tv Politico State Solutions Conference Discussion with Gov. Hogan CSPAN February 19, 2020 6:12pm-6:40pm EST
willing to listen because i want to get it right, so that's something that i think, you know, that people are relying upon me to help push as we get ethics legislation done. we have an ethics commission in illinois. >> right. >> that we put together that is working hard, very judiciously now, so that we can have an ethics package that we can be proud of. >> well, thank you, illinois governor j.b. pritzker. thank you for being here and joining us for state solutions. what a great way to start the day. we covered a lot of issues. welcome, help me join -- help me welcome to the stage anita kumar from politico and governor larry hogan of maryland.
>> good morning, everyone my name is and needed kumar i'm a white house correspondent and associate editor at politico. i'm so glad to be joined by the maryland governor, the chairperson of the national governors association this year. we have a lot of things i want to talk about so we will talk about the environment and the opioid epidemic and we'll talk about security at the polls and of course we will talk a little bit about politics. let's go ahead and get started. >> good morning. there is a battle brewing between maryland in the epa over the chesapeake day
cleanup. you've expressed pennsylvania's lack of progress in reducing pollution on that day and them unwilling to do anything about it. what do you think is behind that, do you think that is because the trump administration is unwilling to go after pennsylvania in an election year? >> the chesapeake bay is a national treasure i've been focused on the whole five years i've been governor and trying to focus on bay restoration and cleanup room. we invested $6 billion at the state level, the bay is the cleanest it's been in recorded history. so maryland is doing everything it possibly can but we're impacted by our upstream neighbors. pennsylvania and new york, particular pennsylvania the river flows down from pennsylvania and comes right in jumps right into the chesapeake bay. pennsylvania has not been doing their share and the epa has not been enforcing federal law to require pennsylvania. >> why do you think that is? >> i don't know why pennsylvania is not doing what they're supposed to to do and i don't know why the epa is not requiring them to do what
they're supposed to do. but we're now in the process of considering legal action against the state of pennsylvania and against the epa to enforce federal law and require that both of them do their fair share to clean up the bay. we also, i'm the chairman of the regional commission which includes pennsylvania and five other states, we work together together -- virginia is working very closely with us, pennsylvania for whatever reason is not living up to the commitments at the federal level. and we have pushed back very hard against the trump administration on cuts to the federal funding in the chesapeake bay which we've been successful in restoring funding the past couple of years and we hope we can do that again. >> you don't think it's politics? >> i hate to figure out why pennsylvania is not living up or why the epa is not enforcing. i'm sure there's politics is involved but i think it's a difference about opinion of the importance of the chesapeake bay and the clean water.
and we will make will get both of them to do their job. >> i think the epa is saying that it would backfire, your lawsuit, and what you're trying to do it would backfire and make it worse, the chesapeake bay. >> i don't think that's true. >> you have a difference of opinion. >> it's really an important body of water and we have a federal agreement we have been working on for years and the law is the law and were going to try to make sure they follow the law. >> your administration has also opposed epa air regulation in clean water act rollbacks. we've seen the epa go after the state of california who has really pushed back on a lot of things. do you think the state of maryland is going to be targeted by the trump administration the way california is? are you worried? >> i don't know if we will be targeted but i think we have a difference of opinion sometimes on clean water and clean air.
in maryland i've pushed and we have implemented tougher clean-air standards than 40 other states that are nearly twice as strong as a the paris accord recommendations. and we're going to continue to enforce those and we done that while growing our economy and have the biggest economic turnaround in america. and we think you can do both, you can grow the economy and protect the environment at the same time. >> let's move onto another issue, deaths from opioid overdoses are decreasing in maryland, but in baltimore which is predominantly african-american, they are increasing. what needs to change about your approach and baltimore particularly as fentanyl becomes more potent and mixed with cocaine. >> this is a terrible crisis in america, not just in baltimore or my state of maryland, but when i was first running for governor in 2014 i started to hear from people all across the state about the opioid crisis long before mope most people were focused on it and as soon
as i became governor in january of 2015, i declared a state of emergency, the first governor to do so in america. we've invested about a -- 800 million dollars in trying to focus on this issue and really we have been pretty successful in driving down prescription opioid abuse and deaths. we've done a great job on bringing heroin deaths, and all opioid deaths across the state with the exception of fentanyl in baltimore city. and this is just a much more dangerous drug and while we've had some success across the state, more so than many other states, baltimore city continues to be a difficult area. the drug trade is big, and getting trafficking, but this
is something we are focused on, assisting the city. it is tearing apart families and communities from one end of the country to the other and killing far too many of our citizens. were attacking them from all directions but it will take an all hands on deck approach. everybody has to work together to solve the crisis. >> do you feel like there needs to be a change in how you approach what's happening in baltimore? >> we've thrown everything that we can possibly think of at the problem but we have to get the city of baltimore and the federal government and community organizations, it will really take everybody to try to solve this issue. it is killing far too many people. >> the racial gap has shown in the fight against hiv. new hiv diagnoses in baltimore have declined but that's primarily due to lower infections in white residents and women. black men experience higher hiv rates. how is your administration tried to close the gap. >> i'm proud of the fact that we've driven hiv rates down to the lowest level since 1986. i think it's better than on most any state in america.
i'm proud of the fact we made real success. i'm not pleased there is a gap but i'm not sure that we're responsible for the gap but were going to continue to focus to try to make sure we can address this in every community. we made tremendous success and we will continue to work on it. >> recreational marijuana is not legal in maryland. you've indicated in the past that there has been significant problems with implementing the medical marijuana program. what are some of the problems. >> it was not set up very well. i supported medical marijuana. it happened right before i became governor, the previous one was passed by the legislature. the law was not written very well so they had difficulty wording the license and there was concerned about the way it was implemented. it's finally starting to happen and it's getting straightened out. there's some debate back-and-forth in our
legislature about the possibility legalization but it doesn't look like that will move forward anytime soon. >> for recreational marijuana? >> yes. >> that will happen that later this year? >> the legislature has said it won't bring that up. >> homelessness has been in decline, do you have any advice for the other to governors in california and oregon suffering with the problem? >> it's a tough problem. again i am pleased, thank you for saying all these things. of course every question hiv, rates are down, heroin opioids are down, homeless is down, only thing up his employment, businesses, jobs, economy. [laughter] we have been really working hard on it, a big part is trying to provide opportunities for people, a lot has to do with the drug treatment and the mental health investments and providing housing opportunities and job training and helping returning citizens that are coming out of being incarcerated.
all of those things help. but yeah, i just got back, we just did an mga infrastructure senate in san francisco, governor gavin newsom was our host, they have a tremendous homelessness problem in california and san francisco in particular which i got to witness up close and personal. >> did you talk to him about it? >> yet he has serious concerns, the working hard to address it. but i don't have specific, i know they are working hard but they certainly have bigger issues and bigger problems than we have in our state. >> what do you think about the trump administration and the president thought that you could use police officers to round up the homeless? >> i don't know the details of what the president has said or proposed to do about that but i know the governor of state is pretty frustrated about what's going on with the city of san francisco as are others, they
just have to figure out what to do. you want to be compassionate about people who are in that situation, find themselves homeless, but it's also really ruining the quality of life from people in san francisco and keeping people from going there and becoming a health crisis. >> what if president trump said he wanted to use police officers in maryland, what would you say to that? >> we don't have a problem in maryland so he would not have said that. >> you mentioned infrastructure, that is something you have been focused on as chairman of the nga. and you traveled all over the world talking about that. and yet republicans and democrats you talk to all say they want to spend money on infrastructure and yet nothing seems to get done with that. there's a lot of people talking about the federal gas tax is an outdated system to fund infrastructure. how would you pay for infrastructure? >> america's crumbling infrastructure is something that i think nearly
everyone has been talking about wanting to address. everybody says its priority. you hear the trump administration say is a priority. both republicans and democrats in congress has said it's a priority. all of my colleagues, the governors on both sides of the aisle all across 50 states have said this is one of the most important issues, and yet we have not seen much action in washington. governors on the other hand actually have to move forward and do transit projects and roads and bridges and tunnels anyway even without that action. so we've had to get creative and do things that are outside the box. i as the chairman of nga had the opportunity to pick an initiative to focus on for the year long chairmanship and i picked building america's infrastructure. while you don't have 100% agreement among the folks on both sides of the aisle, we do agree it's the most import
priority. i've been holding infrastructure summits all across america and a few internationally where we're trying to get the best ideas from the governors doing good things, from the private sector, from academia, from various levels of government and from nonprofits to say what are all the possible solutions, let's lay them out there and see which things work in which states and what kinds of recommendations can we make to see if we can't get some action in washington. gas taxes are one possible solution all the work trying to get people to stop using gas, that's a declining revenue. were moving to electric vehicles so you can't finance a future on something you're trying to get people to stop doing. we're -- in maryland currently we have a hundred transportation projects currently under construction totaling $9 billion and we're fixing every single road and bridge and tunnel in the state. we're building the largest p3 transit project in north
america here in the suburbs and i just approved the largest highway project in the world, which is to fix the capital beltway and i to 70 surrounding washington. we're using the gas tax revenue to fix most of our roads in the other ones are using private sector investment, billions of dollars which is one of the possible solutions for some states to also make sure we get these things done even though there's no action in washington and no federal funding. >> besides the gas tax is there something else you are recommending to leaders in washington? to allow the flexibility to encourage the state to make the systems like were doing in other states are doing to encourage private sector investment, in australia, we do the trip there, where nearly all of their infrastructure is being done by private sector investment. so you even have public employee union pension funds that are investing in building the roads and bridges and
tunnels in australia. they have almost no debt, not raising taxes and building infrastructure at a much greater rate than we are in america. >> so let's turn to the 2020 election. as you know, russia interfered in the 2016 election. is there something you are working on in the maryland for the 2020 election to safeguard at the polls on election day? >> it's a concern. our state board of elections, which is independent of the governor, as it should be, is we've been putting money and investing in technology and safeguards and having our i.t. folks provide all the assistance, homeland security working with the federal government and state agencies to make sure that we have as many protections as possible, but it's something that every state and every governor is trying to keep a close eye on and we certainly don't want to
have -- even when you're not talking about interference, we don't want have computer glitches and airs like he just said in iowa at the democratic caucus. >> disinformation is another problem. is there something you could do on the state level to prevent or an more of a federal issue? >> it's a good question and i know there is some discussion back and for about that and you run into issues about freedom of speech and who determines what this information is. there is disinformation coming from all sides and in both directions. when you start deciding you can say who is providing disinformation, it gets difficult. >> you don't think technology companies should do more? >> i think they can and should but i'm not sure what the solutions are at the state level. >> so speaking of elections, you considered running for the republican nomination for president against president trump. you made some headlines when you were thinking about that but you decided not to.
do you regret that decision? >> i was not really thinking much about it. after i was reelected in maryland -- maryland has the highest percentage of democratic voters of any state in america. 40% minority. so to have a republican reelected -- i'm only the second one in 243 years--was sort of a strange occurrence. and people started paying attention and started saying how does republican when the women vote in minorities doing so well among black voters and suburban voters. so people started talking to me and pressuring me. i never made any moves to actually consider but i just didn't think there was a path to victory in a republican primary against a president who continues to have so much support among his primary base. you still believe that? >> i still believe he is pretty strong among his base of supporters. i think there are probably an awful lot of people in america who probably would agree with a
lot of things i've been saying and doing that are more moderate and more middle-of-the-road and somewhat frustrated with folks on the far right and the far left, or the republican and democratic party, and the where system works, the process you have to go through is a very difficult way to go through a nominated process. >> your governor and nga chair. what kind of relationship if any do you have a president trump? >> as a matter of fact he'll be speaking at a dinner tonight were all be there and meeting him ahead of time as the chair of nga and i'll be sitting next to him at the white house dinner on sunday night and he introduces me and i have to do a toast. so we'll see how that goes. >> over the last months or year, have you talked to him really? >> we go to the white house every year for dinner and an all-day session with the president and the cabinet the senior staff. i did that every year with
president obama and president trump. he's always been very cordial and staff is been good to work with. even those we sometimes disagree i'm one of the republicans who is not afraid to stand up and say when i disagree. i'm not attacking the president personally, and he's been cordial and friendly when i see him. so he's not tweeting about me, we'll agree to disagree sometimes. >> you called for his impeachment in october. obviously the impeachment ended this week. did you think republicans made the right decision of not having witnesses in this trial. >> so back in october on national public television, i had an interview with margaret hoover and i what i said was i was really concerned about the behavior, i thought there was potential wrongdoing, i did not like any things that i was hearing about the phone call
that took place and i thought we needed to get to the facts and i thought we needed to have a fair and objective hearing to get to those facts. my dad was in congress and on the judiciary committee during the impeachment of richard nixon. and he was the very first republican to come out for impeachment, but he also was the only guy fighting the entire time for a fair and objective hearing, and he was fighting to make sure the president had the right to call witnesses and to cross-examine witnesses and to provide a defence, and only after seeing the evidence, after the federal court forced them to provide the tapes and he saw the tapes with evidence, he was on tape talking about bribing witnesses, that's when he came out and made that decision. i said we ought to have a hearing but only if it's fair and objective. i do not think that was possible in this environment, in the middle of an election
year. i thought the democrats in the house had already decided before the hearings the president should be impeached in a did not think was going to be a fair objective and i thought the republicans in the senate were not going to be fair and objective, no matter what facts were. and pretty much exactly what i said is what happened. i'm very frustrated, that i don't think the house process was fair and objective. i don't think the senate was and i think it's over. i think most people in america are sick and tired of hearing about it. and i don't think congress did their job but the american people will in november. should they have had witnesses? >> i don't think they should have the secret hearings in the basement but i think it would've been hearings and witnesses in the senate, so the whole process was kind of a
sham and a joke. >> we're running out of time, and i wanted to just make sure to ask you, there was a special primary election this week to replace the late congressman cummings and obviously the election will be in april. president trump has put baltimore in the spotlight by criticizing it. talking about how it is rat infested, reinvested. what kind of leader do you think baltimore needs right now? what kind of leader should baltimore replace congressman cummings? he was a great leader and we had a traffic relationship the baltimore city really needs leadership not only a great representative in congress and the city council and they have tremendous problems. we are trying to provide all the support we can but they are problems that are getting worse i am not the mayor or the local
and chairman of the naacp and a longtime friend of elijah cummings. and was probably the best pick for the democrat. >> that sounds like an endorsement. and had i been voting in the democratic primary he would have been okay. >> we are out of time i appreciate you talking to us about a variety of things. >> thank you very much. [applause] >> please welcome governor asa hutchinson of arkansas.
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