0:00

ROMOND: The following is an unrehearsed interview with former State Representative Dottie Priddy who represented Jefferson County in the Forty-Fifth District from 1970 to 1991. The interview was conducted by Jan Romond for the University of Kentucky Library, Kentucky Legislator Oral History Project. The interview took place on November 9, 2005, in the home of Dottie Priddy in Louisville, Kentucky, at one o'clock.

[Pause in recording.]

This afternoon I'm talking with Dottie Priddy. Dottie, could you tell me where and when you were born and did you grow up there?

PRIDDY: I was born here in Jefferson County, uh, January 9, 1933. Uh, I've been here all my life. And, um, I was born in the city at the 1:00time, and then later as I got, when I got married, I moved out here in the, to the county.

ROMOND: Um-hm. Who were your parents?

PRIDDY: Uh, my parents was James and ----------(??) Hayes. Uh, my mother, uh, ran restaurants and my dad a lay preacher, a lay pastor for the Baptist, uh, church. He, um, they, they fooled around with restaurants for years and finally my dad went into the insurance business.

ROMOND: Um-hm. What about your extended family? Did you have brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles?

PRIDDY: I had, um, oh, quite a few aunts and uncles. I had, uh, uh, one brother who died at the age of eight, an early age, of, uh, a heart failure, which today with the way they have, uh, uh, technology and 2:00everything he would've lived, but back then they didn't know anything about it. Then I have about three sisters--uh, two sisters, pardon me. Uh, two sisters.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And, um, they, um, uh, live here in the state of Kentucky--well one lives here in Kentucky; one lives in Alabama.

ROMOND: Um-hm, um-hm. And where were, where are you in your family, in your brothers and sisters, are you the--

PRIDDY: --oh, I'm the oldest.

ROMOND: You're the oldest.

PRIDDY: I'm the oldest.

ROMOND: Um-hm. And do you still have aunts and uncles?

PRIDDY: Uh, yeah, yes, um--

ROMOND: --where at(??)--

PRIDDY: --I have aunts and uncles scattered throughout Florida and, um, Tennessee, um, on my dad's side. My mother's side most all of them are all passed on.

ROMOND: Um-hm. Do you remember your grandparents?

PRIDDY: Oh yes, I remember my grandparents, my great-grandparents--

ROMOND: --you do? Tell me about them.

PRIDDY: They, um, my great-grandparents was from Germany and they, uh, 3:00uh, were kinda old and kept quiet. They kept to themselves, but, uh, my grandmother and grandfather were very, uh, they were very lively. They were very much into church and, uh, my grandfather was a Cherokee Indian, my grandmother was German. And, um, they, um, made for a very lively couple, couple. They, they played music. Um, my uncles that, um, um, my mother's brother, uh, played guitar, my grandfather played a guitar, my grandmother played a French harp, and my mother played the violin, so they all had quite a, a musical time.

ROMOND: They were a musical family.

ROMOND: Yes.

PRIDDY: What about your father's family?

PRIDDY: Uh, they, they lived in Tennessee. I didn't know them as well.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: Um, they, uh, they were farm people. They worked on the farm.

4:00

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: Uh, my grandfather of course from there was also Indian. Uh, he, um, was from the, um, well, at the time, and I don't know when the times changed, but at the time he was with the, uh, Pontiac Indians.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And somewhere along the line the tribe got small. I don't know exactly what happened but them merged with the Pima--

ROMOND: --really(??)--

PRIDDY: --Pima Indians.

ROMOND: -----------(??).

PRIDDY: And, um, we are having a very hard time tracing the history. We've been trying, we traced the history on my, my mother's side, but my father's side is a hard time tracing their history because of the merger.

ROMOND: Yes, yes. So they never lived in Kentucky?

PRIDDY: No, my, my dad's parents never lived in Kentucky.

ROMOND: Um-hm. [telephone rings] How did your parents meet?

5:00

PRIDDY: Uh, my dad used to be a logger. And, uh, of course, um, back then he, um, would ride the mules from Tennessee to Kentucky with the logs. And, uh, he was in one time and the church was having a party. And he went to the, the church and met her there at the church, at, at the, uh, church party that they were having.

ROMOND: Okay(??). Did your father, did your father become a minister later?

PRIDDY: Oh yes, yes, a lot later. He, um, my Dad didn't become a minister until after my brother had passed on.

ROMOND: Ah, um-hm.

PRIDDY: And when, when I talk about a minister, he was a lay preacher; he didn't have a church. He, uh, preached in church until they got their regular pastors.

6:00

ROMOND: Um-hm. Uh, what are your memories of the neighborhood that you grew up in?

PRIDDY: It was quiet and had a lot of children, mixture of, um, religion. I had, uh, a Jewish family that lived on the corner and I had, uh, a Catholic family that lived next door and one lived across the street. I had, um, Baptists around it. And it, oh, and there was one, uh, family that was Methodist. So we had quite a, a, a variety of religions in the neighborhood which made it pretty good cause everybody seems to really get along good and tried to learn each other's religions. I, I got to go to the Catholic church every now and then.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And, uh, they got a chance to come with me to mine.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And it was, uh, quite fun. [telephone rings] We used to play ball out in the middle of the street. All the parents and everybody, the kids--[telephone rings]--we're just a real fun time.

7:00

ROMOND: Like a community.

PRIDDY: Yeah, it was, and, and my dad was, uh, uh, the captain of, of a ball softball, games and so--

ROMOND: --um-hm--

PRIDDY: --they, they all just really got, got along playing in, uh, in his work he, uh, he was--actually I don't know if you'd call him a furniture builder, he made furniture--

ROMOND: --um-hm--

PRIDDY: --for a company called Angles(??). And he, he, um, uh, from there went into insurance.

ROMOND: Um-hm. And that was besides being a preacher?

PRIDDY: Yes.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: Well, we lived right behind the Carlisle Avenue Baptist Church, which, which is where we went.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: Which made it very convenient for him to, to go back and forth and be over at church a lot and be at home a lot. I mean, he, it made 8:00it very convenient. The rest of all the things that he did was kind of, took, took a backseat to everything, but yet he managed to get everything done in his time.

ROMOND: Yes. So you saw him a lot--

PRIDDY: --I saw him a lot--

ROMOND: --when you were(??) growing up--

PRIDDY: --yes, indeed.

ROMOND: Yeah. How big geographically was, um, the neighborhood that you grew up in? Was it a small community of people in your neighborhood, or?

PRIDDY: It was a small.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: Uh, it, it, it would consist of a couple blocks. It was a small, uh, um, community. It, um, it, it had one main street, and that was Taylor Boulevard at the time, and that's where the church sat.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: One main street and then it had, uh, a couple of other streets where we all, there was a lot of openings, so we all got to kind of see each other better than if you was housed next to side by side by side.

9:00

ROMOND: Yes.

PRIDDY: Well, it was a lot of fields, a lot of openings, so we got to see across streets and things like that, so it was--

ROMOND: --um-hm--

PRIDDY: --it was a small community.

ROMOND: Um-hm. Did you go to school with the other children in your neighborhood? Did you all go to the same school?

PRIDDY: The, the chil--it depended on the religion. Most of the, um--

ROMOND: --um-hm--

PRIDDY: --I went to school with most of my friends, the, the Baptist friends and the, um, Methodists went to, um, um, the same school. We went to, um, the elementary school, which was behind us, and then we went to, um, the junior high school. And then there we parted because I went to, um, Aaron's Trade School. I went to a trade school, and they, they went to either Girls High or, uh--

ROMOND: --um-hm--

PRIDDY: --there's Male or Manual, wherever they wanted to go.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: But, uh, in the beginning though we were all kinda close together--

10:00

ROMOND: --um-hm--

PRIDDY: --with the exception of the other religions.

ROMOND: What school did you go to? What was the name of your grade school?

PRIDDY: My grade school was called Jacob, Charles D. Jacob Elementary.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And then I went to, uh, Southern Middle School, Southern Junior High School.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And then, of course, Aaron's, uh, Trade.

ROMOND: Where was the trade school, was that near--

PRIDDY: --it was, it was downtown, it was in, um, downtown Louisville, um, at, um, Second and Chestnut, I think.

ROMOND: ----------(??)----------

PRIDDY: Second and Chestnut, downtown. It's still there, but now it's called the Brown, uh, it's for special, uh, ECE kids, kids that, uh, are special learners and everything.

ROMOND: Um-hm. What did you study at the trade school?

PRIDDY: Uh, commercial art.

ROMOND: Commercial art.

PRIDDY: Uh, commercial Art and drafting.

ROMOND: Wow.

PRIDDY: Uh, from there I went over to, um, uh, Speed Scientific, um, 11:00School; it, uh, it's a branch of, um, University of Louisville, and I took, um, drafting there, chief drafting. But, um, and mechanical engineering. But, uh, drafting, commercial art, drawing, all those trades there was what I liked and that's what I, I concentrated on.

ROMOND: Um-hm. And, did your parents encourage, uh, you and your, the rest of your family to go on to school?

PRIDDY: Oh yes, oh yes.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: That, that was, that was main goal, we was to all go to school.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And, um, we, that was just something that was a given.

ROMOND: Yes.

PRIDDY: We would go to school and we went to school but we all enjoyed it.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: Uh, it kinda was made fun because my mother and dad both helped 12:00me with my homework, if they could. And, uh, so we'd all be in the summer laying out on the porch doing homework while our mom and dad was sitting in chairs reading, but they were right there to answer questions and everything.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: So, uh, and not only my family, I noticed in a lot of other families they were doing the same thing. It, uh, ev-, everybody kinda could rely on their parents when it came to homework. (laughs)

ROMOND: Um-hm. Tell me some more about your mom.

PRIDDY: Well, my mother was a quiet lady. She was a very religious lady. She, um, um, she loved to cook. As a matter of fact the restaurants that she had, that's what she did. Uh, we had a restaurant called the Chili Bowl. And, uh, she did all of the Mexican cooking, but she learnt how to do it from the lady that had the restaurant before was a Mexican.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And she taught her how to do all the Mexican foods and 13:00everything and, and, uh, that's where she was really the happiest is cooking, when she was in there cooking.

ROMOND: Did you ever work at that restaurant, Dottie?

PRIDDY: No, I never worked in it. I helped a lot but I never actually worked. I, uh, I helped my Mom like when she would be preparing her hamburgers and things, I would make hamburgers for her and, and, uh, get things all ready for maybe a special luncheon, ------------(??) was time to come on or something. But I was never allowed to work in there. I was in school and that's where they made me tend to my school.

ROMOND: Um-hm. Okay(??).

PRIDDY: And not let me get a taste of working.

ROMOND: (laughs) They wanted school to be your priority.

PRIDDY: That was my priority and that's where they made me stay.

[Pause in recording.]

ROMOND: Could you tell me some more about your extended family, Dottie?

PRIDDY: Most of my family moved away. They, um, moved down to Florida. 14:00They, uh, they were originally on my dad's side from Tennessee.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And, and, uh, they stayed in Tennessee and moved around. Uh, one of my, um, cousins, uh, happens to be, the, uh, statue, part of the statue of them raising the flag over, I think, it's Iwo Jima, and, uh, his, Ira Hayes, uh, it was his name. He was the only Indian in the, um--

ROMOND: --yes--

PRIDDY: --in the stat-, uh, in the monument that they, they made. And, uh, he, he left, uh, uh, his, his hometown and went, uh, there to, to fight the war, of course.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And, and, uh, we don't know too much about him, we've kinda lost, that's where we've lost track on, uh, how everything got related--

15:00

ROMOND: --yes--

PRIDDY: --how, because of the merger.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: But, uh, he was my cousin--

ROMOND: --he was one of the(??)--

PRIDDY: --he was my dad's cousin, which made him my second cousin.

ROMOND: Um-hm. He's one of the soldiers in that statue, in the monument?

MARGIE: -- -----------(??)-----------

ROMOND: Yes.

PRIDDY: Yes.

MARGIE: Actually he's, uh, the second one, second one or the last one to the back(??). ROMOND: Okay. Do you remember any of your teachers from school?

PRIDDY: Oh yeah, I remember a math teacher who was very hard.

ROMOND: What grade was that, Dottie?

PRIDDY: Uh, that was when I was in, uh, uh, Southern Junior High School.

Junior high.

PRIDDY: I was in Junior, and, uh, she, um, she liked boys instead of the girls. She favored them. Of course, you know, there's always one. And, uh, she really made it hard on us girls. And the boys got away 16:00all they had to do was bring her a cat or something that they found wandering around cause she just loved little animals.

ROMOND: Oh.

PRIDDY: And, uh, I remember her very clearly. And then, of course, I remember another teacher that was my English teacher who was very strong in, uh, reading literatures. She was always wanting us to read books and, and, uh, I remember her because she made things so interesting. She, when she read books she always changed her voice to the character.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And, and, uh, she was, she was very, um, very--Pearl Robinson was her name.

ROMOND: What grade was that?

PRIDDY: That was also in Junior High School.

ROMOND: In Junior High.

PRIDDY: I remember most Junior High School was the most impressive, I guess, on me.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: I, when I was going to school, I don't remember too much about the teachers at, in my elementary and, and, of course, uh, we had 17:00different professors and different teachers in, uh, the trade school. I don't remember those. I do know that my uncle happened to be principal for a while there at, um, um, at, um, um, Aaron's Trade.

ROMOND: Is that how you got interested in going there, Dottie?

PRIDDY: No, no, no, he, uh, he was principal by marriage. I mean, he was my uncle by marriage, is what I mean. He, um, um, married, uh, became later when, uh, I was going and I was married. And, uh, he, um, I married at a very early age, very young age. And, uh, so I was married when I was going to, um, um, Aaron's. And, and my husband's, uh, aunt's husband was principal.

ROMOND: Okay.

PRIDDY: That's how he got to be principal. He wasn't my blood uncle 18:00but, but through marriage.

ROMOND: How old were you when you got married?

PRIDDY: Fifteen.

ROMOND: Fifteen. That's young.

PRIDDY: Yep. (laughs)

ROMOND: Yeah.

MARGIE: Was it fifteen or sixteen?

PRIDDY: I hadn't turned sixteen yet; I got married December the, um, first, and I turned sixteen January the ninth.

ROMOND: And how did you meet your husband?

PRIDDY: Well, it was, it was a funny meeting. I was coming home out(??) of a bus stop. We used to have, um, a place where the bus made its turn.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And, um, to go back to repeat its, its, uh, route. And there was a restaurant at the end of it and it was called Queens. And, uh, I used to get off there and go in get me a soft drink or something before walking on home. I, I just lived a short distance from that way.

19:00

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And, uh, I met my husband there. He, uh, happened to be there and we got to talking. And then he came to visit and then we started dating from there.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: Very simple meeting, it was.

ROMOND: Yes. What kind of activities do you remember outside of school, Dottie? When you were going to school, were you involved in any activities outside of school?

PRIDDY: Mostly activities I was in was church activities. Uh, we'd have our sewing clubs, we'd have our choirs, we'd have, uh, um, of course our, um, sock hops and things. Uh, most of my activities was revolved around the church activities.

ROMOND: Um-hm. And did that stay true after you got married?

PRIDDY: No, after I got married, uh, I moved away from the, um, the home 20:00part community and, and moved out here to Okolona. And, uh, I didn't go to church as much. I did, I wasn't involved as much. Of course I, uh, I was married five years before I had any children.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And, uh, it, it, uh, the first five years I guess I went to church more, I was closer going to church and stuff like that, but then once I started having children, I, I didn't, I didn't, um, um, go as much any-, anymore. I, I tried different churches out here in the location and, and, uh, I would go sporadically. I, I, I just didn't go like I used to while I was younger.

ROMOND: Um-hm. Were you still in trade school when you got married?

PRIDDY: Yes.

ROMOND: And did you, were you able to finish?

21:00

PRIDDY: Oh, I finished and went on to, um, um--

MARGIE: --U of L--

PRIDDY: --U of L, the University of Louisville, the, uh, Speed Scientific School. And got a certificate in engineering.

ROMOND: Wow. And did you use that certificate in any work after you -----------(??)--

PRIDDY: --no, as a matter of fact when, uh, I got out, I went to work for the, uh, Army, the Army, um, drawing maps.

MARGIE: Army map services--

PRIDDY: --Army map service--

ROMOND: --really--

PRIDDY: --and, uh, we were in war then at the time. And we, um, I was drawing maps for, um, the, uh, Army, Air Force, and, um, that, that's basically where I spent most of my time.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: Um, my, my job was drawing maps, drafting maps, and, uh, putting locations on them, uh, for, for the bombers. And it was, it was, uh, always considered according to the envelopes top secret. So, so, 22:00that's, that's the work I was doing at the time.

ROMOND: Um-hm. So you did use your drafting skills then?

PRIDDY: Oh, I, yes, I used, I used my drafting skills twice. I, I used to work for Reynolds Metals before I went to the Army. I worked for, um, Reynolds Metals. And, uh, I was there chief draftsman there, drafting, uh, refrigerators and stoves and things like that.

ROMOND: What got you interested in studying drafting and engineering?

PRIDDY: I always liked drawing. And it seemed that drawing, just I liked to connect one line to another, and.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And in drawing, uh, especially in engineering, I, that's, that was basically what it was, is, is, uh, to, to connect the dots. (laughs)

ROMOND: Yes.

PRIDDY: And, um, I, I always loved doing it. I always art was just 23:00always in me. And, and, uh, that's the way it took me, instead of going into commercial art.

ROMOND: Right.

PRIDDY: I went into drafting.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And, uh, but I still stayed dabbling in commercial art. I, I liked doing that but most of my work took me, uh, to the drafting field.

ROMOND: Um-hm. Were your teachers in school, before you went to drafting school, were teachers at school encouraging of you to go on or to girls in general? I know your parents were but at school?

PRIDDY: Uh, my, the, the funny part about that is the teachers that I had thought it was a waste of time.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: She, uh, did not think that I should've gone to Aaron's Trade to, for, um, commercial art, for drafting.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: She thought I ought to take business or planning or, or something 24:00a little bit more that would help me in the years when I started to work. She didn't that it, in her opinion it was a man's field.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And it, I just would never really make, make anything out of it. But, uh, I was hardheaded, I wanted to go--(Romond laughs)--and my dad said I could go, so I went.

ROMOND: You did make something out of it.

PRIDDY: And I did make--

ROMOND: --yes--

PRIDDY: --something out of it, yes.

ROMOND: Yes. What kind of social activities, um, did you have with your family outside of church? Did you--

PRIDDY: --oh--

ROMOND: --did your family take vacations?

PRIDDY: Oh yes, we, we went to Florida quite often.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And down to Tennessee, we went, went to visit all our relatives a lot. And, uh, we, we had, um, my daddy was quite into sports. He, uh, was a bowling captain, he was a, a baseball captain. And, uh, I 25:00used to go with him to all his games and everything. And we'd all, the whole family would go. It, it would be, we'd all get ready, and pack a little basket, and go out to the park. And it was just a little neighborhood park, but that's where they played the ball. And while he was over playing ball we were running and swinging. And they had a little, uh, pavilion where they had arts and crafts going on in there all the time. And so we were in there making baskets and doing something fun.

ROMOND: Yes, yes. Church was a big part of your growing up.

PRIDDY: Church was a very big part.

ROMOND: And when you think back about that experience, do you see how values that you got there connected with, well, the rest of your life and specifically with your life in politics?

MARGIE: Politics, Mom ----------(??)----------

PRIDDY: I, I think, I think by my church upbringing, I learned how to 26:00look a lot of people differently. I learned how to accept people. Not necessarily because they were, who they were, but just accept them because they were a person.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And, and, and I was able to, to like people. I, I, uh, uh, I didn't, I didn't judge them.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: I, I think, I think that all became through my, uh, upbringing of church. I, uh, I, um, I think that by going to church, learning, learning the Bible and, and learning things that I learnt made me be able to use all this knowledge once I became in politics, because it worked to my advantage. It, it, uh, being nice to people--

27:00

ROMOND: --um-hm--

PRIDDY: --instead of trying to, uh, chistes them out of something or, or, uh, do double-dealing or stuff like that, I never did any of that. I never had to. And I think it paid off, to me, it, it paid off because I had, I, I didn't have an enemy in the General Assembly; everybody in there was my friend. And, uh, they, they worked with me. If I needed their help, they were right there to give it and--

ROMOND: --um-hm--

PRIDDY: --I think without the church upbringing I probably wouldn't have had that kind of com-, com-comrardery with the rest of the, the people.

ROMOND: Um-hm. How did you get into politics?

PRIDDY: I, it, it started out, I, I used to be a, a precinct captain for 28:00my home district. And, uh, then I became, after I became a precinct captain, they elected me to the secretary of the district, and then from the secretary of the district they elected me to go, um, um, to conventions, and I started really getting involved. And then when my kids came along and they got into, to schools whenever I'd work at the schools people have me come do them favors. Uh, "Will you help me do this, help me do that," and through politics I would help. And all of the sudden someone said, "Well, you ought a run for office." And I did. I just, just as clear as that, they said I ought a run. Uh, I talked to the, uh, people I was working with at the time to see what they thought.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: I was working with a law firm.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: I talked with them. They thought it was great, they encouraged me. I come home and talked to my husband about, about it. And, uh, he 29:00wasn't too sure until, um, another legislator came--

ROMOND: --um-hm--

PRIDDY: --and sit down and talked to him, and told him the pitfalls, told him things that could possibly happen in the future. And but yet, uh, you gotta have a lot of trust there with your husband and wife business--

ROMOND: --sure--

PRIDDY: --in, uh, politics. And he trusted me and wanted me to go ahead, if I wanted it, for me to go ahead and do it. He was of the old, old saying, um, women need to be home, seen and not heard type deal.

MARGIE: Except with her.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: Exc-, except, he would always say, "Except for you." (Romond laughs) And then he, he thought I needed to be there.

ROMOND: Yes.

PRIDDY: And, um, so I did and we had a very, uh, we had a lot of little scares that he was talking about, people calling and saying that I was 30:00in hotels with somebody else and all this kinda stuff, which is, that's out there. The, the meanness is just out there.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And, and, uh, but, but lucky for us, uh, I, I was where I was supposed to be and he knew it. And, and most of the time I was right here at home is the fact, a matter of fact. And, uh, he, um, he, he didn't fall for any, of all that.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: Uh, he, uh, he trusted me.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And that's what you really need is trust. And he trusted me. And he, he trusted me to be with a hundred guys. And, uh, to him they were all his, he made friends with all of them. He was not left out. He was, um, part of me.

ROMOND: Yes.

PRIDDY: So, it, it, um, it just got to where I got deeper and deeper into politics. And the deeper I got in to it, the deeper he got in to 31:00me, into the politics. So, it really just, it worked well.

ROMOND: So he really never felt left out?

PRIDDY: No, he, he was, he had his own, he had his own legislator he could go to. In his, in his mind, if he had problems with what was going on, he knew who to go to.

ROMOND: Yes.

PRIDDY: And, uh, he kinda liked that.

ROMOND: Um-hm. What was--

PRIDDY: --and, and of course his other friends too, they, they had problems or they'd say they don't like this or that or another, and he'd say, "Well, I'll tell her." I mean, he, he, uh, I think it kinda made him feel really proud, I guess, is the word.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: He, he was proud.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And, uh, we never had a bit of problems with me being involved in politics.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And he would always say, "Oh, they just a bunch shysters except you." (laughs) Always that "except you"--

32:00

ROMOND: --"except you"--

PRIDDY: --in there.

ROMOND: What was his name?

PRIDDY: Oh, his name was James Priddy.

ROMOND: James Priddy.

PRIDDY: Jam-, James B. Priddy. And, uh, he was many of the James, there was James B. Priddy's all through his family, so.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: But he was, uh, James Priddy. And my, um, kids, I had five children. And, uh, I had, um, Peggy, and then Judy, and then Larry, then Jerry, then Margie. And they all just came, well, in quite a few years, Margie is, uh, got about sixteen years difference, I think, between her--

MARGIE: --it's fifteen between me and Peggy--

PRIDDY: --fifteen? Between her and the first, my first child.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: But, um--

ROMOND: --so you had four children when you very first ran for office?

PRIDDY: Um-hm. I had four children. And then Margie came after the 33:00session was, my first session was over.

ROMOND: Um-hm. How did you know how to, um, campaign, how did you know how what to do to run for office?

PRIDDY: Campaigning for others.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: I went out and there was a whole lot of people ahead of me that, that I used to work for; Presidents and just, um, Governors, just different, different offices. And I would, uh, be running in their campaign. I, I'd be, um, have some part to play in it.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And, uh, I, I learned how to layout campaigns, what to do, and, and when's the right time to do it. And so when it came to my time, I had already had the knowledge and knew what to do. And then I had a person that, uh, helped me a lot. Uh, he, his name was John Flood. And he was very smart in to the poli-, political arena as far 34:00as campaigning.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And he took over my campaign. And, and between he and I, we, we had no problems.

ROMOND: When you ran for office that very first time, um, what was your comp-, who was your competition?

PRIDDY: When I first ran for office, uh, we had some other parties running that, that, it's not like the two-party system, Democrat, Republican.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: We had the Whigs. We had, um, um, um, oh, um, I can't even think of the names. There was quite a few of them.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And, uh, I had seven men running against me--

ROMOND: --oh my--

PRIDDY: --under seven different titles. Uh, I had one of my own party 35:00running against me. And then I had a Republican. I had a whole lot of them in there running. And I beat them all. Um, and I think it was because of, of knowing, experience knowing what to do, and I had a good, a real good campaign manager, so.

ROMOND: Um-hm. You weren't really new to politics when you ran; you had worked with other campaigns--

PRIDDY: --right--

ROMOND: --you worked with other politicians.

PRIDDY: Right. And I had been in Frankfort lobbying, so I knew, uh, a lot of the issues.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And I knew what went on, so, um, I was not new. I, I, between working in politics and working at schools, my, my daughters, uh, my two daughters--my sons hadn't come, come along yet--my two daughters, 36:00working in school, or kept me busy working in school--

ROMOND: --um-hm--

PRIDDY: --and, um, they were, I, I would work in the library a lot, or whatever, wherever I'm needed--

ROMOND: --as a volunteer--

PRIDDY: --as a volunteer, right. And then of course when my sons come, uh, by the time when I ran, I had the four children, but they were all young except, um, my sons. They were so young that, as matter of fact, at one of my rallies they were out, instead of giving out matchbooks, they were selling them for two-cents apiece. (both laugh) And they were going around all over the audience selling those matchbooks. When I found out about it, I, I had, I offered to everybody in the, uh, audience that bought matchbooks their money back, if they'd just come up and tell me, but everybody got a big kick out of that. They thought that was funny. And nobody came, nobody wanted but it was just pennies 37:00here and there. And they come up just beaming ear to ear, "Look, we sold this many." (Romond laughs) And, uh, that was one of my highlights of campaigning one time. And, and, uh, but they were young. And I was working in their schools, but, of course, when I went into the General Assembly, the schools, uh, kinda I slacked off; I wasn't working them any, anymore. By the time Margie came, I didn't have a chance to work in her schools--

ROMOND: --um-hm--

PRIDDY: --or, or go see her play ball, or hardly anything because of, uh, of me being in the General Assembly, not being at home all the time.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: But when I wasn't at home she was mostly with me. She, her, uh, I guess you could say her second home was the Capitol cause she had the run of the place.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: She, uh, as a matter of fact when I was looking for her one day, couldn't find her, she was down in the Governor's office, talking about 38:00something that she wanted to know about. They were down there talking. And with the door shut. And here I had been trying to get a meeting with him for weeks. (Romond laughs) I, and here she's down there, talking with him about why do they, um, why do they, uh, have to build, put concrete vaults, or something, in to bury caskets. I'd, I'd, it was just a real.

ROMOND: Some question that had occurred to her.

PRIDDY: Yeah.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And--

ROMOND: --how old was she then?

PRIDDY: Oh my, she was young.

MARGIE: Five.

ROMOND: Five.

PRIDDY: About, about five.

MARGIE: -----------(??)----------- strange--(Priddy laughs)--questions.

ROMOND: And thought you'd take them to the Governor.

PRIDDY: And she took them! (laughs) And, and the Governor, he, he, he thought it was so unique that he would, uh, tell the secretary--well, she'd go in and tell them, she'd want to see him. And of course 39:00there's everybody sitting around, waiting to get in and see the Governor. And, and, uh, she'd go to the door and tell him that Dottie Priddy's daughter is there to see him. "And let her in," he'd come in. (Romond laughs) He'd shut the door and she's sitting in the chair just like one of the visitors.

MARGIE: Yes.

PRIDDY: Uh, I went looking for her and they somebody told me she was down in the Governor's office. And I had a fit. I, I flew down there. And, and, uh, the secretary wouldn't even let me go to the door and barge in. She went over and she knocked on the door. And he said, "Come in." And then, then she said, "Miss Priddy's here." And then I go in and there sits my daughter, little bitty--

ROMOND: --which Governor was that, do you remember?

PRIDDY: Uh--

MARGIE: -- ----------(??)--

PRIDDY: --Julian Carroll.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: That was Julian Carroll.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And, uh, he, he just treated her like she was one of the visitors out there waiting to see him.

40:00

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: I, I, I thought it was great; he thought it was great too. It's just kinda unusual. But, uh.

ROMOND: Tell about the timing of Margie's birth in relation to your being elected for the first time.

PRIDDY: Of, of her birth?

ROMOND: Um-hm. You were just elected in.

PRIDDY: We had just, we had just finished our session in April.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: You see, from January to April fifteenth, you have a, um, a session. And, uh, we had just finished. And we were home at the, during the time. And, uh, uh, we were having problems with the rock quarry, right down the street here.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And the county judge came out and he and I toured it. Went down into it and toured it. And so, he was gonna make a decision on it, 41:00when all of the sudden I had to go to the hospital. I had, it was, uh, it was time for me to have her and so I rushed to the hospital and when I got--

MARGIE: -- -----------(??)---------- --

PRIDDY: --yeah, yeah I still had--

MARGIE: -- -----------(??)---------- --

PRIDDY: --I still had, I still had my pantyhose on. And, and, uh, she had already, already started coming, and, and, uh, by the time that I got there at the hospital, and they got everything done, um, she was there. And so the, uh, the doctor, he, uh, kinda come in and joked about, "Am I ready to get up now and go out plow the south forty." (Romond laughs) Uh, I mean it was, it was just all so, um, happened so quick, it just, it just happened quick.

42:00

ROMOND: Yes.

PRIDDY: And so anywhere I'm there in bed and come to find out the judge is gonna hand the decision down and is gonna listen to any arguments about the rock quarry. And I had to be there cause what we were trying to do was close it up. They were wrecking the houses all around here. So I had to be there. So my doctor said. "All right. I'll let you go but you come right back." It was back when they were letting people stay two or three days.

Romond-sure at the hospital.

PRIDDY: At the hospital and so I went. And, uh, that's when they were all joking that I didn't have a baby but I mean it--

ROMOND: --they didn't believe you.

PRIDDY: Unh-uh. Only one person believed me and that was because he'd come to the hospital to see me. And it was Senator Beach. And he happened to come to the hospital to see me when I was in.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: So he knew that I had a baby, and, and he was telling everybody, he was passing the picture around for me while I was, uh, listening to the judge. And he was telling everybody, "That's my baby," and he 43:00showed it to Judge Hollenbach and said, um, "This is Dottie's new baby. She just had, uh, it yesterday, I think it was," or something like that, and he said, "Well, I'll know this is, is Priddy girl," you know, the name Priddy and than girl. He said, "But, um, this is not Dottie's baby because I was with her down in the rock quarry." And he said, "She wasn't pregnant then."

ROMOND: (laughs) But really you went straight from the rock quarry--

PRIDDY: --to the hospital--

ROMOND: --to the hospital.

PRIDDY: Um-hm.

ROMOND: So when you were elected the November before--

PRIDDY: --yes--

ROMOND: --and this was, you had just finished your first session.

PRIDDY: Yes.

ROMOND: Okay.

PRIDDY: Yes, just finished. Uh, we went out in April and she was born in June. So.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And still up until, up until June hardly anyone knew I was pregnant because I just, I, I guess I carried her low in the back 44:00or something because I just, I just didn't, I, I'm not a fat person, although I'm probably--

MARGIE: --you said you didn't even know that you were pregnant until you went in for a checkup--

PRIDDY: I, yeah, I didn't even know I was pregnant until I went in for a checkup, and they said I was seven or eight, uh, let's see--

MARGIE: -- -----------(??)--

PRIDDY: --I, I was, I was nine months pregnant already, dilated. And that was what my problem was that I was having and I didn't even know it.

ROMOND: And you didn't know you were pregnant?

PRIDDY: You see--

MARGIE: -- ----------(??)--

PRIDY: --she, she was still, she, um, I never missed a period. Nothing, nothing unusual to indicate that I was pregnant. Now--

ROMOND: --that's an amazing story.

PRIDDY: Every now and then, I, I did feel movement but I thought it was--

MARGIE: --gas--

PRIDDY: --gas or something, I, I don't know, I, I just never thought it 45:00was a baby.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: Never even gave that a thought.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And, and the funny part about it though, there's a black lady that's in the General Assembly with me.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And her name was Mae Street Kidd. And she said all along she knew I was pregnant. She said, "Every time you walked down the aisle," she said, "I could tell from the back that you were pregnant, you were pregnant." (Romond laughs) But she would've been the only one that I know of, cause nobody else knew it.

ROMOND: So you started your political career and had a baby all at the same time.

PRIDDY: All at the same time, with four kids on the side.

ROMOND: And then this baby, Marg-, Margie--

[Pause in recording.]

ROMOND: So Margie grew up at the Capitol?

PRIDDY: Yes, um, as a matter of fact, there's not a room I think that's at the Capitol she hasn't been into. I went looking for her one day 46:00and we couldn't find her. And looked up in, in the, uh, we were down in the, uh, rotunda and looked up and she was all the way up in, in the very tiptop where the skylight is, walking the catwalk.

Romond-oh my gosh

PRIDDY: How she ever got up there through the cat-, the, the attic, or whatever you want to call it up there, there's nothing but catacombs. It's just in the one end, it just weaves in and out all over up there, and how she got out there to that door and got out on that catwalk, I'll never know. But she was up there, walking around, waving down, looking over and waving down at us, and. ROMOND: Fearless. (laughs)

PRIDDY: She, she, didn't bother her a bit. And it had my heart just out, I don't know if, I think somebody went up and got her for me, or either she came on down, I can't remember. But anyway she came down. 47:00(laughs) But, um, she's, she's been all over that building. She's been, she was on everybody's desk when I was, uh, going to all my committee meetings and everything. I would go up there with a little basket. She would sit on the basket and the nur-, the secretaries would give her a bottle and stuff like that while I was in on meetings. And she, um, she just, she became part of the fixtures up there--

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: --with, um, with me, uh, if you see me, you knew she was around somewhere.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: But, uh, she, uh, then of course as she got older, uh, I would take her and the legislators would watch her, and the, uh, secretaries would watch her. And she even, uh, there was one black legislator had a, a real fancy car.

MARGIE: ----------(??)

PRIDDY: Uh, a Doran,

MARGIE: A DeLorean.

PRIDDY: A DeLorean, and one day she turned up missing and he had taken 48:00her for a ride in that car. And then that's just, they just felt like--

Romond: --they kinda adopted her--

PRIDDY: --they adopted like, they could just--

ROMOND: --yes--

PRIDDY: --they see her they could--

MARGIE: --I belonged to everybody up there(??)--

PRIDDY: She, uh, it, it, it just, it just scared me because all of the sudden here she's missing--

ROMOND: --sure--

PRIDDY: --and, uh, nobody knew where. And then finally someone said, "Oh yeah, Aubrey took her for a ride." (laughs) And then of course I knew where she was knew, and who she was with, and everything.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: But, uh, it, it was, it was that way all the time. They, they just, if somebody wanted to take her get an ice cream or take here down to the, uh, snack bar, they were just taken her on. She was just part 49:00of the, it was the days that you could really trust people then.

ROMOND: Yes.

PRIDDY: But she, um, she had an awful lot of people that was picking her up and taking her places and bringing her back of course.

ROMOND: Looking out for her.

PRIDDY: Looking out for her, they really, they really took care of her.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: I know it doesn't say much for me, watching her, but, uh, when I'd get there, uh, I'd ask the secretary, "Now can you keep an eye on her till I, I, uh, get out of the meeting," and they'd say, "Well, yeah, sure." And then when I'd come out, "Oh, well, so and so took her to get something to eat," or whatever. It, it was just like she belonged to everybody.

ROMOND: Well, you felt safe.

PRIDDY: Oh yeah, I was, I felt very--

ROMOND: --you trusted the people that you were with--

PRIDDY: --where I was, the location I was in, and the people that was around that location, yeah I trusted them.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And, uh, of course, the secretary wouldn't have let her gone off 50:00with just anybody.

ROMOND: Sure.

PRIDDY: You know what I mean, like if a legislator come up and said, "I want to take her to get something to eat," well, that was fine, but if somebody else would have come up and said it, well, no she wouldn't have gone.

ROMOND: Plus Margie must have brought them some joy and some and a break from the serious work of--

PRIDDY: --yeah--

ROMOND: --the legislator.

PRIDDY: And, and Margie was always funny. Margie was always laughing and carrying on. She, uh, she was always smiling. And of course it just, I guess she would just capture everybody's heart as they come along. (laughs) Because of, of her attitude, cause she was very free, a very free spirited person.

ROMOND: Um-hm, um-hm. Dottie, what was the local political climate like in your own district when you first started? What did you imagine or 51:00hope to accomplish, what needs from your own constituents did you bring with you to the General Assembly?

PRIDDY: One of the things that people in my district needed at the time was water. We, uh, I represented Fairdale, at the time. Now Okalona had water but Fairdale did not. Fairdale was the largest part of my district. And they didn't, they didn't have, they didn't have any indoor plumbing, they didn't have--

ROMOND: --no city water--

PRIDDY: --no water what so every, if they had any water at all it had to be trucked out and put in cisterns--

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: --if, if, uh, or somehow or another water brought to them. And, uh, so that was one of my pledges. And so I, I worked on it and I got them water eventually. And, uh, that, but that was one of my, uh, big concerns then was water.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: Another concern was, uh, it seemed that one time the, the 52:00revenues were split up unfairly. It seemed like the revenues would go to the city and take care of the city streets and the city, uh, roads, the highways and all like that. And out here in the county we'd have a lot of potholes. And it wouldn't be quite as, uh, taken care of. And we weren't receiving back the funds that we thought we should be receiving. So I, I finally worked with another legislator, and we got, we got, uh, a bill passed which, uh, brought our roads up-to-date and everything and kept them up-to-date. And the money was spent out here that was the money that was spent out here was used out here, which hadn't been that way. And that was one of my priorities, and it was just little things like that that my people in my district just 53:00couldn't seemed to get a handle on.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And they, they always seemed to be last whenever anything would come to Louisville. Uh, they would al-, they would not get involved or get in-, involved, uh, with the, uh, the monies or whatever came until last, they, they, they, uh, they needed to be heard.

ROMOND: And you gave them a voice--.

PRIDDY: --and I gave them that voice--

ROMOND: --sounds like--

PRIDDY: --I gave them that voice--

ROMOND: --um-hm--

PRIDDY: --I gave them that voice in Frankfort and here locally.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: Uh, uh, not only, not only did I just go to Frankfort and speak for them, but it got to where they would, well, it got so bad that even though I couldn't speak for them, I, I was giving them advice. They would call me.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And they would be having a hard time getting their social security. Well, I'd get on the phone and I would help them and I'd 54:00help them get their social security. They would be getting a divorce, and they, they didn't know if they're being taken advantage of or something.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: They would call me on something like that, which I'm no divorce lawyer, and I'd let them know right away, but I would at least tell them who to talk to, give them advice. And it just seemed like my people out here needed someone to talk to.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: Someone to speak out for them.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And that's what I did.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And, uh--

ROMOND: --where did the funding come from, Dottie, for water, for example?

PRIDDY: Uh, it came from HUD.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: Eventually I, um, I eventually through legislation forced our, uh, our county attorney to, uh, make the application and get it started and get it in here as part of a, a, a absolute necessity, which he wasn't doing. And so, I, I called his hand on it.

55:00

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And he did it.

ROMOND: So federal money.

PRIDDY: Fed-, yes, federal monies--

ROMOND: --um-hm--

PRIDDY: --what came and took care of the problems. And I don't have anything to do with fed, but, but, uh, I did have his ear.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And, and so it, it got started and we got money for water for Fairdale.

ROMOND: As the years went by that you were in the legislature, how did the needs of your own constituents change?

PRIDDY: They didn't really ever change; it was always, it was always roads, always something to do with roads. Uh, the next big thing was jobs. And of course in my situation the only way that I could provide jobs was get them, to come in through the General Assembly, which is exactly what we did. I was made chairman of economic development and it was a new committee and I got to be chair of it. And through 56:00this, I, uh, I learned a lot of, of ways to start bringing jobs into Kentucky. But I had a way of filling them into Louisville and Jefferson County. And, and, uh, uh, through my being chairman on judi- , on the, um, um, uh, economic development--

ROMOND: --um-hm--

PRIDDY: --we was able to start bringing some jobs in. And it also helped because of me being on economic development, uh, Ford Motor Company was gonna move out, General Electric was gonna move out. And by me going up to, uh, Detroit to Ford and going, uh, uh, with General Electric, uh, to talk to their people, I was able to keep them here by pledging our support and monies, fundings and things from the General Assembly, and then I'd have to go back and sell Gen-, the General Assembly the idea and everything, but it worked. We got the monies 57:00and we saved Ford, we saved GE, they stayed here instead of going to, I think they were gonna go to, um, uh, I can't remember the, um--oh, Brazil, Brazil was one of the places they were, that was where GE was going. GE was taking their companies to Brazil.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And, uh, I saved that by getting funding out of the, uh, uh, General Assembly. And one of the deals with John Y. Brown, he, he gave us a big bundle of money and saved, uh, GE from going, and then of course there was, uh, uh, Ford, who was wanting to move out, and I don't know where they were going, but they had someplace else, taking it out of the state, taking it out of the country's what they were taking it out of.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: Not only the state, they were going to another country where everything was cheaper and, but I, um, I pledged that I would come back 58:00and we'd get the money, we'd get the money and we did. And by, um, by getting the money and saving them, and they stayed here and they here today still.

ROMOND: Um-hm. When did that happen, that, which Governor? Was, was it John Y. Brown--

PRIDDY: --John Y. Brown was Governor under--

ROMOND: --when you were dealing with that

PRIDDY: --that was under General Electric.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: Um, I think, I think Wendell Ford was Governor when I was having problems with, um, uh, Ford Motor Company.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: I think he was Governor then. I know that Jerry Abramson and Dave Armstrong, and, um, David was, um--no, no, it was, uh, it was, um, Dave Armstrong who went with me to, to, um, Detroit.

59:00

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: About Ford Motor Company.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And, uh, I don't know who was Governor then, I think it was Wendell Ford.

ROMOND: Um-hm. Did you make this decision to go to Detroit--

PRIDDY: --oh, I begged them--

ROMOND: --on your own or, or were you sent as an emissary from the General Assembly, or how--

PRIDDY: --no, I--

ROMOND: --how did that come about?

PRIDDY: I went to, I went to Dave Armstrong, who was I think our county judge or county attorney, I don't, I mean, um--

MARGIE: -- -----------(??)--

PRIDDY: --anyway I went to him--

ROMOND: --um-hm--

PRIDDY: --and told him we really needed to do something or we were gonna lose Ford. And would he make arrangements or something so we could go up there and discuss with them what they needed, what we could do to help. So he did. And so the Ford people and, and, um, Dave Armstrong 60:00and myself and, uh, the Governor went. And, uh, but it was because of my urging that we needed to do something and quick, or else we were gonna lose them.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And then me as a legislator sitting there, when it come to the fundings--

ROMOND: --yes--

PRIDDY: --uh, I was at the time the chairman of the delegation. We had, uh, twenty-seven legislators here. And I was the chairman of them. And it was called the delegation. They were all from Jefferson County.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And, uh, I, I pledged that I would go back and sell the idea to our, first our delegation and then as a delegation we would take it and, and go to Frankfort and, and try to get it, get it passed, get the money.

MARGIE: She was the first female in the history of the state or the county--

ROMOND: --um-hm--

MARGIE: --to serve, to serve as the chairman of that Jefferson County Delegation.

61:00

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: I, I was the first female of a lot of things; I, I was the, uh, first female of the delegation.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: Um, judiciary, which is always been a, a lawyer's committee.

ROMOND: Yes.

PRIDDY: I was the first female, who was not a lawyer, and I was not a lawyer, uh, that chaired judiciary.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And, uh, I was the first female to wear slacks on the floor, pants suits.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: Everybody, all the other females used to wear suits and things before my time, and I wore pants suits. And, uh, I, uh, I was the, uh, first that stayed in the office as long as I did.

MARGIE: She was probably the first legislator that ever went to jail for her people(??).

PRIDDY: That went what?

62:00

MARGIE: Jail for her people(??).

PRIDDY: Oh yeah. (laughs)

ROMOND: When did you go to jail?

PRIDDY: That was back during the busing. And during busing, um, they had some riots.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And I happened to be looking for my children. I, I was innocently not rio-, I wasn't rioting or wasn't marching, I wasn't even out there, but I went to get my children because it was, got pretty bad out on Dixie Highway. And they said they were moving up this way towards Preston, and so I went to get my children. And, uh, and get them home and I got my boys home and I was waiting for my daughter to come in. She had gone to the movies and they always stopped at a restaurant and eat before coming home. So I went into that restaurant and the police came in and rushed the restaurant and told them all to get out and recognized me. (laughs) And they arrested me because I was up there. And I was up there in the restaurant, not, not out--

63:00

ROMOND: --not making a political statement.

PRIDDY: No, I wasn't doing anything, but they, um, they took me, uh, put handcuffed me to the pole, and went on with their business, making everybody get off Preston cause it was a real bad riot.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: A real bad one. And so, they took me to jail, of course, course I was dismissed, but, but, um.

ROMOND: Where did your children go when you went to jail?

PRIDDY: Oh, they were here at home.

ROMOND: They were home.

PRIDDY: They were here at home.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: Yeah, they, they had their grandmothers, they had their daddy. He didn't even know where I was at the time cause he did, as far as he was concerned I was here in the front room watching television, and he went on to bed. And on, on televisions when they said they were headed out to Preston, and I knew that's where my children were--

ROMOND: --sure--

PRIDDY: --so I went up to get them, and I, that's how I got involved. But I was involved in, in the past. I mean, I was always in the marches, and I had meetings and stuff like that, uh, anti-busing 64:00meetings. And so when they recognized me, I guess they just assumed that I was up there for the reason that everybody was coming out.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: But, uh, it didn't matter, I got arrested, and, and put in jail, and people would call home and say, "Well, I'm in jail but Dottie Priddy's here with me," and the, the parents at home would say, "Well, that's okay then; you just stay with her."

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: I mean, they, they weren't afraid of their children being locked up or they weren't afraid of wives weren't, weren't too upset because their husbands were locked up because they figured it was all due to this busing situation we were having, cause we had a very bad busing situation going on.

ROMOND: What sparked the riots Dottie?

PRIDDY: Um, well, it, it started out on Dixie Highway and I don't really, 65:00I think they were just marching. And I think that somebody threw a, um, somebody threw a rock or somebody threw something that hit an officer in the eye. I believe it put his eye out. A, a lead sinker.

MARGIE: ----------(??) a fishing sinker(??)

PRIDDY: A fishing sinker. Anyway it, it put his eye out. And all of the sudden the big, I mean it was a riot between the police and the, and the people. And, and the police couldn't get control.

ROMOND: Um-hm, um-hm.

PRIDDY: It was a bad situation. Now that's not what they were doing out here on Preston. But the angry mob was moving out here to Preston, cause we had marchers out here at Preston all the time. They had a little field up there that, uh, was called Valley Forge.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And there was somebody always over there, uh, yelling, "Stop busing!" And passing out leaflets.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And there was always somebody up there. But that's where this 66:00mob was headed for. And so I went to warn people and to get off, get home.

ROMOND: Yes.

PRIDDY: Get off the streets. And I was sitting in the restaurant, waiting for my daughter, cause I knew that that's where they'd be coming. But it, it, it got bad by the time that, she was never able to make it to the restaurant because they had already scattered them. And, uh, I, uh, I got arrested, and she heard about it over the radio.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: So she, she just, they, they took her car and put it in a lot. She went in and stole her car out of the lot. And come on, went to a friend's house and hid it. (laughs)

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: But that was the days that was a mess, those days were really bad.

ROMOND: What was your thinking on busing?

PRIDDY: I, I thought if they were gonna bus anybody, let's bus teachers, not the children. Because it was the teachers that they said that the 67:00children needed. And instead of having such a mass movement, we could send teachers wherever the students needed the help. We did not have to bunch up a whole bunch of kids and send them all the way across the country to someplace else, I mean, the county.

ROMOND: Hm.

PRIDDY: Uh, I just felt like we needed to bus teachers, not kids.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And, uh, the court-ordered busing was tota-, I was totally against it; I marched against it; I preached against it; I, we had meetings. I, it, um, was very well-known how I felt about it.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: Other, other legislators felt the same way, but nobody got vocal about it; nobody took a stand; everybody was kinda afraid to take a stand.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: But I took a stand.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And through that, I got arrested.

ROMOND: Um-hm, um-hm. Dottie, what was it like when you first got 68:00elected and even over the years to be a woman in such a male-dominated world of the legislature, especially at first?

PRIDDY: Well, I was kinda amazed. And I have to judge myself by what I've seen out of other female legislators that came later. But I, I was prepared, one, not to be listened to. That I was really gonna have to speak out to be heard, because I didn't think the guys would pay any attention to me. But I was shocked; those, those fellows took me under their arms. And those, those other, the male legislators really offered me support, help--

ROMOND: --um-hm--

PRIDDY: --uh, showed me way to get things done, told me things to say, 69:00where to go, what to do. They, um, they took me under their wing. And when I had something, when I had a story to tell or I had a, a bill that I was interested in, and I went and sit down and explained to them, we would have our little arguments, they would not agree, and, and everything else, but then we would come to some kind of middle. I'm a middle-ground person. If you, you don't accept me all the way, can you go this far, can you, can you at least accept it to this, this level, and stuff like that, and I'd, I'd stay and needle them till, uh, at least we'd come out with some kind of common ground.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And, and I think the guys, I think they liked it, because I happened not to be alone. Whenever they would go out to dinner, they would always holler, "Dottie, we're going over to Holiday Inn for dinner. Do you want to go with us? Come on, and go with us." I mean, I was always, always invited. It more or less became I, I was just one 70:00of the guys.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: They didn't look at, they were decent.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: They, they didn't, um, tell their dirty jokes and stuff around, like when I was around or something, but it didn't seem to bother them. They, uh, they, they were really decent with me.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: They accepted me. And was just a real big help.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: I, I didn't have what I was looking forward to, I was looking forward to having to really fuss and fight and fume and, and make them listen but that, that didn't happen.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: They, um, they were there and they offered, uh, "You don't want to do it this way, Dottie. You, you, you don't want to, you don't want to say that. You, you want to do this, you want to do that."

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: They were a, they were a help; they were not a, they weren't a 71:00hindrance; they were a help, a big help.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And I'll always, I respected them. They respected me. And we just got along fabulous. And all their wives, I didn't have any problem with wives. That's something else I was worried about. (Romond laughs) I was worried about wives. Well, I made friends with the wives. And they even liked me.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: As a matter of fact if I had a problem with one of the legislators on a piece of bill, I'd go to his wife and say, "Can't you make him understand this?"--(Romond laughs)--"Can't you?" And the guy would come back and say, "Well, I think I understand what you're trying to say. I'll, I'll go." He'd go along with it. I mean the wives were an ally for me.

ROMOND: Yes.

PRIDDY: As far as, um, uh, their husbands, they, I didn't have any problems with wives. And it, I just fit in with both it seemed like.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: But now there's where I think my church upbringing came, came in. Um, I always told the truth because I felt like if you didn't, if 72:00you, if I lied about the bill or if I lied about something somewhere down the line, I'm gonna get caught. And then my words not gonna be mean, meaning anything.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: So I always made it a, uh, I always made it a point that if there was something bad in the bill, I let'em know it. I'd tell them the truth.

MARGIE: She didn't care(??), that's how she got her point across.

PRIDDY: Oh yeah, I, I was blunt, I was blunt. And like one of my bills that I, not my bill but it was a bill that I voted for and I, I sponsored, that I'm very, very proud of and that's the marital rape bill.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And in talking about the marital rape bill on the floor, I really put the men down because I was saying they were making the women second-class citizens and would they(??), did they want that for their 73:00mother or their grandmother, you know, or their wives.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: Uh, did, did, uh, how would they feel if they came in and their grandmother had been beaten and raped by her husband, I mean, did they think that was right? Do you think she should have to go through another law or something, why can't she cr-, cry rape just like anybody else? And I, my speech that I gave was--well, it must've been a good speech; I got a standing ovation on it.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And then somebody sent me a vase of red flowers, uh, red roses, uh, saying that, uh, it was, it was from those who care. Uh, I mean, it was, uh, really nice. But, um, I was, I was just very blunt.

ROMOND: I read about that, Dottie, in the Herald-Leader, um, about the standing ovation and that was the time you said in your speech you, you 74:00invited your fellow legislators to come out of the dark ages.

PRIDDY: Right. Yeah, I, I, I just--

MARIGE: Yeah, we got that on tape.

PRIDDY: Yeah, I--

MARGIE: -- ----------(??)----------

PRIDDY:--yeah, um, Frankfort sent me a tape of it. They had copied, you know, it was on tape.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And they had sent me a tape of it, uh, my whole speech and the standing ovation and everything. It, uh, I just told them that I knew they didn't want that for their family.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: Their mothers and fathers, I mean, mothers and sisters, and it, I just shamed them.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: Because I felt like that was the best way to get their attention was just to shame them.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And if that's what I had to do, that's what I did.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And, and you could've heard a pin drop because no one wants that for any member of their family.

ROMOND: No.

PRIDDY: And not only that I, I, uh--what's that?

75:00

MARGIE: That is your, um, execution of the minutes.

PRIDDY: Oh yeah, I, I, I passed a bill too.

ROMOND: Oh yes, I, I wanted to ask you about that too.

PRIDDY: Okay.

ROMOND: Yeah, this is very important.

MARGIE: ----------(??)----------

ROMOND: Yeah.

PRIDDY: We, um, we, uh, had some problems--not here in Louisville but, uh, other places--where children that--and I'm calling them children because, because they, they're mentally retarded; they really didn't know and they wanted to be liked by their friends--well, and this is one particular incident. This, this little boy, he, he wanted to be liked by his friends. He was always smiling and going around. And, and so, his, his friends, they, they weren't quite as, as nice little 76:00boys as he should be running around with, but anyway, they were his, they acted like they were his friends. And--

ROMOND: --um-hm--

PRIDDY: --and they had him do things, and things that wasn't quite nice.

MARGIE: ----------(??)----------

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: They, uh, had him, um, um, someone said something about, well, they, they got mad at somebody that he oughta be killed, and told, told the boy, take a, a some kind of instrument or something, I don't know, I, I can't remember the whole case. But the, the bottom line is the boy killed the boy. The, the mentally retarded boy killed him. And he was found guilty and he was put in prison. And he was to be executed.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: Now here's a child that doesn't even know what he did. He only did what he was told because he wanted to be liked.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

77:00

PRIDDY: And so that was the story as a matter of fact that I told on the floor in order to get the bill. And we needed that but it had to be proven to, to the, where there was no doubt, it had to be proven that he was mentally ill, uh, not, um, emotionally or, or something like that, just that he actually was a mentally retarded child.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And, uh, once that, once that got through to the legislators that there would've been no, you know, they can't use that as some kind of, uh, an excuse to get other people off.

ROMOND: Right.

PRIDDY: That it really had to be a mentally retarded person.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: Uh, they voted for the bill. And of course I had, um, the Catholic, ----------(??)----------, the Catholic, um, uh, churches, they were all behind me.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

78:00

PRIDDY: Uh, I had a whole lot of support on that.

MARGIE: ----------(??)

ROMOND: The Catholic Coalition against the Death--

PRIDDY: --Penalty, yeah--

ROMOND: --Penalty, is that what it's called?

PRIDDY: Yeah, now--

MARGIE: -- ----------(??)----------

PRIDDY: --that, that was--yeah, yeah--

ROMOND: --um-hm--

PRIDDY: --yeah, that, um, that was a very good bill--

ROMOND: --um-hm--

PRIDDY: --because we had two people I think, we had a kid named Ice--no, I think we only had the one in Kentucky here--

ROMOND: --um-hm--

PRIDDY: --that, that was on rows that, uh, was mentally retarded.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And, um, it, it was just a situation that I just could not see putting a mentally retarded person to death, when they didn't even know what they had done.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And, uh, I was very strong behind the bill, and.

ROMOND: How did you come to hear about this case?

PRIDDY: Through the, uh, through a Catholic priest.

79:00

MARGIE: -----------(??)

PRIDDY: I knew, um, a Father ---------(??), he happened to be up at, uh, the legislature a lot.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And I became friends with him even though I'm Baptist, we became close friends. And then he was telling me about it, and I told him it was wrong, and he said, "Well, we can't do any, there's nothing we can do about it." And I said, "Can't we get legislation passed or something?" He said, "I don't," he says, "It's not a popular issue, I don't think we can get it done." So I said, "Well, let's try," so he said, "Well, let's try it." And so we got the, um, LRC together and they drafted the bill and he got his people behind me and started writing letters to all the other legislators. And, and from there on it snowballed.

ROMOND: He says--and this is a copy of his statement before the Joint Interim Committee of the Judicial--

PRIDDY: --whose statement?

ROMOND: Uh, Reverend Patrick ----------(??)--

PRIDDY: --yeah, Father ----------(??), okay.

ROMOND: And he said that, uh, in 1988 that you introduced the 80:00legislation and it didn't pass the first time. But then in '90, um, with the House and the Senate both behind it, it passed.

PRIDDY: Yes.

ROMOND: So, the person whose story he brought to you, did that prevent that person from being executed?

PRIDDY: No, I don't think it did--well, I know it didn't because that wasn't here, it wasn't, it wasn't in Kentucky. Uh, it was in another state somewhere. And I don't know if the child was ever executed or not, but he was to be. And that's the reason why now because of that, the other state could've picked that up, and because we have had a lot of model laws here that other states have picked up.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And, uh, it, it could've been that it might've saved him after 81:00all, once they saw that Kentucky went so strong for it.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: Cause the House and Senate both went very strong for it.

ROMOND: Yes. Yes. Would you say that is the bill that you are proudest of introducing?

PRIDDY: No, I, I am very, very proud of introducing it because I feel like I saved lives.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: But I think the bill that I'm, I'm the most proud of was the marital rape bill.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: Saving women from having to go through things that they've had to go through in years past were they, bringing them out of the second- class category.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: Putting them up as first-class citizens like everybody else. I think that that's the one that I'm the most proud of.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And, of course, I'm, I'm at the same level proud of the marital, 82:00of the, um, uh, other bill that, but I think marital rape bill is--

MARGIE: --there's your truth in sentencing bill.

PRIDDY: Yeah, I have another bill that was the truth in sentencing that I'm very proud of because, uh, it now finally, it, it gets to guts of the, of whatever the criminal has, has done.

ROMOND: What is that bill, Dottie?

PRIDDY: That would, the truth in sentencing bill is where, um, we had a, we had the double murder here, it's called the Trinity Case. Two little boys was going to a ballgame at Trinity--uh, that's the name of the col-, uh, high school, and, and, uh, they were, they were murdered. And the, uh, the guys were caught. And in the past when you was trying somebody, you couldn't tell what all they had, in, when you're 83:00in court and you're giving testimony and everything else, you couldn't bring up their past. You can't, you can't tell that they had murdered somebody last year, or that they had raped somebody last year, or that they had, they were, uh, been robbing people for years, I mean, you, you couldn't bring anything up about their past. You only had to talk about that particular case that they were being charged with.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And, my truth in sentencing, we've made, we made a court case two phases; first, you had to find them innocent or guilty, and then you had the sentencing phase.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And where it came in truth in sentencing is during the, finding them innocent or guilty was just on that particular case alone, and they had to find out, to make the determination whether they were innocent or guilty, just on that case, that's all. Once it was 84:00determined that they were guilty, then when it came to sentencing, you could bring out everything they did in the past, what kind of characters they really were--

ROMOND: --um-hm--

PRIDDY: --so that they knew that they could get--

MARGIE: -- ----------(??)----------

ROMOND: --um-hm--

PRIDDY: --so that they knew, oh, hey, we're not gonna just give this guy five years; we're gonna give him twenty five years because he, this is nothing new to him, you know, he, he, uh, has done this before, he hasn't learned. Uh, why be lenient on him because we thought it was his first time. And yet it, it might've, he might've had all kinds of bad records on him. So, truth in sentencing means the second phase you tell the person's true history and true story.

MARGIE: ----------(??)--------

ROMOND: You had death threats?

PRIDDY: Oh yeah. (laughs) Yeah, uh--

85:00

MARGIE: --phone, by mail(??)--

PRIDDY: --people, people, people, uh, people that had been in trouble in the past didn't like the fact now that if they do get caught, everything was gonna come out on them. And they didn't, they didn't quite like that.

MARGIE: ----------(??)---------- letter itself had words cut out of magazines--

ROMOND: --yes--

PRIDDY: --oh yeah, yeah--

MARGIE: -- ----------(??)----------

PRIDDY: --I got a letter that was--

MARGIE: --one was in crayons--

PRIDDY: --they, uh, people, people that just didn't like the idea about their past coming out if they ever got caught. They didn't like everything being rehashed because that would, that would just make it go harder on them. I mean, if they say, "Oh, he's a first time offender. Uh, let's just give him ten years or five years."

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: Whereas, "Hey, he's been doing this for the past twenty years. 86:00Uh, let's give him a life," or well, it depends on what it is that he's done--

ROMOND: --um-hm--

PRIDDY: --such as rapes

MARGIE: -- -----------(??)-----------

PRIDDY: Yeah.

ROMOND: So, it stiffened the sentence.

PRIDDY: Oh yeah, it stiffened the sentence up a whole lot by, uh, allowing the public to know what kind of a person you were dealing with in the past.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: Of the past.

ROMOND: Um-hm. You sponsored several bills over the years that had to do with, um, crimes, punishments, uh, paroles.

PRIDDY: Uh. There was a group called Crimes, Victims--um, I can't think of what the group was called now. Uh, Victims of Crime.

87:00

ROMOND: I think that is what it's called.

PRIDDY: Anyway, they, uh, they kept me informed of some of the, the pitfalls and things that courts have on, on different places. And through that--

ROMOND: --um-hm--

PRIDDY: --I would sponsor legislation, uh, to make that not a pitfall. I don't remember them all. Um, as a matter of fact I've sponsored so many bills over the twenty years, uh--

ROMOND: --yes--

PRIDDY: --I, I can't remember half of them.

ROMOND: You sponsored a bill about domestic relations, um, that improved filing of complaints for victims of spouse and child abuse that passed, that was one of them.

88:00

PRIDDY: Um, there was one bill I, I sponsored saying that, uh, when a women keeps, uh, filing charges against her husband--

ROMOND: --um-hm--

PRIDDY: --uh, she has, and then goes in and drops them, after they make up and she drops it, uh, that was, that was, um, one that I filed that if a woman cha-, if a woman files a suit against, files charges against her husband for beating her up, beating the children up that, uh, making the statement that this all happened--

MARGIE: -- ----------(??)----------

PRIDDY: --that then the state will automatically try that she can't go in--

ROMOND: --that she can't take it back--

PRIDDY: --she can't take it back.

ROMOND: Does that still stand?

PRIDDY: Yes. That has not been repealed.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: But in all the bills, I mean, I've, I've filed a lot of animal bills, animal rights bills. Uh, of course a lot of bills that have 89:00filed was just something to do with them getting their shots or whatever.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: Uh, there was just--

MARGIE: -- ----------(??)----------

PRIDDY: Yeah, the forfeiture law that, whenever you get caught with, uh, all your, your drugs and paraphernalia, and everything you had, and you were in a car, you had to forfeit the car and everything, everything else was, or if you were on a, out, say you had a, a field of pot.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And you was in a, uh, a house out there on the property.

ROMOND: Um-hm.

PRIDDY: And, um, it would be derived by the courts that you got that house through the money of the pot or whatever, and you had to forfeit you're, the house and everything; that was my law.

PRIDDY: You had several laws about drugs.

ROMOND: And that probably came from my drug abuse committee. Uh, we were not after the people that used the drugs as much as we was trying 90:00to get the people that, that sells them. So one of my bills, I, um, I, I changed the amount of plants, uh, before you become a manufacturer. And then on another one I changed amount of, of, of marijuana that a person has on them before they become, uh, um, instead of--

MARGIE: --instead of being a misdemeanor it would become, uh, a something, something else. It, it, um, I, I can't--

MARGIE: --people were going to jail just because the police would pull them over and ----------(??)--------they'd go to jail for a year over it. And, um, she was able to fixed to where if it was under eight 91:00ounces, they weren't sentenced to all that time in, in, in prison or jail(??).

ROMOND: So it was in increments.

PRIDDY: Yeah.

ROMOND: The, the law got changed.

PRIDDY: Yeah.

ROMOND: So it depended how much, the amount of the drugs, what the punishment would be.

PRIDDY: Yeah

ROMOND: Um-hm.

[End of interview.]

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