‘Twas the day after the holiday period

Good day, folks.  The holidays are over and the countdown to the 2010 Iowa legislative session is underway.  “Action” in the Iowa House & Senate is to commence on Monday, January 11, 2010.

While I was out of the office, enjoying time indoors with friends and family, my email box accumulated loads of announcements, pronouncements and denouncements.  I share this batch of email messages with you, in no particular order:

At 10:30 a.m. on December 31, 2009, Governor Terry Branstad’s campaign emailed an “alert” asking for contributions.  All the gubernatorial candidates will reveal later in January their fundraising details and Branstad’s report will be compared and contrasted with his rivals, as well as with his fundraising for his last gubernatorial campaign in 1994.  I was mildly amused that those who kept reading the Branstad fundraising alert (copied below) were asked to contribute an ever greater amount.

Dear Friend,
That’s when this year’s fundraising deadline comes to a close.
I’ve been fortunate to meet many of you on the campaign trail, and I look forward to meeting all of you in the upcoming days and months!

Until then, we’ll need the resources to ensure our success in the June primary and November general election!

Please consider a gift of just $25 to help our campaign reach our year-end goals!

Your support of my campaign will mean so much in terms of our 2010 goals.  We’ll be adding a new web site, traveling on an announcement tour, purchasing yard signs and making this a campaign about Iowa’s future.

Please consider a gift of just $50 to help our campaign reach our year-end goals!

Thanks for your support of my campaign in 2009.  As in the past, I am committed to visiting all of Iowa’s 99 counties during this campaign.  Your support will help us on to victory in June and November!

Please consider a gift of just $100 or more to help our campaign reach our year-end goals!

Wishing you a healthy and happy new year –
Governor Terry Branstad

p.s. If you agree with me that we need a commitment to adding jobs in Iowa, reforming state government and leading Iowa’s comeback in the new decade, please consider a gift to my campaign.  Your support is appreciated!

Rod Roberts, another Republican candidate for governor, issued a “New Year’s Day Message” which you may read below:

2009 was a difficult year for Iowans. A recession left over 110,000 Iowans out of work. Democrat lawmakers increased future budget deficits to record levels. And Governor Culver and Democrat legislators ignored the will of Iowans after seven unelected judges struck down the state’s traditional-marriage law.

But as we enter 2010, I’m as hopeful as ever about the future of our great state. Over the past five months of my gubernatorial campaign, I have met Republicans in every corner of the state—at central committee meetings, fundraisers, county fairs, parades, pie auctions, and the like. The clear message that I have received is that Iowans want new leadership, a fresh face, and a new direction for the state of Iowa. This message has energized me and my campaign, and I intend to continue my gubernatorial campaign into the new year with the following three priorities for state government:

1.) State Government Needs to Become More Fiscally Responsible: Governor Culver and Democrat lawmakers have spent taxpayer dollars at record highs. As a result of their out-of-control spending, Iowa now faces a future budget deficit of $1,000,000,000. This is why I have supported amending the state constitution to limit spending to 99% of projected revenue. This change will prevent runaway spending, and it will eliminate massive budget gaps like the one the state is now facing.

2.) State Government Needs to Cut Taxes to Create Jobs: Iowa’s unemployment rate is nearly 7%, and over 110,000 Iowans are currently out of work. We need to bring new businesses to the state and put Iowa’s current businesses in a better position to create jobs. My plan to eliminate the corporate income tax will do just this. By eliminate the corporate income tax (and by keeping Iowa a “right to work” state), we will send a message to the national business community that Iowa is “open for business” once again.

3.) State Government Needs to Respect Iowans’ Right to Vote on Marriage: Government exists to serve the people, not the other way around. This is why Iowans were so frustrated when Governor Culver and legislative Democrats let seven unelected judges strike down the state’s traditional-marriage law without giving Iowans the right to vote on the issue. I helped lead efforts in the Iowa House last spring to allow Iowans to amend the state constitution, and I will continue these efforts in 2010.

These three issues—creating jobs, lowering state spending, and fighting for traditional marriage—have formed the centerpiece of my gubernatorial campaign. As my fellow gubernatorial candidates and I campaign for the Republican nomination for governor over the next six months, Iowa Republicans will have the chance to shape the future of our party. Republicans have a tremendous chance to win back the governorship and the legislature from Democrats next November. By focusing on pro-economic-growth and pro-family policies, I am confident that we Republicans will do both.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats hasn’t issued a news release since December 23, 2009.  Vander Plaats visited a company that makes ignition interlock devices on December 29, 2009; it was his final campaign event of ’09.  Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Rants hasn’t issued a news release since December 11, 2009 — but an online check reveals he has started up the campaign wagon this morning and has resumed Tweeting.

On December 23, 2009, Governor Chet Culver issued a “Holiday Message” to cover both Christmas, New Year’s, and any other holiday someone might be celebrating. December 29 was National Chocolate Day, for example, and the 24th was National Egg Nog Day.  Here’s Culver’s Holiday Message:

“As 2009 comes to an end, and the New Year begins, I want to take a moment to wish Iowans a joyous and peaceful season. Let this coming year be one of opportunity and of hope for our state. On behalf of the First Lady, the Lt. Governor, and the entire Culver and Judge families, happy holidays.

“I want to also recognize the sacrifice of service members and their families, who are apart this year due to overseas and stateside deployments. To that, we begin 2010 with gratitude, and with prayers for the safe and quick return of Iowans who serve our country.

“Many blessings to you and your families at this time of giving and charity.”

As you may recall Culver lauded an Iowa football victory but failed to congratulate ISU’s football team for beating Nebraska earlier in the season.  Culver flew to Arizona to see the Cyclones play in the Insight Bowl on New Year’s Eve.  Here’s the news release from Culver’s office:

DES MOINES – Governor Chet Culver is traveling to Tempe, Arizona, where he will cheer on the Iowa State Cyclones as they square off against the Minnesota Golden Gophers tomorrow at the Insight Bowl.  While in Tempe, the Governor will speak at the pre-game celebration with Iowa State fans.

“As Governor, I am looking forward to joining with fans everywhere in cheering Iowa State to victory,” said Governor Culver.  “I want to commend Coach Rhoads, his staff, and the entire team on the great job they did this season.  I have no doubt they will end this year with another strong performance and come home with the win.”

Then Culver issued a statement of congratulations after the Cyclone victory:

TEMPE, AZ – Governor Chet Culver tonight issued the following statement after Iowa State defeated Minnesota 14-13 in the Insight Bowl in Tempe, Arizona.

“I want to congratulate the Cyclones on their exciting victory over the Golden Gophers. These student-athletes have shown their talents and sportsmanship on and off the field, topping off a great season with a historic bowl win. They are an example of the power of never giving up. I join the Cyclone nation in congratulating Coach Rhoads on his successful first season as head coach at Iowa State, and I applaud the thousands of fans who made the trip to Tempe to cheer on their team. You’ve made us proud, Cyclones, and I know we’re all looking forward to next season.”

Today, Culver’s making his way to Land Shark Stadium in Miami, Florida to watch the Hawkeyes in the Orange Bowl tomorrow night.  (Land Shark is a reference to Jimmy Buffett’s Land Shark Lager beer, not to the Saturday Night Live routine.) Read the news release from Culver’s staff about his trip to Florida:


Governor Culver meets with locomotive manufacturer Electro-Motive Division on way to game today

DES MOINES – After donning red and gold last week for Iowa State’s exciting win against Minnesota, Governor Chet Culver and Lt. Governor Patty Judge are wearing all yellow and black to cheer on the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Orange Bowl.  Both Culver and Judge are traveling to Miami to watch the Hawks face off against the Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech.

“I have no doubt the Hawkeyes will be victorious over Georgia Tech in tomorrow’s Orange Bowl,” said Governor Culver.  “Iowa has had a historic season.  I join with Hawkeyes everywhere in wishing Coach Ferentz, his staff, and dedicated players the best of luck, and I am confident that their successful year will continue tomorrow.”

During their trip to Miami, the Governor and Lt. Governor will participate in several events in conjunction with the game.  Both the Governor and Lt. Governor are expected to participate in the pre-game tailgate tomorrow night.  In addition, Lt. Governor Judge will participate in a series of alumni receptions this afternoon.

On his way to the game, Governor Culver made a brief stop at the Electro-Motive Division (EMD) plant in La Grange, IL.  EMD Is one of America’s largest producers of railroad locomotives, as well as other types of engines, and has worked hard to increase the number of energy-efficient locomotives on America’s rails.  Governor Culver has been a strong advocate for rail infrastructure investment, and during his visit, he toured their diesel engine plant, as well as their rebuild facility, and saw for himself the impact that EMD is having in increasing the efficiency in rail transport in America.

The Iowa Democratic Party has a “find my caucus” section on its website.  The Republican Party of Iowa is holding Caucus training events this month, including  sessions in Ames and Grinnell tonight.  The two political parties intend to hold their “off-year” Caucuses on Saturday, January 23, 2010.

Two of the three Republicans who ran in 2008 for the U.S. Senate are now running for Iowa’s second district congresional seat.  (Dave Loebsack, a Democrat from Mount Vernon, Iowa, is Iowa’s current second district congressman.)  Christopher Reed announced his candidacy in November.  Steve Rathje announced his candidacy at 3:46 p.m. on New Year’s Eve.  Read his statement below. (Editor’s note:  the third Republican running for the second district seat in 2010 is Marinette Miller-Meeks, the 2008 GOP nominee for the seat.)

Cedar Rapids, IA, December 31, 2009 – Cedar Rapids entrepreneur and business owner, Steve Rathje (R), has filed Statement of Candidacy documents with the Federal Election Commission pursuant to his decision to run for United States House of Representatives in Iowa’s Second Congressional District in 2010.

Since forming International Procurement Services, Inc., and the Genesis Group in 1992, Rathje has consistently reduced his customers’ costs by 30% to as much as 500%, and more importantly, “actually created and/or saved” Iowa jobs, the kind of jobs that build families and make for a safer stronger Iowa and America, all while successfully competing with offshore competition.  Steve has successfully negotiated the return of good paying manufacturing jobs from countries like China, Taiwan, Mexico, Europe and Canada back to the United States where they belong.  Steve Rathje is no amateur when it comes to cutting waste and creating jobs.  Imagine his vision and leadership in solving the problems Americans face today!

Therefore, Rathje, a common sense conservative, is committed to putting not only Iowan’s, but all Americans back to work with a plan that creates more than 6 million jobs, averaging $50K per year. A plan that stimulates the economy with nearly $800 Billion, one that empowers new business with much needed startup capital, empowers College Grads to pay down or pay off daunting college debt within a three year period, offers a constitutionally based healthcare/health insurance alternative that saves the people money, promotes competition and embraces personal responsibility. Steve understands that “jobs create an economy, an economy creates stability, stability creates economic might and economic might creates national security.”

A January announcement tour is currently being scheduled with details to be provided soon.

The Legislative Services Agency has updated charts about state tax revenue, state aid to schools & other detailed financial data like Medicaid spending and state payments to adoptive parents.

And here’s budget data on the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa.  An estimated 45,000 people work at the Regents institutions, “with a combined payroll of $2.1 billion.”

The Nation magazine has named Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement as the “Most Valuable Grassroots Advocacy Group” in the country.

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About O.Kay Henderson

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