LANE: Um, I know you --

PATTON: I think I'm going to put you on speaker too.

LANE: Oh, that'd be great, that'd be great.


LANE: Now, so, um, I have -- as I say, you did a real good interview with Mike Garn, who was doing his dissertation on this, and you've done a num -- numerous interviews on this subject. But what I think that I'd like for you to do, if you don't mind, is just kind of recap, um, i-- in the beginning -- you know, I'm starting our story with your inaugural address, the fact that you, you just decided this was going to be one of the hallmarks of your administration. And, um, and then we're going to go through the, the growth of the, the system. Of course, we're going to be ten years old in, in, uh, July, so we're publishing a really nice book and doing some exhibits, and it's going to be an exciting thing, because it truly is a hallmark in Kentucky's educational history, and I, I think you would agree with that.

PATTON: It has seemed to have turned out that way. And we're -- we're talking about it purely from KCTCS standpoint, right?


LANE: Well, we -- I-- I'm doing that history, and I know there was so much more to the House bill than this -- and other things like the new CPE [editor's note: Council on Postsecondary Education] that did affect the KCTCS, but that, that's basically, I think -- we'll probably concentrate on it, with your approval.

PATTON: I mean, I just -- I'm just going to start off rambling and --

LANE: Good, I like that.

PATTON: if you have to, uh, get a clarification on one, feel free to do so.

LANE: Okay.

PATTON: But, um, you're right. I, I, I very pointedly made that the objective of my administration. I made that clear in the first inaugural str-- speech. I --

LANE: Now, did you write that speech yourself?

PATTON: Every word of it.

LANE: Every word of it.

PATTON: Well, we talked to some people, but I -- I wrote the speech. Uh, Julian Carroll gave me some pointers. That's what I remember.

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: And talked some people in the staff, you know, and they, they -- 2:00we, we battered it back and forth. But, but, no, Sally Flynn'll tell you, I wrote it. (laughs) I wrote the speech.

LANE: How about that?

PATTON: I've probably got the original manuscript of that. She kept all that stuff.

LANE: I --

PATTON: I thought. She gave me a box, a great big box that she --

LANE: Uh-huh?

PATTON: I had written a lot of my major speeches. But, but, um --

LANE: Well, I'll tell you, they've done such a good job over at, uh, Libraries and Archives, and they have your speeches online now. It's, it's out there. So I pulled it off, and, and I guess that's the one you gave, so. They, they have a lot of your good records right there in the KDLA Web site.

PATTON: Yeah, that, uh, that has really made it convenient for a lot of that stuff was on --

LANE: Oh, yeah.

PATTON: I mean, on, on a disk, so they could give that a -- but just a little bit of background. I came from eastern Kentucky, where education is, is -- it's been a problem, the lack of education has been a problem. My father started out as a little one-room school teacher. 3:00And he went to a one-room school, but he, he, he, he, he got out of high school, wanted to be a teacher, six months or five months during the winter and go to Morehead.

LANE: Um-hm.

PATTON: He ended up two years at Morehead. Uh, Mother only got to go to the ninth grade, uh, and so -- and, and Orange County, uh, has been working twenty years in the coal business and then being county judge for ten years and being first finished in the economic opportunity.

LANE: Um-hm.

PATTON: That r-- that really translates into education real quickly. I think we -- I think as far as jobs as governors, I would put Wallace Wilkinson and Martha Layne and myself in the category of people that 4:00made a big emphasis while they're campaigning on economic development --

LANE: Right.

PATTON: -- but then they evolved into education governors, but when you really learn the subject, recognize that the fundamental problem and the fundamental economic development is investing in the, in the, in the intellectual capital of your people. That's your real strength. As I say, Ger -- we destroyed Germany and Japan's country --

LANE: Um-hm.

PATTON: -- ----------(??) their housing, their -- but we didn't destroy their minds.

LANE: Huh.

PATTON: And they could come back in the matter of a decade -- with our help -- they came back to be major industrial powers in a decade, because they were educated, and we didn't destroy the education. So, so I, I, I'm a real devotee of education, so that's --


[Pause in recording.]

PATTON: You there?

LANE: Yes, yes, uh-huh. Had a little -- had a little glitch, but I'm still here.

PATTON: Oh, so that's where I come from, and then, and so then I decided that if I had the opportunity to be governor, that would be the focus. Uh, just as a little sidelight --

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: -- I don't take great pride in the fact that I think we saved KERA at a time when there was a -- and, and I think that's the most important thing I did, because KERA was getting at that point of five or six years when, when people didn't -- the momentum was starting to build against it, and in the '96 session, we -- me and David Karem and Mary ----------(??) and all the people that had -- that -- Jody Richards -- people that had done KERA. See, we managed to put that off by saying, "Okay, let's study it." But we studied it for two years, and by the time we got back in '98, that, that -- we had started to prove 6:00that KERA was working, and we did some adjustments. But we basically preserved KERA. So --

LANE: Well, I'm glad to hear that. That's not something I had read, and, and that's a very important point to write.

PATTON: And so then, the study was obvious that, uh, that in today's world, elementary and secondary education's just a foundation --

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: -- okay? And you don't live in the foundation, you live in the house. And you got to have a foundation for the house, but you got to have the house, and that's the higher education. So, uh -- you still there?

LANE: Yes, uh-huh.

PATTON: This little beep's coming, and I don't know whether it's mine or yours.

LANE: I don't -- I don't know either. Maybe someone's trying to call you, or, uh, but it's fine --

PATTON: It probably is somebody trying to call, but --

LANE: Okay.

PATTON: Um, so, uh, um, so that's, that's where I, I came from. And I knew it was going to be a big job, and so, we -- in the '96 session, we got a -- I knew we had to have buy-in from the people and we had to have buy-in from the legislature, and we had to have buy-in from the 7:00institutions, and so we --(coughs)-- to lay that foundation, we, we established the, uh, the, the legislative task force that had members of the House, members of the Senate, and members of our administration.

LANE: Wh --

PATTON: ----------(??) to do; I was going to say that about the only thing I knew about higher education was how important it was. I was really uninformed. I was ignorant, if you want to use that gross term, about the way that higher education works. I just didn't know -- I just didn't -- wasn't familiar with the administration of higher education or the politics of higher education.

LANE: Um-hm.

PATTON: But we -- I learned a lot during that year, and, uh, we had a lot of good people in our administration that did know a lot about it like Jim Ramsey, obviously, but also Britt Llewellyn and Viola Miller had been at Murray, and Liz Kane had been real involved in workforce 8:00development issues. Um, and, uh, Bill Bickford and General Chair -- we had a lot of high -- I think I had about five PhDs in my cabinet. So, so all those people contributed, and along with -- uh, Gary Cox was very instrumental, telling us the insides of the politics of it and his struggles on the council. And as I often say, he's one of the two statesmen that I ended up having the opportunity to work with, because he ended up -- trying to do what was best for Kentucky, even cost him his job, and it did cost him his job.

LANE: Yes.

PATTON: So, I always ----------(??) very concentrated, because he started advising me even while I was a candidate, while I was lieutenant governor.

LANE: Huh.

PATTON: Not for a very long time. So, uh, he started advising me. People say I didn't -- they talk about education during the campaign. That's a little bit wrong, uh -- or higher education -- they just 9:00didn't listen.

LANE: Huh.

PATTON: I did. Close the subject. Um, so, uh, we had this committee and got the consultants, and, um, and a lot of -- you know, a lot of people, we can say, "Okay, let's start out with what's perfect, and then let's, let's work ourselves to the attainable."

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: Let's figure out what would be the best thing we could do, and then let's figure out how -- what ----------(??) we can do. Let's don't -- let's just don't beat our heads on a brick wall; let's just don't, uh, commit suicide, put something out that's so, so radical that we just can't get it adopted. And so we got to the issue of community education and community colleges, and the consultant said, "Well, you know, really, you, you, you really ought to have a unified system," just ----------(??)---------- summarized what they said and the way I heard it, they said the, the worst way to run a system of community- 10:00based education is through the bureaucracy of a large research university, and the second-worst way to run one would be through the bureaucracy of a state government. (Lane laughs) Well, we had both of them. We ended up having both of them.

LANE: Yes, you did.

PATTON: But what we didn't have, which was fortunate in the end, we didn't have sixteen or twenty-five independent entities that were, that were really, really community-based and community-controlled. So, so we didn't have what many states have, then they developed systems, community by community, and there was so much community control that the state never could get a handle on it. So it, it worked out to be fortunate that we only had two systems to deal with.

LANE: Right.

PATTON: And they said that they really ought to be -- the consultant said that basically, goodness knows that ideally, you, you put these together because they're going -- they're basically in the same 11:00house. ----------(??) within a half-mile of each other, and there is tremendous competition they're, they're competing for and there are the same courses, same students, a lot of waste and duplication and, and administration really. Uh, but he said politically that would be very difficult, probably impossible to do, and, uh, you, you -- it may sink the whole effort.

LANE: If you tried to?

PATTON: ----------(??) and, and take away from the government.

LANE: Okay. Okay.

PATTON: So, but -- they -- we found, I believe it was three different reports over the last ten to fifteen years that had -- that said that the university had done a great job in building a community college system, but the child had grown up and it needed to be independent. 12:00And when those reports came out, they, uh, hit the shelf and nobody ever dusted them off again.

LANE: (laughs) Right.

PATTON: --thinking about that. They -- you're talking to people, and everybody said, "Oh, yeah, that's the right thing to do, but, but it's just going to be politically impossible to get it done." Uh, I, uh, said, "Well, uh, if they think it's that right to do, put it in there and see what happens."

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: And, uh, it, it wasn't. It might have been -- it was maybe -- let's say it was one of, of six issues that would be important. It wasn't the most -- it wasn't the single most important and only thing in that package. And the fact of the matter is, I believe, that since that issue attracted so much attention, it took all the focus off of 13:00the other issues --

LANE: Huh.

PATTON: -- that, uh, had, had we not had the community college issue, we'd have had something else, there would have been something else that people would have focused on, and I think that, that the, that the community college issue allowed us to pretty well write the rest of the package the way we wanted it and not get too much flak over it.

LANE: Huh.

PATTON: But we got enough -- we got enough flak on the community college. So, uh, we'd say put it in. And, uh, I know I went to the Prichard Committee, and I, I, I, I was looking for support. I had the chambers of commerce, I had all the other universities except UK, and UK was winning. And I went to -- I went to the Prichard Committee and asked them for advice. And somebody said, "We don't -- well, you know, we really don't like to get involved in this." I brought out a report that the Prichard Committee had written --

LANE: (laughs) The 1981 one?

PATTON: I don't know which one it was, but somewhere we found where they said point-blank that community colleges --


LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: -- ought to be made independent --

LANE: Yep.

PATTON: -- of the University of Kentucky.

LANE: I ran across that the other day. That was the one that was written when Ed Prichard was still chairman of that committee, called In Pursuit of Excellence. You are so right.

PATTON: I have that. I have that -- I have that book.

LANE: Um-hm.

PATTON: I don't want to -- but, but we did that. And, so, somehow -- Bob Sexton maybe remembers it more than I do -- but in the end, they -- well, you know, "That's what we said, and if you're willing to do that, then we're obligated to support you in that position." So I remember that was one of the little ironies of it.

LANE: It, it was. And you know what I have -- um, I found another report that said they got so disgusted after they issued that report that this committee wasn't, wasn't called the Prichard Committee early on. It was established by a council on higher ed, or something of the sort. And so they got disgusted and renamed themselves the Prichard Committee and decided to concentrate on elementary, elementary and 15:00secondary ed and not higher ed. (both laugh)

PATTON: Well, we had -- I think we found three different reports that said that the time had come for that to happen. And then I really wanted to emphasize that the University of Kentucky, I think everybody agreed, did a good job building a good system that had academic values, and, and, that was really a system of colleges, but it had grown up, it was time, and the university needed to be focused on being a comprehensive research institute.

LANE: Right.

PATTON: So that's how we got to that, and --

LANE: Well, let me a -- let me ask you a quick question while we're still there. You were talking about your supporters. Tell me about the advocates. Were they business people? Was that part of the Chamber, the group called the advocates for -- I've forgotten for what.

PATTON: Advocates for Higher Education.

LANE: Okay.

PATTON: I remember during the campaign, uh, they said, uh -- between L-- 16:00Larry Forgy and myself -- they sent delegations to talk to each of us, and my delegation was Lois Gray and Marrs Allen May here in Pikeville and, uh, there was probably one or two in that. And they --

LANE: Martha Helen May?

PATTON: Pardon?

LANE: Was it Lois Gray and Martha Helen May, did you say?

PATTON: Marrs Allen. He's a, an attorney here in Pikeville.

LANE: Okay, okay.

PATTON: M-a r-r-s A-l-l-e-n. Marrs Allen May, that's what we call him, Marrs Allen.

LANE: Thank you, thank you.

PATTON: And then there was -- but I don't know if we met somewhere in, like, in Lexington, and they had a program, a committee to increase the funding for higher education by, uh, let me say 7 percent or some number like that. They had a specific number.

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: But of course, obviously Larry Forgy was much more into that community than I was, and he, he had been on the council, had been on the UK board of -- he'd worked at UK, had been on the council, but he 17:00was in that clique, so ----------(??) I didn't get a lot of work done. But I got -- I told him, I said, "I, I, I will, I will support higher education, that's what we need to do, but I just can't -- I don't know the budget that well. I just can't, uh, can't make that commitment, because I don't know what the budget's going to be.

LANE: Right. Right.

PATTON: I don't know if they made him -- I don't know whether they made him endorse it or not, but if they did, he was indeed. But I ended up getting a ----------(??) to work later on, so evidently they figured out I did a pretty good job after I got in there.

LANE: Right.

PATTON: So. But advo -- at the end, when it came to supporting the program, the advocates were very actively involved in supporting the legislation.

LANE: Okay.

PATTON: ----------(??). I had everybody in the state except UK. (Lane laughs) I mean, I can't tell you a major influential group that was lobbying in Frankfort a subject that was opposed to it except for 18:00splitting, you know, I say ----------(??). And, um, I, uh, I thought that we put together a package for UK that, uh, they would jump at.

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: I didn't -- I just didn't really fully appreciate Charles's personal and Lynn ----------(??) it's personal --

LANE: Mmm, um-hm.

PATTON: -- with the community colleges. It was, it was just, it was their children. You know, it was, it was like taking their ch, child away from them.

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: Uh, and I, I, I acknowledge that that was traumatic for them. And, uh -- but I thought we had enough in the package to do this, but, uh, but, but didn't, obviously. They wanted everything that we was -- they wanted everything that was in the package, and they -- the -- I'll, I'll tell you, the truth of the matter is that my original 19:00intention was to just put UK as the major research institution.

LANE: I see.

PATTON: And -- but because U of L and, uh, Shumaker --

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: -- both small and so upfront, that's -- that's how they ended up being, like, one third -- we, we ended up with a one third U of L, two thirds UK.

LANE: Um-hm.

PATTON: And, and, and U of L wouldn't have had the one third --

LANE: Huh.

PATTON: -- in my mind, unless -- except we had to, to, to do that -- well, the U of L would have been something. It would have been something more than a regional university.

LANE: Right.

PATTON: I'm not sure it would have been as small in the commitment as it ended up being set aside that, uh, we, we had to have their strong support, and I felt that's the way it ought to go, so. Uh, but, um, that's, that's, uh -- and so I, I, uh, said, "Well, let's try that 20:00and see what it'll do," and then, then it got to be the center of the battle.

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: There -- I didn't -- there was a time there I didn't think that it could pass, and I, I remember one night, critical point, we had folks, uh -- anyway, virtually all night, I weighed my options.

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: I, uh compromise this issue for our victory, pass the bill, ten years from now, they'll look back and say, "Well, Paul Patton really didn't do anything; he threw a little more money at it, and -- but he really didn't make a difference," or I can go down in defeat, not get 21:00reelected, not even run, and if I don't win this, though, I wouldn't even, I wouldn't be able to run for reelection because it would --I would have been trying -- I would have used the time to destroy the University of Kentucky.

LANE: Right.

PATTON: And I will -- and I couldn't prove otherwise.

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: Hell, I said, if I could get the bill passed, then I had a pretty good chance of proving to them that they would be better off -- and that turned out to be the case, both at the community colleges and the technical schools and the University of Kentucky -- but if I didn't win the battle, I would never have the opportunity to prove that.

LANE: Right.

PATTON: I literally would not have even tried to have run for reelection.

LANE: Hmm.

PATTON: I -- and I -- I said, "I, I, I will go down in flaming defeat before I, before I, before a, a, another compromise that lets this major problem ----------(??) the best result."

LANE: Hmm.

PATTON: But -- so, uh, we, uh --

LANE: Did, did you realize how big a problem it was before you began 22:00this? You knew they -- there had been reports and people said they should be removed, but after you started studying it, was, was the issue about the same, or was it more major than you thought?

PATTON: Well, I, I didn't fully comprehend the political problem of getting it passed. I thought that we put together a package that even though I know UK wasn't going to be supportive of -- didn't want it to go like that, that there was enough in it that they would -- that they wouldn't fight me. I, I never anticipated that they would use the power of the university to come into open, open conflict with the governor to the extent of radio commercials and newspaper advertisements. They used to -- you know, in their athletic program, they get, uh, like ten free spots in every basketball game on the radio or something like that.

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: That they get a lot of advertising time to promote the 23:00university. And we were, of course, right in the middle of the NCAA tournament and --

LANE: Right.

PATTON: -- UK, well, they came in second that year, so they -- you know, they was doing -- here I am battling the university, and I'm almost got to win a national championship. (Lane laughs) It was just unbelievable. And I didn't have the resources. I didn't have any -- I didn't have any money I could spend. Hell, I think they, they must have spent a couple hundred thousand dollars.

LANE: Shh. Wow.

PATTON: And, uh, well, their side of the story, I mean, don't, don't let -- they had a big newspaper advertisement that had a polo shirt -- not a polo shirt, but a sweatshirt, a sweatshirt --

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: -- and it, it said -- oh, it was to make them technical schools or something. They had --

LANE: Right.

PATTON: Like a vocational schools, yeah. "Don't let the governor make our community colleges vocational schools." (Lane laughs) And right on 24:00the -- had one T-shirt that was "UK Community College," the other was "Kentucky Vocational School," or something like that. And then they had radio ads and ----------(??). So, uh, yeah, it was much, much harder, and I did not anticipate that battle. But, um --

LANE: But once you were into it, you were into it, right?

PATTON: I was into it, and, and I could have -- during the legislative session, we could have reached a compromise and I could have declared victory and everybody would have called it a victory, but you wouldn't be interviewing me today, though --

LANE: Right.

PATTON: -- that way.

LANE: Yes.

PATTON: But, let me tell you, boy, there was, was some interesting little stories.

LANE: Good.

PATTON: If, if, if you really want to. But that became the issue.

LANE: Uh-huh?

PATTON: And, uh, my state senator, Gary Cox, and both community college in his, um, district. He was my county attorney when I first was county judge -- when I was county treasurer. The first ten years of my ----------(??), he's my county attorney, political ally, friend. "Tell 25:00me whatever you want, I don't care. I don't care about anything. You know, anything you need me, just tell me." That was on everything. That wasn't, that wasn't on just -- and so --

LANE: Um-hm.

PATTON: -- I talked to him about that as a community leader, about this higher ed. "Oh, that's fine; a special session, just tell me what you need." And so, the Sunday before the crucial vote -- he lived two blocks from me -- I was sitting out around the swimming pool when I called, and I said, "Gary, we've got a vote on this week. If you get a chance, come on up and let me talk -- let me say what we're doing here."

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: He said, "I don't need to." He said, "Just tell me what -- just tell me what you need to do. And I said, "Well, this community college issue has been pretty hot and --" Well, I didn't do that, either. I just said -- well, he said, "Whatever you want. ----------(??) -- you know ----------(??) breakdown, just tell me what you need." Well, about Tuesday of that week, he came in and he said, "Now, governor, I'm for 26:00you, and I counted the votes, and I got down to Charlie -- I got -- I had -- I got fifty-three votes in the House." (Lane laughs) And you got to have a little extra in the House because they get squirmy a lot. (Lane laughs) "Twenty, I got twenty votes in the, in the Senate." That Charlie Borders was the last vote that I got in the Senate. Charlie -- I talked to him on, like, Thursday or Friday, but a community college in his district, and he, he, uh -- "So I -- let me -- I want to go home and talk to some people, and I'm going to pray about this." And so he came back, and he said, "Governor, you're right, I want to, I want to support you on the community college issue." That made about twenty Senate votes in the Senate.

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: On the, in the, on the Republicans, I had Barry Metcalf, I had Linds-- uh, uh, uh, uh, Linda -- Lindy Kischner (??).


LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: Uh, you could look at the records, but I had four or five or six Republicans --

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: -- on that issue. I had plenty of votes on the rest of it. David Williams and, and all the Republicans. Oh, David Williams said, "Governor, I can't be with you on the, on the community college issue, but now, I'm for the rest of it, and whatever you get to the Senate, I'll guarantee you that the Republicans are going to pass it if you've got most the Democrats." So we got the, we got the -- I had the votes. And I finally got the fifty-three votes -- and I think John Will Stacy was the last person that committed to me in the House. I called Greg again and I said, "Greg, I've got the votes. I've got fifty-three votes on the three UK issues, and here they are, and you can check them out." And I said, "I've got twenty votes in the Senate. We don't 28:00need to have this bloodbath. You don't need it, I don't need it, uh, the state doesn't need it. Let's work out a compromise." Charles was holding headquarters up in Greg's office, and, and I'll say, I'll say this. Greg had always been taking the position -- ----------(??) Greg Bailey -- that the community colleges ought to be independent.

LANE: Huh.

PATTON: He was well on record as being that. But if you'll recall, the November before, I had called a special session on worker's compensation.

LANE: Right.

PATTON: And had -- that had -- and, and Greg was a -- was saying "He'll help me out." I said, "You know, I destroyed his occupation, so that gets a person pretty upset." And, and he had switched his position in retaliation for being, uh -- doing the worker's comp reform. So, so then the battle was a very, very intense battle between me and Greg. I said some things I ought not to have said, but I said, "Greg, let's 29:00work it out." So Gr-- Charles was -- Charles Wethington was keeping his headquarters up in Greg's office on the third floor, so we went up, and about two hours later, this now is about one o'clock in the morning.

LANE: Huh.

PATTON: Well, now we said, "Okay, we'll, we'll -- come on up here, and let's talk." Well, Charles ended up reaching a compromise. And so I go up there --(clears throat)-- and we put in there some things that gave UK the appearance of staying involved, such as they would continue to own the, the buildings; it would be contin -- continued to be called University of Kentucky Community Colleges -- University of Kentucky Community and Technical College. But, but the -- and the university would still issue the degrees, but all the power would be leaving, the university had to do all that. They, they -- the, the budget would go to the University of Kentucky, but they had to pass it on through. So 30:00this KCTCS would write its budget, and they would send it to UK, but UK had to send it on through to the council as is; they couldn't change it. The, uh, the -- they owned the buildings, but they had to lease them to the community colleges; they had no control over that. So they, they could issue the degrees, but they had to be -- they, they had to be as approved by the KCTCS; they couldn't change it. So on, on paper, it gave UK still a, a lot of influence, but as far as power, there was just no power to hire or fire. Now, they did have the power to appoint I think two or three of the members of the board of trustees.

LANE: I think so, uh-huh.

PATTON: So, uh, so, uh, we worked out this compromise. And so, we're getting ready to vote, and we pass it in the House. Then it comes up to the Senate, and Gary Johnson comes through, "Now, governor, I'm with you on this thing, but now on the community college issue, I promised Glenn Freeman," who was a senator from down in Harlan County, and one 31:00of the five members that Benny Ray Bailey --

LANE: Yeah.

PATTON: -- ----------(??)?

LANE: Yeah.

PATTON: They had taken over the --

LANE: Um-hm.

PATTON: -- but see, I had -- Larry Saunders was strong from -- that, that five -- that five-person group, along with the Republicans, controlled the Senate. Well, Benny Ray was for me on position. He's long -- just like Greg, he had long been an advocate of independence for the community colleges.

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: Larry Saunders was strong for me. Glenn Freeman was strong against me, and, and, and, and, and, uh, Walter Blevins was strong against me, and that was the five -- and then Gary -- my senator, Gary Johnson, was the five senators. So, uh, the, the, the rebels that sided with the Republicans, took over the Senate. Well, I had three of them, I thought. I had Gary, and I had -- well, I had Gary, and I had Saunders, I had Benny Ray, didn't have the other two. And, well, Gary comes in and says, "I promised Glenn Freeman," one of his buddies in 32:00this five-man coalition, "that I'd give him one vote, and he's, he's, he's, uh, in this session, and he's called it, and he wants it on the community college bill." And I said, "Gary, that's the whole -- that's the whole thing. There ain't no other -- there's no other issue that ----------(??)." "I know, but I told him new policy. Well, --------- -(??)."

LANE: Oh. (laughs)

PATTON: And I said, "Gary, did you --" (Lane laughs) So here we are starting from round one. This is the day of the vote.

LANE: Oh, no.

PATTON: So I called Benny Ray and, and Larry Saunders in, and I said, "What are we going to do?" They said, "Well, we'll get Walter Blevins to vote with you." Well, Walter has got a community college on his -- at that time, I don't think it was in his district, but it was in his area, and he was already committed to the -- to UK on the community college issue. So this is in the eve -- five or six o'clock in the evening. If we, uh, we, uh, uh -- they call, those two, and Gary 33:00Johnson, call Walter Blevins ----------(??) that they're voting on it. And David Karem is holding this filibuster and holding the floor open. And, um, I know you don't need this, but I'm going to finish this story anyway.

LANE: That's good. No, that's fine.

PATTON: Um, and, uh, they bring Walter Blevins in and tell him, "Well, you've got to vote with the governor on this issue." He said, "I got a --" For thirty minutes, I mean, we took a rubber hose to that boy. (Lane laughs) And here's Gary Johnson sitting there, Gary, and he's saying, "I can't vote for it. I promised Glenn that I would vote with him, but you can vote for it." He said, "But I promised UK that I would vote for it." It was awful. And so finally --(Lane laughs)-- we -- okay -- I mean, you know, we just beat him to death. Well, they take off, and we forgot to send an escort with him --(Lane laughs)-- and so, and UK gets him, or something happens, but when they call the vote, he's not on the floor.

LANE: Oh no.

PATTON: And of course ----------(??) he goes back to play first . So 34:00they call the vote, and we need that, that one last twentieth vote to do -- it was a procedural vote one way or the other to -- on that amendment.

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: And, uh, so he comes in and starts explaining this vote, and we're all down in the governor's office watching television, watching. And I says, "Gary." I listened to him and the way he was talking. "He's not going to vote with this issue." So he voted against it. So we lost that issue.

LANE: Huh.

PATTON: So. I knew if I could get it back to the Senate as a, a conference committee report --

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: -- as a conference report, I knew I had enough votes -- David Williams said all ----------(??), they'd vote for it. So I could -- if I could get it back to the Senate on the free conference committee, I could, um, get it passed. And Larry Saunders would be appointing the conference committee, and he was telling me, "Well, we'll appoint a friendly conference committee so you can get what you want out of the, out of the conference. See if you can get it back out of the House." 35:00Because the Senate, they sent it over there with the, with the UK amendment in it, so they, they took the college -- they took -- it was against me.

LANE: Right.

PATTON: So they sent it back to the House. Now, you know the procedure. Then the House could either concur --

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: -- or they could not concur, and it would go to conference.

LANE: Conference, right.

PATTON: Conference, I could get what I wanted, and I knew I could get it passed. But there's Greg Stumbo in the House saying -- I had told Greg, I said, "Greg, I've got the votes in the Senate." So I expected him to come and say, "Governor, sorry, old buddy. You told me you had the votes in the Senate, and you don't have the votes in the Senate, now I want to meet you on the House floor."

LANE: Hmm.

PATTON: But he didn't do that. He stayed with his commitment, and we managed to get the House to not concur, and then it went to conference, and then we got the -- what we wanted in the conference, and then we 36:00got it out, and then we got it passed. So that's my story -- that's the inside story from --

LANE: That's a --

PATTON: -- my perspective --

LANE: That is --

PATTON: -- of how the bill got passed.

LANE: That's a good one. Now, now I want to go back to your compromise with Wethington, if you don't mind. Um, was it just, um -- did you have in mind what you would compromise on, or was that just kind of a back-and-forward thing with, with him? Were you just dealing with Charles Wethington?

PATTON: As best I remember, uh -- well, we were up in Greg's office, and, you know, I was trying to be conciliatory. I didn't want to embarrass Charles, and I didn't want to appear to hurt the University of Kentucky, and if we could, if we could come up with something where Charles could say, "Well, you know, we've still got -- we s-- we won something. We've still -- our -- they're still our community colleges." Well, I thought that would be a win-win for him and a win for me.

LANE: Um-hm.

PATTON: And I didn't -- and, and so I, I think I was the one that came 37:00up with most of the ideas, and I think if you'll research all them, they're, they're -- you know, they look good, but they had no -- there was no power behind it.

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: Now, as it turned out, the SACS, you -- as you recall --

LANE: (laughs) Yes.

PATTON: -- didn't like that.

LANE: Um-hm.

PATTON: Now, I do not know -- of course, I didn't have any idea what SACS was, much less what the rule were --(Lane laughs)-- so I don't know whether Charles knew and realized that what I was agreeing to would put the whole thing in danger of losing SACS approval or not. I don't know that he recognized that SACS would have some problems with it. Of course, SACS had generally ignored the governance issue. Of course, nobody raised the issue. The, the governance issues that SACS 38:00raised existed when you take control of them, and, and so, uh -- but that, that, that, that, that presented a problem later on, but we, but we managed to get through that. Uh, and you're liable -- you've got all that information, I'm sure, but --

LANE: Yes, I do.

PATTON: But it might, might have been those little, those five or six compromise points, uh, were put into the -- put into the legislation, I believe -- you can re-check the record -- after that meeting with Charles. And actually, we stayed up till three or four o'clock in the morning. I slept on the couch in the governor's office the rest of that night, and then we had a news conference at eight o'clock the next morning or something.

LANE: Hmm.

PATTON: And we probably, we probably worked in the better part of that night putting the, putting the, um -- what I had agreed to in legislative form and writing the press release. And I think the staff 39:00stayed there till, oh, six o'clock.

LANE: Um-hm.

PATTON: I remember I just laid down on the couch.

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: They -- a lot of them went home to get some sleep, clean up, but I -- and then we went into that news conference early that morning, and Charles was there, and we announced the compromise. After we announced the compromise, he still tried to beat it, but --

LANE: He did? (laughs)

PATTON: We, uh, did get it passed.

LANE: Right. Okay. All right, then, let's, let's fast-forward to the point that the -- it's approved. Where were you when you heard all that? It's all -- it's a done deal and ready to sign.

PATTON: We were down in the governor's office, and the staff was there, and the television, you know, obviously, and the news. A pretty good celebration. I would say it was a dozen of the key people there that had helped us. Of course, a lot of legislators came in immediately 40:00after the bodies adjourned, but -- so we were in the governor's office, and it was late at night, and we watched it on television.

LANE: Uh-huh. Uh-huh. And then, um, so you -- who planned the celebration out? You know, I like the story about the music you played at the -- when you signed the bill, before and after. Do you remember all that?

PATTON: I remember it very well. I don't know who did it. I don't know if it was Fred . I don't -- I would say Donna Maloney was --

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: I don't know.

LANE: Yeah.

PATTON: I don't know. They -- at that point they just told me what -- you know, they just said, "We're going to have the signing out on the front steps."

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: But assume all of that was handled by staff. I don't remember.

LANE: Yeah, that's good. Oh, I think you're playing, um, what, the theme from Rocky at the beginning and the theme from Mission Impossible at the end or something of the sort? But the first --

PATTON: (hums) It was intentional on their part, but --

LANE: Yeah, all right. Now, now, in the photo -- and I've gotten that 41:00photo from, from your archives -- you're signing the bill, and it just so happens that, um, Greg Stumbo's daughter is, is in that c-- class of children there.

PATTON: Yeah, and there's, and there's other children in there, too. All those children I think were children of people around us.

LANE: Okay. That wasn't -- they weren't just there for a, a class trip coincidentally or anything?

PATTON: And I don't know the specifics of why -- of, of how that happened. Uh, again, that was all orchestrated by the staff.

LANE: Right. But that's, uh -- the picture's good, and, um -- now, the bill is signed, and so you had to get right to work because it went into effect immediately on your signature, didn't it?

PATTON: Of course, that was mostly a -- you know, we had -- we -- our, 42:00our job was to appoint the board members, and, uh --

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: -- that was, that was, that was what we concentrated on. And I was actively involved in that. We wanted to get a geographically representative, uh, board, and we got -- I think -- I remember, I -- UK could suggest so many people, three people for each position or something. I got to pick from that or something. You, you -- I forgot --

LANE: Right.

PATTON: -- exactly how that worked, but --

LANE: Right.

PATTON: -- but, uh, obviously they didn't appoint too many advocates. They didn't, they didn't give me a list that had a lot of real strong advocates on it, obviously.

LANE: Right.


LANE: And you knew that first board was critical.

PATTON: Yes, yes. Though we did get -- I think we did get some pretty good -- off, off UK, I can't remember -- I think there were some decent UK appointees on there that we ended up picking. I'd have to review that list to see who they were.

LANE: Well, it's --

PATTON: ----------(??) much.


LANE: -- it's interesting to look at that list. You know, Richard Bean, who is now chairman of the Board of Regents of KCTCS and has been for several terms. Uh, Richard was head of the UK Alumni Association, and --

PATTON: And was he one of Charles's appointees?

LANE: Uh-huh. And I think Governor Breathitt asked him to, to go on and help -- be on the presidential search, uh, committee for the KCTCS president, and Richard said, "No, you know, I'm, I'm, I'm a UK person," but isn't it interesting how they've all become converts?

PATTON: I was thinking Richard was one of those. I didn't want to say that because I wasn't that sure. But he has become, uh, obviously, very dedicated, even to today, uh, to the KCTCS.

LANE: Oh, yeah, right. And he'll say that. He'll say that. I heard him speak the other day, and he said, "You know, I, I said I would do it and I just wasn't sure," but, but he's, he's in. He's totally in now.

PATTON: Uh, now I have heard that Charles has said publicly that in 44:00retrospect it was the right thing to do. I, I have been told that. Uh --

LANE: I, I heard him say -- last October he spoke to, um, the KCTCS presidents. You know, they have -- monthly, they get all the community college presidents together. And I did hear him say, um, oh, it seems to me like the words were more like, ah, "At this point I do support you," something of the sort. So he may --


LANE: -- have even gone further other places.

PATTON: Ed Hughes, who is president of the Hazard Community College --

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: -- and vocal in supporting me, and, uh, and even some were the most vocal in opposing me. Roger Meadow was the biggest opponent. Roger was acting president or temporary president at Morehead -- uh, Ashland Community College.

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: We have never -- no one has ever taken responsibility for the 45:00idea that I would just get in the helicopter and fly around to all sixteen community colleges --(Lane laughs)-- and explain to 'em what I was going to do, and that would take care of the whole problem.

LANE: (laughs) Nobody would admit it after --

PATTON: Nobody takes credit for that idea.

LANE: After --

PATTON: ----------(??) who did that. I mean, it was slaughter.

LANE: What is it, Ford -- your, uh -- you know, Senator Ford call that, the visit -- worst from -- worse-than-hell visits?

PATTON: The visit from hell or something? We would -- I can remember --(Lane laughs)-- at Ashland and Roger No -- you remember Roger No, the one that --

LANE: Oh, yes, yes.

PATTON: And a very fiery type individual. And so I was -- I had arrived in the helicopter. So I was out there ----------(??). They waited to start the program until I got in the anteroom, waiting to go. And I could hear him, and it was like a high school football pep rally.

LANE: Oh. (laughs)

PATTON: "The governor's going to come out here and tell you about what he's going to do, but now, I'm telling you we're not going to let the governor take our community colleges and make vocational schools out of them. We're going to be UK."



PATTON: I mean, he spent ten minutes riling that crowd up.

LANE: Oh, mercy.

PATTON: I mean, all I did -- it was awful. And down in the, the -- Harlan, uh, we -- they, they had-- the, the, the, the place where we had this thing was almost like a bull ring. I can remember it had bleachers, and they were up high, and I was in a --(Lane laughs)-- you know, twenty-by-twenty thing that had bleachers all the way around it. I can't even -- I can't imagine what it was. It wasn't a gymnasium. (Lane laughs) Or it might have been a quarter of a gymnasium.

LANE: Yeah.

PATTON: Um, again, it wasn't quite as bad down there, but it was the same thing. And at Somerset -- at Somerset, there was like two -- you know, one of the issues with transferability --

LANE: Right.

PATTON: -- credits.

LANE: Right.

PATTON: There was like two students that got up and agreed with me on transferability of credits. So there you go. But they, they talked -- they gave some examples. If they thought they'd taken English 101 or 47:00something, something you'd think would transfer, and then it wouldn't transfer to UK. And then the president of admissions at the town, privately, he, he -- what you found was most people that had been in a community college in other states --

LANE: Um-hm.

PATTON: -- understood what we were trying to do --

LANE: Right.

PATTON: -- where this -- those people that were inbred within the system, which was most of them -- most of the people, they come from the system --

LANE: Right.

PATTON: -- and they didn't know anything except the system, and so they didn't appreciate what we're trying to do. But the guy at, at, at Elizabethtown, uh, he took me aside and he said, "You're right. You keep this ----------(??) here. You know, we work for Charles, and we've got -- you know, we've got this --"

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: "-- on Charles. But you're right."

LANE: Right. Huh.

PATTON: And then at, at Owensboro, there, there was a faculty group down there that was disbanded with the administration, and then that's where we really -- and the only place we really got any further support was at Owensboro.


LANE: Huh.

PATTON: But, but we went to -- I'm sure that every one of the colleges --

LANE: Well, let me ask you this. It was so -- it was so hot, such a hot issue, and of course once you started visiting, you had to visit them all, didn't you?

PATTON: Oh, yeah. If we could have gotten out of them, we would have. (both laugh)

LANE: Well, my question to you was, did you beef up your security, your security force? I can see those troopers now getting a little nervous.

PATTON: Well, I -- I don't know that they did. I mean, I didn't really take care of those details, but, I mean, I don't -- I mean, I don't really think I was in any bodily danger, but you certainly had to be able to face a lot of verbal abuse. (both laugh) They were not bashful. They were not bashful in their --

LANE: Well, and they'd been kind of revved up from, from the UK home base, hadn't they, to --

PATTON: Oh, yeah. In particular at Ashland. That Ashland, it was like a high school football pep rally, I'll tell you.

LANE: (laughs) Well, uh, okay. Um, now, let's fast-forward a little 49:00bit to the -- those early days, transition. Jim Ramsey -- now, was Jim Ramsey listed in the legislation as the first president of KCTCS, to your knowledge?

PATTON: I'm sure that was not the case. Uh, I don't know exactly how that that came about, and I think Jim decided he wanted it.

LANE: Well, you know, I was researching that this week, and he --

PATTON: ----------(??) get to be the permanent president ----------(??) --

LANE: Right.

PATTON: But he didn't get it. Do you -- are you aware of this?

LANE: Yes. And I think, I think what happened -- I was reading in House Bill Four, which was that companion piece to House Bill One, the one that talked about the budget, it said, in, uh -- "If there is no president of KCTCS, the state budget director will take care of budget and other issues." That's all I could find, so I assume that maybe that's where it came from.

PATTON: That may be. I don't know. But I know he was the interim 50:00acting president or something.

LANE: Right.

PATTON: He handled all of that. And that may have been -- yeah, that may have been in the legi -- that may have been in the legislation as the state -- not as Jim Ramsey, the individual, but as the state budget director, which he happened to be.

LANE: Exactly. I, I, I did read that in the budget part of it, so.


LANE: And it was just natural that they would take on over. But your, your, uh, your staff was involved in some of those early transition appointments.

PATTON: Yes. There was a -- it was a major -- it was a major transition, and it --

LANE: Okay.

PATTON: Well, you know, you have to make some political compromises, and one of the compromises that we made was that the employees would elect -- that the KCTCS would es-- would establish its own employee compensation policy, all that stuff, but the individual employees could choose to remain under a system of UK -- which was like UK's, or under 51:00the state.

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: The thing is that that ----------(??) --

LANE: Huh.

PATTON: -- employee systems. Now, I don't know whether they've gotten rid of that or not. Uh, you --

LANE: Not totally. Not totally. There's still a few folks who, who haven't opted in, but I think, I think the majority have.

PATTON: All the new people would be under the new system.

LANE: Right.

PATTON: But that was one of those political compromises that I know has been a headache to administer, but, uh --

LANE: Now --

PATTON: -- we just -- we had more fights than we could take on. We couldn't take on -- we had to have the support of the, of the state technical college, this, this technical school. And of course, they came out better in the deal because they ended up being elevated to the level of college, which --

LANE: Right.

PATTON: And, and I know that they continue to provide, uh, educational of what would have been traditional vocational education graduates, but they are post-secondary. And what I wanted -- we, we, we, we tell the 52:00kids we want all the kids to go to college. And then when we get up to -- they graduate from high school, we say, "We want all the kids to go to college, but now, you all ought to go to, uh, vocational school, a technical school." Because we do need a lot of those people to make, make the economy work.

LANE: Right.

PATTON: We, we don't need a 100 percent bachelor, you know, PhDs and stuff like that. We need, we need those, uh, two-year associate courses and maybe some one-year courses. But they're post-secondary, so that --

LANE: Right, right.

PATTON: So -- and that's what I wanted to do, was to say if it's -- that transition -- I know "post-secondary" is an awkward word, but it, but it is truly descriptive of what we're, what we're talking about, that we're providing a post-secondary course, most all of which are vocational. Brain surgery is a vocational occupation course.


LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: Uh, the ministry, lawyers -- all those are vocational courses. And, uh, if, if you want to go back two hundred years ago when a college education was for the aristocracy, wasn't vocational, it was, it was for the liberal arts, it was for -- so that the aristocracy's children could appreciate life and, and the bigger value of enlightenment and all that stuff --

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: -- because that was the origin of the liberal arts curriculum. And the liberal arts curriculum is good, it's important, and everybody that can take and take advantage of a liberal arts currilum -- curriculum, the society is better off. But that's not everybody.

LANE: Yeah.

PATTON: That's not. Whereas everybody needs a, a post-secondary, occupationally-oriented, uh, training to make them -- to give them skills that, um, that, uh, make them worth something in the workplace.


LANE: Right.

PATTON: Every -- in today's world, we don't have an aristocracy. We, we ----------(??), everybody theoretically ought to be equipped with a skill to, to allow them to be valuable enough in the workforce to command a living wage.

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: I'm giving you a lot of philosophy here and don't charge any extra for it.

LANE: (laughs) Well, that makes good reading, though, I'm telling ya. Well, you know, it's good to -- I, I, I'm interested in, you know, what, what -- your decisions and why you made them. Um, let's move on to, um, the tr-- we were talking about the transition, and your office was there to assist, but I think in one of your speeches, you told the new board you weren't going to interfere, but you were there to help. And, uh, then they immediately began their search for the permanent president of KCTCS. You had Jim Ramsey acting as interim, then you brought in Nelson Grote, I believe, to help, and --

PATTON: And that was a temporary --

LANE: Right.


PATTON: That was a temporary -- now, that's not the name, now. What was the --

LANE: J-- Jeff, Jeff Hockaday.

PATTON: Hockaday's the one I'm talking about, yeah, yeah.

LANE: Right, right. Well, it seems that, that Nels -- mister. -- uh, Dr. Grote, of course, said that early on, you had given him a call to see if he'd come and help Jim out with some of the operational day-to- day things, because Jim had to deal with the state budget.

PATTON: But he was never named the president.

LANE: No. No, no, he d-- he didn't say that at all. He said, you know, they told him -- you told him right away you couldn't name him president, and he just was going to be a vice president and help out a little bit.

PATTON: Jeff Hockaday did what he needed to do, but I have to give Mike McCall and then, by inference, the board, you know, the real credit for making it work.

LANE: Okay.

PATTON: If we, we, we, we put out the blueprint, but, uh -- of what 56:00we wanted to happen, but, uh, it was -- I know it was a tremendous challenge and a balancing act, but if, if that act was Mike McCall's, he just got that done. You know, few things in life work out as good as you found them --(Lane laughs)-- and even fewer work out better than you plan.

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: And then I believe everything worked out better than we, than we expected -- maybe not better than we hoped, but better than we expected, uh, and that -- we, we would never use that word "merger," uh, but, uh -- and it was -- we, we hope that we would get energy through osmosis.

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: The, the fact of the matter is within just a matter of a few years, uh, there became a spontaneous movement on a campus -------- --(??) or school-to-school basis to actually, uh, merge, and that was 57:00all done voluntarily. And, uh, very impressed that the two somewhat different cultures have been able to, as far as I can tell, pretty well assimilate and, and here within ten years, I think ----------(??) --[telephone beeps]-- don't hardly go up anymore, do they?

LANE: I'm sorry?

PATTON: I said the, the, the, the vision between the old ----------(??) --


PATTON: -- for the community colleges is practically gone?

LANE: Practically. You know, there are still a few holdouts, and there will be for a little while, just a little sensitivity, let's say. But, you know, there's just been so much good that's happened to all of these institutions because of this, this consolidation that I don't think many of them can argue. Now, I want to talk about -- and, and, and it -- you may not remember this specific meeting, but this has to do with the consolidation issue. Uh, you know, you had instructed the board not to talk about merger, not to talk about consolidation. 58:00It was too politically charged at the very beginning. And, um, Mike McCall, after he came on board, um, had a, a meeting of his presidents. This was June, about June of 2000, I think, after he had come in '99. And he had a meeting with you, and the presidents were waiting, I believe it was at Lake Barkley, and they were going to talk about all this business. And, uh, I, I didn't know if you remembered that meeting or not. There's some story about they had two agendas planned at this meeting. He was going to come see you in Frankfurt and fly into Lake Barkley, and if he was supposed to talk about consolidation, he'd wear one shirt, and if he wasn't, he was going to wear the other. I don't know if you remember that or not.

PATTON: Not specifically. I remember having some meetings with Mike and telling him that I would like to have sixteen regions, and I think I even drew out the counties and gave him a map, I believe, and I said, 59:00"You know, I think -- I think you, you've got to, you've got -- we want sixteen schools, um, and then they've got to have responsibility for certain counties." I think -- I think that was Mike, but I'm sure I did that. And they -- and it turned out that way. They ended up --

LANE: Yeah.

PATTON: -- doing -- I wanted to get rid of that territorial --

LANE: Right.

PATTON: -- challenge, uh, make it specific. Also -- I also wanted, uh, Gordon Davis to do that with the comprehensive universities, but he didn't really do that. I wanted to actually assign regions to the comprehensive universities and say, "Now, look, you know, Hopkins County is yours, Murray, and, and Simpson County is yours, Western," but I don't think we ever got that done. But, uh, but we got it done in the community colleges.

LANE: Now, when, when did you first meet Mike McCall?


PATTON: I guess after he was elected. He'll remember it better than I do. I don't think -- I'm sure that they had three candidates.

LANE: Right. Well, see, they had two searches. One -- they had one, and, and it, it was -- we're talking about '99 here, and then the board decided they just, they just couldn't vote for any of the three. So they got Jeff Hockaday on board then in June, and then he found them a new search firm, and of course he knew Mike McCall, and, and, and, you know, apprised him of what was going on here. I think that's the way it worked. But there were three finalists. Mike was one of the final three that, say, November, I think, of '98. I guess it was '98.

PATTON: In some of those searches, they would bring all three people in for me to meet. I don't, I don't think I ever -- I wouldn't, I wouldn't express an opinion. There was this one search that included a guy from -- a military, a naval guy from -- I don't know whether it was 61:00the UK search or, or the KCTCS search.

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: But, but he was -- I, I don't think I had any, uh, involvement in, in making the decision of which of the three would be chosen. Uh, they may have brought them in just as a courtesy visit with me to --

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: I'll -- oh, I, I, I believe that I told them, "My job is to help you get the best person --"

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: "-- decide who that is." But, so -- it, it's entirely possible that they brought those candidates in for me to assure them that the continued support of the state, that this would be a high priority.

LANE: Right.

PATTON: And, assuming I got reelected, I still had four or five years to serve.

LANE: Right.

PATTON: And, uh, so in, in some cases, they would, they would bring 62:00these prospective candidates in for me to give them a little pep talk and, and, and emphasize to the candidates that I would continue to be, uh, committed to post-secondary education. And that happened with some of the university searches as well as it could have happened with the KCTCS, I just don't think ----------(??).

LANE: Well, I -- in talk -- in speaking with Mike McCall, I think he, he did indicate that that was one of the factors that swayed him, uh, because he could tell, number one, that you had the strong support up -- right from the governor's office and a good team that would assist, and then, of course, his board's passion, uh, for getting this thing done and doing it right. But, uh, he's, he's gotten pretty high marks since he's been here.

PATTON: I couldn't have done any better.

LANE: Yeah. Yeah, that's what everybody seems to say. Um.

PATTON: And, you know, it's a political environment. You have to, you have to balance off the various constituencies. I'm not probably -- 63:00I'm not talking about a partisan political environment, but a -- but a -- you know, there is a political environment with the universities, and with most, and with most institutions ----------(??)---------- --

LANE: Uh-huh. Right, right, right.

PATTON: He did a great job, uh, just like Jim Ramsey's done a great job in Louisville balancing the various constituencies of the community and the university community. Uh, so it's, uh -- but he's done a great job.

LANE: Yeah, he, he sure has. Now, what kind of, uh, dealings have you had with KCTCS, oh, after, you know, the transition? And, and of course you left office then, and, and I know they invite you back every year to their, to their gala event in November. And have you had other occasions to join them?

PATTON: Um, two or three times, Mike has asked me to come and talk to the, the board because it just got new members --

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: -- to, to give the new members a understanding of how we got 64:00where we are and why we did it and what we, what, what actually, what, what -- to get them on board with the old board members that were there to start with.

LANE: Right, right.

PATTON: I've done that two or three times in Versailles.

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: But I always enjoy that. I just ramble like I am today.

LANE: Oh, it's fun, though. That's fun.

PATTON: They've been well-received.

LANE: Yeah, they were -- they were talking about some of the funny stories you told. Unfortunately, they didn't tape that. That was last -- March before last, I guess, uh, talking about what a great job you did and how much they all enjoyed it, and you were -- can you remember any of those funny things that happened during all this process? Oh, it was something funny.

PATTON: Well, it's been most of the things that I talked to you about, like the Greg Stumbo thing and, and just gone into a little bit more detail, but -- but the, the, the Gary Johnson and Greg Stumbo is the most notable, uh, interesting sidelights that battle that wouldn't be 65:00normal, general public knowledge. And the, and the, the compromise with Charles. The -- that's like the charted borders (??) version. The other -- the people that signed on with you early don't get a lot of the credit, but, but they are -- they deserve the credit, too --

LANE: Sure, sure.

PATTON: -- particularly the Republicans, Lynn Basebeer and Barry Metcalf were two --

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: -- and then there was -- and, and I know there was one that's not ----------(??). But I didn't have the, the Democrats. There was -- didn't have -- probably didn't have five or six Democrats. I didn't have the -- basically I didn't have the Lexington delegation.

LANE: Right, right, because they were with the UK.


PATTON: And I didn't have, uh -- did have Kathy Stein in the House -- (Lane laughs)-- for sure.

LANE: Yeah.

PATTON: And she -- I think she represents the university community.

LANE: I think so. That's probably in her, her area.

PATTON: But, but I think the, the, the staff of the university supported -- it was just, it was just the administration. I think there was a pretty good support among the staff --

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: -- to, to be elevated on a research, uh, status. That's, that's ----------(??) -- that was one of the attractions of, of course, the community colleges, to be -- from the, from the community college faculty standpoint, they could, they could pretend that they were on the staff of a major research university.

LANE: Um-hm.

PATTON: They weren't.

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: They had no standing as far as university faculty. Uh, the, the, the students thought they were enrolled in the University of 67:00Kentucky, but they weren't. Each individual community college was individually accredited, it just happened to be owned --

LANE: Right.

PATTON: -- by the University of Kentucky --

LANE: That's right.

PATTON: -- and ----------(??). And it had been owned by some private company and had been the same -- and they're in the same relationship, so it, it was a -- it was a charade. But, uh, they didn't fully understand that. They liked, they liked the pride of being associated with the University of Kentucky in one way or the other. Uh, that's understandable --

LANE: Sure.

PATTON: -- but it was a charade.

LANE: (laughs) Well, from, from your perspective, what would you like to see happen in the next ten years? You know, this, this enrollment in the total KCTCS system is approaching a hundred thousand. Um, you know, the numbers are phenomenal, the number of programs. Of course, when they add the online, online degrees, that's even going to grow more. But what would you like to see happen, or what do you think 68:00maybe -- and we won't put it in the term of "challenges," but how would you like to see it proceed in the next ten years?

PATTON: Well, the biggest challenge, of course, is to be able to fund it.

LANE: Right.

PATTON: We did increase funding. We were fortunate enough to be in a period that, uh, when we was growing, and I think we did divert a lot of the new revenue to post-secondary education, including community colleges, but, uh, then I ----------(??) doing this particular budget that's in -- that's going to be adopted now --

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: -- we went through, we went through our revenue shortfall in 2002-2003, I guess it was, or actually it was the 2003-2004 budget year. The budget that was adopted in 2002 was a good budget; the money didn't show up, and I had to -- I had to cut two or three -- 2 percent, maybe, in 2003 or something. But that -- those things happen. The 69:00question is, as the revenue does come back, it seems to me like -- and I'm not in -- I just know what I read, which I know is not always accurate. It seems like that during the, the period of falling revenue growth under Fletcher, which would have been 2004-2005 --

LANE: Five, yeah.

PATTON: -- it seems like that the post-secondary education did get a pretty decent care of that money. The legislature added the -- added to what the governor recommended, and then in some cases, maybe even put more money in than the council recommended. So it seems like that during that surge in revenue, post-secondary education must have gotten its fair share. Now, are they taking a bigger than their fair share cut now? I don't know, maybe they are. Somebody would say they are.

LANE: Um-hm.

PATTON: Then the question is if new revenue becomes available, either through the lottery or tax increases that the House is talking about or revenue growth, will post-secondary education, including KCTCS get, get 70:00a, a big share of that to, uh --

LANE: Um-hm.

PATTON: But we, we expected them to do more. Now, I did not expect that they would get funding inc -- a linear increase in funding. And let's say that we asked them to double production.

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: I certainly did not expect that they would get double the state support.

LANE: Right.

PATTON: Uh, I, uh, I expected increases in efficiency, and that was one of the reasons that we emphasized the virtual, uh, university --

LANE: Right.

PATTON: -- we, uh, expected them to use distance learning to be more efficient, as I, I said -- we, we -- at one time, the only technology we had was a professor in the classroom with twenty, twenty-five students, repeating what was in the textbook. That was the old way.

LANE: Right.


PATTON: But that's not the -- we've got to take advantage of the technology that's available today, and we've got to get away from this concept that the only kind of education that is valid is that that's, that's given by that professor standing up and giving the same lecture year after year, uh, to a different group of students. We've got to use that professor's lecture and, and, and put it out to more students through technology.

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: So -- but increasing efficiency was a fundamental part of the challenge. We had to overcome that resistance of, of a lot of people in the academy that would only recognize the, the, the, the classroom setting --

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: -- the traditional classroom setting as the only valid way to provide education.

LANE: Right.

PATTON: But we had to overcome that. We had to get away from that mentality, and I'm sure it's still hanging on in some places, but, uh, I think in general, the academy has, uh -- including KCTCS -- has, has, 72:00has, has bought into the fact that we've got to use new technology and we've got to increase efficiency to provide more education. It's going to take some more money, but it's not going to take a linear increase in money.

LANE: Um-hm.

PATTON: But it's going to be there. And I think I made that plain in speech after speech after speech.

LANE: Uh-huh. That -- yeah, we have to use the new technologies, and of course I -- you know, Dr. McCall's a real advocate of that from the top down here. Uh --

PATTON: And, and we have to serve non-traditional students. Now --

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: -- you know, you -- if you go back to the -- because the higher education of, of my day -- not that long ago --(Lane laughs)-- fifty years --

LANE: Not that long, that's right.

PATTON: -- you had to go to a, a town and you had to live in a dormitory, and you had to live in that town. And you had to go to eight classes a week and you had to sit there and listen to all these -- that was the, 73:00uh, uh -- just, I forgot where I was going with that, but that's --

LANE: Well, you were going to say it's just changed. Nontraditional students, age students.

PATTON: Oh, I know where I was going with that. We've got to make not just the, the, uh, associate degree programs, but we've got to make a Bachelor's degree program available to every Kentuckian in the communities where they live so they can stay at home, including those Kentuckians that are place-bound, either because of a job or family.

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: And so, in addition to -- without, without deemphasizing the value of the, of the, of the traditional education on the traditional campus with residential students, uh, without, without, without deemphasizing the importance of that, we have to expand to provide that same quality education to the, to the student that is place-bound -- the older student, the student that has family obligations, the student 74:00that is, uh, committed to a job in a community. And so working with the comprehensive universities and KCTCS. And that was a fundamental reason to, to give the, the community colleges independence, because the regionals viewed the community colleges as UK trying to move into their --


PATTON: -- territory.

LANE: I see.

PATTON: And Char-- Charles will make it very important -- we are the old -- we have a presence in a hundred and twenty counties, or, you know, we serve the whole state. And then the regionals resented that, and so cooperation between the regionals and the community colleges was not what it ought to be. And what it had to be -- if you want to adopt this, this concept that we're going to have a community college in Elizabethtown, then Western or -- is going to come in and provide some upper-level courses.

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: And we, we had to have a cooperative attitude between the Morehead and Prestonsburg.

LANE: Uh-huh.


PATTON: And for Hazard. And I think there's been a dramatic increase in the, in the cooperation because it's not UK, it's not the --

LANE: Oh, I see.

PATTON: Then you'll have to compete with UK.

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: So that was, that was, that was a great big problem ten years ago --

LANE: Huh.

PATTON: -- the, the -- just the turf battle, the protectiveness that the regionals -- and then the regionals were, were pretty parochial, particularly Murray. Murray just resisted expanding out, but even to Paducah. They, they didn't -- they had a campus in Paducah, but they didn't want it. And that was the lee-- the Murray community recognized how important Murray State University was to the economy of that region --

LANE: Uh-huh, uh-huh.

PATTON: -- so they wanted all the students to come to Murray so they would grow the economy. So the business establishment in Murray, we had some real problems with some people that controlled the university down there on board appointments and everything of not, of not -- objecting to Murray moving out. We solved that problem.


LANE: Hmm. All right, tell me --

PATTON: The other universities were -- it was the same, but none of them were as bad as Murray.

LANE: I see.

PATTON: Murray was really bad.

LANE: Was the extreme example of that, yeah. When you and your team were working together, where did this name, KCTCS -- how did that evolve?

PATTON: It was just out of one of those meetings, uh, with the consultant. I mean, that's what it was going to be.

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: That's an awkward name, uh, but, uh -- and the ----------(??) down at Paducah used to want to call it "cactus," and boy, I really bristled at that. (Lane laughs) If anybody used "cactus" around me, I, I let them know I didn't appreciate it at all. (Lane laughs) It's KCTCS. It wasn't going to have a, a, a named acronym. (Lane laughs) It was an awkward name, but that's what it was.

LANE: Yeah.

PATTON: I don't know what else you could have done; I don't know what else you could have called it.

LANE: Right, right. It was just descriptive of exactly what it was.


PATTON: What it, what it was supposed to be and wanted to be.

LANE: Yeah, that's right, and it has become that, I think. In, in those early days, you know, you had a team, you had your task force, you had your office team, your core team, a lot of those folks. I've seen interviews with Grit and Jack Conway and a bunch of people.

PATTON: Ed Ford, Ed Ford.

LANE: Ed, of -- that's right. So who could you not have done without in all of this? I know it took the team, but who, who stands out in your memory?

PATTON: Well, we couldn't have done it without any -- we had Mary Hopkins, the legislative liaison, and Leonard Gray, and, uh, Petey Rabie, I believe was involved in that. So we had the, we had the, we had the, the team that worked on peeling out the legislators and finding out where the soft spots were. Uh, we had the, the, uh, uh, the, the team to figure out what on earth we needed to do. We had the team to figure out how to portray it to the public. How do we get 78:00our -- how do we, how do we get this message out there? What was, what was I supposed to do as far as, uh, selling to the public? So it was a, it was a complex, uh -- and we had, uh, we had, uh -- of course, Jim Callahan was the sponsor, and we did -- what we did about what the ----------(??) evidently is doing now, we went to leadership and we said, "Who should we get to sponsor this?" So, it was a consensus that Jim Callahan would be the, the, the first sponsor. Of course, Jim had to learn a lot about what we wanted to do, and, and, uh, but he, he really had a group of -- I don't know how many legislators that he had, but there must have been dozens of them, and they would have their meetings, and they would -- uh, their assignments. And we had the, the lobbying group. We had, uh -- that would meet down in room, uh, 110. It was a group of -- even if it wasn't in session, a group of lobbyists that was interested in it, and they would be the chamber 79:00of commerce lobbyist and the, um, uh, the business lobbyists that were interested in it, and we would give them the orders of the day, and we would brief them on what we think the situation was. And it was, it was just a, a great -- it was a classic legislative struggle. Uh, stakes were more enormously high, competition was intense, the probability of success was fifty-fifty at best. It was the greatest poker game I've ever been in --(Lane laughs)-- as far as -- it was high stakes. It was my -- it was my political career, my leg -- it was my second term and my political legacy was at stake.

LANE: Huh.

PATTON: And had I lost that, I would have been a one-term governor that would have been, as Lincoln said, we would "little note, nor long remember."

LANE: (laughs) Yeah.

PATTON: Well, I would have been little noted and, and not long 80:00remembered. (Lane laughs) We --

LANE: So in -- so in this poker game, you had to know when to hold them and know when to fold them, right?

PATTON: Yeah, and we had to -- and we had to make some compromises. We had to, you know, to consider the ----------(??) to vote. Evidently we made the very bare minimum necessary to get the votes. That was -- all we were looking for was the majority.

LANE: Yeah, and, and as you say, I'm not sure we'll ever know if, if Charles Wethington was so caught up in the emotion of the whole thing and in the, in the idea of not really losing, that he knew that some of those compromises were going to put him in jeopardy with SACS. I'm not sure we'll ever know that, do you think?

PATTON: I -- you know, he would be the only one that would know, and I don't know whether he would tell you. Have you interviewed Charles?

LANE: Ye-- I have talked with him about it, and I need to do that. That's -- he's next on my list. But I wanted to talk to your first. But you, you've been terrific. I had no idea we'd get to have this much time this afternoon. I'm so glad you were available and willing 81:00to talk about this.

PATTON: Oh, I'm just ----------(??)---------- anytime.

LANE: Oh, well, it's -- uh, to wrap up, you want to just -- you want to give me -- I like your statement saying it was a classic struggle, the stakes were high. That was great. And then your thoughts about how it's come to fruition or, or how it's doing in the ten years since.

PATTON: I think -- again, I'll say, few things work out as well as you planned, and this has worked out better.

LANE: Um-hm.

PATTON: So -- well, then we expand this way: maybe not better than we hoped, but better than we expected.

LANE: I see.

PATTON: So, uh, it's been just a great success, and, uh, and if -- while I might be the point person, it was truly -- it has been a, uh, a ten-year continuum of literally hundreds if not thousands of people that have brought it to where it is today. The, uh, the legislature. 82:00It is a, it is a -- the fact of the matter is, it was a commitment on the people of Kentucky to improve higher education, and that -- and, and the legislature has stayed with that commitment, uh, even to today. Uh, I'm convinced that David Williams is still committed to promoting --

LANE: Um-hm.

PATTON: -- higher education in Kentucky. He's -- his statements say that. I think he's telling the truth. Now, whether he's ready to fund it or not is a different thing.

LANE: Right. Well, it'll be interesting to see what they come up with in this session, won't it?

PATTON: It will be. It, it, it's not hopeless. It's not -- this is not a hopeless session yet.

LANE: No, not yet.

PATTON: But, um, but, uh -- but I believe that, uh, that, uh, those people, they had differences, and I think the, I think the legislature today is still committed to, uh, our colleges and universities as a result of what was done, uh, ten, eleven, twelve years ago. So, um, but then, but then, you -- as you get this specifically to, um, the 83:00KCTCS, not, not just the leadership that the board and Mike McCall have provided, but, uh, on virtually every campus there evidently has been a commitment to make it work --

LANE: Yeah.

PATTON: -- and the, the technical schools get lost in the shuffle, but I think there's been a commitment on the -- on their, on their staff and their faculty to, uh, to elevate the, the level of, of what they're doing to the college level. So, uh, it, uh, it, it just, it's just a -- again, I say, while I may be the point person, it was, it was literally a thousand people --

LANE: Um-hm.

PATTON: -- that brought it to the point where today -- and it is today, and they deserve the credit for getting it done. It could have been simply a law that was passed and, uh, never -- and ignored, because it was up to them to implement it, and they could have essentially ignored 84:00the, the, the, the --

LANE: Um-hm.

PATTON: -- the, uh, the challenges that were in the law. You know, to, to say that the University of Kentucky is going to be a top twenty research university is, uh, is meaningless if the university doesn't buy into that commitment. To, to say that our community colleges are going to provide a broad variety of, of, uh, educations, academic and, and occupational, uh, to the whole state, is, is -- it could have been -- they, they, they didn't have to buy into that. So it's still the buy-in at the institutional level.

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: Some of them ----------(??) made it work.

LANE: Well, you know, it's, it's really interesting, um, too, when we were talking about that consolidation, uh, meeting and, and, as, as they say, that was one of the defining moments. What, what Mike McCall did with those presidents he brought together, all those presidents -- this was 2000 -- and he had them envision -- he said the first thing 85:00they did was envision what you could be and what you'd really like to be, and then we'll work backwards, which was pretty smart. It's basic, but it was smart.

PATTON: It worked.

LANE: Yeah. And, and part of that was we can't be in silos; we can't have -- you know, I think -- was your orig -- was the original intent with KCTCS to have the technical, post-secondary technical institutes and then the community college, and each would have a chancellor, and they'd both be under the same system?

PATTON: Yes, that was a -- it was -- you know, they were hoping that we would work that out, but we had to have a con-- at, at the minimum, at the minimum, we had to end up with common administration. So --

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: -- it all had to come together at the top, and it didn't come together at the top because, uh, the technical schools were under the state and the community colleges were under UK, so they never got together. Well, at, at a, at a very minimum, what we did do was we put 86:00them together to, to where if, if, if we had somebody in Madisonville that wanted to do it at the technical school and somebody wanted to do the same thing at the community college, somebody would say, "No, no, we can't do that."

LANE: Uh-huh, I see.

PATTON: So we did get -- we, we got common governance, uh, a common source of governance --

LANE: Right.

PATTON: -- minimum. But, uh, that was just, that was, that -- it was, it was the, the, the buy-in to, to actually do -- to, to, to actually merge -- we can use that word now --

LANE: Right. (laughs)

PATTON: -- uh, uh, occurred at the, at the, uh, institutional level.

LANE: I see. Yeah. You're right, that -- they were -- they still tell me not to use that word, that we like "consolidate," which is great, too. But you're right, that's exactly what it was; it was a merger. It was --

PATTON: I, I use "amalgamate."

LANE: Ah-ha.

PATTON: That word, it's a mixture where you mix it together but it 87:00doesn't really combine? Isn't that what "amalgamate" --

LANE: I think you're right.

PATTON: Like that. It -- so, but, uh, I, I -- that was the word I used -- I think I used. (Lane laughs) I think I've given you the whole, though if I think of anything else --

LANE: Yeah, you -- you have. You've given me some good information, and we, we will put this -- we're going to establish just a, a basic archives with all their history, and then they will add to it as the years go by, and we'll certainly put your interview in here, and I'll make some notes on it. But, uh, you tell Ms. Judi I'll call her later. I want to chat with her about what's going on at the mansion today as well. Have y'all been up to visit?

PATTON: Yes, we were up for Cindy Connelly's wedding, uh, but, uh --

LANE: Oh, I don't know when that was.

PATTON: ----------(??).

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: And, and, and we always supported the Fletchers in their effort to, to, uh, live out of the mansion. We attended most of their galas, 88:00and they, they were, they were courteous to us. Judi continues, I think most every year.

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: So -- yeah, we've, we've been -- we had a good relationship with the Fletchers, and we, we would probably be in the mansion at least once a year while they were there.

LANE: Yeah, yeah. So you like the redo since they've gotten it all --

PATTON: Well, I don't think she's too impressed --(Lane laughs)-- with the state dining room.

LANE: Oh, yeah? I have not seen it, to be honest with you. Uh, I -- we're going to go -- I, I know the new mansion director, and she's going to have us over for lunch. But I haven't -- I've just seen pictures of it. But it's -- it's a little different, I will say, from the pictures.

PATTON: Yeah, they, they ----------(??) that silver gilding --

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: -- around it --

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: -- and sort of a white -- well, it's, it's all sort of a, a really, a really off-white -- it's a real off-white. It's -- I don't know what it is. I don't know what color it is.

LANE: Huh.

PATTON: I don't know whether it's -- I don't' know, you tell me what color you think it is when you --


LANE: I will, I will. Well, I'll be interested to hear her opinions, too. I know I've been talking to Libby Jones a little bit, and I don't think Libby's seen it, uh, yet, but, um, we'll -- you know, we all were there for years, so we know every detail of it. And, and it's funny how you don't want things to change. But gosh, it had been twenty-five years since Phyllis redid the house totally, so I guess it was almost time.

PATTON: They, uh, they, they, they always said they really didn't do the upstairs, but they did do the upstairs.

LANE: Yeah, that's been -- you know, that's one of the first things I heard from, uh, one of the painters, who was a friend of mine. He said even before they launched into this, this redo, that they had painted that great room, which I always loved. I thought that was awfully nice.

PATTON: They, uh, took the dining table out of it and made it just a sitting room. They redid, they, they redid the whole upstairs. They did that first.

LANE: Uh-huh, yeah.

PATTON: And I -- they -- we were, we were in one of the groups they invited down to, to tour the upstairs. You know, you don't let too many people tour the upstairs.


LANE: Well, that's true, that's true.

PATTON: But they did the whole upstairs, and they -- it was much, much nicer than when we and Joneses lived there.

LANE: Huh.

PATTON: I didn't -- it was the workroom for me, so that's where I, I would sit up there in that reclining chair --

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: -- and watch television and I'd be wri-- reading and writing.

LANE: Uh-huh.

PATTON: We, we lived in the great room.

LANE: Oh, yeah, the Joneses did too.

PATTON: By the time -- the way they had it decorated up, it'd be hard for me to live in. It's a little bit too formal for me. (Lane laughs) It looked nice, but they really -- they really, uh -- I think they redecorated the whole thing, and all new furniture as far as I know.

LANE: Huh. Well, that'll be interesting --

PATTON: New wall-covering and new carpet and --

LANE: Well, maybe we'll get to see it, too.

PATTON: If you do that, then make sure you see the upstairs, and then give me my picture.

LANE: I'll, I'll, I'll let you know what I think, yeah. I'll tell -- and I'll, I'll check back with you. You've been awfully kind. It's made my day to get to talk to you, and I appreciate it so much.

PATTON: Good talking to you.

LANE: All right, you take care.



LANE: Bye.

[End of interview.]

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