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tv   Secretary Ben Carson Remarks at National Conservative Student Conference  CSPAN  August 7, 2017 5:46pm-6:16pm EDT

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tweeting, i will work with residents of east chicago and the e.p.a. to find a path forward. about a thousand people were forced to move from a public housing conplex in the city ecause of led contamination. secretary carson sat down for an interview at the student conference on friday. this is about half an hour. host: good evening again. we are excited to continue our program this evening in welcoming secretary ben carson.
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[applause] [cheers] host: this year, dr. ben carson was sworn in as the 17th secretary of the u.s. department of housing and urban development. born in detroit to a single mother with a third grade education that worked multiple jobs to support the family, secretary carson was raised to love reading and education. he graduated from yale university and earned his diploma from the university of ichigan medical school. he has served as director of neurosurgery at the johns hopkins children's center, a position he assumed when he was just 33 years old, becoming the youngest major division director in the hospital's history. but dr. carson is no stranger to making history. in 1987, he successfully performed the first ever separation of twins conjoined at the back of the head. dr. carson has received dozens of honors and
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awards in recognition of his achievements, including the presidential medal of freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. he is also the recipient of the highest honor bestowed by the national association for the advancement of colored people. dr. carson has authored nine books, the media group and harvard center for public leadership named him among america's best leaders in 2008. dr. carson and his wife cofounded the carson scholarship fund which recognizes young people of all backgrounds for exceptional academic and humanitarian a copper schmitz. -- accomplishments. it has recognized more than 7300 scholars, awarded more than 7.3 million in scholarships,
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and has installed more than 150 ben carson reading rooms around the country. he and his wife are the proud parents of three adult sons and three grandchildren. please join me in welcoming to the stage secretary ben carson. [applause] [cheers] host: always a warm welcome. ec. carson: thank you. host: we are thrilled to have you here, you are always a great signed -- great friend of the foundation. we are grateful for you to being back with us again. so i want to start from the beginning. you overcame some of the most difficult circumstances from your childhood. you are raised by a single mother who instilled in you the value of education, faith in god and a believe in hard work. growing up in an urban community your story has inspired so many of my peers, gave as fate we could change
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the cycle we were in. how has your back on helped you and hat experiences have stood out to you most so far? sec. carson: well, my background was tremendously to you most so far? helpful to me because i grew up in an environment where i had an opportunity to see a lot of people with a different kinds of mindsets. i saw people who had the can-do attitude, i am going to be to this. -- beat this. i saw people who had the attitude, just let me get by. and i saw people who thought, i am the victim, why is everybody taking advantage of me? and i had an opportunity to see where each of those attitudes led. but the key thing was my mother. who had every right to
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feel like a victim, but chose not to be a victim and refused to allow us to be victims and made us read books. we would give her written book reports, which she could not read, but we did not know that. [laughter] sec. carson: it really changed the trajectory of my life enormously. and then when i was in medical school, when i first got into medical school i did terribly on the first set of copperheads of exams -- opperheads of -- cop rehensive xams. i went to see my advisor and he said, you are not cut out for medicine, you should drop out. this was supposed to be the one encouraging me. so i was quite discouraged. i went home and i prayed, i said, lord show me what to do here. and i started thinking, what kind of courses have i always done well in, and what kind of courses have i struggled in. i did well in the courses i read a lot. and i did not get anything out f the boring lectures. 6-8
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hours a day i was listening to lectures. so i made the decision to skip the boring lectures and to spend that time lectures. so i made the school was a snap after that. when i went back to my medical school years later as the commencement speaker, i was looking for that advisor because i was going to tell him that he was not cut out to be an advisor. [laughter] [applause] sec. carson: but -- [applause] sec. carson: but both of those illustrations show you how important reading was to me. and you know, when i was confirmed in march, after being unanimously put through in january, i finally got to it in march, i am still the only senate confirmed a person at hud. even though we got to three yesterday, they do not start until next week. so i got five months by myself. but that is where the reading came in again. reading volumes and volumes of material, of all the things that the deputy
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secretary and assistant secretary are supposed to be telling you, and learning that stuff on your own. and more importantly, getting the corporation of the people who have been there -- and the cooperation of the people who've been there. the everyday people. they are not horrible people. you work with them and we need to get away from the concept that this group is bad and in this group is good, evaluate people on the basis of who they are and be willing to work with everybody. you will go further and faster. host: i agree with that. if have spoken and written about the challenges you faced growing up and becoming a professional you did and i think you touched on that a little bit, but the you think it is more difficult for young people who are maybe in a similar situation that he wants faced -- once faced to replicate your experiences? sec. carson: it is interesting because some of you may have seen the article in the new
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york times, about 2.5 months ago, and they said that the united states, of all the western countries, is one of the hardest if not the hardest to ascend the economic ladder. if that was true, why would all these people be trying to get in from all these other places? that is not make any sense. [applause] sec. carson: and, you know, if you really want to be inspired go to the horatio -- website and read the stories of all those people in this country who came from nothing and offended -- ascended to the pinnacle of our society. is it difficult, of course it is difficult. it is difficult anywhere. but i think this is probably one of the easiest places, but it does require work. and that is the part i think that some people have forgotten. and they tend to believe that everybody should
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begin or indeed - be- be guaranteed certain things, and it does not matter if you work for them or not. i am a very compassionate person and i would like for everybody to be successful, but i think what we really owe everybody is the opportunity. and we have to put the ladders of opportunity there, and in some cases you may have to point people to them and push them to them a little bit. but when people begin to realize what really is available to them, i think a lot of times attitudes will change and that is a place eally where the government can play a very important role, because we need to recognize that everything the person is going to become part of the
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engine or part of the load. and depending on how we structure things, we can get a lot more people to be part of the engine and we can move faster that way. host: certainly. [applause] host: just to elaborate on that, you talk about the american dream and the ladders of opportunity, but our vision is to create a sustainable, inclusive community and affordable housing for all. so what role the thing the department can play in helping the next generation to achieve the american dream of homeownership? sec. carson: homeownership is such a vital part of success, in the sense that it is the principal source of wealth of building for the average american family. the average homeowner is a net value of $200,000, to the average renter at $5,000.. that is a huge difference. that is why years
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ago there was a huge push, everybody should own a home. and the people that said that, they meant well. they eliminated all kinds of barriers and said, you do not need a down payment and all these things. but theo put somebody in a home they cannot afford, that is not compassionate, because they lose credit and future opportunities. i am not saying they were bad people, but what we have to do is learn from the things people do, so we can do things in a much more responsible way. and now particularly, as we look at the millennials and the difficulties they are having getting homes because so many of them come out of college or graduate school with huge debt, and it is not like it was 30-40-50 years ago when you would get the subsidized
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ducational loans that you paid back at 2%. now it is 5%, 6%, 7% compounded. it is like having a mortgage. they come out and they have a terrible debt to income ratio and they do not qualify. so, one of the things that we are doing for instance, for the housing opportunities, is creating circumstance whereby you can purchase a condominium with a backing. and that will make it much more affordable. and you know, condominiums are frequently the first step on the ladder of homeownership. and then fannie mae is now working on decreasing the debt to income ratio qualifications. and we are also looking at ways of rolling the student debt into the mortgage, all in one ow interest package. so we are looking at ways to change the dynamic and i think we will be
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successful. host: hud is in the midst -- was formed in the midst of was formed in the midst of lbj's government, will they be surprised by the housing challenges we have had 50 years later and where do you expect hud to be 52 years from now? sec. carson: i think they probably would be surprised. because again, they meant well. and they thought, itf we give people a leg up with housing subsidies and things, it will put them in a position to then really accelerate. but what they would have found, probably much to their trigger and -- chagrin, is that some of the same people they put in those houses are still there,
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generation after generation. and really have not taken advantage of the situation. but i think it has to do with the way that the systems were designed. not only housing, but a whole host of welfare type problems that tended to keep people comfortable in a setting where it was not really necessary to achieve. again, it sounds like a wonderful compassionate thing to do, but when you stop and think about it, is that really compassion? or is real compassion trying to develop people to their fullest xtent? so that is for instance one of the things we are doing
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now with the in vision centers -- envision centers. these are places that are being put into one of the things we are doing low income areas that would be for mentorship programs, for childcare, for basic instruction, for a whole host of things that quite frankly a young person growing up in a traditional family with an extended family, with a bunch f people who really have their
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interests in mind, would get. but people who are in situations where there born to interests in mind, would get. but people who are in situations where there born to a teenage mother, they do not have a father figure, all kinds of things are going on and they are not getting those things, we are trying to replace those things in their lives to give them an opportunity. the key thing, and we do not have to wait 52 years to do this, is, you know, we need to create interests in mind, would get. ladders of opportunity. it is not about just putting people under a roof. it is about getting people to develop their god-given talents. and i hope 52 years from now it will be fully realized that the definition of success in housing is not how many people we can put in public housing, it is how many people we can get out of it. [applause] host: with the ladders of opportunity, based on your life experience, what advice do you have to offer today's young conservatives? sec. carson: well, i would say first of all, you know, learn how you learn. [laughter] ec. carson: everybody learns differently, so make sure that you learn how you learn. but you know, my philosophy for uccess in life, to sum up it
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into words -- in two words, think big. the t is for talent. for intellectual talent. intellectual talent is what helped america to send -- ascend to the pinnacle. h is for honesty. do not put skeletons in the closet, because if you do they will come back to how you. -- haunt you. the i is for insight, that intellectual talent is what comes from listening to people. their mistakes. if you can learn from somebody else's mistakes, you can go a whole
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lot further and faster. n is lot further and faster. n is for a nice. be nice to people, because they will be nice to you and you can get so much more done when you are being nice, and you are being nice. can we take the niceness pledge? raise your hand. if the person beside you does not have your hand up, you can kick them. because after this, you have to be nice. what did you just pledged to do? to be nice to every single person you ncounter for one week, ok? what does that mean? that means no talking about people behind heir back for a week, ok? some people may stroke out, i understand. it means if you see somebody struggling, you are going to help them. men, we are opening the doors for the ladies and holding the chairs for them. [applause] sec. carson: ladies, it means you are not cursing them out when they do that. [laughter] [applause] sec. carson: and when you get on the elevator, there are no more spots, you will let somebody else get on. and when you get on the elevator you are not going to act like you never
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saw the numbers change before, speak to people. you are going to get in your car, the parking lot is full, and three people are following you because they want your space. get in the car, you are not going to open the glove box, just get out of the space and let them have it. [laughter] [applause] sec. carson: but what you are doing during that week, you are thinking about others first. what kind of a nation could we have if we thought about others first? and you are the next generation. you have got to do better than my generation. that hate people who do not agree
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with of them. you know, we can with of them. you know, we can do so much better than that. if two people agree about everything, one of them is not necessary. [laughter] sec. carson: let's get over all the hatred stuff and learn how to have intelligent conversations with each other, talk about why you believe what you believe, it will make all the difference. [applause] host: and in an ideal world, that would be fantastic. i know that you are a devout christian. over the course of your time in the spotlight you have not shied away from expressing your faith, even in the most difficult times it appears unwavering. but what role does faith play in your professional environment and what advice do you have for those on college campuses who feel like their faith is under attack? sec. carson: it has played a large role in my life. really ever since i was a teenager,
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when i was 14 and i tried to stab someone. it was interesting, during the campaign some of the media said, that did not happen. we cannot prove he had a bad temper. we even went back and alked to some people who had no idea what he was talking no idea what he was talking about. and then when the parade agazine article came out where they did an extensive interview of my mother in 1997, on the they did an extensive interview of my mother in 1997, on the front cover, she talked about my temper and is a slinked back into the shadows. the fact of the matter is it was that episode, recognizing that is that young man had not had the belt buckle on, my life would have been completely changed. and yet it shows how god can take a knife that i was going to use to kill somebody and hange it into a scalpel to
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save lives. that kind of -- [applause] sec. carson: so as you said, i have never shied away from talking about it. i was once in a public debate in california with richard dawkins. many of you know who that is. the talking about it. i was once in world's foremost evolutionist and he thinks anybody that does not believe the way he does is a total idiot. and he is not shy about letting you know. and toward the end of the debate i said, you know what, i think you have won. because you have convinced me that i came from shy about letting you know. and god and you came from a monkey. [laughter] [applause] sec. carson: but uh -- but, yeah. [applause]
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sec. carson: needless to say he was not pleased. but you know, even if a person is not in any way religious, there is nothing wrong with living by godly principles of loving your fellow man, caring about your neighbor, developing your god-given talents to the utmost so you become valuable to the people around you. having values and principles that govern your life. host: thank you so much for the advice. looking back at last year's historic election, to say the least, what lessons did you learn as a presidential candidate and was surprised you the most? sec. carson: you know, it became very clear that the people of this country, and i have to tell you i was so impressed with the people everywhere in this country, every part of this country everybody was wonderful to me, and -- but i think they were
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looking for an outsider. because the insiders, they had not done such a great job in either party. and that was a bit surprising. but i also got a very good opportunity to get to know all the other people that were running. and seeing what kind of people they work. -- they were. and, you know, the person i ended up being very impressed with was donald trump. i will tell you the reason. during the debates, if any of you watched, you noticed that they do not ask me many questions. [laughter] sec. carson: he was the only one that complained about that. the other ones i think were happy they were not asking me questions. during one of the debates i could not hear my name announced and i was
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standing there waiting, everybody else walked past except donald trump. he stood there with me until they figured it out and that told me what kind of person he was. so when it came to the place where i had concluded i could not good enough delegates to be the winner, and i dropped out, i had to decide quickly to make an endorsement, because we were going to a convention and that had to decide quickly to make would've been a disaster. so it was relatively easy for me to make that choice and i am happy i did. [applause] host: i had not heard that story about donald trump taying with you at the debate. and what are some of the other untold stories and successes
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with hud that the media has neglected to cover and what accomplishments are you most proud of? sec. carson: they love stories like the secretary gets stuck in the elevator. it was all over the country before i even got out sec. carson: the fact of the matter is, it has been any successes. i would love it if they talked about how the eople at hud, the career people, the people who came in on the transition team, how they stepped up to the plate.
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ecognizing that i did not have any assistant secretary or debbie secretary. -- or deputy secretary. and they have kept things moving. we have been able to fulfill all of our obligations and then some. and again to really reorient things any assistant secretary or and change from a bureaucracy to a business model. we have hired a coo, a cio, we are ringing on a cfo, and taking a holistic view of the problems hat exist and fixing them, ather than putting patchwork here and there. those are the kinds of things i think will make an incredible difference. here and there. those are the you look at something like the you look at something like the rad program, the rental assistance demonstration, where there may be a public housing unit that is far behind in erms of repairs that need to be done. and we are able to turn those over to developers,
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with the understanding that affordable units will be built and we have ways of filling in, subsidizing the gap. and you have a lot of local interest now in that project, so that it is extremely well-maintained. it is a win-win situation because the residents now have a beautiful place. and right now, we are leveraging every public dollar with 19 private dollars. that is what i am alking about with public and private partnerships. that is the way that we will ultimately be able to catch up. because right now, we really have a crisis in terms of affordable private partnerships. that is the way that we will ultimately be able to catch up. because right now, we really have a crisis in terms of affordable housing. for every person we can help, there are three people in need. over the years private partnerships. that is lots of money has been poured into this, and the numbers of people continue to grow that need housing. we will be able to catch up. but not only will we be able to catch up, but really be able to create kinds f programs that will provide people with the opportunity to ascend the latter economically -- ladder economically and get out of these programs, so that once again we have a candid people with the opportunity to society.
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host: fantastic. thank you so much for taking the time to be with us. we appreciate you. [applause] [cheers] [applause]

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