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Beginning of Tape 4, Side A

WARD:cause they figured nobody else would, it was in ’54, then, wasn’t it. Yeah – ’54. I was still commissioner of conservation. And. . . .Barkley told me, he said "You know, I’ve got a reputation of being an iron man in politics and I love the reputation, but I sure as hell don’t want to have to prove it, because I’ve gotten accustomed to sleeping late in the morning and not working too hard. " And he said "I. . . .

PEARCE:How old was he?

WARD:He was . . .

PEARCE:He was well in his . . .

WARD:early seventies.

PEARCE:seventies. Yeah.

WARD:He was, what – 75 when he died?

PEARCE:About it, uh-huh.

WARD:His early seventies. And he said "Now one reason I want you to take care of my scheduling certainly, is because you’ll take care of it." Well, I did. But we still wanted to maintain the reputation of an iron man and we did it pretty well by using airplanes. We . . . .he’d sleep late in the morning. We didn’t schedule any morning speeches. He said "I don’t care how many you schedule for me, except don't want them too early or too late."

WARD: Possibly a luncheon - one in the afternoon and one in the evening. Flying saved a lot of a lot of wear and tear on an automobile. Anyhow, it worked. And he was delighted to be back in , but of course, then Earle was defeated in ’56, in ’55, after I went out as commissioner of conservation, Earle wanted me to go to because he wanted me to help him. I felt obligated to him and I went up there. And Barkley didn’t have a man in his office and didn’t work very hard, and so I spent a lot of time with him. During that time, Lyndon Johnson had his heart attack. And Clements was having to act as majority leader. And had to be on the floor all the time. In order to get some time with him, I spent a lot of time on the floor, too, because an assistant has the right to go on the floor. And Barkley didn’t have much to do. And we’d – you’d sit and talk a lot. Well I was with him, practically every day during that period of time, and even the day before he went over to Charlottsville and made his famous speech, and he died. One of the few times in my life that I really cried. He was a great man.

PEARCE:You were talking yesterday about Bob Bell, and how you borrowed him and Wilson Wyatt borrowed him, and everybody wanted him. How – how did that go? Where was he first?

WARDlWell, I hired him first. He was – he graduated from . He was from the southern regional printing program and I

WARD:hired him right after he graduated from that. And he was with me as

deputy commissioner for, must have been ’49 I hired him. He was there about at least four or five years. He resigned to start a business, of his own, in . Then when was elected he was – hired Bob as his assistant, and I became commissioner of highways and I stole him away and then Bert Combs stole him from me. Made commissioner of revenue and was commissioner of parks.

PEARCE:Bert stole him for revenue?

WARD:Yeah, the latter part of his administration.

PEARCE:And then Ned made him commissioner of parks?

WARD:Commissioner of Parks. During the Nunn administration, he went to and got a job with some big national outfit and then came back to and tried doing business again but didn’t do very well.

PEARCE:Then he went with . There was sort of a legend, a story that there were so many people waiting to see you every day as Highway Commissioner that you had to take a back door to your office, or something like that. Is that right?

WARD:When that building was built, they built a freight elevator on the basement that went to the twenty-seventh floor. The shaft and everything was there, but they hadn’t extended it and we had a door cut in my office into the elevator shaft which had made that elevator available – just put a door in,

WARD:which made it possible to go from my office to the cafeteria in the basement without going through the reception room. Some of the boys that worked for me thought it was going to be a great thing. I really never used it.

PEARCE:Oh, you didn’t?

WARD:It was – there wasn’t that big a crowd. I didn’t mind seeing people. So I really never used it much. They tried to make something of it, but it was one of those things in hindsight, if I was thinking about my image it wouldn’t have been the thing to do, but I wasn’t thinking about my image, and the truth of the matter was I didn’t really have a lot to do with it. I’d forgotten. . . .one of my assistants just thought it was a great idea. It wasn't very useful. I didn’t use it very often.

PEARCE:How would you judge the former governors you worked for? Clements, Wetherby, Combs, and Breathitt.

WARD:Well, they were all different types. Clements by far the most forceful in terms of imagination and willingness to move real fast – forcefully, is at the top of the list. I’d say also he was completely honest and sincere. He was, of course, a politician and did the things that politics made necessary. But I never had the slightest thought that Earle Clements was anything except honest. My own relationships were always good. He never asked me to do anything dishonest. Never asked me to do anything

WARD:wrong that I can remember. Lawrence Wetherby was entirely different type. Not a lot of great deal of drive. Very sincere – very sincere. Could be very determined about doing things when he was convinced that he wanted to get done. That strip mining really was a good example of it. Basically he was a good governor. Good, sound fellow. He was relatively conservative, I think. Not a pusher. He was - I guess they’d call him a good caretaker, without being demeaning at all, because every now and then the state does need that. Certainly after one administration, after Clements, for example, made sweeping changes, it’s probably a good thing for the state to have someone who has an administration not trying to initiate a lot of new things. Bert Combs, again, an entirely different type. I don’t think Bert had personally a great lot of imagination about things that needed to be done. He had of course, no background in government, you can’t say a circuit judge from the court of appeals for a short time gained very much knowledge about state government. But, Bert was, I think, had the ability to get people working with him and he had the ability to listen, and gain from experience and coming from four years of Chandler when the state suffered, he came along at a good time and did a good thing. I think a damn good job. I thought Bert was sincere and conscientious- not afraid to do something that had to be done, even though they were not politically popular. Just like, for example, the

WARD:passing of the sales tax after having a campaign which, I don’t know that he made a specific commitment, certainly. He never said during his campaign he was going to pass the taxes which obviously . . .

PEARCE:Well, people had to vote for him.


PEARCE:The people had to vote on that – they had to vote on. . . .referendum . . .

WARD:tied into the bonus thing. Well, anyhow, it was politically a courageous thing to do. I’d say. . . .who have I forgotten?


WARD:Ned again was entirely a different type of person. I think ambitious, but not on any great, grand scale. I don’t recall any great strides the state made he initiated. But again, I can draw on if you remind me of some specifics.

PEARCE:Well he did pass that strip mining bill.

WARD:Uh-huh. Yeah it of course, the experience all along the years indicated change that needed to be made to regulations and the law when new factors were discovered. Ned I thought was a completely honest, completely sincere, conscientious individual. He wanted to do the right sort of thing. He had the courage to back the right man for governor to succeed him, but lack of political knowledge that made the decision [laughing] he did it for me. And he said after it was over "I don’t regret it

WARD:a bit. " Ned was a fine individual, a very close personal friend, next

to Wetherby, I guess, was my closest friend.

PEARCE:Did Combs have a – Combs was like Clements in that they didn’t have close friends, many? Clements had friends like Doc.

WARD:Yeah. Not a lot of close friends. They're more associates than were friends. I think you’re right. I don’t know except for one or two people I don’t know if Clements had any friends. The only friend, close friend that I think Bert had was Marvin Music. They lived next door to each other. But you know that’s – that’s true of a lot of people in politics. I never had thought about it very much. I think when you’re moving around a lot. I know I personally had very few personal friends. I had more back when I was working at the newspaper back in than around . I don’t recall – I just didn’t have any personal friends. We – Gladys was the only one of the family that had any friends and she had millions of them. But I didn’t. Partly because I was – all the time I didn’t socialize much. I guess those years in I’m thinking about the only one that when I was Commissioner of Conservation , the only one I guess I would consider a friend was Russ Whetherby. And that was , that was the case that was more of a friendship that was an associate or working with somebody else. That’s true of Clements, Combs, and other people who

WARD:are busy with their lives and whose thoughts are about what they want to do, or doing, that they just didn’t have time for friendships. Developing and nurturing.

PEARCE:Do you think the quality of government has improved in your time?

WARD:Well, of course I’ve been away from the – so many years, I’m not really very qualified to judge. But what I do know of it, I’d say no. Well, it’s probably improved administratively. Because of the tenure. Because of the state employees are guaranteed tenure. Merit system. That, I think has made it better administratively. In other words, got rid of the worst of the old patronage system. So from that point of view I’d say definitely there's been a very marked improvement. I didn’t see much of it while I was there for part of that time because most of the benefits have come since then. But in the highway department, the last three or four years or even more than that I was there I definitely saw a marked improvement in personnel. We were able to retain a lot of the younger fellows who’d been resigning after two or three years. Most of the engineers of the highway department –a great number of them, came out of the scholarship program that the highway department sponsored that were engineering scholarships at the University of Kentucky. The understanding was, after graduating, they were obligated to work two years at the highway department. And

WARD:the trend had been after two years to quit. They fulfilled their obligation and they would go out and get a better job in industry. Well, that pretty well stopped. The combination of feeling they were getting some recommendations and there was a place to go, and they didn’t have to wait until old age to get promotions, so that in terms of , what I call improvements in the administration, because of retaining qualified employees, definitely in the highway department started showing real good results- in the last, I’d say the last four years I was highway commissioner. Incidentally, I just tried to think about the name of the fellow who I’d made director of planning – Bob Harbison – he was one of the younger engineers with a good, good background. He’d had some special training under one of the leading planning consultants – Wilbur Smith – who’s a professor of planning at Harvard. He organized a consulting firm later on that’s still in operation. And Bob had, had studied under him, so he was well qualified and I made him director and Calvin Grayson, assistant director. I, uh, later on, made him also assistant state highway engineer. And then in the Nunn administration, he was made state highway engineer. I don’t know where he is now. He left after the Nunn administration.

PEARCE:Of course, the growth of the human resources department has been an outstanding feature of state government. It’s a massive department now,

PEARCE:twice or three times as big as state. . . .as highways.


PEARCE:Did you like conservation more than highways?

WARD:Yes. It was much more rewarding. I was interested in highways because of the opportunity to do something. I was always – I like to do things. And, uh, it was a – the beginning of a new program, the interstate, particularly. I had an opportunity to initiate a lot of things, and get them done. I have a broad interest in just government, generally. The improvement of it. It was a challenge to get some things done. But my heart was more in conservation – parks – and in every phase of conservation. I mentioned yesterday, it’s somewhat amazing that so many things that I wound up administrating I’ve had either legislative experience in backing legislation, or personal interest in it, for many years, in the area of agriculture. Practically everything that relates to conservation is all involved. Forestry and parks, soil conservation, flood control, water pollution control, strip mining. The wonder is I ever found time to do what I did because there were so many of those activities, and I was active in all of them. I was chairman of the state water pollution control commission, a member of the Ohio Valley Commission. We organized a little – we called it a flood control division that represented the state, particularly in hearings regarding flood control projects. The

WARD:state had to appear and we organized hearing. I went to every one of ‘em. Like I say, I was – every day, well I did go work weekends. I – my

typical week was to stay in the office about four days and then out about three. And I’d be in some park every week-end. While I was there, I even waited on tables. But I loved them.

PEARCE:Were you surprised that the changing public or the changing political attitude toward TVA – you see people jump on TVA – as, as a giant bureauocracy that . . .

WARD:No, I’m not particularly surprised at it. It’s typical of human behavior. The TVA was first organized and seemed as a great saviour, not only in the valley, but providing cheap power. And I saw that, of course in , when they organized and got operating, why then we wanted to get it on TVA power. It took several years to do it. And finally did, and oh, people were delighted. It was a great wave of electrifying their homes for heat purposes, using electricity for heating, and everybody was just delighted, until TVA started raising their rates. And the glamour of the agency started wearing off and reminds many of them that they’re just another utility that kept on raising their rates and not a damn bit happy about that. And then TVA in the early years, they were much more engaged in public relations and a lot of demonstration projects that were very popular.

PEARCE:They were more into conservation.

WARD:Yeah. And they got out of a lot of that. It became, in a large measure, it really did became just a big utility. I’d say there’s some agitation now to take the Land Between the Lakes away from them. Give it to the National Park Service. . . .the National Park Service has enough trouble of its own. It’s no more capable of getting the money than TVA is.

PEARCE:All the things you did, what are you proudest of?

WARD:I’d have to say the park program. Because, see, it was – that effort was more than just going out and building some parks and facilities. It was a total program. Selling the state – that was the first job that was involved was selling. Then selling it to the governor and selling it to the legislature and selling it to the people. And every, every means you could think of were utilized in the selling of it. I mentioned Barney Lenahan, for example. He was from and we were very close friends, and I mentioned not having any friends. Lenahan was one of my closest friends. He became, I believe, when he became president of the state chamber of commerce we made a decision to incorporate the state chamber of commerce into the program to sell the parks to and the tourist industry. And of course we plugged that to the tourist industry. The development of the tourist industry. Not to bring it to the parks, but to bring it to the state. It was a part of the total program. We spent a lot

WARD:more money and effort on the division of publicity. They were promoting tourism and it benefitted the parks. Because we figured, well, hell, we get them in here, parks will get their share of them. But we also got the support of private people. Because it shows we were trying to help them, too, instead of just competing with them. It was just one of the things that we had to do because there was opposition at the outset from some of the primary operators. I know down around , they had people who go out and build a few little concrete block shacks as tourist cabins, and we started on the expansion, and they were violently opposed at what we were trying to do. I had to fight that battle and in fact, everywhere – down around , for example. I – I am definitely convinced that the old Moonbow Inn was burned down by the fellow operating the hotel.

PEARCE:In . I remember that. They were always opposed to the expansion of that park.


PEARCE:I wonder if the future of the parks program had been jeapordized by overexpansion of it. It bleeds off so much money from these little parks, that really should be county parks.

WARD:Well, considerably, yes. Unless they use those parks as a means to consolidate and support. Now, my own experience was that there was generally there was public support, locally, for these things. And there’s enough of them scattered around the state, now, that if they really work at it, to maintain and build that kind of support, and use that support to pressure the legislature, then it could very well overcome the loss from dividing your monies up. . . .again, that’s just a part of the total program. I was. . . .I was talking about a total program, not just park development. And part of a total program was by utilizing my own background and experience in the legislature. And getting things done in the legislature without necessarily having to ask the governor to use all the pressure. And I worked the legislature. I conducted a campaign. You know they have these annual pre-session congress of the legislature? had those. I started them. To deliver briefs. To sell the legislature on the park program. Of course I did the same thing as highway commissioner. I maintained very close relations with the legislature because I had legislation I wanted to get passed. Without having to rile the governor, particularly, when the governor wasn’t for me on one particular bill. And Sam mentioned that, when the head of the highway department was calling for mandatory retirement at 65, you know to get rid of the

deadwood? Well, I initiated it, on my own order-hah!- I never knew

whether I had the legal authority to do it, but I did it and got by with it. Ned Breathitt told me "Well, if you got by with it in the highway department, maybe it will go statewide." Of course, they, looking back on it, I – if I had to do it over again, I’d try to find some other way. Because we did lose some good engineers. And now that I’m seventy-five, instead of fifty-five, sixty-five isn’t too bad [laughing]. People have some stuff left. So I would have tried to figure out some other way to do it.

PEARCE:Well, I thank you sir.

WARD:Well, I enjoyed it.

PEARCE:Can you think of anything else we need to get on that tape?

WARD:Nah, I can’t think of anything. I tell you what I’ll do. I wrote – when I was up at the foundation, with a lot of time on my hands. I sat down and wrote a damn thing that ran pages and pages covering forty- five years in public life and private life. Of course at that time my memory was better, too. So it maybe something . . . .

PEARCE:Did you say there was a grocery store here?


End of Tape 4, Side A -End of Interview