Where in the world is CJC?

Culver press secretary Troy Price sent an email to statehouse reporters, an advisory of Chet Culver's travel:

"I just wanted to pass along a note today to let you know that Governor Culver is traveling out of state today and tomorrow," Price wrote. "He left today for a trip to Texas, where he will attend an event at the Johnson Library sponsored by the Democratic National Committee.  The Governor will return to the state tomorrow.  The trip is being paid for by the Chet Culver Committee."

Iowa delegation reacts to Obama health care address

Iowa's congressional delegation released prepared statements following (and one preceding) President Obama's speech this evening.  Read them below, in the order they were received in the Radio Iowa newsroom.

Senator Chuck Grassley, Ranking Member of the Committee on Finance, issued the following comment in advance of the President’s speech tonight to a joint session of Congress.

“Health care is so far-reaching, major changes should not be enacted without broad-based bipartisan support.   In addition, the bills presented so far in Congress haven’t even met the major goal of lowering health care costs.  It’s obviously time for a new kind of effort that would focus on fixing what’s broken and not make things worse.  To start building the kind of legislation that could win the support of 70 to 80 senators, the President needs to demonstrate that he’ll fight, through the end, for a proposal that reaches common goals without creating government health care.

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A bunch of stuff, from Fong to Fiegen

Over the past two weeks I've accumulated a few items for the blog, but failed to post.  Here they are, in chronological order:

As James Q. Lynch of the Cedar Rapids Gazette reported at the following link, Republican gubernatorial candidate Christian Fong of Cedar Rapids challenged Democratic Governor Chet Culver's record on flood recovery on August 28, 2009.  Read Fong's news release below:

(Cedar Rapids, IA)  Today, in the New York Times, appeared a story about flood recovery and how the tragedy and devastation of the floods from 2008 are being forgotten.   In the story, Governor Culver was quoted as saying, “We’re not making a lot of noise about it” in reference to the feeling of neglect and delays.

Christian Fong, Republican Gubernatorial candidate and C.E.O. of Corridor Recovery in Cedar Rapids, said “I simply do not understand why Governor Culver would admit to “not making noise” about raising awareness and using his position as Governor to constantly be emphasizing to the Nation that Iowa was hit with the second largest natural disaster in U.S. history, and we’ve yet to fully receive the help we need.”

Fong continued, “Governor Culver’s words send the wrong message to flood families still living in FEMA trailers and small business owners trying to rebuild their livelihoods.  In my role with Corridor Recovery, I worked with the New York Times to provide them background information for the story.  We need to raise awareness because people are still hurting.  Iowans deserve a Governor who will be proactive and make things happen.”

The New York Times story, can be found here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/28/us/28cedar.html?_r=2&ref=todayspaper

Culver has hired more campaign staff.  An announcement went out yesterday (Read it below). FYI: Andrew Roos says he is not related to former Des Moines Register reporter Jonathan Roos, but Andrew Roos says he read stories under Jon Roos' byline over the years.

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Harkin takes over as chairman of “HELP” panel

Senator Tom Harkin (D-Cumming, Iowa) has accepted the job that had been held by the late Senator Edward Kennedy.  UPDATE:  Here's the Radio Iowa story (we're having website issues, so I'll paste all the copy below).

Senator Tom Harkin is now the chairman of a key U.S. senate committee that had been led by the late Senator Ted Kennedy. 

Harkin, a Democrat, is the new chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.  "A great honor and a challenge," Harkin said of the move this afternoon during an interview with Radio Iowa. 

Harkin said he hopes to "carry on the legacy of Senator Kennedy," especially the "cause" of Kennedy's life: "health care for all Americans." 

"This is an opportunity lead the charge on health care, on education and on making sure that working families get a better share of the dollar and to help do something to strengthen the pensions and retirement systems in this country," Harkin said,  "all issues I care very deeply about and affect every Iowan and every American, so I look forward to working on those issues."

Harkin led the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee in writing the wellness and prevention components of the health care reform bill which cleared the panel earlier this summer. 

"I believe that there is a silent majority of Americans there — and I detected that in Iowa when I was out there in August — a silent majority out there that knows we cannot continue on like we are with our health system and they recognize it has to be changed," Harkin said.  "And we are listening to them and we have a bill that we passed here in our committee.  We'll be bringing that out here on the (senate) floor and hopefully we'll still have a bill for President Obama to sign before we go home for Christmas." 

Earlier this year The Hill — a Washington, D.C. publication — surveyed members of the U.S. Senate and Republican senators ranked Harkin as the fourth most bipartisan senator.

"I like working things out and I think we can get this health care thing worked out that will move us in the right direction as a country," Harkin said.  "I really do."

Harkin is giving up his role as chairman of the Senate Ag Committee, as senators may only lead one committee. Harkin was appointed to the House Ag Committee when he was elected to congress in 1974 and then became a member of the Senate Ag Committee when he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1984.  Harkin was chairman of the Senate Ag Committee when it wrote the 2002 and 2007 Farm Bills.

"We've made some big changes in agriculture, focusing more on things like conservation," Harkin said.  "…So it's a poignant moment for me to leave the chairmanship of agriculture. It's obviously very important to Iowa." 

Harkin, as the new chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, will be in the unique role of being chairman of the policy committee on health and education issues at the same time he leads a senate appropriations subcommittee that writes the budgets for those areas of the federal budget.

Read the Harkin announcement below:

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Harkin to HELP?

The late Senator Ted Kennedy was chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee.  Senator Christopher Dodd (D-Massachusetts) was next in line of seniority on the committee (and next in line to chair the panel), but reports suggest Dodd wants to stick with the Senate Banking Committee.  Dodd reportedly was to make his decision public with a news conference at 10 a.m. Iowa time.  The 24/7 networks are covering Walter Cronkite's Memorial Service..

It all means Senator Tom Harkin (D-Cumming, Iowa) is next in line to chair the Seante HELP Committee.  Harkin will have to give up his chairmanship of the Senate Ag Committee to take over the HELP panel.  Dodd had been functioning as leader of the HELP Committee in Kennedy's absence; Harkin was one a handful of legislators who headed up writing portions of the health care reform bill that cleared the committee over a month ago.  Harkin's portion: wellness and disease prevention aspects of the bill.

Meeting attracts a crowd

This morning the State Government Reorganization Commission convened for the first time.  The bipartisan panel of legislators is meeting in a rather small room in the statehouse and, as you might suspect, there are so many people there to watch the proceedings the crowd is overflowing into the corridor. At 9:01 a.m. the room was humid; I'm sure by 11:01 a.m. it will smell like a locker room. It seems when you talk about reorganizing state government all the agencies which might be reorganized/downsized/eliminated send someone to monitor the discussion….

Hans Vander Plaats @ Oxford

As reported earlier on Radio Iowa, the oldest son of GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats is going to Oxford.  Here's the relevant portion of that July 22, 2009 story about a candidate forum:

The forum's limited time for candidate answers didn't give the men much time to share biographical information with the crowd, although Bob Vander Plaats, a business consultant from Sioux City, did offer a bit of family news while lamenting the "brain drain" which sees many young Iowans leave the state after college.

"My oldest son's in New York City on an internship right now; just got accepted to study at Oxford University. He's a bright kid — takes after his mom," Vander Plaats said. "…In order for him to come back to Iowa, we need leadership that produces or creates an environment where businesses can develop, thrive and succeed."

Today, before a news conference at the statehouse started, Vander Plaats and his wife, Darla, revealed they will be flying to Great Britian later this month see their son, Hans.

According to Darla Vander Plaats, Hans started a British landscape course yesterday.  His parents are leaving the U.S. September 29th and will return October 10.  "The wife said, 'We're going,'" Bob Vander Plaats joked with reporters about the upcoming trip. "You've got this little thing called a campaign in the midst of it."

"…What's kind of cool is (Hans Vander Plaats) started his own blog.  It's a lot more affordable way for us to communicate and stay up-to-date with what he's doing, He laid down a challenge 'cause he said his mother would be his most loyal follower, so I've been posting all the time on his blog to try to beat his mother out."

Hans Vander Plaats has done two internships with AXA Equitable.  "I always say AXA's like Principal on steroid," Bob Vander Plaats said. "…He's been offered a job there.  That's good. We're not all that excited about that but if he wants to do that, we'll cheer him on. But hopefully some day he'll want to come back."

As for that reference in July to Hans "taking after his mother," Bob Vander Plaats suggested today that he, too, made a contribution to his son's acumen in finances.  Darla Vander Plaats was a C.P.A. 

"I always tell people that she counted other people's money until started counting kids and I taught accounting," Bob Vander Plaats said.  "I always tell people we're all Dutch, so money's very important to us."

“Draft Branstad” PAC formed

There's a Twitter account.  And an announcement, via Facebook (haven't received a thing in my email in-box yet, however).  And a website.  On that website there's a one-minute-long video with just music and graphics — plus lots of pictures of Terry Branstad when he was governor and a few of him at Des Moines University, where is currently serving as president.  There are 14 pictures of a very young, dark haired Terry Branstad (when he was governor), including one picture of him with then-President Ronald Reagan, but only four pictures of the modern day Terry Branstad. 

UPDATE:  At 9:45 a.m. I did receive, via email, a news release which you can read below.  The subject line of the email read: Draf Branstad PAC Formed.  (That would be a "T" for "Terry" that was left out of the first word.)  Here's the Radio Iowa story.


Des Moines, Iowa – Former State Legislator Sandy Greiner officially announces the formation of “Draft Branstad PAC” today. Draft Branstad PAC is an organization formed to encourage former Governor Terry Branstad to run for Governor of Iowa.

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King announces…

"I will not be a candidate for governor in 2010."  Congressman Steve King, August 27, 2009.

Congressman Steve King (R-Kiron, Iowa) plans to run for reelection to his seat in congress, ending speculation he may run for governor. Read King's prepared remarks, released this morning, below.

Statement from Congressman Steve King

"Iowa is drowning in a pool of nearly a billion dollars of red ink.  Seven activist supreme court judges have defied the will of Iowans while our state’s taxes and regulations swallow so much production Iowa is at a competitive disadvantage in the Midwest and nationally.  We are a rich state with poor leadership.  Iowa needs a competent governor who will stick to principle and put us back on a prosperous and family friendly path.

"Our nation is in even worse condition.  Seven hundred billion in TARP funding, $787 billion in stimulus spending, the nationalization of three large investment banks, AIG, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Chrysler and General Motors all swallow up part of the free market system.  All of which I have opposed and all of which could be reversed by the signature of the next president.  But the passage in the House of “Cap and Trade” followed by a strong Obama effort to pass a national healthcare act while faced with the likelihood of an attempt to pass a comprehensive amnesty bill, all are permanent decisions that, in my estimation, can never be effectively reversed.  America is on the brink of permanent transformation into the abyss far to the left of liberalism.  

"It is always a profound honor to serve Iowans in any capacity.  A sense of duty and of urgency is calling many leaders into public service.  Good candidates are stepping up to the governor’s race while I find myself well positioned to continue to effectively oppose the hard leftward lurch of the Pelosi Congress while working to refurbish the pillars of American Exceptionalism.  I have decided I can be of better service as a Member of Congress than as a candidate for governor and, barring unforeseeable and dramatic events, I will not be a candidate for governor in 2010."

King was re-elected to the 5th District for a fourth term in Congress last fall, winning all 32 counties and with a landslide margin of 60 percent of the vote in a three way race.  King has emerged on the national stage as a vocal conservative leader, ranked by the U.S. News and World Report in the top five in the nation as an effective critic of President Obama’s policies.  He is the Chairman of the Conservative Opportunity Society, an organization formed by Newt Gingrich and others credited with producing the core ideals that won the majority for Republicans in the House in 1994.   King serves on the Agriculture, Small Business, and Judiciary Committees.

Iowa politicians express condolences to Kennedy family

Governor Chet Culver is the first Iowa politician to issue a statement to mark the death of U.S. Senator Edward "Teddy" Kennedy (D-Massachusetts).  Chet Culver's father, John Culver – the former U.S. congressman and U.S. senator, also issued a written statement this morning.  John Culver and Teddy Kennedy first met in 1950 when they were college freshman at Harvard. 

Here is John Culver's statement:

"Ted Kennedy was my friend for nearly 60 years.

"Ted’s love of life was matched only by a dedication to public service.  His capacity for friendship and devotion to family were extraordinary.

"The quality of his public service cannot be measured in years but in the many lasting contributions to a better life for people here and throughout the world.

"He will be remembered and missed not only for his incomparable and historic public service but for countless acts of kindness and thoughtfulness to friends and strangers alike.

"Those who knew him will always treasure memories of his laughter, humor and the joy of his company. Mary Jane and I send our heartfelt condolences to his  wife Vicki, whom he loved so much, and to Teddy, Kara and Patrick, to Caroline and Curran and to his beloved sister Jean."


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