Fong goes up on radio

Republican gubernatorial candidate Christian Fong wins the race to be the first to air campaign ads.  See his campaign's announcement below.  (No word on how extensive, expensive the ad buy is.)

(Cedar Rapids, IA)  The campaign of Iowa gubernatorial candidate and Cedar Rapids businessman Christian Fong (R) announced today it has started a statewide radio advertising campaign.
The advertisement, titled, “Iowa Dream” focuses on introducing Christian and outlining his story for Iowa Republicans.

“Our fundraising has been strong enough; it’s allowed us the luxury of starting our paid media campaign earlier than we had initially anticipated.  Christian has a unique story that sets him apart in this crowded Republican field and this advertisement allows us to introduce him to Republicans across the state,” said Marlys Popma, Fong campaign manager.

Here is the transcript of the advertisement, “Iowa Dream”:

Christian Fong: "It was 1944, as communism was ascending, Nelson Fong’s family escaped China.
Meanwhile, the United States was a beacon of freedom.  After tax cuts in '61, the U.S. was booming.  Nelson Fong, a Christian in Hong Kong was drawn by the promise of freedom to the United States in ‘63.  He met a farm girl, worked many jobs and eventually settled in a small western Iowa town.  Today, Nelson Fong lives that American dream…I know because he's my father.

"I'm Christian Fong.  Today, I see that dream slipping away.  We have a state government that borrowed almost a billion dollars to pay its bills.    As Governor I would end the use of taxpayer money to fund lobbyists and veto any budget that is not balanced.

"Like many of you, we live the Iowa Dream and we should never let that slip away. I'm Christian Fong."

Anncr:  Paid for by Iowans for Christian Fong.  Conservative Republican for Governor."

Christian Fong graduated from Underwood High School in Southwest Iowa at the age of 16 and then attended Creighton University, graduating at age 19.  After college, he and his wife, Jenelle, located in Cedar Rapids and Christian started work at AEGON.   Fong put his career on hold to attend Dartmouth, earning his MBA.  He and his family returned to Cedar Rapids, where they reside today and attend River of Life Ministries church.   When the floods of 2008 hit Cedar Rapids, Fong founded and still serves today as the CEO of Corridor Recovery, a non-profit flood relief organization that coordinated recovery efforts.   The Fongs have three children. 

UPDATE:  Iowa Democratic Party chairman Michael Kiernan issued a response.  President Obama and Senator Grassley were throwing around the label "dishonest" last week. Kiernan is using it now, too.  Read the IDP news release below.

Des Moines, August 24 — Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Michael Kiernan today called on GOP candidate for Governor Christian Fong to halt the airing of "materially false and misleading" radio advertisements.

“We are calling on Fong to take down this ad on his own before any other action is taken,” Kiernan said.

Despite the fact that the Culver/Judge administration has a strong fiscal record, balanced the budget every year and raised the state’s bond rating to the highest possible AAA rating, Fong has released a 60-second radio spot that asserts "we have a state government that has borrowed nearly a billion dollars to pay its bills."

“To suggest money borrowed for the I-JOBS initiative means the budget is out of balance is false,” Kiernan said.  “It’s like telling Iowans who have home mortgages that their personal finances won’t be balanced for 30 years.  It makes no sense.”

“Facts are facts,” Kiernan said. “We have balanced the budget every year, and at the same time we are making smart and needed investments in the future.”

“Because  I am confident someone with Mr. Fong’s experience has a very solid understanding of the state’s finances, I can only assume someone on his team made a factual error and the ad will be taken down promptly,” Kiernan said.

The Chairman noted the Iowa Democratic Party just last week successfully used the legal process to halt the airing of a false and misleading attack ad that had been airing on television in support of the Republican candidate for Iowa House in the upcoming District 90 special election in Jefferson County.

Kiernan said the claim in the Fong ad is patently false and shows a radical misunderstanding of the state budget.  I-JOBS is Culver's $830 million bonding plan that is creating jobs, stimulating the economy and repairing Iowa's aging road and bridge infrastructure.  "The fact is, Iowa's bills are paid," Kiernan said Monday.  "We had a balanced budget for the fiscal year just ended and will have one for the coming year."

Iowa is uniquely positioned to weather the national economic crisis, Kiernan said. "We were recently named the 8th fastest growing economy in the United States, and we have the 4th best business climate," Kiernan said.  "That's not the picture of a state that had to borrow to pay its bills."

Kiernan cited as an example the state of California, which had a $26 billion budget deficit for this year and put out $470 million in IOUs before making major cuts to state programs and services in an effort to balance the state budget. "To lump Iowa in with states like California is fundamentally incorrect, misleading and false,"  Kiernan said.  "Fong is being dishonest."

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About O.Kay Henderson

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