Changes in lattitudes, changes in attitudes

So, I used a Jimmy Buffet line to headline this post about how Republicans are going to handle today’s big day and all the days they’ll have to yield to Democratic control at the statehouse.  I asked both House GOP Leader Christopher Rants and Senate GOP Leader Mary Lundby recently what kind of working relationship they’d have with the new the Democratic Governor.  Their answers may tell you a little bit about each of their approaches to being in the minority.

Lundby:  "Actually, the new governor’s been very, very open so far.  Immediately gave us cell phone numbers for Patty Judge and himself.  Charlie Krogmeier immediately gave us cell phone numbers, so the transition team has been available by phone if we wanted to call, had any questions.  I had a personal, one-on-one meeting and considering the time frame and all the things that he has on his plate I thought it was very gracious of both he and Patty to meet with us for a good length of time.  We had some requests for him and he had some requests for us and I thought the first meeting went very well.  I hope it’s something that isn’t just for show but will continue and they will continue to ask the opinion of the Republicans throughout this session but if they do that and go down teh path that they’ve been going down, I don’t see any problem with establishing a very close working relationship with the new governor."

Rants:  "When I met with Governor-elect Culver I told him I would be happy to help him when there are areas that we agree on and I will not be much assistance in areas that we disagree.  You know, in spite of all the stuff in the press, (out-going Governor Tom Vilsack) Vilsack and I actually had a good working relationship.  We could sit down and talk.  We’d fight like cats and dogs about things we disagreed on but we had each other’s personal cell phone numbers and email addresses and we’d be Blackberrying each other late at night and our staff didn’t know we were talking.  I offered to do the same thing with Governor-elect Culver if he would like but I also told him ‘You probably aren’t going to need me very often.  If you need my help, you’re really in trouble.’" 

Later on, Rants said Culver hadn’t yet given him his personal cell.  Perhaps Rants can ask Lundby for the number. 

Rants’ aide Tim Albrecht just dropped off the speech Rants intends to give this morning after the gavel falls in the House.  He’ll begin by quoting Gerald Ford — and then later in the speech he’ll be nipping at the heels of Democrats.  Rants will tell Democrats they do not have a "mandate" from voters to tackle some of the proposals unions support.  Rants will promise to be "tireless" in dogging Democrats if they pursue some goals that the GOP finds objectionable, like forcing non-union members to pay union dues if the contract (pay, benefits) that the union negotiates is extended to all employees.

Next post about the Democrats here at the statehouse.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.