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Interview with Edward Breathitt


1977 OH 016




Mr. Edward Breathitt is a native Kentucky born in 1924. He served as a member of Kentucky House of Representatives from 1952-58 and as Personnel Commissioner from 1959-60. He then served on the Kentucky Public Service Commission from 1961-62. Mr. Breathitt then served as Governor of Kentucky from 1963-67. He has since served as Vice-President of the Southern Railway.


Contact Special Collections and Archives, Crabbe Library, Eastern Kentucky University for reproductions, rights and permission to publish.


Ellis, William E.


Washington, D.C.

Time Summary:

0-6 Introduction
17-30 First recollections of Martin, Martin's candidacy for and election to Superintendent of Public Instruction, Martin's support of a sales tax for education
31-37 Martin's candidacy for Superintendent of Public Instruction
38-43 Should office of Superintendent of Public instruction be appointive?
43-54 Comparison of Martin with other Superintendents of Public Instruction; Martin's political qualities
54-63 Martin's involvement in development and implementation of Minimum Foundation Program
63-74 Relationship with Chandler concerning education in Kentucky
75-121 Reaction to Martin's involvement in Combs campaign of 1959; initiation of Combs gubernatorial organization of 1959 race
122-161 Importance of school vote as a political base in Kentucky; tax structure in Kentucky; underfinanced education system in Kentucky; political, taxpayer resentment after funding; Combs-Ford gubernatorial race in 1971 evidence of anti-educational feeling
161-191 Martin's effectiveness as a political campaign manager, relationship with Clements; political tactics of the campaign
191-209 Martin's further political ambitions- limited to presidency of Eastern; service as Commissioner of Finance; passage of sales tax, Martin's role
210-233 Relationship with Martin-Breathitt: Commissioner of Personnel, Martin: Commissioner of Finance
233-246 Martin's service as Commissioner of Finance; how experience and knowledge gained there aided him as President of Eastern
247-257 Martin's role in enactment of sales tax
258-275 Martin's role in truck controversy
276-284 Those who knew that Martin desired to become president of Eastern
300 Intimate relationship between politics and education in Kentucky; necessity for political expertise for any measure of success
300-327 Growing power of Council on Public Higher Education (CPHE) may reduce institutional competition; Education creativity of Martin; law enforcement program
328-363 Reaction of others to Martin's election as President of Eastern; necessity of political awareness on part of university presidents
363-384 Relationship with Martin from 1960-1963; contacts with Martin prior to Breathitt's gubernatorial campaign in 1963
384-426 Strong competition between state educational institutions; competition intensified between 1964 and 1966 as available revenue declined
426-502 Telephone interruption
503-530 Competition between regional universities and UK
531-581 Martin's role in helping regional institutions achieve university status; attitude of UK; Breathitt's reasons for supporting university status for institutions; role to be played by CPHE
581-605 Contributions of EKU to state and region; continued efforts by Martin in improving quality of university's services
606-628 Reasons for realigning membership of CPHE
629-645 Competition between higher education and public education; Gubernatorial primary race between Ford and Combs
645-676 Martin's role in integration of public education
677-695 Martin's expertise in fiscal management
695-727 Impressions of Eastern in mid-sixties
727-772 Governor's role in appointment of regents; relationship with Martin in selection of regents
773-817 Relationship with Martin while Breathitt was Governor
817 End of reel 1
7-32 Breathitt's relationship with other university presidents; Doran, Thompson, Woods, Oswald
33-60 Martin's relationship with other Kentucky governors; Combs, Johnson, Chandler, Waterfield, Clements, Nunn, Ford
60-71 Martin's relationship with the press
71-83 Martin's political philosophy; progressive, committed to public education
84-102 Characterization of Martin's personality
102-130 Assessment of Martin's strengths and weaknesses as an educational administrator
130-140 Martin's main contribution to Kentucky education: saw the need for a strongly suppored comprehensive educational system in Kentucky; innovative policies that he introduced
140-147 Breathitt's reaction to Martin's candidacy for state senate
147-159 Final comments