tv Newsmakers Gov. Pete Ricketts R-NE RGA CSPAN March 3, 2019 5:59pm-6:33pm EST
pete ricketts of nebraska. at 6:30, today's remarks by presidential candidate cory booker at a selma, alabama church as part of the annual commemoration of the bloody sunday. 8:00 p.m.at at 9:00, prime minister's questions from the british house of commons. on the next "washington journal a reporters discussion on the week ahead in washington. later, a representative from the national consumer law center on efforts by house democrats to have more oversight over consumer credit rating agencies. we take your calls and you can join the conversation on facebook and twitter.
>> joining us from lincoln, nebraska, c-span's news anchors -- newsmakers program is governor pete ricketts. joining us is daniel strauss who .overs politics for politico and a national correspondent for thehill.com. pulling out of new york as part of the hq to headquarters. i know google is setting to make a research facility in nebraska. it like trying to attract high-tech companies to a location? we talk to companies, one of the biggest challenges they have is to make sure they have the right workforce. that is one of the things we focus on to make sure we're developing people and connecting them to those jobs. when it comes to technology, a
lot of those jobs don't have to have a four-year degree. we want our young people to know that there are opportunities to go to i.t. if they want to go down that route. part of that is making sure they get exposed to that. , taxesalked to companies and incentives and those sorts of things play into the decision. am i going to be able to hire the people i need to be able to grow my company? >> what were the mistakes in new york? >> to be quite frank, i did not follow what was going on in new york. but you also have to show that you have support for it. costco able to attract and lincoln poultry to build their first poultry processing plant. one of the things that sold them on coming to nebraska was the fact that there were probably 100 area people to show up to
welcome them. that my agencies were part of the program. the city of fremont, the omaha chamber of commerce. there was broad political support for bringing them here. that is certainly true when we have talked to other companies. one of the reasons they have chosen nebraska is because they came here. companies want to go someplace where they know they will be able to work with local government officials, whether it is permitting or getting back to the workforce, or whatever it is going to be. they want to have cooperation from public officials to meet their needs. they will go to -- if you have resistance where people say, we do not want you here, companies have opportunities to go someplace else. they will go to a state where they are welcomed. if you want my business i will
go some place where i am welcomed. >> from the economy to politics. >> i want to stay with state stuff. one thing that is fascinating, the nebraska economic forecast has suggested the state revenue income is going to be down $100 million over the next couple years in previous projections. do you worry that as a sign of recession? gov. ricketts: one thing we have seen, farm income in nebraska has been cut significantly. in 2013 farm income was $7.5 billion, and for 2019 it will be about $2 billion. agriculture is our number one industry, it counts for one in four jobs driven by low commodity prices. when farm economies go down it ripples through our economy. that is what impacts our economy. with tax cuts, people change behavior.
we saw people paying property taxes in 2017 to take the tax credit for it. i tell people, do not panic, let's see what happens on april 15, and some stuff going on has to do with withholding. we may see a bump up in our tax receipts in april, capital gains may come in stronger. that forecast may change and may go back up again. i am telling people, do not panic. maybe we will see some good results near tax day and that will change the forecast. >> you mentioned lower commodity prices. what impact has the president's trade war and tariffs had on nebraska farmers? gov. ricketts: the tariff issues with china have not been the issue. we are encouraging the administration to get trade deals wrapped up. we got good news out of
washington, d.c. where the chinese, they are the number one market for soybeans. we have seen soybean prices off a dollar from where they were before, that has had an impact. if we can get that market going again, that would be helpful for soybeans. our number one export is beef. we do not export much of that to china. that is a small and growing marketplace. if you look at 2016-17, our beef exports to japan were up 22%, and pork imports were up 46%. we see strong demand for our
products. usmca is a big deal for us. i think when the numbers come in, mexico will be our largest trading partner. we want to see that ratified as quickly as possible. this should not be a partisan issue. the usmca is a better agreement than nafta. this should be a priority and get past right away, that will improve trade relationships with canada and mexico. we have good news with the chinese working with the administration to get the deal done. also, i believe the japanese are sitting down with the administration as well. that is a priority to get that done so we do not have prohibitive trade barriers and tariffs on u.s. beef going over
there. we have to get congress to approve usmca, we have to get the deals with china and japan down, we have to deal with south korea. these are important markets in nebraska, 30% of what we grow gets exported overseas. it is a big part of our economy. we work with the trump administration to get these wrapped up. when we see that, we will see commodity prices come back up again. >> speaker pelosi is not signing off on usmca, what happens if the house does not pass it? gov. ricketts: i will defer to the experts in d.c., but this should not be a partisan issue. it speaker pelosi is interested in labor provisions in our trade agreements with nafta, she should like usmca. if you do not do usmca, you go back to nafta and do not get
stronger labor provisions. mexico is our number one destination for dairy, but with the nafta agreement, we are shut out of the dairy agreement in canada. this is an opportunity to open our marketplaces for farmers and ranchers, this is a good deal to help grow economic activity in our country. i would encourage speaker pelosi to make sure she gets this prioritized. it is a better deal for the american worker, the american farmer. i do not know why she would want to be opposed. >> i am wondering how much contact you have regularly with the trump administration? this is a deal with china on trade, something that is important to nebraska. how regularly do you talk with lighthizer and president trump
himself? gov. ricketts: the president is busy so i do not talk to him personally that often. i was just in d.c. and had the opportunity to talk with the president. i introduced him on friday night at a dinner, so i did get a little time to talk to him there. we had a lengthy meeting with ambassador lighthizer as well as sonny perdue talking about trade at the white house last monday morning. we had a chance to talk, one thing i want to say about this administration, they are completely accessible. any time i call and ask for a phone call, we get a response back quickly. when there was a rumor we were going to pull out of the south korean trade agreement, i called on friday i got a call back on saturday. this administration cares what we as governors think. i have been named to the trade advisory council. my background check was held up because of the government
shutdown, that will be an opportunity to give input into the administration. i found when i pick up the phone and ask to talk to ambassador lighthizer or sonny perdue, whatever the reason, the administration has been responsive to get back and listen to what we say. last year, the last chief of staff said the first question the president asked on policy issue is what do the governors think? he has told his cabinet, go out and talk to governors, talk to people in the states. we have seen that here in nebraska.
we have had sonny perdue here three times. we have had secretary devos here. this administration is making an effort to reach out and talk to governors and people in the states when they think about foreign policy. >> if the administration is accessible and there is a deal going on, i am wondering what discussions have you had with them on this deal. you said they are easy to get in touch with, but you have not
talked with them that much. is that a fair characterization? gov. ricketts: when we are talking about trade when sonny perdue was here several times over the last year, we just had a meeting at the white house a week ago where we had an in-depth conversation with sonny perdue and ambassador lighthizer. when there are specific needs like the south korean thing, we heard they may pullout, we calling give them input. with regard to the trade deals in general, they know where we stand. we say, we need these deals wrapped up. these are complicated deals. we want to make sure they have a strong negotiating position, talking with other countries. we are americans and want the best deal for our country, and we want these to be win-wins, but with regard with what they are tried to do getting deal done. our position to get deals done as quickly as possible is well known. we have citizens in nebraska were part of these negotiating trade deals, giving input. when we have something pressing, they are willing to take our call. we had the meetings in d.c. a week ago where we sat down to talk more in detail about where
they are with trade deals. >> governor, i want to turn to politics. put on your governor association hat. governors lost gubernatorial contests, seven across the country, including in wisconsin, michigan, states that will be critical to president trump's reelection. what lessons did you take from the 2018 midterm elections, and how can republicans win them back in the future? gov. ricketts: despite the blue wave we saw, and we saw it in nebraska, a lot of democrats turned out that do not ordinarily turn out in an off year election. that is typical for when the party owns the white house. when president obama was in office, republicans were energized. now parties are switched so democrats are energized. the democrats thought they would pick up 10 to 12 seats, governors states, we were able to pick up key states like florida, ohio, georgia, new hampshire, and iowa. those are key states as well for president trump's reelection. we have to go out there and work hard.
if you look at what larry hogan did in maryland, not a red state, he was able to win a majority of women because things he did with how he listened, have needed different focus groups to understand what we were thinking, and targeted his message about what he was doing in his administration to win vote. ron desantis did similar things in florida. that is a thing we have to think about. we need to tailor our message for different groups that we want to win over, whether women or minorities, and we have to go places where we traditionally have not been going. that is on us to accomplish that. that is the lesson looking to future elections and changing demographics, we as republicans have a great message about growth and creating jobs, helping american families take advantage of the wonderful things we have in this nation,
that we have to go out and communicate directly with different constituencies about things they care about, and use language that will resonate with them about how our policies are helping. part of the signal here, while we were successful in many places, there are opportunities to do a better job reaching out to women and minorities. we have to make sure we are tailoring that message for our audience, and talk about helping them and her families and communities. that is how voters make decisions. it is about, what are we going to do to make their life better. >> how difficult is it going to be to appeal to different constituencies when a president uses racially charged language and has been accused by those close to him about harboring racist sentiments? gov. ricketts: it gets back to the old adage, all politics is local.
governors are responsible for getting things done, they are held accountable. that is what we have to do, deliver. for us, the policies that are working. i look at the two most popular governors are in massachusetts and maryland, great leaders doing things for their people. broadly speaking, the top 10 most popular governors are all republicans. we have to make sure we are reaching out to people in our communities, we are translating policy initiatives into how it will help you. if you care about charter schools and school choice, minority communities in florida, that is what governor desantis is talking about. it is about trying to figure out what are we doing that is helping people and communities, and targeting messages that way. as governors, are we delivering and making good on our promises?
when we do that, we will win. >> if the popular governor of maryland runs for president, will you endorse your fellow governor thomas support the president, or stay on the sidelines. gov. ricketts: i will support the president in his reelection campaign, no doubt about that. >> what advice would you give governor hogan? gov. ricketts: i would say any republican taking about running against the president should wait until the president gets past this election cycle. >> it is funny because a lot of republicans in the gubernatorial arena like hogan as an example of a model for the future of the party. this is a governor who is actively thinking about running for president, and at the same time, the incumbent president, also a republican, has less than ideal poll numbers. could you explain how you square that, if hogan is an example we
should look to as how republicans should run their states, and at the same time challenge the incumbent your supporting? gov. ricketts: first of all, governor hogan is doing a fantastic job in maryland, and i think his reelection, the second time a republican is reelected there since the civil war, it is close if not exact, he has done a good job and i want to give him all the credit in the world. but so has president trump. you are hard-pressed to find an administration that a compass more in his first two years in the last century. think about his tax cuts, the work he has done on negotiating trade relationships, think about the work he has done with the court, things he has done to cut regulations, 22 cut for everyone put in place, those are things that are impressive with him delivering on his campaign promises. look at the growth. it gets back to results.
under the obama administration we were told 2% growth is normal, we saw growth hit 4%. if you look at african-american and hispanic employment, it is that record lows. we are seeing a president who is delivering economic growth and prosperity. that is a great record to run on. governor hogan is doing a great job, so is the president and he deserves reelection. >> is there a point where you would tell hogan not to challenge the president, or you would step in and actively work to hinder the governor's campaign? i ask because you are the chair of the rga. gov. ricketts: with regard to this upcoming campaign, you are talking about hypotheticals. if governor hogan talks to me, i will be happy to talk to him
with regard to my thoughts about his political future. with regards to the president, we will be supporting him in his reelection. the job of the rga is about electing republican governors. over the next four years, we will be focused on getting republican governors reelected. >> let's talk about races this year, three red states, louisiana, kentucky, mississippi. democrats have fielded good candidates in all of the states.
the republicans candidates challenging him have not raised a ton of money, do you expect anybody else to get into that race? gov. ricketts: as far as the republican governors association, we want great strong candidates to run. we have two good candidates running right now, abraham who has a great reputation in his state, and the businessman who was not so well known. eddie was a member of the executive roundtable before he decided to run for governor, so i have had a chance to get to know him. i was a member of the rga going back to 2009. he is a great guy, integrity, he wants what is best for louisiana. we have two great candidates, if somebody else gets in, that is great too. this highlights what the rga does, we do not pick a person in a primary. that is up to louisiana. when someone gets through that primary, the rga will be there to support them against, presumably, the incumbent.
so we can help them and win that race. the governor in the louisiana has raised taxes. we think we have a good pickup opportunity. >> let's move to kentucky, governor matt bevin seeking reelection. are you concerned that the attorney general or a real race? gov. ricketts: the democrats have put up good candidates, and they have a primary in may the we have to wait to eat with the challenger two governor bevin will be. governor bevin has done a great job and tackled issues like pensions, right to work, and has been successful driving activity in kentucky. i think kentucky has come up number two in pro-capita category, second most economic
development per capita of any of the states. he has done a great job there. it will be a tough race. one of the candidates's father was previously the governor in kentucky, so that person starts with great name id. we have a great candidate who has a demonstrable track record, and it may be a tough race but i am confident we will win that race. >> the third race being mississippi, these are states where president trump remains popular. if you could pick one state where he could campaign and boost the nominee, which would it be? gov. ricketts: i think the president, what we would love to
do is have him go to all the states where she has an opportunity. our first priority is protecting our incumbents. kentucky will probably be our highest priority. we have a great candidate in mississippi. other candidates may join as well. we have great candidates in louisiana as well. the president has the opportunity to support our candidates, we would love to have him help us out. >> you ran for the senate before and you are in your second term as governor of nebraska. any interest in seeking the senate again or other national office? gov. ricketts: one thing i tell people is i have the best job in the world, and since i just got reelected, i am staying governor for the next four years. i will worry about after my term when i am done, right now i am focused on being the best opener -- governor i can be. >> how much money do you expect to raise as the head of the rga? >> we do not share that because we do not want to give away what we are doing to the other side, but you can expect the rga has
ambitious goals to support our republican governors. that is why the rga has been so successful. we do not think about just this year or next year, we think about it in a four year cycle, we have a team who thinks about that cycle, we think about all of our fundraising to get ready for 2022 when we have 36 races. we think long-term, and part of our plan is to make sure we have the financial resources to support our governors. >> can you give a ballpark estimate how much you will need? gov. ricketts: a lot. we know the other side will have a lot of money, we will have the resources as well. >> the governor of nebraska joining us. thank you for being with us. gov. ricketts: it is my pleasure, thank you for having me on. >> we continue conversation. i want to begin with the issue of larry hogan.
he is seriously thinking about potentially challenging donald trump. >> i think the real tell in the political arena is to watch which candidates are slowing down discussion. there has been no sign of that from hogan. he is looking to go to iowa. he has made smaller gestures, making sure former florida governor jeb bush was at his second inauguration event. bush is no friend of donald trump. i think these are signs he wants that discussion and prospect to continue to exist. >> you and others have been writing about the fact that if donald trump faces a primary challenge, it could make him a stronger candidate because of the base support in the gop. >> i think there is a question about the future of the republican party. daniel brought up the point that every republican governor points
to larry hogan as an example of the future of the party. at the same time, president trump controls a wider command of the party apparatus than any previous republican president. i do not remember the republicans this fervent about george bush as they are about donald trump. there is a clear tension there that will play out for the next decade after president trump leaves the political stage. this is a flummoxing question. at the same time maintain the support he has got in places like maryland and massachusetts where republicans have done well to maintain governorships in deeply blue states. >> let me follow up on the three races this year, most notably kentucky. is that the biggest challenge for republicans to maintain?
>> it struck me, they all represent challenges for the public democrats have recruited decent candidates. the attorney general from kentucky, his father served as governor. and the attorney general of the few statewide officeholders who is still a democrat. he will run for governor in mississippi. in both cases, the atmosphere favors republicans because they are such heavy red states, but in a lot of states were one party controls the state legislatures by huge margins, the other party can win surprising governorships.
look at massachusetts and maryland. even oklahoma, wyoming, alaska have recently had democratic governors. it is not out of the realm of possibilities. it is not out of the realm of possibility that republicans win all three. >> democrats are most excited about louisiana and john bel edwards. that state has a more recent history of housing statewide elected democrats. this is the best field of candidates that democrats can field. andy bashir, who is the presumptive front runner, a three-way race right now, and the possibility this could turn into a serious primary fight. he himself is the son of a governor that the democratic party hailed as the model for a governor in the south. he implemented the obama state run health care system that democrats are very happy with. these are three republican leaning races, and they will be states where donald trump and the white house will be happy to send him because they know he
will rally large crowds, which is what the president loves. >> we could see a tough challenge to mitch mcconnell, but he easily won six years ago. >> democrats come a lot of opportunities there. there are candidates who might jump into the race against mitch mcconnell. we are expecting a close race. but mitch mcconnell won by 18 points. he knows how to win that state despite the fact that his approval numbers are not good. that is going to be another $100 million senate race, and
kentucky will be inundated. they are probably already getting television advertising. >> do we have numbers on how much the rga will spend? >> i do not, the rga regularly outspend the dga. the dga has taken steps to close that gap. the current chair has a history of being a competitive fundraiser and is one of the leaders in the party on that. the expectation i have gotten is the rga will out raise and utilize that ability in these races. >> in the universe of democratic
outside groups, they have caught up rapidly with republicans, especially given president trump in the oval office. we saw the democratic candidates outspending republican rivals, even incumbents across the country. you can imagine both republicans and democrats governor associations will spend north of $100 million in the next few years. >> thank you for joining us. >> thank you for having us. >> sarah perez reports on congress for politico and joins us with a look at hr one, a bill dealing with elections and campaign finance reform. will bee democrats putting this legislation on the floor. what can you tell us about it? >> the