Jamarlin talks to Andrew Gillum, mayor of Tallahassee and leading Democratic candidate for Florida governor. They discuss the DNC taking the Black vote for granted, its silence on the killing of 60 Palestinian protestors, and whether big tech and Silicon Valley elites can be regulated at the state level.
This is a full transcript of the conversation which has been lightly edited for clarity.
Jamarlin Martin: You’re listening to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin. We have a go hard or go home approach as we talk to the leading tech leaders, politicians and influencers. Let’s GHOGH! Today we have a very special guest, the mayor of Tallahassee, Andrew Gillum. Welcome to the show.
Andrew Gillum: Thank you man. I appreciate it very much. It’s good to be back home in South Dade.
Jamarlin Martin: Okay, great. Let’s dive right in and let’s get into the short version of your story in terms of being raised in South Florida, and how did you get into politics?
Andrew Gillum: Yeah. I was born down here, grew up in an area called Richmond Heights, which is at the bottom bottom. My mother. Growing up was a school bus driver for the Miami-Dade school system. My father was a construction worker, and when there was no construction work to be done, my daddy would be found on the street corners, selling fruits and vegetables out of the back of the truck. On Saturday mornings he set up across the street from the cemetery selling flowers to bereaved families. My Mom and dad, in my opinion, are the best examples of hard work that I have. I’m one of seven kids, all boys and one girl, my baby sister. I’m the first of the seven to graduate from high school, the first of the seven to graduate from college and to have my little brother and little sister come behind me and do the same thing, our family knows very well what it means to see intergenerational poverty interrupted at the hands of a good public education. And it’s one of the reasons why I’m such a strong advocate for public education now. I went to Florida A&M University, FAMU, and while I was there I was student body president, and that’s probably where I got my biggest introduction to politics, in student government. We were constantly marching, constantly fighting, constantly pushing back against something. I went to college right at the same time as Republicans, took over control of the state of Florida under Jeb Bush. And it just felt like we were perpetually pushing back on some bad policy or another, and fortunately we find ourselves here today as a candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor. It’s an honor, it’s a lot of hard work, but after 20 years of Democrats losing, it’s time for us to win again. And I think we’re well positioned, in my opinion, to compete and to win this November election.
Jamarlin Martin: Okay. So, when I first met you, I asked a brother here in Miami, a politically active brother, a conscious brother, I asked him, what do you think about the mayor in terms of taking it. And his response was, that’s going to be very hard to do where your opponent, Philip Levine has very deep pockets, and the point of view was that it was very risky for some black folks in Miami to rally behind you because they felt the odds were so much in his favor and they didn’t want to be blacklisted. What do you get to say about that group of folks in Miami?
Andrew Gillum: Yeah. I know that constituency exists. I would ask them to frankly vote their conscience. I think we have a real opportunity to flip this state this time. With all due respect to Philip Levine and to money, money doesn’t win elections. People do. Votes win elections. I feel confident in my ability to compete. If money won elections, to use an example that will be close to people down here, Jeff Greene, who is now one of my opponents in the Democratic primary race, ran against then congressmen, Kendrick Meek for the US Senate nomination. Jeff Greene spent $24 million to Kendrick’s $7 million, and Kendrick beat him by double digits, 60 to 30 percent. People vote. People matter. Resources are nice to have and I would love to have them, but I honestly feel like we’ve got a winning recipe here, and if I could just convince frankly more people of color to believe in their own power. Carter G. Woodson wrote in the book, ‘The mis-education of the Negro’, that if you control a man’s thinking, you don’t have to worry about his actions. You don’t have to tell him to go here or to stay in there. He will go there naturally because his education makes it necessary. I would ask people to not only be physically liberated, but that they be mentally liberated, that they understand the political power that they have, that they walk in that power and recognize that when they demonstrate that level of courage, just as our ancestors have done many, many times before, that we can actually win on the other side. I think that’s what it’s going to take in order to win this election. I think everyday-people already possess it. There’s some of our strongest supporters. We need people of means and people with influence to frankly get out of their own way and allow the inner courage of what our historic struggles have been to be their guide and to vote their conscience.
Jamarlin Martin: And what are you going to say about the sentiment, at least from this point of view, was black Miami did not know you, and it was gonna be tough. Can you speak to that?
Andrew Gillum: Yeah. I think getting parts of the state to get to know me is a grueling exercise for me every day. I’ve literally been in Miami now for three days. I leave tomorrow morning to drive to Orlando. I’ll do a town hall meeting and a set of meetings there, and then we’ll drive right back here to South Florida and then end the night in Miami. I’ll wake up the next day and spend the day in Miami. I’ll go home to my family for two days and then I will be back here in South Florida. So I’m putting in my part of the work. What is required, particularly when you are running a race where you’re not the most resourced candidate, is that you need other people to lean in with you. Right? There’s not a bone in my body that believes I can run this race by myself. The only way we will win, is by people being able to lean in and leverage their networks, leverage the people that they know, the people who look to them for guidance and advice and for leadership and say, you know what, I’ve studied, I’ve learned a little bit more about this brother and that’s why I’m with him. That kind of leveraging is frankly what’s going to take us the distance. We’ve not done a red dime or rather a green dollar in television advertising in this race. Phil Levine has spent now over $11 million in doing so. And even still, a majority of Democrats who are expected to vote in this primary are undecided. That means they’ve seen it and are still not convinced that that’s the choice. And so if that’s the case, we know that we’ve got something to offer to those voters and when they start to hear from us in paid media, when we do begin paid media, as we get closer to this primary election, I’m confident that when they know me, when they get to see me, when they learned that I am a choice on the ballot, I trust my chances at being able to win those voters over anybody else running. But it’s a grueling exercise, it requires a lot of work, but it also requires a lot of support from people saying, you know what, I’m with them. I’m not ashamed of it and I’m going to recruit as many people as I can to be with me.
Jamarlin Martin: Okay. Obama. I believe he got a lot of things right facing tremendous opposition. But from your view, what did he get wrong in terms of leadership? Is there anything that you were disappointed about or you feel like the Democratic Party as a whole, we need to improve on this, looking at his eight years?
Andrew Gillum: Sure. I agree with your first comment, Jamarlin, that the president did some pretty tremendous things. He had historic healthcare reform that had been attempted by presidents for many generations. Barack Obama was able to achieve not perfect, deserving of his own levelheaded critique, and what we can do better there. But nonetheless it was revolutionary change in the sense that it was something that eluded seven or eight presidents prior to him. Where I think we could have done better is, one, and this is something I got to make sure that I’m communicating clearly about, even as I run this race to be the next governor of Florida, we got to be careful that we let the people who are with us know, that we can’t do this thing by ourselves. And once we get there, once we got President Obama to Washington DC, it was like, hey brother, go forth and do great things and we let our hands off the plow. And what happened is that he ran into opposition that was so determined to see him fail, that there wasn’t the same shear force on the other side saying that we’ve got this man’s back, not just the support he and Michelle as the individuals, but to rise and say this agenda is important and we want to push it further. So I think where we failed is that we kind of left him in many ways off on his own. And he allowed us to leave him on his own.
Jamarlin Martin: So there’s nothing that stands out that, hey Obama missed this? We get the opposition was there, we get a lot of racism, he was kind of cornered by a lot of racism. But what did he get wrong?
Andrew Gillum: Well, I’ll tell you. If we, in our best case, if he wasn’t facing the kind of outright opposition that he faced, I would love to have seen him do comprehensive immigration reform in his first term as president. I think our country deserved it. I think we’ve got 20 million people who are right now in legal limbo because Congress and DC has failed to act on comprehensive immigration reform. I think the president should have been a lot more assertive in his appointment of judges. Now he did face opposition there, but I do believe what Republicans have always understood about politics in this country is that if you control the courts, you control it all. In the case of the courts, you’re not talking about four years or eight years of a presidency, you’re talking about 40 years. You’re talking about worker’s rights. You’re talking about a woman’s right to choose. You’re talking about net-neutrality. You’re talking about all these fundamental pieces that may ultimately end up in the courts. And if you’ve got a judiciary that is aligned philosophically with conservatives, it doesn’t matter what the sentiment of the country is. You’ve got a court that is hell-bent on doing what it wants to do. And there’s nobody there to stop them in doing so.
Jamarlin Martin: If you’re interested in advertising on the GHOGH podcast, you can go to www.moguldom.com/ghogh. Once you’re there, you can click on the advertise button. Let’s GHOGH! How would you rank the point of view in terms of what did Obama miss that with the rise of Facebook and Amazon and Google, the wealth concentration out of big tech and Silicon Valley, his administration was very close to the executives at Facebook, Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, the chairman of Google. Many believed there was too close of a relationship with the Obama administration and the wealthy liberals, mainly out of Silicon Valley. And that compromised the regulatory view in terms of our regulators, our politicians looking out ahead of time to better understand where is this technology and concentration going, how’s it going to impact the country? But I feel like the country, particularly the Obama administration was asleep, and part of that was the cosiness of, ‘Silicon Valley helped me get elected, they’re my friends, they’re my buddies’. Cory Booker, of course, is very close with a lot of the elites in Silicon Valley, but would it be fair to say that the Democratic Party has been asleep on the inequality and wealth concentration out of Silicon Valley?
Andrew Gillum: Well, I’ll tell you, if I were going to critique wealth inequality, Silicon Valley would be a part of it, but I would say that New York is leading the pack. I mean the fact that nobody went to jail after the largest financial collapse in this nation’s history. Nobody on Wall Street, not a single person, paid the penalty. In fact, the American people went to them to bail them out of the crisis that they themselves created, to me that is abhorrent, and that falls at the responsibility, yes, of the president, but also of Democrats and Republicans, who in my opinion were far too cozy with Wall Street, that they allowed the same people who ran this country’s economy and frankly the global economy into the ground to get away with it. And not a single person paid a penalty for it. Now there’s a lot that needs to be regulated in Wall Street. And I have to tell you, I trust your judgement over what some of that should look like better than I trust my own there. But much of the inequality that has been built largely at the hands of big banks and big loopholes in the regulatory environment around huge sums of wealth being shifted in this country, has happened largely because we’ve allowed these folks to run rough shot over the U.S. and now global economy, because we’ve been asleep at the wheel.
Jamarlin Martin: So that’s a fair point in terms of there’s a lot of inequality and exploitation coming out of Wall Street. But a lot of folks, including myself, believe that when Obama, the Democrats ran, they banged against Wall Street. ‘Hey, you guys caused the financial collapse. You guys are looking to exploit home buyers. You guys are creating all these freaky products that exploited people’. So, Obama came into power where hey, Wall Street has really got us in a mess, and this stuff has been unchecked. But some folks believe that, hey, Wall Street leans of course on the Republican side, but the greed and the exploitation was just shifted to the liberal side. And so there was no handcuffing on Facebook and Google and Amazon. These companies are absorbing more and more power and lobbying influence, and stepping over our privacy rights in terms of the greed running up in the face of a basic privacy rights, that things were just shipped. We have a problem of greed in this society, no matter what political flavor you frame it, that the Democrats, mainly the Obama administration just shifted cover for that greed from Wall Street, which is a problem over to Silicon Valley.
Andrew Gillum: Got It. Well, first of all, I think there are culprits on both coasts. Nobody gets off the hook. We don’t have to look any further than the congressional hearings to see that our lawmakers are completely inept at regulating Silicon Valley. You had a distinguished long-serving member of the United States Senate saying to Mark Zuckerberg, how do you offer this for free? And now any lay person would be smart enough to acknowledge it’s not free, they’re selling advertising and God knows they’re also selling data, selling a lot of stuff, but you’ve got the head regulators asking what are asinine questions in the face of such a powerful hegemon of technology. And so the fact is that we’ve got a congress that is disconnected from a very, very powerful tool, which again, if not properly constrained and not properly regulated and audited, are selling off important pieces of private personal information and are not being held to account. And so on that, I couldn’t agree with you more that we got a problem here and I don’t know that it is a partisan problem. I know it to be a problem that you have folks there who simply not informed and are serving in the highest offices of this land are ultimately responsible for creating the regulatory environment. Who again, don’t know how Facebook works
Jamarlin Martin: Many people believe that federal regulators are compromised by lobbyists, pressure, friendships. If you were to become governor of Florida, what would you think about in terms of protecting privacy rights at the state level? Checking the powerful elites out of Silicon Valley, who haven’t been checked? What could you do at the state level?
Andrew Gillum: I am not as well versed in all of the instruments that the state has as it relates to privacy protection, it largely falls in a federal domain. Interstate commerce, meaning across borders. And so we would have to instruct our legal department to better understand what regulatory environment we have when it comes to intrastate and interstate commerce. I’m a big advocate for privacy rights. I’m a member of the ACOU, a member of people for The American Way Foundation, and those groups who have, in my opinion, been the most pronounced voices out there advocating on behalf of the everyday citizen, particularly when it comes to our privacy rights. I do think net neutrality was an extremely unfortunate development at the federal level, the federal communications commission, the FCC, and frankly they are being bought up by very powerful interests. But this is largely space that is still new territory in the regulatory environment. We need people who are as smart or smarter than the folks in Silicon Valley and in Wall Street in this case, who are in position to create the kind of regulatory environment that keeps the everyday citizen protected. That’s not what we have right now. In fact, you get regulators who are moving into these sectors and then back out from these sectors and then influencing on the political process as lobbyists. And so you got the fox guarding the hen house in many cases, in a very cozy relationship between both sides that I think is preventing the kind of regulatory environment that again, puts the interest of everyday people before those of corporate profits.
Jamarlin Martin: Got it. Amazon HQ2. How do you view Amazon having these cities bid with welfare packages? Amazon’s market cap is approaching a trillion dollars, $800 billion. But why are cities like Miami and Atlanta, why are these cities offering welfare to Amazon?
Andrew Gillum: Yeah. Amazon doesn’t need any welfare. What Amazon needs is a commitment that if you bring your jobs into my state, we will be able to produce the talent of workforce to walk into any job that you create. That’s the kind of conversation we need to be having, can we produce the workforce to fall into the jobs that you’ll bring to our communities. But this idea that Amazon or, Google does this as well, and a couple of other big tech and even beyond that big hegemon companies, that the only way they’re going to choose to locate in a place as how good the financial package is, is ludicrous. These folks don’t need that. What would they need is a commitment that if you locate to these places that we can produce the workforce and that your workforce will get access to a good quality of life. But for us to take money out of the public purse to make way for these companies that are making money hand over fist as a way to in some way induce them. The best inducement we could create is to say if you locate your jobs here, not only will we have the workforce, but we will also invest into the kinds of quality of life investments that make it so that your employee, when you bring them here or you recruit them from here, they’re not going to be looking for the next job outta here. Why? Because housing is unaffordable. Because we don’t have 21st century transportation options. That we’ve got public schools that are raggedy and can’t ensure that if your kids attend a public education system here in this state, that they’re going to have to be pulled out of there and put into a private school. That’s how we should be packaging our assets to companies like an Amazon is to say, look, we’ve got you covered when it comes to a good quality lived experience, if you choose to locate in our communities, but to give away the public purse in my opinion is short-sighted, and frankly, I don’t think that’s what’s gonna ultimately win.
Jamarlin Martin: Do you believe the majority of Democratic voters are educated on the big tech lobbyist spin that they create jobs, where obviously, if Amazon comes in, they may hire 100,000 people, the pitch for HQ2 is managers, 100k plus. But when people say that big tech creates jobs, it seems that no one factors in what the robots take away, no one factors in that when these big tech companies get more efficient, they suppress wages, the robots replace jobs, and then when most of Amazon’s jobs are actually in factory sorting centers, they’re low wage, at least what I’ve read is they are not great conditions, a lot of these places. So do you believe the voter is educated in terms of these big tech companies, net-net, they’re not really creating jobs when you factor in the automation and robots that they take away, they crush other businesses, right? And they get more efficient.
Andrew Gillum: Yeah. I mean we know that the quote-unquote robots are coming, or the robots are here. You hear the automation revolution that is already underway and I think we’ve got to, as a society, learn to deal with, in the public policy space at least, what we’re going to do about that. If we’re moving more toward a contract-based economy, where you get people who are not working fulltime for anybody, but their labor is being used on a contracted basis if you will, what happens to the fact that most of us derive our healthcare benefits from our employer? Most of us derive our retirement benefits from our employer, most community benefits that are negotiated on behalf of the worker, on negotiated by the company with another company. And so this has a huge impact on the way in which our society operates. Are we ready in the public space to really deal with not just automation, but what the contract economy is going to introduce, the kind of disruption it’s going to introduce on the public square, healthcare, retirement benefits and other benefits that are negotiated by virtue of who you work for, if now everybody is going to be working for themselves in some contractual role or on a contractual basis, and you can see how we can easily move in that direction because most big companies don’t want the overhead of what it means to have a fulltime employee. They don’t want what it means to have to take care of an employee fully loaded. If they can figure out a way to have the work get done and not have to have a fully loaded salary line, they do it. And so we now have to have a public policy conversation of what that means to the rest of us. But to your question, no, I don’t think most people equate what that means. I think what we look at is what’s right in front of us, which is, ‘are you telling me we’re about to have 100,000 jobs that pay on average $100,000? Heck yes. Sign me up. I want that!’ Without any conversation about what gets lost in that process, who loses out on that kind of a deal? And I think that in an evaluation when determining recruitment of these companies, an analysis has to be done on that basis. You add this, but then what do we lose? What are the other community impacts to this decision. And I think that has to be taken into context for sure.
Jamarlin Martin: Many of us believe that the corporate wing of the Democratic Party, the old guard, the ones that are more connected to lobbyists, the corporate side of the party has taken the black vote for granted, meaning that they exploit the extremity of the racism that’s coming out from the Republican Party, where there’s no other option for you negro. There’s no other option for you to vote. So we know you’re going to vote for us every election. So many of us believe that the black vote has been, I believe, the most reliable vote in the Democratic Party in terms of its potency in terms of turning elections, that we have not received commensurate value for our support. So if you agree that the black vote has been taken for granted, how does that change?
Andrew Gillum: It has absolutely been taken for granted. We don’t advertise to people of color until the last couple of weeks.
Jamarlin Martin: I got in my bag already. Is that the thinking?
Andrew Gillum: I think they think they got no place else to go. Right? The mistake you make when you say they got no place else to go is they do have another place to go. And that’s home. That’s not turning out, that’s not voting. Right? We saw six million fewer people in 2016 compared to 2012. And so the idea that you get no place to go, well voting at home and not voting at all by staying home is also a decision and that means the Democrats didn’t become the benefactor of that non-voter. Right? And I think the way it changes is by us seriously showing up to the table and demanding what it is that we want to see and letting folks know that ‘listen, 2016 was not accidental’. You have six million people voting, you had major urban centers, not just Miami Broward, but Philadelphia and Detroit, and other major urbanized areas, Milwaukee, where we just didn’t see the turnout of our voters. And unfortunately the red flag went up real late. I was with some media folks earlier today, they said they just had a a windfall of resources coming in, doing advertising the last week, it was like manna from heaven for them, but what an embarrassment that instead of having a sustained relationship with black media, black press, making sure that you’re advertising in those spaces and holding a relationship there that you wait until the last minute until it’s crisis mode and you see that we’re not getting the news we need.
Jamarlin Martin: Hey, I’m just going to bring out Beyonce and Jay-Z.
Andrew Gillum: And by the way, it was a great concert, but it didn’t translate into votes.
Jamarlin Martin: One of the largest pop culture websites in the United States, Bossip.com. HRC did not put any budget. I think the calculus and people have told me this, the calculus is, I already got the black vote. I don’t have to spend with black media.
Andrew Gillum: Well, that’s a big mistake. The DNC spent maybe $200 million dollars from the DNC in the last election cycle, they just announced a record breaking investment in the black vote, drum roll, $1.5 million dollars is what they are proposing to spend. It’s shameful. It’s embarrassing that that’s still where we are, but the truth is that not only do we have to show up, but we also got to demand more. What about our candidates? What about when candidates of color put themselves up and you tell us, ‘oh, it’s not the time, or you don’t represent the right demographic or, will they elect a person of color’. Well, we don’t know because you haven’t given us one. You’ve not given us one. Even in my own race, I would be the first African American or person of color on the democratic side to lead the Democratic Party. Yet in this state, the Democrats of the black vote in the Democratic primary might represent about 30 percent of the electorate. Right? Yet we’ve never had. I mean, it is stunning and, and they will put up insurmountable barriers if they could to keep a candidate like me from being able to get out there and to really truly compete. Um, and it’s all because they are addicted to a playbook. They got a typo-graph of what our nominees are supposed to look like, sound like, where they are supposed to come from, what the pedigree of their family is supposed to be. And I will admit happily that I don’t fit that profile, but that profile has been losing in the state of Florida for 20 years. Five consecutive elections for governor. We lost, right? And so maybe my play doesn’t work, but I can tell you there’s absolutely doesn’t work. So why aren’t we trying to get differently?
Jamarlin Martin: Preach. Are you affiliated with the Justice Democrats?
Andrew Gillum: I’m familiar with Justice Democrats and we’ve written for endorsement and we would love to be considered.
Jamarlin Martin: But I love the progressive viewpoints that you’re expressing. If you like what you’re hearing, you can check us out at www.moguldom.com. That’s M O G U L D O M dot com. That’s www.moguldom.com. We have the latest information on tech, crypto, the business of Hollywood and economic empowerment. You can also check me out on Twitter @Jamarlinmartin. Let’s get back to the podcast. In May, over 60 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces with the endorsement of Netanyahu. Many Democrats did not speak up, the corporate side of the party. Many of them did not have a point of view. Bernie Sanders came out. A couple of other members of the congressional black caucus came out, but many Democrats did not speak up. What would you say to that voter who says, Hey, you democrats, you guys can bang against Trump all day, but if there is a Trump in another country, a conservative right wing side, and they do something that the United Nations believes violates human rights. We know your values by your consistency, meaning that you’re doing things just to optimize your vote, you’re lobbying support, but I want to see consistency. I want to see some conviction on that side where you’re going to speak up for human rights, not just when it’s popular to bang against Trump, but when 60 Palestinians who were throwing rocks and protesting what I view as apartheid, they don’t deserve to be shot. Can you speak to the 60 Palestinians that were murdered and the lack of a democratic condemnation of that human rights of violation?
Andrew Gillum: Yeah. None of us can look at those images and be okay with it. Right? And I do think that the time is always right as Dr King says, to do what’s right, the right thing to do is to hold our leaders accountable to force, through thoughtful and very deliberate negotiation, the two-state solution. To ensure that Palestinians have the right to self determination, that they have the right to electing their own leadership, that just as we have in the United States, a sovereignty and the ability to decide for ourselves, that it should also be true for Palestinians. And unfortunately today it is not, and at the hands of this administration, we now have even cited more violence by recognizing Jerusalem to be the capital and also to locate the United States embassy there, again just adding more fuel to the fire. I think it was a provocation by the president that was unnecessary and it has been costly from a human toll. I’ve been to Israel three different times, with the Palestinian Authority sat down with Palestinian young people and honestly what I am most concerned about, and there’s a lot to be concerned about, but we now have a whole other generation of Palestinians and Israelis who are growing up in an atmosphere of hate, and that tells me that then the cycle can’t be disrupted if the next generation who is supposed to be our hope, who was supposed to be, our best expectation for a better and a brighter future on both sides, are now growing up again in the spirit of hate. And it really makes me doubtful around our ability to see a peaceful moment and humanitarian solution.
Jamarlin Martin: Would you condemn the murder of 60 Palestinians?
Andrew Gillum: I condemn the murder on all sides.
Jamarlin Martin: When you say all sides, they’re protesting.
Andrew Gillum: I understand the protest. What I mean by all sides, and I don’t mean to equate obviously the death of 60 Palestinians and a humanitarian crises, but I think we have to take in total the environment that has happened between the Palestinian Authority, and what’s happened in Palestine and what’s also happened in Israel. Now while I was there, we had Katyusha missiles that were coming across the border into the part of the country where we were visiting, which was Haifa. That’s dangerous, right? Now that’s not the Palestinian government, but they are militants who are not under the control of the elected government.
Jamarlin Martin: Your point of view is you do condemn Israeli military killing the protesters. But you also condemn of course, Palestinians firing missiles.
Andrew Gillum: Missiles that could also take lives, right? And the reason why that’s important is because you have a government that is now able to justify his actions because now their citizens are also in harm’s way. Imagine if in Canada, now, I don’t think this would happen, but if in Canada they began to fire missiles over the border into the United States, whether they’re going into barren lands or less populated lands, believe that the United States will respond. In this case, this is not a direct comparable, but I say that to say that each country has a right to self protection, right? Nobody wants to put their people in harm’s way. And the reason why we’ve got to see the level of violence in these two areas in this region of the world reduced, is quite frankly because Israel right now has more firepower and their pushback is outsized to the threat that they’re attempting to squelch. But they’re able to continue that mission out of a destination that they believe they should be able to protect their citizens. And I don’t think any of us would disagree that they shouldn’t be able to protect their citizens. At the same token as the United Nations has said, there’s something called reciprocal response and then there is outsize response. And what we’ve seen is, in my opinion, an outsize response that has created a humanitarian crisis.
Jamarlin Martin: Yeah. I’ll just leave on that note that it’s disappointing for the corporate side, the corporate machine side of the Democratic Party to be to the right of the United Nations, of that issue. I want to move on to Parkland. So you’ve been out in the streets, you’re marching with the students, the younger generation. You’ve been very vocal and present. What’s a higher priority? Is it optimizing the information systems, the technology, the databases, making sure that the systems are working properly and creating new systems, or banning specific guns, if you had to pick one in terms of what should be a higher priority for the state of Florida?
Jamarlin Martin: Well, I hate the framing because I wouldn’t prioritize above the two, but I’ll tell you, because I think we’ve got to deal with background checks on these individuals. I also think we have to deal with the proliferation of weapons, the proliferation of guns and the type of guns that are being proliferated. So for instance, in Parkland’s case, it might be that we would regulate high capacity magazines and weapons of war that can fire off 60 bullets in less than 60 seconds to prevent the kind of mass carnage that you can get from that. But if you live in Liberty City or in Tallahassee and your community is being ravaged and torn apart by everyday gun violence that are not the weapons of war, but are certainly weapons of war in our city streets, banning assault weapons doesn’t speak to that. We have to deal with the proliferation of guns period.
Jamarlin Martin: But specifically on banning specific types of weapons, you wouldn’t give one a higher priority? In terms of optimizing information systems, databases, connecting all this stuff where the authorities have better information.
Andrew Gillum: I think better information is good. I think bad people determined to do bad things are going to do bad things and if we allow for them to have access to the kinds of weapons where they can maximize their devastation, they’re gonna go for it. Right? And so I think we’d get a deal with the kind of machinery, artillery that we have available to citizens, because I think it lies at the intersection of their ability. For instance, if you couldn’t get off more than 10 rounds as the highest capacity weapon that we had, then imagine the number of lives that might’ve been saved in Orlando at Pulse, or at Parkland or the attempted attack at the Fort Lauderdale airport or certainly Las Vegas.
Jamarlin Martin: Right. But of course some people would say that, hey, there were so many red flags, you could optimize the existing systems, make them work where this person could have been caught beforehand.
Andrew Gillum: Potentially, right? We knew that this was a bad player and I think there was some failure of information there, but say for instance, that with big data, we started mining everybody’s social media to the point that every word that they uttered on social media that we thought might be a trigger then allowed them to be put into a higher level of surveillance database. We get in this cycle where, how much information and how much data should the government have on an individual? I do believe in information gathering. I do believe that, that with good information we can make good decisions, but I also say that had this individual been identified, but still gets access to weapons of war, that we would be dealing with a real crisis deal on our hands. The machinery matters. The information matters. I don’t think they are mutually exclusive. I think we have to have it both. I think we need good information, but I also think we need to address the proliferation and the accessibility of these weapons. Who gets to access them? What type of weapons they get access to?
Jamarlin Martin: What would you say to the Florida voter who says, and I heard this before the marijuana laws were changed and decriminalized, and then of course made illegal in some states, that they said initially that we changed the marijuana laws and it was going to help cancer patients. It’s going to help sick people only. We’re not trying to legalize it everywhere. And so that was the push and voters kind of voted, to kind of make a minor step and then the flood gates kind of open. Right? And so what would you say to that gun rights voter? Who says, Hey, I’m for some of some of the stuff that you guys are saying is logical. However, I know the way this stuff works, is that just like the marijuana laws, you said it was just for cancer patients. You said it was just for sick people, but you guys had an agenda to push this across the country where it’s going to be legal. What would you say to that vote? Who says, Hey, if you start banning one type of weapon or another type of weapon that that’s not going to satisfy the agenda and the political machine, and you guys are gonna start going after more and more weapons? So it’s not really about. I disagree that you shouldn’t have automatic weapons, but I know that if you guys go there, you guys are going to go like five more steps.
Andrew Gillum: So I know you used it as a setup for the question, but I am an endorser of full marijuana use. I believe in this case I’m also obviously for the second amendment, but I believe that every one of our rides has guard rails on it. Our speech has guard rails on it, right? You can’t go into a crowded theatre and yell fire. The Supreme Court has held that to be the case. And so yeah, I believe that there ought to be commonsensical guard rails and society is dynamic, and our laws have to be dynamic in that way. Now the second amendment is a strongly held right and principal. I think there’s some difference of interpretations around a militia versus arming citizens to have weaponry consistent with that of a U.S. military. I don’t think any of us believe that literally anymore, but I do believe in the second amendment that people have a right to bear arms. What I don’t agree with and I think it’s an extension or reach that our Framers intended for people to have weapons of mass destruction as an everyday right in a civilized society. On military bases, they have to check their weapons, they have to completely decommission these things, and these people are in war zones, just to get into their bunkers. Yet here there are guns everywhere. It doesn’t make sense. So I think there are commonsensical solutions that we can reach on all sides of this thing, and then I think there are other people who are going to be extreme and say, I’m not giving up anything because if I give up anything, I give up everything. I don’t believe that. I think that’s an easy cop-out for someone, but I don’t believe that can be evidenced. It hasn’t been evidenced so far in this country, not even after those dozens of babies’ bodies were carried out of Sandy Hook School. I just knew that that would be enough when we saw those caskets of kids, of babies not being able to live out the fullness of their lives all because we believe that people ought to have any weapon they want. I think that doesn’t make sense. And so I’m unapologetic in my position around guns. I think we’ve got an epidemic. We’ve got to deal with a crisis and I think we can do it without disrespecting the second amendment.
Jamarlin Martin: How do you plan to promote economic development in South Florida specifically, within communities that feel left out in terms of contracting? What type of programs or are you proposing that would give a boost to economic boost in communities that feel left out?
Andrew Gillum: In communities of color and communities that are particularly underrepresented in this economy and are working multiple jobs just to make ends meet, I think we’ve got to return to the days where we would equip our young people with a skill, a trade that they could use, they could monetize, go to work and get a good job. I’m dealing with everyday basic kind of stuff which is that we are producing our kids off of our high school campuses without a meaningful skill that they could apply, they could monetize that skill and get a job that pays a good wage. Open your own roofing company, open your own janitorial service, open your own woodwork and shop-making company, working with your hands. We’ve made blue collar work in some way unattractive because it’s a shame to have to do that work. So I want to start there because I think they often get left out of the conversation on jobs, on economics and on development. But obviously we’ve got to deal with lending practices. We have a state stimulus fund that consists of over $100,000,000 that doesn’t have any kind of lens on it as it relates to equity, gender, race, income, or otherwise. I would have put a lens on those funds so that communities who have created that revenue for the state also get the benefit from the buying and the spending power of that. Those commitments matter. We had a governor who ended affirmative action in higher education and in state contracting by executive order. I would return it through executive order. It matters that the buying and spending power of this state reflect diversity of the people in this state who create those bastions of revenue and funds.
Jamarlin Martin: Where are you on film tax credits?
Andrew Gillum: I’m in favor of that and frankly I would much prefer TV. Usually pilots stay in a place for a number of years, once you get them there, and right now we’re missing out on major industry, major jobs, contract work that pays good wages. They are down in Atlanta, manufacturing what it means to be on Miami beach when you can have the real thing. I think that’s problematic.
Jamarlin Martin: Jumping back to Parkland. What’s your response to that black voter who says, for the gun laws to really change in this country, meaning that our community has faced a lot of destruction, a lot of debt, this has been going on promiscuously for decades, but no one seems to care. The politicians don’t seem to kind of be able to push an agenda that impacts our communities as it relates to gun violence. What would you say to the black voter who says for the gun laws to really change in the United States, the race of a lot of the victims would need to change because when there’s white victims, that the country has a greater outrage, that white victims are of greater value than black victims in Chicago or Compton or Watts. That if white kids and white teenagers and white adults, if they start to die at a greater rate from gun violence, then the laws could move.
Andrew Gillum: Well, I’ll tell you in the case of Sandy Hook, that didn’t hold true. There was no national reform after Sandy Hook. There was a lot of talk about it. President of the United States get on television and cried about it and nothing changed as a result. I do think obviously the media pays more attention depending upon who the victims are. What I have to appreciate about the Parkland students, is that they joined forces, they took the victims of mass shootings and combined voices with the victims of everyday gun violence. Folks from Chicago, from Philly, from DC, and they said, join our platform. Let’s do this thing together. That’s what we need. I think that’s where the transformational moment will take place is when you bring these demographics that are unlikely allies to the same table and raise the voice, the specter of the pervasive nature of gun violence that’s impacting not just unsuspecting students in an affluent high school, but the kid who is the unsuspecting kid who’s just trying to walk to school, who has to deal with the pervasive presence of gun violence that shows up in their communities every day of the week, that all of us deserve a protection and that all of our lives matter in that case, and unfortunately that has not been what has happened with real popular movements around gun violence and gun reform. It is beginning to happen in this case, and I have to tell you, I salute those students from Philly, from Chicago, from DC, from Parkland, from parts of Liberty City that are joining voices and saying, look, all of us have had enough. All of us!
Jamarlin Martin: I want to thank the mayor for coming on GHOGH. Where can people find more information?
Andrew Gillum: Check us out. https://andrewgillum.com. We’re also on all the major social media platforms except Snapchat for some reason. I got to figure out why my team don’t have us on Snapchat, but whatever, but Facebook, Instagram, Twitter of course, our website at https://andrewgillum.com.
Jamarlin Martin: So be sure to check out Andrew Gillum. I believe he’s going to be the next governor of the state of Florida. Thanks everybody for listening to GHOGH. You can check me out @jamarlinmartin on Twitter and also come check us out at www.moguldom.com. That’s M O G U L D O M dot com. Be sure to subscribe to our daily newsletter. You can get the latest information on crypto, tech, economic empowerment and politics. Let’s GHOGH!
This podcast has been edited for clarity.