(I'm pictured above with other pages in front of Capitol Annex. I'm far left.)
One is never too old to re-live and experience the excitement of one's youth. I can't tell you how excited that I was to learn that my State Representative John Tilley had chosen me, that's right me, to serve as a page in the Kentucky House of Representatives.
It has been a number of years since I visited the glorious halls of the Capitol Annex and almost 35 years since I first received the honor and privilege of serving as a page. I must admit that I had some reservations regarding the attire that I would have to wear, but Rep. Tilley said that many changes had occurred in the House since I was last present and boy was he right.
Some of these changes appeared to be good ones while some not so good. I can put to rest all those rumors going around that folks from West Kentucky are not welcome in Frankfort anymore. I found that everyone was really nice and it was obvious that many accommodations have been made for us folks in the Rural areas. I would have never believed it had I not seen it for myself. On every single floor in the Annex they had big spittoon boxes. That's right. I was so excited. When Rep. Tilley was busy I would just go floor to floor spitting in all those spittoon boxes. I just couldn't believe it. They said the Liberals had taken over Frankfort and I'm here to tell you it just ain't so. I will say that there must be a few Liberals up there because they obviously did not approve of all those spittoon boxes caused I noticed that some of those liberals were putting empty soda cans in the boxes. I believe in compromise, so I guess it's only fair that they have an opportunity to protest the boxes. If those Liberals had any sense they be saving those soda cans and redeeming them for cash back home. With the cost of tobacco products these days they should know every little bit helps.
Rep. Tilley took me around and I got to meet many people and also got to see some friends from back home. Rep. Tilley took me into the Leadership offices where he wanted me to meet with Majority Whip John Will Stacy. Rep. Stacy had a position open on his staff and Rep. Tilley thought it might be a good fit for me but apparently the position had been offered to someone else. Rep. Tilley told me not to take it personally and offered up that Rep. Stacy was probably concerned about my weight possibly being a burden on the State's health care system. I'm still not sure the outfit Rep. Tilley made me wear helped my case any.
With that behind me I told Rep. Tilley that I was hungry and he explained to me that times were tough in Frankfort also and that I would have to be on my own for meals during my trip. He did take me into a room and show me that the only thing legislators had to eat was peanut butter and crackers and that I was welcome to have some if I wanted.
I got to meet Brian Wilkerson and Brian McIntyre who work in the Speakers office. They knew I was a disciple of Jim Bruce and took the opportunity to share their treasured memories of Rep. Bruce. I appreciated their stories and will surely be including them in my book on the life of Jim Bruce.
I got to meet a lobbyist named Sean Cutter. Rep. Tilley is Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and he wanted me to experience what it is like being a Chairman. This man Cutter came to meet with Chairman Tilley about an issue important to the crushed stone industry. I don't pretend to understand it all but the best I can figure from the conversation they had was that this man Cutter wanted Chairman Tilley to make it so employees of the crushed stone industry did not get sick any more. Mr. Cutter explained that when people got sick it hurt the industry. I was shocked because I had not realized that once you became Chairman you had the power to make people not get sick anymore. After the meeting when it was just me and Rep. Tilley I cracked a joke about it and Rep. Tilley turned to me and said, "get behind me Satan." That scared me into thinking maybe Chairman have these powers now. I did not speak of these things again to the Chairman.
Whereas I was hungry again, Rep. Tilley said we could go eat. I pulled the coupons that I had brought from home but Rep. Tilley said they did not except coupons in the cafeteria and but we had to eat there anyway. We got to eat lunch with Myron Dossett who is another Rep. from Christian Co. We had a short lunch and then it was back to work. I could not be with the Chairman everywhere so it gave me some more time to rome.
I always knew that there was a lot liquor flowing around Frankfort but apparently there is so much of it they had to start pouring it out on the street in front of the Capitol. Honestly, I overheard legislators talking about it.
I got see Eddie Ballard from Madisonville and spend some time with Rep. Gooch from Webster Co. Representative Gooch is very well respected in Western Kentucky and is a fine Christian. We agreed to meet and have lunch sometime in Providence. I thanked him for his service to Western Kentucky and told him to keep up the good work.
I got to see Speaker Stumbo and he had some really nice cowboy boots. He must be a smart man because with all that manure up there he was the only one smart enough to be wearing boots. I had always heard that East Kentucky folks were kinda of clannish and I think that is probably true cause they all got real nice offices all together on the third floor. One right after another. I reckon there's safety in numbers.
By 7pm I was sure hungry again and Rep. Tilley said that I was going to get to go to supper with him and some other legislators at a place downtown. He said this place did not except coupons either and would be kinda expensive. I was forced to take out the emergency money I had hidden in my shoe. You know with all the rumors about West Kentuckians being run out of town on the rail I did not want to be left high and dry.
We had a nice dinner. I got to sit beside Rocky Adkins who is the House Majority Leader. Johnny Bell, John Will Stacy and Arnold Simpson also sat at the table. The Governor's Chief of Staff, Adam Edelen, joined us also. I got see my old buddy and client former Senate Majority Leader Greg Higdon from Fancy Farm.
I guess the high moment of the trip was when Rep. Tilley delivered on his promise to introduce me to Rep. Sannie Overly. Wow. I got to shake hands and have my picture taken with her. I have included our picture together below. I'm still not sure about the outfit Rep. Tilley made me wear. I don't think I looked very good in shorts and knee socks at least John Will Stacy was not impressed. (I'm pictured second from the right & Rep. Sannie Overly far Right)