Another GOP candidate? McKinley in “exploring” phase

Senate Minority Leader Paul McKinley (R-Chariton) is officially "exploring" the idea of running for governor and will make a final decision on the race this fall.  McKinley is a former businessman who nearly nine years ago ran for and won a seat in the Iowa Senate. In the 2000 election, McKinley beat then-State Senator John Judge of Albia, the husband of Patty Judge. Patty Judge was serving as Iowa's Secretary of Agriculture. She is currently Iowa's lieutenant governor.

"Today I am announcing that I will begin aggressively exploring a run for governor," McKinley just told me over the phone.  "During my travels as senate leader around the state…I've been actively encouraged to run for governor and now I'm going to start devoting more time to telling Iowans my story and my vision and my vision is we must prepare our state for the global economy and give Iowans back their government and I believe my background is best suited to make the necessary changes."

About that business background, McKinley recounted his purchase (in 1981) of a business in Corydon.  "In over a 10-year period I tripled the size of the business, employing a couple of hundred people, so I've written an awfully lot of paychecks especially during that Farm Crisis era, in that recession era when no one else was hiring and I think our government faces many of those same problems that I faced back in my business back then and we can bring those principles of accountability, a top-to-bottom review and reform that's needed so we can have a plan our kids and grandkids can learn, live and raise their families."

How does he differentiate himself from the other Republicans who have come forward and said they, too, are in the exploratory phase of a run for governor?

"I think my background speaks for itself and people will make their considered judgments, but as I say I have written a lot of paychecks to people. I have employed a lot of people. I have been in the legislature, now, for nine years. I'm a problem-solver. I'm an issue-oriented person and I think that my background has led me to understand how you go in and you effect reform.  I've been a reformer in everything that I've done, from business to public service and we've got to get this state turned around."

After about five minutes of conversation, McKinley had not mentioned the name Culver.  Governor Chet Culver, a Democrat, intends to seek reelection in 2010 and the Republicans who have been on the campaign circuit for the past couple of months have been offering crowds their critique of Culver's administration.  I asked McKinley what his indictment of Culver was.

"I think the governor can speak for himself.  What I'm offering is positive solutions to Iowans, the issues we face in the state and that's controlling spending.

"We must stop raising barriers to job creation and lower barriers.  We've got to return our state to the tradition that spawned so many great companies like Vermeer, Pella Corporation, Hy-Vee and we have to rely upon the ingenuity and hard-work and the ethics and values and self-reliance of Iowans and their native common sense. 

"And we've got to reform our education system, top to bottom. We have to shift the focus from money to results and we must focus on student achievement rather than the education unions.

"And so, you know, I want to give a positive view and vision for what we in this state need to do to move forward." 

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About O.Kay Henderson

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