Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Charlie Borders, August 19, 2014

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries

 

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00:00:00 - Personal background and education

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Partial Transcript: This is James Savage. I'm talking today to former senator Charlie Borders. It is August 19, 2014, we are at the KCTCS office in Versailles.

Segment Synopsis: Borders talks about growing up in a rural area and being the first in his family to attend college. He discusses Ashland Community College's affiliation with the University of Kentucky and how the KCTCS system has improved community colleges. He talks about continuing his education at Morehead State University and the time it took for him to finish school.

Keywords: Ashland Community College; Carter County (Ky.); Education; Personal history; Youth

Subjects: Community Colleges—Kentucky; Higher education; Kentucky Community & Technical College System; Politicians--Kentucky

00:13:52 - Career path

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Partial Transcript: During the, during your undergraduate years, that, that long period of undergraduate education. You stayed in the brickyard? You worked in the brickyard the whole time?

Segment Synopsis: Borders talks about getting laid off from his first job. He talks about working at Carter Caves State Park while getting his education. Borders talks about the start of his career in politics.

Keywords: Carter Caves State Park; Carter County (Ky.); Employment; First jobs

Subjects: Kentucky--General Assembly—Senate; Politicians--Kentucky

00:18:50 - Early political career

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Partial Transcript: What convinced you to run for state senate? Was this an open seat or did you challenge an incumbent?

Segment Synopsis: Borders talks about his interest in politics that stemmed from his parents' enthusiasm for the 1960 presidential election. He talks about his early electoral defeats and victories. Borders discusses the start of his time in Frankfort and the importance of bipartisan politics. He discusses Operation Boptrot.

Keywords: Campaigns; Career path; Elections; Frankfort (Ky.); Parents; Personal history

Subjects: Kentucky--General Assembly—Senate; Kentucky--Politics and government; Legislative bodies; Political campaigns; Politicians--Kentucky

00:34:09 - Kentucky Education Reform Act / Kentucky Legislature

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Partial Transcript: When you came to Frankfort in '91, they had just passed the KERA act the year before. Was there any residual--I know that was a, that was a tough fight like the House Bill 1 would be later. Was there any residual, sort of, hard feelings or, or, discourse that was, that was occurring at that time?

Segment Synopsis: Borders discusses the unpopularity of KERA and his election as a result. He talks about his first impressions of the Kentucky Legislature and how scandals that occurred affected the behavior of some legislators. He talks about supporting Larry Forgy in his campaign for governor against Paul Patton.

Keywords: Campaigns; Elections; Frankfort (Ky.); KERA; Larry Forgy; Paul E. Patton

Subjects: Governors--Kentucky; Higher education; Kentucky--General Assembly—Senate; Kentucky--Politics and government; Legislative bodies; Political campaigns; Politicians--Kentucky

00:42:49 - Support for Governor Paul Patton

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Partial Transcript: Were you among those who, who found yourself surprised when Governor Patton gives his inaugural address and he sort of lays out this vision for higher ed when he'd been running on jobs for, you know, during that race. Did that catch you by surprise, or, or the legislature?

Segment Synopsis: Borders talks about his enthusiasm for Paul Patton's early actions as governor and his support of House Bill 1 and higher education reform. He talks about the machinations behind the reform act's passage and his reasons for supporting the measure. He talks about his great respect for Governor Patton. Borders talks about the difference between The Kentucky Education Reform Act of 1990 and Kentucky Postsecondary Education Improvement Act of 1997.

Keywords: House Bill 1; KERA; Kentucky Education Reform Act; Paul E. Patton; Postsecondary Education Improvement Act of 1997

Subjects: Governors--Kentucky; Higher education; Kentucky--General Assembly—Senate; Kentucky--Politics and government; Legislative bodies; Politicians--Kentucky

00:54:13 - Support and opposition for House Bill 1

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Partial Transcript: And I think having--and, and one thing I didn't mention, that when I did work at Ashland Oil, uh, I just like being busy. So I taught night classes for maybe nine or ten years at Ashland Community College.

Segment Synopsis: Borders talks about his ability to see the need for changes in higher education because of his impoverished background. He talks more about his support for Patton and not allowing himself to be pressured by those who opposed House Bill 1. He talks about the acceptance of the bill once it was passed, unlike the continued controversy over KERA.

Keywords: Kentucky Education Reform Act; Paul E. Patton; Postsecondary Education Improvement Act of 1997

Subjects: Governors--Kentucky; Higher education; Kentucky--Politics and government; Politicians--Kentucky

01:04:02 - KCTCS transition / Dr. Michael McCall

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Partial Transcript: Tell me, about how closely did you watch the transition of the, of the creation of this KCTCS? How closely did you watch that transition period?

Segment Synopsis: Borders talks about his involvement with the KCTCS transition as a member of the Task Force. He discusses the benefits of hiring a KCTCS president that was not from Kentucky. He describes what was necessary for the succesful transition of KCTCS. He talks about first meeting Dr. McCall and describes McCall’s personality and leadership skills.

Keywords: KCTCS; Leaders; Michael McCall; Presidents; Task Force

Subjects: Community Colleges—Kentucky; Higher education; Kentucky Community & Technical College System; Politicians--Kentucky

01:19:01 - Council on Postsecondary Education

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Partial Transcript: Are you still on CPE? No, the Council on Postsecondary Education? Weren't you, were you a member of CPE at one point?

Segment Synopsis: Borders talks about serving on the Council on Postsecondary Education and his relationship with Dr. Robert King. He elaborates more on his support of KCTCS and Governor Patton.

Keywords: CPE; Paul E. Patton; Reform; Robert L. King

Subjects: Governors--Kentucky; Higher education; Kentucky Community & Technical College System; Politicians--Kentucky

01:31:05 - Kentucky Public Service Commission

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Partial Transcript: That leads me to, to sort of the next question. Why leave the legislature? I know that Governor Beshear offered to appoint you to the Public Service Commission. Why not turn him down? Why not stay?

Segment Synopsis: Borders talks about his decision to serve on the state Public Service Commission and his appointment to the board. He talks about the support he received in his position and the demands of being a politician.

Keywords: Campaigns; Elections; Politics; Steve Beshear

Subjects: Kentucky--Politics and government; Legislative bodies; Politicians--Kentucky

01:41:32 - Role as commissioner / success of KCTCS

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Partial Transcript: I want to ask you, you know, that hectic schedule that you, you've described there, and then going over to the Public Service Commission, which, which may seem to be a little bit more staid and almost a little more like hanging out at a horse race track as opposed to going to the library.

Segment Synopsis: Borders contrasts his role as a legislator to that of a commissioner. He talks about various conflicts he encountered as commissioner and the responsibilities of the Public Service Commission. He talks more about the leaders responsible for the success of KCTCS. He expresses his hopes for the future of KCTCS. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: Commissioners; Legislators; Public Service Commission

Subjects: Community Colleges--Kentucky; Higher education; Kentucky Community & Technical College System; Kentucky--Politics and government; Legislative bodies; Politicians--Kentucky