Skip to main content

tv   Politics Public Policy Today  CSPAN  January 8, 2015 1:00pm-3:01pm EST

1:00 pm
presence in europe. the importance of the transatlantic relationship to us. in order to ensure that we're able to be there for the future and we have the funding and resources to be there for the future, we need tone sure to ourselves, to the congress to the american people that we are there as efficiently as we can be. >> final question. thank you very much for coming. the air force is gracious enough to provide an expert here to talk about the f-35 basing if anyone has any questions to that. i thank you for your time. folks, thank you for coming. that concludes our briefing for today. agriculture secretary and missouri governor join representatives of food and agriculture companies and members of congress to talk about ending the u.s. trade embargo with cuba and advancing open trade and investment
1:01 pm
between the two countries. it's our next live event here on c-span3. here are some of our featured programs this weekend.
1:02 pm
up next, governors give the national governorss associations address. this is just over an hour.
1:03 pm
>> thank you and good morning, ladies and gentlemen. thank you for coming to the third annual national governor's state of the states address. it's going to be a tough one. must be the snow. it is my privilege to serve as the governor of colorado and as the chair of the nga. joining me today is my good friend and vice chair and governor of utah, gary herbert. i would like to take a moment to acknowledge the chief of the national guard bureau who is here with us today, general frank grass who is a member of the joint chiefs of staff. we are welcoming many new colleagues this year as governors. already four new governors have been sworn in, alaska, arizona, hawaii and the virgins islands.
1:04 pm
as of today, governor ramundo will be the first female of rhode island. another seven new governors will take the oath of office. many of these colleagues are relatively new to politics. they entered the realm of elected office after many successful years in the private sector. tom wolf, the governor elect of pennsylvania, spent years running a family business specializing in kitchen cabinets. arizona's new governor was the state's treasurer. governor ramondo didn't step into office until four years ago. she was her state's treasurer. i before that, she launched one of rhode island's first venture capital firms. for the last three decades, governor elect of maryland, has a entrepreneur running the real estate company he founded decades ago. pete richards will take over thursday.
1:05 pm
he held several leadership positions in his family's business, including president and coo of the business that eventually came to be known as ameritrade. these are a few of the new governors who come to public service after years in the private sector. the new perspectives will be of great benefit to the country. public service and political experience is critical to creating an effective government. but so is private sector experience. knowing what it's like to take a risk and start a business. having had to meet a payroll and not only keep the lights on but turn a profit and succeed. this experience can help state governments empathize with the business community and with its employees. all of which helps cultivate responsible economic growth. today marks the swearing in of the 114th congress and our colleague mike brown of south dakota. mike joins nine other former governors who realize that having been a governor will help make them a better senator. i tell you all of this because
1:06 pm
we have a clean slate, a fresh start. as the house and senate and the administration put their agendas together, we are asking them to look to the states. gridlock too often may be the norm here in washington, d.c., but that does not hold true in the states. later this afternoon, governor herbert and i along with others will meet with the president to talk about the upcoming year and areas of mutual concern and interest. identifying challenges and finding solutions that work for everyone are the hallmarks of the state capitals. it's the hallmarks of successful business leaders. we have demonstrated we can work together to solve our nation's most pressing problems. indeed, this is as it should be. as our founding fathers intended states to function as laboratories of democracy. i would like to highlight a few of the things happening in states and how we are delivering results for the people of our states. then governor herbert will outline how the federal
1:07 pm
government can partner with us going forward. let's start with education. every governor i know wants to be the education governor. research has shown that to have a strong competitive education system, early learning needs to come first. already most states have invested more state dollars in early care on education. those states are creating policies to increase the likelihood that money is spent on high quality learning opportunities. governor malloy has led efforts in connecticut to expand early care and education. make sure those opportunities are rampant. last year he established a new office of early childhood to build a cohesive high quality system of care and education for young children in his state. he also worked with the legislature to expand the voluntary preschool program. states are elevating the quality of their education by raising their expectations of students
1:08 pm
and moving the quality of the assessments used to measure students' progress. with testing, it's about quality not quantity. when done well, students are better prepared for postsecondary education, avoid remedial classes and are on a path to obtaining a certificate or degree to enter the work force and ultimately the middle class. ensuring students leave high school ready for college or a career is a top priority for governors everywhere. governor haslem has led tennessee with this approach, producing largest gains in student achievement over the last four years. as states set higher standards, what students learn and how they will learn will not change much unless we improve the quality of teaching and leadership within all our schools. states are revamping the preparation of teachers and
1:09 pm
principals and are changing how educators are evaluated. we passed legislation to elevate the quality of our teachers and our principals. today teachers and principals are evaluated according to a system based on rigorous standards. they receive feedback based on multiple observations of their practice as well as their contribution to student learning. along with this feedback, teachers and principals are given the necessary professional development opportunities to improve their performance. as we all know, education is not stopped in the classroom. it continues throughout their careers. the work force is constantly evolving and learning which is absolutely necessary -- which is absolutely necessary in our modern economy. where we can create opportunities, that means well paying jobs. and well paying jobs mean upward mobility. economic growth and job creation depend on a well educated and well trained work force.
1:10 pm
there is a growing recognition that the united states will benefit from more advanced on the job training opportunities to develop a skilled work force for businesses and for -- for businesses and for well paying careers for workers. that's one reason states have focused on creating apprenticeships. main street montana elevates the role of apprenticeship as a work force solution for the state's key industries. several states are offering tax credits to employers who hire apprentices. others are offering tuition benefits and reimbursements when workers take relevant courses. some states provide support to state-wide and regional agencies to help businesses develop apprenticeship models. this year, the iowa apprenticeship and job training act tripled apprenticeship funding to over $3 million to support classroom-based
1:11 pm
instruction for apprentices in high demand sectors. governor herbert's commitment to aligning the workforce training system with the needs of the employers in the state is paying great dividends. utah's unemployment rate is one of the very best in the nation. his support for reforms that emphasize science, technology, engineering and math, the so-called stem careers, it's helping utah realize its goal of 66% of all adults obtaining a degree or postsecondary certificate by the year 2020. also preparing today's students for a modern technology driven economy. we governors are occasionally competitive. but it's good having one governor standing out so it pushes the rest of it. we also must look to the -- at the talent pool when creating economic development strategies. among that pool of talent are our returning veterans. after returning from armed forces, many veterans find that
1:12 pm
they cannot transfer easily their skills to a civilian job without the additional burden -- without the added burden of additional certificates or licenses. because of this, 20 states have enacted legislation just in the past year to assist veterans and their spouses in transferring and obtaining occupational licenses. six states, illinois, iowa, minnesota, nevada, virginia and wisconsin, are participating in a project to ease veterans' transition -- to ease the transition from military service to civilian employment by accelerating the occupational licensing process. in minnesota, the governor signed legislation reducing the number of years of military experience necessary to take the police officer reciprocity exam. in wisconsin, the governor
1:13 pm
created an accelerated program that bridges the gap between military training and civilian credentials, especially in nursing and healthcare. in every state, education and healthcare are the top two expenditures. all states continue to focus on improving healthcare, raising quality and containing costs. increasingly, governors are aligning economic incentives across public and private payers moving away from traditional fee for service models and toward value and quality. many governors are starting the transformation with medicaid. for example, governor bentley proposed a demonstration waiver in alabama to implement regional care organizations to provide care to almost all of the medicaid beneficiaries within the next few years. in washington, they have a demonstration waiver proposal to support state wide healthcare transformation by consolidating siloed federal funding sources
1:14 pm
and maximizing their value. for its part, nga is working with governors to create a medicaid transformation framework to include agreement in concept with the federal government around common state-wide transformation themes. that's flexible federalism. oregon transformed its medicaid program by delivering the state -- dividing the state into 15 regional coordinated care organizations that emphasize prevention and chronic disease treatment, to reduce the need for emergency room visits and hospitalizations. arkansas has implemented a novel system of bundle payments for select procedures and conditions. these payments cover the entirety of services needed. physician, hospital, pharmaceutical, post care, post acute care for each episode of treatment thereby establishing incentives for the most efficient care. governors are leading the way in
1:15 pm
proving the health of the people in their state by focusing the wellness of the whole person and optimizing individual health outcomes. a key aspect of these efforts includes integrating medical and behavioral healthcare systems. missouri is a pioneer in this effort. the governor places a premium on evident-based practices for people with the most serious needs. the missouri model shows promising evidence of significant reductions in hospitalizations and improved outcomes for serious chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol. as states strive towards high quality and more efficient healthcare, governors are also developing an accessible well-trained and flexible healthcare work force to meet both the current need and that of a transformed healthcare
1:16 pm
delivery system. many states report provider shortages across diverse practice areas, including adult primary care, oral health, behavioral health and a range of other specialties. more over, delivery system efforts are creating new nudes that are significantly changing the composition of the healthcare work force. along with how individual providers are expected to practice. governors are carrying out a number of efforts to support that new health work force, including a a dressing scope of practice restrictions, creating incentives for providers to practice in rural and under served areas, partnering with economic development and labor agencies to collect work force data and funding education and training programs to recruit, retain new types of professionals. in maryland, they established a
1:17 pm
loan repayment program funded by both public and private stakeholders which including an advisory counsel that scores potential applicants according to the likelihood they will continue serving under serve once their term ends. in north carolina, they created a program linking emergency rooms to behavioral health providers who are able to initiate treatment through video conferencing. even with the gridlock in washington, governors are using their authority to effectively improve the quality of healthcare for the people of their states. education and healthcare are top of mind for all governors, we also are focused on infrastructure. the roads, rail, waterways, the runways, broadband networks and power grids needed to accelerate economic growth and job creation. governors know that you can't build a competitive economy without the foundation provided by modernized infrastructure. to be frank, too little federal
1:18 pm
investment in infrastructure is handicapping u.s. business. what was new 65 years ago now has to be either rebuilt or repaired. in response, states are increasing their funding. fiscal year 2014, transportation spending grew by more than 4% with state funds increasing more than 10% at the same time that federal funding were declining by more than 1%. in order to bridge that gap, states have turned to creative funding sources and innovative ways to help their dollars go further. one approach that has been made sense in many states is creating new public private partnerships that leverage private sector financing and expertise to deliver new public roads, bridges, ports and tunnels at a lower cost and more quickly. we have had success in colorado
1:19 pm
with the public private partnership transit project that opened last fall. there's a new road project under way. our state along with maryland, illinois and north carolina held retreats with the help of the nga to think through these new opportunities. including how to identify the savings and structure for these projects so that they can really work. energy policy is another area where governors have been leading the charge. governors have been crafting state energy plans and developing a variety of policies thanks to technological advances including increased production from horizontal drilling, the past few years have seen a reversal in the decline in the domestic production of crude oil. in september, monthly production was back up to 256 million barrels on par with its peek in 1996. a far more importantly a far cry from the low point of september
1:20 pm
2005 when it was less than half that amount. we expect to see continued high levels of production for some time to come, even with the drop in oil prices that is part of the -- is in part a consequence of more production in the united states. there's a similar story to be told about natural gas development where production saw ten straight months of growth from february to november of this past year. reaching 67.9 billion cubic feet per day on average. as such, the united states now leads the world in natural gas production. these increased have lowered cost, increased reliability, enhanced energy security and furthered economic development. lower energy costs have added $500 to $1,000 annually to household budgets across the united states. much of this new production is from shale in oil and gas. meanwhile, states are working to
1:21 pm
ensure that they are managing the development of this new shale energy. in colorado, we created rules to eliminate methane and processes along with a number of other rules that protect water and land resources. governors are working to ensure that development is done safely and responsibly so that we can all use natural gas to heat our homes, to generate electricity, to fuel our vehicles in a way that lowers emissions and increases the diversity of our energy supply. from the 21st century production, let's jump now to 21st century threats. like not enough water. that's not in the script. the continued growth and sophistication of cyber attacks against the united states makes cyber security a critical issue for all governors.
1:22 pm
crime, like commerce, is now done often on the internet. what used to be stolen in person is now stolen with a keyboard. cyber security is considered one of the largest homeland security threats that we face. governors have made significant progress on this front. last year, the nga resource center for state cyber security under the leadership of maryland governor o'malley and michigan governor snyder released a call to action outlining essential steps governors can take to improve their state's cyber security practices. i'm happy to report today that according to a recent survey, two-thirds of the state have adopted or are considering adopting the recommendations. governors are leading national efforts to improve a whole of government approach to cyber security. at the 2014 nga summer meeting, the council of governors
1:23 pm
ratified the joint action plan for state federal unity of effort on cyber security. this document will help improve coordination of state and federal governments efforts to strengthen our response to cyber security. as we all know, there's much work to be done to ensure that our networks and critical infrastructure are secure from cyber attacks. governors will continue to improve the security. another threat that nations's governors recognize is prescription drug abuse. it's the fastest growing drug problem in the entire country. it's critical that we have a coordinated and effective response. last year along with governor -- last year, governor bentley and i co-chaired first round. prescription drug abuse project. now under the leadership of nevada's and vermont's governor, other governors have
1:24 pm
conceived -- convened high level teams of policymakers with the goal of implementing strategies to reduce overdoses and deaths. these states are building on the lessons learned from the first academy developing plans that are able to use data and evaluation to drive policy to rely on evidence-based practices and ultimately change prescribing behavior. i know in our early implementation, colorado has reduced prescription drug abuse by more than 20% in the first 2 1/2 years. public health, law enforcement and other stakeholders must work together to find a solution to the growing problem. governors continue to lead the way encouraging greater collaboration and coordination to reduce overdoses and death. what i have outlines are a few highlights from the state's many accomplishments. we know we will continue to grow and continue to do more. that's why i have chosen to
1:25 pm
focus my chair's initiative this year on delivering results. my overall goal is to make state government work in the most efficient, cost-effective way possible through innovative management and hiring practices, through government process improvements, and through appropriate regulation. many of my fellow governors are already taking full advantage of the innovations used by businesses, universities and others to address the fundamental issue of how to deliver people better results. for example, a number of govern florz cutting bureaucratic red tape making government work better for its people and its businesses. one way is to make it easier to obtain licenses and permits. for example, in south dakota, the governor launched a new red tape review eliminating more than 148,000 words and 900 sections from the state regulation. new jersey governor chris
1:26 pm
christie created a commission to review all pending and proposed rules and regulations for their affect on the state's economy. on a related note, he signed into law in november that will revise or repeal unnecessary or burdensome statutes identified by the commission. they are ensuring that taxpayer money is spent wisely. in michigan, a new website provides information to the public on performance in key areas such as economic strength, health and education and public safety. another governor instituted results washington, an effort to ensure that all state government is focused on achieving a set of high priority goals, including world class education. healthy and safe communities and a prosperous economy. in colorado, we are focusing on delivering results as well. one of the things we did immediately after taking office four years ago was travel around
1:27 pm
the state and ask communities and business leaders what we could do to help their businesses, to help their business development. part of what we heard was to get rid of unnecessary rules, get government out of the way. in response we established what we call the pits and peeves initiative. i signed an order that required all state agencies to conduct periodic reviews of all their rules to determine their need, their appropriateness and their effectiveness. thus far in colorado, we have reviewed more than 13,000 state regulations and either improved or eliminated almost 50%. the order wasn't rocket science but common sense. which we all have learned sometimes alludes bureaucracy. we have adopted processing systems. in colorado, government processes are done more quickly and efficiently than ever
1:28 pm
before. to expand on these things is the right direction for all governors. these experiments in bringing modern management techniques to state governments are taking place all across america. we are beginning to find solutions to secure this -- solutions to some of this country's most nagging problems. state governments exist to improve not complicate the lives of their citizens. to expand more on these issues and how federal government can partner with us, i turn it over to my good friend from the great state of utah, governor gary herbert. [ applause ] >> thank you. welcome, everybody. it's an honor to be here with you today. it's a privilege to join my good friend here as we lead the national governor's association. i enjoy serving with him as we work together with the western
1:29 pm
governor's association. i'm excited about this opportunity to continue to work together here in washington representing the governors of this great nation. a new congress provides a clean slate. it's a new year and a new opportunity to reset priorities and focus on solutions. like many of my fellow governors, i too have been frustrated by the stalemate that seems to pervade washington. guiding principals should guide. about you they should not be used to impede governing. governors have to get things done. today, we speak on behalf of the nas's governors to build upon the innovation and activity in the states and to call for a federal agenda that focuses on solutions and partnerships rather than extreme
1:30 pm
partisanship. this new congress provides us with a unique opportunity to reauthorize several major programs. with a backlog of work that has been left undone by the previous congress, we now have the opportunity for meaningful reform to ensure that state federal programs work more effectively. let's start with education. 43 states are operating under waivers from no child left behind. waivers are important tools that provide states with flexibility to innovate and manage programs, government by waiver is a sign of underlying laws that do not work and are in need of reform. governors are calling on congress to reauthorize the elementary and secondary education act. this should be done in a way that protects states' rights to set standards and recognizes the need for maximum flexibility as states meet goals and advance education for all of our students. the new act should reinforce the principal that accountability and responsibility for k-12
1:31 pm
education rests with the states. it should also support governor strategies to improve low performing schools and it must include flexibility for governors to empower teachers and school leaders to prepare all students for success. the objective of k-12 education to prepare students for college or career training and provide the basis for a successful future. in oklahoma, the governor hosted a summit in her state that brought together for the first time leaders from education, the business community and state government in order to lay out a plan and make a joint commitment to improve education in her state. other states are also doing similar things to ensure state driven education excellence. other major education bills are also pending, including reauthorization for head start and the higher education at per kins career and education act. this sets the stage for building a pipeline aimed at preparing
1:32 pm
more students for success in the workplace and in their communities. by leveraging various parts of these separate bills to reinforce one another, states will have the latitude necessary to create a coherent system that is better for our students. as we all know, better education leads to a better work force. as governors we are continually working to ensure our work force systems are ready to develop and sustain a skilled work force for today's global economy. the work force investment act of 1998 gave governors tools to ensure an effective and responsive system to meet the needs of workers. 16 years later, the law was in need of an update to allow governors to address new challenges that confront workers in our modern state economies. we applaud congress for breaking through the gridlock to reauthorize this law which provides flexibility for
1:33 pm
governors to grow and spur economic development. unfortunately, appropriators failed to fully fund the 15% set aside, a tool that governors have used to build work force programs that attract and retain businesses, create jobs and improve worker skills. we look forward to partnering with the federal government to fully implement the law and with congress to fully restore the 15% set aside which by the way can be done with no tax increase. let me also recognize that our nation's veterans are a valuable part of our american work force. we are focused on providing veterans with ready access to the benefits, the services and the economic opportunities they deserve. specifically, the governors are dedicated to sharing innovative state initiatives that seek to ease veterans' transition to civilian life.
1:34 pm
we are partnering to hire more veterans, to better support military spouses and families. in addition, governors will continue to work with federal agencies and congress to address ongoing state federal challenges related to information sharing, records management and elimination of the disability claims backlog. another significant concern for the governors is healthcare. we agree with the goals of improving health and quality of care while doing everything possible to contain costs. last year we came together as states to make more than 40 recommendations to the department of health and human services through our healthcare sustainability task force. these key recommendations include streamlining the approval process for medicaid waivers like we have done in utah. as we have seen in arkansas and in oregon. developing a path of permanency for longstanding successful state programs as they have been
1:35 pm
done in arizona. and also allowing states to share in the federal savings that result from state-driven reforms. we are an ongoing discussion to make sure that these recommendations become a reality. in particular, i would like to acknowledge the work that has been done through the new medicaid accelerator program. looking ahead governors will work with federal partners on these and other opportunities to improve the quality and efficiency of the nation's healthcare system. two areas where governors have consensus are in the call for reauthorization of the children's health insurance program, known as chip. as well as the need to coordinate efforts to combat prescription drug abuse. congress should act quickly to reauthorize and fund chip.
1:36 pm
since 1997, the program has been successfully provided children and pregnant women and working families with affordable health insurance. governors believe chip should be reauthorized until those children and pregnant women have access to other affordable alternative coverage options. prescription drug abuse is a major public health and safety crisis confronting communities across the united states. while governors are leading comprehensive initiatives to address this issue, a coordinated national response is needed to effectively turn the tide of this epidemic. the federal government should work in close coordination with governors to develop policies that complement state efforts and focus on specifically one enhancing public education and awareness, two, maximizing the use of state prescription drug monitoring programs, three, improving provider education and prescribing practices, four, providing safe, convenient and cost-effective options for disposing unused drugs,
1:37 pm
encourage abuse deterrent formulation and expanding access to addiction treatment and alternative treatment for pain. another priority for states is restoring, rebuilding and expand ing our infrastructure. if congress does not act early this year, federal reimbursement from the highway trust fund for state spending on contracted transportation projects are at risk as soon as this spring. unless congress reauthorized or extends federal surface transportation laws and programs, they, too, will expire on may 31st of this year. the uncertainty created by these two events will leave jobs and economic growth at risk in all of our states. therefore, we call on congress to strengthen the economy and invest in the future by passing a long-term reauthorization. a multi-year authorization should include flexibility for
1:38 pm
states to maintain innovative financing options such as the private public partnership which can serve as tools during great uncertainty. however, innovative financing mechanisms alone cannot replace the continued federal investment necessary to create a cohesive national transportation system. this commitment by the federal government to our service transportation began in the 1950s under president eisenhower and continues to this day. support for infrastructure investment must include support for municipal bonds. bonds have financed most every major infrastructure project in century. ending or capping the federal
1:39 pm
exclusion from nks for bond interest would increase the cost of financing infrastructure projects. this would slow future projects and require states and local governments to find alternative sources of revenue. while we are on the subject of infrastructure and tax, let me take a moment to express governors disappointment with congress for not passing legislation addressing marketplace fairness regarding online and remote sales. legislation was proposed that would have helped level the playing field for all retailers and allowed for collection of taxes that are owed to the states under existing laws. not only is it unfair to other taxpayers who pay their taxes, this failure to act distorts the marketplace in effect favoring remote sellers who often have no connection to our communities over the businesses that are hiring our people and serving our families. this discussion has been going on for over 15 years. it has strong bipartisan support. it is time. in fact, i would say it's time for congress to act and to
1:40 pm
resolve this issue. already 23 states have taken matters into their own hands and passed amazon laws to collect a portion of the tax on their own. more will follow, because as you heard earlier, states are not afraid to govern. to fully resolve this issue at the national level, congress must act. we ask them to act now. we do appreciate the work congress has done with regards to the national guard. last year, congress did the right thing by saying, no to a plan to cut the army national guard and remove much of its combat air capability. this year, a commission will review the role of the army national guard. we fully intend to communicate how the guard's cost-effectiveness and more than ten years of combat experience should be leveraged to meet the threats and realities facing the nation. we already know that the pentagon intends to resubmit plans to reduce the size of the
1:41 pm
guard and remove their helicopters. governors in congress said no once. and we will say it again. the guard is the most cost-effective combat ready force in our nauseous's arsenal. as a former staff sergeant in the utah national guard, i know firsthand how the guard faithfully serves this country abroad and here at home. governors understand the need we have as a nation to make adjustments to meet financial realities. this is the time to invest in value and the national guard is the best bang for the taxpayers' buck. one example of how useful and versatile the guard can be is its potential to help states address cyber security threats. states, counties and cities are experiencing the same attacks we hear about with regard to the retailers and banks and other businesses. as the governor said, nga has taken the lead to provide states with plans and strategies for combating cyber attacks. since the men and women of the
1:42 pm
guard come from our communities and our businesses, some of the best and brightest working in the area of cyber security also serve in the guard. as the federal government develops policies to thwart attacks and protect us, it should partner with the states and recognize the value the guard can bring to this new front. let me now address the subject of energy and the epa. much work remains to be done at the federal level to ensure that the united states retains its newly found position as a leader in world energy production. american energy producers have made enormous progress in developing both renewable and traditional sources of fuel. it's critical that we cultivate a regulatory climate that allows for safe, efficient and environmentally responsible innovation in each of these areas. the epa's rule to limit greenhouse gas emissions will
1:43 pm
require states to submit compliance plans soon after the rule's expected finalization date in june. it's important that states have the flexibility and the resources needed to develop these plans. additionally, the proposed waters of the u.s. rule would alter which waterways would fall under federal jurisdiction versus state jurisdiction through the clean water act. the epa must continue its coordination with states to ensure that the epa does not overstep its bounds affecting state's jurisdiction and authority. speaking of water, which we have spoken of today, i would like to thank our congressional partners for passage of the water resources reform and development bill. governors developed a set of guiding principals for the bill's reauthorization. we are pleased that many of these principals were included in the final bill. as the bill is implemented, governors are committed to ensuring that key provisions such as the public private
1:44 pm
partnership for the corps of engineers are developed with input from the states. for more than a century, our governors have been working for the national governors association, a bipartisan association in a partisan town. in order to discuss mutual concerns and act collectively for the betterment of our states, initiatives and policy recommendations we have worked together on have served as the catalyst for positive change in our country. as elected officials, we are expected to make government work. i look forward to working with all of my fellow governors on the priorities we have outlined and to partnering with congress and the administration to find solutions for the american people in 2015. the challenges we face as a nation require the full measure of american brains and braun and best innovation each state has to offer. our success depends on our
1:45 pm
ability to overcome divisiveness and to form unprecedented partnerships which in turn will lead us to unlimited possibilities. i have seen it work in utah. i know it can work for our nation. a greater partnership between states and a federal government is essential for a people driven to create security, opportunity and prosperity for the next generation of americans. no less was done for us by those who preceded us. we need that vision and that commitment now more than ever. thank you very much. may god bless these united states. [ applause ] >> questions? do we have any questions? this many journalists in one place. yes?
1:46 pm
raise your hand. there you go. >> hi. you had mentioned transportation bill. i was curious if you guys had any suggestions for how you would like to see them fix the highway trust fund issue. >> i think our recommendations have been more general in nature in terms of making sure that we don't lose ground. i don't know any governor or any responsible legislator who is not concerned as we see the increasing fuel efficiency of vehicles that are revenues -- the primary source of revenue for maintaining and expanding highway infrastructure are going to diminish. we have not made a specific recommendation that i know of. >> again, it's a matter of
1:47 pm
getting it done. sometimes they are not getting things done. it sits and gets kicked on down the road. one of the things that we have suggested to the president and the congress is that although we need to balance the budget, we understand the fiscal constraints and we applaud them living within their means. we also ought to have the monies that give -- as given to the states under the transportation and reauthorization to have less strings attached. we believe we can do more with less if we are not hampered. we have the ability to innovate and create and do things with more flexibility. we have talked to the secretary of transportation regarding this very issue. it seems to have been received well. the proof will be in the pudding if we can get a reauthorization and have a reauthorization that has less strings attached so we have more flexibility. >> the other thing we have talked -- the white house and congress -- in the process with
1:48 pm
the funding we have, to reduce the red tape that when we're doing major projects, many times the sequence of requirements in terms of getting your -- satisfying the epa and various federal agencies could be done in parallel instead of being done sequentially, which could reduce the amount of time and preparation for the large projects. the white house and department of transportation have done that in communities with some of their efforts to expand port capacity in anticipation of the expanded panama canal is a good example. >> good morning. when you guys are meeting with the president today, you have a long list of stuff that you would like the federal government to look at. but probably a very short time. what are your top priorities
1:49 pm
when meeting with the president today? >> i think probably the highest priority of everything we are talking about is to build that relationship between state governments and the federal government. in terms of healthcare, if we've gone out and we now have a number of states using the same waiver successfully, let's make it easier to get those done and make them in many cases permanent. once you begin -- when you have 35 or 40 states that have a waiver, say, in education, maybe it's time to change the law. you have that many people using waivers, there's something wrong with the structure. so that's going to be a primary focus. also, i'm sure we will talk about marketplace fairness. that's a primary concern of many states. it's not fair to our local businesses that are part of our community and really support community in many ways, support
1:50 pm
not just through payment of taxes but support the non-profit, the third leg of the stool that helps societies grow and prosper. i think it's only fair that what societies grow and prosper. i think it's only fair that what was originally intended to help the internet get started. week, the internet is pretty well started now. i'm not sure we need to continue giving them this rather large tax break. >> let me just add to in addition to the listing that i had given in my portion of the presentation here today, the concept of the need for congress and the white house tolitionen to the governors is an important one. you know, we were on the front lines. we are the laboratories of democracy. we are doing a lot of things out there that actually have success and we learn from each other. one of the governor associations are getting together and sharing best practices and learning from each other. what works in colorado may not work in utah. but we learn from those things
1:51 pm
and develop our own policies, that helps us to become more effective. we think that the white house and the congress can learn from the states and when they go to implement and change policy you ought to ask for input. we're going to have to try to profit the opportunity to hear from us. but the health care reform the affordable care act, i think would have been better if in fact the congress and the president had engaged with the governors first and said how do you think this is going to work in your state? what do you see some of the challenges as well as the opportunities? i think we'd have a better law if the governors have been asked in advance of passing the affordable care act their input. >> yes. >> hi excuse me, military times. earlier, you mentioned issues regarding army national guard force structures. in many ways it is back in fiscal 2013. can you talk about how things
1:52 pm
have changed with interaction of that service the national commission on the structure the air force has put into that and how the tacks have been involved in the next budget totals? >> sure. i think if i'm speaking for all governors, which i am, this rule requires a certain alt of delicacy. i think every governor is committed to making sure we have the appropriate force structure throughout our entire military system. >> that being said, governors look at the benefits that we receive from national guard and disasterings. we've had 13 federally declared disasters in kwochlt in the last years, floods, fire, all manner of things and yet, repeatedly, the national guard has come to our support, neighboring states utah, we were rebilling our
1:53 pm
roads after the flood of december, 2013. he had a full time of national guard engineers came and allowed us to design work, 24 hours seven days a week, so we got it opened before the first snow fell. the general knows well that bias and a great mediator and facilitator between that needs. but in the end we recognize we want to make sure our country is absolutely safe and our military has the resources that it needs. we just in many case, we look at having that resource of a trained national guard military infrastructure in place, ready to serve should they be needed and it seems to us that creates a level of flexibility that should be very cost effective. >> let me just say amen to the governor's comments and just add that if there is ever an issue that ought to have bipartisan support, when we talk about the proper role of government,
1:54 pm
democrats and republicans independents agree that public safety and national defense is something we ought to have the government involved with. for the collective good and the protection of our citizens and a great tool, we have to compliment their regular army and air force the full time people are our national guard air and army guard as well as the army reserve. it really it's a collective effort so we feel very much committed to support the national defense as we collaborate together as i mentioned, you know, one of the best bangs for the back of the buck, if not the best bang for the buck is in fact, our national guard. >> thank you. i'm a reporter with the washington post. i have a related question for each of you. governor about a year ago, your state legalized marijuana. i would be curious to hear how that's gone so far, if you have
1:55 pm
kwerns, governor herbert, relatedly the two neighboring states of colorado have actually taken action and sued the state over that law. i know a lot of sheriffs on the board complained about it. are you worried about spillover? is that action you might consider taking? thank you. >> do i have concerns about marijuana? of course. i will say that after the initiative passed several years ago, it was a initiative i and the elected official in colorado opposed. if you had asked me the di after the election if i could magically change, have the voters have turned this around and voted it down, i probably would have said yes. that's a good idea. as bad as the preexisting system was the war on drug i think in many cases have been a failure. i was, i mean doing something the first without federal support, without the infrastructure we have, things like enforcement of alcohol
1:56 pm
regulation, we were concerned we could do it well enough. i think now a couple of years down the road, we have an industry that is i think in almost every case, there are always a few exceptions but working hard to create a system that is well regulated, abideing be i the law we're thought having a black market on drug, obviously, we are focused on adjusting our tax structure to make sure we eliminate the drugs. the concern we still have, i still have is whether young people will view this legalization as some way saying that to them that the marijuana is safe and literally every neuroscientist i've talked to is very concerned that the modern marijuana the high thc marijuana, especially when kids are younger in their teenage years, their brains are rapidly growing, up until age 24, 25. even once a week, you can permanently diminish long-term memory, which in essence is
1:57 pm
diminishing your iq. we are about to launch another $1 million marketing campaign towards informing, not just kids, but their parents as well that just because it doesn't seem to have these negative effects on adults, that does not mean we should in anyway make it easy for our kids to get it. on the other hand, one teenager told me about a year ago he was interviewing something, i asked him the questions, should they be worried about kid and their attitude towards marijuana? his response was, if you eliminate the black market you are going to do a great job. it's going to reduce the ability of kids to get access to marijuana. he says, if you think when i was in 8th grade or 9th grade i couldn't get access to marijuana. you're kidding drug dealers don't care who they sell it to. if we eliminate the black mark, we will have a much more secure system to make sure kids don't
1:58 pm
get marijuana. with adults we are seeing people smoking marijuana before it was legalized seem to still be smoking it. they seeming to paying tacks and doing it appropriately t. people that western smoking it before it was legalized don't seem to be smoking it at all. if anything, if there is any increase, it seems to be the very enfrequent smokers smokers once or twice a month. at least so far in the data that we've seen, we don't seem to have a spike in frequent use, which obviously was a major concern. >> let me answerer it this way as i mentioned earlier, justice brandice i think in the 1930s talked about states in the laboratories of democracy. there really are the laboratories of innovation, piloting programs testing theories and issues and seeing what the rules are going to be. so utah like many other states, is observing colorado and other
1:59 pm
states that have legalized marijuana and see what the consequences are going to be intend and otherwise. and we will probably react accordingly to what we see taking place there. the good news, if it works we will learn from that success. if it doesn't work, we will in fact, learn from the lack of success and if it doesn't work well in colorado, the good news is it won't destroy the rest of the country. we will learn from that experience and that experiment. so again it's a great system these united nations as these laboratories of democracy to see what's going to take place with this and the unintend or intended consequences. lastly, this utah we, in fact, liamized cannabis oil, a derivative of the marijuana plant that doesn't have the hallucinogenic aspect as a medicinal purpose for a controlled substance those who have the need for the medical application of that. so we're trying to take parts that make sense to utah and avoid others we think may be
2:00 pm
pushing in a direction that's probably not warranted for our young people. we have no plans to sue colorado. i know others are concerned about that and the, that is of today. >> same question there. >> yeah. >> the concerns for some are, we have a colorado law that's contrary to a federal law and that's not being unforced. so these are issues that need to be, in fact, resolved. i expect over time they will be. >> do you have a question? >> governor, bloomberg news what are the chances you'd run for president in 2016? >> you want statistical chance one in 20,000. i don't know. >> you mean there is a chance? >> that's off the top of my head. >> you know i think nil. i do think you should ask the
2:01 pm
question of governor herbert. you know, i've seen a lost republican candidates and personal personally, [ applause ] >> an endorsement from a democrat is really going to help me. me. his his new less than that. >> any help? >> yeah. just one quick question governor, especially, you mentioned that a lot of the governors coming in are coming from the private sector have that experience, that's obviously something you bring as well. are there lar sort of traits or organizational ability that you are looking for as, you know, a former business leaders in how you run government or you know how you run a state? do you see a difference from the
2:02 pm
sort of career politicians versus the people that came in to the private sector? >> i think to be successful, the state government needs all kind of experience and people, for many years there was a dire lack of people that had any business experience and i think our private sector spends tens of hundreds of billions of dollars world wide on how to do a better job of managing. how to be more efficient effective. how to make people more effective in their jobs, how to get better outcomes, too often you look at the number of leaders that have advanced management degrees of all sorts, how many are government and non-profits, business has the vast majority. really that's a relative minority of what our total system of all the managers that we need there is a fellow out in colorado named jeff smart. he has a company. and he wrote a book called
2:03 pm
"leadocracy "leadocracy" of how hard it is not just to run but to serve in cab thets. i know we made this a priority to find people that made it real -- >> it's cold outside, but it's warm in here. so, good afternoon and welcome to the public launch of the a culture coalition for cuba. i'm chair of usacc. usacc represents a broad cross-section of the agriculture community. our current membership and it's growing is listed in the charter that we just released a few minutes ago. we are excite to introduce our members and our mission to you today. we are especially pleased to see such a ro bust turnout. we believe this turnout is indicative not only of the policy imperative but also of the moral imperative that is in
2:04 pm
front of under the circumstances as an industry and as a country. we are especially pleased to see such important bipartisan support expressed here today. we are appreciative secretary vilsack and at some moment senator more ran, congressman farr, congressman davis and cramer for your presence here today and governor nixon we especially appreciate you flying in from your home state of missouri just for the usacc launch. participation from respective leaders such as yourself is representative of what our coalition believes is the general sentiment of the u.s. congress. 96, we understand that is majority of americans support lifting the embargo on cuba and that support has only been growing sense the president's announcement on december 17th. the usacc is not the first group to support change in the relationship with cuba.
2:05 pm
we are joining a chorus of voices from across america. there are many groups and some of them are mere today that have been at this for a long team. of note is the voice of the u.s. business community, the u.s. chamber of commerce who administers the u.s. cuba working group and who has led a historical delegation to cuba in may, 2014 to assess the changing business climate. the chamber has had a public position for a long time for many years supporting the ends of the embargo. jodi bond, vice president of the americas program is leading the claim ber effort and is with us here today t.usacc is an outgrowth of the history of support from the u.s. agriculture community to change the status quo. our industry has long supported liberalizing trade and travel with cuba. the u.s. agriculture community was instrument am in 2000 in
2:06 pm
opening humanitarian channels so we can have free flow of u.s. and agriculture products to cuba. through the formation of usacc, we are reenergized. we are reenergized to establish cuba as a market and as an industry we are reenergized to advance the end of the embargo. the sanctions are harmful to the cuban citizens and harmful to our country. we would like to offer high quality, affordable, safe food to the cuban citizens. 54 years of unilateral sanctions is an experiment that has gone on far too long. it is a failed policy and it is time that we offer our two countries a better option. commercial engagement can and will promote positive change beyond the isolationism that playings, that currently playings our relationship. our coalition will achieve our purpose by advancing constructive dialogue here in
2:07 pm
the united states on u.s.-cuba policy. we will actively engage to end the embargo. we will work with key stake holders to build momentum that drives historical change. we will take public platforms and explain the moral imperative of liberalizing trade between the two countries. trade liberalization is a tried and true policy that creates opportunity for citizens on both sides. open markets work to engage the economy, allow for development of entrepreneurs, empower small and medium-size businesses raise income and lead to a higher standard of living. it is a choice between freedom or not. we recognize the past difficulties betweenory governments and we can learn from it. but what we know we can collectively own is the future of u.s.-cuba relations. we truly understand that refreshing relations between our countries is about peace and pros period of time for our citizens and for the
2:08 pm
latin-american region. at this point i would like to introduce the usacc vice chair paul johnson to make a few comments. palm has been dedicated to this issue for quite some time. paul. paul. >> good afternoon. my fwham is paul johnson. i'm the executive director of the illinois cuba working group and the vice chair of the usacc. in the past 20 years, i have either lived, worked or studied in cuba and have found that after 50 years of embargo, there is a powerful movement for normalizing trade with could be ba coming from the grass roots, particularly farmers who believe in putting people first and licks second. farmers from california to minnesota, kansas to alabama, virginia, to iowa, support normalizing trade with cuba. in illinois together with the illinois soy bone growers association, we unanimously
2:09 pm
passed a resolution in the state general assembly calling for improved trade relations with cuba proving that this issue has bipartisan support. we believe that improved trade, strengthens lives by bringing economic opportunities to the 11 million cubans. we want to expand the markets and be competitive. and we recognize that competition from brazil, the eu canada, or china won't fade just because we re-enter the cuban market. over the next few months, we will work with congress to help shape the policy that makes our products competitive which will ultimately add jobs for farmers local elevators, truck drivers, port workers, financial service providers and small business and trade companies around the united states. making our products gettive requires reduceing cuban costs, by providing u.s. exporters with financial credit, export credits, direct banking and back holes which will reduce
2:10 pm
our logistic all costs. in order to have back hall haulings, we need trade, import and export. we need to export most efficiently and import what cuba produces well. in conclusion the embargo has not served the interests of the united states or cuban citizens for over a half ocentury. we believe that economic development is freedom. we look forward to working with both d.c. and havana to create more stable agricultural and commercial relations. our message is that u.s. strength and cuban sovereignty is more powerful than u.s.-cuba embargo. >> do you feel inclined to clap you are more than welcome. [ applause ] . at this point it is quite an hon author, mr. secretary, to
2:11 pm
introduce you, to bring to you the podium and to thank you for your leadership were when the announcement came out on december 17th, i believe you were in chicago at the time. but you were the first one to mention the importance of this announcement to the u.s. agriculture community. so please with no further ado, the secretary of agriculture. [ applause ] >> thank you very much. and it's certainly an honor to be here with my good friend governor nixon who hails from the heartland as i do. and good afternoon to all. i'm certainly pleased to be here this afternoon at the launch of the u.s. agriculture coalition for cuba. i want to thank the national press club for making today's event possible and i'm honored to be here today among so many of the nation's agricultural leaders who are advancing the interests of american agriculture here and abroad. particularly, as we look back on 2014 and in fact, the last six
2:12 pm
years, the efforts of the leadishs in this room and others have shown real results for american farmers and ranchers. farm and ranch exports topped 152.5 billion dollars in the past fiscal 84 which is a record high and it's a part of the best six years we've seen in agricultural exports in the history of the country. the new farm bill has been implemented in record time and contains strong investments to continue the tools that support american agriculture, allowing farmers and ran werers to continue to profit and today we gather to discuss an expanded opportunity for americaning a culture for our farmers, and our ranchers. allowing them to do business and to expand business opportunity in a country just 90 miles from our border, cuba. the policy changes, which were announced by president obama in mid december broke with a failed approach that had isolated us
2:13 pm
from the rest of the hemisphere and isolated ordinary cubans from the outside world the president's changes are aimed at giving cuban citizens new opportunities to gain greater control over their lives. they also help to expand significantly opportunities for america's farmers and ranchers to sell goods in cuba. we're removing some technical barriers between u.s. and cuban companies and creating a far more efficient less burdensome opportunity for cuba to boy u.s. agricultural products. these policy changes will help make our products far more price competitive and they'll expand choices for cuban shoppers at grocery stores and create a new customer base for america's farmers and ranchers. cuba imports about 80% of its food, which means that there is significant economic potential
2:14 pm
for our producers. it's a $1.7 billion market. our rice growers. our wheat growers. our corn growers. our soy producers and poultry and pork and beef producers all have opportunity in this new day. historically agricultural products have been one of the few goods that have been allowed to be exported to cuba under the long-standing u.s. embargo. our producers have taken advantage of that opportunity to the extent that they have been able. but have in recent years been less competitive compared to our foreign competitors, particularly the eu. policy changes announced by the president are significant. he has done what he can do to address some of the barriers that exist to expand in agricultural exports in cuba. but there are still legislative hurdles to cross. the president and this administration look forward to engaging with congress in an honest and serious debate about what we can do to produce and to
2:15 pm
promote positive change in cuba. that's where america's great farmers and ranchers come into play. throughout history it has beening a culture that has served as a bridge to foster cooperation, understanding and an exchange of ideas among people. the founding members of the cultural coalition of cuba have been engaged in cuba and with could be ba for many years, hosting trade missions to cuba and serves as ambassadors for our brand of agriculture. i have no doubt that agriculture will play an extraordinarily important role in conversations to come as we expand our relationship with the cuban people in the 84if years to come. let me add, it was 50 years ago or so when a soviet leader came to my home state of iowa. during the course of his opportunity and his visit to the u.s., gikita khrushchev.
2:16 pm
i think it convinced him the soviet union was in a losing proposition. i have no doubt that as we expand opportunity to introduce american products to the cuban market cubans will begin to ask some serious questions about their system, why they can't produce the great diversity, the enormous opportunities that agriculture presents. it's an interesting conversation. it's a conversation long overdue. and i'm certainly pleased that the coalition is going to help foster oxycontined conversation. thank you very much. [ applause ] [ applause ] >>. >> thank you secretary vilsack. on december 17th, when the announcement was made by the president, one of the first calls i received as chair of the u.s. agriculture coalition on
2:17 pm
cuba was from governor nixon's office, how can i help? how can he help? how can he lead? and so today you have with you a governor who is willing to lead. we are very much looking forward, governor to your message on the importance of the trade relationship and on your plans for your leadership and how you plan to build the bipartisan support among other governors to make sure that we're telling this story here in washington. thank you. [ applause ] >> good afternoon, i specifically want to thank secretary vilsack for his leadership on these issues. he has been very helpful to governorings and others through the last few years on this one, in particular. he and i and other governors have had opportunities and former governors like governor vilsack. traveling with me today is our head of agriculture, secretary offing a cull sure, richard
2:18 pm
fordyce. we are happy to be presented by business leaders. i am proud to be here representing missouri and agriculture states across the country who stand ready to seize this tremendous opportunity to strengthen our farm families, grow our economies and create jobs with expanded trade for cuba. let me give you our perspective from the heartland, missouri's farmers and ranchers are truly feeding, fueling and clothing the world. in 2013, as a state we ported more than $2.2 billion in agricultural products around the globe. we are also, if not the most diverse, arguably the most diverse agricultural state we are in the top ten states for exports of corn, soy bones cotton cattle chickens, hocks and turkeys as far as rice production, we are moving up
2:19 pm
quickly as one of the top rice producers and exporters also. over the past six years i've seen a tremendous demand for these products and the direct economic benefits such trade can have on the families an communities in our states and states around our country. we have been to china, brazil, taiwan, europe korea, and quebec. seening i should know trade agreements to sell over $10 billion additional of missouri products in these countries. a significant portion of the trade agreements we have entered into and are now executing have been foreign province to our state. direct state-to-state matters dealing with the governors, pro vin provincials on that area. they are as excited as we are at the subnational level. it is the place where a significant, a significant
2:20 pm
amount of trade gets done and no sector is stronger than the agricultural sector. so given the opportunity to compete, missouri farmers and ranchers and american farmers and ranchers feel like we can win against anyone him we know the more missouri goods we sell overseas, the more great jobs we create at home. it's simple. right now when it comes to cuba, we are not on a level playing field, because of current sanctions, american producers can only interact through cuba through a complicated process that greatly limits our ability to sell gods, stiverles our ability to create more jobs and prevents us from bringing more dollars home to the usa. meanwhile, other countries are stepping up to take void in america's limited roam. for example, brazil alone has quadrupled its exports to cuba quadrupled. we are prepared to compete in that zone given a level playing field. that's for sure. folks, in a competitive world
2:21 pm
we cannot ignore 11 million customers 90 miles from our country. this is a trade competition that u.s. farmers should be winning and are prepared to win. and the fine folks in the "show me" state are ready to step up and lead the way. cuba needs products we produce corn, rice, bean pork, poultry and other products. we are going to be leaning forward in a significant way to try to do the best we can, to be the first state along with others. i'm working with other governors to make sure we're not the only one, that's for sure, as we work together. all we need really is an open door sand the innovative hard working farm families will do the rest. we got the products. we got the technology. we can do it. i respectfully, on behalf of me and as well as others i've had to talk to call on members to support our farmers, support the free market and support this outstanding opportunity to strengthen our economy right
2:22 pm
here at home. now is the time for congress to follow through and remove these financial restrictions. lift the embargo and do away with the self-imposed barriers that are holding us back. this is a extremely bipartisan issue and i am very glad to see the bupartisan support here from the senate and the house. rest assured, it is extremely bupartisan among governors in our country. we have been presented with historic opportunity. we must not and will not let it pass us by. thank you for the opportunity to speak. not only on behalf of the governors across the state, as we are ready to compete open up expand markets and grow our economy. thank you. [ applause ] [ applause ] >> well, like with any good event, we always have to roll with the punchles. so throw your agenda aside.
2:23 pm
we will get to it wholistically. but because of the arrival of our elected officials we may go out of order. so i hope you are comfortable with that. our next guest is a democrat from california, sam farr. he's from the 20th district of california. congressman farr what you may not know is i hail from your district. i grew up in gonzalez, california, was educated at the public school of gonzalez high school and have hailed from the ag industry ever since. what i know about you is you have been a strong leader for agricultural in our sali na s valley anding a culture as a whole. so it's absolutely fitting we would have you today to speak on behalf of the u.s. coalition for cuba. so it is my great honor, sir. [ applause ] >> thank you very much. well, if i leave office, you see somebody who might be qualified to run for it.
2:24 pm
[ laughter ] . >> i'm very excited that you are having this pre-conference. i'm very excited by what's happening. i think in history this will be one of the great modern events of america. we have for the first time torn down our iron wall and the iron wall that i've been, had the privilege of visiting cuba about six or seven times and one of the most memorable moments was an almost all night dinner with fidell castro. the dinners never started until 11:00 or 12:00 at night. it was just a monolock. it was an interesting monologue, we had the california chicken council and the wine growers. wine growers giving him some wonderful california wine, which he insisted could thought be as good as spanish wine because that's what they had in cuba. but i've been, i've traveled all over this wonderful thousand
2:25 pm
mile island the largest island in the caribbean with kricht quist i constituents who have sister city policy. i have been to the international conference on drug trade where i was asked by our liason and the coast guard, who has to wear a civilian uniform in the american mission there, and asked me to come as a member of congress, because the united states just wasn't present and we should be. because all our allies in the drug trade in the western hemisphere and europe was there. america was missing. it just over and over again, america has been missing from this. and missing in so many way, because we have with the embargoes that we've put on, congress put on and clinton signed into law, it's just put all these restrictions on anybody who wants to be a legitimate honest innocent
2:26 pm
player. let's find out. let's discover. let's see if we can negotiate. there are all these bars against it, which president clinton, i praise the boldness with which he made this really just you know essentially did everything in his power to lift the restrictions that you have against cuba. the governor is obviously right. we are going to have to change the almost burdened law. we will have to lift some of those restrictions. i don't think it will be easy. i think it's going to be very difficult and i think the politics of it are going to emulate from the agricultural states, because i think it's governors that have been with their delegations to cuba that have seen first hand that there is an opportunity for market here for our state to not only send our products but to send our intellectual capacity send our technical with with all, send our students and constituency to develop what is
2:27 pm
normally the opportunities that are exist when you can travel freely. it's not going to be easy. cuba i think is going to be more overwhelmed than we are. i think our politics will be difficult. i think their politics internally and their socialist system to essentially create a free enterprise market in cuba all hope they need it they need it most of all in food. cuba is a well educated country. it's a people that have a can-do attitude. they really like americans. they love americans. despite these embargoes that have made it so difficult for their lifestyle and what i see is and they live in poverty. i was a peace core volunteer in colombia, south america, living without water and lights and power and really learned the culture of poverty t. culture of poverty as we know it without
2:28 pm
access to health care and water and lights and power and a safe place to sleep is, that's not the problem in cuba. it not a culture of poverty. it's a culture of hunger. they do not have the food. they can't produce it on the island. their economy is in shambles. their purchasing power is very weak. they just cannot buy and grow the food. they know what they want. one of the interesting things about fidell castro is that when he asks the head of our chicken federation in california well, what is the content of the food you feed your chickens? he says, i'm the lobbyist. he says i really don't know what food is. he says, how can you represent an organization that sells chickens without know whack they eat? he went down and listed what brazil fed their chicken, why they were buying chegens in brazil t. point of it is that
2:29 pm
they know what they need they just can't get access to it. we haven't allowed them to get access to it. we've had all these financial prohibitions against spending money there, of using the dollars, of using a credit cashed of trade, have to pay for nit dollars in advance before the product even leaves the united states. that's not done in any other trade negotiation in the world. and the other thing that's shaleful is that every other country in this hemisphere has diplomatic and trade relations with cuba. every one of them. i went with president obama to the last summit in carthenna there wasn't a profit caribbean islands or nations or latin-american nations that didn't chastise the united states for havinging this archaic policy that, i wouldn't allow cuba to joan the hemispheric unity. 2340u that we will i think he goes to this next summit in panama, he's going to be
2:30 pm
welcomed as a hero. now we will be able kwooun unify this entire hemisphere. you may think it's a small island. but the significance of being able bring in 11 million people and make them like the rest of the people in this hemisphere, when you think about it we ought to go out and compete against the world, we've got every type of agriculture that there is in the world. every single thing is grown in this hemisphere. we have morable for producing electrons than any other hemisphere in the world him all this solar, all of the wind all of the hydro all of the oil, i mean you name it every possibility of producing energy exists. if we could just unify this whole hemisphere and this is what these presidents are all talking about is the hemispheric energy policy, we wouldn't need a drop of oil from any other part of the world.
2:31 pm
we could just send electrons all around this hemisphere. we have no war in this hemisphere between countries. the entire hemisphere can speak in three language, portugese english and spanish, a little french from quebec and french ghana but the rest is in our languages. so the opportunity to unify and by bringing cuba into the tent and opening up all of these new i think tourism is in my district, it's the most asked question, every time people hear about me going to cube barks how can i go? why can't i go? i even had close professional friends saying if i go illegally, will i get caught? and they said, probably not. here's how you do it. so i think the battle. i'd love to hear my colleagues say, the battle will be in congress. because you are having a really small minority of interests, cuban-americans, who by the way, can go to cuba without
2:32 pm
license, any cuban-american can. cuban-american members of congress can go. you can. they can send money to their relatives there. you can't. their relatives in cuba can now invest. we can't. so there is almost there's almost an interest there that i hope some of you in the press will look into about conflict of interest about members of the house and senate who want to restrict others from getting the privileges they now have. but it's going to be a fight. as i say i think the conservative viewpoint is going to be, the politics is going to be motivated by the agriculture interests, like the governor have pointed out already have made contact and their states and ag interests and business interests already know what the opportunities are on cuba. they're going to have to pressure their congress members
2:33 pm
and senators to not low through on being able to implement this incredible announcement of the president. so i mean, you know we're the point now that we'll gain market share that we've lost, actually. it's gone down because of the you fewer, if financial hurdles that our countries have had fewer hushedles for other countries and cuba's shortage of hard currency and cuba's perception that u.s. policy will not change. so now those days are over. the currency will be an issue. i think we're going to make it. so my advice or recommendation is, we're going to internally we're going to start a new cuba working group. we had that when congress woman joanne emerson, equal number of democrats and republicans.
2:34 pm
we had a policy. it's very difficult to move it. because leadership from the cuban americans in congress were adamantly opposed to doing anything. we are in key positions and could use procedural locks, you can overcome them by the will of the people and this is grass roots politics. american people want to go to cuba. business people want to go to cuba. they're going to have to voice use their political voices to show those members of congress that indeed, we ought to follow through in legislateing accordingly. thank you very much this ad coalition is absolutely essential. more essential than any other thing. >> that and the financial institutions that have an interest in getting, opening up credit and business exchanges and being able to use credit cards and cuba and things like that, they will be the two most motivating forces to change american policy at the congressional level. so congratulations on this new
2:35 pm
year and this exciting you this assignment that i think is going to make it worthwhile to serve both in congress and to report it very well in the press. thank you. >> congressman you hail from a state that produces over 350 agricultural crops, so certainly, your words are quite important to the agriculture of the economy in california. our next speaker is representative kevin kramer from north dakota. mr. cramer, we know oh here you are, thank you very much. we are absolutely honored by your presence today, sir. we are very much looking forward to share in your message with the usacc. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. >> well as a means of introduction, let me start out by saying this is a beg week for me and at this moment, i can, it's doubled in importance as i
2:36 pm
look out among you, carrying the keystone pipeline with my name on it. it's fun. it's yearsier to talk about my backgrounds, the to be team will lose saturday in the championship game. that's another matter all toyota. so it's a big week. >> you know, i don't really know frankly how i ended up. but i suspect it has something to do with the fact that among the initial flyer, the initial pushback from republican members of congress to the president's idea, one voice out of north dakota said, i don't know it
2:37 pm
doesn't seem that dumb to me. and so here i am. and, actually prior to being an energy regulator, i did have the great honor of serving eight years in the cabinet of governor ed schaefer. i water his tourism director. he was released with escaping the country. today i walk around washington without a pullback. but i spent the second term as ed's director of economic development and finance and became very close. now, when ed told me to move him over we should call him secretary in this town, from tourism economic finance we said, governor what i know about financing can turn out to be a small thimble. he said, i understand that.
2:38 pm
thank you very much for your confidence. he said, we don't need a banker. we teed a marketer. we need someone who understands markets. someone who u.p.s.s how to sell a product. sell a place sell a state sell an idea and so that was my training before becoming a regulator. the reality is is that while north dakota is represented in this room it's certainly represented by your coalition and congratulations on formulating it. it is a fantastic idea. as you know, this town moves based on good information that is presented to members of congress more importantly strong persuasion than the people, than the elected members of congress. you all know how to do that with the coalition. and i got some advice as well. i think sam sums it up quite nicely. but frankly, what moves me and what motivates me really, what caused me to come out so early with support for the idea of
2:39 pm
trading with our neighbors, 90 miles off our course, and normal lies iizing relations to the degree that we should and can and ought to and we'll talk about that. it's not so much about the peas and the lentils and the wheat and durham and the potatoes or products we grow in north dakota. i understand there are other products like rice and other things that aren't growing. but that's good. that's a great outcome. we had the opportunity. you know, in that early window and that early first half of that 2000 decade in north dakota to sell about $30 million worth of peas and several million of durham and spring wheat. so we know a bit about i. we're excited for the opportunities. but the real excitement to me is the opportunity to influence an oppressed country for liberty. the opportunity to spread democracy, the opportunity to do
2:40 pm
what farmers do naturally and that is feed hungry people and if the result of spreading democracy is that we sell more of our commodities to a hungry world, that's awesome. that's awesome. that trade oug to be a part of diplomacy. trade ought to be a part of dip ploem aets spreading. trade ought to be a part of influence and persuasion. that's what trade is. [ applause ] >> the economics are the other benefits. i don't apologize for it. i'm grateful for them. so that's what drives me. the fact, i think there are some things that hend tend to be overstated on all size of all issues him 23 had a week of overstateing all issues on all sides. is cuba a big market compared to coin? no. but it is 11 million people, right? they are 90 miles away? they are as sam said so
2:41 pm
eloquently, people who are already inclined to want to be leak us to the point that someone wants to be us. that's pretty cool. we have a running head start, grooe geographically intellectually, culturally we have an opportunity to not be squandered to spread liberty, to spread democracy and to sell products. we have to look out for some things for sure. nobody is naive enough to think we will open it wide opened and somehow we will be the only beneficiary. north florida also grows suggest ar beets. we are familiar with fair free trade in the north american continent in our hemisphere and the importance of what happens when it's not adhered to by our partners. so we need to keep automatic protections in place as well. that's what i think. sam is right this is a heavy lift. that's why i think enkremtally, we can make the case to our colleagues based on the spread of democracy based on the economic opportunities for our
2:42 pm
farmers as well as others manufacturers, intellectual developers, you know, who knows? imagine the infrastructure opportunities that may be water pumpers in north dakota and texas might have this a place like cuba as they rebuild and build to meet the demands of the current century as opposed to the last one. there is no end to those opportunities in my view. but we still have to have a relationship for that to happen. but we can do it with a short leash. we can test it enkremtally. we can open it up little by little and provide assurance to those colleagues of ours in the house and senate that might not be inclined to go all in. i get it. but i have learned in my short time in congress that persuasion does not happen quickly. almost nothing happens quickly. almost nothing happens but that's another issue altogether. so my advice is besides
2:43 pm
congratulating you encouraging you, and going through it with great enthusiasm is to go into it go into this coalition of your group along with the group of congressional support, earnings go into it with us arm in arm with good advice back and forth to provide both political encouragement and political cover when necessary. that's a real part of our work and then to of course, help us be persuaded and 'persuaders. you do that best by providing good information and grass roots backing back home. so with that, thank you for the ton. it's an hon author to be with you. it's an honor certainly to be with my colleagues from congress. thank you. [ applause ] [ applause ] >> congressman reminded me of the point, both the u.s. and cuba are members of the world trade organization. cuba offers most favored nation
2:44 pm
status to every other wto member. so even if we do begin to loosen restrictions, it's actually going to take ourable to get permanent normal trade relations to get us on equal footing. at the moment every other wto member is getting preferential access to that market. thank you very much congressman cramer and at this point i would like to welcome congressman rodney davis from illinois. thank you. [ applause ] [ applause ] >> thank you. i'm glad my colleague from north dakota is still here today and i have to differ with his opinion on what will happen at the scs national championship game this year him. what he didn't tell you is he will provide us with bison jerky once my illinois state red birds beat his illinois state bison, so, thank you, kevin. it's an honor for me to be here.
2:45 pm
but i'm here because of a prism that having experiences that i've had because i actually had the chance to travel to cuba. in 2005, i was a staffer for another member of congress. i went to cuba. i saw the conditions the cuban people live in and many who oppose lifting the embargo agree with me that i along with them don't want to see the castro regime continue. i want to see communism lifted in cuba so that the cuban people can experience the same freedoms we experience here in the united states of america. we just differ on how to go about doing that. my personal experience coming from an agricultural state like illinois, i believe that opening more trade with agricultural products, hopefully, most of them from illinois and then the rest of the states like north
2:46 pm
dakota others. i believe increasing the trade we already have with the cuban nation is going to allow america to invest in a cuban economy that's going to free the cuban citizens from the conditions that they live under now. the district, i represent central illinois has a very rich tradition inning a culture, from agricultural manufacturers like gsi in assumption, illinois. food processors like kraft in champagne, in decatur ill they makes my economy run. we see first hand how manufacturing processes are supported through trade. i'm somebody who has long before the president announced his prospective changes in policy to cuba has had advocated for more normalized trade relations with the cuban people. so his actions didn't get me
2:47 pm
here today to talk about this issue and frankly, i am not somebody who supports trading prisoners in regards to further ideas. i, while i am static that mr. gross is home, i am not ecstatic that this administration decided to release others to make that happen and, frankly, i think that could encourage more americans beingulesed as collateral and i do not think that that was a good idea. but long before that happened i think the cuban people will only experience freedom through american investment and american investment is what we have an opportunity to put forth. illinois agricultural products are essential to this trade and these opportunities. illinois is the no. 1 producer of soy beans.
2:48 pm
illinois is number two to my birthplace iowa in corn production. illinois farmers are responsible for 8.3 billion in total ag exports. my state, my district, relies upon trade relations to actually sell our products and create our jobs and feed the rest of the world. but we can't compete with competitors like brazil, argentina under the current policy positions. that's why i'm standing here today to hopefully see those remedy. by improving trade relations and incorporating cuba in the global economy and linking them again to the american economy. cuban citizens will have the opportunities that i saw first hand they need. after 54 years, i think a new approach is needed and that's why i stand here in favor of increasing trade relations with our cuban friends, our cuban
2:49 pm
citizens and our friends and by releasing the cuban people from their isolation and opening the country to our ideas and our products the castro regime will no longer be able to use the united states as a scape goat for the failed policies of congress. i thank everyone for being here today. i appreciate your support for this idea. and i wish everyone success in the future in opening up opportunities for all americans to help the cuban sids through trade. thank you. [ applause ] . . >> congressman david thank you for your bold leadership, your words of wisdom. next, we will hear from a long-time supporter of u.s. agriculture as it relates to
2:50 pm
cuba. senator moreagmorah owe o'morag. >> thank you all. >> senator morag. >> thank you all to brief you about about this issue. i was somewhat offended by your emphasis on the words long time, but it is the year 2000, so nearly 15 years ago we offered a successful amendment on the house floor, carving out an exception for food, medicine, and agriculture. it was a contentious circumstance with lots of discouragement by some in charge and i remember the out come of that vote. 301 to 116. 301 house members to 116 house numbers said it's time tor change in the policies with our country's relationship to cuba.
2:51 pm
they said that day it's time to do something different. i said this on the house floor previously, in kansas, we will try something once. we don't expect it to be successful the first time. we may try a second or 30 time, but i you kansas has enough common sense and are smart enough after trying something for year, ought to try something different. if the goal is to change the nature of the cuban citizens and the relationship with their government, what we have been doing has not worked. it's not surprising because it's unilateral. when we don't sell manufactured goods and trade with cuba, it's not that they are not getting agriculture or manufactured goods, it's just that they are buying them from someone else. kansas and americans are smart enough to know when you are on it and there by yourself all
2:52 pm
you are doing is harming yourself. we can go through the litany of agriculture commodities, but when wheat is not sold, it's not that they are not buying it, they are being performed by competitors. we are a natural supplier to cuba. the cost of transportation from europe to cuba is about $25 a ton. cost from the united states is $6 or $7 a ton. we have to take advantage of that. i would admit to taking a leave of absence for the last couple of years i announced in the appropriations committee and offering the amendment in the senate appropriations committee. two years ago i said i am done. until he is released and i'm pleased to know that occurred
2:53 pm
and i'm pleased to reengage in an active way in this issue to see that there no more alan grosses and the common sense change in policy by the united states is something that congress and any administration thought to embrace. it just makes sense. so we are atd work. i started on this issue i would guess as somewhat in the self interest of american agriculture and kansas agriculture and i would say during the time we engaged on this topic, it's clear to me that it's something more noble than the trading relationship of the selling opportunity. it's about changing the opportunity that cubans have in relationship with the government. it happened to believe that a growing economy and standard of living creates the opportunities for the cuban people to make
2:54 pm
demands that otherwise they would be spending their time trying to figure out how to put food on their families's table. if we can't have the relationship with americans to travel to cuba, if cubans can come to the united states as my former colleagues in the house indicated, there is a noble calling of trying to make the world a better place for all citizens of the world, including those who live in cuba. common sense said we ought to do this and morality said we ought to. let's make the difference and the change. this is a congress that has the ability to do that. i would first encourage the treasury department to alter the regulations, redefine when the cash up front has to be delivered. i would encourage them to change it the way they were in several years in which the bank can
2:55 pm
issue a letter of credit. let's begin with american agriculture with cuba today. then members of congress will work on that. it's an honor. american agriculture causes the advanced and greater prosperity with farms across the community and the cuban people have a better shot at a better life. thank you very much. >> good comment sense and morality are drivers. we appreciate the words of senator moran. our next and last speaker from
2:56 pm
the hill is the senator we know to be one of the most thoughtful policy people on the hill. you weigh the complexities of an issue, you think about all sides and all stakeholders and you put good policy in front of politic or party and we appreciate your bipartisanship and support on this. we know that in 2010 you were a leader in sponsoring a bill to advance trade relations with cuba. this is a natural fit for you. we appreciate that you are here to show your leadership. thank you. >> all right. the last speaker. >> everyone said everything. not me. i am excited to be here. we had the last vote of the day. time to get to work on some of these really important issues and i appreciated what senator moran said as well as the other people that were here. you see this as a bipartisan
2:57 pm
issue with a lot of support and it's moving forward. i want to acknowledge the representatives here from minnesota. cargo which is the country's largest private company as one of the sponsors here. one of the reasons, the minnesota based company that our unemployment is down to 3.7%. why is that? it's a lot because of exports. it's because of agriculture production. we are number three for sweet corn and two for hogs but you didn't guess that. number one for turkeys. a fact to remember for the weekend. i spent my day hearing about people complaining about the weather in washington. minnesota will be 33 below zero wind chill. the minnesotans are here to bask in the sun and we think it's very warm here. i also appreciate any work that has gone on with this policy,
2:58 pm
with the administration and all of the businesses and agriculture interests for so long have been advocating for a change in policy. i see the exports in the state. i sought throughout the downturn where we kept our head above water. we have companies from med tronic to 3 m to cargo that believe in that global market and believe it means jobs in america. we sue cuba as a market of 11 million people. 11 million new customers that buy american products and to me that means jobs in america. agriculture has been at the common sense policy and rerif a relationship between cuba and america which everyone in the room has now heard has been cutoff for over 50 years. just this past weekend the minneapolis tribune featured the
2:59 pm
story of fairmont, minnesota and small town in our state and the southern part of our state. he was one of three farmers who traveled to havana in 2002. we have not made the kind of progress we should make. experts grew to nearly $700 million in 2008. but they sanction below 300 million last year. export restrictions prevent them from obtaining food we take for granted. as human rights activists have written, it's impossible to buy eggs or cook oil without turning to the underground market. for hours
3:00 pm
for things like poultry and fish. on the 50th anniversary in 2009, it provided families with an extra half pound of ground beef but that beef wasn't u.s. beef. it actually was sponsored by the venezuelan government. we have new opportunities here. today we have begun our path that i think is the right path. it's a positive step forward and increasing travel between the two countries will create new economic opportunities for american farmers and businesses and will help improve the quality of life of cubans. 11 million people is a big


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on