Wounded AZ congresswoman’s brother was ISU kicker

An Arizona congresswoman was shot in the head today as she held a town hall meeting in Tucson.  Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has a link to Iowa.  Her brother, Alex Giffords, was Iowa State’s kicker from 1979-1982.

Initial reports indicate five people were killed.  A federal judge and a nine-year-old girl are among the dead.  The congresswoman is among perhaps as many as 10 other shooting victims.  Doctors say they’re optimistic about her chances for recovery.   Congresswoman Giffords was among the members of congress who read the U.S. Constitution aloud on the House floor this past week.  She read the First Amendment.

Congressman Braley Statement on Shooting in Arizona

Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) released the following statement on the shooting in Tucson, Arizona:

 “While we still don’t have all the details, Carolyn and I are praying for Gabby. Our thoughts go out to her husband Mark, her family, her staff and all who know and love her. And I add my deepest condolences to the families of the other victims of this morning’s tragic, senseless shooting.

I also should note that Gabby’s brother, Alex Giffords, was a placekicker for the Iowa State football team. She gave me a print of Beardshear Hall at Iowa State that I have in my office, which she got from her brother.”


WASHINGTON, DC – Iowa Congressman Tom Latham released the following statement today following an attack on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and others in Arizona:

“Kathy and I are keeping Congresswoman Giffords, her staff, her family and the other victims of today’s senseless tragedy in our hearts and prayers.  I know Congresswoman Giffords to be a dedicated servant to her constituents and the cause of democracy in the United States.

“No rational person could ever think that a political disagreement in this great nation should be solved with bullets, and I’m horrified by today’s events.”

Harkin Statement on Arizona Shootings

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today issued the following statement after learning that 18 people had been shot and six died at a public event in Arizona.  U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) remains in critical condition and U.S. District Court Judge John M. Roll is among those who were killed.

“When public servants and innocent civilians are struck down at a public event, a shudder goes through the hearts of all Americans.  This news is nothing short of a tragedy.  My thoughts are with Congresswoman Giffords and all of the families affected by this terrible turn of events.”

King Statement on the Shooting of United States Representative Gabrielle Giffords
Washington D.C.- Congressman Steve King (R-IA) released the following statement after United States Representative Gabrielle Giffords was shot during a public event in Tuscon, Arizona today.
“My prayers continue to be for Gabrielle Giffords, her family, her staff, and all those that are in agony today,” said King. “We serve together and she is outgoing, personable and widely respected. It is inconceivable that anyone could harbor a vile, vindictive or malicious attitude towards her. I will continue to pray for her swift recovery and for the recovery of all those injured in this tragedy.”

Congressman Loebsack Issues the Following Statement on Shooting Involving Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords

Congressman Dave Loebsack released the following statement today after news that Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and others were shot at an event in Tucson, Arizona:

“I was shocked and deeply saddened to hear the news of Representative Giffords, her staff members and others involved in this tragedy. I have the distinct privilege of working with Congresswoman Giffords as a member of the House Armed Services Committee. She is a great colleague and a fine public servant. It is unspeakable that such a tragedy occurred while she was meeting with her constituents, whom she serves with distinction and honor. My thoughts and prayers are with her and her family, and the families of those affected by this senseless act of violence.”

Miller-Meeks gets public health role in Branstad administration

Mariannette Miller-Meeks, the Republican candidate in Iowa’s second congressional district in 2008 and 2010 (who lost to Congressman Dave Loebsack in both elections), will serve in Governor-elect Terry Branstad’s administration.  Read the news release below:

Branstad names Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks as head of Iowa Department of Public Health

(URBANDALE) – Gov.-Elect Terry Branstad today announced that Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks will serve as head of the Iowa Department of Public Health in the Branstad-Reynolds administration.

“Today we have announced that Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks will be the head of the Iowa Department of Public Health,” said Branstad. “Dr. Miller-Meeks’ dedication to public health is evident from her service and leadership in various medical organizations, and I look forward to working with her as we work to make Iowa the healthiest state in the nation.”

The Iowa Department of Public Health works with local health organizations, lawmakers, health care providers, and businesses to educate the citizens of Iowa on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

“I am honored to have been chosen by Governor Branstad and Lieutenant Governor-Elect Reynolds to head the Iowa Department of Public Health,” said Miller-Meeks. “I look forward to working with the Legislature, public health organizations, health care providers and the community to maintain and advance the health of all Iowans.”

Dr. Miller-Meeks completed her undergraduate degree in nursing at Texas Christian University and earned her M.D. from The University of Texas Health Science Center. Miller-Meeks, a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Reserves and ophthalmologist, has served as the first woman President of the Iowa Medical Society and was the first women on the faculty in the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Iowa and councilor for Iowa to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. She has resigned her position as alternate delegate to the AMA upon being considered for this appointment. She has been volunteering at a free medical clinic in Cedar Rapids helping families who have fallen on hard times and is also a CASA volunteer.

Miller-Meeks and her husband, Curt, reside in Ottumwa and have two children.

Link credits early votes for Braley, Boswell, Loebsack wins

Jeff Link, a long-time Iowa Democratic Party insider who has worked on a number of notable Iowa campaigns,  runs a Des Moines-based consulting firm called Link Strategies.  He sent an email yesterday (I didn’t get it) which outlined his theory as to why Iowa bucked the trend and all three Democratic incumbent congressmen were reelected.  Read the email here, courtesy of Politico’s Ben Smith.

Romney/Branstad rally in CR (AUDIO)

Click here to read a Radio Iowa story and listen to the half-hour-long rally.  What follows is a live blog of the event.

The clock just struck 10 o’clock this morning. I’m sitting in a conference room at the Kirkwood Events Center in Cedar Rapids, waiting for former Goveror Mitt Romney and former Governor Terry Branstad (who’s running to return to the governor’s office in Iowa) to enter the room for a political rally.  Most of the crowd is chatting.  A woman has twice hooted, for lack of a better descriptive word, but the rally has yet to begin.

At about five ’til 10 Branstad walked in the back of the room, but a staff member escorted him back out.  A dark curtain is hanging along the east wall of the room, providing a backdrop for the stage and placement for the “Road to Victory: Branstad/Reynolds 2010” sign that hangs from it.  

Mariannette Miller-Meeks is first to speak to the crowd. “I thought I was having a bad hair day until I stepped out into the wind,” she said, as a sort of mistress of ceremonies.  “…This is a no-fly day.”

Miller-Meeks told the crowd her opponent, Congressman Dave Loebsack, “hadn’t expected much of a race,” then she said her husband had shared a quote from Will Rogers with her: “There’s two ways to argue with a woman.  Neither works.” 

The crowd cheered as a group of Iowa Republican candidates and the party’s chair entered the room. “Look what the bus brought in,” Miller-Meeks said, adding a few seconds later: “Boy, the Winnebago can bring in a lot of people.” She also joked with the crowd about Romney wearing jeans on the campaign trail.

Kim Reynolds, the nominee for lieutenant governor, is next to speak. “Oh, my gosh, what a phenomenal turn-out…Terry Branstad& I have each traveled to all 99 counties in the state of Iowa.”

The crowd cheered.  “And you know what we’ve seen are good, honest, hard-working people who want…stability returned to their government….These past four years have given Iowans whiplash…We have seen bloated spending…a film office scandal…promises of 30,000 jobs with an I-JOBS program that was administered so poorly that we’ve actually seen a loss of 20,000 jobs.”

Reynolds soons delivers the line Terry Branstad used thrice in his debate with Culver last week. “We know that Chet Culver loves Iowa and we know that he has tried really, really hard, but you know what?” Reynolds asked. “The results speak for themselves and the status quo is not acceptable anymore.  You know what I think?  I think it’s time to change course.  Help is on the way with Terry Branstad leading it.”

She was done speaking at 10:20 a.m., introducing a “great friend of Iowa…Mitt Romney.”

“Wow, what a welcome.  Thank you so much.  Thanks you guys.  Wow,what a welcome.  Thank you so much.  It’s a — thank you,” Romney said as the crowd of probably a little more than 200 cheered.

Romney cited a line from the theme song of the hit TV show Cheers. “It sure is nice to be in a place…where everybody knows your name,” Romney said.

Romney used the phrase “extraordinary team” to describe the roster of statewide candidates who were standing on stage, along with Miller-Meeks, a candidate in the congressional district that includes Cedar Rapids.  “What a difference these people will make for Iowa,” Romney told the crowd.

Romney said Iowans have an unsual opportunity to examine the two major party candidates for governor. “In this case,you’ve got two people who’ve both been governor and you can compare the records of the two people,” he said.

A few moments later, Romney made reference to the introduction of Kim Reynolds.  “When you said someone young, attractive and full of energy, I thought Terry Branstad,” Romney said and the crowd laughed and clapped.

Romney quickly referenced his travel schedule. “By November 2, I will have been in 25 states…and there’s something very powerful going on in the country.  There’s going to be a remarkable rejection of Obama/Pelosi/Reid and the liberal policies you see right here in Iowa.”

He mentioned some of the other gubernatorial candidates he’s been campaigning with over the past few months.

Romney said the federal economic stimulus hadn’t created private sector jobs, but instead had “protected government workers and unions.  It did not do what the economy needed….then we saw ObamaCare…cap and trade..and their card-check efforts.”

Romney returned to a theme he discussed during his spring-time book launch tour. Liberals “don’t fundamentally understand what makes America America,” according to Romney, who said liberals, “whether they’re in Washington or Des Moines” are trying to “smother that spirit” of America.

“No, we will not let you take over America,” Romney said.

Romney predicted Branstad would cruise to victory:  “Nov 2, about 10 seconds after the polls close, they’ll be calling the race.”

Romney quickly wrapped up, speaking for a little more than seven-and-a-half minutes, then Branstad began speaking.  He began by touting the entire ticket.

“We’ve charted a path that’s taken us through all 99 counties,” Branstad said, then there was a pause before he continued. “What I’ve seen and what I’ve heard from you, the people of Iowa, is that we need to chart a new path…and we intend to do that.”

“…We must raise incomes, not propery taxes and debt in this state.”

“…Will you help this whole team win on November 2?” Branstad asked.  “Governor Romney’s not the first governor to come here to campaign for me, and he won’t be the last.”

Branstad goes on to talk about NJ Governor Chris Christie, who campaigned for Branstad earlier in the month.  Branstad (with Romney standing right there on the same stage!) told the crowd that, during Christie’s speech, he hadn’t been that inspired by a speaker since Ronald Reagan.

“The choir needs to sing,” Branstad said, winding down.  The crowd began to chant:  “Branstad.”

Romney shooks hands and posed for pictures before saying to three hovering reporters: “Gotta go, guys.”  He exited the room.

The 2010 Jefferson-Jackson Day program (Audio)

“We aren’t going back,” Iowa Democratic Party chairwoman Sue Dvorsky just told the crowd as she concluded her opening remarks at 7:42 p.m.  There was a delay in the program’s launch this evening, due to a false alarm.  Party officials say 1400 tickets were sold for the 2010 Iowa Democratic Party’s Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner.  There are tables set for a little less than 1200, however.

The night’s cash haul?  “We have broken $300,00o,” Dvorsky announced to the crowd.

What follows is a live blog of the evening.

Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Waterloo) was the first elected official to speak.  I don’t recognize the music they played as Braley makes his way on stage.  (Braley staffer emailed to say it was “No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn” by the Beastie Boys.  Braley grew up in Brooklyn, Iowa.)  “In 2006, we gave them hope.  In 2008, we gave them change and in 2010 we’re going to give them hell.  We’re just going to speak truth to lies and speak truth to fear and they’re going to think it’s hell when they’re listening to it,” Braley said to open his remarks.

Braley next said the pundits who are predicting November 2 will be “doomsday for Democrats” are wrong.  “We are at our best when we are standing together, fighting for what we believe in…and that’s why Democrats are going to win all over this state on November 2.”

[Read more…]

Loebsack, Miller-Meeks on Iowa Press

The major party candidates in Iowa’s second congressional district are the guests on this weekend’s edition “Iowa Press” on IPTV.  Click on that link to watch the show, or read through the transcript.

After the show’s taping late this morning, Congressman Dave Loebsack (D-Mt. Vernon) talked with reporters who’d gathered at IPTV to watch the taping, then Republican challenger Mariannette Miller-Meeks talked with the same group of reporters.  I’ve transcribed some of the key questions & answers.  

The Des Moines Register’s Kathie Obradovich: Is your party going to shoot itself in the foot by going out for the midterm elections without taking action (on the extension of the Bush tax cuts)?

Loebsack: “I don’t have any interest in commenting on sort of the politics of all this.  I don’t think it’s a — as I mentioned (on the show), you know, I think it’s not a good idea for us to do that because I think we owe it to the American people to have a vote on this before we adjourn and go back to our districts.  That’s my position on it and I’ve made it known to folks and I would like to see us extend those tax cuts, obviously, before we go back and campaign.”

Obradovich: And how likely do you think that is?

Loebsack: “I can’t say at this point.  I’m just going to keep advocating for that as much as I possibly can.”

Lynn Campbell of IowaPolitics.com: You’re facing the same opponent as two years ago.  What’s your chances of reelection, you think, and is it any different than it was two years ago?

Loebsack: “Well, you know, again, I used to be a pundit back in my days when I was a college teacher and I’m a congressman now so I don’t make predictions.”

Campbell: Are you feeling confident?

Loebsack: “I feel confident in my reelection but I’m not going to make any predictions, obviously, and then for me the idea is to, obvioulsy, go be in the district every single weekend, talking to folks as much as I possibly can in all the 15 counties and hearing what they have to say and doing the best job I can representing them in congress.”

James Lynch of The Cedar Rapid Gazette: You said you’re not focusing on the dynamics of this race.  That indicates you feel pretty confident.

Loebsack: “No, it means that my focus is somewhere else, James.  My focus is making sure that I continue to do my job as a congressman right up to November 2 and obviously on the campaign trail what that means is again just getting out and meeting as many people as I possibly can, talking to as many people as I possibly can, hearing what their concerns are and doing what I can to respond to those concerns.”

Obradovich: Do you think it’s inappropriate for you to talk about politics because I would say some of your colleagues in the Iowa delegation don’t feel that way?

Loebsack: “Well, that’s just my focus.  I can’t speak for those folks.”

Obradovich: But I’m asking you whether you think your constituents think it’s inappropriate.

Loebsack: “No, I mean, if my constituents want to talk to me about politics, I’ll talk to them about politics.  I’m open to talk to my constituents about anything they want to talk about.”

Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson (me): Jim, you’re a constituent.

Lynch: Kate and I are constituents, so talk to us.

Loebsack: “But I haven’t asked you for your vote yet, have I?  (Laughter) Let me just say this about the politics.  Well, people are talking about, you know, what will happen with the House of Representatives, what will happen, my job no matter what happens is to continue to do the things that I need to do to represent the people of the second district.  No matter how this shakes out, no matter how this turns out — that’s my job and that’s what I’m focused on.” 

Loebsack left the building; Miller-Meeks arrived in the lobby to speak with reporters.

Campbell: What’s different this time around?

Miller-Meeks: “One, I’m a more knowledgeable candidate.  You learn from your mistakes and you go forward…I have better name recognition than I did before.  I’m not working, which prevented me from getting to areas I need to be…Our grassroots network and support is much more expansive than it was ’08 and I think all of those things lead to better outcome.”

Campbell: Are you confident?

Miller-Meeks: “Yes, ma’am. Not cocky, just confident.”

Henderson (me): Do you feel because your profile doesn’t match the Tea Party favorites in other states that you aren’t getting the national support that other Republican challengers may be getting?

Miller-Meeks: “I don’t look at it in that way.  I guess, for me, I’m more focused on my race and my district, talking to the people who represent us. I don’t know what the public or the voters or the electorate want in Nevada or in Delaware, but I can tell you I have a very good handle on what people want in the second district because for two years I have been everywhere in the district, all the time, and the voters know it.”

Campbell:  You’ve really put everything on the line in this election by leaving your job.  If things don’t turn your way in November, will you still have a political future?

Miller-Meeks:  “I would say, for me, this is where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do and, yes, I put a halt to other things in my life.  But I think people that are resourceful — and given my background in the military, you improvise, you adapt and I think there’s going to be other things and other challenges for me as I go ahead.  I recently was described by one of my previous professors at the University of Iowa who said to me: ‘Mariannette, I’ve finally figured you out.  You climb to the top of one ladder and instead of getting to the top and looking down, you see the bottom rung of another ladder.’  So there’s going to be another ladder for me so regardless of the outcome of the election, I’m looking forward to whatever phase of my life is going to be beyond this, and then taking on that challenge.”

Conlin and the “empty chair” routine

It’s about 10 ’til three on a Sunday afternoon. Roxanne Conlin, the Iowa Democratic Party’s nominee for the U.S. Senate, is working the crowd in this room at the downtown Des Moines library.  In a few minutes Conlin will be debating an “empty chair” — a “stunt” according to Grassley spokesman Eric Woolson.

Conlin says she got the idea from Barbara Grassley, who suggested to Republican congressional candidate Marinnette Miller-Meeks that she do the “empty chair routine” if Congressman Dave Loebsack, a Democrat from Marion, refused to debate.

“At this time, it’s five after three and it appears that Mr. Grassley has not shown, so we will be proceeding with the debate,” moderator Julie Stauch just said.

There’s not an empty chair, by the way.  Instead, there’s a lectern behind which Grassley won’t be standing.  Conlin is standing behind one of them.

“I think most people agree that Washington is broken.  Everyone is tired of the bickering…and the hyper-partisanship…and I want to go there to fight to fix it,” Conlin said to begin.  She then launched into her biography.

The first topic, or “question” is about Senator Grassley’s campaign ad and his assertion that he had to compromise to get Medicare Part D through congress.

“Well, if I may answer the question on his behalf,” Conlin said. “Senator Grassley’s Part D…was the biggest give-away to the drug companies in the history of the United States of America…The drug companies won.  Seniors lost.  Seniors are now paying 80 percent more for their drugs then they did before.”

Conlin is looking at the empty space behind the neighboring lectern, as she poses a question in her comment.

A couple of people in the crowd clapped as Conlin concluded her answer.  The moderator admonished the crowd, reminding them to hold their applause until the conclusion of the event.

“I wouldn’t mind,” Conlin interjected.

The Conlin campaign employed what they called “technology” in the next segment.  Characterizing the second segment as a “candidate-to-candidate” question, Conlin spoke briefly about PACs. “What do you have to say for yourself?”

At this point, the Conlin campaign played a snippet of something Grassley said on Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press” which aired last week (it was a joint Grassley/Conlin appearance on IPTV).

Grassley: “I have two conditions for taking money:  one, is it legal, and two, are there any strings attached.”

Conlin “responded” to the video clip: “The standard he sets for himself is extremely low…I think people are very queasy about money in politics.”

The next topic was filibusters, followed by the topics of “privatizing” Social Security and gay rights.

Woolson, the Grassley campaign spokesman, emailed a statement:

“She’s perfectly welcome to talk to an empty chair because I’m sure she’s talked to a lot of empty chairs this year. The empty chair may represent the jobs that would be lost due to her job-killing policies.”

Conlin used the event to address the Grassley campaign criticism of her husband, James Conlin, for getting gov’t subsidies to build low-income housing.

Conlin said those government tax credits are completely different from the farm subsidies Grassley receives.  “That goes into his pocket,” Conlin said.

Conlin said, by comparison, the tax credits are used to build low-income apartments.  “It doesn’t come to us,” Conlin said. “It goes into the building.”  It’s the way the projects are financed, Conlin said, based on a “public-private partnership” that was established by a federal law, a law Grassley voted for.

“I’m very proud of what my husband has done for a living,” Conlin told the crowd of about 200.

Conlin camp takes Barbara Grassley’s advice?

You saw the headline above.  Read the details below from a news release issued this morning by the campaign of Roxanne Conlin, the Democrat running against Barbara Grassley’s husband, Senator Chuck Grassley:

Barbara Grassley Calls for Debates; Conlin Extends Invitation

(Des Moines, Iowa) – While campaigning for Congressional Candidate Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Ottumwa, Barbara Grassley supported debates between Miller-Meeks and her opponent.  In fact, Grassley suggested that “Miller-Meeks notify Loebsack of a certain time, date and place for a debate and if he does not show, “do the empty chair routine.”


“Mrs. Grassley is absolutely correct,” said Conlin campaign spokesperson Paulee Lipsman.  “And to that end, the Conlin campaign would like to extend an invitation to Senator Grassley to debate on Sunday, September 19th in Des Moines.” 

A location is being finalized. The Conlin campaign hopes Mrs. Grassley is successful in getting her own husband to agree to debates with Roxanne Conlin.  So far, Senator Grassley has not agreed to any debates.  He has said he will do one 30-minute joint interview with Conlin on Iowa Press, but refusing to agree to an hour long session on the Iowa Public Television program.

“It would be embarrassing for Senator Grassley, a career politician with 50 plus years of service, to have his opponent resort to the ‘empty chair routine,'” added Lipsman. 

Barbara Grassley works for a D.C. lobbying firm and her online bio says she works on “message development” as well as “crafting legislative strategy.”

Corn PAC endorsements

The Iowa Corn Growers Association’s PAC has made 66 candidate endorsements.  The group endorsed both major party candidates running for governor, along with all five incumbents in Iowa’s congressional delegation. 

Read the ICGA’s news release below:

Iowa Corn Growers Association Announces Corn PAC Awards

Johnston, IA, September 1, 2010  –  Today, the Iowa Corn Growers Association  Political Action Committee (ICGA PAC) endorsed 66 candidates for the November 2010 elections, including 57 candidates for the Iowa State Senate and the Iowa House of Representatives.

The ICGA PAC established bipartisan support for Democrats and Republicans for the 2010 state and federal races, including 33 Democrats and 33 Republicans.
“Political decisions here in Iowa are critical to the future of farming,” said Bruce Rohwer, PAC chair. “PAC support is one tool we can use to help elect people who have supported corn growers’ policies and who have taken action on issues that matter to corn growers.”

ICGA PAC decisions are made through an objective analysis including candidate responses to our survey, voting records, letters and other quantified evidence of support.  The ICGA PAC committee members include farmers from across Iowa, with an equal balance of party affiliation to ensure decisions are based only on corn growers’ policies.

Endorsements for the 2010 federal election cycle include:
• Senator Grassley (R)
• Congressman Boswell (D)
• Congressman Braley (D)
• Congressman King (R)
• Congressman Latham (R)
• Congressman Loebsack (D)

The Iowa Corn Growers Political Action Committee (PAC) has endorsed both Terry Branstad (R) and Chet Culver (D) for the 2010 State of Iowa, Governor’s Race.

The Iowa Corn Growers PAC is also endorsing Bill Northey (R) for the 2010 Iowa Secretary of Agriculture race.

The Iowa Corn PAC endorsed 57 candidates for the Iowa State Senate and the Iowa House of Representatives for the 2010 election cycle.

[Read more…]

A week away

I’ve been away from the blog for a week.  A lot of political hay has been made in that time, from Tom Vilsack’s firing of a black USDA employee to campaign cash reports to a senate committee’s vote on Elena Kagan.

Here are some of the bales of political hay that I’ve missed, in no particular order:

Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, the US Ag Secretary, has a starring role in this week’s DC tempest.  Cedar Rapids Gazette columnist Todd Dorman has a link to the video of Vilsack’s apology for firing Shirley Sherrod.  Wonkette has been blogging about it.

Money, money, money.  Bleeding Heartland had a take on fundraising in the US Senate race and the five Iowa congressional races.  The Iowa Republican offered its analysis of the $$$ in the congressional races.  Blogger John Deeth did an analysis of fundraising in state legislative races.  The Des Moines Register’s Tom Beaumont reports on the fundraising in the Culver v Branstad race.  Hint:  the Democratic and Republican Governors Associations are spending mightily.  Politico’s Jonathan Martin reports potential ’12 presidential candidates are raising money, an indication of intentions down the road.

Senator Chuck Grassley voted no on Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan when her nomination came up in the US Senate Judiciary Committee.  Roxanne Conlin, Grassley’s Democratic opponent, issued this statement:

(Des Moines)—Senator Grassley continued to obstruct progress today as he voted against the confirmation of Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court.  Below is a statement from Democratic US Senate candidate Roxanne Conlin:
“Senator Grassley opposes Wall Street reform, he opposes extending unemployment benefits to thousands of jobless Iowans and now he opposes filling the Supreme Court vacancy despite decades of support for past nominations.  Senator Grassley’s failure to act on unemployment benefits is costing Iowans food and shelter.  He gave $700 billion to Wall Street but refused to hold them accountable and now he’s casting only his second vote against a Supreme Court nominee in his thirty years in the U.S. Senate.”

Grassley and Conlin, on what happens in Vegas & DC. 

The Iowa Taxpayers Association issued a news release with its take on the FY 2011 state budget the 2010 legislaure drafted.

The largest state employees’ union — AFSCME Council 61 — endorsed Governor Culver’s reelection bid.

Des Moines, IA – This Saturday, July 17th, at the AFSCME Iowa Council 61 PEOPLE Endorsement Conference, the PEOPLE Committee made the decision to endorse Chet Culver for Iowa’s Governor.
Governor Chet Culver received the nod from AFSCME due to his support of such programs as the State Employee Retirement Incentive Program (SEIRP) and efforts to reform state government through the massive reorganization that the state began this year.  Cuvler’s opponent, Terry Branstad, has a record that public employees remember that includes refusing to honor collective bargaining agreements bargained in good faith and contracting or attempting to contract out state services and jobs.  His current pledges concern AFSCME members as well, like his pledge to eliminate many of their jobs that are important to the operation of state government, and to drain the state treasury further by cutting corporate income taxes further at a time of tight budgets at all levels of government.

“Our members who worked under Terry Branstad remember the way in which he treated public employees during his rule, and our younger members are aware of his current pledges to cut them if he is elected.  With those options in front of AFSCME members, the choice was very clear to them,” said Danny Homan, President of AFSCME Iowa Council 61. “We need to continue to move forward under Chet Culver, not backward under Terry Branstad.”

In Iowa, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 61 represents 40,000 public employees including law enforcement and correctional officers, home health care and child care providers, firefighters, mental health workers, professional school staff, emergency responders, and many other workers.

The three Democrats and two Republicans in Iowa’s congressional delegation  agree on something. 

Iowa Congressmen Seek Presidential Approval of Disaster Declaration Request
House Members Act to Spur Relief for Iowans Impacted by Severe Weather

Washington, D.C.- House Members of the Iowa Congressional delegation today sent a letter to President Barack Obama asking that he quickly approve Gov. Chet Culver’s request for a disaster declaration for Iowa counties that have recently suffered significant damage from a severe weather system that began on June 1, 2010 and continues today.  The storm system has produced high winds, heavy rain, hail, thunderstorms, tornadoes and flooding which have caused extensive damage throughout the state. Gov. Culver submitted his official request for a disaster declaration to President Obama on July 6.

Statements of Congressmen Braley, King, Boswell, Latham and Loebsack follow:

“In recent weeks and months, severe weather has taken a serious toll on communities across the state of Iowa,” said Braley. “It is critical now, just as it was following the floods of 2008, for the federal government to respond quickly and efficiently to give our communities the tools they need to recover. I look forward to working with President Obama, Governor Culver and my colleagues here in Washington to make sure Iowa’s small towns and families aren’t hung out to dry.”

 “Iowa has been hit hard by the severe weather systems that have moved through our state, and the people who have been affected expect a swift and efficient response,” said King. “In Cherokee County, for example, the waters exceeded the 1993 flood levels. There is no doubt that the request for federal help to these areas is appropriate and I look forward to continuing to work with Governor Culver, the members of Iowa’s Congressional delegation and President Obama to ensure that this assistance is approved quickly.”

“For the second time in two years, flood waters have ravaged homes, farmland and businesses across the state,” said Congressman Leonard Boswell. “I support Governor Culver’s request for presidential disaster declarations for several Iowa counties that have been impacted by the flooding. Many Iowans are still trying to recover and rebuild from the floods of 2008 and this summer’s weather has set them further behind. I encourage the President to issue these declarations in order to help Iowa’s families and small businesses get back on their feet.”

“The severe weather that has recently struck throughout Iowa requires a coordinated and efficient response,” said Congressman Latham. “Iowans are no strangers to severe weather and I have no doubt that the impacted communities will come back stronger than ever. However there is a legitimate need for federal help, and I’ll do everything I can to work with my colleagues to make sure that need is met.”

“Iowa has struggled since the Floods of 2008, and the current flooding is hurting our state’s ongoing recovery efforts,” said Loebsack. “I support this request to help affected residents, businesses, and farmers and look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to ensure that this is handled in a timely manner. Iowans are in trouble and we must assure them that help is on the way.”

The text of the letter follows:

July 20, 2010

The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
Washington, D.C.

Dear Mr. President,

We respectfully request that you grant the request made July 6, 2010 by Iowa Governor Chet Culver for a declaration of a major disaster for the State of Iowa as a result of damages from a severe weather system that produced high winds, heavy rain, hail, thunderstorms, flooding and tornadoes beginning June 1, 2010 and continuing. Governor Culver has determined that this incident is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the State and affected local governments and that supplementary Federal assistance is needed.

We thank you for your prompt consideration of this request.


Steve King
Leonard Boswell
Tom Latham
Bruce Braley
Dave Loebsack

Governor Culver says a lot of people have I-JOBS jobsDave Price of WHO-TV reports there’s no way of knowing how many I-JOBS jobs there are.

Are they drinking Bohea, Singlo, Congou, Souchon, or Hyson? (Those are the types of tea dumped during the original Boston Tea Party in 1773.)

Washington D.C.- Congressman Steve King (R-IA) today issued the following statement announcing his decision to join the newly-formed  House Tea Party Caucus. The House Tea Party Caucus, which will be chaired by Rep. Michele Bachmann, was approved by the House Administration Committee on Friday afternoon. The caucus will focus on injecting the American people’s desire for fiscal responsibility, fidelity to the United States Constitution, and limited government into policy formation.
“America’s Tea Party organizations believe that Washington’s policymakers are ignoring the public’s demand for a limited government that is fiscally sound and that adheres to the principles of the Constitution,” said King. “The forced passage of the unconstitutional Obamacare bill over the objections of the American people shows that this belief is well founded.  As the new majority-makers in American politics, the views of the Tea Parties deserve a Congressional forum.  Rep. Bachmann should be commended for making sure that Tea Party voices extend from town-hall meetings to the halls of Congress.”