tv Nations Governors on Leadership Policy Agenda CSPAN January 28, 2022 5:54pm-7:19pm EST
conference and discussions on info structure, cybersecurity, boards a bipartisan leadership. then at 11:00 then the first plenary session with this year's nga president on his k-12 computer science education initiative. followed by a discussion led by the commerce secretary, with ceos from major companies. later transportation secretary pete buttigieg speaks to governors about the recently passed infrastructure bill. that is live at 1:45 p.m. eastern. all beginning at 10:00 a.m. saturday on c-span, online at c-span.org, or you can watch full coverage on our new video app, c-span now. >> up next, governors from utah, hawaii, new hampshire, illinois joint politico for a conversation at some of the issues affecting their states. this is about an hour and 20 minutes. >> good morning thank you for
tuning in. i am a state policy reporter out of lid echo -- politico. i am joined by a governor who is serving his first term. >> [indiscernible] >> i actually interviewed your predecessor at the last governor event years ago. happy to have you back here discussing policy and politics. happy to have you talking this morning including the latest surge of the pandemic. let's start with covid-19, after being one of the few states to recommend that doctors include -- wind -- when determining a supply -- utah has now illuminated those factors after pushback.
marco rubio, whose presidential campaign this morning, did you agree with the health department decision to remove the criteria? >> i do agree with their decision to remove the criteria for some reason. there are some illnesses like sickle cell anemia and others that do have a different impact, where the biology or the molecular makeup of the person and the disease are impactful, that is not the case with omicron. what i have been pushing for, we do the same thing with vaccines, there is a difference of outcome. it is because of social determinants of health and essentially access to these types of medications. instead of prioritizing people that may be our the same with come over these and others but
one based on sex, or one based on race, we give a higher priority, or even worse someone new has even less chance of hospitalize are dying has a higher priority just because of their sex or race, what we should be doing is making sure that those medications are available to those populations, and that is where our focus really is. making sure that we are getting them to the people that need them. a seven-year-old with a -- with the same co-morbid police -- comorbidity that is the real work that has to be done, we have made great inroads with the vaccine and we are making similar in roads when it comes to monoclonal antibodies as well. >> you recently announced estate run facilities would be exempt from mask mandates. utah ranks among the top states
of highest number of new infections. do you get that utah has surging cases? >> everyone gets their turn in the top 10 when it comes to omicron. there is no evidence that mask mandates have made a difference in any state or county, or school district when it comes to omicron. we are using the wrong data, the virus has changed. it is important that we keep up with those changes. new york had a mask mandates. it had the highest rates of omicron. d.c. had amassed mandate, and the highest rates of omicron. even within our own state there is a mask mandates, have seen just as high or higher rates of omicron. it is very important that we focus on omicron. that does not mean that masks do not work. although cnn and other left-leaning publications that
say cloth masks do not work. i was pushing n95 masks as a way of people to keep themselves safe. there are so many tools to keep ourselves safe and give people those choices and make those determinations. it is completely irrational for me to point out that utah did make it to the top five, after some head drop down and others had surged ahead. it is always amazing to me that no one ever points out that utah has been at the bottom five for hospitalization rates for omicron and that that continues. we have to be smarter about the way we are doing this, the public is going to lose trust in us if we do not follow the signs as the science changes and as a variant changes. if anyone out there can show me good data, in fact all the data -- evidence says the exact opposite, states that have had mask mandates have had just as high or
let's change subjects and talk about criminal justice. the bill in the utah legislature that would eliminate the death penalty. you said you are reevaluating the stance on capital punishment. do you support the bill? >> i'm working through that process right now. i haven't strictly supported the death penalty. i also said that i'm open to re-examining that position. i'm going through a process, meeting with families, victims who have lost loved ones to heinous crimes. the perpetrator of those crimes has been sentenced to death, somewhere where they had actually gone through that process. others where they are still on death row. looking at the latest information we have about states
where they have transitioned from having the death penalty to not having the death penalty to see if there's any evidence it has made a difference. and really examining what it means to be a conservative when it comes to criminal justice. if i'm weary of government intervention in other areas, should i be more weary of government intervention when it comes to actually putting someone to death? government makes mistakes. i know that firsthand. if there is one place we cannot make mistakes, it is when we are putting someone's death. at the same time, i believe in the past that perhaps, the death penalty has an effect on reducing those types of crimes. and holding people accountable for taking those lives, it could have an impact. looking at the data, i don't know if i support the
decisions were made 100 years ago, 50 years ago to stormwater and strategic locations. in the west, we are growing much faster than the rest of the country. we have an obligation to make sure we are conserving water and storing water for future generations. >> statewide campaigns to reduce homelessness to a great degree
of success. what resources are needed to recover from any setbacks? >> it is interesting and i appreciate the question. utah has been impacted differently than other states when it comes to homelessness. we have not seen an increase in homelessness because our economy is doing worse. we have seen an increase in homelessness because our economy is doing so well and so many people are moving to the state of utah, which has increased the price of housing. we are the fastest growing state in the nation over the last 10 years. during the pandemic, we have seen a surge of people moved to the state of utah from other states. especially from states that did not weather as well the economic situation because of the
shutdowns of the economy in places like california, new york, blue states where people have left to come to utah. that has increased the price of housing. people on the lower end of the socioeconomic scale are having a harder time to find places to rent, places to buy, and that has exacerbated that. we have our budget, over $200 million we put forward, around $120 million specifically for not just low income housing, but ultra low income housing that will impact our homeless population, we are doing more than that. it is about providing opportunities for people to get jobs. some great news on that, our unemployment rate is at 1.9%. that is the lowest in our state's history and the second
lowest in the country, which means we have jobs available across the board, wages are rising. that means significant opportunities for people in our state who might have struggled to find employment before will have an opportunity to do so now. >> let's talk about the direction of the gop. unsubstantiated claims and flat out lies in elections. how do republicans like yourself turn the tide on misinformation in your own party. >> hopefully we turn the tide on misinformation coming from any party by speaking out and show people the right way for government to work. i feel like we are doing that in utah. we have worked very hard. we do not have a secretary of utah. i was the lieutenant governor
for 7.5 years. now, i have an incredible lieutenant governor who is working in elections, as well. every year, we have run election security bills to enhance our election security, making sure we are providing a safe and secure place to vote where votes are only counted once. there is this misperception out there, misconception that in order to have secure elections, you have to make it harder for people to vote. we believe that is a false dichotomy and we have been able to prove that by emphasizing election security and making sure we are putting into place parameters and checks and balances that prevent bad things from happening while also making it easier for those who are eligible to vote to vote. we believe all of our constitutional rights should be
made simpler and preserve with those protections. in utah we recognize this can be a model for other states. when it comes to vote by mail, i understand why people have been so concerned in other states because it happened so rapidly. people do not have the same security measures in place that we have in the state of utah. we implemented vote by mail over the course of eight years and did it in such a way that we were able to bring people along, learn and implement new and improved security measures every year to make sure we did not have any irregularities or problems in our elections. we believe states that have rapidly implemented vote by mail should look at utah, and indeed they are. we are sharing the best practices across the nation to discover ways that we can keep
elections secure and make it easier for people to vote. >> you are scheduled to meet with president joe biden along with a group of other governors. what do you intend to discuss with the president and how would you rate the biden administration's performance so far. >> i am in washington, d.c., unfortunately i am in a drab hotel room with no lighting and nothing on the walls. i am excited to be able to meet with my fellow governors. we did not have the opportunity to do this last year because of covid. i have been very much looking forward to an opportunity to engage with our partners, colleagues from both sides of the aisle, as well as the president. i am looking forward to meeting with them. we had conversations via zoom
and telephone conversations. i have a good relationship with the president and have an opportunity to serve on his council of governors, a bipartisan council with a handful of governors working national security issues with the president. unfortunately, i do not think the administration has had success. maybe behind closed doors they would say as much. i think the polling speaks for itself. they have learned some of the wrong lessons from defeats in places like virginia and almost in new jersey. that was surprising to people on the other of the aisle. that has to do with not listening and understanding what the vast majority of people in this country are going through and what their expectations are. a 50-50 senate to adopt radical policies, social and economic,
that is what the administration attempted to do. i think it is a huge mistake and i hope they will reconsider and they will start to reach out to work on bipartisan issues where there is general agreement. there are plenty of those across the country. i plan on talking to him specifically about some of his proposals around clean energy. utah can help with that. we had 28 of the 35 critical minerals necessary for clean energy. instead, we are relying on adversaries like china for those minerals, places like africa where they do not have the same environmental protections in place where people are dying and polluting the environment with mining. we can help the administration reach some of those girls with electric vehicles and helping
reduce carbon emissions. >> it looks like we are about out of time. thank you, governor, for joining us. a big thank you to all of you tuning in from the livestream. let's go to our next. >> thank you so much. good morning. i am a national political correspondent at politico. today, i am joined by the hawaii governor. he is a democrat serving his last year in office. he won in a stunning upset. he had a decade-long career in engineering before entering politics in the 1980's. today, we have a lot of ground to cover, including the state's pandemic response. let's get started with the pandemic. this is on everyone's mind and
every state governor is thinking about this. hawaii already has some of the strictest protocols in the country and now the state requires a booster shot for travelers to avoid quarantines print are you worried about that impact on the state's economy? >> it is really an honor to be able to spend time with you. as you know, we have the strictest requirements for travel, but we are also the most isolated land mass and community on the planet, 2500 miles away from any next-door hospital or health care facility. we do take our environment and the health of our community as a
priority. we implemented the safe travels program here in hawaii, the strictest and most complex travel policy in the country. since its beginning in october of 2020, we have brought in more than 10.5 million travelers to hawaii. we understand the protocols are strict but we have been able to reach pre-pandemic levels using the safe travels program with the restrictions in place. we certainly are mindful that we do not want to make it difficult to come to hawaii, but it is about finding a balance. >> you talk about hawaii being isolated in terms of resources, also a shortage in health care
staff. hawaii has spent millions in federal dollars trying to get traveling nurses to come to the state to take care of pandemic patients. talk about your system going forward. i would like to hear your plans about making the health care system overall more robust. >> thank you very much for that. we have been very aggressive in ensuring that we can get access to health care professionals during this pandemic. two weeks ago, we brought in 250 nurses, doctors and medical technicians. this past weekend, another 350 arrived here in the state. certainly, it was helpful for us. we have adequate hospital rooms and icu units, and it really was a manpower issue.
as part of my state of the state and what i am asking the legislature for is an expansion of residency programs for doctors. right now, our proposal is to expand the residency programs, especially for neighboring islands from five to 50. we find that doctors tend to have their practices in the communities where they do their residency program. we do believe this would make a significant impact on availability of doctors for our community. in addition, i am asking the legislature to expand our nursing programs. we are seeking lecturers and instructors for all of our community college campuses. we have seen an increase in enrollment in our nursing
program. our proposal would add just under 40 additional professionals to train and expand the nursing program to all of the island so weekend begin to enroll and encourage residents to go into a nursing position. >> i am going to switch to a slightly different topic, affordable housing and homeless crisis in hawaii. you declared a state of emergency over the homelessness situation in the state. affordable housing, six years later, continues to be a problem. it is a serious problem in many counties. median home prices are over $1 million. this is a state where renters spend more than 30% of their
monthly income on housing. what should hawaii be doing differently to meet this challenge? >> housing and homelessness has been a top priority of my administration since taking office. we knew that supply was a critical component of that. we established in the first year a goal of completing 10,000 new housing units by 2020 and i am proud of the fact we hit that goal. in fact, we added 3000 more by the end of this year. in total, since becoming governor, we have completed more than 11,200 housing units, of which 8000 of those were affordable rentals. one concern we have had in the past was an affordable home for sale is only affordable the first time.
once someone acquires it, the price of the home goes to market rate and that is one reason we focused on affordable rentals. we do know that 100% of those in rentals are residents in our state, and it many cases our contracts for affordable rentals assures affordable rents for 60 years or more. it still is a challenge in our community. housing is still a concern. but we have made significant impacts. >> do you think you should be more aggressive in building, more aggressive than you have been already. i know this is her last year in office, but whoever takes over next, what advice do you have for them to make a bigger dent. >> we have retooled our affordable rental program.
speaking to private sector developers, hawaii has one of the best and most comprehensive affordable rental projects. we have committed more than $300 million during the time i have been governor. over the last two years, we have committed another $150 million to the rental housing revolving fund, which subsidizes affordable rentals in our community. i am confident whoever becomes governor after me can just continue our existing programs and add additional affordable rentals that will make an impact over the coming years. >> the other short-term and long-term existential problems for hawaii is climate change. this morning, politico ran a story about waikiki beach and climate change. the story talks about the tension in hawaii in dealing
with climate change. windows hawaii need to have a more serious discussion about the idea of safely relocating people and property to avoid damage from climate change, and how do you approach a topic like that? it is sensitive on a human level. >> hawaii has been at the forefront of the challenge of climate crisis. hawaii was the first state to commit to 100% renewable energy for electricity, and 12 states have followed our lead sense. in 2018, hawaii became the first state to commit to a net negative climate goal, meaning we want to invest to protect our natural environment and get to the point where we are absorbing more carbon than we are emitting . we have been aggressive. hawaii established a climate
adaptation commission, were all of the state agencies involved with a policy such as mayonnaise retreat and hardening -- such as managed retreat and hardening our shorelines. we would look at hardening our oceanfront properties as a last resort. managed retreat policy throughout the state of hawaii. as we move forward, we are looking at the specific state and county changes necessary to implement the policies. >> i want to turn to an audience question about climate change. this is about cooperation. the question is, national climate change becoming an increasingly important element of strategy, national frameworks
need to adopt at the sub federal level. you were at cop26 not long ago. how should these international frameworks adopt to more participate? >> thank you so much for that question. hawaii has been a very unique situation here in the middle of the pacific. the kingdom of hawaii has very expensive international relationships, even before the united states engage in international diplomacy. i have been a very active participant in the u.s. climate alliance. it is 25 states, bipartisan -- the former president withdrew the u.s. from an agreement.
i am a founding member in the pacific island council conference of leaders. it is made up of 18 countries and the state of hawaii that meet regularly here at the campus of the university of hawaii. we talk about those issues that are common to our pacific island neighbors. the climate crisis is one of those. we hope to be a bridge between the pacific island nations and the u.s. in terms of international discussions on climate policies. as you know, many of the pacific island leaders were instrumental in the discussions in and around the paris agreement, and many share -- this climate crisis is real and significant action must be taken in order to slow global
warming and keep the world's temperature change to 1.5 degrees. >> the washington governors association, talk to me about whether president biden has been responsive to some of the central concerns of hawaii, like climate change, like covid policies and the other things you have been dealing with. has the president responded to things you think are important? >> we have seen a very big improvement in interactions between the white house and a bipartisan group of governors through the national governors association. in the early days since the biden abatis ration took office, we began virtually weekly calls with all the governors,
bipartisan, to discuss issues of federal policy and actions that can be taken. i think there has been a tremendous improvement in the amount of interaction between federal agencies and the federal government, and the states in a bipartisan way that i think has been a significant improvement. we have been able to discuss vaccine distribution. especially as different medicines and treatment protocols became available. the white house insured there would be equitable distribution of vaccines and medicine so that all communities can get access to appropriate treatment. >> a quick audience question. you talk about working together, but obviously washington is hyper-partisan these days. there is a lot of disagreement. what are areas where you feel
you can work together with other governors? you touched on the covert treatments as some of the therapeutics and vaccine distribution. what are some other areas where you think the nation's governors can work together in a bipartisan-nonpartisan manner. >> i have been very active -- i chaired the governor's association and -- it is part of the organization that talks about emergency response and national security issues. we have been a very, very successful in discussing these policies and issues. i think the national governors association creates a collaborative space so we can talk about important issues in a bipartisan way.
representing the state of hawaii, i found we are a multicultural community. there is no majority in hawaii. we are all minorities. what we learned a long time ago, a lesson i wish the country would learn, when we work together, we can do great things. in hawaii, we know we have to work with each other, we have to find the common understandings, which is more prevalent than people would acknowledge or recognize, in order to make progress. >> we have a few minutes left and i have a big topic i want to finish on. it is strategically important defense-wise for the u.s. your father served in world war ii. recently, as recently -- we have seen north korea test another missile, increased activity. have you talked to the president
about these threats and what you are doing here? >> i have not personally talked to the president. i have had discussions with the secretary of defense, as well as secretary del toro. hawaii definitely understands a strategic role. about how important it is for diplomacy and for us to work through to find a peaceful solution to the challenges. at the same time, we recognize and acknowledge that a strong defense is critical and an important deterrent for maintaining peace in the pacific. >> another topic is that
congress is pushing for new missile defense capabilities in hawaii. there has been local opposition to where the capability should be located. how do you solve this issue? do you think these capabilities are needed? where do you locate them? >> absolutely we do believe that an improved missile defense system is an important part of defending our nation. and we know that having a new radar site in hawaii is an important component of that. we have been working with the department of defense trying to identify the best location for the facility. we know we can protect our environment and protect our people at the same time. so i have committed to that but -- department of defense to help them resolve any environmental concerns that the new missile
facility may cause. i have shared that i do think that the overwhelming majority of our communities have recognized that the improved missile-defense is important to defend the country as well as important to defend why he. -- hawaii. >> is the current missile-defense alert system fixed? >> absolutely. we did to fix the system the last time it happened. there cannot be a false missile alert again. >> have you noted any increased chinese or russian ship activity near hawaii in recent months? >> there has been increased activity but we know because of the strategic importance of hawaii and all of the component commands, the indo pacific command the islands as well as
the commands for the army, the navy, the air force, the marines and the coast guard, we definitely know that hawaii is a strategic importance to our allies as well as our enemies. >> thank you, governor for joining us today at the 50 america's governor summit. we have had a conversation covering climate change, affordable housing and defense. i really appreciate your time. with that, i am going to turn it over to our chief white house correspondent for the next interview. >> thank you, renée. i don't know citizen upgrade or downgrade. chief washington correspondent at politico and co-author. this was a great conversation. it is great to join all of you.
this is one of our favorite events at politico. we get a chance to focus more on policy than a lot of the conversations generally entail. i am very pleased to welcome new hampshire governor chris sununu in his third term as governor. he recently announced he may be going for subtype of -- some type of record running for a fourth term if they do not have term limits in new hampshire. thank you for taking part in the summit. we have allowed dutch a lot of ground to cover including covid, the economy, crime, education. we will get to national issues at the end. thank you for being here. >> it is always fun to be in d.c. with other governors. it is usually the best way to tolerate d.c.. surround yourself with ceos other executive leaders. working with our governors across the aisle to see how we
can find consensus but share ideas. when it comes to a governor operations, designing systems is what we do best. >> d.c. is not that bad. do you need suggestions on what you guess where to go to and learn -- on where you can go to like the town? we can talk after. let's start with the pandemic and how you navigated the prices in new hampshire -- crisis in new hampshire. what are you seeing in terms of the omicron search? where are you in terms of it peeking, plateauing, declining? what is the latest in new hampshire on that? >> we have been unfortunately planning for the winter surge since the fall. we have had to take mitigation measures specifically around flexibility in our health care system. this is all about making sure nurses have flexibility, we have the software we need so we can
open bed and get the most critical and best care of individuals that might have to come into the system without having to shut things down and all of that. we are the freest estate in the country and i think we are managing well. we are still seeing very high levels. they are not skyrocketing. but we watch the hospitality a -- the hospitalizations, the fed holidays. we do much -- the fatalities. we do so much home testing in new hampshire. we make sure you can get a home test for free. so the positive numbers, there are a lot of folks that might test their kids and their kids are positive and maybe they are phoning that into the government. so we see our numbers hitting a top. our hospitalization numbers has hit a top and are starting to drop pretty well. i think we are in it for two to four more weeks. we will not have real flexibility in the health care system until main -- maybe early spring. >> last year you told politico
communication from the biden administration "was inconsistent and where." -- and where --rare ." can you explain what the issues are and whether they hampered your ability to fight the pandemic? governor sununu: when we talk about inconsistent i think all of america is seeing that. the administration says they don't want to do a home test one week. new hampshire says they will do their home test. then they pivot. they say they will not mandate vaccines and then they pivot. that inconsistency has confused everybody and i can speak directly on behalf of the epidemiologists and those who work with the cdc. very confusing messaging. i do not think they are doing it intentionally. i think sometimes they do not even appreciate the power of their words and how when you pivot one way or another in a
matter of days without a lot of explanation america gets confused. then the governor step in and it is our job to clarify that as much as we can. in the entire pandemic we have had now one or two calls with the president as governors. one or two. >> all the governors together or you personally? governor sununu: all the governors together and me personally. in the first week of the pandemic we would all get together. but, this administration is different. the white house has a staffer, dr. fauci n folks from the cdc sometimes but the president and vice president are almost never on those calls. that has been a frustration. the most import aspect is flexibility. as you said yourself every state is different. and they should be. what is good for new york may not be good for new hampshire. the needs of arizona may not be the needs of florida so we need
the flexibility to do things our way. we have been working with fema closely for emergency teams to help our hospitals. that has been wonderful. we ask for things and have been able to supply them. i give fema a lot of credit for helping the state of new hampshire. ultimately states need that flexibility. we are not seeing it around the relief fund. this sort of one-size-fits-all playbook, whether it meets your needs are not here is how you have to spend the dollars. $180 million in rental relief from the state of new hampshire. we are the fastest-growing state in the country. we have almost no vacancy. rental relief and the highest wages. rental relief is not our number one priority but housing is. if we are going to address housing, what the money is meant for, we asked or the treasury for flexibility saying, can i actually build more housing, go create more supply which drops pricing? no. you cannot do that.
you have to plan that follow the playbook exactly as washington prescribed. i think i speak for all 50 governors when i say we are all very different. so, believing in the states and continuing on that path i still believe it is a way to manage -- the best way to manage as we go through this and manage sustainable programs long-term. ryan: why it is is -- why is it important to talk to the president and vice president? governor sununu: they are in charge. they have the final decision-making process. they will say we are going to move with more flexibility for the state, we are going to ask the folks that make the rules at treasury. the folks that make the rules at treasury answer up the chain to the president of the united states. new hampshire the buck stops here. if folks have an issue and things are not getting done at the end of the day it is up to me, myself, and my team ultimately having that one-on-one connection. we do not need to be on the
phone every day but one call in a year, really? >> you will see them in washington this week. what will you till him? governor sununu that when he got on the phone with a month ago it was awesome. it did him good. it did us good. it gave us confidence that our voice was being heard and it is not about attacking or anything. it is about innovative ideas that are working. can you try doing that more broadly? if you are going to create the rules and have a one-size-fits-all, take ideas from laboratories of democracy across the 50 states, right? the governor has been on the front lines of this longer than anybody and i think there is a lot to learn. republicans and democrats across the aisle have done innovative things. it was great he got on the phone with us a month ago. it would be great if he kept doing it. i hope we see a new trend. >> let's talk about issues you have had to navigate during the pandemic starting with vaccinations. you are triple vaxxed, boosted.
you have said vaccine resistance has been an issue across the country. it has become unfortunately a partisan issue among a lot of the public. how have you dealt with a vaccine resistance in new hampshire? where is it coming from in your view? what is the key to overcoming it? governor sununu: we are one of the most vaccinated states in the country and it is not because the government said you must. it is because we were super open, super transparent about messaging, about the data behind it. very open about the idea folks should talk to their doctor. don't get the vaccine because a politician tells you. get the vaccine because you're talking to your doctor or your petitti -- your pediatrician. talking to your community. we are all about personal responsibility. we do not just say it. we take that responsibility seriously. that means we all have to do extra homework and i think the people in new hampshire have done that and done very well
with that. where there is hesitancy and resistance i always challenge the idea that republicans are vaccine hesitant and no one else's. that is bull. i have talked to somebody there so many young women, nurses,'s go teachers thinking about adding pregnant and have concern. the answer is, look, go talk to your ob/gyn, talk to your doctor and make sure you are making the right decision for you. it is not a political issue. i know there is a big anti-vax crowd on the ultra-right. that is very frustrating for me. at some point you can only bang your head against that wall so much. you just have to work with the community and those still asking the right questions. you are seeing that all across the country. the other issue is not so much vaccine hesitancy now as it is just complacency. you know, omicron ain't that bad i will be ok. i don't need to do it now. that is not hesitating.
that's just complacency. i don't need by booster. ryan mild, so what is the big deal? governor sununu: right, but it is a big deal. if four times more people are getting omicron done delta edited that much more contagious, -- and it is that much more contagious you will have the same number of people in the hospital because it will go rampant. those who are medically vulnerable, maybe they have obesity, diabetes, lung conditions are susceptible to severe illness. the last point i want to make about why hospitalization is important. i a lot of people do not appreciate that no two beds are equal. when you are in the hospital for covid the chances are you are therefore 5, 6, 7 weeks on average. when you are therefore quadruple bypass you are there for seven days. a covid patient can take up the same bed 10 times over for most other issues you would be in the icu for.
so a covid patient overwhelms the health care system exponentially and that is why we are putting all our efforts now into making sure we have emergency teams and nurses and doctors. hopefully they are not getting burnt out and we have a system so we are not just locking down the hospitals. we don't do that in new hampshire. we work with hospitals one-on-one to give them flexibility to serve citizens. ryan: i walked to talk about -- want to talk about education and it issues. one relates to the pandemic. let's talk about that. tell us about how you navigated the trickiest issues with kids and virtual learning and mask mandates? there has been a big switch on this issue across the political spectrum recently. part of it, i think, is people are over the pandemic.
even though, perhaps, the pandemic is not over us. just tell us a little bit about how you navigated that issue and what the most difficult issues were. governor sununu: i like to practice what i preach. if i am asking the federal government for flexibility i am providing flexibility down the chain to school districts and local communities and saying a small one room schoolhouse in local new hampshire might have different opportunities and mitigation measures as a large high school in central manchester, right? allowing them those flexibilities as opposing to the state says thou shalt must. it is not a one-size-fits-all for new hampshire and i don't think it is for most states. giving them the tools, the resources, the information they need so they have the flexibility to design the system that best minute -- meets the
needs of the teachers, parents, and students and making sure all those groups have a say in the process. we do. in new hampshire we are very locally controlled so we did not have to re-create the wheel for that. we have a system that already champions local control. the biggest issue with kids is mental health. remote learning has drastic consequences. we already had a mental health crisis in the country people were not talking about. in new hampshire we have done everything from allowing more providers to come in. we just spent -- fault into health -- bought a middle well hospital for children. we are investing in two mental health hospitals. we put emergency teams there. we are putting additional resources in schools themselves so guidance counselors and resource officers and everybody has a hand on connection with the number one state in the country for social and emotional learning programs were kids have the ability to talk and make connections and mentor ships with teachers and peers. it sounds small but boy is it
vital. at the end of the day it all comes to flexibility with parents. parents are with kids. teachers are with kids making sure those two groups are interactive say, luke -- look, skyler is exhibiting these types of behaviors we are not seeing before. this is where the gap in learning is and also emotional development and socialization. all of those resources have to be brought to bear not just at the state level. you need systems is that really put this in the classroom. systems that took to the individual as an individual not just a system. i think that is where new hampshire stands out a little but we will be dealing with this work will ages. i think this is a long-term problem. it requires long-term investment and planning and programs. i think if anything covid was the impetus to get folks looking at this and saying, we will change the paradigm of little bit about how we do this. we will not just talk the talk. we have to walk the walk for kids.
ryan: another issue new hampshire is grappling with is the teaching of systemic racism in schools. this is an issue where the state has been less flexible. there is a new law that addresses this. tell us about that law and what the reasoning behind it is. governor sununu: i do not think new hampshire is less flexible. the law we passed is clear. need to talk about slavery, blacks lives matter, instances of racism and discrimination in our -- all our communities. >> it does limit discussion of systemic racism, right? governor sununu: no. do you know the law says? it is like a paragraph, so simple. it says, you shall not discriminate against a child based on the color of their skin, racial identity, sexual preference, whatever. that is it. as part of those discussions, we have to have robust discussions on civics and history and understanding all of those issues but you cannot say to a
young arab-american child, muslims are traditionally terrorists. you cannot say to a white child, white people are systematically racist. that is discrimination, right? that has never been allowed. we civilly made it more robust. we reminded folks that when you are having these discussions remember you are talking to children, individuals, treat them as individuals not a collective group you wanted is committed against. it is that simple. there is nothing we have band in terms of language other than telling a child they are nearly racist. which i think we can all agree on, right? i know that the other side, the ultraleft likes to make it out like there is some nefarious to hear but i tell people, go read the legislation. find me any sentence in that bill that you fundamentally disagree with. you just cannot do it. ryan: fair enough. governor, if roe v. wade is
struck down by the supreme court, as governor, you are going to have to deal with abortion in a new way. what is your plan personally if that happens? which seems a lot more likely this year than last year. governor sununu: i don't think we have to deal with it in a new way. i am a pro-choice governor. if it has to be codified at a state level there are avenues to do that through state legislator. we want to be possible there. whether you are pro-life or pro-choice we can have that debate on the viability of each of those discussions that i am a pro-choice governor. anything we need to codify that to make sure it does what it is supposed to do and people have that flexibility that we have today. we are one of the most flexible states in the country when it comes to a women's right to choose and want to maintain that. at least, i do. ryan: let's talk national stuff. one, you decided not to run for the senate. i think you talked about that ad
nauseam. one question though governor sununu i did a press conference. ryan: what advice would you have for a fellow republican governor like larry hogan who is making a similar decision? what would you, how would you advise someone like that to approach this decision? governor sununu: it will not sound intuitive at first but larry hogan i would say you should run for the senate. he is term limited. i am not. one of the fundamental differences is they were asking me to quit a job that is incredibly challenging but incredibly for filling that fulfilling where i can provide more protection to federal oversight as governor than i probably could is a u.s. senator. i get more done on a daily basis. i designed systems integrate with kids and businesses and talk to them one-on-one area -- one-on-one.
washington is not like that. you will never convince me that in washington i would be doing a better job with direct constituent services. when you are hired by the public to do a job you have a standard of account ability. you have to deliver results. you do that by having personal connections with kids, schools, businesses and those that need certain services relying on you to the liver. when you have that direct against -- you to deliver. when you have that direct relation you can deliver. i have only been governor five years. someone like rick scott, a tremendous governor in florida was term limited out and wanted to keep serving his state. i think he has been doing a good job trying to get other governors to run for senate. my situation is different. i am not term limited. frankly i think the senate would
do well with a lot of governors in it, managers, folks that have the same attitude i have, frankly. i think mcgrath governors should run -- democrat governors should run for senate and congress. i may not agree with their policies but at least they have the account ability skills that i think washington needs. ryan: governor, thank you. that is all the time we have right now. a few big takeaways i think, one, you would like biden to do more. two, if you are a governor who can run, the senate is not such a bad place. governor sununu: there you go. ryan: thank you for watching the livestream. we have a quick programming break now and we will be back shortly for an interview featuring illinois governor jb pritzker. >> welcome back to the 50 americas governor summit. i am a reporter at politico and an author of the illinois
playbook based in chicago joined by illinois governor jb pritzker running for a second term and about to give his fourth state of the state address which we just found out will be in person in the capital. it seems almost like normal times. thank you, governor, for joining us on political life. we have much to cover including the latest in managing the pandemic, illinois making some history fighting climate change and how voting rights have expanded in illinois. let's kick things off talking about covid. even though illinois is averaging about 132 covid related deaths per day cases and hospitalizations are actually decreasing. so it looks like omicron is trending down. i know you have a direct line to dr. fauci. can you tell us a little bit about what you have learned from managing omicron that will help you understand it the next variant and how to manage that?
governor pritzker: let me begin by saying we have had real success as difficult as this pandemic has been here in illinois. we have kept death and hospitalizations down significantly. over the course of the entire pandemic as compared to the rest of the midwest. we have the highest vaccination rate in the midwest. we have done, i think, a good job of making sure we are balancing our economic interests with keeping people healthy and safe. that has been my number one concern. omicron has been an unusual variant. the rise of omicron was, you know, so steep and so immediate that really we were deeply concerned that our hospital's weighted up getting overrun. -- would end up getting overrun.
as it turns out because we did a good job of vaccinating our population we did not see hospitals get coming you know, filled and then overrun. we have been able to manage through even with a shortage of staff of over the country and here in illinois. omicron is now on what seems to be a steep decline. we still have 4800 or so people in the hospital with covid. that is a lot. but we were all the way up around 7400 at its peak. that is the highest of any variant. meanwhile, remember the numbers of people getting sick and testing positive for much, much higher than they have ever been before. so we were glad that the vaccinations work. and we will able -- were able to keep hospitals and health care workers from getting overrun. >> i presume that will continue?
how will you operate for the next variant? governor pritzker: well, again, our hospital staff, they are so critical to our ability to deal with these variants as they come. what we have had is testing, masking, vaccinations, and now, treatments on top of it. we did not have many treatments available, as you know. regeneron really only works for previous variance. we now have a variety of treatments at work. that is a new tool in the toolbox. we now know that we can keep our economy going if people wear masks inside when there is a surge. we know we can keep our schools open vitally important when we employ masking and also vaccinations among adults in
school and of course encouraging it among kids as well. and a is vital. -- testing is vital. i think businesses will require testing on a regular basis going forward in order to make sure their workforce is healthy as well as of course their customers >> on covid, you have taken a lot of punches from republicans about mandates for masks in public places. how much are you concerned with covid fatigue and if it is going to have an impact on the governor's race or any races in illinois for the midterm? gov. pritzker: i am willing to take the punches if it means we are keeping our residence in illinois healthy, safe and alive. it has worked. it will take all of the punches that allow us to keep people safe.
the politics have been tertiary to me during covid. i have been focused on making sure our state is managing through this crisis in a way that ends up well for as many people as possible. i think it will have -- look, i think there are people who have decided they are anti-vaccine, anti-mask. they do not want any medications. they tend to be republican. and they have been loud. but they are in the minority. want to be clear. they are loud, these folks will protest, complain and yell that it is somehow taking with her freedom. they are the ones taking away people's freedoms, freedom from the virus that is. i believe that getting everybody vaccinated that can be
vaccinated and making sure that those who are vulnerable are kept safe, that is the best economic answer come out best health care answer. it is the right answer for illinois. >> speaking of it economics, when you and for office, you said you would be the best officer but that was a tough sell because illinois fiscal condition was one of the worst in the country. what do you think now? gov. pritzker: it was a tough sell for my processor who constantly berated the state. i think he thought he was getting some political advantage. bad mouthing the state does not do anything good for anybody. we have some of the most talented workers in the nation in illinois. we are graduating the third most computer science graduates in the entire nation.
we have been growing our investments in infrastructure. gear number one in infrastructure in the nation, and it means that if you are a manufacturer or a distributor and you want to get your products anywhere in the country, you want to be in illinois. we have all seven railroads running through illinois, major intermodal that is available to businesses. i have been on the phone constantly calling businesses to make sure that they know what works in illinois, why they should move to illinois. one more thing. we have put our fiscal house in order since the last governor. so when you say that there were people who thought ill, one reason is they looked at illinois and said you're not even balancing your budget. while now we are. and i'm going to talk about that next week during my state of the
state speech and my budget speech. but putting our fiscal house in order means we are paying our bills on time, it means we are paying our pensions and it means we are a stable fiscal state so that people who are thinking about moving somewhere, they know that when they come to illinois they have a way to make significant investor and's dutch investments in our people. >> illinois, especially chicago has taken center stage on education issues. president biden recent said they were not doing a good job of spending the covid relief money the government provided for school districts. what policies has illinois put in place to make sure districts can quickly and efficiently spend covid money for in person learning? gov. pritzker: we anticipated
the need to have a plan, so we put together a learning renewal plan and gave it to all of our schools across the state. we did that before the dollars arrived, as they were on their way, and many schools have utilized that plan in order to make good investments. this is about keeping our schools open and importantly providing extra services for students to bring them back up to speed after so much disruption in the first year of covid. that includes things like providing tutoring for students, they can sure you can run summer classes -- some of them may not have before. encouraging teachers with additional pay incentives. there are lots of ways that will districts have utilized those dollars properly and many of them according to our learning
renewal plan. cracks i am always watching illinois for education. the state has made historic commitments to climate change. i know that you are a big electric vehicle sky. how are you going to incentivize consumers to buy evs? gov. pritzker: in our climate plan, and we also passed and we also passed in electric vehicles incentive plan, but just in our climate plan, which is money mental, we are the best in the midwest at turning our state into a clean energy state by 2045, getting rid of fossil fuels in the production of energy in our state. but in that bill, we wrote in two important provisions important for adoption of electric vehicles by consumers.
one is a rebate and an incentive of $4000 someone who buys an electric vehicle. we think that incentive will bring lots of people to the car dealerships to buy new electric vehicles, and people will adopt them for other reasons, including their desire to have a clean environment. our other plan is to reimburse folks who are installing electric vehicle charging stations across the state. we need a lot of charging stations, every state does, to make it feasible for people to drive around more than just the city they live in. we offered an 80% rebate on the installation, the folks providing those installations of chargers, they are using the 80% incentive and we think we will
be able to put up a significant number of charging stations across the state which will bring people to the state of illinois and encouraged electric vehicle use in the state. >> i am thinking about it. another hallmark of your first term it was when illinois legalized adult use cannabis. it has brought tens of millions of dollars into the state, into communities especially those hit hardest by the war on drugs. but one goal was to bring women and people of color into the industry dominated by white guys. the effort to get folks in, the applications that they need to fill out, it has been stalled in the courts. it is the administration doing anything to move that process along in two years? gov. pritzker: it's disappointing. it is sitting in the courts as you say.
our laws are actually really good. they are a great incentive and we have got many people who apply for those licenses. they have been awarded. but the courts are holding up the moving forward. i am excited about the future of the cannabis industry in the state. it is doing well now and will do even better when we have those licenses. we need the courts to -- and let me remind you there are other aspects of that legislation that are equity focused that we have made huge strides in. the first thing i would say is that we have expunged 500,000 arrest records. that is amazing and it is mostly people of color that have been arrested and have something on the record that needed to be taken off.
500,000. and we parted more than 20,000 people so far. for low level cannabis convictions. that means that people who could not rent an apartment before mahood had a conviction, can now rent an apartment. people who couldn't get a job can now get a job. and i think that is right and fair. it is part of what we intended to do. the legislature and the governor working together to get that done. we were the first state to pass legalization through legislation , not through a referendum. this was carefully crafted and we still come out to this day, have the most equitable outcomes of any state that has legalized it. just wait until the courts get out of the way. because it will be special. i think there will be many people who benefit in communities that have often been left out and left behind. cracks closer to home or
chicago, we have just learned that the former police officer who was convicted of murdering the 17-year-old is getting out of prison next week after serving just a few years. what are your thoughts? gov. pritzker: the justice system is not always just, and i do not think the outcome of the sentencing of jason van dyke was proper. so i'm disappointed and i would have rather seen a different outcome. but this is where we are. he is going into a halfway house in illinois and this is a situation that is another demonstration of what reforms are necessary in our system. >> we only have a few minutes so
i want to talk a little about politics because we are politico. you have a primary, but the general election is expected to get rough and tumble, republican donor ken griffin has vowed to fund someone to defeat you. what do you say to cynics who say big money is drowning out the voices of the little guys? gov. pritzker: i think you know i have been a democrat my whole life, and i have been supporting democrats for public office my whole life. even now as a candidate for reelection, i am supporting other democrats to get elected. the values of the democratic party are about fighting for the working class. it is about fighting for working families, lifting up people that get left out and left behind often, too often. and that is the intention of my
candidacy in my campaign. that is why i put resources behind other democrats and behind my own. on the other site, they are about -- remember, the folks that are supporting the other side were the same folks that brought our prior governor to office and continue to support him after he decimated social services across the state and put a significant -- put us significant antedate. i have turned that around, i've fixed that problem. we now are balancing our budgets. i have done that every single year. we democrats are the party of fiscal responsibility. we are the ones who rebuilt the social safety net they are trying to tear down. that is why i put resources behind my political views and my candidacy and others. >> shifting to the big kahuna of political questions, your name has come up as a possible
contender for president in 2024. along with winning this current reelection for governor, what would it take for you to consider making that kind of move to the national scene? cracks i'm focused on being governor of illinois. it is a terrific job. i love this job. we have so much we need to do for the state of illinois so i intended to be focused entirely on that. >> thank you governor for joining us at the americus governors summit. it sounds like a budget that will be balanced and a lot of new ideas coming forward with evs. we look forward to it in illinois. thank you so much to everyone for turning in and governor pritzker, good luck in
springville next week. regula got there. let us kick it over now to politicos deputy states editor who will share closing remarks. >> thanks. i am the deputy state senator of politico in california and we have reached the end of our summit for 50 of america's governors. this is the 12 year for our summit, one of our largest dust longest-running events. through the day, winter do -- we interviewed the governors of louisiana, utah, hawaii, illinois. governors have had unprecedented responsibility managing covid in their states and we have heard governors talking about their various approaches, from the louisiana governor john bel edwards on his decision not to minute masks, to the hawaii governor. there also talking that how they are addressing climate change
and the threat of disasters. new hampshire governor chris sununu said the biggest issue with kids is mental health. we will post full replays on our politico live site and social media. you can't think you enough for watching our livestream and remember you can follow our upcoming programming on our social media at @politico live. >> tonight, florida governor ron desantis is speaking with the common sense society live at 8:00 eastern on c-span. >> c-span is your unfiltered view of government. we are funded by these television companies and more, including charter communications. >> rod band is a force for empowerment. that is why charter has invested billions building infrastructure, upgrading technology, empowering
opportunity in communities big and small. charter is connecting us. >> charter communication support c-span is a public service along with these other television providers giving you a front row seat to democracy. >> this weekend, the national governors associations one hunter 14th annual winter meeting in washington, d.c.. coverage starts at 10:00 a.m. eastern with an opening news conference and discussions on education, cyber and the importance of bipartisanship. then we will talk to the president about his computer science initiative, followed by a discussion by commerce secretary and later transportation secretary pete buttigieg will speak to governors about the recently passed for structure bill live at 145 time eastern. -- 1:45 eastern.
you can watchful coverage on our new video app, c-span now. >>, former nato supreme allied commanders retired generals wesley clark and philip bre edlove join the atlantic council for a discussion on defense strategy with nato. this is over an hour. >> good morning, i am the executive director of the transatlantic security initiative at the atlantic council. i'm pleased to welcome general breedlove and general clark. reporting from the north atlantic council at nato as well as the u.s. president and secretary of defense, i will ask if you can keep your hats on as much as possible this morning to