Skip to main content

tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  November 30, 2015 10:30pm-12:01am EST

10:30 pm
been talking about toads. you're certainly seeing it with the roberts court and it started with the burger court. >> it started with the warren court with terry versus ohio. they set this ship on this course. >> 1967. >> i find myself with only 30 second left. i apologize to my final caller. we're going to be dealing with the miranda decision by the warren court which was another in the series of cases and we're going to spend our final half-hour in that program talking about the warren court overall and their approach to these reviews and what it has done to the judicial process and talk about that in a big picture way. hope you'll be with us for that program. i want to ask you about dollree mapp and what people should take away from the fact that a citizen like dollree mapp was the focus of a landmark case in the supreme court. >> there's always going to be a story behind these cases. they involve real people with real challenges.
10:31 pm
and in the case of dollree mapp, involve people with a lot of personal strength to really see a situation and to go to the courts for relief and to fight her way all the way to the supreme court. so really our case is about individuals that have lasting impact upon all americans and any one of us could be that individual. although frankly nobody could be like dollree mapp. >> and what are your final thoughts about this case and its importance? >> that we all have a role to play in the protection of our constitutional rights. we all have to stand up and give voice every day to the constitution or it ends up becoming a dead letter. dollree mapp did that for all of us. >> thank for being our guest tonight and thanks as always to you for your questions and comments. it makes the program interesting. thanks for being with us. ♪ ♪
10:32 pm
♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ our series continues next week with the supreme court's 1962 decision in baker versus carr. in that case justices establish
10:33 pm
the right of federal courts to review redistricting issues which had previously been termed political questions outside the court's jurisdiction. the tennessee case paved the way for the one-man one-vote standard of american representative democracy. find out more next monday lye at 9:00 a.m. eastern on c-span, c-span3 and c-span radio. you can learn more about the landmark cases series online. from the website you can order c-span's landmark cases book featuring background, highlights and the legal impact of each case written by veteran supreme court journalist tony morrow. "landmark cases" is available for $8.95 plus shipping. up next on c-span 3, a look at some of the changes that the
10:34 pm
smithsonian institution. and then a conversation with fresh nan congressman donald nor cross of new jersey. later a discussion on freedom and security in the muslim world. next a look at the future of the smithsonian institution with the new secretary david skorton. he sat down for a conversation with ceo walter siisaac son. this is an hour and 15 minutes. >> all right. i think we're ready. good afternoon. thank you all for being here. i'm damian woetzel, the director of the programs and it's my pleasure to cure rate four or five times a year some of these
10:35 pm
washington round table series sponsored by michelle smith who is here. thank you for always supporting these conversations. the conversations i cure rait deal with the rts a ena how they intersect and how they can be productive and ever more interactive partners with all of the areas of society which is very much of course in keeping with the mission of the aspen institute itself. so today we're very happy to welcome dr. david skorton, the new secretary of the smithsonian who comes to us building on a distinguished career in medicine as a cardiologist and president in academia of university of iowa and of cornell. but he's been -- he was appointed as the 13th secretary beginning this past summer. and i can say that as an artist who visited the museums since a
10:36 pm
child on the mall, an endless source of inspiration is at your disposal and also a tremendous source of work. i'm proud to serve on the president's committee for arts and humanities along with others in this room. jill and our cochair george stephens is here. one of the earliest things we did was partner with richard koran in disaster recovery in haiti. far be it from the idea of things we go to look at. so in that spirit, we welcome you here. i'm also proud to say that my boss and great leader, walter isaacson will be moderating the conversation. walter needs no introduction except to say he's an inspirer of many. >> thank you very much, damian were helping put this together, michelle, george and liz, nice
10:37 pm
to see you all here too. i asked earlier whether i should call you dr. skorton or president skorton or secretary skorton. >> everybody here with can call me david but walter, i'd like for you to call me your exlency. >> that was a henry kissinger line. he said your excellency will do. in your case, it actually fits. when you got inaugurated or installed, it was -- i've read the speech and i've heard about it. you gave a wonderful speech about this is magic, in some ways. but you also allowed whiten to play louis armstrong's horn. tell me about the inauguration and the idea that this is magic. >> let me interrupt myself. i want to thank you damian for your kind words. damian is a fellow flute player
10:38 pm
and if you're an fish ya to of these conferences i wouldn't let another one go by without forcing damian to show his stuff. that's up to you really as a group. it's wonder l to be here. and thank you. i do want to acknowledge may partner and person who has taught me so much about the smithsonian, richard kuran, the source of our ideas which henceforth are going to be considered my ideas. so the installation which hi colleagues are calling the imposition at the smithsonian, i wanted to set the stage that the currency we deal is, just as you said, is inspiration. the currency we deal in, how we deal the currency i would like to talk about if we have time. that's what we deal in. inspiration. inspiring people to understand more things, to dream bigger, the make things, to create things, to understand things. and so the word i used as magic
10:39 pm
is to mentor or reflect the many different ways that we can bring that together. some of that is based on being face to face so to speak with an object, a painting, something that has historical significance. but increasingly it has to do with the dynamic interplay of ideas which might or might not need to be in the context of an object. i tried to touch on those areas in the speech. the speech is available. if you have trouble sleeping and who doesn't these days, if you read the speech i guarantee you will fall asleep quickly, stay asleep for six to eight hours and awake with no bitter aftertaste or anything like that. try it out. >> you talk abouting with in the presence of an object. and whether it's louis armstrong's horn or betty ross's flag. you can see all of those things digitally online now. where does the museum of the future go in the digital age?
10:40 pm
>> first of all, as you know but you're too nice to say, i really don't know much about the museum world. i come from a career lifetime spent in the life sciences. i'm a cardiologist. i took care of up to a few months ago, young people, teenagers and young adults with inborn heart disease. so i'm comfortable if that world. i'm an amateur musician. i'm comfortable in that world. and i'm just learning about the museum world. so that's a sort of disclaimer. but i'm reading avidly. i'm reading right now three different books on museum studies of various kinds. very frequently as you may have noticed, there's articles about the 21st century museum. the most recent one i read was four or five days ago in the "the new york times." in those articles there's sort of three themes sounded. and i want to be clear that i am not saying these are the three most important thing but these are the ones i absorbed.
10:41 pm
number bun was the idea that walter has eloquently raised, the moving from an object-based encounter to one where you don't even have to be on site and it could be visual or could be auditory, could be some other way that doesn't require being in front of the object. i believe right now from my own experience just as a museum goer and a few weeks at the smithsonian, a few month as the the smithsonian, that institutions like the smithsonian that are large, broad, well-known, i'd like to say respected, well for the foreseeable future, should and will have a foot in both worlds. we need to preserve the objects that we recognize as part of the american tradition and culture. and yet, as richard and others have been doing for some time, begin to push the boundaries of what could be done. my predecessor, formerly president of georgia tech and very creative person began the
10:42 pm
process of more aggressively digitizing those parts of the collection that can easily be digitized. the collection breathtakingly is 138 million things. and some of the museums -- the verb he used us to democratize the collection. you don't have to be among a small number of people that will get to the mall. even in our city there are people who don't get to the mall, who don't share in the riches directly. that's one theme that sounded. a second theme that sounded which resonates with me is the issue of diversity writ large. diversity in the audiences that we're serving, diversity of the employment, workforce of the museums, diversity of the programming that we offer,
10:43 pm
diversity in the themes that we're willing to touch. i wouldn't mind coming back to controversy later. so that's the second theme that sounded. and the third one really has to do with an underlying issue that i think our society is dealing with and that is how much do we focus on the so-called s.t.e.m. disciplines and how much do we focus on the nons.t.e.m. discipline. the smithsonian is one of few organizations that touches the gamut. austin kiplinger is a longtime friend of me. when he found out they was appointed in 2014 he said, let me give you a quick description of the smithsonian. it's everything under the sun. and it's what it is. it's astrophysics to art. here's an institution that absolutely positively needs to make sure that we don't overfocus on the s.t.e.m. disciplines despite the fact that we think about it in
10:44 pm
vocational terms, economic terms, world leadership terms, security terms, all of that is important, necessary but not sufficient to wrk our way through a troubled world. >> well you seem suited for that because you have a science background as a cardiologist and yet even in your cardiology i think what you are most renowned for was imaging and how to use imaging to understand things better and you've also been a flute player. also loved the arts. instead of seeing things as the arts or the s.t.e.m. disciplines, you've stood at the intersection. is there a way to make sure that people can get to the combination of the two cultures? >> well, i'm a cheerleader for that. i'm not an expert in making it happen. without meaning to pander what you do collectively at the aspen is a great example of bringing people, ideas, points of view, even differering points of view
10:45 pm
together. my partners and colleagues at the smithsonian, like richard but not limited to richard, have done a fabulous job of doing this across different dris pl disciplines but we can do more. i hope we'll see the infrastructural stage to make it a bit easier within the smithsonian to think across those lines. >> so like at cornell where things are less division and departme departments, you're trying to do that. >> when you have an institution that's been around for a very long time and the smithsonian is one of those, cornell is one of those. the only sure way to do something that's really different is to be able to turn the page on a new chapter. now when lonnie bunch our wonderful director of the soon to be open national museum of african american history culture, beautiful and profound
10:46 pm
both, he is going to turn the page on a chapter that started as a blank slate. a long long overdue expiration of culture in the country that we sorely need. he's going to do some things that you'll find fascinating. that museum will touch history, culture, science, almost everything you're talking about. it's easier than taking something that's been in expense tense for 50 or 100 years and turning it. at cornell, the best opportunity i had, i was just the recipient for opportunity. the new campus being built was such a blank slate where michael bloomberg. >> and our chairman. >> they were the people who put it together. bob was the deputy mayor for economic development and seth penske at the time was the
10:47 pm
president of the economic new york development corporation. they analyzed the economy of the new york city, one of the largest economies in the world, even of countries, and they discovered that all though the prediction was finance, fashion, media would always be a part of the new york economy. that in the tech sector there was a relatively shortage of graduate trained tech professionals, that is computer scientists, electrical engineers, material scientists. and so they had a contest which we partnered with an institute of technology and it was a blank slate. that campus is being put together with no departments. no departments. and so what we set up were what we called hubs for lack of a more elegant term. these areas that seemed to fit the new york city economy that we could bring together strands from different disciplines to create a new kind of fabric. those three were healthy living,
10:48 pm
the built environment, thought about broadly including transportation infrastructure and green tech and so on and then the media, so-called connected media. but short of turning a page and having a blank slate, it's tall order. places like the smithsonian got to be distinguish nd because the disciplines were excellent. if we apan don a focus on supporting the individual disciplines for excellence we're going to get nowhere by combining them. we can create it out of whole cloth. otherwise it's a delicate organism. and where we have to handle it at all, it has to be handled gently and carefully. i'm a strong believer that it hads to be bottoms up. even if i had been 20 years in the museum business, it's not for the top leader of a complex organization with 6500 employees and a like number of volunteers to have one person on the table saying now you're going to work
10:49 pm
together. it has to come from the grass roots up. >> you mentioned a moment ago the importance of having younger people, youth and diversity be part of defining the museum of the future. how are you going to do that. >> when you look at me and say younger with why don't you say even younger. your whole attitude is extremely upsetting. it really is. but you know, it's your round table so i'll let it go this time. so from being in higher ed for some longary interacting with undergraduates. and my wife who really is the source of the very large proportion of my good ideas had the idea years ago that we should live with a freshman each year in a freshman dorm at cornell, which we did. >> that sounds like something i would not have considered a good idea. >> the latest thing she's talking about is having us stay over, sleepovers a the the museum. >> that sounds like a good idea. >> you think it's a cool idea
10:50 pm
but those floors are marble. forgetting my aging back. so when you think about the higher ed experience, i always thought that our ideas about some idea of some aspects of academia could not depend on an audience response, if one is teaching civics or biography or poetry or dance or whatever it is. we have experts, professionals who do that, and they interact with students and get feedback and so on. but other aspects, like the way we do the things should have consumer input or whatever the right word is. and so i want to emphasize somewhere public input into how we do our planning and specifically, we're going to set up a youth advisory council here in the city of washington. i've had the wonderful experience of talking to mayor bowser about it. she was very nice to let me come in and spend time with her. we're going to work on the idea together.
10:51 pm
and we hope to bring high school students, perhaps freshman, sophomores who are still thinking it through, throughout the d.c. area and show them some things we're thinking about. now for the people who preceded me, they've already done a lot of that kind of stuff. in the national museum of natural history, when you first enter on the constitution avenue side, if you go right in and turn to the right, there's something called curious. qurius. it was designed in part by washington high school students. it's fantastic. and there's an art lab attached to the sculpt t the sculpture g. and they're learning how to do everything from -- i was in there a couple days ago -- stage lighting to deejay work to
10:52 pm
post-production music, to sketching. you name it. so there already are some youth programs, but i need the input as the new leader. and so we're going to set up this youth counscil, and i'm going to listen to them. and to the extent they can spend the time with me, i'm going to try it out on the other leaders. you can't have your customer to tell you exactly what to do. i'm reminded of the book "the innovator's dilemma." one of the things is you want to listen to your customers, but you can't run your company based on your customers. >> that was an old steve jobs line. henry ford said if i asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse. >> yeah. [ laughter ] >> yeah, i was thinking about whether i had a faster horse. my first car in 1965 was an
10:53 pm
impala, and guess what, i just got a new impala. >> chevrolet will be happy. >> it's a fabulous car. >> and damian and you and i have talked about and the country getting, because we're starting a new division here at the institute for people who are in high school and early years of college, especially from le less-served communities. you mentioned earlier two controversies. smithsonian seems to either stumble through or thrive upon these great controversies, like should we have shown this or done that. tell us your view of some of the controversies that have happened and how you proposed to handle them. >> i love to talk about that. the one thing i won't do is i won't second guess deticisions
10:54 pm
made before i got there. let's talk about the general proposition. the general rop significanpropo creative things will generate controversy. think about the sciences of the somebody has a new idea that may sound her et cal, and it may be controversial for two sets of reasons, one is that it's an actual new idea, the other is it steps on people's perceptions of what they've spent their whole careers on. in science, we have heated arguments over points of view. and you know a lot about this because of the people innovators about whom you've written. but it's also true of the arts. so if we think of contemporary art, i believe that artists, whatever kind of artist they are. they could be dancers, musicians, performing artists of other types or visual artists may perceive the world
10:55 pm
differently, they may perceive trends sooner than the general populace perceives trends. so when creating an expression that reflects that different perception of currency of reality, they may bump into people who don't share that point of yew. years go by or generations go by, but whatever it is, it will engender controversy. so we have to be ready for it. and i think the few axioms to me would be if a professional, a curator backed by normal institutional processes, done correctly, decides to put something up, we should not take it down. we should not take it down. even if there's public outcry, even if there's concern. and one example right now is margaret sanger's bust in the natural portrait gallery. in that particular case i could not be more supportive of the
10:56 pm
decision of the national portrait gallery and the undersecretary that we have to tell the story of our country, both parts that we're very proud of, and the parts that we shake our heads about, perhaps, and wonder, because otherwise, how are we going to understand and think more toward the future. so it doesn't mean we have to be arrogant. it doesn't mean that we can't improve processes, that we can't think more actively in a preemptive way about what might be controversial and think about it. >> have you had an example of that that you've had to face already, leaving aside margaret sanger? >> well, the bill cosby-supported art. janet cole, like myself has been the president of two colleges in the past, which i think basically means that everything she says is probably right. but anyway -- [ laughter ] -- i think it was very important to understand the reasons for that exhibit and not to punish the artist and not to punish
10:57 pm
those who would like to perceive the art because of problems or potential problems with, with the collector. >> so you haven't walked that back. >> and won't, i won't walk it back. >> and you speak of, half jokingly, of having run colleges like dr. cole did and you did as being preparation. there is a lot of discussion these days about political correctness and college campuses, causing controversies or trying to stop people from doing things. what did you learn at cornell from that issue that you're applying to the smithsonian? >> well, i haven't had to apply too much to the smithsonian, 16 weeks, just understanding where the entrances are and so forth. >> you had the bill cosby issue. >> the leader has to get out in front of it and face it. my approach was to go and talk to the students. they weren't always interested in talking to me or what i had
10:58 pm
to say, but i had to make the offer. and it's important, it was important for me to leave my ego at the door. >> but the issue of political correctness. >> i'll get there. this is like a paragraph, not a sentence. you're too much of an editor. [ laughter ] >> so here's the thing about political correctness. political correctness is one way of looking at the world. one way of looking at the world. we call it political correctness in a per jurortive sense, but let's say when we begin to use gender neutral language, i think it's very important to use gender neutral lang wraj, because it reminds us to think about people other than those who look like you and me, aside from how good-looking we are. what you mean is limiting expression, limiting expression, putting a boundary on expression if it doesn't fit a certain mold, which has to be avoided. which has to be avoided.
10:59 pm
so i think bringing a world of ideas together, once again as aspen does so well is important. and maybe leaders like you and i have to make an extra effort to bring in ideas that make our own blood boil, to make sure that we, too, are not self-selecting for things that we're most comfortable with. so one of the things i love already about the smithsonian, and i don't mean this to sound facetious. i don't want people to think they have to defer to me on opinions like that. i'm there at their service, like i was at the university, to make sure that 1,000 flowers can bloom. and when 1,000 flowers bloom, someone's going to sneeze. something else is going to happen. that's just the way. that's the nature of the beast. >> let me open it up if i may. questions? >> if you have any personal issues -- >> and yes, okay. >> i just want to say my family
11:00 pm
has enjoyed the smithsonian from multiple generations. it was a place where we completed our educations, basically. i have a question about the museum of natural history. >> mm-hm. >> i visited the museum recently with some distinguished guests, family group, and i hadn't been in there for a while. and i've noticed some of the changes, but i felt that still as a museum for the 21st century, it wasn't dynamic enough. >> mm-hm. >> in fact, i made a comment saying i liked it better when it was creepy looking. all that to say since the smithsonian has always served as an institution where we enhanced our educations, i wanted it to be more, give me more excitement about the natural history sciences, but i wasn't feeling that. can you tell us more about what, what the plans are for natural history? >> yeah, thanks for asking the question. such important input to get from you. you've been a devoted follower of the museum, so your opinion
11:01 pm
means a lot. i was at the meeting of their board this morning, as a matter of fact, looking at the plans of the director kirk johnson. and when i mentioned earlier -- can i call you ms. shawn? that's fine. you can call me your excellency, whatever. [ laughter ] >> when i talked before about the smithsonian having, and i believe for the future, should have one foot in the world of things that maybe don't seem so dynamic and exciting, but still a portion of the populace wants to be there face-to-face with something even if it may not seem dynamic, and another foot in the world where things are becoming more dynamic, interactive, so on. that would be an exemplar of that curious teen-oriented thing is in that museum. and you might not wander directly in there if you're not in that age group. but they're trying to make that more dynamic without giving up, most of the smithsonian is attributed to that museum, 126
11:02 pm
million out of 138 million. so they're dealing with a pretty heavy lift. and that is not to give up the attention of the, the intention, excuse me, to preserve those, and preserve them not just for the sake of saying they're preserved but to make them available for scholars. a question comes up in paleontology and how wonderful to go back and look at something that's been preserved so beautifully. they are in the direction of doing that without giving up the former. so stay tuned. if you had time yourself to go in and look at qurius, go in and look. because as i mentioned, i'm so new to this world that i, myself. trying to soak all this up. but i think you'd find that it is going in that direction, and by the way, you didn't ask it,
11:03 pm
if you go to the cooper hewitt, the national design museum which is a smithsonian organization at 91st and 5th. you'll find a very dynamic approach using a digital pen where you can go around and touch a spot on an object and you get to collect a digital image in your own collection. f. in each unit, but variable demandi depending on the subject. we opened something almost a year ago. >> and you have the museum that's being done renwick. >> what's going to happen there? >> the ribbon cutting i think is a week from tomorrow. >> you're all invited. >> we're having some parties before hand that you're not
11:04 pm
invited to. [ laughter ] >> i'm not going to steal her thunder, because you want to put it on c-span or something, so. >> you'll have to show up. sunny? [ inaudible ] >> washington native. i actually worked at the smithson yan, actually worked here at the aspen director as well. i'm with the jazz festival. i'd introduce my chairman, conrad kenley, and i was excited when i did the walk through of american history to see the innovative experiences that are happening over there, and i think that really speaks to what you're talking about, 21st century digital learning, so i want to thank you. i know you can take credit. but it's a wonderful place now, and we actually look forward to doing something very exciting and innovative with the jazz department in the smithsonian
11:05 pm
jazz orchestra, and i know you're jazz enthusiast too. >> thank you for being so positive. the smithsonian jazz orchestra is very impressive. charlie young is the director. they took pity on me and let me sit in. i didn't tell anybody unless it went south. >> on flute. >> on flute, yeah. it was a latin jazz concert, and i iced to be the producer and deejay on a latin jazz station in iowa city. i sat in on a song, a number called "azolito." it's azure as in blue. and the other one was an old chestnut. sk"
11:06 pm
"oyo como va ". the original tito puente was a challenging flute deal. charlie young is an excellent and tough task master. that was fun. and my heart rate went down below 200 just a couple days ago from doing that. that orchestra is fabulous. and i want to plug one more thing. for those for whom jazz is not their thing, those unfortunate souls who haven't seen the light yet, there's also chamber music society. but it has its own performing space, which is fabulous, because not only are these unbelievably great musicians, but they're playing vintage instruments. i haven't been to one of the concerts, but i've read about it. just amazing.
11:07 pm
>> thank you. i want to get back to the museum of the 21st century, that "new york times" article and ruling from the bottom up. my name's elinor fink. and i'm with the consortium of 14 museums that are getting rid of their data silos. and three smithsonian museums are part. but my question is, given the great diversity of the smithsonian, it would be wonderful as that article alluded to, if someone could go from, let's say a painting that depicts an invention that happens to be in history and technology to the portrait of that inventor to maybe something in natural history. now technology is there to do that. we're doing it in our project. and it's not so much a matter of money. you don't have to have everything digitized to start.
11:08 pm
you have to have a will. and i'm afraid of the smithsonian, sometimes to get this kind of collaboration across all the institutions, bottom up won't work because each is thinking of their own. so it's such a wonderful opportunity, one wouldn't want to pass it up. i mean, how can you maybe instill something for the museum of the 21st century? >> well, thanks first of all for the question and for caring so much about this. and we're proud to be part of that collaborative group. so just to push back a tiny bit conceptionally, because we're here to have a frank discussion, i think it's very important that it's bottoms up. if i can't persuade, the chief tool i have as the quote-unquote ceo is persuasion. if i can't persuade them, then i've got a problem in my arguments. nonetheless, i buy the goal, absolutely. i completely agree with you on
11:09 pm
the objective. there's all kinds of ways to do that. i tried a bunch of them. sometimes they work, sometimes they don't. the old tried and true thing is you throw money at people and say you can only touch this money if you collaborate with something you've never collaborated with before. it works to a certain extent for sure. i'm confident partly through leadership and partly through leadership of the units themselves, which is halfway between. they're not way up here in valhalla like i am, and they're not way down there. and so i think there's a real will to try to use technology, and not just technology. sometimes we get lost, everywhere, in all our endeavors in doing something with technology just because we can, just because we can, as opposed to doing it because we know where we want to get to and technology would help us get there. i've heard a lot of people talking about that. and i don't want to sound too
11:10 pm
pollyan pollyannaic. it takes protective mechanisms to make sure that all the mouths are fed that have to get things out, get things done every day. that's a terrible mixed metaphor i just did, but i believe that the people at the level of the directors and undersecretaries actually want to do this thing. and why would they want to do it? because people who have been leading a sacenter of excellenc where people like ms. shawn who have been coming there for decades as kids, they want to be there. they really want to make it new and different, but there's also the matter of 18 million people coming there every year for a wide variety of things. some of them just want to have the old-time experience. and some want to have new
11:11 pm
things. and some don't know what they want to have. they've never been to a place like that. so some leaders have the responsibility of being there 4 364 days a year. it's not an excuse for dragging our neat, bfeet, but it is a se responsibilities that have to be met. i think you will be very happy when you see some of the things come to fruition. the only way you get ahead is to take a swing at the ball, and you may miss it. we talk a lot about silicon valley. those who have written about it understand silicon valley know that for every good idea that worked, there were a bunch of ideas that went belly-up, a b k bunch of companies that went belly-up. in every organization, the name of the building where the administration is, is like a hated word. at cornell, it's day hall, name
11:12 pm
after a previous president. they say, well, dave hall is stopping us from doing what we want to do. and here it's like the castle. you're standing in the way of progress. but from the castle to the desk top of the people cranking it out every day, you'll find the spirit of wanting to push ahead while maintaining the tra significance diggss. and i hope you'll keep in contact with me, elinor. that would be great. >> thank you, david. curious about the hierarchical levels that you have and how do you envision feed bang coming from the bottom up. i'm aware that elon musk likes to have people just directly send to him any notes, if
11:13 pm
something's wrong. or maybe a fresh idea. how do you deal with your mid-level advisers or managers who get, take some umbrage. >> it's a really tough question. and don't you like when a speaker grades your question and says it's a good question or whatever? >> but then i also want to end with saying, i'm sure, this class here, i'll call us a class, we're going to be your first sleepsleepover, so you cae the list. >> just be sure to bring me an air mattress for that floor. you know what they say, the past behavior is the best predictor for future behavior. all 23,000 students, all 3,000 restive faculty, all whatever it was, 14,000 other employee, no, did they all write me ever day? thankfully, no.
11:14 pm
and i had those come directly to me. my lieutenants or whatever you call them, hated when i went in front of a town meeting and gave them my e-mail, because he said great, he's only going to forward it to me. i got a lot of feedback. most people don't want to do that. why don't they want to do it? they're afraid of retaliation, they're afraid of being embarrassed. they're afraid of never hearing from you. there's a formulaic way they're done. there's three kind of town hall meetings. the kind where you have the new person, people all want to show up. sort of like going to the national zoo, can they tie their tie, whatever. and we had a pretty good turnout. then there's town hall meetings when there's a problem, when there's an issue. in every organization, if they fall upon hard times financially or if layoffs are looming and so on. and the ceo calls a town meeting
11:15 pm
and people show up. there's no crisis, we all know who this folk is. and i had my first of those in the museum of natural history. and we, i'm so terrible at estimating this. maybe a couple hundred people and a couple more online in cyberspace, i forget what you call it -- live streaming. i'm turning to him to teach me about technology. he doesn't know. i did that to be polite. eventually, from the e-mails and the town hall meetings and then meeting with, you know, the director-level people, at least there's the opportunity for input. whether it happens depends mostly on whether the employees feel that it's safe to criticize and bring things up. and so the core attribute that's necessary for a functioning organization is the feeling of safety in every single employee.
11:16 pm
that he or she can criticize or argue with their supervisor. that they can speak truth to power, and that is easy to say and very, very hard to do. but that's what i've been devoted to trying to do everywhere that i've had a leadership position. sometimes it worked, and sometimes it flopped. and sometimes, especially in the case with undergrads, they just violently disatwrie and decide the way to do that is to take over the office. which, okay. >> you can take over the castle and even sleep in it. >> you can take over the castle anytime. you have to take over richard too. >> i wanted to follow up quickly on your comment that you didn't want to overfocus on stem. and stem of course is well-established. everybody knows what we mean when we say stem. but there is also now steam. and i wonder if the smithsonian
11:17 pm
and your focus is going to be able to push the idea of steam, use were your persuasive powers to make steam as well-fixed in the american psyche as stem. >> it's terrible to admit this in such a broad audience. >> you don't know what stem is? >> i know quite a bit of what steam is. i'm always concerned that we don't portray the arts and the humanities as handmaidens to the sciences. >> exactly. >> so by adding something on to stem, if you don't think about it very deeply, obviously you have thought about it deeply. one might through it's important to have the arts in order to complete thinking about some scientific thing you have to think about it conceptionally there's also this value that i can't get any other way, so i've straugled whether it's a good or
11:18 pm
bad idea to have steam. i was very privileged to be on the american academy of arts and sciences writing group that did the report called "heart of the matter" on the humanitying aies social sciences, and i've been able to speak with bill sapphire and with many others, many, many, many other in the art world. and i don't want to be perceived as denigrating the stem disciplines, because a lot of changes in our world that we take for granted and really like, like the communication technology that's making this whole business possible would not happen without very robust things happening in the stem disciplines. and, if i could just put a plug in for those who do research for society based on competitive federal grants. at a time in both life sciences
11:19 pm
and the physical sciences where the tools at our disposal for answering scientific questions are like never before, the public has not been able to invest or not willing to invest as much as could be used as fuel to move that engine forward. so the sciences have their own very, very profound frustrations and shortcomings. but in the arts and humanities, quite separately from their ability to help us solve problems that you cannot solve by science alone, have intrinsic importance in so many ways. and so when i've talked to members of congress or written in huffington post or forbes or whatever, had a chance to be interviewed by influential people like walter, i try very hard to give both sides of the discussion. one side of the discussion is that there's practical value in liberal arts education and thinking about these things. even economically, believe it or
11:20 pm
not, there's very great data showing the earning potential, years later, not right off the bat, of a liberal arts degree. tomorrow i have the privilege, i'm receiving an award from an organization of the colleges arts and sciences in the united states. and there's a lot of data that i was refreshing myself on to speak to that august group of deans, but quite separate of that, no matter what the earning potential is, we get a lot of understanding of what we are as humans, i feel silly saying this in a pedantic way that have nothing to do with science, that have to do with listening to -- well, last night, walter and i were at an event at which some music was sung of a patriotic nature. and both of us got teary-eyed. and we're couple of hard-bitten old guys. but we got teary-eyed. why? because music has that power.
11:21 pm
has that power. and dance and visual arts and everything else, and that's not even counting reading poetry. outside my office i've set up a poem of the week, a lectern vr i have people sending in poem of the week. skorton d @sideu.org. i think that's important that we don't allow it to be trivialized. that's what i think. now to finally answer your question, what are we doing at the smithsonian, we're supporting with arguments to congress and with philanthropy the many art galleries and art museums in recognizing more and more the fact that some of the museums defy categorization, so, for example, i mentioned the cooper hewitt before the design
11:22 pm
museum. there's a discipline. what do you call design? is tsit science? sure it is. i'm learning. i'm listening. today i'm talking a lot, but i'm listening in general. number two, i'm encouraging people using the bully pulpit, the small win internally, and thirdly, i'm trying to get on my behind legs about it in public as much as i can and make people remember that these disciplines, a lot of us really have used the experiences to understand ourselves as people. and how critical that is. >> it is so important to think about art, arts and humanities for their own sakes. >> and you had a question there, too? your hand was up first. let me start with her, if i may. she's been patient. >> i was lucky enough years ago
11:23 pm
to -- go to the facility. but it's very much closed. i wanted to go with another group. it was closed or whatever. i know there wasn't air conditioning. i was there, but that's like about three quarters of your collection is there. is there any way you could set up some sort of monthly visits? >> i want to be honest, i don't know too much about the details about that. i understand the need we have for more collections. just real quickly. i'm still learning about that. the vast majority in any museum that i know about, not just the smithsoni smithsonian, why don't you write me separately. let me find out what i'm talk being about and answer you by e-mail. >> i wasn't trying to cut you off, just trying to get the
11:24 pm
microphone to the next person. [ inaudible ] >> -- education -- >> great. >> i'm wondering what's happening -- >> hold that close to you. >> -- with smithsonian associates. i was involved with a number of programs some time ago. i think it's a fabulous program. as i understand it, it's for continuing education. >> mm-hm. >> here for the washington area. and i just wonder if you have any vision for it, if you see it moving in new directions. >> i'll tell you what i've done with the associates to far. i've talked to them a bit. i've joined. i've joined as a contributor. and so i'm still in the listening mode on that one. i do think it's very important for a couple of reasons. one is it's a way, as you're inferring, of greatly expanding
11:25 pm
the access to the smithsonian, and in a way, it's a way of serving washington itself. because i'm a big believer that non-profits, because we are non-profits by definition, whatever our status, private universities, whatever, need to also think about serving the community directly to the extent that we can do it, because the taxpayer are giving us non-profit status is making an enormous, enormous contribution. still in the listening mode on that one. but i understand it is important for those two reasons. so thanks, and congratulations working at the neh, one of my favorite organizations. >> and by the way, you can go online and join the smithsonian associates, which i would urge people to do. >> you can go online and put all kinds of money into the smithsonian. >> joan the associates, and that would be cool. claudia in the back.
11:26 pm
>> about 20 years ago i had the pleasure to work on what i think was the first largest collection of european arms and armor on the butterfield side, the auction house side. it seems that you're getting away from the nation's model. are you looking to conserve on storage costs? >> there's all kinds of discussion going on about that now. thank you very much for the question. nothing conclusive enough to bring to you today. can you imagine the tension with a collection that size. on the one hand, it would be great to do what you just talked about. on the other hand, not knowing when something in the collection might be important to a scholar subsequently, there's a certain
11:27 pm
danger. so stay tuned. that's about as evasive an answer ago i can give to you. >> do you thatink that museums general which displayoma small percentage of what they do are beginning to do a disservice by not having ways of deaccessioning, because that's such a loaded term. >> that's a loaded question and a loaded term. i would say that everything we can do to make our collections more accessible to the public we should do, and there's many, many paths by which that could be done of which the accessioning to somewhere else could be one. so i'm going to sidestep that one. i do think that because museums are put up in the public trust, we have to operate that way for real. we have to do everything we can to inkreegs access. that's for sure. but i understand that the smithsonian is a special case.
11:28 pm
when james smithson wrote the terms of the bequest of the very young united states, a place he had never visited. he was a british chemist. he said that hess idea was the increase in diffusion of knowledge, and the diffusion is what you're talking about. the interface with the public. but the research part adds a special twifls of complexity, because who knows when a researcher in some field's going to want to have to get access to that thing. it doesn't mean it couldn't be elsewhere and could you get access, but then that greatly dpli kates it. so there's an enormous amount of sklarly activity. and that's a set of imperatives that we also have to meet. >> give a shout out to james smithson who was at pembroke college oxford. >> i'm a health writer who is also a poet. and i will be sending you some poems. >> please, please. that will be so exciting.
11:29 pm
i'm going to write down claudia gary. on the left side is the poem. on the right side is a little bio. we'll never know. you can make a lot of stuff up. >> thanks very much. i just wanted to say, and i also, my kids also got a lot out of the smithsonian when they were growing up. i think it's not necessary to really think about how to package combining art and science, just putting it there, just putting the someone here mentioned it would be good to put more about medicine in the smithsonian. putting more of the arts and sciences next to one another. i think people make the connections. i've noticed in the past few years, there are some literary magazines that have been founded at either medical schools or
11:30 pm
associations like bellevue has literary, suni, and i think all of this is a way to decompartmentalize people's thinking. >> amen. it's such a great point. in fact, the journal of the american medical association will have a piece of art on the cover and a description of it, a little tiny -- i don't know if you've seen that, richard, it's just fascinating. and then some of the medical journals or scientific journals will have photography competitions. i wrote your name down and your bio. >> hi, my husband was at that board meeting this morning, because he's on the board of the national museum of the natural history, and last night we went to this fascinating lecture
11:31 pm
about tux on any. and it was a fascinating debate about how do you apply that, meaning what is the thesis pure science over here, and it's all registering, and how do you recognize that as part of the discussion about climate and ecology and biodiversity and all those things. i don't know how to do this, but one of the things i think would be taking the middle-level people and moving the discussion out into the larger, is to just raise what the people that are working in the smithsonian and different areas are actually debating among themselves. so that then the public can see that this is not top down and hierarchical and decisions are not made and then just handed down to people. but actually all of these hugely committed staff people and volunteers are actually having this discussion among
11:32 pm
themselves. and, and i think it helps enormously in, i'm from new york. and at the cooper hewitt, there's a huge discussion that's gone on. and if those were revealed to the public, this would be something i think they'd be fascinated by. >> it's such a fascinating idea. one of the big areas that scientists agonize over, at least i do, my wife and i talk about it absolutely all the time, is something about like you're talking about. i wrote it down. it's a very fascinating twist. give me something to talk to my wife about that's fresh. i wish you'd call more people your excellency. but i think it's fascinating. it brings to mind two, two sort of trains of thought that occupy our time. one is this whole issue of communication of complicated matters outside of the cannon so
11:33 pm
to speak. but there's a certain amount of maturement ha menment that goe don't think people use jargon and get down in the weeds, it's an efficiency of communication. it does make it much hard irfor other people to participate and understand. and the second set of issues is that communication per se is not necessarily a skill that's valued or rewarded when you're going through the training to become a scientist. the skills that are rewarded are the ones, the kind of communication to get a grant sold. that's one kind of communication. it's among specialists. and then there is other kinds. so alan alda, he helped start a project at stoney brook. anchor nd cornell is part of th
11:34 pm
process. and they brought in someone who's a very good communicator, and very effective at beginning to have people do that. my wife, when she was at the university of iowa, she created a course, let pea get the name approximately right, something like survival skills for a research career, in which in addition to all of the, you know, statistics and learning about biology and all this stuff, one learned how to be interviewed. how to speak to the media, how to write a review article, and she also worked at cornell in the veterinary college to teach graduate students how to teach as opposed to teach graduate students how to discover, which is mainly what we teach them. so, if we had more of an emphasis. and i want you to call my wife and tell her that i'm talking her up a little bit, because i
11:35 pm
sorely need to get some points on the board. >> she's probably watching you on c-span. >> she's probably not. she's too busy. but this is what we need to do. within that universe of ways, and this is a fabulous idea. richard and i will be talking about this. this is a very, very interesting idea. >> thank you. >> damian? >> i wanted to ask you a question. when you think about the smithsonian in the frame of the relative lack of interest in learning that is perceived by some in the united states, that this is not a culture that is that interested in learning, do you feel the obligation to create the kind of exhibits or special events, the large-scale things that will actually put, you know, flags in the map on that score? >> well, it's so interesting that you ask that question. i've been struggle being with thinking about that. in wanting to establish this
11:36 pm
youth advisory council. because the kind of learning that i'm used to dealing with, the current sicy i'm used to is formal learning that goes to a path to a formal education, like continuing education, a degree, it's easier to plot that path because you know the eventual hurdle that has to be jump ed over. this is completely different. it's come one, come all, spend 30 seconds at a part of the exhibition or spend all day. it's up to you to do it. so the breadth of fellow human beings who we hope are increasingly coming to the smithsonian, either in person or over the wire or whatever, over the wire. did you hear how old-fashioned i
11:37 pm
am? there's not even a wire anymore. >> over the wireless. >> over the wi-fi. >> you're digging it deeper. >> is a much, much bigger task, a much harder task than teaching in the university where people are going for a purpose, even if that purpose as in my case, decades ago was to discover what i wanted to do. i didn't know, and it's much harder, so i think within that non-answer i just gave you, within that non-answer, it is true that the people who are actually having their sleeves rolled up and building the exhibits and planning the exhibits and deciding how to do them are thinking about this exact question, and, again, sorry for the redundancy, the creation of that curious space or the art lab in hersh horn. an age dem graphic or what you will. but i think the broader question
11:38 pm
is when you're dealing with an institution that attracts and wants to attract literally throughout the life cycle of humanity and many parts of the world, how do you find something that's general enough. and so what this philosophy has been understandably, and i think defensively has been to let 1,000 flowers bloom and try a lot of things. just like the faculty, they've been, through the curators and professionals in those fields, it's a never-ending question. too much feedback, you get back into this clay christianson thing. not enough and there's arrogance that evolves. i think the smithsonian has embarked on a good course on this. we're thinking about it a lot. >> i do think that the ability to create a learning culture and
11:39 pm
a curiosity culture in this country. there's no institution better positioned than the smithsonian which has that little sun rise, and we all love it. we feel comfortable with it. i'm going to take the moderator's prerogative to do a couple of quick followups to things that were asked and said. you talked about the importance of design and how it crosses spectrums and how it deals with industry and everything else. what is your thoughts at the moment on the arts and industry building? >> okay. so the arts and industry building, in case you're not an aficionado of this, and i'm 16 weeks an aficionado, it's the second oldest building, and the oldest being the castle where my office is, and arts and industry is right next door. that building for structural reasons was closed a while ago. it's been repaired and upgraded
11:40 pm
to the extent now that we can have some events there. so i chose to have my instalation in arts and industries, and the first floor is done, the upper floors are not done. i like where you're sitting in this gorgeous area. there were maybe 900 people there. and as your fwaz wandered. you saw the second and third floors, and they were construction zones, safely away from the people. so we're still thinking about what to do with that space. and a lot of ideas are being tossed around. and we're nowheres near even deciding our sever what is selv let alone going public, but it's important opportunity do something exciting. realizing the importance of the real estate on the maushlll. there's not much left. lonnie bunch is putting up
11:41 pm
something on the constitution. so we're spending lots of time talking about it. after january 14 after january 1st, we're talking about that a lot. we clearly need to do something significant with that, because we can anticipate millions of visits to that site, given where it is between the hirsch horn and the castle. >> and a more technical question, because we didn't get to the research arm of the smithsonian so much, but you did mention a little bit earlier in response to one question, the cut back in basic research of the federal government and how that's perhaps destroying the seed corn for future innovations and stuff if we don't have that type of funding.
11:42 pm
talk, if you would about the astrophysics observatory, one of the lesser known parts of the smithsonian, what it's doing and why basic research is so important for that. >> really two aspects. thank you for that question, walter. let me first tackle the more conceptional question about basic research, and it was brought up earlier by some of the questions raised. we have this view of progress in science as being the sort of linear process where a mad scientist is sit being somewhere underground in a quiet dark room with a lot of sharpened pencils and things that bubble and steam and comes up with some observation about nature. and then that observation is shared with others, perhaps intellectual property is protected. and then it's handed off to the business world where a product
11:43 pm
or service is developed. and then it's marketed and there's progress. and a certain a chemount of ecoc development was based upon that model. >> they talked about the linear model where looking at, say, semi conducting material, science and eventually the transist transistor. >> here's hook on that. here's the rub. so if you take -- and i know you've done this, especially in "the innovators", which you can get on amazon, if you take something that we consider important now and you retrace the steps of the science that led that to be enabled, it's a non-linear path, and you couldn't predict, well, you better study this particular thing, because then you're going to solve some other problem later. it doesn't work that way in science. you have to make an observation
11:44 pm
for the sake of understanding. and then some other mind will figure out how to put it together. so, in that regard, it's very important to recognize that a new thing is happening in the american economy in which it's not quite so linear in that fashion. the tech industry, i believe, is a great example of that, where someone can at the same time be developing some concept of programming or development in the tech sector that a prototype is developed already and it may be march ketd or made available in some sort of a form where those steps are being telescoped into something much shorter, and you implied that in certain aspects when you were talking about the more modern of the innovators, so that's an argument for two different things. it's argument to yes, support basic science without having to hang a burden on it to say we're only going to support it if it's obvious how it can be turned into national security or economic development. we have to have the confidence and process that has made the
11:45 pm
united states the envy of the world in higher education and science in general to let people follow their nose in terms of good ideas. at the same time, at the same time, it's very understandable in a constrained environment in terms of revenue increases that the scientists are feeling put upon right now. and why are they put upon? they're put upon for two reasons. one is that the inflation rate of doing science is not the same market basket of goods and services that define the cpi, it's different. hear's a higher education index. there's other indeces that deal with what sort of buildings and infrastructure you need to do physical science research that has to be vibration free. it is true that we're not keeping up with inflation, and therefore we're missing opportunities. i don't know what the opportunities are, but we're going to miss opportunities. but the second is that we've trained a lot of ph.d.s, a lot of ph.d.s in this country, and
11:46 pm
you look at the statistics on how many are able to get full bore scholarships. we've produced a lot of ph.d.s, and because of the funding restraints, we haven't kept up with the opportunities. that's something we have to focus on. about the smithsonian, it is true that as i mentioned, you focus on the diffusion part and not the increase of knowledge. there's areas i had no idea even existed as a smithsonian, knew they existed, but didn't know the connection, and i went to visit cambridge, i was giving a very brief panel at harvard. and elsewhere in cambridge went to visit it. it's unbelievable. >> the physics observatory. >> and not only cambridge, mass. it runs ground-based
11:47 pm
observatories in arizona and elsewhere. it runs a, we run the chandra x ray observatory out in space. it's unbelievable. and that's all a fabulous interaction between harvard and the smithsonian. hundreds of scientists figuring out things. and i'll tell you the thing that sort of excited me the most. i'm sort of a science fiction geek. i used to have a subscription to a magazine called "analog." i'm not sure if it's still published, but i used to really enjoy it. maybe that's one of the few things you didn't write or edit. but i found out from a calm of scientists there, and you probably know this, but just to be sure, there's an instrument that we're all working to develop, a bunch of institutions over ten, called the giant magellan telescope, an 82 foot diameter telescope. and there's an instrument that
11:48 pm
they're developing at the smithsonian observatory. the attempt is to identify oxygen in the environment of a far-off heavenly body. and that is a sign of life. oxygen. we get our oxygen from plant life and so on. so i have to tell you, i was just giddy about the fact that some people who are part of the smithsonian are working on an instrument to look for evidence of extraterrestrial life. amazing. i never would have thought about that as something the smithsonian institution does. but there's many, many examples like that i'm learning almost avenue d every day. >> and that's why i wanted to get a plug in, not just the pandas but the -- >> there's nothing wrong with pandas. >> you're pandering to the pandas now. but the astrophysics observatory is astonishing.
11:49 pm
but it was to talk about how basic science is not necessarily linear, but it's beautiful. it's exactly 100 years ago this week that albert einstein went to the prussian academy and gave his first lecture explaining general relativity. and it was just pure science for the sake of science. it wasn't bell labs saying we need to amplify a phone signal. it was how to space and time curve and thus create gravity. it's an awesome beautiful thing. it's been 100 years, but now when i pull out my iphone, my daughter's going to be traveling to mexico, and we say okay, let's share locations like that. i think of everything from gps to lasers, to microchips, to how electrons dance on the surface of a solid state material that comes from the -- all coming out of what einstein did, just pacing there in the prussian
11:50 pm
academy 100 years ago. and we need to nurture that in our society, and the place that nurtures that best in all of its aspects is the smithsonian. so if's just wonderful to us in washington and those of us who love the smithsonian that you've come down. you're breathing some life into it. we always love to learn something new about somebody. i had known about your medical imaging and how you treat teenagers with congenital heart, but i never knew that you were a deejay and flute player at a latin jazz show on the radio in iowa city. [ laughter ] >> it wasn't playing on the radio. if i had played on the radio, i would have had no listeners whatsoever. i put the cds on. and the son and daughter-in-law when they were dating used to come to the studio sunday nights, and we were alone in the studio. and i would say what does the youth of america think of this new cut? and they would just sit there and not say anything.
11:51 pm
i'd say don't be silent. they call that dead air. people will change the channel. i said let's try it again. what does the youth of america think? nothing. just zero. just zero. thanks, walter. [ laughter ] [ applause ] >> totally fun. on the next washington journal congressman kris stewart of utah, a member of the select intelligence committee on the u.s. strategy for combat being isis. then peter welch, chief deputy whip is here to talk about the house democrats legislative agenda. washington journal is live every morning on c-span. and you can join the conversation with your calls and comments on facebook and twitter. abigail fillmore was the first first lady to work outside the home, teaching at a private school. she successfully lobbied
11:52 pm
congress for funds to create the first white house library. mamie's hairstyle and color pink. jaclyqueline kennedy was responsible for the white house historical association. and nancy reagan saw her name mistakenly on the list of communist sympathizers, she appealed to ronald reagan for help. she later became his wife. first ladies. the book makes a great gift four the holidays. giving readers a look into the personal lives of every first lady in american history. stories of fascinating women and how their legacies resonate today. the book is based on original interviews in c-span's "first ladies", series.
11:53 pm
it has received many reviews from this author, who said c-span is a national treasure and its path-breaking series on america's first ladies is another reason why. judy woodruff, of the pbs news hour say c-span has performed another valuable public service with its series on the first ladies. nowhere else can one find this information on the first ladies. and jane hampton cook noted that c-span's first ladies is an invaluable collection of rare insight on our nation's first ladies and the important role they played in shaping america during their husbands' presidency. c-span's book "first ladies" is available as a hard cover or e-book from your favorite bookstore or online seller.
11:54 pm
be sure to order your copy today. next, a conversation with representative donald norcross. he was elected just over a year ago and talks about his previous career as an electrician and his career so far on the hill. his district is a suburb of philadelphia. >> congressman donald norcross, first district of new jersey. what first drew to you public service? >> well, i spent most of my early years as an electrician in southern new jersey, delaware valley and got involved in the union through politics, helping to elect our union brothers and sisters to have a wider voice, and after having helped elect over 100, somebody knocked on my door and at a weak moment, i said yes, and decided at that point that my kids were grown,
11:55 pm
and i had an opportunity to give back, which has been part of my life. >> how long has it been since you were a working electrician? you were a lineman, correct? >> no, i, listen, in our world, the journeyman wireman and lineman. i was a journeyman wireman, which is an industrial electrician. some of them refer to us as narrow backs versus lineman. just the way that we work throughout the year. so this last weekend, my wife had me replacing some receptacles, so you could say that i was an electrician this weekend. but it's been about 15 years since i worked with the tools. >> what are some of the top issues your constituents in the first district ask you about and seek help on? >> well, this is one that was easy for me, because each and every day i heard it as part of my job as a business agent and certainly from those in the areas, it's about jobs.
11:56 pm
it's about the economy. there is nothing worse than not being able to provide for your family if you don't have a job, so certainly that has been the focus of what i came here for is to make sure that we create an economy that lifts all the boats, that those members and constituents in my district had a chance to get a good job, because, as i say all the time, the best social program is a good job. >> does your experience as a union member and a union official help or hinder in your efforts to get legislation through, to expand employment? >> oh, it helps, certainly, advocating on behalf of people, i've been doing it my whole life, whether it's through my community or with the united way, a number of non-profits. i've done that virtually my entire adult life. so moving into a more formal role as a public official quite frankly came natural. >> walk us through your typical day. how does it start? and what are the sorts of
11:57 pm
responsibilities and duties that you have during a typical day in washington? >> so, if we're not traveling in or out, my typical day starts that i get up at 5:00, do the normal, read all my newspaper, all my clips, and usually our first meetings start either 7:30 or 8:00. and then immediately following by series of meetings throughout the day. they can be committee meetings on armed services, the budget or a number of other issues, and then somewhere scattered throughout the day we'll have our first votes early afternoon where we leave wherever we are in washington, and within 15 minutes, as you know, we have to make it to the floor of the house to take our vote. and then the afternoon we continue with the series of meetings with constituents or attending meetings off the hill. until about 6:00, 6:30, depending on the day and another series of votes that might run anywhere from a half hour to an hour and a half.
11:58 pm
and then that takes care of the formal setting of the day, and then there are usually a number of receptions that we have to attend that constituents set up for the evening. >> you talked about reading clips in the morning. so what is it that helps you prepare for knowing what you're voting on and knowing what's coming before the committees you serve on? how do you do that homework? >> well, first and foremost, you make sure you have an excellent staff, which i have been blessed with. there are, from day to day, those bills that are coming up that you're being briefed on that you're reading, and your staff brings that to your attention, and at might or in the morning or during the day whenever you can set aside time to do as i say the homework that you're supposed to do, so you're fully informed. you're also gauging what your constituents are saying about the issue and ultimately, you come to a decision. >> you come to this role as a
11:59 pm
congressman, freshman congressman from the new jersey state senate. is there an issue that the house takes up in particular that you never thought you'd have to deal with coming here, that you'd never seen before as a member of the new jersey senate? >> well, certainly national defense immediately comes to mind. we have the national guard on state level, but dealing with international issues and certainly nuclear proliferation and the agreement with iran certainly comes to mind, not just myself, but seasoned veterans. this was a very difficult vote for most people in the house. >> what do you enjoy the most and the least about your days on the hill? >> i've been blessed with probably one of the greatest jobs in the world. and that's being a congressman, representing the first district of new jersey. everything about it is just fascinating, exciting.
12:00 am
certainly, the pace of trying to get things done is a bit frustrating, particularly coming from the state senate where things went at a much quicker pace. and i guess that would be probably the most difficult issue that i have to deal with is time away from home.

12 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on