MOYEN: All right, I'm here this morning, September 12, 2003 with formerstate representative Freed Curd, who served district number five in the House, and in post-KERA Kentucky you were chair of the House Education Committee. Is that correct?
CURD: Right after it.
MOYEN: Right after. So a lot of, during the implementation.
CURD: Last seven years, I got out in the '80s. Nineteen eighty is whenI got out, I mean '98 is when I got out.
MOYEN: Um-hm. And then you went on to serve as mayor of Murray, correct?
CURD: Right, right.
MOYEN: For how many years did you--
CURD: Just one term, I didn't run again.
CURD: I'd run ten straight times, and won--get out while I'm ahead.
MOYEN: Um-hm (laughs). Why don't you tell me a little bit about yourbackground, where you were born, about your family roots.
CURD: Well, I was born in a little place called Poole Town, in WebsterCounty, but we live there about a year and then moved just across the line into Tennessee. My first ten years of school was a little place 1:00called Buckhamen(??), Tennessee, and my father passed away, and we moved to Hazel, which is another little burg on the Kentucky side.
CURD: But we lived there, I went into service in, well started in MurrayState, and I was down here two semesters playing around, and finally decided I wanted to go into the Service. So then the Korean War, so I went and served for four years and then came back, and then finished at Murray State University, and married, and lived here in Murray since '57, except for one year I went to Illinois teaching.
CURD: Rest of the time was in this area, I was teacher of CallowayCounty High School when I decided I was going to run. We had about a thousand students, and I had a pretty good rapport with them. So I said, well, I've got enough students to win an election, and I, it just worked out in time.
CURD: So that's the way I got involved, I'd never been to Frankfort.2:00Of course the first day of the session we started voting on things, you know, which was quite an experience, you know, and of course they changed that, and I had won three terms, that's why I've got nineteen, where you go a year before you start voting on anything. So I think that was an improvement the legislature made when they did that, and at least you got your committees and you learned some things about some things you're going to be voting on.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Let me back up just a little, now what year were you born?
CURD: I was born in 1933.
MOYEN: Okay. Do you, what are your earliest memories? Like, doyou remember your parents or your family talking about the Great Depression, or--
CURD: Well I was born right in the middle of it. I remember when gaswas twelve cents a gallon, cigarettes were six cents a pack, your shoes was rationed, your gasoline was rationed, you couldn't buy 3:00tires, everybody had a patch kit with them, because tires wore out, you couldn't get tires, and you started, where I lived in Murray, you'd run into five or six out with their old patch kits, and hand pumps, you know, pumping up their tires.
CURD: Of course my brother was in the war, and he got wounded in thewar, and the little V-mails. Did you ever see those little V-mails?
CURD: I'll get some, I don't know what I did with them, but they're justabout, they took pictures of the letter, and then they would cut out anything that might give away their location of the enemies, like if it's snowing, you know, anything like that, they would go through and cut that out, because they could tell where they were.
MOYEN: Oh okay, um-hm.
CURD: So they censored all the mail, and it would come in little bittyenvelope about like this, with a little letter in it. Visa mail, I believe they called it, Visa mail, all, all correspondence overseas was 4:00in those, over mail.
CURD: Classes, everything was cheap. Of course jobs were scarce. Iknow my daddy had a neighbor girl that he paid her way through college, because there just wasn't any money, you know, you had no money, and there wasn't any aids, you know, or things of this type. So I run into her about a month ago, and I had no idea that he ever did this, and she was telling me about it, he'd paid her way through college.
MOYEN: Huh. What did, what was his occupation?
CURD: He was a minister.
CURD: What denomination?
MOYEN: Church of Christ.
MOYEN: So how was that growing up as a preacher's kid?
CURD: Not real well, you know, nobody wants to--- say, "Oh I'll bet he'sa sweet little kid." Nobody wants to be a, no boy wants to be a nice little kid, you know (both laugh). I'd want to kick their shins (both laugh). 5:00
MOYEN: So when you moved across the border into Tennessee, was that forhim to take a church?
CURD: No, they just bought a farm close to my, to my mother's parents,part of a farm they had actually they bought some farm land, moved over there.
CURD: Because he died when I was thirteen years old. So a lot abouthim I don't remember details, of course I remember him, but I don't remember a lot of details about him, you know, his bad health. He preached at a little prayer church down the Union, other side of Union City, the last church he preached, and he, I started driving him down there when I was twelve years old, because he was not able to do both. And so I got experience in driving real early.
CURD: And never got stopped by cops or anything. I had me a coupleof pillows, you know, and I'd take off (Moyen laughs). So I had an 6:00interesting life, I was never hungry, because we had five, they would kill about five hogs, and had pork year round, you know, country hams, and shoulders, and sausage, and all this kind of meat, which is, you're not supposed to eat, but those days you had to work so you got rid of a lot of that energy.
CURD: I sawed up stove wood, my mother had a stove, stove wood, whichyou cut it up about so big, and with a crosscut saw, which is a terrible way to get wood I guess (laughs). I don't know if you've ever seen one or tried to cut one or not, but you cut trees down, those things, you, you eat a good lunch (both laugh). You burn up a lot of that fat, that sausage and stuff. And we, I milked three cows every night and morning, and they gave me the little cream check, and of course we had no refrigeration, no electricity until after World War 7:00II. TVA come in then and finally got electricity out there.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Did you know many people who worked for the TVA?
CURD: Very few. I've known several that have worked for it. My father-in-law for instance, (unintelligible) coal for him. A lot of people they started, when the TVA started, the clearing people got seventy- five cents an hour, which was great, you know today. But I knew several that worked construction and different things, but not then, of course, you're isolated back here on a farm, you know, you don't, you don't just see people everyday, you know.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Now, was your dad or were your parents involved inpolitics at all?
CURD: No, unh-uh, no.
MOYEN: Did they talk about it around the dinner table--
MOYEN: or New Deal, or FDR, or anything?
CURD: No. I was a history major and I taught social studies, that'swhat got me interested in it, you know. 8:00
MOYEN: Now, were there any teachers that you had that played aparticular influence on what you decided to go into, or--
CURD: Not really.
CURD: Not really.
MOYEN: What about your religious background, having a dad as a preacher,did that affect your political philosophy, looking back, could you see anything where you thought this was--
CURD: Well, I was pretty, you know I voted pretty conservatively. Ivoted very conservative on most things, because this is an area which is mostly conservative people.
CURD: But no, not really, you know.
MOYEN: All right. Can you tell me a little bit about Murray State andwhat it was like when you first attended?
CURD: I believe there was 1,200 in Murray State in 1951 when I firststarted. No there wasn't, that was after I come back, '51, come back 9:00in '57. Fifty-seven was about 1,200 there, I think. Of course you knew all the professors you know and just a small family line.
MOYEN: So what made you decide to go into the military?
CURD: Oh I was just crazy, didn't know what I wanted to do.
CURD: You know, like most high school graduates you know. And I gotout of school, I went to, there was twelve of us went to, to work for Caterpillar, at Juliana, Illinois for $1.30 an hour. There were twelve of us from this area that went up there to live one summer. Then after that, that's what I didn't want to do, you know.
MOYEN: Um-hm (laughs).
CURD: It wasn't hard work; I just didn't like it. Bored to death,because I didn't have much to do.
CURD: And then I come back and went to Murray State a couple semestersand just didn't--wasn't serious about it at all (laughs). 10:00
CURD: Had a good time, didn't make much money (laughs).
MOYEN: Um-hm, um-hm.
CURD: Still, I started, and then I went in the service and come back andbelieved I kind of knew what I wanted to do.
MOYEN: And what were you, where did you serve? CURD: Oh I, of coursewent through basic at Lackland there in San Anton--, and then I went out to the worst place in the world, I think, in the United States I know, was Amarillo, Texas for trainings on B-47s. And they wasn't out yet. I mean, we moved, and then I was stationed at Shreveport, Louisiana and worked on B-29s, the old reciprocating, we didn't have a B-47 there then. We worked in, on them for, oh, six months probably. Finally our planes come in, and then the four years I was there, they done become obsolete. B-52s done took their place. 11:00
CURD: And they was a million, I forget what, a million and a half or soa piece, you know.
CURD: Give you some idea of what, a period of three years, I would say,because we didn't have them for a good while, they were obsolete.
MOYEN: Um-hm. But you were able to stay in the United States.
CURD: Well, we went to England. We were to go--see, I was in a sack(??)outfit. We had to have seventy-five to eighty percent of the planes ready to fly any minute. We had some special equipment, one of our colonels designed part of this stuff, to mess up the radar?
CURD: In other words, if we had an all-out war, one of our planes wouldflew with planes all over United States, if they wanted to attack Russia, let's say. So we was a little unusual in that fact that--of 12:00course, we did carry bombs, and you know, so forth, the atomic bombs, I've seen those. They'd run us off the plane while they put them in, and then we closed the bomb doors and everything else. It was kind of ridiculous, you know.
CURD: But that's kind of what happened.
CURD: So then I went to--of course, I was single, a lot of those guyswere married. So I volunteered for all these trips, see. Temporary duty, we went to England. One summer then I went to Tuscan, Arizona in the fall, like November and December. Come home, we went to Tampa, Florida then for another temporary duty for a couple of months. Then come back and went to England. So I spent the whole year without any severe winter, or anything, you know.
CURD: And then I went to Little Rock, Arkansas. Was going back toEngland, but they had a little trouble back with Hungary, I don't 13:00remember the details of it, and so we didn't go, they cancelled the mission, but we would go on temporary duties and things.
CURD: I'd volunteer to go.
MOYEN: So what'd you think of England, being from kind of ruralKentucky, Tennessee? CURD: I didn't care for England at all, you know. It was so different, and they were so poor.
CURD: We had a government job with working on the base, and they made$12 a week. And haircuts were a quarter. Nice expensive suits were twenty-five to thirty dollars. You could get them made, I mean they would measure you all over and form it to fit, you know. Everything was very cheap. There was very few cars. I guess the most unusual thing, while I was there, to me, was this doctor was making house calls on the train, you know. He didn't have a car. He'd have to, of 14:00course, everybody went on the train, everywhere you go.
CURD: (Unintelligible), you didn't have any (laughs; unintelligible),that's the way to travel. We loved it. We'd get on that old train and take off, you know.
MOYEN: Sure. So when did you get out of the service? CURD: I got out in1950, January of '57.
CURD: Started back to school.
MOYEN: All right.
CURD: Of course, handled the GI bill and got married.
MOYEN: Um-hm. How did you meet your wife?
CURD: I had met her, dated her a time or two or three back when she wasa sophomore in high school.
CURD: So I run into her at the college, and she changed quite a bit,and I had too I guess. So we, as a matter of fact, she made, I made a date with her; she was going to stand me up, you know. Just do to me do like I did her, but she didn't. I told you she got even with me all right, you know. She married me. 15:00
MOYEN: Now did you have a long courtship, or--
CURD: No it was fairly short. Let's see, we married, let's see I mether as soon as I got back, '57, about five months or so.
MOYEN: Okay. All right. And when did you finish at Murray State?
CURD: Nineteen fifty-nine.
MOYEN: Okay. And what did you do when you got out?
CURD: Well I went to Karnak, Illinois, a little hole across in Illinois.Of course I had to buy a mobile home to have a place with a bathroom in it. There wasn't any places close to rent. And put it on school board, and had a house, put it on their thing, and coached basketball. I had seven different preparations, plus head coach of basketball. And I taught driver training for another school on Saturday. 16:00
MOYEN: Now, was it a high school? CURD: Yeah.
MOYEN: Okay. And seven preps?
CURD: Small high school. Huh?
MOYEN: And seven--
CURD: Seven preps. Terrible job. I had to. You have, nobody couldhave done that. First teaching when I lived here I had seven different preps. Everything, social studies, everything, health, PE, and driver's training.
CURD: And so that was, one year, that's all of that I wanted. Icame back where Bert Combs, at that time in Kentucky, person with a bachelor's degree would make $2,600 a year. There it was $3,600 a year. So I started out $3,600 a year, may have bought me a new car. One of those old '59 Dodgers with a fin longer than you are. It stuck out. Remember those things (Moyen laughs)? Oh they had a fin on it, but that's the best old car I ever had. I never done anything but just drove the crap out of it (Moyen laughs). So anyhow, then I came back, Bert Combs was governor, and he raised salaries a thousand dollars 17:00across the board in Kentucky. And I came back to Cuba, Kentucky, and taught there three years. And then I sold a few cars in the summer, and done so well that I quit teaching for a year and sold cars.
MOYEN: And where was that?
MOYEN: Okay. And what year, or around what year?
CURD: This has got to be, see, I started in '59 and '60s--'64.
MOYEN: Okay. All right.
CURD: So then he hired so many salesmen, it got to where you couldn't dothat well. So I got a little job teaching at one of the county schools here in Paxton(??). And then I applied for a job at TVA, and I hadn't heard from them. And one morning they offered me a principal job at Union Grove(??). That afternoon TVA called me. And I said, "Well, I 18:00just took a job this morning," you know. So I'll never know whether I did right or wrong, you know. Those TVA's got a lot of benefits, but I'm proud I didn't now, you know.
MOYEN: Right, um-hm. So you became principal of the school? CURD: Yeah,um-hm.
MOYEN: High school as well?
CURD: Yeah. Small school.
MOYEN: Okay. About how many students, do you think? I mean, I know itwould be a guess, but--
CURD: I don't even know. Probably two hundred, maybe.
CURD: Of course, they won the state tournament.
MOYEN: And what county was this?
MOYEN: Okay. All right.
CURD: Hyde Griffin(??)? Ever hear of Hyde Griffin(??)?
CURD: He played there. And Dell Floyd, they won the state tournament,state tournament in 1952 and was runners up in '51. But all of them is gone, you know.
CURD: I didn't have that kind of material.
CURD: But they had (laughs) to change while I was playing a school the19:00size of Calloway County and the larger schools. The little boys done, there wasn't enough of them to play, you know. So I got beat for about two years, and so forth. I got fired. They thought they should have went in the state tournament, and he come down there and told me one day, said, "You know," said, "I would just like to be your assistant." I said, "Rick, I'll tell you what. I'll beat you, you take this darn job" (both laugh). So I got out of it.
MOYEN: (Laughs), um-hm.
CURD: But anyway, I didn't like to get beat at anything (laughs). I'm avery competitive person.
MOYEN: Did you enjoy coaching basketball?
CURD: Yeah, I think I really would have enjoyed it if I'd hadcompetition, you know, that was equal to mine instead of having to go up against odds every time you went out, you know.
MOYEN: Um-hm, um-hm.
CURD: And at Cuba, at, I don't even remember what the record was. We(unintelligible) his record since this boy left. They had to purchase the scores.
MOYEN: Now Cuba, they won a state championship at some point, didn't20:00they?
CURD: Yeah, that's what I said. Nineteen fifty-one, and they wasrunners up in '52. They won in '52, that was the game. But they didn't have any--all of them gone (both laugh).
MOYEN: Um-hm. Now, when did you come back to Murray?
CURD: I never did leave Murray after that one year.
MOYEN: Oh okay.
CURD: I was here when I was teaching Graves County.
MOYEN: Okay. All right. When did you start teaching here?
CURD: The next year, '65, not '65, yeah '65, 1965.
MOYEN: Okay. During your time in teaching, were there any strugglesat the various schools that you were with, with integration? Did that come up?
CURD: Oh yeah. It did; elementary school. A year or two after I was21:00there they closed the black school here in town.
CURD: We have eighteen blacks, and that was in the first through thirdgrade. Some of them was fourteen years old and hadn't been to school much. They just go one morning or two down there, you know.
CURD: Actually it was real sad. It really put a bind on me, not theblack white thing, that was no problem. It was what to do with those fourteen year old kids still in the second grade.
MOYEN: How did you work that out?
CURD: Well, I tried to go in between, had this--and another thing aboutit, every one of them was named Ollie. Eighteen Ollies (laughs). I had the oldest two, the boy was pretty slow, the girl had a normal mind. So I don't know, I bumped her up like the fifth grade, and him on up in--she graduated from high school and was a practical nurse over 22:00at the hospital. But old Ronnie never did make it, he was too slow, he was too far behind--
CURD: So he, but he works hard. He works in a little factory here now.He raised tobacco for years, and the person they worked for died, and they sold the property and all. So he's working out at a little factory. Married a white gal, that's unusual back in those days.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Did he face any trouble?
CURD: As far as I know he didn't.
CURD: We're not, we're not, we've never had any problems here that I canremember with integration and so forth. Of course we've only got less than two percent in the whole city and county.
CURD: So, you know, that puts them at an odd anyway, you know.
MOYEN: Okay. Um-hm.
CURD: Not like Lexington, or Louisville, or some of those places.
CURD: But we never had any, any problems. Of course I do remember when23:00we had a courthouse here, had four restrooms: one white women, one black women, one white men, one black men.
CURD: Two water fountains, labeled blacks, whites.
CURD: They couldn't eat in the restaurant. They'd have to go to theback door and get a brown bag to go. Couldn't stay at a motel. I remember those days.
MOYEN: Were there any instances when, you're talking about rememberingthose things, where you thought, "Huh, this doesn't seem right," or was it that's just the way it was?
CURD: Well, I never thought anything much about it at the time. Youknow, you grow up that way, and you call them niggers, and it wasn't an insult, that's just the only word they used in those days, or negro. Nigger was what you called 'em, you know. But we just learned that word. We didn't learn Afro-Americans, and we didn't learn these words. 24:00And that's something that's bothered me over the years, because I wouldn't have thought one for anything to call one of them a boy, you know, which is an insulting word. To me it's just a young man, you know. And I've had to guard my tongue over the years, you know to keep from insulting somebody accidentally, you know. Because, well, I still don't know exactly what they're, some of them want to be called blacks, some of them Afro-Americans. So it's still kind of a problem, really. I guess Afro-Americans, nobody can criticize you, I guess, if you say that probably. But that was really a problem for, some old politicians you know got in trouble that way.
CURD: Our mayor here made a racial slur and didn't mean to. He, I'msure he's like me, he's older than I am, you know. I'm sure it was accidental, you know. But we've never really had any problems. Of 25:00course, back in those days, the only job they could do, back when I was a kid, was wash cars and mow yards, you know. No factory, of course, there wasn't any factory work, period. I remember when (unintelligible) came to Murray, was the first factory work that was around here.
CURD: Made seventy-five cents an hour in 1946 or something over inthere, I can't even--
MOYEN: Okay, um-hm.
CURD: But I've had, my lifetime there's really been so many drasticchanges, you know. For a seventy-one year old man, why, I span back a long time.
MOYEN: Now you talked about being involved in administration as well asteaching here. What were you doing? Did you primarily teach, or were you primarily an administrator, or both in the years--
CURD: Both for a while, and then I become a full-time administrator. Wegot the school, very good, got up to a number-- 26:00
MOYEN: So how did you start leaning toward getting into politics? CURD:Well, I've always worked two jobs, see. So I got to selling lake lots, lots on the lake. And I'm not bragging, but I was pretty good at it.
CURD: So (laughs), I was making more money there than I was teachingmost of the time. So I got a chance to buy this farm, eighty-seven acres for $1,600 an acre, which was unheard of in those days, you know, it was like two hundred or so, or three hundred at the most. We bought this prime property and I developed it. And I went to the Bank of Murray, who at that time we had two banks, borrowed my $17,000 for my third of the property. And I went to the other bank to finance the 27:00property, which we had $200,000 in it when we opened it up.
CURD: Two hundred and six lots. I remember every one of them. I wasmaking $7,500 teaching, had no collateral whatsoever, had an old house I'd paid off a little while--
CURD: an old rusty Chevrolet car, and I jumped at that. So then theydid away with the school, consolidated it, and so I didn't, I didn't want to give up my other, you know, I was making more money than I did, accordingly.
CURD: So anyway, I just wound up going to high school and teaching.
CURD: And settle these lots.
MOYEN: So what did you, what were your thoughts of consolidation? Whatdid you think--
CURD: Oh I was for it.
CURD: Oh I was for it I was for it. We had six little small schools,28:00and they were wore out, run down, you know.
CURD: So I was for it.
MOYEN: Okay. And, but then, did the real estate business continue togrow?
CURD: Yeah, I did real well--
MOYEN: Did that development do well?
CURD: That one we, I don't know, we, one time I tried to figure out howmuch profit we made, but it was nearly impossible because of inspection and so forth.
CURD: But we made a few thousand dollars, several thousand dollarsoff of it. Then I bought another one. And this was a mistake; I got greedy. It was a little further off the road, it wasn't as nice. The year that we bought it, we financed it for seven percent interest. This was a hundred acres. And before we got rid of it we paid seventeen. Remember when Carter was in, we went seventeen. They had 29:00the gas thing, which people from Illinois, Illinois, Missouri, and Henderson, Evansville quit coming down there.
CURD: So we lost several dollars on that one. So I said, "This is notfor me." And so I got out of it, you know, after that. I did it for several years.
MOYEN: Now that was about the time that you must have started to getinvolved in, in state politics, is that right?
CURD: Yeah, I began to as a teacher, you know, and Bert Combs you knowdid a lot, of course, I was a Combs man (laughs) after that.
MOYEN: So let me ask you this, as a Combs man, what were your thoughtsabout "Happy" Chandler and his, and his group of Democrats. And like what types of things would you say about them, or were your concerns, or--
CURD: I don't, uh, I didn't know him. I didn't really get that involved30:00at that time. I didn't have time because I was working seven days a week, see. So really I didn't have time. I mean, I voted, you know, read the paper, but that's about it, you know.
MOYEN: Um-hm. You mentioned Combs a couple of times. Were you, did youhave a pretty good relationship with him?
CURD: No, this, I was just a teacher then.
CURD: I didn't even know him. I never met the man until I got inlegislature.
MOYEN: Okay. All right. When did you decide, "I'm going to run."
CURD: Well, Kenny Imes who lived, he was our representative here,and I don't know, but I guess I saw that he was pretty easy to beat. The paper, the Courier Journal, had a picture of him blowing smoke bubbles, you know. And printed that, you know, all over everywhere, and of course them people got disgusted. Of course what he did, there was nothing wrong with, he was sitting there waiting on a conference 31:00committee to come back with their report, you know, and there's nothing to do but sit there twiddling your thumbs or do something you know. But anyway, that hurt him quite a bit. And he kind of was kind of a smart aleck type person. Didn't have real good rapport, and I said, "Well, I can beat his ass." So I announced, and he decided not to run, because he didn't like, that was the worst precinct I had, was the one he lived in (both laugh). Anyway I had a lawyer and a woman get in the race, and I got just as many votes as both of them did that time.
MOYEN: Um-hm. How did you campaign? What did you do?
CURD: I knocked on every door in Calloway County, and I spent $1,800.Twelve of it was my money. Then the, then the second one I spent $3,200 and the third $7,500. Of course by then I was getting PAC money, and from then on I never spent any of my money on a campaign. 32:00
CURD: Once you get in and win that second or third time, they say,"Well, I don't like son of a buck, but they's liable to be back, so I'm going to send him a couple hundred" (laughs). You know (both laugh). Everybody chips in then.
CURD: Not that they're so crazy about you. But hey, that son of a gunis liable to be back.
MOYEN: Okay. So--
CURD: The funny part about, this bank that loaned me this money wasalways my political enemy. Still is. They spent, personally $3,800, to show up, you know, in the record, you know, against, to try to beat me, you know.
MOYEN: Why so?
CURD: Well the old guy that owned the, old man at the bank there said Iwasn't in the country club, and I wasn't this, I just wasn't in society enough to be the representative from Murray.
CURD: Of course I used that considerably in my campaigns.
CURD: Kicked their ass three times and then they joined me (both laugh).33:00But I never had but four campaigns in the nineteen years, and the last one was just a minor Republican who didn't amount to anything.
MOYEN: Okay. Now were, you said you had four campaigns, were they yourfirst three campaigns--
CURD: First three, yeah, they tried to beat me.
MOYEN: Okay. Do you remember each of your opponents? CURD: Yeah.
MOYEN: Or your--who were they?
CURD: Well, the first one was Bill Phillips, who was a lawyer, MaryJane Littleton, a teacher, lady teacher. And the second one was Harvey Ellis, was kin to bank, Peoples Bank.
CURD: And, but they were the type of people who liked to run things buthave somebody else doing the crap for them, you know.
CURD: And they knew I wouldn't carry water for them, you know.
CURD: So then after I beat their cousin, and they, he got out and gotthe opposition of another lawyer running against me, and I beat him 34:00pretty good. And that was all.
MOYEN: Okay. Were any of those close? CURD: Yeah, the one was, thesecond one was this banker, because he retired, was out knocking on doors, and I had a family, and I thought I had to work, you know, and I didn't take off any time much. So seventy-eight votes, I believe; they called me "Landslide" for a while (Moyen laughs). But after, from then on I took off.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Now, was that in '81?
CURD: No, it was, '80 is when I, '79, actually, is when I won, see, andthen you start at '80.
CURD: So this was the second term. Be '81.
MOYEN: Right. When that close election took place? CURD: Yeah.
MOYEN: Okay. And were those pretty much primary elections?
CURD: Yeah, all of them were. Except the one, the last one, the fourthone was a Republican.
MOYEN: And what year was that?
CURD: Oh gosh, it was six years probably after that. I don't even know35:00for sure.
CURD: Because he was not really a good Republican. I mean, there wasn'tmuch campaign to it, you know.
MOYEN: Um-hm. All right, so you get elected to the House, and tell mewhat that was like? You said you've never been to Frankfort before-- well, did you go to Kentucky Dam before? CURD: Yes, yes.
MOYEN: Tell me a little bit about that. What was that like? CURD: Well,it was wild. It was wild, you know. One thing that we, we don't want to forget, this is the first time that the members chose their own leadership, was in 1980 under John Y. Brown, he gave us our complete freedom to choose whoever we wanted.
MOYEN: Why did he do that do you think?
CURD: He thought that was the thing to do. I think that was one of thebetter things he did.
CURD: Because the governor, before I got there, Julian Carroll was the36:00last governor, of course Wendell and all of them did the same thing, but they elected the leadership.
CURD: And those five people were powerful them. And they would sendaround, the governor would, these bills.
CURD: Say you vote for these bills or you can forget any road money,or different projects, whatever you may want, just forget it. So it wasn't, in a way, it wasn't much of a legislature to it. You did what the governor wanted, and that's it.
CURD: And John Y. Brown did two things that, in my opinion, that ifthe government would stick with it, would have been much better off. You didn't go to him and see about getting a road. You went to your transportation secretary, which is actually where it should be. But it hasn't been like that since. And you know, I took every advantage of it too. But that, both of those ideas were good. Elect your own 37:00leadership--because the governor's office was so powerful.
CURD: So when you leave, we can't do anything. Public servicecontracts, you hear a lot about that. Well, if I'm governor and I give you a thousand dollars a day just to go out here and sweep my driveway, nothing you could do about it. That's not right.
CURD: That's not right. So there's two sides to those things, butanyway, those two things Brown did do, and it's really changed government, period.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Now, tell me a little bit about, you said Kentucky Damwas kind of, it was kind of wild. It was a different--
CURD: Well it was just a different atmosphere. A lot of drinking, whichI wasn't used to, you know, I mean not that I was so good, but I mean that, it was quite different. Of course everybody, those lobbyists trying to court you, you know in every way in the world, and you know, it was just different.
MOYEN: Okay so the legislature is starting to assert its independence,but you as a freshman representative, what did some of the senior leaders tell you that you were going to do, or how did they approach you? Did they ask you what you were interested in, or did they tell you what you were going--
CURD: Yeah, they did. They, you know, as a matter of fact, I was veryfortunate. I asked for Education, which is a normal thing, I should have been Education, you know. Transportation, which I, you know used to the fullest extent, and Agriculture, which I thought represented my people.
CURD: I tell you, at state level, they don't have crap to do withAgriculture, you know. So we didn't do anything; we didn't meet half the time. So I got off of that, and then got, officially got into 39:00Appropriations and Revenues when Don Blandford come in.
CURD: Before I got some of my, I didn't say a lot, I was fairly quiet,didn't make any great big speeches or anything, but I got what I wanted.
CURD: And the way I did, of course me and Don Blandford were goodfriends, and I'm certainly not ashamed to admit it, you know, because he was, he got the shaft. What he got sent to prison for, the bill was never even wrote (laughs), you know. And, but me and him was good friends, and he come to me one day and David Thompson was pro-tem. He said, "I'd like to run you for pro-tem." Said, "I've got to have somebody else in the race to break up the votes, or I can't win." So I said, "I will," you know. I'd just been there four years, you know. 40:00So anyway, he won by one vote. And so David got pissed off and just quit the legislature, really, he went home. And he was a good lawyer from Henderson. So Don then, we just went to work, Richardson was speaker at that time, and all the deals were made in his office. They didn't come, the lobbyists didn't even bother to come see us.
MOYEN: Who didn't? CURD: The lobbyists.
CURD: They just went to see him. Of course, we didn't appreciate, andwe had some suspicion of what was going on. Anyway, Don run for speaker and he won. And so from then on, anything I wanted I pretty well got.
CURD: And I was so lucky in my leadership picks. I never lost but onevote in a leadership race the whole nineteen years I was up there. 41:00
MOYEN: What was that?
CURD: Jody Richards.
CURD: And I knew I was going to lose it, but Joe Clarke had been so goodto me that I didn't, I just couldn't vote against him. I just can't go against a person who has been good and loyal to me.
CURD: I figure you've got to stick with them. Same way with, whenPatton run. I, Patton lost Calloway counties to "Eck" Rose. The only ones from west of Winchester (unintelligible) Floyd. So Paul called me the next morning, you know, and I said, "Hey," I said, "I tell you exactly the way it is." He said, "Are you for me now?" I said, "Yeah." They said he liked shit when he went home in the middle of the night when he was looking over the paper and saw that one, Calloway County, said, "What's that?" (Unintelligible), you know, which, I didn't deserve that much credit. But anyway. I said, "Well sure, I'm for you." I just told him, you know, he'd had me with my stuff. 42:00
MOYEN: So, had you supported Rose? CURD: Yeah. Yeah.
MOYEN: Well, I wasn't, just because--
CURD: Oh, he'd helped me with all my stuff that I'd got.
CURD: I got a lot of stock in Murray State University. For instance,I've got the industrial technology bill, $12 million bill in. Got the first 20 million, first $12 million put in Special Events Center, but it finally got completely funded through Jones, the last eight. Then, numerous road projects and different things, you know. They always, he always helped me. And I just told him, you know, we were friends.
MOYEN: Let, let me ask you this, what type of speaker, or how would youdescribe the differences between Kenton and Bobby Richardson. Because when you went in, Kenton was the Speaker of the House, right? 43:00
MOYEN: What type of leadership did he have, as being in that positionwith the beginning of the independent legislature, so to speak?
CURD: Well, neither one of them really had a good rapport with Bobby.Of course, Richardson didn't live long, Boom Boom didn't live long enough to you know, I don't think, one term is all I had with him.
CURD: He was a very capable person, but there wasn't much democracy ineither one of them.
CURD: Don Blandford was by far the best speaker that I ever servedunder, and I've served under several.
MOYEN: Now, tell me a little bit about Blandford. When he became theSpeaker of the House, the whole, pretty much almost all the leadership changed. How did that transpire? CURD: Well several of us just got together and, you know, kind of united. What happens a lot of times, and it's happened since then, leadership will just agree to support 44:00each other. And then it makes it hard to break up that thing, you see.
MOYEN: Right, um-hm.
CURD: And we just got to hold, got to working different ones, and gotthe better, all of them best I remember, or most, nearly all of them.
CURD: And Stumbo, I guess that's when Stumbo, my buddy, come in.
CURD: He's another friend of mine. He's the main one I'm working forthis election.
MOYEN: Okay. Now, during your first couple of terms, when John Y.Brown was governor, was there any specific legislation that you either sponsored or co-sponsored that, that you were particularly proud of, or that sticks out in your mind as good legislation? And did it pass, or did it--
CURD: I'm sure we had good education bills. I mean, nothing big andmajor. Nothing I can think of you know off the top of my head. Of course I've seen a lot of education bills over the years up there, but-- 45:00
MOYEN: Now was there anything that you wrote, or that you sponsoredin particular?
CURD: Oh I'm sure. But I don't know, I don't remember that many ofthem. See I'm seventy-one, I can't think back to when I was, first went up there, you know. I'm sure there's some little education bills. I mean, nothing major, like me getting a bunch of money for the county or something like this. But I didn't even think about asking for a million dollars, much less twelve you know.
MOYEN: Right, right. So it--
CURD: Don't think that big.
MOYEN: Right. When did you start to realize that you could push thesebuttons and start to ask for these larger amounts? CURD: When Don Blandford--
[End of tape one, side one ; beginning of tape one, side two]
MOYEN: All right.46:00
CURD: When, uh, Donald Blandford became speaker, why, you know he wentto the governor, who then was Wallace Wilkinson.
CURD: Reform was coming up. And I was on Appropriations and Revenue,and also Education. Two rooms over there and I'm running here and vote and run over there and vote. So he went to the governor and told him, you know, that Northern Kentucky had this, had been promised $24 million building on their campus.
CURD: Don goes up there and he said, "Hey, look at these votes. They'renot supporting you on either one, the tax increase or the bill." Said, "Now, Curd down here, we've got sixteen votes," and we did have it, for education reform, and (unintelligible). Said, "And he's wanting a 47:00Special Events Center down there." And he made a deal with the governor to get me my first $12 million from Northern Kentucky to Murray State University. That was the first big move that, you know, I've ever made.
MOYEN: Now, so this was money that was, it wasn't, it was an either/or,or it was--
CURD: He had promised it.
CURD: He had promised it to Northern Kentucky University.
MOYEN: Okay, and took it away.
CURD: Took it away, because the people, those Republicans up therewouldn't vote for the tax increase.
CURD: And of course they were against reform because they didn't wantto show their hand, that they was ready to vote for tax increase, and wanted to stay up there, regardless.
MOYEN: And so you, and this was a deal with KERA? You mentioned that itwas tied with education, that you would give these votes? Was that--
CURD: Yeah. Plus, the funding of it also on Appropriations and Revenue,48:00both.
CURD: We had everybody's down here and sold them, except for(unintelligible).
CURD: So anyway, that's, I got the first 12 million.
CURD: So we had to wait a while, Jones come in, he promised it--thecommunity got involved after we got that 12 million, which wasn't enough to do it, you know. And even Paducah helped us there for a while. Their mayor was criticized, because he voted against it, and Patton called him in, and she left his office crying, and she didn't make more phone calls. And we got 12 million. Jones, funny thing that happened with Jones, he called me in on this horse bill, of course, he raises horses. Said, "You going to vote for my bill?" "Yes sir." We lacked this 8 million, see.
CURD: And he said, "Well, what do you think about it?" I said,"Governor, don't make me read the darn thing (both laugh), it's bad enough to vote for it." He just laughed. He knew what I was talking 49:00about. So we finally got it fixed.
MOYEN: Okay, and what did, now, what was it that you promised to votefor?
CURD: For Education reform.
CURD: And the money to, tax increase to--
CURD: to make it legal in Kentucky.
MOYEN: And you were able to get the rest of the money for Murray withthat deal?
CURD: Yeah, we got it with Jones.
CURD: We got it with Jones. There wasn't any deal, he'd promised,campaigning, they put enough pressure on him, he promise to the county, but he could have backed out. So I didn't vote, I knew that horse bill was something I wasn't crazy about, but I didn't want to read it (laughs).
CURD: I didn't have any choice (Moyen laughs). You can always say,"Well I didn't know that" (laughs).
MOYEN: Pretty good logic.
MOYEN: Let's go back a little bit. You've talked, we talked about50:00your first couple of terms under John Y. Brown, and the independent legislature. In the 1983 primary, when you had Martha Layne Collins and Carroll Hubbard and Harvey Sloan, were you a Hubbard supporter in the primary? Do you recall?
CURD: Was that the only ones involved? MOYEN: No, there were others.
CURD: Who are the others?
MOYEN: I can't think of their names off the top of my--
CURD: I can't either, but I supported one of them, because I didn'tsupport Martha Layne.
MOYEN: Okay. What's that like as a representative, trying to, are youtrying to figure out who you like the best, or are you trying to figure out who the winner's going to be, or is--
CURD: Both, both involved, you know.
CURD: But as I say before, if they were real good friends of mine anddone me favors, I just couldn't go against them. 51:00
CURD: And I can't remember who I did vote for. It wasn't any of thethree, because I didn't care about Harvey.
MOYEN: I'm drawing a blank. So when Martha Layne Collins was elected,this is when, it's during her term that Don Blandford becomes speaker, correct? CURD: Um-hm, um-hm. Huh-uh, no. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. But Wallace replaced her, that's when education reform, she had a little reform bill.
MOYEN: Okay. The special session in 1985?
CURD: Yeah. Yeah.
MOYEN: Do you remember that? CURD: I remember it well. Wasn't much youknow meat in it. But she called me and wanted to know if she could send somebody down here to explain it to me.
CURD: So I said, "Well," I said, "I'm going to be coming up therewithin the next couple of days," I said, "I'd rather just let," oh, 52:00big footed guy that was her main person from Bardstown, he finally got out and went into construction. Said, "I'd just rather he explain it to me." Said, "So I'll just be up there," you know. So I had a couple of bridges I wanted (both laugh). So I made him explain it to me, you know, and, well, I said, "Well," I said, "yeah, I guess I'm with her." Because I knew I was for it, anyway.
CURD: And I said, "But I need a couple of bridges." He told her, youknow, and she said, "Well, give them to him." Never will forget. He said, "Well you go over there and tell him what, you know, governor's." I said, "No, you're going to tell 'em. Not me!" (Moyen laughs). Not going to do that crap to me (laughs). So I got my bridges.
MOYEN: Which bridges were they, do you recall? CURD: I think it's out53:00here on high--, East Highway, I'm not sure. It's a pretty good size little project, two or three million. And I got my bridges. As a matter of fact, I got more road money under her than anybody, and she didn't even like me to start with, because I didn't support her (laughs).
MOYEN: Apparently she had a pretty difficult time during her firstsession getting legislation passed. What was her relationship with the legislature?
CURD: Well most of them, I guess the majority of them probably supportedher. Of course, me and Kenny Rapier and Clay were sitting side by side. And me and Kenny went in together, and we'd aggravate Clay because he supported her.
CURD: And Martha Layne needed us because we were on the EducationCommittee, and he wasn't, see. So she'd called us down or something. We just had, we'd make this up, see. Said, "Kenny, well, I've got 54:00another four miles of blacktop." I said, "I told her I'd vote for this." Clay'd just cuss (laughs). Hell, we got the work, we just make up getting called down to the office, you know. And Clay's cussing, "I supported her, you guys get everything!" (both laugh). Oh of course, part of the time we were, we was just aggravating him.
MOYEN: Um-hm, um-hm.
CURD: Clay Crupper, he's in, out at Dry Ridge.
MOYEN: Um-hm. And so you all were able to play the game pretty wellthen, huh?
CURD: Yeah, because we, you need to.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Right. Now, during her tenure as governor, lookingback through some old newspaper articles, I found that, and I didn't even know this before, but that Murray had a really strong used car industry, and it started to suffer.
CURD: Oh yeah.
MOYEN: Can you tell me a little bit about that industry--
MOYEN: and what happened?
CURD: Well, they all used to, it started back years ago. We developed55:00some of the most specialized people in cleaning up and fixing old cars. Still are, we've got a few of them left.
CURD: But it was huge. And of course, they started coming with thetitles off to, to make it more difficult to cut speedometers and things.
CURD: And that's what it was all about.
CURD: But they finally passed it. And, you know everything, and theyshould have.
CURD: I had, one of my best friends right across the road was a cardealer, and he said, "There ain't no sense in me"--they've had several that go to prison over--
CURD: We had another guy, there was another place I lived, before I movedover here, that made his living. He'd go out, and he had special tools made to cut, where if you had a 2001 Buick, you know, he had a, he'd take this wrench and just reach up there you know like that, and he was 56:00through. Ten bucks a car, you know, he'd just do a hundred of them.
CURD: So anyway. That part of it, then, sending everything to Frankfort,it hurt us more because they couldn't turn their money quicker.
CURD: Sell titles here. Have to go up there. And now with computers,there's no reason for that, really.
CURD: And it takes a couple of weeks before they ever get them back.They (unintelligible) maybe a week. Well, you take a hundred cars, which a big (unintelligible) would turn, or fifty, you're talking about big bucks out of their pocket.
CURD: Which there's no use of today, particularly.
CURD: Because you've got computers, it ought to be just like that (snapsfingers).
CURD: But they give you (unintelligible) security check. Well, shit,they don't do a security check.
CURD: I went over there, it was terrible, and I, you'll think I'm aracist after saying this, but it really was a mess when they first 57:00started that. And what they did, is behind quotas, blacks they hired, ninety-nine percent of them were black, and they were not qualified blacks, you know. And it was really a mess for a good while. So bad that we had somebody just run the titles up there and walk them through. And they made it illegal to do that for several years.
MOYEN: Someone to take them all up there and make sure that they--
CURD: It got done--
CURD: and back, what was possible.
CURD: (Laughs), so that's kind of the bottom line on it. Of course--
MOYEN: Um-hm. Was there any type of legislation that you--
MOYEN: you were either opposed to, or that you sponsored to try and helpthat industry here?
CURD: Yeah. Yeah.
CURD: I was involved in it.
MOYEN: Was it successful? CURD: Unh-uh, no. And shouldn't have been,I guess.
CURD: What happened was, it wasn't really right either, but I guess, you58:00know, I was probably trying to protect things that probably shouldn't have been protected.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Now, during Collins's term in office, her special sessionon education was a big ordeal, and then the other thing that happened on her watch was Toyota.
CURD: She deserved full credit for Toyota. I notice Chandler's triedto claim part of that. Made me mad. The lady did, she, that was her bill, and as far as I'm concerned, the most successful thing her or any other governor has done for these mountain developments since I've been up there.
CURD: Because that has been so big.
CURD: Of course, we took a railing. Some of these old guys that losttheir buddies fighting the Japanese, you know, oh they were bitter.
CURD: Don't want them son of a, over here, you know. They were bitter,some of them. I took a pretty good tongue lashings over that. But 59:00it's been great for the state.
MOYEN: Now you supported that, but what about the, the other part of, ora lot of the western Kentucky politicians. Did it matter that it was--
CURD: I don't--
MOYEN: going to benefit, I mean, it benefited the whole state, but thatit would be in central Kentucky?
CURD: I don't think a lot of people was against it. I don't know. I'dhave to look at who voted for what, really.
CURD: But it wasn't a sectional thing, necessarily, if that's whatyou're asking.
MOYEN: Right. Right. What types of things were sectional? Now,obviously when you entered the legislature, although you managed to have a very successful tenure there, it was also in some ways the beginning of the decline for the strong, western Kentucky politicians who had been serving. Would you agree with that? CURD: Yes. Lloyd Clapp lost his power, as a matter of fact I tried to help him; wasn't 60:00successful in that.
CURD: He worked closely with the old-type system.
CURD: Lloyd Clapp knew the system as well as anybody I've ever seen.
CURD: And could get a lot done. As a matter of fact, he helped metremendously. He said, "Now look," said, "you don't need to vote for that." Said, "I've got to because I owe somebody something over here," you know. And he would really maneuver, and an honest guy, don't get me wrong, he didn't take money or anything, but he flat knew the legislature. And Lloyd, of course, lost out, of course an old boy from Marshall County that didn't run anymore dropped out. So what you're saying is true.
MOYEN: So on what issues--
CURD: They had worked with the governor, see.
CURD: It's a different ballgame.
MOYEN: Um-hm, um-hm.
CURD: Different ballgame.
MOYEN: Now what issues, while you were in the legislature, did the61:00western Kentucky senators and representatives really stick together on? CURD: The best one, I think, would be the exempting re-crushed stone from export tax on limestone rock. We exempted that one quarry in the whole state from paying export tax on limestone rock.
MOYEN: Um-hm. I'm not familiar with that, can you tell me how--
CURD: Well, you know where it is? It's over across the lake there, thatbig quarry, you see it on the parkway. They were exporting coal, not coal, exporting rock you know limestone rock, riprap, all the way down the Mississippi river, and they were competing against the people in Indiana, in Missouri, that had no tax on it. And it was, it didn't exempt any they sold in Kentucky, see. It was just on imports. 62:00
CURD: So anyway, I never knew what happened. Of course, GovernorCarroll was supporting it, Lloyd was handling it, and we brought it upon the floor and got beat by the north and by the eastern Kentucky boys. Lloyd said, "I'll tell you what," he cussed a little bit, said, "They'll vote for it tomorrow," and scratched that head. I don't know what he did, I guess he threatened them or something about the severance tax on coal, I don't know what it was. But the next day it just went through like a greased pig (both laugh). On every one. He knew, he knew where the, who's big you know and who would get the job done.
CURD: But Lloyd was losing his fire, because he'd been pro-tem andeverything. And old boy Marshall came in, I can't' think of his name now, had quit, he wasn't running anymore. Of course, Julian was gone. 63:00
MOYEN: Right. So, is there any other legislation during Martha LayneCollins's term, and once Don Blandford had become Speaker, that you remember sponsoring that was really important to you, or that sticks out in your mind now? Things that you were able to bring back home, or things that you felt were--
CURD: Well I brought back $12 million for an additional technology bill.
CURD: Which they named the auditorium for me, only big honor that Iever got out of the university. And then of course I was telling you about the Special Events Center. And then just roads and bridges and different things.
CURD: But that was the, the two biggies.
MOYEN: Do you recall who you supported in the, in the '87 governor'sprimary when Wallace Wilkinson won?
CURD: Who all--
MOYEN: Julian Carroll--64:00
CURD: I knew he couldn't win.
MOYEN: and John Y. Brown ran again. And if there were others, I can'trecall those off the top of my head either.
CURD: I knew Julian couldn't win.
CURD: And I wanted Wallace to win, but I didn't think he had a chance.He and I were pretty good friends, you know, even before that, because he was there at the motel a lot, you know. I guess I voted again for John Y.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Now, when Wallace Wilkinson--
CURD: The only, only governor I've ever picked that won was Jones (bothlaugh). Picked him from day one (laughs).
MOYEN: So you did well picking the House leadership, but not so wellwith the governor's race.
MOYEN: Okay. Once Wilkinson became governor he, from all accounts thatI've read, attempted to reassert this strong governorship. Is that, 65:00would that be correct?
CURD: Oh yeah. Yeah. We had a lawsuit or two over it, and we lost oneor two over it. We lost.
MOYEN: Can you give me any specific examples where you realized that hewas trying to reassert this influence, or that he was really trying to push people's buttons? CURD: All you had to do is read the paper. He'd tell you right in the paper, you know. Of course he, his man, now what was his name? Helped him get elected, helped Carter be elected, I've heard him speak, he and his wife, you know, she's a Republican. Wore them old tennis shoes? MOYEN: Yeah, I'm--
CURD: That's the last time I heard him speak I was down at Alabama,there in Montgomery, I think it was. He called us a bunch of S.O.B.s. Poor Wallace (laughs). He (unintelligible) and everybody raised a 66:00bunch of Cain and they made him leave. George Carville!
MOYEN: That's right. That's right.
CURD: Wore old sneakers, about like my house shoes here (laughs). Ofcourse, he was single, then he married that Republican girl, and they made a bunch of money going around blasting each other, you know.
MOYEN: Right, um-hm.
CURD: He's a smart cookie, in a way. But he, that's, that's one of thebiggies right there. He'd, he'd get mad, boy, I mean, he, they'd flat put pressure on you.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Now, when he was governor did you always work through DonBlandford in the House leadership, or did you have any confrontation with Wilkinson?
CURD: Both. Both.
MOYEN: What, do you recall any of those with Wilkinson?
CURD: Yeah, I remember one we stayed there about an hour, hour and ahalf, in his office.
MOYEN: Can you tell me about it?
CURD: Yeah (laughs). He was wanting to take the severance tax off ofeastern Kentucky coal. And we figured that was about the only money 67:00they had to pay their way anyway. He needed it. So we refused to do it. Actually, he had me and Lloyd, Dick Castleman who died on the way home (unintelligible), one time.
CURD: And Larry, pro-tem, at Louisville, Larry (snaps fingers), I'll bedarn; he's pro-tem right now. Larry: little, short, peckerwood, he was president pro-tem. He had us in his office, and he was wanting us to vote with him and take the severance tax off, and we wasn't going to do it. We'd just been in there for at least an hour, and we couldn't get out. He got between us and the door, and we were just there, you know. We was all trying to think of something to get out. Finally Larry 68:00come up with it. Of course, Joe Clarke--do you know Joe?
MOYEN: Yes, in Danville? CURD: He was strictly a character person, andthe Lord couldn't change his mind on something once he set it, you know, and if it hurt the state's economy he was against it.
CURD: So we knew where Joe was going to be, you know. So finally LarryClark thought of it. Said, "I'll tell you what," said, "we will all three vote for it if Joe Clarke will" (laughs). Wallace didn't know Joe Clarke like we did, so we got out (laughs). Of course Joe, there is no way would he ever think about it.
MOYEN: Um-hm (laughs).
CURD: That's the one that I really remember. We spent an hour, atleast, in that office.
MOYEN: Tell me a little bit more about Joe Clarke and his chairmanshipof Appropriations and your assessment of his leadership and the committee in general and your role on it? 69:00
CURD: He was the most honest, sincere, in my opinion, person that I everserved under from any chairman. He would tell you, say, "Okay Curd, take your best shot, but I'm going to try to beat this." You know. He, he'd just be up front with you. And if you were a member of committee, he'd bring the deal up, and he'd try to blast it out. You know, he'd tell you beforehand, "I'm going to try to kill it." But he went in under Julian Carroll. First time he was up there and they asked him to take the committee chairmanship. And he was good, he was very knowledgeable, very fair, very honest, but if he knew what was what, he was going to hang with it.
CURD: Now, he didn't get mad if you voted him down, you know.
CURD: But to me, he was the best committee chairman I ever served under.
CURD: He was. That's where I lost my one vote, you know, I was talkingabout.
MOYEN: Right. Yep.
CURD: I just couldn't go against him. I thought so much of him.70:00
MOYEN: Now, the other committees that you were on, Education and whatwas the other one that you--
MOYEN: Transportation. Who were the chairs of those committees? We hadJames, Jim Bruce, was he on Education? CURD: No, I don't think, I never did serve with him.
MOYEN: Oh no, he was Banking. Sorry. Banking and insurance.
CURD: Yeah (unintelligible) it was.
MOYEN: Okay. Who were, who were the chairs of those committees?Obviously, before yourself? CURD: Well, Roger Noe, I took his place, he got beat. Jody Richards had been chair before him.
CURD: So I served under Jody, and then Roger Noe.
CURD: And then I served seven years. Last seven years.
MOYEN: Okay. And how did they do? How was their leadership on thosecommittees?
CURD: Jody did real well. Noe was kind of a, I don't know what, I don'tknow how to describe him, he had his own little, about three of them, 71:00you know, were good buddies.
CURD: They were a little more important than the rest of the committee.
MOYEN: Going back to Wallace Wilkinson's term in office, somethingthat came up that I managed to read about, Ernesto Scorsone proposed some legislation to remove a requirement that a graduate from each state university needed to serve on the council of higher education. And he stated that that would, essentially, remove regionalism, and the concern about that. And you asserted that that would inflame regionalism, that that would just make it worse. And I don't think that ever went anywhere, but can you tell me a little bit about being a representative from a town with one of the state's universities, and 72:00the type of politics that went in, were involved in trying to defend that, or get appropriations for that? What was that like? What were the politics involved in the higher education funding? CURD: I'm not sure I'm going to follow you. You're talking about putting a student on the faculty? I mean, on the faculty, the board of regents?
MOYEN: It was that an alum--, an alumnus--
MOYEN: from each state university needed to serve on the council ofhigher education. He wanted to remove that, and you were definitely opposed to that. But in general, I'm just asking, what were, what were the political battles like, between, for the funding of the state's universities? CURD: Oh, they used to be awful. When I first went up there, nobody knew, boy, it was just a madhouse, you know. Everybody- -of course the University, you know, I hate to say this on the thing, 73:00but the University of Kentucky was robbing the junior colleges to death. Every nickel went to the University of Kentucky. They give them the crumbs that they wanted them to have. And of course, the bill was passed by the governor, but ninety-five percent of mine and Kern Alexander's bill, that never come out, because the governor got credit for it, and should have, because I couldn't pass it. They stuck it up my rear, right quick, UK did.
CURD: But I thought, and I don't know whether you know Kern or not,he's wrote several books, a very bright person, and we called in all the, well he did, called in all the specialty, we worked on it a year I guess. And the governor told me the first time I saw him, said, "I'm 74:00not ready to pass it yet," said, "it needs to be done." So he tackled it then in the special session and got it done.
CURD: He took my bill, but I didn't write it. So in a way it's not mybill. But I'm the one that got it stuck up my rear.
MOYEN: In, in, in what ways? What, how did they attack you, or what,what--
CURD: Oh, it was just ridiculous, and silly, and crazy to think about,you know. And the guy that passed out the baseball tickets just done everything but give me a cursing. You know, the papers, they jumped on it. The Lexington Herald, Jay jumped on it big time. Like crazy. So, I was very well pleased with the governor passing it (laughs), because it was my bill, basically. But I couldn't pass it. So he deserved credit for it.
CURD: He fought some tough battles on it.
CURD: And Paducah, for instance, the best example I know, they75:00consolidated the community college with the technical school and got a great program, and I feel like I maybe had just a little something to do with it.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Now, that was dealing with the community colleges, andseparating those from UK. What about the regional universities? What types of fights did you face with, with bringing appropriations for Murray, (unintelligible) your successes, but, and also trying to defend certain things.
CURD: Early I didn't know how to get it done. Of course, later then,of course Jody Richards, what's good for Murray is good for Bowling Green, you know, and Harry Moberly and we went in at the same time. So I had a good rapport with those guys that helped dig it out, see. That didn't hurt any. 76:00
MOYEN: Um-hm. And you mentioned that the passage of KERA under WallaceWilkinson, that you were able to get a number of things for Murray in return for--
CURD: Special Events Center.
CURD: For 12 million.
CURD: Just moved it one campus to another, exactly what we did.
MOYEN: Um-hm. All right, so is there anything else during WallaceWilkinson's time that you can think of?
CURD: He was probably the hardest working governor of any of them upthere. He was opinionated, and he wasn't going to change his opinion was his weakness, I think. He just couldn't stand for anybody to say no to him.
CURD: You know, he had a little syndrome about him. But he, he spent77:00hours and hours, day and night, working at that job.
CURD: If Governor Brown would have spent that much time with it, hewould have been the best governor ever created, I think, because he was a bright fellow. But he, he might go two days and never go to the office.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Now, after Wallace Wilkinson, Brereton Jones beca----
CURD: Somebody is knocking on the door. [Pause in tape].
MOYEN: Did he really?
CURD: Yeah when he was in this area.
CURD: He come here and used the back bedroom.
CURD: Of course, my wife was living then, she passed away three yearsin February.
CURD: Funny thing that happened there, you don't want all this I don'tguess--
MOYEN: No, great. No, that's--
CURD: She had hurt her wrist, and Grady was spending the night here. Isaid, "Grady, look at her wrist, see if it's broke!" She ate my ass out for a month over that. Said, "I--you damn shit, tight shit you," said, 78:00"get him to look at my arm!" (laughs). Oh me. Grady's a good friend of mine still.
CURD: The Stumbos both are, of course Grady and I went in together. Healways supported everything I done.
MOYEN: Right, um-hm.
CURD: You know, I don't forget those things, my main persons. We havea little fundraiser down here, and we don't do much of that down here, but we got him $3,000 and about one hundred and fifty people showed up.
CURD: So he was tickled to death.
MOYEN: Yes. So, but like you said--
CURD: Grady Stumbo was who it was.
MOYEN: Yeah, you haven't had much luck with--
CURD: No, my governors been a little week, on picking them myself.
MOYEN: (Laughs), all right, well we were just getting into BreretonJones's term.
MOYEN: Now he had a session end without a budget if I recall correctly.
MOYEN: Yeah, it was some legislature--
CURD: Stumbo and Jody had an argument.
MOYEN: Um-hm. What was it about, do you remember? CURD: It went into79:00the wee hours of the night too. I don't remember, they disagreed on something and it wound up didn't have one.
CURD: I can't, I can't remember. But you'll probably run into somebodythat remembers. Should remember it, because I remember we stayed at the lake.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Some of the other--well, probably the most definingthing during his term, at least for the legislature, was the FBI investigation that came out. Do you remember what that was like when--
CURD: (Laughs), yeah.
MOYEN: why don't you explain--
CURD: This old country boy didn't know what the heck was going on. Allof the sudden, everybody, somebody said there was thirty-eight of them or another, I think that's surely an exaggeration, but anyway, all of the sudden (unintelligible), and we just, you know, just don't do 80:00nothing. Just walked out of the chamber.
CURD: And I'm looking around, "What's going on? What's going on?"(laughs). Had no idea.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Were you ever asked any questions about--
MOYEN: or anything--
CURD: I was asked a question by Don Blandford's lawyer. As a matterof fact, I went over to the hotel the night they got Bruce, you know, Wallace's nephew. They had a barbeque meal up there in one of the suites, the FBI served us. Had, so his secretary said, "Don said," you know, "if you like barbeque come on up, we was going to eat," you know. So I just went up and ate and left, you know, FBI was serving us and all. I guess they figured they couldn't get a glutton, you know, so they didn't get around to asking me a question ever. But I was awful 81:00nervous when I found out I was on that video. I was sure they were going to cover, Eck was on that you know, I didn't talk to any of them, you know in private or anything. They knew I was just up there to fill my gut, I guess, because the only person that ever asked me anything about it was Don's lawyer, and asked me where I was sitting. "Well, I don't remember where I was sitting four months ago when I, you know," or something, a thing or two like that.
CURD: So anyway.
MOYEN: Now, you mentioned Blandford earlier, and what happened with him.Now, could you explain that a little bit, about something he didn't even pass or--
CURD: Actually what happened, this lobbyist went to, uh, Washington,got caught selling drugs, so they made a deal with him to come and set everybody up. Of course you know, the ones that got them, and 82:00several of them were got. (Coughs; unintelligible) was probably the most honest person in the legislature. They took a bunch of them out to Vegas, they wanted us on BOP, business and deals (unintelligible). And an old boy, senator from Nashville just passing out hundred dollar bills to all them. Said, "Have a good time, you know, on the machines." And that was all a setup.
CURD: The old boy from, that was a legislator at, oh between the reststop in Elizabethtown and Leitchfield, he was done, didn't run, and he was doing, he never had a chance to vote on anything. They got him, you know. That was one of it. My best buddy, Kenny Rapier finally 83:00got out of his, but McBee put a bill in his pocket, pocket and wouldn't take it back. So Kenny just told everybody to put it in their coffee allowance thing, you know. And he had, cost him several thousand dollars to get out of it. And his daughter was a, a was a lawyer from Louisville. So there was a lot of injustices in the whole darn thing. And Don and I, he took some trips on lobbyist money, you know, but that wasn't what they got him on.
CURD: They got him on this bill that Helen Garrett down here in Paducahstarted the whole thing. She told the, for a certain, the racetrack at Henderson that they could get something done for her. And that was the 84:00start of the whole ordeal.
CURD: And a lot of people were interested completely in the thing, and Idon't think Don was completely interested in what they got him for.
CURD: You know he took some trips with lobbyists, which I don't thinkshould happen.
CURD: The first term I was up there I was offered a free trip to theIndianapolis 500. Said, "We'll send a Learjet down to Paducah, won't cost you anything." I said, "Well, I'll let you know." I thought about it and thought about it and I said, "No, unh-uh. I'm not taking a trip like that," you know. Best thing I ever done, because they didn't bother me.
CURD: Nobody tried to set me up, or you know.
CURD: If I'd have took some trips, first thing you know, why, I probablywould have been taking hundred dollar bills or something. Could have, but you know, I'm not saying I would have, but it's a possibility. But that's the smartest thing I ever done, was turned down the first trip. 85:00
CURD: Because that was the only one that ever offered (Moyen laughs). Ihad another offer one time, which I'm not going to go into. Boys would just (laughs), I mean, these boys (unintelligible) happened at BOPTROT.
CURD: But anyway, that's about all I can tell you about it. Like I say,I didn't know what was going on.
MOYEN: Um-hm. What about the ensuing ethics legislation? What did youthink of--
CURD: Oh, we went overboard on the thing, you know. When you can't buyme a cup of coffee at the restaurant, that's crazy, or you know. And I think they should have been limited a reasonable amount, you know because we used to do, pay for anything.
CURD: That wasn't right either, you know, but it wasn't, there wasnothing to prohibit. And now I think they went to extremes on things. 86:00
CURD: I don't think if I drive from here to Paducah to speak to, whichI have before and after this, to a bunch of teachers, and they have coffee and doughnuts, cake and doughnuts or something, you know, it don't make sense for me not to have a cup of coffee when I drove a hundred miles to do them a favor, you know.
MOYEN: Right, um-hm.
CURD: So there's two sides to it. I think we went overboard on it,you know. And I think we, there needed to be some ethics legislation from day one, actually. So, but I think we went overboard on you know the thing.
MOYEN: The instance that you said that you didn't want to talk about,can I ask you just one question?
CURD: No, oh, I can't get into that, because I can still get called upI guess.
MOYEN: Okay (laughs). All right.
CURD: It was a bribe.
MOYEN: Okay. And was it before all the stuff happened with BOPTROT?
CURD: But I just--too bad (laughs).87:00
MOYEN: Sure (laughs). Now, also during Brereton Jones's term, one ofthe big things that he really worked on was his healthcare plan. Do you recall how you voted on--
CURD: Yes I do. I wish I didn't recall.
MOYEN: How did you vote on it?
CURD: I voted yes on it, because I thought I was trying to help, Ithought it was helping people, and it was screwing them really. But because that's probably the worst vote I ever made.
CURD: But you know you've got to take people, when you're an outsideryou've got to take some people's word for some things, and we was misinformed.
CURD: And of course that thing was more organized than the averageperson, you know, they met down in Atlanta or somewhere as a group and decided what they was going to do and did.
CURD: They pulled out of Kentucky. And they said, "We'll do what wehave to do in the other states," and probably did. But we were trying 88:00to help people and we made things much worse.
MOYEN: Um-hm. In retrospect, what were the biggest problems?
CURD: Well, we had Golden Rule, for instance is one of the bigviolators, they were cherry picking.
CURD: They would come in with a family that was healthy, but if youhave any little disease of any kind, or like diabetes, which I have, or something like, you know you were just excluded.
CURD: Eventually, if you live long enough, it's going to cost some money.
CURD: The cherry picking was the biggest violation that we tried toaddress and did, (laughs), very bad.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Now--
CURD: Haven't got over it yet.
MOYEN: Right, right.
CURD: And we'll never get over it, because there's three, five differentgroups that's shafting the general public. Your doctors, your 89:00hospitals, your insurance companies, if I turn you in for a violation you're not going to do anything, just raise your rates every month. They're not going to send you to prison because you lied on insurance policy, just raise everybody's rates. Your big drug companies are ripping people to death now. And lastly, but not leastly, your lawyers will take any kind of suit and go.
CURD: Those are the five things, and there's no, I don't think there'san answer to it. Because all five of those groups are powerful.
MOYEN: Um-hm, um-hm. And no simple solution?
CURD: No, I don't see a solution. I've had, "Why don't you all dosomething?" I said, "You tell me what to do," you know. But I don't know. I don't think there's any way to control those five groups of people, or institutions, whatever you want to call them.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Now during, during Jones's time in office, you became90:00chair of the House Education Committee. Did you make that known, or were you chosen? Did other people bring that up to you? How did you land that leadership post? CURD: The staff, the whole leadership, all of them agreed.
MOYEN: Um-hm. And what was that like taking that job right after, orshortly thereafter, KERA had been passed and, and implementation--
CURD: It was tough, because you know the old politicians, they didn'twant to give it up. The old superintendents, for instance, they had complete control of everything.
CURD: Since, when I was in the legislature, the largest county in thestate, give you an example, was not drawing a penny of interest. All 91:00the million dollars that they got from federal, everywhere else, at the bank, they never got a nickel for it. You think they were happy? And I think it was corrected before KERA, maybe, but it corrected a lot of those old crooked politicians.
CURD: Instead of (unintelligible) got out.
CURD: I think that was probably one of the best ones that happened toKERA, and the old teachers that were rusted out.
CURD: A lot of them got out. I don't think KERA was the perfectsolution, but it certainly helped things.
CURD: In fact, when I was elementary principal, my, all my teachers,and this was standard everywhere, they had to have a workbook, in everything. Heck, they didn't grade them, they'd put a red check, they'd go through and just put a check on them or something, you know. Maybe the problems was wrong, check on it, no minuses. I don't mean 92:00they all did.
CURD: Some of them did grade them, and I'm not saying workbooks as suchis bad, but the way they were abused in those days were bad. Teachers didn't take them home with them. I have three daughters that's teaching now. And I'll say they'll average at least an hour a day a week, five hours a week, at school after hours and so forth.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Do they all teach in Kentucky.
CURD: Yes. Two local, and one at Franklin Central.
[End of tape one, side two ; beginning of tape two, side one]
MOYEN: Okay, I just asked you the groups that were in opposition toKERA, you mentioned superintendents-- 93:00
CURD: Superintendents lost some control--
CURD: of the hiring. Board members completely lost it.
CURD: They lost a lot of control.
CURD: Your site base management, and some of those things that teachersshould have been doing anyway.
MOYEN: Right, um-hm.
CURD: They lost hiring teachers, you know, no longer the teachers selecttheir own superintendent, after the superintendent sends them a list of three people. The superintendent still has that authority, you know can blackmail, blackmail somebody.
MOYEN: Right. Now where did that put, say, for instance, the KentuckyEducation Association, who probably wanted the reform--
CURD: They wanted the money.
MOYEN: but in some respects, they were also representing, you know,these superintendents who may have been part of their organization.
CURD: KEA wasn't--the school board association, see.
CURD: David Keller is the one that took a beating. Of course, oh, they94:00cried and moaned and groaned, "Poor me," you know.
CURD: School boards lost more than any group.
CURD: Some of them go, "Well, I'm running for school board, all we donow is set policy," which is the only thing they were supposed to have been doing to start with (laughs). Not all of them felt this way, but plenty of them, they had some of them, they didn't run, hardly, you know, had a hard time getting people to run for school board for a while.
MOYEN: Um-hm, um-hm.
CURD: See, could no longer have goods bought in their stores anddifferent things.
MOYEN: Right, um-hm.
CURD: Which, we've never had that problem here, where you had nepotismto that degree.
CURD: But oh, some of them did.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Now, you mentioned that you didn't feel like KERA isperfect, and I'm not sure, you know, any education legislation is going 95:00to be perfect, what do you, what were its strongest points, and then what were the things now, you know, over a decade later--
CURD: The strongest points in general is teachers change their methodof teaching.
CURD: More hands-on examples and more things of this type thanworkbooks, memorizing this, memorizing that.
CURD: The theory behind the testing is great. Now whether it's, I don'tthink any test can be perfect. I know these darn standardized tests are not, because if you teach the same thing all the way through high school, the same test, you're going to get better (laughs). I mean, you know. So they're not, certainly not, I don't think there's any perfect test. I think that we can only take so much from a test.
CURD: And they're crying now, some of the antis, that we're not doing as96:00well on the SAT test to enter college. But the truth of the matter is more people are entering college every day, and the weak ones would have never took it to start with. It's not a test that everybody takes.
CURD: But they don't say that in their damned articles, you know, butthey blast SAT only raised so much. But more people are going into, here at Calloway and Murray, we'll have seventy-five to eighty percent going and taking them and going to college. They won't all finish, but anyway that's--
MOYEN: They get a shot.
CURD: They get a shot. And they take it, which used to wouldn't be.
CURD: Maybe a very small percentage.
MOYEN: All right, I'm trying to think, during Jones's term, once, onceDon Blandford is removed from leadership, did you immediately support 97:00Joe Clarke?
CURD: Everybody did, basically.
CURD: There was no opposition. He was the good, clean guy.
CURD: The guy to clear up any problems like we have as far as ethics isconcerned, Joe Clarke was the man.
MOYEN: Because there was someone from western Kentucky, maybe it was, hewas from Owensboro, who may have run for that, it seems like I may have read, Johnson? May have tried to challenge Clarke for that.
CURD: Yeah. Johnson was pretty weak. He was a religious, veryreligious person. He may have. I don't even remember. He wasn't a threat if he did.
CURD: I don't know. That's (unintelligible), it would be him.
MOYEN: Okay. And how would you describe Clarke's leadership? We talked98:00about him in committee, what about once he was in leadership in the House? CURD: He didn't work out too well. You know, he was still honest, but he had some problems. You probably know what they are, and I'd rather not comment on them.
MOYEN: Sure. Sure.
CURD: But he didn't work out as well as a, much weaker than you had as acommunity chairman.
MOYEN: Um-hm. And now--
CURD: I don't know whether to be for him or what.
MOYEN: Right. Now what about Jody Richards? CURD: Jody's been Mr.Clean from day one, you know, he went in years ago. He, in the past has had a little problem taking a stand on some hard issues, but he's Mr. Clean, really.
MOYEN: Um-hm. All right, so, all these things transpired during Jones's99:00term, and then in '96 Patton is elected. And did you say you did support him? He was the one you got, or was it Jones that--
CURD: Jones. I supported Eck Rose.
MOYEN: That's right.
CURD: And my county was for Eck Rose. They--
MOYEN: Um-hm. That's right. That's what we were talking about.But once he was elected, did you all have a pretty good working relationship?
CURD: Oh yeah, very good. I thought the first four years he was a greatgovernor was my assessment of that.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Now, we talked briefly about the separation of thecommunity colleges from UK. Do you recall whose idea that was? Was that anyone, in particular, their idea, or were there a few people who said, "Hey, this needs to be done." 100:00
CURD: There wasn't too many of us to start with (laughs).
MOYEN: Um-hm. Were you one of the original people who--
CURD: I saw the abuse that the community colleges were getting. It'dpartially been corrected before, of course, I don't remember there's a bill that helped take some of this off of, every dollar went through their budget at one time.
CURD: But we had a bill, I don't remember what it was, that helped thatsomewhat--
CURD: before this.
MOYEN: Right. Now, oh, go ahead.
CURD: This was cooperation between the tech schools and the communitycolleges.
CURD: Which everybody don't have both, you know.
CURD: And it gave both of them, it gave the community, the tech schoolsa little more, oh, reliability or credibility or so forth. 101:00
CURD: And the final something that we had a big fight over in, incommittees was giving a degree of some sort, not a degree but a certificate of some kind, or community college, at the tech school level, to show that you have electricity, or you were--the regionals and UK and all of them, they didn't want any kind of a thing like this, you know, where that they could say, "Hey, this guy is certified to be an electrician, or a plumber, or whatever." And your industry is saying, "Hey, we want somebody that if we look and if he has this certificate, they can do this job." That was another part of it.
MOYEN: Um-hm. And I think I do recall reading something about one of102:00the best jobs that you get with those technical colleges would be, you know, a Microsoft Certified Technician, where you could go in and--
CURD: Yeah, health certificates of all kind. The doctor could say,"Hey, I want somebody with this kind of certification."
CURD: And they didn't want them, I say they, I include Murray State inthat, they didn't want them to be able to certify these people.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Were there any other issues that came up with that? CURD:Oh there was, there was other issues, but this is, this is one of the big ones.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Now one of the issues that I believe came up betweenMurray State and UK, I think it was '95, there was a report about a need for more engineers here, and can you tell me a little bit about that?
CURD: (Laughs), oh, I've, I've made the Courier, I made the Paducah103:00paper every Sunday. I had it editorialized against me personally (laughs). You know how I finally got them off of my back? Bill Barton for the Missouri Reporter, I called Bill up, I said, "Bill, will you do something for me?" And he said, "Yeah," I said, "Will you tell," I won't use the words that I used, "something personally that I want to send a message to them?" He said, "Yeah." I said, "You tell them that they made me the most popular person in Murray." I said, "I just got the Chamber of Commerce Man of the Year, and they helped me get it by those negative editorials." I said, "Nobody likes to see anybody kicked, you know, and everything like they kicked me. Just want you to thank Mr. (unintelligible) for me that he's made me Chamber of Commerce Man of the Year in Murray." Well that was the last article I've ever had wrote against me (both laugh). And I'll have to say 104:00this, they over-exaggerated the need for engineers. That's a bunch of bull. They gave all the needs of all the openings they had, but they didn't, they're not filling those openings.
CURD: (Unintelligible) had probably forty, they're not filling them,because engineers were pretty well there.
CURD: Of course they fought, Murray State for instance has been givingengineer's degrees for several years. Other states accept them as accredited; UK does not accept them, and has fought that little fight for years. They can get it other places if they can pass the test.
CURD: But not at UK or not at Kentucky. So that was a natural fightthat I got involved in. 105:00
MOYEN: Um-hm. How did that turn out? CURD: We still don't, can'tget a degree, only through UK. So Curd was smart enough, he went to Louisville. They said, "Hey, we'll work with you. You get them to the last six months, send them, send them to Louisville, they'll get their degree from here." So, as far as I know that's where it is. I (unintelligible), not near as much as it used to be. They're still short engineers, but engineers come down here and they can't get a job, you know. So it's--but in defense of Louisville, my understanding, this is hearsay, our president here was an admiral who didn't stay but just a short while, and knew nothing about higher education; he was 106:00a Navy man, and I understand he told some people at Paducah he wasn't interested in engineers. That's probably true, I don't know. But he didn't last here very long; he didn't know about anything.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Now to go from the specific, which would be the debateover engineers, to the more general: what type of solution is there to political infighting that goes on between the state universities? Do you--
CURD: Well, they have a te--, they have a test on engineers.
CURD: That everybody has to pass before they can become one. So ofcourse, the regional universities, you know, they qualify to pass this test, why can't we give a degree? Tennessee accepts it, other states accept it.
MOYEN: Um-hm. But what about the larger picture on other issues? Isthere a solution that you see to, just in general, the fighting that 107:00goes on amongst the different--
CURD: It's much better now since they don't have the Univer--, thecommunity colleges, you know, to make slaves out of; it will gradually get better. Because, boy, you couldn't get Paducah Community College to say anything, you know. They were afraid they'd get the shit slapped out of them.
CURD: And I think they'll, eventually it'll all get much better.
CURD: And I think the consolidation like Paducah has done down here,working with UK, you know, they've got no problem with UK if they furnish the people, you know, to teach those classes.
CURD: Even though we've got them up at Murray, (unintelligible), butI've got no problem with UK being over you know the whole thing, working with Murray in the--we did have a problem with them setting up 108:00their own engineer's, a four year school, in Paducah, when were were furnishing it.
CURD: My niece, it's ironic, my niece was the first person to graduatefrom Paducah with a degree from Murray State. And I don't know what it's in, really, but I thought that was ironic, you know the way they kicked me around (laughs). And in truth, honesty, we were not furnishing, we are now, but we was not furnishing enough courses in Paducah, Hopkinsville, and some of those areas, you know. We wanted them to come to our campus. Now one of my daughters had to drive all the way to Paducah to earn her master's, take a class at Paducah (laughs), to get whatever her course is. There's nothing wrong with that. She kind of resented it, you know, you can understand that too, 109:00but still, we need to be serving those communities. And we are now.
CURD: But the last year, we could have been serving them a year earlier,Paducah wouldn't give us that building; they wouldn't let us use the building. So there is two sides, you know, to the situation.
CURD: Of course I was, they did make me popular, and I could run forlegislature as long as I live and get it. People now, "Well, ain't you up for--." "You don't need me up for, I'm through."
MOYEN: (Laughs), huh. Now, we talked about this earlier, I wanted totouch on it one more time, because I found a quote here from a Herald Leader newspaper, Charles Wethington--
CURD: Oh yeah (laughs), I imagine.
MOYEN: He said, "There's a pretty general belief about the interests andintents of representative Curd," and that was the quote that they had. 110:00What was he talking about? Said, "your interests and your intents." I mean he was talking about the legislation to separate--
MOYEN: but what, what interests, what interests did you have besidesjust doing that for--
CURD: Well, I'm sure he was thought it was just, you know, gettingback at them, you know, but that was not the intent, really. I have a little bigger picture than he's giving me credit for, put it that way.
MOYEN: Right, um-hm.
CURD: Wethington's one of Wilson's appointees who was a redneck to startwith, and I'm not saying I am too, I want to be, and I don't belong you know as president of UK (laughs). But Wethington in my opinion, was a 111:00little, well, he lacked a little polish when he was at UK I thought.
MOYEN: What other important legislation do you recall from Patton's timeas governor?
CURD: Well workman's comp, of course, was a biggie.
CURD: He got down to where it was not gaveling people to death, to payfor black lung, which some of them hadn't even been examined. We had people going on workman's comp today whose lungs have never been in a mine. And he tackled his own people. He attacked his own people, you know, coal people.
MOYEN: To kind of switch from higher education, the other, another112:00big issue that you had to deal with, you had some dealing with higher education implementation with KERA, but then a number of fights that I think you had in that position was dealt with home schooling, with home schoolers.
CURD: Yeah. It's a shame what's happening in home schooling.
MOYEN: Why don't you, can you tell me a little bit about that?
CURD: Yeah, I'll give you a little bit about it. There's two groupsof people that home school: the people that really think they can teach these children all these things, which to me, I don't think there's a man living that can teach all high school courses adequately. Then there's the ones that just do it to get their kid a degree in something, they don't want them in school, don't care whether they're in school or not, don't care whether they're educated or not, as long as they can evade the law.
CURD: I had a little bill, and I can't think exactly what all is in it,but basically just said that they had to be accountable, they had to 113:00test them, and they had to report to schools--
CURD: and they fought it like cats and dogs. I even had some of theleaders said, "We've got no problems with this." But then when time, push come to shove, they had a bunch of problems with it. There's nothing wrong, I don't see, with home schooling, except I don't think that the two groups of people--we have a bunch here in Calloway County, get in trouble, get kicked out of school, and they was home schooled. We've got people teaching in Calloway County that's illiterate teaching home school. And then they come back and say, "Well, we got the highest percentage, our kids taking the ACT has the highest percentage in the state." Well, heck, they ought to. There is not two 114:00percent of them that take it. All these other nerds, you know, not finishing high school, (unintelligible) period, they're not taking it. And the schools that they're going to are Christian schools, mostly, the ones that are home schooled. They're not going to UK and becoming doctors, engineers. Excuse me a minute, let me go get me--
MOYEN: Sure, sure.
CURD: I'm having a little reactions--[Pause in tape].
MOYEN: All right, we were talking about home schooling, and in 1998, youfiled some legislation to address home schooling abuses. I think that it required home schooling parents to have a--
CURD: Eighth grade education, or best I remember.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Or was it high school, GED?
CURD: High school or GED, that's right.
MOYEN: Right. And then what were some of the other components of that?115:00Testing, that they be tested? CURD: Um-hm.
MOYEN: And then, was there something about some sort of waiting period,or something, if it was someone who was in trouble with truancy, or something like that.
CURD: Yeah. Um-hm.
MOYEN: And you said that a lot of people at first said, "Yeah, we'regoing to support this," and then it changed? CURD: Um-hm.
MOYEN: So that seems kind of interesting to me, because home schoolers--
CURD: I don't think they realized how many violators they had of it,that were not interested in those things.
CURD: They wasn't checking and looking at what they had. Had a bunchof guys that got kicked out of schools, and another group that didn't want, didn't care whether the kids graduated from a decent school or not. Then you had your ones who were really, seriously, interested in education of their children, and most of those were for religious 116:00reasons.
CURD: They think they'll stop dope, which is bull, you know.
CURD: You're not going to stop dope, period. Nothing but a dope wouldbelieve that.
CURD: You know, and I'm for doing away with drugs, don't get me wrong,but they're going to have to meet this cruel world one day.
MOYEN: Right. Um-hm.
CURD: And if they've been sheltered in their mama's coattail and get outat nineteen, the first time (unintelligible), they're going to probably get stooped(??).
CURD: That's my own thinking; I may be thinking altogether wrong.
MOYEN: Now, that legislation didn't pass. Then I think that there wassome revised legislation, though, that was introduced right after that by, I think--
CURD: Barbara Colter.
CURD: (Unintelligible) on my Education Committee, and she(unintelligible) from Clay County, which most of hers were violators. 117:00
MOYEN: Right. Now, was there some different legislation once thatdidn't pass that Tom Riner of Louisville, that was a little different?
CURD: Tom agreed to support a bill of mine, but he, I never did find him.
MOYEN: (Laughs), huh. When did you decide that it was time to leavethe legislature?
CURD: Oh I just was tired of driving, sixty-five years old, I thought itwas time to get out.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Because it was, it was after this session?
CURD: Oh yeah, which that had nothing to do with it.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Right.
CURD: No, I just was getting older, driving on the snow, the ice, therain, and everything at night, driving at night, and don't see very good at night anymore. My old body's just wearing out.
CURD: Plus, sixty-five is a good time to seek retirement.118:00
CURD: So, I took my retirements and come home.
MOYEN: Now, you're talking about driving, traveling back and forth.What would you do during the legislative session? Would you stay up there during the week?
MOYEN: How often--
CURD: I come home most of the weekends, unless there was snow orsomething bad.
CURD: And I had one up on solid ice. I left here one morning at fiveo'clock and got there at three in the afternoon. I wouldn't do that again.
CURD: I'd stay here til it melted.
MOYEN: Yeah. Was that tough on your family at all?
CURD: Oh yeah, of course, just my wife, most of my kids was alreadygone, you know. But then my wife come home, we spent too much time together, and she said, "I'm going to get you a boat, and you start fishing again." I said, "Hey, I know what you're saying. I feel the 119:00same way." Said, "You're worrying me to death here at the house." Then doing nothing, so I decided that day I was going to run for mayor. Wasn't much of an election, I mean, wasn't much challenge. I never spent a nickel.
MOYEN: And when you, when you were campaigning for that race, what typeof platform did you have?
CURD: I didn't have one. I announced I was going to run.
CURD: About, I don't know, $1,200 maybe.
CURD: All that was gifts.
MOYEN: Um-hm. So when you won the mayor's race in Murray, what type ofthings did you get involved with, in terms of--
CURD: Well, I guess the biggest joke of all, I was going to clean up thepolice department. We had a guy that was chief, that the grand jury, 120:00get this, the grand jury said, "Fire him." I never heard of such a thing before or since. $1,800 had disappeared out of the lock up that the police had, there was $1,800 cash that turned up missing, and other things, and they said, "Fire the chief," which made it easier. I had, I got me a lawyer in Louisville who specialized in that, and got my ducks all lined up, and he said, "The best thing you can do is stay the plum out of there."
CURD: So I had to put up with him for about five months, and he was outof here. No suits, no nothing. You can't hardly fire policemen. It's policeman's bill of rights. So when I left, the police department 121:00wasn't a bit better than it was when I came. So that was my biggest failure, the police department.
MOYEN: Um-hm. What would you say your biggest successes were, as mayor?
CURD: Well, I think we made things conducive for Pela(??), who came inhere. I don't think I personally did, but I think as a city. They come in here and spent five days, and we didn't know they was here. And they were not Pela(??), they was a group they had hired. They had reviewed a hundred cities about the size of Murray with universities in them, and they picked Murray. They picked, went to Rudy's Restaurant and talked to people in there, went to the banks, went to the schools, and nobody knew what they was doing. And we passed the test, which, you can't say I did it, you know.
CURD: I didn't even talk to them until after we got, you know, involved122:00with Pela(??) themselves. We had no idea who it was. They wouldn't even tell us who they were.
CURD: And that panel interviewed us. Had no idea who it was.
CURD: The panel finally announced it was them. So, but I think I maybehelped with appearance, you know, we tried to help people mow the yards, and I worked hard at trying to get people to clean up, appearance wise.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Did that involve any, were there any zoning things thatyou passed?
CURD: Oh yeah, we got all the laws, we've got a zoning group that zones,two groups that does that, and we support them. So as I say, I don't know any big chapters that I, I don't know, maybe just, you know, helped some way in that.
MOYEN: What about town and gown relations? How was your relationship123:00as mayor with the administrators at the university? CURD: Great. They knew me, I'd helped them so much.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Did--
CURD: Had a great relationship with the university.
MOYEN: Even if you've got a great relationship, that doesn't mean thatthere aren't always minor conflicts that come up. Were there anything that you all disagreed on that you could think of?
CURD: Not at the, nothing--
MOYEN: Um-hm, um-hm. All right.
CURD: Somebody had a composting thing out there, part of the legis--,part of my group thought that it was political, and the other part didn't, you know. They built a golf course right next to it. It was a hog pen at that time. I don't know whether you've ever smelled hog shit or not, but it is not a pleasant odor. And the university through their dumbness put a pile, a big pile of chicken shit, big as this 124:00room out there, before they even opened up the thing. Of course it was rotten to the core. When they started shoveling that stuff, buddy, wow! So they finally moved all that, and just, all they're running through it now is horse shit and a bunch of straw, you know, which is nothing, no odor coming out of that, nothing.
CURD: They're still sitting on old chicken shit (Moyen laughs). Threeyears that's gone on. Well some of them, the county judge smelled it. I can't smell it. I told them, I said, "When you smell some of it, call me and I'll run right out here." Now that's after the chicken shit was gone. You can smell chicken shit all over the county almost, it was so strong, sitting there in this big pile.
MOYEN: And why did the university, did you say, put it there? CURD: Just125:00to get rid of the garbage and stuff, waste, you know.
CURD: See they've got, (unintelligible) excuse me. And, but they weregoing to get rid of that chicken manure, but that was a failure. But the judge, now, he smelled it. He's running again for reelection. He smelled it. But I can never--he called me one Saturday morning. I was here, I said, "I'll be right out." I didn't even change clothes, just run out there, and we got over on the golf course, we went through (unintelligible). And he said, "Well," said, "I don't smell it no more." The odor died from the time I left here and went about eight to ten blocks.
CURD: So that's (unintelligible) somewhat. But I still had pretty good126:00control of the campus.
CURD: Let me ask you a few, closing general questions about, youknow, we've gone through the specifics, and gone through this chronologically, tell me about, did you ever think about, when you were running, either when you first ran or at some point, what your philosophy of government was? Like what you thought government should be doing, and what role you would play in that as a legislator?
CURD: Well I was very interested of course in the service role. Ithink the government is there to serve people, not just to hang them. Penitentiaries and this sort of things are necessary, you've got to have them, but that's not the main purpose of doing it. Or to give people jobs is not. I went in one time when John Y. Brown was in, we had a woman come to me, she said, "Well, John Y. took my job." Well I 127:00checked in to it. The job she had, there was no job description for it. She went to her grave hating me, because I didn't save her job and she didn't have a damn job description, didn't do nothing. So I couldn't criticize that or support her. But if I would have kept her working for me, you know, I tried to save her job, but I couldn't see it.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Did your philosophy on your role in the legislature, didit change over time while you were there, or did it stay pretty much consistent?
CURD: Stayed pretty well consistent. I was determined to be honest andserve the people as best I could.
MOYEN: Um-hm, um-hm.
CURD: Local leader. I couldn't, I think I probably did a pretty goodjob of it, or I wouldn't have been reelected. 128:00
CURD: But I've had a lot of people say, "Well, you never change," whichI said, "I'm not supposed to change," because you get (unintelligible) job, you know.
MOYEN: Right. What were the most controversial issues that you had todeal with in terms of legislation?
CURD: I guess, uh, we've done mentioned one, health care. Something,the ones that really bothered me is things that you don't, can't prove, you don't know the answers to, you can't find out for sure what the answer is.
CURD: I guess abortion bothered me, in the fact that I never could go farenough on abortions, as rape, incest, things like this is a part of it.
CURD: I was against abortion for childbirth, but I couldn't go farenough to say if a woman is raped, or have incest, that she shouldn't, 129:00or endanger a mother's life; I couldn't go that far. So the pro- abortion group never endorsed me. I never had their endorsement, because I wouldn't go that far with it.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Can you think of any specific legislative examples wherethat put you in a tough bind?
CURD: Well, I can top that. I have a living will. They didn't endorseme one time because I have a living will. Euthanasia, is that what that's called?
CURD: It's leaning towards euthanasia, so they didn't endorse me. Wedidn't even have an abortion bill. And that's how ridiculous it gets 130:00in cases, you know. I see no, I see no connection whatsoever with abortion and a living will.
CURD: My wife done passed away and used her living will, and I intendto use mine you know. Because I don't want to lay up there with a machine, no chance to ever get better. But that's the best example I know (laughs).
MOYEN: How that spilled over even into those other issues.
MOYEN: Um-hm. What legislation did you sponsor or co-sponsor, lookingback you said, "That's the best thing I did in Frankfort."
CURD: Oh, I don't know. All sorts of legislation on education, andthen, they didn't even have a bill, this still needs correcting, to show proof of insurance. We've got laws that says you've got to 131:00have liability insurance, and blah, blah, blah, blah, and there's no enforcement. So I passed a little old bill, you know, that all it says is you've got to show proof of insurance, and I had to water it down to the point where, which probably should have been, I'm not arguing this, that if you had it, as long as you could bring that to the judge, you wouldn't be fined. And I got that thing killed on the floor, and that's all the shit it did. Of course I got a guy in the Senate over there, a buddy in the Senate, was on the Banking and Insurance Committee, so he passed it out. I told him, I said, "Well, I'll tell you what, I'll let it pass this bill," I said, "all I want you to do is just, all its got in it was just my name and a number." (Unintelligible) out, see 132:00(laughs). I had a buddy over in the Senate put it up and put it back in. Came back the last day that it passed. That's the way I had to get it passed. All it did was say you had to show proof of insurance.
MOYEN: Um-hm, huh.
CURD: I thought that was really simple, and really needed, because somany people don't have it today, your insurance has to pay, and then all kinds of education bills. I was, I don't know, I bet I've got a hundred.
MOYEN: Um-hm. You mentioned that you really regretted voting for thehealth care reform.
MOYEN: Any other legislation, looking back, where you think, well inhindsight that was a bad idea, you know, I meant well, or--
CURD: Governor's horse bill, but I knew that (both laugh).
MOYEN: Were there any, was there any other legislation like the horse133:00bill that you knew, "I really don't like this bill--"
CURD: Well we passed, we passed all sorts of workman's comp, loweringworkman's comp rates over the years, it really didn't ever lower what the rate was until Governor Jones.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Now, was there any other legislation like the horsebill legislation where you thought, "I really don't like this, but I understand what it's going to do for me, so here's what I've got to do."
CURD: No, I don't know that.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Oh, and along those same lines, you know everyone knowsthat to some extent, politics is a game, and you have to work on your strategy. When did you think you were playing the game the best? When did you think that you were really able to line up people for your legislation, or what you needed, and how did you do that? 134:00
CURD: Had good leadership, I didn't ever do it. That leadership signson, you don't have to do that. That's not giving you a smart answer, but--
MOYEN: Right. Sure. I understand. That helped a lot, didn't it?
CURD: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Could you tell me a little bit about lobbyists inFrankfort?
CURD: Well, they're overplayed. I think people hire lobbyists that haveno business hiring lobbyists at all. The things that affects the person voting is when you hear from people back home, they're pissed off.
CURD: They send you a hundred messages, "I don't like this bill, becauseit does so and so." You get that many, you know, you get that message pretty quick.
CURD: Biggest exaggeration of that was way back when we didn't have muchgambling bills going on, and Paducah's race track was going to put in, where you could bet on the derby and different things? 135:00
MOYEN: Um-hm. Off-track.
CURD: Off-track betting. And we had twelve thousand messages on thatone bill. And we got them just like people in Paducah, because we're close you know. I mean, it was stacks of that stuff.
CURD: That was, you know, that was nothing but a foolish, somebody thatdon't care what people think would vote for that, you know.
MOYEN: Right, um-hm.
CURD: That's the biggest exaggeration that I guess of anybody I eversaw. They brought them in baskets (both laugh).
MOYEN: Were, were they pretty much divided on what they wanted, or was--
CURD: No, no, no. It was all one way. It was all againsters.
CURD: Againsters are always more vocal and get POed.
CURD: Lloyd Clapp told me when I first went up there, he said, "Allright," said, "Now I'm going to tell you something," he said, "When you 136:00vote against something, they'll remember you." He said, "For it," said, "well you ought to be for it. Right." You know. But (unintelligible) and that's why I never co-sponsored anything hardly ever. Just stupid to co-sponsor anything, because all you're doing is picking up your enemies.
CURD: You're going to vote that way anyway. So why do you want toco-sponsor it. People could understand it. They said, "Why won't you co----," I said, "I don't co-sponsor stuff." You know, I don't say I never have, but most of the time I wouldn't.
CURD: I said, "I'm going to vote for the bill, that's all you'rewanting, now get out of here and leave me alone." And they can carry their butt. But why piss off people during the process?
MOYEN: What, what lobbying groups did you, were you able to maintain137:00support for throughout the whole, for most of your tenure? Were there any particular groups that really supported you strongly?
CURD: Well KEA, after the first three times, they wasn't for me thefirst three times, because I wouldn't commit to employees, public employees, uh, strike.
CURD: And they fought, first three times they didn't support me. Andthen they finally woke up and started supporting me.
CURD: Spent $1,800 for me one time. But first three times I run, when Ineeded them, they wasn't there. Of course, I'm sure some of them voted for me anyways, but as a group, they didn't endorse me.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Did your, what you might even call "staff," I don't even138:00know if it's fair to call that, people that you had helping you in Frankfort during the sessions, did that grow during your time there? CURD: Just the one guy that supported me from Murray State.
CURD: The guy that took my place, Bud Buckingham.
CURD: The last three sessions he was up there.
CURD: Up until then I had no one.
MOYEN: Okay. That's pretty tough to handle all the mail then, isn't it?
CURD: Yeah. Yes. It is. It is. I worked hard up there. I don't get,I did work hard up there.
MOYEN: Sure. Are there, are there any other stories, or highlights, orthings that stick out in your mind that you want to, want to add?
CURD: I think we've hit most of them. I don't, you know, I think you'vehit most of them.
MOYEN: Well, I certainly thank you for your time.
CURD: Well, you're welcome.
MOYEN: I appreciate it.
CURD: Twelve o'clock? Boy, we've had fun hadn't we.139:00
MOYEN: Yeah. Um-hm (both laugh).
[End of interview.]