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Interview of Robert (Bob) Storey, February 5, 2015

Interviewed by Burdett Loomis
Bob Storey, Kansas
“1968 was a funny year. Redistricting was thrown out. All three Senators ran at large in Shawnee County and Waubunsee County.”

Interview Description

Bob Storey in his 2015 oral history interview recalls his service in the Kansas Senate from 1969-1976. His recollection is of a senate that was in transition in terms of urban-rural influence on policymaking due to the one-person, one-vote principle enunciated by the U.S. Supreme Court in the mid-1960s. He recalls intricacies of interactions among senate leaders and governors and occasional intrigue in senate leadership elections. He also reflects on improvements in the functioning of state government during the years when reorganization and modernization of many state functions took place.

Transcript

[This is one of ten oral history interviews of Kansas legislators in 2015 done by Dr. Burdett Loomis under the auspices of the University of Kansas and the Shawnee County Historical Society with funding from the Kansas Humanities Council.  This set of interviews became the foundation for the Kansas Oral History Project with its incorporation.]

 

LOOMIS:  So, it’s the 5th of February. We’re in the law offices, and we’re talking to Bob Storey as part of the Kansas Legislature’s oral history project. Thanks very much for agreeing to do this.

STOREY:  You’re welcome.

LOOMIS:  So, my usual first question is how did you get involved in running for the legislature in the first place?

STOREY:  Well, I’ve been in politics in college, Young Republicans.

LOOMIS:  Where did you go to college?

STOREY:  Washburn [University]. That’s where I finished. And I’d kept up politics in my area. I knew my senators and representatives. The senator was a good friend of mine, and he called me one day and said he wasn’t going to run again, and so I decided it was a good time to run.

LOOMIS:  Who was that? What senator?

STOREY: [Robert] “Bob” Taggart.

LOOMIS:  Okay. Bob Taggart.

STOREY:  Mm-hm.

LOOMIS:  Ah. So, when you say you decided to run, you were kind of prepared to do that, do you think?

STOREY:  You know, I really hadn’t given it that much thought. I hadn’t spent any time thinking my future is to run for the legislature. I really didn’t think about it much.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm. Right.

STOREY:  But all of a sudden that hit. I’d been precinct committeeman and was going to be a national delegate. It just seemed like the right time to do it.

LOOMIS:  So, what year was this?

STOREY:  Nineteen sixty-eight.

LOOMIS:  Okay. About how old were you at that time?

STOREY:  I was thirty-three.

LOOMIS:  And you were in the practice of law?

STOREY:  Yes.

LOOMIS:  So, how’d you go about running?  What did you do to put together a campaign, such as it was?

STOREY: [Chuckles.] Good question. I just decided—actually, when Tag [Bob Taggart] called me, I decided kind of on the spur of the moment, and I went home. I told my wife, “I think I’ll run for the Senate.” She said, “You’re what?” “I think I’ll run for the Senate.” And she said, “Okay.” And I just kind of—the first thing I did was just decided to run and then put together an announcement and did the filing of papers and then kind of got an [effort? 2:18] together after that. But that year, we kind of had a funny year. The [unintelligible; 2:26] and the redistricting was thrown out, and we ran in Shawnee and Wabaunsee counties at large, so we had quite a big area. I just kind of put a team together and [campaigned].

LOOMIS:  So was the district, because of redistricting, the one that you in ’68, somewhat smaller than the previous district?

STOREY:  No, it’s two counties.

LOOMIS:  It is two counties.

STOREY:  It was two—it was Wabaunsee County and Shawnee County.

STOREY:  And then, when I got elected, I was put on the Reapportionment Committee, and I  reapportioned Shawnee County to get my new district.

LOOMIS:  When you say you put together a network, where’d you go for that? What kind of folks did you—

STOREY:  Well, friends, usually. First you go to friends.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm. Right.

STOREY:  And then you go to people that had been in politics that you know.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  And you try to get some ideas—

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  —of what you want to do. But I’d been around here so long that I knew somebody just about in—all over town, so I just started calling people and saying I was going to run. Since I’d been involved in politics, I knew most of them.

LOOMIS:  Right.

STOREY:  And I really didn’t have any competition. Nobody—I came out early enough when I decided to run. One person ran at the last minute, but—in the primary, but other than that, it just sort of—I had a lot of volunteers.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  A lot of people had come in and volunteered, and some of the people that I—former aides when I was in law school and younger people that were behind me. They wanted to help, —

LOOMIS:  Right.

STOREY:  —Young Republicans.

LOOMIS:  Right.

STOREY:  They got out and put signs up and did all the legwork. [It just suddenly started]—you just kind of start with and don’t make any plans, and it just builds up. I didn’t even know what the salary was. I had no idea.

LOOMIS:  Is that right?

STOREY: I got elected. I didn’t even ask.

LOOMIS:  Were you shocked?

STOREY:  Oh, no.

LOOMIS: [Laughs.]

STOREY:  Well, I thought ten dollars might be a little bit low, ten dollars a day.

LOOMIS:  Right.

STOREY:  That’s what we got.

LOOMIS:  Right.

STOREY:  But I wasn’t looking for the salary, no.

LOOMIS:  Could you maintain your law practice as a senator?

STOREY:  Yes, I did. I got to where—I was lucky enough to get right into leadership. [Robert F.] “Bob” Bennett was a friend of mine.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  And this was before [unintelligible; 4:49] in the Senate.

LOOMIS:  Right.

STOREY:  And we had an eight-man committee in the Senate that he appointed—he wasn’t president then, but [Glee S.] Smith [Jr.], and Glee appointed an eight-person committee to select committee members, and I was on that committee.

LOOMIS:  Ah!

STOREY:  So, I got right into leadership, and I was chairman the second year, from then on.

LOOMIS:  Chairman of?

STOREY:  Transportation and Utilities. And I was put on the Judiciary immediately, Ways and Means, so I got good assignments.

LOOMIS:  No, you did get good assignments, yeah.

STOREY:  Yeah. And I had the Washburn Subcommittee after the tornado of ’67, so that was a big job, too.

LOOMIS:  Right. So, did some of your ties from Washburn carry over into that campaign?

STOREY:  Oh, yeah, sure. Absolutely. Some of my law clerks. Yeah.

LOOMIS:  So, do you know how you happened to get put on this eight-person committee?

STOREY:  Yeah, it was because of Glee Smith and Bob Bennett. I had known them before. I had appeared before some committees on different issues, and I got to know them both, and they were both on the leadership. We had I can’t remember how many new members we had that year, but we had a lot in the Kansas Senate because of the reapportionment.

LOOMIS:  Because of reapportionment, right.

STOREY:  But the three senators from Topeka that ran—I knew all of them, and one of them was the president [sic; principal] of Highland Park [High School], [Thomas J. M.] “Tom” West. And he was perfectly happy with the east side of town because he didn’t have any problems getting elected.

LOOMIS:  Right, right.

STOREY:  And Elwaine [F.] Pomeroy was a Republican and lived on the east side.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  So, they weren’t too well known this far, so I just got the assignments in Shawnee County on the reapportionment committee.

LOOMIS:  It’s a nice way to start out in the legislature.

STOREY:  It’s a good way to start, in leadership, because you’re right in the middle of it.

LOOMIS:  So, I mean, I think—not to be too leading, but what do you think that—you say you knew Glee Smith and you knew Bob Bennett. Well, those were good guys to know as leaders. But why do you think they, you know, had confidence in you?

STOREY:  You know, you’d have to ask them.

LOOMIS:  I will. Glee’s on my list.

STOREY:  Bob can, of course.

LOOMIS:  Yes.

STOREY:  I don’t know. He and I were real good—we became real close. I don’t know what it was. Maybe because I may have worked on some Bar Association committees with them, because I had done that,

been on some Bar committees. I just knew them better than anybody else around here.

LOOMIS:  Sure, sure. When you got to the legislature, even though you’d been around a bit, was there anything particularly surprising when you got there and were actually there in person?

STOREY:  Well, surprising. It was a little bit different than when I used to appear before a few committees on an issue, because there were so many new members.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  The part about going into a forty-person Senate with at least half of them new members was quite a bit different because everybody was sort of in the same boat, other than the ones that had been there. The longest-serving ones before that would have been Glee Smith because he was President of the Senate. He had served when Paul [R.] Wunsch was serving, and Paul sort of ran things, you know.

LOOMIS:  Right. Yeah, yeah.

STOREY:  So, the rest of them all had just been there four years.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm, mm-hm.

STOREY:  So, everybody was relatively new.

LOOMIS:  Yeah.

When you became chair of a committee two years into your—

STOREY:  Second year.

LOOMIS:  Second year, yeah. How did that change things for you?

STOREY:  It changed quite a bit because all of a sudden, I found out things I didn’t know, things—for instance, I immediately became a member of the Kansas Turnpike Authority, chairman of Transportation and Utilities, and all of a sudden, I was running all the highway programs over in Utilities: Southwestern Bell and now Westar [Evergy], back then KP&L [sic; KPL, Kansas Power and Light Company]. All of a sudden, everybody that worked for them was calling you every day or dropping by your house with gifts.

LOOMIS: [Laughs.] So, you had new friends.

STOREY:  I had a lot of new friends.

LOOMIS:  How did the lobbying work in those days?

STOREY:  We had probably, I would say, four good lobbyists that I knew.

LOOMIS:  Sure. Yeah.

STOREY:  We had four real—of what I called honest and were willing to help you, the lobbyists. And then a special issue would come on—of course, they would—with issues like today, on the social issues—we didn’t have those, thank God.

LOOMIS:  Right.

STOREY: But they were people that were really helpful, that really gave you good information. I’d say all the utilities. And as far as the roadways and highway department, they were all very, very good. Very good people. And I was lucky enough to have my term on Transportation which included the Highway Commission. I  lost the Highway Director.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  And Bob Bennett assigned to me to find a new one.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  And I interviewed a few people, and we got a new transportation director. The secretary of that—we worked real well together.

LOOMIS:  One of the things that happened in those years when you were there with Bennett as president of the Senate is that you really started to do a lot of reforms of the governmental systems.

STOREY:  Oh, yeah.

LOOMIS:  What was it like to be in the Senate in that era?

STOREY:  Very, very enlightening. We went from a highway department, revenue department to Secretaries: Secretary of Revenue, Secretary of Transportation.   Just changed the whole system.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  We were able to—before, like in revenue, which Joan will tell you, change the system.—

LOOMIS:  Sure.

STOREY:  In revenue, you just had so many splintered departments everywhere, and you did in highway, too. Right-of-ways, condemnation areas. You were able to go to one person, and he could call in whoever you needed to talk to and have a meeting. Go and get twelve people, and they run the whole department.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  He doesn’t have to go to each separate one.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  And it was really something that was beneficial to the state of Kansas, to get the secretary system in. It really helped everything.

LOOMIS:  So how did Bennett—and it wasn’t just Bennett, of course; there were many people involved, but how did he make the arguments that this really needed to be done?

STOREY:  Very persuasive man. Very intelligent man in facts and figures. He would draw a plan. He wouldn’t just say, “Here’s what we need to do.” He’d draw a plan and say, “Here’s how it’s gonna work. Let’s do this. This is Form One. Let’s take one department and make it a secretary and see how it works.”

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  We started slow. And it worked fine, and so we just kept going. But he had—he was always on top of everything he did. He didn’t just try something or say, “Hey, let’s try this.”  He had good agreements, good arguments for it. Very studious guy. Very intelligent.

LOOMIS:  You know, everyone—in one degree or another, everybody says—

STOREY:  Oh, yeah. And the bad rap he always got was everybody said he was too serious. He and I were on more hunting and fishing trips, and talk about not serious, I remember one fishing trip. This is off the subject.

LOOMIS:  Sure. No, no, it is and it isn’t.

STOREY:  But we went down to Buffalo River in Arkansas fishing. I told a couple of guys, “We got to make Bennett take a bath in the river!

LOOMIS: [Laughs.]

STOREY:  But here was this Johnson County, erudite gentleman, you know, that everybody thought was [pompous]. But we gave him a bar of soap to bathe.

LOOMIS: [Laughs.]

STOREY:  This is the kind of guy he was. He was just a plain old guy on things like that.

LOOMIS:  How did it work—how did you work with —the House? I know that he worked with [Richard C.] “Pete” Loux, [Duane S.] “Pete” McGill. Did you have a good relationship with the House?

STOREY:  Well, of course, I grew up in a town with Pete McGill. Moved to Winfield. That was my hometown.

LOOMIS:  Is that right?

STOREY:  Pete came down there and opened a restaurant.

LOOMIS:  Uh-huh.

STOREY:  So, I knew Pete from way back then. There was a little bit of trouble getting Pete and Bennett together because they’re so different kind of people.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm, mm-hm.

STOREY:  But one day I told Bob how he wanted to approach him, and Bob Bennett was always the kind of guy he had to call Pete. He asked him to come over to his office; he wanted him to come. And I’d say,

‘ask him,” and he’d say, “Boy, your buddy sure isn’t very friendly, is he?” So, one day I told Bob—I said, “Bob, why don’t you do this? Why don’t you call Pete and say, ‘I’d like to come over to your office and talk to you and don’t want to get depressed.’” So, one day I was setting [sic] in the Senate, and Bennett went by me. He said, “Guess where I’m going.” And he walked over to the speaker’s office. The press was there. From then on, —

LOOMIS:  Yeah.

STOREY:  —he had him. [Chuckles.] But he did good—Pete did good work for him. Pete was loyal. Up to that, he was loyal as can be. And most of the things that Bennett asked him to do were helpful.

LOOMIS:  Yeah.

STOREY:  Because the House is 125 people, and, you know, you got a mixture over there, and it’s a lot—I could never have served in the House, I don’t think. I never thought about it, never even considered it.

LOOMIS:  Yeah.

STOREY:  Like running for Congress. I would never run for Congress.

LOOMIS:  Just out of curiosity, were you asked at some point to run for Congress?

STOREY:  Oh, yeah, yeah. That’s two or three times at different times over the years, particularly after a Democratic win.

LOOMIS:  Right, right.

STOREY:  Like [Jim ?] or someone, but I had no interest in that.

LOOMIS:  Why not?

STOREY:  Well, as Bob Bennett and I used to say, we would rather be in a state Senate and be in leadership than be back there with 435 people and not know what’s going on.

LOOMIS:  Right. Mm-hm.

STOREY:  And that was the reason. I couldn’t have stood it.

LOOMIS:  Was it also—you might have alluded to this just a bit before, but was part of it that you could actually go home at night in Topeka?

STOREY:  Oh, absolutely. I couldn’t live in Washington.

LOOMIS:  No, but I’m saying, but it was easy for you to go home at night here, as opposed to somebody else who had to be in a hotel or in an apartment.

STOREY:  Oh, yeah. Living here?

LOOMIS:  Yeah.

STOREY:  Yeah. Oh, yeah. Plus, I keep a law practice going.

LOOMIS:  Right.

STOREY:  It would have been tough coming from out of town for ninety days—

LOOMIS:  Yeah.

STOREY:  —and not going home except on weekends.

LOOMIS:  And much more —did you have law partners?

STOREY:  Yes, I did.

LOOMIS:  Were they reasonably supportive?

STOREY:  They were very supportive, very supportive. There’d be occasional problems—

you know, “I haven’t seen you in a couple of weeks, and that’s a busy time.”

LOOMIS: [Laughs.]

STOREY:  But we worked it out.

LOOMIS:  Yeah, yeah.

What were the length of the sessions when you came in?

STOREY:  We had started the ninety-day sessions. We’d just gotten off the sixty, ninety days. We started the full ninety.

LOOMIS:  The full ninety in both years.

STOREY:  One thing that we did about the second year—I guess it was when Bob Bennett took over as president. We decided we weren’t going to work at two, three in the morning. We quit at nine o’clock. When I first went in, we had to set [sic] there till two or three in the morning, conference committees running back and forth, guys running across the street, you know, having a couple or three drinks, coming back, running back over.

LOOMIS:  Oh, gee.

STOREY:  And they started again after that, but we quit. And we tried not to go over ninety days. Usually didn’t.

LOOMIS:  Aside from Bennett in the Senate, who are some of the people that you really enjoyed serving with?

STOREY:  Oh, I enjoyed serving with most of them. [Joseph] “Joe” Harder was one of my best friends.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  And Harold [S.] Herd, the leader of the Democrats.

LOOMIS:  Right.

STOREY: Harold was a jewel.  He was just the nicest person. Easy to work with.

LOOMIS:  Right.

STOREY:  Norman [E.] Gaar. Norman and Bennett became sort of enemies, but Norman and I always got along fine.

LOOMIS:  Tell me a little bit about Norman Gaar, because—

STOREY:  I can tell you a little bit.

LOOMIS: [Laughs.] I started doing another book a while back, and I put it aside. It was basically on the ’60 to ’75 period, and I interviewed Norman Gaar, and it just seems—to me, [he’s? it’s? 18:48] it’s a fascinating—I’ve read all the clips and everything. But you still—tell me a little bit about Norman Gaar as a person, as senator.

STOREY:  He was a good senator, and I really liked him. He just got so—he’d get so set on something. Like, he [sat]—right across from me, where he and Bob Bennett sat when I first went in.

LOOMIS:  Right.

STOREY:  They were my neighbors, and they were just buddy-buddy. And at the time or second term, Norman just turned his back on him.

LOOMIS:  He still sat next to him.

STOREY:  Oh, yeah.

LOOMIS: [Laughs.]

STOREY:  He just turned his back, till Bennett got the chair.

LOOMIS:  Yeah, yeah.

STOREY: [unintelligible; 19:29] the president. Norman is a very smart guy but he wanted to be President of the ‘Senate.  But he had to have his way. There was no other way. It was just like, “This is what we’re going to do” and “This is what I’m going to do.” And doing that, you lose—you make some enemies.

LOOMIS: Mm-hm.

STOREY:  And he had a little tendency—it was just Norman. He kept telling you—I’m not saying anything  detrimental about him.

LOOMIS:  No, I understand.

STOREY:  It’s just Norman. If somebody—some guy who lived on a farm, wasn’t quite as smart, was trying to make some point that didn’t make much sense, Norman would just tell him, “It doesn’t make any sense.” He tried to be a little more diplomatic or something. But Norman couldn’t do it.   He wasn’t going to change.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm. When I interviewed Norman a few years ago, I was in his office, and he had all kinds of— [Loud tone.]—fighter plane, military stuff.

STOREY:  Yeah.

LOOMIS:  Do you have a sense that that kind of mentality might have carried over to being a legislator?

STOREY:  Could have. You know, being a pilot—he had a Mustang [P-51]. You know, he flew a lot.

LOOMIS:  Right.

STOREY:  Yeah, he flew valuable planes and flew a lot.

LOOMIS:  Yeah.

STOREY:  And he was a commander.

LOOMIS:  Right.

STOREY:  I mean, that’s what you’d call him. He was a commander in the Senate, and he’d want to be president of the Senate. That’s where he and Bob Bennett parted a little bit.

LOOMIS:  Right.

STOREY:  He wanted to be president and didn’t get it.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  But it’s just one of those competitive things.

LOOMIS:  Yeah, yeah.

You mentioned a couple of senators when you came in. So how did you guys in Topeka get along in terms of—

STOREY:  Oh, we got along fine.

LOOMIS:  Uh-huh.

STOREY:  Particularly Tom West and I. Tom was, as I say, the principal at Highland Park.

LOOMIS:  Right. So, he was a principal and served in the Senate simultaneously.

STOREY:  Yeah. He was a Republican, and you don’t get elected, at least in East Topeka, as a Republican.

LOOMIS:  Right.

STOREY:  But he could because—well, he ran at large, but he got elected again because everybody in East Topeka knew him. But that’s strictly a Democratic district

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY: [Anthony] “Tony” Hensley has been there forever.

LOOMIS:  Right, right.

STOREY:  But back then, Tom was—he was just well liked and well known and very honest, and [Elwaine] just pretty much stuck to—he [Tom] was the labor unions, Republicans, very valuable to them because they always had him as an unknown vote.

LOOMIS:  Right, right, right. You know, that’s interesting—

STOREY:  But we all three got along fine.

LOOMIS:  Yeah, yeah.

How did you think about running your committee? If you had some principles or—you used  more as chair. How did you get the committee to do its work effectively?

STOREY:  Well, you learn real quick—you got to be—you just really got to be tough. You have to say, “Here’s what it’s gonna be.” If I wanted a bill out, that bill was going to get out. I said, “If you guys don’t like it, when you get on the floor, vote against it, but I want this bill out to debate. We need to talk about it.” And I had to get it out. I never had one fail that I wanted out. But I left it to them most of the time. If it was something that I didn’t consider really that important or something, you know, I’d leave it to them to decide.

STOREY:  Let them beat it around. But they were good committee members, most of them.

LOOMIS:  And Transportation is something that—it can be pretty bipartisan.

STOREY:  Well, you run into—yeah. You run into a lot of problems. First, you have the problem of funding which—each party has their own priorities.

LOOMIS:  Right, right, right.

STOREY:  And then you run into the problem of which highways you’re going to repair first.

LOOMIS:  Sure.

STOREY:  We developed the state transportation plan in my committee. Dave Owen and I  developed the comprehensive highway plan, the design of where we were going to put, like, 75 Highway [U.S. Highway 75], put shoulders on it, because those were real narrow roads,  make them “super two’s” instead of “four-ways.” We decided which ones should be four lanes, which should be superhighways.

LOOMIS:  Within the committee, you decided this.  So that’s where the transportation plan came from?

STOREY:  Yeah.

LOOMIS:  Not from the Department of Trans[portation]—

STOREY:  No, we actually—well, with their assistance. We’ll draw it up. You get the secretary and say, “Here’s what we want to do. How much money you got?”

LOOMIS:  So, what was—[Laughs.] Yeah. Or “How much money do you think you’re going to have after they take some of it?”

STOREY:  Back then, you did not take from the highway department.

LOOMIS:  Is that right?

STOREY:  That’s right. That was trust money. To us, to me it was trust money.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  We had raised that through taxes.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  And we increased it by putting an extra tax on the diesel fuel.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  And that all went to the highway department. In my time in the Senate, there was never a dime taken out of the highway department for anything else.

LOOMIS:  Boy, that’s a change.

STOREY:  Yeah, boy, is it ever.

LOOMIS:  So that’s a big—one of the big functions of government, clearly in a state like Kansas. So where did the governor come in on something like that?

STOREY:  We had—well, of course, as far as the terms that I served with [Robert B.] Docking and Bob Bennett, we were in agreement. Bob Docking supported the highway. Very supportive. And so is Bob Bennett.  Bob Bennett just said, “You guys run it. I’m not gonna interfere. I’m not gonna say there should be some highways built in Johnson County or shouldn’t be in Salina or someplace. Those plans are to be made by the Department of Transportation and the funding. You guys [could raise it? ].”

LOOMIS:   Mm-hm.

STOREY:  But they didn’t really interfere, the highway department.

LOOMIS:  Did you have to deal directly with Docking very much?

STOREY:  Oh, yeah.

LOOMIS:  So how did you guys get along?

STOREY:  I really liked him. I thought he was a great guy. Very, very [cooperative] and very competent. And I tell you he was a very smart governor. He didn’t get himself in any trouble. You know, if there was some kind of trouble rolling along, somebody else is going to get involved in it, not him. But he’s a good guy.

LOOMIS:  How do you think he got elected all those years as a Democrat?

STOREY:  Well, a lot of it—when he first got elected, when he beat [William H.] “Bill” Avery in 1964—that was kind of a bad deal because Bill was also a good, close friend of mine. Bill got caught on a couple of issues.

LOOMIS:  Right.

STOREY:  The legislature the year before he got elected had decided to deduct the state income tax from your check because nobody paid it.

LOOMIS: [Chuckles.]

STOREY:  Well, that’s a good way to get money.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  Well, that hit his first year as governor.

LOOMIS:  Right, right.

STOREY:  And then his budget director told him that he needed to raise the sales tax.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  And he didn’t. We had a great—too much—a big volume.

LOOMIS:  Right.

STOREY:  And the branded him—Docking’s first campaign, they had little guys like Batman [as a] Taxman and just stamped them all over telephone poles all over the state. [Chuckles.] And that’s how he first got in.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  And then he’s popular after that.

LOOMIS:  Yeah. Bennett was. I mean Docking.

STOREY:  Oh, yeah, yeah.

LOOMIS:  He and Bob Bennett are great friends, by the way.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  When they were in college—I don’t know if you knew this—

LOOMIS:  No

STOREY:  Bennett ran for the president of KU, the first unaffiliated, non-fraternity man, and won it.

LOOMIS:  Hmm.

STOREY: Bennett’s never forgotten KU.

LOOMIS:  Right. You know that happened a couple of years ago

at KU.

STOREY:  It did. When that happened, I thought back, and I thought, Well, it’s happened again. The Independents came through. He and Bob were good friends in college.

LOOMIS:  Yeah.

STOREY:  And they got along fine.

LOOMIS:  And there does seem to be kind of a—for all the size of Kansas—this kind of small-town element, that people do know each other. You seem to know—at thirty-three, you seemed to know a lot of people just by being here.

STOREY:  Yeah. And, like I say, I had been involved in—I was Young Republican chairman, County Republican chairman, so could keep in touch.

LOOMIS:  Right, right. But, I mean, you were doing that at a fairly young age.

STOREY:  Yeah, I got started kind of young.

LOOMIS:  Yeah, yeah.

As you moved on, did you fall into kind of a routine about the legislature, or was every session kind of a new—

STOREY:  No, you do about the same things.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  I knew when the session started when I was going to be there and when I was going to [leave? 28:55].

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  I didn’t change much of my habits over the years.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm, mm-hm.

What issues did you get interested in later on that you might not have known you were going to be interested in when you started?

STOREY:  Actually, probably highways.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  I knew nothing at that time about the turnpike system—

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  —when I went on that board, Kansas Turnpike. I really learned about the turnpike system. As a matter of fact, we tried to pass another turnpike bill that I [carried in southeast Kansas turnpike? 29:33].

LOOMIS:  Oh, really?

STOREY:  Yeah. And we actually had it pass, but the landowners took it to court, and by the time the Supreme Court got to rule, it wasn’t feasible.

LOOMIS:  Where was that going to run?

STOREY:  Southeast Kansas. It would run from Wichita down to Fredonia, down through the Flint Hills and down around, towards Fredonia, and end up down—somewhere in the area of Pittsburg, in that area.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm, mm-hm.

STOREY:  That’s known as the Southeast Kansas Turnpike.

LOOMIS:  No, I’ve heard about that at various times. I didn’t know that it had actually passed.

STOREY:  We got it passed, but it went to court, and a bunch of landowners—some of them knew. They were down in Winfield,   It went right through their Flint Hills.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm, mm-hm.

STOREY:  They took it to court, and we were—at the time we did it, you have to be—which I learned about later—you have to really fund a turnpike. You have to—if you’re going to sell a bond, you got to make sure that revenue is going to be there.

LOOMIS:  Sure.

STOREY:  Because there’s no other way you can get them sold.

LOOMIS:  Right, right, right.

STOREY:  We had the bond opinion; we had the guys in New York rate the grade of the bonds. By the time we got to court, the bond market had changed and the traffic counts had changed, so we didn’t get it.

STOREY:  And then we had my old friend John [F.] Hayes from Hutchinson, who introduced the other Turnpike. That was from Hutchinson, up to Highway 50.

LOOMIS:  Right.

STOREY:  We never did get that passed. [Chuckles.]

LOOMIS:  You hear echoes of that—when I did a previous book on [Patrick J.] Pat Hurley and Pete McGill and—it was, like, ’88, ’89—they did the big roads bill then, and they have many of those.

STOREY:  Oh, yeah.

LOOMIS:  When did you leave the legislature?

STOREY:  Nineteen sixty-eight. Leave? When did I leave?

LOOMIS:  Yeah. When did your legislative term finish? When did you leave the Senate?

STOREY:  Sixty-eight.

LOOMIS:  I thought you came in in ’68.

STOREY:  I’m sorry, ’76.

LOOMIS:  Seventy-six. I thought it might be eight years.

STOREY:  Seventy-six.

LOOMIS:  Yeah. So why did you decide to retire from the Senate?

STOREY:  Well, I ran again and got beat.

LOOMIS:  Oh, you did! I didn’t know that.

STOREY:  Bob Bennett talked me into it. I said, “I’m quitting.” I only planned on eight years.

LOOMIS:  Uh-huh. Right, right, right.

STOREY:  I said, “I’m quitting,” and everybody heard I’m quitting, and so they got some people in, and then Bennett talked me into running, and I said, “I’m really don’t want to run, Bob, and I’m not going to do anything.”

LOOMIS:  Right.

STOREY:  And I did not campaign.

LOOMIS:  Uh-huh.

STOREY:  But I ran because he wanted me there for his next two years. He thought it was going to be six.

LOOMIS:  Yeah. Right, right, right.

STOREY:  But the next two, because I was really handling all of his stuff in the Senate.

LOOMIS:  Right. When you say you were handling his stuff, what do you mean?

STOREY:  We would have lunch four times a week, and he had things to do. Can you get that through the Senate?”

LOOMIS:  Yeah.

STOREY:  And “Here’s a bill I’d like to see in.” I’d get a draft. Didn’t get it in.

LOOMIS:  So, were you in the formal leadership, or were you still just a committee chair?

STOREY:  Just committee chair. I was on the eight-man committee. That’s all it was.

LOOMIS:  And I assume you would talk to the president of the Senate as well.

STOREY:  He didn’t have too much luck with—

LOOMIS:  Was it—

STOREY:  —Ross [O.] Doyen.

LOOMIS:   With Ross.

STOREY:  He didn’t have too much luck with Ross.

LOOMIS:  So that’s interesting. So, do you remember—I’m going to have to look this up—but roughly what your majorities were in those days?

STOREY:  Well, you mean Republican- Democrat?

LOOMIS:  Yeah, yeah.

STOREY:  I got elected—it was 32 to 8.

STOREY:  Yeah. My second term—it wasn’t far from that.  It was about twelve, I think. It was pretty overwhelming. We never had trouble getting a majority.

LOOMIS:  Right, right. But that to me is interesting, that the governor would have—would work with somebody not in the leadership, as opposed to working with the elected leader of the Senate.

STOREY:  Oh, well. You know what? I won’t tell you everything, but I’ll tell you that—probably because he knew we had the same—pretty much the same interests. We worked close together.

And Ross—they didn’t [connect] I think.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  Ross was out in western Kansas,  and he just wasn’t too interested in some of the programs.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  And he always thought Bob Bennett was probably much smarter than he was, a little bit of jealousy. He [wasn’t] really friendly with him.

LOOMIS:  Huh.

STOREY:  And then Norman Gaar worked with Ross a lot after that.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  Because he’s just like Bennett. They got together and collaborated on running for president and majority leader.

LOOMIS:  That’s very interesting.

STOREY:  I’ll have to tell you all about that back room there. I was there. [Chuckles.]

LOOMIS:  So how did—in that caucus, how was that Doyen came to become president of the Senate?

STOREY:  Well, that’s kind of a long story. I’m not going to get into all of it, but—some of it sounds like sour grapes, and it isn’t. It’s just realistic fact. He had decided to run for president, and I was running for president.   And then Norman Gaar decided to run for president.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  And Norman had probably about maybe six votes, and I had I think two more than Ross at the time.   And somewhere in between, Norman and Ross got together, and all of a sudden, all of Gaar’s went to Ross, except two of them, who were friends of mine. And that’s how he got elected.

LOOMIS:  I see.

STOREY:  And he had committed to Gaar to get him elected majority leader and kick Joe Harder out.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  He got in. That’s the way it all happened.

LOOMIS:  No, I—and something like—a little bit like that happened in ’88, when I first did my other book, that there was Fred Kerr and the guy from Ottawa—Jim—thought he had it, and then—

STOREY:  Yeah.

LOOMIS: But those are leadership positions.

STOREY:  Yes. And there are deals made, you know, on the back rooms that you aren’t aware of.   I mean, you trust most of your people.

LOOMIS:  Sure.

STOREY:  And sometimes you just can’t.

LOOMIS:              So aside from Transportation—did you stay on Ways and Means?

STOREY:  Yes. Oh, yeah, all the years.

LOOMIS:  Yeah.

STOREY:  Judiciary.

LOOMIS:  Even though you weren’t chair, what were the sorts of things that you really focused in on in those two committees?

STOREY:  Well, Ways and Means, of course, course, I was always—I learned—there are probably—and some people may take this wrong, but it’s true—there are probably five people in the Senate that know the budget.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  And there’s eleven on the committee. But I was on the committee eight years, and I sat there and watched them, and they didn’t read it.

LOOMIS:  Right.

STOREY:  That’s tough. It’s tough. I mean, when you get down to the omnibus bill, which is—it’s big. It’s ridiculous because no one read it.   But I studied the budget, and I got together with a couple of guys, Richard Ryan in the research department and Dale Dennis in the Education department.

LOOMIS:  Sure.

STOREY:  I said, “Richard, tell me how this works.” And we’d sit down and he’d show me.” It’s a tough formula. I knew nothing. It was a good foundation for me. Nothing. Dale [Dennis] knows everything.

LOOMIS:  Right.

STOREY:  And they’re both super guys.

LOOMIS:  Yeah.

STOREY:  I said, “[Dale], tell me what the heck I’m supposed to be doing on the [school foundation group? Tell me about formula.” And that’s how I learned it. And in eight years I just kept up with it.

LOOMIS:  I mean, those were two of the best possible [experts you could have ever, ever learned from.

STOREY:  Well, if you pick a book up, you pick that budget up and try to read it, there’s no way to read it.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm, mm-hm.

STOREY:  And that’s a problem on voting on the floor, because all of these guys didn’t have any idea—the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee could get up and say, “You know, this is gonna be a good bill. It does this. I move that it be referred to the committee as a whole. Well, you know, these people are out there, and would ask: “Well, what does it say?” “The committee passed it.”

LOOMIS:  What about Judiciary? What kind of stuff did you focus on there, do you think?

STOREY:  Well, we had—we had quite a few—other than the normal changing of the code, the judicial code—

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm, mm-hm.

STOREY:  —we had a couple of the abortion bills like what’s happened today. Of course, the first thing—you know, issues always came up back in those days.

LOOMIS:  Right, right, right.

STOREY:  We never did much with it. We had our first brush with abortion back then.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY: [Francis] Steadman [F.] Ball from Atchison, Kansas, which is the [Sisters of Mary headquarters]—

LOOMIS:  Right, right, right.

STOREY:  He was chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  We had our first abortion bill, and they stormed the statehouse, the plaques—and we had no security back then. [Transcriber’s note: He probably meant placards.]

LOOMIS:  Really!

STOREY:  And they hit Steadman in the head with one of those plaques. And anyway, we passed the abortion bill out. Not the one they wanted. We didn’tpass the one they wanted; we passed the one we could live with .  On abortion, we wanted the doctors to make the decisions. And they beat him three to one in the next election. Bob Bennett and I both told him—we were both on the committee—said, “Let us carry the bill. I’m from Topeka, and I don’t care,” and Bob Bennett’s in Johnson County. So, Bennett said “It’s my job.” And he carried that bill, and he just got trounced.

LOOMIS:  Yeah, yeah.

STOREY:  That was one of the big issues.

LOOMIS:  Was that before Roe v. Wade or after Roe v. Wade?

STOREY:  It was—let’s see, Roe v. Wade was—

LOOMIS:  Seventy-three.

STOREY:  Seventy-three. This was before that.  This would have been probably in ’71.

LOOMIS:  Uh-huh.

STOREY:  Seventy or ’71, because there were no laws on the books.

LOOMIS:  Right, right, right. So, it was popping up as a—

STOREY:  Yeah, and this movement—it’s usually out of Wichita—it was trying to prevent certain trimesters, —

LOOMIS:  Yeah.

STOREY:  —but we just kept the law like it was.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  Let’s see, other than—we didn’t have the fights they have today. But we did have that one deal that was pretty—it was bad.

LOOMIS:  Yeah. And you didn’t—

STOREY:  And it didn’t come up again.

LOOMIS:  Right. Not until the—

STOREY:  Not until my second term, it didn’t come.

LOOMIS:  It’s a little far afield, but you were elected to the state Senate the same year that [Robert J.] “Bob” Dole was elected to the U.S. Senate.

STOREY:  U.S. Senate.

LOOMIS:  I assume that you knew Bob Dole.

STOREY:  Oh, yeah.

LOOMIS:  Of course. But did you have any—you know, as a senator, did you have any dealings with Washington or with the Dole office?

STOREY:  Well, I did when the beautification bill came out.

LOOMIS:  Mmm, mm-hm.

STOREY:  I was back there all the time.

LOOMIS:  Sure, because that’s a —

STOREY: [Claudia Alta Taylor] “Lady Bird” Johnson.

LOOMIS:  Yeah.

STOREY:  But at the time, when Bob ran, I hadn’t decided to run for the Senate. He had already decided.

And I got a call one day from Bill Avery, who was another good friend of mine.

LOOMIS:  Sure.

STOREY:  Wanted me to be his Shawnee County chairman against Dole.

LOOMIS:  Oh, really?

STOREY:  Yeah, and I’d already told Kent Frizzell I’d be his chairman for attorney general.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm, mm-hm.

STOREY:  I’m setting [sic] there. I’m thinking, Oh, my God. Bill Avery’s a great guy and a good friend of mine, but I’m not gonna get involved in that against Dole. I said, I’m right in the middle of Avery’s campaign and Bob Taggart called and told me he wasn’t going to run, so I got all of that.

LOOMIS:  Ah! [Laughs.] Another reason you weren’t in the Senate!

STOREY:  It was as good reason.

LOOMIS:  Tell me a little bit about Bob Taggart. I knew him later on. He worked for Dole’s son and kind of a legendary guy. What was he like as a senator?

STOREY:  Bob was a good, solid senator.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  He was. He was in the House first; then he went to the Senate. But he’s been a friend of mine for so darn long, you know, there isn’t anything but good I can say about him.

LOOMIS:  No, no, right, right.

STOREY:  He didn’t cause any trouble. He followed the leadership. And he was just a good, solid senator.

LOOMIS:  Why did he decide not to run?

STOREY:  He just wanted to stay in business.

LOOMIS:  Yeah.

STOREY:  He was getting his appraisal business going. He was in real estate, Love, Taggart and Robb  real estate company.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm, mm-hm.

STOREY:  And they wanted to get that going. They were building a shopping center and doing different things, and he decided it was time to get out.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm, mm-hm. I certainly understand that. Who did you get beat by?

STOREY: [Ronald R.] “Ron” Hein.

LOOMIS:  Oh, is that right?

STOREY:  Mm-hm.

LOOMIS:  In a primary.

STOREY:  He ran real hard, and—

LOOMIS:  And you didn’t run hard enough.

STOREY:  I didn’t—I haven’t knocked on a door in my life.

LOOMIS:  Yeah, yeah.

STOREY:  And I told people—and good friends of mine, businessmen, Charles [Marling] and a bunch of them. They said, he told us you weren’t going to run. We’ve already been contacted by Ron’s dad.” He ran a hard campaign and got all the Young Republicans from college out there. He was really campaigning when he—but I didn’t—I didn’t really have a chance of winning, I didn’t think.

LOOMIS:  Yeah.

STOREY:  But I had told Bennett I’d run, and I announced, and I did run, and he knew. And later we talked about it.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  He said, “You didn’t do anything.” I said, “I didn’t tell you I would.”

LOOMIS:  So as surprising as Bennett’s victory was in 1974, coming from behind to beat Vern Miller, —did you work on Bennett’s ’78 campaign?

STOREY:  I sure did.

LOOMIS:  So, what do you think happened there?

STOREY:  Oh, I can tell you what happened. Realistically, it changed—the whole election was that one weekend. You know, on a Friday before Tuesday Bennet was four or five points up, and that big utility bill came out over the weekend.

LOOMIS:  Yeah.

STOREY:  And we had television time Monday, and we said, “Explain that the Corporation Commission has nothing to do with the governor’s office other than being appointed.”   “We don’t make utility rates.” And he says, “Well, I don’t need to do that.” I said, “You really should, listen to all of us “ I said, “You really should, Bob,” because I’d worked with the Corporation Commission right out of law school, so I knew pretty much what they did. And he wouldn’t do it. He said, “I’m not gonna go on a negative.” I said, “It’s not negative. It’s just explaining.” It all switched on that Tuesday.

LOOMIS:  Right.

STOREY:  And that was it.

LOOMIS:  Right.

STOREY:  Believe me, we had all the polls every night and every day.

LOOMIS:  Right.

STOREY:  And Monday we got the polls, and we knew he was beat.

LOOMIS:  Yeah. I mean, I am a good friend of Dan Watkins and so he tells essentially the same, the same story.

STOREY:  Dan knows that, sure. Yeah, Dan’s a good guy. He’ll know that.

LOOMIS:  So, you just went back into law practice after—

STOREY:  Yes.

LOOMIS:  Yeah. Did you do any work with the legislature?

STOREY:  Yeah, I did. I started getting calls for lobbying, and I wasn’t really interested.

LOOMIS:  Right.

STOREY:  Some guys wanted to form lobbying firms. But I did take some—I took some lobbying issues, and I took them because I believed in them. I got the seatbelt law passed. General Motors, Chrysler and Ford hired me.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  Passed the mandatory seatbelt [law].

LOOMIS:  Now a question: What was their thinking behind—the big automakers’—behind passing the seatbelt ordinance?

STOREY:  Well, they had—1) [Mary Elizabeth Alexander Hanford] “Elizabeth” Dole had threatened them that she wanted a seatbelt law passed.

LOOMIS:  Right, right.

STOREY:  She wanted drinking laws changed

LOOMIS:  Right, right, right.

STOREY:  But 1) the guy that I worked with from General Motors, who was just a super guy, —he said, “You know, nobody has any idea how much health costs this’ll save and how many lives this’ll save. But” he said, “on the other hand, too, the federal government is always threatening us with sanctions if we don’t do something for safety.”

LOOMIS:  Sure, sure, sure.

STOREY:  So, they all three got together and combined, and they called me one day, and we met and talked to them, and—that was my first big one that I did.

LOOMIS:  Yeah.

STOREY:  I didn’t do many at all.

LOOMIS:  Right, right.

STOREY:  And then Jordan [L.] Haines called me one day, from Wichita concerning multi-bank holding, so I started that. We didn’t get it passed the first two sessions.

LOOMIS:  No, right.

STOREY:  But you can’t do it the first two—

LOOMIS:  No.

STOREY:  Got the seatbelt the second year.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  Multi-bank, I finally got out. I said, “This is too much work.” And then said, “You aren’t gonna get it till the Kansas Bankers Association supports it.”

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  They hadn’t done it yet.

LOOMIS:  Right, right, right.

STOREY:  And they finally did, and that’s when they got it.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  Everybody gets a lot of credit for passing that bill. If KBA hadn’t endorsed it, it would not have passed.

LOOMIS:  Right, right.

STOREY:  It made a lot of wealthy people.

LOOMIS:  Yeah. No, I was here during that era, and I can remember—and I think it’s one of those things that you—it was going to come. It had to come in some form or another.

STOREY:  It’s just like the Uncork Kansas today. There’s going to be wine and beer in grocery stores. It’s just a matter of when.

LOOMIS:  Yeah.

STOREY:  These things always happen. We were going to have liquor by the drink; it was a matter of when.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  It’s just—give it time.

LOOMIS:  Yeah.

STOREY:  It progresses.

LOOMIS:  Yeah.

STOREY:  It’ll happen.

LOOMIS:  As you said, in the ’70s they weren’t quite ready for it, for liquor by the—

STOREY:  No. We were still [Prohibition activist] Carrie [A.] Nation [unintelligible; 48:33].

LOOMIS:  How would that express itself in the legislature? That Prohibition era thinking, almost.

STOREY: [It reopened with] sort of the right-wing Prohibitionists in western Kansas.  The western Kansas legislators would be the first to tell you they were in all the hospitality rooms but couldn’t vote for liquor by the drink.  .

LOOMIS: [Laughs.]

STOREY:  Drinking, playing cards.

LOOMIS:  Uh-huh.

STOREY:  And they’d say, “Storey, be sure and vote for that liquor by the drink.” I said, “You guys”— “Oh, we can’t.” [Chuckles.] It’s not like a pay raise. They’d never do that, either.

LOOMIS:  Yeah.

STOREY:  It was a conservative movement. That’s all it was.

LOOMIS: [Laughs.] That’s funny. Although redistricting really—reapportionment really did change the nature of the legislature.

STOREY:  It did, sure. It did.

LOOMIS:  Without any question.

Do you think that being—did Bob then have to overcome being from Johnson County or did it help him, do you think?

STOREY:  He had a lot to overcome, particularly in western Kansas.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  When you’re running for office out in western Kansas, when I ran for attorney general, the same year—we were in a little town—we were in Norton, Kansas, because [J. C.] “Chick” Tillotson was introducing us. This lady came over to me, and she said, “Senator, I’m going to vote for you, but I’d never vote for a man who wears a goatee from Johnson County.” McGill was trying to get him to shave his goatee, and he said, “I won’t do it.”

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  And he overcame that. Vern Miller helped a little in that debate, that famous debates.

LOOMIS:  Right.

STOREY:  It was sort of like—we were talking about [money.   There’s a damn good chance if Vern Miller had just gone home that weekend and said, “I’m not gonna debate you,” he’d have been governor.

LOOMIS:  Well, if he hadn’t [popped out of a couple of trunksduring the campaign—

STOREY:  Yeah. But that debate just— won it for Bennett.

LOOMIS:  Yeah. I’ve never seen it.

STOREY:  Oh, Miller had no knowledge of school finance or anything. People asked Bennett, and Vern would say, “Well, you know, not important issues.”

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm. Hmm.

STOREY:  That made a lot of difference  in the race.

LOOMIS:  No. I heard that Bennett actually one time did shave his goatee off.

STOREY:  He trimmed it.

LOOMIS:  And it looks so—his chin looked so weak, I think his wife said, “Bob, you gotta”—

STOREY:  He did. He had about three levels. He trimmed it way down—

LOOMIS:  Uh-huh.

STOREY:  —down here [demonstrates]?

LOOMIS:  Yeah.

STOREY:  And he had three levels so it would grow back.

LOOMIS:  I see. [Laughs.] Funny we should talk about that, you know, thirty years after the fact.

STOREY:  There’s little things like that won a lot of battles. White shoes. He was wearing white shoes one time we were campaigning in western Kansas, in Liberal. He had white shoes on. And this guy came over to me. He said, “Who wears white shoes, and what kind of a man would wear white shoes in public?”

STOREY:  So, I said, “Bennett, don’t wear those anymore.”

STOREY:  There’s all kinds of things that make impressions on people.

LOOMIS:  Right.

Do you have any regrets? I mean, you lost a couple of races, clearly. Do you have any regrets about your political career?

STOREY:  No, not at all.

LOOMIS:  Uh-huh.

STOREY:  I forgot it the next day, the next week. No, I never looked back on it.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

What kind of law did you practice, generally?

STOREY:  I did a lot of insurance work, insurance companies, when we had a bunch [in? 51:56] Kansas, which we don’t anymore. And I did a lot of things for workers compensation and contracts. Just about everything except criminal law and divorces, domestic relations, or anything like that.

LOOMIS:  Did you have your own firm?

STOREY:  I was partners most of the time with two of my best friends.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  And that was our firm. We were equal partners.

LOOMIS:  After you left the legislature, you did some work for GM, whatever. Did you stay involved with politics very much?

STOREY:  Not too much. Really not. I sort of got out of politics. I didn’t ever really have anything to do with the House. When I lobbied for General Motors and I lobbied for multi-bank holding, I told them, “I’m going to hire somebody to work the House because I don’t have much luck over there. I’m too impatient.”  Because, you know, I can go to committee chairman,  and he can tell me, “Yeah, I’ll get this bill out.”

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  And two guys from the committee will come and say, “We’re not gonna get it out.”

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm. Yeah.

STOREY:  So, I didn’t have much to do with them. I didn’t really get too involved—a couple of—[Stephen] “Steve” Morris is a real good friend of mine. A bunch of the guys—we were all considered—I was considered a conservative back in those days.

LOOMIS:  Right, right, right.

STOREY:  I was.

LOOMIS:  Yeah. I understand.

STOREY:  But I was a fiscal conservative.

LOOMIS:  Right.

STOREY:  You know, today I’m not even close to it on the fiscal, but I’m a moderate—some people say liberal.

LOOMIS:  Yeah.

STOREY:  But it’s not the social issues and stuff. It’s just changed, politics. Even in Congress.

LOOMIS:  Oh, sure.

STOREY:  People like Sarah Palin—there’s people like her.   It’s changed.

LOOMIS:  I mean, the idea of going from Bob Dole and Keith Sebelius and [Charles Patrick] “Pat” Roberts in that 1st District to [Timothy Alan] “Tim” Huelskamp is, I mean, remarkable.

STOREY:  I’ll tell you a good story about that. I have a good friend in Manhattan and Palm Desert, friends of John [A.] Boehner’s. He goes out there and has dinner with him all the time.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  My buddy from Manhattan was telling him one time, “You took our only congressman off of the Agriculture Committee.” And Boehner just said, “Why in the hell did you send him to me, then? Somebody has some sense.” [Chuckles.] Which is true.

STOREY:  You know, he got kicked off all committees. [Stephen] “Steve” Morris kicked him off in the Senate.

LOOMIS:  I know, I know. It’s not like this was unprecedented.

STOREY:  No! It’s just—and they just get elected. It’s just crazy.

LOOMIS:  Yeah, yeah.

STOREY:  I don’t understand. I just finished Sons of Wichita[: How the Koch Brothers Became America’s Most Powerful and Private Dynasty]. Have you read that book yet?

LOOMIS: [No audible response.]

STOREY:  About the Koch family [sic; Koch brothers: Charles G. and David H. Koch]?

LOOMIS:  No, I haven’t.

STOREY:  You being studious, you ought to read that.

LOOMIS:  Yeah.

STOREY:  It’s really interesting.

LOOMIS:  Right.

STOREY:  Because, you know, they run Kansas.

LOOMIS:  Yeah.

STOREY:  They run Wisconsin. They just finished their big conclave out at Palm Springs.

LOOMIS:  No, I understand, yeah.

STOREY:  Nine hundred million dollars.

LOOMIS:  It’s interesting that they were willing to, you know, talk about that.

STOREY:  This is the first interviews they did. First time they made it public.

LOOMIS:  And they clearly—that was intentional. Nothing happens by accident.

STOREY:  No, they want you to know or they wouldn’t change  They just wanted you to know that their number one thing in life is to get government out of business. Period.

LOOMIS:  I think I know the answer, but were you ever—you know, in the sense, the Kochs are in the threatening business. Did you ever feel threatened in the Senate on any given vote?

STOREY:  Threatened really seriously? No. I got some phone calls.

LOOMIS:  Oh, sure.

STOREY:  About, you know, “If you vote for this, your family’s in trouble.” I mean, yeah, you get those. But, no, I was never threatened. I never changed a vote for any reason at all, except—unless I was wrong.

LOOMIS:  Yeah. I mean, were there times when you felt, oh—that you did change your mind on something?

STOREY:  Sure. I changed my mind after I’d get some more facts.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  But there are other things that—one of the big issues was when Bingo came out.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  The whole state of Kansas came crashing down Bingo.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  And it took a constitutional amendment.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  And I said, “I’m not gonna put the Bingo in our state constitution.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  And I was [chuckles] one of about only five—I voted against it in the Senate. And every time I went to VFW [Veterans of Foreign Wars] or an American Legion, there was an enemies list on the board, and I was on it.

LOOMIS:  I’ll be darned.

STOREY:  It’s just unbelievable. People said, “You probably should have changed your vote.” I said, “I never want to do that.”

LOOMIS:  As I understand it, that Bingo vote was written—it was written in a way that that opened the door—

STOREY:  They used it later to get casinos.

LOOMIS:  Yeah, yeah.

STOREY:  Yeah, but back then, it was just strictly Bingo.

LOOMIS:  But it was in the constitution.

STOREY:  Yeah. A great place for it, isn’t it?

LOOMIS: [Laughs.] And your interpretation was they didn’t have to do that? They didn’t have to do a constitutional amendment?

STOREY:  No. If you want to legalize it. My interpretation was, go ahead and play. The Catholic churches are doing it in their basement every week. Nobody’s causing any problems about it. No, I just wouldn’t legalize it.

LOOMIS:  Yeah.

STOREY:  But I would vote for legalized gambling.

LOOMIS:  You would have?

STOREY:  Yes. Absolutely. That’s like picking a little thing out of a big portion, you know. Gambling is gambling.  Yeah, I would have voted to legalize casinos, sure.

LOOMIS:  Well, we finally got to it after—

STOREY:  We finally did.

LOOMIS:  —a tortuous process.

STOREY:  I voted for liquor by the drink and legalized gambling, pari-mutuel, every chance I got.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  Made sense. People wanted it, go and vote for it. If they don’t, they aren’t.

LOOMIS:  There was a moral issue there. Was there also a revenue issue? Was there a revenue component to voting for Bingo?

STOREY:  Yeah, but, you know, you couldn’t rely on what you heard back then. For instance, when the casinos came in—

LOOMIS:  Oh.

STOREY:  —state-owned casinos, I didn’t think there was a way in the world when they were proposing it that the casino in Pittsburg would ever make a dime.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm, mm-hm.

STOREY:  They did it. It passed.

LOOMIS:  Right.

STOREY:  And then nobody would believe it.

LOOMIS:  Right.

STOREY:  It’s things like that.

LOOMIS:  Right, right, right.

STOREY:  No, there was never any—I never had any thought that we were going to gain a ton of revenue, but I didn’t think we’d lose any,  particularly when Missouri opened that crazy deal they had built on a river [a casino on a boat]. It was right across the river from

Kansas.

LOOMIS:  Right, right, right.

STOREY:  It didn’t much sense not to do it here.

LOOMIS:  Right, right, right.

Did you guys—did you raise the gas tax?

STOREY:  We raised the diesel tax.

LOOMIS:  The diesel tax, you mentioned.

STOREY:  Yeah, we did that one year, and then that’s when Bennett proposed it, and we caught all kinds of hell on that one. From the truckers.

LOOMIS:  Right.

STOREY:  Because it was just diesel alone.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  And he didn’t get any support from the truckers the governor’s race on that. He still won, but from being president of the Senate. That was my bill, in Transportation. And I got a lot of flak from it. but it made sense. Diesel fuel was real low. I don’t know if you remember. It used to be lower than gas.

LOOMIS:  Yeah, I know. I haven’t tracked it—

STOREY:  We had—all these truckers were tearing the roads up.

LOOMIS:  Sure, sure.

STOREY:  And they were paying less tax.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  So, we raised that.

LOOMIS:  So, it really was a user fee.

STOREY:  Sure, it was, yeah. And it worked out fine.

LOOMIS:  Yeah. Oh, yeah.

STOREY:  They always do. I mean, people are going to really raise hell about a lot of things, but the end result—they usually work out.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  I wouldn’t say that about what’s going on today.

LOOMIS:  No.

STOREY:  That’s not going to work out.

LOOMIS:  No. I mean, I don’t want to whine about the good old days, but as a former legislator, someone who’s watched this process, when you see the legislature operating today—we’ll sort of finish up here—what are your thoughts about it?

STOREY:  It makes me kind of sick to my stomach, to be honest with you, —

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  —when I see what they’re doing, the way they’re voting, things they come up with. I can’t imagine anybody with any common sense, for anybody that cares about the state of Kansas doing what they’re doing. They’re taking the money from kids, children. They’re taking money out of retirement funds.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  They’re robbing the highway fund of $150 million. I mean, that’s not pocket change.

LOOMIS:  No.

STOREY:  And we’re still in the hole. So now you’re going to reduce in the future what the retirement KPERS [State of Kansas Retirement System for Public Employees] will be for employees. I have no idea where we’re going. I keep reading—Duane Goossen sends me—

LOOMIS:  Sure.

STOREY:  —he’s a good guy, and he saidit doesn’t matter what you do, we’re still $56 million in the hole, if all of this works.

LOOMIS:  Yeah.

STOREY:  And we’re not gaining any money.

LOOMIS:  No.

STOREY:  The one thing—I can’t imagine what these guys don’t look at—we’re not gaining any money. We aren’t gaining any revenue. There’s no place to gain it.

LOOMIS:  No. I don’t think they care. I think they want to shrink government. They’re committed to it.

STOREY:  Well, that’s Kochs’ theory. I mean, that’s the Koch family’s theory, and they’re doing it. But the idea of—I don’t care how much money you charge for cigarettes, but it seems like you’re just dumping on—here’s an easy one.

LOOMIS:  Sure.

STOREY:  You know, we’ll raise them eleven dollars. But then when I look at these ridiculous things they’re doing to other programs, I just can’t imagine—it’s hard for me to imagine an intelligent person, particularly from an urban area, voting for some of this stuff.

LOOMIS:  Mm-hm.

STOREY:  It just doesn’t make much sense. So, I have a hard time. Sure, I do.

LOOMIS:  Yeah. Yeah. No, when I talked to Rochelle Chronister, who’s pretty active still, she just said, “I really don’t like coming to the Capitol.”

STOREY:  I get four or five e-mails a day from her. I’m on that enemies list that they used to call us.

LOOMIS: [Laughs.] [Phone rings.]

STOREY:  Oh, yeah, we’re all on it. Duane Goossen—all of us know what’s going on.

LOOMIS:  Sure. Oh, yeah. No, Duane’s been great. And he’s now joined a group of writers that—he’ll write with us once every four or five weeks.

STOREY:  He knows the budget process very, very well. But that’s the problem today: You see a budget director comes out, and he says what he’s supposed to say. The secretary of revenue says what he’s supposed to say. If you say what you should say, you know, it’s something you can get in trouble for.

LOOMIS:  Of course. Or you wouldn’t have a job [unintelligible; 63:10].

STOREY:  Can you imagine—what was that I was just thinking of? Can you imagine even thinking about and announcing, as governor of the state, to get more gun manufacturers in Kansas so we could raise money? Now, what kind of sense does that make to you?

LOOMIS:  Asking the question answers it.

STOREY:  Yeah, I know.

LOOMIS:  And that’s where we are. We’re talking about stuff that’s—that’s pretty much nuts.

STOREY:  That’s just to say, “Maybe we can raise some dough.”

LOOMIS:  Yeah.  Well, if we start whining now about the legislature, we could go on—

STOREY:  No whining.

LOOMIS:  —we’d go on forever.

STOREY:  It doesn’t bother me, if you’re done.

 

[End of interview.]

 

Interviewee Biographical Sketch

Bob W. Storey, a practicing Topeka attorney since 1963, served in the Kansas Senate from 1969 to 1976. Senator Storey was Chairperson of the Senate Transportation Committee, and in that role, served on the Kansas Turnpike Authority. Storey received his undergraduate degree in Business Administration from Washburn University in 1961 and his J.D. degree from the Washburn University School of Law in 1963. He served as Assistant General Counsel for the Kansas Corporation Commission prior to running for office.

Interviewee Date of Birth

September 5, 1934

Interviewee Political Party

Republican

Interviewee Positions

Member, Senate Ways and Means 1969-1976
State Senator, Kansas Senate 1969-1976
Member, Senate Transportation and Utilities 1969-1970
Member, Senate Judiciary 1969-1976
Member, House Legislative, Judicial and Congressional Apportionment 1969-1974
Chair, Senate Transportation and Utilities -- Utilities Subcommittee 1969-1970
Chair, Senate Transportation and Utilities 1971-1976

Senate District Numbers

13; 20

Interview Location

Topeka, KS

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