Recollections of Jesse Unruh and Other Legislators


Yes. Then, of course, I worked on a lot of the legislation that was kicking around. I remember, I was quite friendly with some of the legislators. Oh, Jesse Unruh. I knew Jess. I was on good terms with him. I could talk with him about things that we weren't going to agree on, but at least we could discuss, and he welcomed the opportunity to tell me why he felt so strongly about certain things. These were non-pejorative sorts of things. He would give me a picture and tell me why he thought this tax was regressive, that tax was no good. I would tell Pat about it, or I would tell some of the other people in the governor's office who might be working on that thing, what Unruh's feeling about it was, and so forth. I got along with Jess pretty well.

When I left the capital after I had been confirmed by the Senate, Jess gave me a three-by-five card that he had typed on, or somebody had typed on it for him. It said, "In all things remember, let thy aye be aye and thy nay be nay, lest ye sink into perdition." What he was really saying was that one of the things that in the world of politics and government is important is your word. When you give your word, you don't do it lightly, and when you give your word, you mean it. He thought that credo was one that I had followed. I felt quite honored to have it.

I found out later on, much later, that that actually is, with some little change in it, a part of the Bible; I think it's the beginning of the New Testament of the Bible. Yes. I've been meaning to look it up. My father, who was a pretty devout person, left me his Bible when he died. It's a wonderful book. It has

soft leather on it, and it has a concordance on it. You can look up any quotation you want, and I still have it.

When I was in college in Michigan, I took a course in the college—we called it the lit school. I took a course that was on the Bible as literature. I found that it had some beautiful literature in it, just absolutely beautiful literature, and so I've preserved that Bible and kept it. It has his name embossed in gold on it. I remember that the fall of Lucifer was quite an event. [Laughs]


Very dramatic. Are there any other legislators that you remember particularly?


Oh, sure. I knew many of them from all over the state. The legislators' battles were not fought over questions of redistricting and that kind of thing. The battles got very warm when, for example, the governor had a tax measure that he wanted to get through. "Not against my clients, you don't do it," some of these legislators would be saying. "Not against my constituents, you're not doing this." One of the great contributions that Pat made was when he got the water bill through. That took a lot of doing.