tv Newsmakers Gov. Pete Ricketts R-NE RGA CSPAN March 3, 2019 10:33am-11:10am EST
annual bridge crossing jubilate that remembers the bloody sunday civil rights march of 1965. senator booker one of several candidates attending the event. and senatorton sherrod brown of ohio will be in attendance. rights who sought voting lodged a march from summit to montgomery but were beaten by law enforcement officers on the edmund pettus bridge. backlash, known as bloody sunday, helped galvanize a support for the voting rights act of 1965. brown chapel ame church and selma served as the command center and a spiritual gathering for that selma movement for voting rights in 1965 and as the origin part for three major marches of the selma movement. this event will get underway wednesday. when it does, we will have live coverage. right now, it is time for
newsmakers with the governor of nebraska. >> joining us from lincoln, nebraska on our newsmakers program is governor pete ricketts. he is also the chair of the republican governors association. joining us in the questioning here in washington is daniel strauss, he covers politics for politico. and reid wilson, national correspondent for the hill newspaper and thehill.com. governor, in light of amazon pulling out of new york as part of the hq2 headquarters, google is looking to set up a research facility in nebraska. what are the lessons from your state? gov. ricketts: when we talk to companies, one of the biggest challenges they have is making sure they have the right workforce. that is one thing we focus on to make sure we are developing people and connecting them to great paying jobs. when it comes to technology, a lot of those jobs do not need a four-year degree. we want to make sure our young
people know there are opportunities to go into i.t. if they want to get trained that way. part of it is making sure they get exposed to that. in seventh and eighth grade, we have grant programs to encourage that. obviously taxes and incentives play into our decision, but one of the biggest things they are looking for, will i be about to hire the people i need? >> what were the mistakes in new york? gov. ricketts: to be frank, i did not follow what was going on in new york, but i think you have to show you have support. for example we were able to , attract costco to build their processing plant in nebraska, and one thing that sold them on coming to nebraska was when they came to fremont, there were 100 business people who showed up to welcome them. my agencies were part of the
program to help meet their needs. the fremont area economic development council in fremont and omaha chamber of commerce, there was broad political support to bring them here. that is true when we talk to other companies. one reason they have chosen nebraska, they came here and we were welcoming. that is a big key. companies want to go someplace where they know they can work with local government officials, whether it is permitting, getting back to workforce, they want to know they will have cooperation from local officials to solve their problems and meet their needs. if you have resistance where people say, we do not want you here, companies have opportunities to go someplace else. they will make that choice. they will go to a state where they are welcomed. business,not want my i will go some place where i am welcomed. >> from the economy to politics. >> i want to stay with state stuff.
thank you for joining us, governor. one thing that is fascinating, the nebraska economic forecast has suggested the state revenue income is going to be down $100 million over the next couple years from previous projections. do you worry that as a sign of recession? gov. ricketts: one thing we have seen, farm income in nebraska has been cut significantly. for example, in 2013 farm income was $7.5 billion, and for 2019 it will be about $2 billion. since agriculture is our number one industry, it counts for one in four jobs driven by low commodity prices. when we see farm income goes down, it ripples through the economy in terms of it being a farm state. that is what impacts our economy. the other thing need to look at, with tax cuts, people change
behavior. for example, we saw people paying property taxes in 2017 to take the tax credit for it. i tell people, do not panic, let's see what happens on april 15, and some stuff going on has to do with withholding. we may see a bump up in our tax receipts in april, capital gains may come in stronger. we will have another forecasting board meeting at the end of april. that forecast may change and may go back up again. i am telling people, do not panic. there has been some change in behavior. maybe we will see some good results near tax day and that will change the forecast. >> you mentioned lower commodity prices. i wonder, what impact has the president's trade war and tariffs had on nebraska farmers? gov. ricketts: the tariff issues with china have not been the issue.
certainly, but we are doing is we are encouraging the administration to get trade deals wrapped up. we got good news out of washington, d.c. where the chinese, they are the number one market for soybeans. we have seen soybean prices off a dollar from where they were before, that has had an impact. if we can get that market going again, that would be helpful for soybeans. for example, our number one export is beef. we do not export much of that to china. that market cut opened up by president trump and 2016. that is a small and growing marketplace. if you look at 2016-17, our beef exports to japan were up 22%, and pork exports were up 46%. we see strong demand for our products. we want to see the administration continue to drive these trade deals. usmca is a big deal for us.
i think when the numbers come in, mexico will be our largest trading partner we have from the state of nebraska. it is a destination for things like corn and dairy. we want to see that ratified as quickly as possible. this should not be a partisan issue. the usmca is a better agreement than nafta. especially on issues like labor. this should be a bipartisan effort to make this a priority away,t this passed right that will improve trade relationships with canada and mexico. we have good news with the chinese working with the administration to get the deal done. also, i believe the japanese are sitting down with the administration as well. that is a priority to get that done so we do not have prohibitive trade barriers and tariffs on u.s. beef going over there. we have seen a lot of progress. at the end of the day, yet you get these things wrapped up.
we have to get congress to approve usmca, we have to get the deals with china and japan done, we have to deal with south korea. these are important markets in nebraska, 30% of what we grow gets exported overseas. it is a big part of our economy. that is why we continue to work with the trump administration to get these wrapped up. when we see that, we will see commodity prices come back up again. >> speaker pelosi is not signing off on usmca, what happens if the house does not pass it? gov. ricketts: i will defer to the experts in d.c., but this should not be a partisan issue. if speaker pelosi is interested in labor provisions in our trade agreements with nafta, she should like usmca. i think the risk is if you do not do usmca, you go back to nafta and do not get stronger labor provisions.
i will tell you for example, mexico is our number one destination for dairy, but with the nafta agreement, we are shut out of the dairy agreement in canada. this is an opportunity to open up marketplaces for farmers and ranchers, this is a good deal to help grow economic activity in our country. i would encourage speaker pelosi to make sure she gets this prioritized. frankly, it is a better deal for the american worker, the american farmer. i do not know why she would want to be opposed. >> i am wondering how much contact you have regularly with the trump administration? this is obviously a deal with china on trade, something that is important to nebraska. how regularly do you talk with lighthizer and president trump himself? gov. ricketts: the president is busy so i do not talk to him
personally all that often. i was just in d.c. and had the opportunity to talk with of the president. i actually introduced him on friday night at a dinner, so i did get a little time to talk to him there. we had a lengthy meeting with ambassador lighthizer as well as sonny perdue talking about trade at the white house last monday morning. we had a chance to talk, one thing i want to say about this administration, they are completely accessible. hey time i have called and asked for a phone call, we get a response back quickly. when there was a rumor we were going to pull out of the south korean trade agreement, i called , i got aay afternoon call back on saturday. this administration cares what we as governors think. i have been named to the trade advisory council.
while my background check was held up because of the government shutdown, that will be an opportunity to give input into the administration. i found when i pick up the phone and ask to talk to ambassador lighthizer or sonny perdue, whatever the reason, the administration has been responsive to get back and listen to what we say. last year, the white house chief of staff said the first question the president asked on policy issue is what do the governors think? he has told his cabinet, go out and talk to governors, talk to people in the states. we have seen that here in nebraska. we have had sonny perdue here three times. we have had secretary devos here. we had the previous epa administrator here a couple times. this administration is making an effort to reach out and talk to governors and people in the states when they think about
foreign policy. >> if the administration is accessible and there is a deal going on, i am wondering what discussions have you had with them on this deal? you said they are easy to get in touch with, but you have not talked with them that much. is that a fair characterization? gov. ricketts: when we are talking about trade when sonny perdue was here several times over the last year, we just had a meeting at the white house a week ago where we had an in-depth conversation with sonny perdue and ambassador lighthizer. when there are specific needs like the danger about the south korean thing, we heard they may pullout, we calling give them input. certainly with regard to the trade deals in general, they know where we stand. we say, we need these deals wrapped up. the flipside is, these are
complicated deals. we want to make sure they have a strong negotiating position, talking with other countries. we are americans and want the best deal for our country, and we want these to be win-wins, but we can't undermine our administration with regard with what they are tried to do getting deal done. our position to get deals done as quickly as possible is well known. we have citizens in nebraska who were part of these negotiating trade deals, giving input. whenever we have something pressing, they are willing to take our call. we had the meetings in d.c. a week ago where we sat down to talk more in detail about where they are with trade deals. >> governor, i want to turn to politics for a minute. put on your governor association hat. governors lost gubernatorial contests, seven across the country, including in wisconsin,
michigan, states that will be critical to president trump's reelection. i wonder, what lessons did you take from the 2018 midterm elections, why did republicans lose those states and how can republicans win them back in the future? gov. ricketts: despite the blue wave we saw, and we saw it in nebraska, a lot of democrats turned out that do not ordinarily turn out in an off year election. frankly that is typical for when , the party owns the white house. when president obama was in office, republicans were energized. now parties are switched so democrats are energized. frankly the democrats thought , they would pick up 10 to 12 seats, we were able to pick up key states like florida, ohio, georgia, new hampshire, and iowa. those are key states as well for president trump's reelection. it does mean that we as
republicans, we have to go out there and work hard. if you look at what larry hogan did in maryland, not a red state, he was able to win a majority of women because things he did with how he listened, how he did different focus groups to understand what we were thinking, and targeted his message about what he was doing in his administration to win that vote. ron desantis did similar things in florida. that is a thing we have to think about. we need to tailor our message for the different groups that we want to win over, whether women or minorities, and we have to go places where we traditionally have not been going. that is on us to accomplish that. that is the lesson looking to future elections and changing demographics in our country, we as republicans have a great message about growth and creating jobs, helping american families take advantage of the
wonderful things we have in this nation, that we have to go out and communicate directly with different constituencies about things they care about, and use language that will resonate with them, with regard to how our policies are helping. part of the signal here, while we were successful in many places, there are opportunities to do a better job reaching out to women and minorities. we have a great message, but we have to make sure we are tailoring that message for our audience, and talk about helping them and her families and communities. at the end of the day, that is how voters make decisions. it is about, what are we going to do to make their life better. >> how difficult is it going to be to appeal to different constituencies when a president uses racially charged language and has been accused by those close to him about harboring racist sentiments? gov. ricketts: it gets back to the old adage, all politics is local.
governors are very responsible for getting things done, they are held accountable. that is what we have to do, deliver. for us, it is about the policies that are working. i look at the two most popular governors are in massachusetts and maryland, great leaders doing things for their people. if you look just broadly speaking, the top 10 most popular governors are all republicans. i think what we have to do is we have to make sure we are reaching out to people in our communities, we are translating policy initiatives into how it will help you. if you care about charter schools and school choice, minority communities in florida, that is what governor desantis is reaching out to people to talk about. it is about trying to figure out what are we doing that is helping people and communities, and targeting messages that way. as governors, are we delivering and making good on our promises? when we do that, we will win.
>> if the popular governor of maryland runs for president, will you endorse your fellow governor, will you support the president, or stay on the sidelines. gov. ricketts: i will support the president in his reelection campaign, no doubt about that. >> what advice would you give governor hogan? gov. ricketts: i would say any republican taking about running against the president should wait until the president gets past this election cycle. >> it is funny because a lot of republicans in the gubernatorial arena like to cite hogan as an example of a model for the future of the party. this is a governor who is actively thinking about running for president, and at the same time, the incumbent president, also a republican, has less than ideal poll numbers. could you explain how you square that, if hogan is an example we should look to as how
republicans should run their states, and at the same time challenge the incumbent your -- you are supporting? gov. ricketts: first of all, governor hogan is doing a fantastic job in maryland, and i think his reelection, the second time a republican is reelected there since the civil war, it is close if not exact, he has done a good job and i want to give him all the credit in the world. but so has president trump. you would be hard-pressed to find an administration that a accomplished -- accomplished more in his first two years in the last century. think about his tax cuts, the work he has done on negotiating trade relationships, think about the work he has done with the court, things he has done to cut regulations, 22 cut for everyone -- every one put in place, those are things that are impressive with him delivering on his
campaign promises. look at the growth. at the end of the day, it gets back to results. under the obama administration we were told 2% growth is normal, we saw growth hit 4%. if you look at unemployment, if you look at african-american and hispanic unemployment are at record lows. we are seeing a president who is delivering economic growth and prosperity. that is a great record to run on. governor hogan is doing a great job, so is the president and he deserves reelection. >> is there a point where you would step in and advise hogan to not challenge the president, or you would step in and actively work to hinder the governor's campaign? i ask because you are the chair of the rga. and a member of the ricketts laced, which is throughout republican politics at the national level right now. gov. ricketts: with regard to
this upcoming campaign, you are talking about hypotheticals. first of all, if governor hogan talks to me, i will be happy to talk to him with regard to my thoughts about his political future. with regards to the president, we will be supporting him in his reelection. the job of the rga is about electing republican governors. over the course of this year and the next four years, we will be focused on getting republican governors reelected. people like larry hogan, who has been reelected in maryland. >> let's talk about races this year, three red states, louisiana, kentucky, mississippi. democrats have fielded good candidates in all of the states. the incumbent governor of louisiana is running for reelection. let's start there. the republicans candidates challenging him have not raised a ton of money, do you expect anybody else to get into that race? gov. ricketts: as far as the republican governors association, we want great
strong candidates to run. we have two good candidates running right now, abraham who has a great reputation in his state, and the businessman who was not so well known. eddie was a member of the executive roundtable before he decided to run for governor, so i have had a chance to get to know him. i was a member of the rga going back to 2009. he is a great guy, integrity, he has built a great business and wants what is best for louisiana. we have two great candidates, if somebody else gets in, that is great, too. this highlights what the rga does, we do not pick a person in a primary. that is up to the people of louisiana. when someone gets through that primary, the rga will be there to support them against, presumably, the incumbent.
so we can help them and win that race. the governor in louisiana has raised taxes. we think we have a good pickup opportunity. >> let's move to kentucky, governor matt bevin seeking reelection. are you concerned that the attorney general or one of the other democrats could give him a a real race? gov. ricketts: the democrats have put up good candidates, and they have a primary in may the we have to wait to eat with the challenger two governor bevin will be. governor bevin has done a great job and tackled issues like pensions, right to work, and has been successful driving activity in kentucky. i think for a couple years, i think kentucky has come up number two in pro-capita category, second most economic development per capita of any of
the states. he has done a great job there. no doubt, it will be a tough race. one of the candidates's father was previously the governor in kentucky, so that person starts with great name id. we have a great candidate who has a demonstrable track record, and it may be a tough race but i am confident we will win that race. >> the third race being mississippi, these are states where president trump remains very popular. if you could pick one state where he could campaign and boost the nominee, which would it be? gov. ricketts: i think the president, what we would love to do is have him go to all the states where she has an opportunity. obviously, our first priority is protecting our incumbents. kentucky will probably be our highest priority in regard to that.
we have a great candidate in mississippi. other candidates may join as well. we have great candidates in louisiana as well. we think there is great opportunity if the president has the opportunity to support our candidates, we would love to have him help us out. >> you ran for the senate before and you are in your second term as governor of nebraska. any interest in seeking the senate again or other national office? gov. ricketts: one thing i tell people is i have the best job in the world and i guarantee you since i just got reelected, i am staying governor for the next four years. that is my plan. i will worry about after my term when i am done, right now i am focused on being the best opener -- best governor for the state of nebraska i can be. >> how much money do you expect to raise as the head of the rga? >> we do not share that because we do not want to give away what we are doing to the other side, but you can expect the rga has ambitious goals to support our republican governors.
that is why the rga has been so successful. we do not think about just this year or next year, we think about it in a four year cycle, we have a team who thinks about that cycle, we think about all of our fundraising to get ready for 2022 when we have 36 races. we think long with regard to this and part of our plan is to make sure we have the financial resources to support our governors. >> can you give a ballpark estimate how much you will need? gov. ricketts: a lot. we know the other side will have a lot of money, we will have the resources as well. >> the governor of nebraska joining us from lincoln, nebraska. the head of the republic governors association. thank you for being with us. gov. ricketts: it is my pleasure, thank you for having me on. >> we continue conversation. i want to begin with the issue of larry hogan. i know it is a what if, but he
is seriously thinking about potentially challenging donald trump. challenging donald trump. >> i think the real tell in the political arena is to watch which candidates are slowing down discussion and there's been no sign of that by hogan. he's looking at going to iowa. he has made smaller gestures like make sure former florida governor jeb bush was at his second inauguration event and bush is no friend of donald trump. i think these are signs he at least wants that discussion and prospect to continue to exist. host: you and others have been writing around the fact that if donald trump does face a primary challenge it could make him a stronger candidate, not a weaker candidate because of the support he has in the gop. >> i think there is a fascinating question about the future of the republican party. daniel is brilliant to bring up the point that every republican governor points to charlie baker and larry hogan as examples of the future of the party.
widerent trump controls a command of the party apparatus and the electorate, if you will, than any previous republican president. i don't remember the republicans -- there is clear tension and something that's going to play out over the next decade long after president trump leaves the political stage whether 2021 or 2025, when his second term would and. bestis a collection influencing question. how do you break from a president and at the same time maintain that core of support that he's got especially in states like maryland and massachusetts where republicans have done very well to maintain governorships in deeply blue states? race thatcky the may be the challenge for
republicans to maintain? > democrats have actually recruited some decent candidates. governor ricketts mentioned his father steven beshear served as governor as well. the attorney governor of mississippi. one of the few statewide officeholders in the deep south who still a democrat is going to run for governor in mississippi. the atmosphere favors republicans because they're such heavily red states but candidates matter and in a lot of states where one party tends to control the state legislatures by huge margins the other party can lean governorships. look at maryland, even republican held states like oklahoma, wyoming, alaska has had democratic governors. is not out of the realm of possibility that democrats win all of these raises. the realm that
republicans win. >> free democrats they are most excited about louisiana and john bel edwards because he's won statewide. that state has a more recent history of housing statewide elected democrats. this is the best field of candidates in these three raises that they can -- that democrats can field. jim hood is the unique name and no less of a national democrats who can win mississippi voters, statewide in mississippi. andy bashir, the presumptive front runner, a three way race right now and a possibility this could turn into a serious primary fight. but bashea is a son of a governorr the democratic party a governor model for in the south. the implemented the obamacare
state run health care system that democrats were very happy with. these are three republican leaning raises and these are going to be states were donald trump and the white house will happy to send him because they know he will rally large crowds. >> to stay in kentucky, allison letterman grimes -- allison linderman grimes, facing a tough challenge. fewemocrats have opportunities candidates who might jump into the race against mitch mcconnell. we all expected to be a close race four years ago now. mitch mcconnell won by 18 points. mcconnell knows how to win that state despite the fact that his approval numbers are not good as he seeks reelection. that is going to be another $100 million senate race and the
state of kentucky will be -- they are probably already getting advertisements. >> do either of you have numbers on how much the rga has raised? >> i don't. the rga regularly out spends the dg a. what we have seen in the aftermath of 2018 is that the dg a has taken steps to close the gap. they elevated their new executive director, was the finance director for the committee. the current share right now has a history of being a competitive fundraiser is one of the leaders on the party. the expectation i got is that the rga will continue to utilize that ability in these races. >> in the universe of democratic outside groups i think they caught up rapidly with republicans given president trump in the oval office that
spurred a lot of democratic candidates outspending republican rivals, even incumbents across the country. it would not surprise me at the same thing happens next year. republicans in democratic governor associations are going to spend north of $100 million in the next two years. >> read wilson we will follow your work at the hill.com and daniel strauss is available at politico. extra joining us. -- thanks for joining us. >> and we will have wrote to the white house coverage later today with democratic presidential candidate senator cory booker of new jersey when he delivers an address to the brown chapel ame .hurch in selma, alabama that during the annual bridge crossing jubilee remembering bloody sunday, the civil rights march of 1965.
>> tonight on c-span's q and a coming u.s. army veteran eileen rivers on her book, beyond the call about three women who went beyond the regular duties to help women in afghanistan and further the mission. >> one experience in a adams shared with me, a time when she felt like there were men who were trying to break her and test her and see if women could hack it so they had this -- they had their weapons and caring on this road march and she told her women aside and said no matter what happens don't start crying and you better keep up because she's like i have a feeling they are going to test us and that's what happened. the women kept up step for step. > eileen rivers, tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span's q and a. >> this weekend on book tv author and political commentator heather mcdonald and former fbi
deputy director andrew mccabe today at noon eastern on in-depth with a live conversation with heather mcdonald. she will take your calls, questions in tweets on several books including the burden of bad ideas, the war on cops and most recently the diversity delusion. former fbi director andrew mccabe discussing his book, the threat, how the fbi protects america in the age of terror and trump, interviewed by adam goldman. >> i did spend a lot of time thinking about the decisions we made. and the reasons behind those decisions and how we thought about those issues at the time and with the benefit of hindsight i tried to be honest in my reassessment of did we get it right or not. the biggest issues are jim's announcement in july about our conclusion of the case and a very public way that departed
from precedent and then jim's decision in october to notify congress about the case because of the females on the weiner laptop. think wepect i probably got that wrong. >> watch book tv this weekend on c-span 2. cohen,ednesday, michael president trump's former lawyer, testified about investigations related to the 2016 presidential campaign and the president's financial disclosures. here is mr. cohen's opening statements followed by highlights from the hearing. : thank you for inviting me here today. i asked this committee to