MOYEN: All right. I'm here with Walter Baker, who served in both theKentucky House and Senate, as well as on the Kentucky Supreme Court, and in the Penta--, or at the Pentagon. So, thank you for meeting with me today. Why don't we start with a little bit of your family history or genealogy? Could you tell me how far back you can trace your family's roots?
BAKER: Oh, someone in our family, one of my aunts at one time was veryactive genealogically, and we have records back into the Baker line into the 1700s in Virginia, and in the Alexander line, which would be-my grandfather's mother was an Alexander, and that goes back even further in Virginia. I come from somewhat of a unique generational 1:00situation in the Baker family. We're talking now in the year 2002. I was born in 1937. My father was born in 1883. Dad attended the inauguration of William McKinley as President of the United States. I think, he never did specify and I never asked, but I think it was more likely the, when McKinley was reelected in the year 1900, and that would have been March of 1901. My grandfather was born in 1841. He was a college student at the time the Civil War started, and he was home in Columbia in, this was on July 3rd and 4th of 1863 when 2:00John Hunt Morgan's troops came through Columbia on their ride, which eventually went up to Brandenburg, over into Indiana, and then swept across into Ohio where Morgan was captured. But there was a skirmish fought in the front yard, and one or two soldiers were killed in that skirmish. My father, my grandfather observed it from the upstairs of the old Alexander House, his uncle who had raised him. And, but the Bakers, the Alexanders, the Lisles, L-I-S-L-E, on my grandmother's side, her father was in the Constitutional Convention of 1850, 1849 to 1850 in Kentucky, and she was from Green County. And the Tates, one of my direct ancestors, was killed at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse in 3:00North Carolina in the Revolutionary War. So we go back into colonial history in this country. I'm very proud, as I was mentioning to you before we turned the machine on, I served in the Kentucky legislature two terms in the House, 1968 and 1970. I was elected five times to the Kentucky Senate, but served there from January of 1972 until June 15 of 1981 when I resigned to go in the Reagan administration. And then I served again from January 1989 until April 15 of 1996 when I resigned a second time to accept appointment on the Kentucky Supreme Court. But I 4:00served in the legislature. My father, Herschel Tate Baker, represented Adair and Green or Adair and Taylor, depending on the various terms. Dad served in 1924 and 1936 to 1940. My grandfather, Judge Herschel Clay Baker, served in 1873-74, and his uncle, Judge Thomas Tyler Alexander from Columbia, served in the State Senate in the late 1850s into the early 1860s at the time of the Civil War. So we have, in effect, four generations in the Kentucky legislative history at one time or another. So I think if there was any office that I ever coveted, 5:00it was-I was determined if at all possible to serve in the Kentucky legislature, because of my father and grandfather and on back. And I'm very proud to have served there and very proud of the opportunities I had to participate in, in a lot of things that I think have made Kentucky a different and better place from what it was when I started.
MOYEN: You're talking about your family history and your, and being ableto trace your roots back to Virginia. Do you know when your family did move into Kentucky-
BAKER: Oh, yeah.
MOYEN: and where they settled?
BAKER: Sure. There were five Baker children in one generation inVirginia. The sister, there were four boys and a girl, the sister 6:00came to Cumberland County in 1798. The brothers all came in 1805 to Cumberland County, and they arrived initially at Little Renox, R-E- N-O-X, Creek, which is seven miles or so north of Burkesville, and the Baker family was there. That was William Baker, my direct great-great- grandfather. He had served at the age of thirteen in the Revolutionary Army. And he came to Kentucky. He was the youngest of the five. And then his son was Eliezer Clay Baker, and I often thought, well, we're 7:00related to Henry Clay in some way, but I discovered, doing a little genealogical research myself, that the Baptist minister who married William Baker and Hannah Brummell, B-R-U-M-M-E-L-L, I believe, who was my great-great-grandmother, that minister was named Reverend Eliezer Clay, so that came not from Henry Clay but from the Baptist minister who officiated the wedding. Then my grandfather, Eliezer Clay Baker I think was born about 1816, and my grandfather then was born in 1841. But the, to go back to your question, basically 1805 is when they came over.
MOYEN: Okay. You mentioned your grandfather was in school during theCivil War.
MOYEN: Where was he attending?
BAKER: He was at Centre College, and I've got it tied down at home. I8:00think it was Class of 1862 or 1863. Family legend has it, and I've been unable to confirm this, that my grandfather was such a talented public speaker that as a junior he was asked to give the commencement address for the graduating class at Centre (Moyen laughs). I've talked to Dr. Tom Spragens about that, and he's never gone back to see if there is any truth in that or not. But my grandfather was quite a well-educated person, particularly for that era, with a college degree from Centre. I've seen his library of classical literature, trained in Greek and Latin, as my father was. My father studied Greek and Latin 9:00at the old M&F High School at Columbia. Dad did not go to college. He studied law under my grandfather, and then he rode horseback from Columbia in Adair County to Monticello in Wayne County, and was there in what I assume was the accepted means of determining whether a person was admitted to the bar at that era. He was examined by a circuit judge and two lawyers on his knowledge of the law and given his license to practice law. And I have that license in the center drawer of this desk right here. Dad did not practice law. His, he was hard of hearing, and that's a genetic ailment that has gone down the family line to me. And he went into business and was in the timber business. 10:00And Dad owned sawmills and cut tracts of timber, and then later in life, he was sort of a one-person, small loan company before you had small loan companies. He knew people, and he knew who was reliable and he would, if they had shortages, he would lend them money and then they would pay him back later. And my grandfather not only served in the legislature, but he served a term as circuit judge from Columbia in 1904 to 1910, same seat that his uncle who raised him had served as circuit judge back in the 1860s.
MOYEN: You mentioned your grandfather being in college during the CivilWar. Did your family have any sympathies one way or the other, North 11:00or South? Or were they divided or-
BAKER: Yes. They were divided, and I'm not familiar enough to say whichwas on which side, but Judge Alexander was one way and my grandfather was the other, in terms of sympathies. My grandfather did not fight in the Civil War.
BAKER: Now, his brother-in-law was a major in the Confederate Army fromover in Green County, and that basically is about all I know of the Civil War. I know the family had slaves, because I remember my Aunt Sally, Aunt Sally was born in roughly, probably, 1869, telling me about 12:00two who stayed on after the war at the family place in Columbia. And my granddad was a, sort of a universal-type of man. He was a college graduate, which was rare for that time. At one time, he was president of the Bank of Columbia. At one time, he was the editor and publisher of a newspaper in Columbia. He was a lawyer, circuit judge. He was a historian, did a history of Adair County. For many years, he was the oldest living graduate of Centre College and would go back for reunions and commencements and that type of thing. And he is sort of the one 13:00person our family has centered around on reunions, the descendants of Judge H.C. Baker. And I should be modest, but I won't be. But we had a reunion at Lake Cumberland back about 1979, '78 or '79, and there were about eighty of us there, and we had, I think, eleven Phi Beta Kappas. There were two of us there who either at that time had or in the future would serve on the highest courts of their state. I served on the Kentucky Supreme Court. My first cousin in Texas served for twenty-two years on the Texas Supreme Court.
BAKER: And then another of our generation of cousins, even though I'm14:00much younger than all the others in that generation because of my father's lateness in marriage, another of the first cousins was a professor of English at Harvard University and chaired the English department at Harvard.
MOYEN: Okay. Do you know those cousins' names, the one in Texas-
BAKER: Yes, yeah.
MOYEN: and the one-
BAKER: My cousin at Harvard was Herschel, and Herschel in our familyis spelled H-E-R-S-C-H-E-L, Herschel Clay Baker, same name as my grandfather. And he was educated at the University of Texas, and then subsequently went to Harvard and was chair of the department when I was there in 1954-58 in Harvard College. Now his, he had a brother named 15:00Willard Baker. Their father, a brother to my father, went to Texas in the, roughly 1910, and he had an uncle who had married a sister of my father, formed a law firm in Cleburne, C-L-E-B-U-R-N-E, Texas, that is still in existence. And Willard's son graduated from SMU and won a Rhodes scholarship, and then later came back and went to law school in California and then clerked for Justice Powell on the U.S. Supreme Court. And while I was in the Reagan administration, he was also there as an assistant to the assistant attorney general for anti-trust. He 16:00had, previous to that, he had taught at the University of Virginia Law School. So I'm very, very proud of my family. We've been very fortunate. There's a strong emphasis on education in the family, and in my public life here in Kentucky, I could emphasize education in a number of different ways I'm sure we'll elaborate on later this morning.
MOYEN: You certainly have reason to be proud. You mentioned you wereborn in 1937, correct?
BAKER: Yes, February 20, 1937, in Columbia, Kentucky, in the front roomof the home that my mother and father built. There was nowhere else to be born in Adair County. There were no hospitals in that day and time. Now, there's a story that my father used to tell. There's a young 17:00lady in our community who was a year behind me in school. She and I shared the same birth date, born on the actual same day. And my father got up to go down to town to get Dr. Flowers, the family physician to deliver me. And he was waiting for Dr. Flowers, this was two a.m. in the morning, to put on his clothes to come back out, and a Mr. Wagner appeared trying to get Dr. Flowers to go because his wife was also ready to deliver. So, but Dad got their first, so the doctor delivered me (both laugh).
MOYEN: What are your first memories? Do you remember anything prior toWorld War Two, the break-out of World War Two?
BAKER: Yes, yes. I can remember in the Adair County courthouse, whichwas, the structure still stands, modified slightly from what it was 18:00at that time. But it was a typical county seat courthouse with large openings at both ends where you could literally drive a team of wagons through, if you could get them up the steps into the courthouse. The flooring was-we always used to laugh and say it would never burn because there was so much tobacco juice in it (Moyen laughs). But I can remember seeing the posters tacked up on the wall for King Swope, S-W-O-P-E, of Lexington, who was the Republican nominee for governor in 1939. Now that, I was just two and a half years old, but I can remember those posters, because I remember the picture, and then later when I learned to read, the names. And I can remember listening to the 19:00radio in 1940. WHAS in Louisville was our outlet to the world; there was no television. The Courier-Journal was our daily newspaper, and the Adair County News was our weekly paper of local news. But I can remember listening to the radio and the Wilkie campaign, and Roosevelt defeating Wilkie. And then I very vividly remember the start of World War Two. It was a Sunday afternoon. We had a big floor-model Philco radio, and I can remember the announcement that the Japanese had struck Pearl Harbor. And then during the World War Two, I remember the Courier-Journal almost daily, once our troops invaded Western Europe 20:00in June of `44, would have a little map showing where the lines were. And I can remember that, and then I can remember in April of 1945, on the radio when the news came that President Roosevelt had died and that the new president was President Truman. And it was, for a child who was seven years old, it just did not seem right to hear "President" and "Truman," because all my life the president had been Franklin D. Roosevelt. I'd known no other president, but I remember the death of Roosevelt. And in the old, what I call the old Baker place, but 21:00it was built in the 1850s by Judge Alexander and where my father was born and grew up, my Aunt Sally resided there, a spinster aunt, and I would go over there, and she had, I guess, every copy of Life magazine. And they were stored out in what used to be the icehouse where they would cut ice in the winter and put straw in, so they'd have ice in the summer. And I would go out and get as many Life magazines as I could carry and come sit on the front porch in the swing and sit there and go through Life magazine. And that's probably where I developed some of this love of history, was going through that. But I, those are things that I remember very vividly. And I was trying to think, 22:00I, for some reason, I don't have any particular memory of Governor Willis, who was inaugurated in December of `43, but I do remember very vividly the 1947 race for governor between Earle Clements, who was a Congressman, and Harry Lee Waterfield. I remember the people dividing in Adair County between the two. We were all Republican. Not all of us in our family. My mother was a Democrat. Her middle name is Bryan, B-R- Y-A-N, and it was, and she was specifically given that name because of her father's devotion to William Jennings Bryan. That was, my family became Republicans because of William Jennings Bryan. My grandfather served the legislature as a Democrat. In 1896, he 23:00was a backer and, family legend has, state campaign chairman for the Palmer-Buckner presidential ticket. General Buckner, who subsequently had been governor of Kentucky, was the vice presidential nominee on the Gold Democrat ticket. And so my grandfather went from Democrat to Gold Democrat, and then he was a Republican as circuit judge. But my mother was a strong Democrat, voted four times for Franklin D. Roosevelt. My father was a very strong Republican, and we had some interesting debates in the family.
MOYEN: Yeah, I'm sure (laughs).
BAKER: And that may account for the fact that in my political career,while I'm a Republican, I have been a moderate in my party throughout the years, because of the background I had from both parties in our 24:00family.
MOYEN: What about your schooling experience? When did you startattending school and where?
BAKER: I started when I was five years old, and we were fortunate inColumbia that Lindsey, it was then Lindsey Wilson Junior College, and it was basically an institution, two-year institution, that trained teachers. It had a training school, grades one through six. And my older brother had attended that, and Mother enrolled me in it and, oh, it was prob---I was still five years old, but I think it was January of the full first grade. She had taught me to, my numbers and alphabet and things before I ever went to school. Mother had been a public school teacher. She was from the Glens Fork area of Adair County, 25:00and had attended the normal school, which antedated Lindsey Wilson as a college, got her teaching certificate and taught in Adair County. And then she went to Georgia and taught a couple of years, because the pay was about double down there than what it was in Kentucky. And I think she initially was paid, I believe Mom told me, $37 a month, and I believe in Georgia she got about $75 a month. But then she came back to Adair County to teach and met my father, and they married in 1923, I believe it was. But she enrolled me in Lindsey Wilson Training School, and I had a delightful six years there. We had, of course, 26:00our principal teachers were all people who were trained in teaching teachers, so they not only were good teachers, they knew how to make other people good teachers. Our classes were very small. I think maybe an academic year, there would be six or seven students total in a grade.
MOYEN: But you actually did have divided grades?
BAKER: We had divided grades, but we had three grades in one room, one,two, and three. And we had the other three grades in another room, so grades four, five, and six. And that was a great experience, because for a person with the curiosity, I guess, that I've always had through life, they allowed me, when I finished, say in the second grade, if I wanted to sit in on the third grade, I could and oftentimes did. And then the training school introduced me to dictionaries, encyclopedias, 27:00to just a love of learning that had nothing to do with trying to make a grade, just, you delighted in it. And it's been a habit and a delight all of my life and still is. I, if I could live to be 500 years old, I'd never be able to read all that I want to read. And sometimes I think, "Well, you're going to have to cut back." But I'm still just as, have as voracious appetite for learning as I ever had.
MOYEN: Were there any teachers at that school in particular that stuckout?
BAKER: Oh, yes. Yes. In my first grade there was a teacher, Mrs.Francis Durham, D-U-R-H-A-M, who was a very good teacher. I guess 28:00all students remember their first grade teacher, because you fall in love with them. They become a surrogate mother. And then in the fourth grade, there was Franc--, Helen Flatt, F-L-A-T-T. She was a painter. She encouraged me in some artistic-type of work. And later in life when I was in the State Senate, she gave me a watercolor that I had done as one of her students back at that time that she had kept all through the years. And I have it in our home in Columbia. It looks sort of like a Ryder-type of composition, if you're familiar with American art. But Miss Flatt was a wonderful teacher. I really 29:00appreciated her. She took a special interest in me, and in 1996, when I learned, the governor's office called and told me that the governor was appointing me to the Supreme Court, she was one of the first people I called, and really to thank her for what she had done for me back at that time. And I asked her to come, and she did, when I was sworn in on the Supreme Court, and I recognized her on that occasion in the remarks I made. But they were, at that school, they were two really outstanding teachers.
MOYEN: Is she still living?
BAKER: No, she died about 1998. She later, of course she was teachingat the training school, which meant she was on the faculty of the junior college. And then she later, once the training school closed, she remained on the faculty and was a professor there at Lindsey. 30:00Then another teacher that I'm deeply indebted to was my teacher in the seventh and eight grades at the Columbia Graded School, and that was, oh, I can't recall her name, Iva-it will come to me, but she was in one sense a battleaxe. She was extremely demanding. She set very high goals and she did not accept performance inferior to those goals, which meant I had to struggle, but not like some of my contemporaries did. But she taught us grammar, punctuation, mathematics. And anybody who studied under her never had any problem with that in high school, 31:00college, or anywhere. Then on into high school, there was a-let's see, Frances Russell was my English teacher and was excellent. Mrs. Bernice Flowers, wife of the doctor who delivered me, was my history teacher and government teacher. And I can't remember whether she taught Latin, or Miss Russell, or they may both have. I had two years of Latin, and I feel extremely fortunate to have had that background because that made English so much easier, and it made learning foreign languages so much easier. And I've used that Latin all my life. My 32:00only other language, Latin, probably I've forgotten almost everything I was exposed to, but I studied two years of German at Harvard. It was reading German, not conversational. But that stood me in good stead, the trips I've made overseas. I still speak a little German and can carry on a, at least a survival conversation in German, if need be. It rescued me once in Leningrad when I was out on my own and could not find anybody who spoke English. Someone spoke some German, and I was able to get directions to do what I wanted to do. But they were my memorable teachers up through secondary school. Then in Harvard 33:00Law School there was a professor, had been a trial lawyer in New York City for about eighteen years and then came to Harvard Law to teach among other things, civil procedure, named Benjamin Kaplan. And Ben Kaplan looked like Enzio Pinza from South Pacific, when it was performed in the, I guess the '50s on Broadway. Terrified my section of 130 men and a few women, maybe three or four in my class at that point. And he said to us at the final class, he said, "Gentlemen, I want to apologize. I may have been unduly harsh upon you in the course 34:00of the year." Just frightened every one of us that we'd be called on, and he would then just absolutely chop you to pieces intellectually, your lack of preciseness, knowledge of the case, or understanding the ramifications of the case. But he said, "I've been unduly harsh but," said, "I've done it for a reason." Said, "I want you to remember, never be satisfied unless you are doing better than you're capable of doing." And it stuck with me, and I've used that thought several times in speeches I've given. And it's an admirable goal for all of us.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Tell me a little bit about your high school experience.
BAKER: Okay. I attended two high schools. I attended Columbia HighSchool my first three years, and then the schools were consolidated in Columbia and Adair County. And my senior year, I was a member 35:00of the first class that attended and the first graduating class. We were there only one year, Adair County High School. And we had good teachers, history, English, particularly. The failure that I see looking back on our training at that time would be two things. One is that the standards generally for a class were not what I would today like to see, academic standards. But again, remember we're dealing in the early 1950s with, in a rural county of southern Kentucky where students, probably 80 percent of whom come out of homes where probably 36:00there's not even a high school education, certainly homes where there's virtually no, or almost no college education. So the background was not there generally among the population to provide that push that you need. The second thing was the lack of writing skills. I had probably better writing skills than most or maybe any in my class, simply because I entered essay contests. I had an insatiable desire to succeed and be successful, and so I wrote essays that were not otherwise required. 37:00Soil conservation essay contests, The Tall Kentuckian essay contest that the Courier-Journal sponsored about Abraham Lincoln. And I wrote on occasion term papers for some of the students at Lindsey Wilson Junior College, but even so, when I got to Harvard I found all of it just a rude shock. I didn't know anything about writing, and I had to scramble to learn. My first writing piece in General Education A, which was the writing course for all students in Harvard College, was on the subject of "What is Pain?" P-A-I-N. Now that was, in 400 words, and that was the most painful experience of my writing career (both laugh), you know, getting 400 words on a piece of paper and trying to make sense, and then learning how to compose paragraphs properly 38:00and introductory sentences and things that are elementary, I'm sure, to high school students today. But to demonstrate the success that Harvard had in training us, by my senior year, I wrote a 112 page honors thesis that got a magna. So I learned something along the way. And I remember, reflecting at Harvard and as I still do, I wish I could now attend the courses I attended as a freshman and a sophomore, because I could learn so much from them. I was starting, you know, with an empty slate. Now that I've got some background and experience and related knowledge, I could learn that so much better. But that, I 39:00guess, is the whole function of education, is to train you that way.
MOYEN: So, now, did you have that experience with both high schools, orwas that just at Columbia High School?
BAKER: I had the same teachers, all transferred over to Adair CountyHigh School.
BAKER: Right. So then it was-
MOYEN: Essentially the same.
BAKER: in an essence, the same institution-
BAKER: but in two separate facilities.
BAKER: Now, let me give you the, another lesser side. In high schoolI took chemistry. I don't recall that we, I'm not sure we ever did any lab work. I remember in February of 1954, I think it was, I took the college boards, and I had to take, one of them had to be in some 40:00science, and that was about the only science I had, other than general science. So I took it in chemistry, and I remember I got into doing the questions, and I became brutally aware that I didn't know what they were talking about. They would mention experiments using two different chemicals and a precipitate of a certain color, and A, B, C, or D, what is this, you know, and that type. You know, you might as well have written it in Russian. And I backed up. I decided, "Well, the only thing you can do is use your best judgment. And as Satchel Paige says, `Never look back.'" And I went through and finished it, and apparently I did fairly well, because freshman year at Harvard I was struggling in a course, Natural Sciences III, which was designed for the non-scientists. And I went to see my freshman advisor, and he 41:00said, "Well, let's look at your college boards and see how you did." And I had been recommended for second- year college chemistry. And I said, "Well, let me explain how that happened" (both laugh). But we had our deficiencies, as I guess all Kentucky schools did at that time. I don't think my teacher, in all fairness to him, I don't think he even had a bachelor of science degree. But, you know, the school systems had to get the best they could find of what was available, and that's what we had at that point.
[End of Tape #1, Side #1]
[Begin Tape #1, Side #2]
MOYEN: We're discussing your high school experience, and I'm interestedin how someone from relatively rural southern Kentucky becomes motivated to the extent to apply to, be accepted at, and excel at 42:00Harvard? Where did you develop those ambitions?
BAKER: Well, one of the elements that would go into that probablyemanates from something that would not be politically acceptable in this day and time. I always wanted to be first in my class, wanted to be first in anything I did. But I can remember as a child seeing the Adair County News, and at the end of the school year, they would print the photograph of the valedictorian and the salutatorian, and they were always female. And I thought, "This is not right" (both laugh). I, so I guess it was from a male chauvinist (both laugh) impulse, 43:00in part. But I was, and I think my parents wanted me to achieve. My father, believe it or not, wanted me to be a Rhodes Scholar, which I didn't make, but that-early on, and so I worked hard to be the very best I could be. And I can remember in high school reading things a second time when I would prefer to play or do pleasure reading, but I wanted to master it and I was determined to do it and basically I did. And that was something that I did at Harvard College too. For another reason, my father's health failed basically right after 44:00World War Two, and he was in, not bedfast or anything, but Dad had multiple sclerosis, and he had difficulty walking and getting around. Of course, he was elderly at that point. He was fifty-three when I was born, and so he was in his sixties. And I remember my, he was, he came to Glasgow for medical care, which was about forty miles from Columbia, west. Dr. C.C. Howard, who was a very famous doctor here in Glasgow, founded the Howard Clinic, was one of the doctors my father saw. And I remember my mother coming back from bringing Dad over here one time and in tears, because the doctor had given Dad six months 45:00to live. And fortunately the doctor was wrong, and my father lived until 1963. But I knew when I went away to Harvard that, you know, when I left, you know, it might be the last time I saw my father. And I was determined that if something happened, I was not going to get behind in my studies, so I always read ahead of where I should have been, which was a bad thing to do because I lacked the currency in my knowledge or ability to recall when we would have section meetings in classes, because I'd, I was about two weeks ahead of the class in terms of reading. But, and that was my motivation, was not to lose out if I had to come back to Kentucky and something happened to Dad. And, but 46:00it was also helpful, because at Harvard at that time, your academic work was basically finished at Christmas time, and then you returned after the Christmas holidays and you had a two week reading period, and then you had your final examinations each semester. Now, the reading period was not a free time. You were assigned reading, so you would have a book for reading, basically, in every course or something. But I always managed to have the reading period assignment done before I left for Christmas holidays, and so when I returned, I could leisurely review. And then I did fun reading during reading period. Everybody else was all tense and bothered, I was reading things I wanted to read (laughs). I remember one time I wrote a paper for my own edification on the Battle of Green River Bridge, which occurred in, at the edge 47:00of Columbia, or of Adair and Taylor County on July 4 of 1863, when Morgan's men came through and met the 25th Michigan Infantry. And that was the, it was the preceding afternoon that the skirmish took place in front of the old Baker place that my grandfather witnessed. But I thought I'd like to know something about that, and so I spent some time in the Harvard Library looking things up. There's a wonderful multi-volume, don't hold me to the correct number but, say, 190 volumes of the Official Records of The War of the Great Rebellion. And I got into that and got the dispatches related to the skirmish that I was interested in. And so reading period and exam period was not as bad 48:00a time. But going back to your question, you said, "How did I get the motivation to go to Harvard?" The knowledge that I had a first cousin who was professor of English there stimulated me to do the best I could do. It also embarrassed me, like in the seventh grade when we would be diagramming sentences and I would have difficulty doing that, and I would think, "Now here you are, the same bloodline as your cousin Herschel, and he is, you know, head of, chairman of a Department of English at one of the foremost universities in the nation and the world, and you don't have enough sense to know how to diagram of a sentence." But that was one motivation. A second occurred, actually it was my senior year of high school. There was a family that had 49:00moved to Columbia from Cleveland in the, roughly, probably 1948, and they were Presbyterians, which is what church that I attended. And a boy named Tony Clark had graduated from Columbia High School and went to Harvard College. And in the fall of `53, he was, at that point, he was in the army at Fort Knox. The Korean War had come up. And he was home, and I remember him walking out of church one Sunday, and he said, "Why don't you apply to Harvard?" And it had never occurred to me to go to Harvard. Centre College was where my father wanted me to go, where my grandfather had gone, and where I expected to go. And I said, 50:00"Well, tell me about it." And I remember going home after church, and I went upstairs to my room, and I had in the drawer of the desk that I used a Harvard College catalogue. And to this day I don't know how I had gotten it. Obviously, I must have written at some point to get it, because I had always Harvard in the back of my mind, that I would go to Harvard Law School, because that was the very best and I wanted to get the best training I could get. Then Tony came down to the Rialto Theater that Sunday night. I worked, either sold tickets or took tickets at the Rialto Theater, from roughly August at the end of my, of the eighth grade until I left to go to Harvard, worked just virtually every night and Sunday afternoons and matinees and that thing. So he 51:00came down where I was working, and he said, "I'm going to call a friend in Louisville in the Harvard Club," and provided the linkage to, for that in Louisville. And I wind up applying. I remember going up to Louisville, something that Tony set up, for a lunch with Mr. Anderson Dearing, Jr., of the Kentucky Trust Company, who was a strong Harvard alumnus, and Barry Bingham, Sr. And it must have been during, in the November-Thanksgiving timeframe, because Barry, Jr. was there, and he was then a Harvard student. I had a connection to the Binghams in that another of my first cousins, Lisle Baker, Jr., was the executive vice 52:00president and general manager of the Courier, the Louisville Times, all of the Bingham media empire. And I'm, and he may have had, I don't know, I'd written him that I was thinking about Harvard, and I'm sure he talked to Barry, Sr. But that's how I got started, and I applied and wound up winning a regional honor scholarship, whatever that is, to Harvard. And probably if I had known how difficult it would be or how alienated I felt initially there, I would never have undertaken it. But once I undertook it, it was a matter of pride and I was going to do it and do it right. And I was a Kentuckian, and I was not going to embarrass my state. And, but it was freshman year, I recall, and I may 53:00be a little more disciplined than most, or I was at that period of my life, but I remember, I think, going to only one movie the entire year. Every Saturday night I studied, every Saturday afternoon I studied, every Sunday afternoon I studied. I had to, to catch up. By the end of the freshman year, I was-you took, basically, four courses at a time, the way Harvard was structured, and I had a, I think an A and maybe three B's or maybe a C plus in the natural sciences. I think I finally got that over to B minus, but thereafter I was always a solid, what we 54:00called a Group Two scholar, half A's and half B's. And by the second semester of the sophomore year, I was up and running, equal in fighting (coughs) aca--, intellectual fighting ability to my contemporaries, but it took a lot of heavy work to get there. And I was lucky. I loved history. I went to Harvard thinking that I would major in government because I aspired to go into politics, and I wanted to serve in the legislature as my father had done. I took a course in government my freshman year. It was comparative government one semester, which I enjoyed very much. And it was political theory the other, which I did 55:00not find as interesting for my taste. And then the history course my first year was the usual introductory course to Western civilization. This was history of Western Europe, and I loved it. I just absolutely loved it. I had a mind that could remember details and could recall details. I would see the page. I don't profess to have a photographic memory, certainly not anymore, but I can remember in exams there would be a question and I knew exactly where that was on the page, left-hand side or right-hand side, and maybe even the page number. And sometimes I could conjure up the rest of the information, sometimes I couldn't. But I, somewhere along the line, I developed a little intellectual 56:00maturity and said to myself, "You're only going to go through college once. You're going to go to law school anyway. So study that that you really want to learn about and that you enjoy." And so that propelled me into majoring in history, and really loved it, still love it. And I had some great teachers. My tutor my senior year, under whom I wrote my thesis, was Ernest May, a professor, he's now retired. He was the Warren Professor of American History, and he taught American diplomatic history. He was a Texan from Fort Worth by way of the University of California, and was at, part of the res--, of the staff at Kirkland 57:00House, which was my undergraduate house at Harvard. And then I wrote my thesis under him, and he was very helpful in helping me organize that and put it together.
MOYEN: And what was your thesis on?
BAKER: My thesis was about Kentucky (laughs). I remember trying tofind a thesis topic and every, all of my contemporaries were searching, and they were on subjects that many of which they found boring, but it was something to write a thesis about. And again, very sensibly, I thought, "What is it you most want to know about?" And that would be something that, instead of being a labor, would be a labor of love. And I decided it had to be something about Kentucky. And I was a Republican, so I wanted to know about the Republican Party of Kentucky. And my thesis ultimately narrowed down to a history of the Kentucky 58:00Republican Party, 1919 to 1956. The Harvard Library was able to get me the Louisville papers on microfilm. They'd borrow them from the University of Chicago, and so I would go into the microfilm readers, and it was fascinating. And I wrote a good thesis. Dr. May said I had one summa reader and one magna-plus and a magna. There was debate on whether to give it a summa or a magna. It got a magna and I got a magna cum laude degree. But it was just the most enjoyable thing I've 59:00ever done, up to the thing I'm working on now, which is a history of the judges of Kentucky's highest court, which is also something that I very much want to know about. And so that's why it is so much fun to assemble the information. Let's see, I'm trying to think of-also at Harvard, I audited courses. I was lucky enough that between scholarship assistance and family, I chose not to get a student job while I was in college and just maximized my time on academic performance and also expand my interest in subjects that I was exposed to there. So 60:00I remember in addition to the courses I took, the normal load, I think I would take an extra course. And then sometimes I would audit yet another course. I remember I audited H. Stuart Hughes's course. No, was it that one? Or maybe I took that one. That was Europe Since 1918. And I audited a course on French Impressionistic art, and then maybe another course, just trying to be a better educated person than I might otherwise have been. But the Harvard experience was tremendous. Are we getting away from the order of your questions? But-
MOYEN: No, no. That's no problem.61:00
BAKER: And the Cambridge community was an intellectual experience thatwas unbelievable for somebody coming from rural Kentucky, and the exposure to, you know, the greatest minds in the world and to the leaders in virtually any area of life or experience in the world. I got to attend lectures by Hugh Gaitskell who was a Labour leader in the parliament in Great Britain. And each night, this was in `56 during the Suez crisis, and the political situation in Great Britain was very turbulent, and you never knew whether Mr. Gaitskell would be back the next night, this was a series of three or four lectures, or he would have to return to London to become prime minister. Let's 62:00see who else I heard, the British historian whose name escapes me, (coughs) excuse me, Arnold Toynbee came over several times, and I would go listen to him. I don't profess to say I really understood what he was saying (Moyen laughs), but at least I was exposed to him. And those were the Godkin, G-O-D-K-I-N, Lectures, which are the premier lectureship at Harvard each year. But then the political parties would bring people in, and I remember going to hear Barry Bingham, who had managed Governor Stevenson's presidential campaign. I remember another time going to hear Senator Hubert Humphrey. And I'm trying 63:00to think, on my party, Chris Herter, who was governor of Massachusetts and later was Eisenhower's secretary of state after Secretary Dulles developed cancer. And there were many others, Senator Goldwater later when I was in law school. And then at Kirkland House, our master, Charles H. Taylor, a professor of medieval history, he lived in the master's house, which was part of Kirkland House. And every Wednesday from 4:00 or 4:30 to 6:00 or 6:30, he would have the master's tea, and any student in Kirkland House was always welcome to come to the 64:00tea. I started going to those regularly, and Master Taylor would always try to have a distinguished guest at the tea. And I remember meeting Dr. Conant, James Conant, who had been president of Harvard during World War Two and who had worked on the Manhattan Project on the atom bomb. I remember meeting Bernard DeVoto, who was a Pulitzer Prize winner and spoke on 1846. I'm trying to think of some of the others that came through there. So it was a time that stimulated your mind, and if you had a wide-ranging interest and curiosity, it provided a marvelous stimulus. And it made you recognize that while all of these individuals were men, I say men because at that time 65:00that was, basically there were not any women professors or for that matter lawyers or-there were women students at Radcliffe College, which was our counterpart, was, but was not technically part of Harvard. But they were all men of great achievement, and yet, you came to the realization that those achievements were within your range of possibility if you applied yourself appropriately.
MOYEN: You did mention that when you first went, that you felt, Ibelieve, it was alienated. You said-
BAKER: Oh, I went up there and I had heard about homesickness, but I hadnever experienced it. And I thought, "I'm a mature seventeen year old, this will never happen to me." And for someone in Columbia, I had been away. I'd been to, on a high school trip to Washington and New York, 66:00I'd been to the Boy Scout National Jamboree at Valley Forge in 1950. I was active in scouting and was an Eagle Scout. And I got to Cambridge, and the first week was wonderful. That was before the rest of the Harvard people arrived, and they were acclimating the new freshman class. And it was a week in which there were constant meetings of your class, and the eagles of the university were speaking to you and you were pumped up. All of us were, it seemed like, valedictorians of our high school classes, whether we went to Exeter or Adair County High or whatever it was; obviously men who were very bright, and so we 67:00felt good about ourselves. But by the end of that first week, we were all, you know, counting our Phi Beta Kappa keys. And we'd been told we were the intellectual aristocracy of the Western world, and we believed it (laughs). And then classes started. And I had never been in an academic class in which you had anything other than a daily assignment. And to start a class in which they hand out a mimeographed reading list for the entire semester that is multi-page in dimensions, and you look at that and you say, "Golly, nobody could read all of that in the time we've got" (laughs). And that happened in every class. And then you suddenly became rudely aware that there were two term papers each 68:00semester in, virtually in each course, other than, say, German. And these term papers were of a length that you had never written anything about. And, you know, all of a sudden you were a very tiny little individual looking at a great big world up there that outnumbered you and you didn't think you had the strength to overwhelm. And so that, plus, you know, and the sickening feeling that you couldn't do it, that it may have been more than you could chew. And the realization that those about you, for the most part, were better prepared to do it than you were. And I remember very distinctly one evening eating dinner at the Harvard Union, which is the dining room for all freshmen 69:00at that time. And I usually, I sat with various people and made friends, because when I went there I didn't know anybody, and then started out meeting more and more people. And I was sitting across from several students who had gone to Exeter or Andover, and they were talking about various writers and the differences in their early works and later works. Well, I didn't even know who the writers were, much less having read anything by them. And you felt so intellectually inferior. And I remember one of them leaning over and asking, "Where are you from?" And I said, "I'm from Kentucky." And the individual said, "Oh, that's somewhere out, that's in the western provinces, out west of the Hudson" (both laugh). And all of this came together and 70:00I got literally homesick. I was blue. I was depressed. I wanted to go home. I could not eat. I can remember going to the Harvard Union, and I would try to eat, and the food just would not go down. It just, that went on for several days. I finally snapped out of it someway and got my sea legs and kept on going, but I, when people say they are homesick, I've had one wrenching experience of it that I well remember. And now one of the delightful things about the Harvard experience, particularly in the upper-class years, when you live in the houses, each Harvard house at that time contained equal number of the upper 71:00three years: sophomores, juniors, and seniors. And depending on the facility, it was 350 students to maybe 500 students. It had a master, who you might say the equivalent of the president of the house, who was always a senior faculty member and a faculty member of some renown in his field. It had a senior tutor, who would be the equivalent of a dean who sort of took care of the management of the house and making sure the animals didn't get too bad (both laugh) and the discipline that might be necessary. And then it had both a resident faculty and a nonresident faculty. The resident faculty generally were younger 72:00faculty instructors, assistant professors. Dr. May, Ernie May, was an assistant professor at that time and a nonresident faculty member. Zbig Brzezinski, later national security advisor to President Clinton, I think at that time was a resident instructor in government. And I remember eating with Dr. Brzezinski many times, with five or six of us around the table. I remember I was auditing his section in government at the same time I was enrolled in somebody else's section. I sat next to a young lady named Ellie Baker from Ohio. Her father was president of Ohio University. And there were probably fourteen to twenty 73:00students in that section, but it was small enough that Brzezinski was aware of those who were on his roll and others that he didn't quite understand. So one day the section was meeting, and he said, "The gentleman sitting next to Miss Baker, what is your name, sir?" And I said, "Mr. Baker" (both laugh). But those were great experiences, and I learned as much, if not more, over the dining room table in my Harvard years as I did in the classroom. And that's not to say that I slacked off in any way on my classroom work, but your fellow students 74:00were keen individuals and for the most part were interested in the subjects they were studying and the work of the upper years and theses that they were preparing, and it was a wide- ranging education. And I was, again, fortunate enough to be in a group of close friends who were very diverse and from utterly different backgrounds, and I'll give you an example of it. I was a white male Protestant, Southern public high school grad. George Pontikis, one of my closest friends in college and law school, George was a Greek Orthodox from Chicago. His father 75:00was an immigrant from Greece. He was very interested in philosophy and majored, I think, in philosophy. Bob, and he's now, we went to Harvard College and Harvard Law School together, and I was at his wedding in Chicago in 1966. He's a trial lawyer in Chicago still. Bob November was a Jew, agnostic in his religious faith, at the time at least, from out, called Long Island, in a very, very nice suburban area there. Father was vice president of one of the major life insurance companies 76:00in New York. I think he was a public school background, I believe. David Greenstone, Bob's roommate, was a Jew from Rochester, New York; father was a dentist. He was majoring in American History and Lit., which was a marvelous type of major that really was much broad, more broad-ranging than just history, and later became a professor at the University of Chicago. Fletcher Davis was from Minnesota, I can't remember, I think he was majoring in economics, a musician very 77:00interested in pipe organs, and worked out an arrangement with one of the old theaters in downtown Boston, that when they closed on Saturday night, he would go down and play their organ, it was one of those that rose up you know, and would repair it. And I went down with him one night. It was just a marvelous experience in that completely vacant room, arena, other than a few ladies with brooms, you know, sweeping and cleaning. And they sometimes would stop, and you'd see them listening to the music and swaying with the music. And let's see, some of the-but there, this is the type of group of people that I was thrown with and interacted with on a, not just a daily basis, but two or three meals a day. And a great, great learning experience.
MOYEN: So how did that experience differ from Harvard Law?78:00
BAKER: Okay. Day and night (both laugh). Harvard Law, going to HarvardLaw School, with no disrespect to the institution, was like going back to high school. You had daily assignments. You had fifteen pages, twenty pages of cases in a case book, and you, I started to say you diagram the cases, there's a different term we used, and you made case notes on each case. But it was a daily assignment like high school with one exception: you had no grades except your final exam in June. So your performance in class didn't mean diddly. For some students 79:00that meant you didn't go to class when you didn't want to or something, that type of thing. But it also meant that by, school started in mid- September and that by no later than mid-October you started a systematic review which continued all year long of what you'd been studying. At the same time, you were also doing your daily work for the next day so you would be able to perform properly on the finals. Harvard Law School, again, was almost like Harvard College in the fact all of us were valedictorians, and then, you know, discovered that didn't mean anything anymore. Well, Harvard Law School, all of us had Phi Beta Kappa keys and you found that didn't mean anything anymore. And you also discovered in law school, I discovered in law school, there are 80:00some people who have a natural aptitude for the law and there are others who don't, and I was, I think that I was somewhere in between. I remember I had a friend named Bob Berry, who later I think was dean of the law school at Indiana. And Bob made Harvard Law Review and later was law professor and dean. But I remember at some point in the year, he discovered Churchill and he just quit going to class. Started reading Churchill's volumes on World War Two. But he had the type of mind that could readily absorb, analyze, dissect, that law requires. The biggest problem for me and I think for many of us at Harvard Law 81:00School was the very simple matter of learning the difference between what is an element that leads to a conclusion and what is a conclusion. And really law school is all about that very simple thing. When you can dissect and find what is it that brings you to this, as opposed to what is the result. And by the end of three years, most of us had gotten there. I remember a tremendous experience at Harvard Law School, very like some of my many experiences at Harvard College. I took a course in Federal Courts and Jurisdiction, under Henry Hart. And it was sort of a civil procedure, but really the theory behind 82:00the way the court system works and why it does things and the way our Constitutional system in America works. And by about April, and it was a full-year course, by about April, suddenly this began to come together and all these strands became woven into a marvelous fabric, and it really gave me an understanding of our system, Constitutional system, in America that I'd never possessed up to that time. And there was a marvelous law review article that Hart had done in the Columbia Law Review, some twenty years earlier probably that helped to put it together for me. I found that and read it. And, but that was one of the few, you know, experiences that way of what I call an intellectual 83:00type of experience that I had in law school. Another thing that I had in law school that was really fun: third year of law school, you do a paper, at least at Harvard Law School at that time, and you take a seminar which leads up to the writing of that paper, a seminar in that general area of the law. Well, I looked around and there were seminars in bankruptcy, creditors' rights, trade regulation, Constitutional law. And I probably would have gone into Constitutional law if worse came to worse, but none of these really excited me. But there was a seminar on national defense policy, which was taught by a property professor, 84:00W. Barton Leach, who was also a brigadier general in the Air Force Reserve. And it was co-taught by a Harvard University professor by the name of Henry Kissinger. And there were, twenty law students were admitted to the seminar, and it was a competitive thing. I think I had an advantage because I had worked each summer, beginning with my, I guess after my junior year of college, on the staff of U.S. Senator Thruston Morton in his Washington office in the U.S. Senate. So I had a background that led that way. And I was accepted and a member of that seminar, and we met every other week for a couple of hours 85:00around a large oval table, I guess probably the faculty room at the law school, Dr. Kissinger in the middle, and across from him-
[End of Tape #1, Side #2]
[Begin Tape #2, Side #1]
MOYEN: Okay, we were discussing where you met with Mr. Kissinger.
BAKER: The defense policy seminar at Harvard Law School. Kissingerhad just written a book on nuclear arms and defense policy, which was a seminal book of thinking in that, in terms of nuclear warfare and arms control and all of those things. And it was probably at the 86:00cutting edge of thought in terms of defense policy. And he would, there would be a seminar subject, and he would bring in a leader from the Western world, literally, to participate in the discussion, make a presentation, respond to questions. And in the course of that year, if I can think back to who all we had, we had Raymond Aron, I think his name was, who was the former prime minister of France. We had Roswell Gilpatrick, who was the deputy, which means the number two, secretary of defense in the Kennedy administration. General Thomas H. White, who was chief of staff, U.S. Air Force. Admiral Arleigh Burke, chief of 87:00naval operations. Was it Henry Kahn, K-A-H-N, who had written a book on arms control? One of the most brilliant people I was ever exposed to, General James A. Gavin, who was then president of the Arthur D. Andersen think-tank firm and who had been a major-general and jumped at Normandy with the 101st Airborne Division. Spoke seven languages, had a mind that was just like a steel trap, just a, and all the people I have been exposed to in academic life, political life, I think he 88:00probably had the best mind that I have ever seen. Let's see, who were some of the others? But that was, you know, a heady experience, and it was designed appropriately by Harvard, first to identify in the law school years those young men who in future life stood a probability that they would be participating in national defense policy and leadership roles, and to start training them in law school years to help boost them along that path. And I think one of our heroes probably, though never expressed there, was Elihu Root, who was a 89:00Harvard Law grad and was secretary of war under Theodore Roosevelt, among others, and a New York lawyer, in and out of the government, like so many lawyers are from time to time. So you know, we were a selected group, selected with a purpose and reason, and looking back over whatever we had done up to that time. And it was a selection that was prophetic. Of my group, Paul Brady was the number two lawyer at the National Security Agency. And I, from the time we graduated till I went in the Reagan administration in 1981 where I was assistant general counsel for international affairs, but I had the intelligence portfolio in my responsibility. About six o'clock one night, there 90:00was a rap on my door in the Pentagon. I was still there, and I went, my secretary had left, I went out. The door opened and there was this individual, a beard, moustache, slender, about my height, glasses, he said, "You're Walter Baker." I said, "Yes." And I looked at him and said, "You're Paul Brady." And then I learned where he was, what he was and what he was doing. We were both in the, we were both lawyers in the intelligence community at the highest level in the national government. Tom Graham from Louisville was the general counsel of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. There was another individual, whom I did not know as well, who subsequently was secretary of the army. And if I had a roster, I could probably pick out three or four 91:00more that, but we all eventually wound up in the national government in key positions at one time or another, fulfilling the training role that Harvard foresaw for these students who participated in this type of program. I remember one afternoon sitting there, and Dr. Kissinger on one side of the table and Dr. Kahn, whom I mentioned earlier, from, he was from the Hudson Institute, which I think is now in Indianapolis. And he had written a book called On Thermonuclear War, and the two of them were debating as the rest of us were in awe, listening. Could 92:00you refine nuclear war to such a state that the Russians would knock out Chicago and we would knock out Sverdlovsk, and then as Kissinger said, "and call it quits," which is something that I think probably more rational people now recognize, that type of rationality would not occur in terms of a nuclear conflict. But these were the questions being asked, and this was an era when the answers were not always out there. Fortunately, we got through the Cold War without a nuclear confrontation. But that was a tremendous experience for me and one of many. I was active politically, more so in the law school than the college. I was a member of the Republican Club in the college, 93:00but I was (coughs), I think I was a moderate when a more conservative group took over, and I decided to spend my time on academics and not on student politics. In the law school, I set out to become and did become president of the Harvard Law School Republican Club. It was not a vintage year for Republicans, because I was president in the presidential election that John F. Kennedy was elected president (both laugh). So we did not do well in the Cambridge scene, but I remember working the polls for Richard Nixon in Cambridge on Election Day in 1960. And I had some friends, Justice Scalia, presently on the U.S. Supreme Court, was a year ahead of me, and I remember calling him, I 94:00had a list of the members of the Harvard Law School Republican Club, and soliciting his support when I ran for president of the law school Republican club. And had a good friend and supporter, Lewis Engman, E-N-G-M-A-N, now deceased. Lew was from Michigan, was a good friend of Congressman Gerald Ford. And after we graduated, then he went back and practiced law, and then he came to Washington and was an advisor in the immediate staff area for President Nixon. The president later appointed him chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, and Lewis was active in those circles and he used to travel with Nixon back and forth 95:00to San Clemente. I think Lew, his White House years before he went to the Federal Trade Commission, I think he was an assistant to Mr. Ehrlichman on the domestic council part of the government. And then there were others who were in national life. We've had, of my class, I'm trying to think, I don't think we had any United States senators from my law class. We had some congressmen. Mike Harrington of Massachusetts was in my college class and my law class. And then in my college class was and is a United State Senator, John D. Rockefeller, 96:00IV. And we always thought that he would be successful in life (both laugh), but he was in a way, to his credit, that, where he earned it. We had another classmate in college, and I did not know him. I recognized him when I saw him, but I was not in any circles with him, who is the present Aga Khan. He was at that time, he was the stepson of Rita Hayworth. His father was married or had been married with Rita Hayworth, and his father was Aly Kahn. And while we were in Cambridge his, or while I was in Cambridge at least, during, somewhere in those years, his father was killed in a car accident in France. And most of us expected his older brother, who was also a Harvard student and 97:00a couple of years ahead of us, to be the one who would be made the Aga, but the old Aga selected my classmate as his successor. And then Governor Stevenson's son, John Fell Stevenson, was in our class. And there were other names of people that were, families were noteworthy at that time.
MOYEN: Now, what year did your class graduate?
BAKER: Class of `58.
BAKER: We took a great pride in the number `58, 1958, because we wereexactly 100 years after the class of Henry Adams. The Education of Henry Adams was one of two or three books I can think of that you read several times in the course of your Harvard undergraduate career: The 98:00Education of Henry Adams, Huckleberry Finn, and The Communist Manifesto, whether you're in government or literature or whatnot, you came across these in various courses and encountered them. And all in their own ways, works that have impacted world history. I think Huckleberry Finn is probably one the most profound works, and most of us don't recognize that at all. But it has dimensions and depths that each time you read it that come out in a way that you did not see the time before.
MOYEN: So your class was `58, and you went directly to-
BAKER: I went directly to Harvard Law School.
BAKER: Now, I applied for a Knox Fellowship, I think it was that, but99:00I was not successful. Had I won that, I would have gone to England or Europe for a year. And I think I was probably happy I did not because I thought I might have gotten rusty academically absorbing all the wonders of Western Europe and whatnot. And so we literally crossed the street from Harvard College to Harvard Law School, which made it a lot easier. I just put everything in the basement of Kirkland House, and then when I came in, in the fall, I got it and went across the street. Going to law school, applying to law school, was another interesting thing. As I say, from early years, I had in the back of my mind contemplated of going to Harvard Law School, but after four years of Harvard College, I thought it might be worthy at least of 100:00consideration to go somewhere else for your law experience. And I narrowed it down to Harvard, Yale, Virginia, Chicago, and Stanford, and then I got catalogues and application forms and started to go through the laborious process of an application. It was not as difficult then as it is today, and I knew that, you know, if I'm a magna at Harvard and Phi Beta Kappa, and I didn't know all of that at that point, but I knew my performance level was such that I probably would be, you are probably going to get, be accepted at all these schools. And why 101:00waste an application fee on a school that you probably won't go to? And so I narrowed it down to Harvard and Yale, applied to each and was accepted by each. And probably what triggered my remaining at Harvard as opposed to going to Yale was I had a number of good friends and classmates who also were going to Harvard Law School and so just decided to go on across the street together. I had some connection to Yale in that when I was in high school at Columbia, I was active in the Presbyterian Youth Fellowship-type of activity and moderator of our youth group at the Presbytery level. I had attended in December of 1953 a quadrennial conference of Presbyterian youth, which was a three 102:00or four day meeting at Auburn University, and I met there a professor from Yale and Yale Divinity School named Kenneth Scott Latourette. The name meant absolutely nothing to me, but he was a wonderful old gentleman, took an interest in me, and so we starting corresponding. And when I wound up at Harvard, he invited me to come down and visit him at Yale, and I went down. It turned out he was a Sterling Professor Emeritus, which is the most prestigious professorship at Yale, on the faculty of Berkley College and Yale College, and on the faculty of Yale Divinity School, a renowned historian, both of Far Eastern history and also the history of Christianity. And so he is 103:00another role model in my life who took me in tow and encouraged me. And I would, each year, I would go down and spend a weekend with, "Uncle Ken" is what I called him, with Dr. Latourette. And I was one of, I'm sure, hundreds that he encouraged and was a father figure to through the years. And I mentioned to you before we turned the tape on, John Sherman Cooper was another of my role models. We were Republicans, my father and I, and I remember in 1946, so I would have been, six and three, nine years old, Cooper came to Columbia to speak at the courthouse, and my dad took me and we sat inside the jury rail. And I can remember this tall, distinguished Kentuckian coming 104:00over and leaning over to shake hands. And it was Senator, although he was not senator at that point, but he was subsequently elected to the U.S. Senate. And he fulfilled in my mind what a public servant ought to be, the type of philosophy, the type of diligence, the type of rectitude, the type of leadership that I think he was for our state and our nation-and that he was a national figure, he was not just a senator from Kentucky, he was a very widely respected senator internationally. So Cooper and I formed a friendship, and I'm not, probably presumptuous on my part, but I was too young and naive to even sense that. And whenever I would go to Washington I'd go see him. And he 105:00would always, you know, I'm a Harvard law student and he is a worldly United States senator, a former delegate to the United Nations and to the NATO conferences and whatnot under the Truman administration. But he would always find time for me to come back and just, he and I sat there and talked. And I remember when I was trying to get a job in the U.S. Senate, going to see him. His was the staff I would have wanted to work on, but he did not have an opening and Senator Morton did and took me. And from time to time, I would go see him throughout the years up to and after even when I was in the Senate here in Kentucky. I remember, it was probably after, it was my sophomore year, and I 106:00went down between semesters to make that call to try to get a job in the Senate, and he asked me, "Walter, are you staying here or a few days or what?" And I said, "No, I'm going up to Washington tomorrow, and I'm going to go to the United Nations. I've never been there and I would like to see it." And Senator Cooper said, "Well, do you know anybody there?" And I said, "No, I don't know anybody, but I'm sure I can get a ticket and I'll be able to see it." He said, "Let me give you a letter, it might help you." And he pulled out, opened his drawer and pulled out that sort of yellow buff stationary, the private stationary that the U.S. senators have, as opposed to the normal letterhead that you see, and took his pen and wrote a handwritten letter to somebody 107:00and then handed it to me. And it was a letter of introduction to Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, who was U.S. ambassador at the U.N. And I took that with me and showed up. I never did meet Senator Lodge, or Ambassador Lodge, he then was, but certainly somebody from his staff took me in tow and I was treated very royally. And that's something, you know, Cooper didn't have to do and, but it was, it typified the way he tried to help people, encourage people. And then I remember another time I was an officer in the Kentucky Air National Guard, and I was selected to go to the National Defense University in Washington for a two week seminar on national defense policy. This was in `73, in 108:00the summer, late June of `73, to be exact. And I, after the duty day was over and the classes were over, I went to Senator Cooper's office. He was then in Covington & Burling law firm in Washington, which was the law firm that Dean Acheson was a senior partner in. And I went to see him, and he let me in, and we had a wonderful conversation. And he said, "What are you doing tomorrow night?" And I said, "Well, probably studying. We have a pretty heavy reading load in this seminar." And he said, "Well, Lorraine and I are having a little function in our house. I'd like for you to come." And he took his yellow pad and he wrote the address and the phone number down and said, "Come on over and be there about seven." And I knew he lived in Georgetown, so the 109:00next evening I put on civilian clothes and took a cab from my hotel where I was staying over to the Senator's house. I noticed the street was blocked off. He lived at, I guess in the 2900 block of N Street. So the cabdriver let me out and I walked up the steps to the Cooper house, which was one of those brick row houses in Georgetown and came in the doorway. There were lots of people, and I saw, spotted Mrs. Cooper and, whom I knew, and said hello to her. And this is where the name-dropping begins (both laugh). She handed me off, introduced me to the lady next to her, who was President Theodore Roosevelt's daughter, 110:00and I'll think of her first name in a minute, but-Alice Long--, Alice Roosevelt Longworth, who handed me off to Elliot Richardson, who was probably secretary of defense at that time or attorney general, one or the other. And I looked around the room, and it turned out that this was a party he was giving, the annual party he gave for members of the U.S. Senate. And everybody was there. It was a, I spotted a young lady from Louisville who worked as a social secretary for Mrs. Cooper and made my way over to her and sort of stayed with her the rest of the evening. But I remember when I went through the buffet line and got my food, came back and sat in the library, and also in there talking were Senators Ted Kennedy and, let's see, I think George McGovern, three or 111:00four of the, from the Democratic side. I remember out in the garden meeting Senator Ervin, who had just started the Watergate hearings. I remember meeting Senator Adlai Stevenson from Illinois, brother to my classmate and the son of Governor Stevenson, and meeting his wife, who was perfectly wonderful. She was a Louisville girl and my, I did not know it at the time, but my future brother-in-law had dated her in high school years or college years or something. And then I met the Vice President, Spiro Agnew, who later came to shame and resignation. But, 112:00and let's see, the deputy secretary of state was there, I don't recall his name now, but he was quite a figure in international affairs, and just, you know, it was an experience someone from Columbia, Kentucky, is not likely to have in a lifetime. But Cooper made it possible for me. And, let's see, get back to what you're-
MOYEN: Well, let me ask you this.
BAKER: Okay, sure.
MOYEN: Taking together Cooper's influence and the influence of yourteachers and your family and your experience both as an undergrad and a student at Harvard Law, all of this plays a role in developing your philosophy of government or your political philosophy. How would you describe that? When you're graduating from law school at Harvard or in those first years afterwards, what was your philosophy on government or 113:00what government should be doing, what it shouldn't be doing?
BAKER: Well, it's a multi-dimensional philosophy. It's a philosophythat's grounded in the law and respect for the Constitutional processes and for the Constitutional provisions. It's a philosophy also that is grounded out of my Adair County experience, with the practicality that the role of government, as a Democrat that I did not always agree with, but we remain friends, Governor and later Senator Wendell Ford said, that the role of government is to help people. And having come out of a background of contemporaries of people who, if not underprivileged, 114:00were not ones who had the richer side of American society, because none of us were, in the Adair County community. So a respect for law and appreciation that your job in government is to try to make life better for the people that you serve, both if you are in the legislative capacity to reflect their sentiments, governed always, I have felt and I hope I've conducted myself this way, governed always by the sense that, ultimately, you have to look to your own conscience for what you do, and if that differs with the people you represent, then you follow your conscience and accept the consequences politically. And I've done that a couple of times (both laugh). Fortunately, it didn't defeat me 115:00necessarily. And then that your job in, and this probably is getting away from philosophy and maybe I'm not so philosophical in government as a pragmatist, you try to solve problems and bring the resources of experience, history, intellect, professional advice all together, and out of that try to create or fashion a solution that will work within the reality of what your limitations may be. And in government, the limitations usually are budgetary limitations. They were when I was there, they very much are today. And I think of my philosophy, and 116:00this is getting beyond the state level, I think following the lead of Senator Cooper, I was always an internationalist in terms of the direction I thought this nation should take. And let's see, I was thinking of a second element and it will come back to me in a moment, but I've always been a strong believer in the United Nations and NATO, in U.S. involvement in helping other nations worldwide. And that flows directly from John Sherman Cooper. And also historically, I 117:00remember as a student I was shocked by Roosevelt's packing, or attempt to pack, the Supreme Court in 1937. That's just something that instinctively you don't do, and that's another thing that separated me, or made me feel I was a Republican as opposed to a Democrat. President Truman's attempt to nationalize the steel industry was another move by someone, leadership in the Democratic Party, that seemed alien to what I believed in, in terms of Constitutional processes, made me feel like a Republican. Ironically, Truman's, one of his best friends and a fellow Kentuckian, Chief Justice Fred Vinson, was the one who wrote the 118:00opinion invalidating it. And there's another element and it's escaped me right now, but it will come back and when it does, I'll-
MOYEN: Okay. Well, with your political philosophy and your mentioningearlier that you coveted or desired to be in the General Assembly, you graduated from law school in `61, is that correct?
BAKER: Sixty-one, yes.
MOYEN: Okay. And you begin service in `68. What did you do in thoseinterim years, and in what ways were you positioning yourself to-
BAKER: Well, first thing, before going to Harvard, I knew I was goingto return to Kentucky. This is my home. This is, probably at the time I left to go to Harvard, well, not probably, I think it was my 119:00expectation that when I finished law school, I would come back to Columbia and I would live in the home that my parents had lived in. Just, this is just, this is the way people in the South do. I strayed a little from that in that I returned not to Columbia but to a law firm in Louisville. And I was concerned about that because I wasn't sure that that was the best route to do the public life, part of my life that I wanted to do, but nevertheless, I went to Louisville. I remained there for about a year and a half. I did not like the practice in Louisville. I was not getting into the courthouse, like as a young Adair Countian, I had gone down to the courthouse and watched 120:00trials. I was not trying cases. We were working on tax law, some corporate law, which had never fascinated me in law school and to this day it does not fascinate me. And so I looked for an opportunity to go to a smaller community and be a real lawyer. One of the partners in the firm I was in, I was in what was then Brown, Ardery, A-R-D-E-R-Y, Todd & Dudley, four lawyers, and there were two associates. I was one of the, I was the second associate. That firm subsequently merged with two other firms to become Brown, Todd & Heyburn, and it's now merged with a Cincinnati firm, and it's now Frost, Todd & Heyburn in Louisville and probably the second, maybe the first largest law firm 121:00in the commonwealth. But I found an opportunity to come to Glasgow and associate with an older lawyer, Cecil Wilson, who was a trial lawyer here. And so in, on February 26, 1963, I arrived in Glasgow, Kentucky, and I've been here ever since, with two exceptions. In 1968, in late January, my Air National Guard Unit in Louisville was called to active duty. We were in a legislative session, and I was allowed to complete the session before I reported, so I reported about the middle of March. And I was on active duty with the Air Force until June of the following year, and sent to MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. And 122:00then in `81-`83, I was in Washington in the Reagan administration. But with those two exceptions, I've been in Glasgow practicing law the entire time. I've been practicing law the entire time. I was a judge advocate in the Air Force, and I was a legal advisor in the Pentagon. Now, how did I get from law student to lawyer to legislator? I'll back up one more part of the education, which I think is all tremendously important for someone who aspires to be a political leader. After law school and immediately after taking the bar exam, I went to Europe for two months. And that was, Senator Cooper had encouraged me to do that. And my roommate in law school, who's now a lawyer in Scottsdale, 123:00Arizona, also encouraged me to do that. Bill Clements was my roommate, and he said, "Walter, you'll never again in life have the time you have now. You'll be tied down with job, career, family, and whatnot. So when you finish the bar, you're going to have to wait till you got the results anyway, to whether you're licensed lawyer." So I mapped out a trip to Europe for two months. I got a round-trip ticket on Pan American from New York to London, Esso roadmap of Western Europe, a list of student hotels and hostels, youth hostels, and some traveler's checks. And I flew to London with a daring that only a youth possesses, you know, not knowing where, never having been out of the United States, not knowing where I would stay, anything, but with the 124:00confidence that you have when you're that age that all obstacles can be overcome. And had a wonderful two months of soaking up Western Europe, seeing places, sights, traveling, visiting people, meeting people, the various cultures and nationalities and that exist over there, and going out to Cambridge, which I still regard as one of the most beautiful places in the world, Cambridge College, going to see Parliament. I went across, I remember crossing the English Channel, actually onto 125:00the continent of Europe, and the feel, you know, the first time that you were there, this is where they fought World War Two, these are beaches where they did landings. One of my most memorable experiences, remember this was July and August of 1961. All I knew was I had just taken the bar exam and thought I had passed it, but I didn't know that, and that I had two months to go, literally go anywhere. If I liked a place, I could stay there as long as I wanted to. If I didn't, I could move on that same afternoon. And so I spent about a week or so in and around London. I then went to, I took the boat-train across to Ostend in Belgium and had a ticket to, let's see, where did I go? I was going 126:00to Hamburg, and I met some students in the compartment I was in on the train who were going on to Denmark. And so I wound up, I didn't get off at Hamburg, I went on, the train went up to the Baltic, and then you boarded a white ship that went across the Baltic into Denmark and to Copenhagen, and visited in Denmark. I went down to American Express and bought a second-class ticket to Berlin. And I knew I'd have to board a ship across the Baltic again, and so took the train down to whatever the port was, got off, carried my suitcase down to this white ship like I'd come across on before, and started to board. And the 127:00Danish officers told me, said, "Sir, your ticket is not for this ship. You are on another ship." And I got directions, I went, and here was a little steamer flying the East German flag. And apparently the ticket I had bought was across the Baltic into East Germany and down to Berlin, the Zoological Gardens is the rail station in Berlin. Well, I didn't know it (laughs), so I boarded the steamer, and I was, I may have been the only person who boarded it. Everybody else were East Germans who had come out into international waters where they could purchase things on the ship without the taxes they would have to pay there. Nobody spoke English. Now, this was the first time that my German, the first of several times in life, German came in handy. I- 128:00
[End of Tape #2, Side #1]
[Begin Tape #2, Side #2]
MOYEN: All right.
BAKER: I finally met a student from Leipzig who could understand mybroken German and knew a little English, and was able to strike up a conversation (unintelligible). And we were on the Baltic for two or three hours crossing, and we landed at Warnemunde, W-A-R-N-E-M-U-N-D-E, I think, something like that, near Rostock in East Germany. And I assumed that we would immediately go to a train and board a train and go on down, but there was about a four hour delay till the train left, so I wandered around this East German city. Again, this is July of 1961. There were large red banners with white lettering, "We will sign a peace treaty in 1961. Khrushchev." There were banners with 129:00Patrice Lumumba, who was in the war in the Congo and was Communist supported, dangling there. There were Castro banners dangling there. And I discovered all the, rudely became aware that I was in a world in which I was very much a minority (both laugh) and in which there were no friends of my government. Boarded the train and I sat across from a small baldheaded, wiry-headed professor type. And we got to talking about World War Two, East-West, and whatnot. And I told him I was going to Berlin, and he said, "Well." And he proceeded to tell me 130:00the reason that East Berlin was not up to the progress of the West is because the Americans all bombed East Berlin, and he was very much a Communist and a Communist sympathizer and whatnot. And I didn't know what I was in for. The train finally stopped in Berlin, and I got off, and I discovered that I was not in West Berlin, I was in East Berlin. The train did not run to West Berlin. And I eventually found the, what is it called? The U-Bahn, rapid transit, and got on it, and I waited till I was three stops inside West Berlin before I got off (both laugh). And had a good visit in Berlin, took a trip back over into 131:00East Berlin to see the sights while I was there. I remember crossing between East and West, and there was a Russian with a machine gun and guards and whatnot and "Keine Eingang" or something, "No Entrance," which I didn't perceive with my limited speaking and hearing ability in German. When they poked the machine gun at me, I finally got the message and went elsewhere. I remember the Russian War Memorial, which if you've been to Berlin, it was inside the Western sector, several hundred yards west of the, what is it, the gates there. What do you call that, between East and West Berlin? 132:00
MOYEN: Just the Berlin Wall.
BAKER: No, the, not, the wall was not up at that point. The, it's likethe ancient Roman arches in Rome, the quad Riga, the four horses and the chariot up on the top. I'll think of it. But, and I remember there's a Russian tank as I remember on top of the Russian War Memorial, and there were Russian guards with machine guns and what there. And it was only a few weeks later that the wall went up. The wall went up in August, so I was there at a very tense time between the United States, U.S. relations. And let's see, when I left Berlin, I flew out and flew down to Munich. But I spent the summer going all over Europe, and it was an experience that's been very helpful to me. 133:00I have found that if you can go to a place and master some of the geography, it helps so much to learn the history and everything else. You've got a board on which you can put all these things, and that provided that board for me that's been very valuable through the years. I was the same brash, or naive, or whatever it may be, youngster from Columbia. I remember I got into Luxembourg, and I remembered that President Kennedy had appointed a Kentuckian from Pikeville as the U.S. minister or ambassador, whichever it is, to Luxembourg, James Wine, W-I-N-E. And I thought, "I'll go see him. We are fellow Kentuckians." Being a Kentuckian has always been a very meaningful thing to me, 134:00still is. I think there is a consanguinity of, or affinity between Kentuckians that residents of other states do not possess, or if they possess it, do not possess it with the depth that we Kentuckians do. So I went out to the embassy and walked in, introduced myself to the secretary, and I said, "I'm Walter Baker from Columbia, Kentucky. I've just graduated from Harvard Law School. And I know the ambassador is from Kentucky. I don't want to bother him, but if he has a few moments, I would just like to meet him and shake his hand." So she said, "Well, take a seat, and I'll tell the ambassador." About twenty minutes later I was ushered in and had a very pleasant visit with Ambassador Wine. And I think probably the fact that I was a Harvard Law grad provided a calling card that I might otherwise not have had 135:00and has throughout my life, for that matter. But that's the type of thing I did, and I learned a lot from that experience. And that stood me in good stead in, when I went to the Pentagon in 1981 and other things that I have done. Now, getting back to the question, how do you go from Harvard Law School to the legislature in seven years? Roughly a year and a half in Louisville, came to Glasgow; I was in a law firm here. I wanted to run for the legislature, thought about running in 1965. Fortunately, I didn't, because I would not have been elected that year. I did run in `67, and that was the year that former County Judge Louie Nunn of Glasgow ran for the second time for 136:00governor. He had been defeated for the nomination, I think in-no, he had had the nomination in `63 and was defeated by Ned Breathitt from Hopkinsville. And so he ran again in `67. Louie had a tough primary against Marlow Cook and survived it by about 3,000 votes and then was the nominee. It was my good fortune to be the Republican nominee for state representative, and Barren County went strongly for Nunn. I had a primary against one of my law partners. He was the Democratic nominee. I was, well, I had a general election which resulted in my leaving the law firm I was in. But I had a Republican primary, which 137:00was unheralded in Barren County because there are very few Republicans. There had been one Republican legislator in its history and that had been fifty years earlier. And I announced, a young 127-pound youth, dark-headed. And an old Republican who had been a, active in the Willis administration in `43 to `47, an active Republican in Barren County, I think maybe a nominee for Congress at one time, was my opponent, Mr. Charles Neville of Park City. And I beat him simply because I outworked him. He should have beaten me easily, but I went door to door and my wife assembled a card catalogue of every registered Republican. She wrote a personal postcard to each one before the 138:00primary, and we emerged victorious with sixty votes, which was great (Moyen laughs). And then in the fall, I won by a little less than 800 votes. And I think the only Republicans, even so in that year, who carried Barren County were Governor Nunn and myself, and it seems like there may have been one other. The rest of the Democratic ticket was victorious. How I managed to make myself acceptable, I still don't know. Looking back, it was, again, one of those impossible mountains that I was fortunate enough to climb. I do remember using a little political savvy. I determined that being a graduate of Harvard College or Harvard Law School might not be the most advantageous thing in 139:00Barren County, as I was the only graduate in the county (both laugh). My wife, to my good fortune, was a graduate of Western Kentucky University, and people would ask me, "Where did you go to school?" And I would say, "Well, now, I am from over in Columbia originally, and I graduated the first graduating class of Adair County High School." And I said, "Now, my wife graduated from Western." And they would have a child or a cousin or something who had gone to Western, and we would start talking about Western. Harvard somehow just didn't appear (Moyen laughs) in the discussion. But you learn those things politically. But I made a lot of friends campaigning. I enjoyed meeting the people, enjoyed learning the county. I was a much better legislator for that grueling experience. Jane and I put a big highway 140:00map of Barren County on, tacked it on the door to our apartment. And each day when we would go door to door, we had no children at that time, we would take a magic marker and mark that road, and eventually this map of the county looked like a Christmas tree as we worked our way throughout the county. I made a point to never campaign two days successively in the same part of the county, create the impression that you were everywhere doing everything. So if I went to Hiseville one day, the next day I was down in the south end in Austin or Tracy. And the next day I was in Cave City or Park City, and then I was at Temple Hill and Eighty Eight, which creates a momentum and a discussion by the voters, "so now this Baker boy," and that's what I was, "he is really 141:00out there working." And people respect that. And this county, I'm very fortunate, will give an individual an opportunity if you show you're willing to do your part. So that's how I got elected.
MOYEN: Now, you mentioned your wife graduated from Western. When didyou get married?
BAKER: We married in April of `65. Jane is from Louisville. She wasJane Helm. Her father was Tom Helm, who was president of Bluegrass Cooperage and was a board member of Brown-Forman. He, his company made all the whiskey barrels used by Brown-Forman and also sold to a number of the other distilling firms in this country. Strong Democrat, 142:00very close personal friend of Wilson Wyatt, who was Senator Morton's opponent in `62. Morton, I had worked for four summers in Washington, and that's another experience I need to get back to at some point. But Jane and I met at a debutante party at the Pendennis Club in Louisville. When I came back to Louisville, I got a room in the home of a Mrs. Glee Crutcher. Glee was the social editor for the Courier- Journal, where, again, as you know, my first cousin was executive vice president, and she had two sons who were roughly contemporaries. There were both, one was away in college, and the other one was somewhere else or maybe in the service at that point, so I had a room in her 143:00home. I took all my meals out. And between her and my cousin Lisle and his wife, they decided I was an eligible young bachelor, and I would be put on the appropriate list to be invited to all the debutante functions, which I attended. And I would be paired up and would be asked to escort this young lady or that young lady. And, but I met Jane in that context. And really I met her the first year, but didn't pay any attention to her. And then the second year, the second season, I asked her out one Christmas, and she was down at Western, and that was just before I came to Glasgow in February. And so when I came down here, then I just continued my pursuit of her at Bowling Green. And I 144:00was back in Louisville at least one weekend each month for drills, the Kentucky Air National Guard. I was an airman, one-striper. And then we got engaged in the fall of `64, and we married in April of `65. And the best thing that ever happened to me. She is a tremendous person. She is an extravert, where I am probably an introvert. I'm a reader, she is not. But we complement each other very well. And she was a tremendous campaigner, and without her I would never have been elected to the legislature or reelected to anything. She is the political manager that I am not. I think I'm a good, or was an excellent legislator, but I wouldn't say that my talents lie in being a campaign 145:00manager or something that way. So that's how I got to the legislature. Now, let's see-
MOYEN: Should we maybe back up? And I want to ask you about your summersthat you worked-
MOYEN: in Washington.
BAKER: I told you about in January of `56 going down to Washington,seeing Senator Cooper or Senator Morton, and getting a job with Senator Morton. So each summer for four summers I came down to Washington from Cambridge and spent the summer working in the U.S. Senate. And this was a great time. Eisenhower was president, Lyndon Johnson was majority leader of the U.S. Senate. It was just a, Earl Warren was chief justice of the United States. By virtue of being a summer 146:00employee, I was not an intern as you think of them today, because they did not, basically, with a few exceptions, they did not have a formal intern program in the U.S. Senate. They now do. My second summer there, we had a real intern in a program that Yale had. Senator Morton was a Yale grad. And so he invited me to join the Yale group meetings that they had, and I remember we went over one afternoon to the Supreme Court and we had a meeting with the Chief Justice, were about twenty of us students. I remember another time we went down to the Brookings Institute and we had a dinner and meeting with Justice Felix Frankfurter. And it was a, he was an amazing person. I'd heard him before because he had come up to Harvard Law School and spoken 147:00while I was there. But I remember that evening, he started out and he said, "Now, gentlemen, if you would, before we start, just each of you in turn rise and give me your name and where you're from." And twenty or twenty-five students, whatever our number was, and then he spoke and then opened to questions, and he would, he remembered everybody: name, where they were from, all of that. And he was a fascinating individual, because I remember there was a question, "What do you read?" Of course, as justice you spend time on briefs and things of that type, but the diversity of what he exposed himself to on a regular basis, various periodicals, newspapers, books, was very, very 148:00impressive. And let's see who else we-if I remember, I had a couple of avenues into these types of encounters. I lived the last two summers, I believe, or maybe the last summer, at the International Student House on R Street, just off Dupont Circle. And there were, I can't remember how many people of us there, there were a number of international students who were in Washington who were there, and then there were a number of us who were working in the agencies and on the Hill who were American students. And so that became a rich experience, just every day with my contemporaries around the International Student House. 149:00And then it had a program where we had meetings with various people, cabinet officers and whatnot in the government, where we got to meet them and be exposed to them. So between the office, the Yale intern program, and International Student House, I got a goodly introduction to the national government and to specific individuals whose names, you know, you're familiar with in the national government. I remember I told Senator Morton I would like to meet Vice President Nixon, and so one day he took me over, he buzzed me, he took me over to the Senate where they were convening. And the Vice President was in the chair and then he quickly left the chair, one of the junior senators then presided, and the Senator introduced me to him there in the well of 150:00the U.S. Senate. And the Vice President asked about one of my law professors that I studied under at Harvard Law, whom he had studied under at Duke Law School. And it was historically a really interesting time there in the Senate, in just, if nothing else, the geography of the location of the Senate offices. We were in, I may get my numbers wrong, it seemed like it was 343, was the room number for the suite Senator Morton had. Directly across from the entrance door to our office was the entrance door to the junior senator from Massachusetts, John F. Kennedy. Immediately next door to us going down the corridor 151:00was the office for the Vice President Richard Nixon. And in the 1960 summer when I worked there, Vice President Nixon was the Republican nominee for President, Senator Kennedy was the Democratic nominee for President, and Senator Morton was the Republican National Chairman (Moyen laughs). And all three right-
MOYEN: Busy corridor.
BAKER: there together. I remember I had a, I made friends with youngpeople who worked for the other senators and would have lunch with them and occasionally visit in their offices and whatnot. And I had a friend who was an assistant to Senator Lyndon Johnson and occasionally go down to their office in what's now called the Russell Senate Office Building. We called it the SOB, the Senate Office Building. And 152:00then while I was there, a second Senate office building was under construction, and we became the old SOB, and it was the new SOB. But I went down to Lyndon Johnson's office to see my friend. In the waiting room there were scores of framed photographs of little babies, each of whom had been named after Lyndon Johnson (both laugh). And I remember Johnson over on the floor of the Senate. Senator Morton could have two staff members with privileges of the floor, and he was very kind to get, designate me as one of those. And so when we had time and there wasn't a lot to do, I would go over to the Senate and go over, stand in the back of the Senate chamber and watch the proceedings, or go into the Republican cloakroom and listen to the Republicans, 153:00senators, chatting among themselves, you know. And that was a great experience. I remember once I was in what I think they called the Marble Room, which is, runs the entire length of the Senate chamber, directly behind the presiding officer's chair. And there were teletype machines in there, newspapers, and that type of thing. And it was in `57 or `58 and President Eisenhower was sending troops into Lebanon, which is something that has occurred more frequently, too, in our time. And I remember I was standing there looking at the wire, what the news was coming across, and Senator Lyndon Johnson came in and Senator Hubert Humphrey and there was, I believe it was Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon. And they had just gotten news that Ike was sending troops, 154:00and they were discussing what they should say when they went out on the floor of the Senate. And Johnson always wore trousers that were, in my judgment, too long for him because they lapped over the heel of his pants. And he was sort of a sloppy dresser, you know, long baggy things, but he was indeed, as the Phillip Caro book that is currently out, he was the master of the Senate. But by the time my four years in the Senate had elapsed, I could tell you how any one of the then-when I started, there were ninty-six Senators, and I think when I left there were 100, because two states came in the Union while I was there, Alaska and Hawaii. But I can tell you how each senator would vote on 155:00almost any issue. I just, I knew their philosophy and temperament and approach. I recognized all of them. And it was, the Senate changed during my four years. The `58 election was a Democratic landslide, and it brought in a whole new bunch of senators, Hartke of Indiana, I remember. Several of the western senators were new. And they were almost homogenized, very unlike the characters of who had preceded them. The Senate in `57 was a really a tremendous group of eccentrics (both laugh). But by `59, they'd become very much alike, and the 156:00Democratic tidal wave brought in a whole group who were philosophically the same tune. I'm trying to think, Senator Knowland of California was the Republican leader when I came there. Senator Saltonstall of Massachusetts was committee chair, I believe, or ranking Republican on armed services. I'm trying to think of some of the other names. Of course, Frank Lausche of Ohio, former governor, was there. And Kennedy was there, was there as a very junior member. Hubert Humphrey talked all the time and talked too long, but talked as knowledgeably as anybody in the Senate. Bob Kerr of Oklahoma, former governor, sort 157:00of master, protector of the oil interests of Oklahoma, Texas. Let's see, Strom Thurmond was there then (both laugh), who is there now. And I remember two filibusters during my summers. One was by Wayne Morse, which was for about twenty-three hours that he spoke, and the other was by Strom Thurmond. I can't remember what they were filibustering, but I remember the night, let's see, the senator from Illinois, the father- in-law of Senator Baker of Tennessee, future Senator Baker of Tennessee, Republican, who was Republican leader under LBJ when he was President. He was there. And I remember the first Civil Rights Act since the 158:001870s passed the Senate that night, and the debate, and the Republican leader getting up and saying there's a tide rolling in and he could almost see the waves coming. Said, "You can't roll it back." All the Constitutional debate over contempt power that was put into one of the bills. And it was really interesting to watch this and to see it. On Saturdays the Senate did not meet, the Senate office was not open. I would come down sometimes because it was air-conditioned; it beat the non-air conditioned part of Washington. Or I would go over to the Library of Congress to the Congressional Reading Room, which I, Senator Morton got me access to, and would read things over there, check out 159:00books over there to take home to read. So I had, it was just a, you know, a dessert every day for someone that was interested in government and history in this country.
MOYEN: So that experience definitely helped give you more politicalexperience or just even know-how-
BAKER: Oh, yeah. I would meet everybody from Kentucky coming throughour office. And in `57, I was preparing to write that thesis that I wrote in the winter and spring of `58. And I would interview them, and I would make little three by five card notes of what they told me, which I later used in my thesis. So I had a tremendous list of personal interviews of Kentucky political figures. I was never able 160:00to interview the senator that Senator Morton had unseated, Earle Clements. I tried to get an appointment, but he would never give me an interview. He was still there. He had been the assistant majority floor leader under LBJ, and was, when Morton unseated him. He had been the acting majority leader of the United States Senate in, I think, about `55 when LBJ had his heart attack, and Earle Clements ran the Senate. And so after he was defeated, he stayed there as an assistant to Lyndon Johnson, and he was-oftentimes I would come on the floor of the Senate and there would be three U.S. Senators from Kentucky on the floor: John Sherman Cooper, Thruston Morton, and Earle Clements. He would, as an aide to Johnson, would be roaming around over on the Democratic side. But I knew, youth that I was, but I knew, you know, 161:00all the Republican people in Kentucky by virtue of the work I'd had there under Senator Morton, and which I'm sure helped me. At least I was not a stranger when I went to Republican meetings. I knew people and they knew me. They knew where I'd been and that type of thing.
MOYEN: Now, when you return to Kentucky, and Glasgow in particular, youmentioned deciding not to run in `6---
BAKER: Sixty-five. I thought about running, but it just, I thoughtI had not been here long enough, and that I really didn't have any type of issue that I could use to forge a winning campaign. And then 162:00I decided to run in `67 and I had an issue, one that I believed in deeply and one that the broader dimensions of which have been a theme throughout my legislative and public career: education. And I wanted Glasgow to have a community college, and that was the one thing that I beat the drum on every time I spoke to anybody. I said, "Why should we have to go over to Bowling Green? Why couldn't we have a college here like Ned Breathitt put one in Hopkinsville?" And that was, the early `60s was the time of the creation and growth of the community college system around Kentucky. I had grown up in a town that had a college, Columbia, and understood the difference that having a college in a community makes in terms of quality of life, availability of books to read. From the seventh grade, when I went over to the public 163:00school, when I left Lindsey Wilson to go to public school, I used the Lindsey Wilson library. I'd always go to Lindsey. They knew me, a small town, 2,100 people, you knew everybody. And so many times I'd go through their library, roaming the stacks, you know, learning about books, checking books out and reading them, that, you know, was a wonderful part of my life. So the community college for Glasgow was the, was my theme. My opponent also said, adopted it as well, but I was there first and I wouldn't let go of it. And I succeeded in the `68 session in getting the legislative authorization for a community college for Glasgow. Governor Nunn, I don't think, was ever really 164:00too sympathetic for it. Politically, he couldn't really be against it, but I, he really, it was not, during his administration, it was not done, never funded. So later in the '90s, we-no, in the '80s, we got WKU-Glasgow here. Western came over and started teaching courses. We used the old Liberty Street School. And then in the '90s, really after I left the Senate and the court and I was on the Council, the legislature approved a postsecondary education center that we have here. And we now have 1,600 students at, I'm not sure what the name of it is, we've never really arrived at a proper name, the South Central Kentucky Postsecondary Education Center, which is too long. 165:00And everybody recognizes that in a matter of five to eight years we will have achieved and gone beyond our 2,500 student capacity and will have to expand. And we built it with the idea of expanding. So that was my theme, and I deeply believed it. I believed that education was the avenue of opportunity for Kentuckians. It was my avenue and it could be everybody's avenue, and it is. Today, that was `67, now this is thirty-five years later and I serve on the Council on Postsecondary Education, which was the successor to the Council on Higher Education. 166:00I take pride in the fact that my first cousin, Lisle Baker in Louisville, served on it in the '60s. So we, the family has continued on the same path. But we are trying to, and we have been able through "Bucks for Brains" to jumpstart postsecondary education in this state and go to a new level. And we're going to get there. We're going to get there.
MOYEN: Let me ask you this. You mentioned that your running, or thegeneral election caused you to-
BAKER: Leave the law firm I was in.
MOYEN: leave the law firm. What happened there?
BAKER: When I came to Glasgow I associated with Mr. Cecil Wilson.At that time, Mr. Wilson had two daughters, one of whom was at Wellesley, the same academic class that I was at Harvard that I knew. 167:00And the husband of that daughter was thinking about associating with Mr. Wilson when I was down here interviewing, and I said to him, "Look, blood is thicker than water. If Jeff wants to come with you, I won't, just take me out of consideration." And so the son-in-law made a decision not to come, and Mr. Wilson called me, and I said, "Well, great. I want to come." And I did, and then a couple of months later, he changed his mind, decided he wanted to come. And Mr. Wilson was gentleman enough to say, "Look, he had his opportunity and decided no. If you feel better his not coming in, I won't bring him in." And then I said, "No, he's your son-in- law." And so he came in, and then later we were joined by another son-in-law. And we became a firm of four, and it was H. Jefferson Herbert, Jr., Jeff Herbert. And he ran in `65 168:00in the Democratic primary for county judge and was unsuccessful. And I wanted to run for the legislature, and so I had not in `65 because he was running out of the firm. So in `67, I announced I was going to run for the Republican nomination, and then Jeff decided he would run for the Democratic nomination. We both had primaries; we both won. And so in June I left the firm and opened a one-man law office, and more determined than ever to win that general election (laughs).
BAKER: And now in `69, I had no primary. I had a, the former chairmanof the county school board, a very fine gentleman named Fred Pardue 169:00from Park City. Ironically, my opponents, which again is helpful, because Glasgow is the biggest community in the county. And it was a tough year for Republicans. We had raised the sales tax from three to five cents. I had voted for that. We had held the line in refusing to exempt prescription drugs from the sales tax, which would have diluted the revenue take. And I survived by about 200 votes. And they didn't expect me to win in Frankfort. I remember calling the governor's mansion that evening after I'd learned that I had won and talking to one of the governor's aides, and he was absolutely, you could see him drop the phone at the other end, "You won?!" (both laugh). And then 170:00two years later I decided to run for the Senate. And I unseated a Republican who had won the seat in `67 when Louie was on the ticket. And won the primary, and I don't think I had a November opponent. And in `75, I was unopposed, either side. Seventy-nine, no primary. In the general election, the former Republican senator I had unseated in the Republican primary in `71 ran against me as a Democrat, and I beat him two to one. And then in the middle of my term I left to go to Washington, came back in `83. My family did not like Washington at all and wanted to come back to Glasgow, so we came back. And I immediately 171:00ran for my old senate seat, and I lost it, in a primary in seven counties, I lost by twenty-four votes. Senator Joe Travis from here in Glasgow, who was a former law partner-
[End of Tape #2, Side #2]
[Begin Tape #3, Side #1]
MOYEN: All right. I believe we were discussing your legislative careerand the different challengers you had faced in those various roles. And you mentioned that you went to Washington and decided to return. And I believe that's where we- 172:00
BAKER: Right. And I think I mentioned I had a primary, Republicanprimary, in 1983 for my old Senate seat, which I lost to the person who took the seat when I left to go to Washington. I lost that seat by, I lost that primary by twenty-four votes, scattered over seven counties, and then waited out a five-year period. It was a one time, five year term, when Kentucky readjusted the dates of elections and whatnot. And I ran again against then-Senator Joe Lane Travis in 1988, the Republican primary, and defeated him by a decisive 112 votes (both laugh). It was a very low turnout of Republicans. I think probably 22 percent turned out, and probably, they may have said that they'd rather 173:00not have either one of us. But nevertheless, I won the primary and had a Democrat, the former mayor of Franklin, Kentucky, as my opponent in the fall, defeated him fairly handily and returned to the Senate in January of `89. In 1992, I ran again for the Senate and was unopposed and reelected for my second term of that life, or my fifth term, if you add all the lives together. And I had announced in December of `95 that I would be a candidate for reelection in `96, and toward the end of January of `96, our Supreme Court Justice, Charles Reynolds of Bowling Green, died suddenly, and I gave some thought to seeking the 174:00appointment on the Kentucky Supreme Court. I was not really probably running for the Senate for the best reasons in `96. I enjoyed serving there. I really had served there long enough, and I welcomed the opportunity to try my hand at something a little different. And so much of the legislative process is, if you stay around long enough, is reinventing the same wheel over and over again. And you've heard the arguments, you've participated in the debates and whatnot on some of the issues several times. So in April of `96, Governor Patton decided to appoint me to the Supreme Court, whether to get rid of me in the 175:00Senate, which I hope was not the primary reason, because basically I was very cooperative with the governor. My viewpoint as a legislator is that you represent all the people of your district, you represent the people of the state, and what you need to do is do what's best for all the people and put aside whatever party you may happen to come from. And so the governor appointed me, and I took office immediately after adjournment of the regular session on April 15. I tendered my resignation to the governor about ten minutes after we had adjourned upstairs, and downstairs at four o'clock, I was sworn in as a member of the Supreme Court in a standing-room-only court proceeding. Many 176:00of my relatives, my wife's relatives, many of my colleagues from the House and the Senate, and other friends from around the state were in attendance, including, as I mentioned earlier on one of the tapes, my fourth-grade teacher, whom I had invited to be there and whom I recognized in the course of my response after I was sworn in. Ran for the remaining two years of Justice Reynolds's term in November of `96, unsuccessfully. I was defeated by a very fine circuit judge. Two years later, I came back and ran against him, and he defeated me again. So I concluded that serving on the state Supreme Court was not what the Lord had intended for me to do (both laugh). I had one other close encounter with the judiciary back in 1989. A seat that 177:00belonged to Kentucky opened on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and I went through the judicial nominating commission process that was then existed that had been set up by Senators McConnell and Ford. And they narrowed those who were interested in the post down to three, whom they recommended to the senators and to the President. Unfortunately for me, well, I thought when the three names came out that I had a real good chance of going on the Sixth Circuit, because I was the only one of the three who came out of a Republican background. I had been an officeholder. But the two senators got into a match, 178:00I won't use the adjective to describe it, over whether the nominee or the selectee should come through the nominating commission process come some other way. Unfortunately, the Republican senator wanted it some other way. I think he had somebody else in mind that he wanted, and it was a donnybrook for up until about `91. It went on for about two and a half years, and finally the President went outside the three and chose Federal District Judge Gene Siler and elevated him to the Sixth Circuit. My life would have been entirely different had I gone on the bench at that time, and it would have been a very interesting life. I like the scholarly aspect of the judiciary, but that didn't happen, 179:00so I'm here today in a different role. And I think I probably still harbor some ambitions of going on the Sixth Circuit, but I recognize that at my present age, which is 65, it's unlikely that the President will chose someone of that age for that type of appointment. They want to get a person in early and keep them for twenty or thirty years if they can, keep a lock on the thought process of the court.
MOYEN: Okay. So with that overview of your different public serviceappointments, I want to go back to when you're first elected and Louie Nunn is governor, so we have the first Republican governor in quite 180:00some time-
BAKER: In twenty years.
MOYEN: and the last since. So, and he, when he arrives in Frankfort, hehas, which we mentioned briefly or you mentioned briefly, decides that the sales tax needs to be raised from three to five cents, I believe?
MOYEN: Now, was that a relatively easy decision for you on that vote, orwas that a difficult-
BAKER: Well, it was an easy decision in the sense of what was theright vote to cast because the cupboard was bare. If we were going to operate the government of Kentucky, and if we were going to support education in any realistic way, we needed additional funding for the commonwealth. So in that sense it, in terms of public policy, it was 181:00an easy vote. Politically, it was a difficult vote, because people just simply do not like having their taxes raised. And I remember, I think there were forty-three of us Republicans in the House at that time, so there would be fifty-seven Democrats. The governor had several of the Democrats that were susceptible to his influence and control as all governors do, so we were able to put together a majority, but it was a very tight majority. And the killing votes were not necessarily for the sales tax increase, though probably politically that was the one that would be used against people the most, but were on some amendments which would have the effect of reducing the revenue return 182:00from the sales tax, exemptions for drugs, prescription drugs, very compelling argument that you can make for them to be exempt, exemptions for food. And as you know, in the 1971 gubernatorial election, Tom Emberton, who had been one of Governor Nunn's chief advisors, was the Republican nominee, and he preemptively proposed taking the sales tax off groceries. Then-lieutenant governor, who was the Democratic opponent, very wisely adopted the same viewpoint, so he countered that, neutralized that campaign pitch. And when you have, you know, registration two to one, if you've neutralized the issue, you're going to win, and Ford did. But it was the amendments to the bill that 183:00would have reduced the revenue stream that were the really difficult ones, where you were very sympathetic with the argument, but you recognized that once you started down that road, there was no return. And the state unfortunately continued down that road under successive governors, and so there have been exemptions from the sales tax down through the years to where it's like a piece of Swiss cheese today.
MOYEN: (Laughs), now, when you entered the House, there were also, theLRC had devised a number of legislative reforms-
MOYEN: in that session as well.
MOYEN: Do you recall what some of those reforms were?
BAKER: Well, I think in maybe as late as the `66 session, there had184:00been forty or fifty committees in the House. Everybody in the majority party wound up as a committee chair of something. And then there were committees called Statutes Number One, Two, and Three that bills were referred to. If the majority leader wanted the bill out, it went to Statute, say, One. If he wanted it to come out unfavorably, it went to Three. If he wanted it to stay in committee, it went to Two, and things like that. We, and I admit I was merely along for the ride. Somebody else had done the thinking on this and had studied the process before I got there. The number of standing committees was reduced to fourteen or fifteen, which was a very wise move, and that pattern has continued basically up to this day. Maybe House and Senate may be 185:00slightly different now in the number of committees. The legislative process was streamlined. The LRC was modernized. Jim Fleming was, I think, director of the LRC at that time, later worked for Governor Ford, and later went as his top administrative assistant to Washington with him, and stayed there throughout his, remainder of his public career. But we got more professional staff of the LRC. They were relatively politically neutral in the process, though, of course, the House and the Senate were both controlled by Democratic leadership, and so they ultimately had the selection choice of various people. But the hiring and firing theoretically belonged to the director of 186:00the Legislative Research Commission and not to the Senate leader or the House leader, and that was a positive move. The Appropriations Committee became a factor in the legislative process. I believe in the `66 session the governor's budget was introduced by the floor leader, the House referred it to a committee, recessed, the committee met on the floor of the House chamber, reported the budget bill out favorably, the House went back in session, and the committee report was read, and it was put in the orders. That no longer happened after the `66 session. The budget went to a committee, we initiated budget hearings, and this developed and evolved beginning in `68 and continuing onward. 187:00The individual legislators on the A&R Committee, which I joined in the `70 session in the House and I think in the `72 session in the Senate, the legislators became very knowledgeable about the agencies, budget- making and the budget process, the individuals, leaders in the agency, and oftentimes knew as much or more about an agency budget as the commissioner did, because he had just come in with the administration, and the legislators had been working with it for several budget cycles. And these were all positive things that we did. I know one time I gave a speech to the Frankfort Rotary Club, this was after I returned in the Senate in `89, and I sort of plotted this progression from `68 to that time, the various things that had happened that strengthened 188:00the legislature, its independence, and maintained its position as one of an equal in the separation of powers of the government.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Now, that is particularly interesting in terms inrelation to the fact that Louie Nunn was a pretty forceful governor.
BAKER: Governor Nunn was a strong governor, yes.
MOYEN: How would you describe his leadership style or how he relatedwith the General Assembly?
BAKER: I was going to say, I'm probably not the best person to do that,because I held a unique position in that, not only were we fellow Republicans, we lived on the same street. He was my governor, I was his state representative, we're from the same county, so probably somebody who'd stand a little more distant. Governor Nunn, or Louie, 189:00as we called him, was a very forceful governor. He knew how to use the power of the office to achieve the result he wanted. He knew how to deal with the Democrats who were the majority, but he knew how to co-opt enough to create his own majority. I remember there was a bill that one of my seatmates, let's see, a fellow from up in Floyd County did, which had the effect of reintroducing slot machines into Kentucky. They had been outlawed, I believe, in the `64 or `66 session under Governor Breathitt, and this fellow was in that type of business. He 190:00curried favor and traded votes in the House so he had enough votes. And he introduced his bill, which was a very innocuous-looking bill, and one who read it would have no idea what it really did. He showed me a copy of it one day, and asked me if I could vote for it. I had asked him to vote for the Glasgow community college. And I said, "I don't know, let me study it, and I'll let you know tomorrow." And it required me to get out the session acts from about three successive sessions of the General Assembly and put them beside the side to understand what he was doing, and then I saw (both laugh). And so I came back and I said, "I, Representative Akers, I cannot vote for that." And he said, "No problem. I just wanted to know where you stood." He got the bill moving in the House, into the orders, it was called up by the majority leader, and it passed to the great embarrassment of some who had 191:00failed to vote against it and, or did not understand really what it was doing. And I think Governor Nunn had worked with him to help him get it through the House. He had been down to see the governor, and the governor had gotten him committed to vote for the sales tax increase, and in return had said, "I'll help you to get it through the House." Well, it got through the House, and then the representative went to see the governor about getting it through the Ssenate, and he said, "Now, Governor, you promised to help me on this bill." And he said, "Representative, I want you to remember exactly what I promised you. I promised to help you get it through the House, and it got through the House. I never said a word about getting it through the Senate" (both laugh). And it died in the Senate. But Governor Nunn was a very skillful tactician, and for the most part was a very good, progressive governor for Kentucky in a very difficult spot where any governor who 192:00wanted to leave any mark on the state would have to raise taxes. There was no other way to do it. And we had a horrific situation across the river. The home for the mentally disturbed children was over there. We were taken on a tour of it. It was just almost loathsome conditions, in the dead of winter with snow and freezing-
MOYEN: And where was this?
BAKER: This is across the river from the Capitol-
BAKER: sort of behind the Frankfort cemetery up near where the presentHealth and Human Services Building is located. And we went over there. The heat for those people, pathetic creatures, you know, lying in 193:00their bed in contortions and mentally unbalanced, mentally retarded, were these salamander heaters like you use in a tobacco barn when you're stripping tobacco. And as a result of that, we built the modern Outwood facility at Somerset out of some of the funds from the sales tax. And then the governor proposed and initiated the building of the, what was known as the Cumberland Parkway, from I-65 to Somerset, and the Green River Parkway, from Bowling Green to Owensboro, and I believe the Audubon Parkway, from Owensboro over to Henderson, providing transportation linkage across the state. He brought the University 194:00of Louisville into the state system of higher education, it was a municipal college up to that time, initiated the, brought Chase Law School across the river from Cincinnati to Northern Kentucky, and it became a Kentucky third law school. Did a lot of good things. Now, we had a succession of strong governors: Nunn, Wendell Ford, Julian Carroll, all very powerful governors, not the least hesitant to use the power of the office to achieve whatever result the individual governor desired. That was followed by Governor-
BAKER: Brown, who was a completely hands-off governor, not very195:00knowledgeable of state government, not really that interested, it appeared to me, in state government. A very wise governor in the sense that he hired very capable people and let them run it. People like W.T. Young of Lexington, who would be a priceless addition to any gubernatorial staff, was, I think, his cabinet secretary. And, but because of Governor Brown's hands-off approach, the legislature was able to achieve more parity with the office of governor. And then Brown was followed by Martha Layne Collins, who was experienced in Kentucky politics but seemingly lacked the administrative skills 196:00to be a strong governor. She has some very good people in her administration. My friend, Carroll Knicely, my neighbor at that time across the street from my house in Glasgow, his office next door to my office, my law office here on the same street, was commerce secretary for her and brought Toyota to Kentucky. Then she was followed by Wallace Wilkinson. I served with each of these governors, you start to say "under," and then your pride of legislative independence, you say "with." I served with each of these governors other than Governor Collins. I was not there during her governorship. I was there when she was lieutenant governor and served on the Rules Committee in the Senate with her, so I knew her very, very well. She was followed by Governor Wallace Wilkinson, who entered politics at the top office 197:00in the state, did not possess the rapport with members of the General Assembly that other governors who had worked through the process over a period of years have, and had for the most part a disappointing administration, partly of his own making because he and the Senate leader from Winchester, Senator "Eck" Rose, were virtually not on speaking terms, about like Senator David Williams and Governor Patton are now. But to his credit, when the courts found unconstitutional our then- existing system of elementary and secondary education, and by the court decision, every statute underlying it, he rose to the challenge 198:00and worked with the legislature and the Task Force on Education Reform, both in substantially increasing taxes to provide the revenue and in reforming elementary and secondary education. And Governor Wilkinson was followed by then-Lieutenant Governor Brereton Jones. He came in after KERA had been enacted. He helped to protect it during his four years. He tried to get, and succeeded in getting ethics legislation, both for the administration and for the General Assembly, enacted. That, for the General Assembly, came more as a result of the BOPTROT investigation, in which fourteen, sixteen legislators wound up 199:00convicted in courts of wrongdoing of one type or another, a very sad time for the General Assembly. Resulted in a very harsh ethics-type of legislation that I thought at the time, and I still think, made it difficult for legislators to carry out some of their duties and to maintain the type of communication that they need with people who are properly involved in the legislative process and impacted by its decisions. And then Jones was followed by his lieutenant governor, Paul Patton, who was there for an eight-year tour, whose first term was fantastic. He did reform in workers' comp, which probably went too 200:00far. He did in `97 the postsecondary education reform, of which I've been a part since I was on the first council, group of appointees that he made, and community colleges, technical schools, higher education generally. Unfortunately for the governor, his second term seems to have been mired in a lot of problems. The leadership in the Senate changed from Democratic to Republican. For whatever reason, the people in leadership are not able to get along with each other or with the governor, and the whole commonwealth, I think, has suffered as a consequence. And so that's your tour of governors (laughs)- 201:00
MOYEN: Right (laughs).
BAKER: during my lifetime. I think I've served with seven governors,from the time I started till the time I left the legislative chambers.
MOYEN: So what type of switch took place in terms of the legislature,or just in terms of personal experience, when Louie Nunn is no longer governor and you enter under a governor from your own party, and Wendell Ford becomes governor, and he is from a different party. How does that change the basic relationship that either the General Assembly or you yourself have?
BAKER: Well, it changed for the General Assembly in that under GovernorNunn, the Republican governor with a Democratic House and Senate, the speaker, who was then Julian Carroll, and the lieutenant governor, who at that time presided over the Senate constitutionally, was then 202:00Wendell Ford. They were sort of in charge of the legislative side between them, and they made deals with the governor on what would pass and what would not pass and that type of thing. Once Ford became governor, then the governor was Democratic, the president of the Senate was Democratic, and the Speaker of the House was Democratic. And the majority was sufficient, the majority party, that they could do anything they wanted to do, and did (both laugh). People on the Democratic side who scream today about how ill-treated they are by the Republicans in the Senate ought to look back how some of us, at least collectively, felt. I never felt it individually because I found I could work with whoever was in control and basically get the things 203:00passed that I thought ought to get passed. But they had a steamroller that rolled right over anybody who deviated from what they wanted, and made no bones about it. I've had my pants pressed (laughs) enough to understand that very well (Moyen laughs). Government is a fascinating thing. To work well, all of the players have to have their eye looking beyond the next election and centered on a goal that is in the best interest of the entire commonwealth. I'm not sure today that the players have their eyes on that common goal. I wish they did, and hopefully someday, it will return to that.
MOYEN: Under, or during Wendell Ford's administration, you switched from204:00the House to the Senate. Is that correct?
BAKER: Right. I came to the Senate about three or four weeks after hewas sworn in as governor.
MOYEN: One, why did you make that decision? And two, what are, whatdifferences could you explain that exist between serving in the House and the Senate?
BAKER: Oh, my friend, William Harold DeMarcus, who was the Republicanfloor leader in the House, used to say of, for instance, Senator Huff and myself, that we got housebroken in the House and then graduated to the Senate (both laugh). We in the Senate used to say, sometimes in the middle of the afternoon when we had finished our business, the Senate for the most part did not take a long time in debate; there were times when we really, I thought, it was just beautiful, the debate. We would after adjournment walk down to the House and watch the House chambers. And we would say we were going down to the jungle to watch 205:00the animals perform (laughs). It's a completely different atmosphere in the two bodies. The House is very boisterous, very loud. Of course, there are 100 members. At any one time, half the members are shuffling around, moving around in the chamber and going out in the hallways, very disorderly looking process almost. But there is a, there is full debate in the House, acrimonious, on everything. The Senate is very, when I was there at least, it was for the most part very quiet, very stately, at least going back to the years when the Democrats were in control of everything, which was, I guess, all of the time I served in the Senate. There was very little that happened 206:00on the floor of the Senate that was not preordained and pre-known. There were very few decisions that actually were made on the floor of the Senate, as opposed to made in closed doors before. So it was a quieter, more stately, some of us used to say jestingly, a more funereal (both laugh) atmosphere in the Senate. Somebody asked me after I had been in the Senate three or four weeks, how I would compare or contrast the House and the Senate. And I said, "Well." I told them about the House. I said, "Have you ever attended the funeral of somebody that nobody liked? That's the way the Senate is" (both laugh). But good people, good people. I treasure the friendships of both the House and the Senate years. And my friendships, unlike, I think, 207:00bemoan today, my friendships were across the aisle, just as many, maybe more, Democrats than Republicans. Of course, there were more Democrats than Republicans. Today I'm not sure that it's even fashionable to acknowledge you're friends with somebody on the other side of the aisle. And that's deplorable. We are each entitled to whatever political viewpoint we have. We're all citizens of this commonwealth, and we ought to work together, and work together diplomatically and politely when we do differ.
MOYEN: Um-hm. So why did you decide to run for the Senate?
BAKER: Well, I had served two terms in the House. I'm a practicinglawyer and a single practitioner. And when I am out of the office, 208:00the only lawyer in the office is gone. I didn't want to run every two years, so a Senate term gave you a four-year period. A Senate term gives you a larger area of influence. I had seven counties, as opposed to one. I had 95 to 100,000 people, as opposed to 36,000 people. A Senate seat gives you a much better forum on the state scene to address the issues, and whatever you suggest, get more attention and, again, more consideration. And so it just, it seemed like a natural thing to do. And I was young and ambitious. I hoped to go from the legislature ultimately to the Congress or to the Senate, and being a senator was, 209:00would help you seemingly more than being a House member.
BAKER: And I did. I made a race for Congress. I chose a poor year. Iran in `76, which was not a vintage crop in the vineyard for my party, post-Watergate. Jimmy Carter defeated President Ford. I ran against an icon of, in the Kentucky political scene, Bill Natcher from Bowling Green, who's a very fine person individually and very well respected in the Congress. And he beat me about 60-40, which was a little better than, party registration was about 67-33 in the district. But I was determined to make a race, and I did. Wisely, did not make any more (both laugh). 210:00
MOYEN: So what, during Wendell Ford's administration, what legislationdo you remember that was particularly important or at the time seemed like a pressing issue, if any, that you can recall?
BAKER: It's hard, without going back and sort of scanning the papersor a scrapbook or something, to conjure up all of this. I remember a pivotal vote was the one on taking the sales tax off groceries. I gave a speech in the Senate about the lack of wisdom of either party proposing that or doing that. And, of course I knew the election was over and that was going to happen but, and if it was an up-and-down vote on that, I know I would have voted against it or did vote against it. I can't remember how it came before the General Assembly 211:00ultimately. But that stripped out of the revenue stream a substantial amount of money that we could have used in education then, and we could use in education and other things today. As I recall, there was a bill that was not, did not enhance Governor Ford's prestige: House Bill 236, which was allegedly a payoff to the small-loan people. It allowed them to increase their loan rates, which I voted against. I think most members of my party voted against. It precipitated one of the more interesting occurrences during my years in Frankfort, when the House members went out to the State Game Farm and got a turkey and brought it back to the House Republican Caucus Room, and put a ribbon around its neck and a large white card with "HB 236," and turned it 212:00loose on the floor of the House. And it bounced around, flew around down where the press tables are, and then flew up and landed in the speaker's chair. That was Norbert Blume of Jefferson County, former head of the Teamsters Union, I believe. And Speaker Blume was not thrilled (both laugh) by this gesture of defiance. The House created a special committee to ferret out the culprits, and they were about to throw them out of the House and everything else, and finally wiser heads prevailed. Unfortunately, the bill did get through, and I think it really was properly labeled and was a payoff to people who had supported the governor in his race for governor. I think we did some controls on strip mining and environmental legislation under Governor 213:00Ford, as I recall.
MOYEN: What were the arguments, as best you can remember, or even stillare the arguments today on the strip mining issue? (Unintelligible).
BAKER: Well, of course, you have the environmental arguments thatyou are denuding the land and leaving it waste forever. And I think one of the efforts was to make sure that when you strip you did do reclamation. And then as I recall, in his administration, we appropriated money to reclaim some of the lands that had been stripped prior to all this time that were lying in sort of a spoiled situation, across the commonwealth. I remember being part of a committee headed by Senator Tom Harris of Carroll County, where we toured the strip 214:00mine area in west Kentucky and in east Kentucky, our committee did, and going up to Viper, Kentucky, and talking to Joe Begley at the store there, and going to Jackson, Kentucky, and seeing some of the massive strip mine operations that were going on there. And then, of course, you have the arguments from the coal people, who would prefer anything that did not cost them additional money. And it was sort of a confrontation between the private interests, who would prefer to continue to make money, and the public interest that feels a responsibility to preserve the commonwealth for the next generation.
[End of Tape #3, Side #1]215:00
[Begin Tape #3, Side #2]
MOYEN: Okay. After Wendell Ford's administration, Julian Carroll takesoffice. And how would his leadership style, even though both Louie Nunn and Wendell Ford were forceful governors, how would Carroll's leadership style-
BAKER: It was different, and I'll contrast it with a couple of personal-type comments. I remember under Governor Ford, as all governors do, traditionally the evening following the presentation of the budget 216:00address, the governor entertains the legislature at the governor's mansion. And Governor Ford had given his budget, tax proposals to the General Assembly. And we were over there that night, and it was a great evening. It was a, the turnout was not as large as normal because it had snowed in Frankfort, and that had a dampening effect on people traveling around. Many of us were over there in formal clothes, and it was just a gracious evening. And I remember toward the end of the evening my wife and I were saying our goodbyes to Governor and Mrs. Ford. And I said jestingly to the governor, "Governor, this has been just a superb evening, and we're indebted to you for having us here and for throwing such a nice party." And I said, "Considering how good a host you've been, I might even consider voting for some of your tax 217:00proposals." And he looked me in the eye, and in a very undiplomatic way, and Ford and I have since become real good friends, but he said, "Senator, I don't need your vote." And which was, practically speaking, was correct; he had the numbers, he did not need any Republican votes. But it did not, as we say in Rotary, it does not build good will and better friendships (Moyen laughs). Now, Julian Carroll was different. And again, part of this goes back to just friendships across the aisle. When I came to Frankfort in `68, it was the year that Julian was elected Speaker of the House. His entire speakership, I served in the House with him. And I served on the rules committee in my second term in the house, and he was chairman of the Rules Committee. And then he was elected lieutenant governor, and during his three years 218:00as lieutenant governor, I was in the Senate all the time. He was constitutionally our presiding officer. His wife and my wife were good friends. We were all, we'd all gone through the various wars together and emerged still friends, standing up. So he became governor and was a very approachable fellow. I had no hesitancy in going down to the governor's office to see the gov---I have always referred to whoever the governor is as "the governor," but looking back now, going down to see Julian. And Julian was, without exception, anytime he could help you, he did, right up to the end of his governorship. And so he had friendships across the aisle and on his side of the aisle as well, people who genuinely liked him and had worked with him on any number 219:00of issues. I remember in the closing days of his governorship, and he had some hard times toward the last, his relationship with the two major papers was not good, and I was approached here in my office by some constituents from the Red Cross community of Barren County. They had a baseball field and, softball, Little League, and they wanted to put lights out there so they could play at night. And in those days, the governor had a contingency fund of $5 or $6 million, or maybe even greater, that he could spend on anything. That supposedly is no longer true, except I think probably today the entire budget is the governor's contingency fund. But be that as it may, they came to see me, and I said, "Sure, I'll try to help you. I don't know if I can do any good, but I'll try." So I made a trip to Frankfort to see Governor Carroll. 220:00In fact, I was en route to a meeting I was to attend in Washington, and I went by Frankfort, had an appointment with the governor, and explained what I wanted. I said, "Now, Governor, I know this is very low priority in terms of what your obligations to the higher, to the entire state, but if you can help us we would be most appreciative." And he said, "Walt," he said, "I'll do anything I can." And he called somebody in and he said, "Senator Baker is here and he has this project, and I want us to do it if we possibly can." And he had maybe four days left as governor. And they approved it, did whatever they had to do to make it legal, walked it through the Finance Administration, through the treasury, and got a check, and got the check dispatched down here to me before he left the governorship. And that's typical, and anybody 221:00who served with Julian could share with you a story like that. Of course, unlike today in Frankfort, we were, comparatively speaking, we were running over with money during that period of time. We had, I think, revenue-sharing from the feds, we had, coal mining was going, the coal severance tax was bringing in lots of money, so-
MOYEN: Do you remember when that severance tax was passed?
BAKER: Yeah, the severance tax was done, I believe, in the `72 session.Oh, no, wait a minute. There may have been some severance tax done in the `70 session, but that would be under Nunn. I don't think it was under Nunn, I believe it was under Ford. It was probably the `72 222:00session, and maybe even as late as, I believe it was `72. But now, Julian was a strong, assertive governor, and there was no power of the office that he didn't use or his people did not use. On the other hand, he was a well-liked governor. He had an excellent relationship with, for the most part with the General Assembly. The power of the governor was, I think is amply illustrated under Governor Ford's time, when I was on the Appropriations Committee in the Senate, and my friend from Owensboro, whose name I can't recall at the moment, was chairman of the Appropriations Committee. And he had a book, all the bills, and he'd have a list that the governor's office would give him of which 223:00bills to report out, which way and whatnot. And I would always torment him. I'd say, "Mr. Chairman, why don't we just go down to your list instead of-?" He would try to shuffle various bills, and it looked like, "Well, we'll take up this bill," you know. I'd say, "They've given you the list. You've got to report them out, so why don't we do it the most efficient way?" (both laugh). But that's the way the business was done then. Fortunately, I think it changed in later years. Carroll got into trouble on some investments that people had made in the name of his children that the papers viewed as violating ethics, but if not ethics laws, ethical requirements. And his, a number of 224:00people in his administration went to the penitentiary, including his party chair, former Senat--, Representative "Sonny" Hunt from Danville, whom I served with in the `68 session. So, and then I believe one of the senators who had chaired the Appropriations Committee was indicted in federal court and never, was never tried. He had a heart attack, and his health was such that, at least the affidavits were filed that he could not stand the stress of a trial. So that clouded the Carroll administration, and I think it contributed substantially to Terry McBrayer's loss in the Democratic primary that year to John Y. Brown, 225:00and made Brown the surprise nominee of the Democratic Party.
MOYEN: During Carroll's administration, there was a constitutionalamendment to reorganize the legal system, I believe.
BAKER: Yes, that was adopted by the people in November of `75. Let'ssee, that's right, because Carroll became governor in late December of `74.
MOYEN: Do you recall some of the important reforms that took place-
BAKER: Oh, yes. Yeah.
MOYEN: and in the change of the legal system?
BAKER: Actually, that amendment was proposed and approved in theGeneral Assembly, I believe, in the `74 regular session, when Ford was governor. And Ford really had more to do with that than Carroll did. And Ford, there's a lawyer, Harvard Law School grad, class of about `38 from Owensboro, who was one of the founding fathers of that 226:00amendment. Basically, what we had in Kentucky up to that time was no requirement that judges, county judges who actually were judges, sat in judicial courts, as well as county administrators, that they be attorneys. In many, many areas, including Barren where I lived, it had been a tradition that the county judge was always a lawyer, because he operated the probate court, he operated the juvenile court, he operated the quarterly court, which is where misdemeanors are handled. But that was not the practice in probably 100 of the 120 counties. So you had all kinds of good ol' boys who operated the court system, and some of them operated the court system for their friends and against 227:00their enemies, and any resemblance to justice was coincidental. We changed that. I was on one of the committees that helped produce the amendment. I was not in the forefront or anything, activity, other than I did serve on the executive committee of the Kentucky Crime Commission during all that time. And we got, we constitutionally provided that all judges in any court had to be lawyers, which was a significant change. We established a four-level system of judiciary, from the district court to circuit court to the court of appeals to the Supreme Court. Up to that time, we'd only had three levels, the court of appeals being our court of final jurisdiction. Why it was ever called the court of appeals, I don't know, because the constitution 228:00read, "There shall be a Supreme Court which shall be called the Court of Appeals." But it was, we and New York were the only states whose final court was labeled court of appeals. That four-level was designed in part to, we wanted to ensure that everybody had a constitutional right of one appeal. From whatever level you started, you could go to the next level as a matter of right. Then if you wanted to go any further, you had to make a motion for discretionary review. So theoretically, you still could get from the small claims division of the Oldham Circuit Court, Oldham District Court, to the Kentucky Supreme Court. We had a case when I was on the Kentucky Supreme Court that made that route. Oh, I'm trying to think of other reforms. There 229:00was, there were changes made in the Constitution to ensure that the independence of the court of justice from the executive and everybody else. The significance of one of those changes is out there today, when the chief justice, without a budget being passed by the General Assembly, invoked the power of one of those provisions that says that the expenses of the court of justice shall be paid by, from the state treasury as an ongoing constitutional obligation, without the legislative appropriation. If that is so, it's not as great a stretch as the stretch being made by, "The governor shall execute the laws of the commonwealth," and that being a basis for a $15 billion budget 230:00package unapproved by the General Assembly. And there are many other things in there; I can't recall them precisely today. But we went from having a very poor judicial system to having one of, what has developed into one of the top state judicial systems in the nation. We got an Administrative Office of the Courts, which is sort of the Legislative Research Commission for the judiciary that LRC is for the General Assembly. And that was a very positive development. Another thing that Governor Ford did was a complete re-registration of all voters in the commonwealth. And we had new laws concerning voting, how close you 231:00could get to the ballot, or the voting area to campaign and things like this; computerized our voting list, trying to get rid of the dead and gone voters, who seemed to vote in spite of being dead. And those were very positive changes.
MOYEN: Um-hm. When John Y. Brown defeats Terry McBrayer for theDemocratic nomination and becomes governor, you do have, you did serve a session under him-
BAKER: Yes. I served the 1980 regular session with Governor Brown.
MOYEN: Do you recall who the Senate leaders were at the time?232:00
BAKER: Let's see. Tom Garrett had been the Senate majority leader anddied in office, I think, in the late `70s, maybe `79 in the special session. And the next Senate leader, let's see, Joe Prather was president pro tem in the Senate, and I can't remember whether John Berry had moved up to majority leader. He may have by that time. John had been one of the "Black Sheep" Democrats in the mid-'70s, and he may have become majority leader of the, by the 1980 session.
MOYEN: And what-you held a position of leadership within the minorityparty.
BAKER: Right. I was the Republican, or the minority caucus chairman233:00from roughly `75 till I left in `81.
MOYEN: What added responsibilities did that position place on you?
BAKER: Oh, very little, realistically because we were only sevenor eight. But it gave me a seat on the Rules Committee and on the Committee on Committees. I was technically a member of the leadership in the Senate, and I participated in all the leadership conclaves.
MOYEN: And you mentioned John Y. Brown taking a very differentleadership role, a much more hands-off style. How did the legislature respond to this new hands-off approach? Were, was it as though you had entered uncharted waters and weren't sure what to do, or did the legislature jump at the-
BAKER: I don't think there was any hesitancy on the part of the GeneralAssembly to the extent that we were capable of doing to carry out our 234:00duties. Now, I'm going to backtrack just slightly. Governor Carroll probably knew the executive budget better than any governor I've ever served with or observed. An example, we had a, constituted the full Senate as a Committee of the Whole to consider the budget during one of his sessions. And he came up to present the budget, to talk about the budget, and he knew every little detail of it, and I think was on the stand and talking about it for six hours, even without a break to go to the restroom, phenomenal kidneys (Moyen laughs), but phenomenal knowledge of the budget. I don't think anybody since has had that mastery of the process. Now, Brown did not pretend that he did. He 235:00had George Atkins from Hopkinsville as his finance commissioner or secretary, whichever it was known as at that time. And I remember, I think I'm right in saying George was there with Brown; I believe he was. I remember tormenting him mightily one day, because he had campaigned for governor and he was in the Democratic primary up until about two weeks, three weeks before the primary date, when he withdrew and threw his support, I believe, to Brown. And one of the things he had campaigned against was the air force that Governor Carroll had collected. We had thirteen or fourteen airplanes in the state inventory. And I'm a private pilot, and at that time I would fly to 236:00Frankfort myself for committee meetings. I did not fly during the session because the weather was so unpredictable. But I remember I was out at the airport one morning. My wife and Representative Bobby Richardson's wife were flying up from Glasgow, and I went out to meet them. And I noticed, I was waiting there, the plane had not landed. And I noticed a great big airplane, and I was talking to one of the people that worked at the airport regularly, knew me, because I flew in and out of there all the time. I said, "What big airplane is that?" And he said, "That's one the state's going to buy." I said, "That's interesting. I don't remember anything in the budget about it." And so I took a ballpoint pencil and wrote down the tail number on the palm of my hand, so I could, got back, get somebody to call FAA and find out who we were getting it from (Moyen laughs). And I remember 237:00I raised that in the, at Governor Carroll's budget presentation, and he was rather perturbed that anybody knew anything about it (laughs). But at any rate, when George came as finance secretary and they were presenting Brown's budget, and there was, believe it or not, there was money for a new state aircraft, a helicopter or something. And it was some of the underlings from finance who were presenting that part of the budget, and I said, turned to whoever was chairman of the committee at that time, I said, "Mr. Chairman, I don't mean to challenge the word of the people who are testifying today, they are honorable men, and I'm sure they are doing what they're instructed to do. But this part of the budget belongs to George Atkins, who is head of finance, finance commissioner, and I know Represen--, I know Mr. Atkins's view about the state air force and what he said around the state when he 238:00was running for governor, and I can't believe he would have approved this." So I returned to the people, I said, "Are you telling us that George Atkins knows about this?" "Yes, Senator." "And that he has approved this?" "Yes, Senator." And I said, "Well, Mr. Chairman, in all due respect to those testifying, I just don't believe that. I can't believe that. I request that we summon Mr. Atkins to come before us so that we can clarify" (both laugh). And it was nothing but just being, having a good moment of political jest (both laugh). And, but I remember going over to eat lunch in the cafeteria one lunch with my friend, the senator from Madison, former President Bob Martin, Eastern Kentucky University, the former finance commissioner under 239:00Governor Combs. And Bob turned to me, he says, "Walter." And I said, "What, Bob?" He said, "I've been to the governor's office, and you won't believe what the governor said to me." And I said, "What did he say, Bob?" "Governor Brown asked me, 'Bob,' says, 'who appoints those school board members across the state?'" And of course, the thrust of it was that the governor didn't even know that they were elected by the people in their individual school districts. And unfortunately, that was, Brown's knowledge of state government was fairly superficial. And again, as I said earlier, to his credit, he selected people to run it for him. I think he went off too much to Florida and he may have engaged too often in some of his sideline practices that did not 240:00enhance the office of the governor, but his was an honest administration and-but not, certainly not a powerful, hands-on governorship.
MOYEN: So what caused you to decide to take a job in Washington?
BAKER: Well, I had been interested in national security affairs for manyyears. I mentioned about the seminar I took at Harvard Law School. I was, after I finished law school I joined the Kentucky Air National Guard as an airman basic, went to basic training at Lackland, at San Antonio, served three years, rising to the exalted rank of airman two-striper, and then got a direct commission, not as a legal officer but as an intelligence officer. Decided to stay with the Guard. I 241:00enjoyed being a guardsman. I thought it was important. I thought it was a service that all of us at times should do. And so I was, I had been in the Guard, and at that time was a lieutenant colonel and a JAG officer in my unit in Louisville. I campaigned across the state along with Larry Forgy on behalf of Governor Reagan and George Bush in 1980. I thought that President Carter had let our military go down at a time when we needed to be strong, and when I thought the only way you're going to survive in a Cold War scenario is through strength. That's the only thing Russians recognize. I'd been to Russia once at that point in `75. I've since been there a couple more times. And I wanted 242:00to be a part of a national administration, and I wanted to particularly be a part in the defense/national security sector. Started rooting around, and I was called up to Washington a couple of times for interviews for various positions, once for general counsel of the army, once for general counsel of the air force. And Secretary Weinberger had seen my resume as it came through, and I think he noted, he was also a magna at Harvard when he attended Harvard, and scribbled a note on it, "Let's see if we can't place this individual somewhere." And they offered me a position on his staff as assistant general counsel for international affairs. And so that's the position I went to in 243:00Washington. I think a very critical time in our nation's history, a very, extremely critical time in terms of the military posture of our nation. And I know, not just think, I know that administration made a difference in it, and the foundation it laid, I think, helped to create the situation that resulted ultimately in the dismantling of the Soviet Union, the coming down of the Berlin Wall, and what the first President Bush refused to say, but winning the Cold War. And I was proud to have been at least a minor part in that overall process. Years ago as a young boy, I wanted to be a military officer. I wanted to go to West Point. I was unable to go because at that time they required 20/30 vision, and I didn't have quite that with my eyes. And 244:00I think probably by the time I would have gone, I was more configured to do what I ultimately did do. But the position I occupied carried a protocol of status of a vice admiral or a three-star general, so it was a nice position to occupy, but it was in a very key area where, if you had an interest in intelligence activities and international activities, you had a bushel basket of issues to deal with constantly. And during the time I was there, we had war powers involvement, going into Lebanon a couple of times, some issues involving flying the SR-71 245:00in the Far East. We worked extensively on host nation support in Western Europe, where we would preposition, particularly in Germany, but also in other NATO nations, the equipment and supplies for American divisions. And then the theory was we would have a sky train, that if it looked like there was going to be a buildup in a Warsaw Pact sweep across Europe, we would have enough advance notice through our intelligence activities to get these divisions to Europe and marry them up with their equipment, which was already there. And we had contractual arrangements with the German government that they would provide base support, and I worked on those things and was, oh, I was 246:00in Bonn, Stuttgart, London, on those types of activities. And then I handled a mediation issue we had with the Spanish government where we had a dispute over a foreign military sale. And collectively, the Spanish government and our government engaged a distinguished Swiss lawyer from Zurich to be a mediator. And I had a number of appearances before him in Zurich, and also all of us on scene in Madrid and at various installations in Spain. And then the secretary sent five of us to Israel in November of `82 after the Israelis had defeated the 247:00Syrians in the Bekaa Valley, and tried to get as much information as we could on lessons learned by the Israelis using our aircraft and equipment. And that was a, we met with Defense Minister Sharon, who is now the Prime Minister of Israel, and with other, the head of the Israeli equivalent of our CIA. We went up, I remember one afternoon, went in several warehouses that were of a size of major tobacco warehouses in Kentucky and seeing captured weaponry that the Israelis had captured from the Syrians. And if one is a student of guns, he would have had a field day. There were just all kinds of things. And then literally acres of tanks that they had captured that the 248:00Israelis would then retrofit and sell on the world arms market. And then seeing some of their low-tech adaptations of things that we did, where they were able to do it much more cheaply than we can, to help their military forces. So that was an interesting experience. And periodically, I would deal with my counterpart at the State Department on the war powers matters, and with people at the White House, and attend interagency meetings of Defense and State primarily on issues. And then on some issues, where we met with the Justice Department 249:00people, particularly where we had captured, in effect, spies here in this country who were selling our secrets to the Soviets or East European countries. So I enjoyed it. It was a good experience.
MOYEN: Were you able to spend much time with politicians from Kentucky,or were you pretty well-
BAKER: No. Sadly enough, I would have hoped that I could, but thatdid not evolve. Defense, as it was run when I was there, was a non-political type of department, and we were discouraged from any political activity, probably prohibited. So we went over to the Hill occasionally for committee meetings, but we never got into a social 250:00circle where we were mixing with people that we were mixing with back here before we went to Washington.
MOYEN: All right. And you decided to return after a couple of years?
BAKER: Right. Returned to Glasgow. Our, I had, we have two children.They were then in, Ann was in the fifth grade, and Tom was in about the seventh grade. And the schools that we, we lived out in Fairfax County in the City of Fairfax, about fourteen miles out from the Pentagon, and an awful lot of drugs in the schools up there. My son attended a middle school that was about 1,000 students, which was just too big, and they both wanted to come home. I'd come home from the Pentagon, "Daddy, when are we moving back to Glasgow?" (both laugh). 251:00And so we did, and I guess it was for the good. I would like to have stayed there about four years and then come back, but that didn't happen, and so you move on.
MOYEN: Um-hm. So when you return, how quickly is it that you decide torun again for your-
BAKER: Well, I really decided before I left up there that that was whatI would do when I came back.
BAKER: I do remember I got a call from Jim Bunning, who had joined us inthe Senate during my time and was still in the Senate when I came back. And when the Republican Party was trying to put together a ticket in `83, Jim called and asked me to be his running mate, but I did not, I'd just come back to Kentucky. Financially, I had no income stream to support me, and I couldn't take off a year and run for lieutenant governor, and so I declined. I ran for the Senate and, unfortunately, 252:00didn't win, so I resumed law practice. And I guess it was during that time I was on the Prichard Committee and was on the Advocates of Higher Education. You're never at a loss to have some public service involvement if you keep your eyes open.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Let me ask you this about the first election that youjust lost by a couple of dozen votes. I guess by today's standards this would be considered relatively tame, but even the Herald-Leader had an article about your opponent's ad where he was saying that you had left, vacated your seat for this other-
BAKER: Oh, oh, yeah. He beat me pure and simple on a, he said, "He hadthe office and he abandoned it, he gave it up, left you in midstream." 253:00And he had a TV ad of a horse, I never saw the ad because I was out going door-to-door campaigning, but it was something about a horse in midstream. And it was a very effective tool that he used. In spite of all that, I only lost by twenty-four. And, but I lost. I mean it doesn't make any difference whether it's twenty-four or twenty-four thousand.
MOYEN: Right. You mentioned earlier that Governor Nunn supported him?
MOYEN: Do you know why that was?
BAKER: Well, sure. He and Governor Nunn philosophically were muchcloser together than Governor Nunn and I were. And he and Governor Nunn had been law partners before the governor went to Frankfort. And the governor had appointed him to the Public Service Commission, so they had greater personal ties than the governor and I did.
MOYEN: So during those five years before you did run successfully again-254:00
MOYEN: you mentioned that you did serve on the Prichard Committee.
BAKER: I did.
MOYEN: What type of work was the Prichard Committee doing?
BAKER: Well, at that time, we were involved in various things tryingto support improvement of education, and we were involved in the lawsuit that resulted in KERA. And I remember I was, I may have been an officer in the Prichard Committee at that time, but it was on the executive committee or something or other, but I remember whoever was our chairperson, that three of us went over and called on Governor Combs. And we were talking about the lawsuit that was being contemplated being filed and ultimately was filed and became Council for Better Education v. Rose. And I was being the devil's advocate 255:00of, you know, what if we win and then the General Assembly won't do anything? What do we do? And, which, and those issues remained there? Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed, or wiser heads prevailed, in the General Assembly. I was lucky to be back. I was elected in `88, and that decision came down in, I think, June 6 of `89. So I was back in the Senate, and so I was on the ground floor when we responded to it. But a governor less cooperative than Wallace Wilkinson, to his credit, was, or a General Assembly less responsive than, fortunately, our General Assembly was, could have created a constitutional donnybrook. 256:00And I reread Chief Justice Stephens's opinion back this year shortly after his death and reflected on some of the things he said there. It was a, as a public policy statement, a wonderful decision; as a judicial document, it may have been less than such. Fortunately, it worked. And so Bob deserves the credit of precipitating the process that resulted in the betterment of Kentucky.
MOYEN: Um-hm. What parts of that did you see lacking, either-
MOYEN: constitutionally or judicially?
BAKER: I'm, I guess we've been lucky in this country that when people257:00have approached the precipice, usually they have backed off. But sometime, you know, somebody may not, and then you've got two arms of government at loggerheads. And that's a very, very tricky, dangerous process. If the court says you have to raise taxes or you have to, that the amount of revenue you're devoting is inadequate constitutionally, it's not far from that, the next step, is saying you have to raise taxes. But the court didn't quite say that, but the implication is there.
BAKER: And you could have some hotheads in the General Assembly who couldsay, "Hell, no. I don't report to you. I'm elected by the people of Barren County, and they don't want me to raise any taxes." And that's 258:00where the fun begins (both laugh). And that's sort of where we are right now in a different type of issue without a budget in Frankfort. And I hope the same type of spirit that resolved the educational crisis in 1989 and `90 will reappear to resolve this crisis in 2002.
MOYEN: So when that decision is handed down and the General Asemblybegins working on that, John "Eck" Rose appointed you to a-
MOYEN: a commission, correct?
BAKER: And that is an interesting story, most of which is unknown inKentucky. I had come back-
[End of Tape #3, Side #2]259:00
[Begin Tape #4, Side #1]
BAKER: I had returned to the Senate in January of `89. I was onceagain a junior senator and had no leg up for committee appointments or anything. It was like starting all over again, even though I had, when I left, I was vice chairman of the Appropriations Committee, even though I was a Republican. When Senator Moloney was not there, I chaired the committee. John Rogers, I think, was the Republican leader, I think, when I came back, and I was on, stayed on the fringes and was not in and out of Frankfort, except for my interim committee meetings. And I was aware that something was going on up there after the court decision, but I was not a party to it and didn't really know 260:00the issues. But after the decision came down, one afternoon about two o'clock, I received a phone call from Senator Rose, who was then the president pro tem of the Kentucky Senate. "Eck" and I were friends, not close friends but we'd always gotten along well. And he said, "Walter, I'm thinking about appointing a commission to respond to this court decision. And if I were to think about appointing you to it, if I were to appoint you, would you serve on it?" And I said, "Eck, number one, yes, I would serve, but bear in mind I'm a brand new boy on the block again in the Senate, and all the other senators basically 261:00are senior to me at this point, so you probably want to appoint one of them rather than me. But if you were to appoint me, I'd serve. I think it'd be my duty to serve. And I think it's something that we have to do, and I hope we'll do it right." And he said, "Well, I'm going to appoint you." And I said, "Fine, I will serve. Let me know when we're to start." And that was, oh, 2:10, somewhere right after two o'clock. About 2:15, I got a call from Senator John Rogers, who was the Republican leader. And he said, "The press is reporting that you're being appointed to this Committee on Education Reform, and I want you to call them up and tell them that that's not so, that you're not serving." Rogers apparently did not want any Republicans to serve. And I said, "John, I just talked to 'Eck.'" And I detailed to him our conversation. I said, "I didn't seek the seat, and I told him there 262:00were other Republicans that had greater entitlement to serve on it than I do, but that if he did appoint me, I would serve." And he said, "Well, you are not going to serve and you are going to tell the press that Senator Rose was, misinterpreted what you said and that you are not serving." And we had a protracted, heated discussion (both laugh), or as they say in diplomatic circles, a full and frank discussion about that for about thirty, forty-five minutes, which resulted in his telling me that he would do everything to destroy my political career if I went on that thing. And I told him, I said, "Well, if you're big enough to do it, have at it, but I'm going to serve on it." And I did, and I think responsibly so, and I think Kentucky was the better that some of us from my party that were on there. And I was one of three Republican senators to vote for KERA in the 1990 session, the 263:00other two being Senator Eugene Stuart from eastern Jefferson County, and I can't think who the third one was, David Williams. He and I were the three who bucked the party and voted for it. And over in the House there were five Republicans who did that, Anne Northup being one of them. And we got a lot of chastisement within our own party. John Rogers was looking to build the Senate into a Republican Senate, and by adopting a no-tax raise position. Politically, he was in a good posture, and that's what he promoted as long as he was with us, before he had to retire to another governmental (laughs) institution. And, but I have no regrets doing it. We felt, I served on the task 264:00force, and I served on the governance subcommittee. There were three subcommittees, one on finance, one on governance, and one on education process. Joe Wright, Kenny Rapier, myself, there were several others, but we became blood brothers in the process of the nine months, I guess, we were on that. And we did some very positive changes for Kentucky, and we were, when we did it we knew that we were, as the people who signed the Declaration of Independence, we were writing our lives in our own blood. And if it cost us our lives, then so be it. 265:00But it had to be done, and we were going to do it. And we did, and Kentucky is the better. I have no regrets, and through the rest of the '90s while I was in the Senate, I tried to help protect education reform from those who would tear it down. And there were many in my party who would have torn it down. I think it's now part of the establishment politically in Kentucky, and it will continue.
MOYEN: Um-hm. What were the arguments at the time, or were thereany, outside of taxes, that other Republicans were using to try and encourage you to vote against KERA?
BAKER: Oh, I think it was basically a political argument: "We can gainby opposing this." And if you gain at the detriment of your state, 266:00that's a very ill-attained gain, in my judgment.
MOYEN: At some point, a few years later, you did, I don't, I wouldn'tcall it criticize KERA, but tried to critique some of the things that-
BAKER: Right, right, right.
MOYEN: you though you could improve. Do you remember what those were?
BAKER: One of the things I thought maybe we had gone overboard on, orthe implementation had gone overboard on was a stress on process, to the detriment of content, of education. And I'm firmly committed, whatever the level of education it is, that our students have to learn and know something. They've got to also develop those reasoning skills to utilize that that they do learn. The mere recital that 267:00"the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776," while accurate, doesn't really tell you, display much knowledge about what the Declaration of Independence was and what the world was at that time that it was signed. And I was seeing here in my community, I remember specifically I went to a class, was invited to a class at Barren County High School to talk about the legislative process and state government, twenty-two or three students in the room. And I was expanding on this and for some reason I mentioned Lyndon Johnson, not by Senator Johnson and not by President Johnson, but as I sort of looked around the room, I didn't see any flicker of recognition at all. And I just paused, and I said, "How many of you know who Lyndon Johnson was?" Now, this 268:00was maybe `92, `94, somewhere in that timeframe. I got four hands out of that room of people that even had any awareness of who Lyndon B. Johnson was, which said something to me. We're missing the boat somewhere. We are not teaching our students things that in my judgment they need to know. But maybe it was, of course, much easier for me. I had worked in the U.S. Senate when he was majority leader, and I lived all during the period when he was president and so forth. But I was very concerned that we were not getting the content mastery from our school children, and I wanted to see that in there. And I welcomed any criticism that would help achieve that result. I have pride of partial 269:00ownership of KERA, but not to the extent that if it's, some part's not working right, we shouldn't modify it to make it work. And I served on the oversight, what did we call that? We created it in KERA, oversight committee through the rest of my service in the General Assembly, where we had sort of a person who was sort of an inspector general for education that could go into school districts when there's wrongdoing or things and bring the information back to us.
MOYEN: All right. In 1990, you also gave a speech in front of theSenate, I believe, concerning Martin Luther King-
BAKER: I did.
MOYEN: and making that a state holiday. Could you tell me a little bitabout that?
BAKER: Right. I remember I stayed up very late that night doing my270:00preparation. In the early '70s, when I was in the Senate, `72 session or `74, maybe both, we had bills to make Martin Luther King's birthday a state holiday, and I voted against it. I thought we had too many holidays already. I probably at that time did not appreciate as much as I did fifteen years later the role that King played in American history and in American society. I'd done some reading on King since that time, read a number of his speeches, and I concluded that I'd made a mistake. When I voted on it before, the Senate did not defeat 271:00it on an up-and-down vote. Most of them sat on their seats and did not vote at all, and it was, like, nine for it, seven against it or whatever, but not a sufficient number to carry it through the Senate. And it came up again, and I decided, no, that we should do this, and this will make our society a better society and a fairer society. It will give recognition to people of the Afro-American race, that one of their leaders is one of our leaders. And so I decided I would vote for it, and not only would I vote for it, I would speak for it. And I told my colleague from Jefferson, Senator Gerald Neal, I went to 272:00Gerald and said, "Gerald, I'm going to help you on that bill, and I would like to speak for it this afternoon." And I did. And I gave a, I thought a good speech. It was one I believed in. It had the irony of somebody who had once opposed the bill, now voting for it. I remember I made mention that I was a descendent of slave owners, as Gerald was a descendent of slaves, and that we were joining hands together on this measure in a symbolic representation of what I hope is a healing 273:00process that we've gone through in this state and in this nation. And so I did.
MOYEN: How was that received?
BAKER: I don't remember. I remember several people coming back andshaking my hand after I gave the speech, but beyond the immediate circle in the Senate, what the public reception was, I don't know. I assume the papers had something one way or the other. And I've given some other speeches in the Senate of which I'm very proud. I gave one, there was a bill or a resolution to amend the federal Constitution 274:00to make burning of the American flag a crime. In Texas v. Johnson, I believe it was, the U.S. Supreme Court took Texas's conviction on flag burning and in an opinion written by, I believe by, maybe it was Justice Brennan and a concurrent opinion by my classmate, Tony Kennedy, Anthony Kennedy, the Court held that that was, deplorable as it may be, it was an expression of free speech that in a democratic society you have to tolerate. And which I have always been, and this is going back to your earlier question, philosophy of government, I have always been a strong believer in the Bill of Rights, and so that's where I came 275:00down. I know it was not a popular view with people I represent, but it's just one of those, that's what I believed and that's what I do. And then in the first cycle as a legislator, I gave several speeches on, that I think it was in the context of calling Constitutional conventions to amend the Constitution to, in effect to repeal Roe v. Wade. I had been basically a pro-life believer. I'm not a nut on that type of issue, but I come down on that side. And, but I thought the danger of a federal Constitutional convention far exceeded any 276:00gain we might make, if and when the constitutional change was effected. The, our first consti--, our present constitution was adopted in a runaway convention. And that was in a day and time when you didn't have open meetings or open records necessarily, you certainly did not have the news media coverage and certainly did not have the immediacy of coverage in the TV world that we live in today you have. And I have questions as to whether our present Bill of Rights would be adopted by a convention in today's media-frenzied world, and so I'm, and I am unwilling to run that risk. And I made speeches. I remember one, I came in and got the doorkeeper to let me in the Capitol building 277:00and let me into the Supreme Court law library. And I was there till 4:15 in the morning reading cases, organizing myself, and then we met in the Senate at nine that morning, so I didn't get much sleep. And I came back up and then gave my speech on that. And I remember another time I called Paul Freund, who was the constitutional lawyer expert at Harvard Law and was always regarded by us at Harvard Law as a justice-in-waiting for appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. We thought Kennedy would put him on the Court at the first opening, but he didn't. And talked to him a long time about the same issue preparing myself for the Senate speech. Now, the best I ever saw in the Senate was about the `78 session; it could have been a special session in `79, 278:00but I believe it was `78. And I can't, I think it was on one of the abortion issues. But with maybe one or two exceptions, every member of the Senate participated in the debate very articulately from whatever position that that senator stood. And it was the Senate that I love and revere and am very proud to have been a part of. It's not the Senate that we seem to have today, but when we rose to the very best that a legislative body can be: deliberative, rational, articulate, spirited, civil, none of which we seem to have today. 279:00
MOYEN: Can you think of any individuals or individual speeches in thatdebate that stick out in your mind?
BAKER: I remember Joe Prather, then senator from Hardin, gave a veryspirited speech differing from the position than I was adhering to, but a very, very able speech. And I could go back and read the news clips, and the rest of them would come back to me, but I do remember Joe's talk that day. But there were a number of senators who talked very wisely and very intelligently on the subject.
MOYEN: All right. Another-
BAKER: Oh, one other speech that I gave-
MOYEN: Go ahead.
BAKER: and I was in a minority of four on this issue. Kentucky hada bill to authorize the posting of the Ten Commandments in every 280:00schoolroom in the commonwealth. Originally, it included every courtroom in the commonwealth, but some of the members of the Senate who were trial lawyers recognized that would not work very well in fairness to accused and trials. And publicly, a very popular position. You know, "Who can be against the Ten Commandments?" that type of thing. But I thought it was blatantly unconstitutional. And there were only four of us of that viewpoint, myself, the present Democratic leader, Senator Karem from Jefferson County, and there were two others. But I spoke for a long time on it because, why, I thought it was not only unwise, but it was unconstitutional. It was later, it went to the U.S. Supreme Court, and by a very narrow 5-4 decision, they declared it unconstitutional. So I felt vindicated on that, narrowly so (both 281:00laugh).
MOYEN: Something that you criticized at one point with the GeneralAssembly were closed sessions that were taking place.
BAKER: Right. I think these were closed sessions of the DemocraticCaucus, and that's when they had enough of a majority to control whatever we did in the Senate as a body. And they were going into caucus, private. We Republicans always kept our sessions open, and we were proud of that. Of course, nothing we decided would make any difference anyway, but (both laugh) they closed theirs, and so they were in effect making public policy for the commonwealth behind closed doors. And so I may have been a little partisan in that, but 282:00I'm sure I tweeted them a little bit about it. And, but that's what was happening, they had a constitutional majority in the Senate, they decided what the Senate was going to do in closed doors, and they came out and did it. And what was worse, the issues were not discussed in public, and the arguments pro and con were not discussed in public. When they came out, they would not respond to the challenge on the floor, the intellectual challenge, to defend their position. They just, they had the votes, and they just rolled you over and went on. And that's the part that I thought was unwise and undemocratic with a little "d" or a big "D." Oh, we had some fun times there (Moyen laughs).
MOYEN: So as we move along in the '90s, you mentioned earlier that youbegan to feel as though you had spent enough time in the Senate. Your 283:00last race for the Senate position-
BAKER: That would have been in the fall of `88, the last time that I hadopposition and-
BAKER: was in an actual race.
MOYEN: Okay. All right. So during your last term that you're serving,how did you go about making it known, or is that something that was just there, that you would be interested in this appointment that Paul Patton-
BAKER: Well, of course, there was no opening on the court. It justoccurred suddenly when Justice Reynolds got up and took a shower and fell over dead. And I had never really thought about serving on the state Supreme Court. I had very vigorously, very energetically sought the seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals in the federal system, and which 284:00I was unsuccessful in getting, and this sort of evolved gradually. I was, after he died, I was thinking of somebody in our bar here that we might try to push. And then somebody suggested, "You ought to think about that." And that evolved, and then I thought and then decided that I'd like to do it, this is the time in my life to do that, and these opportunities, if they come, you know, don't come a second time. And so I took it, and I took it well realizing that I might not be successful in the November election, that this could be my terminal public position. I don't think there is a terminal public position. If you do a good enough job there are always places where you can serve, there are always people with responsibility that will choose 285:00you to serve. And I decided I'm going to do it, I'm going to at least try to do it. And I remember it puts you in a sort of precarious position, because while the judicial nominating commission process was evolving, I was still a sitting member of the State Senate and we were voting on all kinds of public issues. And the governor had a matter involving workers' comp and some fund that was particularly of benefit to the coal people that he was very, very deeply interested in. And he solicited my consideration of it and asked me to take it back up and study it and come back and tell him whether I could vote for it. And I studied it and concluded I could not vote for it and concluded also that (laughs) that probably meant that I was not going 286:00into the judiciary (both laughs). But told him and left. And in spite of that, for whatever reason, he chose to put me on there. And the governor and I have been, are pretty good friends. When he came into office, something very unusual, it never had happened to me before as a legislator, and I was not in leadership. Lord knows, in that crowd I served with in the '90s, I did not reflect the dominant view of the Republican Party in the State Senate, and I proudly say that (laughs). But he was sworn in as governor in December, and opening day of the session in January or the next day, the first day or two, I got a call 287:00from one of the governor's secretaries over at my Senate office, 8:30 in the morning, and she said, "Senator Baker, this is, "gave me her name," at the governor's office. The governor would like to make an appointment to meet with you today or this afternoon or, if you could work it in you calendar." And I'd never had a governor (laughs) who would like that. And I said, "Well, he's governor, I'm just a member of the Senate. Whatever time he would desire to meet, I'll make arrangements to be there. He doesn't have to make arrangements to meet my schedule." And we finally agreed I would meet him over at the mansion at eight o'clock that evening, and I had no idea he wanted to talk with me. And so I ate supper and showed up at the mansion about 288:00a quarter of eight so I'd be on time, and they were, his son was there, we talked for a while and then took me upstairs, I think, into the room that, when Governor Nunn was there, it was the library. It's the corner room closest to the Supreme Court and the House chamber, that corner of the, on the ground floor of the governor's mansion. And he came in and we had coffee or something, and we talked for about two and a half hours about things he would like to do, about my assessment of what the legislature, what its response would be, these various things. And I said to him, I guess very much out of my experience in Washington and then reading about people there, I said, "Governor, we 289:00want you to be successful. You are the only governor we have, and to the extent I can help you or anybody I can influence can help you do something that we basically agree upon, we'll be there. And we won't be opposing you on partisan reasons, or I won't be, I can assure you of that. Because if we can advance the state, it's going to take all of us working together." And that was, in summary, the type of attitude we both had through the evening. And we worked through various issues that would come before the General Assembly. And I think probably I felt freer access to the governor's office during his governorship when I was a legislator, even though it was only three and a half months, than I did with any of the other governors. There was less 290:00of a partisanship that certainly was there under Governor Ford. Under Governor Nunn, we were both from the same community and I was trying my very best to be deferential, and then also respect the fact I occupied a constitutional role, too. And Governor Nunn and I, ideologically, we were both Republicans, but we were at different position points on the spectrum in Republican philosophy. But under Paul Patton I, of course bear in mind I had served in the Senate during all of his lieutenant governorship, so he had, he and I had gotten to know each other pretty 291:00well, he had heard all of my speeches and knew how I'm wound up and what I feel strongly about. And his wife and my wife had become real good friends and still are and e-mail each other every couple of days and whatnot. And Saturday, it was last Saturday, a week ago, Jane and I were at Fancy Farm, and we were getting ready to leave where the stand is and go over to the Knights of Columbus big hall to eat the barbecue lunch. And nobody really around and this car drove up and out popped Paul Patton and Judi. And I walked over to him, there was nobody there to welcome him, and I walked over to him, and I said, "Governor, as a Republican, let me welcome you to Fancy Farm" (both laugh). And we shook hands, and then Judi and I exchanged hugs and 292:00whatnot. So we've had an excellent personal relationship. [Telephone rings], excuse me just a moment. Now, part of this relationship also goes back to something that my wife did. Of course, Jane, when we left to go to Washington in `81, Jane was the head of the, it didn't have a name, some people would call it the Ladies Auxiliary of the General Assembly or the Spouses Auxiliary, but she was the head of that. And she sort of regretted our leaving that. She had a role and a good supporting role to play up there. And so we came back and she evolved into that same position again, both having all the years behind her when we'd been there before, and organized bean-soup days. And 293:00the spouses would get together and, this was back before the ethics reform, the lobbyists would contribute, and we would have, legislators would bring in burgoo or country ham or barbecue or whatever their region had and could offer that you could eat. And once a week, we would have bean-soup day, and everybody would eat lunch together. We'd pick out some room, a caucus room or something, and feed all the members of the General Assembly, and their spouses were around and, of course, the committee staff would come in and others would come in. But it got to be a thing that everybody really loved, and it broke down the division that was unfortunately had developed when we got our offices over in the annex. We used to all be down in the basement, 294:00thrown together in one large room in little cubicles. Well now all of a sudden we had individual offices. All the Republicans in one place and all the Democrats in another place, and never would the two intermingle. We still had the Senate lounge and the House lounges, but they did not have the participation that we'd had when we were all in the basement thrown together. So what Jane organized went a long way to getting people together and breaching the wall of political parties and building friendships across the aisle. And she did an excellent job at that. She conned, or really didn't con Judi in, she called on Judi to send something over from the mansion. And she sent something over, and the first time it was on a silver tray. And she was going 295:00to send it some other and one of the people who works for them. Said, "Mrs. Patton, you can't send that over there on that kind of tray. You've got to have a silver tray" (laughs). She called Lieutenant Governor Henry, and they send up from lieutenant governor's mansion food. And everybody had a good time, everybody was happy. Judi Patton came over and joined us. I think the governor at times joined us, the lieutenant governor joined us, and we tried to create the atmosphere that, unfortunately, no longer is up there. And it worked pretty well. And so Jane and Judi Patton developed a good relationship through all of that that continues to this day. And I'm going to, I am the beneficiary of it as well (both laugh).
MOYEN: You mentioned just briefly that some of this was occurring beforethe ethics reform. 296:00
MOYEN: Tell me what it was like when the whole BOPTROT scandal broke.
BAKER: Well, when it broke, I don't think any of us realized thedimensions, including sadly one of the persons whose, who was sentenced in federal court, and I to this day maintain unfairly so, Senator Art Schmidt. Both newspapers on the charge against him editorialized that the federal judge should fine him $25 and send him home. That's the way they viewed it. When the Courier-Journal and the Lexington Herald both say that about a legislator, you know there's pretty good strength in that he has not crossed the line very badly. Art was one of the finest legislators I ever served with, Senator Arthur 297:00Schmidt from Cold Spring. We had served together in the House. We served together in the Senate. We were roommates during one or two of the regular sessions. I hold him in the highest of respect and esteem. And I think that his conviction at a time when he was already retired, his wife was an invalid with a debilitating illness, he could not afford the expense that a major federal trial would have involved, or if he did afford it, he would have depleted all of his retirement savings. It was just unjust and unfair. But there were others who crossed the line knowingly and did things they knew they should not have done, and they paid the penalty for it. It's one of 298:00the most horrible experiences I've ever been through, and fortunately, I, hopefully I didn't do anything I shouldn't have done, and I don't think I did. But even if you had not done anything, you woke up at night wondering, "Could I have done something that, you know, in the way they're looking at everything now, that certainly nobody ten years before would've viewed any problem with at all or many of the things?" The ethics changed over the years, changed I think for the better. There were things that went on in the late '60s. It was nothing uncommon for the rural electrics to fly every one of us, myself included, to Washington for a meeting of the rural electric co-ops with the legislative delegation, put us up at a hotel, buy our meals. That was just an accepted practice. Everybody that I can remember 299:00participated in it. That, under today's rules, would not mesh at all. I noticed, and probably I had a better vantage point than most, when I left the legislature in June of `81 till when I returned in January of `89, I noticed a great difference. It was almost like a Greek drama, the hubris and arrogance of power that had evolved among the legislature, and particularly among the bulls of the legislature, the power brokers in the House and the Senate. And it was in that type of atmosphere that these things happened. The speaker went to the federal penitentiary, and you could go on and on and on describing it. But 300:00the end result is we put rules on ourselves that made it very difficult to operate. I can give you an example. Speaker Richards from Bowling Green, now speaker, I don't think he was at this time, it may have been Joe Clarke as speaker, we were invited to come to Louisville to a conference, annual meeting of the Kentucky Association of Independent Insurance Agents, their annual convention. And they wanted Jody and me to be on a panel one morning at ten o'clock, and they wanted us to be there at eight o'clock for a pre-panel meeting at breakfast with the moderator to sort of get everything lined up. We both went. They said, "We'll put you up at the hotel where the conference is, you won't 301:00have any expense." We could not accept lodging. I went and stayed with a relative in Louisville to avoid that expense. We came to what was to be the breakfast meeting. I had a glass of water, and Jody had something. Otherwise we'd have to pay whoever had invited us for the expense of whatever we consumed, and that's silly. That's, but that's the type of terms we were under. I was invited, after all the BOPTROT and all this and we, after the ethics legislation was passed, I was invited by, there's an institute at Rutgers University, and they were sponsoring a conference on legislative ethics in Phoenix and invited me 302:00to come out and be one of the panelists and speakers at the conference. I had to get permission from the LRC to do that. They were going to pay my expense and whatnot. I had to get permission and I think, I can't remember how it was, LRC paid my travel, and I had to get from my conference host the cost of the hotel room and the meals I consumed there, and LRC to pay for that. It was against the law to accept it. And that's, and I remember I've got the tape of that session, and I want to run it sometime to see whether my thinking today is such as it was then. But I related that I was the fourth generation of my family to serve in the Kentucky General Assembly, and that I would not want my son to serve. That's just how I felt. Hopefully, I don't have that 303:00attitude today, but I certainly did at that point.
[End of Tape #4, Side #1]
[Begin Tape #4, Side #2]
MOYEN: All right. As your attitude toward the General Assembly was, oryou were a little discouraged about the way things were, when you took your seat on the Supreme Court, were there any particular decisions there in that time that you served-
BAKER: Any what?
MOYEN: particular decisions during the time that you served that stickout as anything that you found important or difficult or-
BAKER: We had a little bit of everything. I recused in the caseon legislative reapportionment, because I had been a very strong 304:00opponent of what we had done in the `96 session, and I thought was unconstitutional. My successor wrote the opinion (laughs), successor of the court, making it constitutionally valid, but I did not think it proper for me to sit on that case because I had expressed a viewpoint about it. I'm trying to think of other cases we had. I took a very active role in the conference, when the court meets after each oral argument and just deciding the cases. I, unfortunately, I didn't write many opinions. When I came on the court, there was a backlog of opinions that the other justices had written and they wanted me to participate in. They needed me sometimes to get the constitutional 305:00number that had to participate, which was five. And so I thought it was my duty to help them through on that, and so I had to go back and read the briefs and all these cases that they were already beyond and during the next, and then read the opinion and decide whether I agreed or disagreed and whatnot. So that took a lot of my time in the early months of serving on the court. There is another aspect of the court that I was blissfully unaware of, even though I am a lawyer, and that is the heavy load of motions for discretionary review. These are cases in which, that had been in two courts, two levels of the judiciary, and the lawyers think ought to be decided by the supremes. And so they brief the case, arguments why the court should take this case or why it shouldn't take the case, and then the issues are briefed also by our 306:00Supreme Court staff. And then all the justices vote, very much like petitions for certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court, vote whether to accept the case or not to accept the case. And I took that seriously because it seemed to me just as important as what you do are the type of cases that you do it in. And there I brought a perspective to the court that I think it was lacking. I was the only member of the court who had ever served in the legislature. I was the only member of the court who had practiced law at the district court level in the recent timeframe, of all kinds of legislation that was out there, domestic violence, things that were unknown of in the '80s in the judicial process. And I could see some ramifications of these that maybe my 307:00fellow justices, who had not been in that type of work, could not see. And I can remember a number of times the vote would be six to deny and 1 to grant, and Bob Stephens would turn and say, "Walter, why do you think we ought to take this case?" And I would expound on why I thought there was some significant issue, and the court would flip, and we would take the case. So I felt I provided a service in that way.
MOYEN: Can you think of any examples of that?
BAKER: Any what?
MOYEN: Examples of that?
BAKER: Yeah, yeah. I mentioned to you earlier a case going from thesmall claims division of Oldham District Court all the way to the Kentucky Supreme Court. That was a case that was 6-1 to deny. And then I told why I thought we ought to take that, and the court flipped and we took it. And it involved a boiler-plate type of contract on 308:00the sale of a prefabricated garage type of thing that had all kinds of provisions that if you got into a dispute, the dispute had to be resolved in a court in Illinois and all kinds of practical, or concrete impracticalities of a person getting justice. And we took that case. I remember I wrote a dissenting opinion in an extremely interesting case, where I think the court reached a fair result, but a, what I deemed an illegal result. We were, it involved the Indian rights statute that Congress had passed regarding children, in which the jurisdiction was 309:00vested in certain Indian tribal courts to decide custody of Indian children. We had a case that came from over in the Ashland area that was a concrete application of that, and the court had decided it by Kentucky law without giving deference to the federal statute that I thought was controlling. Now, the federal statute probably would have produced an unfair result, but still it was the law of the land that we were sworn to adhere to. And so I wrote an opinion tracing the passage of the Indian rights statute, going into why I thought it applied here and not Kentucky law, and that consequently jurisdiction lay, rests with the Indian tribal court and not with the circuit court of Boyd County or whatever it was. And then several times-what the court does, 310:00we have our own internal e-mail system that, I don't know how it works, but my secretary would get stuff on our dedicated e-mail where we circulate preliminary opinions among ourselves for responses from the justices, and then we vote whether we agree or disagree. And we had a very, very bad criminal matter involving a gang in Louisville, which there were four different individuals, and it was fairly complicated on the proof. But I went through the proof, and I found that on one or maybe two of the four, that basically there was not sufficient proof to 311:00justify the conviction, and wrote a dissent and put it back on the e- mail back. It was Justice Wintersheimer, and he called me and he said, "Walter, I've read your dissent, and I'm willing to incorporate into that, that into my majority opinion. I agree with you. On reflection, you're right." So that changed the opinion, and I didn't get anything published at all on it, but it helped achieve what I thought was a just result. Let me see what other cases we had. I sat on three death penalty cases, and they were all interesting matters. They may have, in many instances, been very lawyerly-type of issues that are not great public policy issues. There were times when my experience as 312:00a legislator came in good stead for the court. We had a, we declared unconstitutional a thing that we did in KERA. And I, it came out of the committee I was in, and it was a compromise that we worked to get KEA aboard, of questionable constitutional validity, and somebody quite properly called their hand and challenged it on a constitutional basis. And we were in conference, and Bob Stephens said, "I wonder why the legislature did it this way?" And I turned and I said, "You want to know?" And I told him. I said, "This was-we had a situation in which one party could appeal, but the other could not in a teacher dispute, a teacher-school board dispute. The teacher, if the teacher lost, could 313:00appeal. The school board, if the school board lost at the tribunal level, could not appeal." And I just explained that was part of the legislative compromise to, and we declared that unconstitutional (both laugh). Now, nobody else in the room knew that but me, and I think the fact that I, whether that was right to divulge that at that point, but it was knowledge I knew, it was not, and I think it helped the court reach its result easier. I don't remember-I could go back and pull the volumes and flip through the cases, and this would all come flooding back. But you handle such a volume of cases, that it's just, 314:00it's almost survival to get through them before the next batch arrives. It's a, it's just a constant flow of boxes of cases coming through. And the real workload is not the public cases that you see written about in the newspaper and they're argued before the court monthly, but the matter of right appeals. Any criminal conviction that carries twenty years or greater punishment is an automatic direct appeal from the circuit court to the Supreme Court, what we call matter of right appeals. And those flood through every month and they just parry them out to all of us, and you take your share and do them. The opinions are not published, which I disagree with. So the lawyers don't even get the benefit, the lawyers generally, of even knowing what the court 315:00has decided. The lawyers in the particular case get the decision, nobody else does. I think in this day and time, with computers and CD discs and what-not, we ought to publish everything we do. Now, some of it's trash, trash cases, cases that don't merit the issues, that's been there a thousand times before. But there are a lot of cases, and during my time there, there was a trial judge that the chief justice was not particularly enamored with. And I remember he wrote an absolutely brilliant opinion in a libel/free speech/press-type of case, and the chief prevailed on a majority of the court to de-publish 316:00it. And so nobody got the benefit of the learning that that judge had assembled, and I thought that was unfair. But there are others there who make that decision now (both laugh).
MOYEN: Since your time on the Supreme Court, you've been active withhigher education, even to the point where just recently you had an article in, that was published in the Herald-Leader as well as-
BAKER: The Courier-Journal and various other state papers.
MOYEN: And, for example the, your article suggested that althoughlegislators today, concerning the fact that there is no budget and that the debate is over some public financing of campaigns, and you suggest there is a deeper issue at stake.
BAKER: There's a much more fundamental issue and it goes to the balance317:00of power between the legislative and executive that so many of us worked so hard to achieve. And I think the legislature, by not passing a budget, has really surrendered the power to the executive, because the executive now by, the governor by executive order has proposed a spending plan which bears no approval by the General Assembly. In fairness to the governor, probably 98 percent of it is encompassed in bills that passed both the House and the Senate, but not both bodies. And I wish every bill that I had that passed both bodies but in different form that didn't become law could be cited as law. And I think that's an absolutely dangerous precedent, because while most of us have little objection to the objects of the spending the governor 318:00has adopted, we may have a governor someday that we do strongly disagree with, and if he has the power to spend the people's money without approval, then we are a long way toward an emperorship, which some of us used to think we had during the Ford and Carroll years (both laugh), as opposed to a democratic society. And I feel very strongly about it. I felt this was an issue that, at least till the time I wrote the article, had not been out in the public arena, and I hoped that I could get people to start thinking about. And maybe, hopefully, the wise heads that are in Frankfort could see fit to do something to remedy the situation before it becomes too much of a precedent. I 319:00am at the stage in life where I seek no public office and I expect no public office. I hope I still command the respect of my peers with whom I served. And I thought, you know, I was a person who could say this and I didn't throw any mud at anybody or didn't intend to. Maybe I threw mud at everybody, but it was not a partisan diatribe, but a citizen who strongly believes in our system of government and who thinks in this instance, it's working improperly.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Looking back on your service in Frankfort, what was theone issue, even if it was a bill or if it was a broader issue at large, are you most proud of?
BAKER: That's really difficult to say. There are very minor things320:00I did that I'm still proud of. When I came to Glasgow and started practicing law in southern Kentucky, I remember that individuals who were doing their wills and who had children living outside of Kentucky were unable to have those children serve as a fiduciary, as an executor or executrix of their will, even though that son or daughter might be the one that they really wanted. And they had to get somebody who lived in Kentucky to occupy this position, even though it might, they didn't have anybody they really wanted in Kentucky. And so I just said, "Well, let's change the law. It's a simple enough thing." And I did a statute, the General Assembly approved it, the governor signed it, that if you were a certain relationship to the decedent, even though you were a nonresident, you would still be eligible to 321:00serve in that capacity. It was a simple solution to a simple problem, but nobody had ever bothered to solve it. Because I was a lawyer who worked in the trenches, I saw the problem and I was, because I was a legislator, I was able to do something about it. Nowadays, we have special license plates for everybody, but there was an era and time in Kentucky when that was not so. But I, when I was in the military in `69-`70 and stationed in Florida, I noticed license tags down there for disabled veterans. And I came back to Kentucky, and I did the same thing for the disabled veterans here in Kentucky. Nowadays, that's been expanded to all kinds of people. And you have vanity tags now, and I guess every organization in the state has a special license 322:00tag, but at that time that was not so. Probably what I'm proudest of is something that I was a contributor along with many other good legislators, and that was improving the budgetary process, the scrutiny the legislature gave to the executive budget, the accountability that we demanded from the public bodies and commissions in the expenditure of public funds, and the way that process evolved and took many of us shoving, pushing the cart uphill to get it to happen. But I think it made for a more responsible government. Oh, I'm sure there are many 323:00other things. If I could review the scrapbook my wife kept, I might think of some of them. I'm proud that ultimately what I went to the legislature to achieve, others after I left finally did achieve, and that is that we now have public higher education in a facility in Glasgow, Kentucky. We have the South-Central Postsecondary Education Center, which is a successor to Western Kentucky University-Glasgow. But we now have 1,600 students are getting college and postsecondary education courses at a site here in Glasgow, a facility that will expand to 2,500 people and a facility that is built to expand to double that number in the coming decades. Making, in a society in which you 324:00have increasingly many nontraditional students, making higher education accessible to those students. And that's my legacy. It doesn't have my name on it, but it certainly has my spirit in it (laughs). And it seems like during my years in the General Assembly, almost every time there was a special task force or commission, I wound up as one of the Republican members on it: task force on product liability back in the '70s, a special committee on unionization of public employees 325:00in the early '70s, task force on education reform in `89 and `90 under Governor Brereton Jones, the special ethics task force that he appointed that resulted in the ethics legislation, also under Governor Jones, the task force on health care that he appointed. And they're, I'm sure there are several others that I can't call to mind at this time. But I seemed to have more than my fair share of positions on those that were created to deal with a specific issue or problem, and then we jumped in and tried to do the best we could on it, sometimes successfully, sometimes not. But I certainly got to make my fair share 326:00of trips to Frankfort (both laugh).
MOYEN: Is there anything that you can think of that I've missed tobring up that you think would be important to mention in terms of the Kentucky legislature or your career?
BAKER: Well, there are some things that I would recommend to thosewho follow me. Number one is, I think, required reading for every legislator, ought to be Mayor John Sower's, he was mayor back in the '60s, early '70s, little book on Frankfort history. It would make everyone share a greater reverence for our capital city and for what has transpired there over the last 200 years. I wish I'd read it twenty years earlier than when I did. Secondly, I would recommend that legislators try to become a part and get to know the Frankfort community, as opposed to the governmental community. I made a point 327:00of every Thursday that I did not have a conflicting committee meeting to make up Rotary Frankfort, and as a result, I've developed a host of friendships among Frankfort citizenry to the extent that they prepared a special Rotary badge for me that I wore when I attended Rotary there, even though my home club was Glasgow. And I still make up there whenever I'm in Frankfort, or Wednesdays I guess it is now, but then it-so those are two things I would recommend. Lastly, I think I would recommend an attitude that I was lucky enough to have, because of the fragility of my likelihood of ever repeating a second term in the House of Representatives, is that when you go to serve in the legislature, 328:00regard whatever term you have as your final term and do the vote that you think is in the best interest of the people and not the one that will get you back. Once you lose sight of that, then you start making bad votes. And in spite of trying to adhere to that standard, I had two terms in the House and I had five terms in the Senate, and that's about as much as most people who are in the legislative process ought to have. But it makes it a whole lot better, and then you don't have to worry about how you voted on something. You did your best, whatever it was at the time. And it may have been right or it might have been wrong, and you may, as I did on an issue we discussed, you may change your mind fifteen years later or twenty years later when the issue comes before you a second time. And then something that I said in my 329:00farewell to the Senate the afternoon that I took the oath as justice, don't forget what a privilege it is to serve the people as a member of the Kentucky General Assembly, what an honor it is. And value the trust and respect that the people have given you to exercise for them. And that's the way I concluded my legislative career, and that's the way I'll conclude this afternoon (both laugh).
MOYEN: Thank you so much for your time.
BAKER: Thank you.
[End of Interview]