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tv   AEI Discussion with Mayors  CSPAN  January 29, 2021 11:00am-12:01pm EST

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fighting get reelected. what constitutional lines did he cross in an effort to stay in power? >> investigative journalist lawrence roberts sunday night at 8 p.m. eastern on c-span's q&a. >> next, the mayors of miami, oklahoma city and stockton, california, discuss education policy, job creation, income inequality and other challenges facing their cities. from the american enterprise institute, this runs one hour. .. >> on the director domestic policy studies at aei and i am delighted to be with you today to join by a group fir doing some pretty interesting things. glad you are tuning in and
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getting to know each one of them was the event is called a new generation of mayors and citys, we have mayors all in their first term in the case of mayor lincoln only four weeks on the job, mayors doing interesting things, interesting ideas about the future, very challenging times, the pandemic, urban unrest and a bunch of other challenges that flow from those things. i want to dive right in and hear about what they are doing and what it means for public policy and the future of our cities, mayor of miami francis suarez was elected in 2013,
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first term mayors, district number 4, the first miami born mayor of the city. look forward to hearing from you, francis suarez. david holt, mayor of oklahoma city since 2013, the first native american mayor of oklahoma city and one of the youngest mayors of the city with 500,000 residents that he served eight years in the senate in oklahoma. the newest member of the bench, kevin lincoln just assumed office which the census bureau calls the most diverse city in america, four weeks ago, january of 2021. previously served in the marine corps and during that time was assigned to marine one during the george w. bush 10 year, worked for the community of stockton in a full-time ministry.
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in our cities, look forward to diving right in. it would be great to hear a little bit about why you ran in the first place, what got you interested in this job and you can address that in due course when you have a chance but i thought i would start with you, francis suarez, something will take you from a set to:30 so hope we get to you first, and deal with questions after the fact, even after he leaves and get back to you but i want to start with you, talk a little bit about what it is like to pursue a dynamism agenda in the middle of a pandemic. take advantage of that, you
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made noise in december by -- on twitter you invited silicon valley to miami and it resulted in a lot of activity. seems you were taking advantage of the fact that people were pretty mobile, looking at places that have gotten expensive and new alternatives. i want to hear about that because we are used to news about the pandemic so seems you are utilizing the situation to pursue some goals you had for miami anyway. tell us what you were doing there. >> thank you for the opportunity to share the stage with two friends, a recently elected new friends, the college of mayors. as you said, the technology ecosystem is something the city of miami, this is a startup
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that received its first infusion of venture capital ponds so that moment, what if we made miami, no words, how can i help? the reason why there is a confluence of factors that come together. tax policy is a major issue, that is understated, be welcome, be receptive, treating people with dignity, people are creators, innovators, their job and their rule is to build companies that in many cases changed the way we live and the decisions we make and do it better, they are not necessarily required to cure society's bills.
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they are not responsible for all the things that are wrong in the city so from my perspective, they take a hospitality approach making sure people feel welcome in our city. the issue of my generation is income inequality. it is difficult to deal with income inequality if you don't create jobs. that is one of the essential tenets to try to create upward mobility and then create is close to an educational equal playing field to make sure the children of your community no matter where they are born or what their station in life as an opportunity to occupy one of those jobs. that is a secondary challenge. i think people are first - >> looks like we might have
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lost francis suarez as he is mobile. >> on the move. >> he has frozen up. we will rejoin and come back to him when we can. david holt, i wonder if you could pick up on some of this. i want to talk a little bit about what you experienced in oklahoma city in terms of protests from last summer because you pursued that in a very intentional way but before we talk about that can you talk a little bit about what you have been doing to create the kind of dynamism in oklahoma city that the city has been known for because like miami where francis suarez has been expensing that is experiencing quite a lot of groove lately, both cities will above the national average. tell us what it has been like
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to pursue a dynamism agenda to attract good paying jobs, to grow the city during a time of crisis. >> thank you for the invitation, appreciate your organization very much and like francis suarez, it is honor to be on the panel with he and mayor lincoln. in oklahoma city i inherited great momentum. our team's success was well documented in oklahoma city and often other places as well. we started investing in ourselves, passing these temporary sales taxes to build quality-of-life initiatives, not necessarily core infrastructure, mechanisms for that in play but we found 25 years ago that it was important to have a lot of free market principles in place that you
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preach but if nobody wants to live there, they are not going to be as interested in your workers compensation policy or income tax rate, we find ourselves in that box in the early 90s so we started building stuff and call it maps and we still do, one person temporary sales tax that are voters of approved four times and when i took office we were in the final stages and i championed for my first two years the creation and adoption by the voters maps 4 and that happened three months before the commencement of the pandemic and it is a quality-of-life project and so many things to go into a successful and dynamic city but i find if the city is investing in itself actively and in a
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well-known way, not only does investments, it encourages everybody, this is a place that is dynamic, where things are happening. $1 billion rollout over the next decade, when things that gives me hope beyond the pandemic, don't mean to run it in my colleagues faces but i wish they had a billion-dollar stimulus package the voters improve 3 months before the start of the pandemic, a great thing to look forward to and it will be a great aid to us as we look forward and completely recover and go beyond where we were before. >> what kinds of things more specifically has the investment gone for or what will it do? we have done some work here in the last couple years based on the survey and found there is a strong relationship between
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quality life and the things that matter, the grocery store let alone the restaurant and those things they are close to, they find that correlation, people talk to their neighbors more frequently, something about being out and about loosens you up and the kinds of things, the way the environment is constructed, more than we realize, i'm curious to know what sorts of things you are investing in. >> your comments are right on point with some of our projects in the past. it made possible the arena, and the meeting place for the community. we never came together as a community like that.
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a 70 acre urban park in the core of downtown, a place that brings people to get their, has 16 projects for $1 billion, everybody wants one now. we've got youth centers, a $20 million type youth center, and these are human things and neighborhood things, it needed to happen. we had a dying downtown that we had to look at but i suggest most people here locally, most people would say it is focused on neighborhoods and the needs
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of our citizens, we did the downtown stuff, now we need to look back in daily lives, how could we as a city invest in their happiness? we can't do it all but there are a lot of things people will take responsibility for themselves but core infrastructure needs, will not be estate for that thing. they vote with their feet. if they want to live in a city, there will be entrepreneurs, we feel we have grown in population. in pretty good shape after the pandemic.
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>> they have different backgrounds. what we are talking about the best part. one thing i want to follow up on, you have been experiencing a 9% population growth, considerable household income growth when we lost you. how are we keeping supply and demand up in silicon valley what you are dealing with is don't have that dynamic. what we see is these large centers of commerce, people can't afford to live there, the question is close to the
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office, you capitalize on that but miami is a been town but you are managing to thread the needle differently with high cost centers. >> it allows us to grow in terms of physical asking to connect so we have growth capacity which is a major constraint in san francisco that are maxed out with upward pressure on prices, no supply and tremendous demand. even though i don't have $1 billion we have a $400 million miami forever bond, with 100 million of that being affordable housing, what i call 0 basis land underutilized with those $100 million, with the private
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sector, 750 units of affordable housing. if you extrapolate then out, 7500 units with tremendous amount of leverage with $2 billion worth of leverage we will continue to do that, we are expanding the community redeveloped agency which would produce 250, $400 million worth of new money we leverage at the same rate. we are using under zone land, public land and public dollars, or public bond dollars to make sure we can keep prices at a rate where we can attract engineers, doctors and nurses
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and police officers which has been becoming more expensive though we are seeing enormous urban renewal push in the city. it happened in other cities in stockton, there's a renaissance in the city and what we have to do, sorry for cannibalizing the beginning of this interview, you have to reinvest in quality of life. it is one, to have -- it is wonderful to have great weather, a huge event we obviously highlight but you need to have a tremendous scene, one of the biggest in the world and the sports venues, one of two in the us that has formula one.
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we have all the major sports, quality-of-life dynamic, what you alluded to which is true in this virtual worlds, everyone is working remotely, where we have to live and miami is doing well in that competition. >> for those watching, by email, read/w on or twitter, hashtag post 2020 mayors. you can send those in at any time and i can read them off later.
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by turning to you, congratulations on your recent victory. you defeated a rising star in the party and that helps people by surprise. backup a little bit and tell us about why you got in the race in the first place, you chose to run for mayor of stockton, the most diverse city in the country with a lot of head wind during the pandemic, lots of unrest. what is motivating you, what did you hope to achieve and what are the voters expecting from you? >> thank you for this opportunity to join you, if i had known, it reconsidered from a security standpoint, i
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wouldn't change anything that i would do in life, what was served in full time, in some level of public service, timing for me is important. the power of habit, completely shifted and actively involved the last 7 years at that time, and i have this thought that maybe i should run for mayor today, with the wedding party and a conversation about the city. strike you?
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it's also going above the national average also has some headwinds in terms of higher unemployment and similar challenges so what is your
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first 180 days approach to those sorts of things? would you tackle first and why? >> that's what we ran on i heard both talk about quality of life in the city that something we ran on locally with the quality of life in stockton and now leadership to be focused on addressing and to understand those fundamental needs of our communities so quality of life looks different for each city and community and municipalities over us where do you tackle first or how do you advertise that? when we find ourselves right now in the middle of this pandemic at the county and state level to have the impact on small businesses are those supports and with vaccines and things of those nature.
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but the one area from the quality of life standpoint that we have to focus on is the issue in and around homelessness. we all want a safer community is not a crime to be homeless obviously different people have different life circumstances we also understand what advice do not supersede so to find the balance that we have the support and the means necessary also improving the quality of life for the residents so 80 percent of our population is a number one issue. so we work really hard in the
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campaign to reach out to different municipalities to understand what is working and identify the solution that we can implement here in stockton but it's about taking the next step. not necessarily television but what is the practical next step and then to be transparent with the public with a civic engagement which was another opportunity as well in terms of improving the quality of life from a trust standpoint. so for me prioritizing civic engagement the public understands we are listening and we have those messages out heart and we expect the public to hold us accountable if we do everything we can to make sure the needs of our city are met.
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>> coming back to the institution of trust but mayor, before we lose you, when it comes to the inequality problem that you talk about everybody has to deal with that in granular terms but for all of the growth and the dynamism you are fostering in miami for those on the lower income, how do they see miami right now? they are struggling with job losses and sickness and the light so when you are speaking to communities that are in a tough spot what do you hear from them and what is it you are doing that you find resonates with their aspirations what are you hearing from them. and their aspirations.
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>> no doubt particularly because of the pandemic no doubt people are going hungry or concerned about their homes or foreclosing on their mortgages so we have done what we can given the resources. i think this sort of tech renaissance we are seeing in miami is about creating long-term opportunities for residents, it begins with education. if we are serious about combating income inequality, we have to be prepared for the economy and digital tools, giving every child access to broadband and giving every child access to a curriculum
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that makes them successful, taught in every single school, in high school and those ingredients in place and are not there yet, that is where we are creating a pipeline for the new jobs we are creating and until we get there, we are still creating higher-paying jobs, somebody has to occupy them but to deal with income inequality and create class mobility and be successful government can't mandate that, that is not the way it works and hasn't in the history of humanity, people who want to work hard and want to succeed
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or have an opportunity, in a certain family that is what we are trying to achieve in terms of resiliency, we call it miami for every one. >> thank you for being here and if anyone has questions through those channels we can forward them if there is contact with the mayor's team and they can be responsive. good luck with everything going on in miami, a busy place, look forward to seeing you at these future aie events. >> so many wonderful people as a result of the organization and leave you in better hands. >> a pleasure meeting you, francis suarez. >> good to see you. >> i know when you were in the
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middle of a lot of unrest because of the george floyd killing and subsequent events, you met with community protesters, people in the community, what did you learn and what did you do to maintain by comparison that is peaceful and stable, things going well and differently compared to other cities. >> the government is nonpartisan, lends itself to being more responsive to the needs of diverse communities, whether it is a mix to them
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both, one of the top four issues is unique, we are a diverse community in oklahoma city. the decision is disproportionately dominated by worldviews of guys who look like me but the culture will experience growing up in oklahoma city. when all of that happened it resonated with things that i was talking about and i don't need me people marching in the streets, i recognized is something going on and we need to talk and it is the third day of events in oklahoma city where i sit down and met with leadership for black lives
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matter, and surprise the protesters and listen to them, we didn't have any more damage or violence, we acted also, performative gesture, we created a task force, we are an outlier, a large city that we don't have one, and we have been clearly intentional leading the way on this in talking about all the issues and challenges facing the minority community and putting everything on the table and
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acknowledging the promise of america is equal opportunity but never. here, a white kid who grows up as the affluent part of town will have a different educational outcome, better economic outcome, literally a longer life than an african american kid who grows up 10 miles away from that point. how many decades does that go on before we say what we did in for 60s isn't enough. and those of the conversations that happened in june, accelerated, whether it is other elected leadership, this is not something we addressed
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in a few weeks or a few months, the work of a lifetime, the work in my community as well, people who previously put blinders on willing to have very uncomfortable conversations, it went beyond police policy with what we had about that, that is the work we are about. introducing that topic, that is more than others are doing it. definitely committed and listening and being empathetic and not performing the but feeling it. >> that is great. you are listening and hearing,
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dealing with poverty and exclusion, 4 and a half events, looking at policy responses different than that. >> the city management perspective, we are looking at police policy, we are a little bit on the path. i have a hard time off the top of my head, looking at the 16 project there's a lot of them crossing the chasms that we have economically in the city. there is small business support
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for minority owned businesses, things that are there, economics is the last thing on their mind but they've got to get there somehow. i'm talking mental health crisis center, diverse and, people who are interacting with criminal justice system. these things hit on different socioeconomic levels, it is in the wake of what happened in 2020 but we are facing them in late 2019. on the economic front, not necessarily public policy out of city hall, you are seeing a
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business community really rallying, i am leaning with great folks who happen to be with bank of america leadership leading a dialogue with ceos and sharing best practices, the chamber of commerce working with urban league all over this and having seminars and sessions, all virtual but things, conversations in oklahoma city, understanding entrepreneurship and wealth is not going to grow in a community when you don't have access the kind of jobs i always felt i have access to that i felt i take for granted. look at the white-collar jobs of oklahoma city and lined those up they don't look like oklahoma city. the business community sees that. by passing an ordinance for a
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law, to be a convener in the soft power all of the mayor and i'm about that work as well as proud of the business community working on that as well. >> good textbook stuff, they want to think about issues the right way. mayor lincoln, you mentioned the need to rebuild trust in public leaders and the like. when you look at the situation you inherited in stocks and what people are hoping for from you, what are the most important things you can do with economic growth and development to restore that trust, we're in a highly polarized time in national politics, a lot of americans are watching what was going on in cities, they were at each
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other's throats and what it seems like was coming out, just exasperated they hadn't been heard, mistreatment by police or whatever it is, the inability to raise a family you like or send your kid to the school, it came together,. the lid off. seems like the first -- to really kind of restore trust. what does it look like in stockton? how do you do that? >> we are public servants first. the message does not issue in residence, i work for you and as the mayor mentioned earlier this is a nonpartisan -- the mayor is nonpartisan so they
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want a leader that will focus and prioritize on the needs of the community and be transparent with the public throughout that process. a few words i picked up on, one keyword was intentional. being intentional. it is absolutely critical about identifying innovative ways to deal with trust, through social media, marketing campaigns in partnership, figuring out strategic ways to meet the
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people, actively engage, to city council meeting. for process and engagement, more seamless as opposed to jumping through hoops, what i wanted to do early on was a listening tour throughout our community engaging community stakeholders. there is a lot of disinformation during the campaign over the past year. to form their own opinion, to break down those walls to build
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bridges of trust, that is at the forefront at the heart of everything we do. >> the impact of being there, what national political stages. >> that is the dynamic for this to do those things, different from governing, certain groups you can't get to for certain reasons to prioritize that as well but that engagement.
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>> to stephen goldsmith, what is new on the job in a relatively testy townhall and the policies that were - had to talk to interstate the demands and taken aback, inviting people to come, it works well. >> when listed you have to take some sort of action, civic engagement, my predecessor moved public comments on the back of the council meeting, they wait a couple hours, at
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the first council meeting, not only listening but acting. it lays the foundation because for me it was the interview of a lifetime, people of stockton will make the decision whether or not to hire me, how iran a campaign, stepping into office,
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to collaborate, come together and unify the community for policies and initiatives that are necessary to move forward. >> before we wrap today, something that is schools, the relationship with schools are different because of how they are structured, reviewing the environment of schooling post covid-19, controversy and contention, keeping them closed or open and so forth and a lot of experimentation with hybrid models of learning and when you look at the landscape in your respective cities how you see things changing as we come
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through this pandemic, is there an opportunity for reform than would have been possible otherwise? >> any time you are navigating through a crisis i believe the crisis strikes innovation and we have seen that take place, learning to more distance learning which is a movement, and robust programs, can't take away the community in the classroom setting, the
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challenge of these - going to distance learning. there has been two semesters in school, in person at middle school. it is a priority for us, to get our students back into the classroom safely, as quickly as possible, the support mechanisms, as mentioned earlier, over the past year, not only have access to network and wi-fi but a large
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population of migrant workers, assisting those, to make sure they were successful, navigating this pandemic as well, the city's jurisdiction but it is important, with different initiatives and marketing campaigns, because we have shared interest with the future of our city. >> i think you had something to say as well. >> we are one of the places where schools and city government are completely
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different universes but never a question your public education offerings in your city are one of the keys to your success so i talked a lot about that as a candidate and the mayor, convener creating a new vision in oklahoma city. ironically a few weeks before the pandemic commenced a lot of it was devoted to ramping up the idea 2020 was the year i brought together the business leaders and philanthropic leaders and educational leaders, and emerge out of that, as you can imagine, we never had that conversation, they've not been in school
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buildings, to have big picture questions when you are in triage mode. to mayor lincoln's point of these are times when you've gotten out of triage and moving into a new phase these are the times to gather those conversations. to the questioner's main point, this time of disruption and innovation, we are one foot in triage, when you have centered people in the hospitals, to get your head above water but absolutely, that is on the mind of a lot of public education because they are seeing enrollments decline and virtual offerings or private schools or
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other creative disruptions so everybody is aware this was an unbelievable experience when it comes to education. i don't know if anyone has seized the moment speaking to what that is. i don't intend to be part of that conversation in the middle of everything, even though it's not our job, the only ones everybody knows or recognizes credibility and in that regard. >> another question here, the questioner is saying in recent years, academic and otherwise, traditional job creation strategies, those sorts of things not as effective as we
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used to think do you think there is a role in the economic strategy, what the economic development policy should be? what we've been doing created an environment, thinking a bit deeper, do you have a view of the most effective economic strategy? >> only three perspectives, the regulatory environment is most relevant at the state level regulatory versions that stand in the way of economic growth. when most people think about tax policy or labor policy those things are addressed at the state level, what is engaged in those conversation.
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what i talked about earlier, a place where people want to live. we bought big-time into that strategy a quarter century ago. we have to create the macro environment where stuff is happening, we have an nba team, young people, cool entertainment, life isn't just what happens in the office from 9 to 5, what is interesting and fun and part of american pop culture, it is really superficial, they make decisions on these reasons and got to offer them that. much of it through public policy that puts things before the voters to construct and pay for.
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we are on that path. the third thing, something i would throw forth is a huge deal and in oklahoma city we struggle with people moving to the suburbs and have to work on that for sure. i don't remember what the question was. >> doing a great job answering it. >> economic development, the third thing or the fourth thing, subsidies and incentives, every mayor in america will tell you the same thing, we hate those things, we don't like any of that stuff but until we figure out some sort of mutual disarmament across the country all those job creators will come here with their hands out and they
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have leverage on it. when i say no, mayor lincoln is going to say yes and if we all say no mutually it could work but no one has tried to put together that efforts, maybe federal law or subsidies, the reality is that is the game. i don't like it and i hate when smart public policy people in washington, the mayors handing these things out, it is as if we don't want to do that but this is the hand we have been dealt. we approved economic incentives in 2007, 2017, voters approved them and give them an account we can draw upon. we've got economic development people and they care about the regulatory environment, the city the employees are going to live in but at some point along the way they will say we liked
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$1.5 million in this and we better have an answer to that in a way this game is played in the united states of america. i hate them as much as anybody on the other side of that table but as long as that is the gain, probably at this point everyone has got them, to study what advantage they provide there is no particular advantage because everybody has got them now. and the necessary part of the conversation with creative job performers in oklahoma city. >> it is a diverse toolbox, we are coming up against the end of the time. the question i won't get to everyone so i will end with this, from a younger viewer,
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you both respond to it, what is the appeal for you outside national politics and what advice we you give young people to enter public service? outside national politics one of the most important political jobs in the world is to be mayor. what advice from your experience would you give to young people who want to get involved in public service? >> just do it, look at that opportunity before you whether you are in middle school, high school, college or generally want to make an impact on the city, look at these opportunities and take the next step to get involved in getting engaged. for me it is important to understand they have a seat at the table.
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my policy advisor, a junior at stanford and for me that was a great opportunity, that opportunity for him, as a young person this is your city as much as anybody else's city, just take the next step, to get involved and make a difference in your community. >> thanks. >> david holt? >> please do it, we cannot leave this to the sociopath. we've seen that in the last few years. it is not fun and you are not always going to enjoy it. it is partly enjoyable but there is a lot of awful aspects too, people i mean, you don't get paid much, there might --
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it might be dangerous, lots of downsides to this but it is very rewarding. you are helping people, that is why all of us got into this, we want to help people and not just improve our own lives, neighbors and family members, for all those reasons it is very rewarding and don't think you will ever look back on public service, you will be glad you did it and please do especially if you are a person of good character with a good moral compass because we need you. all kinds of people getting attracted to this, for very perverse reasons, we've got to get back to electing good people, don't care where you are on the ideological spectrum, looking for good
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people with good intentions, we will find some common ground but we've got to get good people back in this and you will find that the mayors are disproportionately good people with a republican, democrat or independent, they are close to the ground and there's a reason so many -- they see the to be in it for the right reason and get things done and pragmatic and working all over the ideological spectrum. the second part of my advice would be city politics, i've worked in washington, the us capital as a senator, the most fun i ever have. >> at the local level - >> a great note to end on.
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thank you, david holt, kevin lincoln, francis suarez, we could keep going on and judging by questions we didn't get to, viewers think the same but we would like in the future to invite you back for some discussions to dig in a little bit like housing, job creation and the future of quality-of-life initiatives, we are doing more of those things over the course of the year, we are out of time and thanks to everyone watching. ..


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