Interview with John Y. Brown, Jr., February 27, 2013

Project: John Y. Brown, Jr. Oral History Project

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Interview Summary

In this interview former Kentucky Governor John Young Brown, Jr. discusses his political career. He talks about some of the events that occurred during his childhood and discusses their impact on his life, including the Great Depression, the attack on Pearl Harbor, and World War II, as well as his parents' political views. He talks about his relationships with Kentucky politicians through his father as well as through his business career and his involvement in organizations like the Young Leadership Council of the Democratic National Committee and the telethons for the Democratic Party.

Brown talks about his early involvement in politics by running his father's campaign for U.S. Senate, and discusses his decision to run for governor. He discusses the many scandals occurring in politics around the time of his gubernatorial campaign, as well as the national sentiment against the Democratic Party at the time. He talks about how he was free of outside political influence and did not owe anyone political favors. Brown talks about his campaign strategy and use of the media, and discusses his opponents in the election, including a story about his debate with Louie Nunn before the primary election and his plan to rattle Nunn.

Brown talks about his inauguration and tells the story of writing his State of the Union speech the night before giving it, and discusses the creation of his budget. He talks about his policy of not hiring people based on patronage, as well as his position on leaving much of the decision-making to his cabinet secretaries who he felt were more qualified than he was on various subjects. He discusses the people he chose to appoint to his cabinet and other government positions. He talks about his appointment of women and minorities to his cabinet, and discusses at length his attitude regarding the equality of women. Brown discusses his relationship with the state legislators and his position on legislative independence and separation of powers in government.

Brown compares the size of his staff to the size of former Governor Julian Carroll's staff. He discusses his other attempts to simplify and consolidate government. He talks about his work on the economic development of Kentucky, including his efforts to keep GE in Louisville by improving the climate for businesses in the city. He talks about beginning his term as governor with a budget deficit, and the various budget cuts he made throughout his term as governor. Brown talks about the negative stories written about his administration during his term as governor, and several issues which may have led to his health problems and bypass surgery.

Interview Accession

2013oh046_jybj001

Interviewee Name

John Y. Brown, Jr.

Interviewer Name

Jeffrey Suchanek

Wiliam H. McCann, Jr.

Interview Date

2013-02-27

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.

Interview Usage

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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Brown, John Y., Jr. Interview by Jeffrey Suchanek. 27 Feb. 2013. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Brown, J.Y., Jr. (2013, February 27). Interview by J. Suchanek. John Y. Brown, Jr. Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Brown, John Y., Jr., interview by Jeffrey Suchanek. February 27, 2013, John Y. Brown, Jr. Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





Persistent Link for this Record: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt7tqj77ws8q