tv History and Economics of New Hampshire CSPAN September 17, 2017 9:41pm-9:59pm EDT
and slows down as she crosses tennessee. east towards the appellations and the atlantic. appellations -- 2-3 feet of water for every inch of land. suddenly, flash floods are rolling down every hill and hollow smashing houses, reading people in their sleep. -- burying people in their sleep. river inrning, every virginia is in full flood. rockfish.buffalo, winnsboro is under eight feet of water. 14.gow and scottsville
governor godwin which -- puts beginning with the national guard. the mountains tell the story. every ravine is scarred by landslide, every valley a mass of mud and under the mud, the dead. a dozen are almost wiped out. it just came down to this area just like an ocean wave more or less. and these people in here did not have a chance. it took all these houses through here. unfoldsn, where history daily. in a 79, c-span was created as a public service by america's
cable television companies and is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. >> >> we are at the new hampshire state house in concord where c-span is learning more about the area's history. up next, we speak with governor chris sununu. >> while in concord, we spoke with republican governor chris sununu inside his office at the new hampshire statehouse. >> governor sununu, thank you for joining us today. gov. sununu: thanks for having me. >> starting out, for what is new hampshire best-known? gov. sununu: when you come up to new hampshire, i think it is pretty obvious. our state is kind of bound by the ocean to the white mountain national forest. it is the foliage in the fall. skiing in the winter. our beautiful oceans and lakes in the summer. we are really a state that tries to enhance as much as we can and highlight all the good outdoor
recreational activities we have to offer. and on the political side, we are pretty well-known for the first in the nation primary. our adherence to good local politics. we have the largest legislative body of all the states. i think it is the third largest in the world. 400 volunteer representatives representing just over one million people. the most representative government you will find pretty much anywhere on the planet. when you put that altogether, you get accommodation of what the "live free or die" spirit is. >> so, your representatives are all volunteers? gov. sununu: they are paid, but it's pretty much like $100 a year. there is really no such thing as career politicians here.
that's a great thing. that's how you get the best government. >> i was speaking with a local radio host this morning. she jokes that since you have such a large legislature and small population, everyone takes a turn at some point. do you feel that size of the state coupled with the size of the state government makes people more involved? gov. sununu: there's no doubt. it is hard not to know someone from the select board all the way up to governor. you want to be a representative in this state, it takes $20 at kinko's to print flyers, and he who is willing to knock on the most doors and talk to people is probably going to win. it allows anybody to get involved in the process at whatever level they want to get involved. we have had a number of governors who have won after not served in elected office before. because if you're willing to work for it, get out, talk to people. money does not drive campaigns here. a lot of people get vastly outspent in their elections, but they still win because they are taking the time to go
person-to-person. the power of the town meetings is important. most towns still have the old-fashioned town meetings. but it is not just old-fashioned. it is the person who has the highest impact -- we call it the new hampshire advantage. that is really the advantage we have over most states. >> what is the size of the political landscape here? gov. sununu: dynamic. we are not all republican he of we are not all democrat. we are truly a purple state. anything can happen at any time. we are one of only two states in the country where all of their representatives have to be reelected every two years. so if you are not doing your job, you can be fired. that is great accountability. great power to the people. that uniqueness forces elected representatives to get out, and
for individual citizens to stay involved. that's why we have been so successful with the first in the nation primary. why our turnout rates are amazingly high. because everybody really gets involved. it's not just one party or the other. we look at the candidates carefully. people have to buy into the candidate as a person, even beyond the issues. not only have we been able to maintain the first of the nation primary, we do it well. as you talk to the presidential candidates who have come here on the national level, it does not take long for them to realize how unique the process is here, how open it is, how you have to see people and touch them, shake their hands, come to their living rooms and have real conversations about what you want to do for the town, the state, the country. we take the responsibility very seriously. i think we have done it well. and we will continue to do so. >> as governor, what are the biggest issues you think are
facing your state? gov. sununu: in terms of policy, we have an opioid crisis in new hampshire. we are really, unfortunately, on the forefront of that crisis. we have had a very high number of deaths due to opioids and fentanyl. a very high rate of addiction. what we have been able to do is because we have had this issue facing us more than other states, we have been able to do aggressive about how we address it, whether it is in recovery, treatment. all of these pieces come into play. we have done amazing things in terms of pushing the envelope to how to get the best results. we deal with health care issues here, like everyone else does. energy costs, of course. but those issues are serious, but you have to remember, because we have such a positive foundation to take care of them, a responsive system, a system where people can get involved,
tell their stories, impact how are able to address our issues in a more nimble way. >> you recently passed a new state budget here in new hampshire. how are funds being prioritized? gov. sununu: you use the right word -- "priorities." so we came in, did a quick assessment of what the issues were in the state. we said we have a limited number of resources. we will not let politics get in the way. we will simply address the priorities. mental health. abused kids. cyfd is massively underfunded. these are the key issues that we put our political capital behind. making sure they were being addressed. we were so excited last week when we got the budget passed and most everything was accounted for as part of our original budget. it is also about bringing in good management. you can bring in all the best ideas, but if you do not have
good people managing the dollars and, frankly, good customer service -- government cannot just be in one small place in concord. you have to be talking to people. you have to be engaging them. the individual citizens are kind of like the customers. it is kind of like the idea of the customer is always right. you have to go in with a positive attitude, make sure you're getting feedback. that is how you make sure the systems you designed work the best for everybody. >> new hampshire is the location of the "free state project." what is that? gov. sununu: the free state project goes back a number of years now. i cannot tell you the exact year it started. it comes out of the live free or die thing. we are champions of individual liberties. we really open ourselves up to having not just the government but individual response abilities that promote and you can truly live by those types of freedoms. so folks all across the country
have seen new hampshire as a place to move themselves, their families, their businesses, to partake in that. we really are a laboratory of democracy here in new hampshire. we are a small state, so we can be nimble, try things out. we have a lot of accountability in government and our communities. that provides for the right atmosphere, testing ground for a lot of new ideas and things that we can do. not with big government, but as individuals. empowering individuals to do more. when you add that altogether, this became the obvious choice for a lot of people who participate in the free state movement. they've added a lot to the state, in terms of new ideas, pushing the ideals to make sure we are keeping government small, keeping things simple. we're running them officially. we bring in good managers, but we do not let the big government get in the way of letting people and businesses do what they do best. >> at 42-years-old, you are the youngest governor in the united states currently. do you think age affects the way you government?
gov. sununu: i think i govern differently, but i wouldn't say it affects it positively or negatively, but it does affect the style. 42 -- i do not feel that young. i feel like i've lived five lifetimes. but i am sure the age factor does come into play, whether it is how you look at your workforce, how you will attract millennials, how your advertising and promoting certain things. you have to be aggressive. you have to love what you are doing. you have to be aggressive in going out. part of the job of being governor is not just leading but inspiring others to come to the table, put their ideas on the table. have an open atmosphere. doesn't matter what political party you're from. have an open and conducive atmosphere to approach people to come into the room, put their ideas down, and make sure they are part of the solution making and policymaking in the state. so i try my best to be energetic and upbeat, hopeful. you have to be firm and make sure you are sticking hard to policies. managing well where you need to manage.
but you need an open and positive attitude lead when you do that, it is amazing what you can get done. >> you come from a political family and have a background as an engineer. how do either of those two things affect you politically now? gov. sununu: the engineering most of all. i was an environmental engineer. i cleaned up hazardous waste sites around the country. my specialty was soil and groundwater. you want to make the systems cost effective, make a system that will work well, get the results you want to get and hopefully be able to move on to the next project. and so i guess, in many ways, that is my approach to government. you want things that are efficient and stay out of people's way when it can. achieve the goals you can achieve. also know what are the goals. what are you trying to achieve. what are the metrics we are looking for?
how are we going to judge ourselves and ascertain when you have been successful? as an engineer, you really designed the system perfect the first time. so i try to go into every situation with that mindset. when you bring the best and the brightest together, you can do really, really well and get close. but have a system that can be nimble and flexible. as time and demographics change, you can make the adjustment to make sure you are meeting the needs of the people. it is that engineering aspect of a lot of policies and systems that i try to bring to the table. >> are there any new hampshire politicians, past or present, who have influenced you? gov. sununu: a couple. a couple. it would be silly to say my father was not a big influence. of course he was. he was a good dad, he started his career on the planning board. my mom started -- the real start to the political aspects of our family was my mom on the school board. i was number seven out of eight kids. a lot of times, we would get dragged to school board meetings and would sit in the corner, read books while she did her stuff. but it was about community service. giving back to your community.
participating in some way that fits your skill set. my dad was on the planning board. my mom was on the school board. when you eight kids in school, you have a direct interest in making sure that schools are run efficiently. so i like to give my mom a lot of credit for that, growing up in the 1970's and 1980's. those two people clearly had the most impact in terms of that aspect of giving back to your community, participating in the process. politics is not a career. it's just a way i am trying to use my best skill in terms of engineering. my business experiences are brought to the table. to give back and make the state more efficient and focus on the priorities of today. >> is there an era or story from new hampshire's history you find particularly interesting? gov. sununu: story from my
history, well, if you are talking politics, one story i tell a lot -- i was actually born november 5, 1974. in a way, i was born into politics. it was election day. my mom was giving birth to me in boston. we lived in salem in new hampshire, but the hospital in boston is the closest. my mother, knowing that i was going to be born soon, asked my father to get absentee ballots, because they were going to be at the hospital. sure enough, i was born. they were chatting, and my mom went, you voted, right? he had forgotten he had the absentee ballots in his pocket. he jumped in the car and drove as fast as he could about 30 minutes north out of boston into salem, where we lived. and went up until about 6:59. doors had been shut. had a conversation with a gentleman inside and realized they still had a minute. they opened the door. my dad cast his two absentee
ballots. two of those votes went for the republican senate candidate, louis wyman. after the last week, he won by two votes. which is amazing. i think there was a special election, it was so close. unfortunately, lost in august of 1975. but those two votes that my dad got in at the very last second were the votes that technically were the winners. it is those kind of stories where i always remember that -- i mean, i do not remember it, i'd been born that day, but that story comes to mind, because it is a story of how seriously people take their politics, how they take the responsibility of casting the vote for those individuals. we take it seriously here. sometimes, people will do a lot to make sure that those votes are counted. >> what's next for you and for the state of new hampshire?
gov. sununu: what's next for me, politically speaking, this is it. i have no desire to go to washington or anything like that. i am almost addicted -- we call it "603 pride" -- that is our area code. our state has so much to offer. i took a step away from my business, because i knew that we could do better. there is still untapped potential here in new hampshire. even in the first six months, i think we have come so far in terms of being open to business, reducing our taxes, reducing regulation, doing all of those things to make sure new hampshire is not just on the forefront but is really the gold standard in terms of providing opportunity for individuals. i love what i am doing now. i'll keep being governor. hopefully, we will go back to a normal life at some point. but for the state, we still have our challenges. there's no doubt about it. the good news is we do not let