Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with W. Terry McBrayer, June 28, 2006

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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SALMONS: The following is an unrehearsed interview of former state representative W. Terry McBrayer who represented Greenup County in the Ninety-Eighth District from 1966 to 1972. The interview was conducted by Roy Salmons for the University of Kentucky Library, Kentucky Legislative Oral History Project, on June 28, 2006, in the office of W. Terry McBrayer in Lexington, Kentucky, at three o'clock PM. Mr. McBrayer, could you please tell me where and when you were born?

MCBRAYER: I was born in Ironton, Ohio, directly across the river from Greenup and Ashland. It was the only hospital in the area at the time. I was born there September 1, 1937.

SALMONS: Where did you grow up at?

MCBRAYER: I grew up in Greenup County, in downtown Greenup. Little town of twelve hundred people then. It's got twelve hundred people now. It hasn't grown much at all but the surrounding territory has. I've 00:01:00got family still up there. My mother and a number of, quite a few relatives in the Greenup, Raceland, Russell, Flatwoods area, and I have a law office there in Greenup and one in Ashland as well.

SALMONS: What were your parents' background?

MCBRAYER: My father had an eighth-grade education. He worked on the railroad. His father died at a very early age, and so he had to support his father--his mother and other brothers and sisters. He worked for a very short period of time at Armco Steel and then was a machinist at the C & O for about forty years. My mother was a teacher and a principal of a school there in the city of Greenup, and she graduated from college about the same time I did. I went to Morehead 00:02:00State University and she went to Marshall but she had one of those emergency certificates, and so she kept going back, and going back, and going back, and finally graduated.

SALMONS: How many brothers and sisters did you have?

MCBRAYER: I have two sisters. Both of them are still living. One is a, was an assistant clerk at the court of appeals. She's retired in Frankfort and my other sister, Phyllis, lives in Greenup. She was my secretary and wonderful friend for forty years in my law office in Greenup, and so she basically staffed our office there in Greenup, and then I moved to Lexington, she remained there and continued to run the office for many years.

SALMONS: How many generations do you know that of your family as being in Kentucky?

MCBRAYER: Well, first of them, I'll tell you about my daughter and my son. My son is a lawyer in Geneva, Switzerland, and he practices law in Geneva, and in Moscow, and as a matter of fact, I'm going to go 00:03:00see him this Friday. But my daughter works at a law firm in D.C. And she's does very well up there. And she has one child and pregnant with another one, and my son has three children--two, a girl and two boys, and so that's where they are. You asked my family grew up--they're various lines of the McBrayer family. We were unfortunately the poor side of it. There are a number of other McBrayer's that ended up in Lawrenceburg. Matter of fact, there's an old McBrayer Whiskey and get decanter every now and then from people that have run into it and will bring it to me. And it's got quite attractive, but it was made in Lawrenceburg. And then there were McBrayer's in the Morehead area 00:04:00and McBrayer's in Pikeville, but then ours drifted down and ended up in Greenup and stopped I guess at the Ohio River. So, several generations of coming from Eastern Kentucky or over from the Carolinas over.

SALMONS: You grew up in the prototypical small town in Kentucky. How would you describe your youth in growing up in a small town versus your experiences in larger towns?

MCBRAYER: Well, I was very fortunate. I lived in Greenup for thirty- seven years. And I was in the law, I was practiced law there, and then I was in the legislature from there. But I grew up pretty darn hard when you reflect back on it, but at the same time, I was better than most. I was taught to work hard at a very early age. Everybody in my family always worked. We always had one, two, or three jobs. We never thought about going to Florida on spring break, or those type of things 00:05:00then. We never ever thought of not having a summer job. We never ever thought about not helping out in the garden, or making up your bed, or your turn to wash the dishes, your turn to dry. And so, I was instilled at an early age with a good strong work ethic, and that came from not only my mother and my father but my grandfather who helped raise me and lived right across the street from me, and we were always very close family. And then, so everybody's kind of equal up there. At the time, you got to know people. I delivered Cincinnati Enquirer for six and a half years; I think it was daily paper. And if you don't think that teaches you discipline, about a hundred and ten papers every day going across little town of Greenup but it was spread out so much. I had the first power lawnmower in Greenup and did that. We'd raised 00:06:00hot bed tomatoes. We raised chickens and sold them. My father cleaned them. We'd clean them and take orders for chickens. We had a huge garden. We did a lot of things there. We just make a little extra money, too. Then I can recall in going to--they always wanted me to do well, my mother, my aunts, everybody, my father. I can recall going to Stecklers (??) in Ashland to buy a sports jacket, and both my aunts and my mother went with me, and they all pitched in to buy it. I mean they wanted that for me and it was always that kind of thing. I benefited by their work ethic. And frankly, they had strong principles. They 00:07:00had a strong religious belief. I don't think my father ever had a drink in his life, or if he did, it was very early in life or my mother probably never. Very active in the church there in Greenup and my family remains very active there to this day. My sister's played the organ there for fifty years I guess. And I used to be a deacon there until I moved to Lexington.

SALMONS: What church is that, sir?

MCBRAYER: It's the Greenup Christian Church. And my grandfather was a longtime elder there, and my aunt still teaches Sunday school. I was just saying my sister still plays the organ there, and all of our family been very close to that church for a long time.

SALMONS: What would you say was the role of religion in your family life, then and now?

MCBRAYER: Well, I think the role of religion played a great part of my life because it taught me strong principles I think. And eventually 00:08:00having strong values and able to see the difference between right and wrong and see that early on in the situation. And all of those are challenges as you go throughout your career, whether it's political career or whether it's a legal career or whatever. But it's, those are always challenges and fortunately, you have good, strong principles to reach back and grab onto when you're challenged or faced with a decision. And I would quickly say that I've made many wrong decisions but I think I would have probably made more if I didn't have that strong background in the Christian churches of Kentucky. We used to go church camp every summer and sing in the choir and do all of the--you know, I was a deacon up there but I belong to the Tates Creek Christian 00:09:00Church now and have for twenty-five years or so here in Lexington.

SALMONS: What is, if you had to pick activities that were your most fond memories from childhood, what would be your most fond memories?

MCBRAYER: Well, I've always been a people person. I was just involved in everything. I took it all in. I worked hard. I had summer jobs, asphalt type jobs, every summer construction, but I never went a summer or almost a day without a job or without working. And I think many of my fond memories were more in college and law school than anything. I have cultivated wonderful friends. And I was able to try to blossom a little bit. I worked hard there. I went to Morehead State University 00:10:00and then went on to law school. But cultivated many friendships. I was kind of a little duck in a great big pond, and it was a challenge for me. But those were the most rewarding experiences. In high school, I was a little of everything, but one thing I wasn't; I wasn't a very good athlete. I always tried. I tried it all and tried to play football, tried to play basketball. Played baseball. Not very good at any of them but at least I was out there trying. And at the same time, I was delivering papers every morning. Five o'clock in the morning, and I was cutting grass. I was helping my grandfather with, sell tomatoes. I was helping Dad with the chickens that he was raising. And then a dozen other things all at the same time. And activities in 00:11:00school. It's a very small school, so it's pretty easy to participate in about whatever you wanted to. Was active in the BETA Club. Was president of the BETA Club. I think president of my class. Gosh, can't even remember but it was a small class, twenty or so graduates.

SALMONS: What was the name of the high school you went to?

MCBRAYER: It was Greenup High School. At the time was independent school but later merged with the Greenup County school.

SALMONS: What law school did you go to?

MCBRAYER: Went to the University of Louisville Law School. Dr. Adron Doran and Mrs. Doran ----------(??) had great effect on my life. When I was at Morehead, they kind of adopted me, and helped me formulate my life. And toward the senior year in college, Dr. Doran and Mrs. 00:12:00Doran talked to me and said, "We think you need to do something else. You're not ready to go out in the world and get a job. You have a bigger kick left." And they took me to Louisville, both of them. Here's the president of the university and his wife taking only me to Louisville, and we went into see Dr. Phillip Davidson, and Dr. Davidson was the president of the University of Louisville and said, Dr. Doran said, "Phillip," said, "This young man I talked to you about. He wants to go to law school. He's got some kick left and he needs to expand his horizons and get beyond the hills of Eastern Kentucky and see the world." And said, "He's on the debate team there in Morehead and done a lot as president of Cosmopolitan Club, and all these other thing." And said, "He needs a manuscript (??)." Said, "Well, he's got good grades? et cetera" and said, "Yes." Said, "I mean, he, I think, you know, we'd be glad to accept him to law school." And Dr. Doran said, "You don't understand, Dr. Dav"--or, "Phillip," 00:13:00said, "He doesn't have any money; he needs a scholarship." And said, Dr. Davidson said, "We don't give scholarships to law school." And Dr. Doran said, "Phillip, if you remember what you did for," or I mean, "what I did for you in the vote on the council, et cetera, et cetera, didn't you, Phillip?" Dr. Davidson said, "Yes, Adron," said, "I remember." And I'm standing, or I'm sitting there--(Salmons laughs)- -just Mrs. Doran and Dr. Davidson, Dr. Doran and myself, and he said, "I'm indebted to you." Said, "You can pay me back by giving this boy a scholarship to your law school." And they did give a scholarship. One of the first ever. And they also, I ended up being a tutor for the U of L football and basketball team, or a monitor, and that sort of thing, so I had extra jobs there. Also worked some in the Jim Porter Room as an assistant maitre de' at a restaurant there. But those were, 00:14:00they were wonderful experiences with lots of those folks.

SALMONS: If you had to pick one teacher or a couple teachers, what teachers had the most influence on you in your academic career?

MCBRAYER: Well, it's fairly easy. There was a fellow by the name of Dr. John Lawton. He came down from Boston College to save the poor, undereducated kids in Appalachia, and he taught at Morehead. He was head of speech department of Boston College and took a sabbatical. Came down here. He was a brilliant person. He was Catholic. He was, believe it or not, a ghostwriter for the Pope. He was well educated, well versed in Catholicism, and I'm not Catholic but he formed a debate team. I used to have a real Eastern Kentucky nasal accent, and he worked with me literally hundreds and hundreds of hours to get rid 00:15:00of that east Kentucky accent. For example, on--and then, we were the debate team and we debated a lot of very top schools all over the United States, little Morehead. And we won a lot of debates. But I would go home one day for Thanksgiving; I would go home two days for Christmas. We would stay there and work, our little debate team, day and night. And for example, they came in over Thanksgiving, we were getting ready for a debate, I think the freshman Harvard class was coming to debate us and Berea, as I recall, and we worked day and night, and they were going to turn off the electricity because they had to work on it while the kids were gone at Thanksgiving, and we took coal oil lamps and set 00:16:00them up in the library so that we could continue to read and research and prepare for that debate. I got home Thanksgiving Day and came back the next morning and we continued working but we worked all during Christmas. All the vacations. And he was so influential to me. Along with Dr. Doran but I told Dr. Doran there was no way I could name my son Adron Doran, Adron McBrayer just didn't sound right, but I named him doctor, I named him John Walton McBrayer after my college professor Dr. John Walton. I went to his funeral and I took my son John who was in school in Massachusetts at that time, and we went to his funeral in 00:17:00Boston a number of years ago. But I maintained contact with him for years. Years after that until he died as a matter of fact.

SALMONS: I've got to ask, how did the debate against Harvard go?

MCBRAYER: Well, of course, history, you know sometimes you forget after it goes. That's been forty-five years ago, or fifty years ago, I guess. And I think we won but I wouldn't want to challenge that by somebody doing the actual research and finding out that we lost, but as I recall, I think we won that but we did get a lot of people's attention. This little so-called hick school up in east Kentucky and so I think all of those of us who he was, who he touched at the time were affected. He, for example, they took--he took Happy Chandler, 00:18:00when Happy Chandler was nominated for President of the United States from Kentucky, he was nominated by a fellow named Joe Leary who was a real orator and a lawyer from Frankfort and he's been deceased now, probably fifteen years. But Dr. Lawton had me recite and give the nomination speech. I, literally five hundred times, I had to give it at least five hundred times, line by line, sentence by sentence: stop, start, stop, start, stop, start. And we would be down in the basement where they had our little, of one of the dormitories up there where he had his place where we could speak. And many nights, my friends were standing outside looking in the window, waiting me to come on out so we could go party or whatever. Why, I'm sitting there and 00:19:00giving nominating Happy Chandler to be President of the United States. (laughs) And always after that, Happy and I were dear friends because I mean my devotion to early on, but it was really funny to--but those were great times for me. And it helped me mature into whatever I am today.

SALMONS: Were you a member of any fraternities while you were at Morehead?

MCBRAYER: No, they didn't have any fraternities then. There was a campus club that later became a fraternity. So I was really never actively involved--that was kind of a social club, somewhat like a fraternity, but we did not have them at the time.

SALMONS: What was your favorite subject in either back your graduate school, from law school, or your undergraduate work?


MCBRAYER: Well, I've always been interested in the business. So, I was, I believe I started out in pre-dental. And because I liked my dentist; I had no other reason. And I saw very quickly that I was not going to do well there because I didn't really like chemistry and sciences at the time, and I preferred business, business administration to that. And so, I got a degree in business administration but I liked all the business and government courses and the things like that but at the same time, I got a minor in accounting. And I did, so I had a pretty good business background at the time. And then in law school, I just took the normal curriculum that they require. They're a little more specialized now than they were, but at the time, I think we had about fifty-five or sixty in our class. A lot fewer than that graduated in 00:21:00law school. But my favorite classes generally were the business type classes.

SALMONS: And when did you graduate law school?

MCBRAYER: I graduated from Morehead in 1959 and I graduated from University of Louisville in 1962. I got sworn into the bar in late '62 and then went to the Army for six months and came back in February of 1963 and actually opened my very small law office in downtown. We used to say, my office was downtown Greenup, atop the Braden Building overlooking the Greenup jail, and the Braden Building was just a little grocery store there, and, of course, the jail was right next to it. 00:22:00So, but I started in a practice by myself. Had one room. And my secretary was in the same room, and if I ever got a client, she had to walk out in the hall if we had to talk privately, but it didn't take too long for me. But at the beginning everybody thought I was delivering papers, still selling tomatoes, or something. They couldn't imagine--I was the first lawyer to come back there in about fifteen years. And they couldn't relate me to be a lawyer. They just thought that I was still trying to play high school ball, or delivering papers, or something like that. But I finally pretty quickly got a good practice going.

SALMONS: Did you have any help from local people to boost your practice?

MCBRAYER: Well, not a whole lot because you're kind of on your own. I lived with my parents for a while. Wasn't married and later got 00:23:00married. But I lived my parents. And then I had a wonderful friend, a fellow named Oscar Salmons (??) who later became circuit judge, and I later became his next-door neighbor. And then later, when he retired, he came in our law firm but a wonderful person and he had a lot of influence on me. And I went into the office next to him, and he was running for circuit judge, and then he won, and so he moved out, and when people would come up looking for him, I was the only lawyer there and fortunately would kind of get his practice. But early on, it was very tough. I even headed up a health tax for the health department because they had needed a new building, and everything. And unbeknownced to me, they'd lost it twice, and they got me to do, and I didn't have anything else to do. So, I went around the county talking to all the PTA's and all the civic clubs and about the needs and 00:24:00everything. And lo and behold, it won. And, of course, people thought politically that, you know, you're never supposed to support a tax but I did. At the time not knowing even any better. I think frankly I did the right thing but it passed for the first time, and they were able to build a very fine health department there in Greenup basically based upon my efforts and some of the stuff that we did at the time. But that also helped my election--I mean, helped my law practice in that I was to get around the county and reintroduce myself to them and a lot people. And so, I got busy very quickly.

SALMONS: Was that your first foray into political avenues?

MCBRAYER: Yeah, it was. And I had been active at the University of Louisville because I was part-time assistant maitre d' at the Jim Porter Room in located in the ----------(??) and they let me stay there 00:25:00free in the hotel. It was just wonderful. They were so nice to me and helped me because I didn't have any money, had an old car. And so I worked there part-time, and then the state Democratic headquarters was there, and I got working there. And then the Jack Kennedy race was then, and at the time, there were a lot of people that were afraid politically to support a Catholic in Kentucky. And so, the higher up politicians were fearful of doing that, and so I was able to step up and take a major role because I never didn't know much difference between a Catholic and a Protestant, or a black person and a white person. I was raised in an environment that basically everybody was equal. Sadly enough, they aren't equal but they were, you know, everybody was the same. Some of my best friends were black, some of my friends were Catholic, but we didn't know many Catholics at the time 00:26:00there. But nonetheless, so I was able to right quickly get involved in statewide politics because even though I was a senior and junior in law school. So, then I returned from there, after I went to the Army for six months as a private, came back and started my little law office, I think in the last day of February 1963.

SALMONS: What lead for you leave the Army after six months?

MCBRAYER: Well, I was one of those six-month programs that you--I had gotten deferments to go to school and so then, I had to go six months active duty. Went to Fort Knox and then Fort Polk, Louisiana, which is--I told them I thought we'd won the war and not lost it but it was--(laughs)--it was a bad place. But anyway, I was miserable anyway because I just gotten out of law school and had to go through basic training, running up misery and agony hills and all of that. So, then 00:27:00I came back and joined the, I had to join the Reserves. But then, I had been a half way decent musician in high school and college. In college, I had a music scholarship, an academic scholarship, and seven months of a baseball scholarship. And so, then I switched over and joined the 202nd Army band, and I had a great time playing music. We played music for all kinds of parades and stuff the next five years, or so. And we'd go all over Kentucky playing music and a lot good friends there as well, but it was a fun time.

SALMONS: Okay, so you started your law practice in February of '63?


SALMONS: And you made your first, well, you became a representative 00:28:00in '66?

MCBRAYER: ----------(??)

SALMONS: Between '63 and '66, what led you to go into politics?

MCBRAYER: I was elected in '65. And I ran against my next-door neighbor, which was really interesting. He was an incumbent. I had just gotten back from law school and I still didn't have a law practice of any kind. And I was also--Governor Combs made me a worker's compensation referee. I think paid a hundred and eighty-seven dollars and fifty cents a month, and I had hear cases in Hazard and Pineville and Pikeville and Harlan, and I thought it was great honor to get that, and I found out later that nobody wanted it, and they--(laughs)--gave it to me for that. But anyway, I was not married, and so, I traveled all those places and it was a part-time job. It was helpful. But then, as I was saying, I was living with my mother and dad, then I got 00:29:00married, and after that, and it was after I think the tax victory on the health tax, and I thought, Well, I really think I've got something to offer. I'd like to run for state representative and represent folks here. And if I don't win, which I don't think I will, I will of been able to contact a bunch of people, and I'll run a very positive campaign, and it'll be a way of advertising. And lo and behold, I won. I didn't ever think I would but I really worked hard and I started in September, campaigning almost fulltime for a next May primary.

SALMONS: Was that unheard of at the time to campaign that long, or is common for the campaign to last that long?

MCBRAYER: It was not common that but the fellow I ran against was a 00:30:00fellow named Pete Nicholls and a lawyer there in town. Been there a long time. Later became PVA. But he was there, had been there two or three sessions. And I remember he lived backdoor to my mom and dad. We burned trash out of the same barrel, that's how close we were, and then when I got married, I just moved right up the street, so we were always as close that I know. I remember when I'd go campaign, I would circle his house, and his car would be there, and I knew right then I had beat him that morning, and when I'd come in that night, his car be there, and I knew I'd beat him that night. And it was a hotly contested race. And he would, his slogan was, "Don't send a boy to do a man's job." And my slogan was, "If a man can't do the job, maybe they ought to send a boy." (Salmons laughs) And we went after it. It was the first time 00:31:00in the county that people started putting up signs on trees and things like they do. And I had brought some fairly new ideas back to the county and even letters to the editor, or some printing, and they put it in county papers. It didn't cost much money in the county paper. And so, when I'd hire somebody, I hired a fellow named Koki Smith (??) who was an interesting fellow. Been wounded in the war, but he'd go out and put these signs up. And people come up to me and said, "Boy, I'm sorry I missed you. I saw where you'd been campaigning up my way. You got a poster all the way up there." And even though I spent all the time campaigning, they thought because the posters were up there that I'd been there so I was really moving fast. And I would go into 00:32:00a store--I didn't smoke; never smoked. Although I like a cigar, never smoked cigarettes--I'd go into store and buy a pack of cigarettes and two dollars worth of gas. And it would get me in conversation with them. And then I'd take the cigarettes, I think I brought them home to my wife, I don't remember. But I would do that and that would get me talking, and mingling, and interacting, and get a RC or whatever at the time. And lo and behold, I worked from day to night. I stood at the little factory gates, Armco Steel, the brickyard, all those things, and not only did I win; I had really helped my law practice at the time. By that time, I was beginning to really get busy.

SALMONS: How did you meet your wife and where's she from?



SALMONS: And the marriage I'm talking about is your first marriage?

MCBRAYER: Yes, I met--matter of fact, her father was the president pro tem of the state Senate at the time. He was a lawyer then. And I believe it or not, I met her in the Governor's office. She was working summer job in the Governor's office. Then, I got to know her then, and then we got married two later, and then we had two children. And we were divorced about eight years ago. And now I'm married to a very wonderful lady by the name Anne Bakus (??) McBrayer, and she has three children, and one just graduated from the University of Alabama, another one graduated from Ole Miss last year, and another one's a freshman at Alabama. And so, we both, we live here in Lexington.


SALMONS: What does your wife do, your current wife?

MCBRAYER: My current wife is, she is president of Kentucky Eagle Beer. She is the wholesale distributor of Anheuser Busch products in all of Central Kentucky. She's very successful, bright businesswoman, and very active in business here in Lexington and the surrounding counties, and so. She runs, has a couple hundred employees and runs that business that she received from her father. It's been in the family almost sixty years by now.

SALMONS: How did you all meet?

MCBRAYER: We met on a blind date. It's kind of weird but it's interesting. It ties back to Greenup. My oldest and dearest friend is a fellow by the name of John Zachum (??) who is from Greenup. His father had a restaurant there, and he grew up in Greenup, and we maintained a friendship to this day but his brother's name's Mac. 00:35:00Well, John and I spent every day and night together when we were three, four, five, six, seven, eight, all through there. Then John went to Ashland School but we maintained this friendship for years. And Mac was born there in Greenup and I remember the day was born. I was in the house the day he was born. But anyway, years and years later, Mac fixed the two of us up on a blind date, believe it or not. I didn't know her. I knew her father but I did not know her. And we met socially, and then began, oh, a year or so courtship before we got married but I met her on a blind date, so. Rather interesting. (both laugh) The blind dates still work.

SALMONS: When you started your political career it was after taxes, your 00:36:00first campaign, as you said, involved a lot of new and revolutionary ideas at the time.


SALMONS: Who was your supporters from your first campaign? Who helped run your office, and?

MCBRAYER: Well, you just ran it yourself. You didn't have much money. You could put what money in it and you could also take contributions and I don't think they were even reportable but I got, seemed like five or six hundred dollars. I still got it right here with me, the amount of money that I spent on the election, but it was only five or six hundred dollars. And I always kept it here somewhere. Oh, here it is in the back of it. Here are the expenses that I had. Ad in the Worland Paper five dollars. This been with me since 1963.



MCBRAYER: That one also has all the income from my law practice when I started in 1963. But ad in the Worland Paper, five dollars; signs, billboards, three hundred and twenty-five dollars; Dorothy Griffith, nine seventy-five; ad in district tournament, five dollars; Russell Times, fifteen dollars; stamps, forty-five dollar; pictures, fourteen fifty-nine; so seven or eight hundred dollars, the entire campaign. And for example, my first, I have a list of all my income from the law practice, and its three dollars, ten dollars, two dollars, three dollars, three dollars, three dollars, thirty dollars, sixteen dollars, ten dollar, and those are the kind of things that I've kept throughout the years, and I've come a long way from that '63 campaign and practice 00:38:00of law as well.

SALMONS: So sounds like that case where you made thirty dollars was a big case at the time.

MCBRAYER: Oh, it was a big case. Yes, I did a lot of big criminal case at the time.

SALMONS: What's the most memorable case you had from your early career?

MCBRAYER: Well, one of the things that happened back then--people don't realize it today--but all your pro-bono cases were appointed, the judge would appoint the lawyer, and you had to handle the case free. And what they would always do, the youngest--it was a horrible system but they would appoint the youngest lawyer in the town to get the worst cases. And very shortly after I came back here to practice law, I ended up with a, I had a murder case; I had an armed robbery case. They were life and death situations, and I hadn't been there six months representing these people. I didn't have very many failures. I 00:39:00was right successful in court, and ultimately tried a lot of cases, a lot of criminal, civil, a lot of condemnation cases all over Eastern, Northeastern Kentucky in federal court. I used to have a number of, represented a number of moonshine cases in federal court, along with many other type cases. But in my early career, I spent a lot of time in the courtroom. And that's where you learned it, too. You, I had to learn the law hard way because I was practicing law by myself, and then later took John McGinnis (??), who is still my partner today. Came in about three or four years after I started practicing and then I'd helped him, and then I got Bruce Lesley who came in and then Bill Kirkland from Frankfort. So, but for the longest period of time I 00:40:00just by myself, and when you're trying to do divorces, plan estates, do worker's compensation, bankruptcy, all of it, it's really a lot to learn, and they really don't teach that in law school. So, my most memorable case was really as a murder case but it was for hire. That, the fellow, my client had shot this fellow right in the middle of his head. And my fellow was a sharpshooter in the Army, and I was trying to prove that it was self-defense, and so we did, we did win it by self-defense. And the family came after me that night that, they were mad. But the other one, actually one of my more, that I recall, is 00:41:00there was a fellow named Pete Wells that was the defendant but there was a fellow that--this is wild--but he was running a nudist colony on Beauty Ridge in Greenup County.

SALMONS: You're kidding.

MCBRAYER: And I was in the legislature at the time and my guy was allegedly stealing gas out of the tractor of this guy who was owned the nudist colony. It kind of religious fanatics and they were running around there with no clothes on. But anyway, my guy--no, the fellow came out from the house with a shotgun, and they got in a fight over the shotgun, and my guy turned around the shotgun on him and blew a 00:42:00hole right through his chest. And I witnessed later the body, the corpse, and I represented him, and we were arguing self-defense, and we tried it three different times, and he finally got two years out of it, and he was very pleased, and I was very pleased. We considered that a real victory. But one other quick time was when I was trying a life or death case very early in my career, and I called my mother and said, "I want to, I'm not going to be home tonight." Said, "I'm going to drive to Eddyville and I'm going to try to sit in the electric chair." That sounds very corny as hell but at the time, I was very idealistic. And I wish I had more idealism now than, but then it was really very, very sincere and genuine, and I drove all the way to Eddyville--too long of a story to tell but I also--

SALMONS:--oh, it'd be fine if you tell us; be great--

MCBRAYER:--ultimately sat in the electric chair. I went up to that box 00:43:00about six o'clock in the morning, pushed the button. The private says, "Who, what is this anyway?" And said, "I'm Terry McBrayer from Greenup, Kentucky, and I've come down here want to sit in the electric chair." He gets the sergeant, sergeant gets the captain, captain wakes up the warden. Well, ultimately, I go there and I sit in the electric chair, and I get them to strap me in and everything except throw the switch. And never did I realize that when I came back, I described that to the jury, but I never had any thought of doing that. I just wanted to get as close to that. I even was able to talk to some of the people on death row at the time, and it was a wonderful experience for me, personally, at the time. But so, those were a few of the cases I used to--let's say I've tried many, many, many cases. Literally hundreds of them.

SALMONS: I know you can't give names or specific, a lot of specific details. Do you have any cases that you regret winning at a later date?


MCBRAYER: That I regret winning? No, not really, you know, you never, you know, you never surprise. I never represented somebody I knew was guilty. There are different arguments about that. Some, a lot of people do and that sort of thing but I, to the best of my knowledge and ability, I don't, I don't think I ever. Whether you think it or not, you know, they just don't, I never would represent somebody if they came out and said, "Yeah, I did it; I killed him. I stole that money. I did whatever." No, but up home we had bootleggers, you know, and you all those types, problems. And so, I did it all from representing bootleggers to filing accident suites on car, so I had a broad experience, and I was always able to draw on that years later, when you get into bigger--see law doesn't change that much. Basic principles don't. And unlike say medicine, or science, or whatever, and so 00:45:00you can draw on those basic principles that you learned years ago in almost a totally unrelated matter, and so that small town practice, deal with people, everyday, being paid a cow, or being paid a shotgun, or things of that sort, are almost a--not a daily but a weekly or a monthly occurrence. Being paid furniture. All of those things are it's in a small town. I used buy and sell knives and traded knives and traded guns and all of those kind of things. It's just local, colorful people. And in a small town, there are a lot of very sincere, a lot more compassion and care in a smaller town than there is--sometimes 00:46:00you just get lost in the big city but in the smaller town, it's hard to avoid death, I mean, to avoid pain, suffering, and because you know them all, you know everybody. And you experience those things and whereas sometimes you can--

[Side 1 ends; side 2 begins.]

SALMONS: Okay, Mr. McBrayer, we were talking about some of the interesting forms of payment you received early on in your law--


SALMONS: --career. What would you saw was the most interesting form of payment you received early on?

MCBRAYER: Well, that muzzleloader right there on my wall came from a fee. One of those is fake and one of them is real. And the top one is the real muzzleloader that I got for a fee in Greenup County from representing a fellow, I think, in a grand larceny case. But I've taken all forms of rod and reel. I represented--(laughs)--I represented a fellow that ran a bait store and sold boats, represented him for 00:47:00catching too many bass in Ontario, and he was saving them up for fish fry. So they came in and not only arrested him, they took the fish but they took his boat and motor and was a big expensive boat and motor at the time, and I got the boat and motor back and we paid a relatively small fine. And I went up there and picked out a small fishing boat as my fee. (laughs) So, none of that was unusual and still occurs today in lots of places throughout Kentucky, smaller towns, of course.

SALMONS: Do you still enjoy hunting and fishing?

MCBRAYER: Absolutely, I hunt. I don't hunt as much that I used to but I've fish. I just came from two weeks in Canada just two weeks ago. I 00:48:00go to Brazil every year fishing for peacock bass, go done, been on the Amazon about thirteen, fourteen times. I went to Argentina in January and fished a marsh and a swamp that's three and a half million acres with no buildings or natives or anything on it. I fished a lot all over the North America certainly, and I fish a lot here. Joe B. Hall and I've been wonderful friends for years, and we fish a lot together. And so, I love all forms of it and I have cabin about fifty minutes from here up I-75 where I've got a couple of nice lakes on it that I go to all the time now and I have a lot of mounted animals and fish, more fish than the animals up there. But so, yeah, I absolutely love fishing and that's. I don't play golf, I don't have any other hobbies, and so fishing has always been my hobby because I was raised right on 00:49:00the Ohio River and Little Sandy River and many, many, many times, I've had run trout lines and throw lines and just fish there in Little Sandy or the Ohio as a child. And then, I used to fish to work. Pardon me. I used to have a, I had my boat right behind my house, little law office over there in Greenup, and I'd jump and put a little pull over my suit and tie, and fish. And hit those spots after the big dam came in the Ohio River and increase the water level. It flooded a bunch of trees and there were a lot of bass in those trees so I'd go till daylight and fish till eight thirty or so, and run up, run up, and just pull my down there at the ferry landing. And then I'd go up there to Ohio. Then I hunted duck hunt, geese, goose hunted actually, every day 00:50:00of goose season. I'd go real early in the morning and then it got, I had to go every day. But, you know, there I was Christmas morning out trying to shoot a goose out in the middle of a cornfield but I didn't stay long. I had to hotfoot it back, but, by that time, I finally decided I was going to do it every morning. But so, I've done a lot of squirrel hunting, rabbit hunted, used to have beagle dogs, used to have bird dogs, used to have fox hounds. Spent a lot of nights in W. Hollow out by Jesse Stewart's. I was twelve, thirteen, fourteen, we'd camp out. And then, later years I'd do the same thing, a lot of camping out and cooking. And then, early on listening to the fox hounds run with my grandfather and later have my own beagle dogs and taking them, and then I used to have squirrel dogs, too, which was a lot of fun. But 00:51:00so, I've done a lot of that for many years.

SALMONS: As a fisherman and a resident of Greenup County, were you involved in the Greenbo Lake?

MCBRAYER: Well, Greenbo Lake was the, I was involved in getting that approved or whatever but I wasn't in the legislature until we finally got the lodge. Louis Nunn was Governor and we finally got the lodge there. And so, yeah, we were able to, for many years, a guy named Charlie Cop (??) from Ashland led that effort to raise the funds, buy the land, and get the state to finally make it a state park, and then later by Governor Nunn. I think, actually Breathitt started it and Governor Nunn finished it, putting a lodge there. I was always disappointed that it wasn't a large enough lodge. But I think they're finally giving some more attention to it now. So I was involved in 00:52:00that entire process in one form or another. And it's been a--I was out there, I think Mother's Day I believe with my mom, I took her out there. I think that was the day, I was out there just recently.

SALMONS: Has it been good for tourism in Greenup County?

MCBRAYER: Well, I think it's been good for tourism. We don't have many attractions there. There was W. Hollow and Jesse Stewart is probably the most prominent one we have and it brings some people to northeast Kentucky. We need further expansion of the park and upgrading of it. I've always felt in recent years there hasn't been enough attention given to your parks and tourism. We haven't spent the money to upgrade them at one time--[telephone rings]--we were the top in the nation and--[telephone rings]

[Pause in recording.]

SALMONS: We were speaking about the parks before we had to take a break. And you said that at one time, top of the nation, the park service, can you continue?

MCBRAYER: Yeah, we were top of the nation in tourism in our state parks, and we've let those go over the year. I mean, frankly, oh, I won't 00:53:00name which Governors but a number of them have really not given it the attention it needed, and I think we've slipped dramatically in that area. And I've always felt that tourism is a great industry because it's smokeless. People come here, they leave their money, and then they go home. And so, I just think it's a great industry, and I don't think we've really given it the attention that it should have. And over a sustained period of time, we have bleeps of a Governor giving it some attention, or we'll have strong personality like Jim Host just recently come in and try to change some things but there's no sustained effort, support year in and year out for it. And so, I don't think that we're very high, although no doubt people would dispute that. But I don't think that we're very high up, and if you started rating 00:54:00all of them now. I think it's a fairly inexpensive dollar in that if you spend a dollar, you get your return more and you don't have to do a whole lot. I mean, you don't have to provide permanent water, and sewer, or whatever. You know, you could just, they just come and then they go home type of thing. So I wish we could do a lot more of that.

SALMONS: What do you think it would take to get our parks back to where they were? Other, I mean I know it'd be a money investment, but what--

MCBRAYER:--It's going to take money as much as anything to get the legislature and the executive, whoever the Governor is, and then the following Governor. So it's going to take a sustained effort and getting the legislature to recognize, to make it have an appreciation of it. I think what we've done, we've done quite too much pork barreling, and we end up putting a meeting place here or a centre here, and we've 00:55:00scattered those all over with no consistency or planning, and it would just be put there, and all the cities and counties have a need but I don't know that we end up letting politics make those decisions rather than actual need of the community or the actual need of it, as it fits to the whole of the state. And we've spent a lot of time and effort and money on projects that, that a lot of them are failing because the planning didn't go in to it, and it was political decision instead of a business decision as to whether or not they ought to spend that money there. Once they built it, they don't have no money to keep it up, all those type things. I think that if you did more and spent more dollars on the tourism side of it, particularly with our state parks and then advertising, I'd think you'd see a greater return on your dollar. 00:56:00SALMONS: You mentioned the other attraction in Greenup being W. Hollow and the home of Jesse Stewart, can you elaborate on that?

MCBRAYER: Yeah, my mother's been on the board. She was a dear wonderful friend of Jesse Stewart. She has original collection of all the books. I have several here in my office right here. Jesse Stewart and I were friends. I used to see him every morning. He come in the mornings, he'd come up Riverton, the little Riverton Post Office to get his mail, and I'd be either delivering the paper or going to school and he would always hammer on me to--that's where I got our mail as well--hammer on me about higher education, the need to go on, and the need to get more education, that sort of thing. And wonderful man. My mother's still on the Jesse Stewart Foundation and she and Jesse Stewart's mom--wife, Dean were close friends and I've hunted all over--(laughs)--I've hunted all over W. Hollow but it was actually posted at the time, and Jesse would come out and chase a number of us off but we'd kill squirrels or 00:57:00rabbits and occasionally if we didn't have enough, we might have to get a chicken. (Salmons laughs) And up, hell we'd take, we'd take either potatoes or sweet potatoes with us and we'd roast them and roast the meat over a fire and stay out all night and done that a lot of times, but Jesse would, we crept over the border on his property, he'd come running after us. Boy, we'd take off and grab our dogs and take off. But had a lot of those wonderful times. But there, you're talking about tourist attractions up there. It's fairly limited in what you can do with tourists up there, so it's got a surround a state park. And I think, you know, they got a golf course close by and those sorts of things. But beyond that, there is some old history to Greenup County. But finally Ashland and Greenup, the Boyd County, Greenup 00:58:00County are all starting to work together a lot better than they used to in the past and it's difficult because we were an old town. We were an old river town, old river area, from Huntington down, and so our industries were located there many years ago. They were located there, the steel mill, and the Ashland Oil refinery, and those type things, the brickyard. And the modernization has passed them all by. And, of course, so early on they created environmental problems that we didn't realize until later but Armco Steel, the brickyard, Ashland Oil, all of those things have created but they're all the older. They used to have the steel mill across the river in Portsmouth, but they were all older and out of date, and so there's nothing to come in and replace them. So we had a lot of heavy industry. The chemicals in Huntington to Charleston but as I say, the modernization, the outsourcing, all of 00:59:00those things have very dramatically affected us, and sadly enough, we have to resort to call centers and places like that. The railroad is, of course, has picked back up but we used to have the rail car shop there where, I mean, thousands of people worked where you made rail cars. Well, the truth is, rail cars are now, as the price of oil goes up, rail cars are becoming more of a necessity and a need. I bought some stock in a little railcar company and I think its backlogged twenty-five hundred railcars. They can't make them fast enough. But it's tough when you've had those decent jobs with healthcare, whether it was C & O Railroad, or the brickyard, or Armco Steel, or Ashland Oil, Siemens (??) and others. Now you end up, you downgrade your jobs, 01:00:00and so they're call-center type jobs, and they don't have healthcare, or it's a service industry, working at Walmart or Kmart or a shopping center. You generally don't have healthcare. And if you do, you still have to pay 60 or 70 percent of it. And so, people are, they still got jobs but not the quality jobs that we've had in the past, and so that's always a struggle. And if you don't have the jobs, you don't have the quality of life, you don't end up with the kids getting a better education, and can't send them to college, or whatever, or don't know even to. And so, it becomes a--they thrive on your--you eat your own, so to speak. And that's, that's not good.

SALMONS: What do you think about the proposed plan of revitalizing the riverfront in Ashland? Do you think that'll have any effects on Greenup or just be an Ashland only effect?

MCBRAYER: Oh, I think Greenup and Ashland are just like Northern 01:01:00Kentucky and Cincinnati. Finally, they've realized that what's good for Northern Kentucky is good for Cincinnati and reverse. People are leaving Cincinnati for example and all going to Northern Kentucky, or they're moving north way above Cincinnati, and same thing in Greenup and Ashland, that whole area needs to work together, and I think they are and what's good for one is good for the other because, you know, everybody travels that entire community. And so, I think any of those things will benefit you, benefit the community, and those are the kinds of innovative things that you need to do to get better paying jobs, blue collar jobs, but better paying jobs, than a service industry, flipping hamburgers, selling merchandise, and that sort of thing. You can't educate your kids. You can't have a good quality of life by 01:02:00flipping hamburgers, and you got to get better paying jobs for that.

SALMONS: You were talking about jobs and loss of jobs, that brings me up to the question, what do you think about the tobacco buyout and the changes cause Greenup County's predominantly tobacco-producing county.

MCBRAYER: Well, it's been a tough thing. They most of the farmers who raised tobacco, or a great number of them, have not relied on tobacco as their first source of income. They've used it as their second source. Some have used it for first source but others had a service type industry job and raised tobacco on the side. So, that's been a very difficult thing and been tough to make an adjustment. The problem is that on most of this land, farmers can't make anything like they were making on, the return on tobacco. And growing cucumbers or pickles or whatever, they can't make the same amount of money, and so 01:03:00it's been tough to make that transition. The buyout helped some but I think everybody's had to make the adjustment whether it's tough or not but that's gone forever. So, you'll never see that return, and with now the attacks on secondhand smoke as well, you're going to see less and less smoking all over the United States. And I remember seeing a caption of a guy getting off an airplane and they had him in handcuffs. And a guy, a big guy was on each side of him, caption was said, he's either a highjacker or a smoker. And so, smoking is gone forever. You know, where I sit right here, my building is smoke free, and pretty soon, you're going to be prevented from smoking outside, as well.

SALMONS: Lexington has, in the last couple years, went smoke free in their restaurants.


SALMONS: What do you think about that as a national trend?

MCBRAYER: Well, that's obviously a big national trend and what's driving it more than anything else I think is healthcare costs that have 01:04:00just gone totally and completely unchecked. It just blows my mind at times the cost and expense of adequate healthcare. And I don't know that we're really doing much about it but it seems wildly out of control, checks and balances. And so, and that's not going to slow down any time soon. And it's just another, it's an industry, it's a big industry in and of itself and it drives so much of an economy that I don't know where we're going to go. And we got forty some million people that are without healthcare now. Hell, we got two hundred thousand people in Kentucky that don't even have running water. You know, and we all forget a lot of that.

SALMONS: And a lot of people in Eastern Kentucky look at the problems with healthcare, running water, education, and see the other problem of 01:05:00so much foreign aid being given out. What your view on the amount of money we give foreign aid versus our domestic need?

MCBRAYER: Well, I think there's been reckless spending at the federal level for many years and I think it's worse now than it has been in years. And I've never thought I'd live to see where the Republicans have the spenders rather than the Democrats, and they've always blamed the Democrats for spending because they try to take care of more people than the Republicans philosophy is, you know, trickle down, take care of the few, and they'll take care of everybody else. But now it's the giveaway programs and all of that and foreign aid, which has done us absolutely no good. And that's a general statement. But the Iraq War is unbelievable. I mean, our country is in complete turmoil right now. But the problem you got in east Kentucky is that when you list the 01:06:00various things that industry needs, it's hard to provide that in parts of Eastern Kentucky. And I would even--for example, you can't even get cell phone service up there in a lot of places. And if it takes the state to subsidize somebody to help put towers up there so they can get cell phone, it seems the right thing to do, I mean, which again goes to quality of care. You can't get a cell phone for a fireman to call somebody, or you can't call a fireman, or a policeman, or a healthcare, an ambulance in most, a lot of those places that can't afford a phone, they can't even, and if they got a cell phone, it won't reach any place, or it don't get a signal. And so, I think the more and more you can do on the fringes of east Kentucky, and then pull them out, get 01:07:00them to travel, too, arrange for transportation, the better. But it's extremely difficult and a lot of people have tried to piecemeal things in Eastern Kentucky. But it is very difficult to do something. But if you can't do it in heart of the mountains, do it Mount Sterling, do it Morehead, do it in Lawrence County, or do it, you know, Somerset. And then, so people can travel from the hard part of Eastern Kentucky, where you can't get an industry to go hardly, and let them have those jobs in the fringes of the county, the fringes of Eastern Kentucky rather than the heart of it, if you can't get them to go there.

SALMONS: So, would you say the biggest problem facing Eastern Kentucky as a whole, especially in the deep mountains, would be the lack of infrastructure?

MCBRAYER: Absolutely. Its lack of infrastructure and the brain drain. 01:08:00A lot of the kids that you finally get to go to college don't return there, and so you don't have the workforce that you would necessarily have somewhere else. And so that's the big problem in a nutshell. So, if you wanted a fairly sophisticated plant to locate in certain parts of east Kentucky, they're going to say, 'Well, where's our workforce?' dah, dah, dah, dah, you know. And so, if you don't have it, then they're going to say, 'Well, why should I put it up here?' Then, of course, they're asking for the water, the sewer, the roads, transportation system, how close is it to international airport, all of those things. I know Ashland Oil had a hard time keeping and getting executives to come to Ashland. And I talked to many of them over the years, and they said because when they made an offer to a person and they refused it, they would have a post interview with them and say why did you not take the job? Was the salary not good enough? 01:09:00Was the housing not? And they were saying that, 'No,' said, 'We need to be closer to an international airport.' The Huntington Airport or Lexington from that standpoint are not large enough. You have to always go somewhere else to get there. And so, that was always one of the problems. And so, it's always going to be tough and challenging to provide adequate, I mean, good paying jobs in the mountains, and having a reason for that college person who just graduated or has a professional degree to stay there. You could do it in healthcare because they get paid and very well, but in the other professions, it's difficult to get them to return to their home area.

SALMONS: The ARC has been doing studies for years about the needs of 01:10:00Appalachia and the needs of Eastern Kentucky as a whole because of the rankings, nationally, of that area. Do you think those have been useful or they spent too much time studying and not enough time for effort?

MCBRAYER: Well, there's no quick fix to any of it. You've got the same problem in West Virginia, southern and western West Virginia, and you've got the same problem in east Tennessee. And it's just extremely difficult to locate major, good paying jobs in that area, in the Appalachian area. It's harder to and more expensive to build roads, it's a lot more expensive to put water and sewer systems. And, as I say, it's unconscionable but over two hundred thousand people live in Kentucky right now don't have fresh water. You would think that when we put a man on the moon, we can get water to two hundred 01:11:00thousand people. I understand though it's not simple, but there are ways that you can put cell phone towers up there. There are ways that you can put water there, but it takes the effort and the commitment. And there, sadly enough other priorities that people have that don't acknowledge it and recognize that, and nobody's, those are the people nobody speaks for. You never hear from those people because they don't have a spokesperson for not having running water or not being able to, that little volunteer fire department. I was on the volunteer fire department in Greenup for ten years. They called me the best dressed fire truck driver in the state of Kentucky because my office was just very close to the fire station and first guy at the fire station always got to drive the truck. So, I was the fire truck driver most times to 01:12:00a lot fires in Greenup County over the years.

SALMONS: If you had to address one need, one thing that could be done would help the Eastern Kentucky, Greenup, specifically as a region, what do you think would be the first thing to do to get them on a path of economic development?

MCBRAYER: I don't know that there's any one thing that would remedy it because every site up there is different whether they've got the industrial development land or whether they've got the land. Does it have water to it? Does it have sewer to it? How close is it to the interstate or four lane? See, we're getting better road systems up there but you got to--it's a long object, somebody, you got a get a more educated workforce. And you got to be, you know, I would almost propose some type of program like doctors, the rural scholarship 01:13:00program where if you're a schoolteacher, or if you're an accountant, or if you're such and such, you sign this pledge, you'll go back and you'll stay five years in McCreary County or X years in this rural county. Doesn't need to be a whole of them. We will, every year you're there, we will reduce your student loan. It's what they do with doctors. And it provides better teachers. I'd do the same thing for teachers, if nothing, and to encourage people to come back and stay back there. Short of that, it's always going to be very difficult to upgrade yourself because to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps, it's difficult and challenging to do.

SALMONS: You were mentioning teachers; I have several friends who teach in Eastern Kentucky.


SALMONS: What do you think about the salary differential between people that teach in places like Greenup, Boyd, and the same people that teach 01:14:00across the river in Ohio and West Virginia What do you think about?

MCBRAYER: I don't know exactly where we rank in teacher's salaries right now, but I've always been a great believer, you only get what you pay for. And I think, you know, sadly enough, we, philosophically or historically in Kentucky, they've always thought as state workers and teachers as public servants, and therefore, you should do it for less. You know, you're working for the state, you know, you should not be demanding the same salary that you could get working out of state, you know, in private industry. And I know, growing up, everybody always thought, Oh, the teacher, the wonderful teacher! She's done so much or whatever. And it really fascinating of the sacrifice that she's made. 01:15:00You know, my mother, I guarantee, she went to school for ten years to get her degree after she's working on her emergency certificate. Every Saturday going to Morehead to class or driving to Huntington to class and all those things that you had to do, and it was paid less than she could make almost anywhere there. And the pay is up but it's still certainly not what surrounding states. It might compare with West Virginia; I'm not certain right now. But they're entitled to everything they can get, as far as I'm concerned.

SALMONS: We spoke of Jesse Stewart earlier. A lot of people may know, but he was a teacher first, then writer and so on, did you ever have him for class as a teacher?

MCBRAYER: No, he was at McHale High School and he was before me, he quit teaching. He was a principle down there at McHale High School and also a teacher down there. But he had retired or no longer doing that 01:16:00fulltime and his writings when I started going to school. But so I never did. But I've sure spent a lot of time with him. He would come in and the Leslie's Drugstore, there on the corner in Greenup, would handle all of his books, and people who ordered them would come to Leslie's Drug Store, and he'd come in and autograph them, and then they would send the book back out. But I've seen him many of days, sitting in there, and maybe autograph twenty-five, thirty, fifty books, but he'd always write not just sign his name but he'd always write a little personal commentary to the person that who was buying the book, where ever they were, any place in the world.

SALMONS: Some of the people listening to this interview or reading the transcript may not know who Jesse Stewart is. Would you mind just giving a brief synopsis of who he was?

MCBRAYER: Well, Jesse Stewart was the Poet Laureate of Kentucky. He 01:17:00wrote Taps for Private Tussie who was a prizewinner but also made a movie out of it and made him a very, very popular nationally and worldwide. He traveled extensively, made many speeches, wrote probably forty books, probably, many poems. I've got right here with me, I order books all the time from the Jesse Stewart Foundation, and give them to people as gifts, and I keep that with me all the time. Its right here, the order for their--a lot of the, all the printings of Jesse Stewart and others. And so, he was the very colorful, tough, sentimental writer who wrote about, wrote a lot of his things on tobacco leaves and 01:18:00things like that. He was amazing person that, that was same age as my mother, and my mother's ninety-two and still lives in Greenup. But he was the same age or maybe a year or two older. And then had a stroke, massive stroke down in Murray where he was speaking at the time but he had a lot of respect around the nation and the world. And they still have a yearly event in Greenup to honor him at the Greenbo State Park.

SALMONS: An interesting topic I have to bring up since my own personal research on Stewart, I know that he's Republican and you were a Democrat, how did that go together?

MCBRAYER: Well, he was always a big supporter of me. He was a strong Republican. I think he wrote the book, oh, I have, either Twenty-One 01:19:00Votes Before Breakfast or Thirteen Votes Before Breakfast, but I have forgotten the, what it was, how many votes it was it. But he told stories about him getting in fights and--Thirty-Two Votes Before Breakfast is what it was, I knew it was something like that. But he's told about fights he would have. He was hardheaded guy, and would take his politics personally, and would, was quick to expand on them, and condemn you're a Democrat, you're a bad guy. I hadn't gotten--well, he was always very supportive of me in my race in legislature and then later was supportive until his death, as far as that's concerned.


SALMONS: Okay, so, Mr. Stewart did support you even though you were a Democrat? (laughs)

MCBRAYER: Oh, yes.

SALMONS: What would you think is the role, when you first went into the House of Representatives, the role of government in the everyday man's life? What was your role as a representative of the people?

MCBRAYER: Well, I always thought that, some look at it and say that I'm a representative of the people therefore I must vote the way they want me to vote. And I said if you're not going to interject your own personal judgment, you might as well send a robot down there, or a computer; you don't need human beings. I think it's important that legislators should listen. But know as much as you can about a subject, but then vote his own conscience and judgment and not just 01:21:00purely rely on the so-called, I mean, the perceived support from a given area. I mean, I would hear legislators say, 'My people are for this, therefore I'm for it.' That's okay politically but from a do- right sort a thing, you got to inject your own judgment in it. But your role is to listen, and learn, and study, and then vote your conscience. And at the same time, provide leadership in your area of politics. I mean, if you're a senator, or a representative, or a congressman, or whatever. But you need to provide leadership because but there's 01:22:00a shortage of leaders, and you got to have your politician to brighten some of your leadership because so many communities don't really have the true leaders that are knowledgeable enough or see the bigger picture to be able to pull people up by their bootstraps.

SALMONS: In a previous interview, I was speaking with Charles R. Holbrook III, the Republican representative from Boyd County--


SALMONS: --from 1972.


SALMONS: He said you gave him a piece of advice, "Learn the rules of the legislature." What was your motivation behind giving that advice to a freshman representative?

MCBRAYER: Well, I'd been down there six years by then. And Charlie was Republican, is a Republican. We maintained a friendship to this day. I saw him not to long ago and we gave each other a big bear hug. But the procedural rules, the parliamentary rules need, you need to know 01:23:00the rules, whether it's Robert's Rules of Order, or other that the legislature goes by. But first learn the rules, and learn the written rules and the unwritten rules, so you know how you can best use your influence. And if a fellow that knows the rules, both the written and unwritten, you can get your voice heard more readily than otherwise. And you need to know more than the next guy, more than your opponent. You need to be up on it more. You need to know your issue, whether it's in life, or in law, or in legislation, that applies. And Charlie was a friend. And, of course, it was back then when many of my closest friends were Republicans, and it's become so partisan these days that it's removed a lot of the friendship, and that's not good. It's a really a sad turn of events that's taken place in recent years with all 01:24:00the negative campaigning, and negative ads, and negative commercials, and the attacks, and half truths, and mistruths, and things. And it's become so partisan that politically you can't be seen with a Republican, or whatever, or vice-versa. And everything's fair game. And that's not the way, that's I was raised, that's not the way I am. I think you need to, everybody understands that you just, you take your, fight your fight, but shake hands afterwards, and be friends and go on, and not take it so personal, and so many do. And that's not good and I think it's really hurt our country and our state, although we're no different than any other state in that regard, but its way too political, way too partisan, and way too nasty, and way too expensive.


SALMONS: You're speaking-- I don't know if you can tell me this--in your opinion, what's the biggest unwritten rule in Frankfort?

MCBRAYER: The biggest unwritten rule in Frankfort probably is "Don't go against your leadership." I'm talking on the legislative side, is "Don't go against your leadership." But the other one is this, and it's dealing with the executive and the legislative--and sadly enough, it's not adhered to as much as it used to be, is "Don't burn your bridges. Never burn your bridges when dealing with state government or with the legislature." If you get crossed on an issue or you don't get what 01:26:00you want on the executive side or whatever is, there's always another day, there's always another battle, there's always another issue. And if you burn that bridge with that legislator or that mid-level person in that, in the bureaucracy of state government, they're still going to be there when the next deal comes up. And when you burn bridges, or you treat them unprofessionally, or you cross the line, you really pay for it a long time. My style is never been to do that. I've tried, I've been involved in state government in one form or another for about thirty-five years, almost forty years, actually forty years of it, really over forty years. To my knowledge, I've never burnt a bridge. Hopefully have never crossed over a line, probably have. I'm not perfect by any means but tried to respect people. And not be so 01:27:00divisive that you can't talk to them and expect fair treatment on the next issue that comes up.

SALMONS: Mr. McBrayer, I'm noticing that our time is getting close to being up and I would really like to request another.

MCBRAYER: We can do another one; that's not a problem at all.

SALMONS: That would be great. I want to thank you for your time today.


SALMONS: And I'm look forward to continuing our conversation.

MCBRAYER: Good, we'll do that.

[Tape 1, side 2 ends.]

[End of interview.]