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Governor Mike Hayden interview

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Q. Governor, could you tell me about your background, where you grew up and what your life was like as a boy and any childhood memories you may have?

A. Well, I was very fortunate to grow up in a small town in far western Kansas. Atwood is our hometown. And I come from a family of farmers. My dad farmed for 40 years and my brother farms and is still farming today, the same land. It's the same land that my grandparents had when they were married in 1915. So it gave me a great sense of the soil, great sense of the land itself and particularly, a sense of what it was like to grow up in a small town and to be in a rural community. And that was very, very helpful to me throughout my years in the legislature and my years in the governorship because I always felt a closeness to Kansas, a closeness to the communities.

I also came from a family of public servants. My grandfather was mayor, my mother and grandmother were school board members, and my father was a county commissioner and city councilman. So around our dinner table there was always a conversation about politics and public policy and public service. It was with that background that I ran at the age of 28 for the state legislature and was elected the first time, and that was my foray really into state government and all the things that ensued throughout the years.

Q. A lot of children of farmers end up being farmers themselves. What prompted you to go to college and decide to take that step?

A. I did grow up farming. I realized very early on that I really wasn't cut out to be a farmer. In fact, I remember very poignantly a story. When we were in school we had to read an essay by Dwight Eisenhower, by President Eisenhower, and it was called, "An Open Letter to the American Student." And in that Eisenhowerwho was a Kansan of course, and who grew up in a very small town in those days, Abilene, Kansashad a line in there that I'll never forget. He said, "There is more to life than plowing a straight furrow." That had a big impact on me and I think probably gave me a vision to look beyond the farm and to look beyond my own community where I grew up and really kind of set in motion my whole idea of furthering my education, first at Kansas State University and then after Vietnam at Fort Hays State University. And I've never forgotten that. I think I probably wasn't cut out to be a farmer, but I think the words of Eisenhower rang in my ears for a long time that there was really a calling for me beyond the farm.

Q. And how did your service in Vietnam shape your life after Vietnam? Did it shape how you approached life and what you wanted to do when you returned from Vietnam?

A. There isn't any doubt about that. My Vietnam experience, unlike perhaps many others, shaped my concern, certainly my concern for the country, my concern for public policy, my concern for my fellow man. I was very fortunate in Vietnam in that I lived in the jungle for the better part of a year. We were in many difficult firefights. I was on the Cambodian invasions when President Nixon ordered us into Cambodia in May of 1970. In fact I only had a few days to remain in the army at that time, and I was fortunate in that I never got wounded. But I saw the horrible affects of war, firsthand, and I never forgot that. And I also saw firsthand the value of leadership, the importance of leadership.

I remember, in fact, one time Alf Landon called me out of the blue really and he said, "I want to endorse you for governor." Of course I was deeply honored that he would do that, and he did that, and I said to him one time, "Governor Landon, what prompted you to do that?" and he said, "Well, you've been there under fire," and I never forgot that. Vietnam did shape my life, but it shaped it in a very positive way, and I'm thankful for that experience and it really did kind of give me the basis of leadership I needed to ultimately become the governor of our state.

Kansas Governors Recorded History and Documentary Project. Dr. Bob Beatty and Washburn University, 2005. Governor Mike Hayden, interviewed November 24, 2003

Q. You ran for the state legislature at a relatively young age and you defeated an incumbent in the primary. What prompted you to throw your hat into politics to take on an incumbent?

A. It was really my concern about the environment and my concern for conservation and natural resources got me into politics in the first place. We did have an incumbent representing our area at the time, and I kept noticing votes on natural resource issues, water related issues and public lands issues, and those votes concerned me. So I made the determination that I would run. I remember calling the county chairman in my home county (who ultimately ended up being the chairman of my campaign for governor many years later), and I said to him, ``I'm going to run for the legislature and I would like your help.'' I think I was 28 at the time. He said, ``Well I'll help you, but you know we've never elected anybody under 50 before.''

And it was a hard fought primary, I think we won by 250 votes. And then I ultimately won the general election. And both the people that I defeated in that election, the incumbent Republican and the Democrat, became good friends years later and I still am good friends with their families and everything yet today. So, what it does show you is that while the power of incumbency is important, that there is always room for new ideas, there is room for new people constantly in public service. I hope maybe that we set a small example for folks in the years to come that are thinking about public service.

Q. So you ran for office and won when you were 28. When did you get that first thought that you not only could be governor but you wanted to be governor?

A. Actually, I had been in politics or in the legislature a long, long time before I ever thought about entering the governor's race at all. I'm reminded kind of Jerry Ford when he was vice president and he had been minority leader in the House for many, many years. And then, of course, when President Nixon resigned, he became president of the United States. They said to him, ``Mr. President, how does it feel?'' And he said,'' Well, you know, all I really ever wanted to be was Speaker of the House.'' And that was kind of my goal was to be Speaker of the House. And as I sat in the back row I remember, the back row of the legislature, one day the speaker did something and I turned to my seat mate and I said, ``Well how can he do that?'' and they said, ``Well remember, the power of the Speaker is awesome.'' I never forgot that. And so, my whole career really was pointed toward me becoming Speaker of the House, which I did become, and I had a wonderful time serving four years as Speaker.

It really wasn't until my second term as speaker that people began to approach me and I began to think about the possibility of running for governor. And so it wasn't something I dreamed of as a boy. It was something that I just worked up into. I was in the right place at the right time, and that's a lot of politics, is timing. If you'll visit with governors, you'll find that, you know, that they were prepared, but almost every one of them had an innate ability to take advantage of certain political circumstances that occurred at the time. I remember in March of 1986, which was the year I won the governorship, the Wichita Eagle did a poll and I think I had 3 percent of the vote or something like that. At that time I had already decided, of course, that I was going to run and had actually already announced. But it wasn't but six months before that that I really decided to run for governor. But I did it, I did it very methodically. I did it with a well thought-out plan. And I did take advantage of the circumstances as they arose. And so all of that ultimately led up to the successful campaign.


Kansas Governors Recorded History and Documentary Project. Dr. Bob Beatty and Washburn University, 2005. Governor Mike Hayden, interviewed November 24, 2003

Q. So talk about that successful run for Governor. You said you had a plan?

A. It was a very crowded Republican primary. My campaign manager, who was from Atwood, and one of my major campaign advisors, from Wichita State University, they devised a plan that said what we should do in that campaign is we should try to carry all of the counties with less than 10,000 people in them, of which in Kansas, there are around 90 such counties, at that time. And I think we actually carried 89 of those.

We appealed to people with a grass roots approach - a small town, agricultural base, a concern about and a closeness to the land; and grass roots politics, if you will, really. We also combined that with somewhat of a populist refrain. And in a crowded primary, the other candidates were essentially competing for the urban vote. . . . There was a candidate from Wichita, so they were running; there were other candidates from almost all of the urban centers or the eastern third of the state. So our goal was to run strong in the small counties, not get beat too bad in the urban counties, and it was a very successful strategy, because as the other candidates competed for urban votes we did everything we could to solidify the rural votes. And ultimately [we] won that primary against some very good candidates, very quality candidates. And we did win it actually with a pretty darn good margin, because the rural people really heard our message and really turned out.

Q. And what was the key to you winning the general election?

A. In the general election, I ran against Tom Docking. And the truth is that Tom Docking is a good friend. I knew his father well, who had served as governor for four terms. I knew his grandfather to some extent, who had served for two terms [as governor], and I actually knew his grandmother very well. And so Tom and I were not adversaries in the traditional sense. We actually admired each other personally. Our whole campaign was really about not a dog fight but a horse race; two people who really cared a lot about our state, who had a rich heritage in our state.

One of the reasons, of course, I was able to beat Tom is that we are a Republican state, and what I did successfully was to solidify the Republican base. I also brought the rural appeal, which helped me carry a great number of the small counties. But in the urban areas, I was able to use my legislative experience. Because I was Speaker of the House, they knew me in Topeka, and even though we didn't carry Shawnee County we came very close and ran very respectable here. We even carried Johnson County, which is exactly the opposite end of the state where I'm from. We won that for two reasons. One, it is heavily Republican, and they knew my name as Speaker of the House. I also had a running mate from Johnson County. And so our whole idea was to offset the margin that Tom would get in Wichita and in southeastern Kansas, and to some extent in the very northeast in Leavenworth and Wyandotte counties. And that was a very successful strategy. It was a very good race, and it was a very positive race; it was a hard fought race. But we had the right strategy for it; and perhaps had more maturity and experience. And that probably made the difference in that race.

Q. You've been elected to governor of Kansas. What runs through your head at that moment or what ran through your head at that moment?

A. A very humbling experience. I mean, to think about the fact that you're from a small town, you grew up in a farm family, you're from 320 miles west, northwest of Topeka, and all of sudden you've been elected to take the mantle of leadership for our state. It's an overwhelming feeling, a very humbling feeling to think that enough people have trusted you to make you the chief executive and that you've got four years at least, perhaps longer, but four years at least, to govern this state, which is an awesome responsibility.

Kansas Governors Recorded History and Documentary Project. Dr. Bob Beatty and Washburn University, 2005. Governor Mike Hayden, interviewed November 24, 2003

I felt very good about it, because having been Speaker of the House, having spent many years in the legislature, having known many governors and worked with several, I felt like I was prepared for job. In that sense I felt confident that I was ready to assume the job. But at the same time, the responsibility of it, it is awesome if you think about all of the responsibilities of state government and the fact that, you know, the buck does stop at your desk. Ultimately, with all the issues that can't be solved somewhere else, they are going to bring those to your desk, and you have to make a judgment. It's exciting, but it's a very awesome responsibility.

Q. How would, you looking back on it, characterize your style as a Governor?

A. Every governor does have a different style, and I've been fortunate of course to know many Governors over the years, and actually many Presidents. Everyone does approach it in a different way, and the real truth is there is no one-way. Everybody brings their personality to the office. So I brought a personality, a strong personality in that I had been a company commander in Vietnam, I had been Speaker of the House, a Chairman of the Ways and Means Committeethe kind of positions where you have to have a very strong personality. And so I brought that kind of no nonsense approach to it, an all business typePat Roberts used to say about Mike Hayden, he used to say, "Two forward and one back, feed `em hot chow." That's kind of my style; no nonsense, straightforward, ``Here's what we've got to do, let's get the job done.'' And that has its pluses and its minuses, of course. You know, I don't have any regrets about that style, at all, I mean, it was my personality. Ultimately, we got the highway plan passed and some of those things, it was ultimately the style that sometimes was needed.

But I recognize very much Governor Graves' entirely different style, which was very successful for him, and Governor Sebelius' style, which I think has been greatly successful for her. Their styles match their personalities, and that's really what it's all about. The secret is to govern you've got to be yourself. Whatever you brought to the table, those tools, that's what you want to use, that's what's going to be most successful for you.

Q. Take us through an idea in Mike Hayden's head which ends up having Governor Hayden sign a bill into law and what you had to do to accomplish that.

A. One of the most illustrative examples of how a bill becomes law is our attempt and ultimate success at getting a comprehensive highway plan passed. When I came into office I had as Speaker of the House headed up a commission on the public agenda, and one of the issues that was identified as sorely needed was improvement in the infrastructure of Kansas, particularly our highways. We have the third largest highway system in America. Only Texas and California have more road miles than we do, that belong to the state. Yet our highways at that time were in substantial disrepair. And so I came to the office with the idea of a major comprehensive highway plan, but in the first session I didn't introduce that idea, because of course we were having financial problems as a state, we were in the recession of the `80s; we were also in the drought, not unlike today's times, very similar in a lot of respects.

So what I did was I studied and had a lot of background work done on a need for a comprehensive highway plan, and in September of 1987 called a special session of the legislature. It was in my first year in office. I put a bill before them to initiate a comprehensive highway plan. Well, the legislature refused to adopt it. They went home without having done anything essentially during the special session. And, but I never gave up on the idea, never quit on it. Ultimately, after the 1988 session and then in the 1989 session the plan really started to catch fire, and people could see the economic advantages of it, people could see the public safety aspects of it.

Kansas Governors Recorded History and Documentary Project. Dr. Bob Beatty and Washburn University, 2005. Governor Mike Hayden, interviewed November 24, 2003

People needed jobs desperately across the state. And in the spring of 1989, we did pass an 8 billion dollar comprehensive highway plan. And that plan, I'm proud to say, came in on time and under budget when it was all said and done, even though by then I had left office many years before. It embodies the notion that you can have an idea and even though the road ahead was difficult, if you stay with it and you ultimately can sign that notion into law. And actually I did that in Fredonia, Kansas, signed the comprehensive highway plan into law in Fredonia, because it was in Fredonia, that many years before, I had traveled to talk about the need for a new highway in southeastern Kansas. Today that highway exists and it is US 400. And it has changed people's lives forever in southeastern Kansas.

Q. That's a good example because you have a bill that was not passed in special session and was later passed. What does a Kansan reading the newspaper not see that the Governor is doing? Are you calling individual legislators, are you giving media interviews, traveling to towns to sell your idea, are you doing all of those things? What does the Governor have to do to see that plan finally passes?

A. You have to employ every technique that is available. You have to have town meetings. I remember the first town meeting we had in Salina, which would build a four-lane highway and did build one from Salina north on the old Highway 81 corridor, the I-35 corridor now. At that first public meeting in Salina, which was held at the airport, I think there were nine people at that meeting. And one of them was my Aunt Mary. So you see we had to start with the idea and then we had to spread that idea through the media, through town meetings, through public appearances, through individual dialogue with legislators, through significant work at the Department of Transportation with the secretary, with the employees, with their public relations people. So you have to employ all those techniques to be successful at a comprehensive piece of legislation like that.

Q. Do you pick up the phone and call individual legislators and literally sell the idea?

A. Absolutely. There were a number of legislators that ultimately were key to the passage of that legislation. I worked closely with the Speaker of the House, closely with the President of the Senate, closely with the Minority Leader of the Senate, who at that time happened to be from southeastern Kansas, so highways of course to him were a very, very important thing.

One of the things about the comprehensive highway plan is that it ultimately became a bipartisan proposal. And that was one of the secrets, it wasn't a partisan issue. It was more a geographic issue. Some areas of the state felt like they had already had the roads they needed, but other areas were sorely neglected. So you do work very closely with individual legislators. Key committee chairs were important and even individual legislators who care deeply about highways at that time, they were very important to its passage.

Q. And what would you say was the most frustrating part of the job?

A. Well, one thing you have to understand is that the wheels of government turn slowly. And many times when you're governor you see things that need to be done, but sometimes it takes years to actually get that accomplished. The highway plan is a good example, but there are many others. Sometimes you never get that accomplished. And I think probably the most frustrating thing to me is the unfinished agenda, that when you're through with public service in a capacity as governor, the biggest regrets are those things that we never got to accomplish that we should have, or if we had the political wherewithal we might have gotten them accomplished.



Kansas Governors Recorded History and Documentary Project. Dr. Bob Beatty and Washburn University, 2005. Governor Mike Hayden, interviewed November 24, 2003

I came up through the legislature, so I was adjusted to the rough and tumble of politics. Many people get frustrated by that. I was never really frustrated by that or the bipartisan aspects of it either. But the frustration was with the unfinished agenda. The day you leave office you say to yourself, ``What might we have accomplished or what should we have accomplished that we didn't?'' I think those are the frustrations that I remember the most.

Q. Is there something you wish you had had time to do as you look back now in particular?

A. Well maybe in a sense I'm getting a second chance, because my interest was in natural resources, and I felt like that we had left a significant unfinished agenda as it relates to water. We did get funding for the state water plan in 1989 and that was one of our major accomplishments, and several other governors, several of my predecessors, had tried. So I was pleased with that. But we didn't get accomplished near what we needed to to ensure the future of Kansas as it relates to water. So maybe it's a little poetic justice that both Governor Graves and now Governor Sebelius have given me an opportunity to reengage on that issue. Today we're struggling and dealing with some of the same water questions that we dealt with a decade or more ago and some are no closer to a solution unfortunately, but some are. And that's a rewarding thing.

Q. Tell us about the program you had, which I believe was called ``Telling It to the Governor.'' Where did that idea come from and what were some of the interesting things that people ended up telling you?

A. Well, it was kind of a unique experience. We felt like, that it was important to break down the barriers. You know, most Kansans really never get to see the governor or if they do, it's just to shake their hand or see them on television, or maybe see him in passing. They never really get the chance to go one-on-one with the governor, particularly people away from Topeka, people away from the Capitol. So we had a program called, ``Tell the Governor.'' We took it to Garden City, we took it to western Kansas, we took it to southeastern Kansas, and we simply opened the door, and said, ``You've got fifteen minutes with the governor.'' And people would line up, and they would wait their turn. They would be very, very courteous actually and thankful. What most people brought you were their personal problems. They were people who couldn't get their child support payment, or that they were people who had handicaps or disabilities and didn't feel that they were being treated right or they were being discriminated against. There were people that would bring sometimes ideas, inventors, different people like that. And some of those ideas, as you might imagine, are as strange as you could imagine. But other people had very articulate policy concerns, that they would bring and say, ``As Governor you ought to think about this, you ought to see if there is a solution to this.''

But what I remember most about it was first, it keeps you in touch. It keeps you in touch with the reality. When you're governor you have security forces around you, you have a lot of secretaries, and you have other people, so that the general public just doesn't walk in the door, particularly unannounced or without an appointment. ``Tell the Governor'' gave people a chance to just show up and tell their two cents worth to the Governor. So it was a lot of value to me because it kept me in check with reality, with what people are really thinking and saying in many cases. But it also let people know that we had an open door policy and it was their government and they should have access to it.


Kansas Governors Recorded History and Documentary Project. Dr. Bob Beatty and Washburn University, 2005. Governor Mike Hayden, interviewed November 24, 2003

Q. Was it your idea or did someone come up to you and say this might be a good thing?

A. I think it was a combination of my western Kansas roots, small town roots. You know, I always felt kind of an isolation to Topeka. It's 321 miles from Atwood to Topeka. I drove it hundreds and hundreds of times in the years when I was in the legislature in particular, and I always felt like western Kansas was often overlooked, was often forgotten. And of course, as time has passed with reapportionment every ten years, western Kansas loses more and more and more representation, all the time. So people feel an isolationism and I probably grew up with that isolationism, so I felt like that on my own initiative I should show people that we can break that down, and that we could give them access, even in the smallest towns, in the most remote places; so it was really my initiative. I think probably my staff fine tuned it a little bit so that it could be practical and work. But it was really my concern that I had about making sure that people were not really isolated from their government.

Q. Tell me about the election of 1990, what happened, for those that don't know what happened.

A. Well it was a very difficult election. I have had the privilege to run in ten contested elections and the election of 1990 was the only election I ever lost in those ten elections. Let me say it was not at all a surprise to me. It was one of the most unusual and unique times in Kansas politics. We had just undergone reappraisal, and I was sensitive to the power of the reappraisal issue because my father had been a county commissioner out in western Kansas when we reappraised in the 1960s. As a result of that he got defeated, when the new tax system was put in place. You know, when you talk about taxes, the only fair taxes, of course, are the ones the other guy pays. And in reappraisal one of two things happen: your taxes either go up or they go down. If they went down, well, you had it coming, and if they went up, you were mad about that. And of course the easiest person to be mad at is the Governor.

So, I knew that reappraisal would be a very, very difficult issue. And it so happened, the way it worked is that the people of Kansas in 1986in the same election I was elected inpassed and approved a reclassification amendment to the constitution. And that reclassification amendment essentially in reappraisal, protected farmers and homeowners, and they still enjoy that protection today. But if you're going to take and protect one class of taxpayer, then that means somebody else is going to pay more. And so in protecting homeowners and the farmers essentially taxes went up on businesses, and on small businesses, in particular, it was very, very difficult. So every real estate agent was upset about it. Every small businessperson was upset about it. Some people whose homes hadn't been reappraised for twenty years, when they finally got a bill that reflected their current values, they thought it was grossly unfair. I would say the good thing about reappraisal is that no governor will have to go through it again, because when we changed the system, now there is a reappraisal annually of one third of property, so every three years people's taxes are adjusted based on current valuation. And that's a very fair system and is not going to cause governors in the future to have to go through what we had to go through in 1990.

But I was not at all surprised by it. In fact, there were riots on the statehouse grounds. There were thousands of protesting taxpayers demanding that the legislature and/or the governor do something about reappraisal. Well, reappraisal, one, is governed by the constitution. Two is that legislators, who had studied it for years, knew that we did the right thing, even though it was difficult politically. They knew that we were instituting a system that was far fairer when it came to property taxes. And all the studies since have, in fact, verified that fact. Kansas State has studied the impact of reappraisal since 1990, and every time it comes out to show that, in fact, reappraisals are by far fairer than the old system we were under.

Kansas Governors Recorded History and Documentary Project. Dr. Bob Beatty and Washburn University, 2005. Governor Mike Hayden, interviewed November 24, 2003

So it's one of those things that you do what you know is right, and sometimes you suffer the political consequences of that. We were very fortunate to win a primary in that year against several opponents, worthy opponents, who campaigned on the property tax question. But they had inflicted so much damage in that primary that the Republican Party was deeply split. And Governor Finney, who I had known for years as State Treasurer, she used to be a Republican and then she changed to become a Democrat. She was not involved in the reappraisal question as State Treasurer, as I was, as Governor Carlin had been, who was my predecessor, who actually ran in that primary against her. And probably was defeated in that primary principally because of the reappraisal issue.

So we were in a situation where Governor Finney could say, ``It's not my fault, I didn't have anything to do with it.'' And I was in a position where it occurred on my watch. And I knew it was the right thing to do, but I also knew that politically it was probably the kiss of death, and ultimately proved to be so as far as that election goes. But you know, I wouldn't have done it any differently. We did do the right thing from a policy standpoint. The truth is, it was such an overwhelming issue we probably couldn't have turned it around no matter what we had done.

Q. So you could have done something that you thought would have been wrong to win reelection but you did not do that?

A. I certainly could have attempted to do that, but I thought that would be a terrible tragedy. It was not the right thing to do. I discussed it with the Speaker of the House, with the President of the Senate, both of whom who had been former chairmen of the tax committee. And they were experts on reappraisal, and they knew we did the right thing. I did too. We just simply stood our ground, and we tried to get people to understand that in the long run, they'd be far better off if we had a fairer tax system. And we do have one today.

So, you know, you have to make the choice, and we made the choice, and I don't regret it at all. I don't regret it; we did the right thing. It is just one of the consequences of politics. I've always said this about politics: If you're afraid to lose, you should never run. So I was lucky to win and fortunate to win the first nine elections I ran in. But I was never afraid to lose, and I wasn't afraid to lose in 1990. In fact, I thought there was a very high probability all along we would not be successful in that campaign. But I don't regret it at all, and I am actually proud of the policy that came out of it.

Q. Are there some skills that you think every Kansas Governor should have to be successful on the job?

A. We are a small state. We only have one percent of the nation's population. But we're a state large in land mass. So we're very diverse in that respect. We're spread out. You have to have a good lesson in geography. You have to know and understand this state. What did Mark Twain say, "You tell me where a man gets his corn-pone and I will tell you what his opinions is." People are what they're from. You have to have that sense of geography to govern our state successfully, because it is a melting pot of the rural and urban, western and the eastern. And there are great divisions, political divisions, that if you don't understand those and know those, then they can really wreak havoc with you in the way of successful governance.






Kansas Governors Recorded History and Documentary Project. Dr. Bob Beatty and Washburn University, 2005. Governor Mike Hayden, interviewed November 24, 2003

So, one of the real secrets is, of course, being close to the people. In fact, if you look, since the modern day governorship in 1974, every one of our governors have come from the statehouse family, every single one. The last person to be elected outside of the statehouse and statehouse family was Bob Docking, first elected in 1966. And one of the reasons that is is because if you're in the statehouse family, if you're a Speaker of the House, or Attorney General, Insurance Commissioner, Secretary of State, State Treasurer, or Lieutenant Governor, you already have that sense; you've already been through the school of hard knocks in the sense of what it takes to make this state work and what it takes to be a successful governor. That's why the Statehouse family is such a tremendous training ground and it will be the training ground for a vast majority of our governors in the future.

Q. Is there something that after you became governor you were a bit surprised at and you said to yourself, ``I had no idea this was part of the job?''

A. There were no real big surprises. I had been fourteen years in the statehouse, I had been Speaker of the House. Probably the thing that kind of makes you the humblest, and in a sense is both frustrating and rewarding is that unlike the other positions in state government, there is a significant amount of ceremony associated with the governor's office. People want you to be in their page pictures, they want you to ride in their hometown parade, they want you to be at their centennial or their celebration or their Fourth of July. And, of course, you can only be in one or two, even on the 4th of July; if you try as hard you might be in three or four, that's out of 25 invitations.

One of the hardest parts for me was trying to hit that fine line between spending time on public policy, on real questions, and the ceremony, because the demand for the governor's appearances are just absolutely overwhelming. And some governors, I would tell you that Governor Graves was very skillful at dealing with that part. I think Governor Sebelius is very skillful at that, far better than I was, in the sense that I was not the best manager of time; I would let the schedule overwhelm me. In fact, I remember one time, one of my assistants asked me something and I pulled out a 3 by 5 card and I said, ``What does the schedule say?'' And she said, ``You mean you're going to let your life be ruled by 3 by 5 cards?'' And there is something to that! So one of the great skills of being a successful governor is to determine the priorities and stick with them, and not let the overwhelming demand for your time and appearances, particularly related to ceremony, get in the way of a successful governorship.

Q. What would you like Kansans to remember about yourself and your time as governor, a few things that you would want to make sure they knew about you and your governorship?

A. Well I think one is that you would hope that people when it was all said and done that they would feel that you cared, that you cared about them, that you cared about the state, that you were in it for the right reasons, you were in it because of your real, real deep concern about Kansas and about the world in which we live. If after it's all said and done if people just say, ``Yeah, I remember him and he did a good job,'' or ``I remember him and he was an honest guy,'' those are the kind of things ultimately; it's not the individual programs that are important. It's when it is said and done, you want people to feel good that you really tried to do the right things while you were in Cedar Crest and in the governor's office. That's really I think all you can ask.


Kansas Governors Recorded History and Documentary Project. Dr. Bob Beatty and Washburn University, 2005. Governor Mike Hayden, interviewed November 24, 2003

Q. So part of the job, in your opinion, is to maintain a trust and faith in government and in the state?

A. That's absolutely true. There is so much corrosive attitude about government. I've been blessed in my life to have a lot of experiences, meet a lot of people, be in a lot of places, but I have met some of the very best people in government. And they are people who truly want to serve. They truly are there for the right reasons. And that, I think, is the best you can hope for, is that when your time is done, people will feel that way about you. That, ``Hey, he gave it his best shot and he really did care about the right things on behalf of folks.'' That's really what it's ultimately about.



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