tv Road to the White House 2020 Sen. Sherrod Brown at Roundtable on the Economy CSPAN February 11, 2019 12:35pm-1:49pm EST
are part of the community. that innately able to overcome any obstacle that includes everyone in the community as a whole, as a country. >> to be an american really has -- mind set you can achieve if you come here you can do everything. you can do it. you will achieve everything. that's what it's like to be an american. >> to me being american means you love this country. and i mean truly love this country in its brokenness, just like the people. we're all broken. the country can be broken. maybe overtime broken. maybe it was broken. to love it the same. being an american means you stand for the constitution, the bill of rights and you wish to uphold those. if you don't know them, if you don't uphold them or you think that we don't need them, those are the formations of our country. that's what we're built upon.
so i'd say you would be un-american to not be devoted to those. >> and i think to be american means that we get to stand up and express ourselves. that we have the right to express our voice, our actions, and to quote a 1914 poem by emma wheeler wilcox -- to send by silence when we should protest. makes cowards out of men. >> what i think what it means to be an american is having the right to choose your own future. what does that mean? choosing where you live. you know, picking whatever job you want. just living the way you want, spending your money however you want it. that's truly what it means to be american. having the right to choose your own destiny, basically. >> voices from the road on c-span. >> ohio senator sherrod brown is still weighing a presidential run in 2020. he took part in a panel discussion on jobs and the
rep. cushing: i am renny cushing. i am a moderator for the school district and a state representative. i want to make everybody who turned out to the school district last night. this is what i refer to as the band room. it is now the lecture hall. it is good to see people i went to high school here with. i want to welcome you here tonight to this conversation we are going to have. during this week in the legislature, there are hearings on family and medical leave insurance, which is something we have been talking about in the legislature for the past two sessions, and i am honored to be asked by the folks for a family-friendly economy to introduce, to welcome you here, and i want to introduce our guest from ohio, senator sherrod brown, who is going to say a few words, and then we are going to have a conversation. [applause] sen. brown: thank you. it is a pleasure to be here. this is my first time in new hampshire since, i believe if
if i remember right, i was in manchester, new hampshire, at plymouth state university, first with senator shaheen, campaigning with her in 2014. and then with her husband. we opponent to a couple other sites. i want to first introduce my wife, connie schultz. [applause] sen. brown: connie -- and i will not say much. i mostly want to hear from the panelists, of course. we are in the midst of something we call our dignity of work tour. since election day, 2018, i was re-elected to my third term in the senate, i have continue -- continually been noticing that democrats seem to think you either choose to talk to the progressive base or you talk to working families, and listen to issues that matter to them. and i don't think it's a choice. we have to do both. we don't win states and general elections like new hampshire or ohio to swing states unless we
talk to workers. and to progressives. i am a longtime progressive. i win in a state like ohio because of who i am and what i fight for every day is the dignity of work. if you love your country you fight for people to make it work. regardless of kind of work you do, whether you shower before or after work, understanding challenges that people who look like me in the workplace, women and people of color have greater challenges. and one of them is, we fight for higher wages and better benefits, for better workplace rules, and we fight for pro-family policies. what this legislature is doing, senator sherman and others, in moving this governor in the right place, getting governor sununu to actually do the right thing on family policies like this is so important. so i thank those in the house and those in the senate that are working on these issues and i want to be part of this as we
work to advance these issues, family issues in congress and the house and senate and congratulations on electing a new member of congress from new hampshire, too, and re-electing annie and continuing to have two terrific female senators and i think you all know this but the only two women ever in american history to be governors and senators are serving you right now in this great state. in ohio still working to have a progressive woman governor or senator one of these days. thank you for blazing the trail. jan, you can start. thanks for what you do to the labor movement. this is a listening tour, so i will listen. so go for it. jan: well, welcome. thank you for joining us tonight for this discussion. my name is jan schaffer. i live in warner, new hampshire. i am recently retired from the staff of the afl-cio, which is the federation of unions. since my retirement, i have
been working with the campaign for a family-friendly economy to help pass family and medical leave from new hampshire, and i m really passionate about this issue, both because i have had family and medical leave, but also because i have not had it. when my son was born, i did not have it. it was 26 years ago. more recently, i had a good fortune to have a union contract and that provided for paid family medical leave and i was able to be with my mother when she died, which was an incredible gift. and it would have been more than stressful to have to try and balance work and taking care of a parent like that. so i am really excited that senator brown is joining us tonight. he is a leader on issues of importance to working families. he spent his time in the u.s.
senate relentlessly advocating for us and i am so happy he could be here. so welcome, again. sen. brown: thank you. jan: so welcome, again. the format for this evening, first, we will hear from a panel, which you can see up here, who sees the need for family and medical leave, and then our guest, senator brown, will speak a little bit more. we will have time for questioning from folks here. i am sure that many people in this room have struggled with the issues that we are going to talk about tonight or you are going to hear about tonight. maybe you recently had a baby or you adopted or maybe you're caring for an aging parent or a partner who's ill. most of us face these events in our lives, and for far too many of us, we face difficult come almost impossible choices when we get into these situations, and we are glad that new
hampshire and many other states in the country are working to ind solutions. according to the federal reserve bank, 40% of us cannot face an unexpected $400 expense. this is in part because wages are not keeping up for a lot of working families, and they are living paycheck to paycheck, to -- but to think about that -- and for some of us in this room probably know that as our situation, that if something unexpected happened, we would not be able to sort of keep our finances together. we know that a problem, health problem or disability is what can push many of us into poverty, and losing income, even for a short period of time, can be really destabilizing to our families.
family and medical leave insurance can provide temporary financial bridge and can help us maintain financial security while meeting the caregiving needs in our family. some of us are single parents, some of us, we are holding our families together with one income, or we are a two-person family with one person or both people working at trying to juggle all the daily joys and all the daily stresses that we face, or someone in our family may be battling addiction and needs time off to go into rehab. family and medical leave insurance should be there for all of us, to relieve some of the financial strain of taking time off from work. we are grateful tonight to be joined by a panel of people from this community who will start this discussion for us. first, we have former state representative and the ceo of one sky community services, which serves one of 10 regions
in new hampshire for
individuals with developmental disabilities. chris muns. chris: thank you, jan, and welcome, senator brown. i am the only member of my family that did not dwrad wait from winnacunnet high school and i made up for it for serving on the school board for three years. prior to moving in new hampshire i grew up in that mitten-shaped state, the north, ohio, and while did i not attend the university of michigan, both of my kids were born in ann ashor so i am obligated to say, -- arbor so i am golden stated to say, go blue. senator brown: sorry. congratulations to the patriots. as a browns fan, congratulate to the patriots. chris: you guys win a little too much. kyrie irving. enough of that.
sorry. senator brown: congratulations.
chris: i am the -- i am the c.e.o. of one sky community services and we are a private nonprofit organization in new hampshire that supports individuals with developmental disabilities and acquired brain disorders. we are very proud in new hampshire of being the first state in the new hampshire to deinstitutionalize the care that was provided to individuals with developmental disabilities. we were the first state to allow people with those disabilities to live independently in the community. nd that is our role. we are responsible for the region that includes most of rockingham county, and we have a contract with the state of new hampshire, and we administer the state-funded and the federal-funded medicaid programs that support those
individuals. new hampshire, unlike of other states where the state department would provide those services, new hampshire entered into a private-public partnership with nine other organizations like us to cover the state. we serve about 1,000 people, 1,000 families. we have an annual budget of about $30 million. across the state, i think the system supports about 12,000, and the annual budget is closer to $400 million. most of the support that the people that we work with -- well, most of the people we work with, we call them our clients. most of our clients continue to live at home, and the primary caregiver for those individuals is their family. what we do is we supplement that support by getting funding so that they can hire people to come in and help them in the community. we call those folks direct support professionals, who take
them out into the community. if one of those people is unable to come to work, it puts a tremendous stress on the family, because most of the families of the people we work with are struggling themselves. they are two-income earners, and if the staff that is supposed to take care of a family member with a disability is not able to show up, mom or dad has to stay home, and if you are an hourly employee, that means you are going to lose pay. that is an immediate issue if it lasts for a day. it becomes a much longer issue if it goes on for longer periods of time. you combine that with the fact that new hampshire is facing this perfect storm of workforce-related issues. we have the second oldest average population in the country, behind maine. we are going for it, hough.
we have the lowest unemployment rate in new england. i think it is hovering around 2%. we have the highest cost of an in-state college education and -- in the country which leads to the highest average student debt in the country, and we have an incredibly difficult time finding staff, so what that does is it puts the families we are working with in a lot of situations where they just can't find people on an ongoing basis and they face the challenge of, do i care for my loved one or do i lose my job? and if they had the -- if they had paid family leave, that would really strengthen the safety net that exists. and provide them with that extra support. thank you, again. jan: thank you, chris. next on our panel is heather carroll.
heather is the manager of public policy at the alzheimer's policy of -- association of massachusetts, new hampshire chapter. she is a social worker and has been working in the field with elders for over 15 years and has a very good understanding of the importance and the challenges of caregiving. heather: thank you very much, and welcome to new hampshire, senator. we know that you are a leader when it comes to alzheimer's disease in congress currently. we are so appreciative for your support for the bold infrastructure act. it was excellent and bipartisan. if you can believe it or not it was a bipartisan effort. luckily for us, if you have a brain, you can be affected by this disease. we have 24,000 individuals with currently with alzheimer's and couple thousand more with related brain disorders.
67,000-plus caregivers caring for those individuals and they are giving 76 million hours of free care. as chris alluded to, the direct care staff in new hampshire is extremely tough. it also leads to the issue of staff that is trained, properly, to care for individuals with specific needs which our disease process is a specific need so we are unfortunately sometimes competing for people to come to work. and when you have that sort of situation happening, it gets -- it leaves families without a lot of options, other than care for their loved one themselves. we as an organization realize being out of the paid family leave fight, which was ridiculous to us, it was taking it to the other end of the spectrum. we heard lots about new moms and adoptions and things, but
we are like "what about our people?" our people are dealing with this type of issue all the time. two out of three of those family members are still in the workforce, and when we are talking to families, the thought process of having to take an early retirement because there is no workforce out there, so if we want to stay with our loved one with alzheimer's or any form of dementia, we're looking at possible retirement which means leaving the workforce and possibly leaving a really great job that had fantastic benefits and the thought process of losing your job because you're out a lot because you are currently caring for a loved one or taking doctors' appointments and things like that and the thought of losing your insurance is mind-boggling for our families. i had a gentleman in yesterday who was talking about how it's -- we had paid family leave he would have job protection. where he felt he's on the older
end of the spectrum so he may be easily dismissed. if that happened his wife's prescription meds would jump dramatically if he lost his insurance. the thought of putting her in a nursing home is the farthest thing from their thought our families that are dealing with alzheimer's disease shouldn't have to think about possibly losing their job or can i keep my job and still have time to do some transition? we have other families who want to move their loved one home because it's not safe for them to be in the community any longer and would have -- love to have a couple weeks to have that transition. we have a person who has moved her mom home. she has to transition into a more -- little bit more structured care environment. she doesn't have the time off
to help her mom with that transition. we hear stories of kids caring for their parents and trying to make things work, especially when the hospital calls and says, you know, your dad has broken a hip, and we need you to come in, because he needs to be on one-to-one, because he is -- he has alzheimer's disease and he's very -- you know, overstimulated in the hospital. but he has to stay here. families are having these tough, tough questions and having to balance everything is -- seems to be very complicated. and i think our folks would benefit just as much from having a strong paid family leave bill here in new hampshire and federally would be fantastic as well. because then we can draw from that model. wouldn't it be great if new hampshire was best practice and pave the way for a very strong -- strongly of keeping our
loved ones home? and i think that's also the new hampshire way is to, you know, be able to make our own choices o matter what happens in life. jan: thank you, heather. kathleen murphy, who is next on our panel, is the superintendent of sau90, which is this district. kathleen is a leader in early childhood, in stem initiatives. she was named superintendent of the year in 2016. she has been both a classroom teacher and a principal and now she's a superintendent. athleen. supt. murphy: thank you. senator, welcome to new hampshire. fabulous community. a community of families that are incredibly caring and devoted to their kids, their families, and their extended families. i think you have found if this
is your first stop it's a great first stop because it's a terrific community. i am a proud public school educator, public school educator for 47 years, so i have a lot of experiences that have given me a focus on understanding the impact that families undergo every day. you know, most of our families recently are working. it is interesting, the change, since the recession, we see a lot of families working, but what we have discovered is those families are working with very low paying jobs. a lot of service jobs, hourly jobs with very few benefits, without any coverage of surance, so that we've had situations where we've had families come to us. just recently we had a single mom come to us. she was going to have surgery.
she came to our office talk to our social worker, because she did not know what she was going to do, because her pay was able to pay the rent and put food on the table and take care of the kids but she knew having surgery, she was going to be out of the workforce, and she had no backup. and what was she to do? and you know, again, i talk about hampton, it rallies, it supports their families. but she was frantic because she knew she didn't have the income to be able to support her. she knew she was going to be able for six weeks with surgery and recuperation. and for us as educators, we don't work with just the students. we look at our work as families and students. and so when things happen in the family, it has a direct impact on the work that we do every day. we know when families are in crises, when they have stresses at home, anxieties, we know that really has a significant impact on student learning.
we've learned when kids are stressed because of situations, their brain responds differently and they're not the same student that we see every day in the classroom. and so we're always looking for ways in which to help families in any way we can, whether it's providing extra food. we have a program called 68 hours for hunger. we provide foom for families on friday -- food for families on friday. that's enough food, the 68 hours represents the time from lunch to breakfast on monday morning so that they have food -- extra food. again, that's a real community ffort. but we know that those critical pieces of housing and food and clothing are critical for our kids, and when we can't do that and we can't provide that support for families, it is really the kids that suffer. and i think we do not often think about that when we think about paid family leave, we think about adults, but the
significant impact on children, we have seen that in a number of cases, just in our small community. we have a community of about 1,100 students, k-8, and then our students come to winnacunnet high school for their high school experience. . our final panelist who will speak and then will introduce the senator again is state senator and dr. tom sherman. senator sherman represents district 24, and he is a gastroenterologist who has been a very active advocate of expanding medicaid in new hampshire. he is also serving currently on the state's task force investigating the success cancer cluster.
sen. sherman: hi, everybody. after the summer with so much bike riding through your neighborhoods, this feels like my second home. my background as many of you know, i'm a g.i. doc over at exeter,and when i was first elected to the house back in 2012, we started looking at expanding medicaid. as i learned more and more about expanding medicaid, one of the most interesting factoids was the study that came out of the oregon experience. when they expanded medicaid, which i will not go into the details of how they did it, it was randomized. half the population who was eligible got it, and have to -- hal of didn't. harvard did an amazing amount of studying of that experience. guess what the number one earlest benefit was?
anybody know? mental health. mental health. in the first two years, mental health, which was related to the classroom, it's getting people back to school. it was the stability that having health coverage brought. the immediate benefit in the first two years was a benefit in depression, mental health, and financial stability. when we pass medicaid expansion in new hampshire, we saw that. and it takes a couple of years before hypertension, diabetes, and in my world, colitis and crohn's disease, those things catch up. the immediate benefit is mental health. if you listen to the panelists tonight, that is what they are talking about. paid medical family leave is all about financial security.
it is all about a reliable backstop. it is all about having a safety net that you can depend on, so last week, our majority leader in the senate introduced sb 1. let me tell you a few things about sb 1, because this is really important. when i was on the campaign trail, i had multiple people talk to me about what i stress -- a stress it was to not he know what they would ever do if they got sick or their family member got sick our their child got sick, and they had to take time off. the bulk of the people could not take time off, and if they did, they lost their job. i think all of us are aware of that spiral. you lose your job, you lose your health care, you lose your health care, you lose your health, and all of a sudden, you are declaring bankruptcy. you are losing your home, you
are losing your apartment. so that downward spiral is what sb 1 is trying to help with. sb 1 is insurance. it is no different from unemployment insurance. it is not a tax. by the way, the other point is pregnancy is not a vacation. how many people here feel that pregnancy is a vacation? i have not been pregnant, but my wife will tell you it is not a vacation. the point is this is not a tax. you are going to hear this is an income tax. it is not. this is insurance. we have some really amazing examples of insurance where it started with the state, and a really good one is med-mal, medical malpractice insurance. if any of you are in health care and know what the jua was, we could not get independent practitioners insured, so the state said "we will step in." they step in until commercial insurers saw well, this is
actually viable. it is financially doable. so now those practitioners are insured through commercial products. so there is a role for the state. we do that with unemployment insurance right now. so it's insurance. it is universal. one of the concerns of governor sununu was that it did not involve state employees. sb 1 is everybody. the only people who are exempted are those people who work for companies that have a similar benefit, and then they are exempted, but the bottom line for the people of hampton, the people of the seacoast, and the people of new hampshire is that this is the financial stability that keeps you able to take care of your family and able to keep your job, and guess what? that is what is probably the most critical component in our workforce.
right? if people cannot show up to work, or they show up to work sick, or they show up to work stressed out, because their child is sick, or their parent is in a hospital, and they cannot be there, that has a huge impact on workforce. this is probably -- the medicaid expansion of this session, this is the single most critical bill that we will be working on, and i'm so excited that we're talking about it today. senator brown, i went to northwestern. that is another big ten school. i know he was talking about michigan. the good news is that michigan and ohio state used to just clobber us. you have nothing to worry about. have a full bio here.
senator brown has done an amazing job in ohio, and one of one of the most amazing parts is in a state where president trump on by 10 points, senator brown prevailed by seven points in 2018. what that means is he is in touch with his equal. -- with his people. what that also means is that he is a really good listener, so i am glad that this is a listening session. sen. brown: thank you. sen. sherman: but there are a couple of issues with his bio. he is a cleveland indians fan. sen. brown: my email is damn yankees. [laughter] sen. brown: i will leave it at that. my wife and i spent three miserable hours at fenway bark
in game six when j.d. drew, who never had a clutch hit in his life, hit a grand slammer in the first inning, and you-all remember that. it basically ruined my life for a couple years. sorry. is ensherman: we're glad you recovered and came back. there are a couple of points i want to bring back. these are critical points to the seacoast, when i was going through the campaign process. one, he is a champion of a woman's right to choose. [applause] sen. sherman: a woman's right to determine her own health choices. second of all, when he was elected to the senate, he did not go and use that platinum insurance plan. he waited until the affordable care act was passed, and he gets his insurance through the exchange. so i think that deserves a round of applause. [applause] some of you know that i'm chair of health and human services in
the senate. i'm also vice chair of election laws. so i really appreciate the work you have done on voting rights. that's it for your bio. sorry i'm not going to read it all. thank you so much for coming and helping us bring this incredibly important topic to the forefront. senator brown: thank you. i will be brief. she said we'll have lots of time for questions and comments. i want to hear from people. let me say a word about each panelist and what i just learned from you in many ways. the importance, first the importance of medicaid expansion. we have a republican governor in ohio who expanded medicaid against the wishes of his party. and i was grateful for that. i have many disagreements with him, but i know what medicaid expansion meant -- means to rural hospitals. i know what it means to care generally. i know what it means especially to mental health services and the opioid issue probably is -- the opioid public health crisis is almost as bad per capita in
ohio than it is in new hampshire. i know you might work with jean especially and also maggie on that issue and how tragic it is for so many families. we have 11 people a day die of opioid overdose in ohio. i remember a day in cincinnati at a similar kind of round table as this where a gentleman whose daughter was sitting next to him who had been in and out of treatment, put his hand on her arm, and said she would be dead without medicaid expansion. it's so important for mental health. thank you for that. jan, what you said about $400, huge part of american public can't survive -- can't deal without going to through a payday lender if their car breaks down and need to get to work. what that says. and the most poignant example recently is we have allred during the trump shutdown that 800,000 -- all red during the trump shut down that 00,000 employees had to work without
pay and still had to arrange childcare and care of someone, an elder with dementia, or pay their transportation. there is at least -- at least we got them back pay, as we should have for all the treys stress that caused them. there are literal hundreds of thousands of contract workers who work for 12 and 13 and $14 an hour, but they don't work for the government. they work for someone else. they are people who prepare food at federal facilities. they clean the offices and grounds. and provide security. they are not getting back pay. it's a bunch -- it's five weeks pay for people making $14 and $15. what happens in their lives you can can predict thefment go to payday lenders, and go to the payday lender again and again and a downward spiral that can can lead to eviction or all the other horrible things. we have an obligation to them as we do to the families that all of you mentioned. so thanks for your pointing that
out. chris, your comments about disability and aging population and safety net, medicaid matters, so does the legislation that you are all working on here. the high student zet a pretty explosive situation. thank you for bringing that out. ather, i was lucky enough, maybe, to i think that's the right word, i was with both my parents when they were in their late 80's several years apart in home care. they were home care at they are home in mansfield, ohio. a town about half the size of manchester. a little smaller than national. a town of about 50,000. hit hard by globalization. just like you along the merrimack river from lowell to lawrence to nash with a to manchester where it hit so hard in the meltdowns we were hit the same way in a town like mansfield. i know what all that meant in how important the safety net is
and how important the work that you-all do. but i was lucky enough to be with my parents, but hi a job where i i could be with -- but i had a job where i could be with them the last day of their lives. they didn't suffer from dementia. so it wasn't a two, five, o or 10-year process. one of the best friends connie and i have, her mother, father had dementia and her mother, who seemed healthy and strong, got weaker and less healthy as she cared for her father. and his problems got greater and she actually, even though you never would have predicted it, her life ended before the father's life. you see that all time with caregivers. with the additional stress of income and all that means. thank you for pointing that out. superintendent murphy, thank you for 47 years, is that what you said? starting in middle school. you started teaching.
superintendent murphy: i was 10 when i got the first job. senator brown: cincinnati is one of the leading communities in the country that does something called communities -- that have community schools. it's the wrap around services that you explained so perfectly. it's not just taking care of students. it's taking care of sometimes they need food pantries at the school or serving the school. and need mental health services and all that -- in this day and age, maybe it's always been that way and we ignored those needs, how important that is. i love your 68 -- i never heard that. your 68 hours program. last, tom, thanks for making this s.b.-1. i think that's symbolism, way more than that, it's a priority. but the symbolism of making it s.b. 1 tells cynics or septics, i'll be kinder, skeptics like the governor, i can't believe he said that about pregnancy. >> he said that about family
leave. taking a vacation. senator brown: i'll just let you-all concentrate on that. not my place to weigh in. the symbolism and setting number one priority s.b.-1 that in a legislative body says something and means something. that's our number one priority as the majority party. that's really smart and impressive and makes the chances of success that much greater. i'll stop there and love to hear comments or questions. especially comments. just thoughts and ideas. jan: cody has the microphone. if you want to ask a question or - senator brown: tell us about yourself. whatever you are willing to. name, community, where you grew up. whether you care about northwestern and ohio state -- no. anything you want to tell us. i don't care. >> my name is robin.
my husband and i retired here from new york state. midwesterns to begin with. senator brown: new york state is in the midwest? >> no. illinois, indiana. had a daughter that lived in ohio for several years. i'm an aclu voter. my big interest is in criminal justice reform and prison reform. i have three questions for you related. first of all all the states have different laws regarding restoration of voting rights for formerly incarcerated. would you support restoring voting rights to people who are out of prison? or even in prison? california lets you vote if you're in prison. two, what would you do to alleviate mass incarceration? and three, how would you help the formerly incarcerated to find living wage employment which is a big reason why people
recidivate. they can't earn enough money to keep themselves alive. what's a person to do? senator brown: i'll take them in reverse order. living wage for formerly incarcerated people. my wife is a -- you should look at her on facebook if you haven't or on twitter. she's a pulitzer prize winner. before she won the pulitzer she was a pull lilingtser finalist writing about a gentleman by the name of michael green who had been wrongfully incarcerated for rape. committed at the cleveland clinic but not by him. she followed him around for -- in prison 12 years? he was in prison 13 years. she followed him around for his first year out of prison. rote a 19, 202rks1-page insalt -- 21-page installment. before i knew her.
when that happened. 20 years ago. about his challenges as trying to find a job with a dozen year gap in his resume, if you will. how hard that is for someone to find employment during that t just means we need to focus more. real briefry on -- on the cleveland clinic, partially i don't kay take even most credit for this, but i -- don't take even most credit for this, i make it a practice of calling large institutions in my state and encourage them to adopt a $15 minimum wage. we do things legislatively. mitch mcconnell is not going to do a minimum wage. i encourage large inks constitutions banks, hospitals, to adopt that. cleveland clinic did recently. i take a bit of the credit. i have been pushing on that. more to the point, they contract food service, custodial, security. and many companies don't. they don't think of that as part
of their company's employees. if you go to an airport, people that push the wheelchairs work for subminimum wage and defend on tips, if you can believe that. our department of labor doesn't seem to care. that's part of this whole picture. second question, mass incarceration. my colleague, corey booker from new jersey, and senator durbin from illinois, pushed the first -- the first step act. it was just that. the first step act. but it's important. aclu would say that much. i would say it's a little bigger than that. i have also worked on ban the box, part of their reintegration back into society that they can't ask about prior convictions as they go into the workplace. i worked with president obama first doing it by executive order, later by statute. and voting rights, i was secretary of state and served
with bill gardner who i think has been secretary of state since the spanish american war, and -- not quite. he -- i have been working on voting rights issues my whole life. when i was secretary of state election officials and even republican elected officials, those election officials in those days if they didn't really believe in expanding the franchise, they sure didn't. they didn't fight to restrict it like the republican party game plan seems to be too often now. we did all kinds of innovative things. my proudest was probably getting government agencies like the unemployment bureau to offer registration at the agency. but my most fun accomplishment, if you will, was i asked corporations all over ohio that did business in ohio to help us. and the mcdonald's corporation printed one million tray liners, the piece of paper on the plastic trays, so you would go through and you could actually sign up to register to vote. for years at the cuyahoga county
board of elections you could see registration forms with ketchup stains, but they still counted. that's my history of voting rights. ohio's actually a pretty good -- in spite of a secretary of state that cares little about expanding the franchise and is sometimes aggressive, was aggressively done voter purges, we have had generally good laws. if you -- you can actually vote in prison if you are -- if you committed -- i'm not a lawyer, bear with me. felons can't vote in prison. misdemeanorants can vote in prison. felons as soon as they are out of prison can can vote. we have one of the best laws in the country on that. not so good on some other issues. on voting. generally probably better than the average state. not what it should be. can somebody do an easier question?
>> senator, thank you for coming. thank you for the family friendly economy folks for organizing this. my name is kevin fleming i teach at this school. i'm a member of the national education association in new hampshire. i want to echo the educators' comment here, the perspective, while we would like family friendly policies for us as employers -- or employees, we do appreciate it. you have seen things across the country where teachers have become more active. and been demonstrative in their own maybe labor concerns. we have concerns for all of our support staff people, bus drivers, lunch ladies, all the folks in our school buildings. we have it as superintendent murphy said, our students, when our family friendly policies, there can be better learning. that's what we appreciate you olks underscoring. senator brown: thanks for bringing that up. >> andy morris, teacher at one
of the community colleges in the area. what can you do -- senator brown: what do you teach? >> history and government. senator brown: which community college? >> northern he section, it's in massachusetts but we got a lot of students from new hampshire. what can you do about the problem of student debt? teaches atwn: connie kent state, her alma mater. she graduated if i can say this. she's a working class kid. first in her family to go to college. all three of her siblings followed her going to college. she had virtually no dollar help help from her parents. and tells the story as so many first generation kids do, when they call back home, when they are facing a problem as a new student at plymouth state or university of new hampshire or dartmouth, they call home and their parents so often don't have answers because they have not had that experience.
connie graduated with not much more than $1,000 in student debt. that was years ago. it's important that we recognize that. you know what your question suggests, certainly what we have done to this generation of students who put off, maybe put off marriage, put off having children partly because of the cost of childcare in addition to the -- paying the student debt who are less lick likely to start ai,buy a house. likely to start a business, buy a house. too many state governments, my own included, would rather cut tax force rich people than they would invest in bowling green and university of toledo and akron u and ohio state and o.u. and miami. that's the first problem. second is we -- congress hasn't nearly kept up on pell grants with what we should being doing. not even close. third, we're working on a match for the federal, but you this will take money and president
trump and mitch mcconnell and paul ryan have decided that a tax cut of $1.5 trillion, 70% going to the richest people in the country is more important than investing in the next generation. you know all that. you are here. we have got to figure out how to assist in funding of state universities at a minimum. not that that takes care of all the problems. last, we need -- i work with senator kennedy my first year in the senate, first or second year, on allowing forgiveness of loans for people who did public service. that could be anything from americorps, to nursing, to police officers, to teaching at community college. or public school teaching or being a superintendent, or whatever. accelerate after 10 years, debt is canceled. whatever debt you haven't paid. this administration looks unkindly on that whole program.
and has done all they can to squeeze it. you should be able to renegotiate your loan. that's, again, the banks have far too much power in making those decisions. nd keeping people under that conomic duress, if you will. >> my name is ke. gan, i'm a student, a soonor, i'll be majoring next year in education. senator brown: what are you doing next year? >> looking at king state college for music education. senator brown: you want to be a teacher? >> a high school music teacher. [applause] senator brown: superintendent murphy i just promised you a job. if she's still superintendent, 4 and a half years, five years? superintendent murphy: you're
pushing it. senator brown: not that there were any witnesses. >> i want to ask you your thoughts on young vote earns your plan to empower and motivate my generation and generations around me to vote for people they believe in and cause these believe in. senator brown: thank you. i appreciate that. i like that as the last question. that's a good question. to say it's the future is obviously a cliche and not particularly meaningful. i saw this year what happened. 50% more, percentage 50% turnout increase in votes under the age of 35 or 30, not sure. 50% increase in turnout. this generation, you are younger than a millennial, but people from your age, you turned 18 yet r soon will. you changed the world by voting.
that's not really overstated. and this year when -- your generation, people under 35, seem to be more public minded, more interested in being full-fledged citizens than generations preceding. more political in the sense of issues and caring about climate change and guns and civil rights and women's rights and lgbt rights and all the things that are american values that this government seems in too many cases hostile to. what you stand for and what you do really matters. we saw 50% increase in turnout. we know people that are under 30 might not be as partisan as -- they are not really democrats. but they are progressive. and it's, frankly, if i could talk in political terms, it's malpractice on my party's part.
and my part if we can't connect the dots you care about climate change. you understand it's the greatest -- great moral issue of our generation. understand climate change. you care about women's rights. you care about your lgbtq friends. if we can't help you connect the dot, one you should vote, and two vote for people that will go a different direction from this president. and so thank you for that question. and i'll tell you real quick closing story that could have happened in new hampshire because of the fix of -- sophistication of new hampshire voters similar to ohio voters. this story came from barack obama. i called the president about a month ago and just talked to him about the thoughts about candidacy and all that. he told me interesting things. here's one story real quick. his first trip -- president obama was launched not -- wasn't new hampshire. his success was launched in iowa. that's where he did very, very
well. in 2008 and the iowa caucuses and not quite as well here. but as a nominee. he's flying back to iowa for his first visit a month after he was president in this really nice big airplane. had he with him his secretary of agriculture, tom vilsack, who had been governor of iowa. vilsack and obama were flying into iowa first trip back. his press secretary in those games was robert gibbs. and gibbs turns to the president, mr. president, tell the new secretary of agriculture about that phone call you made in iowa that day after a full day of campaign. obama laughed and said here's what happened. he said, obama said, i just put in a day eight or nine stops, all over eastern iowa. i was dead tired. i was done. and my young staff person pulls out -- pulls out a cell phone and said senator obama you need to make five more calls. he said i'm done. i'm tired. not making any phone calls. he said no, you got to call five
people. obama said, labor leaders? new hampshire county chairs? or new hampshire state senators? whatever? state representatives? his staff said, no. you have to call five high school students. he said high school students? i'm exhausted. no, these five students, these are all 18 years old. and they are all going to bring their friends to the iowa caucuses next week. president obama takes the phone. calls. he says, the woman answers, barbara, this is senator obama, i want to talk to you about the caucuses next week. and she says, barack, i'm busy, i'm in a yearbook meeting, i'll call you tomorrow. [laughter] senator brown: all you new hampshire people, that story could have happened here and probably has. the only i have only met him three times i have to meet her a fourth time before i decide. thank you. jan: thank you. [applause] jan: thank you, everyone.
p.m. eastern on c-span2. the president heading to texas as house and senate conferees continue negotiations onboarder wall funding and keeping the government funded past the end f this week. the u.s. house gavels in at 2:00 eastern today to begin legislative work. they'll recess until bill debate begins at 4:00 pp eastern. members will consider five bills today including one to require the name of donors to presidential libraries to be made public. they'll debate limiting u.s. military action in yemen. and negotiations continue off the floor on president trump's border wall and funds for nine federal departments for the rest of this budget year. conferees will be meeting this afternoon. if they can reach a deal, the house is standing by to vote later this week. current funding runs out friday night at midnight. live coverage here on c-span. >> there are nearly 100 news members of the house of representatives this year. ohio, west virginia, maryland,
mississippi, and washington are five of the states that added one new member. representative anthony gonzalez was a football star at ohio state before the indianapolis colts drafted him in 2007. after injuries cut short his professional football career, representative gonzalez earned his m.b.a. at stanford business school. he's the first latino elected to ohio's congressional delegation. representative carol miller served over a decade in the statehouse before voters in west virginia's third district elected her to congress. politics runs in her family. she's the daughter of former congressman samuel divine whose seat would later be filled by future ohio governor and 2016 presidential candidate john kasich. congressman michael guest was a local prosecutor in mississippi for nearly 25 years. the last decade as district attorney before his election to the house. he's also a sunday school