tv Tribute to Former California Governor Pete Wilson CSPAN October 24, 2021 6:01am-8:00am EDT
shipwrecks and these other histories so we invite you to come join our site at monitor. know what.gov and hope you follow us on facebook and twitter as well. .. >> i'm not worried about him, but i'm worried about gayle. if she's mad at me, i'm in trouble. i want to thank each and every one of you for braving the traffic tonight. i know it's sort of a nightmare
out there, but on behalf of everyone who helped put this together, thank you for coming. i'm hugh hewitt. i'm the president of the richard nixon foundation. we're so pleased to host a celebration that could actually go on for hours and hours, but we're just going to sandwich it in to the time that we have available to us tonight. because it is a pete wilson and gayle wilson event, we begin of course with the presentation of the colors. would you please rise and greet the troy jr. rotc high school as they present the colors.
>> please be seated. it is a great event that brings us together tonight. we're celebrating 30 years ago pete wilson took over california, and we enjoyed eight years, but i can't say much about that which followed but tonight we're celebrating the time he was there. i'm not doing introductions tonight except for the senior man in the area which is the
general at the right. thank you general for joining us tonight. marine honoring marine. [applause] >> the other sea service admiral, thank you, admiral for being with us. we just appreciate having the services with us so much. would everyone who is a veteran in the audience please stand and accept our acknowledgment and thanks. [applause] >> we have a lot of people who wanted to talk. it was tough to make the trim list, but the operation put together by jim byron who is the ceo operating officer here at the library, chris nordyk who ran this, they have done a great job. we couldn't have done this without gayle wilson. before we go a minute longer, thank you gayle wilson. [applause] >> all of us gathered together
have a debt to the governor. i like to think mine is at least equal to any of you. 43 years ago, this very night, and we did not pick the date. it was fortous you -- it was fortuitous. it was going to be this april. then the pandemic intervened. 43 years ago i met on mission bay. governor, thank you. [applause] >> many of you have served with and have had the honor of knowing pete wilson. we will have a choice few talk tonight. beginning with mark albrecht. his name is synonymous with service, service in the space aviation industry, service as the president of lockheed international launch, service as president bush's appointee on the space council, a business executive, a public servant, but his reputation if you will in the national security world began when he spent six years as a national security aide so then
senator pete wilson in the cold war years of washington, d.c. please welcome mark albrecht. mark? [applause] >> wow, what a gathering. so good evening. we are under very strict time limits. i will adhere to them. i'm mark albrecht. for six years, i had the privilege of supporting pete wilson in his work on the senate armed services committee. it is honor tonight to share a brief story of his time there. in 1983, pete wilson came to the u.s. senate with big ideas and ambitious goals. chief among them was to do all in his power to further america's rebuilding of our armed forces, to roll back soviet advances in the world and to realign the nuclear arms competition in america's favor. years of work in the armed services committee, under the leadership of senator john tower cementing the two-term reagan
initiatives in defense, in nuclear modernization, in arms control, and perhaps his most lasting legacy, the strategic defense initiative, were all on the line in the writing of the national defense authorization act of 1989. democrats had gained control of both the house and the senate in 1986 and had carefully chosen the 1989 defense bill as the vessel of their attempted clawback of reagan advances in national security. 1988 was an election year, the last year of the reagan presidency. the democrat party was feeling very encouraged by the midterms and strongly believed they would win the white house in 1988. they gambled, they could go very far in curbing reagan's national security agenda without completely gutting it by using restrictive language in the bill to bound and limit the advances in missile deployment and
strategic defense initiative while counting on the election of a new democrat administration. reagan was at his weakest, they reasoned, and the new defense intellectuals, gore, kerry and their allies in the national security establishment waged they could outsmart and outmaneuver reagan and his allies, like pete wilson. how wrong they were. as the defense bill progressed, senators pete wilson, john mccain and dan quayle and house members like jim quarter acted to challenge and whittle the intended poison pills in the bill. the senate defeated amendment after amendment while the house larded up the bill with every conceivable restriction on strategic forces. the house senate conference on the defense authorization act of 1989 was epic. tempers flared. insults flew. high minded debate on the intricacies of arms control treaties and legal interpretations of treaty
language went early into the mornings. outside the capitol, the national security establishment was calling sdi destabilizing, impossible, easily defeated, and overwhelmed and easily overwhelmed. bargaining chip at best, surely not a serious initiative. the case for legislative language restricting the development, testing, and deployment of strategic defenses was hailed as prudent, even shrewd, and responsible. senator wilson and his compatriots were fighting a two front war. on the inside, aspen, nun, and levin, on the outside the beltway arms control establishment, the washington post and the new york times. when the dust settled. the democrat majority had succeeded in spiking the defense bill with antisdi and other language although while some of the worse pieces were mitigated by the clever wilson team.
wilson, quayle and mccain implored president reagan and others to veto the bill. others like john warner cautioned vetoing a bill, perhaps delaying military pay raises and military construction was unacceptable risk. it all came to a head in the meeting in the white house with president reagan and vice president bush soon to be the republican nominee for the presidency. senator wilson and his compatriots made their case. they prevailed with reagan with bush's concurrence announced the decision to veto the 89 bill. not two weeks later, after withering attacks from the press, democrat dukakis brandished his defense credentials. two weeks later -- one month later, quietly without fanfare, the house and senate hastefully passed the revised 89 defense bill without the offending language.
six months later george h. w. bush was elected president of the united states. on november 9, 1989, the berlin wall came down and with it the soviet union. senator pete wilson had indeed served this nation with distinction and can take a seat of honor among those who won the cold war. his washington time was coming to an end because california needed him back to restore its golden luster. thank you. [applause] >> hi. i was governor wilson's legal affairs secretary and counsel during his second term. winston churchill once observed that courage is the essential quality of human nature because without that quality, none of the other qualities of human
nature can be guaranteed. pete wilson and his tenure as governor exuded courage and decisiveness of [inaudible] nature. let me give four very brief examples of this. number one, april 29, 1992, riots erupted in los angeles after four police officers were acquitted after the beating of rodney king following a high speed car race. those rioters dissolved that thin blue line between civilization and anarchy. stores were burned, looted. fires erupted throughout los angeles. the next day, governor wilson called out the national guard. when he discovered that the guard was not on the streets, a frustrated and angry governor called to find out what happened. apparently the national guard was staying in the armory
because they didn't have enough ammunition. well, this former marine directed the commanders and said give every soldier one bullet. give further ammunition to the local commanders and send the troops out, and with that decisiveness, the troops went out. order was restored in l.a. example two, in 1994, the north ridge earthquake erupted in los angeles, destroying many buildings and buckling the santa monica freeway which as many of you know is the key artery from the west side of los angeles to downtown los angeles. governor wilson promptly exercised his emergency powers to lift all restrictive statutes including bidding requirements and entered a contract to have that santa monica freeway repaired in 140 days, but wisely he provided a bonus for every
day early that the construction was completed. and the santa monica freeway was up in operation not in 140 days like the contract said, not in 120 days, not 100 days, but in 66 days, that -- [applause] -- that freeway was repaired. when you compare some other governor's actions, the people of the state in 2014 voted to have more water storage in california, which badly needs it. not one of those water storage projects has been completed seven years later. governor wilson got what he needed to get done in 66 days. example three, near the end of the governor's first term, he learned that uc berkeley was not admitting students solely on
their individual merit. instead uc berkeley was using something called a matrix by which different test stores and different grade points were assigned depending on the race of the applicant. pete wilson understood that a preference based on race should not be given to someone who may have never suffered discrimination to the detriment of someone who never engaged in discrimination, and he understood that not only was such an effort by uc berkeley unjust, but it was antithetical to the principles in the declaration of independence and the 14th amendment that all people are created equal and should be judged on their individual merit. what did he do? after a throat operation that left his voice at nearly a whisper, he chaired the uc
regents meeting, and in a close vote and under the shadow of protests that were orchestrated by jesse jackson, he got the uc regents to ban preferences based on race or gender in admissions, employment, or contracting. [applause] >> then he made it statewide by championing proposition 209 throughout the state to prohibit any preferences based on race in public employment, contracting, or public education, and the voters of this state agreed with that wisdom and last year defeated the democratic legislature's effort to repeal proposition 209. [applause] >> final quick example, right now you know that in 2021 alone, more than a million undocumented
migrants have been surging at the u.s. border. well, 30 years ago, another federal administration was not securing the border, and during a recession, it was causing a great burden on california's budget. pete wilson had the courage to say there is a distinction between legal immigration and illegal immigration based on a very clear principle which is who decides who enters the country? the sovereign nation? or the migrant? well, it's clear that the sovereign nation has to decide who enters the country, not the migrant. and governor wilson had the courage despite being [inaudible] in the press for making that distinction. but that effort went on to result in the republican congress enacting laws that tried to eliminate the incentives at least at that time for encouraging undocumented immigration into this country, which unfortunately other administrations have allowed to
lapse. so let me conclude as follows: we are here in the nixon library, and i know that one of president nixon's favorite quotes where nixon would say in a number of speeches that you have to wait until evening to see how splendid the day has been, and that quote, by the way, governor wilson actually quoted during his eulogy for president nixon at this very library. so let me end by saying this, now as we step back 25, 30 years from the wilson administration, we now can see how splendid the day was during governor wilson's tenure. thank you. [applause]
>> -- a place where everybody refers to everybody else as my friend. it can hard to form real and lasting friendships in a place like congress. that's why we have been so grateful to have pete and gayle wilson as true friends for many years now. he was already in the senate when i arrived in 1985. i liked him right away. he was a principled leader and an effective legislator across a number of subjects. but of course [inaudible] -- one step in his career as public service. he stood up for things like public safety. imagine that. so my friend, i'm sorry i couldn't be there to celebrate in person. congratulations on this occasion and on your remarkable record of accomplishments. >> i was lucky enough to get to know pete and gayle when i was just starting [inaudible]. pete always welcomed diversity
in the party, the government, and our country. he was a stalwart champion of the contributions the immigrants have made to this country. he and gayle have [inaudible]. i'm only one of the multitudes of people that pete and gayle have fostered and brought along in all different kinds of positions. a true patriot, pete has dedicated his life for improving the lives of all californians and americans. i also want to give a big shoutout to his beloved gayle and former first lady of california. devoted to one another, theirs is a true love story. california and america are blessed to have these two leaders who have devoted their
lives to improving the country in which we live. >> to me, you have always been and always will be a very promising young man, since i'm three years older than you. the two of us have shared similar life spans together. we both attended ivy league schools. we both graduated in public law school. we both served in the united states marine corps before practicing law and then entering public service. but i have to quickly add that you had much greater success as a candidate for public office than i did. you won a total of ten elections to four separate offices, california general assembly, mayor of san diego, u.s. senator and finally governor of the golden state. meanwhile, i lost the only time my name was ever on the ballot, when texas voters chose someone
else as their attorney general in 1978, which was a good thing for me in the long run because it made possible my public service in washington. and so i salute the milestone you're celebrating today, pete, your illustrious career in politics and public service, and particularly, our long and enduring friendship. >> it was truly the golden age of california because you always had the privilege to do what you believed was right, which reminds me one of my favorite stories. when you were in the senate
[inaudible] emergency appendectomy, the phone rang, and it was the commander-in-chief ronald reagan, and he said [inaudible]. without thinking twice, sir, i'm ready to roll and roll you did, still in your pj's from gurney to ambulance to wheelchair and on to the senate floor where you received a standing ovation from everyone, and you said mr. president, what's the question? oh, pete, you may have lost your appendix, but not your sense of humor. pete, you truly deserve [inaudible], a champion of the
american dream because you are the american dream. >> pete, i wish i could thank you in person for your storied career. for decades, you fought to keep california a place where americans can still pursue the american dream. as a marine, you know that you only take fire when you're over the target. and over the years, you've certainly got a lot of incoming. but when things get tough, no one fights harder than a marine. pete, you're a champion of the conservative movement, and you've made our nation and your state proud. you guided california through some tough times and stood for what was right, even if it was unpopular. you're the gold standard of the golden state. history already judges you kindly, and it will continue to do so in the years to come. i wish you and gayle all the best. congratulations on your lifetime
of service to our country. >> governor wilson, congratulations on this big night. this is a chance to say thank you, thank you to your service to america. as a californian someone who grew up in this amazing place, to watch your public service as a marine, the mayor of san diego, i grew up in santa ana and then to watch you lead and to do it with grace and kindness and real authority and power, america and california is better off for all you have done for it. this is a much deserved award. congratulations to you. god bless you, and may you continue to serve america. >> pete, remember the first time that we got to know each other? back in 1983, pal. that's a long time ago. you just joined the senate, joined the senate armed services committee. you and i were seat mates, right next to each other for eight years there. and i remember the first
[inaudible] that we went on. it was 1983. [inaudible] went on to be the secretary of defense, as everyone knows. we went to israel. you and i went to lebanon, went to rome and then to the munich national security conference. during that trip and that conference, i could see how hardworking you were, diligent, prepared. you hit the ground running. i was very impressed. we've been friends ever since. you went on to be the governor after the senate for two terms. so i've been thinking about this. you've been state assembly, mayor, senator, governor. how about president of the united states? not too late. gayle, you'd be in, wouldn't you? i would be in. get some folks there to be in.
why not. we need good solid leadership like pete wilson offered the state of california for many years. we need that for our country. so pete, give it a thought. give it a go. have a great evening. >> honoring pete wilson with the champion of the american dream award. pete was a strong governor of california and a fine united states senator. pete is an exemplary citizen of the united states, fine public servant and a friend. laura and i send our very best wishes to everyone involved with the nixon foundation, and god bless. >> good evening. i'm janice rogers brown, another of the governor's legal affairs
secretaries. [applause] it is interesting to think that the golden state really did have a golden age, but maybe it was a golden hour, but have any of you noticed that the state began its decline into the [inaudible] just when pete wilson stopped being actively involved in its politics? i'm just saying. [laughter] pete wilson never had the usual heroes when he was young. he wasn't into the marvel universe. he was absorbed by the biographies written by the survivors of brutal battles in world war ii, marines who fought in the pacific in places like iwo jima. and his commitment, courage,
discipline, self-sacrifice, protective of the vulnerable has never left. he said himself to lead is to choose. i came to quickly understand that he rarely chose the easy way. he would do what was right. i like to think it was a little like being han solo's sidekick in a star wars saga. you just knew that when pete walked into the [inaudible], he was going to tap the most mean person on the shoulders and probably say something that would upset him. no capital case had been carried out in california for a quarter of a century. the governor granted harris's request for a clemency hearing because harris presented a new basis for clemency. he claimed he suffered from fetal alcohol syndrome as a result of his mother's heavy consumption of alcohol. it was a claim that was certain
to capture the governor's attention, and it did because child abuse through the umbilical cord had been a longstanding concern of his as a senator, and so he said it deserved careful consideration. and he gave it that careful consideration. i very much wanted him to do a postcard denial so there would be nothing that people could take issue with. he begged to differ with me. he did not take my advice. he issued a forceful eloquent detailed statement, and he concluded robert harris, the man did have a choice. he chose to take a life to make victims of michael baker and john [inaudible]. the decision of the jury was correct. the evidence of robert harris's own victimization does not alter his responsibility for his acts. as great as is my compassion for robert harris, the child, i
cannot excuse or forgive the choice made by robert harris, the man. governor wilson chose to explain his reasoning. he permitted the people to judge the quality of his decisions, and to do that was not only brave, it was brilliant. and as usual, he was right. and just as he chose to side with ordinary citizens in permitting the death penalty to be carried out, he did the same when it came to taking dangerous criminals off the street. in 1993, it was confirmed the rising crime rate was the public's number one concern. california's indeterminant sentencing scheme coupled with generous good time credit reductions was putting violent felons, rapers, robbers, and child molesters back on the street after ridiculous short phase in prison. the murders by parolees with lengthy criminal histories caused concern about criminal
recidivism. even three strikes harshest critics had to concede that it worked. it did exactly what it was supposed to do. it was incapacitated habitual offenders. the crime rate dropped. juveniles were unwilling to risk a 25-year sentence, and although unintended consequences are usually negative, justice o'connor took note of an unexpected but positive consequence of three strikes. she said more california parolees are now leaving the state when parolees from other jurisdictions are entering california. indeed, some of the habitual offenders desiring to leave pete wilson's california would have been great material for a saturday night live skit. these days opponents of three strikes have managed to put many of its most effective provisions
to rest, and specious arguments have been presented to an electorate that hardly remembers the bad old days. the initiative has been cannibalized, a victim of its own success, and the crime rate after decades of decreases has begun rising. so i want to close, though, with a personal anecdote, near the end of his first term, the governor decided to appoint me to the appellate court. my nomination was not well received. to appoint a conservative is controversial, to appoint a black conservative is [inaudible]. so this became kind of a pitched battle, and during the height of the controversy, i got a call from a friend who was also a member of the wilson administration, tom asked how i was faring. i said i honestly hadn't wanted to drag the governor into
another issue. he had enough to deal with. he was running for another reelection. he had had a first term in which he was visited by more plagues than egypt, when god was trying to free the israelites, and he had a lot going on. i said but, you know, the governor has been staunch. the more resistance he faces, the tougher he gets. tom laughed and said you know, that's one of the things i really love about pete wilson. when he thinks he's right, he won't give an inch. then there was a moment of thoughtful silence, and tom said now that i think about it, that's one of the things i really hate about pete wilson. [laughter] we both laughed. we were not laughing at pete wilson. we weren't even laughing about pete wilson.
we were laughing about ourselves and the things we had learned from pete wilson because we had learned to have that laughter, that chuckle that you have when warriors who have a bond from being in the fire realize that they're no longer dismayed by the tumult; right? so the governor always says there are no ex marines, and i conclude there are no ex wilson [laughter] [applause] >> hello. my name is sean walsh, i served as governor wilson's press secretary and then deputy chief of staff and then i've been with him at three law firms since,
now at the brown george ross law firm also part of the wilson family, the named partner and the son of our chief supreme court justice ronald george. so the family does exist, and it continues on to this day. i want to take a step back for a second and talk a little bit about pete wilson and who he is. he's a man who grew up in the midwest. his father was a newspaper man, and his father used to talk to him at the dinner table, kind of old fashioned, but taught him values, told him get your facts straight, before you go out and say something, and make sure you know the history of what you're about to do because that's important with regards to how you're going to conduct yourself for the rest of your life. and i think that the way his dad raised him, sending him to yale and the governor getting into yale, but on an rotc scholarship where he eventually became a marine, worked in the summertimes as a card-carrying union member in construction jobs, learned the value of not
just an ivy league education but what it takes to have that value and education through hard work. i think that that up bringing then brought him forward to who he is and what he is. since we've been out of office, i've had dozens if not hundreds of candidates come by and seek his advice and support. he always tells these candidates what are your core beliefs? it doesn't matter if they are aligned with mine or the state's, but if you have core beliefs, you can convince the public that you know what you are doing and that you want to take the state or that position somewhere. number two, what do you want to do in the office? it is surprising many people who are seeking elected office can't answer those two basic fundamental questions before they go to the governor. i think it says an awful lot about pete wilson because he knew who he was and he knew what he wanted to do, in every elected office that he had and particularly when he served as governor of california. now when the governor first started in office, things were looking pretty rosy. the economy was relatively good
during the election cycle, but almost overnight, the u.s. economy collapsed, and the california economy collapsed even more significantly. in that collapse, in the span of four to six months, the state lost a third of its general fund budget. to put that in context, 14 billion dollars vaporized almost overnight, and the governor had to close that budget gap by cutting almost every program in the state with the exception of education, and even though he's still was vilified by the teachers union for not increasing the funding in that time period. not only did he cut budgets, but he decided -- the old line never let a good crisis go to waste. he used that opportunity to fundamentally reform the state's budget process and reform a whole host of other public policy programs and even to this day the effects are still there. with regards to rebuilding the economy, it wasn't just enough to cut your way out of it, but you had to bring the economy back.
he brought peter uberoff in. the commission, recommendations were made. they established red teams where we had state elected officials at the legislative level, at the local level. we had our cabinet secretaries going out and meeting with utilities at the municipal and state levels. we did everything we could to put together a package that would a, keep businesses from leaving the state, and b, help them expand in the state. by doing that, we came out of a recession years earlier, and by the time the governor left office, he turned a 14 plus billion dollars deficit into a 7 billion dollars plus surplus. and that was all through grit and determination, and it was also in the legislature that was dominated by democrats in both houses. with regards to some of his most significant policy issues, you know, really wonderful to see so many of the wilson family here tonight. jim strock who pete wilson
founded, the california environmental protection agency. [inaudible] who made significant improvements to our healthcare with regards to different types of insurance to make sure that we can put insurance out and it didn't necessarily fall on the government to fund that, but the private sector played a role. with regards to [inaudible], the governor had time limits, and he said you have to go out and get a job. it is a shared responsibility. the state is not solely responsible for you, and i will share you a little vignette in just a moment. pete wilson knew what he wanted to do in public safety. he hosted a crime summit down in los angeles and he called willie brown and the legislature into session in los angeles and campbell was there and he put a face to what crime really meant in the state. he not only had legislators participate in the crime summit, he had law enforcement and public policy people, and he actually put crime victims on the stage. and for years, for years, the democrats would put their most
liberal members on the public safety committee and kill off important crime legislation because they were basically immune, never got to the legislative floor. the democrats and others who didn't want to be tougher on crime could take a pass because the legislation never got there. and so when pete wilson did that, and when you saw crime victims and they told their stories with literally dozens of tv stories. willie brown on the second day of the summit went of the news conference and said i'm advising my members to get off this train track. you're going to get run over. he used the bully pulpit, the laws, the legislature to achieve what he wanted to achieve. he got real meaningful crime reform. crime reform, when you were a criminal in the wilson administration, you knew it went something. if you committed a crime, if you hurt someone, there were real consequences. it is not like you could walk into a convenience store and steal $980 and get a parking ticket and go back and do the same thing again. criminals respected and
criminals feared the consequences that would happen due to their acts. it is a far cry from unfortunately what i think we're seeing in the state today. realignment, big word, but basically pete wilson said government best serves the people when it's closest to the people. as part of the budget reform process, he realign state government. took state dollars, brought it down to the county and the local level and said, you know, if you're doing social services in a county that may be a lot different than los angeles county and he let the locals decide what was in their best interest. it seemed like a pretty simple concept but it was revolutionary at the time. with regards to pension reform, we all hear about the hundreds of billions of dollars that the state is in shortfall with the pensions. people don't realize this and unfortunately the media doesn't cover this, but pete wilson actually solved the pension problem. during the budget crisis, he changed our pension system to a two-tiered system and if we would have stayed in that system, when davis was under recall and reversed it, we probably would be in a stable
pension system today. so tragedy that's come into billions of dollars in consequences. it matters who your governor is. couple other quick quick policy notes, when you've got eight years and four minutes to talk about all the policy goals and objectives. i remind you pete wilson was the first governor to open up a state university system since the 60s. pete wilson was talked into with not a lot of stress to ban smoking in public spaces and restaurants and outdoor areas. we're a lot healthier and safer because of that. when caltrans came and said we've got deficiency in bridges, pete wilson ordered a study. they went out and counted up 180 bridges. went to the floor and got a bond passed and the bridges got fixed in a couple of years. good fundamental management of
government. you had a governor what knew he was doing. he hired the best people to run his departments and agencies and things got done in an efficient manner. he made it look easy but it was anything but. lastly education reform, pete wilson had epic battles with public employee unions, teachers particularly with regards to education reforms. he believes that people have a fundamental right to have a job and a good job to support their families. they have a fundamental right to be safe in their own homes and their own communities. one of the biggest civil rights issues in america today is the inequity in our education system, where kids don't get a fair shot at the starting line because too many schools fail them. so he went head-to-head and toe-to-toe over seven, eight years where he put statewide curriculum standards into place. he reduced class sizes. he replaced social promotion, with testing and early remedial education. the testing wasn't intended to punish teachers. it was basically designed to say if one teacher in one school is
doing demonstrably better than two other teachers, let's learn from what that one teacher is doing right because it is the same kids. he was willing to take the fight in. he was willing to have people spend teachers unions millions of dollars against him, but he did what he thought was right and always fought the good fight. two little vignettes, it is easy to talk about public policy issues in the abstract. two things, one, when he was governor and there was a lot of issues about the three strikes law, a judge was holding a court hearing, and there was a gentleman in his court, and in the judicial transcripts the man said, you know, i was robbing this store, liquor store, and i had a gun with me. and i was debate wlg to pull that gun -- and i was debating whether to pull that gun out and shoot the man behind the counter. he said all of a sudden this little white face popped up and it was pete wilson's face, and he said if you do that, you are going to jail for the rest of your life. he said i didn't want to do
that. so he didn't. this is one example, but here's a man who was probably a clerk in a drugstore alive today and probably has grand kids because pete wilson did what was necessary to do to reform our criminal justice lenient laws. the second and last was my kids went to a parochial school. they were working at a home that helps people that are homeless and trying to get back on their feet, drug and alcohol addicted. the woman that was working there, i asked her, so what do you think is kind of the most important thing to help your community? and she said, you know, you are going to keep this kind of strange. i swear i didn't set her up for it. she said i think the most important thing that's happened in our community was when pete wilson stopped paying people to have more kids and forced fathers who actually had those kids to start paying for some of their money, and she said you'd be amazed that people who would come into our office. they would know what the code number was, how to get their
money and how to benefit. she said it had a cultural change in communities where kids would have kids and then would have more kids, and she said i think that was probably one of the most important and most meaningful things, and lives were better changed for that. and again, never told i workeder if -- never told i worked for pete wilson but it was very interesting and very telling. those are two stories of real life examples of what pete wilson has done from a public policy perspective. again, i really need to do a shoutout to all of the pete wilson family and all of the staff and cabinet and department directors that are here tonight because you really really -- the governor was a marine. he fought every day, every year to get bills passed and eventually got what he needed to get done, and it wouldn't have gotten done without all of you. i salute governor wilson for being as tough as he was and for the army of soldiers that are in this room that supported him in those endeavors. [applause]
>> with that, bob dole is unable to travel out tonight in person to speak on the governor's behalf, but he did send a letter, and i would like to read that for you. dear pete, i regret that i can't be with you to celebrate your lifetime of achievements. we're sending our best wishes to you and to gayle from our nation's capitol. you have accomplished so much during your stellar career that it's difficult to choose your most impressive highlight. as far as i'm concerned, they've all been highlights, from your service in the marine corps, california state assembly, san diego mayor, u.s. senate, california governor, the list goes on and on. pete, you've done it all. not only have you been a true leader in the republican party over many decades, but you've managed to do it all with strength of character, wisdom,
and a selfless commitment to improving the lives of americans. public service is a calling, and you've made us all proud by proving that public service is also an honorable endeavor. it's never a perfectly smooth journey, but i'm certain that your legacy is as far-reaching and a positive one. simply put, we need more pete wilsons in today's world. i admire all you have done, and i've always been pleased to call you a true friend. thanks, pete. i hope you enjoy your celebration. you more than earned it. god bless, bob dole. [applause] >> wonderful, sean. i have the pleasure of sharing with you the story about pete wilson's leadership of one of the great museums in the united states. it began in 1999, when the
congressional medal of honor society, an organization that's comprised exclusively of medal of honor recipients bestowed on pete its highest honor, their national patriots award. it was at that event that pete met the late great author of band of brothers and founder of the national d day museum in new orleans steve ambrose. thus began pete's now 20-year journey with this great museum. ambrose and museum founder knew that pete possessed the uncommon leadership abilities to help transform the national d-day museum at the time into a museum that would tell the entire story of america's broader experience in the war that changed the world, why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today, so that all generations will understand the price of freedom and be inspired by what
they learned. wasting no time getting to work, pete helped the museum leadership draft the museum's new mission statement, craft its new strategic master plan and expand its board of trustees to one of national reach and scope. pete was elected chairman of the board of trustees in 2006. shortly after hurricane katrina devastated new orleans, threatening the very future of the museum, drawing on his leadership skills and experience successfully managing and dealing with many of california's natural disasters, and with a unique passion and determination that's only pete's he helped field the resolve of the board of trustees to push forward even in the face of post-katrina challenges. so the museum pushed forward. after chairing the board, the museum needed someone to lead its 400 million dollars capital campaign so it could realize its promise as one of america's great educational institutions.
pete took on this challenge too, chairing the campaign, putting in untold hours and traveling countless miles across the united states, raising funds to build today's awe-inspiring campus. but there's one trick that stands out above all others, for the indelible impact that it's had on the life and the growth of this great museum. in 2010, the museum was small. but it was an unqualified success. it had survived katrina, had been designated by the united states congress as the national world war ii museum of the united states, and plans to transform it into a world class destination were clearly defined. they were bold, and they were ready to execute. the museum clearly was reaching its tipping point, ready to take its great leap forward. and that leap was to begin with an expected 20 million dollars grant from the federal government to help build its
signature building the u.s. freedom pavillion. but congress was balking. the appropriations was at risk. politically the timing just wasn't right. so hearing this, pete wilson gets on a plane at lax, and he flied to his old stomping ground washington, d.c. to meet with his old friend and a former colleague, world war ii veteran, medal of honor recipient, and chairman of the senate appropriations committee. and during that meeting, the senator in a way was noncommittal. it was true in fact that the timing was not right for that large appropriation, even for this great cause. but pete had a different take on timing. pete knew time was of the essence because time was running out to honor world war ii veterans before they were all gone. so at that point, pete asked his old friend and colleague two simple yet very profound questions: danny, he asks, if
not now, when? and if not you, then who? and the answer to those two questions came back in the form of a 20 million dollars gift from the american taxpayers, followed by a 15 million dollars gift from the boeing corporation, which pete also helped secure, and up rose the u.s. freedom pavillion, the boeing center. [applause] >> well, at that point, things had decidedly tipped. next came the construction of the campaigns of courage pavilion featuring the road to berlin and the road to tokyo exhibits. and then the home front, an arsenal of democracy exhibit that together tell the story of america's preparation for the war and the might and the spirit of her people. and then the museum opened its institute for the study of war and democracy, and in 1999, it
opened its own hotel and conference center. now, in 2023, the campus will be complete. but i don't think pete's work is going to be done. you see one of pete's driving passions is to continue to expand the museum's digital outreach and its distance learning initiatives so that all americans but especially our youth will understand that freedom isn't free, that its costs are real and can be very high, and that our nation's ideals and values are worth fighting for and defending. he wants students around our nation to learn the dangers of appeasements and the importance of military preparedness so that future wars don't need to be fought. he wants them to honor and respect the exceptional nation that has given them so much and helped liberate the world. and you know what? i think that's what drives pete today, teaching the younger generations about the america they are not learning about in
our classrooms. and if students can't travel to new orleans louisiana to be inspired by this great museum and its important message, pete will work to bring the museum to them, digitally to students and others in all 50 states in this great nation. finally i want to share with you something about a flag staff that resides at the center of this beautiful six acre campus. [applause] measuring 12 inches in diameter, at its base, and rising 80 feet into the sky, atop it measuring a whopping 15 by 25 feet, flies old glory, flying high enough to catch the breeze off the mississippi river. the flag staff is strengthened by a beautiful seven foot royal granite base that's inscribed with an important tribute to a man and inscribed with words of
the world war ii generation, words that are rooted in the birth of our great nation and which reach back through generations to offer promise and hope to us all. this is the pete wilson liberty flag staff. it stands like a century protecting the museum and the hallowed stories within its walls, and it is a proper tribute to a man who has given so much to this museum, and i think it's no coincidence that the words inscribed in the granite base are the same words that describe pete wilson himself, optimistic, determined, generous, courageous. that is pete wilson who at the tender and of 8 years old learned -- age of 8 years old learned about the japanese attack at pearl harbor who years later enlisted in the united states marine corps to defend the nation he respected and he loved, who for decades so honorably and effectively served
his state and his nation in elected office. and then not finished with his service to others, he devoted himself to the growth of an educational institution that will inspire future generations long after the greatest generation is gone. well, the congressional medal of honor society was right. pete is a national patriot. for his service to our state and to our nation, and to the national world war ii museum, we all owe pete an enormous debt of gratitude, and thank you for honoring him here tonight. [applause] :: >> i've been to the museum
and it's great, if you haven't been to new orleans to see the museum, it's great . you don't need a lanyard, you don't need an escort, all you have to do is be a friend of the wilson to getbehind about . but it's a huge honor for marie and me. you and gil and pete,thank you for inviting us . i'm not going to recount his bio tonight. i'd like to recount it because it's the best political buyout of a western politician since the one that was given for ransom stoddard or jimmy stewart's character in a man who shot liberty valance . except in each case it's all true, all of it so i'd like to talk a few minutes about the and gail and myself. the references to myself could be references to any of you and us as i consider pete
my friend, my mentor, my counselor, my governor, my senator i know everybody else here feels the same way about governor wilson and that's pete's genius. pete has us believing there's a special bond that he gives to us and gail is his accomplice with the phone calls and emails and she's part of the magic of feeling as if you're part of the people wilson family h. i've known pete and gail for 40 years. i met him at republican party convention. i was cchairman of california republican statewide office and i've been with them about 35+. i got to know pete very well in the summer of 1984 and i was an intern for the republican national committee . i wasn't an intern for pete. pete had offered me an internship and it was 100
more than he was offering so i went to the rnc and i did an all-you-can-eatpizza buffet every night , it was seven dollars so i could get through the month on my $400 salary but my best friend in high school chris nova was an intern. he figured out if you have that senate passed he could get into thereceptions of the senate office building and eat well enough to more than compensate for the salary i was making at the rnc . so chris asked me to come overand it was a traditional grip and grant event . i showed up and he looked at me and said i thought you worked at the rnc o'brien and he knew that because he been my hair reference to get the job at the rnc and he said i assume you're here for the food but you can participate in our intern program anyway at the picture we took that evening, you wouldn't recognize me. i was 165 pounds, start black hair.
looked pretty good. pete looks exactly like he does today. just no change. [applause] we're convinced there's a dorian gray portrait in the bedroom of the wilson home but that photos been in my office from first year a long time ago all the way to all the national security advisers call it henry'soffice down from the oval office and it's been one of my prized possessions . i will forget the friendship that happened over a lifetime sense and as all of you know as a lot of successful politicians here, we've got congresswomen and justices and high officials. politics is a rough and humble game and what you find out after a life in the arena
you make a lot of friends but very few of those are tried and true friends. pete and gail fall into that latter category. they're the ones who call you the day after your candidate for president losesand in my case that's pretty often . yi had a good run after bush gore and we lost three straight elections and every time after governor romney, pete and gail would be on the call the first thing the next morning and somehow all your other friends have forgotten your phone number but they were always on the phone. they're the ones who would attend their former staffers funerals or those of their family members and they whispered to each other it's the governor and first lady. they'd honor their friends and family. they're the ones who acknowledge you across a crowded restaurant knowing the business prospects you're talking to are going to be
impressed and say how you know the governor. their friendship came into play when i was given my last job at national security affairs. not a lot of people know the story but i was in his israel when john bolton was igfired or resigned or whatever the story was. i flew back from israel and was interviewing for the job in the oval office the next day or day after. i didn't expect to get thejob . i was on a list of about 10 people and if you know my career in politics i'm always on the list of trades and that sort of thing so the press use me as filler for whatever article they were writing so they were speculating along with the candidates and i think i interviewed on wednesday or thursday and i was missing my wife, flying home on the weekends from the state department so i got on a plane and flew home and that was nice, i get to seethe
boss but i'm here again . she says ambassador, you're from california . do you know people wilson? and i said yes, i know pete wilson . he said some very nice things about the president lately and the president wants to meet him. he's going to be at a fundraiser at jeff palmer's house tuesday, can you get the wilson there and i said absolutely i can get to their . i'm not entirely stupid, i had to call peter gail here but i got off the phone and said i hope they're in town. so i called pete and he and gail were game so we showed up early at jeff's house with another former wilson intern, my law partner stephen parson so we hung out in the holding area and went up to the holding room with the president and the president wasn't very interested in me, he was interested in pete,
saying great things about me. you're terrific pete and p, you did a good job asgovernor . so that was great and the president got out of all this , not going to hear about me and the president said you have a minute so we walked next door to jeff palmer's bedroom and the secret serviceman clear the bedroom and we started talking and he was looking over me and behind me and he saw pete wandering around the hall waiting not knowing where to go. he says how do you know the governor and i'm not stupid. i said i've known him since i was 18, i know him very well. pete, come here. pete comes in and what happened was that meeting is still the subject of some dispute. i thought i was offered a job in the meeting and i was feeling pretty good about it and i said the, i think i got
offered the national security officer's job and he said i'm not sure what happened in their . and he says my advice is you don't sayanything about it to anybody . so romer and gail were there and the was shaking his head and i was shaking my head thisway . we were both right. i found out the next morning at 6 am by to i had been named enational security advisor but what isn't in dispute is when the president , when the president has something he likes to do when you're there, he said pete, what do you think about o'brien and i'mstanding right there . but pete delivered for me. he said you're a good man and you can trust him. and i was ready so nationally i took office and set up an
advisory board. my predecessor didn't have one, he didn't need advice on anything . i won't say anymore. pete was the first person i asked to join that board and i was concerned at the time and i've been at the state department following things closely but i was concerned about military buildup wasn't proceeding apace and we were facing the next threat that we continue to face from china and we had to get our military buildup so that was the topic for this meeting so sitting in a large conference room i asked pete and that was the only item on the agenda. pete, would you talk to us about what president reagan did and how did he rebuild the military and if we got the time almost 2 years left, what can we do?
with no notes and his customary eloquence pete walked us through the defense buildup and his time that as vice president quail said on the video he walked us through it . during the whole time he spoke you could have heard a pin drop and when we got done with the meetings everyone crowded around pete and these are former senior officials and governors and members of congress and they iccrowd around pete and shake his hand and say hello to him and all i could think about watching that was if the vocal cords hadn't given out in 1996 what a different path this country could have had thewilson was president of the united states . [applause] and so pete with
dan quayle, if you're up for another run into a halfyears i'm there with you and i think everybody else would be . common to washington decor is the bragg wall and even a brand-new first-year congressman, you walk in the office and that got pictures of them and they've got certificates and diplomas and mementos from back home and i've been lucky enough to see some pretty impressive bragg walls in washington at the highest levels but there's one thing that always stuck with me from all the bragg walls i've seen and that was a plaque hanging in the senator's office and that plaque had a marine corps cover on it and civilians out there with a drill sergeant hat mounted on it and below the cover itread the reins marines arelooking for a few good men and we found one in senatorpete wilson . the marines were right and i think we all know that so semper fi , pete . [applause] so pete and gail,
thank you for your friendship and d everything you've meant to us all over the years and thank you for your tireless service to the state and the country. congratulations on the tribute you've received from the foundation and your friends as well here who served and my god bless your family. may god bless your golden state of california and the united states of america. [applause] we're now going to see a video compiled by the nixon foundation honoring governor wilson and the first lady so we will turn it over to the nixon foundation . >> and astute analyst wrote by the first time he became a
lawyer pete wilson lost interest in being one. he said what was missing was the sense of doing something for other people and the sense of doing something important. that's why pete wilsonentered politics, to do something for other people, to do something important . pete was born in illinois but jim and peg wilson moved to st. louis so that's where he grew up. in a recent interview he said his dad was his greatest influence because he taught me values. he always said never be less than you can be and whatever you achieve you have an obligation to give back . in high school young pete was a budding scholar and leader . a standout student was an outstanding athlete. his coach said he played football with precision. those words would describe
him for the rest of his life. pete wilson, precision and fight. he attended yale on a navy rotc scholarship and in his third year he opted to join the marine corps and spent three years as an infantry officer and platoon leader. he absorbed the core creed, honor, courage, commitment and embodied it through all the years. while he was attending law school he made his debut in politics as an advance man for richard nixon's 1962 gubernatorial campaign. that began a lifelong association. the president became mentor and the former president became friends. pete is a longtime member of the nixon foundation'sboard of directors , the next band family asked him to eulogize knows nixon at both next year
they asked him to render the sat same sad service for president nixon. >> he's already debated christoph and president kennedy and run for president . he been a major political figure on the world stage. but still he had time to talk to and help and eager young advanced man who could offer him little. but energy and enthusiasm. then in the fall of 1965 when i was 32, he honored me by asking me to come to work with him on his potential bid for the presidency in 1968. but he heard from bobfinch and herbert klein that i was thinking about running for office myself . i toldhim it was true . he grinned and he said and that the rich voice of his is
it a good district? can you win? and then he said because if you can then pete, you've got to try or you'llnever forgive yourself . i was just another young lawyer trying to find his way in the world. he was a former vice president carrying a bid for thehighest office in the land . yet that they hehe was as concerned with my future as he was with his own. >> heat was practicing law in san diego when he decided to run for state assembly. he was elected 1966 rnand elected in 1968 and 70. rising to republican with he was chairman of the earth section of affairs and housing to work with governor
reagan.in 1971 he was elected mayor of san diego. early the next morning the city's newest and youngest mayor at a wake-up call for the well which are . >>. >> good morning mister president. >> i bet i got you out of ibe . >> i'd be impressed if you did. >> it was a great victory pete, how do you feel? you must feel good or all tired. >> slightly tired but very good. >> if you win you can expect it. it's a long time and you did that bid for 62. >> yes it is. >> are yousorry you got into politics ?>> know, i appreciate your advice. >> i just want you to win. >> heat wilson inherited a city in bad shape.
evicted government, managed its growth and started into an international trade hub. launched the san diego trolley and transformed derelict downtown into the gaslight district, a place people wanted to visit and live. after three terms pete set his sights on the u.s. senate . at the start of his first senate term pete wilson married gail evers. it was the perfect match. they complemented each other. he was smart, she had five beta kappa degree. they were dedicated to doing something important . he likes to sing. she was an accomplished performer whose security code name was nightingale . the results were epic.
>> in washington senator wilson was respected on both sides of the island as a man who would take a stand and stand by his word . as a member of the senate armed services committee he supported presidentreagan's defense policies . unyielding on fiscal discipline every year he was named watchdog of the treasury. he talked about budgetary discipline and in 1985 he put his appendix where his mouth was . 24 hours after an emergency appendectomy arrived on the senate floor wearing pajamas and a bathroom to debate a key bill before the endless rushton back . he ran for reelection in 1988 and won by a landslide. it was the first person to win more than 5 million votes in the senate race and 5.1 e million votes he won set a
record that wasn't broken until last year. senator wilson was an outspoken champion of israel abroad at the japanese and japanese americans as the lead republican cosponsor to the civil rights act of 1988. in 1990 he brought it all back home i'm making a bold run for governor of california. it's the type tough race but he pulled it out. governor wilson inherited a $16 billion deficit. the golden state was badly tarnished. recession, out-of-control crime, ghouls in crisis. robin ronald reagan said what's next pete, but he loved it.
at last he was in the perfect job to do something for people. you reform the state hostile business climate throughout his two terms and led the way on sweeping anticrime, welfare and education reforms, positively influencing nearly every aspect of california's society and culture . three years later he was reelected by a landslide with 55 percent of the vote. in 1991 governor elect wilson inherited $16 billion deficit . in 1998 governor wilson successor inherited a $16 billion surplus. thanks to pete wilson, the golden state was glowing with pride and renewed faith faith in the california dream.
term limit laws he supported precluded running for a third term. he left sacramento in record approval. pete has played a vital role in the world war ii museum. he said it exists to teacha history that is not taught in america's public schools . freedom isn't free and it has led lives to present to ignore obvious references. the museum paid tribute. visitors are greeted with a soaring 80 foot governor heat wilson liberty of flagstaff. this year marks 50 years the golden anniversary election as mayor of san diego and 30th anniversary of his election as governor of the golden state. these days he and gail have more time to enjoy but they continue their ndcommitment to
staff so how do you figure out who you hire so that they still come years after your out of this and still stand up and fight for you. what specific thoughts there? >> that's a straight line that i cannot resist because i owed and in norma's debt of gratitude to someone who was with me for the first 28 years and he was a young san diego state graduate and he worked for me in a campaign when neither of us were running for anything. he did such a terrific job that when he tried to go to work for brian, they offered him a job i couldn't begin to match i played with his prospective employer who was a friend ofmine and he said
we really could use someone who is really first-class and he said let's ask him. let's ask her. and part of it was good luck as well. i think at least two or three flanagan's are on thishearing . jim flanagan when i was elected governor came to me and said listen, we know that you're looking for a legal counsel and he said before you make a choice please interview janice rogers brown and i said who is janice rogers brown and he said well, she is just one and in norma's lawsuit as jet deputy attorney generalfor the state of california .we just grabbed her at our firm but
he said you couldn't do better and i said i'll talk to her and i did. and bob said what do you think and i said i don't need to see anybody else, she's the one. and it turned out that was true in a number of different instances and i give bob great credit. and deserved credit because i don't think anyone has ever had a more loyal, hard-working, decent staff as well as i could have hoped for and beyond. [applause] >> thank you governor, that has nothing to do with gail but we will warm up that
estate you made. it has a lot to do with gail. can youtell us about that partnership and lee and i had a talk about nancy reagan and how ronald reagan could not have been ronald reagan without nancy reagan . tell us about your partnership with gail . >> just now as i was coming up here after the generous comment that you've heard tonight she said you'll be hard to live with. and i said you mean i haven't been? he said at moments. i could not have achieved what i have done had it not been someone who i deeply love and cared about who was saying honey, you'll get it done. and i'm not worried.
i know it's tough. i know people. i'll tell you one thing. we got married i said you have to promise me one thing and she's like what the hell is that going to be. i said this primitive life form i have chosen for self expression , politics is a tough game. and you're going to hear things. you're going to read things about me that are untrue and unfair and you've got to promise me one thing. what's that and i said don't ever let the master to hurt you. i can take it. and i'll give it back .
don't worry about that. she said okay. i said you've really got to promise that because otherwise that's how they think they can get to me. she said can i pop them back? i said i think this is going to work. >> let me ask you governor as well, there's been a reference made to your time in the marines and i wonder if you remember the gunny sergeant or anything aboutthe marines that influenced your career which has been so successful and significant . >> the answer is yes. if you are wise enough to listen and even smarter to ask questions of a gunny sergeant or a staff sergeant
if they knew what they were doing, you could tell. and that is the greatest thing. there are many wonderful things about the united states marine corps but one of them is that there is genuine respect by officers or noncommissioned officers and for the young enlisted people who live up to what's expected of them and quite a lot is expected of them. but it is they never leave anybody behind. if their wounded, we take them back. the other thing is the gunny's, you don't get to be a gunny sergeant in the marine corps without having
r&d and they are generally people in the rifle company who run things. officers, there's a platoon commander and what you learned early on is that if you ask questions and you don't pretend that you know things that you don't know, if you ask them they will be great teachers for you. and they will understand that going through basic school is a test. six month course when you whave six months or six weeks but it really is something that i have marveled at. there is a pride. there is a genuine concern that good people can be made better people.
you teach discipline and you teach responsibility. i think when i became a second lieutenant and a platoon commander, it was a learning experience in many ways and was really the first time i've had responsibility for 39 other young men. that i had never had before. they were my responsibility and i had tolook out for them . if they didn't meet the test they hear about it. and so much of that you learn frankly by watching enlisted men. my older brother was corporal and he said when he came back from boot camp he said guys,
you ever try and join the marine corps operation and he said i said well, you seem to be doing all right. he said well, i worry about you. he said well, it's tough and the people shoot at you. i said that's profound, thank you. >> you served in the united states senate and bob dole's lettersummarized it pretty well . just an amazing giant from senator mccain and ted nd kennedy on the other side of o the aisle and just you run through it, they're e all there. scoop jackson, you told me to scoop jackson story. what makes agreat thinker . >> i think to do the job properly you have to have the integrity to fight when
you're you believe in something and so you may lose if you fight the good fight they will respect what you have. and next time will take you off easily. and i think that's true. i got in a squabble with bob packed late and bob was a very bright guy. and he had been involved in what was called the fight about financial interest in syndication. it was a fight between hollywood and new york. and the networks were in a position where they could be the ones that call the shots. i am a producer and i spent time, effort, money and i go into abc, cbs, nbc and i would say i've got this great
show. you'll love it. and they say well, maybe. we'll see and by the way you're asking way too much money. and he said well hell with this and he went next door and youget the same thing . all three of us would do that. anyway, he was representing the new york, the guys were going to put the shows on the air. and i thought that was unfair and that they were being abusing something that shouldn't exist so i set about changing it with a bill and it really was a bill that would have caused active end. so leading to financial interest in syndication. i lobbied the hell out of all my fellow senators and finally, the day came and a
bill came on the floor that was an appropriation. and i thought i don't care, i'm going to do this anyway. so i said mister president, the presiding officer of the senate. i offer an appropriation. excuse me, an amendment. and d packwood who'd been there a long time stood up for me. he said mister president, the senator from california is attempting to amend an appropriation which as we should know you cannot do. and the presiding officer said the senator from oregon is correct. the amendment is rejected. i said i demand a roll call
vote. i want to have a vote on the ruling of the chair which i challenge. and ted stevenson is behind me about three feet and he said for god sakes. he said you can't win and i said well what do i have to lose. and we won. for a time things were strained between bob and me. he had even a couple of times , when i was running for reelection he said you know, i'd like to help you. and if it's would be of any help i'd be happy to come down and campaign and a
fundraiser for you. i'd like that, thank you and he did . he never had me fighting after that and i also learned that he's a very bright and had very good ideas and i told him one of the things that he had done that i thought was terrific. so you learn by getting into fights. sometimes you lose, sometimes you win. sometimes you win when you shouldn't have one. so that's how you'd be a good senator. >> as governor you had earthquakes and you had riots and you had shortfalls and more disasters in eight years that i think we could count up so what makes a great governor?
>> i think it means you know you're going to get some support my god, the threats i got were unbelievable. but you also know how to do things. i went to my director of finance and i said that retirements that we are paying are unsustainable. he said yeah, i know. i said dammit we're going to have to changethat and cut into it . he said i talk to lawyers on both sides, all of them say you cannot oalter the retirement compensation for people who are already employed. he said if you thought you could get the votes to have a second tier for a different wage i said let's do it for
god's sake. we've got nothing tolose . let's go. and because of the circumstances, the dems said i'll be damned, okay. let's let these new guys decide whether they want to work for that kind of money . if we had sustained it, as you heard tonight we would not have had the deficit that we didn't have to cure and we did your really by letting people know that california was open for business. there would not be regulatory access but we are going to make this the most competitive state in the country. and the democrats who had been about two years sort of were fluffing me off. dismissed the offer for it which made things tense and i said i know what we're going to do. i'm going to take all of us,
you, willie brown, you david roberti, were going to take a trip. we're going to visit the major cities of this country and say to people after we've c been at a breakfast or lunch or dinner, were going to buy god oask you to come out to california where we can assure you that it's going to beprofitable . and that worked but the second stop was an eye-opener. and that was because this guy at the question and answer after we had said our wonderful tit was going to be said i think you some candor. he said yes, i've got an increasing market share. i could use a second plant and you're telling me i should bring it to
california. he said i'm sorry, i've got to tell you this. it's the last place in the world i would take a second plant because of my nightmare experience with the first . so we're out going to the airport and the next stop the democratic floor leader turned to me after unaccustomed silence, about four or five minutes. he said all right. i heard that guy. you've got a conference. you do have to make some changes and i said damn right. you have said the same thing in his shoes. and it finally started to do things. we had relief for people who were suffering from regulatory access. they started to see people creating jobs. [applause] >> what's the greatest thing
about this state? you've been mayor atand you've done every part of the state in every condition,was the greatest thing about the golden state ? >> the people who whether their fifth-generation or whether there naturalized citizens, one of the most wonderful thing i've ever seen that we've had is a ceremony which a lot of young men and women became naturalized when they took the oath of allegiance to the united states. whole bunch of navy and marine kids and the looks on their faces would light up your heart. and they are not all that unusual but in a way it's too
bad about the draft. a lot of people would have had military service planned it and experience that would change their lives i. and when you can look at people who have come who struggle to get here. to become naturalized citizens, by god they are just great citizens. and they appreciate this country. they appreciate this state and they come to california. they can't wait to come to california . they can wait these days unhappily. because we're losing all kinds of jobs. that we should be keeping and that's got to change because dammit we're going to have to change it. going to have to say to the people who say i don't want a nightmare experience, were
going to have to say you're going to be able to make a profit here but are going to have to make some changes. going to have to change the public rules. i mean, it used to be 40 years ago we had the best public school system in the nation. today its struggles not to be some of the worst. and you've got to have the kind of people who were teaching 40 years ago. the shattering of the glass ceiling is a mixed blessing. with women and i'm not saying we should go back. women should be able to go to law school, maybe a few less at law school.
medical school, they should become mbas, moneymanagers . anyway, we have got to do what is necessary to invite people to come and create jobs here and we did it. in my second term as governor , we had an enormous increase in employment and we opened offices, 10 offices between duke and me in foreign countries. and they paid for themselves in the first year. >> ted wendland talked about this, your love for world war ii. when you were the former governor of california you can do anything you want. you've been a great service to the nixon library and reagan library and we truly appreciate it.
i'm sure as a member of the reagan board but your soul has obviously been in the world war ii museum andi'd like to know why . what moves you to do ... i think i went up with you on the way to iwo jima once. why become the cause of your retirement which isn't much of a retirement given howmuch you work ? >> given the history of world war ii it is a classic example that young people should know about. 440,000 young americans lost their lives in a war that winston churchill described when asked by a reporter what name would you give this war and he said the unnecessary war. that's a helluva thing to hear. but he was right. and we were in a war because we ignored eevery morning and
we became so i think we were ranked 18th in the world right after romania on the fringe on the eve of world war ii. and people think that you can neglect the military capabilities, you do so at your peril and it's almost guaranteed if you study history to produce the kind of tragedy that was the global conflict that we call world war ii. and their estimates but one of the estimates is that if there were the civilian casualties of world war ii were somewhere upwards of 80 million people. in a war n people
that was unnecessary but was ignored when every sign should have said to us this guy is going to plunge us into the conflict that will be tragic. it's a whole lot better to see the superpower believe in democracy and practice it but you can believe that all you want and as reagan mentioned, your only one generation away from extinction. if you're not strong enough to defend it, you're going to risk losing it. that to me is a lesson that we cannot teach too much, too soon because we've got a hell of a lot of people that don't understand it.
[applause] >> we can't match that cycle but we're taking great pride in giving you this because the stewardship of your talent is representative of the american dream so thank you for being with us tonight governor. mrs. wilson, would you come up and join us after mark. [applause] would you come down here. >> ladies and gentlemen, pete and gail wilson.
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