Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Walter D. Huddleston

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


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00:00:00 - Childhood

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Partial Transcript: [Music] Well, we did start in Cumberland County, which was my father's first, uh, charge, first church as a Methodist minister.

Segment Synopsis: Huddleston describes his origins. His family started in Cumberland County, with his father being a Methodist minister. He was born on April 15th. They moved soon after he was born, moving to multiple counties in Kentucky throughout his childhood. His parents had 11 children, two of whom died in infancy, leaving 5 sons and 4 daughters.

Keywords: Methodist ministers; Ministers

Subjects: Bowling Green (Ky.); Clergy.; Cumberland County (Ky.); Cumberland River, Big South Fork (Tenn. and Ky.); Families.; Family histories.; Family--history; Greensburg (Ky.); Jeffersontown (Ky.); Livermore (Ky.); Methodist; Monticello (Ky.); Smiths Grove (Ky.)

00:01:47 - World War II and coming home

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Partial Transcript: [Music] Well, I think all young men of my age had some apprehension about the war.

Segment Synopsis: Huddleston says he was a young man during the Second World War and he and his peers had apprehension about the war but also wanted to be included. He says some of his friends left high school early to go into service. He had two older brothers in the service who warned him not to rush to go to war. He had basic training in Kansas and eventually was assigned to be a gunner in a tank. His group came home fairly early and he describes his welcome home.

Keywords: Ardennes Counteroffensive; Battle of the Bulge; Second World War; The Battle of the Bulge; World War 2; World War II

Subjects: Tank warfare.; Tanks; Tanks (Military science); War.; World War, 1939-1945.; Youth and war

00:04:22 - Time in Elizabethtown, Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: [Music] Well, Elizabethtown presented a great opportunity for Jean and me.

Segment Synopsis: Huddleston says that Elizabethtown presented a great opportunity for him and his wife. He mentions it was one of the smaller towns to have a radio station, but the radio was successful. It had lost its manager and Huddleston was recommended and hired for the job and they stayed there for twenty years. Huddleston says that Governor Combs was interested in increasing education for Kentuckians and worked to create community colleges under the University of Kentucky.

Keywords: ECTC; KCTC; KCTCS; Managers; Radio managers; Radio station managers

Subjects: Combs, Bert T., 1911-1991; Community colleges; Education; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Education--Kentucky; Education--Political aspects; Educational change--Kentucky; Educational change.; Educational law and legislation--Kentucky; Elizabethtown (Ky.); Elizabethtown Community and Technical College; Executives.; Ford, Wendell H., 1924-2015; Kentucky Community & Technical College System; Radio.; University of Kentucky

00:06:34 - State-level political experience

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Partial Transcript: [Music] An opportunity opened in a state senate seat with redistricting created a vacant seat and, uh, I decided if I ever was going to look for a political office that was, uh, an opportunity to do it.

Segment Synopsis: Huddleston describes how redistricting created a vacant seat in the state senate and he took this opportunity to start his political career by running for this seat. He mentions that the legislature only met every two years so he could keep his radio managing job. He ran in 1965 for the 10th district, mentioning there were contentious issues like control for strip mining and finding money for teachers. He introduced a resolution for making buildings accessible to people with disabilities. He had friends already in the legislature. The first week he was there, Ned Breathitt got him involved in hearings related to pinball machines at colleges. He mentions that civil rights were always an important issue for him. He says he worked to make local businesses open to African Americans.

Keywords: Accessibility; Accessibility for people with disabilities; Kentucky State Senate; Ned Breathitt; State Senate

Subjects: Barrier-free design.; Breathitt, Edward T., 1924-; Civil rights--Law and legislation; Civil rights.; Disabilities.; Education; Educational law and legislation--Kentucky; Kentucky. General Assembly. Senate; Political campaigns--Kentucky; Politicians--Kentucky; Politics and government; Politics, Practical; State governments; State governments--Officials and employees; Strip mining

00:10:29 - National-level political experience

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Partial Transcript: [Music] Running for the Senate is a, is kind of different animal politically in Kentucky.

Segment Synopsis: Huddleston discusses how running for the U.S. Senate is different than running for state senate because being a U.S. senator is a full time job involving moving to Washington. His wife supported him in running and he mentions it wasn't a certainty that he would win but they wanted to take the chance. He then briefly discusses his interactions with and opinions of various presidents, specifically Nixon, Carter, and Reagan.

Keywords: Jimmy Carter; Richard Nixon; Ronald Reagan; U.S. Senate; United States Senate

Subjects: Carter, Jimmy, 1924-; Nixon, Richard; Nixon, Richard M. (Richard Milhous), 1913-1994.; Politics and government; Politics, Practical; Reagan, Ronald.; United States. Congress. Senate.

00:14:09 - Last campaign

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Partial Transcript: [Music] Well, it was pretty tough, uh, uh, we, we didn't, we didn't run that bad a campaign as I see it.

Segment Synopsis: Huddleston discusses his last campaign, stating he doesn't think he ran that bad of a campaign. He says Reagan's popularity was an obstacle to their success. He mentions some other people who were defeated in their political campaigns that year. He doesn't take his loss as a personal insult. He is proud of his win in 1972.

Keywords: Ronald Reagan; U.S. Senate; United States Senate

Subjects: Political campaigns.; Reagan, Ronald.; United States. Congress. Senate.