tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN August 8, 2016 11:02am-1:03pm EDT
it will be resumed shortly with remarks by brad sherman. >> nor panels of this afternoon. live coverage here on c-span2. >> he is also help our organization and, indeed, he is our -- for this event and we are a full to them for providing this room here in this congress for this training seminar. there is no -- than congressman ratcheting. thank you for being with us.
[applause] >> jennifer, my only request is that you be the person to introduce me where ever i might speak anywhere in the country. i brad sherman from california's best named city, sherman oaks. [laughter] it's an honor to be with you and i hope that i've been invited to speak because of the wisdom i have a committed over the last 20 years in congress, and not just because i got to the room. but by definition depending upon your definition, those with disabilities are the largest minority group in the country, and one of the few that you may join at any point in your lives. addressed all of us are tabbed temporarily able-bodied. is also the most disadvantaged economic group in this country. 28.7% of those with disabilities are living in poverty.
that exceeds any other racial or ethnic group. 22 million working age disabled adult live in this country, only one out of three have jobs. you've got other experts to talk to you about disability and about how to, as a community, to overcome the difficulties that you face. i'm here to talk a little bit about how to persuade members of congress, how to lobby when you don't have a pack. i'll go through some points. first, have allies and create a coalition. when you hand that paper to a member of congress or a senator, you are going to want to say this is endorsed by the entire community. the one thing that will make a member of congress reluctant to help out is the fear that they
are going to sign onto your program only to hear from others in the same community that they should have gone in another direction. second, keep in mind how busy and thinly spread a member of congress is your i'm talking about disability issues now. i will be working on 19 regulation would i go back to my office. by before that i was focused on the peninsula. if you don't know where that is, that's fine but it just illustrates that just as a member of congress doesn't know a lot of what you know, that's because they have to know a lot of things you don't have to know. so they are an inch deep and a mile wide. members of congress, when you meet with them, want to make you happy. first of all it's a congenital this -- personalities or do.
second, it's an occupation necessity. we need to make as many people as possible happy. and third, you are the good guys. but when people come to talk to us we always feel that is not a no-brainer. the people talking to us always think their proposal is a no-brainer. of course. and invariably what they are proposing is either going to take a lot of political capital and time for the member of congress they're talking to or it's going to have strong opposition in the bureaucracy or the ideologies that runs around washington, or it's going to cost government money. so there are very few slam dunks. there are many more opportunities to persuade, but if they really didn't cost anything and was spectacular and everybody agreed about it, it would probably be a suspension bill that over the past 20 years ago.
now and then there's a magician was thrown out of society for revealing how the tricks are done. i'm about to get thrown out. because i want to tell you not what you learn in politics 101 button politician 101. how to deal with the media, how to deal with the requester i was told this by a politician in his 90s back in my area but i'm sure he's not the only one. he said, brad, never put it in writing if you could just say it. never say yes or no if you can just nod. never nod if you can get by with a smile your and best of all, see if you can get by with just a wink. [laughter] what you do not want out of a meeting as a smile or a general belief that the person you're talking to let you very much and
want you to love them, but really hasn't committed to anything. now, a lot of people, and they're just real happy to see a member of congress. i want a selfie, that's fine, that may be important. and so many of you have incredible stories of how you have triumphed over an impediment. and that's an important story. and you may want to provide general information, but even if you provide general information, by the time a member of congress has a chance to use it, there have been 500 other meetings on banking regulations and the jaffna peninsula. they may have forgotten. when you calm, the question i asked the group that i like is, if you control this right hand and his voting card and the pin, what would it do? if you have a solid answer to
that question, then you believe that meeting with something tangible. so you go into the meeting saying, here are all the groups in our community and they all want you to cosponsor this bill. they all want you to put out a statement saying you're going to vote against that bill. we would like you to sign a letter to the appropriations committee saying to fund this program at no less than $116 million. we want you to sign this. we want you to vote that way. we want you to cosponsor. if what you want is just an understanding and an appreciation of what you've accomplished there are many people that can provide that to you. only the member of congress can provide you with that letter, that cosponsorship or that vote. so ask for something specific, don't leave until you get a very specific yes or no, he didn't
say no, just don't leave. [laughter] and the final thing you may want is a letter to an administrative agency saying fund this grant, or change this regulation. if you are in the ticket congressional action, pass a bill, get an appropriation, you want to make sure you have a balanced group of members of congress on your side. and if anything of republican is more valuable to you at this time than the democrat. if you are trying to influence an executive agency, you don't have to worry about balance, and the democrats are more powerful than the republican. so keep that in mind. so who you want to sign the letter depends on little bit onto the letter is addressed to. and if what you want is a telephone call or something that you can't see being done, the question is who on your staff do
we call to get a report on whether you made that phone call and how it went? you may seek immediate in washington. you may seek immediate evidentiary. if you want a meeting in washington you may just want to meet with the aids. frankly, lauren is with me here. she does all the thinking, planning, decision-making. my job is to stand behind a microphone and look pretty. i would like to think i do it well, but talking to the legislative assistant may be more important. you may be able to get that meeting longer and more relaxed during the district work period like today. i recommend trying to meet with the members in their district office. first come if we don't get the meeting you can show up at their meeting. and stand up at a town hall and say, will you do this or will you meet, promise to meet with us this week person-to-person on that issue? another advantage of the
district office meeting is that i have experts in my washington office on various legislative matters so i don't feel bad if the group meets here in washington with one of my legislative assistant. i don't have legislative assistance in california, and i kind of figure i've got to do the meeting myself. you will want to e-mail, e-mail a petition, make sure that you list both the physical address and the e-mail address. the reason you want to provide the e-mail address is what you want is a virtual cycle. ask them to do something. give him an e-mail list of people who want them to do it. when they do it tell them to tell the e-mail list they did it. then tell your e-mail list to thank them for doing it and then tell your e-mail list to ask them what they've done for you
lately. the best thing you want is a situation, i sent out 400 enough to group of people that care about something, one of them catches me in the grocery store and thanks me for doing it, and then i go to lauren and i say, why haven't we put out another one of those e-mails to the disability community? and she was a because you haven't done anything recently and you for that community. i'm a response, well, to be a list of what i need to do. so that virtual cycle, do something can report something, be encouraged, have a list of people to tell that you've done it. i'd like to thank my colleagues would be virtuous tree falling in the forest with no one to hear that most of us want to do good things with people who agree with them noticed. and then final i would urge the disability community with several organizations and a
coalition to rate the phone records of members of congress. and that rating can be not only how did you vote, but what did you cosponsor? and give awards not because our shelves are empty but because it issue, that's a powerful thing you can do that we can then use to brag to our constituents that we are actually doing something in washington. i look forward to hearing the next panel. i'm almost jealous that i don't, i took it to comment on this up because i have the microphone. [laughter] i'll just make a prediction about this election. the bernie sanders and donald trump tsunami is, for the establishment, for the elite, that first heart attack that you make it through. and all know the guy who a month after he's out of the hospital is eating a cheeseburger on the couch.
i think the elite's will survive this, and they will go back to trying to pass tpp in a lame-duck session. which is the equivalent of having a big rib dinner on the couch a month after a heart attack. and if they succeed, then in 2020 the elite's will have a second heart attack. so what happened this year with both bernie sanders and donald trump was way outside the thinking of what the elite to believe what would happen. and they will either adopt the policy changes or they'll go back to the same old behavior. so i'm brad sherman from sherman oaks, and thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you very much, congressman. that's aside as. i would like to invite our panelists to come on out. we have a terrific group of panelists who are about to speak with us. first is eleanor clift who's
with the "daily beast" into i've been following for many years on the mclaughlin group. and when she was at "newsweek," she authored numerous books including those about women in political power. i'm very excited to have her here because as a woman who was with the that women's issues, she talked about disenfranchised populations and how they can get more power and now we have a woman who was nominated for the presidency from a major party for the first time. we have clarence page it was just an outstanding pulitzer prize winning journalist and columnist who also is on the mclaughlin group and also has worked with b.e.t. so he knows what it's like for a marginalized community to try and trick power. we don't see an african-american president of the disability community can really benefit from some of the wisdom that african-american community has really brought forward.
richard wolfe has been in washington for more than two decades with "usa today." he is currently focusing on the supreme court but he's covered congress and pretty much everything in this town. is a journalist of very, very high regard and just an extraordinary leader. and then we have a sometimes journalist, sometimes find it can sometimes everything, norm ornstein who i also know for decades. he is extraordinarily, well, just genius on everything to he writes for numerous publications. i think you all know him from aei. we will have a vigorous conversation here. will talk about campaign 2016 but we're not going to do that usual stuff of who is up and who is down. we're not going to focus in on donald trump and who said what and who tweeted whether we're really going to talk about this disability community, sort of what's happened in campaign 2016
with people with disabilities, what are we seeing, and would love an opportunity for people from the audience to ask some question. let me throw out the first question to the panel which i'd like each of you to address. which is what are we seeing in 2016 when it comes to the 56 million americans with disabilities? is there a change in how the campaigns are handling these issues? and if so what are the changes that you were sitting? let's start with rich and then go all the way down. speak i think one of the obvious changes is respectability is shoving microphones in front of people's faces at public events around the country. i think that's a great thing. beyond that, however, other than reminding everybody that it's the largest minority group in the country and the importance of disability issues. i think the problem that we have
in the campaign and in all campaigns is that disability from the outside been discussing as a controversial issue. it is seen as an issue that everybody agrees on that everybody is what is built if only there was money, or if only there was the wherewithal to do something about employment to do something about housing, to do something about community living, to do something about living. occasionally with a reauthorization bill comes along the everybody is for it, everybody gets on board but otherwise it disappears into the woodwork because there really isn't that controversy between a trial or a clinton or in the past between romney and obama that other issues have. it's funny because when you're involved inside the disability nearly what you think a lot of us are you see all of these controversies among disability groups. my son has autism and so between autism speaks on one hand and
the self advocates on the other hand, there's tons of controversy but those issues don't necessarily bobble up to the political level on the outside because, their juiciness federal issues which to some degree they are and they wish they didn't exist. i'm not sure i'm not optimistic about huge change in terms of disability issues in this campaign. i'm optimistic about policy changes, if any on who gets elected and i won't get into that. but i don't see that much of a change from this year compared to past years in terms of the level of interest in disability. again, the main reason think it's just not a controversial issue. i would expect alicia kaye do something about this to hear a question about disability because those folks are in the debates would think that's a wasted question. we would get a lot of nodding and winking and smiling and not
necessarily the type of brouhaha that helps ratings. >> clarence? >> thank you, jennifer. norman and i were just talking about everything that's wrong with the media. nobody criticizes immediate and less of the media people do. we can talk about that in connection with his current campaign. what's interestiinteresti ng to me is, richard talked about the controversy. we live and breathe controversy for morning, noon and night. this is a nugget of -- doubly especially true during a presidential campaign in which you've got every issue of course under the sun competing for attention, which once get the most attention from those that are the most credible so. people with disabilities as an issue rose in his campaign for example, went donald trump and sold a "new york times" report with disabilities.
made fun of him like a schoolyard bully. it was almost an additional campaign for this campaign and everybody in the media jumped on it because it said so much about the race. you've got one candidate who makes fun of people with disabilities and one does not. it could be hardly more clear. then you've got other issues where i wish people with disabilities as an issue came forth, like, for example, black lives matter one of the biggest controversies going on this day is related to crime and law enforcement and police behavior and incarceration epidemic. how much of our incarcerated population has disabilities. recently did a study on the. a huge percentage. >> 40% of people in jail, 32% people in prison.
we have 150,000 who are blind or vision impaired. high-fiber thousand with cognitive impairments that our incarcerated today. >> very good. if i'm anything but numbers i would've stayed in engineering school, but it is true though a tv in particular loves pictures. this is one big impediment to getting serious issues into debate if they do it with numbers but he got a lot of stories, narratives, this is what makes news. this is what gets media attention at public attention the everybody loves stories. not many of us can recite all 10 commandments but everybody knows what the 10 commandments came from the everybody knows that story of moses. that's what the bible is, stories. that's what journalism, effective journalism is, it's stories. when you have a race in which,
well, we have some wonderful, well, one key difference this year that i've noticed between the parties, look at the conventions. which convention spotlighted people with disabilities? which had people with disabilities speaking out on stage and highlighting these issues? it wasn't the democrats. that was the defining issue to me in this election. this is the way disability issues come forth. generally it's when they are a part of a larger debate, either a partisan conflict or just human relations conflict. so i expect to see the issues return. already donald trump is talking about the regulating them. that would include ada regulations. behind every regulation there's a story. just tell people government red tape, i hate that. bureaucrats, blah, blah, blah. but if you tell people of folks are being held, people who are
able to now make a living and independent who had to be dependent before, everybody loves that kind of story. so anyway, i could go on all day but i will give you a chance, norm. >> thanks, jennifer. first it's a great to be on a panel with three journalists the walk the walk and talk the talk. having said that, clerics and i were talking about immediate andy schleck, nobody is more critical about immediate than the media but it's almost always stop us before we kill again. [laughter] a couple things to say about the campaign. first to reiterate what clarke said. i haven't done it but my guess is if you google disability and campaign 2016 the first 100,000 items it would come up would be donald trump ready to of the new times journalist. that's what has brought the word this about onto the campaign stage. not policy very much. but maybe another element which is at one point top right of all things are done for the disabled
community with his hotels and properties. as if it were a quick gesture of unity when of course you simply complying with ada regulations. but that's about it. the part of the problem we have is media coverage of the campaign is virtually policy free. journalists mostly know nothing about policy. may be enough to ask one question in the debate on a follow-up is simply not possible. and in many ways for me a defining moment in the campaign, it wasn't about the disability issue. donald trump was about totally press conference with north dakota delegates where he had gone over the top in terms of a majority. three cable news networks have pictures of the empty podiums for an extraordinary, excruciating length of time. at the same time, hillary clinton was unveiling a set of proposals for how to deal with the employment and the middle class. not covered at all.
it is horse race. it is controversy and it is trump. that means that the real issues, what we're going to do now to punctuate and make sure that the ada is workable and expanded, what we're going to do about mental health policy, a particular interest of mine, are not covered at all. and here we also have another of the problems with false equivalence. if you look on the hill the clinton website you will find thousands and thousands of pages of policy, including about the disabled community. we are soon going to get an extraordinarily detailed data policy proposals on mental health policy. donald trump has none of that but if they cover the one, however going to cover the other in an equivalent fashion? so we did basically nothing. i want to make one other point, which is something i believe has to be dealt with and focus on in
the campaign ahead. and that is access of the disability community to the polls. there's a story just today we've had a whole series of voter suppression laws that have been struck down or sit back by the courts in recent days. one of the in north carolina, and that includes an attempt to restrict early voting days. that's been now taken away. we're going to have a substantial number of early voting days in greensboro, north carolina, the republicans are trying to cut the number of polling places for early polling in half. as a response to the. take into account that the money for voting in most jurisdictions has been cut back. the machines are not extraordinarily controversial because of a fear of russian hacking among other things, but also every area has difficult getting an adequate number of
machines, the right kinds of machines. people give it is the in polling places. and the disability community is going to much greater difficulty voting. so voters rating is going to take place may be reading against the disability community. i'm starting to do all the work with the foundation come and wonderful foundation to do with this problem but it's also something that otherwise is not going to come out. and if we don't have the right kinds of machines for people who are deaf or blind, you don't have the right access to polling places for people who can't get there, if you don't have early voting for those who need extra time especially, we are going to have a real problem. that means the political leverage of the charity will be reduced as well -- of the community. >> i certainly second just about everything that's been said. the media is overly infatuated
with the horse race and then with controversy, but it has ever been. plan to deal with the rarely that you find. donald trump actually did the disability community a favor by doing that mocking presentation, which is seared into everybody's brain. and the reporter that he made fun of, i was reading about him, he had a long-standing relationship with donald trump the i think you indicated over the course of a number of years like 20 times. so this was not somebody who just wandered into the trump tower one time and caught trump off guard. so the election is going to be about issues to some extent, but it really is a character issue or a presidential temperament issue your and i think donald trump almost daily gives us
examples of the kind of care but that he has. and at the democratic conventi convention, clinton actually had a number of people coming forward, basically attesting to her character. and i thought the young man who has a form of dwarfism who spoke on the stage, again, drove home her commitment to these issues. and reporters kind of make fun of hillary clinton. she's got a three-point plan for a five-point plan for just about every issue you can imagine. and she says that she's controversial when she runs for a job, but when she does the job she is defective. i was especially struck by a long piece in the recent new yorker magazine about the attempts to close guantánamo. and a lot of it is congress'
fault, kind of a partisan issue but the white house fell down on that job. trying to follow up, working for contacts. and so this is a woman company he can get a commitment out of for for just about anything, you can be pretty sure she's going to work very hard to get it done i must say i'm not really that cognizant of what the legislative goals are to the disability community, and i think that's important to get that out front so that the legislative goals can be out of there. so i think i want to turn this into a conversation. so i look forward to hearing your questions. >> thank you, eleanor. before we started, rich sent me an e-mail letting me know that sadly brian clawson who was a disabled activists particularly in the autism community tragically died. he asked if we could have a
moment of silence for him which i thought was a good idea. but i would add that many in the disability have died lately and that we should think for someone with about the many leaders that we've lost in our community to especially like to focus on the 19 people in japan who were brutally slaughtered while they slept. most people watching on c-span kabul we don't know about this, but very recently in japan at a place where adults with disabilities, particularly significant disabilities live, somebody came into the home and decided to eliminate people with disabilities because that individual thought it was more merciful that they should be slaughtered. recently there was a movie in hollywood, me before you, i really glorifies coverage urging people to a significant disabilities to commit suicide because it is a better, happier
solution for people who don't have disabilities if they quote-unquote burden of having people with disabilities around them did not exist. we are very deeply concerned about the messages that people get an immediate from movies like me before you that showcase really glorify trying to get people with disability to commit suicide. and then in japan we have is horrific assassination which is what it was, of 19 innocent people who were sleeping in a group home in japan, whose throats were slit. the media almost didn't cover it at all. so i would like to just, before go to the next question, have a moment of silence before i ask the journalists to talk about how to get the stories of people with disabilities out there. just a few moments, please.
[silence] >> i don't know what the feedback is coming from, if somebody can assist at the it stopped at i guess it was receiving perhaps of those lives that were lost. so i turn to our panelists because each of you, we'll start with eleanor, talk to the difficulty of getting this was a people with disabilities out in the media. and i wondered, in campaign 2016 and beyond, how do we get these stories out so that people with disabilities are seen for having equal value as everybody else? >> in the campaign context, clair said people love stories.
and i thought again the young man who talked of the democratic convention. and hillary clinton in her acceptance speech followed up on that and said, i think he was like seven when she first met him and she lifted him up and shshe said he must have had a 40-pound brace on. these little touches stick in your memory and then make the stories come alive. hillary clinton right now is trying to promote her good character. and so now is the time, i think they are very eager to showcase people who she is help over the years. but humanizing disabilities so it's not just one umbrella word. and also expanding into disabilities that we can't necessarily see. i think people understand when someone is blind or some it isn't enough where we are for me
with that as a culture, but i think the were disabilities covers a lot more than that. i think the public has to be educated. we have seen so much progress in this country on gay-rights and same-sex marriage and civil rights. we are talking about everything. this is a moment for this community. the voting power is there, and so whenever you approach the politicians, i would have those numbers they are. the fact that this community is getting more activists with each passing election cycle, i think that's power, real power. >> thank you. norm? >> i would say there actually is a little better coverage than we've had in the past. in part that's true, if you look at these tragic cases of people with autism or in some instances
of mental illness being shot and killed by police. in almost every case, not everyone but almost every case it's a family member calling for help if i think it is a loved one who is shot. what we know as we get more of those stories out there is that crisis intervention training makes a dramatic difference, that for so many people with mental disabilities, and it's particularly to those with autism but two of so many others, the standard police procedure of getting an order and the command and increasing the level of intensity has exactly the worst effect. and as you get people trained, there's a judge in florida who has done the right things who has managed to get police and all other jurisdictions, more than 20 comments hard to do because you got to go away for a
week to get this training. a lot of police think they know what they're doing. but when they get the training they now understand that have cut the number of violent incidents dramatically. it we did get a little more of that they would help certainly. but i'm afraid it's going to take more than that and i think the bigger problem we have is not even getting the coverage of the species. it is the largest reality that in congress not even where you have a consensus on issues, we haven't and a whole series of bills amount of dollars policy that the past to the house, in some cases through the senate, heaven knows of anything will make it through congress before the end in this dysfunction. but in every instance when you talk to leaders, it's yes, we want to do that but we need to pay for. to pay for makes you can't have revenues, you can't take it out of defense, you can't take it out of most of the entitlement programs. that means you have to take it
out of food stamps or housing or a handful of other programs. as long as you have the handcuffs that keep us from getting the money to do what is crisis intervention training are all of the things they need to be done to provide access to people, we will be spinning our wheels. >> clarence? >> one thing that is important to note these days is just what normal is saying, that there's not much happening around capitol hill except us right now. depended on how this collection comes out we may have more gridlock in the future. but it's amazing and absence of action in washington, was going on in the states that it has got as much attention a as it should the laboratory of the states out there, everything from the marijuana legalization debate to the kind of issues we're talking about here today, very states
are moving ahead. other states need to know about what works and those states where the greatest changes are working. i think, well, part of, the main advice i would give to folks were trying to get their message out is to remember, you are reporters, too. in fact, increasingly you are reporters. because today everybody's got a tv studio in the pockets called a smartphone. today ago is in social media. we've seen numerous examples where individual, non-journalist, the whole definition is changing as far as i'm concerned. that's significant because me and my news from downtown, i know that wonderful story you are dealing with everyday, that you take for granted because you see it so often but the folks downtown need to know about it.
it means a lot more to here or go to a news conference and have actual people there who are age dancing the issue we're talking about rather than just statistics. were talking earlier about people with disabilities in prison. mental health care is largely unappreciated element of our private problems in the country. we need more attention to these aspects than just to the violence that is occurring in our street. what's the follow-up? there's a lot of stories come once i convince my editor can because it is a good story. it may even be a good news story about the once in a while there is good is going on out there but it does get much attention as the badges largely because the public doesn't have the
appetite for it. everybody says they won't mortgages but we know what sells. that's a constant tension we are engaged in. but something to be aware of when you try to get your message out. >> richard? >> one of the problems, it was a good point, i want to pick up on what players just sent in terms of good news stories. maybe we should all be grateful for the fact that you see all of the things like willowbrook that participated on the map back in the '60s and '70s. and now we don't have those horrible stories to that extent to draw attention to what's wrong. the problem with good news stories, and i agree, it would be nice to read a few more of them, is that by showing stories of people on the spectrum for people with disabilities who are succeeding, what are you saying? are using we don't really need any more services or we don't need a solution to housing or employment, so the issue these
days are adult so states because we got a better job at it would be the zero to 20 population over the last several decades. now what we really need obviously becaus the cost jennir works hard on is implemented we also need much better housing them much better community living, much better solution for people once they dropped off the school transition at age 22. but the stories that we would tell, generally speaking, whether they be added political convention or on capitol hill would tend to be people who are high functioning, people who are succeeding, and that just creates the problem of what is the message that we're sending? if we take somebody like my son who is sort of poster child for autism, not severe, not high functioning, just down the middle, limited language or he doesn't have severe needs. he has a loving, that takes care
of him but just the sort of a lack of. it's a lack of housing solution for the future but it's a lack of a better job. he has a job. it's a good one. he could use a better job. so those stories are sort of, they don't come with pictures. they are what people are lacking. the stories of the past with these horrible conditions in a place like willowbrook. that obviously lead to improvements, vast improvements, but nothing places we don't have those types of stories, we do have little things that happen, runners, leads to something like aponte's law or so the things normal talking about with police not knowing how to handle people with disabilities. i think some states now including virginia there's something on your not driver's license whatever it is you have, a licensed that of a driver's license identifies you as a person with autism or those with
disabilities or those are little minor solutions to i hate to call the minor problems that they're not the major problems of we don't have enough housing, we don't have enough employment, we don't have enough money. it's difficult to put a face to those problems because it's a lack of rather than a condition that you would expose like institutions of the 1970s. >> we are going to take questions from the audience went after my final question that i would ask. my question is, there are two issues we're grappling with as respectably that i would like your thoughts on. one, we would look at the sort of poverty civil rights agenda, we see these silos with african-american community with immigrant community or the has been the committee our in silos commented with disabilities are not within those organizations. i know that started to change largely because of what rodney
hood and jpmorgan chase gregory thomas make some of the national these accessible. but also the disability organizations of which there's more than 100 different really good national disability rights organizations or service organizations largely around one particular disability. every single one of their ceos and presidents is white, every single one. so the first question is how do we break down the barriers so that people are disenfranchised can work together towards making that greater success in the economy and in other places like criminal justice reform what people thought that the black issue and they didn't realize know, it's a disability issue also enters howl. and if you are minority or immigrant edge of a disability, all the more likely it for the school to present by plan.
hillary clinton, jeb bush and others gave incredibly thorough answers. donald trump hasn't answered -- has the edge it yet but would like to see senate races and governor races for them to really search to address the policy issues in these questionnaires. how do we get candidates to pay attention to our issues? they thought questioners on guns, on abortions, on some issues but until now there has never been a candidate question on disability issues on a national level ever. those are my two questions. you can choose how you want to and then they will turn it over to the microphone. there is now a microphone in the center of the room. >> i just want to say briefly, congressman brad sherman said you should rate congress, members of congress, rate officials, that letter grade, that is something people can relate to. it pops up in people who are interested in the disability
community come in those who are not windows were somebody is. i think we are on disabilities, i would call it a market issue. and tell you lot about where a candidate is an official is on other issues as well. so why would recommend it, i would take it at august the idea on that. >> many, many years ago the environmental community had a dirty dozen, and it really had an impact. number of congress want to be one of the dirty dozen. so i think taking eleanor's suggestion come and brad's sir second would be a good one. on the first point, jennifer, this is a universal problem. look at the medical research and individual diseases that all see the others as rivals for financing. instead of joining together to try and enhance the overall amount of money going to medical research, they see everybody else is intruding. that's the problem.
it's going to take some creativity to get organizations to see that there is a synergy here and working together rather than simply drawing to intrude on their own turf your somebody's got to take the lead and maybe that's one of the areas respectability could you. i would just take eleanor's .1 step further. they shouldn't just be about officeholders. it should be about candidates. if candidates don't answe don'te questioner, put out something that gives them an f. until the respond. and then maybe you get a little more sensitivity. >> it's been interesting because legally our lawyers have told us that we can't give people a scorecard because we are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. so what we've done is we've sent out identical questionnaire to all the candidates come as a bolt the elected officials and their opponents, the candidates all have been so we report it would not the answer it and then
we have to give verbatim exactly what they answered. but clearly another entity could be formed with a different legal status because we as a nonprofit have a certain tax status that enables contributions to us to be tax deductible, if you can't do that and reach people in that way. but it's a very interesting idea. clarence? >> you taught me something about not-for-profit. i'm on the board of committee to protect journalists which has done a lot of work as you noticed around the world. we run a list of like the dirty dozen, the worst behaving countries, as far as journalists are concerned. even rafsanjani wants to be known as a respected leader. this is something i throw out.
i think when it comes to getting attention to these issues, very often it gets issues a person with disabilities get overshadowed by other issues that appear more pressing. i'm thinking about something osha's reminded of recently. you may recall one of the videotaped police confrontation episodes, a psychiatric, psychological counselor was tending to a young man who was playing with a toy truck, but the report came in that a man with a gun was at this location. the police arrived and, both of them lay down. the fellow who had a mental disability did not lay down. the council did lay down, but his hands up in the air, said don't you, i'm a counselor, blah, blah, blah, and the shot
anyway. of course an episode like that is going to actually make people think about the issue of police conduct. very little attention was given to the fact that this was a fellow with mental disabilities and attention and he's not alone. there are others like him. that's the occasion for activists to say hey, this is what is needed in this kind of situation. this is what is available. this is what ought to be available. some attention. norman is right, very often like minded organizations will field -- if something that looked for those areas where you do overlap, where you can work together. very often you can bring more attention to folks, well, the whole issue of law enforcement and police conduct to me is, so much tied into -- 40% off and
courseware have some disability. one repercussions of that, we need more attention of the to find out. >> you talk about the specific statistic. we work very heavily on the issue of employment for people with disability and we are constantly talking about how one out of three people with a disability has a job. one of the things we did find very helpful, and i think this goes to what eleanor and what norm was saying, is a rather than talk about the elected officials, we just talked about the stats in the different states. what we found was in some states, 50% of people with disabilities are employed, and in other states only 25% of people with disabilities are employed. that is a massive difference between one out of every four and half having a job. what was interesting to us at least was who the states were. who had the worst gap between
them in labor force, some people would see such and such state has a bad economy. so what we looked at was the gap in the labor force participation rate, the percent that is in the workforce, people with a disability and without a disability with the caps the largest and the smallest? what was the worst? main. maine was the worst. people consist of in america, they think if it's the worst it could be mississippi and alabama. african-american states. they will be the worst. name was the worst. vermont was catastrophic. when we released those numbers, we saw, for so doing in maine who works on these issues really hated us. really hated us for putting this list out but it was factual and we've seen some dramatic new improvements in some of the policies in maine and we're hopeful that will make a difference. we had to go about it a different way. we haven't don done that on cril
justice you to look at the state-by-state. we have just looked at national picture so you maybe think about that. >> one of the things come to something called stepping up initiative that has come from the council states of governments, the association of county of the american psychiatric association foundation where they have come to realize that the jails have this extraordinarily large population of people with disabilities, mostly mental disabilities, and it's an enormous drain on the. now they're working to find best practices to try to reduce the. my guess is that as you get back to looking at alliances, that groups like the national association of counties and the council of state governors come when they come to understand that the problems of homelessness, for example, can be reduced. al franken office is the best solution to homelessness is to give people homes. but it's also that if you can find ways to get him employment, then you reduce the economic
burden on the county and the states. getting that message out through those organizations would help. >> rich? >> i want to make sure i understood the first issue that you raised, which was what did you say, 100 of one to 50 disability groups all white. is that indicative of whether its hispanic organization or black or poverty that in those populations there for civil rights issue tends to be that a not disability, were as whites are particularly may be well-to-do whites are coming to this without a public issue, without a minority ethnic racial issue, and so that might be the reason for it. i don't know. >> are right. so my sense is that if you look at his at the disability rights movement, i think i'm justin dart. justin dart was a 6.9 individual from a very wealthy family. dark drones that his father was
very important in the reagan administration and he himself because he was a wheelchair user, literally could not get into buildings. so his horizon were really, really hurt by the fact that he literally could not get into buildings. it was the independent living movement, the people who were wheelchair warrior spirit i actually look at them and i see white wheelchair warrior's. these are people who had a good education. they had a two parent family. they had all the skills and the drive to make it to the top of the corporate ladder or whatever they wanted to go but because of the disability, their horizons became limited. and so the beginning of the disability rights candidate really comes from those individuals who have disabilities, and the parents attended ghoulies that the individuals with disabilities who were for the disability that individual would be up to succeed.
you look at a dark session largely made up of parents of children with disabilities, being like all the other their organizations, largely driven i whites. but what did he does is the fact that african-americans get autism or have several balls or have mental health issues and everything else. and sometimes because of other barriers that they experienced poverty, lack of education, maybe they're not in a two parent family, they haven't gotten access. and yet the very civil rights organizations that really enable african-americans and hispanics like naacp and la raza, till this brain initiative i jpmorgan, which is bring into spoken about on our last panel, the first time ever that they had sign language interpreters, that they had card which is at the capping its instant, that they had made sure that pandas were wheelchair accessible.
if you can imagine civil rights meetings have been taking place throughout the city, throughout this nation talking about access to basic dignity rights based on ethnic groups are immigrants and people with disabilities could not participate at all. .. people with disabilities cannot even apply for funds because you have to enter a portal of race, gender or sexual orientation and
people with disabilities cannot even apply for the funding. that is across the board that we are seeing. now you can answer the question. >> i needed that explanation. that just makes it much more enlightening for all of us. on the question of campaign questionnaires, i know organizations like yours and others like to pin candidates down during the cycle of the election so they can then say you said you would do ask and okay now it's time to put up or shut up. i understand that, but i think it's far more important, i don't the guy would get everyone hung up on getting everyone to answer a disability disability questionnaire. it is important but what's far more important from a policy standpoint is the three and a half years or maybe it's only two where we are not in an election cycle and you're
working with the legislative system and others to enact policy. i don't get matters, if you're doing the right thing and you're effective in lobbying congress at the state legislature level, i don't like it's crucial that it was a top of the list campaign issue in order to get action on a policy issue during those brief periods of time when were not running another campaign. one other thing i would just mention, and that is, when it comes to issues like ssi and the like, it hasn't been brought up but it's always the case that there is a push back, and this gets to the issue of funding, from certain elements in politics and government who think that those programs are abused and they are abused not by the types of people with disability that we are all here talking about and trying to represent, but by people who claim their back got tweaked and
now they want 30 years of ssdi payments, and i'm not trying to color that situation. i'm sure some of those are legitimate but there are people in government who thinks those programs are overrun by folks who are claiming physical disabilities from an accident that is not severe enough and their interests, these government officials interest is cutting back on those programs being abused, and i think it is something we need to be aware of. >> thank you. normal make a comment and then we will go to question. >> my wife has been some time, she is a lawyer doing pro bono work helping people with mental illness get on disability. these are people people who have the least ability to fill out the forms. if you don't fill out the forms exactly right, you are denied and if you appeal it can take years before they hear your appeal. a substantial number of homeless people are those with serious
mental illnesses who should be on disability, who deserve to be on disability but they simply are not capable of handling those forms themselves. that's an issue that really needs a lot of additional attention. there are some jurisdictions in the courts where they have actually trained people to help those individuals get on, when they fill out the forms, they get it immediately. it's not just an issue of fraud, there is is no question, but there's also issues of assess ability that are really serious ones. >> thank you now we turn to the crowd and there is a microphone there. i ask you to use the microphone. if you can just go toward the microphone or maybe pull it down so it's more assessable. please identify yourself before you ask your question.
>> i'm with the american association on health and disability. my question is whether or not, based on the comments you are making, whether you think there has been a shift in the disability community as to the partisanship, specifically disabilities being a partisan issue and was it viewed equally by both sides, both sides wanted to do something, many of you made comments about that. specifically with the politicalization of the affordable care act and what that means for people with disabilities and the extra rights they been able to get as a result of the aca, whether that is sort of causing a shift in the way the disability vote is going to go forward. i say that as someone who grew up in a republican home and it's hard for me now to see myself voting for republicans based on their positions on health care because they say repeal and replace but never provide any details as to what that means for someone like me.
>> i would say, i was with my friend bob dole a little while ago and bob was telling the story of what was the lowest moment, other than losing the white house, in his political career which was being on the floor of the senate and watching his republican colleagues vote against the international disability convention. then they all came up to them "after words" and said how much they loved him. that was a pivotal moment, i think. it's a story more about how outside forces, the social media and the new tribal media have tended to dominate on a lot of these issues at the same time the fiscal question, the ones that i mentioned earlier have become even more important. the fact is to deal with a lot of these issues, the ones the ones that rich mentioned which
are hugely important ones of housing for people, you need money. if everything gets caught in a vice, that is how are you going to do a pay for and you keep most of the pay force off of the table entirely which is partisan now, then you are going to be stuck and then you get to the question also that rich mentioned that you want to blow up all regulations, that creates another set of issues. now everything is tribal. >> president george hw bush, basically as the father of the americans with disability act and it was hugely bipartisan and seen as a great asset among republicans. today's republicans, they sort of resent what they see as expanding rights for everybody but them's i think a lot of people wouldn't identify necessarily with the disability community unless they themselves are part of it and then they would see themselves as
deserving. overall they just oppose the expansion of rights and they see the programs as expansion of government. we have had now, decades of big government, we want to shrink government. i think the kinds of progress that we identify with and think should continue gets sacrificed through all of this rhetoric. the libertarian ticket echoes it as well. we have to shrink government. i think there could be a case made for more government in these areas that will pay off and that's another thing i think the disability rights community can do and that is to make some equations where if you spend this or have this program, the benefits that you get in productivity or reduced reliance on government, i think it pays off so i think making the case
on economic grounds is something that should be done. >> i have to jump on top of that because i just completely agree with you. our organization thinks the governor who is going to get an award from us later has met with 43 of the governors and we've seen such excitement by the republican governors around the employment with people with disabilities. i will give you a very specific example. in dakota, you have governor do garden both his parents were death. he was raised in a household with two parents who were hearing-impaired. they use sign language and he saw they worked hard on the farm, they worked hard in their business and they were enormously bright and successful and as governor he has created so much opportunity that 50% of people with disabilities in his state have a job. scott walker, not known to be a big government guy, scott walker is the government of wisconsin
not known to be a big spender. he has, every single month, gone to a different private sector employer in his state to hire people with disabilities where it's working out well for the employer's and showcase how it is helping their companies. not only that, he has dramatically expanded a program for young people with significant disabilities to enable them to go straight from school into the workplace. they had 12 such sites in the past and now they have 37. he is getting an almost 80% employment outcome for these young people with disabilities and it is saving a fortune. these individuals otherwise would spend their entire lives sitting on their parents couch until their parents die and then their brothers couch, living on government benefits. because he is really invested in this, he has saved a fortune for the taxpayer. one problem that we see is what people call wrong pockets.
when he saves the money, he invests in the job training and transition program for the youth with the disability. who save the money? the feds, not the state. it's been sort of an issue on how do you incentivize the right people because if the governors can really fix this but they're not properly incentivized by getting the cost-saving because it's the fed to get the cost savings, we've seen other governors less enthusiastic who have said, government benefits for people with disabilities in west virginia and kentucky is good for our state. that's our job program. you go to walmart the day those checks arrive in everybody's buying their beer and guns with disability checks. a lot of it has to do with the attitude that they're bringing but there are huge cost savings that can be absolutely achieved with proper policy on this. thank you for your question. we have other questions from the audience?
if you can go to the microphone, please. >> while she's getting there if i could say one thing about the question that was just raised and i think that is, i think it's fine if folks with disabilities are being swayed more by one party than the other given obamacare or given what a couple of us have already referred to in terms of what the republican presidential candidate is doing. i think that's fine in the privacy of the voting booth. i don't think it's great if the disability community chooses to become identified with one party versus the other because then that would encourage these republican governors and republican legislatures and there are more than a majority of them to think, disability, that's a liberal democratic issue, i'm not going to invest much of my time or energy in it. i think the disability community will be hugely dependent on republican governors. officially staying somewhat neutral even if in the privacy
of the booth this round of votes are going to democrats, i would urge that it not succumb to we are a one-sided lobby. >> thank you so much all. i was have read many of your pieces throughout the years and thank you for coming today. my name is sue and i run a nonpartisan firm to bring voting issues to the public. i work in new york state. i spent a long time in journalism yet i've never worked as a journalist. when you're talking about bringing the issues to the forefront and you're talking about a gap of knowledge from journalists to the people like me who have been in the field 30 years and i have very compelling controversial stories, but i am feeling a gap in how to go about getting the stories i know to
the public to get to editors and publishers interested. i feel like i could use some advice because there are some amazingly compelling stories that would get attention if handled in the correct way. >> you want to know where your story? >> well if i knew, i wouldn't tell you, you, i would keep it to myself. no seriously, i think our main concern here, the big question is how do we get our message out how does the movement get its message out? first of all, look to those journalists and media that are already picking up on stories like yours, like the one that you're interested in. this will tell you, the beat system as we used to know it back in the typewriter days in my youth has crumbled to a
certain degree because stats are smaller and it has just changed entirely but people, i mentioned earlier i want to keep feeding this one issue, the issue about police videos overlapping with issues of people with disabilities. the problems of delivery of mental health services who needed and these are all related stories but which one gets the headline. when it does get that big headline, that's that's the time when an observant reporter can come in and say hey, there's also this story related to that as well and i want to pursue that. that can have more legs, let's say for example mental health services for people who are incarcerated or in jeopardy of
being incarcerated, that is is a story that deserves more attention. that would be my advice in general. if you want me to be more specific i would be happy to talk to about it. >> i'm happy because i would like to talk, but i've been involved with many scenarios like the past two days ago, someone i support has been abused by his legal guardian. we are having a terrible time doing anything about that. that's a story that could grow legs and the big, but there's a gap in how someone like me can communicate that to the right people so it's written in a tasteful, productive way. >> can i say, i've given this type of advice over the years, not just to disability advocates but to others, and that is more so each and every year because youngs spread virally and digitally. you just need one good place to
put your story, one major newspaper or one television outlet, one major station, you station, you don't need to think about papering the media with 1 million press releases where they all get the same information at the same time and they'll all think somebody else got this information to so i'm going to ignore it. it's better to find one place and usually you can sort of figure out who would be the type of organization, maybe it's the huffington post or the daily caller, whatever it is that you can interest one reporter so that reporter knows he has a head start here, he or she is being tipped off this is a problem, maybe this one instance is represented of a lot of instance. if you get one really good story that others play pay attention to, then it spreads and others are getting to know about it. i always say come to usa today first, of course, but go to one place rather than, which i guess
most people in public relations don't do this anymore anyway but when i would get something in my e-mail or i would realize it's a read team press release, i'm not going to pay much attention to it. >> we are actually out of time for this particular session, thank you but before we break, let let me just give a couple logistics. we are going to take a break and during the break, people are actually going to eat lunch in the rayburn cafeteria and our fellows can help direct you to how to get there and you can pick up lunch and bring it back. this is what happens when you are disability organization. there is no fine catering or big lunches with candlesticks. everybody buys himself lunch in the rayburn cafeteria and then we come back here sharply for our next panel which is going to be at 115 on reaching all voters by making electronic medications
assessable and it's moderated by an amazing political consultant who has elected dozens and dozens of senators and we have several more panels and were ending the day with a terrific series of awardees so please, the chief of staff paul ryan, they are both going to be here to get their wards and they are going to take questions which is really exciting. again, the chair of the council on state government today and was the chair of the national governors association and the chief of staff paul ryan will both be here today. let me just turn to our panel and say quickly, for campaign 2016, what is the one thing that we in the disability community should really work for to try to achieve in this election cycle going forward?
>> rich. >> this is not the most central thing i could think of, but i would say go after donald trump at this point per you never never know what he's going to do day today, week to week, month to month. maybe he could surprise everybody and become a champion of the disability community and you will take it from wherever you can get it. you. you mentioned he hasn't filled out the questionnaire yet. if a candidate like that who is down from eight to 15% in the poll sees disability as an effort where he can make a comeback then great. it doesn't mean you have to vote for him if you're not going to vote for him but i would see him right now as an opportunity. >> thank you. >> i think raising the visibility of what disability is you have a son with autism and i have a son with add which we did not know until he was diagnosed and then i become an expert on add as his mother did to and we
were told it can be hereditary and my wife said my my family so i checked myself out and guess what, i have add. i scored remarkably high and this helped me answer a great question that i've had for many years of why the newsrooms attack so -- attract so many weird people. you young people are so darn bright with this digital age. it's not nearly as much fun as it was back in the days of the front page if you know that wonderful play and movie. we used to wonder why newsrooms attracted such a menagerie of people. i was talking to a psychiatrist and i went through this theory of mind that add people like the path of least resistance and are also very much into becoming experts on something immediately , making their deadline and forgetting all about it and moving on. it's par for daily journalism.
now the issue has become visible to me and i really care about it. you mentioned the governor, he has it in his family. as you all know, over half of americans have someone with disability and their family. this reminds me of the issue of gay, lesbian, lgbt rights how much we have seen change in the last 15 years on this issue. i would've never predicted we would have gone this far this fast but we have because there's a certain tipping point where suddenly things do change. i see this coming with people of disabilities and the disability issues, as i mentioned earlier in this campaign there's been more visibility than in the past, time magazine wrote about this recently and i think we will see more in the future but a lot of people just don't know what it is, that guy sitting in
the street talking to himself as a disability. why he's got is he on the street? why aren't disability services helping him out? one other thing beyond 2016, 22018, the midterm elections which so many people forget about in the midst of the excitement of the presidential years, those midterm elections can reverse the course of congress. also little towns like ferguson to make a big difference with low turnout in those elections. i would say that would be number two to think ahead to the midterms in order to affect capitol hill. >> thank you. >> so i think he's absolutely right, when people have experiences in their own families it changes things and it transcends partisanship and ideology. it was tom harkin who really were responsible for getting mental health because of the
experiences in their own families. when i wrote about the tragedy of my son with mental illness, i've been flooded with responses and it made it clear to me that there is scarcely a family in america that isn't touched by mental illness and certainly by the broader range of disabilities. getting that to politicians is a more difficult task but i wouldn't focus much on the presidential campaign. hillary clinton is going to have a very robust set of policy ideas in this area. the challenge is going to be getting congress to do anything with them and that's a challenge that is therefore all issues but it means that your focus on senate and house races and state and local as much as you can becomes the critical set of issues. at the state and local issue it is doing exactly what you said with governor walker and others. it is getting the message out there that changing policy not only helps and saves lives, it saves money.
that's the message that, in florida, they haven't managed to get money from the florida legislature to, among among other things, create a facility in miami-dade where they have a 5000 square foot kitchen, and they are taking people with serious mental illnesses and training them and they have arrangements with local caterers and restaurants when they come out to give them job
[inaudible conversation] >> this conference on voters with disabilities in campaign 2016 wrapping up this morning session. more this afternoon with discussion on reaching voters by making electronic medications available to disabled voters. the final panel this afternoon is on ways of encouraging handicap voters to participate in the political process at the grassroots level. cspan founding chairman passed away last week at the age of 89. not only was he one of the first cable operators to support the idea for cspan but he continued to work on our behalf for almost 40 years.
i introduced you to the gentleman on the right who is bob rosenkranz. he is a gentleman who had the first seed money to get cspan started back in 1977, believe it or not. >> in august 1977, bob rosenkranz had his business partner with the first cable operators to agree to support the idea for cspan. at that time only about 19% of homes were wired for cable. he wrote a check for $25000 for the seed money and cspan created the infrastructure to create cable televisions first live use of the u.s. house of representatives on march's
17th 1979. >> to help the public understand what goes on in washington and how to deal with it. i think cspan has done just that. were very proud of it. he continued to serve on cspan's board board of director until his death. most recently in the role of german america. the nation can only benefit from more exposure to our political process, to educate and inform our people both young and old and give us all a better feeling that we are participating in this process that carries our nation forward. thank you very much.
>> you are watching the communicators on cspan and we are at the broadcasting board of governors this week. this is an agency that houses the voice of americans and radio through europe, middle east broadcasting as well. we will learn how these government agencies broadcast america's message to the world. >> we want to introduce you to amanda bennett who just today has started a new job. ms. bennett, what is that job. >> i'm the director. it means i get to work with a couple thousand of the most talented and interesting journalists in the world which is really exciting. how did you get this job? >> they were looking for a new director and i've been in journalism my whole life. i have been overseas and i have international experience and run organizations and i think we
both thought it was a good fit that we thought we could do well by each other. >> you've been executive editor a bloomberg news and editor of the philadelphia inquirer and spent some time at the wall street journal. you are an author. this is a government job. how will this be different? >> it's journalism. journalism is the same matter who practices it. we have the obligation by the charter to tell america's starter. we are the voice of america after all but what that means is we have a giant beat and i know how to cover a beat. journalists know how to cover beats. >> can you be critical of u.s. policy. >> as far as i know it has always been the governing rule of law and this organization that we will tell the truth, good news, bad news, bad news, we will be fair and honest and credible.
>> what attracted you to coming here? >> a couple of things. one they say it's an amazing group of journalists here that report both from here in the united states and in other countries and in their own languages. when we think about what's going on in the world today, the voice to tell america's story in places where they can't hear american stories, i think can think of anything more important to do as a journalist. >> when you're contemplating whether or not to take this job, what were some of the things you were thinking? okay, i would like to do this or i think we could do this better. >> when you talk to people you hear there is an incredible hunger to get on the train and get more on the train because they're on the train of all the fantastic different ways you have to communicate with people.
the opportunities are fantastic. we are writing and reporting all over the world and the world is very quickly adopting all kinds of communication and our ability to use those will multiply our ability to communicate with people. >> amanda bennett, in your view, how does that support democracy? how does it improve america's image in the world? >> i don't know if improve is the right word. >> so first off, the voice of america, when you report on the beat that is america, you let let people know the good things, the bad things and the real things about this country, but also another aspect that's really important and that is we are incredibly fortunate to live in a country where we have constitutionally protected
freedoms of the press where we can write things without fear of retribution. just by exhibiting and displaying those values, i think it's an important message to the people of the world about how important those freedoms are and what you can accomplish with those freedoms. >> is this a political position or a clear position? >> at the white house appointed position and it reports to an independent board of directors. it reports to john lansing who reports to an independent board of directors. >> did you need congressional approval? >> i did not - does it end when the president's term ends? >> no it doesn't. it reports to john and john reports to the board so the board is a continuing entity. >> amanda bennett is the brand-new director of the voice of america. >> good evening this is the voice of america in washington.
>> hello africa. >> john lansing where does the broadcasting board of governors? >> it is a board of governors confirmed by the senate to oversee the five u.s. international media entities known as the voice of america where we are today, radio free free agent and radio free europe and radio free liberty and the office of cuban broadcasting. >> what is your job? >> i am the ceo of all that if that's even possible. >> what is the coordination between the different offices? >> the coordination has never been better. when i came in in september, we formed formed the first international coordinating committee which takes the president of all five networks collectively and forms a group and they report to me. they coordinate both on efficiencies to operate more efficiently with federal tax dollars.
they also work in parts of the world where a free press is either limited or nonexistent and we are the only presence and impact that can be felt from a free press. >> what are some of the hot topics you are focusing on today? >> russia and china and all of the violent extremism that we tend to think of as the middle east but it's really a stateless problem that can emerge almost anywhere as we have seen in europe recently. cuba and iran as well. >> $275 million a budget per year. is it enough? >> it's really never enough for the job that we have. i think we are doing a good job and how we are spending that money in service with the mission to engage people
throughout the world. state-sponsored media around the world and were up against competition trying to stop our work, trying to, at times, shut down our satellite signals and other barriers. they are trying to clamp down on our distribution. it's not only the money spent for a competitive media but also the money that other competitors in the money used to try to stifle our work. >> as someone who came out of a private enterprise world and worked in tv in that regard, what are some of the most effective platforms that you have here at bb g news? >> this all began with radio in the post-world war ii era, but increasingly in the past 3 - 5 years, we have seen social media, digital digital mobile
social media platforms being the most important in terms of communicating with parts of the world where free media is difficult to find. it also allows us to reach younger audiences and maybe future leaders that can help shape these countries that lack press freedoms in the future. if you walk around this build him building and independence avenue, we have 42 different newsrooms, each one a different language. we broadcast 247 in 42 different languages around the world. you will see work being done in certain parts of the world where it really requires radio and shortwave radio because there is no access. i'm thinking like north korea or regions of china and tibet. in other parts of the world there really is a chance to leapfrog traditional media to next-generation media across all of sub-saharan africa we are seeing a dramatic increase in the use of mobile phones and social media platforms, and it's not just allowing us to send a
single message to an audience through that platform, what it really does is allows us to create a conversation among one another in those areas, and we are the facilitator of that conversation. one of our goals, for instance, in iraq and syria is to raise the voice of moderate muslims that are being stifled by all the extremism in that region. the middle east broadcasting network launched a very innovative program called raise your voice where there is a managed facebook conversation around a similar question that is supported by a tv documentary and a radio call-in show, and people get on the facebook platform that we create and talk with one another and raise the voice of people who want to do something with the violent extremism and recruitment of isis. it is evolving from a world where we are sending a signal to lots of people to where we are getting to a place where the platform that we provide allows people to talk to one another and have greater impact on their
part of the world. >> we are in your building just a couple blocks from capitol hill. what is your connection, relationship, work with congress? >> frequently. hardly a week goes by that i'm not meeting with somebody on capitol hill. the senate foreign relations committee and the house foreign affairs committee are our authorizing committees and we have appropriators we deal with as well on our budget, and they are very supportive. i have met with, i've been on the job seven or eight months, i've had the opportunity to meet with several of the senators in congress and people who support our work. it gives us a chance to talk about how we are evolving and changing and coordinating and being more strategic. how we are using taxpayer dollars to align ourselves with u.s. foreign-policy through the expression of objective journalism and demonstrating the
value of objective free press to parts of the world that simply don't have it. >> john ramsey is the ceo of the broadcasting board of governors and the mission statement for this group is to inform, engage and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy. think you for your time. >> thank you, peter. >> current time is a unique television program and its uniqueness is coming from the fact that it is coproduced by two entities, voice of america and free europe. voice of america is headquartered in washington d.c. and radio liberty is headquartered in prague. it's a transatlantic show. we have anchors on both sides, we have an anchor in washington and in prague and they talk to
each other, and between the two of them, they are trying to cover everything that might be interested to the target audience which is a russian-speaking audience all around the world but it's targeted to the neighboring country and that is the neighboring russia, the former soviet union areas. the now independent country for a long time, as you know, but still having very sizable russian-speaking population who consume news mostly delivered by russians and state-sponsored television programs. the view of the reality that they get is a little skewed so by targeting those people online on our side on current times
site, we also are available to anyone who speaks russian all over the world and also the people who live in the russian federation. >> when you watch russia today, what is your reaction? >> very expensive to produce the propaganda and very skewed. i would say a lot of professionals work there and produce high quality materials, and may be if you take each separate one of them i itself, it would seem more right a lot of times but being put together it creates a whole alternative reality that is presented to the world, in english and in spanish and german may be. >> is current time, is it a news
program? does it accentuate the u.s. point of view? >> that's how we kind of separate our uniqueness in terms of sharing with radio free and radio liberty. they are based in prague and have a large network of reporters all over europe and in russia and in the countries where current time is been shown. we come from washington. we cover local events, we cover u.s. perspective on the event that is taking place in the target area. >> we are in the middle of a presidential campaign here in the united states. what kind of reporting does current time do on that? >> we do magnificent reporting on u.s. election campaign. that is one of the main topics because it's such an exciting topic for russian audiences, as
you know, in russia they have had mr. vladimir putin for the last, years and people are a little cynical on elections, no matter what you do and what they decide is what happens. watching the u.s. election is extremely exciting. we have reporters who go to primaries, to caucuses, we report from the streets, they're going to conventions, we are on packages of television stories about republicans, democrats, young, old, the whole american society that is invigorated, participating and actually feeling like they have something to do with who the next president will be. i think it's a very important topic for us, and we will have
people going, people go live to current time all over the country. wherever they are, by using new technologies to come live in current time and be there and be present and get that excitement and get that specific american angle on things. in the countries that we are targeting and that we have our affiliates in, ukraine and others, we are partnering with the channels that actually run current time in their program setting. it goes on air every day say at 7:00 p.m. in ukraine. >> now joining us here on the communicators while we are podcasting at the board of governors is a member of the ukrainian language service.
what do you do? >> we do everything. we produce, we broadcast, we interview, we go live on air every possible way, and we are using all possible domain to do that. television, social media, different type of television broadcasting, we have tv shows, different types of shows, new shows, russian language shows and even in ukraine because of the war and we are trying to accommodate the russian-speaking preparation and ukraine. >> how did you get here? >> i came here ten years ago when i came to the united states as a political refugee from ukraine and first i started working for radio liberty for a couple of years and voice of america wanted to expand their television and since i had a lot of experience with television in ukraine, i was a journalist,
reporter and broadcast producer, i knew television very well so they invited me and i said yes because i was interested to do more television product. i came because my husband, a crusader journalist in ukraine who created the first internet newspaper in ukraine, he was murdered in ukraine and during my fight against the ukrainian government, i felt very in danger at some points and i had two small ds and i decided it's not safe anymore to stay in ukraine and the united states government gave me support and gave me a chance for a new life here in the united states. >> is your message getting through to the ukraine and what is that message you want to share? >> yes. my message, actually what i see
my mission is to inform as it says here and to build bridges between my country, united states and my country ukraine. both are mine. i feel very related to my nation, to ukraine and at the same time this country gave me a new life so i want to connect. that's the major thing. i want to give them more understanding about the world, especially ukraine because we are broadcasting to ukraine. i see our message and we are basically serving here in ukraine, we are serving as a guest studio for all ukrainian ukrainian tv channels. none of the ukrainian media have representation in the united states. basically they reach to us for
help and we are covering all the u.s. stories and international stories in american politics stories for ukraine and different televisions from here in the united states. we are playing a very vital role for ukrainian media. not only informing but even getting incentive. ukrainian story is still developing and there's a lot of independency on all a gar and they are still trying to use their media outlet as a tool and what we do at voice of america, we show them how to do a fair, unbiased television information. >> your ceo described you as the tom brokaw of ukraine.
what is your reach? you been gone for 15 years. what is your reach like now? >> last year we had 7 million viewers for one of our television shows so basically it's around 18%. we have 18% ukrainian population for our shows. our viewers are informed people who are educated and informed. they want to know more. :
>> that's how we worked out. >> where is your tv production facility and how does that end up on cuban satellite or keeping tv? >> we are based in miami, florida. it all started here in washington. it was a few years ago, quite a few years now that it was moved on to miami. our television signal is intended to get into the island. still satellite. some affiliations if those people had directv in cuba. so people go by the directv in the united states, and then they go back to cuba and to provide a
service in the neighborhood. so they snake the signal of the directv and i have a lot of the miami channels. the last the most important thing we do is, the cubans do, i don't if you're familiar but there's a thing is how cubans get to see television. you burn into a dvd all the programming from anywhere and distribute. >> now that u.s. policy toward cuba is changing, is the nation changing? >> no, i don't think mission changed in any way. because cuba has not changed in regards to the reason we are there. all of that hasn't changed. when you have a region where there is no freedom of speech or there is the access to information, and that hasn't changed at all since we started improving relations. >> how did you cover the
president to visit? >> two things. how we covered the region on a daily basis is we have the biggest network of independent journalists in cuba. for use that television has been going, has been in business, we've been creating and posturing journalism, independent journalism. but ironically with all the journalists, to register to cover the obama visit, the government doesn't recognize any independent journalist so they were declining it. >> what does that mean? >> it was one of the biggest thinkers at the university in cuba. he is well-known in all of latin america. he has great quote but one of the ones i use, e-mail address