Complete Transcript: RURAL TOWN HALL with Governor Bobby Jindal

Complete Transcript: RURAL TOWN HALL with Governor Bobby Jindal

The following is a complete transcript of Governor Bobby Jindal’s appearance on RFD-TV's RURAL TOWN HALL hosted by RFD-TV's Mark Oppold.

MARK OPPOLD: From the beautiful Stine Family Barn in West Des Moines, Iowa welcome to this Rural Town Hall meeting produced by RFD-TV News and Mediacom. I’m Mark Oppold and for the next hour we will be spending time with just one candidate discussing issues of interest and concern to rural Americans whether from farmers, ranchers or just folks that choose to live in small towns that make up this great country. The questions come from a variety of interested parties including major organizations representing different sectors of agriculture. Some of the questions will be asked directly from members of our studio audience who have come to Des Moines, Iowa today. The focus of our discussion may be rural and in a completely objective context but this is also an opportunity. An opportunity to ensure a better understanding and communication between rural and urban Americans. Well start with key agriculture issues; extend to discussion of topic like rural health care, rural education, government regulation and much, much more. These are not debates these are conversations.  That said, RFD-TV and Mediacom welcome our Town Hall Guest Louisiana Governor, and presidential candidate, Governor Bobby Jindal.  Welcome to Iowa.

GOVERNOR JINDAL: Thank you for having me. It’s a great privilege to be here with all you. By the way, this is a lot nicer barn than any barn I’ve ever seen before. This is pretty nice.

OPPOLD: Well all the barns look like this in Iowa.

GOVERNOR JINDAL: I’ve been here long enough to know that’s not true.

OPPOLD: Before we get to the questions, the Governor’s staff put together a video presentation that further introduces him to rural America. Let’s take a look.

[Governor Jindal’s Video]

OPPOLD: Thank you very much Governor. Wow. You have a lot of time invested and not much time to come to Iowa. We are glad you are here. You are a very busy man with all the things you are doing there in the state. Is there anything you want to add from that video presentation as it relates to rural America before we get started?

GOVERNOR JINDAL: Sure. I’ll just start off with this; I want to thank the people of Iowa. Since I’ve announced I was running for president this is my fourth visit to the state.  I’ve said that I’m going to visit every single county, every one of the 99 counties. I did that as Governor. I went to every single parish. We call them parishes not counties; we’ve got 64 of them. Were like Iowa, a rural state, multi billion dollars. I know we have someone from Louisiana State Farm Bureau here. They’ve been great, great friends both of my terms as Governor and even before I was Governor. I just want to thank the people of Iowa. They’ve been gracious and they’ve been hospitable. I’m going to come back again and again. We’ve committed to do a dozen town halls. Look, I don’t think there is any better way for me to communicate my message and to hear from people than to visit with people and to take their questions. I will say this; every politician will tell you the next election is the most important one.  I bet you’ve never heard anyone tell you don’t worry about the next election, you stay home this one doesn’t matter. They never say that, but this one really is the most important. You’ve seen the pictures, I have three young kids at home and I want my children, and one day my grandchildren, I want all of our children to pursue the American dream. We can’t turn it into the European nightmare; we’ve got to get off the path to socialism. We need a doer and not a talker in the white house and as a republican I think we need some one who embraces our own conservative principles. Enough trying to be a liberal party. I am excited to be here with you. Thank you for having me. I will say one sentence about rural Louisiana, and rural Iowa then I will turn things over to y’all. Agriculture is an important part of our economy, but I’d also say that the ability to feed ourselves and to feed the world is an important part of our national security. I don’t want to see America become dependent on other countries for our ability to feed ourselves. I think that is something that doesn’t get much discussion and I hope that is something that we will hit upon today as well.

Questions from Guests

OPPOLD: We want to start in fact, with that next generation, Governor, American largest youth organization is a very important part of RFD-TV and Mediacom as well, the National FFA Organization has our first question. Go ahead please.

QUESTION: Hello Governor. My name is Elisa Russ and I am serving as the Northeast State Vice President for the Iowa FFA association. Today the average age of the American farmer is 58 years old and there are many tax related issues that make it very difficult to pass the family farm on to the next generation. What would you do as president to solve this problem?

GOVERNOR JINDAL: Well thank you for being here and thank you for that great question. By the way 58 doesn’t feel that old to me anymore. My little girl, when my wife was turning 40-something. I shouldn’t say that long ago but when she was turning 40 a little while ago, my little girl says to my wife, her beautiful mother, “mommy you were born in the last century.” I said sweetheart the 1900s weren’t that long ago. This is a serious issue. I think there are couple things we need to do. We need a full repeal of the death tax, the so-called estate tax and we need to do it for several reasons. It shouldn’t be that hard for a farmer to pass along his farm to the next generation. Unfortunately it is getting harder and harder to do. Dollars that have already been taxed once shouldn’t be taxed a second time. We should not punish people for saving instead of spending their money, especially farmers, small business owners, and other. To me it’s a matter of fairness and a matter of economic growth. Now in general, I want to see a lower, flatter tax code and fewer penalties. We absolutely need to get rid of the death tax, the estate tax. I am proud in Louisiana even before I was Governor we got rid of that tax at the state level.  It’s time to get rid of it. Now in D.C. sometimes they will try to compromise and try to set an arbitrary number. Just get rid of the whole thing, just repeal once and for all. Thank you.

OPPOLD: Thank you for the question Elisa and the Iowa and National FFA. Governor the next question comes from on behalf of the National Association of Wheat Growers.

QUESTION: They wanted me to ask you this question. Farmers have seen a dramatic price decline over the past years while input costs are going up and up and equipment cost doubling. Do you think the Federal Government plays a role in protecting farmers against price revenue and production losses?

GOVERNOR JINDAL: I do. I think there is a role. I’ll say a couple things about this I’m glad to see that over time we have seen reforms to move the federal farm program to more of an insurance program. You’ve seen some of these reforms and what I mean by that I think that I’ll use terms that are familiar to those in my home state when we have a devastating hurricane that you saw in introduction video hurricane Katrina and Rita. We are very; very grateful that they’re folks across the country ready to help us to get us back on our feet, otherwise, it would be devastating, it would be overwhelming. It was both government assistance, it was also charitable, and personal assistance, and faith-based groups right here in Iowa. Actually, I came up here when they had floods in 2008 to help repay a little bit of that generosity. I think the same thing is true in farming. When we have a minor natural disaster we don’t look for help, we can take care of that. When there is a major impact then you do need help. I think that our farm programs are evolving in that direction where it’s more of an insurance model, when it’s in the minor fluctuations, farmers can handle that. They don’t need constant help from the government. What they do need is if there is a dramatic change and for example, farmers can’t control the weather they cant control some of these inputs and so I do think that it is appropriate and I do think that there has been a good evolution for more of an insurance-based model. The second thing I would say is this; in the farm bill, they do this for political reasons. That’s the way D.C. works unfortunately; they tie farm programs to the food stamp program. Unfortunately I think that’s unfortunate. I think that they should be debated and discussed separately, but regardless there has been tremendous increase on the SNAP side of things. It is now over 80% of the cost of the farm bill. I do think we need to reform that program. I think the reality is we need to be encouraging independence in job participation. We have an Obama administration that have been celebrating record low participation in the job force and record high in numbers dependent on food stamps. That’s not the American dream; we can’t encourage that culture of dependence. So, I think its has importance, I think that has a separate part.  Unfortunately in congress they have tied them together and I do think that they should be debated separately. I do think we need some serious reforms in the SNAP programs and we need to be encouraging more independence.

OPPOLD: Governor you are finding out that Iowa the number one pork producing state in the nation. Iowans are proud of that. The next question comes from the National Pork Producer’s Council.

QUESTION: Hello Governor. I am Dave and I am president of Iowa Pork Producers Association. I wanted to know if you would reign in regulations such as recent waters of US rule that are hurting agriculture and having a negative impact.

GOVERNOR JINDAL: Governor Jindal: Absolutely. I’ll say a couple of things. One: thank you for what you all do. It is a little known fact there is a bacon drawer in the Governor’s mansion in Baton Rouge. Now when we moved in our kids were five, three, and one. Imagine if you lived in the house. We have a commercial sized kitchen trustees cook for state police and cook for a lot of people. It is not just a residential sized kitchen. Every morning they start cooking very early, so imagine if you woke up every morning to the smell of fresh bacon every morning. Every Monday they make chocolate chip cookies by the way. My little boys figured out where that drawer was very early. They knew you could open a drawer and have hot bacon for the first half of the day. I told them we are building our house for next year and I told them look there wont be a bacon drawer in the next house. Enjoy this as long as you can. Absolutely, I agree with the concern Louisiana is actually a part of the group that is suing the EPA and is a primary participant over this overreach over-regulation in this particular regulation they are looking to regulate water in their backyards. When congress said we are going to look at navigable waters I don think that ever intended to get to this extreme application but it shows there are at least a few things we need to do to reign in the EPA. Number one, I think that there needs to be a independent cost benefit analysis before they do any regulation. You may have seen the Supreme Court recently struck down an EPA regulation because they didn’t do that but unfortunately the agencies get to do their own cost benefit analysis but it needs to be independent. If there is a cost to the economy lets say its over 100 million dollars, it needs to be a vote of congress. Right now what happens on that regulation, up or down, you have unelected bureaucrats taking poorly written laws and applying them in ways congress never intended. You see it in water, you see it in CO2, and you see it in ozone. Time and time again the EPA is one of the biggest obstacle for growing our economy, so absolutely I think this is an overreach. We are a state like yours not only do we have a lot of farmers we have a lot of water in our state. It would be a huge concern for our state. That is a reason we are suing to stop this. Another concern I have we have a big steel mill called Nucor. They announced during my first term they wanted to build a big steel facility in Louisiana and in America. All done it was going to be 5 phases. Over 3 billion dollars if they do all 5 phases.  1,250 new jobs and they pay $75,000 a year. Most of these jobs do not require a college degree. They are good paying jobs, with good benefits. At one point after they decided they are coming to America, because of the EPA and 2008 election, they decided that they might have to go to Brazil. We might have to go to another country, if the EPA regulations are so strict. I want you to think about something, how does that help the environment? They are building a steel mill; the only question is do they create the jobs in America or Brazil. I would argue that our environmental regulations are a lot tougher than they are in Brazil already so it is actually worse for the environment. The EPA I think is out of control. It is one of many federal agencies we have to reign in.  Absolutely, I agree with you when it comes to the specific water rule, they are out of control. The good news about Nucor, we spent two years trying to convince them, and now they’ve completed the first phase. It is in production in southeast Louisiana they are looking at timing to see if they will do the next four phases, but absolutely we are with you on this.

OPPOLD: As we get the next questions, regulations overall, if you ask a farmer, pesticides, whatever it may be, manure application their first response is that it makes it hard to stay in business.

GOVERNOR JINDAL: Absolutely, you know unfortunately you have a lot of folks in D.C. that have never worked in the real world. Here’s the reality, 7 out of 10 of the boom counties in recent years have been in the D.C. area. We have these guys that don’t understand we measure prosperity of how people are doing in the real world, not the government sector and that’s an either/ or choice, both ways. I fear that secretary Clinton is going to continue to measure success by how people are doing in the government sector, and not the real world. We’ve got too high of high taxes, but regulations are right behind that as a big obstacle.

OPPOLD: Very good. America’s renewable future and renewable fuels are our next topic.

QUESTION: Hi Governor. Thanks for being here. I am Monte Shaw and I am the executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association. The renewable fuel standards have created 850,000 jobs nationwide. It has boosted rural economies and it has actually given consumers a choice at the pump. The private investment in renewable fuel counted on a set RFS schedule through 2022. We want to know as president, would you continue you the RFS till at least 2022.

GOVERNOR JINDAL: Great to see you again and thanks for the question. When I was in Congress in 2005, I voted for the RFS and I have been a supporter of ethanol, and I think it has been good to diversify our fuel source in North Louisiana we are growing more corn than cotton for the first time in a long time. That’s unusual. You get up there and think what happened up here and it happened pretty quickly. It’s been good for my state and good for my economy. Even though we are an oil and gas state, I am an all of the above guy when it comes to energy. I do think however I have been for ethanol, but it has got to be able to stand on its own. I am for phasing out the FRS gradually. Now let me say a couple of things. I say I am for phasing out because I do not like the government picking winners and losers. I don’t like when the left supported Solyndra and they picked their own winners and loser. I want to make sure everyone comes to the table. That means you can’t pick one industry. You have to say the oil, and gas industry, the nuclear guys. Everyone has to come to the table and everyone has to give up their special treatment and whatever it is I think we have to trust the economy and American consumers to pick for themselves. I think gradually, for a reason. From your point, businesses have made investments based on promises of the government. You can’t make overnight winners or losers for people who made investments thinking there are going to be stable policies. I haven’t outlined a specific timeline. I would be happy to look to see what the right timeline is, but I do think it makes sense to phase it out, to have a level playing field for everyone. That goes to my gas and oil guys back home, the clean coal guys, the nuclear guys, the wind and solar guys, the ethanol and biofuels. I think that it is good for America; I think that is good for consumers. I am an all of the above guy. I think that all of those fuels are an important part of our energy security and growing our economy. Thank you.

OPPOLD Alright Governor we go to one of our great agribusiness editors and publications, Agri-Pulse Communications.

QUESTION: Hello Governor. Frank Holdmeyer representing Agri-Pulse. You’ve been opposed to giving President Obama trade authority and you voted against Central America Free Trade Agreement. Farmers and ranchers rely heavily on new exporting opportunities. What would you tell them today about why they should support you in expanding international trade?

GOVERNOR JINDAL:  Sure. I am for trade. I think good trade deals can be very good for our economy, very good for our national security. My state, in addition to our farmers is home to 5 of the 12 largest ports. A lot of the agriculture commodities that actually leave Iowa, come though the ports in South Louisiana. We have invested in those ports to help facilitate the export and import of agriculture and other commodities. It has been very good for our economy. Indeed one of the reasons New Orleans was first settled was its ideal location as a port. Let me explain both of those specific votes then let me talk to you about my philosophy on trade in general. I did oppose CAFTA. At the time I voted against CAFTA I made a commitment to my folks back in Louisiana. I would have opposed it before I got elected to congress. I said that in a previous election. Our sugar cane farmers were very concerned that this would result in unfair treatment to them compared to what was happening to some the countries that were a part of CAFTA. Ironically, it was actually concerns from our agriculture community in Louisiana that caused me to vote against that even though there were many folks in my area that were benefiting from it and were supportive of it. When it comes to the trade promotion authority I’m actually not against. I think that a good deal that this was the fast track authority to give this president fast track authority. The deal that’s in front of them is the deal with the pacific countries. I think a good deal with those countries can be very good for America for two reasons. One: economically obviously. I think that can be good for our farmers, our manufactures, and our economy, if done right. But secondly, I think that there is a huge national security opportunity. Look, you have countries in Asia that are normally our allies. Countries like South Korea, and Taiwan, and Japan looking for American leadership and want to integrate with us and work with us. But you also have countries not aligned like that like India and Vietnam looking to America for leadership, as well if we have a critical moment we can provide that leadership. If we don’t they will turn elsewhere. They are worried about China; they would rather be integrated with us economically, politically, and culturally, diplomatically, and even militarily. This president said he was going to pivot to Asia but really hasn’t followed through and part I would argue is because he has hollowed out the military but that is a whole other discussion. So I would say a good trade deal can actually be very good for us economically and for national security especially as we think about China. The reason I oppose fast track authority in particular. I am not opposed fast track authority presidents in both parties republican and democratic. I am opposed to giving it to this president, President Obama for two specific reasons. One, I have seen him abuse and ignore the constitution and the laws whether it is amnesty or Obama care and I just don’t trust him to give him additional authority. Him in particular, not all democratic presidents. And secondly, I've seen how we negotiate with Iran. Although it was a very bad deal for us, for Israel they don’t have to give up their centrifuges. They keep over 5,000 centrifuges; they don’t have to recognize Israel’s right to exist. They don’t have to cut off ties to Hamas or Hezbollah or terrorist groups. They don’t have to agree to any time of war inspections. They don’t have to release their American prisoners. I worry what kind of deal is he going to negotiate on our behalf. Especially, when they aren’t willing to tell us some of the details of that deal. My opposition to fast track authority is not opposition to the trade underlying the opportunity for a good trade agreement. I think we can’t get one it is just an opposition of this president and giving him that authority. I am more than happy to give it to a future president. I hope to be the next president. I’d be more than happy to give it to me, but I'd also be happy to give it to other presidents of other parties. It really was specific to this president. Thank you.

OPPOLD: We are going to take our first break and come back for more questions. Don’t go anywhere we are just getting a good start. We have covered a couple of important issues on our first few minutes. When we come back we will talk about things like rural healthcare and rural education in America. We will be right back with Rural Town hall with Governor Bobby Jindal, presidential candidate, right after this.

OPPOLD: Welcome back to rural town hall of RFD-TV I’m Mark Oppold and we are talking to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal who is seeking the republican nomination to become the US President. Governor Bobby Jindal. Talking about the issues of rural health as we go from rural agricultural issues to rural lifestyles, people who just like to live in small agriculture communities and I think rural health may be one of the questions that they have for you.  Go ahead please.

QUESTION: Good afternoon Governor, my name is Samra Uzonovic and I’m currently serving on the Iowa Rural Heath Association as a board of director. I have a few questions prepared here: Are you concerned that we are seeing a repeat in the wave of hospital closures that threaten access to health care for rural Americans in the 1980s, do you support the creation of a new model for rural health care to insure continued access to care for millions of rural Americans?

GOVERNOR JINDAL: I’m very concerned and that’s a great question. Congress created a state model called The Critical Access program. In Louisiana we have the Rural Hospital Preservation act, which allows the state to maximize payment to rural hospitals. I think going forward we’ve got to do more. Medical experts will tell you if you have a trauma case, the first that golden hour of survival is so important to get a patient stabilized. Some patients want to get healthcare in their communities … they don’t wanna travel great distances and recovery and follow up care is much better if they can do it locally. So how do you adapt a model where you may have hospitals with a lot of emergency room demands, but maybe not as many in patient demands? That is the model that The Critical Access program was designed for. The key questions are how do to address the rural health professional issues and attract more professionals to locate and practice in those rural area. I’m definitely an opponent of Obamacare … Obamacare didn’t create the problem, but it definitely exacerbated the problem. For example, the American Hospital Association said their nurses must spend an hour filling out paperwork for every one-hour they provide healthcare, and that’s just very burdensome for a small provider. Consolidation in the healthcare industry is a result of Obamacare so I think a worsening trend. We need to be open to look into how we preserve and provide access to rural America.” A lot of times we’re subject to federal limits. You know, sometimes the Federal Government says you can’t pay above a federal amount but we’ve created a special pool to help those rural hospitals. I do think going forward we’ve got to do more. I think you’re exactly right. You know there are medical experts that’ll tell you, for example, if you have just as one example there are several but if you have a trauma case, that first that golden hour of survival is so important to get that patient stabilized and treated even in that first hour even if they are then transferred to another facility. There are other patients that want to get healthcare in their communities. They don’t want to travel great distances, their recovery and their follow up care is much better if they can do it locally. So absolutely I’d be open. I know that Senator Grassley has looked into making some changes. Absolutely, I know it’s a concern in Iowa and it’s a concern in Louisiana as well. We have many rural hospitals as well and they are a critical, critical component to providing access to healthcare. It’s harder for smaller entities to comply with all these complicated regulations. We were talking about regulations on farmers before and healthcare. It’s expensive to hire full time staff that do nothing but follow paperwork and regulations. Absolutely I think we need to be open to look into how do we preserve access to healthcare to rural America.

OPPOLD: Thank you Governor. Now we go to Gannet publications the De Moines Register for our next question, please go ahead.

QUESTION: Hi Governor my name is Linh Ta, I’m a reporter at the De Moines Register and I cover your campaign. My questions for you is, since you have devalued Common Core, what steps are you taking to ensure students graduating from Louisiana high schools are equipped to either enter the work force or be successful in continued education?

GOVERNOR JINDAL: That’s a great question, good to see you again, so a couple a of things; absolutely. I’m opposed to common core. And we have passed laws to get rid of it we’ve filed a federal lawsuit against it saying it was an over read to the Federal Government, I don’t think you need a one size fits all approach to ensure high quality education in local classrooms. I’ll tell you just real quickly, you wouldn’t want the Federal Government to define American history standards, why in the world would you want a one size fits all approach to ELA and math? Anybody that’s undecided about common core, go look how they teach math. When my little boy was in second grade he got so frustrated; he’d get all the answers right, but they way they try to teach common core with all these circles and rectangles and this it just frustrated him. I mean at one point he had to write in his answers, ‘explain why your answers are right’ and this is simple math where you used to add the columns up and carry the digits, the way we used to learn math. He wrote ‘just because it is’ in terms of why his answers were right and because he got, he didn’t have the patience, and I couldn’t argue with him, you know he’s a six year boy. He had the attention span of a gnat, and that Joe it’s hard to argue with that. But in Louisiana we are committed, even though we aren’t supporters of common core we are committed to higher quality education and high quality education for our students. Several things we’ve done to ensure that. So one, we’ve had a dollars follow this child and so the child follows the dollar model. What we mean by this is that we trust parents. The best form of accountability is trusting Moms and Dads who know their kids needs best.  And so whether kids are in public schools or charter schools, or online programs or duel enrollments programs, the dollars follow the child. In New Orleans for example, nearly one hundred percent of our kids are in charter schools. In five years we’ve doubled the percentage in reading and math, on grade level. Doesn’t mean charter schools are for everybody but it means that if you give parents choices they’ll find the best fit for their kids and competition works. Secondly, we have seen a rapid rise in the percentage of our kids taking AP exams. For example, the highest percentage increases in the country. Rapid increase where we got the highest percentage of our kids that are staying in school, graduating from school, we’ve seen dramatic drops in drop out rates. Part of that is we’ve done something called Jump Start. We’ve aligned our curriculum with local employers; higher ed. and community leaders so that we know our students are getting a high quality education that’s relevant to their work force needs or their continuing education needs. Third we do something called course choice. Where students can start their day in a public school and then can take courses from providers and employers, universities and technical schools and other providers as well, and finally, in Louisiana, we do have a system where we evaluate our teachers based on student growth. We look at how our students are learning and whether they’re learning well and we reward our most effective teachers and help provide training to the teachers who aren’t affected. I think that one of the arguments that are often used by proponents of common cores is that if you’re against common core that you’re against standards or high quality. That’s ridiculous. My dad was the first in our family to get passed the 5th grade he insisted in high quality education for both of his boys. I’m absolutely commented in making sure that the students in Louisiana can compete with the kids in any other state or any other country. And it is a global competition now we have to compete with kids from China and Japan and Taiwan and Europe and all over the world, and you can be for a high quality without a government one size fits all approach, and I think were showing how to do that in Louisiana.

OPPOLD: Thank you, and quickly the education system is too bad that schools are doing some of the things that they are because of a government assistance program that they have to meet some regulation.

GOVERNOR JINDAL: Well that exactly right so this is what happened Federal Government says if you want your own tax dollars back you have to adopt theses standards. If you want waivers from no child left behind, which I think was a mistake by the way, you have to adopt these standards. They shouldn’t be in a position in forced states. K-12 has never been primarily a federal response but that’s why I think it’s a violation of the tenth amendment federal law as well. You either trust locals or you don’t. When we had this debate a locals teachers unions official said this in Louisiana they said parents don’t have a clue when it comes to making educations choices for their kids. I really think that summarized the debate, you either trust parents or you don’t. I met with a group of moms the next day and they say, we make decisions for our kids everyday, we know the needs better that the bureaucrat in Baton Rouge or Washing DC, I’ll add one other thing since were talking about schools real quick, my kids would very much, they’re very much opposed to common core, they really don’t get involved in politics but there a couple issued they ask me about everyday another one they ask me about is school lunches, I don’t know if were going to get to that, I will say this I’m very much opposed not just a as Governor but as a dad, who has three young kinds, very much opposed this idea that the Federal Government can tell us what has to be in our school lunches and how to feed our kids. We start with three kids on school lunch, then it was two, last year it was one. Shawn my 11 year old, we used to have to pack a bag lunch with him everyday and buy the school lunch, now think how ridiculous that is. And I said Shawn, what are we doing why are we sending you both lunches, and he goes well Daddy I’m hungry otherwise, when we would pick them up from school they’d be starving. I mean, soon as they get in the car they’d want to eat something we’d have to bring the snacks they couldn’t wait, and it’s only a 15 minute ride but they couldn’t wait to get home. And I’ve met kids that play sports and are active, I think its just another example that look, Moms, and Dads and local officials can figures out what their kids should be eating. We don’t need the Federal Government of the one-size fits all approach in the classroom or in the lunchroom either.

OPPOLD: National FFA started out this hour Governor. Another great organization is national 4-H. Go ahead.

QUESTION: Hi Governor, my name is Ana Delgado, I’m representing for Iowa state 4H program. My question to you is 4H has engaged nearly 6 million youth throughout every county in America since it was established in 1902. Reaching millions more youth will in large part depend on engagement of Latino youth. As president, how would you support this effort to engage more youth?

GOVERNOR JINDAL: I think that’s a great question, 4H is a very effective organization in Louisiana as well. I think it’s a great program for rural and urban areas. And I think that one of the great things about 4H is that in a time when I’m worried about where America is going in our culture, 4H encourages individualism and self reliance and independence and just great values and I know it’s a great program and I know a lot of kids that have gone through 4H that have either come and been a part of our team or I know folks who’s kids are now in 4H today and benefit from that. You don’t have to be in a rural or farming community to appreciate the values and ethics and values and the life lessons that 4-H teaches, so I think that we can and should be supporting 4H in every environment urban and rural, especially in a time when I’m worried were teaching dependence, government dependence the highest levels in DC. 4H to me is a great way to show kids how we can be self reliant, how we don’t have to be dependent on others and to teach the kind of things as a father what were trying to teach our three kids anyway. So I think one of the ways we can help 4H to continue to thrive and grow is to show folks that’s is relevant in rural areas but in urban areas as well, as has a lot to offer.

OPPOLD: Thank you very much yet another great organization connecting urban and rural America as well Governor.

GOVERNOR JINDAL: Absolutely, you know the thing is it’s so important that people know where their food comes from. Too many people go to the grocery store and assume their food magically appears there. I think it’s wonderful they actually know that alright somebody actually grows our food and works very hard to provide us with our food.

OPPOLD: Alright, we have covered some very important topics so far, and have just scratched the surface, still to come, we ask the Governor things like broadband in rural in rural America infrastructure more to come, as Rural Town Hall continues right after this.

OPPOLD: We have a lot of VIPs that have joined us for the Rural Town Hall, not to mention our important to RFD-T and Rural Media Group, Trigger and Bullet have joined us here at the Stine barn in west De Moines, Iowa.

OPPOLD: Welcome back to our Rural Town Hall, I’m Mark Oppold, and we are talking to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal about some topics crucial to agriculture to rural America connecting rural America to urban America as well. Moving on to a new topic, Governor thank you so much for your time today, and we’ll go to our friends from Mediacom for our first question in this section.

QUESTION: Governor I’m Jeff Angelo from Mediacom. Earlier this year the FCC announced it was going to start regulating the Internet according to the rules that were established in the 1930’s for telephone companies and I was wondering your view on that.

GOVERNOR JINDAL: Sure, well first, thanks for helping us sponsor today’s event as well, Yes I’m absolutely opposed, and I said that at the time they came out with theses rules, the idea that the Federal Government is going to prove the internet with even more regulation is laughable. Really what I worry about is this is a first step toward more government interference, more government control, and inevitable bureaucrats running muck. One of the things that have made the Internet so effective is that is open nature, and that there isn’t censorship. There isn’t this top control and that’s what it was designed on purpose and its worked very well, and remember Regan used to warn us those famous the most dreaded words in the English language you know “I’m from the Federal Government I’m here to help.” I mean why screw up something that’s actually been working well, you know. I was opposed with the rules that they did apply, and your exactly right they’re taking outdated rules to a modern day technology. I fear what this really is, is a back door way for the government to get involved, ultimately, and to censor and to put more biased in the Internet and that’d be a mistake. Let it flourish, let the competition work.

OPPOLD: And we have been in contact with FCC commissioner from Kansas, from rural America, and I know that he, on front burner for him is the broadband issues, so looking forward to more on that, we go to the Iowa Cattleman’s association

QUESTION: Hi Governor, my names Dan Hanrahan. My family has a cow calf operation just south of De Moines, and asking this question on behalf of the Iowa Cattleman’s Association. Transportation, specifically interstate highway transportation, is vital not only to the cattle industry but to all of agriculture. Is infrastructure a component of your platform and what do you believe can be done to improve or enhance our roads, rails, and waterways.

GOVERNOR JINDAL: Absolutely, and so as Governor, I think your exactly right. Not only is our infrastructure our interstate as well as the rails and the ports, important for cattleman and farmers and ranchers, it’s important to our economy. As Governor I’ve invested more in our infrastructure than our transportation that the last three Governors combined. So we’ve made record investments in improving our infrastructure. I think that it is important to view these, there’s got to be accountability, but I think that its important to view these as looking at returns as what it does to grow our economy. A couple of things that I think could be improved, at the federal level and specifics, so I know that one of the issues that is important to hear up here in Iowa is certainly the locks and the damns and the river especially in the Mississippi river. For us in LA, we have similar issues when it goes to drugging when it comes to the inability at the core to keep those ports and those I habitable waterways drugged to their authorized levels, and what that does is it slows down and makes commence more expensive, flooding when you get river beds that are silted up and we’ve also seen many jobs potentially moving to other places. So for example, in Morgan City in the Southern part of my state, they’ve got companies that are there that are for example for fabrication and other shops. If they can’t get the port drugged to where they can get their ships in and out and their supplies and their products in and out, some of those companies are looking and I fear that if we’re not careful then it can go to Mexico they can go somewhere else instead of keeping those good paying jobs in American and in Louisiana. Same thing if it gets more expensive for commodities to go down the river that hurts farmers, that hurts consumers, hurts folks up and down the supply chain. There is the Ramp Up Act that would basically say to congress, actually they right now collect user fees for example for those who are using the port and water way systems. That money was supposed to be dedicated when they said they were going to collect as fees. That money was supposed to be dedicated to the main when they said they were going to collect this fee that money was supposed to be dedicated to the maintenance of our infrastructure for example. Well instead like they so often do in DC, they built up a surplus in that fund and they use it to mask the over spending in other areas, well that’s not why the fee was collected in the first place. There is legislation as monitored by Louisiana delegation as well as others and there are many different bills there’s not one and only one vehicle that make sure that money is collected for that purposes actually spent for our ports for drugging. That would help our kind it would help Iowa as well, so I think there is more that we can be doing to invest our infrastructure. We can start by making sure that the money was supposed to go there actually gets there.

OPPOLD: Yes your talking 10 and 11 states that depend on that Mississippi River all the way down to your territory and your port of New Orleans and sixty percent of the grain raised in the country goes down the Mississippi to New Orleans ports, so its important and I’m glad you addressed that. We’re going back to our friends with the Den Moines Register for our next question.

QUESTION: Hi Governor, do you favor changing our legal immigration system from a family based system to en economic based system, as some candidates have discusses? Why or why not?

GOVERNOR JINDAL: Sure well great question well I think that an immigration system can either make our country stronger or weaker. I think that our legal system and I’ll start by saying were talking about legal immigration for our, Illegal immigration problem I think we got to start by securing the boarder. Period. Not part of a compressed approach and that’s the first and only thing congress needs to do on immigration first. When it comes to our legal immigration system, I think that our first priority should be we want people who can come in here and help make our country stronger, What does that mean, That means people who will learn English, who will adopt our values, that will actually want to come here and legally be Americans. And assimilate. People who want to roll up their sleeves and work hard. One of the dumbest things we do today is we educate people and we kick them out of our country to compete against us.  That makes no sense at all. I think that should be our first priority. I think our second priority you know you mentioned the family unification priority and I think the second criterion can be not only family unification but also be sponsorship. There used to be, for example from several years ago there was a methodology where we did give priority where if citizens were willing to sponsor who wanted to come here that carried more weight than it does today. I think our first criterion needs to be who’s willing to come here work hard, learn English, adopt our values, and help us build our country, and then secondly, I think that as we can serve as a second criterion it can be a combination not only family unification but also this idea of sponsorship and I think that a good program and a good concept that can work and make our country stronger. I will say this about legal immigration. I think the way our immigration system works is backwards today. We’ve got a low wall and a narrow gate. I think we need a high wall and we need to secure to border, I also think we need a broader gate and we need to make it easier for people who do want to come here legally. One of the things we’ve got to guard against is what’s happened in Europe you get second and third generation immigrants, who don’t consider themselves part of those cultures, who’ve not irrigated. That’s dangerous. We must not allow that to happen here. We used to proudly call America the melting pot for politically correct terms; for now in college e they’re in a lot of college they’re calling it the salad bowl.  I think that’s nonsense. I think its common sense to say if you want to come here you should want to be an American and if you don’t want to be an America nobody’s making you. And secondly you shouldn’t use our freedoms to undermine our freedoms to other people. So I think that’s how we should improve our legal immigration system.

OPPOLD: Thank you. An important topic to rural America no doubt, Governor one more break and well come back with more questions here and we’re closing in on our hour with the Governor, one on one with republican president to a candidate Governor Bobby Jindal, still to come we’ll get his take on government and fiscal policies, your watching Rural Town Hall on RFD-TV.

OPPOLD:  And welcome back to Rural Town Hall on RFD-TV I’m Mark Oppold. Thank you so much for joining us we’re talking to Louisiana Governor, Bobby Jindal about some topics crucial important to agriculture, important to urban America as well, and our next topic getting in some more, some of the same government policies, fiscal policies, and the first questions comes from the American Sheep Industry.

QUESTION: Hello Governor, Tom Cory from Central Iowa, the first part of my question is what is your position on livestock grazing on federal lands and how would you balance the use of public lands in the climate to ranchers in the economy that relies on them and feels like the only goal of the opponents is to remove all livestock grazing from federal lands.

GOVERNOR JINDAL: That’s a great question, thank you. Two things we need to remind those bureaucrats in D.C.: The land belongs to all of us, the American people, the public not the bureaucrats in D.C. And I think ranching and those that use and graze on those lands have as much of a right to be there and should be allowed to be there I think its wrong for the bureaucrats in D.C. to try to drive folks off that land. Secondly, you see that this president that I think made expansive views in the antiquity’s act. We have to be careful about that. I know in a lot of western states this is a great concern where the Federal Government is taking more and more land away from public use. And I think that’s a real concern where congress needs to step in and stop this overreach of the executive branch. Look, that land belongs to all of us, including our ranchers and those with livestock and I think they should be entitles and have fair access to that land and we got to stand up to those bureaucrats in DC.

OPPOLD: Thank you very much from the Iowa sheep industry we have a question on behalf of the American Farm Bureau Federation

QUESTION: Governor Jindal, thank you for this opportunity, I’m Craig Hill, president of the Iowa Farm Bureau. Federal farm programs have been very important to Iowa, or Americans farmers and ranchers overtime, there have been a number of reforms but theses long standing programs have been very beneficial. You’ve mentioned crop insurance as a tool, also the nutrition title of the farm bill, but there are several other titles there’s 12 titles, in all of conservation, energy, the commodity title, rural development and others. So what would you do to help protect those important tools for farmers and ranchers and also what would you do to protect us form those who would like to see Americas producers become a public utility.

GOVERNOR JINDAL: Well a couple of things, look I think its unfair to change the rules in the middle of a process you know there five year commitments I think its wrong to come in a try to change the rules in the middle of that. You mentioned several different topics and I know were towards the end of the program I’ll mention a couple of those in particular, look you mentioned conservation, my boys and I were duck hunters, we benefit greatly from the conservation programs in the programs that set aside land not only make sure its sustainable, and continues to be productive but also helps to ensure wildlife. And the reality is that the great duck, I’ll advertise, there’s a lot of great duck hunting in the south of Louisiana, but we wouldn’t have that great duck hunting if there weren’t lands along the way fly away that allow those ducks to, you know as they make their way south to be nourished and themselves. I think with all the programs you mentioned I think as long as there’s accountability, those programs may those programs have served incredibly important purposes, I think your right we don’t need the government to try to turn this into a public utility. I think that’d be a mistake America has had a great history not only feeding ourselves but helping to fed the world we’ve had a history of innovation unmatched by any other country and I said this in my opening remarks, we’re already too dependent in my view on other countries we don’t need to be as dependent on other countries for energy, or manufactured goods, lets not become dependent on other countries for our food. I think part of us being secure and a super power we need to be able to continue to feed ourselves and feed the world as well.

OPPOLD: Thank you very much, just a couple minutes left here, this be our last question, it comes from the American Soybean Association please go ahead

QUESTION: Hi Governor, my name is Ray Gaesser. I’m currently serving as chairman of the American Soybean Association. Thanks for being here and sharing with us, my question is really two parts. What is your stance on agricultural biotechnology and GMO laws, and the follow up is do you support a uniform federal policy on food labeling.

GOVERNOR JINDAL: Thank you for the question we’re obviously big soybean growers in Louisiana it’s one of the stable crops in Louisiana. Look I think farmers need to access, they need that technology to help continue to feed us to compete in an international competitive market place. When it comes to, you know whether there should be a national labeling standard, In general, I’m very susceptive of Federal Government doing more things. This may be an instance, however where it may make sense for the Federal Government to preempt confusing owner state laws, I know for example California’s as many other states have proposed fairly burdensome requirements. What we don’t need is a patchwork or contradictory confusing expensive labeling requirements that done help consumers, that don’t help producers, you know part of the Federal Government roles interstate commence, so I think in this case as long as it was a way to preempt this conflicting confusing expense of state patchwork I think there could be a role for a federal labeling requirement but it needs to be done carefully. Because I do think its important farmers have access to technology and are able to compete. They’re going to have to feed more and more people in the years to come, were going to need more technology to meet those demands.

OPPOLD: Thank you very much, we have run out of time, Governor. An hour goes fast we knew that it would, we thank you so much. Any closing thoughts before we have to say goodbye?

GOVERNOR JINDAL: Well I want to thank you all for these great questions, I encourage people if you didn’t get your question answered go to I’ll be at a town hall near you, come out in person and ask me directly. Thank y’all very much

OPPOLD: Thank you Governor, and your always welcome at RFD-TV and Mediacom as well, alright that’s going to do it for our Rural Town Hall right now with your public and presidential candidate and Louisiana Governor, Bobby Jindal, and again don’t forget we have the right to vote please register to vote in your area and use that right coming up the next election, again thank you Governor for being with us.


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