SUCHANEK: The following is an unrehearsed interview with former staterepresentative Leonard R. Hislope, who represented Pulaski County in what was the 84th District, and later the 83rd District from 1956 to 1966, and then again in 1974. Mr. Hislope was elected Republican minority floor leader in the Kentucky House of Representatives in 1960. The interview was conducted by Jeffrey Suchanek for the University of Kentucky Library Kentucky Legislature Oral History Project on April 17, 1991 at the Citizens National Bank in Somerset, Kentucky at one o'clock p.m. [Pause in tape]. This afternoon I'm speaking with Mr. 1:00Leonard Hislope. Sir, during your entire tenure in the House, all of the governors you served under were Democrats. What was it like to be a Republican in the Kentucky House of Representatives?
HISLOPE: Well, it had its assets, in some ways, and things that happenedthat you thought shouldn't have happened, you felt like, Well, I'm responsible for that. And then of course, all the Democrats were my friends, I enjoyed quite a nice relationship with them, and so, especially my first term, I felt like, in a sense, that I was on a strange vacation. It was all new to me. And I began to know everyone, and everybody I knew I worked with, or tried to, and even when we disagreed it was a friendly disagreement. So I really enjoyed it all. It didn't make too much difference about the politics. I would rather have served under people of my own political persuasion, but I found 2:00even though we were listed as Republicans and Democrats that we, many times we agreed on many of the same things. So it was just, it was all right. It was quite satisfying.
SUCHANEK: Okay. Now, we touched a little bit on this the last time,I think, but what was your impression of "Happy" Chandler, both as a governor and as a man?
HISLOPE: Well, of course when I went to the legislature, "Happy" hadmade his comeback, and his comeback was quite a feat, in a sense, politically. It was a time when everybody seemed so happy, and hoards of people was there from everywhere. He had a backlog of friends in his first term, and of course they were there, a lot of them, and it seemed to me that maybe there was more people there to work than should have been, but still they were happy people. And "Happy" himself was happy, I well realized why he was called "Happy," because he had a 3:00disposition that was that way all the time. It seemed to me that he gloated and enjoyed himself because of his position, and the people close to him were just about as happy as he was, and of course the experience was all new to me, and I was happy with the whole affair, and it was just a great day for me, and I thought, well I didn't disagree with him all the time, but I thought, He's all right.
SUCHANEK: Um-hm. Did you have any personal contact with him duringthe session?
HISLOPE: Yes, I did. I was invited down to his office, and I don'tremember the bill that we had before the House, but it was one that I just couldn't go on. But he thought, and he talked nicely to me, and he persuaded quite a few people, and he had ways of persuasion, of persuading other than just his conversation in the room. He used the other levers of persuasion, and-
SUCHANEK: Such as?
HISLOPE: Well, maybe I shouldn't say that, say this, but I think he4:00would think it was all right. My brother-in-law was doing a lot of work for the state. And my brother-in- law was concerned that he might lose some of his work if I didn't vote for certain jobs. I said, "Don't you worry about that, because there's some things I can't go for, and if you're sure to lose your job, it's done for a good purpose, just forget about it," and he never did lose his job (both laugh).
SUCHANEK: Uh-huh. Well-
HISLOPE: But we had one bill that was called the Keeneland Bill, andafter growing older and having more experience, I can realize that possibly Keeneland Bill was a good bill, and it related to not taxing the proceeds or the business of horse-racing at Keeneland, something like that.
SUCHANEK: Paramutual betting, wasn't it?
HISLOPE: Yes. And I thought maybe that wasn't too good, and I wasn'tfor it. But if it had been years later, I guess I would have voted for it. And so that had an usual quirk to it. One of the boys 5:00says, "Hislope," said, "why don't you write a song?" Well I got to thinking about it. Well I came home and I wrote a song of about five verses, and there was an old boy down here that can sing just almost identically as the one who wrote, now that song about deep down in the mine, or fifteen, sixteen tons. And so I asked him if he would record that for me. And he had a voice just like it, and he plays a guitar just like the other fellow did, and it went like it was "Sixteen Tons," except it wasn't, it was Sixteen Miles of road, "Sixteen Miles" was the name of it, so he recorded it over the weekend, and it spread around through the House that I had had a song recorded. Well, some of "Happy's" closest friends, one of them got up and said, "Hislope recorded a song over the weekend. Oh, we want to hear it." Well they put that recording on that big console down to the right of the speaker's chair, and it just seemed like "Sixteen Tons." And then that 6:00guy began to sing, "Was early one morning when the sun didn't shine, I met with "Happy" to talk him to dine(??)." And, I've got a copy of it, and it just came through there, and everybody heard it everywhere. And then the people that were very close to the administration, they just didn't know what to think, and they had caused that to be played, and it wasn't an insult, but it was counter to the whole effort to get the bill passed. And so caused quite a bit of comments, and 10,000 copies ran off with the University of Kentucky, and some of the boys at Louisville got it, AIK, and so they manipulated it around, and had a lot of request for copies. So we had a lot of fun with it, and it was all innocently done. No ill motive at all, but it created a lot of attention.
SUCHANEK: Did you get any backlash from the administration over that?Because they, obviously that must have embarrassed them. 7:00
HISLOPE: Well, "Happy" made a speech one day, and he said, "I wantthe gentleman from Pulaski to know that I'm somewhat of a poet too," and then he began to quote and so forth. So I don't know, it was my introduction, you might say, to any-the people that didn't know me, knew me then. All the big boys in Louisville, they knew, and they considered it a good joke, and it wasn't seriously taken, and so everybody just considered it a good joke, and everybody knew a piece of it, it helped me get around, everywhere I went they knew who I was (both laugh). But about five years ago I wrote, my wife and I wrote "Happy" a little note, it was his birthday, or thereabouts, it was that week, and we got a letter back in just a few days, a wonderful letter from him, and he appreciated friends like Stella and Leonard, my wife and I, you know, so he was real good. Still got a copy of the letter I wrote to him, so I was tickled with his response to it. I think he'd 8:00even do as much for me now, if he could, as anybody else. But we've been friends.
SUCHANEK: Um-hm. He was famous for his memory.
HISLOPE: Very much so. And he would maybe ask me or somebody how soand so was getting along down here. He just knew everybody. And when I served under him, we had five, four special sessions, there's a lot of special sessions, and we was, it was near summertime when we got to come home, and he reorganized the highway department. Well, there was quite a few of us who thought he shouldn't have done that. He created seven highway districts, which seems reasonable, and he put sort of a minor, or satellite highway commissioner in each one of those districts. And even though I didn't think it was wise to do it, I wouldn't vote against it, because there was one of the well-known people here that was appointed our local highway commissioner, and he 9:00was a good friend of mine, so I couldn't vote against it.
SUCHANEK: Um-hm. Who was that? Who was the local person?
HISLOPE: Arthur Prather. And Arthur was well known politically, andwas quite a successful man in the timber business, and he and "Happy" were very good friends. And "Happy" would come down here and he'd go to Arthur's and maybe stay all day, or, they were quite good friends. And then, "Happy" was running, I remember, I guess he was running at the same time I was, and he was over here at the courthouse, and those old- timers from everywhere came over there. And he'd say this fellow's Uncle John, he'd pat him on the back and say, "Now, Uncle John, when I get up there, I'm going to pull off my shoes, and walk in on that carpet, it's too nice for me to go in there with my shoes on" (both laugh). That was the last time he ran. And, Weatherby, I guess it was Weatherby that put in that carpet, and it was a good carpet, it was there when I, the last time I served, and it was in good shape, even though some of the boys would drop cigarettes and burn holes in it around their desk. And it was a good one. We all pulled off our 10:00shoes when we walked in there. And he said, "You come up here and see me too." And, of course, if they did, he'd treat them as a king. Max McCuhan, one of the last of the old- timers, died here about a year ago, and he went to Centre, when Colonel Chan went. And "Happy" was going to get a, build a University there in-
HISLOPE: Yeah, Transylvania. Sometimes "Happy" would get with him, andsaid, "'Happy' was always singing a little song," and sometimes he'd say, "I want to borrow a quarter." And he was always jubilant, and he was always happy, and he was singing that song, John Cooper, I believe went, or Don Cooper went, same time they did, they all went to Centre except "Happy." And so they all knew each other. And, this gentleman here that died, Max McCuhan, that was one of the most beaut--, one of the most wonderful members I've ever heard. He went to Centre himself as a graduate, but he used to drive Governor Morrow around when he was 11:00electionary(??), and he just knew so much about Governor Morrow. And Governor Morrow was going to make a speech one night, and he took the governor to wherever they were going, they were in the hotel, and he says, "Governor, aren't you going to take some notes on that speech?" And Governor Morrow says, Edwin Morrow said, "No," he said, "when I walk before that stage, it'll just come to me what I want to say," and you know he was a great speaker. I have quite a few of his speeches that one of his nieces, I believe, gave me many years ago, he's a great speaker. One of the last, I guess, and I might mention, to go back to John Cooper, John Cooper had an uncle, and you might have heard of him, Judge Roscoe Tartar. He was one of the greatest oratories that we had in this part of the country. So he compared our possibilities as good, or almost better than Morrow. He was great on the stump.
SUCHANEK: But John Sherman wasn't a good speaker himself.12:00
HISLOPE: Oh, sure John could write, he could write a good speech,but when it come to making it, he didn't have that delivery, he just couldn't do it. I think his father had a little trouble with his speaking too. And Don wasn't too good, and Richard's not excellent at it, but Richard's got a brilliant mind, and his brother Don was allegedly one of the most, one of the smartest lawyers Somerset ever had.
SUCHANEK: Um-hm, um-hm. Well, if you don't mind, let's talk about JohnSherman Cooper here for a few minutes. Tell me about your relationship with John Sherman Cooper, and you, I know before you said you had grown up with him, he was a few years older than you were, what can you tell me about John Sherman Cooper?
HISLOPE: Well, when I was a very, I was very young, I remember his unclewas running for county judge, his uncle was county judge, for us for 13:00thirty some years, and-
SUCHANEK: That was Roscoe Tartar, right?
HISLOPE: Yeah. And my grandmother was a Tartar, and she was a cousin,maybe a distant one, to Roscoe Tartar. And so he would come down there, he would eat dinner at grandma's place, and she'd have a turnip greens in an iron kettle, and he called it pot liquor in the bottom, that juice in the turnip greens, he'd eat with cornbread. And they would talk about Judge before I was old enough to know what it was all about. So he had a picture there one time, and so I drew a picture of Judge, put it in a frame, and he was down there again and said, "Who made that?" And they told him, says, "You have that young boy to come to my office and I'll get him the best bunch of art material I can find anywhere." We never went. But then, the relationship with Don Cooper, when Don served, come to himself, he was a young, nice looking fellow, and John always wore a Stetson hat, grey Stetson, and he was straight, 14:00and he was sort of tall, and he would walk for exercise. He would walk up and down the highway, and I would always look at Don and think he's a fine looking fellow. So one morning went down to Gregory's Restaurant and Don, John and Judge Tartar were sitting up there, and of course I'd known for a long time that they were closely related, so John just appeared on the scene just like anybody else down home would. He just was one of the boys, and he studied law, and he told my father, I believe it was, he first started out, and there wasn't much in the legal profession to be made around Somerset, there wasn't many minds then, there wasn't any corporations or this or that. And so he said, "When I took in that $10, that's the biggest $10 I ever saw," when he was practicing law. So he was just one of us, and he kept on practicing law. And I didn't know about this, but I later learned that there was some financial adversity in the family, with his father. 15:00And John wasn't married in those days, so he spent many years paying off the debts of his father. And then things just began to change, we knew John well, and he was the judge, and he was one of us, but then the war came and he went away, and he was on the staff of the trial commission for the Nazi criminals. And ran for circuit judge, and of course he was elected in absentee, he wanted to be governor, and he ran for governor, and he got beat, and then he ran for senator, and he didn't make that. And then after a while he ran and he won, and John had out-stepped most people around here to the extent that most of us were just left behind of the advance that he was making in the world, and we didn't think too much about it. And, you know, like it is, a prophet is never without honor saving his own country. So it was that 16:00way with us, when he began to be recognized by people in other places, and in distant places, and other parts of the world, we hadn't grown up to the fact to thinking anything much about it. He was just John to us, and that's the way he always was. And last time I saw him, he was down here a few years ago, and I realized that John looked much older, but mentally he was still alert, and I hadn't seen him any more until I heard of his death. So he was just one of us like Judge Tartar was, and like everybody else was.
SUCHANEK: Um-hm. What was he like as county judge?
SUCHANEK: What was he like as county judge?
HISLOPE: Well, he was an unusual judge in a way, he was very personal.For instance, one day I was in the back of the courthouse and he was sitting on the, he was sitting on the bench, and he, I thought he was looking at me, but I didn't know. You know, like it is in a crowd of people. And I looked away and then I looked back and he took his finger and motioned for me. Well, I went up to where he was sitting, 17:00and he began to ask me about some old-timer down in the county, and I told him, and so he was always a person to keep up with some key people in every precinct everywhere. Well, he just seemed like he knew everybody like "Happy" Chandler. And he would ask about some old-timer or something. And my wife's grandfather built a church at Mount Lebanon, which is about twenty miles from here, so when he would see my wife-the old man built the church completely, he paid for it all, and even the development. And Judge Tartar knew about it, and so when he'd see my wife, he'd say, "You know where I'd like to be?" And she would say, "No," and he said, "I'd like to be in old Mount Lebanon." Well, other people, it was something that was dear to him, he'd say the same thing. So, Judge Tartar then, we began to feel like he was our kinfolk because my grandmother was a Tartar, and of course, Don Cooper was his 18:00nephew, and then we were, felt somewhat flattered to feel like we was a little related to John. One day John said to my wife, said, "Did you know we're kinfolk?" And Stella says, "Well, I don't know," says, "my mother knows all about it. She can tell you all about it." So it was sort of an odd thing, my wife was related to John, and then on the other side I was related to him distantly too, and so we were sort of proud of that. So Judge Tartar, John's uncle, he would go out and see my wife's grandparents when he was a very young man. And talking about the way he was, he was a little different to other people. My wife had an uncle that made a doctor and went to Texas. Well, of all the, he was going to medical school in Louisville, Judge Tartar was going 19:00to law school in Louisville, and I believe he was the only lawyer that ever went to an accredited law school here, I mean, the first one. And so if Judge Tartar saw someone across the street, even down on Fourth and Broadway, he would yell out like he was out in the woods or somewhere, and hold up his hand and speak to him. So that's the way he was different from other lawyers. Now John, John was different. John was still. John was sedate, but John was just as common as you ever saw one. But he wasn't that flamboyant, noisy, boisterous kind. But Judge Tartar, he had something to say to everybody he saw. John did too in a sense, but it was in a quieter type of way.
SUCHANEK: Um-hm. Now, when John came, would come back after he had beenambassador to India, you never noticed any change in him?
HISLOPE: Not one bit. It would be in the paper that John Cooper is20:00coming back, it'll say when he came back, it'd be in the paper he was here, and it would show his picture and, or it would be on the radio. And then if you saw him, he was just John, just like he was when he left. He was just like a country boy that stayed in the country. He could walk with kings and, but he came right back and he felt that same common touch that he did when he was here in Somerset or when he was with the farm people, or the country folk here. No difference at all.
SUCHANEK: Were you surprised that he stayed in Washington? That hedidn't come back here to Somerset?
HISLOPE: Sometimes I felt surprised that he didn't come back, and I feltlike that this place had meant so much to him, and he'd meant so much to it, that it just seems to me like well, it looks like he would come back more often. But I guess it's like it is when maybe some of us go off to school. I know when I went to college, you had to go quite a ways and had to stay there the semester, you couldn't go back and 21:00forth. Well, we didn't get back to see dad and mama, or seemed like there wasn't time to do it. But, of course, in Washington he was a very busy person, and I can realize being in the Senate, and if you do a good job there, you had hardly any time at all to get back, and maybe he was so involved with his work and so dedicated to his purpose that he just didn't get back too much. I always felt like it'd have been a good place for him to come back, even been buried here with his people.
SUCHANEK: Did that surprise you that he was buried in-
HISLOPE: It surprised me some that he didn't come back, but of courseit was more than just he concerned, he had his family, or he had his wife, and so they were both buried in Washington in National, Arlington National Cemetery. But I guess the one, felt that way about it, because we somewhat felt that he was ours, and maybe he should have come back, I guess that's the way we felt.
SUCHANEK: A little selfish, huh?
SUCHANEK: Yeah. Did you ever meet his wife Lorraine, at all?
HISLOPE: Yeah, oh yes. Met Lorraine, and Lorraine, I imagine, had22:00experiences that were unrelated to most people that live in a rural area like this, but she was down to earth too at the time that I met her and had associations with her. We met her in some large political meetings, that were held here, and not too far from here. So she was a nice person to talk to. And was always considerate to other people when they were talking to her, so she was all right.
SUCHANEK: Do you think she felt comfortable here?
HISLOPE: I believe that she was intelligent enough that she had a scopeof reasoning wide enough that she, more or less, felt comfortable wherever she was. However, had she, had it been necessary for her to stay here some length of time, maybe she would have seemed comfortable, but possibly she wouldn't have been satisfied as well as she would some other place that were more similar to the locale in which she'd usually been used to.
SUCHANEK: Um-hm. What do you think Lorraine added to John?23:00
HISLOPE: It seemed like that John didn't need anything added. Hehad lived alone much of his life and was very successful, and if he were dissatisfied with such a status, no one ever knew about it, but it would seem that possibly that she did. I wouldn't say she was a walking stick to him, but possibly she was a lot of help to him, because she was sensible enough, maybe at times, that he could trust her enough that he would ask her for advice. And I'm pretty sure that she would be willing to give it when she thought she could have. So, I would believe that they had a very nice relationship, and wherever you find one person that can have a nice relationship with another person, I guess the two adds to one and the one adds to the two, and it makes them both strong because of each other, and I would, more or less, would assume that it was that way with them. Not being authority, and 24:00not knowing, but that would just be my assumption.
SUCHANEK: Um-hm. I assume that she probably helped him a great deal inhis ambassadorships in India?
HISLOPE: I would, it would seem to be that an intelligent, nice lookinglady would be of great assistance in that position, and I would imagine that she was to him.
SUCHANEK: Um-hm, um-hm. Did you ever work in a campaign of Cooper's?
HISLOPE: Yes, I've worked in more than one campaign of his. John wasa very devoted person to all of his political friends, and being here at home, if somebody was running for office, if he could help them here, he was glad to do it. And so we're all, more or less, sort of one family politically. And we'd have an organization, and all of us were for John Cooper, and John Cooper was for all of us. And we used to go out to speaking, and especially his uncle. And we would go out 25:00speaking, and everybody would be asked if they would have something to say, you know, and everybody would somewhat promote their self in a sense, but sometimes they would leave their self in the background and speak well of everybody else. So it was with John and all the rest of them. Kind of a big, happy political family, I guess.
SUCHANEK: What kind of campaigner was John Sherman Cooper?
HISLOPE: John was a quiet campaigner. And he usually wouldn't get toomuch afire on the stump, but sometimes when he got enthused a bit, he was even better then himself. And he told a little story one time, and I'll never forget, and that some Baptist preacher was going to revival, and this other Baptist preacher told about this other fellow making such a good talk, and he said, the Baptist preacher, says, "You know, 26:00when I get stirred up just so much, I just about assume to hear myself as anybody I ever heard." And John sometimes would tell that on himself (both laugh). It would tickle everybody that would be in the crowd. But he was a good campaigner, he was quiet, and everybody considered that whatever he said that they could depend on it. That he was honest and truthful, and there wasn't too much-well, he was jovial, and he had some jokes, but they were pretty dry sometimes, but they always trusted John. And so that made his politicking more potent, I guess, because when he would be at it, they considered that he, they considered he was a master at it, no matter what they, other people thought he was at all, and they trusted him a lot, and that helped him out a lot. And people were that way, seemed like all over the state, when John would do something, they said, "Well, he's got his heart in it," and that, he got that name, and that was of much assistance to him all along the way.
SUCHANEK: Do you think he enjoyed campaigning?27:00
HISLOPE: I believe he did. Of course it is an arduous task. If I wouldjudge him, like I sometimes judge myself, I believe everybody gets tired of campaigning, it's a big job, it's a hard job, and it's sort of a nerve-wracking job, because it takes so much energy. And if you think you should be real busy at it, it takes a lot of energy to, and it's quite tiresome, even though it's very interesting otherwise.
SUCHANEK: When he was in the Senate, in Washington, did he keep in closecontact with folks back here?
HISLOPE: You mean, John?
SUCHANEK: Yes, uh-huh.
HISLOPE: Yes, he kept pretty close contact. He would, his, now hiswife again, where she was of assistance, she would have a column in our paper all the time, and John might not have had time to do all of that, but she would tell what John was doing in the Senate, and other things that were happening in the Senate, and it looks like the way things was 28:00going in the Senate, and what it'll do, and what it'll cause, and what benefit it may be, and things like that. Then she would tell something about their social engagements, and who had been to see them, and what they were doing, and how they were getting along. And just sort of a message from somebody away from home to the people back home. And, of course, when he would come in, he'd get around what he could, and so he kept reasonably close to the people back home.
SUCHANEK: Did he visit often?
SUCHANEK: Did he visit often when he was in Washington?
HISLOPE: When he was in the Senate, I don't believe he was here toooften. I don't remember being here too often. He would be here, but like I said, I don't believe he had time to come very often. Usually people in the House have time to come a lot more than people in the Senate, or they do come.
SUCHANEK: Um-hm. Now we mentioned that John wasn't exactly the beststump speaker, but I've heard other people we've interviewed describe 29:00the crowd, as John spoke, that even though he wasn't a good speaker, the crowd would, somehow he would mesmerize the crowd. What do you attribute his popularity, not only here in Somerset, in Pulaski County, but all over the state?
HISLOPE: I think part of that is due to the fact that John was animpressive looking man to begin with, and somehow his vast experience had culminated to such an extent that the people had formulated a positive opinion about him. And having a nice appearance, and the opinion that they'd already been formulated, when he went before a crowd, they saw somebody there that they wanted to see, and they hear some, heard somebody that they wanted to hear. And then, with all of the comment that's been made about John not being a very good speaker, 30:00John was really excellent, I thought when he would talk to people. John sometimes was more of a talker than he was a speaker. And so, in that relaxed mood he would, one could say, speak to a crowd, and again, I could say he talked to a crowd just like he would talk to you or I if you or I were across the table from each other. And that type of delivery had a sincerity there that you can hardly find elsewhere. Now, the eloquent person that stands on the stump and can talk and cause hoorays everywhere, that's beautiful to hear, somewhat like strings on a banjo or a musical instrument, but sometimes those beautiful phrases, and those fans of music are pablum when it comes to what the heart says about it. They know they just don't mean what they're saying. But when John Cooper said something, they took it seriously, and I think that's the reason people came, and that's the reason he had such 31:00crowds, and that's the reason he was, they were so enthusiastic. In fact, his crowds were so enthusiastic, they would just drown John out, like John wasn't even there (both laugh). And it would take quite a little while before you realized that he was going to speak again.
SUCHANEK: Oh, that's good. What did the people of Pulaski County andSomerset think of John's more liberal stands on some issues? You know, he's got the reputation as being a liberal type Republican, and voting with the Democrats more often than with his own party.
HISLOPE: The people of our county was less vocal on those matters thanpeople of other counties. The farther away from home you got, you could hear a little more criticism of some stands that he'd taken in the liberal bill. But you didn't hear many people close home say much about it. They just took it in stride, and I guess they thought, 32:00Well, maybe John was right, or if I'd have been John, I wouldn't have done that, but John knows what he's doing, so we'll just think it's all right. But, there were other people farther away from home that were somewhat critical. Not many of them to the extreme, but some of them were critical on the stands he would make. I guess all of us, if we were there, having to do what he did, even though we were on the conservative side of the spectrum, possibly that would be extreme too for someone, but the Republican Party and the 5th Congressional District, that is the Republican Party that sort of realizes what's going on politically and understands things of the world, they're a little more to be critical of a liberal side than most other people. Most people think, "Well, it's all right." Because there were some people that was all for it, but evidently it didn't hurt him any. 33:00They'd vote for him anyway.
SUCHANEK: Yeah. I know we've got his papers up in the library, and alot of the correspondence from his constituents, regarding, say, civil rights, and the Vietnam War, you know, he was one of the first to come out for civil rights and one of the first against the Vietnam War. You know, the constituents were quite upset about some of those things.
HISLOPE: That, the Vietnam War, in retrospect, if we could all go back,most everybody would have been against it in the first place. And John possibly had more foresight than the average person had about it, and I think as time passed on, the serious criticism was mellowed a lot, and partially to the extent of even understanding, and maybe faded away into no criticism at all, and he might have been commented in later years by those who had criticized him, because that was a terrible 34:00conflict, and there was an awful lot of mistakes made.
SUCHANEK: Right, right. How about the civil rights issue?
HISLOPE: The civil rights issue, as far as I've known, was not sovery serious as some people would think. Most everybody has known all along, even in areas that did not go along with the civil rights movement as much as other areas, that basically it was right, and they, other people, the minority had just as much right to a full life as the majority would have. And mostly I would think that people that criticized some on that maybe were out on a limb their self, and they'd become more modest, and maybe most of their criticism has even faded away by now.
SUCHANEK: Um-hm, um-hm. As far as the Republican Party goes, did youalways see eye to eye with John Cooper? Did you always agree with his- 35:00
HISLOPE: No, I'm a person that never saw eye to eye with my closestcompanions sometimes. I never saw eye to eye with any individual, I imagine. Always had some occasion to feel differently about some things. But I would say the majority of the times, I would always agree with John, and I think, as I've grown older, I think that I would agree with John 90, almost 100 percent of the decisions he made. But when I was in the legislature, I didn't agree with my own party all the time on what they would do. So, I just think everybody has a right to have their own opinion, and-
SUCHANEK: Well, while you were in the legislature, did John ShermanCooper ever call you and wonder what was going on in the Kentucky legislature while he was in Washington? Was he concerned about issues back home, you know, that was happening at the state level? Or did you ever contact John? 36:00
HISLOPE: I'm sure that John was concerned with the issues at the statelevel, but I don't recall John having called me. I've called him a time or two, or tried to get him a time or two. I know I was in Atlantic City, New Jersey one time, and I had reason to call him, I don't remember for what reason, but at that time I wasn't able to get him, but he was always an easy person to talk to, and would take, in a sense, it seemed like he would take advice, didn't matter who you were, or how uninformed you were, he was glad to get your ideas, and glad to get your advice on something. So, he kept pretty close.
SUCHANEK: Okay. Well, let's wrap up John Sherman Cooper and get onabout Leonard Hislope then (both laugh).
HISLOPE: Okay, there's not much there.
SUCHANEK: Well, I think you've managed to tell us some things aboutyourself anyway in things about your relationship with Cooper, you know, that John Sherman Cooper is a very respected person, not only in Kentucky but nationally, and I think the fact that he considered you 37:00a friend is, bodes very well for your own reputation. Now, during the 56th session, you sat next to C. W. Buchanan, and Clarence Bates.
SUCHANEK: Both of whom, I believe, were Republicans.
SUCHANEK: What can you tell me about Buchanan and Bates? Did they helpyou understand what was going on in the session, in that first session? Did they give you any advice, do you recall?
HISLOPE: They were gentleman of the first order. Were persons thatit was very nice to know, and they had their part in the general understanding of things, to add something to the total spectrum, but as far as just advising me, I never remember if they attempted to, or tried to, or otherwise advise me in any way.
HISLOPE: By the way, Clarence, I think, is retiring from thesuperintendency of the Wayne County schools about now. I believe he's 38:00retiring. Clarence was a very good friend of Happy's, and Charlie was a very good friend of "Happy's." And Charlie has an insurance agency in Barbourville, I used to go in to see it every time I was over there, but we didn't always agree on how bills should be or-so, we didn't vote the same way all the time, but we were real good friends.
SUCHANEK: Even though you were from the same party.
SUCHANEK: Um-hm. Now, in that 56th session, you served on the ClaimsCommittee, the Conservation Committee, and the Committee on Executive and Legislative Affairs. I was just wondering, did you ask to serve on any of those committee assignments, or were you just given those?
HISLOPE: I don't believe I did, because that was the first time I wasever there, and I didn't know, I didn't even know they had committees til I got there. And I was surprised they had so many. And, there were, I learned a little bit later that there were a few committees that they dumped most of the freshmen in, and so most of the committees 39:00I was in were those committees that most anybody else, for their first time, might have been in.
SUCHANEK: The less important ones.
HISLOPE: Yeah, I would say they were important, but they weren't nearlyas important as some of them.
HISLOPE: That's right.
SUCHANEK: Do you recall if they met often?
SUCHANEK: Do you recall if those committees met often?
HISLOPE: They didn't meet nearly as any times as the committees that Iserved on later, or later in later years we met a lot more often than we did then. Those committees met when it was necessary to meet, and didn't meet too often.
SUCHANEK: Um-hm. Now, as governor, how did "Happy" Chandler operate?Compared to other governors you served under, like Bert Combs, Ned Breathitt, and Wendell Ford, was Chandler more of a hands-on type of governor? Or, wasn't he too concerned about the details of things?
HISLOPE: What was the first part of your question?40:00
SUCHANEK: Well, was he more of a hands-on type of governor? How didhe operate?
HISLOPE: Well, "Happy" seemed to operate with the assumption thatjust about anything he wanted he was going to get. And, actually, it usually turned out that way. Now, "Happy" reorganized the state health department, and he had an awful lot of opposition to it, had a lot of doctors that was opposed to it, and a lot of the leaders in Louisville, and at that time, one vote-what I'm trying to say, at that time Louisville, they didn't have, well they had more, they had, didn't have as many legislators as they later had, because one man, one vote wasn't, didn't prevail at that time, but they had some influential people, and they was against, just against that law was moving that health department out of Louisville. Well, we found out, or I found out, it possibly was the best thing to do. It was in a more central location. But now, he wanted that done, and he would move Heaven and 41:00Earth to get it done, anything it took. If it took favoritism, he was going to exercise favoritism. And he got it done. And, of course, we're very proud of the medical center at the University of Kentucky, and he wanted that there. All in all, "Happy" done a lot of really good things. And, but he set his head to do something, he was going to get it done, and allegedly he'd go behind the scenes to get it done. He'd get a lot of other people to help him. So I guess you'd better get a lot of people to help you in circumstances like that. But he was a very strong governor, and he had ways of getting help that a lot of people didn't understand, or didn't even know about, and he would exercise those ways to get things done. And, he always used that friendly persuasion too. And he gloated in that, and he was happy to use it that way, and he got a lot of people to go his way just because he wanted it to go that way. He was a very persuasive person. 42:00
SUCHANEK: But he wouldn't hesitate to use like highway funds and thatkind of thing to persuade some people to go along with his program?
HISLOPE: I wouldn't directly say that, but I'm assuming that those whowould go ahead and do things the way he wanted it done. If there was X and Y, and Y had gone the way he wanted them to, that Y would be more liable to get a highway than the other. So, he gives it somewhat that way, yeah.
SUCHANEK: Sure. Now, compared to the other governors, Bert Combs, andNed Breathitt, and Wendell Ford that you served under, you know, would you say "Happy" was a more detail oriented person? Or did he rely on, say the speaker and the majority floor leader to get things done more so than actually doing it himself?
HISLOPE: Well, I would say that Combs and Breathitt did what they did ina quieter way than "Happy." Most people, when "Happy" wanted something, 43:00most people knew that he wanted it real, real badly, and Combs and Breathitt didn't exercise their self in that type of, kind of way. They were quieter operators than "Happy" was. All good operators, but were quieter. And, all good men, but had different ways of getting things done, I guess. And yet, there were certain type of ways that all used, and even they use it now. This way, this thing of friendly persuasion, and otherwise, if it's got to be done, is still usually state government, and they all used it. "Happy" was the most glowing type of, he was just a good, happy administrator, that was all there was to it, and everybody knew it. And even if people disagreed with him, they didn't hold it against him. He was all right. Combs got along very nicely, he was somewhat lost of what he was going to do. 44:00He'd made a lot of promises; he didn't have the money to pull his promises. So, he met with some of his close friends, and he says, "We just can't do this." They said to him, "the only way in the world we're going to be able to do it is that sales tax." And they greased up, they greased that sales tax, in a sense, or lubricated it, by putting in that veterans bonus. And then the veterans, they were all for the bonus. Everybody's for the bonus. And then the people that opposed the sales tax, they'd be for the sales tax, because the bonus was in the sales tax. And so there you go along. Combs was a clever operator, and did a good job as governor. He built roads like the rest of them built, but it seemed like "Happy" had the name of being the great road builder. And Combs done all right, he-Combs, as well as the common man, well, like over at this little town over at Prestonsburg, there was an article in the Courier-Journal not long ago about it, and they 45:00swear by Bert Combs today, because he got them a college in there. And Bert Combs come in there today, and they would be by Bert Combs just like people would by John Cooper. If Bert Combs was down at the store, they'd run down to that store to see Bert Combs. And, of course, he got our community college here. And he didn't do as much for education that he would have liked to have done, but he done, according to his ability to do so, he done quite a bit. And so they respect him for that. And, of course the, came along this suit for property be taxed according to 100 percent of its evaluation, and that put everybody in a dither and that, when Breathitt came along, well, something had to be done with the assessment. Well, we had a bill, and they reduced the assessment, and unless the profit hit 100 percent evaluation. If they hadn't reduced the assessment, they'd have had all the money that they 46:00needed, but of course, I guess it would have been great hardship for some people, because it would have come as a blow suddenly.
HISLOPE: And it was, the blow was too serious and too sudden to beswallowed politically, I would imagine.
SUCHANEK: Yeah. I have to flip over the tape.
[End of Tape #1, Side #1]
[Beginning of Tape #1, Side #2]
HISLOPE: I served with Breathitt in the General Assembly, and I servedwith Julian Carroll in the General Assembly, and I served with Wendell Ford. "Cap" Gardner, I believe, ran against Ford, and Ford only beat him seventy-one votes when he ran for the Senate. And that election just turned the fortunes of both of those men, it seems. "Cap" had a lot of bad luck after that, Bert kept on climbing the ladder, served with John Breckenridge, and George served with John, and Foster 47:00Ockerman served with him, Hubbard served with him, and Depaulsy(??), that was a federal judge. So there's quite a few people that went on and done other things that I imagine they wanted to do, and became very important citizens, you might say, but went to the legislature at the time that I served.
SUCHANEK: Well, did you ever aspire to higher office?
HISLOPE: I can't say that I did. I had one time thought it would bevery, very nice to serve in the United States House of Representatives, and if I'll flatter myself just a little bit, maybe at one time I could have had a chance had circumstance been a little bit differently. Might have had a chance to have gone, but after the years have passed by- I'm not a lazy person, but I realize if you do a good job in Washington, you have to give so much of your life to it that you have to leave a lot of the rest of your life off, and one can't live a personal life very successfully when it comes to their own inner 48:00being and do a good job in the Congress of the United States. At this present time, if I were offered an appointment, I don't believe I'd want to take it. Maybe I've changed that much over the years, and I don't believe I would want it now.
SUCHANEK: Um-hm. Now, historically, up until the administration ofJohn Y. Brown Jr., the governor handpicked the leadership of his party in both the House and the Senate, and their job was to see that the governor's program got passed. What kind of a speaker was Timmy Fitzpatrick? How did, did you have any problems with the Majority Floor Leader Fred Morgan or with the speaker, as a Republican?
HISLOPE: I had, what I thought then, some time, problems. Fred's a goodfriend of mine, and I said to Fred one day, that was before I'd had much experience in legislature. I said, "Fred, I want you to answer this question, there's something I want you to tell me." He said, 49:00"Leonard, I'll do the best I can." I says, "How in the world can you be for that bill?" Well (laughs), I should have realized that Fred was the floor leader, and the floor leader has to be for the administration's bills because they're handling those bills, they're obligated to do so. And he gave me an explanation that wasn't, maybe as explicit as I've said I knew they had to be, but I began to mellow a little bit over the years and understand it. But sometimes there was a few, there were some times that it was pretty hard to conceive how anybody could be for some bills, but I began to realize that the leadership was, if they're going to be a leader, they've gotta be for those bills. But it was a little hard on the person to do it. I know one bill, the force account bill, we opposed that very strenuously when "Happy" was governor, and you know, if there's a project out here on the road, you go ahead and you let it, you don't have competitive bids at all, and we just thought 50:00it was a political instrument for favoritism, and of course it was, to some extent, but that otherwise you could get jobs done that you didn't have to go and get a whole bunch of bidders, you could get it done before you had the bidding done. It was a little hard to realize on the beginning, but I began to realize. But, of course, in politics as well as in all other human activities, there is a right and a wrong, and unfortunately it's awfully hard to adhere to that right and that wrong and still walk the political line, as long as you've got strong leaders, it's just almost difficult in my opinion to do it. But we've always done the best that we could (laughs).
SUCHANEK: Did Fitzpatrick and, well, did any of the, during your tenurein the House, did any of the majority floor leaders or Democratic speakers give you a hard time because you were a Republican? Did you 51:00feel like-
HISLOPE: No. No, really they didn't. In fact, I wouldn't say theyleaned over backwards to, as the old expression, to be nice to me, but they were exceedingly nice to me. Because when I had a resolution, or when I was going to oppose a bill, and they knew it, they would always give me the floor at any time, and they were courteous, and I noticed many times that maybe they were better public relations than I was at the time. I have had a resolution, or maybe a speech, that many times they would join in the crowd very boisterously and laughing, and maybe would cheer. It's against the rules, but I've had people cheer me right on the floor. And they took it in stride, and they, sometimes I was right, but they treated me real nice about it, and they would laugh with me about it after the affair was over. So, we had a good time with it. 52:00
SUCHANEK: Okay. Now, Chandler had run his campaign in '55 promisingno new taxes, and intimating that he would do something about that paramutual betting at Keeneland and the cigarette tax, but once he got into office, he kind of reversed himself on all those issues, I think. In fact, he did not present his budget during the regular session, but had to call a special session, one of the four that he did call in '56, to do that. What do you recall about that regular session and those special sessions? Were things as disorganized as the legislative record makes it appear?
HISLOPE: They would seem to be disorganized to one like myself thatwas there, but they wasn't nearly as disorganized as it seemed that they were. Because, when you go into a special session or any other session, there's always an interim of time to the inexperienced, or 53:00the newcomer, "Well what's it going all this time? We're never doing anything here." But while we weren't doing anything there, there were other people on the inside that was working part of the day and maybe into the night to organize and to plan and to do the things that the administration wanted done. They were being done undercover and the whole assembly didn't know it. But I would say that what many of us thought was, well, doing nothing at all, they were still getting things done. They were getting things ready to be placed on the floor at the proper time, so they were pretty busy, some of them were.
SUCHANEK: I don't know if I asked you this last time or not, but wheredid you stay in Frankfort?
HISLOPE: I stayed with Earl Garrison on Briar Cliff when I first wentto Frankfort, that was on-Clarence States and I had a room together at that time, and after that session, my wife went with me and we stayed on Sunset Drive at Mr. Boar's residence. They'd go to Florida, and 54:00they let us out their house, it was a nice place. And, other than that, we stayed at Thistleton apartments, that was while that place was apartments, in Thistleton. So those are the places we stayed when we were in Frankfort. At that time they were all nice places.
SUCHANEK: Uh-huh. Did you socialize much at, in the evenings?
HISLOPE: No, I didn't so much socialize, as sometimes I became a partof other people that would socialize. You know, there was always some kind of a meeting, or some kind of a getting together, and the lobbyists, of course, got together all the time, and that caused me to be able to meet some people I wasn't at all of their meetings, but some. But as far as socializing ourselves, we done very little of it.
SUCHANEK: Okay. Now you were one of twenty-three Republicans in theHouse in '56. Allan Trout from the Courier-Journal reported that Chandler could not have passed several parts of his budget, and tax 55:00program, had he not been able to gain the support of a sizeable number of the Republicans. Did the Democratic leadership or Chandler himself approach the Republican leadership or you personally asking for your support on some of these things?
HISLOPE: Yes. There was a fellow by the name of Sam Sternberg, I don'tknow whether you ever heard of Sam or not.
HISLOPE: Sam was, he was around there quite a bit, and Sam would talk tosome people. He never did talk to me, but there were people that would talk to some people about certain bills, and they would talk to those people and those people wouldn't know that somebody had advised them to, they were just making conversation. And, then "Happy" contacted quite a few of our boys himself. I know one time that we were in session, and there was, they wanted us to adjourn so that the governor 56:00could see all the Republican Party (both laugh). I thought that was a rather unusual thing, and I think, I was either caucus chairman or minority leader at that time, and they just went over my head and we just adjourned (both laugh). So "Happy" had a conference with quite a few of our boys, and I think he got quite a bit of help out of it.
SUCHANEK: Uh-huh. You described at least one meeting you had with"Happy," would he call the Republicans in his office often, or were you ever called in there?
HISLOPE: I was called in, if I remember correctly, one time, and thatwas on, I believe it was on the Keeneland bill, I believe it was, and- but he, there were quite a few Republicans that the door was open to the governor's office all the time, like would be in any other session, they went along with "Happy" on just, oh, on just about everything I guess. And that was all right, but I was a person that they just 57:00couldn't depend on me every time, they didn't know. But I would say Allen was right, like it would be, I guess, in any other session, they, you take the rebels, there had to be quite a few Republicans go with "Happy" or there would have been some bills he couldn't have passed.
SUCHANEK: Right. Well, I was wondering how that worked, becausein reviewing the House journals, I noticed that you personally had sponsored five bills in one resolution, all of which never made it out of committee. Now, and correct me if I'm wrong, but it appears to me that you tended to side more with the so-called rebels on the Democratic side than with the administration.
HISLOPE: At that time, I guess that I could have been reasonablyplaced into that category. I didn't possibly mean to be a rebel, but 58:00there were some well known things that "Happy" had to have help on some of those, I couldn't be for. I was real good friends with John Breckenridge, and Foster, and those boys.
SUCHANEK: Now, Doug Ford told me on Monday in Owensboro that he andBreckenridge, and Foster Ockerman and Pat Tanner and Gil Kingsbury would sometimes meet, have meetings after the session was over for the day and the evening. They would just kind of gravitate over to Doug Ford's place, or Breckenridge's place. Did you ever, were you ever invited to those meetings?
HISLOPE: No, never was invited over there.
SUCHANEK: Okay. I mean, it wasn't anything, it was more philosophicaldiscussion on how government is supposed to operate, rather than plotting strategy.
HISLOPE: They were, back to those resolutions, they were bills andresolutions that I introduced that I had no hope whatsoever that they would pass. They were some resolutions that I introduced, I wanted 59:00to create a certain public opinion. I know when Bert Combs, bless his heart, when he closed Cumberland Falls State Park, well, there'd been some vermin and that place wasn't being operated in a sanitary manner, you know, state parks have, quite a bit of the time, never been operated as they should be. But this time Bert saw reason to close them. And I introduced the resolution that they be opened immediately, and the wording that I used was a little bit unusual, and it was a little descriptive, and a little poetic, and a little otherwise, and it got quite a bit of public attention. And at that time, you would read your own resolution, and I know there was Mr. Pickston(??) in Lexington, he says, "You sure did spread it on that resolution," said, "everybody and I were wanting that park to be open." And it did open 60:00in just a little while, and I've got the resolution with me now. It wasn't any offense to Bert, but it (laughs), it was so worded, in such a sense, that everybody said, "My gosh, they closed Cumberland Falls." And, it wasn't any time until it was open. Well, it passed all right, and I read it. Now, we had another one that, and he had all the good intentions in the world, Wendell Ford was to conserve energy, you know, there was a time you wanted to conserve just every bit of energy you could. Well, Wendell decided we'd conserve energy their at the capitol, and turned off them lights down there all around Abraham Lincoln, tourists come through there, just an airy, dark, and gloomy place, and as I said, "Only a few people, rays sifting down from the few below, a few people, rays sifting down from the skies to the people below, and the face of Lincoln cannot be seen, and no one can know of his honor and prestige, and the people that pass this way will not even 61:00know he's there," or something like that. And, "Whereas in the Senate, the House of Representatives, and the Governor's office, there is light even surpassing that of the mid- day sun. Incandescent, flashing, flourishing, strong light, that man may be seen of man, yet in the capitol one cannot gaze on the face of Abraham (Suchanek laughs) in the rotunda." Well, it wasn't long until the lights come back on, and I got what I wanted. And, many of my resolutions-
SUCHANEK: A small battle, but-
HISLOPE: Yeah, small battle. And then, that was the only thing thatsome people remembered about that session of the legislature. I've heard one say it one time, "The only thing they done up there was turn on the light" (laughs). One resolution was the only thing that stuck with them. So, sometimes it goes to show what a little thing can do sometimes.
SUCHANEK: (Laughs), or maybe how little is done up there in somesessions (both laugh).
HISLOPE: But, his intentions were good. Wendell and I got along very62:00well together. His sister married a boy here in town, sharp boy.
SUCHANEK: I'd like to briefly mention the bills you did sponsor andget your recollections of them, because I think many of them are quite interesting. House Bill 96 would have prohibited increased state spending before elections. In fact, some of these are kind of related. You co-sponsored House Bill 292 and House Bill 293 with A. W. Wells, which would have prohibited campaign contributions by labor unions, and also regulated strikes and picketing. Do you remember anything at all about those three bills prohibiting increased state spending before elections, and-
HISLOPE: I remember that one. It was so obvious, and sometimes itwas the fact was so glowing that a tremendous amount of money would be spent just prior to election. Then you'd get in your car to go somewhere, and just before the election you have to wait, just little 63:00roads you'd have to wait on to get around, they was working on roads everywhere. It was just a tremendous amount of wasted money because it was done so early. And as explained at the time, they were the same as taking our money and buying votes, indirectly, and it boils down to the same thing, that you're just buying votes with taxpayers' money. It had a lot of support, but those things are had to do anything with. And, of course, I talked to some of the boys and they said, "The only way we can be elected is the labor unions give us some money to run on." Well, I says, "When you're elected, then you're going to do what they want." They said, "Yes we are." I said, "That's a one-sided affair altogether and it's not fair." And we talked those things over, but those things finally worked their self out.
SUCHANEK: Um-hm, um-hm. Now, you also co-sponsored House Bill 409with Clarence Bates, and it related to strip mine permits. This bill 64:00received a second reading on the floor, but not a third. Do you recall anything about that?
HISLOPE: I can't recall the substance of that bill, but I do know thatthere's some very powerful interests, if they want anything killed by way of mining, they're usually able to do it, even to the present day, people with much money, but I can't remember the substance of the bill.
SUCHANEK: Okay. I don't think that's the last bill regarding stripmining that you sponsored during your tenure, I think you sponsored several bills on trying to tighten up strip mine regulations.
HISLOPE: I believe I did.
SUCHANEK: Were you concerned about the environment, or do you rememberwhere those types of bills would have come from? Would you have constituents that were concerned about that, or-
HISLOPE: I didn't really have constituents, because there's not enoughcoal mining in my immediate area, so the constituency would have not been able to help me, because they would have been elsewhere. But I've always thought that the streams and the valleys and the green of 65:00Kentucky were-well, Kentucky is one of the most beautiful states that there are, and certainly environmental, their mining should always be done in such a way as not to destroy the environment or to mar the beauty of the state and the landscape. So we had a concern for pure water and the environment and the beauty of the country.
SUCHANEK: Um-hm. Would someone have asked you to sponsor thatlegislation?
HISLOPE: I don't recall anybody having asked me. I would assume thatI was aware of the fact that other people were interested, and we discussed it, but I don't remember anybody asking me, I just don't remember it. Been a little while ago, you know.
SUCHANEK: Now you were the sole sponsor of the Joint Resolution 15directing state agencies to avoid discrimination in employment. Did this resolution refer to racial type discrimination, or discrimination based on political party? 66:00
HISLOPE: As I remember, I had in mind mostly politics, because it wasso plain in this part of the state that when I was a young boy going to high school up here, as a farm boy, lived twelve miles out in the country, I came to, rode a horse to town on Monday morning, stayed at the Sampson Boarding House all week, that was the places where the various judges had their lunch, one of the best places to eat I ever saw. And, well I decided I wanted to make me a little money because I wanted to go to college over at Bowling Green. Well, I went to see the local chairman here about getting a job on the highway department, and I didn't do any good. And it didn't take me long to realize that somehow he knew that I belonged to a Republican family and I couldn't get a job (both laugh). And I still remembered that when I went to the legislature, I guess.
SUCHANEK: I see. Uh-huh. And, you also sponsored House Resolution 52,67:00requesting more songs and poetry about Kentucky. Do you remember where that resolution came from?
HISLOPE: Well, just by being of the legislature, and the speeches Imade, and the resolutions I wrote, and I'll say this with some modesty, some people gleaned from them the essence that, well, they called me the "Poet in Pulaski," or the unofficial poet laureate of the state. They designated me as their poet of the House, and then after some certain bill or resolution, it began to be known through the state something about somebody calling me a poet. And people began to write in wanting me to, wanting to know what they thought about this poem, or that (Suchanek laughs), and it became so frequent and launched with so many letters that I wrote this resolution, thought maybe it would be good to those that wanted to write and promote them, or even promoting 68:00the ability to write poetry.
SUCHANEK: Um-hm. Now, as we stated, Chandler did call four specialsessions in '56, and we discussed briefly, I think, the reorganizations of state agencies bill, and one of those that was presented in one of those special sessions, and you voted against that reorganization bill. Do you recall why?
HISLOPE: No, I don't recall why. It's been such a long time, but Ireally don't recall why. I don't, I can't understand why I did most of the reorganization, I guess most of the reorganizations that "Happy" had was all right, but I don't remember what reason I had.
SUCHANEK: Okay. Now, one of the main pieces of legislation in thesecond special session was Senate Bill 3 which provided for a hundred million dollar highway bond issue. Chandler had promised this and had stated that the first thing he would do would be to improve the highway between his home in Versailles and Frankfort.
HISLOPE: Yeah (both laugh).
SUCHANEK: Now, you were present during that vote, but apparently you69:00either abstained or left the chamber on some pressing business. Do you recall that?
HISLOPE: As I recall it, we had then what they call so-called experts,and at that time, the state of Kentucky's debt was practically nil compared to what it is now. But some of us were told that it was too, there was going to be too much bonded debt, and the interest would amount to quite a bit of money, and I thought maybe that's just too much money at this time to do that. And for that reason, I either refrained or abstained, I don't remember anything else about it. But there was quite a bit of comment on that road (both laugh). They built a good road, it's still good. Well, this road between Somerset and Burnside was built by him during his first session. And it's a four-lane highway, and the only reason it's not adequate today is that there's just too much traffic for it. It's a wonderful road yet, don't need improvement, the road is sound. He built it then. He was the 70:00great road builder, so-called.
SUCHANEK: Um-hm. Now you would have abstained from voting for that forpolitical reasons?
HISLOPE: No. No, I don't think so.
SUCHANEK: Okay. I thought maybe, you know, that might have created somebacklash at home.
HISLOPE: Well I, this thing of road from his home to Lexington, weobjected to that, and reconsidering the consideration, maybe there was some political reason, but I just don't, I couldn't say, I don't remember enough about it to know.
SUCHANEK: Okay. Now, during that, the third special session, he finallypresented his budget bill, and I don't think there was much debate on it, and it passed 75 to nothing, but again, you were present that day but didn't vote on it. Do you recall anything about that?
HISLOPE: Is that the full budget for the session?
SUCHANEK: Right, uh-huh.
HISLOPE: No, I thought I voted for every budget, I don't recall not71:00having voted for that.
SUCHANEK: Let's see, he had run and won on the platform of no new taxes,but yet his budget called for $46 million more than the state projected to take in, and John Ed Pierce wrote that when legislators questioned this, basically Chandler said, "Pass my budget, and then I'll show you how we're going to pay for it." Do you recall that?
HISLOPE: No sir, I don't.
SUCHANEK: Okay. Okay. You don't recall anything about the budget then?
HISLOPE: I don't recall having not voted for it, no.
SUCHANEK: Okay. During that third special session, you co-sponsored aresolution with C. W. Buchanan favoring the full implementation of the minimum foundation program for education. And we had talked earlier, in the first session, about your being a schoolteacher and being involved in education, which I guess was your motivation for supporting, or co-sponsoring that bill. But the rules committee killed it. 72:00
HISLOPE: I didn't have any personal reason to write it, because I wasn'tteaching anymore. And I believe that I sponsored, co-sponsored it because so many people wanted it done. And I had implicitly belonged to the teacher's organization here, of course all they wanted, and I believe I did it because they wanted me to do it. If I remember correctly.
SUCHANEK: Um-hm. How strong was the KEA lobby?
HISLOPE: Fairly strong. They were, in my opinion, more effective thenthan they were in later years, or, at least they would have been more effective with me then, than they are now, because the national KEA has become quite a liberal organization and stands for so many things that I couldn't stand for. The type of curriculum and the mode of teaching, 73:00and the type of people that are qualified to teach that I wouldn't be able to be with as the national association at all. And the state has gone a little more that way as time went by, but back then the state was quite more independent than the national was.
SUCHANEK: Um-hm, um-hm. Now, the fourth special session dealt withincreasing individual and corporate income taxes, decreasing credits, and increasing the gasoline tax for trucks, as well as imposing a surtax. You voted against these new revenue producing measures. Do you think this made you more of an enemy to the administration than you already were by reason of your party affiliation? 74:00
HISLOPE: No, I don't believe it was. I believe that being new in thelegislature, when anything come up to increase a tax, and the trucking people had their voice on the bill too. And I just believe that I didn't want to go along with the tax, or I didn't want to add an extra burden to the trucking people is the way I remember it.
SUCHANEK: Um-hm, okay. In fact, in that session, you co-sponsoredHouse Resolution 9 with Harry Caudill, who passed away, of course, not long ago, which provided for a public referendum on sources of state revenue. And again the Rules Committee killed this resolution, but do you recall what your and Harry's thoughts on this were?
HISLOPE: Harry invited me to co-sponsor the bill, I was glad to do it,and I would believe that Harry didn't have much confidence that it would pass. I didn't myself. But, I never will forget what Harry said about it, if it's the one that I believe it is. Harry says, "Now we've 75:00got a new way,a new way to raise revenue, and it's a painless way," and he says, "I'll call it the Caudillian-Hislopian way." And says, "We'll raise this revenue by the thirsty and the willing, and only the people that desire a drink will pay the bill" (both laugh). He had a pretty good way of expressing himself, but it didn't get anywhere. But, of course, it did create a euphoria with the people that didn't want any more taxes. The people that don't drink, well, let those boys that drink pay it. But, of course, that wouldn't have been enough, but it was a pretty wise little political bill, I guess. Harry had a keen sense of comedy, and I guess he wanted to throw it in. One of the first times that I ever heard about Mullins's speech was when he explained the bill by using Mullins's speech. Did you ever hear about it?
HISLOPE: Well, he says, "There was a man in Whitesburg by the name of76:00Mullins. Had quite a deep sonorous voice, and he was an unlearned man, but he was a great orator, he'd been to Frankfort, and he was very proud of the fact, and it was on court day, and Judge Mallard(??) was at the bench," and says, "Brother Mullins stood in the courtroom and he was recognized, and Judge Mallard(??) says, 'For what reason does Brother Mullins stand?' He says, 'Sir, I want to tell the people how glad I was I got to go down to Frankfort and serve the people of Letcher County.' He says, 'You know, I went down on the Blue Wing. And says, 'the Blue Wing maneuvered its way through the winding sinuocites(??) of the Kentucky river, and I know one sandy bend we went around and the Blue Wing stopped.' And says, 'all the birdlets and all the amlets(??) and all the birdlets came to the shore.' And they says, 'Brother Mullins, sail on, sail on, sail on.' And he says, 'Judge,' said, 'I did, sailed on down there, when I got to Frankfort, gotten off of that boat, walked 77:00up Cumberland Avenue, walked into the General Assembly and sat down and took my seat there.' And he says, 'You know, I sat down under them big curlicues, them big lights, and that far-fetch ceiling,' and he says, 'that I knew was paid for by taxes, by unwilling people,' and he said, 'I sat there as still as the hound pup under the swirling rose of the bull fly.' But he says, 'when things of great, great (unintelligible) arose, I jumped to my feet, I rose like the ludician lion(??)of the desert and gave three shrill shrieks for liberty and voted no.'" And he says, "Mr. Speaker, on this bill I want to give three shrill shrieks for liberty and vote no." That's the way he explained his vote (both laugh). Never will forget that (both laugh). He was quite a boy.
SUCHANEK: That's great. That was Harry Caudill?
HISLOPE: Yeah, that's the way he explained his vote.
SUCHANEK: Uh-huh. Have you read any of his books?
HISLOPE: I'm sorry to say I've always intended to and never have. Ijust never got to it. He's a very unusual person. I was in the hall 78:00with him one day, in front of the General Assembly, and there was a tall, stalwart looking man, well-dressed, handsome fellow, and he says, "You see that fellow over there?" I says, "yes sir." He said, "I'm going to take you over there and meet him." Said, "He's the circuit judge over there in Letcher County with some more counties." He took me over there and introduced me to him very politely, and after he introduced me, and he says, "You know, the only thing in the world I've ever been able to find against this man, he's a Republican" (both laugh). He was quite a boy.
SUCHANEK: Uh-huh, yeah. What do you recall about the cigarette taxissue that "Happy" had kind of run on, and I don't think he actually came out and said that he was going to repeal the cigarette tax, but 79:00he at least intimated that he would support that. Do you recall the controversy behind that?
HISLOPE: I recall that there was an awful lot of concern with the farmbureau, and of course the farm bureau wanted to promote tobacco, and tobacco sales, and incoming tobacco farmers, and they were very, very strong against it, and he used a lot of lobbying efforts to try to get everybody else to be against it too. It's about the only thing I remember about it.
SUCHANEK: Okay. Now, as we've commented before, it's been said bymany people, including yourself, that "Happy" had a long memory, and that during the '57 primary he attempted to help his friends in the legislature and punish his enemies. First of all, do you think "Happy" considered you a friend, or perhaps an enemy, politically? And did he 80:00help you, or are you aware if he tried to help your opponent in the '57 primary, who was Reverend Bert Whitaker.
HISLOPE: I believe that "Happy," I believe that "Happy" was sort ofsurprised at me, in a way, that just a few little things happened that he was surprised that would happen in the legislature, and his best friends were some of the best friends that I had. And I believe that he might have considered me, maybe, a little bit of a maverick, and a person that got along with his best friends, and I don't believe he was mad at me, and I don't believe he ever done much against me. But he threatened me a little bit, and I don't know, if he helped Bert Whitaker, it never did show up. He ran a very poor race, and he was a very fine man, he was a minister here. And after I wrote that letter, 81:00I wish I would have brought that letter in that he wrote back, it's a wonderful letter when I wrote, sent that to his birthday, at least if he did hold a little against me, he forgot it all, and he's a very good friend of mine now. And then, after that was over, his friend here, Arthur Prather, they were some things that Arthur was interested in and "Happy" was interested in, and I was interested in it myself. We worked together quite a bit too. So, I-
SUCHANEK: So you got along better, you'd say in the second session thanyou did the first?
HISLOPE: Yeah, I guess we can put it that way. And so he was a prettyeasy fellow to-if you didn't rub him too much, he wouldn't be offended too much, and so we, I never, it never reached the degree that he would really be my enemy, and so I don't believe he ever was.
SUCHANEK: Uh-huh. Now you said he threatened you a little bit, how wasthat done?
HISLOPE: Well, that was my brother-in-law, I mean, that he was going to-
SUCHANEK: Oh, I see.
HISLOPE: I didn't expect any special favors from him after the firstsession. I know the "Sixteen Miles" that we wrote, I think he, I think 82:00it tickled him as well as it did everybody else. I know it, the way it ended was, "When my last term was over, well what did I get? Not one bit of blacktop and deeper in debt." You see, we didn't get any money from going up there then but $15 a day. So he was all right with me, I don't have any complaint with him whatsoever. He was all right.
SUCHANEK: Well, but he knew that your brother was getting some statecontracts then?
HISLOPE: He knew it, or a lot of his friends knew it, yeah. Brother wasa contractor, so he done a lot of work for the state. He's done a lot all through, all administrations, including Louie Nunn, I think.
SUCHANEK: Um-hm. And so-
HISLOPE: They just sort of, I guess they think, maybe they think itsinnocent action on their self, they just sort of pull a little lever everywhere they can to get you to go, and he needed some votes awfully bad on some bills. Morris Weintraub one time, I think a bill was just 83:00ready to pass, and there was something going to change, or it already passed, he said, "Morris would have jumped out of that chair and had that bill on the roll right then" (both laugh). Morris was a, he was a good man in the chair, he was quick.
SUCHANEK: So, it would have been one of "Happy's" friends that wouldhave said, you know, about your brother's getting more contracts, or I'm just wondering how, I'm trying to get a vision of, on how things operate up there?
HISLOPE: Somebody at least said to him, I know he said to me, says, "Itmight hurt me getting some jobs up there."
SUCHANEK: Oh, so it might have gone through-
HISLOPE: Yeah, somebody had sort of leaked to him that maybe I ought tocooperate a little bit more.
SUCHANEK: Okay, so, okay so it-
HISLOPE: And I says, "You're going to have all the work you want," andI says, "And I'm going to do what I want to do too, so don't you worry about that, it's going to be all right." And it was.
SUCHANEK: Okay. So, it came from his end, rather than from your end.
HISLOPE: That's right.
SUCHANEK: All right. Okay. Now, as you mentioned, you did defeat,84:00Reverend Whitaker quite handily, you won 60 percent, or about 60 percent, of the vote. So, as you say, it wasn't much of a race. Do you have any idea what motivated Reverend Whitaker to run for office?
HISLOPE: Yes, I do, but I wouldn't want to reveal it. There was afriend of mine that later somewhat would rather I wouldn't have went. And I always believe that he used his influence to get him to run in order to, for some reason I don't really know why, to get rid of me.
HISLOPE: And, I wouldn't want to reveal who it was, because I alwaysconsidered him a friend, and he's got people living now that I consider my friends.
SUCHANEK: I understand, sure.
HISLOPE: Of course, he possibly had some other encouragement. He wasvery well-known, very well-known. By the way, I think other than just being a nice person, I think one reason it hurt his race was that he 85:00was a minister of the gospel, and a lot of the old-timers thought, "Well, he should stay with what he's doing, because his calling is good the way it is, so he better stay with it." And I believe that hurt him worse than anything else.
SUCHANEK: I don't know if this is the right way for me to put this, butthis, now that we're talking about this issue, this question begs to be asked, would a man of the gospel find it difficult to work within the state legislature? Seeing how legislation actually has to be passed or what has to be done to get something passed?
HISLOPE: No, I don't think it would be very difficult. I recall inmind, well, when I served up there, there was a fellow by the name of Caleb McFadden of London. He was a very religious person, he was a 86:00minister of the gospel, and I don't think there were many times that he was put on the spot that would hurt his conscience to vote or not vote the way he voted, and then James ____(??), you know, heard of James _____(??) from Williamsburg.
SUCHANEK: Yes, um-hm.
HISLOPE: His son, James ____(??) Sr. is a federal judge now. Jamesjust took the bill straight, and if there was something that he thought was morally, or wrong, or didn't agree with his religious philosophy, he'd just vote against it. And it, a forehand, everybody knew he was going to do that, and I don't think it hurt him at all.
SUCHANEK: Okay. There is, you know, there's a common perception thatyou've got to do, not necessarily underhanded things, you know, to get some stuff done up there in Frankfort, but you've got to, you know, do some maneuvering that, you know, might bother some people, and so what 87:00you're saying is that there's room for both.
HISLOPE: I would say so, and I would say this: I think a person, eventhough they would be very religious and want to at all times do the right thing, there's times that they could go with the governor on something, and still it wouldn't be, as I thought it would be the best, but it won't be wrong to go. I just don't think it's not to my best judgment, but there's' no harm in it. It's an innocent thing as far as-but then there would be other things like, maybe gambling, or relating to spirits or drinks, or gambling, or prostitution, or this thing and that. Especially in the higher echelons of government, like they have at Washington, the man that devotes himself to religion, as he sees it, there'd be quite a few things that he would have to refrain from. Maybe not like James ______(??) does (both laugh). I just thought of him.
SUCHANEK: Yeah. Yeah. Well, I'd heard that, from some other peopleI've interviewed that, you know, there would be women around and, you 88:00know, and votes would be influenced in that way, in that kind of-
HISLOPE: There was one boy that, at the time of the rebels were inthere heyday at Frankfort, this boy was right there with them. A good speaker. And one day, the next day, he was just the other way around. Allegedly he'd been trapped, and he got himself into what could have been a lot of trouble, but he done a flip-flop and stayed out of the trouble, but possibly he suffered inwardly because of it. I would assume that those things happened quite often. Maybe more used to be than they do now. I know the first time ever I went up there, allegedly there's a lot of things happened. Allegedly many things happened.
SUCHANEK: Um-hm. Like at the snake pit? Do you remember the snake pit?
HISLOPE: Yeah, I remember the snake pit. And, the snake pit wasn't sobad within itself, if one wanted a drink or brew, they could go down 89:00there and get it, or could get a bottle, which, if one takes it up, wasn't any worse than getting it anywhere else, because it was there for you if you wanted it. But then things that were behind the scenes that happened, like women and so forth, there was a lot of it happened. And I would have, would believe that the Congress in Washington, a great extent of it is somewhat like a den of thieves. I don't have much confidence in the Congress of the United States. They've traded off this nation for an enormous debt that can never be paid, and I understand that their drinking habits are such that if they're not almost a drunkard when they go, they are by the time they retire. It kills some of them. So I would say the higher echelons of government 90:00is the most corrupt, because the more, the closer you get to home, even if they would do otherwise, they don't want it to get out on them, and they're more careful of what they do.
SUCHANEK: Well, I heard one political commentator say that whenever youread in the Washington Post that the "high-spirited senator," that that makes reference to more than one kind of high spirit (both laugh)
HISLOPE: That's pretty good. That's pretty good.
SUCHANEK: Let me put in another tape here.
[End of Tape #1, Side #1]
[Beginning of Tape #1, Side #2]
SUCHANEK: Okay, this is the-
HISLOPE: It's just amazing, the House, you may be in session, and theHouse may be real intense, and there may be some tempers that have been flared, but when something comes up like this (unintelligible) for the speaker, just all melts away. You've got to start over. And I got a big kick out of it sometimes. I enjoyed it. 91:00
SUCHANEK: Uh-huh, yeah. This is the second tape of the Leonard Hislopeinterview on April 17th. Mr. Hislope, the 1958 session of the General Assembly was quite a tumultuous affair, according to the newspaper, and really turned into a sideshow pinning the Chandler side of the Democratic Party against the Clements faction. You had in the House Addison Everett and Morris Weintraub and Fred Morgan, on the Chandler side, trying to keep a group of the rebels, who happened to be along with the Clements faction of the party, and included such people as John Breckenridge, Pat Tanner, Gilbert Kingsbury and Foster Ockerman, people we've already mentioned. One of the major battles was over the administration's budget. It finally passed, but only after it had been amended twenty-one times, I think. How did the Republicans view this infighting amongst the Democrats? And again, did the Republicans attempt 92:00to come up with any type of game plan to turn it to their advantage?
HISLOPE: Not seriously. The gentleman over in Rockcastle County, hisson is on the court of appeals now, and I'm not recalling his name, I'll recall in a moment. He built a budget all by himself, but I think he done it more or less just to be doing it. It didn't go anywhere, and it wasn't expected to. But the Republicans, they just sort of like they're little bunch of, maybe not lost sheep, they dwindled into one pasture or the other, not really intentionally maybe, they didn't belong to either faction that was fighting. They just sort of went where they thought they should go, or maybe some went where they thought they'd get some favors, I would imagine.
SUCHANEK: I was just going to ask you too, whether-
HISLOPE: James Lambert, by the way, is the name of the man that put in93:00the budget for himself.
SUCHANEK: Okay (both laugh). Now, that didn't often happen where theRepublicans dropped their own version of the budget, if I recall, is that right?
HISLOPE: Yeah, that's right.
SUCHANEK: Because, I mean it had no chance of going anywhere.
HISLOPE: No, because anything that they'd have done, the other factions,each one was large enough that they wouldn't have joined the smaller group anyway, and so they couldn't have done anything, so the best thing they could have done was just to go one way or the other, and some of them it didn't make any difference with them.
SUCHANEK: Now, were there some issues where the Republicans would try tostick together as a party, or was it kind of just everyone was free to do and vote the way they wanted to?
HISLOPE: There was some small issues sometimes that had an appeal to theRepublicans, but there was one major issue one time that had a great appeal, during the Combs administration, they had a veteran's bonus, 94:00and the veterans that was in the state at the time the law was passed, would be the only veterans that would benefit by the law.
SUCHANEK: I recall that.
HISLOPE: And I believe I was the minority leader at that time. Ivehemently objected to that, because I thought it wasn't fair, and whether one was out of the state because of their own will or circumstance not under their control, I didn't think that they should be deprived of it, because I thought it should be to everybody that was a veteran. So we had a caucus, the Republicans did, and we decided that we would stick together on that. And we stuck together and they adjourned the House, and came back together, or rather, we had a caucus meeting, and the House was still in session, and the House done nothing at all except wait on us for one hour and a half. They knew that it wouldn't do for them to pass that bill without some help from 95:00the Republican Party. So I said, "Men, we'll stay out here until, let them call the cards, but we'll stay where we are." And finally they called us back in, but they didn't work with it that day. The next day they passed it practically without our vote, and of course they were highly criticized from day one. And about, well, we had a special session, I believe it was, and it done me quite a bit of good when I got up to explain my vote. I said, "Now, we're doing now what I tried, and my party tried to do three months ago." We passed the veteran's bonus. And gosh, those veterans just wrote you letters from out of state, and everywhere, and they were just jubilant, and they gave me a special citation, a beautiful thing, looked like I graduated from some university or something (both laugh).
SUCHANEK: Do you still have it?
HISLOPE: Yes, somewhere, I don't know where it is. I have a crackerbarrel mode of filings that, a lot of times it takes me longer to find 96:00it than it does to use it. But anyway, it was, tensions were quite high. It was a small thing, but tensions were real high, and I would say we stood together on that possibly more than any other thing we ever stood together on. We stood together on other occasions, but many of them were so minor that I don't recall many of them.
SUCHANEK: Um-hm, um-hm. Now, according to the Courier-Journal in thespring of '58, "Happy" met with the caucusing Republicans and promised to build or repair roads in their districts in return for their help in enacting his program. Do you recall anything about that meeting, or if there was such a meeting?
HISLOPE: Yes, I recall that meeting, and they sent for us to come downto the House, come down to the governor's office, and I was the leader at that time, and I says, "Ned, it's quite an irregular thing for us to break our caucus to go down and caucus with the governor." I said, 97:00"We caucus among ourselves, and I don't think we should go down there, because there's quite a bit involved to it, possibly." And I said, "As far as I'm concerned, I'm not going, now you men, you do whatever you think you ought to do." But I said, "It's the will of our party under the leadership that we not go." And there were quite a few went. There were some that didn't go, but there were quite a few went.
SUCHANEK: Okay, so you didn't go.
HISLOPE: No, I didn't go.
SUCHANEK: Okay. Uh-huh, uh-huh. Do you know what was promised to them?
HISLOPE: Well, this "Sixteen Miles," you know, was the result of-
SUCHANEK: Oh, I see.
HISLOPE: the alleged promising. Well, some got more insurance. One ofthem was, sold insurance, and he sold a lot of insurance to the state allegedly after that (both laugh), and of course, if they were in a business that they could be helping the state, of course they'd get help. And, I don't know how much help some of them got, some of them got quite a bit, and that if others weren't in a business at all, they might get a road down to their house, or past their house.
SUCHANEK: I see, uh-huh. Now, the administration introduced, this was98:00in the '58 session, they introduced Senate Bill 343 designed to rip State Treasurer Henry Carter who was a member of the Clements faction, of his power to choose which bank state funds would be deposited in, and to decide when they would be transferred from one bank to another. According to the newspapers, it took twelve role call votes, and five hours before the opponents of this bill were able to defeat it 46 to 44. And you were the one, one of the ones who voted against it. Do you recall that fight over that ripper bill?
HISLOPE: Yes I do. That was the, that was one of the biggest fightsand the longest fight that I was ever engaged in. You never met Henry Carter?
HISLOPE: Because, he was a very likeable person. He'd been, I don'tknow whether he had much money power when he was real young or not, 99:00but he'd accumulated some substance, and he was tall, and he was impressive to look at, and was just as country as corn sticks. He had a good personality, and a ready smile, and would do seemingly anything in the world he could for you, if he had an opportunity. And I just happened to drop into the, fit into the bunch that they thought they shouldn't pass a ripper bill like that, and so I worked with him and made speeches against the bill, and there would be parliamentary maneuvers made this way and that, and they just went on and on and on. It was a hard day's work, and when we defeated that bill, that was one of the happiest bunch of people I ever saw, at least the people that was on Henry Carter's side. And, I would just imagine that there was nips of the type of spirit that would be prohibited to be used on state property that was lavishly consumed after that victory (Suchanek laughs). I'm assuming so. Everybody was real, real happy. But that was really a bona fide defeat for the administration. And, the people 100:00that was on Henry's side were very, very happy, and of course Henry was exceedingly happy, and that was a close run on it. Certainly was.
SUCHANEK: Um-hm. That was a real knockdown, drag out fight.
HISLOPE: It was a knockdown and drag out. Everything was used, Iimagine, that could be used to get a vote. But it was really a show of power, and the governor didn't have it on that, didn't have it on that occasion, but what possibly defeated the governor that helped the reorganization, that Henry Carter had been connected with these banks all over the state, and had been very close to some of the operators of these banks, and he had some good friends all over the state, and they were some good friends of "Happy's." And they were such good friend's of Carter, that they just couldn't betray him, even though they were still a friend of the governor. So they had a hard decision to make. It was two friends there, they couldn't go with both of 101:00them. And just, it happened to be enough of them that went with Henry that the governor couldn't win that time. That was one of the hardest fights ever I knew. No other fight in the length of time I served in Frankfort ever equaled that fight. It was a draw.
SUCHANEK: Uh-huh. Now, during the debate on that bill, Chandler calledCarter, and I quote, "An adulterous, drunken old man," close quote. And Carter's reply to that, I won't-it's not fit for the tape recorder.
HISLOPE: They both used some expression, expletives, I say. Expressive.
SUCHANEK: Yeah, right. But "Banjo" Bill Cornett complained on the floorof the house that he had been harassed by so-called lobbyists for the administration, and he threatened to shoot anyone who said his vote was for sale (both laugh). And, in fact, C. W. Buchanan, and Nick Johnson, both Republicans, sponsored a resolution condemning the numerous, 102:00and I quote, "Numerous attempts to influence the vote and actions of members of the General Assembly," unquote. And the fact that, quote, "Numerous employees of the commonwealth have likewise been the victims of coercion," unquote, and that the coercion had taken the form of threats of economic reprisals. First of all, do you recall any such turkey money being offered to legislators by special interests or the administration during this time? And secondly, was the Buchanan-Johnson resolution just an attempt to embarrass the administration? Or do you think they and received serious complaints about this type of activity on the part of the Chandler administration?
HISLOPE: I don't think that Nick, or Buchanan, either one, were veryserious in their resolution, because that Nick Johnson and Buchanan both were very good friends of Chandler's. They were Republicans, but any time that Chandler needed them, it was usually in their good judgment, or otherwise, to go with the governor. And I'm just assuming 103:00that it was, they'd been exercising pablum(??) or something like that. Now, "Banjo" Bill, he was quite a, quite (unintelligible), I imagine, very unusual person. He played music, and he'd make up songs. One of them was about being on welfare, and he would, at night, they would meet down at Pubs Restaurant, which is not there now, next to the big old hotel which is gone.
SUCHANEK: The Southern Hotel?
HISLOPE: And so-not the Southern, it was across the river, the other bigone, I don't remember the name. Anyway, "Banjo" Bill would sing songs and so forth, and he'd entertain a lot of people, and a lot of people liked him. But somehow he fit in with the rebel crowd, but I don't think anybody took serious what "Banjo" said about shooting somebody, but he would have come about as close to it as anybody else, because he didn't want to be, he was a mountain man, and he didn't want to be accused of being a liar, or a seller-out or anything. And I told you 104:00about that resolution and about "Banjo?"
SUCHANEK: Which one was that?
HISLOPE: The one that we met to eat one night "Banjo" was with us?
SUCHANEK: Oh yes.
HISLOPE: And I just recall this, on this particular day, he says,"Leonard, I want you to write me a resolution tomorrow." And I said, "I will if I can." And so, of course, the resolution was written, but he didn't know about it, and number thirteen of the assembly on the thirteenth day and he had the thirteenth seat, and a lot of coincidental thirteens involved. And I related to you that they had to use the gym for his funeral. And that resolution was copied and sent to a lot of places, I think Mr. Brown run off 300 of it and we paid quite a bit of tribute to "Banjo" Bill, he was a nice, and a good man, but he was very independent, very independent. 105:00
SUCHANEK: Um-hm. Now, in regards to the so-called turkey money, I've hadother legislators tell me that more than one governor would actually, you know, leave envelopes of money in bathrooms and stuff for certain legislators. Were you aware of any of that going on at that time?
HISLOPE: I was not aware of anything except hearsay. There was onebill relating to food, to stamps like you'd buy groceries, them green stamps that they, I believe Hutchinson Company that manufactured those stamps, and that was allegedly a turkey deal. And there was an investigation made, and I don't recall exact, well, there wasn't much found out, but anyway, certain people were supposed to have got a payoff. And many people were surprised that something didn't pass a certain way it did, and some people were supposed to have gotten 106:00paid. They could have gotten paid, and could have gotten paid well, and nobody would have known enough about it to have done anything about it. Now, there was a man, president of the First & Farmers Bank here after I went to Frankfort, he told me that his brother was assistant highway commissioner one time. And he said that the coal interest, and some other people used to have a lot of money, and they'd put it in bags, and the old Southern Hotel had a transom over each door, and many of these boys then stayed in those rooms, and you'd hear something that night [bangs on table] hit the floor, something heavy, and the boy would know to get up and get the money bag, that was for him that he would vote the way he was supposed to vote. Now, during the Chandler administration, there was allegedly money involved, I don't know anything about it, I just heard there were, and so nobody else seemed to know much about it, but there was an investigation which turned out 107:00to be rather fruitless.
SUCHANEK: Yeah. But you know, that is a perception by a lot of peoplein the state, a lot of citizens, that you know, money is a currency up there, what would you say to that?
HISLOPE: I don't-
SUCHANEK: That type of activity happens all the time.
HISLOPE: It happens all the time, and I can realize that if you're, ifthere's a bill that's going to be important to quite a few people that have substance or money, and there's one person here that's not made his way either way on how he's going to be for this bill, and if it is learned that that person is a person that can be trusted if something will benefit him, and will keep his mouth shut, I can understand why these people would say, "Well, let's give him $100,000. He'll be with us if we will." And I would assume that that's been done. And we know it's been done in Washington, and the little boys in Frankfort are maybe not any more immune to temptation than some of those fellows are 108:00that has more substance than they have. And there's so many ways they can do it without cash, to other peoples in certain kind of business, say like the insurance business.
SUCHANEK: This is no way an attempt to condone that, but many of thethings that, where this type of activity goes on, still winds up to benefit the citizens in their area, or whatever.
HISLOPE: That's right.
SUCHANEK: And so, you know, certainly is wrong, is morally wrong, butyet I can see how they could justify that in their own mind.
HISLOPE: Yes, and then of course, if you do something yourself, likePontius Pilot, he washed his hands to clear himself of the affair, and he, at least, possibly felt somewhat justified because he left the dirty work to somebody else. I can see how they can do it, and in the case of road contracts, a lot of people are very proud of that 109:00road, five or six miles of it. And of course, the person that had the pivotal vote, they not only got the road, they got other sweets with it too, goodies with it also. And it happens, it shouldn't, but wherever there's man, there's frailties, and wherever there's money, there's temptation. And it happens all the time. But to me, if one goes ahead like "Banjo" said, "Banjo" wouldn't sell his vote. Well, if one did sell the vote, that's certainly, that's a crime. But if one has a contracting company, and they maneuver things so that they'll get an extra $100,000, that's not any more of a crime than it would be to sell this vote, they were both wrong, and so there you go. But the 100,000 was a lot more efficient.
SUCHANEK: Now, this may not be a fair question, but I'm going to ask it110:00anyway. Were you ever approached by, you know, a lobbyist or anyone from the administration?
SUCHANEK: In that manner? Or were you known as someone that, don't evenbother?
HISLOPE: I was never approached, and I believe that the reason I neverwas because on the eleventh day of the legislature I went through this little comedy of making the speech that I wasn't a Democrat (both laugh). And I think they made the perception that there is a man who is independent, and it done me a lot of good because it kept me from, I believe it caused me to be immune to certain people that would have, at least if not directly, done it indirectly. I was never approached by anybody under any circumstance for any favor whatsoever, not even the extension of a highway, and I was glad I wasn't, because it made me feel free. I had some Democrats that said to me, under 111:00the Chandler administration, said, "We just wish we could go home like you are going." Says, "You're going home with, there's nothing on your conscience that will hurt you. You're going home with no regrets on how you've voted, or how you've acted, or what you've done." I said, "That's a great compliment." And they meant it. There was a boy that kind of got crossed up in their voting, and some other exercises. But, of course, I could have been just like anybody else, but it just happened that I wasn't, and I'm glad that I wasn't, because it made me feel better, and I felt like it was a compliment to my character, whatever I had, and I wasn't. Lobbyists, Democrats, Republicans, committees, every organization I had anything to do with in Frankfort was just as much above board and just as nice to me as any other people I've ever worked with. I really enjoyed it because everybody was nice to me, and I tried in my feeble way to be nice to everybody else, so I enjoyed the whole thing. And I learned more about state government. 112:00My knowledge of state government now is very limited, but no one ever knows state government until they've studied it the way you have, or until they serve in the legislature. And I think Dr. Clark would agree with us on that. You really learn how it operates by being there. And that's just about the only way that you can know that it happened.
SUCHANEK: Yeah. We're hoping through these tapes that students, andresearchers, and scholars can learn about, or more about how the legislature works, and that's one of the reasons why we're doing this project.
HISLOPE: This lady that was, lost her life that worked in theLegislative Research Commission, she was one of the head assistants, I can't recall her name right now, do you recall her name?
SUCHANEK: No, I don't.
HISLOPE: I want to pay a compliment to her. She was one of the mostintelligent, one of the most cooperative person that I ever saw. Anything that you went with, that you wanted to know about the Legislative Research Commission, she either knew it or knew where she 113:00could get her hands on it right then. I think everybody will know who I mean. She was there until about a couple of years ago until she had her unfortunate demise, a wonderful person.
SUCHANEK: Now, what can you tell me about some of the Democratic rebelsin the legislature like John Breckenridge who you've mentioned, and Foster Ockerman and Pat Tanner?
HISLOPE: I always somewhat admired Foster Ockerman and JohnBreckenridge. They were a little, I would say they were a little above the average class of the House of Representatives. They were both lawyers, and John had a very prominent background through his ancestry. Foster was quite astute, quite erect, and most of the time, I'd say 114:00quite correct, as well as erect, and they just seemed like gentleman, and very knowledgeable persons. And Pat was a real hard worker, very nice person, very dedicated to his work, and I was sorry to hear about that he had some unfortunate circumstances with his family later than that. I think he lost his wife, not by death, but otherwise. And he was very devoted to his family, and very devoted to his work in the legislature, and was one person that you could depend on. Anything that he would tell you, if it related to politics or otherwise, you could depend on Pat Tanner, he was just a very, very nice person. Hard-working person.
SUCHANEK: How about Harry King Lowman? I think he was a part of thatrebel faction.
HISLOPE: Harry King, very nice person. I remember sometimes I had some115:00resolutions that somewhat shook their cap a little bit, and Harry was just more than anxious to recognize me, hear that resolution, and then even pat me on the back and say you're doing a good job (both laugh). Harry enjoyed all of it. If you worked with him, he enjoyed it. If you opposed him in a violent way, he enjoyed that. And he was just about as astute and quick with the gavel, and mature as anybody I ever saw. He was a wonderful person, very hard working. But you never saw Pat at night. If you might go somewhere where somebody was meeting, or if you might pass by a bar and look in or go in, you wouldn't find Pat there, he just, he wouldn't be there. And Morris Weintraub, I never saw Morris out at night anywhere in my life all the time I served the board. But Harry King was a great boy. I was so shocked when I heard 116:00about his death and his sickness. He was real nice.
SUCHANEK: This may be a broad characterization that may not be fair, butwould you say the rebels were more philosophical in their approach to government? Were they, did they think things through in regards to how government is supposed to work?
HISLOPE: I won't answer it altogether positively. I'll say possibly so,they, as a group, possibly because of past experience, seemed a little more mature than the average legislator. You know, you've always got so many new ones, especially back then, you had a lot more new ones than you have now, because now they, it pays enough that they can work harder in the election than it was in the older days. But they had, most of them, because of their background, their profession, and their prior experience, qualified them possibly a little more to possibly 117:00think with more reason than the average run of the group. Not as scrupulous, so they were rather just as (unintelligible), but I guess they was a notch above the rest of them.
SUCHANEK: Okay. Well, you're in good company.
HISLOPE: Yeah, they were some good boys. Certainly had, appreciatedhaving worked with a lot of those. I always considered it, maybe all of them maybe became just a little bit of me, and I'd hope maybe the best of them sort of rubbed off more than the rest of what their characters were. But we had some nice people all around the board.
SUCHANEK: Um-hm. Were you conscious during your, you know, the votes onvarious bills that you were siding with the rebels? I mean, obviously- or did they? You know, did they come up and say, you know, Leonard, we need your help on this.
HISLOPE: No, I really wasn't conscious of the fact. I was just there,and it just so happened that I was voting the way I thought I should 118:00vote, and they possibly counted me in their group, but they didn't count me in their group as one that could be depended on to always go with them. I was just there, and most of the time they sort of liked the way that I did things. And they became very good friends of mine. In fact they had a meeting with me one time, says, "If you'll run for state office, and if you would run on our side," said, "we'll get together and we'll furnish you everything in the world that you need." I said, "That seems very good," but I said, "I'd make a sacrifice there that'd be too great to make" (both laugh). And they laughed with me and patted me on the back, and I said, "I wouldn't be surprised if you're not right." But they were very nice to me, very, very much so.
SUCHANEK: Did they say what office they wanted you to run for?
HISLOPE: They said, "You can just pick it out." They were very nice.I'd always go in to see John when he was attorney general when I'd be in Frankfort, and he had a lady that worked for him, and her name was Green, and anytime that I wanted to see John, she'd get me in there, 119:00it didn't matter how busy it was. And one of the days I-one day I was there and I was in the office adjacent to his, and this lady was there, and I said to the other lady, "Well there's Sister Green, how is she?" And she always remembered me because I'd call her Sister Green, and we just was a big family around John's office, and he treated her very nicely.
SUCHANEK: Now one of the Republicans who served in the House with youwas Marlow Cook, as you mentioned before-
SUCHANEK: who later went on to become a U.S. Senator. How well did youknow Marlow Cook, and what can you tell me about him?
HISLOPE: I never knew Marlow until he came to Frankfort, and when Marlowcame to Frankfort he walked down through the have of the capital like a lost boy. He didn't know where to go, and he didn't know where to find anyone to, any members of the House. And Marlow and I were very good friends, and I recognized right away that Marlow was a very able person, and when I was elected to the minority leadership of the House, 120:00Marlow was my opponent. And I forget how many votes we had, it seemed like we had four or five different votes before I finally came out the winner over Marlow, and so I thought about different times, Marlow was very capable, possibly a lot more capable than I was, and yet I won over him as the minority leader. But he was very cooperative with me and we worked together very, very nicely. And he was here in Somerset different times when he was in the Senate, and we thought a lot of Marlow, and he was a good boy.
SUCHANEK: Um-hm. Did you have any philosophical differences with him,or was it just-
HISLOPE: We, our philosophy was quite, not congruent, but quite similaron most things, we looked at things quite a bit alike. I think Marlow was possibly more liberal after he became, went to the United States 121:00Senate than he was when he was at Frankfort.
SUCHANEK: Um-hm. Now during the '58 session, you co-sponsored, alongwith Lon Carter Barton, who by the, I've been interviewing, and Durham Howard, a resolution-
HISLOPE: I know which one it is: relating to illegitimate children.
SUCHANEK: And that resolution was adopted. There's a feasibility ofestablishing a training home for illegitimate children born to unwed mothers, except for the first such child. What was the motivation behind that resolution?
HISLOPE: I had realized for some time that there were certain womenthat were receiving more monetary compensation because of their family style, and some farmers on some of the marginal farms. They were engaging in a promiscuous life hoping to have another child to receive more money. Their ambitions were no higher than that. And realizing 122:00that the, that offspring from people like that would possibly beget the same situation when they became old enough, and such would finally be amicable(??) to our society, and our state, and even the nation, and something should ought to be, and something should be done about it. We didn't think enough about it to possibly put out the right kind of a resolution, maybe they should have been allowed another, but something should be done. Even now, I would exercise a more stringent way. I have thought for some time, and have used it in my Sunday school class, that I think a woman that can't conduct herself without placing offspring into the world for other people to support, should under all means, if there's a second one, should be sterilized. I think we ought to have a law, we're not going to get it, but in a sociological sense, and for the benefit of the future, and for the benefit of the state and the nation, something's got to be done, because even now with the pill 123:00and all of the other type of birth control, we have more illegitimate children per capita, or per thousand, than any other civilized nation on earth. And it's going to lead to something, and it's going to lead to something real real bad. And, I just thought it would be mighty good to begin some thought about it, but gosh, they poured letters to us and visits, and people came from welfare departments, and they just considered we were an enemy of the state, many of them did. They were rather radical about it. And I says, "Do you believe that it would be, you take a young child, as a precious thing, as a creature of God, and place this being in the care and the upkeep of a harlot, or a loose woman, or say a person who engages in, a woman of the evening and let that child grow up, get their substance from them and get 124:00their strength from a person like that? Over a state institution that would be supervised according to law, and these children trained up or placed and adopted somewhere?" And they said, "Yes, we believe it's mother under all circumstances should be the guardian, the mother, and the trainer of the child." So, it just died down, but I didn't expect anything out much of it anyway, but it put some people to thinking.
SUCHANEK: Um-hm. It was, did you consider that to be a problem here inPulaski County?
HISLOPE: Yes sir, it's a problem. It's really a problem. We had, wecall for investigation, and Wilson Wyatt was lieutenant governor at that time, and we found out, of course most, even with all of the cases that we know of, California and New York has as much as the rest of the nation, and then it just so happens that the black race, more than any other, have the problem, which is our problem too. And we found out that many of the unfortunate girls themselves would teach their 125:00children, "Now honey, when you get just a little bit older," says, "you get you a good man and you be around him just any way you want to, and then when you can have a child, like you are my child, you'll get money for it, and the more children you have, the more money you've got, and you'll have enough money to get by." And this investigation revealed that many women have more because they get, can have more money, which Is a tragical thing on themselves and on society, and we introduced it because we thought it was a very serious proposition. You take the undeveloped nations of the world, and we even surpass them in illegitimates, that's really something.
SUCHANEK: Um-hm. Do you see the decline of the nuclear family as amajor problem?
HISLOPE: I didn't understand you.
SUCHANEK: The decline in the family structure in Kentucky, or in the126:00country as a problem? Declining in the importance of the nuclear family?
HISLOPE: As a problem?
SUCHANEK: Yeah, do you see the decline in families as leading to this,or as a major problem?
HISLOPE: I think it's a major problem and I think its help leading tothis. A few years ago, I didn't know of anybody that, say, were men and women living together under one address with two different names on the mailbox. That just doesn't prevail around here, but it's becoming more prevalent. And of course, I think, and most historians think that to be a family unit, is not only the cradle of love, but it's a nuclei of a civilization that can prosper and can last. And I've found the structures continue to grow weaker and weaker, and in my opinion, it's 127:00doing this because of certain types of the music which we have today, certain types of the radio programs we have today, certain types of the television programs we have today, which are rather promiscuous, and which are in violation of the law in contradiction to what the free speechers say, is somewhat having the tendency to lead a country to its ruin. And it's becoming so much worse now than it was ten years ago, and ten years before that it was not nearly as bad as it was ten years before then, and so there's got to be a change or this nation has started a downward turn which is going to lead to, could be disaster in time to come. Because there's got to be some sacredness of life, and some love of progeny, and some organization that exists to train up a child in the way it should go, or a nation can fall. You take, if 128:00the present situation relating to family ties, and parenthoods should change as much in the next thirty years as it has in the last fifteen, we wouldn't have enough people to support an organized, prosperous, intelligent society, tax-wise. That's my opinion.
SUCHANEK: That's fine. Let's end today with a resolution in '58 thatyou sponsored, and then next time when I come back, you can talk about the, your '59 primary race. But, also, in the '58 session, you sponsored a resolution requesting that the statue of William S. Taylor replace that of one of William Goebel. Obviously that was tongue-in- cheek, was it not?
HISLOPE: Kind of cheap?129:00
HISLOPE: Well, I learned quite a bit about history of their area, orI thought I learned about it. There were some people that were very good Democrats that told me that Goebel was already dead when he was sworn into office. And Allan Trout, bless his heart, he wouldn't say anything, but said it was a shame the way William S. Taylor was treated. I learned enough about it that I was satisfactorily convinced that Taylor was ran out of the state and escaped the commonwealth for the safety of his life because that he belonged to a minority, and the other side was so numerous that they just took into their hands to get rid of a governor and place one that was never a governor in the-in 130:00other words to, the General Assembly don't have the power to, the General Assembly only elects the living, but they done more than that: they elected the dead. And I'm satisfied that that's so, and that's the reason I introduced it, and there was so many people that never had thought of it, that I wanted a lot of people to do a little thinking. Now, that also caused me to think of this bicentennial commission that's exercises now, and I was surprised that they put the name of Mr. Goebel, I'll say the honorable Goebel, he was an intelligent man, I've got to hand that to him, he was a very influential person, they placed him, as well as Henry Clay or two or three others, that one should talk about on this bicentennial year, when there is a dispute on whether he was ever governor or not, I thought that was bad judgment for some people to go ahead and place that on the agenda.
SUCHANEK: Yeah, yeah. I don't know if it's really ever been determined131:00whether he was still living, or had, indeed, passed away (both laugh) before the proper people were summoned into his room and he was given the oath of office, but I'm sure that will be a point that's argued in Kentucky history for many years.
HISLOPE: It will, they'll never agree, but see, William S. Taylor wassitting governor.
HISLOPE: He had occupied the mansion. And, oh, they got rid of him in ahurry (laughs).
SUCHANEK: Yeah. Well, why don't we stop for today-
HISLOPE: That'll be a good place to stop.
SUCHANEK: Right (both laugh). Okay. Thank you for talking to me today.
HISLOPE: It's been a pleasure.
[End of interview]