Transcript Index
Search This Transcript
Go X
0:00

MOYEN: The following is an unrehearsed interview with Pat Freibert, who served the Seventy-Eighth District in the Kentucky House of Representatives from 1979 to 1993. The interview was conducted by Eric Moyen, as a part of the Kentucky Legislature Oral History Project for the University of Kentucky on Wednesday, July 10, 2002, at the home of Pat Freibert in Lexington, Kentucky.

[Pause in recording.]

MOYEN: --start here. Um, all right. Uh, I'm with Pat Freibert, who served, um, in the Kentucky legislature as a member of the House of Representatives from 1979 to 1993. Thanks for meeting with me today. Could you, uh, first just tell me about where you were born and raised?

1:00

FREIBERT: I was born in a little wide place in the road, a little coal camp in southern West Virginia. And, uh, grew up there and then went to college not far from there, just about twenty miles from there. So I lived all of my life there until I was an adult, and I met my future husband there, who was from suburban Chicago. We married. And, uh, since that time we lived everywhere east of the Mississippi until we came to Lexington thirty-two years ago. And that was at a time in our life and in our family's life that we thought we would dig in, uh, raise our young'uns here, and get old here. And we've raised our young'uns, and now we're doing the second part.

MOYEN: (laughs) Um, could you, uh, tell me your parents' names and, and what they did, either as occupation or other--

2:00

FREIBERT: --yes, uh, my father was James Bradford Warwick. Uh, and the Warwick name comes from Tidewater Virginia. Along Norfolk and Newport News, there are counties and boulevards with that name. But his family migrated to West Virginia because of jobs in the coalfields. And, uh, when I was a small child, he was a, uh, coalminer. He did explosives work; he was an explosives foreman in the coalmines. And later when, uh, mining got, uh, uh, very slow in southern West Virginia, he was, uh, an explosives foreman on, uh, primarily road construction jobs.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: My mother also came from a family in Virginia that migrated to West Virginia for the same reason. Her father was brought to southern West Virginia to be the, uh, superintendent of a coalmine opening 3:00there. And she came there as a little girl.

MOYEN: Do you know--so she came as a little girl. Do you know when your father's family would've made it to the region--

FREIBERT: --uh, he, he was young, uh, he was probably an adolescent, uh, when his family came.

MOYEN: Okay. And could you tell me a little bit about your schooling in West Virginia, primary and--

FREIBERT: --well, you know, surprisingly--and I have, uh, a good basis for comparison, after having had my children in public and religious schools all over the country and in public schools in Lexington, uh, so there is a basis for me to compare--and we had very, very good teachers. They were very dedicated, and oftentimes they were the sisters of, uh, like, uh, the community doctor. Their brothers did those sorts of things, and the only thing women did in those days was 4:00to become a teacher or to become a nurse.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: So we had, uh, teachers with very good credentials. And in looking through my own yearbook and my mother's yearbook back to, uh, uh, the late thirties, these people came from schools like, um, uh, a couple of the Ivies of the South. Uh, one was a Harvard graduate, some from Ohio State.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: So they were very good teachers. And then I, uh, went to college nearby in a small school.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Did you attend a church when you were younger, or a specific denomination, or--

FREIBERT: --um-hm, yes, I did. Uh, I attended a, um, Baptist church, because it was the only church--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --in my little community. And, uh, when I married, uh, my husband was from a very strong Catholic family. And when I was 5:00expecting my first child, I began to think about, uh, where our family would worship, and certainly I wanted us all to go together.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: So I, uh, really knew very little about the Baptist religion. I had just simply gone to church there as a child.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: So, uh, I studied the, uh, Catholic Church and decided that that was, uh, a very, uh, sound and practical, uh, faith. So I converted to Catholicism, and, uh, our children are Catholics, and my husband and I are Catholic.

MOYEN: All right. And some time during that period, was there anyone or a number of people that you could think of that influenced, uh, your political philosophy or ideology?

FREIBERT: Probably my, probably my dad. Uh, he was a very high labor 6:00union official in the state of West Virginia. And I probably don't have to tell you that he was a Democrat.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: And I'm a Republican. But, uh, ideas and philosophies have changed greatly from his time to this time. And, uh, I often think that he would not feel very much at home, uh, these days in the national Democratic Party.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: But my ideas, uh, and my beliefs were probably as a result of his, uh, activity. We talked about politics at the dinner table every night. And I went to, uh, when I was small, I went to union meetings with him in the pool hall, which was where they met when I was, uh, a young child. And we discussed the whole range--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --of politics.

MOYEN: So when did you begin to realize that, were you at any time a 7:00registered Democrat?

FREIBERT: No, uh, I was not able to register and to vote until I was twenty-one.

MOYEN: Okay.

FREIBERT: Uh, of course, young people can do that now at age eighteen, and I think they can thank former Governor Nunn for taking that plank to the national Republican convention.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: And then it was adopted, uh, there. And, uh, President Nixon liked the idea, and it was, I believe, during his administration that that was passed as law--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --that people could begin to vote, to register, and to vote at age eighteen.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: But, uh, when I was twenty-one, I was already married and living in Indiana. There was a very important Presidential election going on. Uh, and I guess it was the, uh, Nixon-Kennedy election. And, uh, I just watched both candidates and read about them and really 8:00liked them both.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: But, uh, have felt more at home with the ideas, uh, uh, that are the basis for the Republican Party. It is a, uh, party that, um, for the most part, uh, does not promote, uh, more government growth. Uh, it promotes the private sector and rights of individuals--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --uh, and not just groups, so this has appealed to me.

MOYEN: Okay. What type of occupation or activities were you involved in before you took up your position in the legislature?

FREIBERT: I was a community activist, a community volunteer, uh, basically, like most women, uh, of my age. So, uh, I was involved in all the things that, uh, especially school activities.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: I served on, uh, uh, committees and, uh, boards of most of the 9:00elementary schools in Lexington, because we got redistricted several times, and then the, uh, junior high schools and the high schools. But we were in education, our whole family was active in education politics for a long time.

MOYEN: Okay. Now, when did you decide to run for office? Or what kind of developments took place?

FREIBERT: Uh, almost through serendipity. I had run several political campaigns for several, uh, local candidates and had worked on the campaigns of, um, congressional candidates and had--

MOYEN: --which ones, or who were those individuals?

FREIBERT: Uh, Larry Hopkins was the Sixth District, uh, Congressman for a number of years. He was the first Republican elected to that position in over fifty years. When we started out, we didn't, uh, know that we really could do that, but we felt it was in the realm of possibility. 10:00And we worked very hard and, and got it done. That opened up his position in the Kentucky State Senate; it created a vacancy. I ran the campaign, uh, uh, another, uh, Republican activist, Dr. John Trevey, who, uh, was a, uh, physician at the IBM facility here in Lexington.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: Uh, at that time, Dr. Trevey was a member of the House of Representatives in Frankfort. I had run his first campaign for the House of Representatives, and that was a successful campaign. So, uh, he ran to fill the vacancy in the State Senate, and we won that. That created a vacancy on the House side. And I tried to get a couple of my friends, uh, whom I thought were very well-qualified to run for that. And, um, for one reason or another, they couldn't do it at that time.

11:00

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: I tried to get Dr. David Stevens to run for that. He was in the district. And, uh, at that time, he had just taken a position over at, uh, the Shriners Hospital and felt that that was not the time for him to do that.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: So I said, "Hey, I've been working night and day for months on these two campaigns, back-to-back. It's somebody else's turn to go find a candidate, so I'm gonna go home and I'm gonna rest." (both laugh) So I did that, and, uh, our kids were home from college on Christmas break. And I was quite tired and really had gone to bed about nine o'clock one night, because I had been working very hard. And my daughter came upstairs and said, "Mom and Dad, you won't believe this, but there are about fifty people down at our front door that want to see you." So we got our bathrobes on, and we trudged downstairs, and, and talked to these folks. And the long and short of it was that, uh, 12:00they wanted me to run in a special election to fill this vacancy in the Kentucky legislature. So I said I would give it some thought and talk to my family about it and did that. A special election is over very quickly. So I knew it wouldn't be a long, drawn-out campaign. It would be very hard work just really for two or three weeks.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: So, uh, my family, uh, felt like I could do that and should do that. And I felt like I could do it as well as anybody else, although I had never really intended to be a candidate. I had always enjoyed working, uh, organizing campaigns and managing campaigns and, uh, doing some of the media work. But, uh, I ran in a special election and won, went into the middle of a special session in Frankfort that had been called by Lieutenant Governor Thelma Stovall. She called a special 13:00session when Governor Carroll had left the state, uh, for a few days. And Mrs. Stovall was planning to run for Governor in the Democratic primary, and she needed a platform. And she needed something to, uh, jettison her campaign, and she thought that would be good thing to do.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: So she simply called a special session, and Governor Carroll hurried back home, of course.

MOYEN: Right.

FREIBERT: And, uh, from that special session, uh, I had to run again that same year, since I had filled a spot that was gonna be on the ballot again in November. So I ran twice that year and, uh, two years later and two years later and two years later and two years later.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Who were your opponents in those first couple of races?

FREIBERT: You know--(both laugh)--I'm trying to remember. It wasn't a, 14:00uh, strong opponent.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: And somehow I have sort of forgotten his name. I remember him; I don't remember his name very well. And he got some very bad publicity during this short campaign. He got a ticket for speeding. He was going, like, 95 miles an hour in a 15-mile zone. And then, uh, uh, the media seemed somehow to discover that he had had, uh, an experience with bankruptcy, uh, just before he came to Kentucky, uh, but in recent years. So I really did not have a strong opponent until, uh, the following term, and that was, uh, Neil Day, the donut shop owner. And that election, uh, was won easily, but had we not worked hard, we could have let it creep upon us, because, uh, Lieutenant Governor Martha Layne Collins and Governor John Y. Brown both were 15:00sending letters on behalf of my opponent to support this man. Mrs. Collins came over to a, a fundraiser, uh, for him. And we worked very, very hard and beat him about two-to-one, I think. But other opponents were not, uh, not as strong.

MOYEN: Okay. Now, when you went to this speci-, special session, uh, what surprised you about the House or the, the legislature in general? What were you--

FREIBERT: --it didn't really surprise me, Eric, because I had worked as a legislative aide--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --uh, the session prior to that.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: After, uh, we got, uh, Dr. Trevey elected to the House, uh, his caucus asked me if I would come and work just during the session. So I did that and I got pretty, uh, first-hand view of what went on 16:00there. So I can't say that I was, uh, really surprised by much of anything.

MOYEN: Okay. Now, when you, after the second election, when you return John Y. Brown has become Governor, correct?

FREIBERT: Yes.

MOYEN: All right. And that legislative session, historically at least, is considered in some ways a watershed or the beginning of the independent legislature. Um, could you tell me what your thoughts are, since you were familiar with what was going on before and after, what changed or why is that considered an important or, or, or a turning point for the legislature?

FREIBERT: Uh, John Y. was, um, a Governor who, uh, I think, probably didn't get credit for some of the things he did. He was Governor, uh, 17:00during a very unstable economy, and he did not raise taxes. He got through it. Had a very strong cabinet of advisers--many of them, by the way, from Lexington--but they had been very successful people in the private sector--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --uh, in many different areas. So he just sort of wanted the let the legislature do their thing and he would do his thing. And he was not heavy-handed, as, uh, all Governors up to that time had been. Until that time, the Governor had always just basically chosen the speaker of the House.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: And kind of told them what to do.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: Uh, Bill Kenton from Lexington was speaker of the House at that time and he was very independent-minded.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: And I think that, uh, he deserves the credit for establishing this independence and staying with it, uh, throughout.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: One of the ways that happened was more control over the 18:00budget. Uh, Governor Carroll had had--uh, and, and Governors before that--had had a habit of, um, using funds that were not exactly earmarked. They were, uh, at the time they were appropriated, uh, they would say, "Well, we're gonna build so and so with this, or we're gonna do, uh, roads, uh, over here or over there." But sometimes that money just sort of seemed to fall through the Capitol floor over there, and then nobody knew where it went, what happened to it, nobody could account for it. And, uh, Bill Kenton and Senator Mike Moloney from Lexington, who was the appropriations and revenue chairman in the Senate, during that special session, before John Y., when, uh, Julian Carroll was still Governor--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: FREIBERT: --put some, uh, very important accountability, uh, laws, uh, on the books, got the legislature to pass these laws, so that 19:00legislature did have more control over, uh, the money, because he who controls the money really has, uh, the power in government.

MOYEN: Right.

FREIBERT: So Bill Kenton was largely responsible for that, and to some degree, Senator Mike Moloney, and to some degree, uh, the lack of interest, uh, of, of Governor John Y. Brown in being involved in every little political thing. He didn't have any desire to sit with them and tell them all what to do and when to do it.

MOYEN: Um-hm. You mentioned a, a couple of leaders during that time. Who else, uh, would you consider a leader in, in the House, or, or in the Senate, as well during, uh, John Y. Brown's term?

FREIBERT: Joe Clarke, of course, from Danville, for many, many years, uh, he was the chairman of the appropriations and revenue committee 20:00in the House of Representatives. And, uh, Joe was my seatmate for fourteen years. But he was really a straight shooter, a very good man, uh, and very dedicated to, uh, what was good for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. And sometimes he could make a very, uh, fine speech about the budget on the floor, and he would sometimes just get slapped right down, because when people want their pork barrel and their special projects, they're gonna get it one way or another.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: Other times, uh, he was very successful in getting important things into the budget or unimportant things excluded from the budget. So I think that he, uh, was a leader.

MOYEN: Okay. Do you remember during the sessions under John Y. Brown's term, uh, any important legislation in particular that, that, um, you 21:00were excited to get behind or that was very difficult to get through or that you wanted to block?

FREIBERT: Uh, there was some, um, uh, a real effort to, uh, have compulsory unionization of our classrooms, our schools. And, uh, largely due to the efforts of legislators from Fayette County and maybe, uh, Bowling Green and just a, a few other parts of the state, we were able to defeat that. John Y. was behind it, because the teachers union had been very helpful to him in his campaign. And I believe that John Y. always thought of the teachers union, uh, the KEA basically, as a professional organization as it was in the days when his mother had taught school here in Lexington.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: And I don't think he had paid any attention to the fact, or was clued in to the fact at all that it had become a very, uh, hard- 22:00core union, probably the most powerful one in the country. And many people in Lexington, educators included, uh, organized to help defeat, uh, mandatory collective bargaining. Uh, that was, uh, so he did not win on that issue.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: So that was a very important issue during his term. He also started, uh, a creature of Kentucky government called Kentucky Economic Development bonds. That's borrowing, giving money to different, uh, interests to do economic development projects. Until that time, the only money of that type had been from the federal government. But that was beginning to dry up, so Kentucky, uh, created its own. And, uh, in some ways, it has been helpful to develop the economy in Kentucky; 23:00in some ways, it really is passing out money to friends of politicians and friends of the administration, uh, and a lot of courthouses around Kentucky.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Now, you said that he created that or that helped create that. Was that--

FREIBERT: --his administration--

MOYEN: --was that, uh, in the form of some sort of legislation that you, u, were involved with either attempting to stop or, um, or were you in favor of that at the time?

FREIBERT: Uh, I was not, um, totally in favor of it, but I must say I never dreamed it would grow to the gargantuan, uh, degree that it has.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: And, uh, it really does give a Governor so very much power, because, uh, his own staff will study and pick out the projects where 24:00the money goes.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: So, uh, I think that it has been, uh, often misused.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: And, uh, and, and often wasted, along with some good projects that truly have created sound, uh, jobs for Kentuckians.

MOYEN: Can you think of any specific ways that it, that it's been misused or wasted, any examples?

FREIBERT: Uh, well, yes. Uh, there was one project, uh, over in one county while I was still in the legislature that had been given, uh, tax funds from, uh, the taxpayers of Kentucky to establish a manufacturing facility. And they weren't there all that long, and when things went bad, uh, all they had to do was, um, unscrew all of their 25:00equipment and, uh, take it with them and leave the state. And Kentucky was left with, uh, uh, the property, and, uh, that's about all that was left of it. And it wasn't there very long. Uh, there have been projects like that, and, uh, I was very involved, uh, with, uh, Joe Clarke and some others in trying to get some, uh, safety fences around these economic development bonds, uh, to require people to pay them back if they did not fulfill their promise to create a certain number of jobs and to stay a certain number of time.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: And while we were able to get some, uh, guards put on it, it still is, uh, pretty much a Governor's show.

MOYEN: Okay. The next Governor who comes along is Martha Layne Collins, but during John Y. Brown's term, he was gone quite a bit. Did she 26:00assert any legislative leadership in his absence or--

FREIBERT: --uh, really, no, no. Uh, he was gone a great deal, but it didn't make a lot of difference one way or another to Kentuckians, I feel, because he had a very strong cabinet, uh, very qualified people there, kind of running the government. So he did travel a lot. He went to Las Vegas a lot. And, uh, while he might had a bit of lackadaisical attitude about the nuts and bolts of government, he did have, uh, uh, qualified and experienced people in place who could kinda help the state keep going while he wasn't here.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Okay. And, uh, when Martha Layne Collins was elected, um, and you had to be reelected by then, was that, um, did you face any serious opposition in, in that election, do you recall?

27:00

FREIBERT: Uh, when she was Lieutenant Governor and John Y. was Governor, uh, is when, uh, they recruited someone to run against me and supported my opponent and sent, uh, letters on his behalf and did fundraisers, so it was before she became the Governor.

MOYEN: Okay.

FREIBERT: And then after that, uh, they, they kinda left me alone, I think.

MOYEN: Okay. When, when she became Governor, how did the legislative agenda change? What, do you recall, were important issues under her administration?

FREIBERT: Oh, education. And, uh, uh, she likes, you know, being, uh, cast as an education Governor. And I think, uh, she was, because even though education reform did not come until later, uh, she made some strides in asking for and getting some additional funds for schools 28:00and for teachers. Um, however, I felt like the, uh, appropriations and revenue, uh, committee to some degree in the House kinda ran right over her. Uh, people don't remember that she was the first Governor that I know of that, uh, had her budget bounced as soon as it was sent to the House. And that group, uh, they called themselves the Black Sheep, as I recall, it was a group of, uh, activists who were young and fairly new. They just put together their own, uh, budget. And, uh, they became kinda powerful for two or three years.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Can you think of any individuals who led that group, or?

FREIBERT: Uh, Roger Noe from, uh, Harlan, Terry Mann from Northern 29:00Kentucky, both of whom were later defeated. Uh, Joe Barrows of Versailles, who continues in the legislature. And Harry Moberly of Richmond, who is, uh, now chair of appropriations and revenue in the House and still holds a lot of sway over, uh, Governor Patton. Governor Patton knows very well if he wants something, uh, and if he makes a deal with Harry Moberly, they can come to an agreement. And in the scenario, Eastern Kentucky University where Harry Moberly works has become far more powerful, and its tentacles are reaching out all over, and they're establishing little satellites here and there and all around. And I have never felt that that was a good way to go. Uh, that's a regional university, as, um, uh, is Western, uh, and Murray. 30:00And, uh, uh, you should have a flagship--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --university in your state. And, uh, very much in my mind, the University of Kentucky has been the odd man out as far as funding goes.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: And Eastern Kentucky, and to some degree Western Kentucky, uh, where the speaker of the House, uh, has ties there, uh, those two regional universities have just, um, uh, they have little locations here, there, and all around.

MOYEN: Right. Now, one of the landmark pieces of legislation under, um, Collins's term, something that you all were very involved in--

FREIBERT: --um-hm--

MOYEN: --was Toyota--

FREIBERT: --um-hm--

MOYEN: --and bringing Toyota here. Can you explain the development behind, um, that push and if it was difficult or in what ways that may 31:00have been difficult to bring about?

FREIBERT: Well, it cost so much to bring them here. Kentucky paid far, far more per job for that, uh, facility than any other state had paid for any other big project of that kind, a, a car manufacturing project. Um, John Y. Brown had had, uh, an emissary, so to speak, in Japan and had worked on, uh, uh, projects trying to get them to come here for a long time. It was almost inevitable that sooner or later, uh, one of these automobile manufacturers would eventually come to Kentucky, because of the confluence of I-75 and I-64, and that's the kind of place where they like to locate. Uh, so, uh, while he did not get them to locate here, he did a lot of the, um, background work and, uh, 32:00footwork. And, uh, that, that, of course, was the centerpiece of Mrs. Collins's administration, was that they inked the deal with Toyota to, um, come to Georgetown. And it has turned out to be a very successful project.

MOYEN: Um-hm. As I recall, shortly after that move was made, you and some other members in the legislature were concerned that Toyota, while the commonwealth had given them this great deal, that they were beginning to contract with out-of-state, um, general contractors and, and that money was leaving the state. Do you recall that--

FREIBERT: --I do recall that--

MOYEN: --and in what ways--

FREIBERT: --uh, Senator Ed Ford of Cynthiana and I particularly were interested that, um, uh, the majority of these jobs would be Kentucky 33:00jobs, and that, uh, the state of Kentucky would, uh, get the chief benefit of, uh, that facility coming here, since it was our taxpayers paying them to come here.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: So, uh, we also were interested that, uh, the contracting jobs, uh, at the time the facility was being constructed, that those jobs be open to any Kentuckian, uh, that they not be closed-shop, union-only jobs. And for the most part, uh, uh, that's the way it turned out. There was , uh, uh, Obayashi was, uh, the big, uh, general contractor during that time.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: And they did hire, uh, subcontractors that, uh, met what we thought were fair standards.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: Someone, uh, the executive here, who was here for a long 34:00time during the construction with Obayashi, uh, called and asked me and asked Ed Ford and I think a couple of other folks to come and sit down, uh, and talk with him. He did not, uh, speak English, and we did not speak Japanese. There was an individual there with him who spoke English, but it was the most unusual meeting I've ever been in. It was kind of, you know, "How do you do?" and very little of anything else said. And, uh, after a while, uh, we just kinda, uh, uh, paid our respects and left. I later learned, uh, more about the Japanese business culture. Uh, I listened to several hours of tapes, uh, put together by an expert on Japanese business practices. He was, uh, his name was Dr. Michael Kane(??). He was at the University of Kentucky--

35:00

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --and we called him the Japan Man. So I listened to, uh, Mike's tapes and learned things that I didn't know. For instance, uh, a woman is not supposed to, uh, look a man in the eye in the Japanese business culture, because that is considered a challenge. Uh, I didn't know that, and in America we look people in the eye to establish that we are, uh, straightforward, honest people. So, uh, I was very aware that I did, uh, spend this meeting looking him in the eye--(laughs).

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: So I don't know if that's why there was very little said or done during the meeting. I had no idea--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --but it was an interesting experience.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: And a very unusual business meeting.

MOYEN: Okay. Now, um, as the government transitioned again from Martha Layne Collins to Wallace Wilkinson, you had served a number of terms 36:00and had, you know, moved from being either a freshman or junior, um, representative to moving up. Um, what committees were you serving on and--well, I'll let you answer that first.

FREIBERT: Uh, vice-chair of the education committee, uh, most of the years that I was there. Uh, for a while, state government committee. And health and welfare committee. Uh, a lot of interesting and important legislation goes through there. Uh, I also served on the program review committee to review things like economic development bonds pro-, uh, program and some other programs. We would do intensive reviews between sessions--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --uh, to see how programs were working.

MOYEN: Now, what legislation out of those different committees do you 37:00remember as very important?

FREIBERT: Uh, in education, uh, up until that time anybody in, uh, a community could be a candidate and could be elected to the board of education. If you had a third-grade education, that was just fine; you could still be a candidate and you could still be elected. Uh, I sponsored legislation that required, uh, at least a high school diploma in order to be a candidate for school board. Uh, so it takes a while for something like that to make a difference. But it does ultimately make a difference, because the board of education in many communities is, uh, it's, it's the biggest job provider in the county, uh, it has the biggest budget, and is therefore politically powerful. So, uh, you certainly need somebody with a basic level of education to run--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --for those positions. Uh, another, uh, thing that during 38:00that time we were having a lot of, uh, confusion about, the Department of Education in Frankfort would test all of our children all over the state, that they would keep a big secret about which schools performed well, which schools performed poorly. Uh, parents could not find this information about their children's schools at all.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: So, um, I sponsored legislation that opened that up, so that that information was available, so that parents or interested parties did not have to go to Frankfort and go through reams and reams and reams and roomfuls of, uh, computer, uh, runs to find out, uh, what kind of, of condition their child's school was in.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: So, uh, there was a lot of, uh, education reform-type 39:00legislation over the last several years, beginning with Martha Layne's term and on into and including--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --uh, Governor Wilkinson's term.

MOYEN: Did, as a member of the minority party, was the Republican Party, Party starting to assert more power at that time?

FREIBERT: Uh, they were being very much, uh, the outspoken loyal opposition, which has always been a role that I feel is a natural one for me--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --uh, because I'm not a very good follower really. And I, I do understand that if I had been in the majority party, I would've often been told what I had to do and how I had to vote on certain things. So being a member of the loyal opposition does give you more freedom to stand up and make a fiery speech against something that you might feel is a piece of bad legislation. Or, uh, if nothing else, just kind of, uh, in a close vote, kinda shame people against--

40:00

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --voting, uh, for something--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --that's not good legislation. But they were becoming, uh, more activist and, and more organized. And, uh, while there's not parity in the House now, it is a far, far better situation, and there is more give and take--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --and tug and pull now than there was then. And, of course, the Senate has, uh, dropped over into, uh, the Republican majority.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: The first time in the history of Kentucky.

MOYEN: Right. You mentioned giving fiery speeches in(??) opposition. Do you remember up to that point any speeches in particular that you gave that really stand out as ones that, that you're really particularly proud of?

FREIBERT: Oh, uh, on collective bargaining--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --uh, where had we, uh, passed mandatory collective bargaining, we would've had a situation where, uh, teachers in the 41:00classroom really would not even be able to talk to the principal about a personnel matter. They would have to talk to a union representative and maybe someone not even from your state. So, uh, I, I think I must have made plenty, uh, on that issue.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Now--

FREIBERT: --also on some of the misuse of economic development bonds, some rather scandalous, uh, giveaways, where it was not used the way it was intended.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Now, some important agendas that the, um, House or the legislature in general had to deal with while Wilkinson was Governor included the lottery.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: Um, what was the controversy surrounding the lottery and where did you come down on that issue and why?

FREIBERT: The controversy was whether, uh, the, uh, lottery funds would be, if it passed by the people of Kentucky, which was the only way it 42:00could be, it had to be placed on the ballot, so that, uh, voters could approve--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --or disapprove. But, uh, after approval, uh, there were some who felt that those funds should be earmarked for education only. Uh, and in fact, Governor Wilkinson, uh, was agreeable to that. He gets the blame for it not occurring, but it was the legislature which said, "We don't want that to happen. Earmarked funds are not, uh, do not make for good policy. It should go into the general fund, so that the legislature can decide every term how those funds will be used." So I'm very well aware that Governor Wilkinson got all the blame for that, but in fact it was the majority party in the House of Representatives, basically, that did not want those funds, uh, tagged. And for the 43:00most part, I don't favor, uh, earmarked funds, because what you need very badly, uh, this year, uh, may not be a real high priority in some crisis in government five years from now.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: So I do think there should be latitude. And the only earmarked funds in Kentucky that seem to work well are the road fund, is the road fund.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: The gasoline tax. And if that were not earmarked, we probably wouldn't have any roads.

MOYEN: (laughs) Now, when Governor Wilkinson took office, he was known for being much more hands-on or assertive, at least it seems like that. Can you think of any ways where that was very apparent as a member of the House--

FREIBERT: --I don't know that he was hands-on. I think he was willing to let the legislature work things out, but he had some goals that he was very, very stubborn about. He was a very determined man. And, 44:00uh, uh, he did not propose as big a tax increase as the House and the Senate ended up demanding. In order for him to pass his, uh, Kentucky Education Reform Act, uh, he finally had to agree to the largest tax increase in Kentucky's history to pay for all of those pork-barrel projects that all the different people wanted to take back home, everything from, uh, golf courses to courthouses to rip-rap projects, whatever that is. There was a lot of funding in that more than two billion tax increase that was not for schools at all.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: So, uh, the only way he could, uh, get it passed was to agree to that, but he did not propose as large a tax increase as the 45:00legislature insisted on.

[Pause in recording.]

MOYEN: And in what ways did--with Wilkinson or previous Governors did you see--well, or with members in the House--did you see examples where they really were willing to compromise on important issues, that, um, Republicans and Democrats were able to work together for the good of the commonwealth?

FREIBERT: Uh, the Republican caucus, uh, during, uh, Governor Wilkinson's first term, uh, put together its own education plan. A lot of work went into that. Uh, there were about four of us, and I was chair of that little group. And, uh, some of those things did ultimately show up. Uh, as the Democratic Governor, he could not endorse our plan, 46:00but he was very willing to meet with us and talk about it. And some of those things did, uh, show up in education reform and did survive.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Now, at some point, or when you study Kentucky politics, you can see a lot of, uh, divisions in the Democratic Party. But during your tenure in the House, there was a, I believe, a leadership switch among Republicans, um, where the Republican leadership switched. Do you recall that?

FREIBERT: Mr. DeMarcus, uh, from down in the old Fifth Congressional District was a mighty warhorse for the Republican Party in the House for many years. Uh, he got quite old. And he was a skilled politician, uh, but then, uh, he finally decided that it was, uh, a 47:00better decision not to run again. And Representative Art Schmidt from Cold Springs, Kentucky, in Northern Kentucky--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --uh, decided to run. And he was a, uh, conciliatory kind of person, and he was very successful in getting Republicans to work together and kinda stick together on defining issues. There was never a time when the Republican caucus was asked to bind itself on a vote, but there were many times on what, uh, Republicans would've considered a defining issue that there was a decision that, uh, it would be a good thing if we could all support it or if we could all oppose it.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: Uh, in the Democratic caucus, uh, uh, many, many, many votes were binding votes. They could not vote otherwise or they would lose 48:00their committees, they would lose their, uh, chairmanships. So, uh, that certainly is one of the advantages of being in a minority party. It's easier to stick together because you want to--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --and not because somebody told you--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --that you had to do it.

MOYEN: Right. Now, speaking of losing committees, I read an article in preparation for this. And I believe it was during a special session where you found out that you no longer had a seat on a committee, do you recall that--

FREIBERT: --uh, Don Blandford ran for speaker, and in order--it was a very, very tight race among his Democrats, and in order to get the extra couple of votes that he needed, he had to make some real, uh, binding promises. One of them was to, uh, uh, give Ernesto Scorsone a seat on appropriations and revenue. Uh, there was another 49:00legislator, a Democrat that he made a promise that he would put him on the education committee. Uh, until that time, uh, all of the, uh, the agreements and even in some of the House rules, you had to have a certain, uh, percentage of Republicans and a certain percentage of Democrats, a majority of Democrats--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --on committees. So, uh, he was the first one to break that. Uh, and, uh, did not even have the courtesy to tell me that that was gonna happen. It was simply announced on the floor. And, uh, Ernesto knew very well, uh, what he was doing, which is why, you know, you live by that and you die by that. So, uh, he got a little rough treatment this last session in the Senate where he is now, but it's very difficult 50:00to listen to people whine and cry, because if you're gonna be in politics, it's rough and tumble, and you just have to take your licks.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: And, uh, uh, I'm sure he recognizes or maybe he doesn't recognize that, uh, some of the things that have happened to him--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --uh, he's been on the other side of that before. Oh, yes, that was a great shock, because it hadn't happened before.

MOYEN: Um-hm. And do you recall what year that happened?

FREIBERT: Well, it was, uh, when Blandford first ran. And he had, uh, at least two terms, so he would've been the speaker my last four years there, and I left in '93. So it would have been in the late eighties.

MOYEN: Okay.

FREIBERT: Uh, sometime. Uh, and unlike other speakers, he, he really liked to shut down any opposition. Other speakers, especially Bill Kenton and also Bobby Richardson from Glasgow, had always let, uh, 51:00uh, Republicans or even Democrats who disagreed with their leadership, uh, speak on the floor, uh, make their case, work for their own legislation, not try to block it. Uh, the other party is certainly not gonna help you pass your legislation. You've got to--

MOYEN: --right--

FREIBERT: --do it on our own.

MOYEN: Sure

FREIBERT: But the two previous speakers had always let you do your work. And, uh, Blandford was not that way. He was very, he guarded his, uh, power very jealously. And, uh, there were times when he would not even recognize someone on the floor for the purpose of speaking, uh, or he would, uh, take a position and tell a committee chairman not to move that bill, uh, don't let that bill move. So he was a different kind of a cat.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: And he ran on, uh, a plank that he wanted to throw all the lobbyists out of the speaker's office. And interestingly enough, that's what got him into a lot of trouble. They sort of, the special 52:00interests took over his office and, uh, uh, to his personal benefit. Uh, so there were some people who went to jail in BOPTROT, in the scandal that belonged there. And I would like to think that newer legislators in Frankfort will still remember and still tremble and still see a reason for being good and doing right, but as time goes on, they were not there at that time, uh, BOPTROT is just something they've heard of, uh, but it was a very dramatic thing--

MOYEN: --now, do you remember what that--

FREIBERT: --on the last day of that session--

MOYEN: --what that stands for?

FREIBERT: Uh, Business Organizations and Professions Committee. That was the committee that, uh, uh, had all legislation coming through it that related to businesses, occupations, and professions, whether it was the horse industry, uh, whether it was the nursing industry, uh, 53:00whether it was, uh, ophthalmologists, or whatever it was. And it had a lot of power, too, and would sometimes favor, uh, in--uh, architects and engineers fought with each other for years over jurisdiction.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: Uh, that legislation would always go through that committee. And it was apparent that some people were paying money, uh, to get favored treatment. Uh, there were people paying money and people taking money. And even though there was a feeling among some that, uh, there was this kind of bad stuff going on, if you couldn't prove it, uh, but fortunately for us, uh, we had a very aggressive federal prosecutor here named Karen Caldwell. And she put, uh, a lot of the bad guys in jail, mostly Democrats, because they're in the majority, but a couple of Republicans as well.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: And the FBI swooped down on that floor the final day of that 54:00session, which was, I guess, uh, '92 maybe.

MOYEN: That sounds right.

FREIBERT: And, um, uh, cornered several people, took a number of people into different rooms to interview them. And the people were being pulled off the floor like this, this, and this. And it was an interesting time.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Um, do you recall who was indicted or pled guilty to some, um, of the more blatant abuses?

FREIBERT: Uh, well, uh, Blandford maintains his innocence to this day, but they have him on tape. But, uh, uh, there were a number of legislators and, uh, several lobbyists. And, you know, the Lord has kinda let me, uh, forget their names. Clay, uh, somebody from Northern Kentucky. Uh, and the person that you would least expect to be one of 55:00the wheeler-dealers, but he was.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: Uh, and even, uh, Republican Art Schmidt from Northern Kentucky.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: Uh, he didn't take or give money, but he, uh, when the IB-, uh, the FBI initially interviewed everybody, he, he was reluctant to tell on somebody, to squeal. Well, that's what got him into trouble. So he had to plead to misleading or whatever it was.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: Uh, so, uh, I always felt that if there was one good and decent, trustworthy person in Frankfort, Kentucky, it was Art Schmidt. And I still believe that.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: I think he was just reluctant to tell on somebody.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: But, uh, gosh, there were a number of them.

MOYEN: Backtracking just a little bit, uh, I want to talk just briefly 56:00about KERA and the origins of KERA, how or where you saw the origins of that and how that developed and, and how you voted on it and why.

FREIBERT: Uh, it was, uh, uh, a nine-hundred-page bill, uh, that was thrown before us, uh, on the floor. Uh, and we were expected to vote on that the next day, and I absolutely did not vote for it. Nobody knew what was in it. And surprises have been found, you know, for eight or ten years since. And, uh, I would never vote for something that had not been, uh, discussed. And the speaker cut off all debate on the floor, uh, would not let people, uh, debate it or ask questions. And it also was, uh, uh, not all for education. A whole big bunch of 57:00that money, uh, did not go for education at all. It was a very good wage-and-hour bill for teachers in Kentucky.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: Uh, and, uh, some of it has worked out very well, some has not. Uh, the ungraded primary continues to be a problem.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: Uh, some of the standards, uh, uh, have been slow to be reworked, simply because, uh, it has been considered unpatriotic to suggest improvements or changes. And I think the time passed long ago for standing aside and idly applauding, uh, Kentucky Education Reform Act in Kentucky. Uh, what's working fine, they ought to keep, and what isn't working, what is impeding progress, uh, ought to be, uh, changed.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Are there any other things, you, you mentioned teachers, 58:00wages, are there any other parts of KERA that you find impressive or thought have worked well?

FREIBERT: Uh, well, uh, just raising standards and expectations, but as you know, we've had a lot of cheating going on--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --so to make your school look good, so, uh, uh, we have problems there. And I think it continues to be very, uh, politically implemented. As you know, Kentucky just ran off, uh, the higher education, uh, chief because he just really thought he was there to do a job relating to education and didn't understand that you had to play the political footsies and give the regional universities whatever they asked for. So, uh, uh, we do continue to have problems, which is not to say there's not a, some, some good stuff in there.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Now, around, around that same time back in your district, 59:00uh, a representative died, Mr.--or, Dr. Trevey--

FREIBERT: --um-hm--

MOYEN: --passed away.

FREIBERT: Yes.

MOYEN: And, um, the ensuing developments over filling his seat, could you share with me your take on that?

FREIBERT: Yes, uh, he was unopposed on the ballot, and state law says that the, uh, uh, governing committee in the county where a vacancy occurs will choose the person to go on the ballot. And in our case, you know, that meant an automatic four-year election, or selection.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: And, uh, our committee, uh, was very divided. Uh, it was at the time that Republican Party was kind of split wide open, uh, when 60:00President Bush was, uh, running for, uh, reelection, and I'm trying to think of the, um, evangelist's name, Pat--

MOYEN: --Pat Robertson--

FREIBERT: --Robertson was also running. And this committee, uh, was, um, uh, populated to a large degree with Pat Robertson's supporters and, uh, uh, people that I guess you would call evangelicals. And while he did not win in Kentucky, he did have power in some of the county committees. And, uh, our committee, uh, chose, uh, a minister and lawyer. The vote was 24 to 22. And I felt perfectly confident if I could get on the ballot I could win. But it wasn't a ballot situation; it was these, uh, forty-six people.

61:00

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: So, uh, there were three people on the committee who told me they could not vote for me, because they "had" to vote for a Christian, um, which was kind of stunning to me, because, uh, uh, I sort of thought I was one. And my faith has always been very important to me, but they had to vote for a Christian. So it was, it was quite a rocky time for our party. And at the county convention and the Sixth District convention, the same thing became apparent. The person presiding over the convention would not recognize--it was kind of evenly split, I would say. And, uh, the Bush people and the Robertson people, uh, I would say the Bush people probably, uh, held a majority in that convention, but the individual running the convention would not 62:00recognize, would not give the floor to any, uh, of the, uh, uh, people that he didn't know for certain were for Pat Robertson. So, it was a very difficult time and kinda a, uh, sort of a spiritual imperialism almost. But they were very well organized, probably not as well organized now as they were--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --during the Pat Robertson candidacy. But they were very well organized. And the literature that they handed out, uh, we found some of it, and it said, uh, "Do not acknowledge being a Pat Robertson supporter when you're running as a delegate to go to the convention. If asked, deny it." (both laugh) These people are Christians. But anyway, it was a very stormy time for our party, and, and to, to some degree it continues to be, uh, where, uh, some kind of set themselves 63:00aside as being the Christians, and then those people decide who else among us, uh, is also a Christian. So it was really a stormy time.

MOYEN: Um-hm. And, um, was that a seat that you, did you really want that position?

FREIBERT: Uh, yes, I did and wish that I could've gotten on a ballot. And of course, I could have, uh, run as a write-in candidate, but I only know of one write-in candidate in my adulthood who ever won. And that was a Senator Byrd--not in West Virginia, not the Senator Byrd who's there now--but in the state of Virginia. Uh, and he won. He had been a Democrat. And for some reason they fell out with him, so he just said, "I'll just run as a write-in." But, uh, there is really no feasible way to organize a write-in candidacy in a very short period of time. Yes, I would very much have liked to do that.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: And, uh, felt like, had it been, uh, a position on the ballot 64:00that I could have done that.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: But, uh, uh, I had spent a lot of time being willing to fight with Democrats over ideas and philosophies, but, uh, about that time I made up my mind that I really did not intend, uh, to fight with Republicans. And that sometimes these things, uh, uh, happen for a reason and it turns out better. So I was already on the ballot for my House position for reelection--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --uh, with no opposition, so I served out the next two years and decided that I, uh, would like to do some other things--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --travel with my husband, spend time with my grandchildren, uh, because when you are in the legislature you're in a meeting almost every day, either in your district or in the Capitol and oftentimes even weekends. I loved every day that I did it.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: But, uh, that was then and this is now. And, uh, sometimes 65:00it's time to do something different.

MOYEN: Um-hm. So do you feel like that decision, with, uh, choosing Tim Philpot in that very close, um, I guess it's a ballot, very close ballot, played, did that play a part in your decision eventually not to run for your House seat?

FREIBERT: Uh, uh, over time following that, it helped me to decide that politics is very important, and I want really good, strong, independent people in there. And I'm grateful for everyone who's willing to put their name on the ballot and take the chance of being publicly, uh, rejected.

MOYEN: Okay.

FREIBERT: So I'm grateful for good people who will do that.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: But, uh, over time following that, I think that did help me to decide, because I was gonna be stuck in the House for four years and 66:00that there are--it's a big world.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: And there are lots of other things to do. And I've wanted to do some writing and some other things, which I do.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Now, before you left office, you announced that you wouldn't be running and, but you still had another session to serve, I believe, after you announced that you wouldn't be running for office again.

FREIBERT: It was during my final session--

MOYEN: --or during your final session--

FREIBERT: --that's when you have to file.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: You have to file, uh, in May, uh, for a, uh, November election. But in fairness, you really need to let people know a little--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --sooner than that, so that, uh, people who have any interest in it can start lining up and getting themselves organized to run.

MOYEN: Sure. Did you feel like, after you announced that, that they, that may have given you even more independence during that last session?

67:00

FREIBERT: Eric, fortunately for me, I have never really needed anything like, uh, a lot of politicians do need something, and they want it too badly, and they're willing to, uh, make trades. And compromises are fine, but trading on your principles is not what we all had in mind about this form of government.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: So, uh, I've got to tell you the only way I've ever known how to be is very direct, so I certainly did continue that.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: Uh, I've not needed anything badly enough to want to go along with something that I didn't think was right.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: And it's a wonderful freedom to have, let me tell you.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: It's a good way to live your life.

MOYEN: Now, after Wallace Wilkinson was Governor and Brereton Jones became Governor, uh, speaking of that freedom and being able to say what you're thinking, you gave a speech on the floor where you publicly criticized him, I believe--(Freibert laughs)--his nepotism and--

FREIBERT: --I did--

MOYEN: --and mismanagement of funds. Can you tell me a little bit about 68:00that--

FREIBERT: --well, it was, uh, it was a personnel thing, uh, hiring these people. We weren't able, uh, during the budget discussions to talk about giving, uh, uh, salary increases to state employees. And yet, it seemed to me like the same old thing, just, uh, larding all these people over in different departments. And one guy was so unqualified that it was embarrassing, and I did make a speech about that, uh, to say how deplorable that was and what a waste of money. And, uh, Brereton is a very, very sensitive person, probably too sensitive to be a politician. And he really had his feelings hurt over that. Uh, he really, really did. And later when he, uh, we had legislation that allowed, uh, the appointment of all the boards of trustees, uh, by 69:00that one sitting Governor, that one Governor was gonna get to, uh, we reworked it so that he would appoint everybody. Uh, I thought that was a bad deal too, but, uh, the people that he, uh, appointed and that his, uh, committee worked on, uh, and his, uh, appointments to the, uh, State Board of Education were very good.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: So in fairness, I made a speech about that too, uh, that these were, uh, or seemed to be exceptionally qualified people. And that's when I realized how very sensitive he was. So, uh, he sent me a note thanking me and asking me to come and see him. But, uh, yeah, I did that.

MOYEN: So, uh, well, also during his term in the wake of the BOPTROT, 70:00uh, con-, or scandal, um, you became pretty involved in, in ethics, or in ethics legislation.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: Um, can you tell me a little bit about that and what you tried to get passed and--

FREIBERT: --yes, I was on the, uh, ethics task force that made the recommendations for, uh, changes, uh, new legislation relating to ethics. And, um, there were, uh, several good, stubborn, strong members on that commission. There were some that just sort of felt like you don't muddy the waters and you don't make anybody mad and really this whole thing is not as bad as it might seem. But I have felt that, uh, and, and we got a lot of what we, uh, felt was needed passed, but I do feel that it did not, what we passed did not affect the staff--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --only legislators. Sometimes staff is far more powerful, 71:00because they are there for twenty-five years, and a legislator might only be there for four years or six years or ten years. And they are there when you are gone. And let's say, chairman of appropriations & revenue committee, they get lobbied pretty hard, uh, different interests. And I don't mean the special interests are, are all bad; we're all a member of some special interest group, or another--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --we all have our special--

MOYEN: --right--

FREIBERT: --interests, and, and many are valid. But those staff members really get lobbied. We were not successful in getting the staff folded into some of the restrictions--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --that, uh, are on legislators. So a lot of disclosure, a lot of open air will really, uh, purge a lot of the, uh, bad vibes.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: Because if people know what you're doing and they know where your money is coming from, if they know , uh, what interests you might 72:00have, uh, financial interests, uh, in, you know, uh, if you're a, a stockholder in a bank or something like that, that's fair for people to know. I do not believe in all of these campaign finance "reform" restrictions. I think Americans should be able to give to whichever candidate we want, as long as we have to disclose it and as long as that candidate has to disclose it and disclose it in plenty of time, so that the public has time for it to sink in--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --and not hide them until the last filing before the election and then it's not revealed to the public until the election is over. Uh, we could clear up a lot of these problems.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: If we, uh, simply did that.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Now, we, we discussed this just briefly, but, uh, can you kind of restate again exactly why you choose not to run after serving, 73:00uh, for so many years?

FREIBERT: Uh, I had an elderly mother and was having to make frequent trips to, uh, southern West Virginia.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: Uh, and that's a very high privilege to be able to help take care of an elderly parent who took care of you all of your life. Uh, so I had several things, um, uh, going on in my life. I had new grandchildren, uh, which are very precious to me, and, uh, didn't have enough time where I could take, uh, a week at a time or, uh, certainly never a month at a time to go away.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: So, uh, I have a, uh, grandchildren who live in Nashville. I now have two who live in Louisville, and now we can go whenever we want. Uh, my husband took early retirement from IBM, which really helped me to decide--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --that, uh, it was, it would be good for me to make a change, 74:00because politics is a very jealous activity; it takes all of your time.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: You're either always campaigning or you are always, uh, working at it. So when he took early retirement, uh, it was fairly easy for me then to decide also that this was--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --a good time, uh, for me to leave politics. And I still, uh, help certain really good candidates, and, uh, I give them contributions to help, uh, run their campaigns and do their mailings or, uh, different kinds of jobs. I no longer work twelve-hour days--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --uh, for any of them. Uh, if you are gonna leave politics, you can't have one foot in and one foot out. You've either got to be in it or you've got to be out of it. But, uh, there are a couple of candidates that I think particularly do a good job, uh, or officials.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: And I like to help them all that we possibly can, in whatever way that we can.

75:00

MOYEN: Uh, you mentioning having one foot in and one foot out. I know part of your ethics legislation that you proposed had a stipulation where you couldn't serve on a PAC, I believe, for a few years after you had stepped out of office, so it wouldn't--

FREIBERT: --or work as a lobbyist--

MOYEN: --or work as a lobbyist, so it wouldn't be a rotating door. Was that successful?

FREIBERT: Uh, we do have a timeline--but I'm trying to remember what it is--before you can lobby--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --after leaving the legislature.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: Uh, and we do have restrictions on, uh, legislators, uh, or their employers with contracts with the state and so forth, so that they don't have built-in advantages. Um, one of the things that did not pass, uh, that I think is very important, once you are indicted, I don't think you should be able to continue to serve as a committee 76:00chairman and control the legislation coming through something, especially like a BOPTROT committee, the business, organizations, and professions. They have renamed that committee now; I'm trying to remember what they call it these days. But it was so notorious that they had to rename it.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: And there were more crooks on that committee than any of us could have imagined.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: But, um, uh, I, the ethics, uh, uh, reform in large measure, uh, has been successful, because what occurs now is, if there is a question in a legislator's mind, he or she will ask the ethics commission for an opinion--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --"Would it be ethical for me or for my employer to do thus and so?"

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: So, uh, it's more of a preventive kind of thing now--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --rather than, uh, getting into some really hot water, asking the question before you step into the water.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: So I think in large measure it is, uh, uh, working pretty well.

77:00

MOYEN: Good.

FREIBERT: Pretty well.

MOYEN: Now, something that we didn't touch on that I'd be interested to get your opinion on, is when you were elected there were very few women in the, uh, Kentucky legislature. And still, I believe, compared with much of the country, the number or percentage is, um, relatively low. Um, did you face any, um, or, or what experiences did you have as a woman, um, representative that may have been different than if you were a man or--

FREIBERT: --uh, there were very few women, and for quite a few years, I was the only Republican woman, uh, in the House. Uh, for the most part, I was very much, uh, embraced by the Republican caucus. Uh, there were a couple who just didn't believe women should be involved 78:00in politics. One from, uh, down near Lake Cumberland, uh, told me once that he, he thought I was a very nice lady and he thought I was a good legislator, but he just did not think that--and he was a Republican-- that women, uh, should be in the legislature and that they shouldn't be in politics. He just simply told me that.

MOYEN: Hm. Do you mind telling me who that was?

FREIBERT: Richard Fryman.

MOYEN: Okay, um--

FREIBERT: --he was a former professional boxer.

MOYEN: Were there any other instances of what you would consider discrimination or anything that was particularly difficult, um?

FREIBERT: Oh, no. You know, just I think this, it doesn't matter if you're in politics, or if you're a nurse, or a teacher, or a doctor, uh, there are some chauvinistic people in the world, uh, who think that, um, uh, ladies are for looking at their legs or but, but you kind of, you see those people wherever you go.

79:00

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: And, uh, you just learn to avoid people like that and keep on going.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: Shouldn't slow down.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Now, over your whole term, being from Lexington, how do you think that that played a role? Did you see any regional rivalries? Is there anything you think you--

FREIBERT: --oh, very much so, there was a lot of competition between, uh, Louisville and Lexington, uh, caucuses, a lot of, uh, competition between urban areas and rural areas, as far as what they saw as benefits to their district and--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --and the people of Kentucky. Very, very much so.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: Uh, and the urban people, when it got right down to it, could usually be outvoted by the rural people.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: So it was sometimes very difficult.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: Uh, I didn't, uh, even though for, uh, a long time I was the, both the whole time, I was the only Republican from Fayette County, uh, 80:00I didn't have, uh, problems with some of the things our district needed or that I felt were needed, because I worked with Hank List, who was a very fair and good and honorable Democrat, Jim LeMaster, who was in leadership, from Paris, Kentucky, a very good, fine, decent, honorable Democrat. And we would often talk about things, uh, that our county needed. Uh, and I don't think that goes on as much as it used to. Uh, there is a lot more, uh, mean, spiteful--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --behavior going on. But I didn't really worry about getting deprived of funds for my roads, because my roads ran right through Hank's district and right through, uh, Jim's district and all around. And I knew that they wanted them and needed them, so I'd be a very difficult person to blackmail for a vote.

MOYEN: Um-hm. (laughs) Now you said that you see, or you don't think that there's as much of that willingness to work with other parties. 81:00Why do you think that that's developed?

FREIBERT: Uh, I don't know why that is. Uh, I have many friends who are, uh, Republicans, of course. And I've worked with them for years and established many good friendships. I also have a lot of my good friends who are Democrats. And at the same time I would be working for, uh, my candidates over here, they would be working for the other side. I've got two very good friends, uh, uh, one of whom was a, uh, delegate to the Democratic National Convention, and another one who was a campaign manager for a Democrat, but we never were ugly to each other.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: We had a lot of fun doing it, and we have commented that it does seem different now. It seems like, uh, uh, people want to, uh, dislike or demean each other personally. And I never had that situation with, uh, the other Democrats from my county, especially Hank 82:00List, Bill Lear, uh, Jim LeMaster, Bill Kenton.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: Bill Kenton was as fair to me as anyone possibly could be.

MOYEN: Are there any other, uh, Democratic legislators that you can think of in particular that you had a, a, a good working relationship with?

FREIBERT: Michael Moloney.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: Uh, when I had legislation that passed the House, sometimes it might be good politics to have an, uh, uh, influential Democrat handle it in the Senate--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --especially if, uh, they're fussing over something over there. He was the A&R chairman, and he helped me on a couple of pieces of legislation. One particular one that I thought was very important, and Kentucky passed this legislation before the federal government did. And it was my bill. But, uh, women have always kinda thought that if their husband died, that the pension would go to them, that they would 83:00have survivorship rights.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: Not so. That was not the case. Uh, and, uh, uh, the legislation that I passed and was signed by, I guess, Brereton said that the only way, uh, a woman or a man would not have survivorship rights to the spouse's pension is if they signed off. You have a chance, if you want to sign off, so that--uh, for instance, Dave would get a bigger pension if, um, uh, I did not have survivorship rights. But now under the law, I would have to sign off and say, "Now, that's okay with me"--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --"that he gets more." Now, uh, employers can't--if you have survivorship rights, you're gonna have to take less, uh, while you're alive, so that your surviving spouse can have more when you pass away.

84:00

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: But the feds have also now passed that legislation. But, uh, Senator Moloney handled that for me. And, uh, he's someone who seems very, very gruff on the outside and can be. He can tongue lash you in public, but the thing you learn very quickly is you take up for yourself or that will never stop.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: So, uh, but he is a, um, uh, he's a good person.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: And, uh, has helped me. And in fact, when I was first , uh, in the race, the special election, Governor Carroll was the Governor, and Senator Moloney was fighting with him over who was gonna control that money. Where did that money go? Did it just fall through the floor down here? And during that session before I got there, Senator Moloney's committee called Governor Carroll to a "Come to Jesus" meeting in his committee in A&R, and they grilled him for six hours. So, uh, 85:00Mike called me, and he came by, and he briefed me on all the budget information, and what had gone on in the session up to that time. And I'm sure he doesn't mind if I say so now, but at the time and during the session, he said, "Now, if you tell anybody I helped you with this, I'll have to say I didn't." (both laugh) But that was long ago.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: He had been our attorney for our neighborhood association in fighting the, uh, Rosemont Garden-Mount Tabor Expressway--

MOYEN: --okay--

FREIBERT: --that they threatened us with for years and years. And my husband and I were two of the instigators of our neighborhood association, and we used to have to load up people on buses and take them--it was before you moved here, take them over to the ag building to public meetings and turn out eight hundred people if we had to. (both laugh) And we finally wore them down. So at the university and downtown in the mayor's office, they began saying, "Don't make those 86:00people out there in Shadeland mad. Now, we don't want to make them mad."

MOYEN: Um-hm. (both laugh) Hm.

FREIBERT: And I think that's when we got so involved in politics. We were already somewhat involved, because this neighborhood, Jim Host lived up the street--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --Ken Brandenburg, the state police superintendent, lived up the street; uh, Joe Hall lived over here--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --right--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --and that was kind of a pretty political position too. (Moyen laughs) And our neighborhood was just a hotbed of pol--and Senator Trevey lived on ----------(??), so, uh, they just didn't want, uh, uh, stir up any unrest out here in Shadeland.

MOYEN: Looking back over your career, which, uh, Governor did you feel had the best working relationship with both you and the House or the legislature in general?

FREIBERT: Uh, as, as laid back as he was, I thought John Y. had a good relationship, because he didn't care that they were gonna get more power. He kinda thought that was fine to do.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

87:00

FREIBERT: Um, and, uh, frankly, uh, I think that, uh, Wallace was a, uh, good Governor to work with legislators. He respected everybody. Uh, was always willing to, uh, discuss it. Uh, and he had his, uh, two important goals in mind, the lottery and education reform, and he did it. And he has had the worst publicity of anybody, other than Mitch McConnell. But you know, on the days that they're, uh, writing ugly things about Senator David Williams and his stubbornness in the Senate, at least they were letting Wallace Wilkinson alone and they were letting, uh, Mitch McConnell rest for that particular day. (Moyen laughs) And all three of those individuals are conservatives, and 88:00conservatives, uh, people with a conservative idea about how government should operate are very unpopular in the media.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: Very much so. This is why we should not tie the hands of candidates to solicit and collect money from your supporters, because they have to contend with the bad publicity that comes out weekly, the drumbeat --

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --uh, from the print media.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: Otherwise they wouldn't have a fighting chance. There would only be one image out there, and that would be that this person is surely an ogre, and you don't want that person.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Can you think of any examples where that happened to you, where you felt like you were represented unfairly?

FREIBERT: Uh, they simply made, uh, a mistake. Uh, printed an incorrect vote of mine at the Herald-Leader, when John, uh, what's his name, was the editor? He's now, from here he went to Philadelphia, and now I believe he's on the West Coast with a newspaper. I can't even think of 89:00his name. The Lord does let you forget things that, uh, were negative. (Moyen laughs) But he said I voted for something that I never would have voted for. It was something like, uh, uh, higher salaries or a pension increase or something for legislators.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: Well, I didn't and I never would. Uh, I called him. And he was very indignant to be called at home, but it was late in the day by the time I got to read the newspaper, because we had been in session until fairly late. John Carroll. And I said, "John, you, you need to print a, uh, correction as fast as you can. I did not vote for this legislation, and your news story plainly has me with those who supported it." And he said, "Okay." I waited about a week and it never was printed. So I called him back, and he said, "Well, it went out of here on the regional edition." I said, "John, it did not come out in the city edition, and I don't run out in the region; I run right 90:00here in the city." So, it finally got in there, but after--and I think people who knew me would know that I'd never--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --support that, but there're a lot of people who are not tuned into politics and might have had that impression. And after two weeks, uh, and if it's a little tiny thing somewhere, they're not gonna notice it, or if they did, uh, the impression's already been made. For the most part, editorially, they kinda left me alone. I don't think they particularly liked me, but they didn't pick on me. They, uh, had a policy that they wanted to promote more women in the legislature. They wanted, uh, they, they crusaded for several years to get some women in the Kentucky Senate. Well, let me tell you, there must be about five of them over there now, but they're all Republicans, so this newspaper has not said a word about that issue for at least four years probably. So they weren't their kind of women.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: And I do think it's important to be able to seek support 91:00and monetary contributions from people who believe as you do about government, and not tell them they can only give so much at this particular time and, uh, jump through these hoops.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: It really takes away freedom.

[Pause in recording.]

MOYEN: All right. I'm, I'm also interested in, uh, because you're still involved in some ways in Frankfort, in what ways do you think that the legislature has changed, or politics in Kentucky has changed since you 92:00were first elected over twenty years ago? For, for better and worse, in what ways?

FREIBERT: Uh, because of BOPTROT, they behave a little better most of the time. As newer ones come in, I do see them do things occasionally that are not, uh, rational. And they need to be reminded by their colleagues who've been around a little longer that they can get themselves into a lot of trouble, and that they're there, uh, to give and not to get.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: Uh, so I think that they generally behave better. Uh, I think there is more accommodation right now for the minority party, and that is out of necessity. So, uh, and a Governor is not as strong, uh, since legislative independence, so they do have to depend on the legislature for more things.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: The Governor does not say, "This person's gonna be the speaker. And here's my budget; I want it passed out of here tomorrow." 93:00That doesn't go on anymore.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: But, uh, the horse trading still goes on, and there's not anything wrong with that, as long as they're things in the public interest. If you can help somebody get something they need, and they can help you get something that your district needs, uh, as long as you're not comprising on principles--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --that's fine.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: That kind of horse trading is okay.

MOYEN: Can, can you think of any political bargaining like that that you, uh, were involved in that proved to be extremely helpful-- (Freibert laughs)--for you?

FREIBERT: For me, personally, you mean?

MOYEN: Or for your district or for certain legislation, um, in, in that political horse trading that goes on that you thought, Well, that's kind of slick, or that we, we managed to get this done by doing this--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: -- -----------(??)--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --without, without compromising your principles.

FREIBERT: Well, what comes to my mind is one that didn't work out as well. (both laugh) Uh, Foster Pettit had been, uh, the mayor 94:00of Lexington. And after he was no longer mayor he was in John Y.'s cabinet. Uh, and, uh, he, for the lack of any other good words, talked me into voting for something that I had some doubts about. And that was expanding the ability of local governments to borrow money. And now they're all so knee-deep in it, and they borrow for, and they're talking about borrowing a humongous sum down here. They, they, they talk about bonding. That's nothing in the world but incurring debt. And he said, "Pat, we really," he said, "You know, local government is the government close to the people." "Yes, I agree with that." And he said, "You know in Lexington we've had some pretty good local government." We used to fight with Foster a lot over local issues, but he said, "They really need the ability for, uh, capital kinds of projects, to, uh, incur more debt, local governments." And I didn't 95:00feel good about it, but I voted for it.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: And it was probably one of the worst votes that I ever took, because, uh, they sure do borrow.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: (both laugh) Uh, but I'm just trying to think of something that worked out right. I just, there's just nothing on my--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --uh, in my computer right now.

MOYEN: Well, you mentioned that being one of the worst, uh, things that, that you voted for. What were some of the best things that you voted for, that you're most proud of, um, through voting or sponsorship?

FREIBERT: Oh gosh, uh, child support legislation. Uh, if the fathers, uh, you know, we were just letting fathers divorce their children.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: And, uh, now we go after them in a big way. Uh, we'll take out of their social security; we'll take it out of their unemployment; whatever income they have, they need to share that with their children, 96:00even though I know that's hard.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: Uh, but these are choices that people make. Nobody, uh, makes you divorce and live in two different households, where it's very expensive. But when you have children, you have an obligation. And I think society has an obligation to see that you meet yours, as far as your children go. So, child support legislation. Uh, and I never focused or concentrated on women's legislation, but the pension bill was, uh, very important. Uh, and, oh, in my last session I sponsored legislation that, um, uh, it went into effect in July of my last year there, and before October it had already saved our state a half-million dollars and was gonna save a whole lot more, and that is to find out who's the father of these children. Lots of times, uh, when an unwed 97:00mother goes to the hospital and has a baby, the father will come and visit and is very happy at that time and very proud. That's the time you get him to sign the paternity, right then and there.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: So, uh, I sponsored legislation that the hospitals, the social workers there, would, uh, in those first two or three days, get this person to, uh, sign this and acknowledge being the father of this child. And it's important not just for child support. It's really important for that.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: But it's important for this child to have health information, you know, what kind of, uh, diseases were endemic in the family of both parents--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --you know, does diabetes, uh, occur, uh, frequently in the father's family and so forth. So there're a lot of good reasons for knowing who your father is.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: Uh, so what Kentucky had been having to do was to go into court for each and every one of them, and , uh, pay our state attorneys 98:00and spend a lot of money. And, uh, these fathers are real proud at that time. You let too much time go by, and then they'll worry about acknowledging being, uh, the father. So they've had a lot of success with that.

MOYEN: Um-hm. One interesting piece of legislation that I saw that you, um, sponsored--and I'm, and I'm interested to see if you had any, if there was a political struggle with this-- was the banning of cockfighting.

FREIBERT: Oh, my heavens! Yes, that, uh, uh, Greg Stumbo, the majority floor leader, was never gonna let that go anywhere. But, uh, it was way past time that Kentucky acknowledge that we have this horrible thing going on here, and that after church on Sunday, many families take their little children to see the, uh, to see them, uh, with these slits. The, the, they slit each other's throat and so forth, uh, that 99:00they put on their legs.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: Uh, little children watching that, but it's a bit gambling thing. And I knew I couldn't win that, but, uh, I knew that there was support for it, a lot of opposition too.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: And, uh, Greg wasn't gonna let that go anywhere, but it was, it was kind of fun really to force people to talk about it like that.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: And, uh, our, our rich and powerful often indulge in that. Martha Layne's husband used to go down to the river every Sunday where they, everybody seems to know where they are. (Moyen laughs) And, uh, the police have a hard time finding them though.

MOYEN: Um-hm. Um, are there any other thoughts that you have on the Kentucky legislature today that, um, opinions that you might have to really continue improving the legislative process and the way our 100:00commonwealth's government works?

FREIBERT: I think there might be a little too much thrust for independence. You know, that might've have gone a little too far, because they're, uh, they make occasional efforts trying to, uh, dictate to programs between sessions.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: And really, once they go home, uh, until a Governor calls you into special session or until there is a next regular session, uh, all the legislature can do is review and have public hearings and so forth. But they do try to get into the different programs and insert themselves in what the program should be doing and so forth. So there are frequent rifts between the Governor and the legislature in that regard.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: So they need to do their work during the sessions.

MOYEN: Um-hm.

FREIBERT: And, uh, not try to be the Governor--

MOYEN: --um-hm--

FREIBERT: --in between times. So I think that they, uh, pretty often 101:00try to do things not in their constitutional realm.

MOYEN: Um-hm. All right. Well, thank you so much for your time.

FREIBERT: You are welcome.

[End of interview.]