Metrofocus: June 22, 2022

New Yorkers are just days away from the June 28 primaries for governor and deciding who will face off in November for the state’s highest office. With the election right around the corner, we sit down with former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, one of the four top Republicans vying for the GOP nomination next Tuesday. Astorino came the closest of any recent Republican to winning the governor’s race when he ran in 2014 against Governor Andrew Cuomo, and tonight he shares his vision for New York and why he wants to represent the GOP this fall.

At 19, Jerome Foster II was appointed as the youngest White House Advisor ever. In March, he was named to President Joe Biden’s Environmental Justice Advisory Council. He also served as a keynote speaker at the COP26 Conference in Glasgow. Tonight, he discusses the impact of climate change on the world, particularly marginalized peoples. Join us for this important discussion on the policies he’s advocating for within the Biden administration and on why he believes Generation Z is the generation most impacted by the climate crisis.

TRANSCRIPT

> TONIGHT, THE RACE FOR NEW YORK'S HIGHEST OFFICE HEATS UP, AND FORMER WESTCHESTER COUNTY EXECUTIVE ROB ASTORINO SHARES WHY HE SHOULD BE YOUR NEXT GOVERNOR.

AND MEET THE YOUNGEST WHITE HOUSE ADVISER EVER, WHO IS FIGHTING TO SAVE THE PLANET, AS 'METROFOCUS' STARTS RIGHT NOW.

♪♪

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS,' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

AND BY --

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS,' I'M RAFAEL PI ROMAN.

WITH EARLY VOTING ALREADY UNDER WAY, NEW YORKERS ARE JUST DAYS AWAY FROM THE JUNE GUBERNATORIAL PRIMARIES AND FROM DECIDE WHO WILL FACE OFF IN NOVEMBER FOR THE STATE'S HIGHEST OFFICE.

TONIGHT, WE'RE SITTING DOWN WITH ONE OF THE FOUR TOP REPUBLICANS VYING FOR THE GOP NOMINATION NEXT TUESDAY.

FORMER WESTCHESTER COUNTY EXECUTIVE ROB ASTORINO BECAME THE CLOSEST OF ANY RECENT REPUBLICAN TO WINNING THE GOVERNOR'S RACE WHEN HE RAN AGAINST ANDREW CUOMO IN 2014.

NOW, HE'S BACK AND LOOKING TO PREVAIL OVER HIS PRIMARY OPPONENTS, LEE ZELDEN, ANDREW GIULIANI AND BUSINESSMAN HARRY WILSON FOR THE RIGHT TO REPRESENT REPUBLICANS THIS FALL.

MR. ASTORINO JOINS US NOW.

BEFORE WE START, I SHOULD SAY THAT WE'RE TAPING THIS BEFORE THE SECOND DEBATE AND ALSO THAT WE'RE DOING HALF A PROGRAM BECAUSE YOUR VERY BUSY SCHEDULE.

THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME.

SO, LET'S GET RIGHT TO IT.

AS I SAID IN THE INTRODUCTION, YOU RAN FOR GOVERNOR AGAINST ANDREW CUOMO IN 2014 AND NOW YOU'RE RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR AGAIN.

WHY ARE YOU DOING THAT?

AND WHY SHOULD REPUBLICAN VOTERS CHOOSE YOU OVER YOUR OPPONENTS?

WELL, THANKS, RAFAEL, FOR HAVING ME.

LET ME START WITH THAT.

I REALLY APPRECIATE THE OPPORTUNITY TO TALK DIRECTLY TO VOTERS, NO MATTER WHAT PARTY, BECAUSE IT ALL COMES DOWN TO PICKING SOMEONE IN NOVEMBER, BUT RIGHT NOW, IT'S FOR REPUBLICANS TO LISTEN AND SAY, WHO IS THE MOST QUALIFIED?

THE MOST EXPERIENCED?

AND THE MOST ELECTABLE REPUBLICAN.

AND THAT'S REALLY WHAT MATTERS.

AND, YOU KNOW, I RAN IN WESTCHESTER IN '09 FOR COUNTY EXECUTIVE AND NOBODY GAVE ME A SHOT TO WIN, BECAUSE IT'S A DEEP BLUE COUNTY, AND YET, I WENT EVERYWHERE AND IT WAS, REMEMBER THE BANKING CRISIS HAPPENED, THE ECONOMY WAS TEETERING BACK THEN SIMILAR TO NOW, AND I JUST SAID, STOP THE TAX MADNESS, LET'S GET BACK TO SOME NORMALCY.

LET'S MAKE GOVERNMENT WORK AND BE COMPETENT.

I WENT EVERYWHERE, I WENT TO AFRICAN AMERICAN NEIGHBORHOODS, I WENT TO HISPANIC AREAS, WHERE I SPEAK SPANISH, AND I DIDN'T GIVE UP ANY INCH, BECAUSE EVERYONE NEEDED TO HEAR MY MESSAGE AND LO AND BEHOLD, WE WON AND WON BIG AND THEN I GOT RE-ELECT AND WE GOVERNED BY HOLDING THE LINE ON SPENDING, GIVING PEOPLE A CHANCE TO GET BACK ON THEIR FEET, NEVER RAISE TAXES, WE CUT THEM.

WE HELPED SMALL AND BIG BUSINESSES SUCCEED AND CREATE JOBS IN WESTCHESTER.

SO, I THINK REALLY WHAT ACCEPT RATES ME IS, YES, I RAN AGAINST CUOMO, BECAUSE I KNEW WHO HE WAS BACK IN '14.

I KNEW WE WERE ON THE WRONG TRACK.

I KNEW THE CORRUPTION THAT SWIRLED AROUND HIM.

AND I SAID SO BACK THEN.

AND I THINK I WAS RIGHT AND I ALSO THINK IF WE HAD CHANGED COURSE BACK THEN, WE WOULDN'T BE SO IN DEBT, WE WOULDN'T BE SO HIGHLY TAXED AND WE WOULDN'T BE SPENDING LIKE NUTS AND WE WOULD BE A BETTER STATE RIGHT NOW.

SO, I'M HERE TO FINISH THE JOB OF WHAT I STARTED IN '14.

NOW, TWO YEARS AGO, YOU LOST A RACE FOR STATE SENATE SEAT IN A DISTRICT WHERE VOTERS PRESUMABLY KNEW YOU BEST.

WHY DO YOU BELIEVE YOU CAN WIN THE GUBERNATORIAL SLOT, THE HIGHEST ELECTED POSITION IN THE STATE, JUST TWO YEARS AFTER THIS LOSS?

WELL, I DON'T THINK PEOPLE REALLY MATTER WHAT HAPPENED TWO YEARS AGO.

THEY'RE LOOKING FORWARD TO WHAT I REPRESENT AND WHAT I WILL DO AS GOVERNOR WITH MY EXECUTIVE EXPERIENCE.

I THINK, YOU KNOW, YOU HAVE TO PUT WESTCHESTER IN PERSPECTIVE A LITTLE BIT.

IT IS ONE OF THE DEEPEST, BLUEST COUNTIES IN ALL OF NEW YORK.

DONALD TRUMP LOST WESTCHESTER BY 37 POINTS.

AND SO, THERE WAS THAT TIDAL WAVE OF EXTRA DEMOCRATS COMING OUT TO VOTE AND INDEPENDENTS AND EVEN SOME REPUBLICANS TURNING THEIR BACK ON THEIR OWN PARTY, BECAUSE OF DONALD TRUMP, RIGHT, WRONG OR INDIFFERENT, BUT THAT'S WHAT HAPPENED.

THERE WAS A MASSIVE WAVE AND A LOT OF GOOD REPUBLICANS ALL AROUND THE STATE AND I CAN SAY A COUNTRY, YOU KNOW, GOT KIND OF SWEPT AWAY.

BUT THAT'S REALLY WHAT HAPPENS, SORT OF THE EBB AND FLOW OF POLITICS AND RIGHT NOW, WE'RE IN A DIFFERENT TIME, WHERE JOE BIDEN IS STRUGGLING MIGHTILY AND THE COUNTRY IS ON ITS NEEDS ECONOMICALLY, INFLATION IS HURTING PEOPLE, CRIME IS COMPLETELY OUT OF CONTROL, PEOPLE FEEL LIKE THEY'VE LOST THEIR VOICE AND, YOU KNOW, I SAY TO THEM, HELP IS ON THE WAY, I'VE HAD TO DO THIS BEFORE.

I STEPPED IN WITH A DEMOCRATIC COUNTY BOARD THE ENTIRE TIME AND YET I ACHIEVED JUST ABOUT ALL OF MY GOALS AND SO I'M READY FOR THIS AND I HAD SUCCESS IN PULLING PEOPLE OVER FROM OTHER PARTIES THAT NORMALLY WOULDN'T VOTE REPUBLICAN.

LET'S TALK ABOUT THE ISSUES.

YOU MENTIONED A COUPLE OF THEM.

LET'S BEGIN WITH CRIME.

HOW DO YOU PROPOSE TO REVERSE THE EXPLODING RISING CRIME THAT NEW YORK CITY AND NEW YORK STATE HAS BEEN EXPERIENCING FOR THE LAST THREE YEARS?

NO, I THINK, RAFAEL, WHAT WE NEED TO DO IS GO BACK TO WHAT WORKED IN NEW YORK CITY.

WHEN YOU REALLY ANALYZE -- AND RAY KELLY AND OTHERS WHO SERVED AS COMMISSIONER OF THE NYPD AND OTHER HIGH-RANKING IN SUBURBS AND IN THE CITY, AND THEY ALL SAID THE SAME THING.

WE HAVE HIGH CONCENTRATION AREAS THAT MOST OF THE VIOLENT CRIME, DRUGS, GANGS, WEAPON USE, YOU KNOW, MURDERS, WHERE THEY ARE AND WE'VE GOT TO ATTACK THAT AND WE'VE GOTTEN AWAY FROM THAT.

THINGS LIKE, YOU KNOW, A UNIFORMED POLICE OFFICER ON THE SUBWAY PLATFORMS WILL GO A LONG WAY TO PROTECTING RIDERS.

THINGS LIKE CRACKING DOWN ON THE SMALL STUFF, WHICH THEN BECOMES THE BIG STUFF IF YOU BECOME LENIENT AND LOOK THE OTHER WAY ON CRIME.

GETTING BACK TO THINGS LIKE STOP, QUESTION, AND FRISK, WHICH IS CONSTITUTIONAL, WHICH IS STILL IN OUR PENAL CODE IN NEW YORK, WHICH WORKED.

NOW, YOU CAN SAY SOME OF IT WAS ABUSED AT A PERIOD OF TIME, BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN IT CAN'T BE DONE THE RIGHT WAY AND WE'VE GOT TO GET BACK TO THAT.

THINGS LIKE THE ANTI-CRIME UNITS.

RIGHT NOW, POLICE OFFICERS CAN'T BE IN REALITY, THEY CAN'T BE UNDERCOVER, THEY HAVE TO IDENTIFY THEMSELVES AS POLICE OFFICERS.

THAT PUTS THEM AT A HIGH DISADVANTAGE.

AND THEN THINGS LIKE NO CASH BAIL HAS TO BE REPEALED.

ALVIN BRAGG AND OTHER D.A.s WHO REFUSE TO PROSECUTE CRIMES, WE'VE GOT TO GET BACK TO WHAT MADE NEW YORK SAFE AND IF PEOPLE DON'T FEEL SAFE, THEY'RE NOT GOING TO COME INTO NEW YORK CITY, YOU KNOW, TO SPEND THEIR MONEY FROM THE SUBURBS, THEY'RE NOT GOING TO WORK IN NEW YORK CITY, BUSINESSES ARE GOING TO LEAVE, AND WE'RE SEEING ALL OF THAT RIGHT NOW, ESPECIALLY COMING AFTER THE PANDEMIC.

ALL RIGHT, WE HAVE TO MOVE ALONG.

I WOULD STAY ON CRIME, BUT WE'RE SHORT OF TIME, SO, LET'S TURN TO THE ECONOMY.

ALMOST EVERY EXPERT IS SAYING A RECESSION IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER, IF IT'S INDEED NOT ALREADY HERE AND MANY OF THOSE EXPERTS SAY THAT WHEN IT DOES COME FULL BLOWN, IT'S GOING TO BE WORSE THAN THE GREAT RECESSION OF 2008, BECAUSE IT WILL BE ACCOMPANIED BY INFLATION.

YEAH.

IF IT HAPPENS AND YOU ARE THE GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK, WHAT WILL YOU DO TO MITIGATE THE PAIN THAT NEW YORKERS ARE GOING TO BE EXPERIENCING?

IT'S GOING TO BE A CATEGORY 5 HURRICANE COMING OUR WAY, AND A LOT OF IT IS ALL SELF-INFLICTED, BECAUSE WE'RE SPENDING WAY TOO MUCH, NOT THINKING THERE ARE ANY CONSEQUENCES TO THAT AND WE'RE TAXING TOO HIGH, SO, THE MIDDLE CLASS, THE WORKING CLASS, THEY CAN'T CATCH A BREAK HERE.

YOU KNOW, IF YOU'RE VERY WEALTHY, IT HURTS A LITTLE BIT, MAYBE, BUT YOU CAN STILL LIVE YOUR LIFE.

BUT MOST PEOPLE ARE HAVING A REALLY ROUGH TIME.

IT COST ME $111 TO FILL UP BY TRAVERSE THE OTHER DAY.

THINK ABOUT THAT.

SO, I'M GOING TO DO WHAT I DID IN WEST CHER.

I CAME IN A MASSIVE DEFICIT, TAXING AND SPENDING OUT OF CONTROL.

WE WERE IN THE MIDDLE OF THAT ECONOMIC CRISIS BACK THEN AND I SAID, LET'S GET BACK TO THE BASICS, OKAY?

WE HAVE ALL THE MONEY WE NEED.

LET'S SPEND IT WISELY, LET'S DRILL DOWN ON WHAT WE'RE SUPPOSED TO DO, PRIORITIZE AND THAT WORKED.

AND THAT'S WHAT WE HAVE TO DO IN NEW YORK.

TAXES ARE SO HIGH PEOPLE ARE LEAVING.

THAT'S INARGUABLE.

WE HAVE -- MORE PEOPLE HAVE LEFT NEW YORK THAN ANY OTHER STATE AND TOOK THEIR MONEY WITH THEM AND THERE'S A REASON WHY AND I THINK A VALID REASON WHY THEY'RE FLEEING.

SO, WE HAVE TO STOP THE CHAOS, WE HAVE TO GET BACK TO BASICS.

WE HAVE TO SPEND WITHIN OUR MEANS.

THAT DOESN'T MEAN WE TURN OUR BACKS ON PEOPLE WHO NEED HELP.

IT JUST MEANS WE'VE GOT TO MAKE SURE THE PROGRAMS ARE WORKING, THAT THEY'RE ACCOUNTABLE AND OUR MONEY IS WISELY SPENT.

AND WE ALSO NEED TO REDUCE TAXES IN A MEANINGFUL WAY, AS WELL AS REGULATIONS WHICH ARE JUST CHOKING OUR BUSINESSES.

AND IF THEY'RE CHOKING, THEY'RE NOT GOING TO SURVIVE AND THAT MEANS UNEMPLOYMENT WILL RISE, AS WELL.

ALL RIGHT, LET'S MOVE ALONG.

AFTER THE BUFFALO AND UVALDE MASS SHOOTINGS, THERE SEEMS TO BE GENUINE MOMENTUM.

A LITTLE, PERHAPS EVEN MORE LONG-LASTING THAN WE USUALLY SEE AFTER MASS SHOOTINGS.

TO ACHIEVE SERIOUS GUN CONTROL.

WHAT IS YOUR VIEW ON THE GUN CONTROL LEGISLATION HERE IN NEW YORK STATE, DO YOU SUPPORT IT?

DO YOU SUPPORT THE FEDERAL GUN CONTROL LEGISLATION THAT EXISTS AND ARE THERE ANY GUN CONTROL LEGISLATIONS THAT YOU WOULD ADD IN THE FEDERAL LEVEL OR THE STATE LEVEL?

SO, A FEW THINGS.

FIRST OF ALL, RAISING THE AGE TO 21 TO BUY A RIFLE HAS BEEN FOUND UNCONSTITUTIONAL BY FEDERAL COURTS, SO IT'S LIKELY TO NOT LAST HERE IN NEW YORK, EITHER, AND THEY KNEW THAT.

THE MICROSTAMPING THING WILL NOT PREVENT ONE CRIME.

SO, I THINK WE'VE GOT TO REALLY FOCUS AND CHANGE THE WORD GUN CONTROL, WHICH IS AN INADAMANT OBJECT, TO CRIMINAL CONTROL.

THE VAST MAJORITY, ALMOST ALL, ARE CRIMINAL ACTS.

THEY ARE FINDING WEAPONS, YOU KNOW, STEALING THEM, TAKING THEM FROM SOMEBODY WHO IS A REGISTERED GUN OWNER, A FAMILY MEMBER OFTENTIMES, THERE IS SERIOUS MENTAL HEALTH ISSUE US AND A CRISIS WE FACE IN THIS COUNTRY RIGHT NOW, AND IN NEW YORK, WE'VE CUT BEDS TO PSYCHIATRIC IS AREAS.

WE'RE NOT DEALING WITH THAT ISSUE.

SO, INSTEAD OF ADDING LAWS AND LAWS AND LAWS, BECAUSE EVERY TIME SOMETHING HAPPENS, EVERYONE SCREAMS DO SOMETHING, BUT EVERYTHING THAT WE'VE DONE HAS NOT WORKED, SO ADDING NEW LAWS IS NOT GOING TO BE THE, YOU KNOW, THE ELIXOR.

REALLY FOCUSING, LIKE I SAID BEFORE, WHERE THE REAL PROBLEMS EXIST, YOU KNOW, UNFORTUNATELY, 75% OF ALL GUN DEATHS ARE DEATH BY GUN ARE SUICIDES.

THAT STRIKES TO THE HEART OF A MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS IN THIS COUNTRY.

THE REST ARE BY CRIMINALS WHO HAVE A RECORD OF, OVERWHELMING OF THE REST ARE BY CRIMINALS WHO HAVE A RECORD AND BY THEIR VERY NATURE COULD CARE LESS WHAT THE LAWS ARE.

SO, REAL QUICKLY, BECAUSE WE'RE RUNNING OUT OF TIME.

YOU'RE A RIGHT TO LIFE REPUBLICAN.

IF YOU GET ELECTED GOVERNOR, YOU MAY BE GOVERNOR AFTER ROE V.

WADE IS KILLED, IS OVERTHROWN BY THE SUPREME COURT.

IT LOOKS LIKE THEY'RE HEADING THAT WAY.

IF THAT HAPPENS, THE STATES ARE GOING TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR ABORTION LAWS.

WOULD YOU DO ANYTHING TO ROLL BACK THE NEW YORK STATE ABORTION LAWS IF YOU'RE ELECTED GOVERNOR?

SO, NEW YORK OBVIOUSLY THREE YEARS AGO LIT UP THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING TO CELEBRATE THAT THEY PUT INTO LAW THE LEGAL RIGHT FOR AN ABORTION.

I -- IT'S NOT GOING ANYWHERE.

THIS IS USED BY BOTH SIDES TO RAISE MONEY AND CREATE A BOOGEYMAN, BUT THE BIGGEST ISSUE RIGHT NOW IS TAXES, THE ECONOMY, INFLATION, ALL OF THOSE, CRIME, THAT'S WHAT MOST PEOPLE ARE TALKING ABOUT.

I THINK WE CAN HAVE A REASONABLE DISCUSSION ON WHAT REASONABLE RESTRICTIONS SHOULD WE HAVE, THIRD TRIMESER ABORTIONS, UP TO THE MOMENT OF BIRTH FOR BASICALLY ANY REASON IF YOU CAN FIND A DOCTOR TO DO SO, I THINK THAT'S VERY MUCH OUT OF STEP WITH WHAT MOST PRO-CHOICERS CONSIDER TO BE RIGHT.

SO, I DO THINK WE SHOULD HAVE SOME DISCUSSION IN THIS STATE.

REALISTICALLY, IT'S NOT GOING ANYWHERE.

THERE'S A HARD CORE DEMOCRATIC MAJORITY IN THE ASSEMBLY AND IN THE SENATE, SO THE REALITY IS -- WE'RE NOT A RED STATE, WE'RE NOT A PURPLE STATE, WE ARE A BLUE STATE ON THIS.

ALL RIGHT, MR. ASTORINO, WE ONLY HAVE A MINUTE.

IN 2020, PRESIDENT BIDEN OR THEN CANDIDATE BIDEN DEFEATED FORMER PRESIDENT TRUMP BY ALMOST 25 POINTS, WHICH SHOWS THAT AT LEAST AMONG THE GENERAL VOTING POPULATION, MR. TRUMP IS NOT THAT --

IN NEW YORK, YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT.

YES.

HE'S VERY POPULAR, IT SEEMS, AMONG REPUBLICAN PRIMARY VOTERS.

HOW DO YOU NAVIGATE THAT?

HOW DO YOU EMBRACE MR. TRUMP DURING THE PRIMARY WITHOUT IT BACKFIRING ON NEW THE GENERAL ELECTION?

WE HAVE ABOUT 40 SECONDS.

I -- LOOK, I'M RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK.

WE HAVE ENORMOUS PROBLEMS.

DONALD TRUMP IS NOT INVOLVED IN THIS RACE AND I WOULD SAY MOST PEOPLE THINK THAT PRESIDENT BIDEN HAS NOT DONE A GOOD JOB.

THE MESS WE'RE IN IS BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, ONE PARTY RULE RIGHT NOW AND I THINK WE DO NEED BALANCE IN ALBANY IN ORDER TO GIVE RELIEF TO PEOPLE.

PEOPLE THINK WE'RE ON THE RIGHT TRACK RIGHT NOW IN NEW YORK, THEN VOTE FOR KATHY HOCHUL.

THAT'S ALL THE TIME WE HAVE.

DO I GET A PBS UMBRELLA OR SOMETHING?

A TOTE BAG.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU, SIR.

THANK YOU.

> TODAY'S YOUNG PEOPLE, PARTICULARLY THOSE BELONGING TO GENERATION Z, HAVE GROWN UP INTIMATELY ACQUAINTED WITH THE DRAMATIC EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE.

SO, PERHAPS IT'S NOT SURPRISING THAT NO GENERATION HAS BEEN MORE VOE CALL ABOUT THE URGENCY OF ACTING NOW ON THE CLIMATE CRISIS.

UNTIL RECENTLY, THAT YOUNGER GENERATION, THE ONE MOST ENGAGED WITH ISSUES SURROUNDING CLIMATE, HAS HAD LITTLE POLITICAL POWER TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT.

BUT THAT APPEARS TO BE CHANGING.

OUR NEXT GUEST IS PARTAL OF A NEW WAVE OF YOUNG LEADERS WHO NOW HAVE A VOICE IN THE PLACES WHERE POLICY DECISIONS ARE MADE, PLACES LIKE THE WHITE HOUSE AND THE RECENT CLIMATE SUMMIT IN SCOTLAND.

JEROME FOSTER II IS AN ADVISER TO THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION AND AT 19, HE'S THE YOUNGEST WHITE HOUSE ADVISER IN U.S. HISTORY.

HE JOINS US NOW AS PART OF OUR ONGOING PERIL AND PROMISE INITIATIVE, REPORTING ON THE HUMAN STORIES OF CLIMATE CHANGE AND ITS SOLUTIONS.

JEROME, WELCOME, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

PLEASURE TO BE HERE.

WE'RE GLAD TO HAVE YOU HERE.

I KNOW YOU'VE BEEN PRETTY HECTIC THE LAST FEW WEEKS, WE'VE BEEN IN GLASGOW, YOU TALKED ABOUT THE WORK YOU'RE DOING WITH THE ADMINISTRATION.

BEFORE WE GET TO ALL OF THAT, LET ME JUST GIVE PEOPLE A SENSE OF YOU AND YOUR BACKGROUND HERE.

I MENTIONED YOUR AGE.

WHEN AND WHY WAS IT THAT YOU BECAME SO ENGAGED WITH THE STRUGGLE OVER CLIMATE CHANGE?

ABSOLUTELY.

WHEN WE TALK ABOUT THE CLIMATE JUSTICE MOVEMENT AND FOR ME, PERSONALLY, HOW I GOT INVOLVED IS BECAUSE OF THE FACT THAT CLIMATE IS SUCH A PRESSING ISSUE FOR MY GENERATION.

WE'RE GROWING INTO A WORLD WE WERE TOLD IS DYING.

WE'VE BEEN GROWN INTO A SYSTEM WHERE A LOT OF THE ENVIRONMENT AROUND US IS CONTINUING TO DESTABILIZE BECAUSE OF WILDFIRES, EARTHQUAKES, SO MANY THINGS THAT ARE CAUSED BY CLIMATE CHANGE.

AND THAT'S KIND OF -- THAT MOMENT THAT WE'RE IN RIGHT NOW IS WHAT ENERGIZED ME TO TAKE ACTION, BECAUSE EVEN THOUGH I'M NOT A COMMUNITY THAT'S BEING IMPACTED BY THE CLIMATE CRISIS, IT WAS THE EMPATHY AND IT WAS THE COMPASSION OF SEEING COMMON HUMANS THAT WERE HAVING THE SAME EXPERIENCE AND I SAID, I NEED TO ORGANIZE AND MAKE SURE THAT THEIR VOICE IS HEARD, AS WELL.

AND WE MENTIONED HOW YOUR GENERATION IS IN MANY WAYS THE VOICES THAT NEED TO BE HEARD AND DRIVE CHANGE HERE.

I DID MENTION IN THE INTRODUCTION YOU HAD BEEN AT THE SUMMIT IN GLASGOW, YOU SPOKE THERE.

CAN YOU GIVE US JUST A QUICK SUMMARY, IF YOU WOULD, HEADLINES, IF YOU WOULD, OF WHAT CAME OUT OF THAT SUMMIT?

SO, THE CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES, WHICH HAPPENED IN GLASGOW EARLIER IN THE PAST COUPLE OF WEEKS CONCLUDED AND BASICALLY MARGINAL TO NO ACTION.

WHAT -- THE INTENTION OF THE CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES WAS TO REVISIT THE PARIS CLIMATE AGREEMENT, CHL -- PRIORITIES FOCUSED ON LIMITING EMISSIONS, BUT RIGHT NOW, THE WORLD IS ON TRACK TO 2.4 DEGREES.

COP-26 WAS TO LIMIT THAT AND MAKE SURE THAT COUNTRIES ARE HELD TO ACCOUNT.

AND THAT WAS THE MAIN FOCUS, BUT THERE WAS NO ACTUAL DEMANDS AND NO ACTUAL NDCs THAT WERE IN LINE WITH THE PARIS CLIMATE ACCORD.

CHINA CAME TO -- ANOTHER TARGET FOR NET ZERO EMISSIONS BY 2060.

AND THAT IS THE BIGGEST STRUGGLE WE'RE TRYING TO GET OVER, FOR POLITICIANS TO NOT JUST SAY PRETTY WORDS AND SAY EMPTY SPEECHES AND HOLD THESE SUM MILTS BUT TO ACTUALLY PUT THEIR WORLDS WHERE THEIR MOUTH IS AND MAKE SURE OUR FUTURE IS SAFE AND WE CONTINUE TO HAVE THESE CONFERENCES.

YEAH, IT'S INTERESTING.

I THINK WHEN I TALK TO OTHER PEOPLE ABOUT THESE CONFERENCES, YOU GOT SOME FOLKS JUST KIND OF ROLLING THEIR EYES, SAYING, OH, GREAT, ANOTHER CONFERENCE.

AS YOU SAID, THERE ARE GOOD INTENTIONS.

SOME THINGS, SOME MOVEMENT, BUT CERTAINLY NOT WHAT EVERYBODY HAD ANTICIPATED.

SO, LET'S TALK ABOUT WHAT WE'RE DOING IN THE U.S. AND LET'S FOCUS A LITTLE BIT, THROUGH THE FOCUS OF YOUR INVOLVEMENT, I MENTIONED WITH THE WHITE HOUSE ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE ADVISORY COUNCIL.

TELL US WHAT THAT IS AND WHAT THE PURPOSE OF -- AND HOPEFULLY THE GOALS OF THAT COUNCIL ARE.

SO, WHITE HOUSE ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE ADVISORY COUNCIL HAS THREE MAIN TARGETS.

THE PRIMARY FOCUS IS FOCUSING ON ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE, WHICH IS PRIORITY ON DISADVANTAGED COMMUNITIES.

SO, MAKING SURE THAT IN OUR INFRASTRUCTURE AND EVERY FEDERAL AGENCY, WE HAVE A WHOLE OF GOVERNMENT APPROACH MAKING SURE THAT IT'S PRIORITIZED IN OUR BUDGETING AND HOW WE MOVE FORWARD AS A COUNTRY.

AND WHEN WE TALK ABOUT WHAT THIS COUNCIL IS WORKING ON, OVER THE PAST SEVEN MONTHS THAT WE'VE BEEN WORKING WITH THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION, WE HAVE WORKED ON CREATING THE JUSTICE 40 INITIATIVE, WHERE WE, AS AN ADMINISTRATION MADE A COMMITMENT THAT EVERY FEDERAL AGENCY HAS TO COMMIT 40% OF THEIR BUDGETS TO ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS.

AND THAT'S ONE OF THE MAJOR PROJECTS WE'RE WORKING ON NOW AND WE'RE HAVING A REALLY CRUCIAL MEETING ON NOVEMBER 17th OF 2021 TO REALLY REVISIT WHAT WORK WE'VE DONE SO FAR AND LOOK AT WHAT THE NEXT SIX MONTHS ARE GOING TO LOOK LIKE FOR THIS ADMINISTRATION.

GIVE US A BETTER SENSE OF THIS NOTIONAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE.

BECAUSE I SUSPECT THAT SOME PEOPLE ARE OUT THERE SAYING, WELL, I UNDERSTAND FIGHTING CLIMATE CHANGE, I UNDERSTAND EMISSIONS AND I UNDERSTAND THE NOTION OF PROVIDING FUNDING FOR THOSE NATIONS WHO WANT TO DO ALL THIS BUT DON'T HAVE THE FINANCIAL RESOURCES TO DO IT, BUT THEY MIGHT NOT UNDERSTAND THE CONCEPT OF ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE.

REALLY WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT IS NOT JUST A SCIENTIFIC DILEMMA OR JUST A MATHEMATICAL PROBLEM THAT WE'RE IN THAT WE JUST HAPPEN TO EMIT CO2 IN THE ATMOSPHERE AND NOW IT'S CAUSING HAVOC.

ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE AND REALLY WHAT THE CLIMATE CRISIS IS, AT THE ROOT OF IT IS, CONTINUAL DESTABILIZATION OF OUR PLANET AND BECAUSE OF THAT, THE GLOBAL SOUTH IS BEING HIT FIRST AND WORST.

ALL ACROSS SOUTH AMERICA, THE AFRICAN CONTINENT, SOUTHEAST ASIA, THOSE COMMUNITIES ARE BEING HIT RIGHT NOW BY THE CLIMATE CRISIS.

THEY HAVE ENORMOUS AMOUNTS OF EXTREME WEATHER EVENTS THAT HAPPEN EVERY SINGLE YEAR.

AND IN THE GLOBAL NORTH, IN NORTH AMERICA, EUROPE, MOST OF NORTHERN ASIA, THEY AREN'T SEEING THE MAJOR IMPACTS.

AND THAT IS WHAT ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE IS ALL ABOUT.

IS MAKING SURE THAT COUNTRIES THAT HAVE EMITTED MOST OF THE CO2 IN THE ATMOSPHERE, WHICH ARE GLOBAL NORTH COUNTRIES, PAY THE CLIMATE DEBT BACK TO THOSE COUNTRIES THAT ARE BEING IMPACTED FIRST AND WORST BUT HAVE EMITTED THE LEAST AND CONTRIBUTED LEAST TO THIS PROBLEM.

ALSO, ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE, LOOKING AT A TIMELINE, REALLY BREAKING DOWN WHAT WE'RE FIGHTING FOR, IN LOOKING AT THE PAST, THE PRESENT, AND THE FUTURE.

THE CLIMATE CRISIS STARTED WITH THE INDUSTRIALAL REVOLUTION, BUT THE MIND-SET STARTED WITH THE CONCEPT OF RACISM AND COLONIALISM.

WE'RE GOING TO EXPLOIT COMMUNITIES AND PEOPLE.

AND NO WITH THE CLIMATE CRISIS, THEY'RE SAY, WE'RE GOING TOLL LIMITLESSLY EXPLOIT NATURE.

THAT'S WHAT THE CLIMATE JUSTICE MOVEMENT IS ALL ABOUT, LET'S DECOLONIZE OUR FRAMEWORK OF OUR THIS WORKS, FROM A SYSTEM TO ETERNAL GROWTH, TO MORE ETHICAL GROWTH IN OUR SOCIETY AT LARGE.

I TALKED IN MY INTRODUCTION ABOUT THE POWER OF THE VOICES OF THE YOUTH.

NOT JUST IN OUR COUNTRY, BUT THROUGHOUT THE PLANET, IF YOU WILL.

WHY DO YOU THINK THERE IS -- THERE SEEMS TO BE -- THIS IS A BIT OF A GENERALIZATION, I UNDERSTAND, BUT WHY DO YOU THINK THERE SEEMS TO BE MORE STRENGTH IN TERMS OF THE POWER OF THE YOUNG PEOPLE THAN PERHAPS OF THE OLDER GENERATION?

I THINK THAT -- WHEN WE TALK ABOUT THE YOUTH, A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE CONFUSED ABOUT WHY THERE'S BEEN SO MUCH YOUTH ORGANIZING AND IT'S BECAUSE THE ADULTS THAT HAVE ALSO BEEN HERE.

IN THE 1970s, PEOPLE ORGANIZED AND HAD THE BIGGEST EARTH DAY MARCH IN U.S. HISTORY.

SO, THAT WAS YOUTH THAT ORGANIZED IT.

AND WHENEVER WE TALK ABOUT A SOCIAL MOVEMENT, IT'S ALWAYS BEEN YOUTH.

WHETHER IT WAS THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT, WITH CONGRESSMAN JOHN LEWIS SPEARHEADED THE CHANGE THERE, THE LGBTQ MOVEMENT WHERE YOUNG PEOPLE LIKE MARCY P.

JOHNSON ORGANIZED IN THE STREETS.

YOUNG PEOPLE UNDERSTAND SYSTEMS, BECAUSE THEY'RE GROWING UP AND SAYING THE SYSTEM DOESN'T WORK FOR IT AND IT'S NOT GOING TO WORK FOR OUR FUTURE, SO IT MUST CHANGE.

THAT'S WHY YOUNG PEOPLE ARE ORGANIZING.

CLIMATE CHANGE IS THE BIGGEST PROBLEM HUMANITY HAS EVER FACED, BUT IT'S THE BIGGEST OPPORTUNITY FOR US TO GO TO OUR FOUNDATION AND SAY, WHAT DO WE WANT OUR SYSTEM AND OUR WORLD TO LOOK LIKE?

AND YOUNG PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THAT BETTER THAN ANYONE CAN, BECAUSE WE'RE JUST BEING ACCLIMATED TO THE SYSTEMS THAT WE'RE GROWING UP TO BECOME A PART OF.

LET ME COME BACK FOR A MOMENT TO THE GLASGOW SUMMIT.

YOU TALKED ABOUT THE FRUSTRATIONS AND YOU'VE SEEN A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO WERE PARTICIPATING THERE YOU CAME WITH CERTAIN GOALS, ALL OF A SUDDEN, YOU CHANGE A WORD HERE AND THERE AND YOU THINK A WORD WOULD NOT BE THAT SIGNIFICANT IN IMPACTING CHANGE, AND THEY ARE.

YES.

DID YOU COME AWAY FROM THAT FEELING ANY SENSE OF OPTIMISM THAT, OKAY, WE DIDN'T GET DONE THIS TIME IN GLASGOW WHAT WE WANTED TO GET DONE, BUT WE SEEMED TO BE CREATING SOME MOMENTUM, SO MAYBE THE NEXT TIME, IT MIGHT HAPPEN.

DO YOU HAVE ANY SENSE OF OPTIMISM?

I THINK THAT RIGHT NOW, THE RIGHT WORD ISN'T OPTIMISM, IT'S FRUSTRATION, BECAUSE IF WE CONTINUE TO HAVE HOPELESS OPTIMISM, THEN WHAT IS -- WHAT'S THE GOAL IN THAT?

WHAT'S THE PRODUCTIVITY IN THAT?

RIGHT NOW, IT'S FRUSTRATION AND IT'S REALLY JUST BEING DISAPPOINTED IN THE PEOPLE THAT WE LOOK TO AND VOTED FOR.

RIGHT NOW, ALL ACROSS THE WORLD, WORLD LEADERS WERE SUPPOSED TO COME TOGETHER TO HAVE A CONFERENCE, TWO WEEKS TO NEGOTIATE WHAT THE FUTURE LOOKS LIKE.

BUT THEY DID NOTHING.

WE HAD THREE DEMANDS.

LIMIT WARMING TO 1.5 DEGREES CELSIUS, WHICH WOULD HAVE US IN A SEMISAFE CLIMATE.

TWO WAS TO PHASE OUT THE CREATION OF COAL MINES AND STOP THE USAGE OF FOSSIL FUELS.

AND THREE IS THE END ALL SUBSIDIES FOR THE FOSSIL FUEL INDUSTRY.

COP-26 DID NONE OF THOSE.

AND WHEN IT TRIED TO REACH ENDING THOSE SUBSIDIES, IT WAS WEAKENED, THEY ADDED WORDS LIKE INEFFICIENT.

THAT MAY SEEM LIKE IT'S NOT IMPORTANT, BUT IT IS INCREDIBLY CRUCIAL, BECAUSE EVERY COUNTRY IS GOING TO SAY THEIR FOSSIL FUEL PRODUCTION IS EFFICIENT WHEN IT REALLY ISN'T.

SO, THAT'S THE STRUGGLE THAT WE'RE IN NOW.

COP-27, WE'RE NOT TALKING ABOUT IT RIGHT NOW.

COP-26 JUST ENDED AND IT'S A COMPLETE DISAPPOINTMENT AND EVERY YOUNG PEOPLE MUST KNOW THEY'RE WATCHING.

EITHER THEY STAND UP OR STEP DOWN.

THAT'S THE NEXT STEP.

BECAUSE OF THEIR BETRAYAL OF LEADERSHIP AND THEM NOT TAKING THE CLIMATE CRISIS SERIOUSLY THAT'S MILLIONS OF PEOPLE THAT ARE DYING.

THAT'S TENS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE THAT ARE BEING DISPLACED FROM THEIR HOMES.

THAT'S REAL LIVES.

THAT'S NOT A MATHEMATICAL PROBLEM.

AND THAT'S WHY THE VOTES ARE GOING TO TALLY UP AGAINST THEM IF THEY DON'T TAKE REAL ACTION SERIOUSLY.

I HAVE LITERALLY LESS THAN A MINUTE LEFT, BUT I WANT TO TOUCH BASE WITH YOU.

ORGANIZATION THAT YOU ARE INVOLVED WITH, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, IT'S CALLED 1 MILLION OF US.

WHAT'S THE PURPOSE OF THAT ORGANIZATION?

1 MILLION OF US, I FOUNDED IT, I WAS AN INTERN IN CONGRESS FOR CONGRESSMAN JOHN LEWIS, A VOTING RIGHTS ICON HIMSELF.

BECAUSE OF THE ENERGY OF THE OFFICE AND MY INTERNSHIP, I SAID, WHY DON'T WE MOBILIZE OUR NUMBERS OF YOUNG PEOPLE THAT ARE ORGANIZING OUT IN THE STREETS?

IT WAS EXACTLY 7.5 MILLION YOUNG PEOPLE THAT ORGANIZED IN 2019 FOR THE CLIMATE STRIKE MOVEMENT.

WE SAID, WHY DON'T WE TURN THOSE 7.5 MILLION PEOPLE INTO AT LEAST 1 MILLION PEOPLE IN THE UNITED STATES THAT GET OUT TO THE POLLS?

AND THAT'S WHAT WE DID, FROM 2019 TO 2020, WE ORGANIZED ACROSS SOCIAL MEDIA, EVEN THROUGH A PANDEMIC, WE MADE OUR VOICES HEARD AND BECAUSE OF THAT, YOUNG PEOPLE MADE UP 1 IN EVERY 5 VOTES.

YEAH.

1 IN EVERY 5 VOTES.

THAT'S POWERFUL.

THAT'S AN EXTRAORDINARY ACCOMPLISHMENT.

SOMETHING THAT WILL HOPEFULLY MOVE FORWARD CONTINUOUSLY.

JEROME FOSTER II, THANK YOU FOR JOINING US AND THANK YOU FOR THE WORK YOU'RE DOING.

YOU BE WELL.

THANK YOU.

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

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