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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  August 20, 2015 7:29pm-8:01pm EDT

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associations work lieu hair legislatures and associations and they are in touch with parents every -- every day and we would like to take some step to solve all this problem, you but the truth is in my view post of that reaction has to be with those who are closest to the parents and who see them regularly, and i think that the idea of a medical home for every child who is about to be born is probably the surest and best way for states to you approach it this because parents are talking to their pediatricians, are going to make sure their children are -- are vaccinated. i have some closing remarks i'm supposed to make. the hearing record will remain open for ten days. members may submit additional information and questions for the record within that time. the mention hearing will occur tomorrow at 9:30 and we will
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look at the issue of ambush elections. thank you for being here today. the committee will stand adjourned. friday between 1 and 8 p.m. eastern on c-span 3 a look back at foreign policy and homeland security during the george w. bush administration. former administration officials, journalists and critics discuss the response to the 9/11 attacks and other issues at an event organized in new york. tonight on american history tv western history. at 8:00 p.m. mexican california in the early 19th century, a look at the history of california during the 19th century and the role of wealthy businessman pico. just before 9:25 p.m. the colonial west on lectures in history william and mary
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professor paul map talks about the interactions between european colonial powers and native american tribes on the great plains during the 1700s. and at 10:35 p.m., rocky mountain national park, on january 6th, 1915, president woodrow wilson signed the rocky mountain national park act designating an area which 100 years later spans 415 square miles in north central colorado. author james pick ring discusses enus mills and his involvement in its establishment. >> forming president jimmy carterer held a news conference am morning am atlanta and briefed reporters about his health status and treatments for brain and liver cancer. we will show you the event tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. here is some of what president carter had to say. at first i felt that it was
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confined to my liver and they had -- the operation had completely removed it so i was quite relieved. and then that same afternoon we had an mri of my head and neck and it showed up that it was already in four places in my brain. so i would say that night and the next day until i came back up to emory i just thought i had a few weeks left. but i was surprisingly at ease. you know he, i have had a wonderful life, i have had thousands of friends and i have had an exciting and adventurous and gratifying existence. so i was surprisingly at ease, much more so than my wife was. but now i feel, you know, that it's in the hands of god and i will be prepared for anything that comes. >> former president jimmy carter from earlier today. you can see all of his atlanta
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news conference tonight beginning at 8:00 p.m. eastern, 5:00 pacific on c-span. next an interview with congressman don beyer, a freshman democrat representing virginia's 8th district. he owns a number of car dealerships in the d.c. metro area and previously served as u.s. ambassador to switzerland during the obama administration. congressman beyer a won the seat vacated by retired congressman jim moran. congressman don beyer from virginia's 8th congressional district. when and where did you begin a am politics? >> i think i have sort of a terminal case of potomac fever. three of my four grandparents came here to work for franklin roosevelt they were new dealers and growing up here i just -- you read the "washington post" every day, are sucked into
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political life. i can remember very well the democratic convention in 1960, we were down at the beach and all the grandparents and parents were huddled around the radio listening to the convention night after night. i remember john kennedy's race in 1962, it was the biggest hinge in our family life, the packet that this catholic democrat could win the presidency. so i think the fantasy all my life was that i would grow up and find a career and find a way to get into public service. >> your tad started a volvo dealership, those who live in washington, d.c. are quite familiar with don beyer voluntarily row, it's your dad. >> it will be our 42nd anniversary in november and i celebrated my 41st anniversary there back in may. it was sort of an accidental career, i came back to go to med school but my dad needed a summer driver for the parts rubbing and i said, sure, i will do it. by the end of the summer i had fallen in love with the business and gotten cold pete about med school and asked him p i could stay for another couple of weeks
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and it tornado into 41 years. >> where did you go to college nchs williams college in western massachusetts. small liberal arts. it was a great experience. i had a semester at wellesley, which is also a great experience. i did did outward bound at dartmouth and majored in economics, which is actually very formative for me because williams only had one graduate program at the whole school and that was in development economics. how do you raise poor countries out of poverty into the development stage and that's always relevant for the united states and very relevant for public leadership. >> what makes a successful car dealership? >> well, our central idea all these 41 years has been customer intimacy. rule number one is integrity, you always do the right thing, doesn't make any difference what it costs don't think about that just decide what the right thing it to do is and do that and everything is fine. then the strategy around all that has been to try to stay
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really close to the customers, be good listeners, try to be attentive all the time. it's funny over the years many crowded rooms will say, okay, who can remember the name of the car salesman who sold them their last car and very rarely does more than one or two hands go up and so our idea was if you are going to sell teef and his family a car take care of them month in and month out. make sure it's a good experience, that the sale doesn't end when they drive away that first time. so we have just massive repeat business. we used to survey the customers about where they came from and 85 to 90% would be repeats or sent in by friends. we'd laugh that we spent all this money on advertising for the last 10% off you are curse u. customers. >> how did that experience help you in politics? >> you know, a lot of people have often asked over the years how i made the transition from car sales to -- and car service to politics and i've said
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truthfully it was actually a pretty short tep. a lot of the skills are the same. for example, being able to walk up to people you don't know and try to find a way to be friendly and open and connect, find something that you have in common. a lot of it is sales and i've always had the idea that sales is mostly about meeting people's needs. that we've sold, you know, 65,000 cars over the years and i don't ever remember pressuring a customer into buying a car. that's the worst way to do it. that the idea is always you have to say what are your needs, what are your priorities, what works for you, for your family, how can we meet that need? in politics it's much the same i think this, you know, what are the crises in your life? what are the things that don't function in in our society? how it to we move forward? and trying to listen carefully. you know, tonightel i will be at a civic association meeting out in boston and tomorrow i will be
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someplace else and we are doing a telephone town hall at 6:00. so we are always trying to find out what the big concerns are because hen we can drop back and say, okay, let's do something meaningful to make this different. >> your dad started the business. what has he taught you about business and politics over the years? he is, what, 91 years old? >> 91, yeah, and a terrific guy and still in good health. i'm very, very lucky. my dad and i i worked side-by-side for probably 13, 14 years, six days a week, and we had a wonderful relationship, i don't think either of us ever raised our voice to the other one had this all those years together. he would tease me all the time, i would come to work at 7:30 in the morning he would say good afternoon, young man. but i often thought that i was -- he was a far better mechanic than i am, but then i was much better at much of the business i think so this, you know, better at the computer, better at financial statement analysis, you know, read all the
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magazines on what was happening in the car business, but what i especially learned from him were all the values. i mentioned the integrity earlier. i never saw him do anything even slightly dishonest or unethical. and he never lied to a customer or lied to an employee. he was just a great role model in that ens is. he was also unfailingly optimistic, i think he never saw a problem he didn't think he could solve and i think he was just really good to the people that worked for us and the customers. i remember as a very young man resenting him that i was working so hard and all the employees just loved him and treated him like he was god, you know, how do you get to do that? and i realized that it's the -- that wonderful wisdom that who a leader is much more important than who he or she -- what he or she does. it's that projection of character. and i think -- i mean, that's what i want to be as a political
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leader also. yes, we want to get legislation done and cast the right votes but i also think it's important that we try to -- you know, the whole idea of let your life be your argument. of living a life that draws people to -- to the idea of public service. and that did -- this sounds too high fluten, but wanting to be a role model for others who looked at their political leaders rather than the political leader that people look to with disappointment and despair. >> one of six children? >> oldest of six, yes. >> how many brothers, how many sisters? >> four girls and then pie little brother. i have been blessed. we lost my oldest sister last summer to breast cancer which was a tragedy but it was also, you know, that her funeral was a great celebration of a very interesting charismatic life. my little brother joined the business in 1980 and i remember resenting him, thinking, hey,
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this is -- this is dad and me, get out of here. i didn't say that, but i belt that, and it's been a great blessing because we've been partners all these years and mike's presence, he is a very good car dealer, mike's presence gave me the latitude to be overseas ambassador, to run for congress, to go do the public service things that i wanted to do while he has led the company through thick and thin. >> let's talk a little bit about that because you served as the lieutenant governor of virginia, you ran for governor and lost. what did you learn were defeat? >> that it's survivable. i love that governor's race, i spent nine and a half years of my life getting ready for it, drove 700,000 miles across virginia, every jurisdiction, many more times than once. i had friends everywhere and i felt, you know, the line that used to occur to me is that you could wake me up in the middle of the night anywhere in virginia and i would know where i was.
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i had a great sense of place. the only bad part of the governor's race was the louisiana day, all the rest of it was important and fun and you get to talk about the things that you think will make a difference. and so is you lose, but there's an old piece of wisdom that you can't serve if you don't run. and the mention day the sun came up and all the things i had been able -- or ride to accomplish in the eight years didn't go away because i lost and while i regretted not having a chance to be governor, i mean, you know, our obligation to brush ourselves off and go back to work. >> still ready in possibly being governor? >> not really. i love this job and, you know, one of the things i discovered, steve, is as lieutenant governor i was president of the senate and so i only got to vote if there was a tie and i really didn't get to participate in the debates. i had lots of legislation but always carried by actual member
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of the general assembly. i tried to fill that blank slate with as much leadership as i could, but -- and then as ambassador you are a messenger. it's a wonderful job, but you don't make much policy there. so now i'm in the greatest policy making role, the greatest change agent role that i think i've ever been in and so, no, i don't really have any ambition to be governor. i think if i can do this well, build the relationships with democrats and republicans in the house and the senate, that this would be a great last big chapter of my public life? and yet as you well know so many people talk about congress, the broken branch, dysfunctional, nothing gets done, nobody works together. what's it been like for you? >> not like any of those things. first of all, there's been -- i've sensed no hostility or animosity at all. it's been easy to be pals with most of the democrats, there's only 188 of us, the fewest since
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harry true man was president, so they have been very welcoming and i have a lot of great new friends, but i also found that the other freshman republicans that we met, we did the three days at harvard in december and a couple days in williamsburg in january, we have had some time to be together, i serve on a couple of committees, three different committees with these republicans and so little by little i'm really getting to know and be friends with a number of them. if i have a major bowl in year in my first year is to make as many good friendships across the aisle as i can. by the way, nobody has been rude or evil or closed minded. we tend to vote along partisan lines a lot, but i think we can overcome that, too, as we communicate better. and as i look now we got the so-called doc fix on the sgr done, it sounds a little technical but for 17 years congress can kicked this one bill down the road and plansy
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pelosi and speaker boehner got together, bipartisan, and got us a fix. we're in the middle of these throws about trade, trade promotion authority for the president, i think we're going to get that done. that again will be something we had to cross party lines. i think there's a lot more than we can get done. i got my first bill passed on ex end itting awards, science awards beyond nasa to many other agencies, stimulating just people to solve science problems that we don't have answers for yet. with the republican co-sponsor bob johnson we asked every member in the science committee to co-sponsor the bill to try to do this together. there are a lot of people on both sides who want to get past this partisan divide. >> you mentioned your role as our representative it, our ambassador to lick ten steen and also switzerland. what was that experience like and when did you serve? >> we went over in august of 2009 and came back june of 2013. so we were there almost four
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years. we took two teenage daughters over with us, which meant a lot of crying themselves to sleep the first couple of months before they fell in love with the countries. it was a great experience. among the many things that i loved was -- well, part -- partly you're blowing up your life, all of a sudden you're moving from are the home and the can country that you're comfortable with to new food, new weather, new environment, new landscape, new language, a lot of new friends, but i think what i liked best was that the public service, public policy challenges were very different every day. we started off trying to resettle quantity mow detainees the bush administration decided to be released but no other country would take them to dealing with bank secrecy almost every day which was really americans who had hidden their assets in switzerland. trying to get the swiss to obey the sanctions against iran so iran would come to the negotiating table was a big
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priority. roman plan ski was arrested a few weeks after i got there and we spent nine months trying to get him extra dated back to california. so every day was challenge willing and different and rg. it was a very enriching experience and my german got to be pretty good. >> switzerland plays such a unique role in world history and certainly in europe because of its location, it's mountains, cultu culture, government. had how did that pose challenges for you? it's independence. >> they remember themselves most american of european countries. american wouldn't think this but the swiss closely identify with the united states rather than germany, france, italy, the uk. they adopted our constitution in 1848 and we took the idea of the 13 states from their 13 cantoms. they are the world's oldest it democracy going back to 1291.
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they are like california, they have initiative and referendum. so it's interesting. they don't have a ma jor tear yan system democrats versus republicans, they do everything by consensus is. they are the only nation in the world that doesn't have a head of state. they have a seven person federal council. today it has tour different parties -- five different parties from a left party like democratic socialist to a right party like the swiss people's party but they do everything -- they don't come to a decision until they can all agree. very different from ours. instead 50,000 votes can take am i law passed by their parliament and put it up for referendum by the people. so here if the republicans are in the majority, the democrats say no and the democrats are in the majority and republicans say no. in switzerland the people say no to the parliament. so there are little insights like that that just filled our lives over the four years and was very meaningful. >> what do you remember pour years in switzerland and i assume you traveled a fair amount. >> yeah, we did.
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we went to -- once the younger one went off to school we would go on weekends to the different clals because every place was an hour from zurich, but also got to hike a lot and ski a lot. i've been in love with mountains since i was a little kid so it was a perfect place to be. >> you were appointed by the president, you were not a civil service career diplomate. explain the difference and why switzerland has a political appointee, some have civil servants. >> i think it's about a 70/30 split, 70% of the u.s. ambassadors around the world are career, they've been foreign service officers most of their lives. maybe 30% or less are political like i am. we're one of the few countries that has that system but ours goes back to our first ambassador was ben franklin second thomas jefferson and then john adams. we have had political ambassadors for a long, long time. i like the system. if it were just political appointees it would be problem hat tick because there's a lft
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just diplomacy stuff that i didn't know and i had a wonderful number two who is now the deputy chief of mission in had finland, susan elbow who was a career who was a career foreign service officer, and we worked as a team. where she knew how to work the bureaucracy at the state department, for example, which reports needed to be done when, i had two generations worth of leadership experience managing people and projecting goals and organizing cultures, which i've long thought the most important job of leader is to get the culture right where people are working together and supporting each other, so the team worked together pretty well. i saw it that way for pretty much the rest of europe. the more expensive and more important countries end up with the political ambassadors who, a, can afford it. and b, have a lot of leadership
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experience in business or in politics or sometimes both to come in and provide the leadership to make the embassy do. one of the things the federal government doesn't do typically well overall is to train leaders. this is not a cut on federal employees. i love them. i have more in my district than any district in the country, but navigating a bureaucracy also means minimizing risk. you don't often get ahead by trying to break things in a course of a bureaucracy, so you need a mix of inside and outside to get the best results approxima. >> with the people that you came across, european leadersleaders people of europe in general, how do they view america and the president in general? >> we got there at the fever
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pitch of euphoria about the obama presidency. after the george w. bush presidency there was a lot of dismay in europe because of the two wars. after all the racism here, we actually elected an african-american president, so in the couple of conversations we had with the president over the time i was there, he would point out he was much more popular in switzerland than in the united states. he always had a 90% approval rating there. we spend a lot of time trying to rebrand america. we were actually bringing health care to5
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we had after the obama election. there have been setbacks. the snowden thing was clearly a setback, all the confusion in syria and the rise of isis continues to confuse it. and now you have europe threatened by russia in the eastern ukraine. once again, things that look like great ideas in 2009 we're trying to readjust now. >> first couple of months here in congress, what's it been like for you? >> very fulfilling. i've really enjoyed it. it's easy to get up in the morning because the work is really entertaining. you can open up "the washington post" or turn on c-span and really enjoy it. the key for me is to develop the
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relationships and understanding to have some impact on the decisions come out. in the recent trade debate, i've been one of the house democrats promoting trade. in a way, it's a little lonely in the democratic caucus. >> what's your relationship like with nancy pelosi? >> it's very good. that's the other thing, too. i have not seen almost any of these divisions on policy become personal. i'm sure they do sometimes for some people, but i've not felt any personal problem.
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some of my committee meetings, the science committee or the natural resource committee, one of my nemesis just failed on a partisan vote or i just voted against a republican friend's bill and youn"""bjñ walk down , together. you realize these)x arehk clasf philosophy, but it's not personal. >> when you ran for the house, you had a pretty contentiousg5rp democratic primary. how did you win? >> there were 13 of us initially
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worked. we also, you know, spent every waking minute didn't read any books or watch tv or anything else for those many, many months and it worked. >> of course, you can cross the potomac in your district. you don't have to go too far. >> i'm very spoiled. >> what is your routine like and how do you stay in touch with your constituents? >> i try to get here by 8:00, 8:15. a lot of days are spent here, but it is just the constant flow of constituents into the office, every 15 minutes on an issue, which is wonderful. they don't just meet with me, too. i have a great legislative staff who are doing meetings all day long. nonprofit event, a town hall
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meeting, a civic association, just lots and lots of, you know, connectedness. my friends in the house from california and texas and montana say the good news is you're close to home. the bad news is yourself always on. i think that's good news because i'm not away from the people i represent. maybe this will go away with time, but i feel very fulfilled by that. >> any interest in moving up to the leadership? >> you know, i'm at the point now where i've had enough titles in my life. i don't need to have a title, but, yes, i very much want to be part of helping to lead the house and lead the democratic caucus, but i don't have to win an election to do that. i think a lot of it is just showing up. and so when i get invited to this meeting or that, if it is
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possible to go, i do go. if it is possible for me to raise my hand and say i'll make that call or make that ask, i do. and that's -- it's a way to offer leadership without having to have the ego stroke that goes with it. you know, it will take me -- as a freshman, it will take me a long time to compete against people who have been here for 20 years or 30 years, which is fine. if i can help them, that's enough. >> finally, an update on your wife, what does she think of your career in politics and your tenure here in the house? >> i think she likes it. when we first heard jim moran was going to retire, she was the one saying you have to do that. when i was leading a governor's campaign in northern virginia and she was working for news channel 8, she was the tv reporter that would show up all the time with the camera on her shoulder. so we've been together in politics since the very
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beginning. >> and your two daughters, how old are they now? >> they're 34, 23, and 20. i actually have three daughters. they've all been deeply in politics. so we'll see. i want them -- our dinner conversations are just like mine were when i was a kid. it's all about what's in the newspaper. it's all about public policy, and it's not boring because they've all got good strong opinions. >> finally, what does your dad think of all this? >> i think he probably likes it. i think he's very proud of me. he doesn't understand why i would do this. what are you doing? you should go play golf, but i think he's proud of me anyway. and i love to update him. back when i was lieutenant governor, i would call him every night before we checked into the
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motel someplace in virginia. now out of respect for his being 91 i don't call him every night, but i update him. >> congressman don beyer, thank you very much for your time. prior to california becoming a state in 1850, it was ruled by mexico, and the majority of the population had immigrated from that region, including many with african ancestry. up next, professor carlos salomon talks about the history of california during the 19th century and the many californians who lived in the region. in particular, he focuses on the role of wealthy businessman pio pico, who was the governor of california while it was under mexican rule. >> hi, everyone. welcome. my name is marie

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