180 degrees on the Iowa Lottery

The Des Moines Register's William Petrosky wrote a story which appeared in today's edition.  In it, Petrosky quoted the top two Democrats in the Iowa legislature.  The topic?  A plan to lease the Iowa Lottery to private interests in return for a chunk of cash upfront and an annual payment to the state in future years.

Here's the "money" quote in the story from Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal:"If it actually makes sense for the state, and private-sector people could operate it more efficiently than state government, and the state would get a significant windfall and ongoing revenue, why wouldn't we consider it?" 

The top four Democrats in the Iowa Legislature held a news conference late this morning.  The last two questions were from me, on this topic.  As you may know, the governor appoints individuals to key administrative posts in state government, but those individuals must win confirmation in the Iowa Senate in order to take the job. Late yesterday, Governor Culver announced he had chosen Terry Rich to head the Iowa Lottery

Here's a transcript of my questions and what Gronstal had to say:

Henderson:  "Governor Culver yesterday announced that Terry Rich is his choice to be the CEO of the Lottery.  Is that confirmation on hold until you guys decide if you're getting rid of the Lottery?"

Gronstal:  "No, I intend to approve that lottery director as soon as that appointment becomes available to us."

Henderson: "What's the point if you're going to turn (the lottery) over to private interests?"

Gronstal: "What's the point of not having somebody in charge of that office and at this point, I'd say I've not seen much likelihood, much interest inside our caucus in proceeding with the sale of the lottery, so I've always thought that that was very much a long shot.  I think it continues to be very much a long shot and we need to proceed with an administrative officer at the Lottery and we will, in fact, do that."

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About O.Kay Henderson

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