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tv   NAACP Forum Explores Criminal Justice Reform  CSPAN  July 24, 2017 9:04am-9:48am EDT

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. >> and we're live this morning at the annual naacp convention is about to kick off in baltimore, maryland. it will start focusing on the criminal justice system how mass incarceration has affected people of color. and georgetown university professor dyson is expect today speak. live coverage on c-span 2 should get underway in just a moment. ♪
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♪ ♪ >> once again, waiting for the start of the naacp annual convention taking place this year in baltimore, maryland, 108th annual meeting of the group. a few more minutes before the speaking portion of the program gets underway. while we wait for this to start, recently we spoke with a new member of congress from georgia to see what her goals are in her new position. ♪ . >> from the state of georgia, thank you for talking with c-span. nice to be here. >> you've been in washington a couple of weeks. >> it's been a whirlwind. what an extraordinary opportunity to speak. >> and what is the most
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surprising position you've picked up on these past weeks. >> nothing surprising. it's fast-paced. that's important because there's a lot to get done and making sure on the issue side and policy side and also getting the team put in place as well. so on the side of issues, most representatives come in with some type of learning curve to learn issues. are' coming in the middle and dealing with a debt ceiling and a budget situation. how do you bring yourself up to speed to make the votes you need to make? >> i'm a fairly studious individual and i catch up, and as many briefings i can get to, we had a tax reform briefing yesterday evening and frankly, my colleagues, not just from the georgia delegation, but across the caucus have been
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extraordinarily helpful and willing to spend time with me before a senate committee or bill markup, that's been really, really helpful. >> do you have a mentor here, someone specifically as a colleague whose service you've been relying on? >> congressman doug collins has been terrific, he and i serve on judiciary together. and another on education and work force together. several of the female members, we have a fairly tight knit group so they have really made sure that i know my way around. >> some people when you come to congress, you mention pulling a team together. what do do you do to have a support system to do your job? >> coming in the middle of the cycle, i had a short window. secretary price's team were well-versed in the health care, so they went with him to hhs.
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so it's a good thing and a bad thing where i had a completely open pallet to start over. we had a chief of staff and we're tilling out the rest of the team. >> telling us about the day-to-day life of the new representative. >> i'm usually here by 7:00, 7:30, make sure i catch up on the news, what's happening for the day. look at the votes and get briefed. any additional reading i need to do and then it's briefings, committee meetings, usually votes in the mid morning and votes again towards mid afternoon, late day. >> so, as far as that briefing as well, you talked about people you're depending on. you mentioned secretary price served in this and newt gingrich previously. did they offer you any advice coming into it? >> you know, i have extremely big shoes to fill with the leadership that's been in this position and secretary price has been a long-time friend and mentor and he and i still try
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to carve out some time every week to at least chat on the phone a little about the issues in the district, and all of those things, so he's been terrific. >> now, you live in georgia, serve georgia, but you grew up around washington d.c.? >> i grew up in southern maryland. my husband and i have been in georgia for just about 25 years now. so it's home for us. it's where we've spent all, but eight months, i think, of our marriage. so, georgia is home, but it's interesting to be back in the washington d.c. area. old friends have been here and looking me up. so that's been fun. >> what took you from this area to georgia? >> my husband's job. when we got married i was in the bush quayle. and georgia was the one to go
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to and he got a job promotion to go to atlanta and we said let's check it out and as soon as we got there. well, honey, i love it here, i told my dad, but you have to tell your mama. [laughter] >> will you remain in atlanta? >> we will stay, keep our home in georgia where we live in the heart of the district and i'll commute back and forth. i think one of the ways to be able to keep my feet on the ground is to make sure that i go home and doing my grocery shopping and going to church with the people i represent. and it's also important to me to keep a circle of friends who aren't in the world of politics because they don't care about any of this, and they will tell you like it is. >> what do you hear from them? >> thus far not too much. i get a little pass for the first couple of weeks to get the office setup, but my friends are not in the political world so they'll be candid and straight forward
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with me and i think that's a very grounding perspective that's needed. >> you said that you worked in the quayle administration, it was for marilyn. >> i did. >> i heard working for her, you developed a mantra, how to define yourself or something along that line. what is that and why is it important to you? >> she taught me, you never let other people define who you are. that you define yourself through your convictions, your words and your actions and to be really true to that, to the fullest extent that i possibly can, and she and i stayed in touch and i've always appreciated the opportunity that she gave to, frankly, a young girl who, i didn't know anything about the world of politics. i didn't have a college degree and she took a really big chance on me and i'm really grateful for that. >> even not knowing about the world of politics, you say you ran for several positions, you
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were secretary of state at one time and you ran for that and governor's office as well. what have you learned from the experiences, especially now in the position that you hold? >> to be true, again, to myself and to my convictions and make sure when i am looking at a particular issue that i'm looking at it through the lens of what is best and right for the people of the district. the people of my state and the people of the country, and then let the politics come afterwards. don't try to find a solution based on politics. find the best, right solution and my politics after. >> with the record that you have, what made you decide to run for this position particularly against john 0s oaf? >> there was a special election, there were 18 of us to start with, and it was incredible that number of candidates for the seat. i had made the decision to be back in the private sector, but also, you know, you look at opportunities and i don't get
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to pick when opportunities come along, they present themselves. after a lot of soul searching and contemplation for myself and my husband and a lot of conversation with people in the district, it seemed like the right thing to do and here i am, again, an extraordinary opportunity. >> so it wasn't an automatic yes in my mind, i'm going to do it. you had to be convinced. >> my husband and i had family in richmond, and for christmas, nine hours up and nine hours back, so 18 hours on chewing on an issue is a long time so we looked at it from every which way you could imagine because it's also a commitment for him and you know, i wanted to make sure that he was 100% for it and i wanted to make sure that i could contribute and you know, i'm not necessarily-- i'm not a good political sound bite person, i'm really more of
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a policy person and in in time where we really, as republicans, have to move from what i'll call vocal opposition into a real era of governing, that's for me, a deciding factor. >> as you know, the money spent was an impressive figure on both sides. what do you think about that and in terms of money and politics, which is a large issue, especially come campaign time. >> i think so, you know, i guess it was an awful lot of money, frankly, pretty obscene the amount of money spent on a district congressional race, and some from campaign, much from outside, only history is going to be able to look back at this and make a determination around, you know, how have we gotten to a place of imbalance money versus the individual voice of the voter and that's always a fine balance to achieve. what i will say is that, you know, in this race, one of the
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big success factors for me is the fact that i had such a long tenure in the district, almost 25 years, and the people in the district, many of them i know, and so they were personal relationships and that mattered to people and it mattered across political lines as well. it wasn't a republican thing or a democrat thing, it was a friendship thing. >> so now what committees do you serve on and as the junior member how do you plan to make an impact. >> i'm on judiciary and education in the work force. those two committees, on judiciary, i'm not a lawyer, so i can bring a different perspective on the table. we were talking yesterday about the opioid drug epidemic, you know, there was a lot of talk about the legal aspects of it and i hope what i can bring is, you know, at the end of the day the moms and dads who are
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dealing with their children facing an addiction or gosh forbid that they've lost a child, put a more human face on it than the legal side. on education and work force, coming out of a chamber some of the labor and work force issues are important to me. as someone who worked her way up, i understand how important a very solid k-through 12 education is and make sure our young people that they have the skills and education to do whatever comes next. next might be going into the workplace. it might be a two year technical college or a four-year college, but we have an obligation to make sure they're ready for whatever path it is life takes them down. >> representative karen handel in the 6th district in georgia. thank you.
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>> the singers at the naacp convention taking place in maryland. as attendees are filing in. states attorney for maryland, mosby, and georgetown professor dyson part of a discussion on the criminal justice system. live coverage here when it gets underway on c-span 2. another interview with another new member of congress from louisiana. >> representative mike johnson who serves the state of louisiana, the 4th district. thanks for joining us. >> thanks for having me. >> tell us how you got to this position? >> my background was constitutional law. for 20 years did litigation in the courts, public interest law firms is what i worked for, i did religious litigation, those sorts of things. in the legislature just under two years, filled an expired term and then never got to fill
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it out because this seat began open when the predecessor ran for u.s. senate. we had the largest percentage in 50 years in my district. we're blessed and privileged to be here. >> tell us what made you decide to get into this race and what was the ultimate deciding factor? >> i'm the father of four children underage 16 and my wife and i have invested all of our adult lives in trying to make a better opportunity for them as all parents do and i come from the state of louisiana, it's in relative terms, a poor state or one of the less well off, let's say that, least well-off. i represent 760,000 people. and that's the common concerns about the jobs and economy, we need more opportunity for economic mobility, to broaden
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the pathway for more people and create new, really... for everyone. ... to be honest, people are surprised to hear this back on when i say it, but it's the level of collegiality that you find amongst the collect here and it's not just within the vers conferences but even across the aisle. and our freshman class it's been a great experience, their sticky five of us that came in together and we've all worked well together. we've developed friendships and is a common sense of unity over
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arching purposes. in our freshman retreat we talked about how we wanted to change the tone in washington and raise the level of stability. i drafted a document and 53 out of 55 freshman member signed onto that. we made a contract with one another that will raise the level of decorum around here and treat one another with dignity and respect. even when we disagree it is an agreeable fashion because that's an important example. >> how does it play out amongst folks of dinner a while, maybe leadership? what was the reaction? >> of you and has gotten behind it. we're in a different era now. after the shooting tragically a few weeks back, that get everybody's attention. you thought even in national media blaster because been discussion about this sort of general feeling people have the level of discourse here is ultimately leading to violence now and large majority of the american people, over three
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force of the american people believe that trigger there's a recognition we have to change that. it's been gratifying and encouraging to see people from different parties, given political ideas and persuasions agree a gadget we need to do this better. that's what the founders envisioned and intended, and a love of statesmanship we used regard and respect in this country i think we can get back to that. it will do a great service to. >> aside from the unity that you want pursue you want to make an impact as an individual. as a freshman particularly how to go about doing that? >> you put your head tha down ad you get your work done. there's an opportunity for everyone in an environment like this who is serious about making necessary forms. recognize with series challenges in this country. we are the most free, most prosperous, most successful nation in history of this planet and yet we have this tremendous challenges in front of us. those are willing to roll their sleeves, put in the work. i was at the office last night
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until 12:45 got up at 5:30 a.m. that's what it requires to do the job right and one. those are willing to do that can make an impact. we are seeing that. >> how do you keep your self-centered while you hear away from the day-to-day work you have to do? >> you keep perspective and you remember why you came here and how you represent. that's motivating factor to know that these two minutes as challenges were facing we are offering resolution and doing it on behalf of the people who don't have always a voice. we as a voice. when i call my breaks i do town halls. we did three over the july 4 recess and meetings around the district. to be in front of the people we represent and remember these are real struggles that were having on the ground level back home, and we have an opportunity, a historic opportunity to fix some of those things. that's what keeps you going, motivation, the fuel. it doesn't really feel like hard work sometimes even though it is
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because we know that such a tremendous impact that ca coulde made. that's what keeps you going. >> when you are here, who have you looked to as a role model? who have you reached out to to run things or at least get short endospores things work? >> we are really blessed in the republican conference, those in leadership library accessible. one of the best things i do, i tell is on one of those guys who lives in my office. in the morning we all meet up in the gym. that's with the showers are and where the real action takes place because there's no staff, new media. it's just members. you can approach leadership or anyone there and talk about policy, ideas and it's a great thing. it's bipartisan in the gym. you get to form a relationship with folks. that's been great. there's been so many people who i think get great pleasure and helping. this morning i had a breakfast with doug collins, a more senior
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member from georgia and is one in particular the really great about reaching out and try to help us learn the ropes. it's made us all more effective. >> before the incident that mistress cleese -- >> constantly. he's been a great friend, advise of mine since we were in college. several years ahead of me, and so we've known each other a long time. bain and lotta foxhole together and he's always been one of my great advisors. he's very generous with the time that way, and a unique because so many people have said that about the witness just wheat is as a person. it's a great credit to them here so well-respected. >> was the best piece of advice is given you? >> he said be careful about your early alliances that you make, that you need to assess the whole scope of the whole situation before you get marginalized or label anyway and has been some key advice. you want to be regarded in congress as one who is levelheaded and someone who will evaluate everything on its
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merits and not just stakeout position in a corner somewhere. we've been very deliberative about doing that. i think that's what the voters back home expect. >> you mention your family. tell us about them. >> i've been married to my wife kelly for 19 years. for children and which is really blessed that they are back home and so i can do the things in the weekend in the precious few days off that we have. i'm blessed my family is really into this. they see it as a calling as i do. families have to be pretty long-suffering animal like this. but they are. i am a lesbian. >> is it difficult to keep connection with them on the day-to-day things of them has to go through? >> it's hard to this baseball games and practices that kind of thing but we use facetime. technology is great because i see my children virtually every night before they go to bed. i talk to them and catch up with her date and that makes a
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difference. it is great to get home and opened the front door and have the six-year-old run-up, daddy, they all come up in turn and do that. it allows you to keep perspective and remember why we're doing all this. i'm doing this job for them and all of fortune and grandchildren so that they had the same opportunity, the same country we've all appreciated and enjoyed. i think my kids it own way understand that there they are really into what we're doing. >> as far as committees, what committees do you serve on? what do you hope to bring to them? >> i been on judiciary become a background in constitutional law and that's a great committee because that such broad jurisdiction, over so many things. everything from criminal law to maintaining our civil rights and constitutional rights and all the way everything to border security, immigration, criminal justice system. lots of authority there and so it's an important committee. i'm grateful to be there and on subcommittees dealing with hot
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button issues. and natural resources which is really important for our state of louisiana. i was really grateful to get a vice chairmanship of their the oversight committee, and we're doing some really important work. those are key positions for our state and we been grateful. >> finally how is that gumbel market in the washington, d.c., area? >> it's not louisiana. as lots of things that -- we get home enough to get the real taste of the real stuff. washington d.c. mardi gras here every year that cost thousands of people to get to sample the real stuff. we got a taste of the here on the hill. thanks for your time. >> thanks for your time. ♪ >> we are live this money at the annual naacp convention is about to kick off in baltimore maryland. it will start with a panel focusing on the criminal justice system looking at how mass incarceration has impacted
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people of color. states attorney for baltimore and author and charts and university professor michael eric dyson are expected to speak. live coverage here on c-span2 should begin momentarily. ♪ ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ >> we are live at the annual
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naacp convention is about to kick off in baltimore maryland. live coverage should begin shortly with a panel focusing on the criminal justice system. while we wait for this first session to begin here's an update on capitol hill with the capitol hill reporter. >> a reporter when it comes to issues of appropriations. thanks for joining us. on your website you have the peace along with other roll call reporter saying the house for will be busy next week when it comes to issues including appropriations and one of those deals with the issue with defense. for many bus bills are? to this. >> next week house is going to be taking up his spending package referred to as a minibus, essential it is for appropriation bills rolled into one. the bills that are taken up our bills to fund the military, energy programs and water
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projects, the legislative branch itself and veterans programs. these are for bills that are fairly popular among republican. thethis should be a fairly partn exercise. this package is not expected to get a lot of democratic support, if any pics of should be a pretty partyline vote. there will be a lot of amendments. i think it will go late into the night several nights this week. we have a busy week ahead of us on appropriations. >> want everything to talk about when it comes to the lack of support from democrats, is that because of the issue of the border wall? talk about how that factors in. >> that is a big part of it. this probably would've been a fairly partisan package regardless of the wall, because the spending bills are written to spending levels that democrats don't really agree with your yet the border wall is probably the most controversial part of this. the package includes $1.6 billion to begin construction of this border wall on the u.s.-mexico border.
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obviously one of president trump's signature campaign promises. some republicans are hoping to sort of move the ball forward on this issue, give the white house legislative victory and go home for the august resource with something they can tout to their constituents but it's going to be problematic. i think a lot of democrats will make a lot of hay over the wall funding. even some republicans might be uncomfortable with the package that has this wall funding in. >> why would some republicans been comfortable? >> there's some the represent border districts who had voiced -- >> around of applause. , naacp. good morning. i'd like to call this meeting to order. once again my name is scott, i'm vested present at the connecticut naacp and a member of the national board of directors. and on the presiding officer for


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