tv Politics and Public Policy Today CSPAN October 14, 2015 5:00pm-7:01pm EDT
despite a serious violation they got a $30 fine. we need strong enforcement to prevent deadly situations like this. incredibly powerful. we studied a case study in west virginia the leak of contaminated water for 300,000 families, also incredibly powerful. there are probably examples like this in every state andively think it's a great opportunity for you all to be helping people see the real role of government in their lives and a way that we can do better. now, here's a way we can do better. positive case study. the consumer financial protection bureau. so, i'll read it. the language is on the website. recently the consumer financial protection bureau ordered bank of america to pay nearly $227 million in fines because of the bank's deceptive practices including charging consumers for products they never agreed to. also orlandered jpmorgan chase pay $309 million for deceptive
and unauthorized billing. this agency saved consumers nearly $3.5 billion in fees and interest since its creation two years ago. we need to strengthen enforcement of these laws not weaken enforcement. incredibly powerful success story of how enforcement can actually make a difference in people's lives. by the way, this image is what you get if you google banker. that is -- that is not a shot from our office. so, i mentioned we tested a few other messages in this research. you can find all of this online at sensiblesafeguards.org. but the piece together the negative consequences, the positive solutions, and then the reasons for it give us this message triangle. a couple other, you know, one of the other success stories was about product safety inspections, keeping millions of defective products out of the u.s. market.
i think it was $8.2 million in 6 mo months. very powerful. i want to underline the message at the bottom. the need case, the reason to do it small business and entrepreneurship and hard work are the engine of the american economy. fair enforcement helps create a level playing field so multinational corporations hat use their political influence to squeeze small businesses out of the marketplace. so, that is my section of today's presentation, kind of the big picture. a little bit of one of the pathways to solve that and really look forward to working with all of you and state innovation exchange in the future as we dive deeper into more recent research, upcoming challenges and next year's legislative sessions. thank you. good morning. thanks, everyone. my name is molly murphy.
i'm a partner at the polling firm grove research. we have over the last several years conducted extensive research on issues impacting families, middle-class families, and their role and relationship with the workplace. what i'm going to do today is present to you some public -- or some public polling on these issues, and i'm going to sort of augment the presentation with recent examples that i can't necessarily share from our clients because they do own that data. but that we have seen consistently about the power of these issues, of making, you know, a family friendly economy and making sure that family economic issues are a top priority for voters. and so we can go ahead and get started with the deck. there we go. so, we're going to talk about family economic security.
and to start with -- i don't know if there's any way to size it down so that the edges of the powerpoint aren't cut off. but i can tell you that to set the stage and david did some of this to begin with, we know that the economy is moving. and it is recovering since the recession. but what is not happening for familiy ies right now, they aret seeing the direct benefit in terms of wage growth, in terms of, you know, improved quality of life and workplace benefits. and so what this slide here shows is that you actually do not see a movement while unemployment is down, you're not seeing a movement really in household income. and so what we're seeing in poll after poll is that, well, sure, people feel like things are generally getting better. when you ask them about their own personal financial situation, they feel like they are not seeing the benefits of an improving economy. and this is a critical, critical concern for families. and it's really going to impact
the 2016 elections. it impacts families every single day. so, because of this, there is a broader framework of issues that really are out there to address some of these concerns. so, there is raising the minimum wage. but as we all know, that impacts minimum wage workers for the most part, and there are many families out there who are looking for greater relief. thank you very much. we also see, you know, greater focus on tax reform that closes corporate tax loopholes and david addressed some of this as well. there is the huge perception and the right perception out there that those at the top are doing great. people are seeing their bosses and corporate ceos really thriving in this economy while they feel like they are paying for it. also access to affordable, high-quality, long-term care as well as child care. it is not just about the wages that the they bring home, but it is about what they are able to provide for their families.
preschool, college affordability, sort of both ends of the education spectrum, both of these things are economic issues for families, and they look at them that way in terms of opportunities for future. and then equal pay. there is enormous support out there and a strong perception, regardless of what those kind of the at the extreme end of the partisan spectrum might say, that there is a gender discrimination problem with pay in this country. so, we did a poll for american women. and we tested a package of issues, and in that package we asked whether people supported raising the minimum wage to $10.10 because that was the federal proposal. we also asked about guaranteeing ability -- workers the ability to earn paid sick time. we tested equal pay. making it harder for employers to pay women less than men for doing similar work. and then creating the family and medical leave insurance fund.
so, paid fmla. and when we tested this, you see incredible support for this nationally. 63% of likely 2016 voters -- these are people who are turning out to vote. 63% support this as a package. when you look at those numbers, you know that this is not just support among democrats or, you know, a little bit of support from independents. but this is something that we get support across the board for, these are commonsense family economic policies. we also ask, you know, as we have seen, there is a disconnect, sometimes, between what people like and what they are willing to use when they're considering how they are going to vote. and we do not see that disconnect on these issues. we also asked people, and when candidates for elected office support policies, that have a direct impact on working families, like fair pay for women, higher minimum wage and paid family days and sick days, does it make you less or more
likely to support them or does it make no difference. and you can see it tracks with support. those who support this package are also willing to vote on it. and you see very little backlash. less than one in four voters would say they vote against someone who supported this package. and so perhaps not surprisingly, you're seeing a lot of candidates take on these issues and talk about these directly. we've got the democratic presidential candidates up there. hillary clinton talking about equal pay for women is not a women's issue. this is a family issue and an american economic issue. that is exactly right. and that is how people look at it. this is not a niche woman's issue. this is something that people really connect to their own families. bernie sanders also talking about this issue. at a time when millions of american workers have seen declines in their incomes and are working longer hours for lower wages, the wealth of the billionaire class is soaring in a way that few can imagine. this is connecting with voters
where they are right now. but i don't think it surprises anybody in this room that democratic candidates are talking about these issues. cue the next slide. for the first time since i can remember you really hear republican presidential candidates embracing these issues. many of you in this room probably saw that senator marco rubio rolled out his paid family leave program which is a bit of a wolf in sheep's clothing, but he's taking this issue on. and the previous slides and david's presentation should give you every explanation as to why. he's saying and who in here disagrees with this, one of the greatest threats to family today is that too many americans have to choose between being there for their children in times of great need or meeting the basic financial needs of their families. i agree. and that is why these policies are so important across the partisan spectrum. you also have jeb bush talking about how the income gap is real, but that only conservative principles can solve it.
but talking about the income gap in this country. this is -- this is a problem that has reached an urgency point and a tipping point in this country and voters are looking for resolutions and you have rand paul also talking about income inequality. imitation is the highest form of flattery. so, in our polling, we found that there's huge support individually for the paycheck fairness act. this is the federal bill because this was a national study we did. but we can assume that individual, statewide support for state bills would also be very high. 62% of voters support the paycheck fairness act. only 29% oppose it. voters also support the family act and this is funding fmla essentially. and we gave the explanation. we talked about the sort of sausage making that employers would contribute and employees would contribute and you see that nationally 63% of likely
2016 voters support the family act. again, we see huge support across party lines for this. this is not something that voters view as too much. and when we did focus groups around these issues, we heard voters talk about it in their own words. either if they have paid time, they see the great value of it and don't see it as something only for those who are privileged. they see it as a benefit that all workers should have. for those who don't have it, they have felt burden in their own lives in not having access to paid leave when they have had a family need come up. so, what do we say about this? well, there are a couple ways that we can address this from a message standpoint. this is informed by a scope of research and what we have done over several years. so, first thing we want to do is address the problem. we always want to meet voters where they are on these issues. many families are working harder than ever, but not able to make ends meet and be there for their families when they need to be and too many families, i guess
marco rubio saw this slide, too many families are forced to choose between their jobs and being there for their loved ones in their times of need. this is meeting people where they are and they recognize this is a major problem for people in this country. we want to acknowledge our shared values on this. a stable workforce is good for the economy and we all benefit. this is not something that doesn't impact you if you have paid sick leave or if you, you know, do earn equal to your male counterparts or if you make above the minimum wage. we all benefit from a stable and strong workforce and everyone who works hard should be able to make a better future for their family. that is the american dream, and we all believe that. these are shared values that we all believe. but we also want to i knonocula from attack. we know that people will come out and say we shouldn't put these mandates on business or this is too costly, but what we have found time and again in our research is that voters are not inclined to believe that but we do need to address that to make
sure that they know that the facts on their side. so, this is actually good for hardworking families. this is also good for businesses. it saves money in terms of retraining and employee turnover. and that studies have proven that places where these policies are in effect have seen no negative economic impact. so, we need to take those attacks head-on because we do have the facts on our side and we have the values on our side. and then finally we want to explain why this matters for everyone. this is not just about the individuals who are going to see some benefit of this if these policies pass directly. but instead the workforce and the economy will be stronger so everyone will succeed. and it will also strengthen the future generation. this is going to set families up for a successful future not just now but for their children and for their grandchildren in this country. and so -- and i'll wrap up the presentation there. sorry. all right.
i realized i didn't have the next slide in there. and at this time i'll turn it over to deidra shipling from planned parenthood action fund. >> thank you so much. and i feel like these presentations kind of build off of each other, so very happy to be following that. so, i'm the executive director of the planned parenthood action fund. that is the c-4 entity that does political and advocacy work, and i'm going to be sharing with you today some research that we've done recently on the recent attacks on women's access to reproductive health care in this country as well as on planned parenthood as an organization. but first i wanted to just do a level set about what planned parenthood is, and now i'm talking about planned parenthood federation of america, planned parenthood affiliates that
provide health care. as folks may know, planned parenthood is a health care provider. planned parenthood provides health care to 2.7 million women and men around the country through 700 health centers around the country. and we provide a range of reproductive health care and education. our doctors provide well woman exams, cancer screenings, breast exams, birth control, and abortion. 75% of our patients are low income. 150% of the poverty level or below. and additionally through our educators out in the community we provide comprehensive sex ed to more than a million young people every year. so that's who planned parenthood is. and our mission is and has always been to provide compassionate and nonjudgmental
health care and education to those who need it, particularly in underserved areas across the country and within underserved populations. since mid-july planned parenthood has been under an intense, unrelenting and coordinated attack by some members of congress, some members of state governments, as you may have witnessed in your own states, as well as anti-abortion extremists. and the goal of this attack is to kick planned parenthood out of participating in medicaid and other government programs which reimburse planned parenthood for health services that are provided to low-income people. so, i'm going to share some polling that we did on that. at the end of july, and then some more recent polling on this issue from the last couple of weeks. but before i go to the first slide, i just want to say at
heart, this issue is not about planned parenthood providing well woman exams. it's not about the birth control. it's not about the sex ed. it's about whether or not abortion should be safe and legal in this country or not. and as a reminder, unfortunately, the federal government does not cover abortion services through the medicaid program except in extreme circumstances. so, this is not about -- that money does not go to cover abortion unfortunately. we think that's discriminatory against poor women, but that's the law of the land and we follow that. so, this is really an attack on whether or not abortion will be legal. so, a large majority of voters favor continued funding for planned parenthood. we did this polling at the end of july and found that 63-28 voters across the spectrum favor continuing funding for the services that planned parenthood
provides. interestingly independents in this slide and throughout the polling that we did are especially strong. 68% here. many recent national polls even as recent as this week have confirmed this finding and also show strong support for abortion access. so, "the wall street journal" had a poll recently showing that 61% of americans oppose eliminating funding for planned parenthood. quinnipiac, 69% oppose shutting the federal government down over funding planned parenthood. and a new poll released by bloomberg shows that the vast majority of the public agrees with the u.s. supreme court decision in roe versus wade which made abortion safe and legal by 67% to 29%. and this has been a standard -- this two-thirds majority support for that court decision is the same and unchanged year after year.
contrast that with views on the marriage equality ruling, only 5 5 54-and there's strong support for abortion access. so this has important electoral quedges to the detriment of candidates who would run on defunding the services that planned parenthood provides. so, we tested similarly to what molly was saying about folks can support something, but it doesn't mean they vote on it. they vote on this. 58-26 more likely to support a candidate who supports continuing funding. voters' views don't change even when presented with the case for defunding, so 64-30 percent, 64% disagree with republicans' call for a vote to defund planned
parenthood. and interestingly 72% of independents disagree with republicans' call to defund planned parenthood. i'm using republicans as a shorthand because that's the party in power in congress, but obviously we have a lot of republicans that support funding planned parenthood. so, i don't want to be too broad brushed there. voters are skeptical about the congressional republicans' proposed hearings and investigations. so, we are now have been under investigation by congress four different committees are investigating planned parenthood. they have also recently set up -- because four was not enough. recently set up a select committee just completely dedicated to investigating planned parenthood. and i think probably a lot of folks saw that our president cecille richards testified before one of those committees for 5 1/2 hours on tuesday. so, in terms of how the public is absorbing this, what they think of all of this, they think
it's just as political as we know it is. so, 57-28 they have a political agenda they're trying to push. 60% to 25% the investigation in to planned parenthood is desi designed to score political points so they see through it. women voters in particular have a high regard for planned parenthood, not surprising. many of them have been planned parenthood's patients. a couple things to note, 61% believe that planned parenthood plays an important role in reducing the number of unintended pregnancies which is at a 40-year low right now, so very important role there. and 59% believe that planned parenthood is one of the few affordable health care options. just to summarize the recent attacks, this is in the past two
months. we know in the past few years reproductive access to health care is under attack like never before. my colleague, rachel sussman, she is our state policy director, and she's going to be leading off a panel later today to talk about the state attacks and to preview what we're anticipating in this next legislative session, but after a very intense several years of state attacks on reproductive health care just in the last two months we have had 15 anti-women's health votes in congress including four specific votes to defund planned parenthood. we've had 15 states attempt to defund planned parenthood in their state and 17 state investigations into planned parenthood just in the last two months. so, the level of harassment is intense. here's a quick map of some of those defunding sites.
and, you know, i would close by basically with a few words of advice for candidates and office holders in talking about women's health issues. it's important in talking about women's health issues to highlight the motives of folks who would act to defund or restrict access to women's health care or to planned parenthood and to really focus on what the motives underlying that are. because it's not about birth control. it's not about education. it's about a difference -- a different set of beliefs around access to abortion. do acknowledge that the decision to have an abortion is very personal and sometimes complex for women and their doctors and their families. but it's not helpful or necessary to go further than that. so, i think talking about the
complexity, talking about it's a personal decision, but not going so far as to say i recognize some people think this is a sin or this is immoral, not necessary. not helpful. do be proactive in talking about these issues. especially prevention and funding so that you're able to do it on your own terms. as elected officials you want to bring this up. you don't want to wait until you get asked about this. you want to be strong and proactive in talking about the attacks on access to reproductive health care. and lastly leverage voters' strong sentiment that restricting access to reproductive health services should not be a dominant priority for elected leaders especially given other urgent challenges. the fact that we have had 15 votes restricting access to reproductive health care in the congress in the last two months when you think about all the other stuff these guys haven't gotten done, haven't taken care of, i mean, it's outrageous.
so, lastly i'll just leave you with a plea to be our vocal supporters and to be out front and be leaders on this issue. we are at a critical moment in this conversation across the country, around whether -- who is going to make these decisions. is it going to be women or is it going to be politicians and i think as elected leaders you guys have an important role, a critical role, in standing up for women's ability to make their own reproductive health decisions and i would encourage you to do that. thank you so much. >> great. thank you so much. so, we're going to take questions and we have about 15 minutes or so and maybe a little bit more to answer some questions. we'll start over here. and then we'll go over here on this end of the room over here.
>> phyllis kahn from minnesota. this is a terrific presentation and i hope we're going to be able to see it all somewhere for those of us who can't write fast enough. i wanted to bring another aspect of the planned parenthood and i, you know, people started laughing or giving me dirty looks when i said this. but i went to the head of planned parenthood minnesota and said, you know, i almost joined the demonstration against you because i was so irritated that you weren't participating in this tissue exchange. because even though i'm a total supporter of reproductive health, i've very actively worked legislatively on donor issues and facilitating donor requests. i think one of the things -- direction i thought we should go is to kind of remove official action of -- and i don't know anything about it. i don't know how it was going on and so forth. but remove official action of planned parenthood but make sure that women who are having
abortions know that this is an option and facilitate the women being able to make the connections themselves. because, you know, sorry, i'm a -- i'm a basic molecular biologist is what my training was so i'm very concerned about those issues besides, you know, basic political concerns about reproductive health. >> great. go right over here and then right back there. >> hello, i'm chris taylor from wisconsin. i want to thank all the panelists, particularly i love planned parenthood. i used to work for you all in wisconsin, so please hang in there. we love your work. but i have two questions for planned parenthood. it seems like, i mean, from my perspective, this is about power. this is about taking away health services that women desperately need to be full citizens, to be able to work, to be able to go
to graduate school. so, i'm a little worried about making it about abortion. i actually think a lot of these extremists oppose birth control as well, and they're going after these services because they think they should be the ones to make these decisions and take away choices to women about our lives that are so important. so, i just wanted to kind of to frame it maybe a little bigger that abortion is a piece. i don't think it's the only piece. i think it's about who decides and women having the ability to make critical decisions about their lives, so that was one thing. and then for the first presentation on the rules and regulations, i'm wondering, does this motivate people to vote? like, we have massive corruption right now in wisconsin, unfortunately scott walker is back in the state, so we know it's going to get worse. but do people vote on this? that's the question, you know? i'm just wondering. is this an important, critical thing to have, you know, to talk about these rules and safety
stuff. perhaps the issue of crumbati c is a bit separate from that and is it a motivator. that's my second question. >> just to respond to your first comment, hi, chris. yeah, i totally agree. it is about a larger issue of control. the reason i was emphasizing the abortion piece is because instead of engaging in an actual debate about that issue, they are doing this sort of backhanded thing that doesn't actually directly address that and makes it about something else. so, anyway, i was just trying to draw attention to that. but i totally agree there's a larger world view clash happening. >> so, the second question probably deserves a much longer answer, but rules and regulations are not what get most people up in the morning. they're worried about making ends meet. they're worried about putting food on their table. and so addressing that concern is where you want to start.
i think that's going to lead to people's decisions about who they vote for, so thinking about raising incomes, making the economy grow and work for all, not just the wealthy and then, you know, part of the argument is we've got a system of government that is corrupt. the public perceives that and we need to address that by fairly enforcing the rules. i wouldn't necessarily put it on your campaign bumper sticker. >> thank you. over here and then we'll go over here. >> thank you. going back to the statement on what sells with the public or not. can you explain why 70% -- 75% i think you said favors i will be a voice for you and only 25% favors i will speak for you. why is there that incredible difference between two words that seem to mean the same?
>> so, that's a study from -- that you can actually find in public. you can read a little bit more detail online. it's on the global strategy group's website. they've just found that i think what i'm imagining the public response is, is about voice is something that people are willing to have their elected officials do, but actually taking the words and speaking for them is just -- it triggers something that they don't like that as much. >> jean colwell state senator from washington. about a month ago there was an arson attack at a planned parenthood clinic in pullman, washington, which is where washington state university is located. i'm wondering if you're seeing signs of this type of aggression occurring. i mean, we seem to not have as much of it for a while. but also it's interesting to me
that it was in the town -- a town with a college campus. and what you're finding out about college students' views, are the republicans reaching more of them or the conservatives rather? we've had a lot of polling results but i haven't seen anything about young voters. thank you. >> yeah, there have been i think an increase in arson attacks on planned parenthood since the last two months of this attack has begun. there was recently another one in california, so, yeah, we are seeing increased attacks on planned parenthood health centers. and i think this kind of rhetoric and focus and hateful speech really lends itself to those kind of violent attacks. in terms of polling on young people, i don't have something i can speak to this moment.
i think molly may have some more information on that. i will say that our student organizing presence has skyrocketed in the last several years. we have these incredibly strong student chapters now on 260 college campuses around the country called planned parenthood generation. and those folks are, like, you know, fired up, ready to go, you know, organizing their campuses, organizing their communities, sharing sex ed, like, just doing all kinds of stuff and it's been incredibly inspiring to see that outpouring of support. >> and i'll speak a little bit to the information that we know in polling on younger people. and the college age set is often too small to look at within a poll in and of itself, but you can look at millennials. and one thing we do know is that, you know, as much as the sort of anti-planned parenthood,
right wing will try to say, oh, we have a movement of younger people who are moving against planned parenthood and against choice, that is simply not supported by any polling data. there is still enormous support among millennials as there is amongst all age groups for funding planned parenthood, for giving women access to health care and birth control, for keeping abortion safe and legal in this country. you judgement are not sst are n trend amongst any age group against that. if anything what you are seeing as these issues are becoming closely tied to economic security, you are seeing younger men more engaged on this issue in a way that helps us. not to say that older men are against it, but it is less motivating and sort of less of a rallying cry but for younger men, millennial men, they do see the connection betweenwomen's access to health care and family economic security. so, if anything, i feel like the opposite is becoming more true.
>> going to go right over here and then we'll come right over here. >> loretta weinberg, senator from new jersey. i have a slightly parochial view of your map. you left new jersey out in coloring in -- >> that was within the last couple months. >> a six-year fight since this governor took over and was the first governor to red line out of our budget money for planned parenthood. we continue the fight. and we will win it when we get a democratic governor in two years. so believe give us color on that map, thank you. >> right over here. >> hi. susan fisher from north carolina. we have had an incredibly tough year, a brutal session, where in this last long session that
ended about 4:15 a.m. day before yesterday or was it two days ago. two days ago. one of the final debates was on fetal tissue. and to me, you know, we talked about -- or someone mentioned about how men are -- young men are getting more involved. and thank goodness for that. because i will tell you that the majority of the debate around this issue was coming from older men. the drama around this issue was coming from older republican men. and i was really alarmed in a way to see the women in our house who -- the republican women in our house, who would just take this up. one example that was just incredible to me was a woman who said that if they were to find a cure -- her husband has parkinson's disease. if they were to find a cure for
parkinson's disease, she would not accept it for her husband if it had -- if it had come from experiments with fetal tissue. and i want to know, from any of you all, how do you turn that message around? because her husband -- her husband wasn't there, and the fact that she -- and the fact that she could sort of take that on, you know, as her, you know, like, you're going to make your hu husband's medical decisions for him? and so how do you turn that message around? i was really embarrassed to see red state north carolina, we were just defunded, and part of the problem was a real misunderstanding that it's really medicaid eligibility that is at risk and not -- not specific funding. we lost $130,000 in our budget that went to two programs, one in wilmington, one in
fayetteville, that had to do with teaching scientifically, medically accurate sex ed and those programs will be gone now. so they're going to have to find donors. but messages is so important around this. and what not to talk about. so, thank you for all you do. all you do. >> i'll say one thing to that. and thank you for all the work you do down there in north carolina. my goodness. yep, you are -- you are right in the middle of it. one thing i will say to that, and more as a reashunsurance tha rebuttal. you are really dealing with extremists who do not even represent the everyday voters within their party. and slide after slide after slide, i mean, david had to show a slide where you had the most extreme republicans taken out, because they just are so -- it's such a small, loud, loud vocal
minority. and those who are representing them really do truly embody that. and so what we have found is that for your average republican voter, they much more align with comprehensive sex education and much more align with access to family planning funding and very commonsense solutions and also pivoting off of these issues that are a distraction and actually getting back on track. so, keep up the good work. know that those people do not represent a large constituency. they're sort of out there. and that public opinion truly is on your side. >> right over here. >> hi, barbara rachelson from vermont. and by training i'm a social worker. vermont has a part-time legislature, so i still am the director of an organization that provides family and child services. i consider myself a lifelong child advocate. and i've got a couple of
questions. one is i find it fascinating that despite what the data shows, the support for children who are homeless, children who are waiting to be adopted in this country is so high, and i wondered about peivoting and juxtaposing those issues with you care so much about these unborn children, and yet you're defunding or doing nothing to make sure that these kids get a fair chance in life, get food to eat, have a house, et cetera. so, one, i'm just wondering about that. and i'd like to also say that, molly, i think that template you -- and framework you presented is brilliant and looks like it will be really helpful for just thinking about issues. and one thing that doesn't come up about planned parenthood, so -- which i think is
important. i work at an agency that does adoption work and we get more referrals from planned parenthood right now than probably any other community organization. and so i just want to thank you both. thanks. >> great. right over here, please. >> yeah, thanks, a couple of quick tactical questions. i was just wondering if planned parenthood along with any other social service or unemployment services, workers' comp, any of these departments, do you actively promote voter registration at your facilities? because it seems to me that those are the target demographic that we need to get registered to support that. that's the first question. the second question is around business acting as a monolithic entity when you actually have
corporations versus small businesses. and is there a way to message, is there a tested message that puts that wedge between small businesses and corporations so that we can see the small businesses, they will under that we are actually acting in their best interests rather than the corporations' best interests? because you have nfib who purports to be a voice for small business yet they really aren't, they're funded by the corporations that really speak on the interests of big corporations. >> thank you. just to answer the voter registration question. many of our health centers do have voter registration forms available and do do voter registration drives. nonpartisan, c-3 appropriate, voter registration drives. and also out in the community, you know, do voter -- participate in voter registration efforts, and i agree, it's really important.
>> on the question on businesses. you raise an excellent point and one that we have seen time and again. voters absolutely draw a very important distinction between corporations and small business. and i could talk for days on the portion of differentiating. and i think on that slide that i showed at the end, you know, it's not about proving -- it's very important to assert that these protections for workers are not at the expense of the stability of small businesses. they are meant to support the workforce which in turn helps small businesses. and, in fact, we have found that arguments that address the fact that many of these policies actually level the playing field. because small businesses are currently feeling sqeetz ining the tax breaks that the corporations are getting, by the margins that they are able to claim and they are having a harder time competing, so if anything some of these policies along with, you know, some of the information that david
shared on the ceo benefits and things like that. it makes it more difficult for small businesses in this economy. so, taking that on and making it very clear that these are to support middle-class families, working families, and small businesses and you're asking to just fairness with corporations, making sure that they are paying their fair share so that all can compete and so all have an opportunity for success, that's a great point and very important. >> yeah. i'll echo everything there. and the polling and research shows how important that is. two examples, one from your neighbors to the south in oregon, in the middle of the recession, the worst part of it, they passed a couple different ballot measures that were corporate tax solutions, and they had a small business coalition that was absolutely crucial to the messaging that passed those. molly's partner, lisa grove, worked on those projects. the other example is actually
from my home state of colorado, we passed a bill called keep jobs in colorado act that basically tries to help in-state businesses get an advantage in local government contracts so that tax dollars create jobs in your own state. so, two examples of really strong, powerful policy that come to that small business message. >> great. we've only got time for one more question over here. and it's been exciting to have this discussion so i -- okay. we'll do two more and then we'll have to cut it off. sorry. >> she's had her hand up for the whole time. >> oh, okay. i'm sorry. we just have time for one question, but why don't we have our panelists come to the side and see if they can help answer a question while we're done. i'm sorry about that. yeah, go ahead. >> yeah, thank you, shawn. john cafala, state senator from ft. collins, colorado. two weeks ago the census bureau released its annual poverty
data, and one thing that was unique about this release is that they also at the same time released their percentages based on not just the federal poverty guidelines but also something referred to as the supplemental poverty measure. and so my question is all of this -- you know, how we frame the issue about economic opportunity and middle-class economics and all of that, does the polling show that there's a way to couple that language with the idea of specific targets for poverty reduction. in the great state of oregon there's been some success at getting the business community more engaged through their prosperity initiative and their oregon business council even has something called -- they have a task force that works on poverty reduction. so, that -- my two questions are, how can we frame the conversation or reframe the conversation so we can also use
the "p" word, poverty reduction, because i think there's a disconnect there. and is any of the polling showing how to do that? and secondly, when you do the polling, are there -- are you targeting the business community in terms of getting a sense of how they can be more engaged in helping to address the fact that, you know, the poverty's still not moving in this country and that there's a tremendous amount of families that are considered, quote, working poor, you know, the people, you know, playing by the rules, all of that kind of language, and yet still living paycheck to paycheck? so, embedded in all that there are two questions and i hope you can extract them a little bit. thank you. >> there's a lot there, senator, but thank you for the questions. i did show the one slide, incredibly powerful economic fact with the public was one in four children born in poverty and that that is something that people know we can do better at and they're surprised to hear that. i would also just recommend, you
know, the more we're using language that's inclusive, talking about ordinary americans, hardworking families, as opposed to trying to necessarily separate out poor, working poor, middle-class, the more you can kind of include more people in your description, the stronger it will be. and i'm not sure i can really answer the business community question as quickly as that, but i think a crucial part of that argument when we talk about small businesses and economy that works for everyone we can do that, too. >> and i'll just echo everything that david just said. one thing that we have seen that is, again, asserting a shared value, that everybody agrees with, is that nobody who is willing to work hard should have to live in poverty. no one who is playing by the rules should have to live paycheck to paycheck. that is a fundamental problem that affects way too many americans right now, and so when we use that type of language, we do not have to sell anyone on it. we do not have to convince anyone.
that is something that people almost universally agree with, and they recognize that there are too many families out there who are working hard and playing by the rules and struggling. and so emphasizing the fairness and the hard work components of it. those are things people see and acknowledge. and particularly when you're even starting with a minimum wage, but it goes up, you know, it goes up to affordable child care. it goes to long-term care. it goes to access to higher education and job training, so it really does have a broad application here. >> i'm sorry, we got to keep moving, senator. and i apologize. we definitely need to keep the program moving. there are a lot of -- this is a really healthy discussion and i apologize that we do have to keep on moving and so just can we have a quick round of applause for our panel. thank you very much.
more road to the white house coverage later today on c-span 2 at 7:00 p.m. eastern republican presidential candidate donald trump holds a rally at the richmond international raceway in then jeb bush is in new hampshire for a second day holding a town hall in concord live on c-span. and tonight hillary clinton speaks at a rally in las vegas a day after participating in the first democratic presidential debate in the 2016 campaign. live coverage beginning at 8:30 p.m. also on c-span. he said from the beginning, you know, i look in the mirror and i don't see a president. my response to that was quit lo looking in the mirror. but from the very beginning he said this is nothing i ever thought about. >> this sunday night on q&a, don
cogman on his book "run, mitch, run" about mitch daniels and his decision not to run for president in 2012. >> i became convinced as we came towards the end of the process that he's very xcompetitive andi think if he had made a decision to do it that he would have had his heart and soul into it. but from the very beginning it's not something he thirsted after. >> sunday night on c-span's q&a. c-span presents landmark cases, exploring 12 historic supreme court decisions including marbury versus madison, brown vs. the board of education, miranda vs. arizona
and roe vs. wade. landmark cases, the book, features introductions, background, highlights and the impacts of each case published by c-span in correction with an imprint of sagepublication. get your copy today. and we have more now from the state innovation exchange. we'll hear from democratic state legislators from oregon, south carolina, north dakota, and connecticut who talk about recent legislative efforts in their respective state houses. this discussion was moderated by u.s. representative keith ellison of minnesota. it's about an hour and 15 minutes. if you could stay in your seats, we're going to go right to the next panel if you don't mind. we know you had a lot of information.
we'll have an incredible panel next and we'll get you to the most important break which is lunch. but my name is raj goyle, and i'm otherwise known as nick laford with hair. there you go, nick. i am actually here in two roles. first and foremost i am here as the board chair of six. so i would like to -- well, thank you very much. and i would like to at this moment recognize our board. many of you are involved in nonprofit organizations, many of you are involved obviously in your own campaigns where you have had people who supported you. obviously this organization wouldn't have been able to be created and thriving without its board. we have ken sunshine who is not here. andre lopez who you met earlier this morning. naomi aberly from asme and kim anderson from the afl-cio, richard trumka and if i can have a special note for our founder
joel rogers who is here at this table. if we can give a round of applause. you know, i think like a lot of folks who have been out in the vineyards, joel rogers has been fighting on these issues. he's an academic at the university of wisconsin. he's founded too many organizations to even list. this is i believe his third attempt at rallying state legislators. it will be the one that succeeds and we would not be here without joel, so one more round of applause for joel rogers. as i mentioned, i'm here in two roles, so some of you may know my other reason i'm here is that i'm actually former a kansas state legislator. there are indian americans in kansas. there's about ten of us but that's -- and i now live in new york so now there's nine. but i actually see my friend gail finney from my old state rep colleague from wichita is here. and so one of the reasons why i am so passionate about six and one of the reasons i'm honored to be the board chair is i'm one of you. i have lived this life. i know what it is like.
i was elected at age 31 with a just recently been married. i was actually working in washington, d.c., nick and i were working together for john podesta at the center for american progress, and i decided that i needed to make a difference, and i'm sure, like some of you, i wondered, i've been through those conversations, can i actually run for office and win and put on top of it i happened to be from wichita, kansas, and as aforementioned, i happen to be indian-american. and i went back to wichita and a district that actually democrats were a third party. it was actually republican, unaffiliated, democrat, never elected a democrat in its history and we were able to beat a three-term republican incumbent after knocking on 10,000 doors. thank you very much. and we were able -- i was able to do that because of everything that you know but frankly the beltway doesn't understand,
which is that at the community level and at the state legislative level you work across the aisle when it's possible. you get issues done. and you work -- you work on things that matter to people. and i had never felt more connected to my community and actually making a difference than when i was serving in the statehouse. at the same time when i got to topeka, i don't know how many of you have discovered when you got to the legislature and you got your equipment and you got your, quote, staff assignments, and i got the broken-down chair in the -- in the always renovated part of the auxiliary building of the state capitol we're obviously in the minority caucus and certainly the minority of the resources of the state capitol. and i -- and i remember people from washington would call and say how's it going, can i talk to your staff? thank you. and i said, well, my wife's a little busy and you know that i'm her staff, you realize that? and so, you know, i think the
daily sort of challenges of being a legislator, i just -- i want you to know are baked into the dna of this organization. because i know from a firsthand experience what it's like. i remember i was telling a joke yesterday that if you remember in the 2008 campaign they criticized then senator obama saying we need your archives from your time in the state senate. and he goes, well, you can have my mcdonald's receipts from being on the highway and maybe you can get on my phone and actually he was elected before smartphones so, you know, i know firsthand these challenges of what we go through and how important it is. and
frankly, let's just be honest how overlooked this is. you know, when i moved to new york, i'm a proud new yorker right now and we have senator gustavo rivera from the bronx here and he said, i fight for important things and gosh we need reform in albany and we can do much in the blue states to make them much more progressive.
and he said to senator sheheen, i respect you in the purple states and the red challenges, these challenges are national but these are fights on the front lines for those of you in really challenging areas and districts. you know how tough it is and how important an organization six is. i'm baffled by the notion i could be flown to washington, d.c., and taken to the white house and been shown all the information. the information exchange is still going on here. this is exactly what we wanted. when nick was dreaming up six with joel, i think this is exactly what he would have liked. this sort of
intellectual policy. social connections that are needed for the progressive movement. so, i just want to tell one very quick anecdote. we had on the floor the most -- one of the most important campaign finance reform bills -- sorry, excuse me, voting rights bills and it was important in a negative way. this would have banned door-to-door voter registration.
this is in 2011 in the legislative session. and i read it and i asked someone on my team -- in our caucus, and he said we usually let these things go and governor sebelius vetoes them. oh, my, i understand we're a little beaten down here but we can do better. and i started texting my friend at the brennan center who started giving me legislative analysis because at least the kansas legislature they hadn't banned the internet yet so justin could go on and read the bill and he was texting me talking points and telling me analysis of the bill. i, of course, read it myself and we had a little exchange. we were able to beat that bill by one vote. and i thought this shouldn't be because i happen to have a friend from law school whose cell phone number i have and that anecdote has stuck in my head of the stickiness we need of why you are all here today because i suspect you are all hungry for information when the bills are coming on the fly, what amendment was just passed?
and what was that proposed? and who is voting on that? and you're busy and constituents are calling. that is the very essence of why six is there to give you that safety net and to give you that connectivity so that you can be a better legislator and we can get great ideas going around the country. we need to get to our panel. i will remind you of one factoid which is a good one, this president, our great president, president obama, the longest he's served in the public office has been the state senate in illinois. he was in the senate for eight years. and luckily he'll be president for eight years but now he's only served seven, so his time in the state legislature is actually a very formative experience for our president right now which really validates all the work you're doing in your community. so, with that i want to introduce our incredible, dynamic moderator for this next panel. i don't think we could have anybody better than congressman keith ellison from minnesota. come on up, keith.
as you know keith ellison is not only a former member of the state legislature in minnesota, he is in his fifth term in congress. he is the chair of the progressive caucus. he is one righteous dude. he is a trail blazer, a path breaker, and he is going to introduce our great panel. keith ellison. >> good morning, my fellow state legislators! how you guys doing? man, you guys sound good. awesome. fantastic. thank you, raj, for that very nice intro. you know, here's the thing, we operate in silos way too much around here. you might be thinking to yourself, what's a member of congress doing at our state legislators meeting? well, i don't know, maybe because you draw the districts that we run in.
or maybe another reason, maybe you set the qualifications for the voters who we ask to vote for us. let me tell you how bad we depend on you. in 2012, congressional democrats actually won 1.5 million more votes than the republicans and yet we're in the minority because they gerrymandered many of you guys from very important states. that's how bad we need to be working together. the silos -- [ applause ] the silos have absolutely got to come down. the silos are dangerous. they are ruinous. they're literally killing us. and if we can find a way to work together more cohesively, we will do great things for the american people, no doubt about it. so, i'm really pleased to be here. i'm honored to be here. and i want to tell you that i hear from very reliable sources that this is the largest
gathering of progressive state legislators in history. [ applause ] i'm good on that one? yeah, yeah. and at this largest gathering of progressive state legislators, my minnesotans are the largest delegation. [ applause ] i'm not bragging or anything like that. i'm just saying, you know. but let me tell you, minnesota, we've had our own battles, have we not, guys? the truth is we had to live through governor polentey, we had to put up with him for a long time. we've been in the minority and gone back to the majority and done a lot of things. but when progressives -- when progressives got together and said we have a set of ideas that we believe in and we want to help make a top, top-flight agenda, front-burner thing, good things happen. let me tell you, thanks to the work of these guys in minnesota, just going to -- if you don't mind me talking a little bit
about my own state. you all all right with that? all right. when we got to minnesota state -- when the minnesota progressive legislators got together and pushed the agenda, they raised taxes on the wealthy and balanced the state budget. they invented all-day -- they didn't invent it. i wish we did. like an internet moment. they invested in all-day kindergarten and preschool. they froze tuition for public colleges and as you know tuition was galloping at double digits at some points. they got together and passed the minnesota dream act to allow dreamers to be eligible for state financial aid. and here's the thing, a year before they took over in 2012, what we were fighting for before that, a year before they were in the minority, we were fighting off a constitutional amendment which was going to be voted on at the ballot to try to tell a grown person who they should get married to or not.
i mean, like an adult person cannot decide who they want to be married to. i mean, like an adult person cannot decide who they want to be married to because somebody else believes that it's like their position to make that decision for someone else. they tried to put it on the ballot, right? and we beat them at the ballot box, but not -- that's worth an applause. [ applause ] and not only did my minnesota homies say, yeah, we beat you at the ballot box, but guess what? we'll make love the law. and that's huge because one of the pressures that you guys had was oh, don't overreach. don't overreach. overreach? you mean to tell me two people who love each other, who are grown adults, that's overreach? to say they can marry if they want to? it's not my business, right? right? and they did that and proving that when you win, you don't put
your foot on the brake. you put it on the accelerator. anyway, let me just say -- let me just say that today you're going to hear from some inspiring state legislators. people doing amazing, phenomenal things. two of them are going to be from what we call blue states. two are from red. and both are critically important because the folks from the blue state are going to tell you when you get your hands on the reins of power, do not punk out. i'm sorry, y'all gave me the mic. you know how i am. and when you are in the red, when you do have a red state, and you're fighting uphill battles and just so hard every day, there are things you can do. and as raj said, you don't start mailing it in because it's tough. you figure out what you're gonna do. and there are folks up here to
talk to you about that. last word before we hit our panel, i'm cochair of the progressive caucus. we believe that we're the congressional legislative wing of the progressive movement. we're trying to work with our progressive partners all across this country, so that we can help not just win elections but win the debate. right? win the debate. that we should have broadly shared prosperity in this country. that everybody no matter who you are, what color you are, who you love, no matter where you were born, you should be able to rise as high as your talents can lift you. you shouldn't be stopped by somebody because they don't like your kind. we better that the best days of this nation are ahead of us if we would just ban together -- band together and include everybody. that's who the progressive caucus is. i wanted to share for a moment. and now, let me introduce you to
majority leader jennifer williamson of the oregon house of representatives who's going to talk to you about some awesome things they have been doing. i know you've already heard about them. i must say, jennifer, that it is with a degree of sadness that, you know, we're moving forward this morning and we -- and we all here are right with you, and sadly, so many of us have seen similar tragedies across the country. like 261 times this year, there have been shooting deaths of four people or more across our nation. so, welcome to the panel. let me also introduce representative jessica haak of north dakota, doing some great things. thank you for being here today. thank you for your great work. and then assistant majority leader gary holder-winfield of the connecticut senate. all right. i think you've got some friends around here. and they have been making the most of their majority.
and senator vincent sheheen of south carolina, state senate who did some really -- i want to say so very impressed with you guys yanking down that odious, nasty, ugly, traitorous symbol. that takes guts. so why don't we start off with jennifer williamson of oregon, house of reps. come on up here. give her a hand, everybody. [ applause ] >> thank you, everyone. i'm super excited to be here today to talk about what we have done in oregon, and thank you for all of your kind words and support last night and this morning. it's been a tough 24 hours at home. so thank you for that. so it's like a love fest for oregon this conference.
it's been fantastic. apparently people are watching our legislative work this session. and we all had our heads down doing some -- doing some things, talking about what we were doing. but apparently, people were watching and so once we adjourned in july and pulled our heads up, we made a laundry list of the things we did and it's really long, actually. so i'm going to read it. then i'm going tell you how we got there. because i think that's the more important story about what happened in oregon. because a lot of these laws that we passed were laws that we have been trying to pass for a long time. so we passed paid sick leave. statewide. we passed a retirement program for every working oregonian. we banned the box. so that people who have criminal records have a chance at a job. we passed a statewide ban on police profiling, and set up a program to collect information
on what kind of policing was happening in our communities. we passed a statewide ban -- or a statewide policy on body cameras for police which banned facial recognition technology. we expanded background checks for all private gun sales and we prohibited the sale of guns to domestic abusers. we now have free community college for oregon high school graduates. we passed a clean fuels program to lower our carbon emissions. and this was despite the oil industry coming in and giving our little state everything they had. it was really an epic battle. we passed a phaseout of toxic chemicals in kids products and
representative kenny guyer who is here has blood, sweat and tears into this bill. she was the chief cosponsor, at least a couple -- four sessions. so for a very long time. again, fierce lobbying by the chemical industry, the toy industry, the personal care product industry, every industry that puts chemicals into things that kids have showed up in salem, oregon. we had a major expansion for birth control. so now your insurance must cover 12 months of birth control at a time. [ applause ] and now pharmacists can prescribe birth control. we expanded our justice reinvestment program and the unique thing about oregon's justice investment programs it will save $6.5 million over ten years. we won't have to build some prisons which is fantastic and we said that 10% of those saved funds will go to community based
nonprofit victim services. we reformed our class action laws, so that when corporate wrongdoers injure oregonians they don't get to keep the funds they don't distribute. we were one of a handful of states where they got to keep the money that they weren't able to pass out to the people that they injured. so we changed that. we had bills to address pay equity, giving our bureau of labor and industry more tools and as you heard earlier today a bill to prohibit retaliation when employees talk about their salaries with each other. we passed a ban on conversion therapy to protect kids. and we were the first -- [ applause ] yes. and i think the thing that we haven't talked all that much about, but is the absolute game changer that we passed in oregon is automatic voter registration. [ applause ] so you may know that for a long, long time oregon -- oregonians have voted by mail. i'm almost 42 years old and i have been to a polling place
once. that's it. i have only voted by mail since then. so we always said that we wanted a ballot in the hand of every registered voter but now we get to say there will be a ballot in the -- every registered voter, now it will in the hand of every eligible voter. so this law when you go to get your driver's license, 16 and older, you are automatically enrolled with the state as a voter. when you change your address it changes the voting rules. we think that 300,000 additional voters will be added to our voting rolls by the next election. i know i don't have to tell this crowd but women, people of color, people living in poverty will be enrolled as voters and that is a big deal.
so how did we do it? that's what i think is the more important message from oregon. we have a really progressive table as we call it. it's all the organizations that are engaged in voter outreach and election work in oregon. we got together well before the election. and said, we've got to do this all together. if we're going to be the only state to increase our majorities in both the house and the senate which we were, we're going to have to stick together. so what you see up here, kind of, is a website and if you can scroll it down so we can see the logo. with our fair shot coalition. our fair shot agenda. we had 27 partners from planned parenthood to seiu to the rural organizing project signed on and they said, we had poll tested messaging that all of our partners used in every candidate used. and so because of that, we told voters why they should vote for
us. our partners told voters why they should vote for us. and then we did what we said we were going to do. and that list is the list that we told voters if you elect us, we will deliver on this and we did. i think this is the lesson for this organization and and all of you as leaders making sure that the voters understand what they'll get. when they elect progressive legislators their lives are better. so everybody has to be saying the same thing. when we did that in oregon we now have 18 democratic senators out of 30. and 35 state reps out of 60. so we increased our majority in an election where most people didn't. thank you. >> representative jessica, you ready? let's give her a hand, everybody.
[ applause ] >> i don't know how north dakota is going to follow oregon. but we'll give it a try here. so when you think of progressive politics, generally, you don't think of the state of north dakota. fair to say. we're a deep red state, it's a wonderful state to live in. but we have had our challenges and we have had a couple successes and i'm very excited to tell you about them. so in the 2013 legislative session, we were disappointed when a personhood ballot was passed an sent to the people. it took away end of life decisions and women's rights. they was spear headed by a state representative in fargo. so going into the 2014 election, we had to defeat this measure, and try to make gains in the legislature.
the work we do in between sessions is very critical in north dakota because we meet for every day, every other year. so we organized and found a couple of amazing candidates who worked incredibly hard. and we won. senator oband who is here -- please stand, erin. she actually picked up a seat in the north dakota senate in 2014. so in north dakota in 2014, we made legislative gains. it was one in each house, but we made them. this led into the very proactive agenda around family and women's issues in north dakota. not only did we have a stronger bench, but we decided as a caucus working together with several organizations and constituents to provide a proactive agenda around these issues. senator oband and representative bo shea who is also here, he was elected as the first openly gay legislator in north dakota.
representative bo shea. [ applause ] so the three of us worked on a maternity/paternity leave policy. senator oband started with a much more progressive bill and we worked on a less progressive, but still steps forward. we ended up with six weeks of paid leave for mothers and fathers of birth or adopted children and up to 12 weeks to care for a child, parent or a spouse for state employees. all paid. big step. it was a big step forward considering only mothers who had given birth were allowed paid leave prior to the session. we passed a host of proactive legislative, updating the equal pay statute, pregnancy workplace accommodations, funding for sexuals a examiners that ensure that rape victims got the care we need and we changed the conversation around progressive issues.
making it proactive rather than reactive. we passed the antidiscrimination bill in the senate. this provided protections for the lgbt communities so they couldn't be fired or evicted for who they love and north dakota was the first state in 2009 to pass that out of a chamber, then it died and changed the conversation. and when we elected a couple more progressives and changed the conversation back, we actually got it out of the senate again in 2015. another success we had in 2013 was believe it or not, inned has was, believe it or not, north dakota has medicaid expansion. yes, we do. and sometimes they -- a strategy that we have is we let them fight with themselves. so in the north dakota house, not a democrat got up and said anything on it and it passed. so that's how we did that.
[ laughter ] also, we had a corporate -- corporation measure. north dakota doesn't allow corporations to come in and purchase land for farming and that did pass the legislature, however, it's important the know your tools. and it was referred back to the ballot, so now the people will get a chance to vote on it in june. so it's important to know your tools and what you have accessible to you even if the legislature isn't it. maybe there's another avenue you can take. i encourage you to go the training at 1:30 for the breakout governing as a progressive. they'll go over those tools a little bit more. so even in north dakota we can do it. find the great candidates who can work hard to change the conversation and being proactive is very important. even in deep red north dakota things can be done. so keep your chin up and keep fighting. thank you. >> senator gary winfield? >> well, good morning.
so i'm here to talk about connecticut. connecticut is a blue state, that doesn't always operate like it's a blue state. you know, i originally was supposed to be talking about what we did with our budget. the governor presented a budget that eviscerated social services and the legislature put the stuff we want to see back in the budget. we're still having that fight right now. because we have some deficit issues and the governor made some cuts but what i want to talk about are two bills that we did some work on this year. and it was a bill about excessive use of force and a bill about second chances. i want to talk about them for a very particular reason. when i first showed up, i showed up at progressive states. when i showed up at progressive states we were having a conversation about education. and anyone who knows me knows i'm somewhat of a contrarian. so the way the conversation was going didn't sit right with me.
it seemed to not actually talk about what we were going to do, it talked about what the other side was doing. i thought that was the wrong approach. that fight i had with some of my friends on the progressive side somehow got me on the board of progressive states. and got me involved in helping to do something about this organization that we sit in now. as i sit here, i hear about the economy and how it affects people. i hear about a lot of issues, but there's something missing in the conversation. and it is a group of people that i don't think connect to this conversation we're having that it is about them. so i want to talk about that. before i do that, like any person who understands that they don't do anything alone, i have a delegation here as well. the delegation from connecticut sitting at the back table over there. kevin ryan. [ applause ] senator flexor who came in with
me in 2008 and i want to mention something that i think is important to being able to push progressive policies. we came in as the first class when connecticut had instituted public financing of campaigns. i think that changed the way that the conversation happened in connecticut. so i want to mention before i finish talking about the rest of my delegation, there are a group of people here trying to meet all of us and they're from every voice. if you don't know every voice, john, are you in the room? stand up. so the people can see you. they're important because they're talking about something that can change our politics. so get to know them. i'm going to walk john around to everybody i know. so we have greg adad, robin porter. ralinda moore and jeff curry. these two bills are about people's existence. the interaction we have with police. people of color at least. connecticut did something about that.
but you would imagine it in a blue state like connecticut we wouldn't have had the war. we didn't have a fight, you wouldn't have had the war that we had, but we had a war. so we had a war to say when police interact with people and they pull out their gun and they use deadly force, maybe the police shouldn't be investigating themselves. maybe the prosecutor who is in the district that those police are in shouldn't be investigate we had a warden say that in ing. communities that a majority/minority, meaning that over 50% of the community is black and brown, maybe we should do something about what the police force looks like. and give some weight to people who are exactly qualified or at least equally qualified. to get the job. that wasn't acceptable. we did get it passed but that wasn't acceptable. we went on and on. how did we do this? i should mention a second chance, that was important as well. second chance act says this. parole and pardons should be expedited. i think that's a progress way of thinking.
it also says that we have this thing called school drug zones, many of us have them. and school drug zones if you're in possession of narcotics or if you're selling them, you get an enhanced penalty. usually it doesn't actually apply. it is used to get you to plea bargain. but it affects communities differently. so for years i have been working on along with some of my colleagues trying to get rid of the school drug zones. i don't think they work. we have another statute in connecticut that says if you deal to a minor, you get the enhanced penalty which actually would work a lot better than the drug zones. it wouldn't catch up whole communities like the one i represent, new haven, and some of our more densely populated communities, but it's not just republicans that are opposed to it. it's a lot of us who are opposed to it. some people who use the title progressive, so we have been fighting that for years. this year our governor decided
he was going to jump on board for us or kind of full force. what we talk about the part of possession he was there. and i applaud the governor for that, because if you have possession, you go through that a process. the first time is a misdemeanor, the second time you can be referred to drug treatment and the third time you get a class "e" felony and i don't remember what that means. but this is because we have a conversation going on in this country that we didn't have going on before which is the heroin conversation. right? because for a long time the marijuana, the crack, the things that are associated with certain communities weren't dealt with the way that we just decided to deal with it. i'm going to wrap up. and the one thing i want to say is that we did not deal with the problem though. the problem isn't people with the health issue. we should have been there the whole time. the problem is that the people who we don't imagine to be the good people.
the people who are dealing, who still devastate communities by putting them in jail and ripping up the economy. but as progressives we have to somewhat change the lens we have. we have done positive things. we need those voices in a conversation and because of every campaign, every voice, and public financing we have some of the choices, so thank you. >> great job. thank you. vincent sheheen. let's hear it for vincent, everybody. [ cheers and applause ] >> thank you. i am from the incredibly wonderful, historically rich, friendly and often very troubled state of south carolina. a place that i'm intensely proud of. as those of you spend time in the south know, change is very difficult. i sometimes say that inertia is the most powerful force in my state. the year of 2015 has been a very emotional year for those of us in south carolina.
i serve in the south carolina state senate where it was especially so. i'm going to share with you observations about a couple of changes that we saw and understand that change in the south is often coupled with tragedy. it's often coupled with tragedy. in the winter of 2015, our sessions run from january to june. my senate seat mate senator pinckney and other democrats decided to make body camera legislation a priority. we met with serious resistance. little action. and then the bills dwelled in committee. in april of 2015, a man by the name of walter scott was shot and killed in north charleston, south carolina. the reaction initially was that there had been some resistance and the officer had had to shoot mr. scott.
but a video came out very shortly that showed that mr. scott, while disobeying the police officer, was attempting to flee and, frankly, fleeing in a not very quick manner and was shot in the back and shot multiple times. it was a tragedy. it was a horrific incident in our state. before that had happened, we would often hear that that is not what happened in south carolina. and maybe i think that people said to themselves, well, maybe that happens, but not to people like us. but once that video came out, there were many new people sitting at the table to discuss the need for body cameras. and my seat mate and friend, senator clem pinckney spoke from the floor of the senate after that tragedy, and he spoke about thomas and jesus.
and that thomas didn't believe until he put his fingers in the wounds. i would encourage you do look at that speech if you want to youtube it and look at it some time. it's a magnificent speech. clem didn't speak very often from the floor, but he felt compelled to speak and the bill passed and real change occurred in south carolina and we have funded body cameras in south carolina. we have a regime in place to dictate how they'll be used and the appropriate manner they'll be used. we have a committee that's meeting over the year to help us implement that legislation. real change occurred. real change occurred. [ applause ] i want you to flash back with me to 2014. i was actually the democratic candidate for governor in a difficult year, but proud to carry the banner in south carolina for the democratic party.
we knew it was a tough year as it was across the country and in the fall of that year, myself and -- me and my lieutenant governor candidate sellers decided we wanted to take on the third rail of politics in south carolina. we wanted to speak to an issue that no one would speak about, that haunted our state and as you walk down main street in columbia, south carolina, approaching the state house, you could not avoid. and so we stood underneath the confederate battle flag a month and a half before my gubernatorial election and said it's time to bring it down. it's time to bring it down. we knew that politically, it was still the third rail of south carolina politics, but let me leave you with this idea. that is when you have the bully pulpit, when you have the eyes of state or a nation on you use it. because you don't know when you'll have it again. our current governor, my opponent in that election belittled our attempts, mocked
us, said it wasn't an important issue and stood to continue to fly the confederate battle flag on the front lawn of the south carolina state house. june 17th of 2015, we were called back into a special session of the senate, because our state government was about to shut down. sound familiar? because a budget had not been passed by the republican majority. i was there that day and was in finance committee, helping to negotiate with moderate republicans an outcome that would be good for south carolina. we adjourned the senate finance committee and i went to our democratic caucus luncheon, there are 18 of us. proud democrats in a state that is pretty red. and i remember that luncheon very well. and i remember that my friend who i told you about who stood tall for the body camera legislation, senator clem pinckney was asked to give the prayer, because he was also an
ame pastor in charleston, south carolina, at mother emanuel church. he gave a short prayer. i'm catholic, and i always kidded clem that he gave an even shorter prayer than we catholics do. and i was sure glad he wasn't baptist. and we took up a little collection for our custodial staff who had helped us all year. clem had been late in contributing to that. he asked me how much is it, i said it's $15. he said, well, here's a $20. that's my last memory of clem pinckney. i think you know the story unfortunately that occurred. suffice it to say that that night after session, clem left early to go back to his church. and those of us in the senate who served with him learned about what had happened very shortly thereafter.
out of crisis, out of awfulness can come some good. it's important for us to use that and embrace it. the day after the massacres at mother emanuel, the day after clem pinckney was killed, the day after eight other people were killed because they were black, we met in the senate again the next morning. we had to decide would we go forward, would we pass the state budget and i urged us, a small group of us to continue. and to eulogize and tell the story of this great man and our friend and we did. and the next day, we learned that the killer had driven up with confederate battle flag license plates. actually that day we learned it. we had a decision to make and decisions matter. our decision was do we mourn our friend, do we bury our friend or do we try to change the state? and our governor did an interview and said it was too early to talk about things like that. our congressman said the same
thing. the typical stuff you hear. and myself and bacari and others decided to speak up. we went on cnn and msnbc and every channel we could go on and through tears and mourning we said it was time for the confederate battle flag to come down and within three days -- within two days there was a massive humanity marching on state house and within three days the entire elected hierarchy in south carolina had come to that position finally. they've come to the right decision. [ applause ] and i wrap up by saying this. even in tragedy it's not easy. it's not -- it's difficult. and so we came up with a strategy immediately that we wanted to bring the flag down, that we didn't want to have compromise of whatever type. we knew that was coming and that we democrats in south carolina needed to drive this narrative.
we needed to work with republicans who were open. but it was important for us to maintain control of this issue because we knew what needed to happen and so we found in the senate a republican supporter on our side. ironically and appropriately the son of senator strom thurmond. his name is paul thurmond who was willing to stand in front of republicans and say we don't need to raise a different confederate flag -- that was the plan. we don't need to fly one every few months. it's time to do the right thing and we had a mantra and it was time for the confederate battle flag to come down. it's time to pass a clean bill to do that and we drove that narrative for 30 days until it happened and it did happen. and we're a better state for it. we're a better state for it. [ applause ] we're a better country for it. and so let me leave you with this, which is i have shared with you what are for me very personal stories.
i have shared those with you as legislators for a reason. it's because voters and people react not to statistics, not to policy papers. they react to stories. they react to your personal stories. we would not have body camera legislation in south carolina, but for those like senator pinckney who were willing to tell the story of his constituent who was killed. we would not have brought the battle flag of the confederacy down but for me who told the personal stories of senator pinckney and of the eight family members who were killed in that awful, awful massacre on that terrible day. so share your stories and change the state, change the nation and i say, change the world. thank you. [ applause ]
>> so you have heard from four extraordinary progressive state legislators, two of whom who are fighting up here -- uphill battles and still winning. and two of whom did some great stuff, sometimes you have to fight some of your friends. and convince them and other times, you know, when you got -- when you've got the steering wheel you have to drive the car, right? but you all have your own thoughts, your own questions. and we -- it's time to hear from you. we have about 20 minutes, and so let's start hearing from folks. can i ask y'all for a little bit of indulgence? can everybody try to get their question out in 60 seconds? if you agree with 60 seconds, clap your hands. [ applause ] and would you all empower me to enforce the 60 second rule? [ applause ]
so that peoples we're going to hear from at least 20 people and if people are quick, even more than that. let's get started. there you go. >> you just had to implement a new rule right when i came up. >> it was democratically arrived at. >> right. my name is vivian flowers. i am serving in my first term. this doesn't count my introduction. >> oh, yes, it does. >> vivian flowers, state rep, arkansas. >> awesome. >> i think that the question i was going to ask before applies here. we heard a lot about data. we know that a lot of the positions we take as progressives make sense and are backed by science. and many of us oftentimes are shocked when we see outcomes in elections, when we see outcomes in votes that are taken in the state legislatures. there's a silent and coded undergirding narrative around race and religion and not just
in the south. we have heard a lot of questions about reframing and messaging. so whether we're talking about any of the things we heard on this panel or the previous panel, what is the reframing and the messaging that we can take as progressives as well as have some of our own testimonials not just politicians, how do we do that so that we can impact -- have impact on these other issues and i think i'm under a minute. >> that's actually an extraordinarily good question. how do progressives talk about race in an authentic, real way? >> and religion. >> and religion. and i got my own reasons for wanting to see that happen. you know what? can our panelists write down notes on how you want to respond and we'll take about four at a time. and that might help us get through as much as we can. who else is next? got one over there? go for it. come on now.
time's awasting. >> i'm representative carla cunningham out of north carolina. and my question is is i'm hearing a lot about criminal justice reform. and my concern is 12% population inside the prison in the united states that has mental illness, but it seems to me that we want to do reform without preparation, reform when they get out, that they have a mental illness component once they come back into the community. because right now, our mental health reform needs reforming on the outside for people on the outside that are not being taken care of now. so what about a system to take care of them and the ones already on the outside? thank you. >> another great question. thank you. >> this is for actually for senator sheheen. i'm stacy newman from missouri, state representative. i agree with you in terms of taking advantage of not just
tragedies, but in terms of the momentum. from your situation, we have discovered in our state that we actually fund our state -- our state funds a confederate state park. i am completely -- i'm getting ready to jump into that issue. i'm a little reluctant because i know it's going to destroy everything else that i'm working on in terms of, you know, abortion and guns and voting rights. and that's what i need to know is where can i find my level of support besides local community? >> that's what we're doing here, right? sharing good information. thank you. >> we'll take one more and then let our panel react. >> thank you. i'm aaron reggenberg, a rep from rhode island. we have a lot of democrats but our leadership is very much not progressive. i'd like to ask if you have tips for organizing a progressive caucus. and how you can use that to shift the overall caucus.
>> i'd be happy to. why don't we have our panel respond? we have some awesome questions. who wants to react? >> are these things on? it's on. all right. so the race and religion question. i think for our work in oregon the most important thing we did was expand the table. so the coalition changed. so traditional progressive organizations, labor unions and the like who have been doing this work for a long time, mentored smaller community organizations around how to lobby, how to be involved in electoral work. we have a great organization, the center for intercultural organizing who pulled together communities of colors to sit at the same table again as planned parenthood and seiu. and traditional progressive organizations because to tell authentic stories you have to have people who can tell authentic stories. they need to be empowered to
tell their own story and to learn how to do this work. i think for too long we have relied on the same organizations and the same partners to fuel the progressive agenda and it needs to expand. and the people at the table need to change. >> great. good advice. let's keep rolling. >> you want me to do the prison question? >> yes. >> one of the ways we dealt with mental illness, people coming out of the prison system, department of corrections, are signed up for health insurance before they leave. we're working with our providers to require that they have a doctor's appointment scheduled before they leave within the first 30 days. and because so often, people leave with 30 days of worth medication and they drop off the medication, they don't know how to pay for it, or how to connect with the system. so those primary points of contact are taken care of before they leave the system. >> good points.
>> for me, in some ways the public part of my session began with me making a statement which was i'm tired as a 41-year-old man of having white people tell me that what i see with my own eyes is not true. and it ended -- thank you. [ applause ] and it ended with me telling a story that comes out of the shooting that we were just talking about which is about having to tell my son that the reason why people think that he might rape white women and he's 9 years old. i think the way you get people's attention is to tell them things they don't know, always thinking about the answer to the question why. why this is important. because in the blue state of connecticut, we had people telling people of color who have had the experience that the experience they have had is not real. we passed a body cam bill. we passed it because people told it in a different way. we passed it because those stories impact people when you
say you don't understand me, you can say whatever you want, you can have your experience. but you don't know what it is to look at your 9-year-old and have to explain things that no parent should have to explain. we have to get real about the conversations that those who don't understand experience. >> okay. >> thank you. i'm going to dwell on this issue of -- that was brought up about race and politics and the question that you gave me about the confederacy and the confederate state park, because i think that gets at the core of what's going on in the south and in politics right now. so let me share with you this. i represent an area in my district, my state, that is overwhelmingly rural, small town, 70% white. votes for national republicans in every race. and there used to be a lot of people like me elected in the southern states and they're not anymore. when i was first elected a gentleman who was a republican, older senator, got in the
elevator with me and he said, now you're a democrat. i said, that's right. he said, you know you're an anomaly. i said what do you mean? he said in ten years republicans will be represented by white elected officials generally. and with an exception here and there, and democrats will be elected -- represented by black elected officials with an exception here and there. so i don't want you to think that what has happened just kind of happened accidentally because it hasn't. when democrats completely controlled the south, their economic message was pretty similar to what it is now. it was a roosevelt new deal message. democrats owned the south. every single office. there was one key difference and that key difference was they were the white people's party.
and to democrats' credit, even in the south, in the '60s, '70s, and '80s they realized that was morally wrong, and they change ed that position. since that time, you have seen the electorate as the republican party embraced the other position. this is incredibly destructive to our country, to our politics, to our government. we have basically created a political apartheid in much of our country. in redistricting, it's been an extension of that effort. and it is wrong. it is simply wrong. [ applause ] so i think a big part of what we need to do all over the country and certainly in our neck of the woods is to embrace and to make sure that everyone understands we're embracing all people. that include pss -- includes black people, hispanic, all people. that's important for us as democrats to remember and gets to the core of your question, which is so many folks in the south believe that their history and their heritage is important
and it is important. so my approach to dealing with confederate monuments and confederate relics and parks is to say, you know what? it is a part of our history. it is an important part of our history. it's important we tell the truth about our history. the good and the bad. we face the same issues as you do. we have a a vicious racist murderer statute on the front of our state house grounds. ben tillman antd you know, ben tillman was a important figure in south carolina history. we should tell the whole story. yes, he helped expand higher education, led a populous movement that broadened opportunities for some, but he was also a vicious racist who lynched and supported lynching black people in our state, which is a terrible legacy we've lived
with for so long. when we move forward in the future, it's important that we regain the trust of all people in the state, regardless of their color, creed, of where they come from and we have got to always think about that. we don't want to be party of any one group like we were in the '30s and '40s and '50s. we want to be a party for everybody. >> great, awesome. can i, i'm going to hand it over to jessica, but i want to offer a few quick points. one is on the issue of race, it is very important that you think about the local community you're in. there is no prof lactic way to always do it. there are some things that are universal. one is it's okay for anyone of any color to talk about racial injustice. it's okay. we need, look, straight people need to speak up about lgbt
rights. men need to speak up for women. whited need to speak up ant racial injustice. we can't say if i'm not in that group, i don't have authorization to speak. say, well, i'm not black, so maybe i shouldn't say anything. no, it is very important for you to say i want to live in a fair country. i don't think that's fair. you know what i mean? second thing is is, i like to hear people say in a full throated way the words white, black. don't be afraid to say it. it's well, will the black, what do you people call yourself these days? you know what i mean in sn just say it. it's okay. it's okay. you know? say black. say white. it's all right. it's fine. you know what i mean? then understand that progressives on this issue of everybody counts everybody matters inclusion, we could own this thing, man.
because people are thirsting for it. my district is only about 12% african-american. right? only about 12% african-american. and there's nobody in my district of 700,000 people who's not real clear on my being black. i'm also muslim. so, here's the thing about it. people do not mind me, white people in my district don't get feel bad about me talking about black issues and black stuff if i speak inclusively. if i say the criminal justice system is not working right for a whole lot of people and particular for african-americans, see how i did that? you speak, you talk about everybody, then talk, and you can do it with any group. you know, this economy working people experience a certain way, but think about how women experience it. you can do that. as long as you don't, as long as you act like you are a representative of the whole
community. then you can go into how different groups are experienced in the situation. those are just some ideas. i know you've got better ones, but i think we should try to own this issue. jessica? >> i'll be very brief because there's not a lot i can add. i can say in north dakota, we have a large native american population and quite often, we have, we have tribal members come and testify in front of bills and i think an important thing is whether you're white, black or native american is calling out that behavior. so, in some committee hearings when e the chairman or someone on the committee is addressing someone of a different race in a different way, having the guts to go and say, i noticed that, you can't treat people differently. that's one of the ways and building relationships with the native american tribes and trying to see where they're coming from. because i've never lived on a reservation. so knowing it from their
perspective is important as well. >> i think that's very important. going to the rest. connecting with your fellow americans. what a concept. let, let me just say quickly about progressive caucus because that question was raised. philadelph first of all, one of the reasons we have a progressive caucus in congress is we want to have value stability. we do not want to hook our cart to whoever happens to be in leadership. on most thing, i agree with the president, i'm very proud of him, but on the trade thing, we're on different pages big time. here's the thing. we don't fall out because of it. we swrus work on what we can work on, so the progressive caucus value base helps us avoid personality base. so, you have a progressive caucus if you start one in your state, which i strongly urge you to do, you know, how we going to engage in leadership?
well, on some thing, you're with leadership. other things, you're not. you'd be surprised how often leadership is looking for leadership. and if you, if you say hey, look, our caucus believes we need to do this on same day. here's our plan for it. you might say, okay, well, we can get behind that, but you've got to have somebody propose that concept. it's a more extensive conversation. we don't have time now, but i'm telling you, progressive caucus in your state legislature will help you replicate progressive ideas an actually help the progressive caucus offer leadership to the party that you happen to be in, because i was told this is a nonpartisan event. let's take four more. >> thank you. representative james byrd from wii wyoming. i am the minority caucus in my
state. >> wyoming, y'all. >> now, the problem we face in wyoming is a little too much am radio and a little too much cable, which they're basing most of their opinion on. some suggestions from the panel. >> all right. write them down. get a few more so we can -- >> guess i'm next. art handy from rhode island. been there for om time. i was actually, i wanted to frame that progressive caucus piece, too, because i think one of challenges is that the democrats in our house, to a degree maybe the senate as well, their center is to me maybe at the center of the whole state along the way, so, as a result, the tail wagging the dog thing is sort of the much more conservative than democrats in a lot of other states on the right
side of our party and our caucus, basically causing the speaker, a conservative democrat as well, but to pull in that direction. i'd be curious about that as well. >> absolutely. good question. >> phyllis kohn from minnesota. i'm concerned about young people's participation and so forth. you talked about the wonderful two amendments we defeated. in my presimgt, 200 people came in, voted no on the two amend lts and left without even voting for obama. we lost not mine were ahead good student participation in the last election, but we lost legislate i seats because we can't get students activated in other camepuses. i want a high issue of interest. >> very, very important issue. engaging the ma lineals, young people.
>> good morning. >> congressman, paul booth from ask me and a broad member of the board of six. this question is for you. congressman, as you mentioned, there are other people in u.s. congress in the house and senate who severed in state legislatures, understand what legislation is all about. my question is were you recruit a committee of people like yourself, who get what the importance of state innovation exchange and what six is all about to be an advisory committee or support committee of members of congress to support the work of this organization. >> well, the answer is six doesn't need our advice. you know, but we will engage. and partner with six and as a matter of fact, nick has been his representative at the progressive caucus.
we've done a lot of stuff, but your question is how do we build on this relationship and the answer is resoundingly yes, i'm all in. we're trying to build up. we're working out dates and times when nick and six can present to the dem caucus. he's already presented to the progressive caucus. did you know that there is no table that combines state legislate tors, national governor, dnc, d triple c, dsec? y'all know what i'm talking about? there is no national coordinated campaign. if some of your state, you have coordinated campaigns. and we're trying to win. i tell you this, they never stop begging me for more money, which is fine, i don't mind doing my part fund raise, but what about some smart work? which