tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN March 13, 2015 3:00pm-5:01pm EDT
rarely ever having a republican majority to having these -- we went from majority to super majority, now they call it a super duper majority because we're so big. so we had this historic light blue to red switch. and we have to many legislators that were terrified of being identified with something that said obamacare. >> is the obamacare brand so toxic that even though you can argue it's not obamacare, it's just -- >> no, there's no question. we made the arguments and said, here's what obamacare is everything from the individual mandate to what they did. here's what we're saying in a program, again, that had premiums and co-pays that really wasn't a different idea but it was hard to get away from that. you say they should get past the politics but some of that is leftover residue of if you like it you can keep it.
that all led people to say, well, we can't really trust them. >> in your state of the state speech last week you said just because this didn't happen doesn't mean the problem doesn't go away. what is next? if it is such a toxic brand and you went and did so much twoshg get there, is medicaid expansion going to happen while you're governor? >> i certainly hope so. again, we think the approach that we made was a really practical, smart answer to a real problem. so we still have -- you know, the program we think would have covered an additional 285,000 tennesseeans who don't have health insurance. again, they're getting health coverage. they're getting health coverage. they're just getting it in the wrong way. we say the emergency room, it's getting care there. it's the wrong place at the wrong time and the wrong way. and so what we want to do is to provide a different way to get health coverage, which is still important, and to do something to attack the cost curve which is still really important. we have our providers willing to work with us on payment reform, but they're going to work with us a little more whole-heartedly
if they see coverage for people they're not getting paid for now. >> one of the opponent's argument, it's a substantive argument, is that the federal government is going to leave states holding the bag. they're going to cover it for the first couple of years and then they're just not going to provide the money and all these people are going to have care and it's going to be a tough situation. do you think the federal government will be good for the money? >> let me say this. this is going to sound odd for a republican to argue. remember, we're talking about -- the united states of america has never missed a medicaid payment, okay? that's what we're talking about. so, that's important to remember. now, there is some fear from folks. that's why all -- if you like it, you can keep it, all that kind of stuff built into the fear that people have. but in our case we actually had -- what the supreme court ruling said the original one that put all this in the state's hands, said that the federal government couldn't force states to expand who they covered. so if they can't force you to expand who they covered, then they can't make you keep covering those folks.
we had a supreme court ruling. we had an attorney general of our state give a ruling that said if we didn't want to cover them any longer, we wouldn't have to. then we had a letter from the secretary of hhs saying the same thing. but again, people just couldn't get past the concern. >> let's switch over to education. >> okay. >> you're kind of an education governor in a lot of ways. you accepted federal rates funds and you signed legislation last year guaranteeing two free years of community college tuition for tennessee high school graduates. very similar -- in fact i think president obama praised you during an education summit in nashville. what do you make of obama's community college plan at the federal level? is it distinct from yours? >> you're always flattered to be copied, but there would be -- so when he came to tennessee to announce his plan, but there are some real differences. ours is a last dollar scholarship. so, you fill out your fasfa form. you apply for every bit of
financial aid you and get and we pay the last dollar. there's basically was, we will pay for you. everybody have two years free of community college. there's a reason they went their way. ours is obviously a lower cost and we did it basically at very little cost to the state -- no cost to the state's general fund. here's the reality is the gap for most people to go to community college is really small. it just -- i mean the numbers are mazingly low. >> like they need a couple hundred dollars? >> yeah, exactly. it's $400, $500 to go for a year. but if nobody in your family's ever been to college and you don't see yourself as a college person, then you don't ever go fill out your fasfa form. and if you've never filled out a fasfa form go do it some time and you'll understand the frustration, okay? but that's just a foreign world. you don't -- so, the other thing that was key about our program is study after study has shown that again if you're a first
generation college student, you need somebody to hold your hand to help fill out the form to help explain, you know when the a.c.t. comes up, you've got to take it that day. if you grew up in a college family you know okay, if the a.c.t. is that saturday, you can't go on sunday and say, i'm a little late. or classes started. we tested this in foxville county, for six years prior to rolling this out on a statewide basis and you have would kids -- so, anyway, we put in place mentors where every student had a mentor. mentor had five students to work with. volunteers. we have almost 10,000 tennesseeans who have volunteered to be mentors. but they got things you might have left out. okay, my first place is next week and it's in the mwf building. or if you've -- oh, that means your class meets on monday, wednesday, friday. but if you hadn't, you don't know that. you're thinking, what's mwf? there's a lingo and a culture
about college that people don't know. so, the mentor piece is another distinction that we have from what they were doing. >> so, do you oppose the obama plan? is it too costly? >> i don't oppose it. i think states -- i'm a governor so i'm going to say this. but states can come up with their own methods to do things like this. and to come up -- the idea we obviously think is right but let states figure out how to do it. >> i want to transition to some political questions and i think we're going to end up taking some audience questions, too. and i think you all know the the #polgovs. as we talked about -- >> yeah we did. >> you follow chris christie someone who did throw out red meat. >> right. >> how is the rga different under the haslam regime than the christie one? >> oublg, who the leader is matters, but way more than that what really matters is to be able to have a core of governors who are committed to it.
quite frankly, that helps you raise money as well 37 so, we're meeting up here today. the fact we have 31 elected governors is -- >> helps. >> helps raise the money. that's how life works, right? a lot more people are coming to our meetings because we have 31 governors. also people are attracted to success. i mean, if you think about it what republican governors can say is, we're actually helping to change the brand. what's the rap on republicans right now? well, you do well in white, southern, suburban areas. but now you have region governors who are winning in places like maryland and massachusetts and illinois. like, really? i didn't think you could win. i thought that was the whole red/blue map. and you have greg abbott running in texas against a female candidate who had gotten a lot of notoriety and winning by ten points among women where republicans are supposed to be struggling. and so i think what -- what we can do as republican governor sgs show that some of the stereotypes aren't true and we can win and that effectively
govern in places that people didn't think we could. >> are there things certain governors are doing that you're particularly excited about, some of your new guys especially? >> yeah. listen if you're the new governor of illinois, you have a really hard job. the the financial structure and and dealing with long-term things, pension structure just to their state general fund is really hard. and you go talk to bruce and, you know his shirt sleeves, rolled up. we've got to take $6 bltillion out of the budget. when you start talking about cutting a government budget, in theory you might say, that's really good. it's hard. because you're getting into constituencies and people that either really care about that service or they really, really benefit one way or another from that service. and it's hard. i think what you're going to see is some republican governors who are actually doing that. i personally am attracted to people making those hard calls
financially, people who are really doing things to produce better education results. that's the challenge for all of us in the competitive world, how do we make certain that we have the workforce that we need? you kind of heard that blah, blah, blah, on and on but it's really true. in states like ours that have historically been in bottom of the 50 states when it came to education results, to start to change that is a big deal. so last year when the national assessment of education progress, it's the one test that's given all across the country, so if you want to compare states, it's really the one you do because it's given to fourth graders, eighth graders, english, arts, language and math. it's a representative sample of kids from every state. you really then can compare what results look like. when tennessee was the fastest improving state in the country and actually made the biggest gain of any state ever that was a big deal because you have an objective measure that says, results are happening. >> so, on the race side, not the
governing side three red states mississippi is an easy hold. in louisiana -- >> governor brown will be glad to hear you say that. i'll tell him you need our money. >> that's right. >> in kentucky you know, steve basheer, outgoing democratic governor, pretty popular, and, you know was able to win re-election pretty handily in 2011. democrats have kind of coalesced. they hit a unity press conference last week. now you have a republican primary. the first television ads of 2015 are running. the kentuckians were bombarded with that tough senate rach mitch mcconnell, and getting bombarded again. but you have three republicans who lay out some rationale for being able to do it. how nervous are you about the republican primary there making it harder to pick up that seat? >> so, kentucky is an interesting state. i think romney won by 8 or 10 there. i don't remember. he won.
it wasn't a squeaker. yet, kentucky has controlled the governor's mansion except for a few years for the last 20 or 30 years. it is a state where it's kind of the anomaly of states in that region. >> like tennessee used to be. >> exactly. that's probably fair. yeah, when you talk to the mitch mcconnells of the world they go we want to do what you all did in terms of flipping the state house. i don't think primaries are bad. i ran in a competitive -- in '10 a ran a competitive primary against our lieutenant governor and a sitting u.s. congressman who was very popular. and the democrats had a solo candidate, who was the son of a very popular former governor. and so we went through a hard year and a half long primary. literally. ours really lasted -- our ads started earlier and lasted longer than the kentucky ones did. but the result was a good one because in the process you become better. you know the state more. and, right people see you in
the middle of a -- of a contest, but i don't think that's all bad if you have good candidates. >> how likely do you think that is as a pickup opportunity? do you feel greater than 50% chance? >> i don't know that yet but we obviously think -- we have three races. you have louisiana, where jindal's going out and again you'll have a competitive deal. mississippi where we have a popular income. but in kentucky where there's a democrat but we feel is a red state that we should have a real chance in so we'll put some real focus into kentucky. >> right now republicans have 31 governorships which definitely helps with fund-raising and everything else. most republicans since the 1920s. >> that's right. >> the next year, the 2016 map is actually pretty good for republicans. there aren't as many governor races. a big part of your job this year is recruiting and making sure the right candidates get in. but if republicans currently control 31 governorships talk
about some races next year and it's a presidential year which is bad for senate republicans in places like illinois and pennsylvania, but good for republicans. there's offensive opportunities in missouri, west virginia, montana. what is the high water mark for republican governors? how much do you think -- >> i don't think we -- first of all, you're right. in this job even though you're chair for one year you basically -- the first year of a cycle is to think through the next four years. and really what we have to be thinking about is, we have a lot of republicans that came in, like i did, in the wave of 2010, kind of the first obama midterm. those folks will all be term limited in '18. you think of everything from martinez to nikki haley you can go across the map and see a lot. when i came in my republican new governors class was like 15 -- don't remember, but a lot, almost 14, 15 folks. ultimately you're trying to put a four-year plan, so when that happens, everything from fund-raising to governor support system and all that's there for
that '18 race. '16 will be big. i don't know that number. we want to be at 33 -- obviously, when -- when you're at 31, every pick up is big. you know, we were shocked to basically -- i shouldn't say shocked. we were presently surprised to go get to 31 this year. >> >> would have gotten to 32 if not for alaska. >> and who saw that coming. two opponents teamed up together against shawn. we would have had governor parnell still there and been at 32. >> your dga counterpart, steve bullock, montana governor, he's dga chair this year but in cycle next year he's up. do you think he's beatable? is that a race -- >> i honestly don't know. montana is a state we should be able to compete in. again, if you look at the national map montana is a state that republicans can go in and i think the other thing is we've shown we can compete anywhere. when you win in massachusetts,
maryland, illinois, we can compete anywhere. so that will be a race i'm certain we'll get some rga resources. >> you talked about the tough decisions a lot of governors are making tough calls making the budget cuts. that obviously has a negative impact on their approval ratings. in north carolina we've seen that. in a lot of ways north carolina has a similar profile to tennessee. >> right. >> polls show could potentially be very vulnerable next year. how much work with you do with the rj to make sure he's well positioned next year. >> the answer is a lot. pat knows that he has a very serious race coming and he's preparing for that and we're preparing to help him do that. and so patted did have to come in and make some difficult budget decision early. and those are -- i mean i think what people miss about government is this they think you're deciding between good things and bad things when you're looking at a budget but
you're really not. you're deciding between good things and other good things. as a mayor i saw, why don't you build more sidewalks. sidewalks are great. that's great. why don't you pay school teachers more? that's great. why don't you build more parks downtown? that's great. why don't you do more to recruit business here? all that's great. why don't you pay more taxes? not so excited about it. but that's what -- that's obviously the challenge of government. it's about prioritizing. and you started talking about backgrounds and how people act in office. i think it's one of those things that background matters, what you've done before. so for me, being a mayor was great preparation for being governor because it does make you be a lot more practical. the whole marla guard yeah, there has never been a democrat or republican pothole. it's true. people want their garbage picked up and streets cleared of snow on days like this and make sure the drainage ditch behind their house works. all that stuff about delivering
service is really important. and i think that's, again, one. things you'll see from governors is, we get it. people want government that works. >> do you think the next president will be a governor? >> if you look historically i think there's a good chance of that and there's a good argument to be made. listen, i'm the rj chair and we -- >> you have to say it. >> you have to say it but we have several of our members. i tell people -- we have 31 republican governors. anywhere from 3 to 30 are thinking of running for president. i can say 30 because i know i'm not. so we obviously have a lot of folks. but it really is a practical advantage. it's interesting. we had a program -- there's a program in nashville last night where former president bush 43 and clinton were together on a -- just kind of the two of them talking about things. you did realize they talk about how much each of them were influenced as president from being governor before. >> absolutely. what is the dynamic like at this point in the presidential cycle?
you're having rj meetings. you're hitting them up to do fund-raising for you. a lot of these guys are running for president, doing their own fund-raising. is it awkward sometimes in the meeting? is scott walker, chris christie, bobby jindal -- >> it's remarkably not. you would think okay, these guys are running against each other. remember, they've been around each other. bobby was the rga chair two years ago, and i think maybe scott was the vice-chair then, and then chris was the chair last year and bobby was his vice-chair. so, they've all been working together. obviously, you know, if you're in a competitive race, you're in a competitive race and you know that. like i said, it's difficult. but they're folks who are used to that and they knew that was part of the deal when they signed up. unfortunately for me naif all said, one of my first things is, i know you have some of other interests, but i need you all to continue helping rga. they all said we get it, we've been in your shoes and we'll
help. >> great. we have a couple of questions from people in the audience. please send more. it's #polgovs. the first question is how does your administration intend to implement common core? >> great question. so, a little background. as you said tennessee was actually one of the first winners of race to the stop. we were -- we were the big winner. my predecessor actually, phil bresen, a democrat, made the application and tennessee actually was awarded $500 million. so, we were one of the early adopters of a lot of pieces that came with that. due to a lot of things happening in tennessee as i said earlier we're actually the fastest improving state in the country in education results. a lot of that was about raising standards for us. the issue i've told people with tennessee is like this prior to this when every state could set its own standard of what was
proficient it was like we set our basketball goals at six feet and then we were so excited because everybody on the team could dunk. well, that was great. but when we went to real ten-foot goals, it wasn't really helpful. so the process of raising our standards and rigor and being specific about what we expected third graders to know and eighth graders to know has been really important for us in tennessee. there's common core, i've said this before, it's really maybe one of the most damaged brands ever. in this building here, they understand a whole lot of brand marketing. but the issue with common core is this anything that anybody doesn't like about education, they've dumped it there. >> it's now obama core. >> like, if you think there's too much testing in schools, well, that's common core. no it's not. common core is about state standards. if you think you don't like the way they're teaching world history now that's common core. nope. common core is about english and math. if you think -- you know i had a woman who was a -- very
informed woman but she was convinced that we were teaching sex education kind gardner because of common core. no. but if enough people believe something about a brand, that's what it is. what we really did in tennessee was this. those standards have been in place for four years. we typically review standards every six years. we've said, that's fine. we're going to speed up our whole review of the standards process, which we should do anyway. now we have four years of history of teachers who have said i've been teaching that to sixth graders for four years. here's -- this is a good expectation and this is not. and so we're going to go back in and reviewing all of our standards to see if they're right. and we're taking the four years' track record that we have. >> great. the next question from richard romer, with the lack of federal action on transportation funding, what are your plans to increase funding in tennessee? >> really good question. obviously the federal funding really matters to states, but most states haven't changed their gas taxes either.
i've said that at some point in time while i'm governor, we're going to have to address that. but i don't want to do it until we have two things. until we have a real long-term plan from our transportation department. we already have a plan in terms of, you know we got billions of backed up projects but a specific. if we change the funding, here's what we would do instead. second, a plan on the funding side that said, it's not just a band-aid to get us two more years down the road but has a thoughtful approach to how we'll do that. but all states are in the situation we're in. we're actually in a little better situation. tennessee is one of the only states that doesn't use debt for our infrastructure funding. so, a lot of states are actually paying more in interest now than they're receiving in in federal funds. >> because they locked in these -- >> right. and they've just been borrowing and borrowing, which was great as long as the federal money was coming. once that ended, you were in trouble. we got in the habit of pay as
you go on roads, which is sometimes frustrating to some of the infrastructure people builders, but it's been great policy for us. >> the republicans now control congress obviously, and they control a lot of the transportation funding. >> right. >> what do you make of the republican congress's first 60 days on the job? >> well, first of all, i mean, i'll stick -- it's easy for governors to take swipes at congress. it's the easiest thing in the world. but our political situation is much easier than theirs. i mean the senate's great but unless you get 60 if the president is the other party, you really can't do anything. so, they have a lot of limits that we don't deal with. and they deal with -- i mean, we have partisan politics. theirs is obviously out of control where they spend a lot of time just positioning against each other. all that being said you've got to look at what the senate has actually tried to move and do in these 60 days versus all of last year and you would say there's been some progress under leader
mcconnell. >> on something like the dhs funding, do you watch that and roll your eyes at the brinksmanship on both sides of that issue or is it just politics as usual? >> no i think it's -- i think one of the realities, and i worry about it at the state level, but it's true at the national level. there are a lot of people who make their living off of keeping things stirred up. and that's not good for the country. and in the states we're able to fend off some of that. i'm saying not just about dhs but in general about the way things work around here. if you went and talked to folks serving in congress, they would tell you that same thing. we're frustrated about how many people either raise money off things being stirred up or make money themselves off things being stirred up. it's a problem because it's a lot easier to stir something up than solve the problem. >> tennessee has had a lot of success. i use the word establishment carefully. but you have kind of a
tradition. you know, howard baker, lamar alexander, bob corker. why is that? why does tennessee support pragmatic republicans where some other southern states have gotten behind the fire brands who do raise money off picking fights? >> that's a good -- a get asked that a lot. i'd love to say it's the quality of the candidates but the best answer i have is this for those -- tennessee, our state flag has three different stars on it because there's almost three parts of tennessee. the east where i'm from is mountainous. east basically fought with the north in the civil war. because slavery was never an issue because nobody could plant anything. so, it's historically been republican as in lincoln republican, okay? middle tennessee is dominated by nashville, which is a really thriving economy. west tennessee was traditionally dominated by the mississippi rivers the delta, farming
agriculture, again, very democrat traditionally. but i think the point would be is that to win you had to be able to -- you couldn't just come out of one part of the state and bowl over everybody. you had to really -- had you to do well in all parts. so it forced you to be out listening to people and i think so the more you're out -- again it's a good part about democracy. the more you're actually out campaigning and talking to -- what do people really care about? and you realize, they don't care about a lot of the stuff we spend a lot of time talking on. and i think, again the three different natures of tennessee forced you to go out and listen because, well, you could -- when i ran, i'm from east tennessee and when i go to memphis, there would be like how do we know you're going to care about us. to win you better show them you understand them and their city. understanding their city means understanding their problems. >> governor, it's been so great to have you. thank you for the excellent questions. really appreciate the time. best of luck in your second term. >> thank you. thanks for having me. appreciate it.
>> now we are going to quickly move on and bring in rick scott, the governor of florida. [ applause ] thank you for coming. >> thank you. >> welcome to frigid washington. >> i know. we have houses, condos, we have hotels. you can move down there. it's warm. my hometown, naples, is going to be i think 75 today. the beaches, it's clear, there's no rain. >> it's like 40 in tallahassee. is that hard going from naples to tallahassee? >> you don't go out as much. you don't go outside. i don't like cold weather. i moved to florida because i don't like cold weather. i grew up in the midwest. that's way too cold for me. even texas was, i lived there for a little bit, too. they have ice storms. >> right. >> this is unbelievable here,
though. golly. >> it's normally not like this. thank you for being here. just a quick introduction. just won re-election. bill haslam won with 70%. you won by 1% but a win is a win. >> yeah. didn't waste any dollars or any effort. >> you're starting your second term. you served in the united states navy before starting your very successful business career. you joined a dallas firm, as you noted, in 1987. at 34 you co-founded columbia hospital corporation with two partners that became columbia hca, eventually the largest private for profit healthcare company in america. in 2010 you kind of took on the republican establishment. people can kind of forget that that's part of your profile. ran against a sitting attorney general. >> everybody had endorsed. >> you took him on, you won.
>> everybody poll said i would lose. >> and you won. now you're here and you're starting your second term. next week you're going to pennsylvania, making a lot of upcoming trips on jobs which is something you've always loved to talk about, laser focus on jobs. tell me a little about this upcoming job story that you're planning and that's motivating you to go on the road. >> so my background is -- it's all about -- grew up knowing jobs were important. i don't know my natural father. my mom went through divorce when i was born. she remarried a little while later, so i have an adopted dad. we lived in public housing. my parents didn't have jobs often. i watched them struggle to put food on the table, pay the rent. i remember when my dad's car got repossessed. that's a tough life. so, i have -- in my life, i've always focused on jobs. i got married at 19. i've had a wonderful marriage. we have two daughters.
and i talk to them always about getting a job and working. so they love that. so in 2010, here's where our state was, the state of florida -- think about this for a second. this is one of the most beautiful places in the world to live. we had lost 832,000 jobs in four years. in four years housing prices had dropped almost in half. in four years. unemployment had gone from 3.5 to 11.1%. the state had borrowed basically $8.7 billion. $5.2 billion in state debt. owed the feds $3.5 billion for unemployment debt. and we -- and it -- nothing was changing. so we had big budget deficits, i ran on -- my whole campaign was, if you asked me the weather, i talked about jobs. it was seven steps, 700,000 jobs over seven years. and to the shock of everybody, i won. because if you think about a typical family, what do they care about? step one, i want a job.
that's what they want. they want to work. they're not looking for another government program. they want to work. number two, when they have children, they're saying i want a good education system because i know for my child, the shot at the american dream is tied to education. number three, they want to live in a safe community. those are basically the three things i've thought about every day. i walked in with a $4 billion budget deficit. we've cut taxes 40 times. we've paid off $7.5 billion worth of debt. we cut 3100 regulations. we streamlined -- just to get a professional license, i started as governor, it was 47 days in florida. 47 days to get a professional license. it's now 1.7 days on average. and what's happened is jobs have come back. 728,000 jobs. we have 88,000 people on unemployment today out of 20 million people. we're bigger than new york now. we have 279,000 job openings in the state of florida. housing prices are way up. the state's packed. we've gone from a $4 billion
budget deficit to a $1.8 billion surplus. that's after cutting all the taxes and paying off all the debt. so, i'm going after all the jobs. i'll be in pennsylvania. i love it when other governors want to raise taxes because it's good for us. the new governor of pennsylvania wants to raise taxes. all that's going to do is make those companies less competitive in a global economy. we are competing globally whether we all like it or not. when you think about what you buy, how many times do you say i'm only going to buy if it's made in pennsylvania or virginia or district of columbia or -- you know, in america, you don't. we're competing. so when other governors raise regulation, raise taxes, make it more difficult for business, i want to get those jobs in florida. we're growing and we're going to keep doing it. i've done ten trade missions around the world and we're recruiting companies from around the united states. pennsylvania will be one of many states i go to.
>> tom wolf, the new democratic governor of pennsylvania you just referred to, he called this a political stunt. he said the stagnant economy, he we inherited from a republican is not our doing. you didn't come here under our predecessor. what do you say when you get that kind of pushback? >> i've been recruiting companies. we've done in four years -- we've had -- we've won over 400 competitive projects. we've gotten companies like hertz to move to florida. that's 700 jobs. averaging income over $100,000. lockheed martin, at&t, verizon, navy federal credit union. i've gone after jobs in every state. my biggest competitor has been rick perry. when i won my election in 2010, i met rick perry but didn't really know him. we met at, i think, an rga event. and i said governor i'm going to tell everybody, i'll going to kick your rear because you've been the gold standard for jobs. and so i've gone after jobs. we went on national television and joked about who was the best
state. i joke with him now that he's given up. might be running for something else. but i've tried to recruit companies from all over the united states and all over the world. i want florida to be the place where, if you grew up in florida, you want to live in florida, you know you can get a job and your kids could get a great education. >> how helpful was that playful connotation with perry? >> it was good. when i got started doing this texas was the gold standard for job creation. they didn't lose jobs in the recession. and florida had lost all those jobs. so if i could be perceived to be competitive with texas, it was good for us. so we went on "squawk box," national television, different shows together. we did some forums together. and if i -- i just asked him, just say you're worried about us. that's all i want you to say. >> who's going to be your foil now? >> well, any governor that wants to raise taxes is nice. i'm appreciative of the governor of pennsylvania raising taxes. >> are you going to go to states
with republican governors? >> i recruited from other states all the time. i think it's very difficult now for the northern states to -- for them to compete with us because put yourself in a position of a company. you've got to solve your customer needs. if we have a great workforce, which we do f we have no income tax for your employees, very low business tax, less regulation, faster permitting do you think you can solve your customer needs faster in florida than other states? sure. that's what we're going to do. we're already the second -- florida is already the second biggest aviation aerospace state as far as number. jobs. only state beating us is texas. we are absolutely -- third most number of technology companies in the united states. we are growing our businesses rapidly. on top of the fact that we're still a great tourist destination. 97 million tourists. your weather is really good for us. a lot of people were coming down. last weekend i think was the busiest tourist weekend in the history of the state of florida, president's weekend.
so, that's good. we're also -- we got 15 sea ports. with the expansion of the panama canal, the miami port will be dredged to 50 feet before the canal's done, with all the ports we have up and down the east coast -- each of our coasts we should, the shipping capital for the east coast. with the strike out in the west coast, it's good for us. so, it was good for us when -- when was it, 2002 they had it before, that was good for us so we're getting more shipping. >> what's a win? obviously every job is a win in its own way, but do you have a metric or a target of a want to bring 100,000 jobs to florida by the end of the second term? you know, what's the -- >> we did 728,000 my first term. so, i'd like -- >> so can you say this was a job that was in pennsylvania, we brought to florida or -- >> or pennsylvania -- >> not necessarily from pennsylvania, but -- >> you know what you do the most -- the things that get all the press are the big companies like hertz moving their
corporate office. that gets all the press. but the truth is most of the job creation is small companies. like i'll stop. if you stop at a dunkin' donuts a starbucks i just go shake hands with people a lot. i go eat at restaurants where they're busy. people are just moving their businesses. they're moving a two-person business or five-person business because they're tired. they're tired of more taxes, the regulation, the weather, they're tired of all of it. if they're doing business in latin america, they know we're the gateway to latin america. so, it's never one thing. i've been in business all my life. it's never one thing when you make a decision. it's a whole bunch of things put together. >> i want to talk a little about 2016. you're in a unique position. the governor of florida, the former governor of florida likely to run. senator from florida likely to get into the race. >> mike huckabee. >> mike huckabee lives there. >> ben carson. >> ben carson lives there. >> see, everybody's making a good decision, move to florida. you could all move there, would be all right with me.
>> you're obviously close to rick perry, as you mentioned. you're close to bobby jindal. >> yeah. >> what are you looking for in a 2016 candidate? >> i think the biggest issue we have as a country is the same as we had in florida when i got elected. it's all about jobs. we can't have a country that has higher corporate taxes, more regulation and anti-business attitude and think we're going to get jobs. if you're -- all these companies are competing globally. think about it. we don't care where they're headquartered. so we've got to elect somebody that says, my primary job is jobs. and we're going to figure out how to limit the growth of government. they've got to figure out how to cut corporate taxes, cut individual taxes, reduce regulation. we can't have more and more and more onerous regulations on our companies. take something as simple as obamacare and what we've done to our companies. you buy produce, right? you can buy florida produce or you can buy mexican produce. by the way, by federal law
you're supposed to know what you're buying. i'm sure all of you do that all the time. but think about this, they're not having to comply with obamacare in mexico. and so do you you think their prices are going to be cheaper than ours and where are the jobs going to be? i want all those jobs in the united states. in my case, i want florida. so, we have to have a president that says whether -- we have got to figure out how to compete globally. if you've ever built a corporate -- like i built a company from scratch, from me and a secretary to 285,000 employees. what you're trying to do all the time is keep your cost as low as possible because you're always competing on costs. everybody is competing on cost. it's the same thing as our federal government and state governments. i'm doing everything i can to make florida government as efficient and effective as possible. we have the lowest taxes per capita in the united states, the lowest number of state workers per capita in the united states right now. our federal government's got to do the same thing when we're competing against other countries because we're competing.
i mean, you know, and the jobs are going to go to other countries. i've got daughters. have i a 3-year-old grandson and two 18-month-old grandsons. i want them to live in the united states, in my case, florida. one does live, unfortunately, in texas, which governor perry reminds me of all the time. but we're competing. we've got to have a president that understands that we've got to fight this war on terror. our citizens are getting beheaded. citizens around the world are being killed murdered. we've got to show up. we've got to show up and fight terrorism. and then we've got to go promote our country. it's like i -- i lived in texas for a while. the second day you live there, you start bragging about the state. that's what i'm trying to get everybody in florida to do. we have so much to brag about. we've got to brag about our country. we have to elect somebody who says, no ifs, ands or buts about it, we're the most exceptional
place in the world to live. that's what i'm looking for in a candidate. as you know there's lots of people running, appears to run. >> do you think you'll endorse when it matters? >> our primary is next march, right? so most likely but i'll worry about it down the road. >> and there's now talk in the state legislature that primary date would be march 15th, so florida could be winner take all. do you think that's going to happen? >> like everything else the legislature does to me? reveal it to me. >> what's your relationship with jeb bush? how often do you talk to him? do you exchange ideas? does he e-mail you? >> yeah. here's what happens. i've known governor bush. i knew his brother better. but i've known him -- governor bush, and so we talk more about education, because that's what his big focus had been. but reality is you talk to people that are having issues at the same time so rick perry, chris christie, bobby jindal,
probably the two i talk to the most is rick and bobby. you know the southern states having similar issues. and most of the issues -- most of our issues are caused by federal government that is trying to dictate how we spend our money. it's no different than when i first came in they had a high speed rail project and they wanted me to spend our money. i'm walking in with a $4 billion budget deficit and they want me to spend billions of dollars on a project they want done not that i asked for. >> marco rubio was in tallahassee before you, and -- >> he left. >> right. you both mp elected in 2010 to your jobs. do you have a relationship with rubio? >> yeah. >> do you talk to him? >> yeah. i think senator rubio has done a good job. he's been a good partner when we have federal issues. so, he's been a very good partner. >> there's kind of a new public push this week by senate republicans to get him to stay in the senate, to say there's all these other people in the presidential field. let's hold that florida senate seat. i mean obviously it's his
decision, but do you think he should state in the senate? >> if he wants to be president, he needs to run for president. if you want to be president, no one is going to anoint you. if he wants to be president he's going to have to run. but i think anybody from florida running for president is good for florida. because they're going to talk about what -- how great we're doing. so, i'm trying to get everybody in our state to brag. if we can get those two to go brag about our state, that's a good start. >> are you still talking to perry, even though he's no longer governor? you're still in touch with him? >> yeah, i talked to him the other day. he's fun. rick is a ball to be with. you know, he's got a lot of energy. he was out in california. >> you mentioned education in reference to governor bush. you obviously have done a lot on education. this week you talked about scaling back testing, that there
are too many tests and you're looking at some executive orders to reduce the number of tests kids have to take but also some legislative fixes. talk about this problem and your solution. >> our state has done really well. when i recruit companies, they care about taxes. they care about regulation, they care about permitting. they care about workforce. they also care about the education for the kids of their workers. so from the first time i started calling on companies as governor they started asking me about education. so, here's -- so, here's where we are. our fourth graders are number two in the world in reading. our fourth and eighth graders have had the highest students achieving gains in fourth and eighth grade gains of any large state in the country in the last three years. we're the only state that's had student achievement gap narrowed between african-american and caucasian students in the united states. our low income students had the highest student gain last year. the national council for teacher quality, they do a survey every two years, we're number one two
for teacher quality two times in a row. we have a lot to brag about in education. but one thing, while we all believe in measurement, what we've done is put in a lot of tests. the way florida is set up is a little bit different than some states we have districts by county. in some states, like where i grew up in missouri, they have lots of school districts. we have 67. so, we have some state-mandated tests and some district-mandated tests. last year as we're hearing about in ridiculous -- you know, too much testing, i asked for a test investigation, so we would put out what was actually going on in every district. so, if you go talk to teachers i do a lot of roundtables with teachers, they say oh, the state government's mandating this. no, it's not the state government. it's your district's mandating that. so we're going to get rid of some of our testing. we're going to continue to focus on results, which is what parents and students and teachers care about.
some testing we'll get rid of. some will happen at the state level and some at the district level. but our state's doing very well in education. also in our universities we have performance funding for universities tied basically to three things. and think about when you were going to school. you said, what's it going to cost me? do i get a job? do i make more money? and that's what we're measuring. this year we'll have about $460 million in performance funding for our universities and our state colleges. >> you support common core, but you got the permission and the state passed what the -- the florida standards. bill haslam was in here and said common core gets scapegoated for every problem in education. sex ed, everything is about common core now. can you talk about your thoughts on common core. governor haslam was making the point, you're a business guy too, it's a very bad brand right now, but there are some
underlying good things. >> sure well a lot of the common core was tied to our florida standards. so we said we're going to use -- we're going to use florida standards. we're picking and choosing what we like. we're continuing to make changes in what we have, but we're going to have our own standards. also a year ago we said that we passed legislation that said that the federal government is not going to data mine our students, and the curriculum decisions will be made at the district level. so close to where -- you know, we have elected school board members in our counties, and so at the local level, they can make the decisions. but we're going to continue to have high standards and we're going to continue to try to outcompete every other place in the world because we're competing with the whole world for jobs. and so we're doing that, but we're using our own standards. >> i want to switch to health care, medicaid. after the 2012 election you kind of endorsed the idea of medicaid expansion. it didn't go anywhere in the legislature.
you're here in washington for a bunch of meetings this weekend. i assume the white house or administration will pressure you. >> think they'll do that? i'm going to the white house dinner on sunday night. my whole table will be full of people trying to get me to do something. that's the way it works. >> what are the other wish list items besides -- what do they want from you? >> right now i think it's the -- that's the biggest one. they've given up on high-speed rail. but here's where we were in our state when i got elected. medicaid in our state had been growing at three times the general revenue for something like 20 years. and so it was just -- and it was not a small part of our budget. it was $20 billion out of $70 billion budget. so growing at three times the general revenue, that's pretty tough. so, we passed legislation my first year and we got it approved by the federal government my second year. that said that our medicaid program would be -- would -- a private company would be responsible for those
recipients. and they're responsible for their quality, their access and for the taxpayers responsible for the costs. so now we have a medicaid program that we can afford. and it's one that our recipients know they're going to get good care. two years ago, just no different than my position on high-speed rail. when they wanted to do high speed rail between orlando and tampa, i said, as long as you want to pay all the money, do it. but don't come and tell me how to spend my money because i'm responsible for the taxpayers of the state of florida. you want to spend federal money, spend federal money. i took the same position with regard to the medicaid. as long as the federal government wants to pay for something, they should do what they like to do, but don't ask me to take it out of my budget for a program you want to have happen. so, that's not hand in our state. i don't know if it's going to happen in our state. we'll see. >> people could send questions to @politicoevents. we'll get some audience questions on medicaid. >> give us a block grant. if you give us a block grant --
by the way our taxpayers pay for it. taxpayers in our state are paying for this. just like in every other state so just -- let us give us our money back and we'll run a medicaid program because we like to take care of our citizens. we care about our citizens as much as anybody else does. >> the most substantive conservative criticism of medicaid expansion is the federal government is not going to be good for the money. even if they're good the first three years -- >> you think with trillion dollar deficits? would you do business with them? would you sign a long-term contract with them? >> that's a legitimate certain. a lot of conservatives have that concern that you're going to expand coverage. >> you think they'll change the rules? >> they'll change the rules mid stream. >> so when i got elected, what was happening is the federal government would provide a grant to one of our agencies and it would be a two or three-year grant and then it would go away. everybody said aren't you going to keep it? well, i didn't start it. so we stopped our agencies from
doing that without talking to the governor's office because why would we do that to our citizens, get people hooked on something that they didn't ask for. i meet a lot of people in the state. i travel the state pretty much every day. no one asks me for more government programs. no one says governor, you have to have another government program. maybe some people who make money off of it do. it's just like medicaid expansion, who's the most active is the hospital industry. wonder why. >> we have a microphone for -- shocking. we have a microphone for audience questions and i want to take some if there are any. if there is any hands? >> do you want to move to florida? i've got realtors' names, i've got everything. by the way, did you all see that ithaca, new york put on their tourist website that their weather was so bad, everybody should just go to florida? >> my fiance i think would love that with this temperature.
i won't tell her that offer. during the '14 cycle you were attached and you talked about education a little bit, and you won. you were attacked, i think more than almost any other governor on education and education reform and school choice -- >> on anything. >> i didn't pick the easiest state. i could have years ago moved to a state that would have been easier but i didn't. >> do you have lessons that other folks, other governors, other republicans, can take from what you did in florida, even though it's a fairly red state it's still a swing state, especially in a presidential year, that they could take from your message and how you prevailed? >> we went after everybody. we've got a significant hispanic population. i do spend -- my spanish is not perfect, but i practice spanish every day. [ speaking spanish ] i do spanish radio, spanish tv.
we put a lot of effort into the hispanic market. i personally believe everybody should vote for what we're doing. i don't talk to any families who say i don't care about jobs or education or public safety. we went out and we did events all over the state. we talked to everybody we could. we did well with especially the hispanic vote, but we just went and talked to everybody. we did a lot of events. i'm fortunate that i had a wife that was willing also to travel and so she did events every day around the state. this is a person that when i won four years ago said that's great, i'm glad you won, remember you agreed that i never have to give a speech. we just worked every day and got our message out and stayed on message. we didn't have 15 messages. we talked about jobs and education and public safety. then when we got done with that, it was jobs, education and
public safety. then it was more about jobs, education and public safety. >> is that the key for republicans nationally, too? the immigration question is obviously a thorny one that you can't not talk about it at all, but how do republicans nationally extrapolate from your success with spannicshispanics in '14? >> everyone cares about the same thing, everybody does. think about this. people that have come to our country, what did they come here for? the dream. the dream that we all believe in. that's why they're here. i just went and talked to them about how we're going to do everything we can to give them the same opportunity that everybody else has. i think our state's the best melting pot in the country, maybe in the world. we have 300 languages spoken in our state. we have people from all over the world living in florida. we've got -- if you look at especially the orlando area, we've got a lot of -- tampa would be second, a lot of puerto
ricans. if you look especially at broward and miami-dade you have a lot of people from central america, south america. they feel connected with our state. we're a melting pot and we like all the culture in our state. i think the biggest thing that we have to do is go talk about what people care about. they care about jobs. that's the biggest thing. they care about jobs. everybody wants this economy to turn around. everybody wants this economy to turn around. what we've got to do, we've got to tell our story about why our beliefs help everybody, which i believe they do. i'm a republican. my job is to take care of families like mine growing up that struggled to put food on the table, struggled to keep their car, struggled to pay the rent or the mortgage. that's who i take care of. if those individuals do well, everybody does well. if they can get a job, there's less government needs, there's more public safety, everything
is better for everybody. >> you mentioned the hispanic vote. i want to take more questions in a minute. cuba has been in the news recently because of president obama's move. nancy pelosi is there this week during the congressional recess. you've opposed relaxing the embargo. is it frustrating to see all these national democrats and stuff travel to cuba when there are still human rights abuses? >> the other countries that don't have trade sanctions, it hasn't changed the castro brothers at all. gosh, they're still there. they still have political prisoners. there's still no freedom of speech. if you follow what happens happened in venezuela, the castro brothers are in the thick of that, killing peaceful protesters. the only way we're going to get democracy in my belief -- and i listened to the ladies in white that live in cuba that says the only way to do it is to keep the embargo, keep the trade sanctions. if i was going to do a trade
mission, do what i did. we went to ten countries. brazil, my biggest trading partner, there's probably business there. colombia, a lot of business. panama, spain, england, canada, japan, france, do air shows, that's where we're getting jobs, pennsylvania. >> there's a lot of republicans now who say let's get rid of the embargo. it didn't work. do you think they just don't understand. why do you think there has been a shift in public opinion about the embargo nationally and in florida? >> i wouldn't -- i'm not much of a pundit. i know what i believe, but i don't know why -- >> do you think a republican could win florida not supporting the embargo in 2016? >> i don't know. i think the biggest issue in our state is who's going to focus on jobs. i think what i'm looking for which i think most people are looking for, let's get our
economy going. let's defend our country from terrorism. let's fix obamacare. let's have somebody that brags about our country. we have an exceptional country. let's brag about it. let's don't elect somebody who's going to apologize. >> we have a question i think. >> good morning, governor. you already talked about performance funding for your state colleges and universities. you also spearheaded a $10,000 bachelor's degree in the state of florida. can you talk a little bit further about the nexus of higher education and economic development, particularly having the access or the access for students in your state to obtain and upgrade their skills. >> sure. i'm probably older than most people in this room. when i went to junior college my
first year out of high school, i think it was $200 either a semester or a year. the university was expensive. for 15 hours, you take 21 hours if you wanted, it was $255. no fees, books weren't very expensive. so if you want to give people a shot at the dream of america, make education more affordable. why does it have to cost so much? if you think about in business, your expectation is that things can get cheaper, and the value equation gets better. how does that happen with education? how does it cost this? i challenged all of our state colleges. we have 28 state colleges. 23 have some four-year degrees. i said can you do a degree for $10,000? they all did it, all the ones that have four-year degrees. this year we're going to expand that. it's all in the areas where there's jobs. total for four years was $10,000. this year we're going to expand
it to get more s.t.e.m. degrees there. at our universities, they were raising tuition when i came in at 15%-plus a year. 15%-plus a year. if you have lots of money, it didn't matter. but if you don't have a lot of money, you don't want to borrow thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars, then how do you pay for it? finally my third year -- my fourth year, we got that stopped. so it allowed the cost of a pre-paid plan, the four years before i became governor you can buy a pre-paid plan for 18 years. or $14,000 up front. by the time i got it stopped it was $54,000 up front or $350 a month. now think about you have two kids. how many people can spend $700 a month after tax? you can't do it. so now who's it hurting? it's hurting the poorest
families. we want our kids to get degrees. the other thing we did is we said we want them to get degrees in areas where there's jobs. there's a lot of jobs in our state. there's 279,000 job openings. a lot in the s.t.e.m. areas. we recruited all these aviation, arrowerospace and other companies that need s.t.e.m. grads. my third year in office we started the performance funding. this last year it was $200 million. basically tied to three things. what's it cost for a degree. when you think about that, i care about degrees. so do -- part of it is tuition part of it is how fast you get through but make people start thinking about what you were going to school. remember how hard it was to get the classes you needed? yeah. you're the darn customer.
if a retail business like that treated you like that, you'd stop going there. i talk to somebody the other day that one textbook costs $500 for a freshman class. $500! that's crazy. we're focused on tuition, what's it cost to get a degree do you get a job. i asked our universities i said when i came in give me all the surveys you do of employers. i'm sure you know where all the jobs are. you know how many i got back? zero. zero. in business you're doing customer surveys all the darn time. and so it's already changed the conversation now. they're all thinking about how to get people through her faster. where are the jobs. how much are people going to make. it's changed the conversation. that's good for everybody in our state. >> we're wrapping up here but i want to ask one last question. jeb bush used to talk about big, hairy, audacious goals. you have this kind of tablet
ahead of you. four years. you just won this election. what are your big hairy audacious goals for the second term? >> the biggest goal i have is by the time i get out of office we will become the number one place in the world to get a job. and if we are the number one place in the world to get a job, here's what happens. it's already happened with what we've done so far. we have record funding for k-12 education. record funding for universities. record funding for state colleges. record funding for transportation. we have -- and we continue to -- and we have the lowest taxes per capita in the country. so it's all tied to making our state the place where people say if i'm going to build a business, i'm going to build it in florida before i think about any place else because i know that i can compete globally better in florida than any place in the world. that's my goal. at the end of eight years, and when i finish, that's what people are going to say. florida is the absolutely best place to get a job in the world.
>> governor rick scott, thank you so much for being here. really appreciate it. >> thanks a lot. >> thank you. this week, c-span is in new hampshire for "road to the white house" coverage of several potential republican presidential candidates. tonight beginning at 7:45 eastern live on c-span, we'll take you to a house party in dover, new hampshire with former florida governor jeb bush. saturday just before noon live on c-span, wisconsin governor scott walker at a republican party grassroots workshop in concord. sunday night at 9:35 on c-span, senator ted cruz at the annual lincoln-reagan dinner. "road to the white house 2016" on c-span. on our newsmakers program this week maryland senator ben cardin, member of the foreign relations committee, he discusses foreign policy issues facing congress, including u.s. negotiations concerning iran's nuclear program and the use of
military force against isis. he also talks about maryland politics. senator barbara mikulski's upcoming retirement around the battle to replace her. that airs sunday at 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. the u.s. senate's not in session on this friday. floor debate is expected to get under way next week on loretta lynch's nomination to replace eric holder as the country's top law enforcement officer. if confirmed, she would become the first female african-american attorney general. her nomination was approved on february 26th by the senate judiciary committee. the vote was 12-8 with three republicans joining nine democrats in voting to confirm. a start day and time for the senate to begin debate has not yet been set but we will update you when that information becomes available. see the senate live on our companion network, c-span2. here are some of our featured programs for this weekend on the c-span networks. saturday starting at 1:00 p.m.
eastern, c-span2's book tv is live from the university of arizona for the tucson festival of books. featuring discussions on race and politics, the civil war, and by "the nation" magazine writers with call-ins throughout the day with you a tlors. sunday at 1:00 we continue our live coverage of the festival with panels on the obama administration, future in politics and contugss in football. saturday morning the a 9:00 eastern on american history tv on c-span3 live from longwood university in farmville, virginia for the 16th annual civil war seminar with historians and authors talking about the closing weeks of the civil war in 1865. sunday morning at 9:00 we continue our live coverage of the seminar with remarks on the surrender of the confederacy and the immigration of confederates to brazil. find our complete television schedule at c-span.org and let us know what you think about the programs you're watching. call us at 202-626-3400. e-mail us at comments
firstname.lastname@example.org. like us on facebook, follow us on twitter. this sunday on q&a the director of the georgetown university medical center watchdog project farmed out on how pharmaceutical companies lobby congress and influence doctors in what medications to prescribe. >> the promotion of a drug actually starts seven to ten years before a drug comes on the market. while it is illegal for a company to market a drug before it's been approved by the fda it's not illegal to market a disease. so dwrugrug companies have sometimes invented diseases or exaggerated importance of certain conditions or exaggerated the importance of a particular mechanism of a drug, for example. and then blanketed medical journals and medical meetings and other venues with these
messages that are meant to prepare the minds of clinicians to accept a particular drug and also to prepare the minds of consumers to accept a particular condition. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern and pacific an c-span's q&a. ahead at the national govern's association winter meeting, politico hosted its fifth annual state solutions conference in washington, d.c. the event included a series of governors on various issues. this is about an hour. thank you susan. hello, everyone. i'm executive ed sore of politico. thank you all for joining us
today. thrilled to be joined by governor gina row mun doe from rhode island. thank you for joining us for the afternoon session. you are one of a dwindling number of democratic governors and you're in your first term as a democratic governor but you ran on a reform platform that actually alienated some traditional democratic constituencies. is that a recipe that more democrats should be following at the state level to try to get the number of democratic governors up? >> you know i don't if that's the recipe. the recipe -- the theme of my campaign and i think the reason that i won is that i was relentlessly focused on economic development and job creation and i think every advertisement that
my campaign did was focused on that and that was the bet we had made. but the work i had done around pension reform, which was difficult, certainly did alienate some of the public sector labor unions and that made it difficult difficult in the primary. what i said was look it is time for governors get the courage to take on the tough issues and get things done. i think i was able to convince people that i would take that same courage that i used to get through the pension to fixing an ailing economy. >> there is an increasing tension within the democratic party, particularly as relates to teachers unions and some of arne duncan's proposals. there is a large number of democrats that are reform democrats that feel as though teacher tenure and charter schools and other -- education innovations aren't really necessary. there's another group that tends to support the union position which is that a lot of this is teacher bashing and all. is that something -- is that something democrats are going to have to make a choice about going forward, not just for teachers unions but also with
some of the very powerful public sector unions, the kind that you took on when you were a treasurer? >> democrats and all public servants just need to be willing to be honest about the reality. if we have schools that aren't working and aren't educating our kids well and the results aren't what they need to be we need to face the facts and fix them. if that means making some changes that teachers unions are uncomfortable with i think democrats have to have the courage to do that. unfortunately, all of this stuff quickly gets into an us versus them, which i don't find to be productive. i think we ought to treat teachers like professionals that they are, give them the support that they need then hold them accountable. and every teacher i know -- i have two kids in public school. every teacher i know wants to be held accountable. every teacher i know wants to be treated like a professional. as a mom, i sure want my kids to be well educated. >> now i reviewed a power point presentation that you had presented to a large number of
rhode island leaders about the rather daunting task ahead for the next four years. growing budget gap projected over the next four years combined with stagnating economy, 47th in unemployment among the 50 states. lack of investment in job creation. the conclusion is obviously you have to invest more in job creation. how are you going to do that with a budget gap? >> that's the challenge. you asked "the" question. i tell people that i really have to thread the needle on this. i'm facing a huge budget deficit. rhode island, just for those of you to give you a sense of what we're dealing with, rhode island has one of the weakest economies in the nation. which it might be a surprise to you because we're nestled between new york and boston. we have great amazing universities. we ought to be a thriving economy, but we're not. we were crushed when manufacturing sector left and we didn't reposition ourselves for
high-growth industries. so i'm in the position where we are facing a $200 million shortfall, so the natural instinct would be to cut, and there has to be some cuts except you can't just cut. you know? you can't cut your way to prosperity or job creation. we have to cut in the areas where we spend too much or that aren't job creating and then reallocate that money to job training, skilled development economic incentives for businesses. and that is exactly the task before me. but those are tough choices. i have to take a hard look at medicaid, for example. rhode island spends second-highest in the country per enrollee on medicaid. not doing a great job necessarily taking care of the most vulnerable but spending a lot of money doing it. so you've got to find some money there. and then invest in building roads and bridges and schools
skilled development to fundamentally get people back to work. >> now, earlier we -- on the earlier shift we were going to be joined by governor nixon of missouri. talking to his staff the plan for the future is the return of american manufacturing. they're convinced that missouri is going to be a big beneficiary of that. now so many manufacturing jobs have been lost in rhode island. is that realistic? could rhode island benefit from a rebirth of american manufacturing or is it smarter to go with the sort of knowledge economy direction like boston and new york tend to be going and take -- >> i think you have to do both. you have to do both. what we have to do like every state, we have to figure out what we can be really good at. and manufacturing is a piece of that. manufacturing of today is the knowledge economy also. i always say it is not my dad's
manufacturing. my dad -- once upon a time rhode island was the mecca of jewelry manufacturing. spidell, bulova watch tiffany. that's what we did in rhode island, we made beautiful jewelry and beautiful watches and that's all gone. my dad worked forever at the bulova watch factory. that factory went away and the jobs went away. that manufacturing is gone forever. but new manufacturing, high-skill, high-tech, knowledge-based manufacturing, if you will is coming back to america and rhode island is absolutely poised to get its fair share of that manufacturing in areas of excellence, like marine technology. my -- i believe rhode island ought to be the boat building capital of the world. you know? we have newport. we have bristol. we ought to go -- we got to go where we can be great and build upon our strengths, and, yeah, build some advanced manufacturing. >> now one of your critiques in
the power point presentation was there was not enough flexibility in the tax code in rhode island to attract businesses. that's a very controversial position. there are a lot of people who think that you give away the store to get some factory that's going to be in massachusetts 20 miles away and move it to warrick and that looks like a big success for the governor of rhode island but in fact it is a zero sum game that's hurting all those neighboring states. you think that could work though? >> i do. it's a balance. it is a balance. what i said in the campaign -- and this is core difference between me and my republican opponent, often the republican playbook is just cut taxes as low as possible and all good things will happen. i don't agree with that. you have to have low enough taxes so businesses want to be there. i used to run a business. i made my career for over a dozen years in business. you need streamlined regulations, transparent government and reasonable taxes. but you also have to invest in your workers. you have to have high-skilled
workers. in rhode island i'd like us to raise the minimum wage. i want to have excellent training programs. so businesses -- here's the thing. give you the bad news. rhode island and america, we can't compete on price anymore. if a company wants the lowest cost labor they're going to china. and i don't want to be the lowest cost. i want to compete on quality. so yeah, we have to be low cost enough to be competitive, including with taxes and provide incentives. but at the end of the day we have to compete on quality, which is skill and know-how and that takes some investment. >> mainly education you're thinking of? other investments? >> absolutely. mainly education innovation research and development. you know, if you look at the economies in america that are really humming including massachusetts where i know you're from, there patents --
number of patents per capita is through the roof. again, they're competing on quality. companies want to be there because there are centers of innovation, research and development and new ideas. and that's -- i need to position rhode island in there. >> what is your theory on sort of what went wrong? you're mentioning massachusetts. the traditional idea is massachusetts benefits because it has all these universities there. it also has in boston except when the snow is six feet high, it has a high quality of life. people like to be there to emphasize the historical -- there is an attractiveness to that kind of lifestyle, but it is the same attractiveness that providence and newport have. you have brown, large numbers of colleges and universities. what went wrong in rhode island. how did rhode island not benefit from the same forces that helped massachusetts and new york? >> so, you know, i'll tell you what i think. my theory. massachusetts has done a great job of partnering and
collaborating. government can't do everything. government cannot make an economy work. it has to be a collaboration of bottoms-up. great things happen at the intersection of universities working with government working with business. and massachusetts and pittsburgh and other places that have had a renaissance, they've nailed that. rhode island hasn't. we just haven't brought together -- yes, we have brown university. we have rhode island school of design. but we haven't married them with industry. so we haven't tapped the intellectual capital there to, you know turn those great ideas into commerce. the other thing, candidly, we as a state were just too reliant for too long on manufacturing. you know just so everyone knows, rhode island was hurt more than almost any state in the country, more than michigan, in the number of manufacturing jobs we lost. and we were very dependent on
manufacturing ten years ago. so we waited too long to reposition ourselves. my dad he always had a simple way of describing things. he'd say you know, gina, i could see it when i was working in the jewelry shop. all the jewelry shops were going away and massachusetts, they got flu computers. you no he? that was his way of saying they got into i.t. they tapped into m.i.t. and harvard and turned those into businesses. weep stood still. rhode island stood still. so it is my job now as a new governor to shake it up and move. we can't stay still anymore because we're getting passed by. >> is the difference between mass massachusetts, rhode island and new york also something about the political culture? is there a more cohesive culture in those states? >> i think so. i think culture has a lot to do with it. rhode island for a long time has been parochial, inward inward thinking, inward looking. and we need to be a little bit more outward facing and embracing of new people and new ideas and innovation.
you know, inherently if you're inward looking you're not innovative and we need to be more innovative and more collaborative. and we need to move faster. we need to morph faster. it is not acceptable. it drivers me crazy when i hear from people, it took me a year-and-a-half to get a permit, or whereas it took me three months to get a permit in massachusetts. i was on hold for 45 minutes waiting to get my insurance. that isn't okay. that isn't okay. i got to fix that. the basics of government needs to work. we're going to get after that. >> there's also been a lot of attention tole sort of congressional inaction on a range of issues, including transportation, most prominently but a lot of things that helped the states have been slowed down, have become subjects of dispute here in washington. what do you want out of the federal government to help rhode island? >> i want them to us that they
care about infrastructure. i was telling you about pensions. when i fix pensions, i say don't talk to us about management versus labor us versus them. we got a problem, people. let's get to work, be practical and fix the problem. our infrastructure is falling apart. we have the money as a nation to fix it. there is no question we have the money. there is no question that lack of infrastructure investment is holding us back. we're less competitive. just travel to europe and asia. they are ahead of us and we have the money to do it. so get to work. fix your problems. >> have you talked to folks in washington about that? have you been -- >> as you might expect, i'm pretty aggressive and vocal because i've got a state that's 48th in job growth so i need to get everyone to do everything i can. so i've talked to our delegation. right now we're in the minority but they are working hard and i
have encouraged them to speak up. don't sit it out. don't sit on the sidelines. don't be afraid. don't care about your next election. do what's right. >> great. well, i was wondering people might have questions. >> i guess somebody has to break the ice, i should say. governor, how can we address the increased costs of medicaid without decreasing eligibility or decreasing benefits? and at the same time deal with an elderly population that's accessing care at the wrong place at the wrong time. >> yes. thank you. i think what you said at the end is the answer. we -- just because we're
spending a lot of money doesn't mean we're doing a good job. there are many people who are in nursing homes or long-term care who could be at home and, frankly, would rather be at home if they had the proper wraparound services so that they could be at home which would mean better care and save enormous amounts of money. the reality is that in medicaid, a small number of very complex patients consume the lion's share of the money so we need to do a better job of managing those patients. these are patients that have many different kinds of medical issues, and if you just let them keep running through the system they just keep showing up in the emergency room getting re-admitted to the hospital, getting infections, back in the hospital, back in the nursing home, have a fall. before you know it they cost
two-thirds of what we spend is on one-tenth of the population. so let's identify those people and manage them properly so they get better care and bring costs down. that's going to be the way i approach it. i'll tell you this. if you just go after it and say we're going to cut eligibility and we're going to cut rates, you're going to hurt people. and in the long run i'm not even sure you're going to save money. we all know -- as a mom, i have -- my son gets a lot of ear infections. thank god we have great health care. so i'm able to zip him right to the doctor, we can get him on his meds right away. i'm at work by 9:00 and life is good and he's taken care of. if i didn't have health insurance, he'd get sicker. and he'd get much more expensive. cutting eligibility for poor kids and denying them access is mean, is not good health care and doesn't save money. because my kid wound up in the er, it would be more expensive.
so that's how i think about it. >> hello, governor. 20-year resident from lincoln, rhode island. now moved to virginia. >> move back. come back! >> no i probably won't. i was also finance director in a coastal community in rhode island. it's just the level -- i hate that we use the word "corruption," but it's pervasive. i think it is just because of the smallness of the state. no deal was too small. everyone wants to get connected. once they're connected they think they have an inroad. the other issue governor, is that the most powerful person in the state is the speaker of the house. how can -- i thought you had more power as treasurer than you may have as governor in the state. just some of those issues, if you could.
>> it's funny. tell me your name. >> rob. >> rob. so it's funny rob, i had no power as treasurer. the power that i got was derived from the people. and that's the power the governor has. like the governor has the power of the people which is to make the case to the people. this is what i'm going to do. i'm going to tell the people of rhode island what i think is best for them and for me and for the whole state and for our kids. and then i'm going to invite them to get engaged. because for too long what's happened in rhode island -- and it may happen in other state houses -- is the governor proposes a budget and then the general assembly takes the budget and often in the dark of night in a quiet room the lobbyists and general assembly get together and hack it up every which way and out pops a budget. that's bad for everybody as far as i can tell. so my job is to shine a light on that whole process and make sure that the people -- the voice of
the people as in that room and even better, that the hearings take place in public in the day, in an -- give everybody an opportunity. and the truth of it is for pension reform at the end of the day the reason that that happened is because the average member of the general assembly was more afraid of their regular constituents than they were of the special interests and lobbyists. and they did the right thing for all the people. and so that's what i need to do. and that's what any leader needs to do. that's what any executive needs to do. that's what the president needs to do. you can't force your ideas on people. got to make the case to the people and fire them up enough to get behind what you're trying to do. >> one thing that occurs to me when you talk about -- we'll get other questions in too, but the issue of regionalization within new england. a lot of what you are talking about is rhode island, what massachusetts did right and rhode island may not have done right or what new york is doing
and all that. the states up in the northeast don't do a great job except on a few discrete issues of collaborating with each other. you put them all together and they're as big as texas. but individually they all have very, very different cultures and things. what are -- and i heard that you attended charlie baker's inauguration up in boston. >> i did. >> which was a gesture of kind of -- a statement i guess that the two states aren't competing they have common interests. what could help all of the states in terms of regionalization and cooperation? >> i did attend governor baker's inauguration. of course, he is a republican and i'm a democrat. he came to mine. and that was an important symbol, i suppose, that we want to work together. the particular thing i'd like to work with him on is energy. energy policy. energy is clearly a regional issue. it's a regional challenge. energy cost is very high not just in rhode island but in
massachusetts and throughout new england. it is a supply issue. and no one state can solve that on their own. so that's a specific issue that i'm working -- want to work with him on to see if we can come up with a regional strategy to in the long run move to renewables, and in the short run see if there is a natural gas opportunity to increase supply so we can bring down prices. because you talk about manufacturing. you talk about missouri. manufacturing consumes a lot of energy. even if i create great skilled programs which we will do and bring manufacturers next to the r & d they want to be next to, if our energy costs are 25% higher than in other regions, that's a hard thing to overcome. >> how would you manage the transition to renewables? there are a lot of benefits for northeastern states in moving to renewables, including creating an industry there that can build wind farms and things like that. but it's still much more
expensive especially than natural gas. so is it's not in the short term going to help the manufacturing cause to be converting to renewables. how would you manage that? >> it's true. my own view is i am a proponent of natural gas as a bridge to renewables because we need energy pricing relief right now. and as a practical matter its it's -- at least where we live, it's the only option. in fact, most consumers in rhode island that's what we use is natural gas. and i know charlie agrees with me on this. and so the challenge, of course the pipeline has to go through massachusetts to come to rhode island which is why i into ed to collaborate with him. so my -- but i think it is in his best interest as well for the consumers in massachusetts. so the first thing is in the short term, work on the natural gas to increase the supply, which brings down cost, while, over time, you get to
renewables. >> we have a couple twitter questions that i have here. one, how does the governor plan to implement the common core? >> i'm supporter of the common core. i think we need to stay strong and stick with it. i'm of the view that most of the folks who don't like the common core, it's for a political reason, not a substantive reason. i think we are laeting ingletting our kids down if we lower our standards. the world's not lowering their standards. when companies want to hire people, they're hiring people that have the skills. they're not lowering their standards. the brutal reality is that education is still the great equalizer. it is the reason i am where i am. it is the reason my family we kind of -- my grandpa started as a cook's helper and now i wound up at harvard with a successful career. so i think we need to move to the common core, we need to set aggressive targets and keep our standards high. now the way that teachers teach
to achieve the common core i think there should be flexibility. i think there should be great flexibility so teachers can figure out how to get to those standards. but i don't think we should lower our standards. >> one final question. hillary clinton came up and campaigned with you. obviously you're somebody who's quite comfortable with the idea that she could be the nominee in 2016. is there really a difference in -- you're the first woman governor of rhode island -- being a woman leader and what is that difference? and if you were making a case for why we need a woman as president right now, what is the value added for the whole country? >> for everybody. i do support hillary clinton. i hope she runs and if she docile's support her. because i think she's a person of action and i think she knows how to get things done and is willing to do the right thing. and that's primarily what we need. having said that i think it is time for a woman president.
i do. and i sure think we were overdue for our first woman governor in rhode island. and i hear that every day. every single day i've been governor i hear from a little girl who thinks it's the greatest thing, ever that we have a woman governor. and the thing of it is, it is this powerful unspoken symbol of you can be whatever you want to be if you work hard enough. you don't have to be a man to be in the top job. so having women in positions of authority makes a difference. it's greatly empowering for other women and also young girls. i also think it is a good thing to have a mom as the chief executive. we recently -- yeah, you agree with me. we recently had a blizzard in rhode island and we got through it. the things they don't teach you in governor's school you know you learn about taxes and the
economy and not how to deal with blizzards. but anyway i immediately call for a travel ban because i wanted people to be safe. and i took to the airwaves and said i want everybody to stay home. and my kids said they're like, mom, you had that like serious mom voice. that's why everybody listened to you. but, you know i heard over and over again from people that i was the first governor that talked about the safety of the guys driving the plows and just please stay off the roads so we can keep them and their families safe so they can do their work. we all bring our own perspectives into the office and clearly i bring a different perspective as a woman and as a mom. >> do you think that -- you're also an economist. i mean is there an actual economic benefit to inspiring girls to reach higher? >> absolutely. i fall into the camp that the single greatest underutilized resource we have as a nation is women and girls. i mean it is 50% of the talent pool and 50% of the brains and
the innovation and the creativity that is underrepresented in -- across the board. it's not a woman's issue to help get women and girls into science and technology and business and government. it's a societal issue. if we could figure out a way to totally empower half of the brains in america imagine how much better and more productive we would be. >> and you think a woman president could do that better than a male president. >> i do. i mean look. i think it is the person. the person who is committed to making that happen will get that done. but i think on balance it is powerful that you can't underestimate the value of a role model. >> great. well governor, thank you very, very much. >> thank you. >> we have run out of time. it is time to wrap up. next i'd like to welcome back
politico's editor, susan glasser with governor terry mcauliffe for our last conversation. thank you. thank you all. thank you again to you. >> we'll clue the rest of you in to our conversation. many thanks again. we were saying this is the fifth annual version of these conferences that microsoft has sponsored. we had the republicans this morning and you get to bat
clean-up here. democratic governors are kind of a vanishing species. >> so how many have you had today? >> you're the fourth. we had rick scott and haslem this morning. >> just with -- >> we were talking pentagon. i think that's a great starting point for our conversation. perhaps more than anyone else in our ranks of governors today you straddle national politics and how we play the game here in washington you a. but you don't have your dnc chairman hat on anymore. you are a governor. you need to get stuff done. washington dysfunction. does it look different to you sitting where you sit now? >> yeah. really obviously as governor of the commonwealth of virginia, virginia is the number one recipient of department of defense dollars. we have the largest naval base in the world. cia is in virginia. quantico. this function impacts us greatly. just in the last three years
virginia lost $9.8 billion worth of defense contracts mostly in northern virginia. sequestration is a real calamity for virginia for our economy so i hope it doesn't happen. but i just left the pentagon. i was at the council of governments which is the president's council that advises him on national security. it is five democrats five republicans and jeh johnson came in and gave his presentation. and it really woke every governor in the room -- i was aware of it but everybody else in the room clearly understands if the dhs shuts down even if the dhs has a continuing resolution with continuing resolutions you cannot fund the states as they do presently today. all of our funding for us, our sheriffs, localities, all of our first responders that we deal with, training all get shut off. even with a continuing resolution. i don't think many folks realize the implications for every state. every state's impacted. i think secretary johnson said nearly $2 billion last year went out to the states in grants and emergency management. that all gets stopped.
the dysfunction here in this dhs makes -- this whole issue that for partisan political reasons you are going to shut down a vital government entity which has an important purpose and innocent people -- as governor of virginia of many of these employees who will be furloughed live in the commonwealth of virginia. for us it has a dramatic impact. i don't have time for partisan politics. i got to create jobs, economic activity and the dysfunction in washington today they're really doing a real disservice to their constituents. >> it's striking that we're already talking about government shutdown again. it was only in december, of course, that the new republican congress came in and made a deal to avoid a shutdown of the overall government. that seemed to be part of their pledge was we're going to show we can govern. no shutdowns. we're back to brinksmanship politics so quickly. were they not serious? >> i don't think probably leader
mcgowan and speaker boehner thought they could get it in line. tying this to dhs funding is nothing but a partisan political maneuvering. we shouldn't do that with our bug and we clearly shouldn't do it with the department of homeland security. it is too vital for our nation's security interests. as i say as a governor it will have a tremendous impact on our economy and it will hurt people. they're not going to get paid. let's be very clear. the secretary made it clear. understand next friday every check will stop to your states. >> so two quick questions. you're a better reader of the political politics of this than i am. what's the percentage chance today that that really happens next week? >> i asked the secretary that. he asked us all for help. but i read all the papers today. doesn't seem -- they've all gone home. i just find this whole -- every time these shutdowns happen, of course, it adversely impacts the republican party. and elements of the house of
representatives that loves to do these types of things they pay a huge price for us. i'm sure speaker boehner's trying to get it worked out but you got to control your caucus. >> well that goes to this question of how the presidency and congress work together or don't work together anymore. you have a perspective of that over multiple administrations. i talked to a republican last week about this dhs issue and he said, you know this was somebody who's more on the deal making side that democrats don't understand the extent to which obama with this immigration order just is like waving a red flag in our rank and file's faces that this really is actually very much about president obama, it is a personal issue at this point. >> i wouldn't disagree with that, a personal issue against president obama. but there is something president obama ran on and he's doing what he said he would do. i have the same issue in virginia. i ran on a lot of issues. i ran a very unique campaign for governor of virginia. i talked a lot about women's rights and that i'd be a brick
wall to protect women's rights. i talked a lot about protecting members of the lgbt community. i talked about responsible, safe gun laws that we had and rolled back and put some restrictions on folks who should own guns. i talked about a lot of that during the campaign. that's not normally what you talk about when you run for the governor of commonwealth of virginia but i tied it all in to the context, we got to grow and diversify our economy for exactly what we are talking about. we have to be less reliant on the federal government. i can't grow and bring businesses to virginia if we don't match what 90% of fortune 500 companies do with their non-discrimination clauses. i'm trying to put virginia in line. you know what? i won. i broke a 38-year trend. whoever wins the white house, the other party wins the governor's mansion. so i broke a 38-year trend and i brought in with me my lieutenant governor and attorney general, first time in 24 years the democrats swept all three state-wide offices in virginia. i'm doing exactly what i said i'd do. we're focused on jobs.
we've had a great year on job creation. 5 hadn't $6 billion of direct investment in my first year which is double what any governor in the history of virginia has done. . i just announced our lowest unemployment rate since 2008. we are creating the jobs. but i'm also doing the things i said i would do. no women's health clinics have closed down. i just put out what i felt were very responsible restrictions on people who want to purchase guns. if you're convicted -- if you're a stalker or domestic abuse, you shouldn't be able to buy a gun. i think that's common sense. i'm the first serving governor to perform a gay marriage. the next day i did an executive order to allow loving gay couples to adopt children. i did exactly what i said i would do. president obama's doing exactly what he said he would do. people, we got to get together. we got to work together. you got to compromise. unfortunately, somewhere up leer in washington the word compromise is gone. you don't get everything you want in life. nobody does.
you got to work together and come to the middle and give and take. that's what's missing up here. >> in terms of getting stuff done, this is another thing that connects to president obama as well and his agenda, but also to your agenda, the medicaid extension and connecting that with obamacare. you have not been able to get that done and of course across a broad swath of the south it basically has undermined the basic premise in many ways of the affordable care act. what do you make of that? what's your conclusion? >> governor hassleman was here earlier. i was in the last meeting with him. he just tried his legislature. he is a republican governor and a republican legislature. 27 states have closed the coverage gap. i tried to make the argument -- listen i knew that my legislature was never going to pass it. but that doesn't mean susan you don't try. i worked my heart and soul out every day. i traveled all over the commonwealth. i went to clinics i met with folks. as governor when you go into a clinic and some woman comes up
and grabs your coat and says governor, if you don't fix this i'm going to die. and people's lives, they need health care. and we have an ability in virginia to close the coverage gap and provide health care for 400,000 virginians. what i try to say to everybody is, you can dislike the president. you can dislike the health care law. but it is the law of the land. i can't change it. the supreme court decided that. right now in virginia, about 13 different taxes you now pay under the new law. you ship $2.5 billion a year to washington. that's done. i can't stop that. we have a right to bring 100% of that money back for three years, then it ultimately goes down to 90. it will save our clinics, help our hospitals. aps as a governor competing for business, my neighbors, maryland, virginia, kentucky arkansas, they all closed the coverage gap. almost every sing sl chamle chamber of commerce, most of them very republican, all endorsed my effort to close the govern gap.
but partisan politics overtook common sense and i think for many folks in electoral politics that are worried about a primary challenge, that it be a tea party challenge or whatever it may be with be if they vote for so-called obamacare. so i'm going to continue to work for it. it is the law. i can provide health care to 400,000 virginians. i went to the ram clinic last year. susan, this is thousands of people who come for saturday on sunday, doctors dentists, volunteers, free health care for one weekend. thousands of people show up. >> we ran a photo essay from that in politico magazine. >> it breaks your heart. these folks get health care one day a year for free. they come -- many of them will tell you we come out of the mountains, we come down. this is it for them. i walk through and there's bed sheets in between separating. it is out in a field. at 4:00 in the morning it hit capacity and they turned over 1,000 people away. this is their only hope. we met a young gentleman, had all of his teeth pulled out of his mouth. i asked him why?
he said, well we equate teeth with pain. so the sad part of it is, this is why it's virginia, if you drove 40 miles west in a car to west virginia they get health care 365 days a year because they closed the coverage gap. >> you said obamacare. >> that's what they've defined it as. >> i know. we had an event with kathleen sebelius was she said one of our biggest mistakes is we shouldn't have embraced the name, it shouldn't be called obamacare. so if they changed the name, could you pass it in virginia? >> wlee >> we did. we changed it a brunch of times and it still didn't work. it is beyond changing names. i'm still working with them. i put it back in my budget this year knowing that it wouldn't pass but i just want to keep the dialogue going. i've had the leadership in my office time and time again. i know why i can structure a deal where all the money we could bring to virginia, not a cent would have to come from
virginia state government. because whether it comes off the 100%, the private providers the hospitals, would cover that difference. so the state would have no obligation. it would not cost us one single penny. as governor i would bring $2.5 billion back to my economy, run through my economy. the jobs saved the hospitals shored up. there are hospitals throughout the commonwealth of va today that that are cutting services. part of the law is you got disproportionate share payments. if you took care of indigent individuals, the federal government will give you 100%. all of those reimbursements are ending. they're stopping billions of dollars. but in consideration for doing this, they give you this pot of money over here. we're taking the worst part and loss losing for our hospitals throws payments. uva is losing lundzhundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars. >> it is an unintended consequence. >> the supreme court allowed states to opt out.
when the supreme court validated the health care aca bill, they gave the states the option to opt out. that was unfortunate. because then it became -- it got into the politics. governor hassleman and i talked about it today. he he tried to do it in tennessee. other states are lining up. another perfect example. i bring everything back to jobs. lee county, southwest virginia, rural, rural community. in parts of virginia, the south side, southwest, coal, textile, furniture manufacturing, so many jobs have been lost and they really need help and i'm trying to focus on bringing manufacturing there. but lee county just lost their hospital. now, i'm pretty good at sales and i love to try and convince businesses to move to the commonwealth. i had no chance of bringing a business to lee county. a manufacturer's not going to move his business or her business to a county that doesn't have a hospital. with in the manufacturing plant one of your employees has a heart attack. are you going to take an ambulance for 110 miles? are you going to have to pay for
a helicopter? it's just common sense. so unfortunately, the most rural parts of virginia are the most adversely impacted by us not closing the coverage gap. >> so i know we have a lot of questions in the audience. they're going to get mad at me if i don't ask about the elephant in the room. we are talking politics. >> elephant or donkey. >> donkey. exactly. donkey. speaking of a particular donkey you know, everyone here wants to know -- >> you never referred to hillary as a donkey. >> a proud one, right? pick your metaphor. >> i just broke seven ribs and punctured a lung on a horse, so i'm sensitive to animals right now. >> okay. so obviously, we'll end the metaphors here and go right to the direct questions. when is she announcing, what's your role, and how is she going to do in virginia? >> if she chooses -- listen, she's going to do this on her timetable. she's in a very good position today. there's no rush for her to get
in. the other side, they're all in, republicans. they have a tough primary going on. no need to get in the middle of that. there's no pressure for her. i certainly hope she runs. in 2008 i was the chairman of her campaign. now i'm the governor of the commonwealth of virginia. i think this time the most i can do to help her is the model that we have in virginia that's working. job creation off the charts, economic development. that you have a pro-business governor, socially progressive, that brings all the sides together, works in a bipartisan way to get results. today it's really working in virginia. that model -- and i think if i can be a successful governor in virginia it's probably the best thing i can do for hillary if she decides to run. >> does that mean you won't be helping on the fund-raising front? >> listen, i've known the clintons since 1980. i'm personal friends with him. i'm going to do everything i possibly can. but my job now as governor of the commonwealth of virginia, it's different. when i was chairman of the campaign before, i'm now governor. i have to be governor.
it's my top priority. of course i'm going to help her. but i honestly believe that listen, virginia, any electoral map that you cut up, virginia's going to be a key swing state. there's no electoral college numbers that get you to 270 without putting virginia in it. i don't know what's going to happen on the other side. you look at the map, if jeb's the nominee, florida. you've got -- looking at the -- every time you come back you have to win virginia. working hard in virginia, creating jobs, people are very happy today, both sides. we have bipartisan agreement on the budget. the "washington post" just wrote a huge story how reporters are mad because nobody's fighting in richmond, we're all getting along. we're acting like adults and we're coming together. and i meet with the budget committee chairs. we privately work together to do what's in the best interest of virginia. that is a great message. and you continue to do that, that's a message that hillary should run on as well. >> a lot of people have said that in fact when you look at what her economic message is going to be it's going to be
framed around president clinton's economic -- do you think that still works in this context, this context of 2015 and 2016? >> well, clearly times are different than we had in the '90s. 21 million new jobs, booming economy, it's a different time. our economy today is in very good shape. we've come back. we've come out of the great recession that we just had. it's a different economy than what then president clinton inherited. when he was in office we were still in a recessionary mode. the economy's coming back. jobs are being created. on average you saw, what, 230,000 jobs last month. that's all good news. she will focus just as her husband did about bringing -- if she runs. i just want to qualify while the cameras are here. but listen, she gets it. on the economy. and she gets it that job creation is critical. she will work in a bipartisan way to move the economy forward.
i think the big issue, susan, this election's going to be where the economy's coming back but the middle class today feels squeezed. for people in take home pay e they are not feeling today. there's still a lot of angst with the economy. even with the numbers going up. so i think this whole issue of going to be some income inequality, disparity, whatever you want to call it, is really making sure in this middle class here that you're focused on quality jobs. when i talk about quality jobs it's a quality job that pays well with benefits. a job that doesn't pay well and you've got to work two or three and you have no time to see your children is not a job. and we should do more. and i think she will focus on that. >> this economic inequality issue, there is a big concern among some democrats that the clintons are seen as wall street democrats, if you will. they've obviously become multimillionaires themselves, raising money including from governor governments. -- from foreign governments. do you think that's a problem
for the clintons? >> if you look at the upbringing of both hillary and bill clinton, neither one of them have ever forgotten their roots. if you read all the biographies on hillary and her family, they scrimped and saved her entire upbringing. you know the same story with president clinton. neither one of them will ever forget their roots. and that's what they're going to focus on. you look at the two of them and what they have done in public service through their careers. they clearly could have gone off and done a lot of different things with their lives. they chose to stay involved in public service. even after president clinton has gotten out of office, the work he has done, i used to be on the board of the clinton foundation. what he's done in africa and all over the globe in helping people. that's who they are. they like to help people. making sure people have opportunities for success. and that's what their focus will be. >> let's get the audience in. i'm sure they have lots of questions. in the back there, sir. do identify yourself, thank you. >> larry goldman. nice to see you again sir. >> hello, larry, how are you? >> great.
>> as a good virginiaian, too. >> good virginian too. >> everybody's a constituent. >> let me ask you, how many live in virginia? fantastic. >> home court advantage. >> there was an editorial in today's post about the gerrymandering issue and what the senators do. what can you do to balance that environment so we in virginia have a good chance at competitive elections to find the best people? >> that's a great question. i've already said i'm going to veto this particular bill. you have a particular member of our state senate to draft the bill that took one republican precinct from a democratic senator and put one democrat and the democrats said we're not playing this game. but of course i would veto that. but larry raised a very interesting point. and i talk about this a lot. i go back. and the issues we have in what's going on up here goes back to -- i put everything back at partisan gerrymandering. what happens in elections today, let's take the house of representatives, i think over 80% of members of congress have no chance of losing a general
election. they don't even have an election because it's a guaranteed -- >> over 90% really the last few years. >> which is ridiculous. in business you have competition every day. keeps you moving, keeps you thinking, keeps you working hard. so we've got to get back -- i'm all for non-partisan. when i was chairman of the national party i advocated for it. i'm all nor non-partisan redistricting. we want to get lines as close as you can to 50-50. i think it's important. what happens today is the only way you can lose an election is get a primary challenge within your own party. so it pushes you to the extremes. the middle has somewhat evaporated. and nobody should be guaranteed of anything in life. you should have to work hard for it. that's the problem. what happens is you don't worry about winning re-election. you worry about a primary opponent. and sometimes you're not always working for the best interests of your constituents. i think we've got toned this partisan -- i'd love it if we had non-partisan redistricting in virginia. i've advocated for it. i'm going to continue to push
for it. there are certain things we can do. we are now under a court mandate to redraw our congressional lines. and by april 1 we have to have a map approved. and if we don't it is not a bill that i sign that will go to the court. so right now we are under a court order to redo our congressional alliance. but it's a great point and we've got to get these districts back to where they're competitive. competition is good. it keeps you smarter. it keeps you working harder. i think that's what's happened. the partisan rancor, at the end of the day you're supposed to be up there doing the constituents' work instead of fighting on partisan political issues. it's unfortunate. is. >> i wish we could flash back to your dnc chairman's role. >> listen, i was the national -- >> no, it's a different -- >> i was supposed to be tough and partisan. you were the head of the party. but it's a different job now. i had quite a few hats. >> it's great. thank you so much. in the back there, sir.
>> governor mcauliffe, since you were associated very close to hillary clinton, and i'm sure if she decides to run you'll be summoned to join her trusted adviser group. given that, my suggestion is one of the reasons she lost against obama during the first term was her hawkish position on international sphere and in the wars and so on. and that's the reason i didn't vote for her. i've always voted democratic. so my suggestion would be that she should focus on jobs as the lady earlier, the woman governor emphasized, you should do that. you should suggest that. and play evenhanded role that the america is the victim, the war has been imposed on america and not america is doing any