tv Gov. John Hickenlooper D-CO on Education Gun Violence and School Safety CSPAN March 13, 2018 7:35pm-8:02pm EDT
was arrested in new orleans for taking a seat on a train car reserved for whites. the 7-1 decision established the separate but equal doctrine that allowed segregation through most of the 20th century. this narrow interpretation of the 14th amendment wasn't overturned into the brown v. board of education decision desegregating schools. watch monday and join the conversation. our hashtag is #landmarkcases. there are lots of resources on our website for background on each case and where you can order the companion book. also, find a link to the national constitution center's interactive constitution.
go to c-span.org/landmarkcases. next, colorado governor john hickenlooper on gun violence, school safety, and his state's education policy. he sat down with axios executive editor mike allen at last month's national governors association winter meeting.
>> welcome back. i thank all of you for joining axios, where our events for our small format that you get on axi axios.com and on our newsletters and now we're honored to welcome to the stage governor who just gave his final state of the state address and so has done the nga circuit quite a few times. it's our honor to welcome colorado governor john hickenlooper. good morning, governor. thank you so much for coming. we really appreciate it. you're telling me backstage about a morning ritual you have with your phone. >> and i left my cell phone, luckily, stage right. so every morning, i have a counter as does all of my cabinet, this
morning, it says 321 days left in our administration. so we've got a bunch of stuff. a lot of it educationally oriented. a lot of programs we want to finish very strong. and if you're trying to worry about your next job or people
are not really focused on finishing what they started, then you don't get the same outcomes. >> governor, you have seen education from a variety of perspectives. first, i knew you as mayor of denver where you marketed the city for the 2008 democratic convention, which wound up making history with -- >> president barack obama. >> the first convention where they have ever -- there war so much excitement, they had to move the event to a bigger -- >> to be blunt, jim messina, who was kind of running candidate obama's campaign at that time, calls up and, i think it was 12 days before his acceptance speech, and said you know, we were going to do it in the pepsi center, and we like it, but it would be possible to move it half a mile south to mile high stadium. >> how much trouble could that be? >> 12 days. you have no idea how much the number of fiber optics and cable that you would have to -- it would have stretched from coast to coast. that's how much we had to move and put in place, but we did it.
it was quite -- having been there, i think everyone who was in that stadium that night will remember it for the rest of their lives because it was an electric moment where the country really came together in hope and change. >> and governor, now you have been traveling the country, and what would you say is the biggest mistake we make with k-12 education? >> you know, and i think the mistake we have made right now is we have tried to create a one size fits all solution, and people are so -- they look at their children's education as something part of their intimate life, a question they care about probably more than almost anything else in their daily routine. and i anyhknow, for a while thei thought longer school days, longer school years was the answer. we keep looking for the answer. and i think there's probably an assemblage of answers. but i think more importantly, we've got to reach out and engage school districts and especially parents and have
them, you know, feeling that they're part of the discussion and that they own the decision, because one thing we have seen in colorado again and again, when i ran for mayor in 2003, i had never run for student council or, you know, class dishwasher. and i promised -- actually, i had a young man helping me, volunteering on my campaign by the name of michael bennet. he said, he said -- not senator bennet. >> he said you should say if i get elected, unlike other school districts where the mayor and superintendent never talk to each other because they're chosen and selected separately, we'll be the first city where i'll visit every public school in my first four years. i said, great, i'll do it. i said it. later, michael would say, maybe if you had been better staffed, someone would have pointed out there are 161 schools. i went to a school every week for four years. and you know, really imrshed myself. and michael, two years later, became the superintendent of
schools in denver and played, i think, a staggeringly important role in really transforming denver public schools. that process of meeting all those schools, all those teachers, all those parents, we tried to meet with a bunch of parents at every school after we visited the classrooms. and it really drove home the fact that everybody was -- had the same -- it's amazing, everyone kind of loved their school, thought their teachers were great. they thought the overall school system was failing. and obviously, that's impossible. >> but there are schools that are failing, and what do you think we should do for students who are stuck going to them? >> i think, and we have -- i think denver is a good model. we do this probably in a less successful format state-wide. but if you have a failing school, you have to be willing to step up and, you know, try to provide the tools for massive changeover, but at some schools, the culture is so bad, you need to close the school, you know,
clean it out, and reopen it. and that has in many cases proven successful. michael started that. he was superintendent for three years. tom has been superintendent now for, gosh, almost ten years. and you see the outcomes. in the last decade, denver public schools has reduced their dropout rate by 70%. a lot of that is taking failing schools and getting them -- i mean, a failing school doesn't engage their kids at all. the kids can't wait to drop out. well, when you have a better school system with less failing schools, you'll have a much lower dropout rate. >> the teachers are so heroic, so many of them buying supply with their own money. governor cooper was talking about how much time they spend out of the classroom preparing. my mother barbara was a first grade teacher. our ceo has a sister who is a special education teacher in wisconsin. as you were visiting, governor, the 161, right? >> back then. now i think there are about 190.
growing. >> as you were visiting the schools, tell us about a classroom that was memorable or a school that was different? a principal or teacher who somehow found something that works and cracked the code. >> well, and again, i could spend all morning talking about it. there were so many examples of one of the things i loved most was when local businesses would connect, and there was a middle school, and they're right behind a large cheese manufacturer. and they didn't know it, but they were constantly finding ways to get them free cheese, free food, and then he started following the kids from middle school as they went through high school and funding mentors. >> wow. >> then started funding the kids to go to college. we have a thing called the denver scholarship foundation so they helped focus on that. actually, don't repeat that, because he doesn't like the name of the company ever to be useled. i should be more careful.
>> and governor, i have a special interest in mentoring. i wonder what you have found is the most successful nonbureaucratic approach to mentoring. if someone wants to help a school in their area that maybe doesn't have the resources of some other schools, what can you do? >> so this is my opinion. i'm not a professional on this. but if i were able to wave a magic wand and look at some of these cloud-based technology companies, if there were a way to get past all of the federal laws about sharing information about kids and what, is it health related, most mentors are not there when the kids need them. and when you look at at-risk kids, especially when they move, right? so this kid is seventh grade, 12, 13 years old. and they move because -- again, low-income families are moving all the time. oftentimes once or twice a year.
so they move into a different neighborhood, a different school district. that magnifies the risk of that kid dropping out by about four times, five times. huge risk. and yet the mentor programs we have, the rec centers, all of the different big brothers, big sisters, all of that stuff, no one has a system by which we connect all of that support that we have created for these at-risk kids. and there ought to be a way through technology that when those kids move, everybody gets alerted. and i mean, in many cases, the kids come into the new schools and the new schools are so busy that no one really pays attention to that kid who often feels like an outsider. they don't have the same social support, the same friends and network of support in their school. their parents don't have it at home. if there was something, some way to do that, i think that would be very powerful so that mentors -- and the other thing is just to listen to the kids. if i was going to give the other thing, i once was backstage at a
thing with meryl streep, and she had four kids, and you never hear about her kids. her youngest daughter is an actress, so you hear occasionally about the youngest daughter. i say how do you raise kids that are having real normal jobs and normal lives? and she said, i never -- my husband and i never talk about our careers. every conversation at the dinner table, every conversation with our kids was always about their lives, their world, what was going on with them. and really trying to listen more deeply. and i think that's pretty good advice for mentors as well. >> you're a celebrity governor. everybody is interested in what you have to say. you're headed over to the white house as part of this national governors association meeting. what are you going to say to president trump about his idea of perhaps paying bonuses to teachers who decide to, and are trained, to take their guns to school? >> i think he's heard enough in the last 24 hours. i probably don't need to say anything. obviously, when i went to all those schools, even back then,
people were discussing whether to arm -- i mean, ever since columbine, which was 1999, this has been an issue. and i can't remember -- i have met a few teachers who thought that was a good idea and would do it. almost every teacher thought it was a terrible idea. they thought it would make the schools less safe. if you look at people with handguns in their bedrooms to protect themselves, more often than successful protection, it's used against them. so it's a very -- you would have to train teachers at a level that most teachers, you know, they would have to train teachers about things they don't want to learn about. i just think -- i'm looking forward to talking to president trump about other things in terms of education, which i do think, and certainly in terms of gun safety that he wants to ban bump stocks. let's get to work, right? they could raise the age everywhere for kids to own an assault rifle. that's the first step to making sure assault weapons are pulled out. >> we'll come back to what else you're going to tell him, but
two more on guns. one, sadly, because of columbine, colorado does know best practices. it's something it's been a topic in your state longer than it's been a topic everywhere. what has colorado learned through that tragic event that other schools should know? what works, what are best practices to reduce the likelihood of something like this? >> so obviously, training and depending on your school's makeup, but i think nowadays, pretty much every school has security. certainly every high school does that i'm aware of. most every middle school. i don't think there's a single one thing that makes sense. obviously, having everybody trained in terms of what happens if there's a shooter. but we have seen again and again that human failure, right, so we have universal background checks. we got that passed in 2014.
even with universal background checks, even with all kinds of restraints, security people will make mistakes. and having guns so available to so many people makes the task of keeping schools safe almost impossible. and obviously, we have school gun-free schools. and i don't think in any way that makes them more vulnerable. i think that's not -- i don't think the data reflects that, and i don't think that's an accurate statement in any sense. >> so you think that the proposal from the president is -- >> is dead on arrival. i think that's a horrible phrase. i didn't mean that. i don't think it's going to get traction. even any republican i know doesn't think that'st a great solution, is to getting -- even in the old west, right, colorado is a representation of the old west. as a community became more
successful, they would make you check your six gun at the town gate. old dodge city, when wyatt earp was getting his training, the idea was to get guns out of the everyday situations of life, because again, alcohol, people's emotional makeup, their tempers, whatever. if there are guns everywhere, bad things are going to happen. so often suicides, you look at the number of suicides that are gun related, i think it's over half nationally now, that -- many, many, many people who want to take their own life, it's a momentary, a phase, a period of depression or bipolar disorder, having a very serious event. and they want to kill themselves. many times if they get past that, they can't immediately put their hands on a gun, and i think this is -- i don't have data, but i think it is exaggerated even more in kids. that they are more subject to these emotions. if you can make it harder for them to get their hands on a gun, once they get through that period, then they go on.
they live their whole lives. >> for the teachers, i have not heard that before. i thought it was interesting what you were saying, drawing the analogy to the statistics about what happens to people with think that's a -- it's a misconception that having guns, you know in your bedroom drawer is going to make you safer. most people who do that -- well, it's not most, but it makes you -- the statistics i saw, and this was some years ago, you are more likely to have that gun used against you than you were to successfully defend your home. >> governor, "the atlantic" did an article in 2014 said no single issue altered hickenlooper's fortunes than gun control. colorado is one of the most politically interesting states because it is the mountain west and because it is growing so fast. so people argue sort of before this election, they sort of argue that it was along with nevada one of the swingiest swing states. what have you learned in your hard-won experience for modern
democrats about how to navigate gun control? >> well, i think part of the problem is a reflection of the continued divide between rural america and urban america, urban, suburban america. again, it's almost a different facet what lynn continincoln ta when he talked about a house divided against itself shall not long stand. i think we have to fix it. anyone who lives in the urban area is is not dependent on where their food comes from, they're crazy. we don't often do a good enough job in rural areas and getting involved in the rural parts of the state, representing those self-interests and making sure that people get a real chance, i mean a real chance, if they're living and raising cattle, they're growing corn, get a real chance to be appreciate. and i think we put a lot of time over the last six or seven years of going out and trying to
listen harder -- if you want to persuade someone to think about an issue differently, don't tell them why you think they're wrong. it's better to keep asking, an old trick from the restaurant business. i spent 15 years in brew pubs. if you get people to repeat back why they feel so strongly and keep asking them questions about their concerns, it almost always makes them think about the issue in different ways. just by the fact that they're getting a chance to be heard and they feel heard and they become more open to some sort of compromise. and i think that's with guns long term, you go back to the -- when we in the great depression, i think it was 1933 or 1934, the outlaw of the thompson submachine gun. there was no market for it. they sold the tommy gun as a self-defense weapon to be used for your own personal self-defense. a machine gun, automatic weapon. and of course after all of the
bootleggers used tommy guns, machine gun kelly, the st. valentine's day massacre, basically the american public had enough and when franklin roosevelt became president he ran on gun safety, getting rid of some of these really violent forms, that was one of the them. >> so the takeaway for the modern democratic party? >> well, i think the takeaway from the modern democratic party is to keep listening and to allow public sentiment at a certain point. and i think this might well be a tipping point where it's been incremental, incremental, incremental, and now people are going to move and say, all right, raise the age for assault weapons. maybe they belong in a shooting range and don't need to be taken home, shouldn't be used for everyday life. >> people tweeting along at #axios360, that's good news, that's a tweet. what do you believe is the tipping point? >> i've had people in my office in the last few days that are so fed up, and a couple of them are
republicans, conservative people saying enough is enough. i'm going to put my dollars, i'm going to against my party, i'm going to put my dollars towards electing people that will enact reasonable, thoughtful gun safety measures. and i think that process of having it stop being so partisan and get down to just the basic common sense. we are allowing ourselves to be terrorized. if you want to look at how -- if you were someone in a basement in lennongrad and wanted to hurt america as bad as you could, what better way than to make our children feel unsafe at school? they won't learn as well. you'll cripple a whole generation. we're allowing this to happen to ourselves. >> you've been traveling with the country with ohio governor john kasich. he's a republican, you're a democrat. throughout your career, you've
tried to focus on less partisan issues but what have you learned from actually traveling and appearing with a republican? >> i had dinner with john last night. and, you know, he is so much -- i'm still -- when i ran for mayor in 2003, as i said, the first election i ever did, john kasich back in 1994 became the chair of the senate -- the house budget committee. he's been there for so long and he really gives me a great perspective. and, you know, i came out of the restaurant business. in the restaurant business, when you're in the weeds, when there is a big rush, everybody's the same. it bunt matter if you're tall or short, black or white, straight or gay, you're all in it together. so by my nature, i'm less partisan than most people and governors are generally less partisan. kasich is a classic case in point that he's a republican and cares more about the country and more about his state and the partisanship and, again, he's a -- he thinks and i think he is a good republican, at least in the old sense about what being a
republican meant. i think that the willingness of people to get past the partisanship is the only way this country has ever created good legislation. >> a "new yorker" called you the middle man. is there really a market for a middle man? >> it's hard to say. certainly at times there is not. we were saying backstage, anger is the new black. i think there is a real frustration among a lot of people, and that pushes people towards the extremes. but i do think most great solutions come as a result of compromise. and compromise always -- almost always moves you somewhere closer to the middle. >> what are the chances that the buddy picture of you and governor kasich becomes a presidential ticket? >> i think that's probably a long shot. for a couple of reasons. one, we both like to joke about it, but our politics today, whether we like it or not, most of the funding for national campaigns comes out of people that have a strong tie to one
party or the other. and they fight relentless to support their party's candidate. for -- there are some people out there that would fund an e independent campaign, but not the same level you'd need to be credible. you'd be making a statement. sometimes i think symbolic statements are powerful, but i think kasich has more public service in him, and i might as well, so we'll have to see how that works out. >> what 352 days? >> no, no, no, 321 days. >> what is your next act in public service? >> we're working right now on a number of projects i'm so excited about. we talked a little bit there backstage about, you know, two-thirds of our kids are never going to get a four-year college degree. that's been true for almost 40 years. we tried everything. we're doing an apprenticeship program not just for trades, bankers, insurance companies, advanced manufacturing, allowing kids the last two years of high
school actually go work three days a week and get trained or learn a curriculum that helps them be more successful. tying that with a partnership with linkedin called skillful.com. skills-based discussion. and see what skills they're missing if they want to trade professions. this stuff is so exciting and i think we're out ahead of the country. this swiss model of apprenticeships is going to be a big change and improvement in this country. the moment i start worrying about, well, what am i going to do next? not only do i get distracted, my cabinet members. we just hired a great new secretary of education who is going to be amazing. everyone gets distracted. i think we have 321 days of focus. not to say my wife and i don't occasionally have discussions, but we're focussed the on getting things done. >> how does she feel about your running for president? >> my wife is a senior executive for a $75 billion company. she thinks it's hilarious. [ laughter ] >> but she -- you know, she also
thinks it's interesting. we'll see what those discussions, where they go. >> we're getting the hook here. just to cross a "t," you mentioned end candidates. do you think an independent candidacy is possible? >> not in a way that is viable. i think an independent candidacy could have power in terms of getting some statements out. >> last question, there were two firsts when you became governor of an american state. you're the first geologist to ever be a govern? the first brew pub -- >> the first brewer. first brewer since sam adams in whatever it was -- >> 1792. >> 1792 to become a governor. >> besides to listen to the people, what did you learn about running a brew pub that helps you govern? >> again, i can go on for that. i would say the most important thing you learn in the restaurant, any real service industry, there is no margin, no profit in having enemies. no matter how unreasonable that
person is, listen, keep talking one there is always a tomorrow. in politics tomorrow, so many of these politicians, these politicians define themselves by who their enemies are and how they can put them down. that's never constructive. >> what a treat. thank you very much, governor hickenlooper. really appreciate it. thank you. have a great national governor's association. appreciate the conversation and the advice. students at schools across the united states are planning to walk out of class wednesday to protest congressional inaction on gun control. next, the panel discussion on what free speech, first amendment rights students have. after that, a look at u.s. broadband technology. later, state officials talk about the transportation infrastructure needs. c-span's "washington journal," live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up win morning, california democratic
congressman mike thompson talks about gun violence prevention legislation in congress. then florida republican representative francis rooney on skekt rex tillerson's firing. and a discussion on russian efforts to interfere in u.s. and european elections with laura ros rosenberger. live, wednesday at 7:00 eastern. join the discussion. >> now a forum on gun violence and student demonstrations across the nation following the deadly high school shooting in parkland, florida. we'll hear from free speech advocate mary beth tinker. this event was hosted by the