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tv   Current Former Public Officials Discuss National Service  CSPAN  November 1, 2019 2:03pm-3:17pm EDT

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next, currents and former public official officials on the importance of military and civilian service programs. the event hosted by the brookings institution lasts just over an hour. >> good morning, ladies and gentlemen. i'm john allen, i'm the president of brookings and on behalf of the institution and our partners at service here alliance, i want to welcome you all to this event today. i want to welcome those coming in over the especially with web cast and of course we always welcome the media. this morning, you will be hearing from a distinguished group of leaders and volunteers on the matter of national service. let me make a few brief comments to begin with. in such divided and turbulent times, we must look for ways to bridge society. to bridge the divides, and to restore a sense of community.
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in recent years, much has been done, sadly, to burn, rather than to build the bridges in our civic nation. leading to a growing culture of fear, and distrust, incivility and a reflex to retreat into the safety of tribalism. our trust in institutions, and our trust in each other has taken a beating. and has in fact, declined. and that decline makes it harder for us to solve some of the key problems we face as a country, and as a people. from my personal experience, i know that when individuals from different walks of life have an opportunity to serve together, and to serve their country, and to do something bigger than themselves, they almost always live up to the challenge. in fact, they almost always perform magnificently. emerging from the experience
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better young women and men. and in the process, they learn a crucial lesson. that when you serve side by side with another person, it really doesn't matter who they are, or where they're from, bends of trust will form, and endure, and often last a lifetime. it's time it consider whether we should be providing more opportunities for service. not just in the military. but importantly, in the civilian sector as well. research by our scholar isabel sawhill, shows that americans are enthusiastic about national service. and what she calls an american exchange program, that would ask american families across the country to voluntarily host a young person from another community, for as much as a year, while they perform their service, that's ground-breaking.
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if provided with the right opportunity, americans can work together across so many areas to prepare for and to respond for emergencies and disasters, to improve public spaces, to help our elderly americans to stay in their homes, and provide training or career opportunities to low income youth. and that doesn't begin to even scratch the long list of opportunities and possibilities that lie before us. this event this morning, by virtue of those who are participating and certainly those in the audience, this event this morning importantly lies at the intersection of where policy meets action. and the people that you will hear from this morning, the corporations that y corporations, the conversations that you will listen to this morning, will be all about translating policy into action. and that's so important. so we welcome our, our
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panelists, we welcome our guests, we welcome the conversation this morning and most importantly we welcome you. we're going out over web cast. and we're very much on the record. and with that, bell, may i offer you the floor please for your remarks and the first panel. [ applause ] >> our first panel should probably come right on up. so good morning, everyone. it's great to see this group, and i am so thrilled to be on
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the stage with so many leaders in the national service area. let me start by saying just a few words about national service itself. i'll be echoing to some extent what president john allen has just said, but i'm not sure it can be said too many times. we are a very divided nation. you all know that. it's a cultural problem. it's a political problem. it's an economic problem. so i do want us not to forget about that. but one writer recently said, we are texting and tweeting ourselves into disunion. i thought that was an interesting way of putting it. so we really need to have a good conversation about the potential of national service to bring us together again, and to get us off of our phones and into our
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communities. so there are many benefits to national service, in addition to the role it can play in bringing us together. it has benefits for the participants. the young people who serve. it has benefits for the communities they serve. and you are going to hear much more about that through the rest of the morning. but the basic point i think is that democracy cannot flourish when we do not trust each other and do not trust our institutions. and i think national service can play a role. this is no easy task. but we should do everything we can to repair some of these divisions. there is considerable evidence, now i'm just putting on for a second my hat as a researcher, as i've delved into this a bit,
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lots of evidence, that when people work together on a common task, across divisions that would normally keep them apart, they learn as john allen said, to trust and respect each other, and to form bonds. and the military is the classic example where we have seen that happen as he said. now, i personally got interested in this issue when i was working on a book last year called "the forgotten americans" and i got interested in all the usual policy solutions to the problem of people who have been left behind in our society, or our economy, but i came to the conclusion at the end that public policy alone are the usual kinds of policies that we talk about here at places like brooklyn, aren't sufficient. they're necessary. but we also have to really start talking a lot more about
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relationships and about respect. and in some work we're going to be doing in the future, we will be saying a lot more about that. after i finish my book, i decided i needed to field test the ideas and take them on the road. so i went out and i did focus groups, in three cities in america, with middle and working class americans. and one of the things that really surprised me was the degree of concern about these divisions and the degree of enthusiasm amongst the public, and i'm not talking about a sophisticated public here, i'm talking about ordinary every day working americans, for doing something about those divisions, and national service appealed to them a lot. so i then came back and realized that at this point, i didn't know nearly enough. in fact, i knew very little about the work that was going on by all of the people who are
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sitting up here on this stage. and i think it's just remarkable that they're all here today. i couldn't be more thankful to the fact that they made time to be here. i want to particularly call out our partnership with service year alliance, this meeting would not have happened without their participation, and we got lots of help from the other groups on this stage as well. now, i'm in the going to do long introductions, but before i turn it over, to them, because i know you want to hear from them now, i think i'll just say a brief word about each person, so dr. joe heck is the chairman of the commission on military national and public service, did i get that right? and that commission is going to be reporting back to congress in march, and you'll be hearing
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more about their work. but i think it is very important. barbara stewart is the ceo of the corporation for national and community service. the major federal agency that has responsibility for americorps, senior corp and other service programs in the government. she has a wonderful background in nonprofit management and from everything i've been told, barbara, you are fulfilling that role very well in your current post. and next, we have deval patrick, former governor of massachusetts. i just finished reading your book about how you began on the south side of chicago, went to milton academy, ended up at harvard and harvard law school, if i remember correctly, and are now, have now served in some of the highest positions in the land.
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it's an inspiring story. so thank you, governor, for being here. and last but definitely not least is jessy colvin, the ceo of service year alliance, who also has one of these multi-faceted backgrounds that's equally impressive to everyone else's, but without further ado, i'm going to turn this now, over to dr. heck. >> well, thank you, bell, and good morning, and my thanks to brookings and service year for putting this together and for hosting us this morning. as well as my thanks to all of you, either in the audience or watching over the web who have served and will serve after hearing this morning's conversations or are currently serving. it is an incredibly important time in our nation's history as people talked already this morning about how do we heal the rift lass we see in our society and how national service is one of the potential solutions to healing these divides. it is my honor to serve as chairman of the national commission on military national and public service. and for those who have not heard
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about the commission previously, we were charted by congress, in the fiscal year 17 national defense authorization act. it recently started as a commission to review whether or not women should have to register for selective service. however the late senator john mccain and late senator jack reed saw an opportunity to do a lot more with the commission than just answer that single question. so they expanded the scope of the commission's mandate, to look at how can we actually encourage more americans to participate across all service lines. whether it be in uniform in the military, whether it be in a national service program, which we also include local communities, similar programs, or in public service, which is finding a job in state, local, federal, or travel government, or running for elected office. there are 11 bipartisan members, appointed by leadership from congress. i am blessed to have a very incredible group of thought leaders, across the service spectrum. representing diverse ideas. and we have worked over the last
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two years, in listening to the american public, about their views on service. as bell mentioned our goal is to issue a final report in march of 2020 with recommendations back to congress. the american public, and the president. about how we can actually encourage more americans to serve. i also want to thank john bridgeland and john dulio who are in the office for their recently-released report on will america finally embrace national service because it segues perfectly into our commission's vision, which is every american inspired and eager to serve. so what have we been doing over the last two years since we started? our first year was a fact finding tour. we traveled around the country. all nine census districts, 15 state, 24 city, met with over 300 organizations and received literally thousands of public comments either at our public meetings or via the internet, via our web site. we looked at what encourages people to serve, why aren't people serving, what are the obstacles they are facing for those who desire to serve but
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aren't. and so, after we went around the nation, on this listening tour, we came back and issued our interim report, which for those of you who have not had an opportunity to read is available at our web site, inspire to that's inspire, the numeral 2, in that report, we talk about who we are, where we've been, and where we're headed. so based on that year's worth of research and public listening, we came up with some potential recommendations on how to encourage more americans to serve. in the second year, we traveled to another ten states, held public hearings, where we listened to 68 policy experts, received 40 statements for the record, issued eight memorandum, staff memorandum and started to vet some of the potential policy recommendations that we have under consideration. upon completion of those public hearings, the commission is now in its deliberate phase. we are now reviewing all of that
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information, with the goal of compiling our report, which hopefully will be on time in market 2020, and that will lay out the recommendations that the commission does want to put forward. so in my remaining time, i want to stay at kind of the 30,000 foot level. speak generally about where we're headed because in the interest of time, as recovering politician, brevity and public speaking is not necessarily one of my strong suits so i will stay general and leave specifics to questions and answers. so what are some of the current common themes that we've heard? what we first heard, and i guess isn't too surprising, is that we do have an incredible culture of service in this nation today. wherever we went, we heard from americans who currently serve. and we heard from americans who want to serve. they just want to know how. so we look at this culture of service, that we actually have now, what is described as one of the exceptional pieces of being an american and wanting to help our neighbor, and how can we nurture that culture of service,
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into an ethos of service? to where service is not just encouraged, but expected? so that at a certain point in time, it's the individual who doesn't serve that is the odd person out, and not the person who does serve. so that it becomes almost automatic as a right of growing up, the conversation goes to, what are you going to do for your service project and how do we change that mind set and how do we hang that culture? it begins we believe with a strong and robust civic education program. we feel that over time, as academic curricula bet more and more compressed, and pressed for time, for other subjects, that civic education has fallen by the wayside. now wloo while there are some great programs in some states by and large civic education has fallen away. and how can you expect to encourage someone or expect someone to serve their community, their state, their nation, when they don't truly understand the rights and responsibilities that go along with being a citizen of this
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democratic republic. and it's not just simply a high school u.s. history class, it's how do we weave common themes of civic education throughout the curricula, regardless of subject, so that our youth are exposed to these important principles throughout their academic life. it builds into experiential and service learning. where perhaps in middle school, there is a finite service project that a middle school class has to do. a project with a specific goal, done over a specific period of time, to introduce them to the concept of actually serving. moving to high school, with perhaps a semester of service. and we all know that spring semesters are pretty much of your senior year is kind of shot, you're either waiting to start your job or go to school, what if that was spent in completing a service project over the course of a semester? perhaps there should be service fellowships where post-high school, or even post-college, you have the opportunity to get a voucher, to go serve a fellowship in a service program
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of your choice. kind of have the money follow the service individual. so it begins with that piece. it then grows into how do we get more individuals aware of service opportunities how do we make them aspire to serve? and then how do we grant access. the three buckets that we are really looking at. you can't be or do what you don't know doesn't exist. you think about it, when i was growing up, i saw peace corps commercials. i haven't seen one in over 20 years. we spoke to military cadets in rotc down at fort knox many of whom were two or three-year scholarship students because none of them knew about the opportunity for a four-year scholarship while they were in high school. no one talked to them about it. less than 5% of today's youth take the asdab test in high school. how do we increase awareness number one. once we make them aware, how do we inspire them? what are the incentives? whether they be direct financial incentives, whether it be an educational award, whether it is
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appealing to their sense of patriotism or some altruistic characteristic that they want to follow, but we then have to have them be inspired to want to serve. and then we have to have access. what we hope is beyond our wildest dreams, the commission is overwhelmingly successful, in all 329 million americans want to serve. now, we know we won't have 329 million service opportunities. but what we must do is make sure that for those who are aware, and inspired, that they have access to a clear and supportive path to service. and that service opportunity has to be meaningful and worthwhile to that individual. because we know that once you have someone serve one time, in a meaningful way, they are hooked for life. they will come back and serve again. it may not be right after the first service opportunity, they may go out and start their career, and start a family, at mid career, say i now have the time i want to go back and serve again. post-retirement. commit to the rsvd program and
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start to serve again as a senior. as a physician, i always bring things back to a medical analogy, i believe every american has a service gene. my job is to figure out how to activate that gene. because we want every american inspired and eager to serve. and so with that, i call for your help. not only do we value your input, but we need your input. as we consider our final recommendations and continue to draft our final report. our public comment period remains open until december 31st of this year. so i encourage anybody who is either here today or listening who has a comment on these important issues, one, to read our interim report, see where we might be headed, and then two, to provide your comments on where you think we are headed. and whether it is right or wrong. please do so via our web site again at inspire 2 because it is only through your help that we will achieve our vision of every american inspired and eager to serve. thank you.
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[ applause ] >> that was inspiring hearing about inspiring. [ laughter ] >> barbara stewart? >> thank you so much. thank you for having me here this morning. i appreciate brookings and service year alliance for putting this on, and it's wonderful to be in a room full of people who know about service, are supporters of service, i am interested very much in the first two panels, for those of you who thought you might slip out and not hear the last panel, you're making a big mistake. the last panel is going to be fantastic. it is an opportunity to hear from our americorps members and alumni about how service has impacted their lives. so i encourage you all to stay for what will be the best panel, no offense to all of you. so again, it is a pleasure to be here with you this morning. as bell said, i lead the corporation for national and community service, and for those of you who may not be aware,
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we're the federal agency for service and volunteering. so we promote service and volunteering. and we administer the multiple americorps programs as well as the senior corps programs. we also inspire all americans to volunteer outside of national service, and i'm pleased to report that the percentage of americans who are volunteering in this country is slightly is on the rise, which is terrific. 77 million americans volunteered in their communities last year. but today, our focus is in national service. and the impact that that will have on our community at large. so a couple of things. we are actually celebrating the 25th anniversary this year, of the first swearing in of the first class of americorps members. more than a million americans have served in americorps programs. that's a huge alumni network. but we continue to struggle with awareness of our programs as dr.
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heck was saying, if you don't know about your opportunity to serve, then you're not going to serve. we need to be broaden that. and i will touch on that a little bit further. but it is exciting to think about the impact that these over a million americans have had in our community. again, i feel like i'm in a room of friends. but i'm going to take just a brief moment to touch on some of our community impact, again, that you're probably well aware of, but more than half our resources support national service programs that support education. education which could be mentoring, it could be working with underprivileged children to make sure that they are grade ready, education in various forms. we also have the ability to work on a broader array of programming and so many of our americorps members are engaged with work force development. helping veterans and military families achieve their
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potential, working to improve the environment, helping after disasters. and i am forgetting some of the other fantastic things that we do that our americorps members do, but the kind of impact they're having in communities is demonstrative and is really meaningful. something that we maybe haven't talked about as much historically is the impact that service has on the member. so we do an alumni member survey. and again, this won't surprise you if you have interacted with our americorps or senior corps alumni, but there are so many significant benefits to service. for the individual who serves. one particularly for older volunteers is a health benefit. but when we see the developmental benefits of younger people who serve in americorps, it is really awesome. we see that they are better at problem-solving. we see that they are better at working with individuals who are from backgrounds that are different than theirs.
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we see that they're better at time management. they're better at financial management. they're more confident and self assured, in short, they're developing into the kind of individuals that any employer would seek to hire. and frankly, anyone would want to be a neighbor with. so service is really a developmental experience that is significantly meaningful for the individual that participates. also, it's been touched on a little bit in this, so far this morning, and i anticipate we will continue to discuss, is the impact that service has on society. at a challenging time of divisions, within our country, serving shoulder to shoulder with someone who may be from a different socioeconomic, geographic, philosophical different background from yourself, is arguably the best way to learn understanding about
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other people. and i see this time and again, i had the pleasure in the 20 months that i've been in this current role, to see an awful lot of amazing americorps members and senior corps volunteers but if you'll indulge me i will speak briefly about an opportunity i had to see a team of americorps members serving in florida after hurricane michael. and to see individuals from such very different background, i had a chance to chat with the teams and with a young women with a masters degree in anthropology, serving next it a young man who told me he had been this a gang in l.a., working with a gentleman who was taking a gap year before he went to columbia. i could go on and on, but a really interesting mix of committed individuals who were serving in a community that wasn't even their own. they had traveled to florida to h help people that they will never see again but whose lives
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they've changed. this is one little anecdote. there are hundreds and hundreds of thousands of similar anecdotes going on every year with americorps members. so i just share that as an example of the bridge building that occurs when people are working shoulder to shoulder, with people who are very different from theirs, in terms of their original background, and how that does serve to bring us together as a country. so do we need more national service? i think that's going to be also a topic of the day. and i would argue absolutely. we absolutely need more national service. as the individual leading the organization that implements our national service programs, though, i would just throw out a couple of cautionary comments. one, if we're to grow national service significantly, we need to be investing in our nonprofit infrastructure. the way our national service programs currently are funded through the corporation for
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national and community service is a combination of a variety of programs, but our biggest program is both a formula program, where money is given to states, to fund national service programs in their communities, and a competitive program, and while there are certainly, there's a demand for more national service opportunities, there's certainly more capacity out there now to provide a high quality national service opportunity for americans. it's not unlimited. if we were to double the amount of resources, in a year, we would really need to be also committing to strengthening our partners in the field. we would need to be building the nonprofit capacity. we also need to be building the capacity of the corporation for national and community service. and that's something that i had been very focused on in the time that i had been with cncs. we need to strengthen our infrastructure, so that we are
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well positioned for the long term growth of national service, and that's something i'm very committed to doing. the last point i would want to make is really piggybacks on what dr. heck said, and that is that we need to broaden awareness of these programs. i'm going to make the assumption that folks in this room are familiar with americorps and its life-changing impact. familiar with the importance of volunteerism, but there are hundreds of, 100 million, let me be more specific, our research indicates that only half of americans have ever heard of americorps. and that's unfair to the other half who never have. because you can't serve in these programs if you don't know about them. service is a life-changing opportunity. again, you're going to hear that i think throughout the morning, and you will see that in living color, when you see our americorps members, and alums speak to you. but if you don't know about the
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opportunity, you can't take advantage of it. so one of the things that i hope that we will all focus on and certainly the corporation for national and community service, will be working on, and piggybacking off of the great work of the national commission, is how do we broaden the number of americans who are aware of service opportunities. so that they can take advantage of them. so again, i really appreciate this opportunity to be with all of you this morning. and i look forward to hearing from my fellow panelists. [ applause ] >>. >> barbara, thank you, and thank you you for your service. governor? >> thank you, bell. and good morning, everybody. my thanks also to brookings, and to the service year alliance for convening us all here today. i am not surprised that there's a through line white common from general allen through bell and my fellow panelists, i'm just a little sorry that i have to come
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near the end, because you've all heard it before, and i think most of you are here because you already believe it. jessy, i'm sorry, you're the very last. i too very strongly believe in the importance of national service. i want to make a point about urgency moving toward national service and indeed universal national service, and tell you why. as bell said, at the outset, i grew up on the south side of chicagos in the '50s and '60s, some of that time on public assistance. generally not thought of as the garden spot. it's usually thought of, and aptly and rightly described as a place of deprivation and often about things we didn't have. but one of the things we did have was a very strong sense of community. there was a time when every child was under the jurisdiction of every single adult on the block. you messed up down the street in front of ms. jones she would go
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upside the house as if you werers and call home so you got it two times and i think what adults were trying to get across to us is, membership in a community is understanding that you have a stake in your neighbor's dreams and struggles as well as your own. that we are about common cause. and common destiny. fast forward, a few decades, to a meeting i attended, a summer ago. so this is 2018, in aspen, of a smallish group, a bipartisan basis, of former secretaries of state, nsa leaders, and other senior diplomats and security officials. and we had a briefing in that meeting about what the russian interference in the 2016 election was ll about. much of this has been reported on since. the pattern and campaign of
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misinformation. and disinformation. the ways in which conspiracy theories were fomented, even to the point of organizing rallies by invisible and unheard of, and in fact, unreal candidates. and causes. to which people came and made their presence felt. the charges of voter fraud and interference that were so often repeated, that they became for some accepted fact and evidence of a rigged election. and now we're learning that much of that effort was organized around race. it struck me then, as i listened to all of that chilling detail, not just how brazen it was, to undertake, to undermine our democracy, not just how insidious it was to do so, essentially by turning us on
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ourselves, but how easy it was. how easy. and it was easy because we don't know each other. it's harder to call someone a name, to marginalize someone you know. it's harder to dismiss a different point of view if it comes from someone you know and have learned to respect. i remember the morning after i was nominated to head the civil rights division in the justice department, the very next morning, i was asked by senator kennedy, my senator, to come up to the hill, and to stand just outside the doors of the senate and shake hands with senators as they came off the floor for a vote. and this nervous 30-something--year-old nominee, coming in, after quite a lot of trouble in filling the position, and all of the controversy that went around this, remember this, bill? and there i was, and i must have shaken hands with 70 senators.
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and i remember afterwards asking the senator, why did we do that? and he said, because it's a lot harder to attack someone whose hand you have shaken. i support national service, because we don't know each other. because our sense of national community is frayed and in some ways is unraveling. and because unless that is repaired, all hope for lasting and meaningful change, change that needs our generational responsibility to leave things better for those who come behind us, all hope of that is in jeopardy. and i know it works. ten years ago, this coming january, as part of the second administration, inauguration of our administration, in massachusetts, we launched an initiative called project 351. which brought together eighth graders from each of the 351
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cities and towns in the commonwealth around service. and we gathered in boston, we had a service project we did together. we talked about service. we celebrated service, and then we charged these eighth graders to go back to their communities, and be ambassadors and be evangelists for service. and we focused on that, because it tends that the, you know, the athletes, the scholars, they get their recognition. sometim sometimes the good citizens don't. and this was about elevating that. ten years in, this initiative is still under way. it's a functioning nonprofit. and the estimates are that those young people have touched 650,000-plus lives in our commonwealth. and made each other understand that service is not just about what you do, but who you are.
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it's about learning and modeling the importance of turning to each other, rather than on each other. and that is how community is built. in small ways. or nationally. and we are hungry for, and needful of this today. right now. and so i'm so glad you're here. but i'm so hopeful that we will go from here, and advocate for universal national service for our own sake, and the future of our democracy. i'm delighted to be with you. thank you. [ applause ] >> governor, thank you. and i love what you pioneered in massachusetts, with lifting up citizenship and not just athletic and academic achievement. we really need that.
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jesse, so wonderful to have you here, and sorry you had to be last, because you were the key person in helping, you and your organization, helping to put this together, so thank you again for that. >> i'm jesse, i'm the ceo of service year alliance. it's great to be here. the first thing i want to say is we take at service year alliance, the alliance part of our organization's name, very seriously. so on behalf of my team, i just want to convey to bell, to brookings, to general heck, barbara, governor, and to everyone here, thank you for your partnership. for make can this event happen and for being allies. as the youngest person on stage, who was hired to be a next generation leader to usher service year alliance into its next chapters i want to share two things with you this morning. the first is i want to share the perspective of a leader, of a team who aspires to stand on the shoulders of the giants, of those who built the national service movement.
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and who aspire to take the movement into its next phases. and second, i'm really excited to tell everybody about our serve america together campaign. i am an elder millennial. which in plain english means when the 9/11 attacks occurred i was 17 years old. i was a senior in high school and my initial reaction was to get the military recruiters on the phone. that was the first of many near heart attacks i gave my hippy parents. i decided to root and ground my pursuit of service in education. so i went to college. and i studied arabic. and i studied the middle east. and then afterwards, i went to syria. and i taught english to iraqi refugees. this was 2006. so the war in iraq was nearing its lowest points. i could see from damascus, that we got it wrong in baghdad. the violence would spread over from iraq, through syria and throughout the rest of the
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region. so i came home and i joined the military. i served in the army. i served as an army ranger, i served as an intelligence officer, i served four combat deployments to afghanistan. in my military experience, especially in afghanistan, where i learned the power of what happens when americans from all walks of life join together to tackle shared problems. it's the powerful connective tissue that occurs when you share a fox hole with your fellow americans. we learned to trust in each other and we learned to trust in the institution that sent us to man the fox hole in the first place. if you've been to, habitat for humanity work site, or an americorps classroom, you're seeing that same connect tive tissue. different type of fox hole but same connective tissue. my national service experience transformed my personal relationship with my community,
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which my country, with my own sense of my own citizenship. when i met my wife on a blind date, who my wife served in a police uniform, actually here in washington, d.c., and had worked for members of congress, and the other side of the political aisle, what got us to date number two was not my wit or my charm, it was our common experience around our service. flash forward to 2017. my wife and i heard that the first year of marriage is particularly easy. so we just went ahead and had a baby and ran for congress. [ laughter ] >> we on the campaign, we built a coalition that extended from a bernie sanders chapter over here all the way to members of president hw, and j w. bush administrations. to be a candidate on the campaign trail in 2018 was to have a front row ticket of the divide, the tearing apart of our civic fabrics, along
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socioeconomic, political, religious divides. and it was a glimpse into a very distopian future which will be our country if we don't invest in solutions that unite us. so that's why i'm so excited about national service. especially service years. because i believe they have the power. and we here at service year alliance believe they have the power to bring people together in common cause. at service year alliance, we see the best antidote to the divides that we have been talking about this morning as service years. and that's why i'm really excited to talk about our serve america together campaign. so serve america together campaign, the purpose of the campaign is to make national service a part of growing up in this country. we have, it has three goals. so first, we want to elevate and make national service a key issue in the 2020 presidential campaign. we want candidates to be asked about, and be expected to have plans, the same way you would expect for health care, or trade, or foreign policy.
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that's number one. number two, we want to advance and elevate and push forward legislation at the federal level around national service. and number three, we want to advance an ecosystem of partnerships, and ideas, and policies, that are going to make national service something that every young american, it should be a common expectation opportunity that they have. it is a first of its kind coalition. and we are drawing upon leaders from both the civilian and military spheres, and we have a phenomenal group of leaders leading. it that is general stanley mccrystal who happens to be our board chair, senator bob gates, secretary condoleezza rice, air ania huffington, governor patrick at one of co-chairs we're honored to have your voice and be in your corner, sir. . when we launched the campaign in june, we also launched a presidential campaign. so the challenge to the 020
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candidates to make national service a priority in the first 100 days of the administration, and to roll out big bold ambitious plans to scale and make national service a priority. three candidates have directly accepted the challenges. mayor pete is the highest profile of those. many other candidates have rolled out, have not accepted the challenges but have rolled out big bold plans around national service. we want every candidate to accept the challenge we can live with at the end of this, every candidate having a plan for national service. the same way you would expect them to have a plan for health care. we at service year alliance think national service is actually inevitable. we think it is inevitable because we're talking about the civic divides, we are about to enter a political phase beginning in washington where those divides are only going to deepen. we think at some point as these divides get deeper and deeper, and our fabric is continuing to be torn apart, that we're going to have leaders asking for
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solutions to help bring us back together, to unify us and we think national service is the best antidote. so for us, our message is rather than start five, ten 15 years ago, to echo what governor patrick said, it is an urgent moment and let's get started right now. if we are going to get there, we are going to need leaders from both sides of the aisle who are thinking about the day after tomorrow or the day after, the day after tomorrow, looking for ways to unify the country. and if we're going to make national service part of growing up am america, we need to grow and strengthen our alliance. so if you have a child or a grandchild at home, who is over the age of 18 and this sounds like an opportunity they should be thinking about, come talk us to, we can help. if you're a hill staffer, please go back to your boss and tell them that this is an issue they should sink their teeth into. we need champions on this issue. and there's an opportunity for leadership. if you're connected to a presidential campaign, go talk
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to your candidate, tell them to answer the challenge, tell them to make national service, him or her, national service, a big part of their plan. and to anyone else, come and join our alliance and help make a year of pay it full time service, a service year, part of growing up in america, and a common expectation and opportunity for all young americans. can get involved, there's some great americans raising their hands right now. i want to echo, once again, thank you very much and thanks for the panel, thanks for being here and can't wait. [ applause ] >> thank you, jesse. and if any of you have questions you would like to ask each other or further comments you would like to make in response, now is the time to do it.
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i have a few questions if you don't. and then in a few minutes we'll turn to the audience itself. those of you who are out there, be thinking what you might want to ask when we get to that point. while everybody is thinking, i'll start out by throwing a question back to dr. heck. you talked a lot about getting out around the country and listening to people which i think is so commendable and it sounded like the reaction was very positive. i just want to push a little bit on where were the divides in the divide? in other words, where were people saying, yeah, it's a good idea to have national service, but what about "x"? what were some of the pushbacks as well as the enthusiasm. >> where there was some debate that we encountered was over whether or not it should be
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mandatory, universal versus remain a voluntary program. certainly those that want to keep national service as a volunteer program feel that that is one of the most important underlying premises of service in this country, the willingness for somebody to actually volunteer. as we define national service for the commission, it's, you know, the personal commitment of time, energy, and talent to a mission that contributes to the common good by protecting the nation and the citizens, strengthening communities, or promoting the general welfare. folks feel that the most benefit comes from volunteering. we met with high school students all around the country. we talked to them about this idea of a semester of service or perhaps a gap year where it would be a year of service. universally, they were all for it. but they said, just don't make me have to do it. right. they want to do it, but they want it to be their idea. so that's the one side. the other side, as we've heard, is, you know, it should be a
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kind of rite of passage, as in many foreign countries. and we actually spoke with many foreign countries that have some type of requirement for national or military service. so i think that was the biggest divide. but encouraging to us was the fact that no one really said i don't think national service is a good idea. >> okay. barbara stewart and also governor patrick, i think that this is a very complicated issue when you think about what's the role of the federal government and what's the role of states and communities and the nonprofit sector. i'm sure as a management challenge in your current position, you had to struggle with that, as has someone who's served as governor. would you all like to say anything more about this difficulty of making these very
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complicated partnerships work and managing a federal agency like the one you're in right now? >> i'd be happy to take a stab at that. then the governor may have some ideas as well. but our programs really are all about partnership. for example, the federal government is the largest funder, but all of the resources that we deploy against national service are matched. so the billion-dollar investment that the federal government makes in national service actually translates into over $2 billion of investment. states, local governments, and nonprofits are a big piece of that. a significant amount of our funding flows through state government, so we have partnerships with state commissions. it does create some complication. it also creates a big web of partnerships and alliance, as jesse was saying, which i think is one of the strengths of the national service ecosystem, but it also creates some real complications.
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when you want to make change, some people embrace that change, and others don't embrace it as quickly. so as we try and improve the national service ecosystem, you really have to get the buy-in of a whole lot of folks. i also was frustrated in my early years or early months at cncs to learn that many governors don't know about this wonderful resource that they have. so the expectation when americorps was first developed was that the governors themselves would be deeply involved, and that hasn't fully occurred over the years. so i think one of our continuing challenges is to make sure that state government recognizes what a wonderful asset national service is in governors' ability to promote their own policy agendas because of the nimbleness and the local nature of national service. anything you want to add to that? >> no.
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i guess i would just say this because i want to be respectful of your question. i think barbara really did nail it. but i think we should be careful not to let the complexity of -- of broadening a program of national service, and in my view it should be everybody, dissuade us from the importance of doing so. it may have something to do with the pace at which we get to everybody. but the notion that service would be available only to those who could afford to take the time and not everybody, including those who need an income in order to be able to do it, the notion that there isn't profound unmet need all over the country, that is met in part by
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people taking responsibility for that dimension of their community and indeed the development opportunities that have been talked about over and over again here today in doing so. and i think in a way, you know, sooner or later we're going to have to decide whether we're a country or not. do we really mean to be one nation? so i have a little bit of that reaction, here comes the federal government again. this is not the federal government as if it is some thing out there. this is us. you and i. this is our democracy, our national community. i think that the point that's been made a couple times about the importance of collaborating through other agencies, local organizations and leaders to make service real across all of our differences, is the strategy
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that worked for us in massachusetts and i think has worked nationally and can and needs to be scaled. >> thank you. jesse, i'm sitting here wishing i was an elder millennial when i'm actually an elder elder. but i think it's great that your new energy is being added to all the efforts under way here. you mentioned a lot about the democratic political candidates who are or are not jumping on board with this. do you want to say a little bit more about the politics of this? i think what you're hearing from most of the people up here is we'd like this to be a bipartisan effort and hope it can be.
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and i don't want to, you know, put you on the spot, but is that going to be a challenge? >> i'm an army ranger, which means i'm trained to be on the spot, so that's okay. i appreciate the question. this is a bipartisan issue. there are challenges we're going to have to deal with navigating capitol hill. so let's just start with real ordinary people. if you look at polling across the country, there's polls at 75%, 80% among republicans across the country. it's higher among democrats and independents. it's higher among young people. every moment in the national service movement where we've had significant progress, it has been a bipartisan effort, whether -- regardless of which party was in the white house at the time. in a second, the vice chair of service year alliance, who co-authored this paper we're talking about, he led the domestic policy council for president george w. bush.
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so that's part one. part two is there's some things we're working on to help make the case. so we recognize that -- so we convened a summit a few weeks ago. wework with ten impact communities. it's based placed work around the country. it's from boston to austin, texas. the coasts are represented. the heartland is represented, the south. it's big cities, it's rural appalachia, kentucky. service looks different in each of those communities, and that's fine. we want it to be locally driven. in some of those communities, the service years are being used to tackle opioids. elsewhere, it's how do we give people what we call opportunity youth, people who have been out of school a year or two, and open up service years to people who frankly don't look like me. the more we do that, the more tangible -- if i can take somebody, hypothetically, to toledo, ohio, or austin, texas,
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or east boston three years from now and show them this is what a community with universal national service looks like, that's going to make our case easier on capitol hill. the last thing i'll say is the teenagers in your life that probably frustrate you because they can be frustrating and they have very little trust and patience for their parents and grandparents. they're out on the streets marching. the other side of that coin is they feel the urgencies and have no patience and they want this. so what might be frustrating in personal lives is may be one of the main reasons this movement gets across the finish line. >> and if i could put an exclamation point on that. for my experience, national service is one of the few truly bipartisan issues that are being discussed in this town, in washington, d.c., which makes it a pleasure to be part of. we've seen increases in our appropriation the last two years
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under a republican house and senate. there's a lot of bipartisan support for national service, and we should be capitalizing on that. we need to be taking advantage of the breadth of support because it's one of the great assets of national service. >> thank you. those were really important comments, i think. i want to reinforce something that jesse said about two of the people who are sitting in the audience and that are going to be on the next panel. they're sitting next to each other. i'm looking right at them. one is bill galston, who was deputy director of the domestic policy council in the clinton administration. i was there as well. we worked hard on this, but then there is john bridgeland, who played a very important role as director of the -- was it also called the domestic policy council? in the bush administration. so i think we have that represented here today, and i'm
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so glad you all spoke to that. all right. unless anybody up here has anything more they'd like to say, i'm going to open this up to the audience. wait for someone to bring you a mic. please introduce yourself and your affiliation. try to keep it relatively short. i may collect a few different questions and then let the panel here decide which ones they want to tackle. all right. start right here in the front row. >> i'm mitzi, i was the first person to join the peace corps task force the day that kennedy announced he was making it a program. so i went from the peace corps to the war corps. i believe in public service. i just have a recommendation.
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i think the most important thing in life is relationships. and i think that's a phrase that would be really useful to incorporate in what you're talking about. when we live in a city where the president just destroys relationships, we really need to have other voices saying, this really matters. >> thank you. back there, yes, you. >> good morning. >> actually, i was pointing to this guy right here, but go ahead, then you can pass the mic over to him. >> okay. i'm bill galvin with the center on conscience and war. we've heard a lot of talk about universal service and an expectation of service. we also heard from dr. heck about young folks who said we like service, but you know, don't force us to do it. my question is, if you're talking about universal service, are you thinking it's going to
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be mandatory? and if so, how will you deal with the people who say, i'm not going to do it? and if it's not going to be mandatory, how are you envisioning making it universal? >> that's a really great question. let's hold and get a couple more. >> hi. good morning. i'm bob reed with peace for action usa. we aspire to implement national service. my question -- any of you could answer it, if you choose -- is about income disparity between the service lines. i'm working on budgeting for some privately funded positions right now, and boy, am i having an awareness check about what it costs to actually afford housing in different communities in the country. and an americorps living allowance at its highest level doesn't cut it.
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so i just think as we move forward, growing national service, we need to pay attention to are we properly compensating the people serving and also looking at the differentials like a public service federal employee is getting a lot more than an americorps member, and of course military pays all over the place. i just would be interested in that. >> thank you. right here. >> great, thank you. first of all, a huge thank you to this panel. my name is terry babcock. i'm the executive secretary of the harry s. truman scholarship foundation. i share with you this business of public service, and i love your sentiments as far as this genuinely being an alliance. first of all, what i would say is i'm keen to work with you. for those of you not familiar with us, we are the presidential memorial to president truman. he didn't go to college.
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so rather than having a brick and mortar monument on the mall, i love those, they're beautiful, but unlike the washington monument and lincoln memorial, we provide a $30,000 scholarship for each state-by-state competitive process for the most outstanding -- >> pull the microphone closer. >> my apologies. basically, we're a scholarship for young people making commitments to career in public service. dovetailing on the economic question, i agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments here. but for so many of our scholars, it's an economic question. so it's not that they're not interested. it's not that they're not keen. but with college debt being what it is, with affordable housing being questioned in so many cities, we want to make sure we can support them. so it's a way of saying, i hope this is the start of an ongoing conversation. we'd love to work with you. but i really think, as a former government economist, we need to be thinking about how we make this sustainable and sustained because the sentiment, the
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interest, the appetite is there. it's just hard when it comes to dollars and cents. >> okay. thank you. i'm going to take one more, bob. then we'll come back to the panel to see if you all have comments on issues that have been raised. >> thank you. bob stein is my name. like bell, i'm an elder elder. i consider myself refocused. the panel emphasized the arguments and evidence that people would want to serve and would benefit from it. but how do you get the institutions who you want them to work with -- and barbara, you briefly mentioned that. because it takes time to mentor, train, and advise people. if you don't spend the time, their experience isn't that good. so what incentives can you provide for institutions to take on these volunteers? >> these are all great questions
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and really do need to be grappled with. anybody want to tackle one or more of them? >> i'll kind of give the perspective of where the commission has gone on these issues because we have looked at all of them. certainly the idea of when i say everyone who wants to serve should have a clear and supported path to service means that they should have the opportunity to serve and be paid a wage or a stipend that allows them to serve without suffering any economic detriment, right? we want all americans inspired and eager to serve regardless of socioeconomic class. we hear a lot about the gap year. well, it shouldn't just be about the affluent who can afford to take a year off between high school and college. if we truly want to heal the divides in this nation, it goes to putting people from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds together in service to a common cause. so that means we have to be able to provide the resources
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necessary for all individuals to have that opportunity. so long story short, how do we better define or re-establish or change the benefits packages that are associated with various forms of service so that all those who want to serve actually have that clear and supported path? i would not -- i do not plan to reveal any of the recommendations that will be coming out. i would say i would not be surprised to see a portion of the final report that addresses this area in great detail. >> terrific. yeah, jesse? >> i'm going to try to answer four questions at once quickly. we're very clear at service year alliance. we're advocating for voluntary universal national service. we think the way to get there is through peer pressure. that's when we talk about common expectation and opportunity. we think we'll hit a tipping point when young people meet and say, where did you serve? and if you haven't served, generally we like to talk about when people start looking at their shoes because they're embarrassed they didn't serve.
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that's how you get to universal. cost, i mentioned the alliance. there's a great member of our broader community called silver nest. i encourage you to check them out. in san jose, for example, where housing costs are through the roof, they're one of our impact communities. we recognize that folks doing service years cannot afford the rent based off their living stipend. it's a nonprofit we've brought in and they're helping match refocused elder elders with perhaps an empty room in their home with a young person doing a service year. there's all sorts of wonderful by-products that come out of those relationships. costs and who does service years. the reason we advocate -- our mission is a year of paid full-time service. when i joined the military in 2006, the word privilege wasn't really in the lexicon. had i wanted to go in a different direction and done a service year, i would have had the economic privilege. my parents could have supplemented me. if we want to get to the number
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of people doing service years, we're going to have to unlock communities who don't have that privilege, which means some of these service years are going to be around work force development. rather than sign up on perhaps a recruiting message around service for service sake because you don't have the privilege to think about it that way, you have to help a family member put food on the table, it's about giving you a job opportunity and a career trajectory you wouldn't have if not for the service year. the last thing is cost in general. you hire an army ranger, you get a blind answer. so i'm going to be blunt. service years are expensive. average is about $22,000 a year per person. big, bold ideas often cost a lot of money. what you probably don't know and if you're a hill staffer, i encourage you to take this back to your boss, the federal government gets $2 back for every dollar it invests in service years. so it gets $1 back in terms of taxes. if you look at the data, people who do service years tend to earn more over their lifetime. that comes back in the form of taxes. that's a really good thing.
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the second thing is if the federal government gets a dollar back in terms of federal social safety net programs, so in plain english, that means people who do service years tend to have to rely upon federal social safety net programs. this might sound counterintuitive, but if you work for a member of congress that is interested in reducing the size of federal programs, service year programs are a great place to invest. so trying to answer four questions quickly. thank you, bell. >> terrific. any other comments from up here? >> i love what jesse had to say, and i love your examples. i think that was terrific. i would only elaborate to say partnerships is the way we make service years more available to a greater population and some creativity. in some of the communities where we operate the local transportation authority has offered free transportation.
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in other places, we have additional benefits offered by local partners. we need to be continuing to develop those partnerships. our partners at the state and local level need to continue to develop them, but we need to make these service years available to all americans regardless of their background, and those kind of partnerships are how we're going to do it. >> okay. well, i think it's time to thank all of you for being here and taking the time to do this. it's been a terrific discussion. and we're going to take a ten-minute break now. no more, please. come back because the next panel is going to be very interesting, and the final panel, as we said earlier, is going to be dynamite. so many thanks to all of you. reconvening soon. [ applause ]
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>> new jobs numbers are out today. the labor department is reporting 128,000 jobs recall added but overall unemployment rate was up slightly up to 3.6%. payrolls fell by 36 the,000 in manufacturing but that mostly reflected the recent gm strike which is now over and wages have climbed 3% in the past 12 months. c span's campaign 2020 coverage continues today with presidential candidates in iowa and mississippi. starting at 7:30 p.m. eastern the democratic presidential contenders speak at the liberty and justice celebration in des moines. featured speakers include senator michael bennet, joe biden, cory booker, governor
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steve bullock, mayor pete buttigieg, secretary julio castro, representative john delaney, senator kamala harris, senator amy klobuchar, representative beto o'rourke, senator bernie sanders, tom styer, elizabeth warren. then president trump holds a campaign rally in tupelo, mississippi. watch c-span's campaign 2020 coverage live today at 7:30 p.m. eastern on c-span. at 8:00 p.m. on c-span 2. watch any time on and listen on the go with the free c-span radio app. continuing our look at military and national public service programs, this panel is just over an hour. this public service forum will


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