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tv   A Conversation with Freshman Representative Elise Stefanik R-NY  CSPAN  August 10, 2015 7:25pm-7:51pm EDT

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combat leader two days before the invasion of iraq because of gender. >> right. >> i mean, my god. so i think your company's very, very lucky that didn't happen. at this point, i think we want to open it up to a conversation with the room. i'm sure there's plenty to discuss. would anyone like to jump in? we have microphones orbiting positions. >> major head. army national guard. i had a question that mary just actually touched on. as we were -- as i was talking to mari here and the researchers too, do you see it more as a generational gap, that as we continue on in generations those
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things will kind of go -- not go away but kind of allow it? like she said, when she was in the class with the lieutenants, they wasn't worried about oh, you're female. maybe it's more of a generation, as you said, generations before. i think i graduated the same year as you. i saw different things and probably the lieutenants coming out today. that's my question. and is there research being done with maybe a generational gap as far as cultural as we change our culture? i definitely believe it is leadership's ability to change that and make a difference. >> that's a great question. anybody want to take a crack at it? anything you researched about the generational question? >> i think there is research that indicates there is sort of a cultural gap and certainly with don't ask don't tell there's the same kind of indications. the problem is often that leadership is part of the generation that may be stuck in the old culture we're talking about. so it may take some time for cultural change. so yeah. i certainly think that attitudes among new recruits, there is indication that -- especially around issues of gender and don't ask don't tell were very different. >> i think just to add quickly, the military historically is not great at quick culture change. it takes some time to come along. and while i do see huge differences between the generations of my parents and myself and the young men and women here in the audience, i think that's not good enough. and i think for us to be able to push it gently in the right way, in a thoughtful fashion, is extremely important. that's why these panels and these discussions are important. it will happen on its own but not in enough time. >> i'd just like to echo that. i've been in so many conversations with different levels of command as well. where the younger generation will say with all due respect, sir, to generals and then explain the fact that they're already everywhere, they're performing excellent, my wife's flying the helicopters, we go in with, et cetera, et cetera. there's something tremendous happening in terms of
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generational shifts. >> so my name is jessica trisco darden. i'm associate professor at the east school of international service at american university here in d.c. big shout out to my georgetown colleagues. i would just like to speak to this point a little bit about generational shifts and cultural shifts. dr. mackenzie brought up the israeli defense forces, and they have historically had women integrated into their operations. but even in pushing through some of their removals of gender-based combat exclusions they're having an extremely difficult time. for example, women who operate unmanned aerial drones are allowed to deploy in theater but 99 infantry units. they're only allowed to stay back with artillery units. there is still even amongst the most advanced countries in overcoming these hurdles, hurdles still remain. so it's a little bit naive to think that all these issues are going to go away immediately in part because a lot of these developments are tactically driven. and so i'm very excited that came up as a point of conversation. my own research deals primarily with irregular armed groups, rebel groups, et cetera. insurgencies. and what we've seen is that a lot of the developments in developing world military, so for example the sri lankan military formed an all women's unit in response to the high levels of female participation in the tamil insurgency in sri lanka. so the degree to which these developments are being
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externally driven from our engagement in conflicts like iraq and afghanistan versus internally driven through changes in american culture or perceptions of the role of women in the workforce is something i'd like to see you speak on. because there does seem to be this tension in the conversation with this panel about whether it's about manpower and manpower shortages and getting full staffing levels or it's about acknowledging as owen harding said earlier that we're all people and we're all equal and we should all be able to participate in these same roles. so your view on whether this is an externally or internally driven development would be very helpful. >> that's an interesting question. does anyone want to take a crack at it? >> i can start perhaps. it is a great question. and it's -- but you're opening a pandora's box here as well. the short is it's both. we haven't talked at all about u.n. security council resolution
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1325, the u.s. national action plan on women, peace and security, which are you could say a more rights-based arguments, that this is the right thing to do, we have to empower women, gender equality, et cetera, et cetera. but at the same time, those come from an understanding that the existing order isn't working and that we can improve the way we create peace, development, humanitarian affairs by high representativeness of women. so even there it's a combination. operational experience from the last decade is hugely important. we've learned a lot of lessons there. so they all combine. so the way i try to avoid that issue of deciding whether it's the right thing to do or the smart thing to do is to say that there's a difference between that sort of very difficult
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fundamental chicken and eggs sort of discussion versus how we sell this as an agenda to a highly reluctant organization. and there the rights-based arguments to me simply do not work. they will acknowledge that it is really important with gender equality and improved opportunities for women. but we're in the business of war. so we can't deal with that within the military. is the response you get. but if you do explain it with examples, scenarios that indicate where it has an impact
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on operational effectiveness, you will have their ear for a little while and you can sort of crack a door -- or at least gain access to the organization and explain yourself. i find that that argument always gets their attention at least when you're focused on operational effectiveness. so i would encourage to you do that not because it's the real reason why we're doing this but because it's the most effective in terms of organizational change, which is what we're approaching. but you're also touching upon a number of how questions. so how do we go about this integration process? and you asked a really good question to the last panel about the female engagement teams, cultural support teams, et cetera, et cetera, that are necessary capabilities. i think most would agree with that these days, that we're never going to fight a war where those capabilities are irrelevant. so how do we do that? now, we can create female moss. we can create female engagement teams with those specific
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functions that fills the gaps of the existing organization. but this is the panel on unit cohesion. we all agree that unit cohesion is a very important thing for military effectiveness and unit performance. so if you have ad hoc solutions, if you bring in a woman to the special operators or if you add a female engagement team to an existing platoon when they go out on a patrol, that's always going to be a liability because they will not be as cohesive and trained together as they will be if that platoon has those functions baked into it. so i would always say first of all get the women into the units if they need them rather than add that as a specific sort of add-on to the units. apart from the fact that having female moss, et cetera, will always then create the risk of feelings of different standards, for example. so if you have a ranger platoon where you hypothetically have physical standards that no women have so far passed and you add a few women because they need, it it's always going to be seen as a second-rate ranger even though they might be performing extremely well. so i would avoid that. but again, as they highlighted in the last panel, they have to look at all these standards and
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rethink them. >> unfortunately we have to wrap up the conversation so we can move on with our program. i would encourage everyone to continue it outside where the cliff bars and the coca-cola are. but thank you very much to our panelists for joining us. and thank you to all of us for being part of this conversation. [ applause ] >> american history tv looks back 50 years to president johnson's signing of the medicare bill. an idea that president truman inspired a generation earlier. before signing the bill in truman's presence on july 30, 1965, lbj said it was designed to ensure every citizen against, quote, the ravages of illness in his old age. starting at 8:00 p.m., lbj's daughter linda johnson robb, lbj special executive counsel and lbj library director on the battle to pass medicare and medicaid and why president
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johnson succeeded where others failed. after that, white house recordings of phone calls between lbj and his aids swell members of congress who talk about the politics and strategy behind the bill. then at 10:00 p.m., the medicare bill signing on july 30, 1965 at the harry s. truman presidential library in independence missouri, including remarks from president johnson, and former president truman. all of this tonight on american history tv on c-span3. tonight op the communicators, author and presidential pioneer on the wright brothers. >> they weren't the first people to have the idea of building a flying machine and they weren't the first people to try. so why did they succeed where everybody else failed?
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and the answer is, they understood the problem they were trying to solve much better than anybody else. and at the end of day, being creative is not about having ideas in the shower or ah-ha moments, or lightning bolts of inspiration. it's about solving problems one step at a time. so understanding the problem with a piece of paper, which is a problem of balance was the key for the wright blot brothers starting on their course that ultimately led to them flying. >> kevin ashton tonight on the communicators on c-span2. now a congressional freshman profile interview with republican elise stefanik who represents new york's 21st district. born on july 2, 1984, sh's thee congress. she previously worked for the romney presidential campaign and
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for the bush administration. >> elise stefanik, the youcnges woman ever elected to congress. what was that like? >> i didn't know that until i won my primary. i went in not knowing ant the historic nature. the media started covering the race. what was interesting for me was at campaign rallies, particularly towards the end, parents started bringing their elementary school-aged daughters to events. these were nonpolitical families, republicans, democrats, unaffiliated voters. so it's something i take
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seriously as a role model in this country. for all women who want to break glass ceilings for whatever role they're in, whether it's politics or business or the arts, i think it's very important as a country that we be examples for our young women to see what they can achieve. we have women coming tlour our office, whether it's young candidates. i had a mid school age girl running for student council. it's really a humbling experience for me. >> at what point did you say you're going to run for congress? >> that's a great question. i decided after the election. i was very disappointed in the outcome of the 2012 election, but i had spent a lot of time thinking about how the
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republican party needs to run new generation candidates and needs to pass our message along to younger voter, and particularly young women. and in new york state, i had grown up in my family, a small business, which my parents started when i was a kid. it's gotten harder to build a business than it was 20 years ago. after 2012, i started working in my family's business which i grew up around. i started as a completely no-name candidate i met with community leaders, local elected officials, business leaders to ask what they were looking for in kwon congress. and at first blush, i think many were shocked by my age. i was 29 at the time. that was an impossibility for a
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29-year-old to remotely win an election, a primary and a general election. i turned my youth from a weak nls into a strength and just really embraced the fact that i was a young candidate and it actually worked. >> the district that borders vermont and canada. how big is it? >> it's one of the biggest districts on the east coast. it's over 16,000 square miles and it's very mountainous terrain. the adirondack mountains are right in the middle of district. the population is in a circle around the district. it goes from the saratoga county to the border. i spent a lot of time doing retail, grassroots politics. i put over 100,000 miles total on the truck i drive, which -- that's a lot of drive time. that's a lot of hard work getting around to local events
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with five, ten people. especially at the beginning. >> what did you learn about you in the process? >> i think any candidate that has the courage to put their name on a ballot and step into the arena, i think you learn a tremendous amount about yourself. you really have to turn inward and question why are you doing this, what can you bring to the table to make your case. particularly early on in my campaign, i was going alone to events and was introducing myself to strangers. and that takes something within your kwut. and that tiner drive. and a sense of doing it beyond yourself for a greater purpose and having a sense of mission in the campaign. so i learned a lot. there are highs and lows on every campaign. it really tests your inner self. >> you talk about your mom and dad, the plywood business that they still operate. where did you grow up? >> i was born in albany county. my family has had a home in essex county since i have 3.
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i spent a lot of time between albany and essex county, up and down norway. my dad actually started off in the plywood and lumber business after he graduated from high scoop 3 he worked his way up in the warehouse. he ended up managing a local branch of a plywood distribution company. and when i was 7, my parents started their own business to local on the local small business customers and bringing the highest quality products with the best customer service. so 20 years plus later, we have over 1,000 small business customers. my brother is deeply involved in the business. when you see your parents risk everything we had as a family to start a business from skach, it's very, very difficult.
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there are tough times and there are times when it's a bit easier. you see how it pays off and you focus on customer service, because a lot of what we do in congress is constituent services. i try to treat that in the sense that it's customer service. but i really credit my parents with that. my parents didn't have the opportunity to graduate from college. they're both very smart and very accomplished and they are from big families and it just wasn't economically feasible. and they made sure that they invested in my education and wanted to give me opportunities that they had. >> what does your little brother think of his big cyster? >> he would be laughing if he heard that question when he's watching this.
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he's a big supporter of me running for office. he really enjoys golfing. he's doing a great job at my family's business. we're opposites in many respects. i was proud to have him on the stage when i won. what about your mom and dad? did they talk politics? did they talk about growing business and taxes and government regulation and the best in. >> they're active citizens. i think they're very typical of small business owners in this country. they pay close attention to how policies affect their business. even infrastructure issues because we're a contribution company. our trucks are on the road five days out of the week. we're not a traditional family in the sense that neither of
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them have ever won for office. they are strong voters, they always voted is and they're civic minded. but we did talk a lot about the challenges of running a business and government overreach. new york state is not a particularly friendly state to do business. in fact, we rank 50 in friendliest states to do business. that was something growing up that i didn't necessarily hear the specific political implications about, you know, we like this candidate or the other candidate. it was more of, we ought to be supporting policies that will help small businesses grow. >> why are you a republican? >> i'm a republican because i believe in limited government. i believe that the best way to grow the economy is by small businesses and entrepreneurs. i believe that individuals are the best people to make their decisions. i think republican principles help the vast majority and all americans achieve the american dream. and i believe in the constitution. >> you went to harvard to study
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what? >> i went to harvard and i studied government. i was very involved at the institute of politics, which is an undergraduate organization found in the memory of president john f. kennedy, and it's bipartisan, or nonpartisan. it wants to -- the mission is to encourage young people to get involved in public policy and be engaged civically. i spent a lot of time outside of the classroom working with other students at the institute of politics, and when i was a freshman, ploorly amazing experience i had, the institute of politics host fellows at the harvard. one of the fellows was ted sorenson, john f. kennedy's speech writer. you could apply to work with them for a semester. i was one of six liaisons that got to work with ted sorenson for a semester. for someone like me -- or for any student, frankly -- just to be able to work with someone and hear them tell stories of such
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an historic time that i had grown up reading about in history books, it was a very informative moment for me, particularly because he worked for a very young president. >> in giving the words to john f. kennedy, the inaugural address, profiles in courage, and many of the most famous speeches that president kennedy delivered. >> absolutely. >> you came to washington to work in the bush administration. how did that come about? >> i didn't have a job until the week i graduated. i'm sure that made my parents very nervous at the time. i graduated in 2006 from college, and many of my friends went the route of, where you get recruited very early in finance or consulting jobs, and that just wasn't the right fit for me. i knew i wanted to do something involved in public policy. so i interviewed at think tanks in washington. i interviewed in various parts of the administration under president george w. bush. and actually a friend of mine who had graduated two years earlier than me, a great role model. she's still a very good
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friend and definitely my mentor in college, she told me about a staff assistant position at the white house that was open. i actually didn't get the first staff position assistant. i was passed on. the second one opened up. i was waufr offered the job a few days before i graduated. and my first day of work, i went in to meet the new head of the domestic policy counsel who had been appointed a month earlier. i was goinglowest member right college and he was looking for a west wing aide. particularly before you worked in the west wing, you had to work your way up. and those jobs weren't for people right out of college. he took a huge risk on me. he's from upstate new york. and interestingly, he's an amateur word worker. i talked to him about my family business. we hit it off. i worked with him for a year and then i moved down stairs to the
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first floor of the west wing and i worked for the deputy chief of staff for policy joel kaplan until the end of the administration. >> first time you walked into the white house as a staff assistant, what was your reaction? >> i was very nervous. even when you're on staff, particularly the first day when i was going to meet my boss, you sit in the west wing lobby. anyone will tell you this who has sat in the west wing lobby for a job interview or any type of meeting, it's a nerve wracking experience, was it's an incredibly awe inspiring experience. i remember thinking to myself, i can't believe i'm sitting in the west wing of the white house. i wouldn't have imagined that a year, or even two weeks earlier. so it's a moment where you pinch yourself. and ken duberstein, who i interned for when i was in college, and he was obviously president reagan's chief of
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staff, he gave me a great piece of advice. he said that no matter what you're doing in life or what job you have, pinch yourself every day you go into the west wing because it's the people's house, and it's a true privilege to work there. and i did that and it was a very informative experience for me. >> he's now your colleague, but in 2012, you helped prepare paul ryan for the debates, the one debate he had with vice president joe biden? >> so that was probably one of my most challenging jobs i've ever had. it was a real privilege working for someone like paul who no one knows more about the budget, for example, than paul ryan. and as a staffer, what was interesting for me is president romney's team -- not president romney, then-governor romney, the presidential campaign, he had gone through many debates. there's only one vice presidential debate historica y historically, and he hadn't had a debate since his first race. so i worked to make sure that paul had the preparation that he
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needed. but what was interesting was it was very different from the way they prepared governor romney, just in terms of the briefing materials. and it was a lot of time spent with paul. it was eight full mock debates where we would work for the stand-in for paul. it was eight mock debates. ted olsson, we would prep him and have specific questions and scenarios and play them out. but paul was very hands on. he edited all the materials. it was a con stand work in progress. by the end we had a 40 pound briefcase. and as we were flying to the various campaign stops, he would practice different parts of the debate, review materials. he was younger than i was when he first ran for office. truly inspirational. and paul's


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