Interview with Harold D. "Hal" Rogers, October 31, 2006

Project: Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment Oral History Project

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Interview Summary

Congressman Hal Rogers talks about his birthplace, Barrier, Kentucky, and the farm he grew up on. He talks about his father's store and his mother's job as postmaster. He talks about their lack of running water until they moved into the city of Monticello, and talks about how they disposed of their trash. He talks about what he did for fun as a child. Rogers talks about taking a part-time job at a local radio station while in high school, which lead him to work at several radio stations in Tennessee and North Carolina after graduation. He talks about how the launch of Sputnik pushed him to pursue a degree in physics at the University of Kentucky. Rogers changed his major to journalism and then went to law school at UK. He talks about being offered a law partnership with John Y. Brown, Jr. but turned it down to return home to Somerset. Rogers talks about how he became involved in politics, first by running for county attorney, but then winning the election for Commonwealth Attorney. He talks about his inspiration for running for Congress.

Rogers talks about one of his early projects as a Congressman: a flood control project for his district in Eastern Kentucky. He describes the flood protections put in place for each city, including floodwalls and cut-throughs. He talks about the success of the project. Rogers discusses his appointment to the Appropriations Committee and the subcommittee that focused on immigration, border patrol, and prisons, among other issues. He talks about the decision to build prisons in Eastern Kentucky in order to bring more jobs to the region. Rogers talks about his appointment to the subcommittee on Homeland Security after 9/11/2001. He talks about the issues they faced merging several organizations into the one Department of Homeland Security.

Rogers talks about how the PRIDE initiative began when he realized that his goals for the cleanup of Eastern Kentucky aligned with those of Natural Resources Cabinet Secretary James Bickford. He talks about the economic, health, and other reasons they were interested in cleaning up the litter and water pollutants in the area. He talks about their partnership with agencies such as the Corps of Engineers and the EPA to secure funding and labor sources. He talks about their worries in asking for the cooperation of local elected officials, and talks about their reactions to the plan during a meeting in Hazard, Kentucky. Rogers gives statistics and facts about the success of the PRIDE program. He talks about his surprise at the number of volunteers the program has had and in its continual growth every year. He talks about how the program's success has been even wider-reaching than they expected, prompting people to begin other life improvement projects in the area. Rogers tells stories about some memorable moments from PRIDE cleanup projects, focusing mainly on the younger generations. He talks about a million dollar dump cleanup, and a surprisingly successful appliance cleanup program. Rogers discusses some of the problems they have faced in implementing the PRIDE program, including securing sources of funding each year as well as the struggle to maintain volunteer interest in the project. Rogers discusses his hopes for the future of PRIDE and for the future of Kentucky's environment. He talks more about the importance of educating younger generations in order to avoid more pollution problems in the future. He talks about his hopes of building an institution to be used for environmental education. Rogers tells a story of meeting a grandfather during a PRIDE cleanup project and learning his reasons for volunteering. He tells a story about County Judge Denny Ray Noble's involvement in the project and how he surprisingly used it to his advantage during election season.

Interview Accession

2006oh219_pride005

Interviewee Name

Harold D. "Hal" Rogers

Interviewer Name

Cindy Lackey

Interview Date

2006-10-31

Interview Rights

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Rogers, Harold D. Interview by Cindy Lackey. 31 Oct. 2006. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Rogers, H.D. (2006, October 31). Interview by C. Lackey. Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Rogers, Harold D., interview by Cindy Lackey. October 31, 2006, Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





Persistent Link for this Record: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt74qr4nnw6m