Governor Scott Walker’s visit to Iowa

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was in Iowa last night, but he did not grant media interviews and The Heritage Foundation — sponsor of the event at which Walker spoke –made it a private event.  Tickets were $65 for Heritage members; $75 for non-Heritage members and $250 for students. That’s not a typo. Student tickets were exponentially more expensive than tickets for adults. West Des Moines police were dispatched to the Sheraton Hotel property to keep protesters, reporters and photographers from stepping on the parking lot or approaching the hotel’s front door.

Kevin Hall from The Iowa Republican was a paying guest in the room and wrote a blog post about Walker’s speech.  Here’s the story about the protesters gathered outside the hotel.

I had a rather strange exchange with the spokeswoman for the Wisconsin GOP yesterday morning as I tried to get Walker’s side of the story. First, Walker’s press secretary had emailed that the trip was not official state business and the Wisconsin GOP was handling everything.  Nicole Larson, deputy director of communications for the WisGOP, called me back after I left a voice mail message.

“His schedule’s actually completely booked while he’s in Iowa,” Larson told me. “But what we can do is, I mean, since you’re radio I’m sure this might not be helpful, but we can send you the statement from his office.”

I asked: “The statement from his office, that’s not handling his trip?”

“Well, technically, I’m doing his communications,” Larson said, pausing before she added: “Because I am. We can send you a statement, but that’s all we can do because he’s booked.”

She emailed the following statement:

“Governor Walker was invited by the Heritage Foundation to be its keynote speaker at a dinner in Des Moines, Iowa. The Governor looks forward to sharing the successes seen in Wisconsin as a result of the recently enacted budget reforms as well as his plans to help Wisconsin’s private sector employers create 250,000 jobs with fellow conservative grassroots supporters.”

At about 2:30 p.m. in the afternoon Iowa Governor Terry Branstad was asked about Walker’s upcoming evening appearance and the charge from protesters that both Branstad and Walker are “anti-worker.”

AUDIO of Branstad’s answer to a question posed by Andrew Duffelmeyer of The Iowa Independent.  Here’s the transcript of what Branstad said:

“I think that’s certainly an unfair and inappropriate characterization.  He, like me and a lot of other governors, inherited a really financial mess and is making tough decisions to try to get his state on the right track and I think the people of Wisconsin can make their judgment on their governor,” Branstad said. “And I feel confident to stand for the people of Iowa and point out what we’re doing in the state of Iowa to bring more business and jobs and to increase opportunities for workers in this state.”  

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About O.Kay Henderson

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


  1. When did preventing lay-offs become anti-worker? Answer: its not. The answer isn’t difficult to figure out. The semantic game continually played by union labor isn’t difficult to figure out either. If they misrepresent something loudly and with enough repetition, people might think its true regardless of reality.