BOHL: This morning, I'm talking with Adrian Arnold. Mr. Arnold, could you pleasetell me where and when you were born?
ARNOLD: I was born in 1932 at Paris, Kentucky.
BOHL: Did you grow up there?
ARNOLD: No, I lived in Bourbon County until I was about five-years old and my dad00:01:00was a farmer. He bought a farm in Montgomery County, which was only about four miles from where I was born. I've lived in Montgomery County ever since.
BOHL: Could you tell me a bit about your parents?
ARNOLD: Well, my parents-well, my dad, he was a member of a large family.There's ten children in the family. He was the youngest. He was-his parents were farmers and he was a farmer and I am a farmer. Most of the Arnolds' in those days were farmers. Some of 'em in later years gone into other endeavors, and my mother, she was the only child of a family. So there was quite a contrast. My dad was one of ten children. (laughs) Of course, my mother, after-I grew up during World War II. I remember World War II. My mother, she worked on the farm some and then she also was substitute teacher for a while. I can remember during 00:02:00World War II, we lived on area there in Montgomery County where it was not unusual to look up any jets, sometimes twenty-five or thirty bombers going over, or twenty-five or thirty fighter planes going over. What they were doing, they were ferrying from the factory over to the East Coast to ship them overseas. So, it was just a usual sight to see that. Nowadays you would think it was unusual but then it was not un-at first, it was unusual, but later on, you just got used to seeing. You wouldn't see them every day, but maybe one or two days a week, you'd see 'em come over like that. The thing that was so interesting about that, which was never really publicized a lot, was the fact that most of those pilots in those planes in those days, they were women. You see, at that time, women were not allowed to be in combat, but they did-they built those planes. A lot of women in the factory built 'em and then flew 'em. Women flew 00:03:00them to the East Coast and sometimes flew them overseas through the coast, but most of the pilots were women. So I thought that was one recognition women never really received that they should have received.
BOHL: Okay, did you have any brothers and sisters?
ARNOLD: I have one brother and two sisters, four in my family. My brother, he's afarmer. He's farmed for a while, when he was younger, after he got out of school. Then he would manage a factory or two in different places in South Carolina, North Carolina, and also in Arizona. Then he kind of-he wanted to come back home. He came back home and is still farming. My two sisters live in Mt. Sterling. One worked for a factory for a while and she's- after she got disabled, she had to quit, and the [other] sister, she worked for a bank there in the area. So I started out, after I got out of high school, I was drafted into the Army during the 00:04:00Korean War. I was not in Korea, but it was during that time. Then after that, I came home and I was married, while I was in the Army. Then I started farming, I'm still farming. But then in '73, when there was opening in the legislative seat. The incumbent did not run again; he was wanting to run for county judge in that area. And I-some of the friends encouraged me to run. I said, "I don't know anything about being a state representative," Said, "Hell, we like your outlook on life, your policy," and so on. "We'll help you." So they supported me. They encouraged me to run. I might not, would've not run on my own, but they encouraged me. So I did, and they supported me. Of course, it was an open sheet. I did not have to run against an incumbent, which made it some easier. So I've been in the legislature ever since. Now, in the beginning, I 00:05:00had opposition almost every two years. I was successful. I had one or two close races. But, for the last twelve years I have not had any opposition, which makes it easier. So if I was running again, had opposition, I have to learn all over yet because campaign today is a lot different today than it was when I first ran for the office.
BOHL: Where did you go to school?
ARNOLD: I went to school in Mt. Sterling. Then I had some, some college, but did notgraduate from college. I had some college courses and training but did not graduate.
BOHL: I read that you had gone to Morehead. What kinds of things were youstudying?
ARNOLD: Well, when I got to the legislature, I took some courses on public speakingand the effect of local government and state government and federal government. How they work together. How one affects the other. The duties of one and the duties of the other, those 00:06:00types of issues.
BOHL: Was education something that your family really stressed when you weregrowing up?
ARNOLD: Yes. We-of course, back in when I was growing up, farmers, most of themthought, Well, if you-and at that time, if you had a high school education, it was sufficient to do what you wanted to do. Of course, my brother, he went to college for a while. Yeah, my family was for education. And even so, I say now, of course, when I was in high school, which was fifty years ago, I said a high school education was sufficient for a lot of things. Now you need additional training, even though you might not go to college, you might need to go to a trade school or still need additional training to go out into the workforce.
BOHL: Okay, did your family discuss politics at all?
ARNOLD: Some. Yes, they do quite a bit, especially since I've gotten into the00:07:00legislature. (Bohl laughs) Of course, I'm a Democrat. Most all of my family are Democrats. In fact, they all are, as far as I know. (both laugh)
BOHL: Okay, when you were growing up, there was a depression going on. Do youhave any memories of that being-
ARNOLD: Somewhat. Because I was young. I was born in '32. I think after the-probably 1941, when United States got into the war, prices began to be a little better. But I can remember that when I was young, farm labor was very cheap. Of course, farmers didn't have much money to pay people. We had to grow almost everything we eat. We had our own cows, own our own hogs for meat, beef, chicken, those things. We would raise chickens for our own food. Those days, most of your farmers had to grow-we'd buy a few things. We never did go 00:08:00hungry, or anything like that. But it was hard work. Worked, at least six days a week, and, of course, my family always made sure we all went to church on Sundays. But as I said, we grew most of our food then, when I was growing. They had a lot of extra money for, you know, extra things. I know sometimes we would get maybe one Pepsi Cola a week, which we thought was a treat, and, of course, later on homemade ice cream, and things like that. I can remember, I can see the tail end of the Depression. Because people, not only farmers, a lot of people didn't have a lot of extra money. After World War II, things began to-economy began to pick up. I mean, it was sad you had to have a war to do it, but it did.
BOHL: Do you remember when you heard about Pearl Harbor?00:09:00
ARNOLD: Yes, vaguely, I was about nine years old and I did remember and Iremember the-my parents would always listen-you didn't have television then. We would listen to radio. Every night, at six o'clock PM, you'd get a news report, and they would get reports of what was happening at different places. Of course, to me, a lot of it was, you know, foreign countries and South Pacific Islands, and exactly where they all were at that time. But I pretty much followed it. I remembered it.
BOHL: Okay, other than the news, what kinds of things did you listen to on the radio?
ARNOLD: Well, we would listen to that, and then, of course, there'd be some musicshows and then there was at night, you'd have, if I remember correctly, probably Dagwood was on there with a show. There's always some mystery shows and, oh, I can't think of all the names now. But there was always something on the radio for you to-at least, twelve, sixteen hours a 00:10:00day from about six o'clock in the morning to maybe nine or ten o'clock at night. There was a variety of things to listen to. So, we were pretty much entertained.
BOHL: What kinds of activities would you do when you were a child?
ARNOLD: Well, see on the farm, we always had jobs to do. But, I'd go fishing.We'd-my dad had a farm ______??. We'd call it a tenant and he had children. We'd go hunting and just different things like that. We'd sometime go swimming, so it was-we'd never go to any, like amusement park. Because we didn't have any around close then. But, you know, when you're young, you can always find something to play, something to do.
BOHL: Were you involved in any kind of organized activities when you were in school?
ARNOLD: Not much. When I was at high school, I wanted to play basketball but I00:11:00never had any training. So I tried out for basketball but I just was not good enough. So, but I did join the High Y Club when I was in high school. I took Spanish when I was in high school. We had a Spanish Club, we would-those type things. Of course, I always had the basketball and football games and I'd go to those when I was in high school. Now when I was growing up-let me back up a little, for my first grade through the seventh grade, we had still at that time in Montgomery County, we had, in the county, we had two different systems. The county system and the city system, was you aware of that? And the county, we had a lot of one-room schools then. We had packed, take our lunch to school with us. Had a well outside. Outdoor toilets. Now I went to what we call a big school. It was a two-room school. We had the first 00:12:00four grades in one room and fifth through the eighth in the other room. So I went there until I was seventh grade and my dad said. Thought since I was going to be going to high school, it would be better if I could go to the city school to kind of get acclimated. When I was in the eighth grade, he paid my tuition, and I went to the city school for one year there before I got into high school. At that time, we had a county high school and a city high school but the county high school was not large enough to take care of all the county students and the city school had more room than they needed. So part of the county went to the city school in Montgomery County at that time. Of course, now it's just all one system.
BOHL: You mentioned that you were drafted into the Army during Korea, but youdidn't serve there. Where did you serve?
ARNOLD: No, at my age, when I was drafted, I was supposed to gone in November of00:13:001952. I had a tobacco crop, I got what we called a deferment. They put it off for six months so I could get the crop finished and sold and then I went in, in 1953, in April. So by the time I got through with basic training and got through my school, then the war in Korea had ended. So I was-they didn't send me over there. I just stayed in the United States. I was in several different places in the United States but I was not in Korea. So I served like two years and then I came back. Almost made a career out of the Army but I didn't.
BOHL: What kinds of duties did you have?
ARNOLD: Well, when I was in the Army-being on the farm I wanted to-I workedwith a tank mechanic who worked on tanks. You had to have some special training to do that. So while I was in the Army that was my duty, working on tanks. Then the last six months, while 00:14:00I was in, when I was in the Army, then I'd gained some rank, and I was on an inspection team. I'd go out and inspect vehicles for other units to see if they were keeping their maintenance up. See, if they were doing things properly, just kind of, not so much to penalize them but just to advise them how to take care of Because, you see, I had mechanical training. You take like an infantry group. They're trained to fight infantry but they really don't have the training to maintain their vehicles. That's what I was doing.
BOHL: Then you mentioned that you got married around the same time.
ARNOLD: I married about a year before I went into the service.
BOHL: How did you and your wife meet?
ARNOLD: Well, she was in high school and I was in high school and she had a littleparty at her house one night, and she invited some groups over, people. I just went there for that with my cousin, and just met her there. Just kind of went from there. I asked her for a date, you 00:15:00know, a week or two later. So, so that's how it started. We're still together.
BOHL: Okay, and do you have children?
ARNOLD: Have three sons.
BOHL: Okay, are any of them interested in politics?
ARNOLD: A little bit, but not a lot because-really, being a state representative we had,salary is not enough to make your living. We had to do other things, as you well know, do other things too. All three of 'em have jobs that is so full-time that if they were interested-when I retired this year, one of my sons had thought about maybe running for it, but then he decided not to because he works five days a week and just cannot get any time off, so. Being a legislator is some-I had literally been being a farmer, you know, if I take off a day, it's okay because your crops still grow, cattle will still grow, of course, weeds would too. (Bohl laughs) I had a little 00:16:00advantage over some people that has to be at a job every day. They're interested in politics but they don't-I don't think they have the time to run.
BOHL: They were growing up in a pretty interesting time, to be raising kids in thesixties. What was that like?
ARNOLD: Of course, they helped me on the farm. I give them. I trained them to havegood work ethics. So both of the oldest sons-well, third one, too-the first person they ever voted for was their dad because they had just become of age see. I thought that was interesting.
BOHL: Okay, before you ran for representative, you were pretty active in differentactivities around the county. A lot of stuff with the Farm Bureau and Farmers Association, that kind of thing.
ARNOLD: That gave me some advantage when I ran for office because I had been on00:17:00the board of directors of the Farm Bureau for several years and then I became president for about six. Then when I ran for representative, I thought maybe I should not be president of the Farm Bureau but I could still be maybe a director. I had been involved in a few other legislative races, supporting other people, supporting some local officials when they ran for different offices. Of course, one thing had about the little bit of information with my father served, he was school board member for eight years, like while I was in high school, and then he didn't run anymore. So, you know, I had that background too.
BOHL: Okay, how did your family react when you told them you were planning to runfor representative?
ARNOLD: Well, some of 'em were, I think they were pretty much pleased about it, you00:18:00know. Just hoping that I could do it maybe, but I think overall, they were well pleased.
BOHL: What kind of expectations did you have going in?
ARNOLD: I had-before I went in, I would watch Frankfort. There would be somebills introduced that I was interested in, like to see 'em pass. I'd watch them for about three weeks and that would be critical. I would say, "Well, here's a bill, been there three weeks. Has not moved," and after I became legislator, I understand that sometimes you can't move legislation that fast and sometimes you don't want to move that fast. You want to make sure it's had all its-everybody has had input. It's been discussed and reviewed, and researched before you pass a bill. So my expectation was that things would-I want to work quicker but after I once got in, I realized you didn't. I think one of the most frustrating things I had when I first 00:19:00came to legislature, the Governor pretty much controlled everything, as far as what bills passed, and that type of thing. That's not being critical of any Governor because that's the way it had been done for years and years and years. See back before we had the interim committee system, like we had where we meet all during the year, a legislator would come down to Frankfort every other year for sixty days. Go home and may not be back to Frankfort for two more years. Of course, the Governor in the eighties did run everything. Now, that we have the interim committee system, where the legislators and the public can come in and have input between sessions, it's taken that power away from the Governor because the three branches of government need to be equal. Now, we are the policy makers. Of course, as you well know, after we once pass a bill, it's up to the executive branch to administer those laws and those bills, which is a balance of power. So, I guess, my expectation was, as you said, when I come in, I just 00:20:00wanted to hope that I could add, make it a little bit, whatever I did would make the state a little bit better for the people.
BOHL: Okay, can you tell me a bit about your first campaign? How did you go aboutcampaigning?
ARNOLD: Okay, it was more or less-I never did have a consultant. Of course, inthose days, not many people used consultant like they do today. We didn't take a lot of money. I started out. I got some posters, like your money, put 'em up different places. I mailed a lot of people some letters telling them what I was doing. Had my announcement in the paper. Then as I said, there were several people. Got four people that were leaders in the county that got me to run. Encouraged me to run. Then they would talk to other people about my race. Then, of course, I guess probably the biggest thing was I would go door-to-door, you know. Knock on 00:21:00doors. And, it's amazing how this was very effective, especially in the rural area. Because at that time, a lot of people were not following the issues real close. They do more so today than they did then. I know one time I was going on this little country road, there was about six houses, a dead end road. I stopped at this house and asked this lady. Told her who I was and what I was doing. She said, "Certainly I'll vote for you." Said, "In fact, you're the first person that's come by." I was glad to get her vote but that's not a really good way to vote for somebody. You need to know what their policy is and what they stand for. But, I guess, most of it was just my first campaign was just getting out. Running newspaper ads. Putting out some flyers. Pass out a bunch of little bonnets for women, nail files, those kind of things. Get your name out. Then, at that time, I had three counties. There were three different counties that I had then, and then a lot of times, you'd have Chamber of Commerce or some fish & wildlife group 00:22:00would have a meeting and invite you down to talk-invite all the candidates and not just me, the local candidates. So this was kind of the way we did it then. And, we still do a lot of that today. However, a lot of people hire consultants and targeting certain groups, you know, that in those days, we didn't do it. We just contacted everybody.
BOHL: Okay. Once you got to Frankfort, how long did it take before you felt like youknew how to get things done?
ARNOLD: It didn't take really very long to learn the system. How you do it. But nowhow you do it and getting it done sometimes was two different things. (both laugh) A lot of it depends on the issue. One thing that I've tried to do and I think I've been successful is, if other legislators or lobbyists or group or UK or Morehead or whoever may be talking to me, is try to be 00:23:00fair with 'em, but if you can support their bill, you say, "Yes," and you say, "No," and you build up confidence with people but they say-they always said, "Well, I can always tell on Adrian's word." Because, as you know, you can look at a bill that it is introduced and see I can be for that. You can tell the sponsor, but now see if there's changes, if it's amended-I've seen bills amended so much that you can't support, you could in the beginning. Or, I [have] seen reverse. I've seen bills you couldn't support in the beginning, and after they were amended, then you could support 'em. So I think learning how-it didn't take too long to learn how. I think the biggest thing was to learn how a bill is introduced-I mean, how the bill is passed, or how the system works, I think, the next biggest hurdle is getting other members to go along with you and build up confidence. Of course, sometimes you'll have legislation in one of the legislator's 00:24:00individual district that's very important to those people, but it may not be to the rest of the state. They give you some problems too. When I first came here, I had an older gentleman that had been here a while and he said, "Adrian, I have a rule on legislation." He said, "Is the legislation fair? Is it needed? And can we afford it?" And, you know, when you apply those three things, it makes it a little easier on legislation-is it fair, is it needed, and can we afford it. I always try to apply that principle.
BOHL: Was there anybody in particular who helped shepherd you around in thebeginning?
ARNOLD: When I first came in, there was about thirty new legislators, a big turn overthat year. We had what they call a freshman caucus then and we would meet about once a week just to share our concerns or our problems and see what you're doing supporting each other and 00:25:00then that was the time I was on the Ag [agriculture] and Natural Resource Committee my first session and that's when we were beginning to introduce legislation regarding strip mine. How they-at one time, they were just taking the overburden and pushing it over the side of the hill, knocking down trees, and filling up creeks and streams and John Swinford from Harrison County was the floor leader and I had ask him about some legislation. He was introducing a lot of legislation on strip mines and he gave me a lot of help, especially that area. You would, we have a good working relation here with-I know at the same time that I came in, Hank Hancock from Franklin County came in at the same time. Of course, he had here most of his state employees, his constituents. Mine were farmers. So he said, "Adrian, if you educate me on the 00:26:00farm issues and I'll share my information on state employees and what happens in Frankfort." So, we had end up kind of really, I'd help him with farm issues and he'd help me with the other issues. I didn't have any one person. Now that, when new legislators come in, leadership will assign someone to help that new person, if they want to, and that's a big help now.
BOHL: Okay, when the assembly was in session, where did you stay here in Frankfort?
ARNOLD: Oh, I stayed in different places. I would usually get an apartmentsomewhere during the session. One time, it was out on a Louisville road and I've had about six or eight different places I've stayed over a period of years, just here close.
BOHL: Okay, what did legislators tend to do during the leisure time, when the assemblywas in session?
ARNOLD: When we were in session? Well, usually years ago, we had what we call the00:27:00Legislative Ball. Back when people come to Frankfort. Back in the beginning, hundred years ago, a lot of legislators from far parts of the state would come in, they would stay in Frankfort the whole session because it was sixty-day session. Saturday was the legislative day then, when I first came here. Because when they came, they wanted to get it finished, so they'd go home. Now, when I first came here, we ended March fifteenth, and now we end April fifteenth, still sixty-days, but Saturdays and holidays didn't count. But during the session-to get back to your original question-what we do in our leisure time. Well, we really don't have what we call a lot of leisure time. There have been times after the session, I'd come back to my office and work on bills and make phone calls to people, and then on the other hand, you'd have most every night some group has a reception. Just invite you out to meet with 'em. We have Northern 00:28:00Kentucky Chamber of Commerce have dinners. Farm Bureau have a get together. County clerks will have something. Hospital association, so I've gone to as high as three a night reception because every group, you know, they want you to come out and meet and have kind of an open door, and have some way to communicate with the legislators. And, usually, you know, Louisville would have a night. There'd be a few nights where there won't be anything to do, like a reception, so a lot of times three or four legislators get together and go out somewhere and have supper. Have dinner. So it's always something to do. But I have spent many a night just making calls. Maybe spending another two hours after the session just returning phone calls. We don't have a whole lot of spare time. (both laugh)
BOHL: Okay. You mentioned how many activities that lobbyists were throwing. Have00:29:00you seen a change over your time in the role of lobbyists?
ARNOLD: Yes, I think lobbyists-lobbying is a critical part of-I mean, just like FarmBureau. Use them as an example. They come here monitoring and promoting certain legislation or opposing legislation. It is pretty important because most farmers don't have the time to come to Frankfort, you know, several times during the session, and this is a very important part. Now, I think when we first came here, when I first came here, there was-I say some not all were not always honest with you, but a good lobbyist, if they got a bill, they'd say, "Here's the good part. Here's the downside to this." Make you aware because if lobbyists would give you the wrong information, then you wouldn't trust them the next time. So I think lobbying, as far as their truthfulness, is improved tremendously. Now, they may be promoting, you know, something 00:30:00that you don't agree with, but still they are truthful about it. As far as their reception, it's just a-they invite everyone. It may be hospital association, maybe the nurses association, the medical association, or realtors, they all just have a reception with some hors d'oeuvres. Come in, just kind of meet and greet, and goodwill type of thing is what it is. Very few times at those receptions is there any legislation discussed because everybody's in the room. It's noisy and everybody just talking. Usually, if a lobbyist really wants to talk about legislation, they'll make an appointment to come into your office. You sit down, look at the material, and go from there. Now, back when I first came to Frankfort, sometime lobbyists would take people out for supper 00:31:00or take 'em on a trip somewhere, something like they do in Washington. It wasn't in large scale but there was some of it. Of course, we can't do that anymore. Which I think is good. Anymore questions on that issue?
BOHL: Well, of course, that's a pretty major issue.
ARNOLD: Oh, yeah.
BOHL: Do you want to just go into those? That's fine.
ARNOLD: Well, any particular one you want? I just think since BOPTROT, and you'refamiliar with that, I'm sure, sometimes it's not that the legislator is wanting to do anything that would be perceived wrong, but, you know, if you're just sitting around and someone says, 'Let's go out and have supper tonight." Well, most people think, Well, let's just do it. Break bread with-but if the lobbyists were paying for it, then it looked like maybe it was undue influence, so we just don't do those things. Now, there is the ethic law. Says that if a group wants to have a committee or all the legislators come and attend something, then that's okay, but just to take out 00:32:00two or three, take 'em to a race track or something, can't do that anymore.
BOHL: What was it like trying to do your job as a legislator during BOPTROT? Whenyou have the FBI investigating some of your colleagues?
ARNOLD: Well, while it was going on and I guess unless you were acting guilty, Ireally didn't-I didn't know much of it. I didn't know anything was going on really. They were pretty quiet about it. So, during the session, I just worked like I always did. Just working on bills and voting for or against legislation. Then, of course, I did hear one day there was a big uproar that the FBI was in here, issuing warrants. Now, after that day, it did make it a bit more 00:33:00difficult, after that, but we were still able to operate. Had to be more careful, you know, who you talk to, and all that. Everybody was kind of on guard. But we could still work though, after that.
BOHL: Okay. Recently you've been the chair of the committee that deals with electionsand you've been involved in a lot of issues regarding election reform and that sort of thing. How did you get interested in those kinds of issues?
ARNOLD: Well, when there was an opening-I had, used to chair the countiescommittee several years ago. Of course, after we had the-after a period of time, I was not chairing the counties committee, and I was offered the opportunity to chair the election. I thought, Well, you know, it'd be good to maybe do something a little different. Of course, it 00:34:00still deals with county problems. So I thought being chair of the Election Committee and I enjoyed it. I went to a lot of different meetings and things on getting election reform. One thing, I think-and I can't take the credit for that-but we have had voter database years and years where other states have not. So, when we did, the Help America Vote Act, after 2000 problems in Florida Presidential election, Kentucky was used as one of the model states for the federal legislation. I guess they-probably some of the big issues would be just day-to-day issues. I won't go into a lot of those. But I guess vote hauling is one thing and vote buying is the two big issues. It's always been against the law to buy votes. But you were allowed to hire people to haul people to take people to vote. Well, there's been some accusations that they're 00:35:00using that as a way to buy vote. I'm going to give you fifty, one-hundred dollars to haul voters. They're buying and I sure you understand all that. So those are probably the two big issues. One thing is, you know, how much contributions, who can give, who cannot, and I remember one time you could give somebody four thousand dollars limit campaign contribution. Then we thought some accusations that maybe that was not good, so we reduced it to five hundred dollars. Then it was raised back to one thousand dollars. So right now it's at a one thousand instead of four thousand dollars. There's been some issues to try to raise that maybe to two thousand dollars and maybe with the costs of election, it may be all right. But we just have to- my concern is, I think, there's too much money required now to run a race. I think, I'm afraid 00:36:00it's going to destroy our freedom, if we're not careful, because you have a lot of good people that could run but they just cannot raise the money that some people do and sometimes your best qualified person doesn't always win. It's because of the money and this is probably, part of this is the voter's fault because most voters. They don't study the issues. Most of it is the thirty- second slot on TVs. Voters need to become informed and involved and not just-it's just like cars. If there is a Ford and Chevrolet, if one of those advertises ten times more than the other one, they're going to sell more cars. That's the way of politics, politicians anymore. Whoever can get on that TV the most, many times will win. That is not good. It's not good. I was very 00:37:00concerned about the big money in politics, especially at the federal level. Of course, you've seen some of those-well, able staff (??) up there. What he had did, what did you know. So I'm very concerned. I just think that the cost of election is just too much anymore. Which we had a law on Governor's race where it was publicly financing reform. Boy, I still think it's a good idea. We couldn't get the other party to go along with it, but I think that some states have done that. I think Senator McCain has advocated the public financing forum. What it does, it puts one or two or three candidates on same level playing field. He's wanting to spend the same amount of money, and then the issues decide who gets elected, not who can spend the most money. I'm very concerned about that.
BOHL: You mentioned that earlier you were the chair of the counties committee.00:38:00
BOHL: How did you end up in that position?
ARNOLD: Well, when I first came in, first became a legislator, you can choose yourpreference of committee, put in. Of course, now, if it's overloaded, you know, they have to even 'em out. But I always wanted to be on agriculture committee [Agriculture and Natural Resources] and counties, which helped with rural areas. I was able to serve on those two for a long time, and sometimes-I can't remember exactly now-but when one of the chairman had been chairman of the ag [agriculture] committee, either moved to something else or retired, I asked leadership, "I'd like my name be considered," so they let me. Appointment me as chairman of the counties committee and did that for a long time. Twelve or fourteen years.
BOHL: Okay, so you were definitely chosen by the committee, by the leadership, not bythe Governor?
ARNOLD: Yeah, that's the way it works. The leader-now let's back up a little bit. I00:39:00said prior, a few years ago, the Governor would select speaker of the House, and many times, committee chair, and even sometimes a member complete control because they wanted to make control a certain committee. Now, leadership selects Committee Chair, you put your-of course, a lot of times there's competition. There may be three or four who want to be chair of a certain committee, and leadership has to make that decision. I think leadership tries to pick a chair of like the chairman of education committee, they want somebody that has some background in education, or the chair of the agriculture committee, try to get someone, a farmer, or at least has some background, and it only makes it better because at least you got some background there, when you're chairing a committee.
BOHL: One of the first big things that happened when you got into legislature is this00:40:00reform of the judiciary. Reforming the court system, so that it was more streamlined.
ARNOLD: Um-hm. Yes. Um-hm.
BOHL: What do you remember about-
ARNOLD: I just remember when-that I believe it was in '76, I think is when thatwas-prior to that, we had the-now there had been the effort made before I came in the legislature to reform the court system. That was your-it had to be when it was. And, one time we used to have this city judge and a county judge, and we still have a county judge executive, but at that time, the judge had judicial powers, you know, court, traffic tickets, and about the same thing as district court now. Then city court did the same thing. So they combined those. So yes, I voted for it. I supported it because I thought it was an upgrade of-prior to that, you could be a city judge. You did not have to be an attorney. You'd just be anyone that run for it, 00:41:00with no legal background whatsoever. So that was the argument out in the state. That have a new court system, you know, district, circuit, court of appeals, and supreme court, and I think it's worked fine.
BOHL: Okay. Another thing around that same time was the debate over the deathpenalty.
ARNOLD: Um-hm. Probably some of the same arguments you'd have today. If Iremember correctly, there was supreme court ruling that had something to do with that. That the states had to go back and redo their laws, and we did that at that period of time. I did support it. It's a shame you have to have a death penalty, but sometimes, I think, you look at pros on it. I think it is a deterrent. I wish we didn't have-wish people wouldn't do things, wouldn't have to have-it's just-it's amazing when you think about what we spend incarcerating people, costs 00:42:00of prisons and all that. If people weren't breaking the law, we could take that money and look what we could do for people. How we could do education, or whatever, roads or whatever, if we didn't have that, spend all that money on incarcerations. But we do. It's a cost to society.
BOHL: Speaking of incarceration, you were involved in task force on jails, and ongetting-
ARNOLD: Um-hm. When I was chairman of the counties committee, Kentucky jailswere very poor shape. That was when there was-when federal courts were moving to make all states improve their jails. But Kentucky, our jails were just terrible. We have what they call "mom and pop" jails. All your jails were fire and safety violations. Fire and safety issues were 00:43:00big ones. Sometime you had one door into a jail in the booking area, and behind that you had the cells. Well, if you had a fire out front, one door, there's no way you could ever have gotten those prisoners out. So that was one of the big issues. Another was-we had jails where in the summer time, it might be 90 to 95 degrees in the cells. In the wintertime it was below freezing or cold. That was an issue that the feds wanted us to think, you know, have a certain temperature control. So Kentucky hadn't done much, and the Feds said, "If you don't do something in Kentucky, we're going to take over and do it for you, which would be very expensive. If you want to write some jail reforms, jail standards that would pass a court test, we'll let you do it. If you don't, then we'll do it for you." So the Speaker of the House Bill Kenton, we were in a 00:44:00meeting in Louisville and the county judge came to speaker and said, "We have this problem with jails, and we need some help." So the speaker came to me and said "Adrian, you're the chairman of the counties committee, which is county jails. I want you to appoint a subcommittee to study this jail issue and come back in the next session with some suggested remedies." I said, "Okay," and he said "I want you to appoint yourself chairman of the jails committee." I said "Mr. Speaker, I know very little about jails," and he said "Well, none of us do but we'll all learn together." So we started there and so I went to our committee. We had a committee that was legislators, circuit judges, district judges, county officials, people from corrections, a cross- section of a lot of different people that would be involved in corrections. So we visited a lot of jails in Kentucky. I went to North Dakota to look at their jails. They had just done jail reform up there. To see if we could copy some things they had done. I spent-during that time and after 00:45:00that, there is a National Institute of Corrections and funded by the federal government, and at that time, it was in Boulder, Colorado, on the campus there. I went out there for a week studying jail reform, jail standards. So the fellow I met introduced the jail reform bill and so it passed. But it was a hard job. Of course, at that time, we had a lot of what you call "mom and pop" jails. The jailer got $6.75 a day for running the jail for every inmate they had. Well, we had some abuses because sometime if a jailer was not getting enough people, he would have a deal with some deputy sheriffs that you arrest people-
[Tape 1, side 1 ends; side 2 begins.]
BOHL: Okay, you were talking about how some of the jailers might take advantage.00:46:00
ARNOLD: We had people come before our committee with some accusations thatsometimes they said a jailer got $6.75 a day for each person they had. Well, they didn't have a lot of people, in some of your rural areas. Sometimes a jailer would give you some deputy sheriff that was unethical and say, "Okay, you just arrest people and bring 'em in here and I'll give you two or three dollars for every-so I'll make some money too." So we had this kind of situation. Not big, large scale but we had some of that. Then we even had some accusations where some college girl was young, would go back home, going back to college, she'd be arrested, put in jail because of speeding and sometimes sexually abused maybe. Not a lot, some of those type things. It was a big issue to make it clear up the jail situation. See, most your jailers were not trained. 00:47:00We cannot mandate training for jailers. We can deputy jailers but not jailers. Now, they do give an incentive to take training, but at that time, you know, I think your sheriff was not trained. Jailer was not trained. Policemen were not trained. So, it was just, we would hire somebody, give em a gun and badge, they'd go after you. Well, that's not good; they need training. So I seen a lot of improvements in that field since I've been here. Not that I did it all, you know, I was part of it, but not. I'm glad to see this. Now we also-not only that, we give incentive pay for magistrates, commissioners, and judges, county judges to go take training. How to learn to run county government, city government, better than what-you have to have training.
BOHL: Another issue that's taken up a lot of your time in legislative life is education. I00:48:00know that initially when you went in, you talked about the need for vocational education.
ARNOLD: Yes, yes. Well, I've been-getting to that, now community education is nota program; it is a concept, life-long learning concept. We, back in 1972, Montgomery County, my home county, was the first county to have community education. And community education, if you don't understand, it is where you have a director of community education and they pull in all these different resources to help people. Every county could be something different. We had five pilot projects in '94, I think, it was to see if community education would work in the state, and it was successful. In '98, since my county was the first county to have community education, they asked me to introduce the bill to provide it, fund community education in all one hundred twenty counties. Now, we've not reached that and yet, we're getting close. So I've 00:49:00been involved in community education because they can help factory workers, or if you have an individual that needs-in my county, adult education is under community education. They can help 'em with GEDs or help 'em with, maybe they need some GED, they need some help from other state agency, and they can pull all that together. So I've been very involved and still very involved in community education. It's really grown and it's been a great asset to Kentucky.
BOHL: Okay and certainly education reform in general?
ARNOLD: Yes. Voted for that. It's-I guess in education is always some type ofreform. Some change is needed. Oh, it's so critical. It's just like now. We're taking, as far as education, we're taking tobacco sale money to help tobacco farmers diversify and part of that 00:50:00diversification is education. Many farmers, like myself, I was a tobacco farmer. You grow tobacco then, you had a ready market for it, but now we are growing vegetables and different things. We had to create markets, find markets, and help these farmers write a business plan, which is education. Education is the key to all these things and even healthcare. You got to educate people how to take care of their bodies, live a healthy life style.
BOHL: Certainly, like you said, being a tobacco farmer representing tobacco farmers,there's certainly been a shift in the way tobacco has been seen since you went in, until now.
ARNOLD: Yes. Of course, Kentucky has always been a tobacco state for two hundredyears. There have been changes in it. But, you know, it's been family after family, they grew up 00:51:00growing tobacco, that's all they really knew, and it was good because they made a living. A lot of kids went to college on tobacco money. It's funded a lot of hospitals and different things. But now, that it's beginning to wane, we try to teach our farmers how to do other things. Because again, we always had a guaranteed market for tobacco and a guaranteed market for cattle and that's what most of 'em in this area grew. Now that they're growing vegetables and other flowers and different things, they had to create some niche markets or we had to have 'em do co-ops and things like that to sell their products. Our farmers are good at producing, but we have a way to go in marketing.
BOHL: Okay, another thing about representing a more agriculture area, you were00:52:00involved with changing how agriculture land was taxed.
ARNOLD: Um-hm. When I first came to legislature, there was an issue that therewasn't any real good way to assess farm land. You could have two farms. Both of 'em two hundred acres, and lot of your PVAs [property value administrator], 'there's two hundred acres of land, I'm just gonna assess it so much.' Well, maybe one of those farms was more valuable than the other, a better producer. Just because he had two hundred acres, one of 'em might've been steep rough land and one might be level fertile land. So I was involved in legislation that- what that did, it said that farm land would be assessed on its production capability. That made it more fair. If you had a farm-maybe some farm would produce twice as much as other farms, so 00:53:00it wasn't fair to assess them both at the same price. Then sometimes you'd have a farm, maybe a professional person living on a two hundred acre farm and build a fine home on that farm, well, then we suggested they assess the land at one way and the house as another value because the neighbor down the road over the other side of the county might have a two hundred acre farm with a $30,000 house on it. It wasn't fair to, you know, assess them both the same. Oh, another thing, talking about that. Then, you have a lot of time, a farmer would have a farm next to a town and there were subdivisions. Well, the PVA would say, "Where your farm here is, this subdivision land is worth five thousand an acre and we want"-"but I don't want to sell my farm for something, I want to farm." So they're allowed to have a farm land assessment. Same 00:54:00thing you're talking about, even though it is right next to a subdivision. So that was a big help to the farmers.
BOHL: You worked to give people more incentive to keep their farms as farms.
ARNOLD: We have what we call agriculture district-you can farm in an agriculturedistrict and then you would restrict some of your annexations and things like that. Been a lot of people who've done that. I got a little more information here. I'll give you when you leave on that.
BOHL: Okay, another issue that's really in the news now is this idea of migrant workersand certainly that would be important for a more agriculture community.
ARNOLD: It's very important. I know that there's a lot of issues, some as illegalimmigrants. Now, in the farming areas, especially in tobacco, it had been very difficult for our 00:55:00farmers to get, you know, local people to work, or they all gone and got an education. So most of are using, most of them are Mexicans. Most of 'em do use them and they pay them good. However, I don't, you know, as far as the federal, the immigration people, maybe they are illegal, but when you need to get your crop in, they don't ask too many questions on that. A lot of them assume they are legal and some of them are.
BOHL: Can you tell me a bit about the coal impact road fund?
ARNOLD: Okay, I remember when we had two funds. One was a coal county and then00:56:00a coal impact count where they haul coal over the roads. There's a bill passes-don't know all the details now-but I know Montgomery County. We were a county that a lot of the coal came out of the mountain went through Montgomery County, down to especially Maysville where they shipped it out on barges. If you were a county where the coal trucks came through, then you got some money to help maintain your roads and things like that. It wasn't as much as a coal county but we got some money out of it. I think that fund is dwindling and they're not- through Montgomery County, I don't think they're shipping much coal anymore. Like they did twenty years ago.
BOHL: You were also a strong supporter of open meetings and open records.
ARNOLD: Um-hm. Yes. Yeah, I voted for that. I did not introduce that bill but I wassupportive because I think the public needs to know what goes on. I remember-I've been told before I came here, a lot of times your committee meetings were held in secret, you know, closed 00:57:00doors. That's not good. You need to have open meetings. Let the public know what's going on. Let the public have input. Because that's what, you know, legislator, that's what we're here for is to represent the people, not just be for ourselves or some other group.
BOHL: Okay, a couple of times we talked about the importance of more independentlegislature and you were certainly here to see that shift. You were here before, during and after. So, can you reflect about that?
ARNOLD: Yes, we talked earlier a little bit. When I first came here, I said theGovernor was pretty much controlled everything. That was because the legislator was not here, only during the session every other year. Since the legislature is now meeting every year-of course, when I first came here, we had the interim committee meeting, when we met between sessions; open meetings, let the public come in, have input; we could bring the agencies in and 00:58:00say, "Okay, what are you doing with this?" Not to be critical. Just sometimes wanting to know what they're doing, is it being successful, is it working right, do we need changes. So, I think that's been a great help. Because legislature, you know, at one time had very little staff. Just enough to write a few bills. So that-it's become, we say independent. I guess probably co- equal was a better word. Each branch's supposed to be equal. One's not supposed to-you know, the Governor cannot introduce a bill. He has to get someone else to introduce it. He or she, and the courts, you know, not supposed to write law either. They do sometimes but really, you know, the legislature supposed to be co-equal branch and I'm glad to see it's happened. It's been better for the people. People have more input. One time I seen a lobbyist here and he said, 00:59:00"When you first started, if you had a bill," said, "I'd go see the Governor. If he was for it, you were okay, and if he was against it, you just forget it." Said, "Now I have to lobby one hundred thirty-eight legislators." (Bohl laughs) Well, that's good. That's the way it's supposed to be. Of course, prior-a little history I read, prior to the 1891 constitution, the legislative branch was powerful branch of government. At that time, they were kind of yielding to the big railroads, big business, and at the last constitutional convention, people were upset with them. So they took some of the powers away from the legislature and gave them to the Governor Because they said they could work with one person easier than they could one hundred and thirty-eight. So that was the way it went for like seventy-some years until in the early seventies. I think the legislature wanted the co-equal. They started hiring more staff to do research to have information for the legislators. The legislators started having the interim committee meetings 01:00:00during the year. Having people come in, holding hearings, talking to different agencies and what they were doing and so it's really made it a better job. I think one of the things that's helped probably when Governor Brown became Governor. He'd never been in the legislature. I think his father had but he hadn't. He said "I don't care who's speaker of the House. I don't care who's chairman of the committee." Said "I have five or six things I'd like to see accomplished." Said, "How we get it done is fine with me." That was really the big step. Coming into the independence (??)
BOHL: So, it sounds like you really think that the annual sessions that have started noware really a good idea?
ARNOLD: Yes, I think they are. I have some reservations. I think we have too manybills in the short session that maybe that'll kind of work itself out in the future. Prior to that, we always had a lot of special sessions and that was the reason to have the annual session. Then, if 01:01:00you had some financial situation, we could address it without having to wait for another year. Now, when that proposal left the House, it was supposed to be a very limited session, just two or three subjects. When it got to the Senate, they said, Now, let's just have an open session and introduce any kind of bill you want to, other than maybe budgetary items." So probably, it would be better if we'd had a short session and limited it just to three or four issues that was really needed to be addressed, rather than just having an open session and maybe we'll go back to that. I don't know.
BOHL: I know when you first started, they didn't offer legislators offices like this.Some of the other legislators have actually said that they think that this is more problematic in that you don't get the camaraderie that you did.
ARNOLD: It hasn't been-right, when I first came here, the only desk I had was on the01:02:00floor of the House and didn't have any file cabinets. I had two cardboard boxes in the back of my car, I kept my files. Then if you wanted to call, you had two little phones outside that we used, but at that time, we did not have the 800 number that constituents could call in. We have that now. Of course, we have email that we didn't have then. It's made it easier for constituents to contact and have input, but it's put more workload on us because you get mail and email then you would then. But-then after we went down to, I think, they got those little cubicles down in the basement. Everybody had 4x6 but no privacy. So like you said, some legislators see the advantages and disadvantages. Here, you do have privacy. You have some room to work but when we had those cubicles, one hundred and thirty down in one big room. If you wanted to see another legislator, you just wait a few minutes and they walk by. Now, we got to make an 01:03:00appointment just like anybody else, you see, to see another legislator. (Bohl laughs) So there's advantages and disadvantages. But I remember-when I first came here, if you had a group come down and wanted to talk about an issue, you didn't have a place you could meet. You know, you might meet out in the parking garage. Oh, we didn't have a parking garage then. We had parking area out here. I guess everything had its advantages and disadvantages, probably. You see, at that time, the only committee room we had was over in the capitol building. We had about two or three over there. So, I think in most ways, we had been able-we have really been able to make legislative process accessible to the people. Now, as far as these little offices, we have lost some of that camaraderie, but I still I guess it's better than not having anything other than your desk on the floor.
BOHL: How did you decide where you were going to sit over there?01:04:00
ARNOLD: In the House?
ARNOLD: Based on a kind of a first-come first-served basis and some on seniority. Ifthere was an open seat-and they always did have and I guess they still do-open seat over there and two legislators wanted it, usually which one has been in the legislature longest would get it. That's the way we assigned these offices over here was-see, some of them faced the capitol and some of 'em didn't have any windows, and they was based on seniority. I guess that's the fairest way to do it.
BOHL: I see. Did you have any particular preferences in terms of where you were?
ARNOLD: Over there?
BOHL: Or, over here.
ARNOLD: Both, yes. I always liked to sit over on the right side kind of about three-fourths of the way back because I can sit there and I can see the whole body and I can-you sitting in the front and it's hard looking back, but if I sit back where I sit at that door, I always 01:05:00want to sit there. I got to sit there and I could turn around and see the people that are talking. I can see the whole body without having to turn around. I like that. I like sitting in the back of the church. (both laugh) You can see everything going on. I didn't want the very back, but I want back there where I can see most people.
BOHL: How much interaction did you have with the different Governors that youworked with?
ARNOLD: I have been able to work with all of them, pretty good. I don't know asanyone more than the other, but I've always been able to work with them. Of course, you know, there's been a never been a Governor, any Governor I agreed with 100 percent. Of course, I guess we're all that way. But I've been able to work with most of them real well, without any 01:06:00problems. I've had one or two at one time that was got a little irritated at me because they proposed a tax that my people didn't support and he got upset over that a little bit. But, we still worked together after that, so.
BOHL: When the Toyota plant opened in Scott County, that was a pretty big deal.
BOHL: How has that affected your district?
ARNOLD: Well, I have a lot of people that work there. Not a lot but like the onesclose. There are several people. I think it's helped the economy. Then I think we have some factories there in Mt. Sterling that furnish parts for Toyota, that's helped my district quite a bit.
[Pause in recording.]
BOHL: Okay. Another issue that caused a lot of debate was the state lottery.
ARNOLD: Um-hm. That was-when I first came, it seemed almost every session01:07:00there'd be someone introduced the lottery bill. Of course, it never passed, but it was introduced and discussed. I did a survey-oh, one time and the people that responded, 80 percent of them were opposed to the lottery. Four years later, when the lottery was about to be voted on again, I did the same survey and 80 percent of the people favored. Just reversed itself in about four-year time. So, I always try to use a survey like, gives a pretty good indication of what people is thinking. So I think what turned the tide on the lottery was-I know there in Mt. Sterling, we were about forty miles from Ohio River and about every day or twice, or two or three times, somebody would go from Mt. Sterling over in to Ohio and buy a lottery ticket for people there. So people said, "If we're going to do that, we just have one of our own," so they did. But 01:08:00lottery, as far as the income from the lottery, it produced a lot more than they ever anticipated, especially the first two or three years. Sometimes lottery money is not all new money. Every time somebody spends a dollar on the lottery, it is a dollar they don't spend on goods and services, so it's really not all new money. Some call it new money, but it's not.
BOHL: Okay. Another issue that seemed to last for a while before it finally wentthrough was the idea of the Governor being able to succeed himself, or herself.
ARNOLD: Yes, I would support that, because many times a Governor would only servefour years. Well, they get a program started and by the time they got it started, then they were out of office. Another Governor would come in, and I'm talking about the same party would 01:09:00come in and maybe, go 180 degrees in the other direction on things. The thinking was, if you had a two-term Governor, they would have four years to continue their programs. Prior to that, a lot of times the Governor spent the last year of their term, when they were thinking about-spent most of the time thinking about trying to run for another race or doing something else. So I think overall it has been good. I know there's some criticism but I think the pros outweigh the cons on that one.
BOHL: Certainly, healthcare was a big issue as well.
ARNOLD: Yeah. We had some reform, and of course, I guess healthcare reform isgoing to have to be at a national level rather than state level. But at least the time we were trying 01:10:00and I had a lot of people prior to that first reform said, "I cannot get health insurance," or they'd have a child with a birth defect and they were denied insurance. There was very frightening, and so we passed a law saying could not deny you health insurance. Of course, it did make it cost everybody more. That's a frightening thing when you have -know that you cannot get health insurance. You're being denied. Would be a lot of companies, some companies were, they called it "cherry-picking." They were only insuring the healthy people, and if you're healthy, that's okay but if you're not healthy-(laughs)-and can't get insurance, that's very devastating. Of course, we tried to amend it. It's still a big issue. Healthcare is one of the most important issues, I think, that the nation faces, and it's gonna have to be addressed at the national level more so than just the state level, if we're ever going to make it work. You know, I don't know 01:11:00the answer and I don't guess anyone else knows all the answers because it's very critical.
BOHL: Now, you personally were involved in a lot of debate about legislative pensions.
ARNOLD: Um-hm. Yes, you see, when I was on the-see, I'm on the legislative andjudicial pension board, and after I got there, of course, I was the logical one to introduce legislation about legislative pension. I think on legislative pensions, a legislator, at one time, was making about oh, twenty-five or thirty thousand a year on a two-year average, and it's a little bit more than that now. The legislative pension was kind of-we thought, an incentive to keep legislators serving for a while. Of course, you always get that debate of term limits too, but, anyway, that was the-so we tried to increase the legislative pension a little better to help them, 01:12:00once they do stay, to kind offset their years of loss and other ways. So, it's kind of a combination of legislative salary and legislative pension. _____ (??), hopefully, it'll make it worth their time to serve. As you know, some of your-of course, let me back up. Serving in the legislature used to be just kind of a civic duty you did. At one time-but now since you're spending so much time-see when you're in session, like in regular session, they're just-when you're out of session, you spend just as much time as you do when you're in session. Because you got things to do in your district, you got to see about roads. You got meetings to go to. So a legislator is actually serving almost full-time anymore. That's why we have tried to improve the retirement a little bit to help offset. Like today, see I'm here with you or I maybe tomorrow in 01:13:00one of my counties talking to a city about a problem, and we don't get paid for that. So it's- but getting back to your question of legislative pension, we just try to improve it somewhat but not, we don't ever get to the point that it's too much. It should be legislative pension. Should be enough to justify but it should be reasonable. But again you said, I kind of fell in my lap to do that because I'm on that board and I understand what they were trying to do.
BOHL: Okay. Over your time, your district has changed in terms of redistricting.
BOHL: How did you adjust the way you went about campaigning when your districthad been including different counties and losing others?
ARNOLD: Well, whenever you are going redistricting, you pick up a new county. It's01:14:00just, you go in, you try to learn all the elected officials, both city and county. Occasionally, you'll be lucky enough to have a friend or two in that county that knows people but you just start going to meetings. Sometimes you get invited to come to the Kiwanis club or chamber of commerce or Rotary club and speak to them. It's a good way to get them to know you and you get to know those people. Sometimes you say, "Okay, we've had a redistricting in the local newspapers. We've had a redistrict. I'm you new representative." You know, "I want to get to know you," and things like. There's several different ways you do it. You go to the schools and things like. So, it's just kind of seek them out, like they do. But it doesn't take too long to learn. You learn pretty quickly. Then, of course, if you're a new legislator to them, then they'll contact 01:15:00you too with their needs and they'll invite you. I know when I picked up Meade County, I had, had it just a few two or three weeks, well then the Kiwanis club, said, "Well, we like to meet you. You're new to us." They knew the other one and so I'd go up there and have a meal with them and talk about issues. It's not as hard as you would think, to do, especially in the rural area. I think probably a new redistricting like Louisville would be harder than it would be for me.
BOHL: Okay. Are you part of a regional caucus? The Eastern Regional, or something?
ARNOLD: We have-we call it, Central Kentucky Caucus. See, we always had theMountain Caucus, Northern Kentucky Caucus, Eastern Kentucky Caucus, Western Kentucky, but one in Central Kentucky-we're not a real close knit group but we do some. Well, why do you (??) have a Central Kentucky, because there's a lot of issues that apply to Central Kentucky 01:16:00that might not apply to the other areas. I'm part of the Central Kentucky Caucus.
BOHL: Okay. About what era were these things rising?
ARNOLD: Probably, at least twenty years ago. I'd say in the early eighties. Startedhaving these caucuses.
BOHL: Okay, were you really involved in the formation, or you-
ARNOLD: Yes, I was not the leader but I was part of the formation when we firststarted.
BOHL: Okay. Another issue that certainly been throughout your legislative career isabortion. Rowe vs. Wade, right before you got in, and then it's been an issue ever since. Are there any particular debates about that you remember as being particularly memorable?
ARNOLD: No, I just remember that-best that I can remember that, after that was a01:17:00federal decision, people talked about it, got accepted it. I don't remember a lot of debates other than just casual conversation. Of course, you know, you have people on both sides of that issue too. No, it was not a real big issue for me, as far as having to make decisions on it.
BOHL: Being on the committee that deals with proposed constitutional amendments,there've been a lot of attempts to put amendments through in recent years for various issues. One that is really pretty major and is still talked about a lot is this idea of same sex marriage and what is a marriage.
ARNOLD: Um-hm. Well, prior to the constitutional amendment, we had a law that'sbeen on the books about ten years in Kentucky and not recognize a marriage-only between a man and woman, male and female. We thought that was sufficient. Then, I think it got to be a 01:18:00political thing rather than reality issue. "Well, let's put it in the constitution." With saying that, and I think the issue behind that was so the judge could not rule one way or the other. It was a very divisive issue. Very emotional issue. That's probably one of the issues that's probably been more debate than any of the other issues. Now, getting back to other issues other than the same sex marriage-back-oh, it's been a few years ago-we had a Blue Ribbon Task Force that recommended seventy-three different changes to our constitution and we've implemented a few of those and I can't remember exactly how many but Kentuckians were very reluctant to change their constitution. Back in our last constitutional convention, people were so concerned about what the legislature was gonna pass, they put a lot of legislation into the Kentucky Constitution. 01:19:00The Kentucky Constitution is longer than the U.S. Constitution. But, so they tried to mandate a lot of legislation in the constitution. So that was some of the things that this Blue Ribbon Task Force was to try to modernize and to update our constitution. But so many people, you talk about constitutional amendment, they get really uptight but I think a lot of those recommendations were good and maybe some of them will be implemented. You know, back then-I guess it was the sixties-there was at least two attempts to have a constitutional convention in Kentucky, and of course both of them failed. So, that's where we going to change our constitution, would be about amendments. So I think that we can. I'd introduce constitutional amendments, about three or four sessions straight to make House members a four- 01:20:00year term instead of two. I've never been successful. But my argument is that I think you have a lot of good people out there that would run for the legislature, especially the House, but they don't want to give up a lot of their time or their business for a two-year term, then serve their two-year term. If they thought, they would be willing to make some sacrifice for a four-year term. I think it's silly that-not silly, but it's not good for U.S. government to have a two-year term. Now the idea about a two-year term was when we became a nation, with poor communications, poor transportation, the idea was to get House members, specially, out among the people every two years to find out their needs, which was a good idea then. Now, if people have needs today, you know it very shortly. So, I think you would have a lot of good candidates for the House if it was a four-year term. Then also it could be a campaign finance reform. You 01:21:00could run a four-year term for the same amount of money you would a two-year term. Then you-if you are not always campaigning, you could be out doing the thing they should be doing. So I hope someday. I'm retiring, it won't help me but I hope someday they do have a four-year term. In some states, they've done this. The Senates' are four and the House members are four and that way it gives them a four-year term. So it's two or three states, not many, but two or three. Of course, at one time, the Governor of Arkansas was a two-year term, not too long ago. I think ole Bill Clinton was in office there. (Bohl laughs) I think it's a four-year term now. It's just two years. See state representative and city councilman is only a two-year term we have now. Everything else is a four-year term. So I like to see us have a four-year term and I'd like- I think there's some other, some of those suggestions for constitutional amendments are valid and they will get some of those in the future.
BOHL: Certainly an issue that's been all over the news lately is merit system.01:22:00
BOHL: That was something that's been an issue throughout most of your time, butcertainly has popped up more now.
ARNOLD: I think the merit system is good. I can remember when-and it wasn't aparty, I remember when it was just Democrats. Governor would come in and he would fire most of the people and hire who they wanted. You never got to keep the people who had experience. You kept a few engineers, a few people they couldn't, had to have. Now I think the merit system, it should be based on your qualifications, not on what party you belong to. I'm sure there's been some abuses in the past and then some now. But I think overall it's a good system. The downside is that you cannot just fire someone. Sometime you have a few-most all of your 01:23:00state employees are good, conscientious hard working people, but occasionally, you have one or two that goof off, and sometimes it's hard to replace them. But there is method to do that. I think, overall, the merit system is a good idea. It gives the worker-you go in and, you know, you get out of school and you want to work for the state government in an area that you have some expertise and you like to make it your career. You look forward to it. But if you come in here and work four years, and you're fired, then doesn't give you much incentive to want to work for the state. So I think the merit system has been able to keep qualified people. Well, it's a lot like teachers, kind of like a tenure.
BOHL: I read that in 1994, you had the opportunity to go to Lithuania.01:24:00
ARNOLD: Um-hm. Oh, that was a great. That was a great experience. Had to-thatwas after fall of the Soviet Union. So Lithuania was one of those Soviet blocks and they had gained their independence. Congress was sending farmers and bankers and industrialists and different people to help them rebuild their economy. Are you familiar with the Council State Government over in Lexington?
ARNOLD: Okay, that's the headquarters for all fifty states. Congress had called thecouncil and said we need some rural legislator, that's a farmer, hope to be a farmer, to go over and talk to those farmers about federal farm program and state farm program, to help them get their farming back on course. See, when they were under the Russian rule, they had taken all those farms and made collective farms. After the Russians had failed, I mean, after the Soviets had failed, then they gave those farms back to the owners, or their heirs, and they were trying to 01:25:00help them. See, those farmers over there, under Russian rule, they had-didn't have any need to go get a bank loan or buy any equipment, it's all under Russian rule. I was chosen, or had the opportunity, asking if I wanted to go. I thought it would be good to go over. I really enjoyed that. It was like going back fifty years in time. Those farmers, of course, most of those farms were small. So I did get to speak to Parliament about federal legislation and state programs to help their farmers. Of course, I was only there four days, but still, I got to learn a lot. A man, a friend or two corresponded for a while. But those-it was an opportunity to share what we do in our farms with those farmers over there. When I was there in Lithuania had very few-people 01:26:00had very few cars. Most your housing under Russian rule was housing projects, not homes. There was a few old homes there prior to Russian control and Lithuania, what was-their spirit had not been broken. During World War II, they were under Nazi rule, for a few years, and then after World War II ended, they were under Russian control. So they've been under foreign control for about seventy years, and they were very eager to get their independence back, and I was so glad that they were able to do that. But that was the reason I got to go over there because I was a rural legislator with some experience and could talk to, you know, I got to talk to the parliament-of course, through an interpreter but did talk to parliament. Some of those- two or three of those Lithuania legislators could speak English. So, it was good.
BOHL: Okay, you've been in the state legislature for over thirty years and have been in01:27:00leadership positions in terms of committee chairmanships and that sort of thing. Did you consider running for anything else?
ARNOLD: No. Well, I guess we all considered a little bit but I never did pursue it. Iwas-well, we always had some good cabinets and good people running for leadership and I thought if I could be part of it as a chairman, I could add to it and really-being a farmer, I was so busy. I didn't know, if I would have the proper time. If you're going to be a leader, you gotta have the time. It's a little more time consuming than being just a regular legislator. You're in leadership because you got other meetings to go to. I know Eck Rose was president of the Senate. He and I shared a county there where I lived, and I'd go to meetings and he couldn't be there because he was out in the state, some western part of the state, somewhere giving a talk to some group and people wondered why he couldn't be there. Well, his time was so taken up by 01:28:00the thing, he couldn't be there as much as I. No, I just never did. I thought about it a little bit but I was very satisfied doing what I was doing and being a part of the team and not having time to be, you know, in active leadership.
BOHL: How have you seen your district change over time, in terms of the needs of theconstituents or the constituents themselves?
ARNOLD: I guess probably, I know that we have a-when I first ran, we had two orthree factories. Most of it was rural agriculture. I've seen the change from all agriculture- almost all, 90 percent agriculture to maybe 6 percent agriculture now. We have a lot of factories there, a way on the interstate. As far as the economics, the need probably is we've had growth in 01:29:00school children. We've had to build more schools or remodel the schools and enlarge them. I've seen probably our need is in, one part just recently, having our tobacco farmers diversify. I've seen our healthcare, or healthcare community grow tremendously, meeting the needs of the people there. I think those are-probably diversification is a big need right now. Maintaining our healthcare facilities that we have. We have a hospital plus a lot other clinics. Meeting education needs of the people. Our road systems are all in pretty good shape. Of course, you can always have-you can always use road improvements, but being on the interstate and close to Mountain Parkway, we're a lot more fortunate than a lot of people. 01:30:00
BOHL: How has your legislative service affected your family?
ARNOLD: I think it's probably-oh, I think it's probably helped them, in the fact thatthey have better insight into the government programs. How government works. How that's different than what they might visualized without having to be involved. It's given-it's given me and my family avenues, meeting people we never would have met before, going places we wouldn't have done. When I've gone to conferences, my wife goes with me sometimes. My children and then, especially when they were younger, and then the rest of my family is that they've been able to meet people, do things they probably wouldn't have had the opportunity, had I not been in the legislature. I think it's been an asset to them, not just for me. The chances 01:31:00they've had to meet people and see things that-and work with groups that they wouldn't have in the past, without me being there.
BOHL: If you were just starting out now, would you want to be in the legislature?
ARNOLD: Yes, I think I would. It's a little tougher now than when I started. Anotherthing that I think that improvement I've seen-we were discussing a while ago-is I think the legislators as a whole are a lot better qualified than they were when I first came here.
Tape 1 ends; Tape 2 begins.
BOHL: Okay, you were saying you think that legislators today may be more qualified.
ARNOLD: More qualified-I think they are better qualified, as a whole. We had a lotof good qualified people but we had a few that were not qualified. Kind of were, elected on the 01:32:00'Good Old Boys' syndrome and I think you have, overall, the quality of legislators, quality and education, now is a lot higher than it was when I first came in.
BOHL: When you first started in the legislature, pretty much it was all Democratic andnow the Republicans control the Senate and that seems to more of a factor. What do you remember about that transition?
ARNOLD: Well I remember a lot about the transition, it was-I remember when ithappened. Of course, if you're member of a party, you always like to see your own party in and everything. It was kind of rough transition at first. It was rough when Republicans was in 01:33:00Senate, and then, of course, when Governor Fletcher became Governor. Hell prior to that, even though we had a Democrat senator, Democratic House, and Democratic Senate, many times we still didn't see eye-to-eye and we had some standoffs even in those days. So, it was not always a complete control, even when it was all Democrat, it wasn't-I know sometimes the House and the Senate would have standoff on certain issues. The Governor would be for something. So, it's different. The point I'm trying to make is, even when it was all Democrat, it was no more control and everything and you didn't agree on everything. So we had even some differences then. Big differences when it was all Democrats. As far as the transition, I think that some of 01:34:00it's been good. I think sometimes in the transition, there's been some standoffs politically that shouldn't have been because they were different-both parties were trying to have their way. I think the first time we didn't get a budget was over the funding of the Governor's race, public funding of the Governor's race. Prior to that, when the Democrats were raising more money than the Republicans, Republicans were in favor of the Governors funding the Governor's race, but make it a level playing field. Now that they are raising more money than the Democrats, they want to do away with it; so, that's just a fact. The truth's the truth. That's the way it is. I'd still like to go back though, myself, and see fund the Governor's race. I think you'd have a level 01:35:00playing field. Some states have gone to even funding legislative races, public-funding legislative races. Now, the downside to that-(laughs)-when they went-one of the northern states, Massachusetts, Connecticut, one of those-when they went to funding legislative races, they had about three times more people running than normally would've been because they was getting public money. (both laugh) But it does make a level playing field. Big money is not controlling it.
BOHL: Who would you say are your political heroes?
ARNOLD: I haven't given that a lot of thought. I think-I really had to think on thatone. I think, there's a lot of heroes. I think that-well, right now, I think that, as far, there's political heroes, you know, at all levels. I don't know that I can really pick out any one. I'll 01:36:00mention a few things though. One is, I think, when Governor Brown said he didn't want the legislature being independent, I admired that. I think that Governor Fletcher, when he said we're going to enforce the law on these heavy weight coal trucks, you know, fine by the weight, I think that was courageous to do that. So, as far as political heroes, I really don't have any certain one at this time. There's a lot of people that I admire. Well, I guess if you go back to, you know, Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, all those. They're all our heroes. I think, probably one of the things that is-I know back probably Roosevelt during World War II. You know, the World War II started in 1939 in Europe and there was a big push by mothers here. 01:37:00"Let's not get in the war." But he could see that we were going to have to make some preparation. So he got Congress to start making, building up our armed forces, prior to bombing of Pearl Harbor. Had he not done that, I'm sure we would have been caught very short-handed. There was a big-and I can understand why the mothers would not want to, their sons fighting. But we couldn't avoid it. I think he was one of my heroes because he did have the political foresight to see it coming and he did get Congress start building up our armed forces. If not, we would have been very far behind after Pearl Harbor.
BOHL: Do you remember any examples of funny things that happened while you'vebeen in the legislature, amusing things?
ARNOLD: Oh, there's been a few things that we've chuckled at, but I don't know asanything, as really funny. I'm sure there has been but I can't think of them right now. The 01:38:00session before I came here, they had a bill in the legislature that. It was a lone bill called a "Turkey bill" and somebody got a wild turkey and turned it loose in the Chamber. That was before my time. It was in '72, I think. But other than that, that's about the only thing. I don't know whether you call it hilarious or not, but I don't have anything that's outstanding with as far as that goes.
BOHL: Was there anything that really surprised you about your legislative experience?
ARNOLD: No, not a surprise but maybe-a reality. A lot of your issues, most that you01:39:00can talk to people about them, with the exception of emotional issues. There's not any reasoning with people if they are emotional about it, like the gay marriage or abortion. Those issues like that. It's very difficult if the person's made up their mind to ever be able to debate the issues. It's either that way or no. That's probably the biggest surprise I had with people, after I got here, was that I could debate an issue but not an emotional issues. Just very difficult. I guess that's the biggest surprise I had. I think another surprise I had was the amount of time it's going to take to be a legislator because I knew it would be busy during the session, but I didn't realize it'd be-because right now, I go home at night, I have a stack of mail, emails, letters. You know, 01:40:00you get reports from all agencies, all groups, healthcare, whatever it may be, NRA, and you have to respond. I guess, probably, another surprise was the amount of work you'd do when you're not in session.
BOHL: What advice would you give to someone who is considering going into politics?
ARNOLD: I would encourage, if they're really interested in trying to make, our state abetter place for all constituents, all citizens. I would I guess it would depend on what level they're seeking, what level of politics they're seeking. To become informed, learn the issues, and 01:41:00expect to do a lot of hard work. That's what it's going to take. Oh, the thing that disappoints me with a lot of people is that-I know we've had a few-and that's not meaning that a few people's running for sheriff in some counties to help protect the drug dealers and things like that. But anybody going in, be honest. Be forthright with the people, work hard, would be my advice.
BOHL: What can you consider your greatest accomplishments?
ARNOLD: I think our greatest accomplishment is having the legislature becomeindependent, is the greatest. There've been a lot of other things. You know, we've done some other things, but I think that was one of the greatest things that I have been a part of. I didn't do it myself. I was a part of it. Because I think the legislature is the people's branch of government. 01:42:00That's their branch, and I think by coming independent, not being controlled by the Governor, is our greatest accomplishment. Now, we've had some other things been good too, but I think that's the greatest.
BOHL: Is there anything that you passed that didn't turn out the way you expected orthat you really wanted to pass and didn't get passed?
ARNOLD: No, everything I've passed, I think has turned out about like I hoped itwould. I said, I guess one of the thins-two things that's been disappointing. Back about ten or twelve years ago, there was a controversy about school openings and I introduced a bill- because for, tourism and-back August, when I first introduced, a lot of schools were starting in 01:43:00August. It was hot, most of them didn't have, a lot of them didn't have air conditioning. Whenever school starts, tourism falls way down and a lot of your-so I introduced a bill to start school after Labor Day. Some states do that now, after Labor Day. See, at one time, our state fair was in September, but it was conflicting with the school calendar. So the state fair moved to August to get out of the school calendar. So what happened? School starts in August now, same time as the state fair. The state fair was using a lot of those students, high school students, to work during the fair. A lot of our students worked at marinas and things like that. When school starts, you have to quit. So that was one thing that I introduced that bill and education community defeated it. But, I was-and even the factory would say, "Well, if we could have a uniform starting date, make it easier to schedule vacations all for their employees." I had a lot of 01:44:00support for it but never did get it. That's one of the things I'd like to see. You know, that issue is coming back. I got some letters the other day from some people. We should have a uniform starting date, and so. You know, state law says you go to school one hundred and seventy-seven days. It was one hundred and seventy-five; we changed it to one hundred and seventy-seven this time. I'd rather see them going to school in June, if you have some snow days, as in starting in August, and it would make it easier for our tourism people, recreational people to schedule. Then, of course, the other one was failing to get the four-year term passed.
BOHL: How would you like to be remembered as a state representative?
ARNOLD: Well, I would like to be remembered, as like most people have said. Onetime, the legislature and the House said, "Could always depend on Adrian Arnold's word." "He's always fair and truthful with you," and I think that would be more to me than anything. 01:45:00"You could always depend on his word."
BOHL: Is there anything that I haven't asked about that you want to talk about?
ARNOLD: No, I think you've covered most of it. I think that-about coveredeverything. This I just-I really would like to say that I am very thankful that I have had the opportunity to be legislator. I've learned so much. It's made me appreciate things more than I did before I ever came here. I used to be very critical, as I said in the beginning, and just thankful that I've had a chance to be a part of it and the people had the faith in me to keep sending me back. I guess that's how I would like to be remembered that, in those ways. Just 01:46:00going to Lithuania, if I had not been a member of the legislature, I would never [have] had that opportunity, so. Do you need anything else now, Christy? I have some stuff here, I want to give you before you go.
BOHL: Okay. Thank you very much.
[Tape 2, side 1 ends.]
[End of interview.]