tv Newsmakers Gov. Pete Ricketts R-NE RGA CSPAN March 4, 2019 2:22pm-2:56pm EST
>> ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. >> and the people who knocked these buildings down -- "thespan's newest book the bests," noting and worst chief executives, the lives of the 44 american presidents. interviews with noted president of historians. explore the life events that shaped our leaders, challenges they faced, and the legacies they have left behind. published by public affairs, c-span's "the president's will be on shelves april 23. you can preorder your copy as a hardcover or e-book today at c-span.org/thepresidents or wherever books are sold.
steve: joining us from lincoln, nebraska, as governor steve ricketts, chair of the republican governors association. joining us here in washington is daniel strauss. he covered politics for politico. "the hill"lson from and thehill.com. google is looking to set up a research facility in nebraska. what are the lessons from your state and from other states trying to attract high-tech companies to their locations? well, when we talk to companies, one of the biggest challenges they have is making sure they have the right workforce. wethat one of the things focus on? absolutely, to make sure we are developing our people and connecting them to those well-paid jobs. when it comes to technology, a lot of those jobs to not have to have a four-year degree. we want our young people to know that there are opportunities to
go into i.t. if they want to go down that two-year route. we want to make sure the public is exposed to that. in seventh grade and eighth grade, and we have great programs to encourage that. taxes andn incentives, those sort of things, play into the decisions. one of the biggest things they're looking for is, am i going to be able to hire the people i need to go my complete? steve: what were the mistakes in new york? gov. ricketts: to be frank, i did not really follow what was going on in new york. but you also have to show that you have support for it. we were able to attract costco to build a processing plant in fremont, nebraska. one of the things that sold them to come into nebraska was the fact that when they came to there were probably 100 business people that showed up to be able to welcome them, that my agencies are part of the program to be up a help meet their needs.
there fremont area economic council, the city, the chamber of commerce, there was broad support for bringing them here. that is true when we have talked to other companies. one of the reasons i have chosen nebraska is because they came here and they were welcomed. that is a big key. committees want to go some place where they know they will be able to work with the local government officials, whether it is for permitting or going back to workforce, whatever it is going to be. they want to do know they will have cooperation from local officials to be able to solve problems and meet their needs. if they have that resistance where people are saying we do not want you here, companies have a lot of opportunities to go to some place else. they will go to a state where they are being welcomed. and assuming other things fall in place like workforce, they will shop there. steve: and economy and politics, reid wilson? one thing that is
fascinating is the nebraska economic forecast is suggested state revenue and income will be down about $100 million over the next couple of years. i wonder if you worry that is a leading sign of an economic recession? gov. ricketts: one of the things in 2013,een is that farmington was about $7.5 for 2019, they are projecting about $2 billion. agriculture is our biggest industry with state gdp, accounting for about one in four jobs. when we see farm income hoedown, it ripples -- when we see farm income go down, it ripples to the economy. that is impacting our economy. and with the tax cuts and the jobs act, people change their behavior we saw a lot of people
pay their property taxes in 2017 they could take the tax credit. i tell people not to panic and let's see what happens on tax thatand some of the stuff has been going on deals with withholding so we may see a bump up in tax receipts in april. we will have another forecasting ofrd meeting at the end april. the forecasts change and go back up again. i am telling people not to panic and maybe we will see something good resolved close to tax a day. reid: you mentioned lower commodity prices. i wonder what impact the president's trade war and tariffs have on nebraska farmers? gov. ricketts: commodity prices started slumping about five years ago. so 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., the last couple of days were the chinese state longer. china is our number one market for soybeans. we have had soybean prices up about one dollar or so from where they were before, so it has had an impact. if we could get that going again, it would be helpful. our number one export is beef. we do not export to china much at all. that market got opened up by president trump in 2016, so that is a growing marketplace. 2016 to 2017, our beef exports with japan were up 22% and pork 46%.ts up we do see strong demand for our products, and we want to see the administration continue to drive these trade deals. it is a big deal for us. i think when 2018 numbers come
in, mexico will be the biggest trading partner for the state of nebraska, our number one to best -- number one destination for things like corn and dairy. this should not be a partisan issue. is a much better agreement than nafta, especially on issues like labor. we should get this passed right away, and that will improve relationships with places such as japan and mexico. we got good news of the chinese are working with the administration to be able to get that deal done. i also believe the japanese are sitting down with the administration, as well, and that is a priority to get that done so we can make sure we do not have prohibitive trade tariffs ongarding things like our u.s. beef going over there. at the end of the day, we have to get these things wrapped up. we have to get congress to approve it.
we have to deal with china and to look to span -- deal with japan. we have to deal with south korea. about 30% of everything we grow in nebraska gets exported overseas. it is a good part of our economy, and that is why we continue to work with the trump administration and encourage them to get these trade deals wrapped up and bring that certainty to our farmers and ranchers. a big when we see that, we will say commodity prices go back up again. steve: i want to turn to dennis ross of politico. what hat -- to daniel strauss of politico. what happens if the house does not pass this? daniel: this should not be a issue.n if nancy pelosi is interested in stronger trade agreements, she should like the deal. i think the risk is if you do not do usmca, you are going back to nafta so you do not get the stronger labor provisions. for example, is that mexico is
our number one destination for currentut with the nafta agreement, we're pretty much shut out of the dairy canada.n this is an opportunity to open the marketplaces for our farmers and ranchers, so this is a good deal to help grow economic activity in our country. i would encourage speaker pelosi to make sure she gets this. frankly, it is a better deal for the american worker and a better deal for the american farmer. i do not know why she would want to be opposed to those contingencies. daniel: i am wondering how much contact you have with the trump administration on this? withis obviously -- a deal china on trade is obviously something that is important in nebraska. how regularly do you talk with lighthizer and to president trump himself? gov. ricketts: first of all, the
president is very busy so i do not talk to him personally that often. i was just in d.c. over the last few days. i actually introduce the president on friday night at a dinner in front of the rga, so i got a little bit of time to talk to him there. we had a pretty lengthy meeting with ambassador lighthizer and with tony purdue, our ag secretary, talking just about trade at the white house last monday morning. we had a chance to talk about it. one of the things i want to say about this administration, they are completely accessible. anytime i have called and asked for a phone call, we get response back really quickly. when there was a rumor that we were going to pull out of the south korean trade agreement, i called ambassador lighthizer's office friday afternoon and he called me back sunday afternoon. this administration really cares what we as governors think. i have also been to the white council,rade advisory
and my background check was probably held up a little bit because of the government shutdown, but that will be another opportunity to give input to the administration feared but i have found whenever i pick up the phone and asked to talk to ambassador lighthizer or tony purdue or whomever, whatever the reason, the administration has been very responsive and getting back and listening to what we say. last year, the white house chief the firstaid that question the president asked as a policy issue is, what do the governors think? he told the cabinet to go talk to governors and talk to people in the state. we see that here in nebraska. we have had tony purdue here three times. we have had secretaries here. we had the previous epa administrator here a couple times. so this administration is really making an effort to reach out and talk to governors and other people in the state when thinking about foreign policy.
if the administration is very accessible and there is sort ofl going on, i am still wondering what discussions you have had with them on this deal. he just said they are very easy to get in touch with but you have not talked with them that much. unfair an characterization of what you said? gov. ricketts: so when talking about trade: tony purdue was here several times over the course of the -- when talking about trade, when tony purdue was her several times over the course of the last year, we had conversations. when there was specific needs, the danger about the south korean thing, we heard they may pull out of that. we call to get input. with her go to the trade deals in general, they know where we stand on this stuff -- with the trade deals digital, they know where we stand on this stuff. and these are obligated deals.
day, we aref the americans and want to make sure we get the best ills for our country. we want them to be win-wins for other countries, as well, that we cannot undermine our administration with regards to what they are trying to do to get these deals done. our position about getting the deals done as quickly as possible is well known. are people in nebraska that are part of these groups and negotiating some of the trade deals and giving input and so forth. so whenever we have something pressing, they are always going to take our call. we just had the meetings in d.c. a week ago where we had a chance to sit down and talk in more detail about where we are with some of these trade deals. steve: let me turn it back to reid wilson with governor ricketts. reid: to put on the governor association hat, the governors lost a lot of gubernatorial contests last year, seven
aggressive country, including state wisconsin and michigan -- seven across the country, including states like wisconsin and michigan. what message did you take from those midterm elections? how can those estates be won back -- how can those states be won back in the future? gov. ricketts: despite the blue ite that we saw --frankly, is typical for when a party owns the white house, so when president obama was in office, republicans got energized. no we have president trump and democrats are getting energized. frankly, democrats that there were going to pick up 10 or 12 governor seats. we were able to defend 11 of our 13 incumbents, and we picked up key since i florida, ohio, georgia, and in after, and iowa. those are all key states for president trump's reelection. but we, as republicans, we have
to go out there and work hard. with you look at what hogan did in maryland, not exactly a red state, but he was able to won a majority of women because of some of the things he did with regard to how he listened, with the focus groups, being able to understand what women were thinking, really targeted his message about the things he was doing in his administration to be able to win that vote. in florida, similar things were done. that is one of the things that republicans have to think about. to get our message to differ groups that we need to is women orether it minorities, and we have to go to places we traditionally have not gone. and withe elections the changing demographics in our country, we republicans have a great message about growth and creating jobs and helping american families be able to take advantage of the wonderful
things we have in this great nation, but we have to go out to different constituencies and address things they care about and use language that will resonate with them in regard to how our policies are helping them. while we are successful in many places, there are certainly opportunities for us to do a better job when it comes to reaching out to women and minorities. we have a great was, but we also have to make sure we are talking about what we are going to do to help our audience, how to help their families, their communities. that is how voters my decisions. it is about what we're going to do to make their life better. reid: so i wonder how difficult it will be to appeal the -- to those different constituencies when you have a president who uses racially charged language and has been accused of harboring racist sentiment. gov. ricketts: it gets back to the old adage, all politics is local.
voters are very responsible for getting things done. that is what we as governors have to do. we have to deliver. for us, it is about the policies that are working. the two most popular governors in this country are in massachusetts and maryland. you have great leaders doing things for the people. i think there was a morning poll that came out the show the top 10 most popular governors were republicans. i think what we have to do is make sure we are reaching out to people in our communities, that we're translating the policy initiatives we have into, how is that going to help you? if you care about charter schools and school choice, a minority community in florida, that is what the governor is reaching out to people to talk about. it is about trying to figure out what we're doing that is helping people in their local communities and targeting those messages that way. it is about governors. are we making good on our promises?
steve: governor ricketts, and the popular governor of maryland does decide to read for president, will you endorse your fellow republican governor or will you support the president --a stay on the sidelines will you support the president or stay on the sidelines? gov. ricketts: i will support the president. steve: what advice would you give to governor hogan? would say to: i wait until the president gets passed this election cycle. daniel: it is funny because a lot of republicans in the gubernatorial liked hogan as a model and future of the party. who is the governor actively thinking about running for president, and at the same time, the incumbent president, a republican, has less than ideal poll numbers. how do you square that, if hogan is an example you can look to,
with how republicans who should run their state and how they should act on a national stage in a central challenge the incoming president who you -- the incumbent president who you were supporting? gov. ricketts: governor hogan is doing a fantastic job in maryland. look at the stat. he is still a good job in his state. i give him all the credit and the world. but so has president trump. you would be hard fell to find an administration that has a combo is more in the trump administration -- that has accomplished more in the trump -- then the trump administration. think about the work he has done with regard to the court, things he has done to good regulation. 22 regulations that for every one put in place. those are all things impressive with regard to him delivering on camping promises. at the end of the day, he gets
back to results. under the obama administration, we were told only 2% growth was normal. last year, we were told 4%. if you look at unemployment, african-american employment and hispanic american employment are at record lows. not surprising, the poverty in those communities are also at record lows. we have a president delivering on the economic growth and prosperity, and that is a great record to run on. butink of in a great job, so is the president. daniel: is there a point where you would step in and advise hogan not to challenge the president? runs, wouldf he you step in and actively work to hinder the governor's campaign? because you are a chair of the family,the ricketts which is part of politics at the national level right now.
gov. ricketts: with regards to the campaign, you are talking about a lot of hypotheticals. i would be happy to talk with governor hogan with regard to my thoughts about where his political future is. with regard to the president, we will be supporting the president in his reelection. the job of the rga is about governors.publican over the course of this year and next four years, we will be focused on how to get republican governors elected. people like larry hogan. he just got reelected. read hogan -- reid wilson. republicans so far have not raised a ton of money. do you expect anybody else to get into the race? as farcketts: certainly as the republican governors association, we want great, strong candidates to run.
two good candidates are running already. congressman abraham, who has a great reputation in his state, as well as a businessman who is probably not so well known, but he was a member of an executive roundtable before he ran for governor. i got to know him through my involvement at the rga. i was a member going back to 2009. he is a great guy, a man of character and integrity. he has built a great business and wants what is best for louisiana. candidates.great if somebody else gets in, that would be great, too. the rga will not pick a person and the primary. that will be up to the people in louisiana. when they get through that primary on october 12, the rga will be there to support the person in the race against, presumably, the incumbent to that november 16 date, so we can help them look at winning that
race. governor bill edwards has raised taxes in louisiana, a state trump won by 20 points. steve: kentucky, governor matt bevin seeking reelection. are you concerned at all that the attorney general or one of the democrats could give him a real race? gov. ricketts: the democrats have put up good candidates there, and they have a primary and may. -- in may. we will wait and see who the challenger will be. but governor bevin has done great things with pensions and right to work and has been successful in driving economic activity in kentucky. that couple of years now, would have to get the exact points, but looking at economic development projects, i think conduct the -- kentucky is number two there, second-most economic development projects
per capita of any other state. he has been a great job. no doubt it will be a tough race. fatherthe candidates' was previously the governor in kentucky, so that prison has great name id to start with. but we have a great candidate, a governor with a demonstrable track record. steve: let me turn back to daniel strauss. daniel: the third race is mississippi. these are states where president trump remains very popular. if you could pick one state where he could campaign abuse the eventual nominee, who would it be? we. ricketts: well, i think would love to have the president go to all the states where he has an opportunity. obviously our first priority is protecting our incumbent, so kentucky will probably be the highest priority with regard to that. we have a great candidate in
mississippi. we have great candidates in louisiana. we think there is great opportunity if the president can help support our republican governor candidates, we would love to have him help us out. thee: governor, you ran for senate wants before and are now in your second term as governor of nebraska. theinterest in seeking senate again or in a national office? gov. ricketts: i tell people that i have got the best job in the world, and i guarantee you that if i just got reelected, i will be governor for the next four years. that is my plan. i will worry about what happens when i get done with my term after i get done with my term. i am now focused on being the best governor for the state of nebraska i can be. steve: how much money do you expect to raise as head of the rga? surericketts: we do not the budget because we do not want to give away what we're doing to the other side. but the rga has ambitious goals for fund-raising.
one of the reasons we have been so successful as we do not think about this election year or next year only, we think about it in a four-year cycle. we have a team that looks of that cycle, and we think about our fundraising during that cycle so we can get ready for 2020 to -- ready for 2020 to. we think -- get ready for 2022. steve: can you give a ballpark estimate for how much you think you only? gov. ricketts: a lot. we know the other side will have a lot of money to we will have resources. the flop governor of nebraska -- steve: governor of nebraska, thank you for being with us on c-span and the "newsmakers" program. we continue with reid wilson and daniel strauss. daniel, i want to continue on the issue of larry hogan. he is seriously thinking about
potential he challenging donald trump. theel: the real tell in political arenas to watch which candidates are slowing down, and there is no sign of that by hogan. he's looking at going to ohio, i believe. he has made smaller gestures like making sure former florida governor jeb bush was at his second inauguration event, and bush is no friend of donald trump's. signs thatse are all he at least wants that prospect to continue to exist. steve: reid wilson, you and others have read about the fact that if donald trump does have a primary challenge, he could make him a stronger edited rather than a weaker candidate. reid: it is fascinating and looking at the future of the republican party. every republican governor points to larry hogan and charlie baker of massachusetts as an example of the future of the party.
same time, president from controls a wider command of the party apparatus and the electric, if you will, than any republican president. i do not remember this with george w. bush. it will play out over the next decade, long after president trump the political stage, 2025er it is in 2021 or when his second term would end. it is the question, how do you break with a president who has clear downside with the general electric but maintenance that core of -- with the general electorate but maintains the core? steve: let me follow up on the three races this year. is kentucky the biggest challenge for republicans to maintain?
struck me that they all prison charges for republicans, despite the fact they are in is struck me that they all present traders for republicans, despite the fact that they are in deep red states. the attorney general of mississippi, one of the few statewide officeholders in the deep south who is still a democrat. jim hood will run for governor in mississippi. the atmosphere favors republicans because they are such heavily red states. in a lot of states where one party controls the state legislatures by huge margins, the other party can win surprising governorships. look at massachusetts and maryland, even republican held states like oklahoma, wyoming, and alaska that have recently had democratic governors. it is not out of the realm of possibility that democrats win all three races. also not out of the realm of possibility that republicans win all three.
daniel: i think we're most excited about indiana. that state has a more recent history of housing they dwight elected -- of housing statewide elected democrats. it is the best fielder candidates in these three races that democrats can field. jim hood is a unique name. a democrat born and bred in mississippi who can win statewide in mississippi. and andy bashir, the presumptive front-runner. it is a three-way race right now, and there is a possibility that this could turn into a serious primary fight. but bashir is the son of a governor that the democratic party hailed as the model for a governor in a south. he implemented the obamacare state run health care system that democrats were very happy
with. republican-three winning races. these are going to be states trumpot -- where donald of the white house will be happy to send him because they know he will get large crowds. tough in kentucky, a challenge to mitch mcconnell, but he easily won six euros ago. he is facing a tough challenge next year though. reid: there are a few candidates that might jump into that race against mitch mcconnell. we expected it to be a close race four and half years ago now, but mitch mcconnell won by 18 points. he knows how to win that state, despite the fact his approval numbers are not good. that is going to be another $100 million senate race. the state of kentucky -- they
are probably already getting television advertising. steve: do either of you have numbers on how much the rga will spend her has raised? daniel: i do not. the rga regularly out spans and out raises the dga. in the aftermath of 2018, the dga has taken steps to close that gap. they elevated the new executive director, the finance tractor for the committee -- the finance director for the committee. hascurrent chair right now a history of being a competitive fundraiser and is one of the leaders within the party. the expectation i have gotten is that the rga will continue to out raise and utilize that ability in these races. steve: reid wilson, last word. universe of democratic outside groups, i think they have caught up rapidly with republicans, given president trump in the oval office.
candidates are outspending republican rivals, even incumbents.i would not be surprised of the same thing happens next year. the governor's associations will spend close to $100 million in the next two years. steve: reid wilson and daniel strauss, thanks for joining us on "newsmakers." >> coming up on c-span, russia's ambassador to the u.s. will be speaking at the stimson center in washington, d.c. we will have that at 3:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span. time, we do our your money segment, which looks at your money and how it is used in washington