I'm not from Hollywood. I live in Hollywood now. I grew up in Springfield, Ohio. My dad was a factory worker. My mother stayed at home with us and tailored on the side. I grew up in the church. I know where a lot of these folks come from. I am a middle-American. I am from the same kind of upbringing that a lot of folks in middle America have come up in, so calling me a Hollywood liberal is kind of deleting the first half of my life.
I know what it's like to be a Midwesterner in a blue-collar family, and I carry a lot of that memory with me. That's why I'm active in issues of education reform and criminal justice reform, because I know what it's like to be in a family that's dealing with these issues and affected by these issues.
My mother was in and out of jail for a period during my adolescence. She had a drug problem that resulted in her getting in trouble with the police and going to jail. I have cousins, close family friends, who have all been through the system, in-laws, all kinds of folks in my family have been affected by it. And what we find when someone gets locked up, it's not just the individual that's getting locked up, their family is paying that price, too.
Harwood: Now, you're here in Florida campaigning for Amendment Four, which would reinstate voting rights for a very large number of felons who have not committed a murder or sex crimes — about a fourth of the disenfranchised felons around the country. It's been polling very well.
Legend: Well, I think the great thing about Amendment Four, it's a unifier. It's 1.5 million people in Florida that are disenfranchised now that wouldn't be if Amendment Four passes. And like you said, the majority of those folks are white, 30 percent of them are black. That means there's a lot of folks that will be affected by this. A lot of families.
Some of them are going to be Trump voters, some of them are going to be Hillary voters and some probably didn't even vote or even think to vote before, and might be independent. So it's not clear whose advantage it's going to be on a partisan basis.
But it's better for us. It's better for all of us if our citizens are voting, because what that means is they're bought into the idea of our democracy. They're bought into being upstanding community members and they've paid their debt to society.
Some of them, 75 percent of them never even had to go to prison. So they committed a felony, but it wasn't even serious enough for them to get prison time. So they're being punished long after they committed the crime for the rest of their life. They're not allowed to vote. And so what we're saying is let's bring them back into the community.
Harwood: Are you not concerned about a late attempt by the president to take it down?
Legend: Well, let's hope he doesn't watch this. Don't say anything to him. OK. No, honestly, I believe it's a bipartisan issue. I think everybody can get behind this bill. It would be the biggest re-enfranchisement since the civil rights era.
Harwood: You've got the Koch brothers who are involved in this. The White House from time to time expresses interest. Have you worked with the Koch brothers, with Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump on these issues?
Legend: There are issues where our interests have aligned with the Koch brothers and they've supported the same measures that we've supported. I don't know that we've explicitly worked together on anything, but there are things that we both agree on that we both supported at the same time. So it hasn't been explicit hand in hand, but …
Harwood: What about the White House? You and your wife don't have the best Twitter relationship with the president.
Legend: We don't, and we don't think he's a good human being or a good president. But he's in charge right now, and that means he has some power. And I believe it's not wrong to discuss these things with someone who's empowered to make a difference if we think it can actually help people that need the help.