Former Speaker of the House Bobby Richardson reflects back on Fancy Farm as he looks forward to this years picnic

07/27/2017 09:01 AM

GLASGOW – Former Speaker of the House and current Glasgow attorney Bobby Richardson will be the master of ceremonies for the 2017 Fancy Farm Picnic political speaking forum.

Richardson, a Democrat, was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1971. He served as House majority leader from 1976 to 1982 and House speaker from 1982 to 1986.

Richardson spoke at Fancy Farm during his days as speaker and has always enjoyed the environment behind the political speaking at the picnic.

“I’ve always been interested in stump speaking and at Fancy Farm you get that and you see the wit of people, some of the most witty political speeches that I’ve ever heard were at Fancy Farm, and then on the other hand, I’ve seen people make a big mess of things,” Richardson said. “They would try to be orders when they weren’t, and then I’ve seen some people that were actually mean-spirited about it.”

Richardson says while most politicians survive Fancy Farm and do a good job, there were some who were very good in that environment.

“Governor Chandler, obviously always did a great job, Governor Carroll always did a great job, Wendell Ford, Louie Nunn, they had the capacity to make a stump speech and tell funny anecdotes which made it interesting,” Richardson said. “You don’t change any minds at Fancy Farm, but you do pump up the lawless.”

Two years ago, Fancy Farm MC Matt Jones leaned to the left in his introductory comments, while last year, Scott Jennings comments went to the right.

What is Richardson’s plan for this year?

“I’m going to jab all of them, Democrats and Republicans,” Richardson said. “We’ve all got our area where we need to have somebody point out to us how that we’ve got some failures so let’s just do that.”

While Richardson has enjoyed Fancy Farm over the years, there is one thing that’s beginning to concern him as far the Fancy Farm activities are concerned.

“We don’t need to be so mean spirited,” Richardson said. “We’ve got mean- spiritedness going on in our government from the top to the bottom, and that’s unnecessary, not good for democracy, and you know, it may start at places like Fancy Farm and start at the local coffee shop or wherever it is. You can almost get into a fistfight over whether you like or dislike President Trump.”

Richardson says the biggest satisfaction that he takes from his time in the House is the fact that he worked hard for legislative independence, but fears the General Assembly may be drifting back to a time when the legislature was a rubber stamp for the governor.

“Independence of the legislature is a little bit like the liberty of the United States,” Richardson said. “If you don’t fight for it, if you don’t stand up for it, if you don’t say we’re going to remain independent and do it, then you’re going to lose that. I’m concerned that is happening. I can’t say that it has or it will, but I see a trend.”


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