About Our Guest
Virginia Democrat Terry McAuliffe is a businessman, entrepreneur, and Democratic Party leader from Fairfax County. For over 30 years, Terry has been fighting to create jobs, improve health care and education, and build a better future.
The youngest of four boys, Terry knew he would need to pay his own way through college so, at age 14, he started a business—the first of many successful businesses he would create throughout his life. At the age of 30, he was elected chairman of a struggling community bank that was on the verge of liquidation, and he turned it around. Later he took over and saved a large home building company that was on the brink of bankruptcy. Terry has several new projects in development, focusing his efforts on the economic and environmental benefits of renewable energy sources. For example, he serves as Chairman of Green Tech Automotive, which manufactures electric and hybrid vehicles.
Terry has also been active as a volunteer for Democratic candidates and causes. He served as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee where he brought his pragmatic, businessman’s approach to politics. As DNC Chairman, Terry increased grassroots outreach with supporters, got the Party out of debt, and invested in new technology. He has also served as a vocal advocate for working families across the country and Democratic Party principles, like fighting to end our nation’s reliance on foreign oil and develop renewable energy sources that are better for the environment and can create good jobs.
Terry is also a force in Virginia politics. In 2009, he decided to run for governor on the platform that, “Good ideas come from all corners of the Commonwealth, not just Richmond.” During the campaign, he hosted economic roundtables across Virginia, bringing together hundreds of business and community leaders to help generate new and innovative policy ideas. He used those ideas to craft a 131-page business plan to govern – a blueprint for Virginia.
Over 20 years ago, Terry and his wife Dorothy chose Virginia as their home. They live with their five children in Fairfax County, where they attend St. Luke Catholic Church.
Jan Paynter: Hello, I’m Jan Paynter and I would like to welcome you again to our program, Politics Matters. Our topic today is practical green energy and employment solutions for our challenged economy, and we are very pleased to have as our guest Terry McAuliffe. Welcome, Terry.
Terry McAuliffe: Great, Jan, great to be with you.
Jan Paynter: Terrence Richard McAuliffe was born in Syracuse, New York. He received a BA from Catholic University and a JD from Georgetown University. Interestingly, at age 14 he started his own business in driveway maintenance. By age 30, he was the youngest chair of a bank in the history of the U.S. In 1980, he worked for the Carter reelection campaign and became national finance director; in 1988, he was finance chair for Democrat Dick Gephardt.
In 1996, he served as national co-chairman of the Clinton-Gore reelection committee and was obviously successful. In 1993, he received Clinton’s first ambassadorial appointment to the Tejan Expo of South Korea. From 2001 to 2005, he chaired the Democratic National Committee, raising $578 million for the Democratic Party, taking them out of debt for the first time in its history. While chairman, he founded a women’s vote center to educate and mobilize women voters. In 2009, he founded the electrical vehicle startup company GreenTech Automotive. In 2007, his book What a Party: My Life Among Democrats, Presidents, Candidates, Donors, Activists, Alligators and Other Wild Animals was published. In 2008, he was the campaign chair for Hilary Clinton for the democratic nomination. In 2009, he ran for his party’s nomination for Governor of Virginia and lost the nomination to Creigh Deeds. He resides in McLean, Virginia, with his wife, Dorothy, and their five children. Welcome again, Terry.
Terry McAuliffe: Great, Jan, great to be with you. Thanks for having me.
Jan Paynter: First of all, Terry, tell us if you would what brought you to your strong focus on energy, and innovation and conservation concerns.
Terry McAuliffe: Well first, as you know, when I ran for Governor, I’d talk about jobs. I think the most important issue out there facing everybody – here in Virginia and all over the country – is job creation. I believe that renewable energy, green technologies are the jobs of the 20th and 21st century, that we have to make sure we’re creating new jobs where we’re providing energy. The population is growing exponentially, we’re going to have to figure out ways how we can deliver energy to consumers all over the country because China and others are really moving up their consumption. I think green technologies – wind, solar, bio-mass – they’re the future. I personally have been invested in wind technologies now for close to 15-20 years. I was a pioneer early on investing in European wind farms. The wind is always going to be there, and if we can harness that efficiently, cost-effectively, it’s there for many many years to come.
Jan Paynter: Before we begin a broader discussion of the possible approaches to energy innovation and the potential for American jobs which can result, tell us about your company, GreenTech Automotive.
Terry McAuliffe: Well, after voters decided that I shouldn’t be their Governor in 2009, I went back to the private sector. I had always been in business. I had started 25 different companies. I started my first business at 14 and wanted to go to college, and my folks, you know, I was going to have to pay for it. So I got at a very early age started in business, and was, you know, successful at that and successful at the different businesses, and then in my 30s I pretty much left business. I had been successful and went on to be a full-time volunteer for politics, political causes, for a long time. I had every job you could hold in the Democratic Party. Loved it, it was my way of giving back, I think everybody has to give back in one way or another. But then after the Governor’s race: well, let me take my – what I view, things I’m passionate about, green energy, and I went out and raised a substantial amount of money and started a company called Green Tech Automotive. We’re building electric and hybrid vehicles. We’re doing what no one has ever done before. I mean, this is a huge risk. Huge risk, huge reward. But I like it. People say, “He’ll never be successful, no one’s ever done what he’s trying to do.” But we went to China in 2010, we bought one of their largest electric car manufacturing companies, we moved the entire operation – the entire company – to the United States of America. We took jobs from China and moved them here to America. Over the summer, I just announced a major facility in China, in Ordos, in Inner Mongolia, China, where we’re building an 8.9 million square foot facility, a 500-acre facility. We’ll be, hopefully, the largest hybrid automaker in China.
Jan Paynter: So all the components will be made here.
Terry McAuliffe: Made in the United States. This is a big deal, it took me a year to negotiate that contract. I said, “I’m not going to do it unless the engine, the battery management system, and the power trains are all made in America.” So, when you hear these stories about all these ships coming over from China loaded with goods going home empty, they’ll now have some of my engines and power trains and battery management systems going back. And we hope through full capacity of 300,000 cars a year, which should result in about 2,000 new American jobs here in this country.
Jan Paynter: That was going to be my next question. How many employees do you have currently?
Terry McAuliffe: Well we probably have 15 to 20 up in our corporate headquarters is in Tysons Corner, we have about 50 down in Mississippi right now. When I bought the company from China and moved it over here, we had to move very quickly, so we took over an old elevator facility – 400,000 square foot – which we converted, and those first cars will roll out of there in October 30th of this year, but we’ve just broken ground on a huge permanent facility in Mississippi. I wanted to put the plants here in Virginia; this is where Dorothy and I live, our five children, it’s where our corporate headquarters, because I always think, Jan, it’s important in all of my businesses, you want to be able to get in a car and drive and see your employees and see your product – but unfortunately for whatever reason, Virginia did not bid on the car manufacturing facility and in fairness to Mississippi and several other states, they very aggressively courted us and put up in excess of $15 million through land and so forth. I have a fiduciary duty as chairman of this company as well as in charge of the shareholders, I have a fiduciary duty to my shareholders, so I have to go where I can do the best for the company and I’m hoping in the future I could put a plant here.
Jan Paynter: That was going to be my next question: where’s the funding going to come from to see that vision fulfilled?
Terry McAuliffe: We’ve raised – We’re in great shape financially. I’m a big believer in get your money up front. But, to be honest with you, Jan, it’s not hard if you have a new idea. People are excited about electric cars and so forth. It is new. Not many people have tried to start a car company in our country. I know the risks involved, but I could’ve raised a lot more money if I needed it. Now, we’re in good shape and you’ve probably read the reports: we’ve sold our first year of production of these electric vehicles to the country of Denmark. Signed contract. So now we’re making them, we’ve already sold them, and it’s a great American success story and I’m just so proud of all the workers that we have who are working day in and day out to make this vision come true.
Jan Paynter: This is very exciting and it’s a wonderful case in point and example for people, and for people watching, as to how to begin an enterprise. Turning to our broader discussion of green technology – energy, innovation, and conservation – why should people be interested in green technology in a severely challenged economy?
Terry McAuliffe: It’s a great question and I talk about this constantly, and I say to folks – and I don’t mean it negatively – but I’m really not interested if you really care about climate change or not. But assuming you do, obviously I do, but if you don’t, put that aside for a second. It’s also a huge national security issue. We import 58% of our oil from countries, in the Middle East primarily, who at times particularly don’t like us. Our trade deficit goes up exponentially because of the amount of oil that we have to import from countries like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, and natural gas from Kardar, and you go through the whole – and 90% of our imported oil goes to transportation, that’s where most of the imported oil goes. We spent, according to the Rand Corporation last year, Jan, 65 billion dollars. On top of all this, just protecting the six straits like the Strait of Hormuz, where the oil comes from, when you start adding all the incremental costs, we cannot as a nation allow our future to be tied to countries who could shut off the oil, take the cost of oil up, a barrel up, dramatically – so for me it’s national security. Second, it’s about job creation, we are going to have to provide new ways for us to consume our energy and produce our energy, and that’s why wind turbines – and I always say this, Jan, we cannot be a nation that goes from importing oil from Middle Eastern countries – 20 years from now where we’re importing our solar panels and our wind turbines from Germany, Brazil, and China. We have got to get in this game. My five children’s future is dependent on whether we’re going to have jobs here in Virginia. We should be building turbines here and not buying them from China.
Jan Paynter: Okay. Let’s look at first Virginia, and then Obama’s administration. Taking Governor McDonnell’s administration, if he were to have a report card, how would you grade him and why, and in what areas do you feel he’s strong, in what areas do you feel a lot more work needs to be done?
Terry McAuliffe: Well, on the renewable issue, Virginia would receive an F. I mean we’re not even in the game. I remind everybody, and this is not a partisan political issue because I say it’s not a Republican or Democratic job – a job’s a job – and right now we are the only state, as you probably know, in the mid-Atlantic region, that does not have a mandatory renewable energy standard, which means you are required to buy some percent of your power from a renewable. The District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, go through all of our neighboring states, all have to buy some power from a renewable. Ours is a voluntary standard, theirs is mandatory. Why is it important? It will turbo-charge investments in your state. Now I’m in the business, as you know, we’ve taken control of the International Paper facility, the forests down there. We’re going to make wood pellets there, saving two to three hundred jobs that were lost when they shut that paper facility down. We’re going to make wood pellets, which basically is pulverized wood, and we’re going to sell them to Europe. We’ll be the largest, we’ll make 500,000 tons a year, it’s a whole new idea here for Virginia, and we’ll ship them because in Europe if you burn coal you can only do 80%, 20% has to be renewable, mostly wood pellets. So it’s a great new business for us.
But the question people will ask me as I have to go raise capital for these projects is, “Terry, why are you doing business in the only state that isn’t required by law to buy the product you’re making?” It’s a tough economy out there and we’ve got a lot of competition. Let’s make it easy to turbo-charge these new investments and that’s why I say on the renewable it’s all talk. We ought to have turbines off the coast of Virginia Beach. We have the highest wind content on the East Coast. We have a gigantic transmission port right in Norfolk, we could take those turbines in, we have a very shallow water shelf, we could create 10,000 jobs overnight building with turbines, we could light up 100,000 homes with the wind that we have off the coast. Let’s lead, not follow.
Jan Paynter: So managing shipping lanes, this kind of thing, all doable.
Terry McAuliffe: All doable. And I met – when I ran for Governor – I met with the admirals and so forth down at Oceana and the whole Hampton Roads area. Obviously they have a concern because of radar and submarines. All of this – all I can tell you is New Jersey, Delaware, Massachusetts are all going to be in the water in the next year. I mean they have the same issues we do, they obviously don’t have the same shipping or naval issues, but we do obviously have defense and so forth – all of these can be worked out. But you’ve got to have a passion for it, but it’s job creation. We could take over that old Ford plant down there, you know the turbines and the blades, they’re three stories long. We need huge facilities, but you know what, Jan? It’s creating manufacturing jobs.
Jan Paynter: What is your view on Governor McDonnell’s plan to open up oil and gas drilling off the coast.
Terry McAuliffe: I’ve talked about that, my big broad issue, I’m for whatever we can do in the energy mix here to make energy more affordable for all of us and to make sure we have a constant supply. I’ve yet to see that there is a significant amount of oil. Every study that we have seen says that it’s not significant, but I’m open to entertaining that we ought to look at everything. The big issue I always have in these, we’ve got a $9 billion a year tourism business in Virginia Beach, along the area. We cannot risk it like that Horizon well that had all those issues that destroyed the tourism, the fishing industry. We lost millions of dollars in Virginia Beach and we’re thousands of miles away from it, but we were impacted. What we can never have is a spill right there or we’ll destroy a $9 billion industry. And my question is, how much oil can we get out, and the job creation will not be significant – unlike turbines and wind, only because all the technology to go offshore drilling has already been developed.
Jan Paynter: So being open to it, but leaning more in the direction it’s a negligible amount for what we’d be getting.
Terry McAuliffe: To me, like a business, it’s a cost ratio benefit analysis. I do not want to do anything that would jeopardize that tourism business down there, and to this day I don’t see that we’ve shown – but if you can come back to me, and if I were Governor, and you said, “Yeah, we can create “X” number of jobs, the safety issue’s 100%, we got a lot of oil out there,” of course you should look at that.
Jan Paynter: Okay, nuclear energy. What is your view about that? Obviously the Governor wants to explore that.
Terry McAuliffe: I’ve been very consistent. I’ve always been supportive of nuclear, always have been. Obviously the safety is an issue. You had the issue in Japan. But what I’m told – I’ve spent a lot of time looking at this issue. You know Shaw out of Louisiana is in partnership with Westinghouse, they have built the latest – they’ve won the contract to build all the new ones in China and other places. The safety issues they say are there, to me it all goes back to the safety issue. In America today, the first place our utilities go to get power is the nuclear plants because it’s the cheapest today. They’ve all been depreciated, it’s the first place they go. And as you know, there’s no emissions into the air at all. We still have the waste disposal issue, but with all the latest science and technology – so, I’m open to that but it always comes back to me is the safety of the citizens.
Jan Paynter: Absolutely. And I know in Europe they have very stringent safety, particularly in France.
Terry McAuliffe: 99% nuclear.
Jan Paynter: It’s such a dependency. Are we in any kind of dialogue with other European countries about safety issues, do you know?
Terry McAuliffe: We are, you bet we are, and it’s a good question. And also we’re in dialogue – I mean, let’s be honest, France gets 99% of their energy from nuclear facilities. They’re all safe, they’re very cost effective. I mean, they’re expensive to build them, but you have them forever, and there’s no emissions into the air so there’s no pollution environmental issues. It’s the waste issue. They have come up with a technology over there, which they recycle the waste, they reuse their waste to power their facilities. That’s what we should be doing here.
Jan Paynter: Alright, I agree, it’s interesting. Now looking at President Obama’s record in this regard, how would his report card read to date? There’s the recent issue in the news about Solyndra filing for Chapter 11, the administration perhaps jumping the gun a little bit on the loan. What do you think?
Terry McAuliffe: Well, first of all, having been involved in the Clinton White House for eight years and been involved at the national level, I never jump to conclusions. I always say let’s let all the facts come out. But I will tell you this, I am concerned at the idea that this company has been in business for a year or whatever, a short time, and they lost $500 million of yours and my taxpayer money. I’m proud to always say in all my businesses and the one I’m doing now in the auto – I do it all with private capital. I use my own money and investor money. I just don’t want the government in my business, I mean I’d rather do it myself. So to me there’s a lot of issues. They lost a half a billion dollars that went out very quickly out the door, and I think we’ve got to get answers to it. I’m not a huge fan, as you’ve heard me talk about before on bailouts – no one has ever bailed Terry McAuliffe out. Sometimes, you know, it sounds great, you make money, sometimes you don’t, but that’s my decisions and there’s risk to business. I did support the auto bailout because it literally, as you know, saved one and a half million jobs in this country, and I commend President Obama for doing it. He took a lot of flak for it. Now here we are a couple years later, they’re all making money, we saved a million and half direct jobs, ten million indirect, because when you put a car in manufacturing – it’s the upholstery, the radios, the sunroofs, everything else that goes with it. And, you know, I’m glad that he did that. But I do have huge issues on this.
Jan Paynter: Well, and I know that he has instituted new fuel economy standards. We’re all happy about that, obviously, but then again there is the failure of the climate bill in Copenhagen, so, I guess, pros and cons, yes?
Terry McAuliffe: Pros and cons to everything that you do, I think. But I think as a nation we’ve had a tough time and I think all the posturing, the political bickering that’s going on in Washington is really hurting us. And on climate change, I wish – you know, unfortunately last year in the Congress, our national energy – what we should have talked about in the issues is some kind of national energy standard here in America to turbo-charge what I talk about, the new jobs, but it all got caught up in Cap and Trade. Why is it I’m down in Franklin, Virginia, creating and saving these jobs, but I’m shipping all the wood pellets over to Europe. You know, over here, Jan, if we had some small standard, just reduce CO2 emissions by 20% like in Europe – you can use 80% coal, 20% renewable – we could create hundreds of thousands of jobs. Let’s take over every shuttered paper mill in America and do the same thing. It’s a win-win. We’re creating jobs, it’s good for the environment, and it helps reduce our dependence on foreign countries for providing energy to us.
Jan Paynter: To what degree do you think, Terry, the stimulus monies aided and increased investments in alternative energy.
Terry McAuliffe: Good question, tough question. The broader context, if you look at what economists will tell you, it either saved or created close to three million jobs, is what most economic studies will show. A lot of it, a third of it, as you know, went right to taxpayers. It was the largest or broadest middle class tax cut we’ve had in U.S. history. So a lot of it, as you know, went right into the pocket of consumers. A lot of it went to states. Here in Virginia we got $3 billion. So when the Governor talks about the surplus – which really is cooking the books in fairness. We didn’t pay the Virginia Retirement System $620 million that we owed them, we brought sales tax receipts in early. It is what it is, we had a lot of issues to deal with, but let’s just be straight, I think we always should have an honest conversation, and we did get $3 billion from the federal stimulus. You can’t criticize President Obama, these governors saying, “We shouldn’t have done the stimulus,” when they had their hands out and they took it and they used it.
I would think whatever we do in the future, and I worry that when people talk about cutting our budget – let’s not cut our budget to the bone, to the point that we’re not investing in our future. I don’t want to see us cutting education around this country. As you know, the reports have come out now, we’re 25th now in the world in math and 23rd in sciences. Now that impacts us gravely because if we are not preparing our children through those stem courses we are not going to out-innovate or out-build any nation in the world, which we always have done. And all of these cuts could really – we cannot afford to not have the best educated workforce in the world, so, when we use the federal government money. But I’m all for an R&D tax credit. China announced the other day they’re increasing theirs 85%. I’m all for a manufacturing tax credit. As long as that money is going out and you can show a direct relation to a new job being created. We need more tax money, but I don’t want an increase in people’s taxes. I want it by creating more taxpayers, getting people back to work. Those 17 million people that are off to the side today, let’s get them back in and having them with jobs creating economic activity.
Jan Paynter: Looking specifically at the different alternative forms of energy, do you favor wind? What about solar? To what extent do you think we should be involved in solar?
Terry McAuliffe: Clearly, well, obviously out west, it’s much better on the solar because in Arizona, and Texas has gigantic fields. That’s where it would be more applicable than it is, probably, to the East Coast, because we don’t have the sun that they do out in the west. Our coastline here, wind goes constant, we have mountain ranges, and you’ve got to obviously deal with the issues of people got to look at them. I happen to enjoy looking at them. I’ve seen them all over Europe and Spain, and I just love those big turbines turning. As it relates to offshore, they’re generally three miles out, you generally won’t see them, but we should be doing wind up and down the East Coast. The wind will be here for the rest of our lives and once you depreciate it out, that’s free wind that you’ll have, and the same with the sun that’s always coming out. And my point is, other nations today, Jan, are doing this. This is not revolutionary for America. I’ve been to China, I spent most of the summer over there on my projects. I know what they’re doing, they’re moving at warp speed on wind and solar. They want to be – they want to own the world market on wind turbines, making them, the blades and the turbines, and they want to be selling them back to us. We shouldn’t allow that. We should be making them all back here.
Jan Paynter: Virginia, as you know, is a very agrarian state. What potential is there for turning animal waste products into energy?
Terry McAuliffe: Yeah, and as you know when I ran for Governor this was one of my signature issues. People used to laugh at me because I talked about chicken waste all the time, they used to call me “Governor Chicken –” whatever. It went with the territory. But it’s a big issue for us because – let’s just take chicken waste. Today it leaches into the Chesapeake, it destroys our waterways, as you know. So most of the waste that we have from the animal products here in America – here in Virginia, and for the rest of the country, we could be converting that to energy. We could take all of that chicken waste and convert it and light up, you know, the study which, if you ever went back and read on my website, we could create, by the time we’re finished with the full operation, 100,000 homes here in Virginia. It’s also good for the farmer, because we would pay – we would come onto the land – pay to take their waste, which today they have to either pay to remove or they just let it get washed away and it leaches into the watershed and into the Chesapeake, which is not good. So, huge opportunity. And my point always – and Oregon is doing this today and I can name the states that are really out front on these different projects, I just think here in Virginia – I mean, this is how I get out of bed, I get excited about these things – we ought to be leading on all of this. Everything ought to be in it. Everything ought to be in our energy mix, and let’s look at it, what makes sense. I just hate to see other states moving ahead of us because ultimately if you get out front you’ve got a much better chance that you’re going to have a big piece of that market, and leaves us here in Virginia not with the jobs of the future. We’re going to have 2.2 billion more people in the next 10 to 20 years here in the world. They’re all going to be consuming energy. We have got to be thinking 10, 20, 30 years from today.
Jan Paynter: Okay, traditional industries, the coal industry improvements. Define for us – because I think a lot of people don’t know this – what is carbon sequestration? Define what it is for us and why should we be informed about it.
Terry McAuliffe: It’s very important because what you do is you take the most harmful byproducts and – a project’s being done in Pennsylvania – they do this in Europe today – and basically, they pump it down, the most harmful emissions that you have from CO2, and they put them in these gigantic caverns that we have underground, that will be there for a thousand or two thousand years. Carbon capture and storage – that’s what it’s called, CCS – and it’s the latest thing to do to deal with these harmful emissions that we have, capture them and then literally inject them way down into these limestone, or whatever they have, different types of rock formations, that will hold them for a thousand or two thousand years.
Jan Paynter: Injecting things comes to the issue of fracking. There’s been so much in the news lately. What is your feeling about that, Terry? This is this is something that is necessary, obviously. What kind of safeguards, do you think?
Terry McAuliffe: That is the key issue. In Pennsylvania they’re doing a tremendous amount of the fracking. These farmers whose land was basically worthless is now worth tens and hundreds of millions of dollars, as you know. They’ve had these leasing right now to do it. The biggest concern – New York has said we’ve got to slow down on all of this because they have part of a gigantic vein that would allow this fracking to be bringing the natural gas out because they say we have as much natural gas as Saudi Arabia has on oil.
Jan Paynter: Don’t we have 90% of the natural gas coming through fracking, I believe?
Terry McAuliffe: They think, yeah. Now, we don’t know, and all the studies are being done today, and we have a big issue here in Virginia to do some fracking, is uranium, and the Academy of Sciences is doing their report, and I tell everybody, “Let’s at least wait until the reports come out. Let’s not jump and do an analysis.” I do this in business, I do this in life, I would do this as Governor, no need pre-judging anything. Don’t ask for an Academy of Sciences study to be done and then prejudge it. Let the experts do it. I’m not a scientist and don’t pretend to be one, you know, you hire them. But I think we ought to wait and see what happens with the Academy of Sciences report, but let’s look at the fracking. You know I’ve seen, probably as you have, the 60 Minutes piece on it. That was pretty devastating where they talked about, you know, in the water and how it has adversely affected it, and their cows have died and so forth, so obviously it’s something we have to really look at before we ever consider that.
Jan Paynter: Also, we just had quite an earthquake, as everyone knows, in Mineral, Virginia, and there are a number of studies that show that minor quakes result from fracking.
Terry McAuliffe: Yeah, right. And that’s why we’ve got to get all of that – we should not do any of these techniques here in Virginia until everybody’s 100% sure of the safety as it relates not only to the watershed, but everything else that really comes of off that as it relates to uranium, natural gas fracking. But as I say, let us, while we’re looking at these things though, Jan, lets look at all the other alternatives. Wind is clean, wind is safe, solar is clean, solar is safe. So let’s get everything moving forward, studying all these other things, but let’s not be waiting, let’s be moving forward on the things we know work today.
Jan Paynter: So I’m hearing a definite bias towards wind and solar, correct?
Terry McAuliffe: I have a bias here because we live in Virginia and we’re on the coastline, and we have the highest wind content on the entire east coast. We have a very shallow water shelf, which means you can put the pylons in, and we already have a built-in transmission port right there in Norfolk. This would be very simple for us, and I just think we ought to lead on it. Much more difficult for solar here, obviously, because we don’t have the sun. And we’re not a wind state. You know, you can actually go look at the studies, there are wind states. We’re okay, we’re not a great wind state, but offshore, of course we are.
Jan Paynter: What role do you see nonprofits playing in development of alternative energy?
Terry McAuliffe: I think nonprofits, the way the economy is going, are taking more and more of a role as the government doesn’t have the money and facilities to be able to do what they need to do. So I see nonprofits – and they’ve been great, the nonprofit community, I speak to a lot of these different groups. They have been the leaders on it. And they all come at it from different ways. I try to put it all together as a package. It’s national security, it’s environmental concerns, it’s job creation. To me, it’s all. And you can’t look at renewables in just one piece. And once I go through and explain this – I remember recently I was up on Sean Hannity’s TV show, and I was up showing and talking about my new electric cars, and you know the knee-jerk reaction – and I know Sean well, I’ve been on his show, we have a good time together – it was, “Oh, Terry, renewables, you know, it’s just some left-wing cause” – you know at the end of the show by the time I was done walking through the national security argument, the job creation argument, he agreed. They get it. But you’ve got to go through all the pieces of it. And at the end he promised he’d buy one of my electric cars, so let’s see what happens.
Jan Paynter: What kind of educational and training programs in Virginia, going forward, do you envision, in order to prepare people for jobs in this industry?
Terry McAuliffe: Great question. And some of the universities are doing it. When I ran for Governor I did a lot of different projects, I took on – every week I did sort of a – I tried to take what were called my “work days” – I was a bar tender, but I was down at ODU where they do the, convert algae into – I spent a day at an algae pond raking algae out of the pond. And as I traveled around, many of our great universities here in Virginia, they have great programs to do it. So they are beginning to really understand and know that they have to train their students for the future, because these are really the businesses and the jobs of the future, and every speech I tell young people, “You saw the graduate: plastics. Today: wood pellets.”
Jan Paynter: It’s great that you mention the universities because obviously they need to be involved in this process.
Terry McAuliffe: Absolutely. And you know, if I had a facility here, a manufacturing facility, I would do a tie-up with the universities and the community colleges, because that would mean a steady stream of folks who could work. And these plants are more sophisticated than the car plants in the past. Obviously it’s new green technologies in these cars, they’re electric, they’re hybrid. So we’d have to have a whole – which would be working for me because I’d have a workforce development program. It would be great for the universities and community colleges, they’d have a stream of employers out there to hire their students. Because we have a lot of students today, they’re getting out of college today, there are just no jobs, as well as in high school.
Jan Paynter: Well finally, Terry, I have to ask you: do you anticipate another run for the gubernatorial race in Virginia?
Terry McAuliffe: Well, I think, Jan, you know me pretty well, I never take anything off the table. The key overriding issue for me always has been: can I make a difference? And I think we need to get through the elections this year and 2012, and the issue for me will be, if I were to become the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, all these things that I feel passionate about, would I be able to work with the General Assembly to implement these big ideas. If, for some reason, I thought the General Assembly wasn’t willing to, you know, it just wasn’t something they would be interested in, I don’t need another title on my resume, I’ve got a long resume. I like to get things done. It’s why I’ve always said, I probably wouldn’t be the best legislator in the world, I’m more of an executive. I like to make a decision today and see it done tomorrow. And if I could really change things and do what we need to do to create new jobs, green jobs, high-tech jobs of the future here in Virginia, then it would be something I’d very much be interested in. I just don’t think I can answer it today. I will have to walk away from this new company, which is very exciting as I travel the world with it. I’m creating thousands of new jobs, American jobs, I love doing this. But if I could do it in Virginia as Governor to really get more – I’d be interested in it.
Jan Paynter: Well, I’m guessing you’ll be asked again.
Terry McAuliffe: You bet.
Jan Paynter: Terry, I want to thank you very much for a lively and very informative discussion today.
Terry McAuliffe: Great, thank you.
Jan Paynter: I would like to thank you at home for listening to our conversation. If you would like more information about our topic under discussion today, we will be posting a number of books and articles on energy and conservation on our website at politicsmatters.org. There’s also a complete archive of all prior Politics Matters programs, which you may watch in their entirety at any time. We would like to hear from you with any and all questions and concerns as well as ideas for future programs. You can email us at email@example.com. We air Tuesdays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. Thank you again, and until next time I’m Jan Paynter, and this is Politics Matters.