Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Penny Camp, May 9, 2014

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:02 - Introduction

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Partial Transcript: Alright, it's May 9th, 2014 and I'm Arwen Donahue and I am interviewing Penny Camp for the Prichard Committee for ex--Academic Excellence Oral History Project.

Segment Synopsis: Penny Camp talks about her decision to move to Kentucky during graduate school. She talks about her political work on the staff of Ernesto Scorsone. She talks about her first meeting with Bob Sexton.

Keywords: Bob Sexton; Ernesto Scorsone; Retirement benefits

Subjects: Education policy & development

00:05:11 - Camp's political socialization

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Partial Transcript: Had you always been politically active, uh, before you started working for Ernesto? Or did you kind of learn about the legislature through that process of working for him?

Segment Synopsis: Camp talks about her political socialization and education. She talks about political lessons she learned from Ernesto Scorsone and Bob Sexton. She talks about personally not having patience for the subtlety of the political process.

Keywords: Bob Sexton; Ernesto Scorsone; James Carville; Kentuckians for the Commonwealth; Wallace Wilkinson

Subjects: Politics and culture.

00:11:09 - Politics and people

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Partial Transcript: Well, uh, I know, you know, some of what he's advocating for was, was fairness and, and LGBT issues, and, and now that's, that's much more culturally accepted than it would have been in the mid-eighties.

Segment Synopsis: Camp talks about the political issues advocated by Ernesto Scorsone and his approach to political advocacy. She talks about doing campaign work for Pam Miller. She talks about being approached by Bob Sexton to work for the Prichard Committee.

Keywords: Debra Hensley; Ernesto Scorsone; Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT); Pam Miller

Subjects: Politics and culture.

00:16:21 - Working in multiple roles

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Partial Transcript: So were you--did you have, uh, definite hours--and, uh, you mentioned that Bob and Ernesto were in the same building and you were kind of going back and forth between them.

Segment Synopsis: Camp talks about working for Scorsone and the Prichard Committee at the same time. She says she transitioned to working full time for the Prichard Committee as the committee expanded its lobbying work. She says she never met Ed Prichard personally, but learned of his reputation from Bob Sexton and others.

Keywords: Bob Sexton; Edward Prichard, Jr.; In Pursuit of Excellence; Legislative agenda

Subjects: Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence

00:23:53 - Comparing Bob Sexton with Ernesto Scorsone

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Partial Transcript: Did you, um, find that you, uh, you had a--the same kind of sympathy with Bob's perspective and, and interests as you did with Ernesto?

Segment Synopsis: Camp talks about Sexton as compared to Scorsone. She talks about Sexton's personal and professional qualities. She talks about working in a team environment.

Keywords: Editing; Writing

Subjects: Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence

00:30:11 - Camp's interest in education reform

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Partial Transcript: What about, uh, just as far as the general issue of education reform, did you, did you have a particular interest in, in that?

Segment Synopsis: Camp describes her interest in education reform as acquired rather than personal since she did not have children in the public school system. She talks about her life and career after leaving her job at the committee.

Keywords: Bob Sexton; Newsletters; Veterans Affairs (VA)

Subjects: Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence

00:34:39 - Transition at the Prichard Committee

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Partial Transcript: And there were a lot of, uh--there was a big transition going on with the Prichard Committee during, during those years.

Segment Synopsis: Camp talks about her administrative duties while working at the committee. She talks about the committee sharing office space with the Kentucky Center for Public Issues. She talks about the advocacy work of the committee and its fundraising issues after the death of Ed Prichard. She talks about many of the personalities who attended the meetings at Shakertown and the dynamics of the meetings.

Keywords: Al Smith; Bob Sexton; Cindy Heine; Dorothy Ridings; Kentucky Center for Public Issues; Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA); Kris Kimel; Pam Miller; Pam Sexton; Shakertown; Thomas D. Clark; Wade Mountz

Subjects: Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence

00:47:39 - Committee leadership after Prichard's death

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Partial Transcript: When you first came on, as you mentioned, Prich had died, you know, not too long before.

Segment Synopsis: Camp talks about the transition of leadership of the committee after the death of Ed Prichard. She talks about Bob Sexton's leadership and professional abilities. She talks about her administrative work with the committee such as organizing mass mailings, which was a common communications tactic for the committee.

Keywords: Beverly Raimondo; Bob Sexton; Cindy Heine; Electronic media; Mass mailings; Professional recruiting

Subjects: Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence

00:57:36 - Sexton's information seeking and sharing

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Partial Transcript: Okay, so th, this is from November of 1986. I'm not sure if you would have started by this point.

Segment Synopsis: Camp talks about Sexton's method of communicating with members of the staff and committee.

Keywords: Constitutional amendment; Education reform; Superintendent of Public Instruction

Subjects: Education policy & development; Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence

01:04:04 - Grass roots movement as a process

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Partial Transcript: Were you aware during the, the meetings of the Prichard Committee, uh, of how, uh, their, their organizational style was kind of modeled after the League of Women Voters...

Segment Synopsis: Camp talks about the Prichard Committee working through consensus. She says she does not recall any intrigues or negativity during the deliberations and work of the committee.

Keywords: A. D. Albright; Bert Combs; Bob Sexton; Edward T. "Ned" Breathitt; Northern Kentucky University

Subjects: Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence

01:12:15 - Attendees at committee meetings

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Partial Transcript: Well one person who--it's a little, uh, uh, surprising to see on the list is Louie Nunn.

Segment Synopsis: Camp talks about people she recalls seeing and meeting at Prichard Committee meetings. She talks about the role Bob Sexton played in education reform on both a state and national level.

Keywords: Bob Sexton; George Atkins; Henry Mann; Louie B. Nunn

Subjects: Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence

01:18:29 - Memories of Bob Sexton

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Partial Transcript: Do you have any other stories to tell about Bob or me--s, specific memories of things that happened when you were working with him?

Segment Synopsis: Camp talks about her personal memories of Bob Sexton including his preference for fast driving and listening to audio books such as "War and Peace." She says he was a pipe smoker. She talks about a plant given to Bob by his wife. She talks about his good nature and easy manner in dealing with other people.

Keywords: Audio books; Speeding tickets; Tobacco pipe

Subjects: Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence

01:29:16 - The impact of the Prichard Committee on Kentucky education / Camp's memories

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Partial Transcript: What's your perspective now on the, the impact that Bob and the Prichard Committee have had on Kentucky education?

Segment Synopsis: Camp says much of the legacy of the Prichard Committee has been to protect the gains already made. She says the agenda is more defensive rather than proactive. She talks about her own political activities.

Keywords: Constitutional amendments; Ernesto Scorsone; Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA)

Subjects: Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence