sitting, and I was standing up, I had just walked in, and he was, I was still standing and I, I really looked, I thought, when he started talking about payback is, I thought, Is there, who's he talking to? I mean, what, I'm, I'm really starting to look around to see if there's somebody else in the room, because I thought--and then I made me nervous, terms like "payback"--(Moyen laughs)--and shit like that didn't, I, that scared the hell out of me. I didn't like that stuff. And so, I kind of eased out of the room. And I, I voted against that bill. I thought it was a terrible bill. Voted against the bill. And, um, I think probably my good relationship with Wendell, um, uh, instead of benefiting me, just kept me from getting the heck knocked out of me.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: Cause I, they(??) didn't, they(??) didn't seemed to mess with me. I was always treated fairly, because I was a renegade from day one. I mean I didn't vote the way they wanted on a couple of things. And, um, I, you know, so, I guess, better than anything, it, it was 01:05:00more forgiveness.

MOYEN: Um-hm. (Karem laughs) Now, now maybe that was just the one example that you have for now, but you mentioned you could write a dissertation or go on for hours about, or, are there any other specific instances where it was very clear to you that at this point in, in the seventies, this is a legislature dominated by the Governor?

KAREM: Oh Lord, yes. I mean, the, the first, the very first thing out of the box was, um, in those days they used to have something that was called the pre-legislative conference. And of course, you got to under--the whole setting of the thing is so totally different now, you got to understand that you get elected in November. Um, the session starts the next January, and its, in those days, the session is only, uh, sixty days, but they're sixty consecutive days. And so, instead of 01:06:00being over by April fifteenth, like we are now and using all real sixty days--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

KAREM: --uh, the holidays and things counted. And you were out by, uh, mid-March.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: Or, so, you were out of, you were out. And then, guess what? After, after two and a half months, then you've got all the rest of that time when you're nobody. I mean, you've gone back home. They were some, the, they were beginning to get the interim committee system was starting to gear up.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: But it was, it was still pretty, um, it was still pretty, I don't, primitive, whatever the word is. I mean, it was still, there wasn't a lot of it, it, uh, of committee work that was exerting a lot of influence.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: It was more like, well, you know, we're listening(??) and we're going out and doing some things so people will think we were still around. But, so you got to your, you get elected, in December, they have this pre-legislative conference, and you go down to the, uh, in, 01:07:00in--after I got elected, I got this great letter from a member of the Kentucky House of Representatives named Terry McBrayer, who's quite a political figure in, in the state. And Terry at the time was gonna, one that was running for speaker. And I got this letter and it was just a gloriously written letter. It was very personal. It was quite wonderful. And I thought, Well, this guy's really sharp. Then there was a phone call with Terry McBrayer, and I mean, you know, gosh, this sounds, he sounds like the kind of guy I'd liked. He's fresh and he wants to change the world. And so, sure, um, um, "Yes, Terry, I'm gonna come down there and be for you." And so, you know, we go down to the pre-legislative conference and we're, you know, which, again, the pre-legislative conference is another four hour story, but--

MOYEN: --now, uh, or, are you talking about the Kentucky Dam Village--

KAREM: --yes, the--

MOYEN: --State Park, okay(??)--

KAREM: --Kentucky, down at, uh, you're down at, you're down(??) at Kentucky Dam Village and, uh, and, uh, actually they tell me that 01:08:00people who know say the '71 pre-legislative conference and the '73 were the last two really spectacular, nasty pre-legislative conferences. (laughs) And then maybe, uh, '71, '73, and then '75--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

KAREM: --was still had some of that edge to it. But, um, uh, and, and a couple of the other ones too still had a little edge to them, but really, the '71 and '73 were sort of the apex of decadence, if you will--(both laugh)--at(??) the pre-legislative conferences. Uh, but again that's a whole another story. But anyway, you go down there to this pre-legislative conference. And I'm, you know, I'm gonna, I'm gonna go in and vote for Terry McBrayer. I get down there and you had this, um, you're partying all night long at these, you know, and, and, you wake up the next morning and you're gonna have your caucus at ten in the morning, or nine, or whatever it was, and you gone into the 01:09:00caucus. And, um, "Well, Norb Blume's gonna be the speaker, and, uh, these are the other people who are in leadership." And you're like, what, what happened? (both laugh) And you're like, what is there-- "Well, the Governor's decided that who's gonna be the"--"The Governor, what do you mean? I mean, don't we get to vote or anything?" Said, "Oh no, it's all, you know, it's okay. Shut-up, kid, you're fresh. You'll, you'll understand later."

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: And so, you, you're like, your head's like a basketball that first couple of days down there, cause you're thinking you have some and then, you know, and then you go to the session and it's just as bad.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: I mean, you go to the session, and, um, if you, if, you didn't really need to work other members of the legislature at all. You had to, um, you had to just have the, you had a bill you were really interested in, and if the Governor approved of it or the Governor's folks approved of it, then you were good to go. You didn't need the--the idea of working of the legislators was kind of, why would you 01:10:00do that?

MOYEN: Um-hm. (laughs)

KAREM: You got permission from the, um, you got permission from the Governor, this was a blessed bill. And they sent up a sheet of paper on, on a regular--I mean, you had a, the Governor's office said what bills could come out of committee, what bills could go to committee, what bills could come out of committee, what bills get to the floor. Um, you know, the rules committee, some bills even that got out of committee, just got out of committee to be nice to people. The rules committee was going to kill them, uh, anyway because the Governor's office has said to kill them.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: But if it got to the floor, you know, it was a done deal. You knew it was gonna to pass. And there was, uh, they didn't let things get to the floor that weren't gonna pass.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: And they didn't let things get to the floor unless they wanted them to get to the floor. And it was the Governor's office who made these decisions.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Do you think that it helped you at all in any way that the Governor had chosen Norm Blume--Norb Blume, being that he was from Louisville? Um, he was, you know, relatively liberal for the time? Uh, 01:11:00you know, supported labor issues and some minority issues and, did, did that help at all, do you think that kept you from getting into any party friction over supporting someone else who wasn't from here, or?

KAREM: No, no--(laughs)--no, geez, no, it didn't have anything to do with it. I mean, you had so little, your question implies that you had some input. (both laugh) I mean, your, your question suggests that, uh, that there were, that it was much more interworkings than there really were. I mean, there just was, um, I guess my take on this first session was that is, is, is best described as perfunctory. I mean, it was just, you got elected. You were up there for two months, two weeks, or whatever it is. And then you were home. And you went to a few committee meetings and people sort of forgot who you were. And 01:12:00they didn't care. I mean, get these people to do what we need to do and get them out of town, was sort of the attitude. Um, uh, there was brewing back then, um, the, the very significant seeds of change--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

KAREM: --I mean, they were starting someplace and they were certainly back then, uh, in the class, the first class that I went to in the, the, the class being the first session, uh, that group that came in '72 in the House was probably the biggest turnover I think they've ever had. It was huge, uh, group of new people. Uh, a lot of young folks. Um, there were some people who went on to be, you know, uh, uh--the session before that one, I guess in '70, Joe Clarke had come on board. [Nineteen] seventy-two, um, um, in '70, Bill Kenton had who later on became speaker--

MOYEN: --right--

KAREM: --I think he came in '70. [Nineteen] seventy-two had Vic Hellard 01:13:00who was, uh, a very, who was, ended up being director of LRC. You had Bobby Richardson was in that, who later on became speaker. You had a, you had a lot of young people coming in. Um, and some of the old ways didn't settle very well with them.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: I certainly was one of the people that it didn't settle very well with. Probably would've gotten into more trouble, I mean, you know, I don't know, maybe, you know, in '70, I had a, I did not have a primary in '70--did I have a primary in '71? I did have a primary in '73 and a general election in '73. But not, not a significant primary. And I guess had it, you know, in, you know, maybe if, if there's something that the Wendell Ford thing helped me with it was that since I was a bad boy, they didn't come after me in any way.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

01:14:00

KAREM: I mean, nobody, I mean, I was, I certainly could've been a target for them to say, "You know, you're a little brat." (both laugh) "Who, who, who doesn't play by the rules that we've set."

MOYEN: Um-hm

KAREM: And they could've come after me but they never did. I mean, I didn't have anybody ever, I never had anybody come after in the sense of feeling like, you're not obeying the rules, and so we're gonna getcha. That's, that happened a lot.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: I mean, that wasn't, I mean, that was not, uh, that was not atypical.

MOYEN: Right.

KAREM: I mean, there were people who didn't play the game and the Governor would say, "I'm not helping you."

MOYEN: Um-hm

KAREM: And, uh, they would come after certain people who were, who didn't behave properly.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Um-hm.

KAREM: So, I guess if anything, the benefit of Wendell always sort of looked at me as a, his errant child who--I also did something very early in his, uh, in his administration that really endeared me to his wife. And, um, they, um, it's a strange little thing but it, it, it's, uh, believe or not, it always, uh, had a very intriguing little effect. 01:15:00When, uh, when Governor Nunn was Governor, his wife at the time was a woman named Beulah. And this is a really strange story. Um, Beulah, the, the Governor's mansion had been redone by Beulah Nunn, and, um, in, in a fairly, um, garish sort of way. And now remember I had this design background.

MOYEN: Right. (laughs)

KAREM: So, um, when Jean, when Wendell Ford got elected, Jean Ford came in and, um, redid the Governor's mansion. And she redid it in, uh, um, much, uh, much simpler, subtler kind of way. And she received a lot of criticisms. There was like the Garden Club of Frankfort that came all 01:16:00upset that, um, all upset that, uh, and that, uh, she had redone the mansion and taken all of Beulah Nunn's, and I on the, either on, on the floor of the House one day and in a letter to the editor or something, I, I made the remark that the Governor's mansion, uh, that people should be grateful that she redid the Governor's mansion, because it looked like a French whorehouse when, um, when, um, when they took office. And it, it was a pretty gaudy--(laughs)--thing. And, um, then they, they really did kind of attack Jean Ford over this, and I wrote a pretty strong, uh, piece, trading on my design background, including some facts and figures. For, for example, the state had own some very valuable rugs. And, um, they had, uh, taken the rugs up and put wall- 01:17:00to-wall carpeting in the Governor's mansion over these beautiful wood floors and things. And they had stored these rugs. They were, uh, French ------------(??) rugs that were very valuable.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: Wonderful rugs. And so, I, I really think probably to a great degree, and Jean Ford would say, probably tell you, I quieted that whole issue down, because I saw it, I cited facts and figures--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

KAREM: --and I cited inlaid wood floors and the whole nine yards, trading on this design background. And Wendell Ford would tell you to this day, of all the people who served in the legislature that Jean Ford would say David Karem was her favorite. Um, and she always said that cause I really rescued her from a lot of criticism. (Moyen laughs) And I think again that, uh, that relationship with, uh, kind of helping her out, um, he, he, they never messed with me too much.

MOYEN: Um-hm, um-hm.

KAREM: That was probably, that was probably taking care of, protecting his wife was probably an invaluable thing as a, as I did(??). (both 01:18:00laugh)

MOYEN: Um-hm. Let me ask you about this, in, in recent--

KAREM: --I still have people telling me, I still have people to this day, reminding me that I said, "The Governor's mansion looked like a French whorehouse." (Moyen laughs) People asked me how I knew what a French whorehouse looked like. (Moyen laughs) And as it happened, between my senior year of high school and, and, uh, no--yeah, my senior year of high school and my first year of college, I actually did this, Dr. Broski(??) over at the University of Louisville international programs had this where you spent the summer in France. So, I actually did spend a summer in France, but I never got to, I never went to a French whorehouse. (Moyen laughs)

MOYEN: Let me, let me--

KAREM: --sorry--

MOYEN: --no, it's a good story, it's a good story. Let me ask you this--

KAREM: --it's even true, too--

MOYEN: --right, yes--

KAREM: --it's even better(??)--

MOYEN: --it's even better about it(??). In researching for this, I found an article in the, uh, Courier-Journal. It said in 1972, twenty- one lobbyists registered in Frankfort for this session. Could you tell 01:19:00me--we'll kind of take this question over time, if we can--how, how much, or how, how that has grown and what, if any way has the role of lobbyist has changed in Frankfort in your thirty-plus years there? What, what things about lobbyists are frustrating for legislate--, legislators, what things about lobbyists are helpful?

KAREM: -----------(??)

MOYEN: Okay.

KAREM: Actually the issue of lobbyists is one that I am reasonably qualified to talk about. I, just sort of for your background information, for some reason--I don't have any idea why. You'd probably have to talk to, um, Bobby Sherman, who's the director of LRC, to know why. But for about the last, I guess it's been twelve, fifteen years maybe, I've been the guy that was selected to do a workshop for 01:20:00the lobbyists on how to deal with the legislature, so I've kind of stayed in tune with lobbyists. And, and, uh, do this, sort of dog and pony show for all the new, every session, every other year when they have full session, they do this workshop for the lobbyists, as sort of familiarizing, not only the professionals, but citizen lobbyists. So, I kind of have stayed in tune with lobbyists. Um, uh, this, I think there's a number of reasons why--you cite the issue of how many lobbyists were there in '72, and, and the number that has now, the printout which has page after page of registered legislative agents. Uh, I think that there's, there's a number of reasons why that has changed, and I think that it's, uh, at this point it's important for me to say that I'd, I'll always have trouble with people who want simple answers to questions. I don't think there's ever very many situations where it's just one answer to why something is.

01:21:00

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: So, I don't think there's anybody who's got this, there's this hook of why, uh, you know, this one dynamic event that changed that whole thing. I think it's more a situation of multiple things that have occurred. One clearly is, um, the, one clearly is the, the, uh, need for lobbyists, uh, is significantly greater now because of the issue of legislative independence. You didn't need, uh, a whole lot of lobbyists if the Governor was gonna control everything. Uh, so that if you, um, let's say you're the president of a company. Uh, let's make it a tobacco company. And, um, you hear that there is a harmful bill to come to the General Assembly in 1969, or '70, '71, '72, whatever. 01:22:00You call the Governor, and you say, uh, just, "Could I speak to you for a minute?" We have lunch, "Can I come by, whatever it is," and you say, "You know, this, Wendell, uh, this is, uh, very harmful to the industry. Uh, wish you would not let this thing progress along. Let me explain to you why," or whatever that dialogue was. Um, then the Governor said, "You're right; it's a bad idea. It's not gonna happen. Don't worry about it. Go away and rest easy." Or somebody wants something done. Conversely, they come to the Governor, and they say, "We need such-and-such."

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: And, uh, the, uh, Governor says, "You're right; we should do that." So, um, it was one-stop shopping to some degree. Uh, as the legislature got more and more independent, um, the need for lobbyists who, you know, could cover 138 bases was, uh, was much more critical. 01:23:00I also think that the magnitude of the kind of, of--I, I think another facet of this is the kind of, the magnitude of the kind of issues that people are dealing with are, are significantly more complicated today than they were in 1972. I know that sounds, you know, but this is, you got technology, you got new technology, you got, uh, uh, there's so many more issues we're dealing with. Uh, the, you know, the, the topics, if you go back in 1972 and you'd look at some of the things that people are filing legislation on today, you'd find it's a whole different ballgame. They're not--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

KAREM: --it isn't about just an agricultural issue. Even the agriculture issues are far more complex. And, uh, you know, it would, with, even things like international, uh, uh, issues that come up, 01:24:00and, and, uh, the legislature's gotten far more involved in economic development kinds of issues, and so, dealing with all the different kind of issues that are far more complex, it causes to come out of those industries people to deal with the legislative process. And not only do they have to work with the Governor's office, but they got to now work with legislators and the--and so, you have a whole bunch of issues that are causing why there are more and more, uh, lobbyists in the, in the process. And then, some of the, some of the reforms that have taken place over the years that have cut down on, um, you know, lobbyists have to work harder, they have to be more of them. Uh, if you lobbied for, you know, maybe 1976, who knows, you lobbied for the banking industry, or something, and you could, um, you know, go out and buy dinner for people--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

KAREM: --you could, uh, you know, you slap people on the back and you 01:25:00make, you know, you're their buddy, and you're treating them to dinner, or you're taking them to play a round of golf, or they're flying them into this place or that place. There was much more of that, that kind of, um, up-scale lobbying. (both laugh) Now, it's, now, it's more informational lobbying. You got to do a lot more, um, uh, it's not, you know, it's not over the game of the golf, it's not over a dinner at, uh, fancy restaurant. It's, you know, we gotta get in there and talk to them and figure out how to convince them of our position. Uh, as the state gets into much more in-, interstate issues over the years, and you, you get more people coming in from out of state on, you know, that you're seeing. You know, you, you knew at one point most of the major lobbyists; now, you know, nobody knows all the lobbyists anymore.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: And, uh, it's just a huge change over the years.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

01:26:00

KAREM: Just the whole concept of it. And I, but I think for a variety of reasons.

MOYEN: Okay. All right. Could you tell me a little bit about--

KAREM: --I could but I'm not going to.

MOYEN: Please.

KAREM: Okay. (Moyen laughs) I'll try.

MOYEN: In '72 was the first time of, I guess, it would be four times that you, the legislature while you were there got to deal with reapportionment issues. Um, we-, were you involved in any way with reapportionment in 1972, um, and if so, could you tell me about the type of battles that go on with that?

KAREM: I was much more involved with the reapportionment in the, in the, uh, '80, in the '90--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

KAREM: --than I was in the '72. Um, you didn't ask this, but just for your information, and basically in nineteen--in the, in the redistricting in the eighties and nineties, um, in the Senate, uh, I did, I drew, if you will, the Jefferson County--what was the, what 01:27:00was assigned to me in the eighties and nineties was, leadership said, "You go do Jefferson County." And so, with staff and with the members of, uh, the delegation, I did it in, I did it in 1980s and I did it in nineties.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: Um, in '72, uh, I was too fresh a face to be particularly involved in it. Um, they, there was consultation in the sense, does, does this do anything bad to you? Can you live with this, kind-of- thing? But it was much more of a situation where there was some fairly minor, minor consultations with me about, is that okay.

MOYEN: Um-hm

KAREM: And, um, they, uh, didn't mess with the district particularly. And there may, two or three precincts may have shifted around but it was not significant. And there was not a significant, I had, did not have significant amount of involvement in it.

MOYEN: Okay.

KAREM: Unlike later on when I really did do Jefferson County--

01:28:00

MOYEN: --um-hm--

KAREM: --in the, in the '80 and '90 re-, reapportionment.

MOYEN: Okay. You'd mentioned this group of people who were upset, or younger, fresher faces who were upset with the way things had been going with the, the Governor's power, maybe even abuse of power. Uh, in March of '72, there was a House bill, uh, I believe it was, uh, 618. And House Bill 618 was labeled what was called a clustered constitutional amendment. And I'm not sure I completely understand what, what all that entails, or if it just means a bunch of different issues are involved in a bill to try and get something on an amendment. But it dealt with having annual sessions. Um, and essentially, what was reported as an attempt to have a stronger legislature, do you recall--

01:29:00

KAREM: --um-hm--

MOYEN: --any debate about that?

KAREM: I know what you're talking about. There wasn't a lot of debate about it, uh, that I can re--but I, it was the, it was the seedling of some of that kind of debate, um, that, that did happened later on, and that, and that changes that did occur. I'm, um, but I don't remember it getting a lot of, um, attention.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: It was still totally under, that was, you know, it was still so totally under the control of the, of the Governor. What, what had to happened, my perception of what had to happen was is the pol--that, that sort of an external attempt to change, if you will.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: And I think before you were gonna get any of that kind of thing to occur, you had to have internal change. And the, and, but those, those dialogues, or those filing of those bills, or that--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

KAREM: --sort of stuff that get, that does get some of the conversation going, but where the real transformation came was almost totally 01:30:00internal. Uh, with a, with a very important outside factor. Um, also at this particular time, for some reason--and I, I don't know why this is--uh, the, the media started becoming much more interested in what was going on in the General Assembly. Maybe, again, for a variety of reasons. It might be because of some of the excesses. It might be because the pre-legislative conferences were seen as, um, these, uh, you know, drunken gorging, or whatever you want to call them. I mean, it was, they were, uh, they were pretty intriguing and there were, uh, there were a lot of, um, there were some journalists at the time who were, you know, getting into this investigative journalism. And you were getting, you know, um, go to Kentucky Dam Village and, uh, and, and see the liquor flowing in the streets, and the prostitutes, and, you know, the whole thing. And, um, the, sort of the attention 01:31:00that the media was giving to it, uh, I think was also helping bolster the internal reformation, if you will. I mean, I, you know, had, uh, had nobody paid any attention to what was going on probably the independence would've come, but it might've come significantly later.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: I mean, I, I really do think an enormous amount of credit goes to legislators' excesses, um, uh, gubernatorial excesses. I mean, um, and then, that exposure of all that stuff gave some people who wanted this, uh, change some fuel.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: To get changes to happen.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Okay.

KAREM: Is that?

MOYEN: That's good.

[Pause in recording.]

MOYEN: Just, just about Norb Blume and his leadership style, did he--we've talked a lot about, uh, gubernatorial power. How would you 01:32:00describe Norb Blume's leadership style? Or would you, would you say, "Hey, he, this guy was a pawn, as well, of the Governor's."

KAREM: No, I don't think that, I don't think any, any, I do not believe that anybody would be very fair to Norb Blume to say he was a pawn of the Governor's.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: I mean, he clearly was, uh, he was not a supporter, you know, of, uh, Wendell Ford's.

MOYEN: Right.

KAREM: He was actually for Combs.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: Uh, he was a Combs person. I think that, um, you know, I, the conversations were that Wendell was smart enough to get him involved in the thing, because he wanted to breakdown that kind of barrier--

MOYEN: --right--

KAREM: --that we had talked a little bit early about and breakdown that factionalism. And what a perfect person to bring in would be Norb Blume. And, uh, you know, Norb, um, Norb was, uh, pretty progressive 01:33:00for the state of Kentucky at that time.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: Norb was a very active labor person here. Norb would be described as probably a moderately liberal Democrat. I mean, he was, so, um, he, he, his, um, he was certainly not, uh, a pawn in any way. Did he carry out most of the platform or most of the things that, uh, Wendell wanted, sure.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: I mean I don't think there's any--but, but I also think he left a, an imprint. I mean, I think he, the, the, the trade, or whatever you want to say, and of course, I don't--the inner workings between he and, and, uh, Wendell Ford, they'd have to answer those questions. But I would say probably Ford's administration was thought of as one of the most progressive ones, uh, up to that time, and even more progressive than probably, uh, some of the ones after him. And 01:34:00probably a lot of the progressiveness, uh, came from Norb Blume, and Norb Blume's political allies, and Norb Blume's political connections. Um, I thought, I always got along very well with him. Um, he, uh, his leadership style was, you know, it still, uh, his leadership style was still, you needed to be onboard and do what the Governor wanted to do, and he was going to be the Governor's operative. But, um, and he was pretty top-down kind of guy. I mean, it was, you know, this, there wasn't a lot of consensus building, but there wasn't no, you know, but on the other hand, there wasn't a need for much consensus building. Um, but he's a casual guy. Pretty easygoing, and, um, reasonably progressive. And so, he would, I would've gotten along with him anyway simply because that would be sort of my political leanings anyway. Uh, I think he, um, probably was one of those people who sort of looked 01:35:00at me as like this child who's come onboard in the legislature. I was pretty young at the time that I went. Um, still in my twenties, and probably thought, you know, there's an errant. I, I may had a lot of forgiveness from people because they thought I was a, a little kid, and, you know, maybe he'd grow up to be something someday, kind of thing(??).

MOYEN: Um-hm. (laughs)

KAREM: But I can remember--this has nothing to do with what you're talking about, but it does, has to do--I can remember, there was, um, in those days there were a guy who was a lobbyist for the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce who apparently decided from day one that I was, um, some liberal, urban guy who--and he just, what, you know--who wasn't going to be there, very long. And so, he, kind of the first session, he never talked to me. And then the, our, he saw me in the hallway of the second session, and, um, I think he was surprised that I got reelected. I can remember people from the Chamber of Commerce saying, "You do, 01:36:00you don't seem to"--the Kentucky Chamber, not the local--"You don't seem to listen to what"--and I said, "Well, I don't how, I, there's nothing to listen to. Your guy won't talked to me. He won't tell me. I don't know what your all's point-of-view is on anything. The guy won't even talked to me." And I, and then the third time that I went up there, which was the first time in the Senate, so I was gonna be there for four years, the look on his face when he saw me come in that time was like, Oh God, now I'm gonna have to deal with this guy. So, I got away with a lot of stuff because people thought I was a little kid that wasn't gonna come back, I guess. And so, uh, I sup-, supposed one of the things that's been fun for me was I surprised the hell out of a lot of people. (both laugh) But Norb was a, Nor-, Norb was a, a good guy. I didn't, uh, have a lot of, I didn't have any problems with him. I mean, there was some things he tried to get me to be for that I wouldn't, like that bill that I was telling you about earlier.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: I mean, it just, but all and all, he was, he was okay.

01:37:00

MOYEN: Um-hm. Another thing, uh, another piece of legislation that passed during Wendell, Wendell Ford's tenure as Governor was, uh, home rule legislation. And, um, and I believe, if I understand all this correctly, that Louisville played an important role in, in that. And that was important for Louisville's municipal government. Do you recall anything about home rule and how that changed the dynamics of?

KAREM: I do recall. And it was a very big issue. Um, home, uh, Kentucky, uh, because of its constitution and many of the laws, uh, that existed, uh, I mean, you, you got to start realizing that, um, you know, it's sounds strange but when I, in the, in the sixties, when I started getting interested in politics, you're not far away from World War II.

MOYEN: Right.

KAREM: You're really still in kind of this sort of fairly, uh, 01:38:00conservative mode. Uh, the idea that governmental entities needed to be doing economic development was sort of a, you know, kind of strange, you know, going after businesses, try to get them to locate in your state, what was all that about? And, um, a lot of the, the constitutional provisions that we had in the state and many of the statutory provisions that we had were geared to a very rural kind of mindset. Um, they did not give a lot of flexibility to more urban areas, like Louisville. Uh, Louisville was certainly, uh, beginning to enjoy, uh, much more urbaneness than--I mean, there was some big changes as far as Louisville being an urban center. And I can remember a great deal of discussion on they needed much more flexibility in this community to deal with the changing times. And there was a lot, a lot 01:39:00of talk about that. And, um, Louisville did have a huge amount to do with the home rule thing and it was a very important, um, uh, topic that, that did get through his time.

MOYEN: Okay. What about the legislation that eventually, in, in 1975, reorganized the state's legal system? As an attorney did you understand that, what the problems were the state's legal system and how this amendment that eventually passed helped reform the legal system at all?

KAREM: I'm, yes, I certainly do understand and it--

MOYEN: --can you tell me about it?--

KAREM: ------------(??) well, I understand it because I started from a number of, from several ways. One is, I grew up in a legal family.

MOYEN: Right.

KAREM: And then I got out of law school and was practicing law in the old system. And, um, just kind of paint a picture for you: first, uh, 01:40:00you should know that, uh, one of the reasons that ever got on a ballot was there were a lot of people who thought it was a throwaway. There were a number of people who never believed that would ever in a zillion years pass. I mean, I think(??) people were, you had a lot of people saying, "Okay, that's, you know, give these do-gooders that want to do this thing, uh, you know, put on the ballot and let's see if"--because nobody expected it to pass. I mean, it was just, uh, it was almost a throwaway. But paint a, paint a picture for you pre--what you, what you currently had in the state of Kentucky is an unified court system. Very simple to understand, is a four-tiered system. You have the districts courts that deal with fairly minor matters, misdemeanors, small claims, uh, traffic things, those sorts of issues. You go then from there to the circuit court, which is the general jurisdiction for 01:41:00trials and felonies situations, personal injury lawsuits, um, divorce cases, uh, things of that sort.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: And then to, from there to a -----------(??) appeal system, through the court of appeals and the, um, and the state supreme court. Prior to that time, you had at the state level the circuit court and you had the court of appeals, and those were the only two state courts that you had. What you had, though, was this whole convoluted other sys-, system of, of, of judicial issues. The counties, the county judge actually in those days was a judge. He had judicial authority. Um, and they, there were county court systems. And then certain municipalities, most municipalities had, had, um, municipal court systems. So, um, you even had a situation where when I first started practicing law, let's say you were going through in, in Jefferson 01:42:00County, if you were going through one of these very small cities, the city of Beechwood Village--and make up, you know, whatever it is--and, you, uh, were speeding through there, and you would get a, uh, the city of Beechwood Village police officer would issue a ticket to your citation, or whatever, and you would, your court appearance might literally be in the basement of someone's home. The, the, um, judge, uh, for that little city, uh, lived, you know, might live at the corner of such and such, and then, you know, on Thursday's night that's when you went to, you went to the--so lawyers could sometimes on occasions literally go to these little sort of out of the way places for, to represent people.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: The city of Louisville had, uh, a police court system. And, um, most of the, the, uh, all the police functions were, uh, dealt with 01:43:00by the, by the police force--I mean, by the, by the municipal court system. And then if you had somebody who--and, and you went through that system, even though it was not directly part of the state system, uh, let's say that you were arrested for, um, you're arrested for murder in the city of Louisville, you'd go initially through the police court and then they'd bind you over to the circuit court system. So, but it was, um, kind of a strange linkage. I mean, they really were not part of the same system. So, uh, the beauty of the amendment was to get a completely unified court system and then basically shutdown all these little city's police, uh, courts. And, um, people to this day still say people didn't have any idea what they were voting on. Uh, that, um, there was no, uh, serious organized opposition to it. Had there been any organized opposition to it, um, uh, it would've been defeated. 01:44:00It was a sleeper. Uh, you know, if you'd had just little, all the little cities alone saying, "Oh, they're going to take away our court system. You know, it's gonna to be handle by big brother somewhere else," but everybody was kind of asleep at the wheel on that one. And you, a lot of political scientists or historians, or whatever you want to call it, think that was the one of the more, more intriguing things that happened in the state of Kentucky, because I mean, it caught a lot of people off guard and very few people expected it to pass. And very few people when they voted for it understood the ramifications of it. And basically that you were shutting down the county courts. You were shutting down all the city courts. You were shutting down the little cities' courts, and(??) communities that were evaporated(??); they were gone. And so, this was a pretty, you know, was a pretty massive change for people prior ---------(??) law, it was a cultural shock. (laughs)

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: I mean(??), and that you had to have, and that the judges 01:45:00had to have qualifications. Now, literally in, uh, in, in the old Louisville police court, uh, situation, I've seen, um, I, I've been in that courtroom when the, when the judge who was sitting in that bench said, um, "I have to go to the restroom a minute, uh," and then he'd point to a lawyer out in the, who, who was, had a case. He'd point to a lawyer out sitting there, said, "Come on up, Joe, and you'll take over the bench for me while I'm, I'll be gone, I'll, I'll be out for five minutes and I'll be right back." Or, "I've got to run an errand, or something, and you'll take it over. And then when you get back and I'll take your case up right away," so, you know, so, I mean it was all just bizarre. And you had people run for, you ran for, the person who ran--police, Louisville police court had a pretty good size system. You had, uh, um, and you had a police court judge that you ran for, uh, police court judge of the city of Louisville, but then 01:46:00there were several other courts under that. Um, and they were just appoint--the police court judge appointed what they called judge pro temps, who would, who would preside in these courts. Most of them were good folks. I mean, in fact, for a number of years, my dad was a, uh, police court--he ran, he sat on what they called the night, there was always a night court. And, um, basically, like at eight in the evening, seven or eight in the evening. And what, um, after the other court was done at noon, anything that came in in the afternoon, if somebody was going, had been arrested, or something like that, um, they would go through this night police court. And then there were two or three smaller, uh, divisions that would cover minor things, traffic or things of that sort. So, it was a pretty strange system. The county judge had, uh, what they called the quarterly court. And they also had 01:47:00traffic things and minor cases, but they also, they also had all the, um, the state's, so that if you had a formal probate situation, you had to go through the county court system. You did not go to circuit or, or court of appeals; you went--unless you got into an appeal situation. So it was a very chopped up, weird system. But, um, significantly reformed, uh, qualifications now for--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

KAREM: --people who had to serve and to be lawyers. I mean, you had people sitting in these things out in the basement of somebody's house, they weren't necessarily even an attorney or, or had any training of any kind. I mean, rules of evidence or people's rights, and things of that sort, that, that, what is that about, you know. (Moyen laughs) You sped through my little town. We're going to rap your knuckles and you're going to pay a big fine. It's, uh, but I think, everybody says that it, there was, that had there ever been any mounted serious opposition, it wouldn't have passed. But it was probably a little, was 01:48:00probably a fortuitous blessing that people didn't get exercised about it and that it did pass.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: Because it's made a monstrous change in the court system all for the better. Probably one of the best things that's come out of the Kentucky General Assembly since I've been there, is been that court thing. That's been a, it's a, it's a been a blessing to everybody.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Now, at the same time that that was being voted on, I believe that was also your election, when it was on the ballot was your election to the Senate, your move to the Senate. Can you tell me how that transpired, your decision to leave the House, run for Senate, um, that campaign? Can you tell me a little bit about that?

KAREM: Yes, I certainly can tell you about that. Um, that was, uh, a very interesting situation. Um, at the time I went to the House 01:49:00of Representatives in 1972, Ron Mazzoli was going off to Washington. His Senate seat then was up, uh, I guess maybe a year early. I can't remember exactly--his Senate seat was up. And in, in fact I guess he may have left in, uh, it might've been a special election. I think he went a year early, or there was a special election for his seat. Anyway, to make a long story short, the guy who was succeed Ron Mazzoli was a fellow Lacey Smith. And, and, uh, Lacey Smith had been a big political, uh, operative of Harvey Sloane. He was part of Harvey Sloane's administration when Harvey Sloane was first mayor. And Lacey went up there to, as, uh, a Senate person, and then near the time when Lacey was going to run for reelection, unfortunately he got indicted and, um, um, for political, uh, corruption, or some political thing 01:50:00that, um, and I can remember calling him up and going over to see Lacey in his office and said, "I wanted to know, uh, if you're gonna run for, uh, reelection. And, um, you know, because of this indictment, I'm not trying to pick on you, but, you know, if you're not gonna run, I'm interested in it. Uh, I'm, I'm interested in it because, uh, selfishly a four-year term is a lot, uh, better than a two-year term." Um, and, um, he said, "Well, you know, the indictment is a problem but I, um, I don't know whether I'm gonna to or not." He said, "Give me some, I need some more time to think about it." And I said, "Well, of course, I just, I'm, I'm not, I'm not gonna file, Lacey, if you, if you're 01:51:00gonna run. I don't want, you know, I'm not trying to beat up on you. I just, but if you're not, I want to know." And, uh, he said, "Give me"--you know, I don't remember, two weeks, four weeks, something, "give me a couple of weeks to think about this thing," or something. And I went back to him again after the allotted period of time and he still couldn't, uh, tell me whether he was gonna run again or not. Um, I was getting concerned as it was getting near the filing period that if I didn't do it, somebody else would file for it. I waited a couple more weeks and never could get an answer out of him, whether he was gonna do it, and just said, um, to my wife, um, "Let's just take a leap on this thing and see," you know, let's, I mean, I don't know that I'm have a car--at that point the idea that I was ever gonna stay for very long period of time in the legislature just was nonexistent. I mean, I thought people stayed four, six, eight years, or something.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: I mean, that was kind of the bites of time, the idea that somebody was gonna stay for a long period never in a million years 01:52:00entered my mind. Uh, so I just, he, I couldn't get an answer out of Lacey and so I decided finally, you know, enough already, and so I just went on and filed for it, after my wife and I had had a discussion. Yeah, you know, you're not gonna probably stay there anyway, and if somebody, if he runs and you get beat, you know, so what? You got four years up there. Um, he ended up not filing.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: Um, another individual, uh, filed in the Democratic primary. Um, and, uh, I defeated him in the, in the primary, and then won the general election. Uh, that was another very interesting lesson for me. I had been a, um, I'd been a big Harvey Sloane supporter. And, um, the, um, Harvey Sloane, I think, was running against Carroll Witten for mayor of the city of Louisville at the time.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: And, um, the, um, it was Carroll Witten, I'm pretty sure. And 01:53:00Har--uh, I had, um, Harvey Sloane was another fresh face here. He was one of these young, um, you know, upcoming politicians. He had, he had done all the right stuff. You know, he had worked in this health clinic in eastern Kentucky. And he's Mr. Goody-Clean-Too-Shoes. And so, um, he had come to, I was in the House at the time, and he had a come to a bunch of us, and he'd asked us if we would be for him. And I said that I would support him and be for him. And he asked if we'd be part of a group that, he asked a number of legislators if we'd part of group that would come to a press conference and publicly endorse him. And I said yes, I would do that. And that's another incident where somebody, some people on the other side, Carroll Witten, some of Carroll Witten's people contacted me, said, "Now, if you get out there for him, you know, then we're gonna run somebody against you." And, um, um, so, I did endorse him. And then, uh, when I got ready 01:54:00to run the Senate, I went in to see him, and I said, uh, "I'm gonna run for the Senate seat because Lacey, I don't think he's gonna file and I'd really would like to have your support." And then was another wonderful, one of these eye-opening things, and he said, "Well, you know, I just don't want to get involved in the primary." And I said, "Well, you didn't mind if I got involved in the primary. You asked me to come to a press conference and wanted me to stand up there with you and I did." "Well, I just, you know, uh." And so, he never, I did not get his, uh, support, and in fact the guy who ended up filing for the thing, uh, and ran against me was a person who was at that point working in Harvey Sloane's administration. Very nice guy named Henry Dosker, who's passed on now. Henry was a nice guy. Um, but he filed. And, um, all these people were, uh, I was running into people who worked in the mayor's office with "Dosker for Senate" buttons in 01:55:00different places, uh, political gatherings and things of that sort. I went back in, I said, "You know, Harvey,"--uh, in some fairly strong terms--"you know, it's one thing, you, SOB, that you didn't support me, even though I supported you in a primary, but now you got a guy running against me. And that's fine. It's his right to run against me. But you got people wearing buttons all over city hall, you know, that's, you know, you have any loyalty whatsoever to people." "Well, I know, I know," and he's just, you know, "Well I's gonna--I'll, I'll talk, yeah, maybe we shouldn't do, we shouldn't not, all not be wearing those buttons." The, uh, that was another life lesson for me that you, you watch your back all the time. As it turned it out, I beat the guy, uh, 75 percent of the vote to 25 percent of the vote. So the, so, the, the, uh, joy I took in that one was that, that, uh, Harvey hadn't, I mean, it was perverse, I took perverse enjoyment that Harvey had not endorse me but that his--I, I, I took more pleasure in, in, I took more 01:56:00personal pleasure in that message going to Harvey Sloane than I did in defeating Henry Dosker, because Henry Dosker's a very nice guy. In fact, I ended up becoming very good friends with Henry Dosker, and, um, becoming very good friends with a couple of his kids. And, um, a couple, helped a couple of his kids out later on in some things that they needed. Henry was a delight. But it was, the pleasure for me was in, in the sense that is in winning that thing was, thank you very much, Harvey, you, uh, bad-name(??)-person. (both laugh) I'm usually much more colorful in my language, but I don't want to insult the tape here. (Moyen laughs) But I mean, I had bad thoughts about that because he, um, Harvey never did understand loyalty. I mean, he expected you to do--he, he was a, he had this strong sense of entitlement. "I'm the good guy from up east who's come down to save the, you poor people here." And, uh, and the fact, and I, I think he's a, even saying that, 01:57:00I think he's a good-hearted guy.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: I think Harvey's heart was in the right place, just something, the idea of understanding loyalty was, just escaped him completely, which is very strange to me.

MOYEN: Um-hm. So, once you became the senator, you, along with a few others, have firsthand experience the difference between House and Senate workings. How would you describe the differences, good and/or bad into, um--

KAREM: --well, when I go over to the--

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

KAREM: --well, when I go over to the Senate, it's still, in 1976 it's still totally Governor, Governor-dominated. It's, um, you have, just because you're one of thirty-eight, instead of one of a hundred, you clearly have more influence. Um, um, but it's still not, uh, anything like an independent legislature by any stretch of the imagination. Um, uh, you know, the, the most significant differences is, at, at 01:58:00that point are, uh, people are of the House is ruckus, the Senate is more gentile. Uh, you vote by electric machine in the House; in the Senate you vote by voice vote. Uh, the pace is slower in the Senate. There is more, there is more debate, a little bit more debate on some issues in the Senate. Um, the protocol's a little stiffer. Uh, uh, if you would visit one chamber and the other, you would, people would say, "Oh, the Senate is, seems more formal, more courteous. The House is wild, ruckus, they're louder. It seems more disjointed." But fundamentally, um, it's still totally Governor-dominated. Uh, leadership is still, uh, responding completely to the, uh, first floor. 01:59:00Um, you had a piece of legislation you're interested in there--in fact, I was talking to Julian Carroll the other day in Frankfort because he's running, Julian Carroll is now, who was Governor right after Wendell Ford, who's now running for the state Senate. And Julian was, um, uh, and Julian had a guy in those days who worked for him, his name was Bill Cox. And, um, if you wanted anything, if you wanted anything, what you did was you didn't talk to other--again, you didn't talk to other senators; you went down and you talked to, to Bill Cox. And you went in and said, hat-in-hand, "Bill, can I do such-and?" Bill wasn't a bad guy, but he was just the Governor's--

MOYEN: --that's his job--

KAREM: --he was the Governor's guy, and you know, "Can I have, please, sir, can I have permission to file this bill, or please sir, may you consider doing this or that, kind of thing?" And, um, it was still just 02:00:00very Governor-dominated. Also, however, at this same time there was starting to be the real, uh, seeds of--at, at this point, things are really starting to change. I mean, the people who, they're, a couple in the next class that came in, had a lot of young, in the House, had a lot young people in it. Um, Norb Blume, uh, is, is, uh, out as, uh, gets, is out as speaker; Bill Kenton comes onboard.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: Uh, Bill Kenton is, uh, uh, is an amazing individual. Um, Bill Kenton is, uh, has a, uh--and I, I don't mean this negatively--but Bill Kenton has grand vision of who he is. And, um, the idea that he is going to be completely the Governor's person is just comp-, is incomprehensible to Bill Henton, to Bill Kenton. Yes, he will accommodate when he needs to but Bill Kenton's gonna be who he is. Uh, the House is, uh, starting to get rumblings of independence. The Senate 02:01:00is starting to get, by this point, some real rumblings of independence. We're getting some people in there who don't want to respond to the Governor's wishes much anymore. And, um, it, it was the beginning of the whole change in the--shortly after I got to the Senate, uh, there was a group of people who's called themselves the Black Sheep Squadron.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: Um, uh, I would be the last of those members of that particular group, but our cause was to take over the Senate and take it away from the old leadership. Um, the, uh, we even had, um, I still have, we started, we had buttons made up that were for the Black Sheep Squadron that showed the Capitol building, a profile of the Capitol building and we had little black sheep jumping over the--(Moyen laughs)--Mike, Mike Moloney, who was in the Black Sheep Squadron, who's from Lexington, had those buttons made up. And we had our own little buttons, the Black 02:02:00Sheep Squadron. Um, and we just were about the business that we were gonna take it over. And, and, uh, I'd say the big change was in 1980 when we really did, we took, we took over the, uh, went there in '76 and in '80 we took it over. Completely.

MOYEN: Why would you call yourself the last member--

KAREM: --I'm the last one still serving in the Senate--

MOYEN: --okay, okay--

KAREM: --I'm sorry--

MOYEN: --okay--

KAREM: --there's, all the rest of them have--uh, they involved people, the, uh, Mike Moloney was in it. Um, Joe Wright was in it. Uh, John, um, Berry was the, was really the sort of ringleader.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: Uh, I was in it. A guy named Lowell Hughes from over in Ashland was in it. There were, uh, it's always dangerous to remember who all was in it. But there were a number of us who--Ed Ford was, uh, involved in it. There were a number of us who just decided we were gonna take over the, the place. And, um, John Berry was just, uh, tenacious enough guy that he was not gonna, uh, he was not gonna, 02:03:00you know, serve in the, in the legislature as, uh, a pawn to anybody. He was more, he may have been more idealistic than almost anybody I ever served with. I mean, he just did not think his, his, you know, I don't know if it's part of the family tradition. His brother is Wendell Berry, the writer. And, uh, you know, maybe it's the way Dad raised, their dad raised them or something. Both of them were gonna be independent thinkers. And, uh, John's just a very, uh, principled guy who, uh, uh, high-quality guys. Good guys ever served in the, in the General Assembly, and he, you know, we were, he wasn't gonna kowtowed to people.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: And, um, I got involved in that in the, in a very strange, I mean, I was involved in the movement of the Black Sheep Squadron, but I got, I got into leadership in a very strange way, because, um, up to that time, um, in 1980 is when they took over, is when we took over.

02:04:00

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: In, um, we were still doing the, the, uh, we were still doing the Kentucky Dam Village things down there. And, um, up until that time, it was for some reason, it was, or sort of a understanding that in Senate leadership, because there would be five, there're five positions in, in leadership. In those days, it was the, it was not the president of the Senate, because the Lieutenant Governor was president, it was the president pro temp of the Senate and it was the assistant president pro temp and then you had the floor, the majority leader, the majority caucus chairman, and the majority whip. In that era, and had been for a while, this kind of understanding that in those five positions, one of them was gonna be somebody from Jefferson County. Just more from a unifying point of view than anything else. And at the time the caucus chairman was a guy from Louisville named Danny Yoakum. And, um, I'm, 02:05:00we're getting ready to go down to the pre-legislative conference and I'm, and, um, John Berry's gonna try to get himself elected as the, um, as the, uh, floor leader, as Democratic floor leader and Lowell Hughes, who's, uh, from the Ashland area, and a very attractive individual. Lowell Hughes has played at UK. He's a big, good-looking guy. He's, uh, appealing to everybody. Everybody liked Lowell. Lowell's gonna be the whip. And I'm like, it's like three or four days, or it's like before there, we're getting ready to go down. And I get a phone call from either, maybe it was --------(??), probably it was John, and said, um, uh, "If we're gonna make this thing work, we've got to have somebody from, we got, we got take over the caucus chairman's position, too. We can't make it work without the caucus chairman. Um, and you're gonna have to, you're gonna, you're our candidate." And I'm 02:06:00like, "What?" And he said, "Yeah, you're gonna be the candidate. We're gonna down there. We're gonna, you know, so you, yeah, I'm gonna, I'm gonna get some votes for you, but you're gonna have to call some of these people and talk to them and get some votes, too." And I said, "What are you talking about?" He said, "No, you know, you're gonna, you're gonna do this. We're gonna, we're"--"All right, okay," so. I mean, I went down to the pre-legislative conference like with a day's notice or two day's notice that I was the candidate for this caucus chairman's position. And to make a long story short, we did go down there and I, and, and I got elected. And, um, as I recall, by this point, the president pro temp at this time is Joe Prather. And Joe is, uh, smart and wily guy who sees the handwriting on the wall. And didn't let himself get terribly embroiled in that race. He sort of, um, I think he was for the other side. Um, but he wasn't gonna, he, he was sensing the handwriting that was on the wall. So, when you got 02:07:00those three people elected, down at the pre-legislative conference, that took over the Senate. I mean, cause you had the, you had the votes. Um, and Joe was a very, Joe Prather was very willing to work and, and, um, work with the, that group and we always had a very good relationship with him. And, um, that, he was not a member of the Black Sheep Squadron at all. Um, but we, Moloney was, who then became chairman of the appropriations and revenue committee and was chairman for a long time. A very powerful position, and probably as good a budget person as ever been in there. And it was a pretty, it was a pretty interesting group of people that were fiercely independent, weren't gonna be, uh, weren't gonna be kicked around by anybody, and, um, it was a, it was a real change.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: At the same time, the, some of the same kind of stuff was happening over in the House with, uh, their, the, uh, I guess, somebody could argue which was one first. But I guess Bill Kenton probably was a little ahead of trying to create some independence of where the 02:08:00Senate was. But it was--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

KAREM: --a neat era.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: It was a real change.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: I actually got to vote on things that, you know, made a difference. (laughs) You could file bills that could really get heard.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: You didn't have to go down to the--in fact, it got to be a period of time after that, and even today, that, where you would, um, you would never, if you're gonna run for a leadership position, you would never go around and campaign on the theory that Governor was for them(??). And that would just be that, that probably be the, there was a little bit of that after, you know, should we, you know, people still a little skittish about whether you're supposed to consult with the Governor or not consult with the Governor. And nobody would do that anymore. It, it'd, it'd be sure would be the death of your campaign if you went--

MOYEN: --um-hm.

KAREM: --and said, "Oh, the Governor's gonna be for me." I mean, that would just be, that'd be un-, that'd be pretty unthinkable.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Can you tell me about the, the Black Sheep Squadron? Did 02:09:00you just talk about it in the hallways, was it at restaurant a cup of coffee, or were there organized meetings--

KAREM: --organized meetings. We would go to apartments, and, uh, somebody's apartment that was there. There'd be meetings in, in, you, you, you didn't have much of an office space--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

KAREM: --if you under-, you know, by this point, you really don't have, uh, when I went up there, your office was the desk on the floor. And that was it.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: Uh, the, if you wanted to meet, it was in the toilet, or in the hallways, or you left at nighttime, and you went to somebody's or in the afternoon, and went to people's apartment and things. And just, um, probably go over and have a couple of drinks and sit around and figure out how you're gonna reform the world. And, um, and, and, or go have lunch places, and there were, there was a lot of the, of structured stuff about getting out and gonna and talking, and, you know, I can't remember all the places where you went--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

KAREM: --but you had to get, you had to get out and you had to--or you sneak(??), you know, you get a meeting room someplace--

02:10:00

MOYEN: --um-hm--

KAREM: --and go quiet, you know, quiet, sort of quietly, uh, and just an awful lot of stuff done quietly behind-the-scenes.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: Wasn't till, I guess, 1980, wasn't till '80, I don't think they even had the cubicles. That's when we first got cubicles in 1980. Um, was the first time anybody had even a semblance of a little office. You had that little, they took that whole area, huge area of the basement, and tore everything out of it, and put in, you know, a, a hundred and--I don't how many how many--everybody but leadership. Leadership was not in there, but you had probably a 120, or whatever it was, little, whatever the right number was, of little cubicles and that was your, that was the first time anybody had an office, uh, was in '80. Other than that, when I first went up there, your desk was it. And if you wanted to make a phone call, there were little phone booths outside the, outside the Senate chambers, I think, there were three phone booths; outside the House chambers, there were five phone booths. And if you wanted to try to call somebody, you stood in line, uh, to 02:11:00get onto to a little telephone, to, to use a phone. It was a pretty, it was a pretty, um, archaic. It was amazing.

MOYEN: When I talked to other people about this shift, uh, in legislative independence, and a lot of times I've heard discussions about no offices, and then the switch to cubicles. And almost always the next comment that follows is, "But I think that that destroyed a lot of collegiately that was there." Did you feel like having these cubicles or semblances of an office, did that that would be responsible for destroying collegiately, or is, is there, like you said earlier, is it a lot more complex?

KAREM: Tons more complex than that. You did have, um, one of the things that a lot of people did like, there was, uh, there was a period of time in the basement where--this was even when the cubicles were there- 02:12:00-there was like a legislative lounge. And there was a woman, Naomi ---------(??) who ran the legislator's lounge. And you would go in and get a cup of coffee, or peanut butter sandwich, or crackers, or dips and chips, or something like that. And people would sit around and, and, uh, you had some, uh, communication with other members that way, but I don't, personally I don't think that the congeniality has been destroyed at all.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: I think you got, I mean, if you'd go up there today--well, there wouldn't be a session today--

MOYEN: --right. (both laugh)

KAREM: If you'd go up there tomorrow, uh, you'd find out, uh, legislators were all hanging around together.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: And then, um, if there's been any breakdown of collegiately, um, uh, that I do think needs some attention, uh, it's the way the offices are assigned. Um, the, all the Democrats were in a, were in banks of offices, and all the Republicans are in banks of offices. In the, in 02:13:00the, in the little days of these cubicles there was no such, um, there was no such assignment. Um, I think, in the perfect world, it would be much better to just assign offices on either seniority basis or randomly pull things or something, because I do think the Republicans are too separated from the Democrats now. And, and this was even when we were, that, that occurred even when we were still--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

KAREM: --in the Senate. When we were in the majority, there was still this, somebody came up with this bizarre scheme that the banks of offices all had to be Democrats and those were all Republicans. And, um, there's a natural explanation for wanting to do that at one level, because you, you, you want to be among your peers that you're in the same political party with. Uh, you want to, you know, you're nervous about what somebody hears you say, or some of this kind of stuff. It probably makes it easier for the staff, if they're not having to deal with, you know, with Republican wishes over, so there's probably a 02:14:00logic behind a lot of what's going on, but that one has, uh, created a little bit of, um, distance between Republicans and Democrats, unfortunately. But I really don't think the collegiately has been, uh, there's still an enormous amount of that.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: I mean, we do things like, um, we put in, uh, during the session of the legislature, all the members of Senate Democratic caucus periodically put in money into a fund, so that there's a, at lunchtime, there's always snacks or sandwiches and there's little kitchen area. And everybody goes in. And once a week, on, uh, Wednesday that, uh, there'll be a some member of the delegation or members of the delegation will bring a very formal, more formal kind of lunch up there. And, um, and everybody's comes into that area and eats and talks. There's a lot, there's a lot of collegiately. I don't, I don't think that's gone, particularly. The only area is a little, 02:15:00the, you not thrown in with the Republicans or the people from the other political parties as much as you were. But it's probably natural that's it's gonna be that way. If I would, if I could, you know, paint the picture, I'd have offices assigned randomly or on a seniority basis, so people did have to mix in. It would be--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

KAREM: --it would be a little harder for some of the staff people, it would be a little, uh, you'd probably get people a little nervous, but it also might create a little more, uh, interparty, uh, mixing.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Um-hm.

[Pause in recording.]

MOYEN: Let me ask you, we're just talking off tape about the Black Sheep, Black Sheep Squadron, do you recall the first, uh, first meeting where this was--

KAREM: --there was no first meeting.

MOYEN: Or, that you, that you would've been involved in, or--

02:16:00

KAREM: --well, there wasn't--

MOYEN: --oh, okay--

KAREM: --it was an, it was an evolving sort of thing--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

KAREM: --I mean, it was, um, I don't think that anybody, I, you know, I guess I'd have to check back with John Berry, but I think John Berry would probably say the same thing; I don't think there was any formal first meeting. I think it was more of the thing that, that evolved. Uh, there'd be, you know, six of us sitting around having a beer one night, or saying, you know, and then somebody say, "Well, you know, uh, Moloney might, he's a, he's a perfect guy to be involved this. We ought to get Moloney over the next time." Or there'd be some, you know, there'd some other, and people would, you know, it just became, it just became, it, it just evolved.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: Um, the, and then it kind of became humorous because the name was, uh, given to them, I can't even tell you. John Berry have to tell where the name came from. But I know Moloney, as I said, made these buttons for us, that I still have, where these little black sheep are jumping over the Capitol building. But I don't, I don't think there 02:17:00was ever a formal, you know, let's get together and sit down, and we, this would be the first meeting of this group of people.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: It was much of an evolving thing, like, you know, people'd sit around and say, "I don't understand. You know, why are we, you know, why do we take people pushing us around like that?" Or, you know, this kind of thing(??).

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: I don't, probably the same way all revolutions start. I mean, I don't think anybody says, "Now we're gonna to have, you know, the revolution of independence from England."

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: I think, you probably, people sit around in their coffeehouses and said, "Those British bastards are too tyrannical." And, you know, and so I mean, I think it's just, and then, and then you did get--

MOYEN: --right--

KAREM: --it started evolving and more--but Berry, John Berry is the sort of ultimate historian about the Black Sheep Squadron.

MOYEN: So, how does this, the Black Sheep Squadron and this evolution of legislative independence jive with the fact that if, if you read historical accounts, Julian Carroll is considered, you know, "Emperor Julian." I mean, this guy's the, the toughest in terms of the 02:18:00Governor's power. And, um, do you think that in some respects maybe Carroll's leadership style emboldened--

KAREM: --oh, no question about it--

MOYEN: --you all?

KAREM: Yeah, there's no question about that. I think people, um, with, without picking on Bill Cox, people didn't like to go down, and hat- in-hand, and become a supplicant and people did not like, um, uh, you know, didn't like to have to sit up and beg. (both laugh) I mean, it was, you know, they didn't want to be treated like a puppy learning to, you know, and if you didn't behave, you got swatted with a newspaper or something. And there is no question but that Julian Carroll's, uh, very dominate Governor, Governorship is, is, was, was a very factor in wresting(??)--I mean, there was a bunch of things. You know, who comes 02:19:00after Julian Carroll? John Y. Brown. Um, John Y. Brown doesn't have any--(laughs)--particular interest in, in being a tyrant. And I'm not saying, ple-, you know, I'm not saying that Julian was a tyrant.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: But Julian was of an era to run the thing the way he thought it ought to be run. I mean, he, you know, "I'm there fulltime. Uh, you people are part-timers. Um, I know what's best. Um, you know, you all are," and, and John Y.'s "Aw, shucks, you know, what's all this about," kind of guy. And it was, um, John Y.'s sort of, people--you know, what's funny about this whole issue is there're some people who're, who are, who've covered these things and they come up with the most, in my opinion, ignorant, dogmatic answers to everything. "Well, legislative 02:20:00independence was just because John Y. Brown was Governor. If he, you know, if he'd, if he'd come into ----------(??), there wouldn't be legislative independence." Uh, "legislative independence totally because Bill Kenton did this." "Legislative independence totally because John Berry did this." "Legislative independence because, uh, so-and-so died at, uh, at a, at a particularly crucial point." Or, I mean, it's all this stuff, none of which is completely isolated. None of which is completely true. Uh, yes, Julian Carroll's very strong, uh, attitude about being Governor helped a lot of people feel a need for more independence. Yes, John Y.'s sort of "Aw, shucks, leave me alone," kind of attitude, gave people much more freedom. Uh, yes, Bill Clint--Bill, Bill Kenton's, yes, Bill Kenton's picture of himself as, uh, he saw himself as a future Governor.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: Um, he, and he might, probably would've been. Um, bright guy. Very strong, very inde-, you know, didn't see himself as somebody 02:21:00else's, um, lapdog. I mean, it's all the, John Berry's fierce personal belief that, um, you know, that you had to be there to do the right thing, and you had to have a social conscious, and you had to, you, you had to be personally responsible. I mean, there were just dozens of factors. The media was a factor. The media was, you know, as I said earlier, the media was starting to look at this stuff and saying, um, uh, you know, the Governors run the roost. I mean, and, and so you're getting more, you're getting more attention to this thing. People were paying more attention to the legislative branch of government. Races were getting, um, you know, as a young person and when I first was growing up in pol-, in politics at home, nobody thought about who was the state senator or state representative. Nobody cared. Um, the party picked who they were gonna be. They went up there for 02:22:00short periods of time. Uh, they came back home, and then so what? I mean, you were kind of, huh? As you got this, again I think a lot of it's this kind of awakening nationally of the Kennedy sort of era of political people getting into, you know, much more tuned what's gonna in politics. When you started running and you start running your own campaign and you have a grassroots organization and you're really going door-to-door, believe it or not, that makes people much more tuned up. So, I think legislative independence gets there because of twenty- seven different reasons--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

KAREM: --all of which have different weights. But people who say, you know, I mean I've heard people say, and it just, it just cracks me up, when people say, "Totally John Y. Brown. If it hadn't been for John Y. Brown, there'd be no legislative independence." And it's, you know, absurd. It was starting before John Y. Brown--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

KAREM: --got there. And, um, you know, that just, it, it, it was no one single factor.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: But you get, and people who are, who are supposed to be bright 02:23:00saying some of this kind of stuff. I mean, people who are supposed to be political observers that don't pay any attention to, you know, I mean, somebody could make the case that Bill Kenton is, is this huge factor; somebody could make a case that John Berry is this huge factor; somebody could make a case the class of '72 and the class of '74 were huge factors.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: Somebody could say the Courier-Journal was the factor. I mean, you could just, you could make a case for any of them, when the reality is, is that it was all of them.

MOYEN: Um-hm. So, with all these different factors playing a role, when did you, or you personally, or you as a group realize though that you had achieved this new level of independence? When did that become, was it at Kentucky Dam Village--

KAREM: --oh, I think the, I think if there was, if you're gonna try to say that, there was, the, the event was 1980. It was the, it was the pre-legislative conference where we went down and we took over the, we, 02:24:00we, we elected three people to leadership.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: That was, uh, and then you had, um, Prather who was willing to, uh, not try to be an obstruction to that once the, I mean, not that he could've been, but he didn't even--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

KAREM: --he didn't even desire. I mean, he, we got along with him. He was a good guy. Everybody worked with him. And, um, he, he, um, he had an opponent, um, who would've been more in tune with our, uh, group, but the guy didn't win, and, uh, uh, but it was not a bitter or ugly kind of thing. And, uh, Prather was always, uh, uh, a smart guy about working. I mean, he was flexible, knew how to work with people.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: But I think if you say, "Okay, was there an event," yeah, the event was, uh, when you took over in '80, you'd realized things had changed. I mean, they were gonna be different.

MOYEN: I don't know if it, well, I don't think it is an either/or issue, 02:25:00but if I, if there, if I did pose this either/or question to you, would you say John Y. Brown gave you legislative independence? I understand all these different factors, or was there a significant level of the legislature, or the Senate, or the Black Sheep Squadron wresting some of that control from him? Did you ever sense in any of your interactions that he was interested in appointing a--if, if he realizes he's not gonna get his leadership, and hey, that's okay, but was there any wresting of that from either him or from the Governor's office(??)?

KAREM: The only guy who ever came back and tried to wrest legislative power was Wallace Wilkinson. John Y., we never had, I mean, we, you know, John Y. was just, uh, John Y. was an eminently likable guy. He was just--(laughs)--I mean, you didn't, you didn't have to agree 02:26:00with everything, he was like, just kind of a big teddy bear, a puppy, I mean, he was likeable. You wanted to, you wanted to help John Y. out. You didn't have any sense that he was trying to beat up on you. And, uh, he brought in some people who, uh, were of staggering status. That, uh, I mean, you know, W.T. Young, he brought in to, to work with him and, and on some issues in the legislature. He brought in, um, some extraordinarily professional people and, and, you know, you didn't, um, he, he was, he was--I don't think there was, he ever tried to nor was there any sense he was trying wrest authority away. But I, I think had John Y. come in and tried to that from day one, I think he would've met with a much more difficult--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

KAREM: --I mean, he would've, this seed, it was already too far along. 02:27:00I mean, it was just way too far along.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: Um, the only guy who in my tenure tried to get it back to some degree was Wallace Wilkinson. Who, um, just was, it was not gonna happened. I mean, by this point, people were just like, I mean, we had the damnedest fight in the world with him over this gubernatorial succession thing. He wanted to, um--and, and, and he had people advising, I think he had bad advice. He had, he had people telling him that you can take it back. That they can't sustain themselves. You can, you, this independence is, uh, even though it's years later, this independence is a fad. This independence, you can't, you know, um, you can get it away from them. People who ought to know better, some people I know who ought to know better, said that stuff to him. And, um, you know, that was not gonna happen under any set of circumstances. I mean, I, you know, we got into this thing with him 02:28:00over the gubernatorial succession that was as ugly as you could ever ask for. He, um, he decided that we were gonna give him gubernatorial succession and we decided, uh, in the Senate we were not gonna give him gubernatorial succession and we were not gonna--and we would do gubernatorial succession but it was not gonna apply to him. And, uh, he wanted it and it was gonna apply to him. And, um, I can remember, they always laugh and ask me to recount the story in Frankfort reg-, with, with regularity, though we'll say. Uh, every Thursday, I believe it was--doesn't make any difference whether it was Thursday or not, but I believe it was every Thursday, might've been Tuesday, who cares--there was always a breakfast meeting where leadership met with the Governor. It was, it was, um, uh, you, you went down in the morning and you had breakfast with him. And, um, you outline things that were coming up and so forth. They always, the, it was a fairly formal setting. You 02:29:00went down in the basement, there was always a table, uh, set, and you, uh, were served breakfast in a conference room kind of thing that was down there. And I can remember, um, who was--------(??), uh, it was, they always served these wonderful little warm cinnamon buns. It had white icing on them that they were really made there and were quite good. I can remember we went in this one morning, we were sitting down in the, uh, guys were bringing these trays of warm cinnamon buns and sitting them on the table, about this, and all this thing was like a, it was a like a weird, slow-motion thing. (Moyen laughs) Uh, Wallace Wilkinson comes down and he, uh, looks at Joe--comes in says hello to everybody, looks at Joe Wright, who is the Democratic floor leader at the time, I'm the caucus chairman, and he says, um--and Joe is a fiercely independent person--and he says to Joe Wright, "Well, let's just get right to the point. Are we going to, are you guys gonna give 02:30:00me gubernatorial succession or not?" And about the time that he asked the question, I'm having poured a cinnamon, little cinnamon bun that I want to eat because it looks really delicious, and Joe Wright looks up at him, and says, "Governor, don't think that's gonna happened." And, uh, and just in a such a, such a firm and matter-of-fact way that there was no discussion. And, uh, Wallace Wilkinson says, "That's the end of this breakfast. You all can leave now." And this was all like in this, just seemed like, it seemed like twenty-five seconds of all, but all in sort of weird slow motion. I can remember, "I want that sweet roll, but I'm not gonna get it." So, we had to, we got up and left. And by the, already by the time we got up and left, Wallace Wilkinson had come down in a very starched shirt, and, and he had just gotten so angry in such a quick thing, he was already perspiring underneath the shirt and all this thing was like this weird, I can still see it, and it was all 02:31:00like a, strange movie scene or something. It was all transpired very quickly and we busted our butt and got out of there, I mean, this, you know, that breakfast was literally about a minute and a half long.

MOYEN: Um-hm. (laughs)

KAREM: And we were sort of, but, um, he was the only guy who I ever thought gave serious, you know, I don't, Brereton Jones never really thought he was gonna get gubernatorial power of the same level back. Um, uh, Wilkinson, I think, was told he could do that. Certainly Paul Patton didn't and neither did Martha Layne. It was, um, John Y., then--

MOYEN: --Martha Layne--

KAREM: --Martha Layne, then, it was--

MOYEN: --Wallace--

KAREM: --Wally. (laughs) And then it was Brereton and then, then Patton. And, um, I don't think there was any of them but--actually Martha Layne ended up, um, Martha Layne had a very different attitude worthy of some discussion. She ended up actually developing a very 02:32:00good relationship of--it was a little rocky at first, but she ended up developing a very good relationship with the legislators, and she saw in a, in a way that I think some of the rest, maybe it's, I don't know what it was, she saw them as real potential ally. And, um, uh, she went out of her way, when she would, on economic development, you know, she was really good at economic development. She, uh, she saw that when she met with people, for example, on the Toyota thing or something--this was not anything you've asked about--uh, she saw legislators as allies in that. And so, when she would do these economic development missions and things of that sort, she would always take legislators there, so that she could say to people who were, she was doing economic--uh, I went, in fact, she invited me to go on one. I went with her on economic development mission that went to England, Switzerland, and Germany. And, um, we were sort of trolled out as part 02:33:00of the team that, so that we, you know you can get--I was in leadership then--you know you can get things done because I've got the secretary of econo--I'm the Governor, this is secretary of economic development, I've got legislators, I've got the administer, she got the people to, you know, here's a package of people, she was very effective. She used the legislature in, maybe, maybe end of her second, third, and fourth year as real allies. She did much better, uh, than most of them, as far as you, seeing the benefit of working with legislators.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: Sorry, I digress.

MOYEN: No, that's all right. Um, let, let me ask you this; we were right up to the time of John Y. Brown's election and, and your election as, uh, Democratic caucus chair, 1980. So, you had served in the legislature for eight years in the seventies. What, was there anything that you felt like you were most proud of that you had accomplished up to that point? Anything that you would point to that gave you a great sense of fulfillment?

02:34:00

KAREM: I, probably the thing I'd say that was, um, I think that we had started to, for, for me personally, I think what we had started to do was by this point in time was to begin to sow the seeds of the legislature becoming really involved in education. Uh, it was certainly still a long way to 1990 when we passed the Kentucky Education Reform Act. But, um, there was, we were really, the, the legislature really starting to ask questions about public education. The legislature was starting to, the, some beginning seeds of asking about whether the system was fair across the state. Taking a more in-depth look at, uh, the haves and have-nots in the system. Uh, taking a more in-depth look at what, uh, some of the literally educational tragedies in some of the rural areas were. And, uh, some 02:35:00of the hideous inadequacies of the system, there were my, I think some of those things the legislature was starting to spend some time on. Uh, I was very, uh, I was on the education committee from the day I went to the General Assembly in the, with the exception of a short period of time, about six months, recently when I was not on it, but I'm back on it now. Uh, I was, um, always very involved in education and I think that was one of the real things I was proud of in that era. Also, the legislature, going back to the home rule issue in the legislature becoming a bit more sensitive to urban areas, I think there was a lot of effort, uh, made to reach out to rural legislators and try to have them understand that, um, that Louisville was not the enemy, that, that Lexington was not the enemy, northern Kentucky were not bad people. We were, we were all in this together. Uh, uh, if we did well economically, it, it was to the benefit of the rest of the state. Uh, 02:36:00there was a lot of, when I first went to the legislature, there was a lot of this, you know, uh, people kidding about Jefferson County being the Free State of Jefferson, and, you know, completely, you know, they, what, what we ought to do is cut the Ohio River around Jefferson County and give it to Indiana, kind of talk. And, um, I think we, some of us went out of the way, one of the things that I went out of the way to do when I went up there, and some people said--I mean, this is not great insight on my part--but I thought it was very important to make friends all over the state. I didn't, I, um, I thought it was terribly important not to be seen as parochial and only hang around with, uh--and I try to--with just Jefferson County, Louisville and Jefferson County people. And people, young people in the process come to me now and say, "What's a piece of advice that you'd give me?" I say, "Go out and make friends. Don't just hang in Jefferson County. Go out and make friends, or what." There was a group of us, uh, that, in 1972, 02:37:00when I went there, that incl--that met, that did meet regularly, um, that were, and we were, we were from all over the state. There was a guy, David Karem from Louisville; there was a guy, George Street Boone from Elkton, Kentucky. There was a guy named Dr. Nick Kafoglis from Bowling Green. There was Vic Hellard from over in Versailles. And there was Bobby Richardson from Barren, from down in Barren County. And to some degree, uh, Joe Clarke came to those things periodically. And we literally would meet almost daily or least two or three nights a week over at George Street Boone's apartment. And we'd sit around and, you know, cure the world's ills. Or figure out how we were going to free the legislature from this, uh, onerous Governor's thing. And we'd sit over with, and every, George made great margaritas and--my recollection was not margaritas, martinis. He'd make great, we'd have, we'd have martinis and corn curls(??). I can still remember corn 02:38:00curls(??) and martinis and we would sit and figure out how to solve the problems. One of the neat things that occurred in that time was that, uh, Ed Pritchard would come. Ed Pritchard was a particular friend to this group. And maybe once a week Ed Pritchard would come over and sit down and, and, uh, chat with us. And, uh, that was a, that was a trip. I mean, it was really a fun thing to be involved with. But I went out of my way to be sure that, so those were the guys I hang around with. I hung around with a guy from Barren County, I hung around with a guy from Versailles, I hung around with a guy from Bowling Green. I mean, we just, I made a point to try to make friendships out in the state, because I didn't want people thinking Jefferson County was weird, or we were different than, you know, anybody else. And, uh, I'm very proud of the relationships that I made in that, I'm, I'm very proud of the education, I'm very proud of the, the relationships, um, that, that, that I made and, and, uh, I hoped in a lot of ways broke down this barrier that people from Jefferson County were weird or different. I 02:39:00mean, that was very important to me not to be seen that way.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

KAREM: Um, worked a lot on some urban issues that needed attention and stuff. And I could go to some of these guys and get their support for things and have them understand. So, I guess education and those, that sort of Jefferson County outreach thing, so that people--I, the, there's never been a group as much fun as that was for me. We were just, we had a ball. It was, and there were periodically different people would come into it, but basically that was the core group. And period--we still gotten together sometimes since then. Of course, Nick Kafoglis came back in the Senate and served with, uh, I served with him, again, he left for a while and then came back to the, he was in the House with me for that time and then came back to the, I came(??), he came back over to the Senate later on, and he got to serve again. And then Vic got to be director of the LRC before he died. So we got to stay pretty much in touch with one another. And then Bobby 02:40:00Richardson went on to be speaker for awhile.

[End of interview.]