GOP candidates speak to home schoolers

The three Republican candidates for governor spoke this afternoon t0 a gathering of “home schoolers.”  The audience of about 200 people was made up of children and their parents who attended “Home School Day at the Capitol.”  Click here to read the Radio Iowa story AND listen to the three speeches.

Representative Rod Roberts of Carroll was first to speak (and he was just launching into his speech when I got into the room).  He began with some biographical information, then he quoted Bible passages from Genesis and from the New Testament about Jesus growing in stature.  Roberts said that was a tribute to Jesus’ parents, Mary & Joseph.  Roberts praised the home schooling parents in the room, saying he respected their decision.  Roberts talked about being on the Carroll School Board and credited competition from Carroll Kuemper as a benefit.

Bob Vander Plaats, the Sioux City business consultant, was the second to speak.  He touted his endorssement from the founder of the Home School Legal Defense Association.  Vander Plaats spoke about the Iowa Supreme Court ruling that legalized gay marriage and warned the rights of home schoolers could be in jeopardy if the court applies its “equal protection” arguments to students who’re being taught in private schools, in public schools and in “home schools.” 

“Now, a lot of people will say, ‘Bob, now, you’re just causing fear,'” Vander Plaats told the crowd. “No, no.  It’s actually — it’s right there.  If they say, ‘Why can Bob send his children to private school?  Why should Steve and Amy send their children to home school?  That violates an equal protection provision. All kids should have to go to the public school.’”

Vander Plaats also reminded the crowd he has promised to appoint someone from the home schooling community and from a private school background to serve on the State Board of Education.  Vander Plaats touched briefly on an economic message, getting applause when he denounced gambling and after a few references to polls on the gubernatorial race, he closed with this:  “Let’s gird ourselves for victory on June 8, then on November 2.”

Former Governor Terry Branstad was the third candidate to speak.  Unlike his counterparts, Branstad read from a prepared text.  He began by talking, in general, about why he’s running for a fifth term.  Branstad then mentioned that “back in the day” when he first became governor in 1983 home schooling was not legal in Iowa and he reminded the crowd he was the governor who signed the bill that made it legal.

He praised the performance of home-schooled students and touted the candidacy of Brenna Findley, a 33-year-old from Dexter who is running for attorney general.  She was “home schooled” as a child.

“She’s very intelligent, articulate and a solid conservative…I’m excited about Brenna Findley ’cause she’s our kind,” Branstad told the crowd of home schoolers.  “She will do an outstanding job.  She’s a constitutionalist and she’s an attorney general that will work for us on this issue and many, many other issues.”

Brantad also claimed he was the first Iowa governor to send his children to a private school and he touted the tax credits he helped create for those who contribute to scholarship funds which pay tuition for needy students.

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About O.Kay Henderson

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