Won’t go there, they say

There will not be a state government shut-down if the top two leaders in the Iowa Legislature have their way, they say.  (But there is the possibility of a shutdown of state operations if Governor Terry Branstad follows through on his threat to veto budget bills the legislature may send him over and over and over until he gets what he wants.)

The legislature’s top two leaders appear together on this weekend’s edition of “Iowa Press” on Iowa Public Television.  The two offer their predictions about the prospect the redistricting plan will pass the legislature next week (probably will) and whether Branstad’s proposed double-digit increase in the state tax on casinos will pass (probably won’t).  A wide range of other topics, including a discussion of prospects for property tax relief were discussed.  Watch it tonight at 7:30 on IPTV or watch it online here.

Introducing: the Chet Culver Group

No, the former governor has not formed a garage band.  He’s formed a consulting group.  Read the news release below:


Announces Partnership with Innovative Wind Energy Company Viryd Technologies

(DES MOINES) – Today, former Iowa Governor Chet Culver announces the formation of the Chet Culver Group, a firm dedicated to providing strategic consulting for individuals and public and private sector entities.

The Chet Culver Group will form partnerships in areas Culver has focused on throughout his entire career, including renewable energy, infrastructure and issue-based advocacy.

“I believe energy security is one of the most important, long-term issues facing our country,” said Governor Culver.  “Finding innovative, clean energy solutions is critically important when it comes to reducing our carbon footprint and creating jobs here at home.  The Chet Culver Group will be dedicated to working with strategic partners on issues I have cared deeply about my entire career, including renewable energy and creating jobs through infrastructure investments and public-private partnerships.”

[Read more…]

Gingrich on “Iowa Press” tonight

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is the guest on this weekend’s edition of “Iowa Press” on Iowa Public Television.  It airs at 7:30 tonight and 11:30 a.m. Sunday.  After the show, Gingrich addressed the charge that he’s flip-flopped on Libya.  (P.S. There’s audio there if you follow that link, so you can listen to NG himself.)

During the program, Gingrich presented himself as the candidate of ideas who can best match wits with President Obama in the presidential debates of October, 2012.  (See more about that below) Gingrich suggested he hadn’t been ready to run in ’08 because his idea factory hadn’t churned up enough stuff, but he hinted he’s poised to make a “positive announcement” about his presidential aspirations in four or five weeks.  Gingrich mentioned recent visits to states like South Carolina, New Hampshire and Iowa — which hold the first contests in the 2012 primary election cycle — “basically testing the waters…and so far the waters are pretty warm.  I feel pretty good about this…I think it’s fair to say that we’re a lot closer to running than not running at this stage.”

Gingrich also addressed the topic of his marital history. 

AP reporter Mike Glover: “You’ve been married three times. You’ve had messy divorces.  You’re campaigning in a state where the Republican Party is dominated by Christian conservatives. How do you get past that?”

Gingrich: “I think you don’t get past that.  I think you tell the truth and I think you share your life’s experiences and you admit that you’ve had weaknesses and that you’ve had failures and you’ve gone to God to seek forgiveness and to seek reconciliation and then people make a decision. And they look at the totality of my life. I’m 67.  Callista and I have a great marriage. We have two wonderful daughters. We have two grandchildren who are terrific and people have to decide, on balance, am I a person that they would respect and trust in the White House.”

Gingrich said you don’t have to be likeable to win the presidency — he cited Nixon as an example– and when questioned about what qualifies one to be president, he cited Lincoln and Eisenhower as examples of successful presidents because they had, in Gingrich’s assessment, core beliefs.

He restated his support of corn-based ethanol fuel toward the end of the show and said there were no strings attached to his six-figure contribution to last fall’s effort to oust three Iowa Supreme Court justices in the 2010 judicial retention election.  Gingrich added he would be willing to support an effort to oust the four justices who remain on the court who joined in the unanimous 2009 opinion which legalized gay marriage in Iowa.

At the beginning of the show, Gingrich addressed the idea voters may be looking for a “fresh face” in 2012.  Neat the end, he addressed this:

Radio Iowa news director O. Kay Henderson (me): “Given the propensity of Americans to like to promote a state-leve chief executive — a governor, given the desire of some part in your party to nominate a business person or someone with a business background, is it wise to nominate a former professor who ‘s an author to run against a former professor who’s an author?”

Gingrich: “Well, it depends on whether or not you think winning the debates in October matters.  I mean it strikes me that going up against Barack Obama is going to come down to what Margaret Thatcher used to say when she said that, ‘First you win the argument, then you win the vote.” 

Gingrich continued that thought, saying the GOP has to nominate someone who “philosophically and practically can be on the same stage” with Obama.  “I think you could see a Gingrich versus Obama range of choices that would be very wide,” he said.

Chief of Huckabee ’08 in Iowa a T-Pawer in ’12

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee chose a rent street level space in downtown Des Moines for his 2008 Iowa Caucus campaign headquarters.  I often drove by at night and through the large windows that faced Locust Street I could see a solitary figure — Eric Woolson — sitting inside, banging away on a keyboard or talking on the phone.  Woolson did communications and coordination, organizing and strategizing — and he is generally referred to as the “manager” of Huckabee’s Caucus effort. 

Woolson had worked on George W. Bush’s Iowa campaign.  And he was press secretary for Governor Terry Branstad in the final phases of Branstad’s fourth term in office.  In 2010, Woolson did not work for Branstad, however.  He was with BVP2010 (Bob Vander Plaats, the second place finisher in the GOP gubernatorial primary), then Woolson worked on Senator Chuck Grassley’s general election campaign. 

Now, The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza reports Woolson will back former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty in 2012.  Pawlenty has already drawn some key McCainiacs & Bushies and now adds a Huckabee-er to the mix.

Another poll to ponder

After the news flash out of Wisconsin, there have been a flurry of polls conducted in the past few weeks to gauge public sentiment about labor laws.  The latest comes from Bloomberg. 

We along press row in the Iowa House of Representatives have just been told debate of a bill that would make changes in Iowa’s labor laws will open at two o’clock this afternoon.

Trump guy, in Iowa, talks to media

A vice president from Donald Trump’s empire jetted into Iowa this morning.  Iowa GOP chairman Matt Strawn walked out to the Trump plane for a very brief meeting, then Michael Cohen (executive vice president and special counsel to Trump) spoke to a small group of reporters.  AUDIO: Remarks by Cohen 6 min.  Here’s the Radio Iowa story.

…Trump, a real estate developer who is the star of a reality show on network television, has been a target of comedians like David Letterman, who once joked he knew Trump was serious about running for president because he “threw his hair in the ring.”

Trump’s vice president bristles at the suggestion Trump is unelectable because he’s been the butt of those kind of jokes.

“As is President Obama, as well as Mike Huckabee, Ron Paul, Pawlenty, Sarah Palin — I believe they’ve all been made fun of,” Cohen said. “That’s what the press does. They like to have fun with anyone and everyone.”

 UPDATE:  a reader of the blog emails about the “small” Trump plane that landed in DSM today. 

It’s a Boeing 727–100. Hard to know how it’s been revamped by the Trump folks with hot tubs or whatever, but the original jet seated 94 passengers.

Branstad appointments to boards, commissions

Governor Branstad has announced his choices for openings on state boards and commissions.  He’s appointed a few former state legislators — Democrat Dolores Mertz of Ottosen and Republican Jeff Elgin of Cedar Rapids — to posts.   Branstad also named former Des Moines Register statehouse reporter Jonathan Roos to the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board.

A few Branstad insiders of the past can be seen in the list below.  For example, Chuck Larson, Senior, a former U.S. Attorney who also served briefly as Branstad’s chief of staff and on the Iowa Board of Parole is going to serve on the Iowa Board of Corrections.

Gov. Branstad announces appointees to Iowa’s boards and commissions

(DES MOINES) –  Gov. Terry E. Branstad today announced the names of the individuals he has appointed to Iowa’s boards and commissions.

“These individuals share our administration’s vision of laying a solid foundation for Iowa’s future,” said Branstad.  “I am confident that these individuals will serve the people of Iowa and the sectors they govern to the best of their abilities.”

The members of Iowa’s boards and commissions are appointed by the governor. State law requires most boards and commissions to be balanced by gender, political affiliation, geographic location and diversity is considered.

The following individuals were appointed to boards and commissions today:

Accountancy Examining Board
Shelly Laracuente, Ankeny
Robert Williams, Mason City

Alcoholic Beverages Commission
Richard Hunsaker, Carroll

Architectural Examining Board
Dr. Sue Jarboe, Urbandale
Terry Allers, Fort Dodge
Thomas Clause, Winterset

Board of Athletic Training
Dr. William Jacobson, Waukee
Dr. Melody Higgins, Dubuque
Dr. Pamela Davis, Bettendorf
Dr. Christina Taylor

Board of Barbering
Dennis Rafdal, Ankeny
Robert VanVooren, Durant

Board of Behavioral Science
Dr. Daniel Harkness, Waukee
Sherill Whisenand, Des Moines
Sarah Thomas, Clear Lake
Paula Carroll, Clive

Board of Chiropractic
Dr. David Gehling, Decorah
Julie Mueller, Pella
Nancy Kahle, Cedar Rapids

Board of Corrections
Chuck Larson, Sr. Cedar Rapids
Dr. John Chalstrom, Cherokee
Michael Coleman, Waterloo
Nancy Turner, Corning

Board of Cosmetology Arts and Sciences
Mary Clausen, Webster City
Dana Atkins, Burlington
Kimberly Setzer, Algona
Richard Mosley, Urbandale
Nicole Schultz, West Des Moines

Board of Dentistry
Diane Meier, Iowa Falls
Dr. Steven Fuller, Bondurant
Mary Kelly Grief, Des Moines

Board of Dietetics
Stacey Loftus, Missouri Valley
Daniel Deutschman, Pella
Bridget Drapeaux, North Liberty

Board of Educational Examiners
Marianne Mickelson, West Des Moines
Larry Hill, Thompson
Merle Johnson, Ankeny

Board of Hearing Aid Dispenser
Dr. Catherine Dangelser, Ames
Jon McAvoy, Adel

Board of Massage Therapy
Adam Schweers, Carroll
Larry Dallenbach, Arlington
William Cameron, Bettendorf

Board of Medicine
Dr. Greg Hovertson, Sioux City
Diane Clark, Lake Mills
Dr. Hamed Tewfik, Iowa City

Board of Mortuary Services
Rebecca Ervin, Urbandale
Martin Mitchell, Marshalltown
Thomas Lange, Centerville

Board of Nursing
Leroy Strohman, Algona
Gwen Suntken, Meservey
Jennifer Neeley, Grinnell

Board of Nursing Home Administrators
Daniel Boor, Des Moines
Shane Gaukel, Ankeny
Maureen Cahill, West Des Moines

Board of Optometry
Carolyn Warkentin, North Liberty
Dr. Michael Portz, Red Oak
Dr. Scott Irke, Le Mars

Board of Pharmacy
LaDonna Gratias, Clive
Edward Maier, Mapelton
James Miller, Dubuque

Board of Physical and Occupational Therapy
Bradley Earp, West Des Moines
Jenifer Furness, Davenport
Morris Blankespoor, Pella
Jacklyn Fleming, Urbandale

Board of Physician Assistants
Dr. Jon Ahrendsen Clarion
Gary Nystrom, Boone

Board of Podiatry
Gerald Edgar, Garner
Dr. John Bennett, West Des Moines

Board of Psychology
Dr. Heidi Vermeer-Quist, Urbandale
Dr. Ralph Scott, Cedar Falls
Sarah Henderson, Cedar Rapids

Board of Respiratory Care
Akshay Mahadevia, Bettendorf
Mary Tyrell, West Des Moines

Board of Sign Language Interpreters and Transliterators
Cindy Crawford, Pleasantville
Brent Welsch, Council Bluffs
Stephanie Lyons, Ankeny

Board of Social Work
David Stone, Des Moines
Mark Hudson, Marion

Board of Speech Pathology and Audiology
Dr. Christine Donner-Tiernan, Fort Dodge
Allison Lemke, Newton
Denise Renaudm Iowa Falls

Boiler and Pressure Vessel Board
Keith Taeger, West Burlington
Susan Oltrogge, Des Moines

Child Advocacy Board
Bruce Johnson, Cedar Rapids

Commission for the Blind
Peggy Elliott, Grinell

Commission of Veterans Affairs
Larry Spencer, West Des Moines
Kate Myers, Cedar Rapids
Matthew Alcazar, Fort Dodge

Commission on Aging
Betty Grandquist, Des Moines
Fred Schuster, Cedar Rapids

Commission on Community Action Agencies
Patti Brown, Des Moines
Tom Quiner, Des Moines

Commission on Judicial Qualifications
Duane Cottingham, Peosta

Commission on Native American Affairs
Franklin Phillips, Sioux City
Thomas Putman, Boone
Tiffany Lewis, Ankeny
Judy Yellowbank, Sioux City
Marla Raemakers, Humboldt

Commission on the Deaf
Nathaniel Garrels, Emmetsburg
Jennifer Keaton, Mount Vernon
Tina Kastendiek, Fort Dodge

Commission on the Status of Women
Elizabeth Coonan, Des Moines

Council on Human Services
Mark Anderson, Waverly
Dr. Mark Peltan, Mason City

County Finance Committee
Richard Heidloff, George
Grant Veeder, Waterloo
Jane Huen, Jefferson

Credit Union Review Board
Jan Pepper Simpson, Des Moines

Electrical Examining Board
Ritchie Kurtenbach, Waterloo
Kay Pence, Eldridge
Lori Mease, Des Moines
Barbara Mentzer, Carlisle
Valynda Akin, Cedar Rapids
Chad Layland, Ankeny
Randy VanVoorst, Sioux Center

Elevator Safety Board
Candace Biddle, Des Moines

Engineering & Land Surveying Examining Board
Marlon Vogt, Marion
Jerry Shellberg, Red Oak
Judy Davidson, Bettendorf

Environmental Protection Commission
Delores Mertz, Ottosen
Dr. Eugene Ver Steeg, Inwood
Brent Rastetter, Ames
Mary Boote, Des Moines

Health Facilities Council
Robert Lundin, Le Claire
Vergene Donovan, Spirit Lake
William Thatcher, Fort Dodge

Healthy and Well Kids in Iowa Board (HAWK-I)
Bob Skow, Dallas Center
Kathy Pearson, Cedar Rapids
Gary Steinke, Urbandale

Interior Design Examining Board
Dr. Dorothy Fowles, Iowa City
Katherine Erion, Sioux City

Investment Board of the IPERS
Lisa Stange, West Des Moines
Dr. Marlene Sprouse, Ottumwa

Iowa Autism Council
Danielle Sharp, West Des Moines
Dr. Rachel Heiss, West Des Moines
Janet Turbes, Sioux City
Robin Sampson, Iowa Falls
Jeff Gitchel, Des Moines

Iowa Board of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. James Kenyon, Cedar Falls
Betty Gustafson, Cumming
Kelli Madson, West Des Moines

Iowa Cultural Trust Board of Trustees
Mary Ellen Kimball, Osceola
Connie Schmett, Clive
Chad Umland, Sioux City

Iowa Drug Policy Advisory Council
Jane Larkin, Ames
Warren Hunsberger, West Des Moines

Iowa Empowerment Board
James Christensen, Waterloo
Jean Stadtlander, Manning
Dr. Donald Doudna, Johnston

Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board
Jonathan Roos, Polk City
Mary Reuter, De Witt

Iowa Finance Authority
Eric Peterson, Radcliffe
David Greenspon, Clive
Ruth Randleman, Carlisle
Michel Nelson, Carroll

Iowa Grain Indemnity Fund Board
Lori Goetzinger, Carroll
Sharon Smith, Knoxville

Iowa Grain Indemnity Fund Board
Lori Goetzinger, Carroll
Sharon Smith, Knoxville

Iowa Law Enforcement Academy Council
Francis Donchez, Davenport

Iowa Lottery Authority Board of Directors
Deborah Burnight, Sioux City
Herman Richter, Milford

Iowa State Civil Rights Commission
Angela Williams, Urbandale
Mary Ann Spicer, Des Moines
David Chung, Cedar Rapids
Randy Moore, Davenport

Iowa Telecommunications and Technology Commission
Timothy Lapointe, Mason City

Iowa Workforce Development Board
Rita Grimm, Sioux City
Robert Gilmore, Dawson

Landscape Architectural Examining Board
Catherine Huggins, Urbandale
Laura Hawks, Iowa City
Mark Ripplinger, Cedar Falls

Latino Affairs Commission
Rebecca Jackson, Denison

Mental Health Risk Pool Board
Shane Walter, Orange City
Peggy Rice, Humboldt
Teresa Kanning, Atlantic

Metal Health and Disabilities Services Commission
Chris Hoffman, Waterloo
John Willey, Maquoketa
David Hudson, Windsor Heights
Zvia McCormick, Glenwood
Lynn Grobe, Oakland
Susan Koch-Seehase, Sumner

Natural Resource Commission
Conrad Clement, Cresco
Margo Underwood, Clear Lake
Dr. Sally Prickett, Glenwood

Plumbing and Mechanical Systems Examining Board
Jenny Pitts, Des Moines
Ronald Masters, Ankeny
Jim Cooper, Urbandale

Prevention of Disabilities Policy Council
Joan Bruhn, Sioux City
Randy Horn, West Des Moines

Property Assessment Appeal Board
Richard Stradley, Ankeny

Real Estate Appraiser Examining Board
Caryl Swaim, West Des Moines
Gene Nelson, Johnston
Joni Scotter, Marion

Real Estate Commission
Gail Flagel, West Des Moines
Michael Telford, Dallas Center
Susan Sanders, Waukee
Robert Broomfield, Harlan

Renewable Fuel Infrastructure Board
Eric Seuren, West Des Moines
Jill Reams-Widder, Johnston
Keith Sexton, Rockwell City

School Budget Review Committee
Brian Thilges, Woden
Gina Primmer, Council Bluffs

State Board of Education
Eric Goranson, Des Moines

State Board of Tax Review
Jeff Elgin, Cedar Rapids

State Judicial Nominating Commission
Helen St. Clair, Melrose
William Gustoff, Des Moines

State Soil Conservation Committee
Dr. Dale Farnham, Ames
Charles McCollough, Bernard
Harold Whipple, Lacona

Title Guaranty Division Board
Chuck Winkleblack, Ames
Kim Downing-Manning, Clive

Santorum stresses stand against gay marriage, swipes at Daniels (VIDEO)

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum is the guest on this weekend’s “Iowa Press” program on Iowa Public Television (the video is already online). This afternoon’s taping started with questions about gay marriage, specifically President Obama’s recent directive to the Justice Department to stop defending the federal “Defense of Marriage Act” and Santorum took a swipe at another potential presidential candidate, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels.  (Daniels has suggested it’s time to “call a truce” on social issues.)

Read the transcript of Santorum’s remarks below:

Santorum: I’m obviously very disappointed.  The President, when he was campaigning, was very clear about his support for a bill that passed with over 90 votes in the United States Senate, was signed by President Clinton, which did something very basic which was that states would not be bullied into changing their marriage law by other states and mostly other state courts like what happened here in Iowa, that state courts wouldn’t impose marriage on one state and then litigators from that state then go to other states to force them to recognize Iowa’s marriage law or Massachusetts’ marriage law.  So, this was a way for the federal government to preserve the sovereignty of the states.  And it was a way of being sort of neutral on the issue of marriage instead of favoring one side over the other, let the people decide.  And what President Obama has done is in a two year period of time he went from finding this law to be perfectly fine and constitutional to finding it to be somehow unconstitutional even though, to my knowledge, the language of the Constitution hasn’t changed any in the last two years, yet his interpretation of it has.  And I think it is driven by politics, not by any real change in the Constitution and its meaning.

AP’s Mike Glover: And you issued a statement harshly critical of the President at the time that he acted.  But there has been sort of a strange silence from a lot of potential republican presidential candidates.  I haven’t heard much from a lot of them.  Why not?  Why haven’t I heard more?

Santorum: Look, I mean, all I can say is that if we do not, as a party and as a people, stand behind the institution of marriage and understand its essential role as the glue that holds the family together, the family, the building block of society, the first economy, the first school, the first place where children’s character is formed we are going to destine our children and destine the future of this country for a lower standard of living and less free and prosperous country.

Glover: Should we hear more from the other potential candidates?  Would you ask them to address the issue?

Santorum: All I can say is I have spoken loudly and will continue to speak loudly and if others choose not to I think they have to take the pluses and minuses in not doing so.  But I am going to be and have been a vocal supporter of traditional marriage.  I believe it is essential.  I’m not surprised.  In the Iowa elections, as you know, there were three justices up for, um, retention, I’m sorry, couldn’t find the word, thank you, Dean, up for retention in the last election and of the potential republican candidates I was the only one that came into the state, jumped on the judge bus, talked about the issue of having people decide what marriage laws should be, not courts and no other republican potential nominee or candidate came in to do the same.  So, I think it shows that there are some people who are willing to stand up and fight for the family and others who would rather, to use the comment of one potential candidate, call a truce on these things.  Well, a truce, in this case, means ceding ground to the other side.

Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson: How do you think this issue will play out in the Iowa caucus campaign in the contest among you and other candidates?

Santorum: Obviously the issue of marriage is an important one.  Never before in the history of Iowa, I’ve been told, were judges up for retention thrown out, in this case all three of them thrown out.  It is clear why they were thrown out is because they abused their position and imposed a novel meaning of marriage on the Constitution.

Henderson: But do you think in 2012, whenever the Iowa caucuses may be, that Iowa republicans will go into those meetings and vote for a candidate based on this issue?

Santorum: I think it will be a factor just like the jobs bill, I mean, the jobs issue will be a factor, just like national security will be a factor but I think it will be an important factor.  It is a relevant issue, obviously, in this state and I think it is an important issue for our country in understanding how essential it is to have strong families and marriage being the glue that holds that family together.

Henderson: For Republicans in the general election in 2012, is it a relevant issue of contrast with President Obama?  Do you think it will be a motivating factor for voters in 2012, November?

Santorum: Obviously here in Iowa it was a motivating factor.  In other states where there have been fights on marriage, 31 states have had referendums on the issue of marriage and those who supported traditional marriage have won 31 out of 31.  So, it is a motivating factor, it is a debate that is worth having.  I think one of the reasons that it has won in all 31 states including states like California and Maine is because once the debate happens people begin to see the ramifications to society at large of what a change in the marriage laws will mean, what is means to education, what it means to people’s religious freedom, what it means to churches and what they can preach.  All of these things then come into focus and we realize this isn’t just a harmful thing that affects people that we want to be kind to.  I certainly want to be kind and if people want to love somebody else they are perfectly free to love whoever they want to love.  It’s different, though, if you’re asking us to change the law about marriage and the impact of changing that law is on our schools and our children’s education and on our religious institutions.

Glover: Is there a political risk to you in taking this position on same-sex marriage and maybe a reason some of the other candidates have been less vocal?  I have seen some polling suggesting that for people under 40 this is a loser of an issue and it doesn’t motivate people in the overall universe.

Santorum: Mike and Kay, Dean, I’m sure you’ve looked at my political resume and I think you have looked at the issues that I have taken on in the sixteen years I was in public life and I don’t think anyone would accuse me of looking at the polls and determining what positions I fight for.  I look at what I think is in the best interest of the future of our country and it is clear to me that the best interest of the future of our country is that we have strong marriages and strong families and we raise children in the best possible atmosphere for those children to be raised and that is highlighting and supporting a child being raised by a mother and a father.  That is the ideal place.  Can children be raised in a different environment?  Yes.  But we want to do what is best for children and what is best for children, by any measure, and even the left now admits this, scientifically, social science work, children raised in two-parent homes with moms and dads do better.  And so as a society it is in our interest to encourage that and I think be re-defining marriage we don’t encourage it, we discourage it.

Santorum on why ’12 race is slow developing (AUDIO)

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, a potential candidate for president, suggests the reason there are no “declared” Republican presidential candidates today is because of the restrictions on fundraising and spending that fall upon someone once they become an “official” candidate for the GOP’s presidential nomination. 

“Look, I don’t really see any real reason to make a decision at this point. I mean, what’s the point of announcing your candidacy and putting yourself in a position where you’re under all of the FEC and all of the rules and regulations and funding restrictions and everything like that,” Santorum told three Iowa reporters late today. “…If you can go out and test the waters and get your message out and see — it sort of gets you a lot more flexibility than being under these restraints that McCain/Feingold put us under.”

Santorum also predicts the 2012 presidential race will be cheaper than 2008.  “Barack Obama raised $750 million.  I will predict to you today that he will not raise that amount of money, because it isn’t there,” Santorum said.  “…The economy’s taken a real hit and people don’t have disposable income like they d in 2007 and 2008 when folks were here running.  So, to say, ‘Why aren’t you running?’  Well, you’ve got to have fuel in the tank and right now there’s just not a fuel out there.”

Listen to his full remarks to reporters, including Santorum’s analysis of the decision facing both Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin about running for president in 2012:   Santorum

Santorum is the guest on this weekend’s “Iowa Press” program on Iowa Public Television.  The program was taped this afternoon; he spoke with reporters after the taping.

Eastern Iowa lawmaker to lead national women’s group

An eastern Iowa legislator will lead the National Foundation for Women Legislators in the next year.  Read the details below:


Des Moines – Iowa State Senator Swati Dandekar (D-District 18) will be installed as Chair of the National Foundation for Women Legislators (NFWL) at the Statehouse on Wednesday, February 23, 2011 at 3:00pm.

Iowa’s elected leaders from both chambers of the legislature will join together for the formal swearing-in ceremony that will be led by NFWL President & CEO, Robin Read, and leadership from the Senate and House, as their colleague is installed as the Foundation’s newest leader.

Dandekar will also serve as President of the National Order of Women Legislators (NOWL), the membership arm of NFWL, which was founded in 1938.

“Senator Dandekar is an exemplary and impassioned leader,” Read stated.  “As she takes the helm of the Executive Committee she will be an incredible asset to the growth of the Foundation. I am confident that with her commitment to creating higher standards for public schools, re-energizing local economies through innovative community and state initiatives, investment in strengthening telecommunications, developing clean and renewable energy technologies, and access to healthcare, this will be one of the most exciting and productive years that NFWL has seen,” continued Read.

“Working with the NFWL has been one of the most valuable experiences of my entire legislative career,” Dandekar said. “I have been honored to call these women my friends and colleagues, and it is a privilege to have the opportunity to serve as their leader.”

“NFWL clearly demonstrates what can be accomplished when we put aside all the things that so often divide us and instead focus on networking our resources to really bring about immediate and positive results,” Dandekar stated. “This is a unique fellowship that broadens our horizons, not just as women, but as people who have a calling and a responsibility to be leaders in our communities.”

Dandekar was first elected to the Iowa Senate in 2008, after serving in the Iowa House of Representatives since 2002.   She is the currently Chair of the Commerce Committee and Vice-Chair of the Economic Development Budget Subcommittee. She also serves on the Economic Growth, Transportation, Ways & Means and International Relations Committees.

Elected women from across the nation gathered at NFWL’s Annual Conference in Orlando, FL this past November to identify effective solutions to some of the nation’s most pressing issues.  Providing a non-partisan environment that encourages dialogue and information-sharing, legislators are able to build coalitions, share the concerns of their constituents, and highlight initiatives that have been successful within their own state at this annual event.

NFWL’s 2011 Annual Conference will take place this fall at a location to be named shortly.

About the National Foundation For Women Legislators, Inc. (NFWL)
Through annual educational and networking events, the National Foundation for Women Legislators supports elected women from all levels of governance.   As a non-profit, non-partisan organization, NFWL does not take ideological positions on public policy issues, but rather serves as a forum for women legislators to be empowered through information and experience.