MOYEN: The following is an unrehearsed interview with James Bruce.Mr. Bruce serves the Ninth District in the Kentucky House of Representatives. The interview was conducted for the University of Kentucky Oral History Program and the Kentucky Legislative Oral History Project. The interview was conducted by Eric Moyen on September 12, 2003 at Mr. Bruce's home at Hopkinsville, Kentucky.
[Pause in recording.]
MOYEN: I'm here with Mr. James Bruce, or Jim Bruce, who, you've beenrepresenting House District Nine, is that correct? Since, since-- 1:00
BRUCE: --I'm on my fortieth year, when I complete this year, I haveforty years now.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Certainly longer than anyone in the twentieth century orin the twenty-first century--
BRUCE: --I think it's in the history of Kentucky.
MOYEN: Is it, is it in the full history?
MOYEN: Okay. And, um, we're here at his house in Hopkinsville. Whydon't we start by just having you tell me a little bit about your background, uh, or even your family background, how far back does your family go in this area, or, or do you know?
BRUCE: Uh, my family goes back to early, late forties when they moved uphere, and my wife's family goes back 150 years. They were sort of --- ---------(??) she lived in, I married a girl next door, and they have a 1000 acres and we have 500 here, and we operate about a 1000 acres now, my son(??).
BRUCE: And I graduated from the University of Tennessee, and when we(??)moved up here, but my dad wanted a bigger farm, so we bought this farm in, in, uh, '49. 2:00
MOYEN: So, is your family originally from Tennessee?
MOYEN: Okay. And, um, were you, were you born in Tennessee?
BRUCE: And graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1950.
MOYEN: Okay. And so you came to Kentucky looking for land, a bigger--
BRUCE: --yeah, bigger, uh, land was sort of small farms over here(??).
MOYEN: Um-hm. Now, Morristown, that's up, kind of in the mountains,isn't it--
BRUCE: --no, it's about--
MOYEN: --is that wrong?
BRUCE: It's about thirty miles east of Knoxville.
BRUCE: Right close, getting into rolling(??) land.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Okay. Um, can you tell me a little bit about youreducation in Tennessee? What types of schools you went to?
BRUCE: Well, I went to high school, and grade school, and then theUniversity of Tennessee and got a degree in agricultural economics in 1950.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Okay. Now, what year were you born?
BRUCE: In '27.
MOYEN: Can you tell me a little bit about, uh, what you remember about3:00the Great Depression? What are your first memories, was, was that a particularly hard time for your family, or, uh?
BRUCE: Oh, not real hard, but it was real; we didn't have a whole lot ofluxuries. And we didn't have TVs to know how, how much everybody else, how much we didn't have.
BRUCE: So, that, that wasn't too bad. Uh, we didn't have, at Christmas,we didn't have very much. And, but my family's always been fairly well off, and we had, uh, what you say moderate Christmases--
BRUCE: --in that it was real small.
BRUCE: But, uh, then Roosevelt come in and we got doing better.
BRUCE: So, uh, that's why I'm a Democrat.
BRUCE: And that territory where I lived in is Republican, in eastTennessee. And we were Democrats. And pretty well 50/50. And but, uh, it, it was, like I said, without TV, we didn't know what we, 4:00we didn't, we didn't know that everybody else, some of the other people had a whole lot more than us. I think TV has made us a very competitive nation that, that you see on there and you want those things, you want, want, want.
BRUCE: You're never satisfied.
BRUCE: If you have a competitive spirit.
MOYEN: Right. Uh, you mentioned Roosevelt coming into office and that'swhy you were, were Democrats. Were, um, did that, at that point in time in the thirties and during the Depression with the New Deal, TVA, did that impact your political philosophy? What you saw going on then?
MOYEN: Okay. Any teachers?
MOYEN: No? Um, what about your religious background, did you all attendchurch?
BRUCE: Methodist. Very, very, uh, devoted Methodists. I've been a layleader here in the First Methodist in town, which is the type of thing that my son, who's an attorney, was lay leader just a few years ago.
BRUCE: So we, we're really Methodists all the way through.5:00
MOYEN: Okay. And, and when did you enter the University of Tennessee?
BRUCE: [Nineteen] forty-six.
MOYEN: Okay. Uh, were there a lot of G.I.'s there at the time?
BRUCE: Yeah. Yeah.
BRUCE: All of the GIs come back at that time.
MOYEN: Um, what was your major?
MOYEN: Okay. Um, tell me a little bit about what it was like at theUniversity of Tennessee, did you like college? Or what were your thoughts about it?
BRUCE: Yeah, I liked college. I was on the UT track team for a couple ofyears, and have a picture in my office if you get, if a lobbyist comes in, he better be able to pick me out of that, out of the team. (Moyen laughs) I tell them that. But, uh, then I was, uh, in high school, I made the American Farmer Degree and was, which was the highest rank you could make in FFA, and then I was also, the next year, I was, in '45, 6:00I was secretary of the, secretary of the state, Tennessee State FFA organization. So I sort of liked being in the public --------(??).
MOYEN: Um-hm. When did you, uh, so, you started serving then, did,at that point, did you think at all that you would get involved in politics? When did you--
BRUCE: --no, not really. Not really. Uh, we had a governor's racehere, and the, uh, Breathitt was running for governor. And the Chandler people got me out, and I wasn't very well, I wasn't connected with them, but I knew that none of the Breathitt-Chandler people were gonna vote for my opponent, so then I worked on the Breathitt people and I got about half of them. And the, uh, Chandler people, I beat his home, his hand-picked man real bad. And then Breathitt won the governor, of course.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Now, when your family moved up here, how large a farm was7:00it when you--
MOYEN: Same? Okay. Um.
BRUCE: We, we did add some more to it, and then we sold it off when mydaddy died--
BRUCE: --to pay the taxes. Taxes was rough back then.
BRUCE: My dad worked to get, uh, --------(??) inheritance tax exemptedfrom Mama, man and wife.
BRUCE: You know, and we exempted that in '86, or '84, some time whenMartha Layne was governor, she wanted to pass a tax on, to help education, and we made a compromise if she'd put, exempt that, we would, if she would exempt inheritance tax between spouses, we'd, we'd get a lot of rural votes, and we did.
BRUCE: And we did that.
BRUCE: So, it's always(??) a little give and take.
MOYEN: Right. Now, you may have mentioned this, but what year did yousay that you moved to Kentucky?
BRUCE: [Nineteen] forty-nine.
MOYEN: Okay. Um, when you moved here--
BRUCE: --my parents moved; I was still in college.
BRUCE: Right(??) when I was finishing up.
MOYEN: Right. When you did move to Kentucky, were, were, your parents,8:00or did you realize--and you mentioned this just briefly--the different factions that there were in the, in the Democratic Party then, the Happy Chandler faction--
BRUCE: --no, no--
MOYEN: --and the Clements/Combs--
BRUCE: --no, no.
BRUCE: In fact, uh, I didn't know, in this county was so Democratic atthat time. I didn't know there was this many Democrats in the world, I told them(??). Because, uh, the county I was from in east Tennessee was Republican.
BRUCE: And, uh, everybody up here at that time was, was Democrat. Nowit's, uh, it's about 50-50, I guess(??).
BRUCE: Now, the Republicans vote for me here, the rural farmers, they'remostly Republicans, but I, the last time I ran and had an opponent, they all voted for me. But I won big(??).
MOYEN: Um-hm. Last time you had a Republican opponent?
MOYEN: Okay. So--
BRUCE: --I'm a very conservative voter though.
BRUCE: That's the difference.
MOYEN: Would you classify yourself then as a southern Democrat--9:00
BRUCE: --well, just as a--
MOYEN: --or would it be in that line of--
BRUCE: --a conservative Democrat.
MOYEN: Conservative Democrat. Now, when did you start courting your,your wife?
BRUCE: Oh, about a year or so after college. Her mother picked me outfor her, and then my daddy told me that that little girl next door was pretty cute, I ought to look at her. So, uh, her mother died with a brain thing, and then I asked her for a date, and she was scared to death that her mother picked, -----------(??)------------ Janie?
JANIE BRUCE: Yeah.
BRUCE: Come here! You've got to tell him this story. (Moyen laughs) Iwasn't going to bring it up, but you did.
MOYEN: Yeah, we try to cover all the bases, not just the--
BRUCE: --Janie? Janie and I have been married fifty-one years. She'sa doll.
MOYEN: Hello, how are you doing?
BRUCE: This is my wife Janie.
MOYEN: Hi, nice to meet you. I'm Eric Moyen. I was just asking him10:00about--
BRUCE: --our courtship.
MOYEN: Your courtship.
JANIE BRUCE: Oh my gosh.
BRUCE: Tell him about how my daddy told me about you, and your mother--
JANIE: --my mother picked, wanted me to date him--
JANIE: but she(??) died. Now, I told her no, don't pick me a date, Iwon't go. And then she died. And that was in September, and then in December he called me, asking for a date, and I scratched my head, and I said, "I wonder if she had anything to do with this!" (laughs)
BRUCE: (laughs) We were married the next June.
BRUCE: And she has, her parents had a 1000 acres next door.
BRUCE: Married the girl next door. And, uh, she was a right cute littlegirl.
JANIE: We've been married fifty-one years.
MOYEN: Fifty-one years. That's great. Great to hear. (laughs)
JANIE: Fifty-one years.
MOYEN: Um, now, what made you decide to run for office?
BRUCE: Well, I'd become active in Farm Bureau.11:00
BRUCE: Political farm bureau and that, uh, they were looking forsomebody to challenge the, the incumbent, and they asked me, and I did. And so my wife pushed me. And she had a lot of kinfolks and things--
BRUCE: --and Ned Breathitt's senior law partner was her uncle, and hetold me a week before the election I had it won.
BRUCE: When I first filed, he said, "They'll slaughter you because it'sa mean county." And they buy a lot of, we used to buy a lot of votes here. But I won so overwhelming that their vote buying couldn't, didn't affect me none. They were buying vote against me all the time(??).
MOYEN: Um, who was, who, who was it that you ran against? Who was theincumbent?
BRUCE: Real nice fellow. He was a, he was the incumbent, and, and hewas a real good friend of Governor Breathitt's, and he was on the bank board and all. He lived, um, south of here. John Dickson, his son, went on to become a U.S. judge, lawyer too.
MOYEN: All right.
BRUCE: Real nice. I mean, I had nothing against him. I just wanted12:00to win.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Sure.
BRUCE: And we won big.
MOYEN: Tell me about campaigns, especially the first time you, what doyou, what did you do, I guess, in '62, '64--
BRUCE: --we just worked like hell, and my wife too, and she, she's, uh,she was a hell of a good-looking woman fifty years, forty, forty years ago. In fact, she didn't look over seventeen or eighteen then. And, uh, so we just worked like hell, and people just accepted us.
BRUCE: I was from sort of the mountain area, and the northern end of thecounty is sort of rolling, and hilly, and mountains.
BRUCE: The southern end of the county is plantation farming, you mightsay, back then.
BRUCE: Big farms, all the kinfolks, and all. I was, she was accepteddown here, and I was accepted up there in the mountains where they fish and hunt--
BRUCE: --do things like(??). I'd go up there and they'd invite me in toeat dinner, they liked me.
BRUCE: So, she'd take care of the southern; I took care of the northern.We just, Breathitt almost had a heart attack when I won big. But he 13:00was real nice to me; we got along fine as governor.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Now, um, when you talked about working so hard, was it,was it door-to-door type stuff--
--or did you set up speeches, or--
BRUCE: --no, door-to-door.
BRUCE: One on one.
MOYEN: Were you able to get a lot of your friends, or her friends andfamily to help you out in, in any way?
BRUCE: Yeah, all the family helped, helped.
BRUCE: Two, two well-known families here, she's a Garnett family here,and this was the Dixon family, they was both well known, and so it was family against family, and I was the pawn.
MOYEN: (laughs) Um-hm.
BRUCE: I'm sitting at a meeting one time after the election. And, uh,they said something about the incumbent, "Oh," he said, "Some little, old young boy out there, out there in Clarksville probably just beat the hell out of him." That was me. I was sitting there. (both laugh)
MOYEN: Huh. Okay, and, and you said that Ned Breathitt called you alittle bit before the election, a week before, and said-- 14:00
BRUCE: No. No. His, my wife's uncle who was his senior law partner.
MOYEN: Oh, okay.
BRUCE: His senior law partner.
BRUCE: The man that owned had the law firm. That's my wife's uncle.She's kin to well-, well-connected people here in the county. Her granddaddy established the bank. Great-granddaddy established the old bank here, and her, uh, one of her aunts was the Forbes, Forbes family was the biggest home in town, and the wealthy, wealthy family, she, we had a lot of, we go back through real good connections.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Now, at the time you entered in '64, um, like we've said,Ned Breathitt was elected.
MOYEN: What is that like, having, um, being a young representative withthe governor from here? Did that make things more difficult for you? 15:00Was it easier for you? What, what were the dynamics?
BRUCE: Well, one night I had Fontaine Banks who was still, in fact,he's working for Chandler right now, he was the governor's hatchet man. And, uh, I am sort of independent then. That's the first independent legislator I think had ever, ever hit the session up there, I was(??). And he come up one night and he said, uh, "Representative Bruce," said, "if you don't back off, the governor is not doing any; put any blacktop in your county." "Oh," I said, "that's all right. If you don't want to put any blacktop in the governor's home county," and laughed at him and walked on. So that ended that. (Moyen laughs) Knowing good and well they was going to put--
BRUCE: --in the governor's home county. (laughs)
BRUCE: So, and we still laugh about it. He's an excellent friend ofmine. But, but, uh, he sort of thought I was a little smart-ass(??). When Louie Nunn talked to me on the sales tax, he said, "I'm going to close Western State, I'm going to close ---------(??) Park over there, and I'm going to close Outwood Hospital, and the community college, and 16:00diagnostic lab." And I said, "Go ahead. I'm not going to explain what you damn Republicans do in my home county." And he said, "Oh, go to hell." And so I didn't vote for him.
BRUCE: And, uh, oh, but that was the way they used to, you know, tryto make you responsible for everything. I wasn't responsible for what he did.
BRUCE: And, uh, that was just his way of trying to get a vote.
BRUCE: You know, we understand that. And he's a good friend too. We,we've developed a friendship. I think I developed respect out of him by, by standing up to him.
BRUCE: I don't think you get any respect if you just knuckle down andsay, "Yes sir."
MOYEN: Right. Right. Now, uh, when you were elected, did you go downto Kentucky Dam before the legislative session?
MOYEN: As someone who hadn't been a legislator before, uh, how would youdescribe that? What, what goes on--
BRUCE: --very educational.
MOYEN: (both laugh) In, in what regards?17:00
BRUCE: Oh, well, all, all the lobbyists and all the, all the -----------(??) is like a circus nearly. Everybody had rooms, and, and the lobbyists were working you over real bad on everything. And then the governor's people were there, and it was just sort of like a big circus, you know, you picked leadership. The governor usually had them already picked before we got there.
MOYEN: Um-hm. And, and did the governors, um, picked leaders at thattime, did they come and tell you, "Here's what we're going to do," or did they ask you--
BRUCE: --they asked me, yeah--
MOYEN: --what you needed, or what you wanted?
BRUCE: Of course, we knew pretty well who would be settled on.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Now, after meeting there, when you go, when you went toFrankfort, what was, what was as you thought it might be and what was the biggest surprise?
BRUCE: The biggest surprise was the conditions that we worked under. We18:00had nothing but a desk that sat out there. No secretary, no telephone, not anything. And I worked on that for years until we finally, we have telephones, we have office, we have everything now.
MOYEN: No telephones.
BRUCE: No, nothing. Just some there were some out in the hall you coulduse.
BRUCE: And, uh, the first bill I drew up was when Julian Carroll wasgovernor, and he and I wanted, he was in two years before me, and we were good friends in the House. And he really blew up when I drew up the bill to give us all office space. And, uh, he'd given us a lounge and a parking garage, which we didn't even have at that time. And, uh, of course that was the, I'd watch Tennessee legislature, and that's when you began to get independent, is when you have an office, and a secretary, and feel, feel like you can operate without operating out of the governor's office.
BRUCE: And that's when we began, then, uh, then Brown was elected,19:00and that's when we got little, little, the little offices. We had cubbyholes, but they were a desk and a telephone, and a secretary pool. And, uh, I sort of shot myself in the foot -----------(??) got those in, and I, as committee chairman, I had a secretary and an office, but the rest of the members didn't have anything, and I felt real sorry for them. But then I lost my secretary, I was in the, had to get one out of the secretary's pool then. But anyway, I had an office where I could go in and sit down, and one person could sit in there. There's that little. And you had a telephone, and you had, you could also have a secretary available. So, so that was a, then the next step we made, Stumbo come along, and he ran and he promised us offices, individual offices. About ten years later I informed him that he, he, somebody was going to figure he'd lied to us, and he'd better get those damn things in there, and he did. So then we, we moved the revenue cabinet out upstairs, and we took over the third and fourth floors. 20:00
BRUCE: And then the first floor also. And the Senate took the secondfloor. But we took over that whole section in that Capitol Annex. And it's been real good.
MOYEN: Um-hm. So I had, that's an interesting way of looking at it. Ihaven't heard anyone say, you know, you hear about John Y. Brown and legislative independence, but some of that was tied into individual offices.
BRUCE: Yeah, all that. He didn't really give it to us; we took it.He, uh, he used the speaker of the House to pass his bill. And, uh, he didn't fool with having, most, most of the governors fool with each individual legislator, but he only fooled with the leadership.
MOYEN: This is John Y. Brown?
BRUCE: And he didn't get what he wanted either, because the rest of usdidn't agree with that. So, so, he didn't, he didn't fare too well at the legislature.
MOYEN: Can you expand on that a little bit with maybe a couple ofexamples of, of, I've heard both sides, that hey, John Y. Brown gave 21:00the, gave the legislature their independence--
BRUCE: --we took it, in my opinion.
MOYEN: Are, are there any other examples that you can think to say,"Yes, this is, we can see"--
BRUCE: --well, I used to get up, I was his adversary in the House, andI used to get up and, and give him hell every day or two. And, uh, he would, leadership would beat me, maybe, by one vote or something, in the, in the assembly we opposed. And the Speaker one day said, "I wish you'd get off of the governor." That was Bobby Richardson. And I said, "Speaker, do you realize that if I got off the governor, he wouldn't even know who in the hell you were because he wouldn't have any opposition up here and he wouldn't need you." Then he went to feeding me information that I needed. Uh, one time he, uh, these are pretty brave things, Greg Higdon can tell you about them. But, uh, I objected to this, to John Y. Brown giving the state of the commonwealth, I jumped up and objected to it, see(??), have to have a resolution. And 22:00I, I'm speaking, and I said, you know, "We need to let Martha Layne do this, because she's been here every day and he's been gone twenty-two days since we've been in session." And the boys began to get a little mad at me, and I could tell that. And finally I said, I spoke on, finally I said, "Well, I'll tell you what let's do, let's invite John Y. to speak on the state of Florida where he's been, and let Martha Layne speak," and man, everybody laughed like hell. And they tell me he busted his TV. (Moyen laughs) So, he wasn't in, he didn't have, I didn't let him have that much independence.
BRUCE: Uh, then another story was that, uh, he'd, uh, he'd, my wife wason the state fair board and he'd taken her off. And, uh, they'd made the statement that there wasn't nothing a redneck from western Kentucky could do to them. And I worried the hell out of them, let me tell you that. Janie! You don't have, it's in the office in Frankfort. You don't happen to have a copy of that story, do you? On John Y. and me? 23:00Anyway, I'll give it, if you want it, I'll give you a copy.
MOYEN: That'd be great. That'd be great.
BRUCE: It's in the, it's in the, uh.
BRUCE: You don't happen to have a story on, that story where, where Brownand I were going to fly on an airplane, do you? Is it in Frankfort?
JANIE: I think it's in Frankfort.
BRUCE: It's in Frankfort, okay. Well, I'll tell it to him anyway. Uh,his secretary June Taylor(??) called me up and said, "The governor wants to see you, Jim. Can you come over?" And I said, "Well, if you'll tell me the subject matter, I'll, I'll tell you." And she slammed the phone down. Now, she'd been ordered to get me, and I'd been there twenty, twenty, nearly twenty years then, so I wasn't. Well, a few minutes she called back and said, "I'm sorry, I'm just tired today." I said, "That's all right." Said, "Well, I want to see if you and him will get together." Said, "He wants to see if he can make up with you." I said, "Sure, be glad to." So I go over there, and in the office there they have Bill ---------(??) and George Adkins and Bobby Richardson, 24:00and June Taylor. So I walk in, and governor said, "I want to see if we can get together." I said, "Well, I think maybe we probably can." He said, "Well, what would it take to get you off of me?" And I said, "Well, just one thing will do it, you put my wife back on the state fair board." He said, "I can't do that, I'll lose face." I said, "Well, governor, I'm going to get some more of your ass if you don't. So it's just that plain." They said, "We just can't do it." Then he said, uh, "Well, you come on over to eat supper at Cave Hill," whatever that is, "tonight." I said, we were walking outside to the little lobby where the others were, and I said, "No, unh-uh." And little Richardson, the speaker, jumped up, and he said, "Yeah, he'd come over there if you'd fly him over in a helicopter." And John said, "Yeah, I'll take you over in my helicopter." I said, "Hell, no, governor, about halfway over there, you'd kick my ass out of there. Ain't no way I'm getting in a helicopter with you." ------------(??), then, I'm a -----------(??). So, he said, uh, uh, "Well, I here you tell some pretty good jokes on me." I said, "Now, governor, I served with your daddy." And I did, his 25:00daddy was majority floor leader in my first, second term. "And he said you were thin-skinned and couldn't take a joke." He said, "I've been governor two years and I can take most any joke." I said, "You sure?" "Yeah." "Well," I said, "this is one I tell about you and Phyllis flying over Louisville. And you said, 'Honey, I'm going to drop a hundred dollar bill out and make a Kentuckian happy.' And she said, 'No, Johnny, drop two fifties out and make two Kentuckians happy." And I said, "That old pilot turned around and said, 'Why in the hell don't both of you jump out and make everybody happy.'" (both laugh) I mean, we didn't speak anymore after that. And that's written up. So, George thought that was terrible, Adkins. So he beat the story to George Wilkinson, who was for the Louisville Times at that time, which is not there anymore. And there's a little reporter that had been covering my committee, and I'm chairman, and I'd give her all sorts of inside information on the banks, and insurance companies and everything, and made her look real good. And she had married George Wilson, which, I 26:00didn't know that. So, she'd call me up on one Saturday and she says, "Jim, you're going to get a surprise who it is." Said, uh, "They're wanting to kick you in," and said, "I need some information, I'm going to write the story and make you look good." "Oh," I said, "that's good, Pam." Pam, Pam Luecke who used to be editor of the Lexington Herald.
BRUCE: That's how far I go back. And so she wrote the story and Ilooked real good, and he almost fired Adkins. (Moyen laughs) But, uh, where it says, I believe the name of it is, "Bruce and Bruises." And, uh, so then we didn't get along too much after that. Then one time I, I was playing with him, had this old boy that would all the time give the, the, uh, information I wanted to send to John Y., what I was going to do, if I wanted him to know it, I sort of laid it out beforehand. So, I had this bill drawn up to put him back in that mansion before the next Derby Day, the next year.
BRUCE: And man, they liked to have went wild, because I had heard27:00that Phyllis said she'd leave him before she'd move back in that old mansion. And man, they went wild over that. And, uh, they had speeches, and then they had a big story in the Sunday Courier-Journal why they couldn't move back, and then the press man was out of town, he's a pretty good friend of mine, Frank Ashley. Used to be with the Courier-Journal, you know. But, and he went up to me and he said, "Damn you," said, "You, you wouldn't have pulled that stuff on me if I'd have been here." I said, "No, Frank, I wouldn't, because you're too smart to know that I was conning you." And then we laughed about it. So, I've known Frank a long time. He's not, he's in with some ------- ------(??) thing now.
BRUCE: But, uh, the woman that wrote the story, really it was not GeorgeWilson; it was Pam Luecke that used to, who later became editor of the, head of the Lexington Herald.
BRUCE: Fine lady. But she was just a cub reporter there when we, and Isort of, five years, I'd given a pretty good--
BRUCE: --tip of what was going on. So, you never know who's going tohelp you. 28:00
BRUCE: What's going to come down. And that's why it pays to be nice.My momma told me to be nice to everybody and they'll help you.
BRUCE: And I can be mean as hell, too, you know, if you're not niceto me.
BRUCE: You know. I never start anything, but if they start, I think Ican handle myself.
BRUCE: But, uh, if, if you're nice, you'll find it works a lot betterthan trying to screw somebody, or do something to somebody, or, uh, build, run, run them down and build you up, it just doesn't work.
BRUCE: In life(??).
MOYEN: All right.
BRUCE: So those are just some of the stories.
MOYEN: Sure. That's, that's the type of stuff I'm looking for. Now--
BRUCE: --so, John Y. was not, uh, didn't give us up, we took it.
BRUCE: Because he didn't really give a damn.
BRUCE: He didn't, he, he just wanted the publicity out of being governor.
BRUCE: While he was, while he was governor, we were taking it all thetime, and that's when I, when I got the offices for us. 29:00
BRUCE: Had a bill. Speaker Kenton, I've got him, he, he's sponsored,the main sponsor who's from Lexington. He later died. And, and I went to him, he sponsored the bill, and I was cosponsor with him, and we got those small offices down there.
BRUCE: And that's when, you know, we began to grow.
BRUCE: And that's what, that's what I thought we had to do.
MOYEN: Um-hm. All right. Let's, let's go back just a little bit toyour first term. What committees did you serve on and, and how did that transpire? Were you able to say, "This is where I'd like to serve," or were you told, and, and what were those committees?
BRUCE: Actually, there wasn't any, hardly any committees that even met.They had committees, and to make it look good back home, but they didn't meet. And then near the last two weeks, they had a committee on committees, which was, uh, all leg-, all the Democrats that had been there over, over one term got to serve on, so I didn't serve the first year, and the next year I was on committee on committees. And they, 30:00and they voted on the legislation that was, hadn't been voted on. They waited until the last, uh, two weeks to vote on it, so the governor could veto it if he didn't like it. So, that's, that's changed since then, you know.
MOYEN: Um-hm. When did a lot of the committee reform take place?
BRUCE: Julian Carroll did a lot of that.
MOYEN: Um-hm. And--go ahead.
BRUCE: And then we, we started helping committees in the seventies.
BRUCE: And they, they become fairly important. And used to be nobodyever paid any attention to us; they'd just go to lobby the governor. But now they pay a hell of a lot of attention to us.
BRUCE: Of course, you know, the governor can't handle us now.
MOYEN: (laughs) What type of reforms did take place, besides, obviously,giving you more independence, more power--
BRUCE: --well, we had committee, the committees set up, and then thechairman set up, and in other words, I'm chairman of banking and insurance off and on for thirty-three years.
BRUCE: Uh, I lost it for, well, first time I was off for four years, Itook over transportation.
BRUCE: It was on the, put a bill through that I didn't agree with andWendell was, Ford, and his small loan bill, and I thought it was too rotten. So, I told him I wouldn't consider it, and he said, "Well, let me make you chairman of something else." So that's what I did; I was chairman of Transportation. And then, then Julian calls me, and he said, "I want you to take back over chairman of banking and insurance. And I said, "Why, Governor?" He said, "Well, because them bastards didn't donate to my campaign, and I want to give them you, what they deserve." I was mean to the bankers, and they liked to have had a heart attack. And then I said, "Well, okay," so I took it back, and then I got to thinking, you know, well, if you stay mean to these people, they'll get you first. They'll get me. So I started being nice to them. And over the last few years, I've absolutely, uh, reformed the 32:00Kentucky bank. Donald Kaster(??) will tell you that, that I brought it out of the dark. [telephone rings]
[Pause in recording.]
MOYEN: Okay, I believe we were talking about banking.
BRUCE: Yeah. Well, I, I sponsored the first interstate banking bill in,in the, in the south.
BRUCE: And the next year the other states followed suit, so thatwas that. And then, uh, then we had, uh, the electronic banking, I sponsored that bill in '86. And then in '84, it was the branch banking, interstate banking bill.
BRUCE: And then two or three, four years ago I sponsored the branchbanking bill, which let a branch anywhere in the state of Kentucky. And that opened it completely up, the banking in Kentucky.
BRUCE: And that was a hard bill to pass.
MOYEN: And what--
JANIE: --what color is the truck?33:00
BRUCE: Red. Red. And there'll be a man with him. Billy's gonna be--
JANIE: --its color is red. And, and.
JANIE: International. Red, International.
JANIE: And he appreciates it and if we'd like to bring him home(??).
BRUCE: My man's gonna with him.
JANIE: Yes, he'll know where. You take him ------------(??); you'lltake him and ------------(??) know where to find him. Thank you.
MOYEN: So, now what were those, um, three main pieces of legislation?
BRUCE: Interstate banking bill, which is eighty-, 1984.
MOYEN: Um-hm. And, and how did that change things? What was that for--
BRUCE: --it let banks buy banks, and made multimillionaires out of abunch of people in Kentucky. I probably made more millionaires than anybody in the history of Kentucky. When they sold their banks, they made--
BRUCE: --they made millions out of it. And they sold a lot of banks.And, uh, so, but it still opened up banking to, to where it was more competitive. Hell, they used to, in eastern Kentucky, and well, some of the holes(??) around Kentucky just loaned it to their friends and 34:00kin folks and you couldn't grow.
BRUCE: And you know, they said it was going to ruin it, you know, but,uh, North Carolina only has, mainly three banks, and they've growed like hell, so that's what I was going by.
BRUCE: And so, that then, then, the next one was the electronic one. Ifyou, if you had an account here in Hopkinsville, you, and another bank bought them, then you couldn't work for the other bank, so this thing goes for(??) electronic bank. And then, and then later on, the last piece of legislation was the hardest, was branch banking, where bank anywhere you want to.
BRUCE: And, uh, the majority floor leader was opposing that. And I beathim in the House. Stumbo was opposed to it.
MOYEN: And why was he opposed to that?
BRUCE: Oh, well, you know, he, he had some friends that were opposed toit, I guess.
BRUCE: And, uh, it eliminated from, why buy a bank when you can just get35:00a charter and put up a branch? So it sort of eliminated that from--
BRUCE: --unless it was a profitable -----------(??).
BRUCE: So, that sort of, the executive(??) director says I brought itout of the dark ages.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Now, we are getting a little bit ahead of ourselves--
BRUCE: -- -----------(??)----------
BRUCE: --and that's okay. That's okay. But let me ask you about this.When you're elected in 1964, and in the, in the rest of the sixties, in particular, it's a pretty tumultuous time across the United States and, and also in Kentucky to some extent. Where was Kentucky in terms of civil rights, and what type of civil rights type legislation, and what types of pressures--
BRUCE: --I voted for the first civil rights bill in Kentucky.
MOYEN: Did you, was there any pressure to oppose that?
MOYEN: From your constituents?
BRUCE: Yeah, ----------(??) were pretty conservative. But we have a36:00lot of blacks, and I felt sorry for them, they're working, they worked with me all their life. And the, I voted for it. In fact, uh, I walk downtown now and the blacks all know me. I tell Janie they must have my damn picture in their church, because every one of them knows me. Janie! Come here. When I walk, walk anywhere in town, or big K-mart, or Wal-Mart or anything, who, who says howdy to me more than anybody?
JANIE: The black.
MOYEN: And, and besides that first legislation, was there, was thereother legislation that you were able to support--
BRUCE: --yeah, there was some--
MOYEN: --that really helped.
BRUCE: Yeah, housing and some other things. Not too much. That was,that was the main break.
MOYEN: Um-hm. With the open housing legislation, I think that, uh--
BRUCE: --that was Mae Street Kidd--
BRUCE: --that black woman--
BRUCE: --I told you about that was ----------(??).
MOYEN: Um-hm. Were you able to work with her on that, and say, "Okay,I'm going to vote for this if"-- 37:00
BRUCE: --no, no -----------(??).
MOYEN: Um-hm. Now, when, when you went to Frankfort, I believe thatRichard Moloney had passed away, right?
MOYEN: And Shelby McCallum was--
BRUCE: --Richard was majority floor leader-elect, supposed to beelected, he died, and they put Doug Denham in and Shelby McCallum, the governor had picked him to be the speaker.
MOYEN: Um-hm. What was his leadership style like? How, was he effectivein, in getting votes, or, or working for the governor, or, or how would you describe his leadership?
BRUCE: I'd say that he worked with the governor.
BRUCE: Pretty(??) nice fellow.
MOYEN: Um-hm. All right. So, after you served a couple of years, didyou face opposition in your next election? 38:00
BRUCE: I had all kinds of opposition. I had Democrats, Republicans,and everything out after me. And I won most of them five to one, so I haven't been bothered too much.
MOYEN: Um-hm. And was it primarily just in that, in your secondelection that you had to deal with that?
BRUCE: No, third, fourth, fifth, I even(??) had them all the time.
BRUCE: And we just worked, like everything, we had one boy we had fromCrofton, about thirty miles north of here, and different world, and he'd been president, chairman, he'd been mayor of Crofton, he'd been on the school board, he'd been president, had the Baptist church in Crofton, but I carried his home precinct, so I, that was a pleasure, on that one. I outmaneuvered him.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Uh, what did these people, for what reasons were theysaying that they ran, were running against you?
BRUCE: Just, just the agitation, I guess(??).
BRUCE: They, they couldn't come up with anything that I'd done wrong.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Okay. So, um, after Ned Breathitt's term, there's39:00obviously a big change when Louie Nunn is elected and there's a Republican governor. How did that change the General Assembly or the, the House in particular?
BRUCE: Well, we had forty-three Republicans when Louie was elected thatfirst term, and fifty-seven Democrats, and it was real close vote, and the last, uh, pretty well could, could pass what he wanted to, but then he come on with the sales tax. And he passed the sales tax. The next session we had only twenty Republicans, and ten of them were new. And they had a whole lot of Republicans up there. And I'd tell the boys, "Well, if Fletcher's elected, I want to watch you all vote for a tax and cry like they did in 1968." They did. They cried. Like babies, and it was boohooing, because they'd bad-mouthed us, Democrats, you 40:00know, "No good S.O.B.'s," and then, then when Louie had to pass the tax, then we stayed in the next forty, thirty-five years. So.
BRUCE: And there's going to have to be one passed now, and I just laugh,say, you know, I'm, Fletcher suits me fine. You all have to vote for that tax, and I'm going to sit back there and laugh at you, because I don't have to. And some of those boys that swore on the Bible that they wouldn't vote for a tax, they voted for it.
BRUCE: They put the pressure on them. Some of them didn't even runagain. But there was only ten out of the forty-three that returned.
MOYEN: In what ways--you mentioned this briefly, and maybe you could gointo a little more detail--did he, did he put pressure on you, and did you see--
BRUCE: --yeah, he put pressure on me--
MOYEN: --Louie Nunn putting the pressure--
BRUCE: --but it didn't bother me. Like I told you, he said he was goingto close down everything here, and I said, "Well go right ahead, I'm not going to explain why you do that, Governor." And laughed at him and walked off. That's that our conversation.
BRUCE: Oh, I was a smart-alecky with him.41:00
MOYEN: Um-hm. And, and what about the others who did, were, even, evena lot of Democrats seemed to, uh, I guess, be pressured into voting--
BRUCE: --sure they did--
MOYEN: --for the tax increase.
MOYEN: Why was that?
BRUCE: They didn't know any better.
MOYEN: Um, were there, were there any other important pieces oflegislation during Louie Nunn's term that you can think of, that were landmark either in--
MOYEN: --in pushing them through, or in your opposition?
BRUCE: Of course, while he was governor I had an opponent all(??) thetime. They didn't really bother me.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Who opposed you when he was, when he was governor, doyou recall?
BRUCE: Um-hm. I beat him real bad. I had some Democrats too. One of42:00them ran that I had gotten him a job up there as a doorkeeper, and then he wanted to ride up with me and come back with me, and all -------- ----(??). And then he said, uh, on the way back, "If you don't get me a better job, I'm going to run against you." And I said, "Go to hell," and he did. And I beat him about ten to one. So, he didn't do too well. But my daddy said I should have let him out and let him walk the rest of the way home. But I was nice. (Moyen laughs)
MOYEN: Now, also during Louie Nunn's--
BRUCE: --you have all those experiences in politics. Every daysomething happens, you know.
BRUCE: Uh, you just, uh, I had a little project that I put in thebudget. Didn't amount to nothing, didn't cost anything, and the highway department wouldn't do it, so I put it in this open, down in Fort Campbell, this -----------(??), and it was open up--this is now.
BRUCE: It was open up the, 1,500 more feet of, not enclose it, just move43:00it up--in other words, it was open, open access here, and I just moved it up 1,500 more feet. And the governor vetoed it. And I was mad. So I, Illinois Tool bill was up--
MOYEN: --and when was this?
BRUCE: Fifth session.
MOYEN: Okay. All right.
BRUCE: Illinois Tool bills was up, Patton, he vetoed it. So, damn it,I'm going to get you, so I go in the Democrat caucus, and he has his boys(??) voice, Patton people in there that don't want the Illinois Tool bill, which would exempt, uh, corporations from corporation taxes, that would double Illinois Tool bill, of course, would double the corporation tax. So I get up and I jump up first, and that's what you always do if you're smart, you jump up first or, or wait. This was a jump-up first. And I jumped up and I tell him, you know, we've got to put this on this bill, because we have all these, everybody's a corporation now, and, and if we go home and they, we're going to have 44:00a hard time getting reelected. And I said "Now," and I make it short, to make it short, I give them, I said, "I'm not the smartest member in here, everybody knows that, I very seldom get up and speak in Democrat caucus, but I have today, because I think every, think the world of you all, but I'm the damn best one at getting reelected up here in this room, nobody can dispute that. And if we don't, they'll be six or seven of you all that I won't see back next session." Man, it goes on right, right over the governor's people. Then we get it over to the governor's, pass it, then the governor vetoes part of it. It was attached to another the bill. Now, he can veto the budget bill, but he can't veto any other bill according to the constitution, in my opinion. So, he vetoes that part of the bill. Then I asked Chandler for a ruling on it real quick the next day. And Chandler rules, quickly, that the governor could not veto that part of the bill, and then one of his people tell one of my friends that maybe they shouldn't have done that to me. So that's what, and he was down here speaking last, about 45:00two months ago, and he said, uh--
MOYEN: --is that Governor Chandler?
BRUCE: "Representative Bruce keeps on running, he's going to learnthe system, in fact, he can teach you a damn good lesson right now." Laughed. I mean, I, I told him, I said, "It's not you governor; I'm just paying you back."
BRUCE: "I'm not mad at you; you do a good job, helping my county. ButI'm just paying you back." He knows that. So, uh, we have those things.
BRUCE: And you have to do that if you're going to have any respect.
MOYEN: Right. Um-hm.
BRUCE: It's essential that you do that. If you let him run over you,they don't respect you.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Now--
BRUCE: --then, then another one this last session I had, it was a realtough one, was the predatory lending bill. Uh, it come to banking and insurance. The sponsor of one of those bills was Bob Damron, who I asked to sponsor the bill that, that the banks wanted. And the other one is Stumbo and Robin Webb, who's a good young lady. And Stumbo was 46:00majority floor leader. And the AARP are backing that one. Now, that's tough. So, I tell him, "Hell, no I'm not going to consider it." Then I tell them, "No, I'll let you have a hearing on it," and I let them have a hearing on it. But what it would've done would've closed most of the financial institutions that they couldn't make mortgage off of. It just absolutely they didn't know what they was doing. Now, I read the bill, and there wasn't no way, and Stumbo and them hadn't read it, they just signed it because they wanted the AARP-backing.
BRUCE: And so, uh, we get in committee and I have a hearing on it, andthen we vote Bob Damron's bill out of committee. And they're madder than hell. So Stumbo reaches over at me one day and he said, "I'm going to send you a bill--
[Pause in recording.]
BRUCE: "I'll take your bill up in committee, you call mine up and vote47:00on the floor, if I don't have it back in your damn hands in fifteen minutes." He said, "That's a deal." So he sent it back to committee. I called for a recess. We meet in the back of the room, vote it out, and fourteen minutes later I said, "It's back in your damn hands now, I want it up." So, a little AARP lobbyist comes up, and she says, "What happens now?" "Oh," he said, "that damn chairman done brought it out, out of committee again, I'm just going to call it up and let it go." So he did. (laughs) So, we passed a right good bill that the banks wanted, and they wouldn't run them out of business. But they passed one in Georgia like that, and they're having to redo it and everything. Just, just some people, they, they mean well, but, uh, you just have to be tougher than hell up there some days.
BRUCE: But AARP thinks they're strong. So, here about a month ago theywere, I was at a meeting, and they said, uh, "Why don't you all go, the AARP has invited the county judge, the mayor of Hopkinsville, and Senator Pendleton and Senator Adam," and they stopped right there. And I'm sitting there, they didn't invite me. (laughs) But I'll survive. 48:00
BRUCE: I'll survive. But I did what I thought was right.
BRUCE: And I won.
BRUCE: But, uh, Stumbo and I have, have, we're real close, but we havebattles every once in a while.
BRUCE: Like he opposed me on the, on the branch banking bill. And hisamendment was the one he was opposing me on. And, uh, he worked all night on it, and I went home and went to bed. So, the next day I woke up and we were standing there, and I said, "When are you going to call my, my bill up? And then you can call your amendment." He said, "I'm going to do it today." I said, "You think you got enough votes?" "Yeah." I said, "Well, I don't. So let's go." So we vote and I win forty-two to thirty-eight. And he said, "Damn, them boys won't vote against you." But I took one of his best friends, and I'm sitting up there, and I look back there, and a boy from Hazard, he's close to Stumbo, said, "Hell, I'm going to get his vote." So I call my wife down, and I said, "You go over there and tell the banking lobbyists to call this banker 49:00in Hazard. And have them call that boy." So we watched them bring the note in. He goes to the telephone, comes back, red in the face, and he votes with me. (laughs) So, those are some of the thrills you get--
BRUCE: --out of manipulating, you know.
BRUCE: ----------(??) And I win too.
BRUCE: But I also get, I didn't tell you about the times I got beatthough.
BRUCE: But, uh, one time I didn't vote KERA, because I thought theproperty taxes, we owned a lot of land, my kinfolks owned a lot, my brother, nephew, everybody owns land in my family. And it would double(??) the property taxes, and the, the taxes wasn't so bad they put on them, but opening up the property tax scares me. [telephone rings] Janie, tell them I'm not here. [telephone rings] So, uh, so I didn't vote for it, and they took me off as chairman of banking for four years.
BRUCE: So, one day I'm sitting there, and, you know, you, everybody50:00wondered what I was going to do, because they thought I was mean and I wasn't. And I just sat there and took my medicine. And then the speaker of the House, Rapier, put him in. And he recognized another man to call the bill off the board. It's unheard of. Never seen it done before. The majority floor leader is after his job.
BRUCE: I turn around to Stumbo and I said, "You're the weakest son ofa bitch I ever seen up here, you ought to get your ass back in the mountains." And we're close, I do that. So, I turned around, and in about five minutes, he punches(??) me, said, "What can we do about it?" I said, "We replace him with Jody Richards. And I'll be back the new chairman, and you'll be known as the most powerful man in the House." Two years later, he finally said, "You're the new chairman and I'm the most powerful man in the legislature." And sure enough he is.
BRUCE: And when Jody, we made Jody look real good(??), six or eightyears ago. But I was back chairman.
BRUCE: You, just time will take care of that.
BRUCE: And so the whole bunch that kicked me off is gone, and I'm stillthere.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Now, uh--
BRUCE: --that was Blandford and all of them, a bunch of crooks.51:00
MOYEN: Um-hm. Did you feel like, well, let me stay with this for aminute. Did you feel like that, that was the sole reason that they removed you from that position, was--
BRUCE: --oh yeah, I was told that --
MOYEN: And that--
BRUCE: --that'd never been done before. Maybe remove you if you didn'tsupport the right speaker or something, but never, never on a bill. That's when Blandford thought he was a dictator. I'd helped put him in unfortunately, but, uh, he's gone now. Went to prison for five years. Which he probably deserved.
MOYEN: Um-hm. All right. Um, going back again, when, when Louie Nunnis in office, Julian Carroll becomes speaker. Um, now that had to have been a different dynamic in terms of--
BRUCE: --Julian was a good(??) speaker--
MOYEN: --leadership? In, in what ways was he a particularly goodspeaker? What was he-- 52:00
BRUCE: --well, he was, he was a leader. We had to look for Julian forleadership, because we didn't have the governor to look to.
And Wendell was the leader in the, on the floor, was a leader in theSenate.
BRUCE: And they worked together real good.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Now, in the 1971 election, during the campaign, WendellFord was running against Bert Combs, if, if I remember that correctly. Do you remember who you supported?
BRUCE: I was sort of neutral on that one. I didn't really get in thegovernor's races back then(??). I had friends on both sides, real close.
BRUCE: Didn't really bother me which one.
MOYEN: Um-hm. In politics, when you're looking at who's running forgovernor, particularly in your own party, in the primary, or who's up, who's gonna be up for leadership, in either the House, well, in your case, in the House, how do you go about deciding who you're gonna throw your support to? Is it based solely on your working relationship with 53:00them, or is there something there to--
BRUCE: --no, based(??) solely on your friendship.
BRUCE: When you're working with, right now we've got a hot race going,in the, between Rocky Adkins and Harry Moberly.
BRUCE: And Rocky's a good friend of mine; so is Harry, but Rocky'scloser. So I'm supporting Rocky, and I think he'll win.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Okay. Um, what do you call, recall about Ford'sadministration and the, and the House during that time before he resigned?
BRUCE: Well, he become governor--
BRUCE: --and, of course, he's been lieutenant governor.
BRUCE: Now, uh, Ford, he had us vote for professional negotiations andthen, then vetoed the bill.
MOYEN: Now, why was that?
BRUCE: Well, the school superintendent slid in his office, and told him54:00they wasn't going to support Dee Huddleston for U.S. Senator. And he, he vetoed--(laughs)--the damn thing, and that left us hanging out there. That's why I got one opponent. School superintendent got me that boy, uh, Crofton, I was telling you about, been on the school board, because I had voted for professional, professional negotiations for the teachers and it passed. And then Wendell vetoed it. But the story was that all the school superintendents threatened to be against Dee Huddleston and he changed his mind. Those things do happen.
BRUCE: We understand that.
MOYEN: Um-hm. And, and what about Norb Blume, as he moved into thespeakership?
BRUCE: Well, when Julian was elected governor--
BRUCE: --oh, a bunch of us told him that we weren't going to support adamn thing he did if he didn't get rid of Norb Blume, and he did. He, Norb was under Wendell Ford.
BRUCE: Norb didn't like me, because I didn't vote with him all the time.55:00
BRUCE: And, uh, I told him, I said, "I only need one friend up here, andthat's the governor." And so, so when he got ready to appoint chairmen back again, I was transportation chairman then. Wendell made Norb call me up, and I thanked him so sweet, he, he nearly cried on the phone, he was so damn mad. (laughs) [telephone rings] MOYEN: Do you want to take that?
BRUCE: ---------(??)--no, I don't want it.
MOYEN: Okay. Um, now--
BRUCE: --but Norb was overbearing. Felt like he was a union leader,you know.
BRUCE: And he just looked like he was running a union. But, no, notany of us boys liked him from western Kentucky, because we didn't like nobody pushing us around.
MOYEN: Um-hm, um-hm.
BRUCE: And we eliminated him too.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Now, let me ask you this--
BRUCE: --we put Bill Kenton in, who was a much better speaker, and a--------(??), outstanding fellow.
BRUCE: From Lexington.56:00
BRUCE: But he died.
MOYEN: Now, let me ask you, when did you become chair of the banking,House banking?
BRUCE: In '70.
MOYEN: [Nineteen] Seventy?
BRUCE: And ten I skipped four years and went back in '76.
BRUCE: Then I stayed on until, oh, KERA, until '92, and then skippedfour years, and come back, and I'm still there(??).
MOYEN: Right. Um-hm. And in the meantime, after you were office chair,you were chair of transportation?
BRUCE: In the early seventies.
MOYEN: Okay. Let me ask you about that. How important, um, are roads,and figuring out where roads are going, in terms of getting elected, in terms of your constituency, and how has that changed during your long tenure in office?
BRUCE: Well, we, we finally sent the money back to the magistrates todo it now. We put a few roads in very carefully. Back then, we, it'd 57:00worry you to death. You never could finish, put a whole road in, you always put half, and tell the rest of the people, "You get next time you elect me; you get the rest of it." That was an old trick.
MOYEN: (laughs) Did you manage to do that?
BRUCE: Yes, several times.
BRUCE: But, uh, I, that's been a lot easier since we don't have, I'vehelp get a few little roads in. In fact, uh, um, last time I had an opponent, six or eight years ago, a Republican woman supported me, she lived on Dirk(??) Road, but the year after she was elected, she, blacktop right by her house stopped. I wanted everybody to know who in the hell did it.
BRUCE: So, we can do it, but we don't, it's not really in our(??), wesend the money back to the county.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Okay.
BRUCE: But I thought that was real good. Just a little past her houseit stopped, and everybody knew what the hell happened.
BRUCE: She had supported the right candidate.
BRUCE: And that was the boy's home precinct. I carried all it.
BRUCE: All his kinfolks too. So, it was always, do those things.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Now, when Julian Carroll was governor, some people are,he was referred to, occasionally, as "Emperor Julian." Some people use that term. How assertive or authoritative was he?
BRUCE: Julian worked hard to, to get what he wanted. And he worked dayand night to get what he wanted, and make himself look good. But he'd go into a room with a bunch of legislators, and he'd put up here what all this up here, and then they'd tell him, "No, we can't do this." And they'd come down to there, and I looked at him one day and I said, "Julian, you didn't want that first thing, you just put exactly what you wanted and let them pull down to it." He said, "Don't you dare tell them what's that(??)." (both laugh)
MOYEN: I guess he had had a lot of experience.
BRUCE: Yeah. But we'd been there together a long time in the House.
BRUCE: Went in(??) about the same time.59:00
BRUCE: But that, that's why it looked good. He, he worked after it. Heworked day and night.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Now, when, when he was elected--
BRUCE: --he was going to, he called me over one day and he, forbreakfast, and he said, gave me an hour preaching on why I didn't need two district judges. In my, that's when we changed court system. And he got through, and I said, "Julian, you're right. But I want, I'm gonna put two goddamn district judges in my county, and even though you are right," and we had two district judges. So, you couldn't argue with him, you just had to go on and do it.
BRUCE: Tell him what -----------(??). He's sharp. He's a good -----------(??), but I like Julian.
MOYEN: That was--
BRUCE: --in fact, the other day, about a year ago, I saw him, and Isaid, "Governor," I said, "you won a real fight and got to be governor, and now you're ain't(??) a damn thing now," but I almost talked him into running for state Senate, I hear. (both laugh)
MOYEN: I, I was going to ask you about that next, uh, when Julian waselected, and the constitutional amendment passed to reorganize the 60:00legal system. What, uh, out of that reorganization, did you feel was beneficial?
BRUCE: Well, I guess it stopped the feet-grabbing(??) that was going onin these little small towns.
BRUCE: It's terrible.
MOYEN: Can you give me an example of that--
MOYEN: --like what things were going on?
BRUCE: Well, down at Fort Campbell they had a police department, we, weorganized the city down there, you know, chartered the city. And then they put these policemen out there, and if you was one mile over the speed limit, you got a fine. And they, they made gobs of money down there. Harassed everybody, you couldn't hardly drive through there one mile. And, you know, that's stopped all that stuff.
BRUCE: That's probably the best thing, that's why it passed.
BRUCE: Down in little old towns like Hampson and up in Hopkins County,and Crofton, up in my county, it was just, feet-grabbing(??) the hell 61:00out of everybody that went through.
BRUCE: And so they, they, uh, stopped that a whole lot.
MOYEN: So, um--
BRUCE: --and then the county judges used to, bless their hearts, theyhad been probating, they'd been fixing tickets for everybody, all the voters and all, and they went back and they couldn't fix the ticket, they couldn't probate nothing, they couldn't do nothing. About 80 percent of them got beat, because they couldn't do no favors.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Now, by the time 1980 rolls around, you've been therequite a while.
MOYEN: You've certainly moved up in seniority. What legislation, upthrough, let's say up through Carroll's term, had you either written and/or sponsored that you, looking back, you could say, "This was some of the most important legislation during those years--
BRUCE: --I couldn't remember that. I'd have to look it up. But I was62:00responsible for several bills at that time, but, uh. Then I got into banking, that's when I sponsored, well, I sponsored some transportation bills. Uh, like it used to be that if you, if you have a pick-up truck, and you have a farm license on it, you'd put a gooseneck on it. But the Department of Transportation wanted to arrest those people as a tri-axle with a gooseneck on it.
BRUCE: But if you have a farm license, you could get. They only tookthe trucks, farm trucks, uh, lot of grain grows here, we had some nutty DOTs down here. And Senator McCuiston and I got a bill through the House and the Senate that, uh, would, uh, exempt, uh, farm trucks could haul 32,000 pounds without any axle(??) weight, and they couldn't even get that much on the damn truck. So they wouldn't, and they don't have to axle-weigh it. Axle weight is say, 19,000 pounds. 63:00
BRUCE: So, those farmers can haul grain now. And we upped it on the,and on the, and tractor trailers too, farm trucks cut their license fee down 40 percent of what it is for regular -----------(??).
BRUCE: Then, uh, Brown come along and he said, "We're gonna have toamend it, Jim, because we're gonna lose federal funds." So, now we don't have to do that, all we have to do is make our law apply to state roads only and they can't go on the interstate. So, we did that. And if you take a ---------(??) truck on the interstate, you'd be in-weight on the state roads, but according to the interstate, you could be arrested, because you use axle-weight there.
BRUCE: Those are just some of the things. You help your people.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Now, even--
BRUCE: --and, and, you know, and even the, one time they had a, weexempted, uh, farm chemicals, and Moloney and his people stuck it back on, and Wallace Wilkinson's administration, and, and I went in and told 64:00him we had to have a regulation, because these farmers were about to go wild. So we put a, but he said he can't, can't do it in regulation. I said, "You put it on, I'll get it through, because I'm sitting on regulation committee." Seven of us would meet every month. Been there for twenty years. And, uh, so we put it on, passed it through, and then the next session we passed the bill to exempt it. But, uh, Moloney had taken it off, just to sort of stick it to the farmer.
BRUCE: But I wasn't about to have that happen to me. That'd been ten ortwelve years ago. Ten or fifteen(??). Wallace was governor then. And it would have affected him too, because he had a big farm then too.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Sure.
BRUCE: And all the tobacco farmers would have to pay sales tax on allthe chemicals they used.
BRUCE: God. I mean, they ----------(??) the hell of it. They hollermore than anybody.
BRUCE: I didn't say that. Go ahead.
MOYEN: (laughs) Now, before you were in the legislature, and thenespecially during the sixties and seventies, a lot of people will say, 65:00"Well, the Kentucky legislature, it was such a colorful place, and all these things were going on." Well, we talked a lot about the deals that are going on outside before the legislation is passed. What about the dynamics in the legislature, either debate or interesting things that are going on? For example, I think it was in '72 where someone had that, let the turkey go or something. What happened with that? Were you there when that happened?
BRUCE: Yeah, yeah.
MOYEN: What was that about?
BRUCE: The Republicans to the, to the Democrats. Norb Blume wasspeaker, and he was becoming a dictator, and they thought he was a little crooked on the side. Could've been, I don't know. And that's what happened.
BRUCE: Larry Hopkins did it. He went on to become a congressman then,and he got his butt beat somewhere along.
MOYEN: (laughs) Now, uh, what about by the governor, by, by Jones, Iguess, it was?
MOYEN: Larry Hopkins getting beat?
BRUCE: I don't know who beat him.66:00
MOYEN: Not Jones. Um, were there any other instances--
BRUCE: --well, he got beat for governor--
BRUCE: --but then, then I guess he just quit Congress.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Were there any other instances, not necessarily likethat, but that you think kind of exemplify some of the color, or some of the, um?
BRUCE: Oh, you have caucus speakers there, you had people to representtheir districts, and every one up there is, uh, I respect every one, because they represent their people, and you'll find them sort of a reflection of people they, they represent.
BRUCE: Now, you just go, uh, as you go from east Kentucky, you'll find,go in east Kentucky, you'll find the senator, Albert Robinson, sort of like the people from Fleming(??).
BRUCE: Uh, David Williams is sort of like the ones from Williamsburg,and, uh, Stumbo is sort of like the mountain aristocrats. Uh, the 95 percent of the people are poor as hell, the 5 percent, they look up to 67:00him, he's one of those.
BRUCE: You find all of that through, through the whole(??) section,Louisville, you find those people very reflective of the district in Louisville they represent. Altogether, it's a real diversified group from Louisville.
BRUCE: Some Republican, and some not(??), so.
MOYEN: Now, what about your section here in western Kentucky?
BRUCE: Real conservative Democrats.
BRUCE: We don't believe in, we believe in the Ten Commandments, and weresent the Republicans saying if you're a Democrat, you don't believe in God, you're, you're, you're gay, you're everything else. And they've used that on us, and we've got to stop that. We are forming, now, a conservative Democrat House, Democrat caucus, next week. And we, we do have some, you've got one woman in that's Lexington wild, Kathy Stein, or whatever her name. And then you got one in Louisville, Mary Lou Marzian that's sort of the same way, you know. We vote with 68:00them or we'd all get beat.
BRUCE: And they get up and do the preaching, their press loves them, butthey can't pass anything that we don't agree with.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Are there any ways that you can think of, in thedifferent regions, in, with western Kentucky, where you could pinpoint, "This is where we really stuck together, and we were able to stop something that was going to harm our region," or "We were able to get something passed that, uh, by sticking together as a region."
BRUCE: Not really.
BRUCE: We sort of feel like we represent Kentucky, and if it's good forthe state, uh, I sort of resent regional(??) legislation.
BRUCE: In fact, I supported Northern Kentucky University when it wasformed. and that was unusual for a western Kentuckian to support that, but I felt like people up there deserved it. I've supported roads in east Kentucky, because I felt like that's the only way they're ever going to grow and get off our back, for welfare, from welfare. And 69:00they accepted a whole lot.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Now what about--
BRUCE: --we, we would actually, we were supporting east Kentucky throughwelfare. Because hell, they was in there, and they had to furnish, feed them, and take care of them. Now, they're , they're on, prospering.
BRUCE: Now that they can get in and out.
MOYEN: Right. What about the transition? It seems like, to some extent,where western Kentucky was really dominant in politics, and then there was kind of a transition where more, particularly, governors, but came from either central Kentucky or, or elsewhere. What do you think brought about that shift, or is there not really anything to that, it just--
BRUCE: --well, it's, it's hard to, it's a lot harder for us here in westKentucky, two hundred miles away to get things in Frankfort, than it is somebody living in Lexington or Frankfort.
BRUCE: The roads, and everything else, and people will work there,and, they're gonna take care of their own district. I mean, highway 70:00department, you know, you got all kinds of roads running around Frankfort they've put in there, which we don't have here, but we're getting there.
BRUCE: But, uh, it's just a long distance.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Drove, drove here on the 68 Bypass, how long has thatbeen here?
BRUCE: Um, four or five years.
MOYEN: Pretty nice.
BRUCE: Um-hm. Yeah, we've, we're going to have a Pennyroyal extensiongoing on down.
BRUCE: We've had a college from Murray State come up here. We've had anew convention center that's beautiful that they, they didn't build it where I wanted it, but it's behind Murray College over there, if you look way over, six, seven, seven, or eight million dollar convention center.
MOYEN: And this is in Murray?
BRUCE: No, this is here.
MOYEN: Okay, here.
BRUCE: Murray State University has a university right, a mile up theroad.
MOYEN: Oh, okay, an extension campus?
BRUCE: Two miles. And then a mile up the road, we have a veteranscemetery. And then we have a new twenty million courthouse. So we've 71:00done right well(??).
MOYEN: Um-hm. Um-hm.
BRUCE: And I've been, helped a little bit on some of it. In fact,if you cut your tape off, I'll tell you a real good story, you can remember it, but you ain't gonna have it on tape.
[Pause in recording.]
BRUCE: The down there in Crofton invited me up, and had 150 people thereon a weekday, one night, and honored me for saving their school, and doing other things for--
BRUCE: --taking care of them. So, I take care of those poor(??) people.And the Chamber of Commerce don't really love me because if it's between the rural people and the Chamber of Commerce, the rural people will win.
BRUCE: And they've won several things.
MOYEN: Um-hm. But quite a bit of stuff has been built here inHopkinsville.
BRUCE: Yeah. My senator takes credit for it all, but I believe I did alittle. (laughs)
MOYEN: Um-hm. (Bruce laughs) All right. Let me ask you about, um, andwe do keep getting ahead, and there's no problem with that, but back, late seventies, uh, when Julian Carroll leaves, tell me a little bit 72:00about Thelma Stovall and her calling this special session when he's out of state.
BRUCE: She called a special session, I think we take the tax off ofelectricity, utilities.
BRUCE: And it also seemed like, I think, if I read this correctly, HouseBill 44 limited the annual property tax increases.
BRUCE: Yeah. I'm not sure that was under, when she was out(??).
BRUCE: I think we did that somewhere else. But that's the bill thatKERA did away with. So, and that's why I voted against the property--
MOYEN: --um-hm. Right.
BRUCE: Hell, my property tax is double here. And I'm not gonna vote fordoubling our taxes any time, so.
BRUCE: You know, and actually, all, uh, farmers shouldn't be, that's,that's an ancient tax, property tax is, because that's when the only people that had any money had farmland, and that ain't the case now.
BRUCE: A lot of people have got a lot more money than we have.
BRUCE: Well, at least they think they do. But anyway, so.
MOYEN: Um-hm. When, when she called that--73:00
BRUCE: --and I'm the only legislator that drives a, been driving aMercedes for twenty years. I've got a Mercedes there, I've had a Mercedes convertible, and everything. Last time I had an appointed, I put a cover over it and didn't see it for four months, so drove my other car.
MOYEN: (laughs) Um-hm.
BRUCE: So, uh I first got, my Mercedes convertible, I come home ineighty-, '84, I guess it was, '82. And, uh, they said, "You can't win with that," it's a Mercedes white convertible with red leather interior. I had a heart attack in '80. And I'm walking the street--
MOYEN:--you had a heart attack?
BRUCE: Um-hm. Across the street in Chicago, and I see this redconvertible, and I said, "Honey, I'm not gonna die and leave this damn money for some other bastard to spend, I'm going in and buy that." And I bought it. Drove it home. (Moyen laughs) Uh, the Belzberg(??) Brothers. So, I told my friends, I said, "Well, there's two things, we worked like hell and we've got plenty of money to spend. Now, if anybody wants to run, let them run." So we did ----------(??) a long 74:00time ago.
BRUCE: That, usually two things you've got to do in politics is worklike hell and spend a lot of money.
BRUCE: And, uh, it does, it's a very expensive hobby.
BRUCE: I've already donated this year $8,500 and I promised Stumbo,that's $9500, and Crit Luallen $500, that's $10,000 that I put out this year. Not on me, but on my friends.
BRUCE: I gave $4,000 to Jody, two in the explorer committee, and thentwo in the run. And then two to Stumbo, and then $500 to Crit Luallen, and then I forgot some more.
BRUCE: But we donate real well.
BRUCE: That always helps too.
MOYEN: Sure. Sure.
BRUCE: I promised Stumbo some more, and I've promised Crit when shesends me that, Crit Luallen.
MOYEN: Um-hm. And I'm sure that does, like you were saying, help--
BRUCE: --yeah, she's been a good friend of mine over the years, so hasStumbo too.
MOYEN: Um-hm. All right, uh, so--
BRUCE: --but anyway, I, I know that utility tax. Ed Ford sponsored that75:00and that probably hurt the state a whole lot in the revenue.
BRUCE: Go ahead.
MOYEN: In, in what respects did that--
BRUCE: --well, it cut the revenue down where it made it tight.
MOYEN: Um-hm. When John Y. Brown was elected, and we talked aboutsome of the legislative independence, another question I had here that we dealt with some, but let me ask you if there's anything else besides your comment, uh, that John Y. Brown was gone a lot. And do you remember, uh, what Martha Layne Collins, how she would act as lieutenant governor when he was gone, in John Y. Brown's place, what type of job did she do, and--
BRUCE: --well, she didn't try, try to undercut him, or anything likethat. She didn't do what Thelma did.
BRUCE: She was very ethical and very lovable. In fact, she's one of thestraightest governors I've ever seen, really.
BRUCE: Of course, her husband got in trouble, but that wasn't her.
BRUCE: And I think he was halfway set up himself, cause people he wasdealing with. But, uh, she was a very fine lady, and did a whole lot for Kentucky, with the Toyota and all. And we encouraged(??) her on that Toyota plant. Even though there's a lot of resentment for that. But it's proved to be good.
MOYEN: Sure. Now, why was there a lot of resentment on the Toyotapackage?
BRUCE: Well, the money. The money. And also they wasn't--
MOYEN: --the money meaning, just the breaks that they were going to--
BRUCE: --yeah, the breaks, that was one, big thing, and then there wasstill remembrance of Japanese war. Still some of that, that'd been twenty years ago, so some of it's gone. Most of that's gone. They'd all, they dying or dead, one.
MOYEN: Right. Um-hm. Do you recall anyone, in particular, who was anardent opponent of that because of--
BRUCE: --no, not really.77:00
MOYEN: Um-hm. What, was it the legislators themselves who were opposed,or were they--
BRUCE: --some of the legislators--
MOYEN: --fearing reprisal from their--
BRUCE: --some of the legislators were opposed to it.
MOYEN: Okay. All right. What about, um, when Martha Layne Collinsdecided to run? Did, do you recall if you supported her in her primary election?
BRUCE: My wife was her district chairman.
BRUCE: Both ---------(??) Martha Layne.
MOYEN: Okay. All right. And, um, how was her first term as governor?What ways--
BRUCE: --well, she only had one term. It was great. I thought she dida great job the four years.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Or I meant her first session, excuse me.
BRUCE: Well, she did pretty good.
BRUCE: And she tried to, she passed the first highway tax. Uh, gas tax.That's the last one that's been voted in. She, uh, thought she had the votes and called a special session, and then it didn't get enough 78:00votes, and then she went back to the regular session, and it went on then.
MOYEN: Um-hm. What about the special session that was called when shewas governor in, in '85 that dealt primarily with education, I believe? Education reform?
BRUCE: That's the one we, we taxed the corporations and things, and tookthe inheritance tax off, I was telling you about.
MOYEN: Um-hm. And, and you supported that?
BRUCE: Oh yeah, that's probably in the middle of that.
BRUCE: Made a deal with her, you know, you take it off, it passedeighty-six to, she got eighty-, eighty-six votes for it.
BRUCE: Because we had to give some back. And you give Farm Bureau andall of them supported their spouse, marriage tax.
BRUCE: That gave her a whole lot of support out there among the ruralboys.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Now, let me ask you about something else. Um, thisstarted while John Y. Brown was still governor, but then would continue into Martha Layne Collins's, uh, term as governor. You supported legislation that would allow banks to raise their interest, or credit 79:00card companies to raise their interest rates. I think Kentucky had a ceiling at 18 percent, whereas other states 24, maybe even 25 percent, and there was opposition to that. Do you know why people were opposed to that?
BRUCE: Opposed to which now?
MOYEN: It was, um--
BRUCE: --did you say raise or lower?
MOYEN: To, to raise the cap that these credit card companies couldcharge. Do you recall that?
BRUCE: Probably was just a, a competitive with other states.
MOYEN: Um-hm. There was mention of that, I think, in an article, um,you and others had mentioned that banks, particularly in Louisville, were starting to move across--
MOYEN: --state borders.
BRUCE: They moved their credit card business across.
BRUCE: That's right.
MOYEN: Was that legislation eventually successful? Why would people80:00oppose that?
BRUCE: Well, they just oppose anything that raises rates.
BRUCE: You know, they could, and the credit card, it was a credit card,they employed two or three hundred people, and they moved across the border, and didn't have to, some way or another.
BRUCE: I vaguely remember it.
MOYEN: Okay. Now, you had mentioned that you were a member of the FarmBureau here, correct? With some of the multi-bank legislation, didn't they oppose you--
BRUCE: --yeah, they me--
MOYEN: --or did they oppose that--
BRUCE: --real strong, that's the reason I, they had to have a boy fromLexington, Kentucky to sponsor that bill, because a city boy couldn't have passed it, but I got a lot of the rural boys with me and passed the damn thing.
MOYEN: Um-hm. And why were they opposed to it?
BRUCE: They just were close to these little rural banks.
BRUCE: And they just fought it like hell.
BRUCE: And it, they, they, that's about the only time I've ever been on,on the opposite side of Farm Bureau ---------(??). 81:00
BRUCE: But I won, that's the thing, I always win. I started out withabout ten votes in the eighty-, no, in '82, and Martha Layne, tied it in the Senate and she killed it. And then we come back in '84 and passed it fifty-eight, with fifty-eight votes. And then the Senate passed it.
BRUCE: Joe Wright, the majority floor leader, he opposed it, but itstill passed. And then Martha Layne was real close to my wife. And I, we were over there one night, and I told her that, "Now, Governor, you do whatever you want to, but I've got fifty-eight locked in votes, and we'll override your veto." She didn't veto it. She'd committed to the independent bankers she would, but she didn't.
BRUCE: But ------------(??).
BRUCE: Maybe she would have, but she didn't know I was bluffing ------------(??). (Moyen laughs) I can bluff. I remember telling her that, and 82:00she didn't veto it. Joe Prather was for it in the Senate at that time, he took care of the Senate, and I took care of the House.
MOYEN: Now, with that legislation, um, I think it was House Bill 194that was eventually passed.
BRUCE: I don't remember.
MOYEN: Um, a number of years later, and it was after BOPTROT, as bestI understood it, the FBI started to question some of that legislation, um, and they--
BRUCE: --they were questioning Wallace Wilkinson, really.
MOYEN: Um-hm. What was, what were their concerns, or what were theyafraid had happened?
BRUCE: They thought it was bought, but I don't think it was. In fact,they sent one guy, a state senator for three years because he even told Wallace he owed him a favor. And, uh, just, just sort of hinted 83:00for something, they gave Senator Rogers three years, and he didn't, didn't, no money passed hands. Because I told the banks when I handled it, that if, uh, that I was sponsor of the bill, I'm chairman of the committee, and I can kill it anytime I want to. And if I hear of you all offering any money or doing anything illegal, it's dead.
BRUCE: So, I didn't bother; they took me at my word.
BRUCE: But then they did, they did subpoena me, but that was onlybecause of McConnell. I'm popular here in Christian County and he wanted to embarrass me. And the other representative, and he subpoenaed us. And then--
MOYEN: --now, who, who is that that wanted to--
BRUCE: Well, McConnell, he's vicious. Don't put that in there, but heis. And he, uh, subpoenaed, his U. S. Attorney subpoenaed us, and we went before the grand jury, and I took the Fifth Amendment, everybody said, "You can't be elected if you do that."
BRUCE: But evidently I was. So, uh, the U. S. Attorney questioned me,84:00and I, you know, Fifth, the Fifth, I had immunity.
BRUCE: And I gave him all the right answers, and he said, "Well, whydid you take the Fifth?" And I said, "Well, uh, one thing that happened nearly ten years ago, and my memory could've made a mistake and you'd accuse me of lying," and that's bad. I said, "I had bypass surgery in '84, and that affects your memory, and I could've made a mistake." And I said, "Do you really want to know why I took it?" He said, "Yeah!" I said, "I had a damned expensive lawyer sitting out there that told me to, goddamnit." And they said, "Get the hell out of here," so they sent me out.
MOYEN: (laughs) Um-hm.
BRUCE: But I come back home. And it didn't affect my election; I wontwo-to-one.
BRUCE: They got through, hoping(??) to run somebody, and I beat himtwo-to-one, so that, that ended that.
MOYEN: So, they probably sensed that that was going to weaken you, butit--
MOYEN: It didn't.
BRUCE: Well, it might have weakened me, I'd been winning a little bitbetter than that, but anyway, I won two-to-one. (laughs)
BRUCE: And that was in the presidential race too.
BRUCE: They thought they had me. And I think it was all set up to85:00embarrass. The other representative didn't run anymore. He'd been there twenty years, he didn't run. They embarrassed him, so he didn't run. And he's as a fine fellow, but it just was sort of a set-up deal, we thought, to, to embarrass us.
BRUCE: Does that answer your question?
MOYEN: Yeah, that's great. Um.
BRUCE: It's been exciting.
MOYEN: Yeah, it has. It's quite a story.
BRUCE: Never a dull moment. (Moyen laughs)
MOYEN: Now, once you got that passed, and, and we touched on thisbriefly, we didn't go into it a whole lot. Nineteen eighty-five, there's the big leadership change; uh, Don Blandford along with Worthington and Stumbo and Joe Meyer--
BRUCE: --yeah, I remember those.
MOYEN: Um, how did that occur? How did that evolve? When were youtold, "Hey," by these people, "we're going to try and take over the leadership," and--
BRUCE: --oh, they'd been working on it for a long time.
MOYEN: Um-hm. And, um, what was your reasoning behind supporting that86:00change in leadership?
BRUCE: Well, at that time Blandford was a pretty good fellow.
BRUCE: And after he got elected, it went to his head.
BRUCE: And he caused(??) BOPTROT, you might say.
MOYEN: Right. Um-hm. All right--
BRUCE: --you take a poor boy, been a meat cutter, and put him in apowerful position like that, -------------(??).
BRUCE: You never abuse your power.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Could you see that when he was, when he became speaker?
BRUCE: After a couple of years.
MOYEN: So, it took a little time?
MOYEN: Um-hm. I guess after it's--
BRUCE: --very powerful. He was more powerful than the governor.Actually, Wallace Wilkinson had to, had to humor him to do anything.
MOYEN: Um, now, in 1986 you mentioned the legislation that you sponsoredfor, for easier acquisition of these banks-- 87:00
BRUCE: --yeah, somewhere around in there, either '86, '88.
MOYEN: I believe it was '86. Was there much opposition to that?
BRUCE: No, no.
MOYEN: Did you face the same kind of opposition? No?
BRUCE: No. Passed ninety-eight to nothing.
MOYEN: Now, why was--
BRUCE: --ninety-eight to nothing.
BRUCE: In the House.
MOYEN: Okay. Why was that so much easier than, say, the--
BRUCE: --well, it was, the bill had passed, it hadn't been, nothingwrong in this. It was just making better access for the public.
BRUCE: I mean, you know, you couldn't vote against that.
MOYEN: Right. What about, in that same year, I believe that you, um,sought to limit the money legislators were receiving for speaking engagements, um, things like that. And I read that, that was because less that you wanted to limit the money, and more because you wanted to make sure that it was, that people realized or, or that it went on record. Do you recall that? What it was about at all? Okay. 88:00
BRUCE: We don't, we were getting, some of them, some people were gettingpaid outrageous. I don't know what else you call it, fees, honorary fees.
BRUCE: And, uh, it's a good thing we did that.
MOYEN: Um-hm. All right, now, in 1987, Wallace Wilkinson--
BRUCE: --we don't get paid anything now. It's all.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Um, when did that take place? I, I didn't catch that.There's no honorary--
BRUCE: --somewhere, somewhere in the nineties.
BRUCE: No honorary fees now.
MOYEN: All right. Was that for, was that part of the ethics legislationafter BOPTROT?
BRUCE: I think so. I think so.
MOYEN: Okay. All right. When Wallace Wilkinson decided to run forgovernor, um, did you think that he could win when he announced? How was he so effective, in your mind, how was he able to pull that off? 89:00
BRUCE: People wanted the lottery, and no other politician picked up one.I think he just swept it in.
MOYEN: Um-hm. So you'd say that's the primary reason?
MOYEN: That he was able to do that? Once he--
BRUCE: --I'll tell you another good story.
BRUCE: He had the lottery. I'm sitting on state government, and I amthe tenth vote that he has to have, and I vote for it, after a real hard pull. And, uh, this old preacher up in the northern end of the county writes me the nastiest letter, my wife wouldn't even let me have it, it was so nasty. I was the devil himself, because I'd caused the world to go to hell, in other words. So, about a year later, the guy that finances the church is a good friend of mine, and he probably put 50 to 60 percent of the donations in, come to me, and he said, "I understand you can get a building permit through Frankfort real fast." And I could 90:00at that time. I'd got one for my church overnight. And, uh, for an elevator or something. And I said, "Yeah, I can do that. She's a good friend of mine," the commissioner, Alice. "But," I said, "there's just one little catch to it. If I get this, I want a letter from that preacher telling me how, what a nice person I am." I have both letters. (both laugh) That's the real, real, those are the things that you--
BRUCE: --you play, I play a lot.
BRUCE: Play with you.
MOYEN: (laughs). Now, when Wallace Wilkinson became governor, hedefinitely tried to reassert some of the authoritarian--
BRUCE: --but he never did.
MOYEN: What type of conflicts came up, or what type of examples, doyou have, where you can say, "Yes, he tried to do this, but look, it didn't--"
BRUCE: --I don't remember exactly the thing, but he, uh, Blandford was91:00running the show at that time.
BRUCE: And, you know, Blandford had run it(??), he couldn't, he justcouldn't do it.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Did you have any run-ins with Wilkinson?
BRUCE: No, somehow or another he was scared of me.
BRUCE: Because before he was governor, we had a bill in my committee thatwould've, uh, and he was backing it, and the majority, the speaker was backing it, and I was against it, and Martha Layne was the governor. It would've let, uh, a company in Canada take over Ashland Oil.
BRUCE: In fact, yeah, right up there is a photo they gave me, one ofthem, that one over there, read right there.
MOYEN: This one up here?
BRUCE: No, down, down, right straight in front of you, right there.
MOYEN: Okay. (pause) (laughs) That's pretty good.
BRUCE: And, uh, he was backing, he was just a lobbyist then, and a hotelowner. And the speaker of the House was backing him(??). So it went to 92:00my committee, and I, and I didn't want, I, the bill would've, uh, let's see, how was it. We had to get it out of committee, because it was, it was a bill forbidding this company from Illinois, uh, from Canada taking over Ashland Oil, which I thought would be bad for the state.
BRUCE: But they were going to get big money out of it, Wallace was,lobbying fee. I think it was illegal. So he come to my committee. And the speaker of the House is working the committee, and my wife and, and another fellow is working the committee for Ashland Oil. And hell, they go in the bathroom and she can't get him out. And I'm fooling with it for an hour, and finally I said, "We're going to vote." So, we, we vote. And I've been chairman ten, twelve years--
JANIE: --corn's in the dryer(??).
JANIE: It's in the barn.
BRUCE: Good. Uh, so, we take a vote, and they only have six votes. I93:00said, "Well, we've only got six votes here today, does the, uh, any member want to change? It won't really matter." And I look over at Miss Mae Street Kidd, the black lady, and said, "Oh, she's probably on both sides." "Oh yes, I'll change. I'll vote." " Well, that's nice Miss Kidd." And look over at Hoover Dawahare, he's the one that always went both sides. And I said, "Well, that's eight, one more ain't going to matter. Anybody else?" "Yeah, I change." I said, "That makes eight. By the way, the chairman forgot to vote, that makes nine." (slams hand) Bill passed out(??).
[Pause in recording.]
BRUCE: Got a committee that, that I worked two days--they say I'm a94:00great chairman that runs smooth, they can't imagine. But the boy that had it while I was out just let it run wild. Hell, it's a dog-eat, dog-fighting, you know, you, I got egoistical bankers in there and egoistical insurance executives, and hell, you got to be tougher than hell to run that committee. So, I work about two days, before my meeting, getting everybody happy, and the members happy, and checking where they are, before I call a bill up, it's going pretty well be decided what's going to happen to it.
BRUCE: I'm going to know. So anyway, I, I, that's the way I run thecommittee.
BRUCE: So, but anyway, this is during the interim and we'd passed a billthat I was cosponsor of, that I really wanted. I think Bob, actually Bob -----------(??), he and I sponsored a lot of bills together. Bob's a very, very great legislator. Bob Damron is. So, um, this would early payment, quick payment for doctors and hospitals, because that makes all the doctors happy and all the hospitals happy. Well, that's 95:00a big group, you know.
BRUCE: They hire a lot of people, and all.
BRUCE: And, uh, I'm in the middle of that one. And, of course,the insurance companies are fighting it, but it still gets through committee and we pass it, and we run it through. Then, we have regulations that come on. And, uh, this regulation is ending up in front of banking and insurance. Well, I have this ole Republican boy out of Louisville, Crimm(??). And these two little lobbyists come at me and I said, "No, we're not gonna take that up. We're not gonna pass nothing like that, that would actually derail(??) early payment." So, I'm sitting there and he makes up and makes a motion to put an amendment on it, which would have derailed the early payment.
BRUCE: And I look at him, so then we started discussing it for aboutan hour. And then I get up. This is, cause it was interim committee, and I check with some of the members and Roger Thomas's wife is an 96:00executive at Bowling Green, top dog. And he said, "I've got to vote for that out of committee." I said, "Hell, Roger, she'll kill you. But," I said, "I'll tell what, I'm gonna save you." So, I check with two or three more and she had to have their votes. You can pretty well tell, any(??) be.
BRUCE: So, it had to pass that day because you only got thirty days--theinterim only meet every thirty days.
BRUCE: So, so, I got back and sit down. And about ten minutes aftertwelve, I look at my watch, and I said, "You know, it's ten minutes after twelve, past my dinnertime. And I'm getting pretty hungry. We could go another hour. You know, what? I move to adjourn." (slaps hand) Slammed down and walked out the door. And the little lobbyist said, "What the hell happened?" And my wife's sitting there, she turned around, and he said, "What happened?" "He just adjourned the meeting, you're out." (both laugh) So, the little lobbyist, one of them was working for McBrayer.
BRUCE: He and I used to serve together.97:00
BRUCE: And, uh, he went back over and he's telling him about it. Andhe said, "Son, you just walked into the big leagues." Said, "You got a good lesson today." So, I ended that up.
BRUCE: I mean, that's, a good chairman takes care of his members.
BRUCE: Then I saw the ole Crimm boy, Ron Crimm out of Louisvilleafter the meeting. And I said, "Well, Ron, I hear you, you used to be chairman, -used to be on the board at, board at Norton's Hospital in Louisville." "Oh, I still am!" I said, "Hell, no, they took your ass off about ten minutes ago when you did that." He said, "No, they didn't." (laughs) But anyway, I was telling him, he said, "I really appreciate that. I didn't realize what I'd done until we got about half-way through it, through the questions." He didn't realize what he was doing; they lied to him probably.
BRUCE: So, it's a tough committee.
BRUCE: But, uh, you have to do those things.
BRUCE: So that's just another story; I can tell them--
BRUCE:--all day like that. Hell, we'd be here ten o'clock at night.
BRUCE: Go ahead.
MOYEN: Let's talk a little bit about KERA. Now, obviously, you opposedit.
BRUCE: I voted against it, yeah.98:00
MOYEN: And, and you opposed it based on property taxes--
MOYEN:--the way they're going to fund--
BRUCE:--I, I didn't oppose KERA or anything. I thought it, like yousay, but I did on property. In fact, we had, Pete Worthington had an amendment on it we passed that would've taken, wouldn't let them mess with the property tax. Then, Blandford recessed and worked the floor and got the votes back.
BRUCE: To put it back on where it did affect property tax.
MOYEN: What types of, when, when that legislation was up, did you facesome pretty intense pressure to vote for that? What--
BRUCE:--yeah, yeah. After I didn't vote for it, um--
MOYEN:--what about, was it just after or was it before as well?
BRUCE: Well, before a little bit, but after it was over with, threeteachers--when I voted, I knew, I went with the amendments and they were all smiling upstairs. And then when I voted no, I could tell that I was in hell of a trouble with the teachers, you know.
BRUCE: So, um, I went out the backdoor and -----------(??) found me for99:00a day or two and finally he grabbed me out in the hall, going to eat breakfast one morning, and said, "We want to talk to you." Three of them from here. And I sit down and I said, "Can I?" "No, no," they wouldn't let me say nothing for a while and they told me how they was going on and beat me and everything. And I said, "Can I say something now?" "Yeah." I said, "Well, let me tell you all. You better be damn nice to me, because I'm already elected for two more years. You better know I'm there." So, then about two years after that, they had a meeting at the high school on KERA. And I went. And there's a hundred and fifty, two hundred people there. And them three damn teachers that were going beat me, was up, cussing KERA like everything, and making them work twice as hard. And didn't give them all that much money either. And I told them, I said, "It's going to make you work like hell. And you ain't going to get all that much more money."
BRUCE: So, that, that ended that up. They didn't bother me anymore.
BRUCE: KEA supports me.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Um, so they do, KEA does support you.
BRUCE: They have the last few times.
MOYEN: Okay. Uh, in retrospect, what did you see, um, besides the tax100:00issue, what did you see--
BRUCE:--that's, that's all. I, I was not against KERA.
MOYEN: Right. What about KERA did you see as beneficial and what didyou think in retrospect?
BRUCE: Well, I just thought it something we're behind, we ought to trysomething. And I'm just sort of, trying something, I'm not sure it's been as great as they say it has, as, as the do-gooders say it has.
BRUCE: They keep telling how it good it is and they went up one point inten or twelve years. So, you know, I'm not sure it's that good. But I think they should've tried something and they are trying. I mean, you know, if you're way down here and you're not doing any good, you got to do something.
BRUCE: And they tried. And I, I didn't oppose that part.
MOYEN: Um-hm. And let's talk just a little bit about, um, what happenedwhen you, you felt like you lost your chairmanship because of that vote.
BRUCE: Oh, it was. I was told that, period(??).
MOYEN: Um-hm. You were told that?
MOYEN: Were you that after you had lost?
BRUCE: Well, it was hinted before.101:00
MOYEN: So, did you know that, that was coming?
BRUCE: Didn't bother me. I didn't, I withstood other things before.
BRUCE: I didn't really think they do it. They threatened me, but Ididn't really think they do it.
MOYEN: Um-hm. And when you were removed from that post, what else didyou serve on? What other committee did you serve on instead?
BRUCE: Oh, I served on banking and insurance as a member--
BRUCE:--and state government and then elections and constitutions, andthen agriculture, or something like that (??).
BRUCE: They didn't do anything else to me.
MOYEN: Um-hm. And when did you say you got the chair back?
BRUCE: About four years later, when we kicked out the speaker and putin, you know, Blandford lost. Then Rapier, who was behind me, the one who kicked me, he, he put in Joe Clarke, who was a drunk, and the press wouldn't admit it, because they loved him. And--
MOYEN:--why was, why was that?102:00
BRUCE: I don't know. You just never know what the press, he, they likedhim, so they, they never did. he's, he's drunk, he passed out, he do everything, and they put him in. And Kenny controlled him. And then when we beat him, we counted the votes. We had, Jody and I counted the votes. We had forty votes and we got thirty-nine. One switched that morning. Before the election. And they couldn't believe that, that, that he got beat. And we had them locked. And we knew we did. And, uh, so, Rapier got mad and didn't run anymore, so that, that eliminated him. So, and Blandford went to the jail. So, that all means they's out and I'm still there.
BRUCE: Pretty well(??) run, pretty well getting what I want.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Let's talk a little about the, the '91 election--
BRUCE:--see, I'm close to the speaker and close to the majority floorleader, what the hell more do you need?
BRUCE: Go ahead. (both laugh)
BRUCE: I've put both, both of them, I've put in (??).
MOYEN: Good point.
BRUCE: And I'm going to put in another majority floor leader too,103:00I think.
MOYEN: Really? Do you want to talk about that?
BRUCE: Rocky, Rocky.
BRUCE: I talked about that earlier.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Um--
BRUCE:--well, I'm going to help.
BRUCE: No one man do anything.
MOYEN: Right, right. In, in the '91 election when Brereton Jones wasrunning, um, do you recall if you supported him in his, in his election?
Um, one of the defining things obviously of his, during his tenure asgovernor is the BOPTROT scandal. Can you describe for me what that was like?
BRUCE: Well, it was very emotional and, and you hated to see, and, andthe three people that that actually did the bad things never went to jail. They were, they were set up to entrap the other members. And if they could entrap somebody, they got off free. So, it's bad, all the way around. I think it was bad for the government, I think it was bad for the legislature, I think it was bad on both parts.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Now, you mentioned Don Blandford going to prison as well104:00as some others, did you feel like that there were some people there who were probably wrongfully accused who really?
BRUCE: Um-hm, yeah. One boy was they said, I don't know; hell, I wasn'tinvolved, one boy, uh, well, Art Schmidt, who was state senator at that time, one of those that were entrapment boys gived me two hundred dollars he owed him. And they asked, the FBI asked him if they give him any money, and he said no because, you know, it wasn't giving him any money; it was paying back money. They gave him two, two years and the judge apologized, gave him probation. Terrible.
BRUCE: It ruined his life. And he probably would've of taken it tocourt and beaten him, but he'd messed with a woman out there and they had him on tape. In that, in Los Angeles, I mean, Las Vegas is where it happened.
MOYEN: Las Vegas.
BRUCE: But those are the things that you hear.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Um, you never at any point, did the FB, FBI ask you105:00anything about that, even though you weren't involved, or, or weren't--
BRUCE: --oh, they subpoenaed me and every, I told you about that.
MOYEN: For the banking bill.
MOYEN: What about, what about BOPTROT--
BRUCE: --no, no--
MOYEN: --did they ever talk to you about anything--
BRUCE: --no, no.
BRUCE: I'm clean as a whistle and I stay that way. So, I, I knew I'sclean.
MOYEN: Um-hm. What about, um, health care reform under Jones?
BRUCE: Well, I think it was something that he believed in, that, thathe was trying to please the Clinton administration. Take leadership in that. And probably didn't go over too well.
BRUCE: But I think it's no worse than other states, or in, or in, hereright now.
MOYEN: Um-hm, um-hm.
BRUCE: It's just that they just increased everything. I mean, you blamethe insurance companies, but it's the doctors and hospitals. 106:00
BRUCE: You see their bill.
BRUCE: You know, $1800 for a cataract. You get, uh, thousands ofdollars a day for the hospital. So, what, what the hell do you expect to getting the way they charge? You're lucky it's not even any higher. What it is, uh, in my opinion, and that's what I've often spoke on, is the technology in the, in the medical field is outstripped the ability of the people to pay.
BRUCE: And that's about the truth.
BRUCE: Some of the things they use and the technology they use in thehospitals is now so far advanced than what they were thirty years ago. It's remarkable but they're very expensive.
BRUCE: And then, them people gripe but when you look at the bill, they,they be different, like I was in the hospital this summer, and it's, uh, even with insurance I had to pay four, five hundred dollars.
MOYEN: Yeah, right.
BRUCE: And it's several thousands of dollars. Nothing much but three orfour days. Put three transfusions. Go ahead.
MOYEN: Did you support that health care reform?107:00
BRUCE: Yeah, I voted for it. I didn't want to because I didn't reallyknow what it'd done. But I thought that maybe we ought to go on and vote. We voted it in.
BRUCE: It didn't work.
BRUCE: I think maybe that's the reason Brereton didn't run for governor,at the time.
BRUCE: I would've supported him because I thought he was a greatgovernor.
MOYEN: Um-hm. You were talking about some of the problems with healthinsurance and with costs. I don't think there's a simple solution, but is, is there a solution, period?
BRUCE: No, like I said, the technology they do is so expensive, it'soutstripped your ability to pay.
MOYEN: Um-hm, um-hm. Let me, um, mention one article that I did findthat you mentioned, I believe it was 1992. You decided that you wouldn't, um, or that you would pay for your UK tickets.
BRUCE: I was the first one to do that.108:00
MOYEN: Why was that?
BRUCE: I just thought that, that we shouldn't be obligated to theuniversity, if we had legislation and education and all. And, uh, I just felt like that we should, and it would held the universities and they all, all the others said that they weren't going to do it, but they do now.
BRUCE: And it's probably meant about three hundred thousand dollars ayear that they were giving away.
BRUCE: And it helped the university a whole lot.
BRUCE: And we were tight for money and all. And I figured I ought topay for mine. So, I paid for mine and wasn't long till Dr. Wethington decided everybody ought to do it. All the judges were getting them free. All the secretaries of cabinets were getting them free. The governor's office was loaded(??) with them. And, hell, they was giving away about three hundred dollars a year, I figured. So, I, I decided that I'd buy mine.
BRUCE: I just be ahead, ahead, ahead of the hound.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Was that in any way a statement of independence in, inwhat UK might be doing as well? 109:00
BRUCE: No, no.
MOYEN: Or no. Just a, um-hm. Let me ask you this--
BRUCE:--I just felt like we ought to do it.
BRUCE: That we shouldn't be giving tickets--
BRUCE: ---------(??) the public.
MOYEN: There's a lot of leg--
BRUCE: --I didn't know you'd read that.
MOYEN: (laughs) There was a lot of, uh, or there is a lot ofregional infighting especially near state universities, and, and the appropriations and where they were going to go. Now, Hopkinsville doesn't have a regional university. Doesn't have a, a Western or Murray.
BRUCE: Oh yeah, we've got Murray State, sitting right up here, right upthe road from me.
BRUCE: And you'd see it coming down.
MOYEN: I, I missed it.
BRUCE: Well, the first thing going back to town, you look across thereand you almost got the veterans cemetery completed. And then you up about a, a stoplight up there--
BRUCE:--there's a stoplight and you look over to your left, going back,and there sits Murray State Regional University over there. 110:00
BRUCE: They had more plans for that but the money got tied up ----------(??)----------.
BRUCE: But it teaches, uh, it's, uh, it's, uh, big, beautiful buildingup there. About five or six, five or six million dollar building.
MOYEN: Did you help bring that?
BRUCE: Well, Senator Pendleton said he did it single-handled but Ithought it had to go through the whole legislature. (both laugh) He probably did do more of that than I did.
BRUCE: But some of the other things he didn't do that that he says hedid too, so we have that, that going between.
BRUCE: Usually happens when you got a senator and a representative inthe same territory.
MOYEN: Are there other tensions that with the different universities andwhose going to get what programs and buildings and extensions and, and how do you as a legislature, or a legislator deal with those?
BRUCE: Well, I, I think the regional universities are great, butI think, uh, the state, you need one, you need one or two state universities as flagships. 111:00
BRUCE: So, I'm, I think that, uh, uh, you have to watch, uh, Jody andMoberly as they've , they've, uh, been partial to Eastern and, and Western.
BRUCE: And that Western has really got a lot of things from Jody being aspeaker and Moberly head of A & R.
MOYEN: Right. Um-hm.
BRUCE: I think Moberly made a little mistake when he tried to kick thechairman of the board off of this session(??). That may cost him that race in the leadership. -------------(??)
MOYEN: Did you support the, um, separation for the removal of UK'sgovernance over the community colleges?
BRUCE: Not really. I may have voted that way, but I didn't reallysupport it. I think maybe I, I just went on and voted, but the vote was so high.
BRUCE: But I took, I opposed it for the last amendment(??).
MOYEN: Um-hm. Why was that?
BRUCE: We made an amendment that, they made an amendment, Stumbo and112:00I got together to make an amendment, and then they, to, uh, to still let them keep UK name, and then they finally out-, outmaneuvered us on that. That's when I voted for it, over that amendment. I remember that. And, uh, then, uh, then I voted against it in the final bill.
BRUCE: I supported it first and then voted against it ---------(??), soI had both sides.
MOYEN: Um-hm. I guess we started getting into, talking about stuffduring Patton's term. How would you rate his leadership--well, let's, let's talk about his first term first. That's a different ---------- (??)--
BRUCE:--I didn't agree with the, with the, the theory of taking thecommunity college away. I think it, it affected, I think what he's done with it is in fact, uh, we're the first one here to, to put the, we worked for years to get, uh, a technical school connected with the, with the, with the UK community college.
BRUCE: And my, I did that up here, because I think it's great.
MOYEN: When was that?
BRUCE: In, oh, just before Patton did his.113:00
BRUCE: And, uh, then, then he come along and he put the, took them awayfrom the universities.
BRUCE: And my son is on his vice-chairman of the board, and my wife'scousin is chairman. (laughs) My best friend's on the board. And then, then he helped set up the deal to put community colleges in, in the first twenty(??) in the state, the technical schools, and now all of them have it.
BRUCE: They call KPCC(??), whatever it is.
MOYEN: Um-hm, right. KCPC(??)
BRUCE: But, um, that's the best deal we could come out with.
BRUCE: At least, we were the first ones to do it.
BRUCE: And he did most of it. He'd been on a long time. He's been onthe board. He's, he was, and don't, don't give him too bad of a deal to be on the board. He was on the board, uh, when he was in, in the community college because he was the president of the student body.
BRUCE: I had a little reporter run up to me when he got appointed to thecommunity college board. "Well, I see where your son got appointed." I said, "Yeah, that's nice." I said, "He's, uh, a good attorney and he was president of student body when he's there. And, uh, and he's on the board then and he's first board member by, to be reappointed by, to the full board. Any other questions?" "No, no," stormed off. Wasn't no damn story there.
MOYEN: (laughs) Um-hm.
BRUCE: See, he was gonna make it up that he didn't deserve it and all.As I said(??), he graduated from UK. And, and, full, uh, Northern law school. He's a good attorney.
BRUCE: There just wasn't nothing they could write about. Didn't mentiona damn word about it.
MOYEN: (laughs) Um, what other things did, during Patton's term did youthink that the--well, let's talk about the legislature, legislature overall--
BRUCE: --well, I think they went wild putting projects back in theirdamn home counties. I got my share but I thought it, that's why we're 115:00in trouble today.
BRUCE: And he loved to do that, too. He's from east Kentucky, and theylove to bring, they love to bring pork home.
BRUCE: As they call it Congress(??)
BRUCE: Hal Rogers shot it through east Kentucky, and hell, he made, theyall vote for him, even the Democrats vote for him because he brings so much pork home. Of course, we got in the habit, after we had plenty of money pork home. And we all got our share, we, if you were good, you got your share.
BRUCE: But it wasn't the best thing to do, cause now we're short themoney.
MOYEN: So, how do you--
MOYEN: Well, go ahead.
BRUCE: Well, you know, uh, we put in nursing homes, and we put inveteran's cemeteries. This is the first veteran state cemetery. And, uh, we got a nursing home in the other part of the county I used to represent. So, you know, it, it cost you to run those things, you know spend(??).
MOYEN: Um-hm, um-hm.
BRUCE: And, uh, then they had every little volunteer fire department got116:00some money, looked like, in the damn state budget one time.
Everybody's just, just put money in these counties, just, just, it'shard for them to give it up now.
MOYEN: Um-hm. How do you go about stopping that if, if you--
BRUCE:--well, I don't know it's gonna(??)--
MOYEN: --if you think that it's a problem, but at the same time youwant--
BRUCE: --there's no money, it stops--
BRUCE: --pretty well, stops, most of it this time.
MOYEN: Um-hm. What do you think about, I, I guess, the House, theDemocrats are still in control, but the seeming, uh, the increasing influence of Republicans in Kentucky and how's that affected--
BRUCE:--oh, we haven't lost any House members since Jody went in.
BRUCE: My theory with Jody was, you let the boys vote how they knowhow to vote and they'll keep getting reelected. You start trying to push them into voting for some of these things because you make them committee chairmen, they'll lose their damn seat. And we haven't lost any. 117:00
BRUCE: And he hasn't pushed them either. That's what happened to theSenate. Moloney and Rose keep pushing them into voting for some of these abortion bills. And for these abortion bills, and, and then northern Kentucky went down the tube because that's Catholic and Democrats lost it up there over abortion mainly.
BRUCE: And so, so, but they pushed them into it. They had a good statesenator, the one sent over from the House, Joe Meyers and he voted, they gave him committee chairman of education, they made him feel like a big shot. Hell, he ain't back there anymore. He got beat.
BRUCE: The damn(??) guy that beat him ain't even (??) impressive at all.But he, he made some bad votes.
BRUCE: That's where you get beat.
MOYEN: Right. People remember.
BRUCE: Well, you have to, the first thing you got to be nice to people.
BRUCE: And don't get to feeling too damn big. And Joe got to feeling alittle big. And attorney and all, and he got beat. But I've seen some 118:00of them, but ordinarily the, the votes will get you.
BRUCE: I had a seatmate that moved over to sit with Mary Lou Marzianseveral sessions ago. And I'm looking at his voting and I had Hubie Collins, who was chairman of transportation now, was sitting with me, and I said, "Hubie (??), go over and tell that damn freshman, tell that damn boy he's not a freshman now. If he doesn't watch he's doing, he's not going to be back." And I haven't seen him since; he didn't even get back. But Hubie (??) laughs about that now. Hubie was sitting with me. I said, "I can't go over, cause hell, he'll resent me but he won't you. You're a freshman." Hubie was a freshman. He was.
BRUCE: But he never did make it back anymore; he was voting with her.
BRUCE: She'd smile and be nice to him, get to vote for the some of thedamnest bills you ever seen. He's from Highlands, so he never did make it, or somewhere from in that area.
MOYEN: Um-hm, um-hm. Let me ask you some just general questions nowthat we've gone through lot of different specifics. Since you've been 119:00in the legislature so long, how would you describe your philosophy as what, what is government particularly state government supposed to do? And, and what is your role as a legislator? Just your philosophy, um, what do you think of ----------(??)?
BRUCE: Well, I tried to represent the people of the, sending me up here,to do a good job.
BRUCE: And I think that's, then, then from there you got to representall of Kentucky and take in consideration, and not only your district but the rest of the overall, like the universities and all.
BRUCE: Make sure you have the educational system and all.
MOYEN: Now, would say that your philosophy is that they've elected me togo up and make the best decisions that I can--
MOYEN: -or are you one to say, they've elected to find me out what theywant me to do on these certain bills?
BRUCE: I come home every weekend and have forty years. And I thinkmaybe I missed four or five. Have a TV and a radio and a newspaper 120:00interview and that's probably kept me in, cause I report to the public.
BRUCE: And, uh, my son was -----------(??) the legislator, son, anotherone, the one that farms with me, and the other one is -------(??) labor union and he come in. Randy(??) did, and he said, "Your daddy is nothing but a damn Republican." Mike said, "No, he votes like people want him to." He said, "He votes like he wants to and then comes home and tells them how good it is." (both laugh) There're be a little truth to it.
BRUCE: But if you vote, you always makes sure it, you, you tell them howgood it is.
BRUCE: For them. You don't go, vote and then come home and say, "I'msorry I voted that way."
BRUCE: That kinda, that's the worst thing you can do, I'd never dothat(??). (Moyen laughs) But I have my reasons, I mean, I can give you a reason why I voted that way.
BRUCE: And, and why I thought it's the best for my community.
MOYEN: Tell me about the radio, uh, program that you had that youmentioned.
BRUCE: We started back in '64 with a radio and a newspaper. And then,121:00of course, in the eighties, we developed into a TV also there.
BRUCE: And so, now we have, we've been having that for forty years.
BRUCE: And I'm not sure I'm gonna be able to come home every weekendwith my age now and do those programs but I do those.
BRUCE: And it's just nothing rehearsed, and the reporters ask questionsand sometimes and tell my colleagues, you know, "If you, if you gonna make a bad vote, you gonna get your questions, so dont' make a bad vote."
BRUCE: So, you might try to make good votes because they're gonna besitting right there looking at you, and they're pretty good little reporters here over the years.
BRUCE: And, uh.
MOYEN: So, it's just opened to press(??)--
BRUCE: --it's opened to reporters only--
MOYEN: --okay. Okay.
BRUCE: Oh hell, no, never go to -----------(??) group. Cause you gotsome nut out there that's gonna try to sandbag you.
BRUCE: The reporters will stick to the facts.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Now, is the show--
BRUCE: --some of them go home and go to the Chamber of Commerce will122:00have who's, who's the representing the other people in the county. I mean, I've had all of them been against me. One time, I was rated, rated real low by the Chamber of Commerce, and the labor unions, too, and that's hard to do. Reporter called me up, and said, "How come you rating real low with the Chamber and real with the labor?" I said, "No problem at all." I said, "I just represent people, not special interests." And that's the end of the that. (slams hand)
BRUCE: I don't try to vote with groups.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Now, those different mediums, either the paper, theradio, and the television, are those community-access type things or are those things that you end up paying for just to make sure--
BRUCE: --no, they go on free.
BRUCE: They sell me(??).
MOYEN: Okay. And do you feel, like, those have been very effectivefor you?
BRUCE: Well, at least they know what I'm doing.
BRUCE: They know where I stand.
BRUCE: And they don't always agree with me. Some of the people don't,123:00but most of them do.
BRUCE: You can damn well bet I'm with the majority. (Moyen laughs) Mostof the time.
MOYEN: Right. Tell me a little bit about how the role has changed, youtalked about getting desks, and telephones, and stuff like that, in what ways has becoming, or being a legislator become more complex?
BRUCE: Oh yes, becomes more complex with ---------(??) cause now I cansit down and write people letters and answer their questions, and, and what they want and that.
BRUCE: Before you didn't have secretary and very, very hard to serveyour constituents.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Approximately how many letters do you think you getduring a session?
BRUCE: I don't know, I get a lot of email.
BRUCE: We have email. The paper publishes your address and, and,addresses and emails and things.
BRUCE: And newspaper free of charge. They pretty well get in contactwith you.
BRUCE: Now, my state senator, and we don't--cut it off, hell, cut that124:00off, I got to tell you this.
[Pause in recording.]
BRUCE: --but he is good, he does brag on himself a whole lot.
BRUCE: Tell how good he is.
MOYEN: In, in your long tenure, in your role --
BRUCE: --and just to give you an example, I'll give you an example of.
BRUCE: I, uh, two, two years ago, they were gonna put Humana in here,health, health insurance for us, for the state workers, you know.
BRUCE: And state legislators and all. And that would be my insurance.Well, I didn't want Humana, because they didn't service you too good.
BRUCE: So, I'm chairman of banking and insurance, remember that. And Itell the damn lobbyists, "I don't want your company in my county(??), and I'm not gonna have it in there, and you tell them just to withdrawal." So they do. And then I read in the paper, and I noticed the senator sitting in my meetings, cause I was giving them hell in the committee meetings. And giving ---------(??) hell in the, in the state government meetings, so, ------ mine(??). Then, I noticed him, he was 125:00sitting in there. So, then I, about a week or two later, I pick up the paper and I read, and the teachers are thanking Senator Pendleton for keeping Humana from coming in. Damn ------------(??). So, this year, I didn't keep -----------(??) out there.
BRUCE: But, uh, he's good.
BRUCE: But, uh, it didn't bother me a bit. I just sort of laughed aboutit and go on.
BRUCE: You just laughed, some say, "I don't see how you do it." I said,"Don't bother me."
BRUCE: "Cause the Republicans all give me credit," cause they're againsthim. And half of the people that don't like him give me credit. So, hell, I get three-quarters of anything.
MOYEN: (laughs) Now--
BRUCE: --if you just sit back and don't talk a whole lot, you do a lotbetter sometimes.
MOYEN: Yeah, good point. That is a good point.
BRUCE: I've talked to you more than I have anybody in a long time(??).
MOYEN: (laughs) Well, I've enjoyed it. Why don't you tell me, what arethe one or two, maybe even three, most controversial issues that you've had to deal with as a legislator? 126:00
BRUCE: Well, we go back to the civil rights bills, really acontroversial bill.
BRUCE: And then we go back to KERA was a real controversial bill, andthen we come up to general, up to Patton now, with the University of Kentucky was a real emotional, a real hard--
BRUCE: -- ------------(??) cause all of my, all of my kids went to thecommunity colleges, and my son was on the board. He'd been president of the student body, and, you know, we just--
BRUCE: --felt real good ties with the university.
BRUCE: And we felt like it was the regional universities that weretrying to get, and it was--
BRUCE: --regional universities trying to delete the power of theUniversity of Kentucky. And what really happened was, the real truth behind it, is the University of Kentucky had supported Forgy and it, Patton was kicking their ass. You want to know the real truth, in my opinion. And he did.
BRUCE: That's right.
MOYEN: Guess he was from Lexington--
BRUCE: --it gets down to real world that gets to real world there.
BRUCE: Wethington and that bunch over there had, had supported Forgy.127:00And that guy would kick their butt, if you don't kick him first.
MOYEN: (laughs) You got one shot, right?
MOYEN: And one of them--
BRUCE: --the other day, he, he, he, we had a, he filed a regulationthat would up the, regulate the rock quarries. And it would drove the price of rock two dollars a ton, which meant it would cost the highway department twenty million dollars more a year, cause that's what they use, most of the rock.
BRUCE: So, I run on him, and was dedicating this convention up here, orsomething, and I ask him, "Governor, what the hell is wrong with you and Lawson? You filed that rock quarry." Oh, he smiled and said, "I've become an environmentalist." I said, "Bullshit." Janie? Janie?
JANIE BRUCE: Yes.
BRUCE: What do you want, a Coke?
MOYEN: Sure, that'd be great.
BRUCE: We need a Coke in here.
JANIE BRUCE: Coming.
BRUCE: Then I want you to tell him what I told the governor. (Moyenlaughs) So, we go in regulations and there's seven votes against the governor's, against the regulations. 128:00
JANIE BRUCE: What?
BRUCE: We need send a(??) drink and tell them what I told the governorabout his rock quarry. (Moyen laughs) She ain't going to. Well, anyway, Jimmy Lee who's E-town, called him up and told him, humor him.
BRUCE: Tell him why he voted against it. He said, "You done sold out tothem big rock quarries," and slammed the phone down on him. Hell, he knew I just was getting even with him for what he did to me.
BRUCE: He, he just laughed.
BRUCE: I was with him yesterday.
BRUCE: Pretty good governor, really.
BRUCE: His ways.
BRUCE: Go ahead.
MOYEN: Um, is there--
BRUCE: --but those are three big issues.
BRUCE: Of course, the sales tax was a big one too, you have to add(??).
MOYEN: Um-hm. Um-hm. Are there any, um, were there any, any taxingbills, any tax legislation that you felt like, uh, this might be bad, but I, but I feel like we need the revenue now?
MOYEN: --any, any -------------(??)--
BRUCE: --the gas tax in '86, in '86, somewhere in there, '88.
JANIE BRUCE: Do you know whether you wanted a Diet Coke or a Diet129:00Mountain Dew, that's all I got.
MOYEN: A Coke would be great.
BRUCE: Okay. Didn't I tell the governor bullshit. (both laugh) Oh, shewas sitting at the table, he'd come over and sit with her(??) at the table. Didn't he, Janie?
JANIE BRUCE: Yeah. Afraid he did. (Moyen laughs)
BRUCE: Don't know why he won't sit with me. I guess cause I'm rough.
BRUCE: But anyway, uh, Jimmy Lee called him up and gonna, gonna explainto him why he voted, but the real reason is, we think, and --------- ---(??) Lawson, another rock quarry wants to come into east Kentucky, governor(??) doesn't want them in there and that shook him, those regulations ---------(??).
BRUCE: But the speaker of the House and I, it's my bill that I'm gonnalet him sit first, you know.
BRUCE: He and I are buddy.
BRUCE: Uh, regulations we got now, all we can do is turn them down, ----------------(??). And Jody and I are gonna put an emergency bill in first day of January and we'll pass it and do away with that regulation.
BRUCE: But that's gonna cost the rock quarries twenty million dollars.130:00
BRUCE: Cause the rock, the highway department.
MOYEN: Right. Um-hm.
BRUCE: And everybody else.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Now, the way you're talking about this, and it's, it'sobviously true, a lot of this legislation, a lot of things that people want to get done, there's a puzzle behind it. Something going on, like, a trying to keep a company out, or bring someone in.
BRUCE: Well, it's sort of like Ashland Oil coming in.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Right. Is there any legislation, maybe that you, someoneelse sponsored, someone else wrote that you felt like you were able to figure out what was going on and maybe opened that up and say, "Hey, this isn't good, this is, this is really what's going on behind."
BRUCE: No, not really.
MOYEN: This legislation.
BRUCE: No, not really.
BRUCE: We usually figure it out but we don't say much.
BRUCE: We don't talk much.
BRUCE: Get you in trouble. If you're wrong, see.
MOYEN: Right. Um-hm. Now, is there any legislation that you ended up131:00signing on to, either because you realized, I don't like this, but it's gonna, it's gonna pass anyway, and so I need to sign on to it, or I don't like this, but in order to get what I need here, this is, this--
BRUCE: --that would be ----------(??). I don't trade. I may go after,cause after I voted, but I don't trade.
BRUCE: Got that rule. Otherwise, if I'm nice to you, you ought to(??)be nice to me, but I'm not gonna in there to sale of votes. Uh, on the tax, like you're talking about, this last gas tax, that Martha Layne had a special session that failed, I was hung out voting for it. It didn't pass. So, we come home and the state senator then, not, not now.
MOYEN: Who, who was the?
BRUCE: And the representative, Ramsey --------(??)--
BRUCE: --but we got on TV, on radio and TV, and we had a little deal,132:00you know, we wouldn't criticize the others' vote. But they couldn't resist it; they had to brag about how they voted against the gas tax.
BRUCE: Didn't need more taxes, everything is in good shape. And hell,I voted for it. So, the reporter turned to me and he said, uh, "Well, Representative Bruce, you voted for it. What do you got to say?" Said, "You know, I really don't have much to say. I just thought the roads between here and Frankfort were in trouble shape. And I thought maybe we need it. And I voted for it. And evidently I was wrong." So, then we go back in January; in February, we passed it. They hit them again and they catch hell from people back home. Now, why? Because they hadn't conditioned(??) how they were gonna vote.
BRUCE: I had conditioned(??) my people how I was gonna vote it. Nobodysaid a word to me.
BRUCE: And they said, "Oh, we're just catching hell, Jim, what the hell?But I, them people are wild out there." I said, "Yeah, well that's because you told them we didn't need the damn thing. And how bad it was, and now, now, you, you changed your mind." So that's, that's an example.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Um-hm.
BRUCE: Where I thought we needed the gas tax. I wouldn't vote for one133:00today.
BRUCE: Cause I don't like the people that are running the highwaydepartment, who they are.
BRUCE: He'll probably be under investigation, my sources tell me.(Moyen laughs) Okay? Go ahead. See, I'm treating him kindly(??).
MOYEN: Um-hm. Is there any legislation that at the time you votedfor that you thought, Oh, this is really going be beneficial, but in retrospect, it didn't--
BRUCE: --no, I--
MOYEN: --turn out that way.
BRUCE: I probably say that health, Jones's health care. We were hopingit'd be good but it didn't.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Anything else that you can think of that might fall intothat category?
BRUCE: I don't make many bad votes.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Talk to me a little bit about what's like to be a, achair of a committee. How, it, it, a freshman, uh, legislator was to come up to you and say--(Bruce laughs)--"I aspire to be in, in this 134:00position at, at some point," how would you respond as to what you think you do well and, and what you may see other than--
BRUCE: --well, the first thing you got to do is support the rightleadership because they pick the chairman.
BRUCE: If you got three votes, that's all you need. But I had thisfreshman, and he's, he's a good fellow, he's not running anymore, Paul Clark(??), a black representative out of Louisville.
MOYEN: Let me turn this over before it stops, stops on us.
BRUCE: If you want--
[Pause in recording.]
BRUCE: --well, he's a special election, he's elected, and he gets onbanking and insurance.
MOYEN: And who is this again?
BRUCE: Oh, Baker.
BRUCE: And I have two big banking bills that I'm sponsoring, personally,and I don't sponsor many bills.
BRUCE: Hardly any. And he votes against them both, the only member onthe committee to vote against one. I see two or three of them going over and talking to them, telling him that's a hell of a wrong thing; you ain't supposed to do that to the damn chairman--(both laugh)--I'm sure is what they're telling him. So, he turns around, and he's sitting 135:00down in front of me, and he said, "Mister Chairman, I hates to make a habit of voting against the chairman's bill, and I ain't going to do it no more." And I said, "Well, you're doing a damn good job, boy." And he ain't never voted against nothing since. (both laugh) "Is that what you wanted to hear?" Something like that. And he's not running anymore. But he sat one seat over from me, and I liked the man.
BRUCE: Good, good representative for his people.
BRUCE: And, uh, he, this is when they shot this boy in Louisville,police had this seventeen shots and him unarmed, about four years ago, I guess it was. So anyway, I have a little bill up there on voluntary policemen or something voluntary, sheriff's duties, or something, and the police in Louisville, just, lobbyists are just giving me hell over it. So, I draw up this resolution passing a U.S. Attorney General to investigate the police brutality in Louisville, give them something to do instead of looking at me, you know. 136:00
BRUCE: But you do that. That's, that's good, not many legislators knowhow to do that, but I do.
BRUCE: So, I saw him come(??), he said, "Mr. Chairman, could I havethat bill?" Said, "I'd love that bill." I said, "I'll co-sponsor it with you, you go ahead and have it." He said, "It'll make me a hero in Louisville," and it did. And it was terrible what they did, the police in Louisville.
BRUCE: Seventeen holes, and the boy without a gun or anything. Justbrutally(??), but I thought that'd keep them busy while our U.S. attorney was looking at them, they wouldn't be looking at my bill.
BRUCE: So, they didn't bother me much. Go ahead. That's sort of whatyou wanted to hear.
MOYEN: Yeah, that, that's--
BRUCE: --but he's, uh, good, you know, if you want to be chairman,you've got to get three votes.
MOYEN: Right. And once you are chairman, what's the effective way torun a committee?
BRUCE: Well, you've got to work with, with so many people if you're achairman, and you've got to make sure you take care of your members more ways than just in the committee, and that's what I try to do. Just, just, you know, I help them with bills, and. 137:00
BRUCE: Like Susan Western on my, she's the chairman of the DemocratParty now, but she's on my committee, and, uh. Janie?
BRUCE: Bring me that, uh, thing where they honored you. She's onmy committee, and she honored, she, one day she honored, she's from Lexington, she's chairman of the party now. She honored my wife on the House floor, because we, we, we cook, we feed a lot of legislators at my house in Frankfort. Free meal. Only -----------(??) in Frankfort. (Moyen laughs) Just my friends too.
BRUCE: And I get a lot of things done out there. But anyway, mywife cooks. Here's the, uh, uh, my wife with Susan Westrom and I. Then, I turn around and I put Susan in charge of, uh, subtask force, subcommittee on horse ra-, horse farming in Kentucky.
BRUCE: She's from Lexington, do her good.
BRUCE: I told her how to do that. And another little girl that honoredme on the floor of the House, Tanya Pullin, and out of old South Shores, I turn around and I suggested leadership, that we make her the head of the subcommittee on energy, she is doing a great job there. But I take care of my friends, see.
BRUCE: And that's the way it works. My enemies, I don't bother themtoo much.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Let me, let me ask you--
BRUCE: --that was where they honored my wife. What she does, threeor four times a year, she cooks for about twenty-six, she can seat twenty-six at a formal dinner in my house in Frankfort, and she has, uh, a salad, homemade rolls, tenderloin steaks, twice-baked potatoes, lima bean casserole, and fresh fried corn. And then, we've been doing this for twenty-some years. Then she has homemade coconut pie, and chocolate pie. And we don't change the recipe for twenty-five years 139:00because nobody wants to change it.
BRUCE: And that's what we, we feed them. And then, of course, I don'teven drink hardly, but we have an open bar and everything at our house.
BRUCE: It's all free. And there's one legislator from western Kentuckytold me a few years ago, said, "You ain't arrived until you've been invited out to Representative Bruce's house." (Moyen laughs) And I don't invite everybody. I can't, you know. She invites, uh, twenty- six legislators and makes sure some of them have wives, and you know why they have to have wives come? They have to serve the damn meal. My wife can cook for thirty-five people and never miss a beat on one stove. But you've have to, you've got to serve, all them little ego legislators want to be served at the same time. Well, there's no way she can do that.
BRUCE: So, the wife's serve real fast, and then they, they eat in thekitchen.
BRUCE: Seven, about six or seven o'clock. And they get good service.
BRUCE: Speaker of the House loves fried corn, we sit the corn by him, hejust, he'll eat seven or eight helpings of that fried frozen corn. 140:00
MOYEN: Okay. Um-hm.
BRUCE: So great corn. That helps me out too.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Let me ask you--
BRUCE: --one legislator come up on something I was on, and he said,"I'll change my vote, because I want to be invited back to your place." (Moyen laughs) So, you know, those are just--
MOYEN: --that makes sense.
BRUCE: I, that don't really necessarily affect me too much.
MOYEN: Right. Um-hm.
BRUCE: Except, Joe Barrows didn't call my bill up one day when he wasafter majority floor leader, and the next time I had dinner he didn't get invited, so he knows. Joe is, uh, whip now, or something. Stumbo was absent.
BRUCE: And he, I said, he said, "Do you want your bill called up?" And Isaid, "Well, if we're gonna get it through real hurried, but if you're just going to fool around today, uh, call off, call mine up." So he passed over mine three times. And that was--
BRUCE: --that was a little, I'm very eccentric.
MOYEN: Let me ask you, this resolution sponsored by Susan Westrom saysthat, "Whenever the legislature is conducting business in Frankfort, 141:00Janie Bruce can often be found walking in Capitol Hall with her husband or sitting in the audience in a committee meeting room.
BRUCE: That's right. And I want coffee. (Moyen laughs) See.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Is that common? Do other legislators have spouses whoare there?
BRUCE: They have them, but they don't show up. They don't do it.
BRUCE: It's different.
BRUCE: And then Susan gets invited out to eat after that all the time.
MOYEN: Um-hm. And that--
BRUCE: --she's, she's chairman of the Democrat Party.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Has having her there been helpful?
BRUCE: Oh yeah. I probably wouldn't even be serving this long if ithadn't been for.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Um, in, in what ways has that been a help?
BRUCE: Well, she's there, you know, anything I want, she helps me withit.
BRUCE: If I want somebody, like I told her one story where, uh, theywere running, they were pulling them out of my committee meeting on that Ashland Oil bill, and she was bringing them back in until they went to the men's restroom, and then she had to get somebody else to go in and get them. And then I got tired, and we just voted and ended up 142:00winning anyway.
BRUCE: That's when Wallace really got mad, but he, he was scared of mefrom then on.
BRUCE: So, I had real good relations.
BRUCE: Because you walked into Wallace, see, you didn't walk in andbag(??) Wallace, you walked in. One time I had a guardrails promised by Smitty Taylor, the chairman of, oh, he's head of the cabinet, secretary of the cabinet, and they were gonna put them up over here on the road, over here, and he left and went down with Bill ---------(??) from the law firm. So, about two, later I got a letter from the highway department that it'd be two years before they could even get to them.
BRUCE: So, I go into Wallace's office, and I'm fussing with a secretaryoutside, and he hears me come out, that's the way you get in. And I walk in and I throw my briefcase on the floor and start cussing, and Milo Bryant, the, uh, transportation secretary, and he says, "You're gonna have a heart attack, calm down, what is it?" And I told him. He picked up the phone, and two days later they was building the damn thing.
BRUCE: But you couldn't go into Wallace humble.
MOYEN: Um-hm, um-hm. Didn't have the chance(??)--
BRUCE: --one day I was in there wanting something and Tom Dorman, who'shead of the Public Service Commission now, was his assistant, and I said, "Governor, you sit behind that big table, you just intimidate the hell out of me. Let's move over here to this little table," so we, he follows me over there, we sit down, and Dorman opens the door, and I said, "Get the hell out of here, Dorman, me and the governor are busy." And he takes off, and the governor, and my son says, attorney said, "You just intimidate the hell out of him." So, he gives me what I want.
BRUCE: So, that's the way you did Wallace. No other governor would youhave done that way.
MOYEN: Um-hm. So--
BRUCE: --wouldn't, wouldn't have worked with any other governor.
MOYEN: Right. Is a lot of your effectiveness either with the governor orwith the House leadership depend on being able to read the person and--
BRUCE: --oh, yeah--
MOYEN: --and figure out--
BRUCE: --you've got, everybody's different.
BRUCE: You've got to know what.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Another question that I had here in general, just to ask144:00you about, which I think we may have started to address just a moment ago, is the travel from western Kentucky is so much further than it is--
BRUCE: --yeah, it's terrible, and they, they write us up, they write meup at the top of the expense list, because I'm on a lot of committees, and, and my travel is a lot more, and I'm too old to drive up the same day and spend the night. I mean, drive back the same day--
BRUCE: --so I spend the night. And they write me up as being an, anexpensive legislator, and spending more money, and for forty years, they've been doing that, and it still hasn't affected me.
BRUCE: Going on trips, out of state trips, hell, I go to conferences,you know.
BRUCE: People out here, don't affect me a bit. And the reporters thinkthey get a great pleasure out of sticking it to me, and it don't do a damn bit of good.
MOYEN: Um-hm. How long--
BRUCE: --I just sort of smile at them and go on. They just leave mealone.
MOYEN: Right. Um-hm. How long have you had a house in Frankfort?
BRUCE: We, we have this, these people, oh, I'd say twenty years, we have145:00these people who go to Florida every winter, and we walk in, they walk out. You know, we, we have their, we pay dearly(??)for their house.
BRUCE: But we, it's very comfortable.
BRUCE: And we have, we can set up tables and sit at a formal dinner,and my dinners are not buffet or anything; they're formal, wait-on, sit down, china, and everything.
BRUCE: It's impressive.
MOYEN: Um-hm. You mentioned going to different legislative conferences.What were, what have been the primary conferences that you've attended?
BRUCE: Well, usually the National Conference on State Legislators, andthen, then the Southern Legislative Conferences, and actually, you pick up a, it's, it's a very educational thing too.
BRUCE: And we've learned a lot of things.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Now, what--
BRUCE: From other legislators, in fact.
MOYEN: Right. How exactly do those function? What happens when you,when you go to those different things?
BRUCE: Well, you have, uh, meetings most all the time.146:00
BRUCE: And some of them, then you have most, the receptions and thingsat night, dinners, and what not.
BRUCE: And then you have some open time.
MOYEN: Um-hm. The meetings, when you go to those legislativeconferences--
BRUCE: --well, I'm on agriculture, in the, in the Southern LegislativeConferences.
BRUCE: I, I like to attend those and see what's going on in agricultureall over the south.
MOYEN: So does, would someone like you, or someone from Alabama stand upand say, "Here's what we're doing in Alabama?"
BRUCE: No--yeah, we have that, and then we have speakers invited in fromall over the United States.
MOYEN: Okay. And do they just primarily talk about what, whatlegislation is going on in different states--
BRUCE: --no, no, it's about agriculture in general, and then, then wego into legislation, what's going on in the federal government, so and so forth.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Um-hm. Is there anything in particular that you canthink of that you learned at those conferences, where you said, "Hey, Kentucky needs this"?
BRUCE: Yeah, yeah, I can't remember, but I'm all the time picking upsomething.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Um-hm. Was, was the banking that you had mentioned147:00in North Carolina, would, would you have found that out at those conferences?
BRUCE: Yeah, probably.
MOYEN: Okay. Um, let me ask you this: what role, um, do lobbyistsreally play? I mean, obviously they're there to try and get you to support certain legislation, but how are they beneficial, and in what ways are they also a concern, do you think?
BRUCE: Well, they have a lot of constituency back home that you have tolisten to.
BRUCE: And, uh, they have a good constituency back home that supportyou, I, I listen to them. Some of them I don't; AARP I didn't listen to, and they're mad as hell at me, but, you know, if I thought she's right, I would have.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Are they ever a valuable--
BRUCE: --but she's real mad because she didn't win. And she went overin the Senate and she couldn't win over there either.
BRUCE: So, but, uh, it would have hurt the banking industry terrible,and they're, they're very appreciative that I didn't let something like 148:00that happen for political gain.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Were there, are, are lobbyists valuable at all for simplygathering information?
BRUCE: No, not, not, maybe some of the others, but not with me.
MOYEN: Um-hm. What par-, what lobbyists--
BRUCE: --I can say no to you real fast.
BRUCE: But I'll tell you one example of a little lobbyist, she come intome and come into my office, and she's young, and, uh, and she come in there and I sent her ten different legislators on a little bill she had on credit cards or something, that's been about four years ago. Kelly Rodman, and she's pregnant. So I'm riding up on Monday, and my wife says, "Has she ever found a sponsor?" I said, "No, I don't think so." She says, "You're gonna have to sponsor that bill." And her daddy is Skipper Mark(??), and I do know him pretty well, he's the governor's chief of staff. And I said, "No, hell, I don't fuss with 149:00no silly-ass bills, I'm, you know, I'm the chairman, I don't, I let the members do that." She said, "Well, nobody else is gonna sponsor it." So I called up, I get, my wife talks me into sponsoring it. I called up and I said, "Kelly, bring that damn bill over here to me quickly, because I want to introduce it today." And I introduce it, and then I post it, and then Thursday we take it up in meeting. And it flies out of banking and insurance, because it's the chairman's bill. (laughs) Chairman's nice to everybody, so he expects them to be nice to him. Unless it's bad, they, you know, they vote with me.
BRUCE: Which, I'm not going to sponsor a bad one really. So, it votesout and I call up the chairman in the Senate and I said, "I'm sending this bill over there, and I, and it's my damn bill and I want the thing to move through there."
BRUCE: So, he said, "Okay." I said, "You know, you've got some comingover here." "Yes, sir. I know that." I said, "Good, we understand it."
BRUCE: So, it flies through, it passes the legislature, it was on justcredit card, it was a right good little bill, really, but, uh, instead 150:00of having everybody in there be responsible for credit cards, one, one guy could be responsible for, for the credit card, something in the credit card business.
BRUCE: Like, you know, and it, it didn't have to have everybodycertified or something.
MOYEN: Right. Um-hm.
BRUCE: So, I passed the bill, and I'm home that summer, and I pick upthe paper. "The highest bill to pass the legislature was sponsored by Representative Bruce. The lobbyists were paid $180,000." Oh, God damn. And I didn't even get a Coca-Cola out of it, which I couldn't have anyway. But, uh, I, it, it really pissed me off that I'd been suckered that bad.
BRUCE: Of course, the two boys that were lobbying for the bill, theysent this little old girl in there who, to talk to my wife and me. And I, I did a good job on the bill, but they got $180,000 out of it. And Frank Ashley was in with them too. He's a lobbyist now. He used to be 151:00John Y. Brown's press secretary. But those things do happen.
BRUCE: I don't sponsor many bills.
BRUCE: But my wife, then, then her daddy threatened her not, shecouldn't name the baby after me. I thought the little girl was gonna have a baby when I sponsored that bill. (Moyen laughs) And, uh, she was pregnant, heavy pregnant.
BRUCE: She was a nice little girl.
BRUCE: She didn't get all that money; the, the big boys got it. I don't,I wouldn't even let them in the office, because I didn't like them.
BRUCE: They sent her in. They're two big longnecks out of Louisville.They won't be so good after Patton. Go ahead. Is that a good story?
MOYEN: That's a great story. That's fantastic. Now, has, has yourrelationship, or the relationship in general between legislators and lobbyists changed quite a bit since the ethics legislation?
BRUCE: No, no.
MOYEN: Did it change for a while? Was there--152:00
BRUCE: --uhn-uh. One boy said I treated all the lobbyists the same:mean as hell. (both laugh) Didn't treat anybody any different, I don't really, I'm real nice, though.
MOYEN: Um-hm. But in terms of like stuff that, that legislators becamecritical of the, even the legislation that you passed about stuff like a cup of coffee and stuff like that, did that really make any impact?
BRUCE: I don't think so. No.
BRUCE: They can't buy me anything.
BRUCE: Never did really.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Even with your independence, along with your votingrecord, what lobbying groups, you mentioned the AES supported you, what other groups have consistently supported you?
BRUCE: Home builders, the banks, naturally.
BRUCE: Not many insurance companies any, uh, automobile dealers, people153:00like that.
BRUCE: Of course, automobile dealers are governed by my committee awhole lot.
BRUCE: And it does affect but you have to be able to do what's right.
BRUCE: But you have to, the last time I had an opponent I spent $30,000of my own money, and $20,000 from my, from PAC, so you know, then I got my own money to spend.
BRUCE: And the hospital association, the medical association supports mereal strong, which, like I took care of their early payment bill.
BRUCE: And, uh, I was sitting with a hospital, and they were giving mea PAC, invited me up for lunch, going to give me a check. He said, "Oh, I'll just keep it." I said, "Go ahead and keep it." I said, "I have to send it some of it, I'll get another one and have to send it back anyway, so I'll just send your, you can have your back." And it embarrassed the hell out of him.
BRUCE: We're only allowed to take $10,000 in PAC money per cycle. And154:00I'd already knew I'd already reached the, that was the last one I could take.
MOYEN: Um-hm. There's all kinds of--
BRUCE: --but I, on that run, I had $20,000 and I spent thirty of myown, so.
BRUCE: So, I spent my own money for that(??).
MOYEN: Um-hm. There's a lot of talk today, and probably always hasbeen, but especially when you see campaign ads, or whatever, about working across the aisle or being bipartisan, are there any particular Republican legislators that you have really good working relations with--
BRUCE: --oh, I have a relation with the chairman of banking andinsurance in the Senate, he and I are very good friends.
BRUCE: But, uh, that's, uh, Danny Ford who's been there a long time goton my committee, and he said, "I didn't know that Democrats treated Republicans this good until I got on your committee." I treat them real good.
BRUCE: In fact, Bryant --------(??), who Fletcher almost picked, andprobably may cost him the governor's race, he didn't, he was going to 155:00pick him for lieutenant governor and he picked Pence, which, uh, didn't help him any in west Kentucky at all.
BRUCE: May have cost him the race. But he, he and I sponsored the, thebranch banking bill together and several banking bills together. And he appreciates me letting him do that.
BRUCE: So, if you're a Republican on my committee, you get treated good.
BRUCE: And even Ron Crimm says, "Hell, he don't know the differencebetween R and D." And I don't. I let them speak the same, don't try, some of them try to play politics, but my theory is they're elected, and everybody's elected by the same number of people, and represent those people, and they ought to have a voice.
BRUCE: So, I treat them that way. In fact, early years ago, I wascriticized for treating the Republicans too good. Oh, I was eat up.
MOYEN: Was that by the paper or by a different(??) legislator?
BRUCE: No, no. Leadership.
BRUCE: But that's when they were more harsh than they are now.
BRUCE: But I believe in treating them fair.
BRUCE: And Jody has done that too. We've, I talked to him. He treats156:00both pretty good in the House, and we've got along a lot better doing that.
MOYEN: Do you feel like things are less partisan than they used to be?Or, or, or are there stages--
BRUCE: --the Senate is. In the House they are, but in the Senate it'sstill real partisan in the Senate.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Is that probably just because of the closeness of thefew numbers?
BRUCE: Yeah. Um-hm.
BRUCE: I guess, I don't know. I'm not in the Senate; I can't speak forthe Senate.
BRUCE: I just sort of hear that.
BRUCE: But the House has worked out everything real good. We've gotan equal number on the committees, then and some chairman used to try to be dictator, and that's the wrong thing to do, because you're just supposed to be chairman to guide the committee and keep, keep it running good.
BRUCE: And if you try to be a dictator, they're kick your ass out, orthey'll fuss enough that you wish you.
BRUCE: So, you never know I'm chairman.
BRUCE: But I damn well am chairman, let me tell you that.
BRUCE: (both laugh) But I don't show it.157:00
MOYEN: Um-hm. Let me ask you something, and this is completely off thetopic, but something that I didn't, in, in the background I forgot to ask you about, and all, relates other things today. Um, growing up in, in Tennessee, and then moving to Kentucky during Jim Crow south, did some of the segregation, some of the things that you saw, were you one to say, "Well, we didn't really think about it; that's the way things were," or were there any specific examples where you thought, "I don't," you know, or, "This is disturbing," or, "I don't think that this is a good idea."?
BRUCE: I wasn't raised up with a lot of black people.
BRUCE: Didn't even know what one looked like until I got up here, andit's 50 percent.
BRUCE: This town's about 50 percent, there's a lot of blacks. We usedto work a lot, my, Janie's daddy used to have twenty families living on that thousand acres over there. 158:00
BRUCE: He had a lot of black help then.
MOYEN: Um-hm, um-hm.
BRUCE: Now they're all on welfare and we use Mexicans. I have one blackman that's been with me thirty, thirty-five years, and he thinks he's a member of the family. And we treat him that way too.
BRUCE: --one day I told him, years ago, I said, "Things are pretty tighton the farm, Billy, I don't know whether I can afford to pay you." Said, "Don't worry about it." Said, "I, You can't fire me, I've been here a long time." (both laugh) You know, he just feels that, real good, very honest, no trick(??), not, not arrogant, not hateful, not a chip on his shoulder or anything.
BRUCE: And he works real good.
MOYEN: Um-hm. When did that--
BRUCE: --and we treat him good, and he treats us good.
BRUCE: Put it thataway. That's my motto: treat people good they treatyou good. Otherwise don't f--, don't mess with them.
BRUCE: You heard what I started to say. (both laugh)
MOYEN: When did that transition take place where you were starting tohire more Hispanic-- 159:00
BRUCE: --well, when we moved--oh, I don't hire them here in my farm, butthe county, other people in the county do.
BRUCE: We pretty well operate it ourselves.
MOYEN: Okay, all right.
BRUCE: But it's been a transition since welfare got better. In fact,the blacks don't work too, too, for the cheap wages. And they hire the Mexicans to raise the tobacco in Kentucky. All, heck, I'm chairman of the tobacco task force. So, I have two. And, uh, I'm sitting in a committee down here, and one farmer's getting up, and decided whether to spend my money on payback and so forth. And one farmer said, "It ought to go to the people that raises tobacco, not the farm that owns the tobacco. The man that actually raises it." I reached over, I said, "Them damn Mexicans would be glad to hear that." (laughs) He didn't mean that. He meant, he was in charge of raising it, but he wasn't doing all the damn work.
MOYEN: Um-hm, um-hm.
BRUCE: And I knew that. That pays you to being out among people, it160:00helps you find out what's going on.
BRUCE: There was a bunch of them in this county. You never see themexcept on Saturday afternoon getting their check cashed at the bank or Wal-Mart.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Have you ever, um, been able to divide up the votes, andbe able to tell what support you get from the black community and how many--
BRUCE: --I don't really have many blacks in my community.
BRUCE: Now, Senator Pendleton or little, or Johnny Adams, who's theother representative, when he ran the first time, he had a Republican opponent, real fiery, she's a mean lady. And he lost ever precinct but three black precincts. And carried them 1,400 to 12. To 12. Not 100, 12. And won the race by 69 votes. So, he lost every precinct, and even his home precinct she took it.
BRUCE: And she, she accused, uh, she asked the attorney general toinvestigate, Chandler, this, this Chandler. And, uh, this black man 161:00come before the Democrat membership down there, and his name was Pop Brown, and he said, "I wants to tell you all something." Said, "Mr. Chandler got exactly the same number of votes Mr. Adams got the year before." And said, "Maybe he ought to look where, now where he gets his votes." Said, "I'm just gonna tell you all, you whiteys out there skip all over the damn ballot, and we vote one ticket, and that's what we done for Mr. Adams. We didn't sell our vote." So, I go tell, uh, Chandler's chief of staff John Cubine is a real big buddy of mine. I said, "You know what's gonna happen to you." I said, "You gonna keep on investigating this until the feds get a hold of it, and then Chandler got the same votes Adams did, and then you're gonna be in trouble." And I haven't heard no more. So that stopped there.
BRUCE: She was trying to embarrass the blacks so they wouldn't go vote.
BRUCE: That was her only reason she, that's mean.
BRUCE: Because, you know, if you get, you put it on there, where they're162:00afraid to go vote, intimidate them, they won't go vote.
BRUCE: Why should they? Now, they do throw big barbeques for them, theydo haul them, and they do work them real hard. And, but that's just part of the process.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Let me ask you this: the, the legislative independencethat has developed during your time in office is un--
BRUCE: --oh, I've had to really change. You know, I don't think some ofthe older boys could've, could've went through what I went through and rolled with it. I just rolled with the punch.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Um, how, did you think all of the legislativeindependence is good? Is there, are, are there certain areas where you think it's been a lot of overboard--
BRUCE: --oh, it's great, it's great. I think people, the public can getto the legislator a lot quicker than they can get to the governor.
BRUCE: And the governor, these people that get to the governor sometimesare not in the best interest of the people.
BRUCE: And the governor means well, but, uh, some of these people aroundhim may not.
BRUCE: An elected official will do the right thing; it's people around163:00you that, that screw you up.
BRUCE: They did Julian Carroll, they did Martha Layne, they, they, theydo it real easy.
MOYEN: Did, did you feel like legislative independence started withLouie Nunn as governor? Was there something that had changed at all?
BRUCE: Well, yeah, it changed some when Louie Nunn was governor, becausethe Democrats had the, they had control of the Senate. In the House, they had the, they had the certain ----------(??).
BRUCE: They had the form, they had to take over leadership, in thoseeras.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Got one more question that I've got written.
BRUCE: But the governor, through regulations, and through regulating,and, and executive orders, they really didn't need us. So, we pretty well, we tried to take over the regulations. We, we did at one time, and they took it to court, and now all we can do is put a red flag on it and, and legislate the next session, which is every year now. 164:00
BRUCE: So, we pretty well got that under control. They don't like toput a lot, I've been on that for twenty--oh God, twenty-two years I guess, regulation committee, I'm the only one that's been there all that time. And we watch them real close. In fact, they're, they want to know what kind of humor I'm in. And I'm in a good humor all the time, it's just I don't let them get by with all that.
BRUCE: They try to get by all this stuff they shouldn't be doing tothe public.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Did you favor going to sessions annually? Legislativesessions?
BRUCE: Somewhat. I'm never, I'm not sure. We were going into a lotof special sessions. Government's getting more complicated. But, uh, as far as me leaving my home and going to Frankfort, I wasn't too hot for that.
BRUCE: Ever year.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Has that changed the dynamics of--
BRUCE: --not too much yet, but it will.165:00
MOYEN: Because it seems like a couple of, couple of dynamic things thatmay have changed the leadership, or the, the role with the governor and the legislature is that there used to just be the one term, and only two sessions--
BRUCE: --two terms the governor has made it quite more different thananything.
BRUCE: Gives him more power, and he's not a lame duck in about a year.
MOYEN: Right. Um-hm. Which seemed to happen even quicker when therewere just the two--
BRUCE: --yeah, oh yeah--
MOYEN: --sessions, anyway.
BRUCE: We lost some power from that. Lame duck. And the governor cancontinue on, and we, he can be there eight years, more or less.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Do you think that that is, even though you may have lostpower, is that a good thing? Having two terms for governors?
BRUCE: I think maybe it is he can continue.
BRUCE: Patton has proved to be good, but then he got in the femaletrouble, and lost a lot of his strength.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Okay. How about, I'm at the end of, end of the line with166:00my questions except advice on how in the world you, you stay in the legislature forty years.
BRUCE: Being nice to people. It's simple.
BRUCE: And don't get arrogant. And you don't get, think you know itall. [telephone rings] Be humble.
BRUCE: That's Mike, Momma. [telephone rings] Let me get that.
[Pause in recording.]
MOYEN: So, so being nice and not arrogant is the key.
BRUCE: So many of them get carried away with their importance.
BRUCE: And they just can't stand it. They come up there, they strutaround a little bit. Some of them strut sitting down. God, it just turns my stomach.
BRUCE: They're not humble people. They won't be back. You never seeme with, I don't even have a card. I don't have no brief-, you know, 167:00don't have no briefcase, don't, don't do nothing, everything I got is in my pocket somewhere I can pull out. Pretty good at memory though.
MOYEN: Um-hm. How much longer do you plan on serving?
BRUCE: I have no idea. I'm debating now.
BRUCE: Depends on my health.
BRUCE: I enjoy it. Cause I, I, it's a challenge every day.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Do you mind if I ask you this? I didn't have this down,but, um, don't answer it if you don't want to. You mentioned that you had a heart attack and you've had some other health problems.
BRUCE: I had bypass surgery in '84, heart attack in '80. And then Ihad some health problems with high blood pressure medicine this year, which, uh, I'm getting over.
BRUCE: Doing a lot better now. But it was hurting my kidneys, and wewent to Nashville and changed doctors, changed the medicine.
BRUCE: And that improved. In fact, I was in, gone this week, speakingto the Kentucky Banker's Association. And, and felt real good. 168:00
MOYEN: Um-hm. When, when you had the surgery and the heart attack, wasthat during a legislative session?
BRUCE: Neither one.
MOYEN: All right.
BRUCE: Except when I had a heart attack, I had twenty people come up tosee me, and I think eight of them wanted to run against me. Wanted to run. They were seeing if I was going to live. (Moyen laughs) In fact, two doctors told my wife I wasn't gonna live. They're both dead now, and I'm still here, so life's unusual.
BRUCE: They were good friends.
MOYEN: Um-hm. You mentioned going to Nashville. Um, you--
BRUCE: --going to a neurologist in Nashville, and he said my bloodpressure medicine was affecting my kidneys, and he switched, and now I'm getting along better ever since.
MOYEN: It just made me think of something, proximity-wise, you talkedabout the way you use media effectively in Hopkinsville. What cable channels do people get here? Are, are the channels from Louisville, or Nashville?
BRUCE: I don't know, I don't use cable.169:00
MOYEN: Don't know?
BRUCE: I don't even have a cable.
BRUCE: We just, I don't watch TV that much.
MOYEN: And that hasn't seemed to affect anything--
BRUCE: --we don't have a dish or a cable. Had, all of my kids have it,and everything, I just never watched that much.
BRUCE: I don't want to be a TV freak.
MOYEN: Right. But that, that hasn't seemed to affect--
BRUCE: --about the time I get to looking at something the telephone isgoing to ring anyway. (Moyen laughs) Senator Pendleton's out of town. (both laugh) Don't you say I said that. (laughs)
MOYEN: Um, what have I missed that we should--
BRUCE: --well, we could talk about another six hours and covering allthe good stories.
BRUCE: Uh, I told you two of John Y.'s. If you give me a card, I'llsend you that one on, on where I, flying over in an airplane.
MOYEN: I'll do that.
BRUCE: That's written up in the paper.
BRUCE: And you know who Pam Luecke is, don't you?
BRUCE: Well, she was editor of the Lexington Herald for about forty-fiveyears.
MOYEN: Okay, that's right, you mentioned that earlier.
BRUCE: Yeah. And she, I sort of trained her.170:00
BRUCE: I've got a lot of good friends in high places.
MOYEN: Um-hm. Any stories about dealing with other--
BRUCE: --well, I'll tell you what, when my wife's stepmother was living--this is some time you got a little pair(??)--my wife's stepmother was living, she's worth about three million dollars of her money. And, uh, she's a stepmother, but Janie is just crazy about her, because she was good and lived next door. And she was getting old, and she, her husband, Janie's daddy had died, and she wanted logs in her fireplace. And so she asked Janie to get them. So Janie went to the bank trust officer, and he said, "Yeah." So then the little brother found out about it and he just rose up and raised hell about it. So, he calls up trust, you know, the young trust officer, there about your age, calls up, said, "You can't have them." So I go to the president and he said, "Well, I'll talk to him." So, he calls back and said, "Don't matter, ain't nobody making me put them logs in there, you just might as well leave them alone." Well, the guy that's head of Area Banks at that 171:00time, president of Area Banks through all of the state is a real close personal friend of mine; I mean, we're real close. So I call him up on Friday, Monday's a holiday, but Tuesday morning real early, that little trust officer calls up and says, "You can go ahead and put them logs in there for your mother-in-law." And Janie said, "Thank you," real sweet, and he said, "Don't thank me, thank that damned husband of yours." (laughs) So I have--(laughs).
BRUCE: So I can twist your tail.
MOYEN: Right. Um-hm.
BRUCE: -----------(??). And I don't use it very much, but some peoplereally don't need to be arrogant.
BRUCE: And, uh, they treat me out here like the good old country boy Iam. But when I'm in Frankfort, I'm a different breed.
BRUCE: And they somehow know that.
BRUCE: And I don't let the Chamber of Commerce control me, nor anybody.
BRUCE: Chamber don't especially like me, but, uh, if it's between me andthe chamber, my people, the rural people and the Chamber, I'll always 172:00win.
BRUCE: They wanted to run a railroad through a bunch of my daddy-in-law's property when he was living. This railroad that's up here.
BRUCE: I called Wendell Ford--well, first my daddy-in-law comes overand he says, "You've got to stop it that railroad's running through my property and all the Garnett's property," which we own thousands of acres, right through, through there.
BRUCE: And it's just hitting their property. So I said, "Well, hell,you better see McConnell. He's the one that's running it. You, you've been voting for him, call him." He said, "Son, you don't understand how much money I'm gonna leave you and Janie, do you?" And I said, "Yes sir, I understand every word you've said." I called Wendell Ford and I eat his ass out, and he stops it. So then Wendell gets beat, Wendell retires, and I call him up, and I said, "Boys, you've got to go to McConnell now." So they went to McConnell and donated $25,000 fundraiser. And the little mayor of Hopkinsville wrote a letter and 173:00said, "Them aristocratic, south, Christian farmers aren't gonna tell the city of Hopkinsville what to do." Well that railroad ain't coming there. You see where it is, don't you?
BRUCE: Well, the Chamber wanted it, they laughed, it had to go there,you know. McConnell switched positions and, and told them that they was gonna close Fort Campbell down if they didn't build the damn railroad, and they shut up, and they built the railroad up there, right in their back door. But they didn't go, and all they had to do was just move on down about a half a mile, and miss all the, my wife's people's property.
BRUCE: And nobody ever said a word, because they wouldn't have any powerto say it.
BRUCE: I'm manipulating the whole damn shoot, behind the scene.
BRUCE: And I win. And I just laughed when I seen the mayor the last.Those aristocratic, south, Christian farmers aren't gonna tell him what to do. Well, we did. We were pretty good.
BRUCE: But, uh, he's dead now, my daddy-in-law is.
BRUCE: But those are just things that you help people with.
BRUCE: And they don't forget them.
BRUCE: So. I've enjoyed--174:00
MOYEN: --me too--
BRUCE: --reminiscing with you.
MOYEN: Thank you so much for your time.
BRUCE: And these stories could pop up all day. Man, we went throughthem by just, just touch of the iceberg, forty years.
BRUCE: Stories you went through.
MOYEN: Maybe some time we can get together again and work on some others.
BRUCE: I've tried to be an effective legislator and represent the ruralpeople.
BRUCE: There's never been a time that I've set them aside for othergroups, from the schools on down.
BRUCE: Remember I told you about the school thing. Well, it got, got,in that it had to be built within two miles of the old school if they got state money.
BRUCE: And they had to have state money. That little chairman of theboard didn't know what the hell happened to him. But, uh, if you don't bother me, I don't bother you. That's my motto.
BRUCE: But, uh, I like to win. You know, if you're been in a collegesport, you, winning is everything.
BRUCE: And east Kentucky was, I was taught that if you don't win, you're175:00done with, period. And I haven't been done with yet.
BRUCE: So that's winning, even the governor, you know, I wanted to win.I, he, he thought he had me, but I come back at him over Illinois Tool, and he realized what I did to him after I did it. And he's, he's one that respects that winning.
BRUCE: In fact, he runs over to me now. (both laugh) But before that,you know, I just sort of let things go. And I helped him in the House a whole lot.
BRUCE: Manipulated a lot of things for him.
BRUCE: And helped him. All of the sudden, he did that to me, I didn'tthink it was the right thing to do. And a fellow reporter, off the record, a fellow reporter--
[End of interview.]177:00176:00