Governor Terry Branstad today used his weekly statehouse news conference to prod the Republican presidential candidates to come campaign in Iowa.
AUDIO: 20 min
Governor Terry Branstad today used his weekly statehouse news conference to prod the Republican presidential candidates to come campaign in Iowa.
AUDIO: 20 min
The Judicial Nominating Commission has just submitted three names to Governor Branstad for the opening on the Iowa Court of Appeals. One of the three (District Court Judge Michael Mullins) was among the nine names the Nominating Commission submitted to Branstad in late January for the three openings on the Iowa Supreme Court.
Des Moines, May 10, 2011—The State Judicial Nominating Commission selected the following three nominees to fill the vacancy on the Iowa Court of Appeals that occurred when Justice Edward Mansfield was appointed to the Iowa Supreme Court.
Susan Christensen, Harlan, Age 49
District Associate Judge (appointed 2007)—Fourth Judicial District
J.D., 1991, Creighton University
Bruce Kempkes, Earlham, Age 55
Assistant Attorney General
J.D., 1980, University of Iowa
Michael R. Mullins, Washington, Age 58
District Judge (appointed 2002)—Eighth Judicial District
J.D., 1982, Drake University
In accordance with the Constitution of the State of Iowa, Governor Branstad has thirty days in which to make the appointments to the court from this slate of nominees. A summary resume, completed questionnaire and writing samples for each candidate are posted on the Judicial Branch website at:
Governor Terry Branstad issued a written statement this morning.
(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry E. Branstad today released the following statement on the death of Osama bin Laden:
“I am proud of our president, and our troops, who never lost their resolve in finding Osama bin Laden and bringing him to justice. While the world is no longer nervously looking over its shoulder for this ruthless murderer, Iowans must remain vigilant in our support of the nearly 3,000 Iowa National Guard members deployed overseas. Our thoughts, prayers and support are with our brave men and women who remain in harm’s way.”
The governor released the statement from North Carolina, where he is attending a meeting of the National Governors Association.
Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds began her media briefing with statehouse reporters this morning by talking about bin Laden’s death. Listen to the entire
AUDIO: News conference 12 min
Twenty-six individuals have applied for the opening on the Iowa Supreme Court. That opening was created when Governor Branstad appointed Appeals Court Judge Edward Mansfield to the Iowa Supreme Court on February 23, 2011.
Read the 26 names. The wife of State Auditor Dave Vaudt is among the applicants. One of the six who were nominated in January but not chosen in February to serve on the Iowa Supreme Court applied. The one of the six would be Michael Mullins, a district court judge from Washington, Iowa.
As The Iowa Republican reported Monday, Ed Failor, Junior, has resigned his post as president of Iowans for Tax Relief. Here’s The Des Moines Register story from Jennifer Jacobs; one written by Cedar Rapids Gazette reporter James Q. Lynch includes quotes from a Failor interview.
Failor sent these comments in an email yesterday:
…You may be asking “why?”.
Well, after 16 great years, I resigned as President of ITR on Friday.
ITR has great leadership, staff, and history. They are in very capable hands and will continue to be a powerhouse in Iowa policy and politics.
I am moving on to pursue exciting opportunities. I will let you all know specifically what’s next at an appropriate time.
The Muscatine-based group has been influential in Iowa politics for decades. It was founded in 1978 by David Stanley of Muscatine, a state representative in the 1960s and ’70s who ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate twice. His grandfather had been a state senator, too.
Five Republicans in the Iowa House filed resolutions yesterday, outling articles of impeachment against four justices on the Iowa Supreme Court. Here’s the Radio Iowa story.
Here’s the text of one of the resolutions — the one that would apply to Mark Cady, the author of the Varnum v Brien decision, who is now chief justice of the court:
HOUSE RESOLUTION NO. 48
BY SHAW , ALONS , DE BOEF , MASSIE , and PEARSON
A Resolution impeaching Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark S. Cady for malfeasance in office.
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, That Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark S. Cady is impeached for malfeasance in office, and that the following article of impeachment be exhibited and presented to the Senate: That Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark S. Cady in violation of his constitutional oath undertaken before taking office to support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Iowa, has committed malfeasance in office through his action to sanction marriage between persons of the same sex in the Varnum v. Brien, 763 N.W.2d 862 (Iowa 2009), ruling issued on April 3, 2009, by the following conduct:
ARTICLE I By unconstitutionally exercising functions properly belonging to the legislative and executive departments as follows: (1) By his action in the Varnum case, Chief Justice Cady improperly assumed the function and role of an elected legislator by ordering that the language in Iowa Code section 595.2 limiting civil marriage to a man and a woman must be stricken from the statute as enacted by the legislative department and approved by the governor of the executive department in 1998. (2) By his action in the Varnum case, Chief Justice Cady knowingly and intentionally usurped the proper function delegated solely and exclusively to the legislative department of declaring public policy, through his judicial declaration of a new public policy contrary to long-standing public policy acknowledged by society and established in Iowa Code section 595.2, subsection 1. (3) By his action in the Varnum case, Chief Justice Cady has improperly required the executive department to issue marriage licenses to parties of the same sex in direct contravention of Iowa Code section 595.2. (4) By his action in the Varnum case, Chief Justice Cady has created a constitutional crisis regarding the enforcement of the Varnum ruling by allowing different interpretations of the definition of marriage to exist indefinitely within the separate departments of government, leaving the people with no immediate remedy to address this crisis. (5) By his action in the Varnum case, Chief Justice Cady has created a constitutional imbalance and confusion within the State of Iowa as to the proper constitutional function of each department, thus undermining the integrity of the tripartite separation of powers among the departments and creating social disorder and unrest.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE, That the conduct of Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark S. Cady, in committing malfeasance in office, warrants impeachment, trial by the Senate, and removal and disqualification from any office of honor, trust, or profit under the state pursuant to the procedures set out in Iowa Code chapter 68.
Late last night, the top Democrat in the Iowa House (who is an attorney) issued the following:
STATEMENT FROM HOUSE DEMOCRATIC LEADER KEVIN MCCARTHY ON REPUBLICAN IMPEACHMENT RESOLUTIONS
“I issue the following challenge to Speaker Paulsen and Majority Leader Upmeyer on the proposed impeachment of the remaining Supreme Court Justices…either publicly condemn your own Republican members as well as members of the Republican Party for offering this outrageous, extremist proposal…or allow a full and open impeachment proceeding for all Iowans to consider knowing House Democrats will use every available procedural tool to shut down the Iowa House and defeat this right-wing effort.
I suspect, however that the House Republican Leadership will do neither and instead remain cowardly silent. If that is true, then let it be clear to all Republicans where the House Republican Leadership truly stands on this issue.”
This morning, House Speaker Kraig Paulsen (who is a lawyer) issued a statement:
Paulsen Issues Statement on Impeachment Resolutions
(DES MOINES) – House Speaker Kraig Paulsen (R-Hiawatha) issued the following statement regarding the impeachment resolutions which were recently filed:
“While I agree with much of the reasoning behind the impeachment resolutions, I disagree with this remedy. I do not expect it to be debated on the floor of the House and if it is, I will vote no.
“House Republicans remain focused on reducing government spending and lowering taxes for Iowa families and small businesses.”
In January, House Judiciary Committee chairman Richard Anderson, a Republican from Clarinda who is a lawyer, said there wasn’t enough support among House Republicans to advance articles of impeachment.
In mid-December, Representative Tom Shaw (R-Laurens) and two other newly-elected Republicans in the Iowa House started talking about filing the articles of impeachment. Last night, Shaw told me they waited ’til now to file the resolutions outlining the proposed articles of impeachment because they wanted to ensure the language was right. The three rookie House members — Shaw, Glen Massie of Des Moines and Kim Pearson of Pleasant Hill — co-sponsored the resolutions along with two GOP veterans in the House — Dwayne Alons of Hull and Betty De Boef of What Cheer.
The process of impeaching the justices in Iowa starts in the House, where articles of impeachment — in the form of a resolution — would have to pass the 100-member House. The matter then would go to the Iowa Senate. After the regular legislative session adjourns, the Senate would reconvene and hold a trial.
Governor Terry Branstad used his item veto authority today to nix two tax proposals — one aimed at businesses, the other designed to give Iowa’s working poor a tax break. Read the Radio Iowa story. Here’s the press release from Branstad’s office.
(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry E. Branstad today signed Senate File 209, which provides supplemental funding for indigent defense, Department of Human Services, Department of Public Safety and Department of Corrections, Department of Public Health and community colleges.
The governor also used his item veto authority to insist on broad tax relief, vowing to work with both parties in both chambers to build a tax relief package that promotes economic growth in Iowa.
“I am pleased to sign Senate File 209 to provide indigent defense funding, funding for the Department of Public Safety, Department of Human Services and Department of Corrections,” said Branstad. “I commend the House and Senate for making these supplemental appropriations in areas where the cuts would have adversely affected the health and safety of Iowans.”
In a letter to Senate President Jack Kibbie, attached to this email, Branstad stated:
“I am unable to approve the item designated as Division I. […]Any temporary economic stimulus effect of bonus depreciation is primarily accomplished through the federal tax code. Iowa should instead focus its energies on improving our state’s long term competitive tax position for new job creation. With our limited budget, that is best accomplished by reducing our commercial property taxes which are second highest in the country and our marginal corporate tax rate which is the highest in the nation.
“I am unable to approve the item designated as Division II.
“As earlier indicated, it is my desire to approach tax policy in a comprehensive and holistic manner. As such, I urge members of the House and Senate to continue to work with my office on an overall tax reduction package that both fits within our sound budgeting principles while reducing those taxes that are impeding our state’s ability to compete for new business and jobs.”
Branstad also said, “I am pleased we could reach this agreement to fund our shared priorities in public safety, public health and indigent defense. I look forward to continuing our discussions on job creation and tax changes as we move forward toward adjournment.”
Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds continue to work with leaders in both the House and the Senate to develop a plan that fits Iowa’s long-term needs, while maximizing effectiveness by creating jobs, growing the state’s economy and putting Iowa on a path to fiscal prosperity.
Gov. Branstad used his item veto authority in accordance with Amendment IV of the Amendments of 1968 to the constitution of the State of Iowa to item veto Divisions I and II of Senate File 209.
Iowans for Tax Relief issued a statement.
Significant Tax Relief Options Item-Vetoed by Governor Branstad
Weeks of work by the Legislature on Senate File 209 is removed in one day
MUSCATINE, IA—Today Governor Branstad item-vetoed two significant tax relief portions of Senate File 209, the tax and spending compromise bill.
Iowans for Tax Relief President Ed Failor, Jr. issued the following statement:
“It is discouraging to see Governor Branstad’s item- vetoes which remove significant tax relief options in place to help Iowa job creators and Iowa families. A bi-partisan group of Legislators have worked for over six weeks on the compromise bill, and it is built with the best intentions for the taxpayers of Iowa.”
Former Iowa First Lady Christie Vilsack just called into the Radio Iowa newsroom to ahve a conversation with me about running for congress. Listen: Christievilsack (mp3 runs about 9 minutes).
Here’s Vilsack’s answer to a question about the voter registration edge in the district (GOP has the edge in the new fourth district):
“I looked at the numbers and they were pretty much the same as when Tom ran for governor all across Iowa and I think it’s a winnable district. Everybody I’ve talked to and all the people who are working with me think it’s a winnable district and I think it’s the most winnable district for me. I am a small town person and this is a district of small towns flanked by two or three really good-sized Iowa cities and I just think, all things considered, I thought it was the best district and I’m in it to run. I’m in it to win and if I decide to get to get in it, when the time comes after my exploration is done, then I’m going to go for it and I think this is the best place to win.”
I’ll be back with more from the interview, including Vilsack’s response to Governor Branstad’s “fish out of water” assertion and her own husband’s characterization of a Christie Vilsack versus Steve King match-up as a “holy war.”
UPDATE: Here’s the Radio Iowa story. From that story:
On her husband’s “holy war” statement: “Well, I think my husband two days ago wasn’t the spouse of a potential candidate and I don’t think he’s got the spouse thing down quite yet,” she told Radio Iowa. “But today he is and I think he’ll be able to stand next to me and be supportive.”
On Branstad’s “fish out of water” staement: “I could have run in any of Iowa’s districts because I feel like all Iowa is my home,” Vilsack said this morning. “But, you know, I was in Emmetsburg in the parade at St. Patrick’s Day, right behind (Governor Branstad) and I’ve been in Crawford County — I’ve been traveling all over that district for the last 12 or 14 years and they’re my people and I feel very comfortable with them and I feel like it’s the best district for me as I reviewed it.”
I also asked her why she didn’t run against Congressman Boswell (D-Des Moines) in the new third district or against Congressman Loebsack (D-Mount Vernon, moving to Iowa City) in the new second: “I really used quite a process and spent a long time trying to decide, really, what’s best for me and my family, what district fits me best and what’s best for my party,” Vilsack said. “…I wanted to run where I had the best chance of winning and I think I have the best chance of winning in the new fourth.”
Andrea Bozek of the National Republican Congressional Committee emailed the following:
After floating her name for practically every political office in Iowa, Democrat Christie Vilsack today announced her plans to move into Iowa’s new 4TH Congressional District to run against Republican Rep. Steve King.
Please consider the following quote as you follow Vilsack’s announcement.
“Considering Vilsack’s support for the government takeover of healthcare she will fit right in with liberal Nancy Pelosi’s big government and spending agenda. Iowa voters understand that sending Vilsack to Washington will only result in more debt and a vote to try to put Nancy Pelosi back in the Speaker’s Chair. ” – NRCC Spokeswoman Andrea Bozek
New District Breakdown:
Steve King has represented nearly half of the new Fourth District since 2002.
McCain received 50.2% in the new fourth.
Republican Gov. Terry Branstad received 59.4% in the new fourth.
Former Iowa First Lady Christie Vilsack and her husband, former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack (the current U.S. Agriculture Secretary), are moving to Ames, Iowa, and Vilsack has formed an “exploratory committee” to run for congress, in Iowa’s fourth congressional district. That means she’d be running to unseat Congressman Sreve King, a Republican from Kiron. Here is her statement:
“Serving Iowa is both a privilege and a responsibility. The decision to run for Congress deserves serious consideration. Next month, I will move to Ames and continue to explore the possibility of representing Iowa in the US House of Representatives. It’s important to listen to Iowa families about the issues they want addressed in Congress. Hearing directly from citizens about their concerns and ideas is very important to me. Too often in campaigns, it’s the other way around. More than anything, this should be a discussion about Iowa values-the value of work, the value of opportunity and the value of community. Input from fellow Iowans will help me make the best decision and will give our state a campaign focused on collaboration and results, encouraging a new way to do business in Washington.”
Technically, she has formed an “exploratory committee” for congress, the ramping-up “toe-dipping” phrase with which you’ve become familiar because of all the presidential hopefuls who form exploratory committees enroute to a real, bona fide campaign aparatus.
Yesterday, Republican Governor Terry Branstad said Christie Vilsack would be a “fish out of water” in the fourth district. Last summer at the Iowa State Fair, Christie Vilsack talked about running for congress.
…Vilsack announced (in the fall of 2009) she had decided against running for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Republican Chuck Grassley. Vilsack said during an interview at the Iowa State Fair that she is considering “other options” like running for congress.
“I just turned 60, so timing is important — political timing as well as personal timing,” she said. “It’ll be a whole new ballgame after the election and after redistricting, where we see the districts line up.”
The Iowa Legislature will redraw the congressional district lines in Iowa for the 2012 election and it’s likely Iowa will lose one of it’s five congressional seats due to population gains in other states.
“Nobody will actually have a claim on any particular district, I think, because it’ll be a whole new set of voters and a whole new set of constituents,” she said.
Being a first-time grandparent is one factor that’s pulling Vilsack in one direction. But Vilsack said women like her, who are in “the third part of their lives” are being recruited to run for office and she feels the tug toward putting her own name on the ballot after working a lifetime to elect others.
According to Vilsack, she’d enter a race with her “eyes open” to what it takes to run and win. “I know, which maybe makes the decision harder. If you have illusions or thinking that it’s glamorous — it’s not that I’m not optimistic, I just understand. I know how much hard work (is required),” Vilsack said. “I know what the personal sacrifice is.”
In December, Tom Vilsack indicated he would not step down as a caibnet secretary if his wife were to seek a seat in congress. (He cited other examples of spouses who’ve worked in the two branches of the federal government at the same time.)
Former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore is in the midst of a six-day, 25-city swing through Iowa and he’s filing the paperwork today for an exploratory committee for a presidential campaign.
Moore, who is 64 years old, says his natural base of support will come from the Tea Party, from Christian voters and from voters who want to adhere to constitutional principles. Moore also expects to win support from Iowans who voted last fall to oust three Iowa Supreme Court justices who had joined in the court’s unanimous 2009 ruling on gay marriage. “This is a natural group of people who want to stand for family values, want to stand for something that is so common sense it defies imagination — the marriage of one man and one woman,” Moore said. “…When judges start making up the law, they should be removed.”
Moore was in Iowa last summer, campaigning against the retention of those three Iowa Supreme Court justices. He was in Iowa earlier this year, serving as the keynote speaker at a statehouse rally organized by Iowans who want a statewide vote on a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage here.
Moore says losing in the past two statewide elections in Alabama (see info below about those races) has no bearing on his ability to win a national race. “You don’t run by winning or losing. You don’t know many politicians that have not lost an election,” Moore said. “…Abraham Lincoln lost many elections…Ronald Reagan lost the first time he ran…for president….I’ve won elections. I became the first elected Republican judge in Etowah County in modern history and since then, no other (Republican) judge has been elected…And when I went to chief justice, I won without a run-off in the primary. Elections are just things that you run and, you know, take what the voters say, but I have had more of a national inclination…I’ve spoken for 15 years across the country and dealing with the Constitution of the United States and dealing with things that pertain to issues of constitutional import and so I think it’s time to bring those issues to light in a national debate.”
Moore opposes the Obama Administration’s move to allow homosexuals to serve openly in the U.S. military and the organization he now leads — The Foundation for Moral Law — filed a brief in support of the Defense of Marriage Act. “Having served in the military…I know that homosexuality is not condusive to the military mission and I have no qualms about that. I’ve seen it and felt it and experienced it and we’ve got to wake up to reality, ” Moore said early in an interview with Radio Iowa (me) and The Des Moines Register this morning. “Common sense dictates this.”
Later, Moore was asked what he meant by having felt and experienced the impact of homosexuality in the military.
“You had mentioned that while you were in the military, you did experience some problems,” Jennifer Jacobs of The Des Moines Register said. “Can you describe that? What do you mean by that?”
Moore replied: “No, no, I didn’t say — I didn’t experience problems.”
“You witnessed some problems in the military?” Jacobs asked.
“With discipline, with homosexuality, with other things, yes –with the views of the military soldiers toward that,” Moore said.
“How their views somehow impeded the readiness of the military, is that what you mean?” Jacobs asked.
“Well, their acceptance of open homosexuality in the military was not there,” he said. “…Of course it’s always affected the military. It has affected the military since Washington excluded homosexuals out of the military back during his day.”
Moore is being escorted around the state by former state Representative Danny Carroll, a Republican from Grinnell who is a lobbyist for The Family Leader. Carroll supported former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee in the 2008 Caucuses and was co-chair (along with Bob Vander Plaats) of Huckabee ’08 in Iowa.
“What impresses me and a lot of other people that we talk to — you hear a lot of people talk about the courage of their convictions, seldom do you find someone who is willing to sacrifice their position as the sitting chief justice of a state supreme court because he was asked by a higher authority to no longer acknowledge God,” Carroll said. “…He has demonstrated in real life actions the courage of his convictions. That’s impressive.”
In 2001 Moore drew national attention for installing a monument to the Ten Commandments in Alabama’s courthouse. A federal court ordered that monument removed. After Moore refused to do so, Alabama’s judicial ethics panel booted Moore from that state’s high court in 2003. Moore ran for governor of Alabama in 2006 and lost in the G.O.P. Primary and in 2010 he got about 19 percent of the vote in Alabama’s gubernatorial primary, finishing in fourth place.
The masthead photo was taken by Roger H. Goun and used here with his permission. No, that's not O.Kay Henderson's hand but we liked the image a lot. Thanks, Roger.
Kay is a founding member of the Radio Iowa network newsroom. In 1994, she became the network’s news director. She’s a featured reporter and commentator on Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press,” and the 2002 recipient of the Shelley Award. More »
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