Pearson joins the Ron Paul revolution

First-term state Representative Kim Pearson, a Republican from Pleasant Hill, has endorsed Texas Congressman Ron Paul’s bid for the GOP’s 2012 presidential nomination.  Pearson is a home-school mom who has been engaged in the abortion debate in the legislature (she favors a ban on all abortions) and she is among the handful of House Republicans who co-sponsored resolutions that outlined articles of impeachment against four justices on the Iowa Supreme Court who joined the court’s 2009 ruling on gay marriage.

Read the release from the Ron Paul campaign below.

Ron Paul Endorsed by Iowa Representative Kim Pearson
Campaign Momentum Builds
 
ANKENY, IA –On Tuesday, Ron Paul announced an important Iowa legislative endorsement for his Presidential campaign. State Representative Kim Pearson formally endorsed Ron Paul as her choice for the Republican nominee.

“I’m pleased to see such a great conservative like Kim Pearson formally support Ron Paul for President,” said Iowa Campaign Chairman Drew Ivers. “The campaign is thrilled with Mrs. Pearson’s thoughtful decision to endorse Ron Paul in his Presidential bid.”
 
“I’m honored to endorse Ron Paul for President,” said Pearson. “Ron Paul’s principled and courageous positions in defense of the Constitution are an inspiration. His understanding of the problems America faces and his limited-government solutions make him the statesman we need to lead America out of our moral and financial crisis.”

“My whole family is united in our support for Ron Paul,” Pearson stated. “He is the only Presidential candidate with the experience, integrity and tenacity to do what needs to be done in Washington.”

Ron Paul: age has nothing to do with it

Texas Congressman Ron Paul is in Iowa today.  He’s at the statehouse right now, meeting with legislators.  In the hallway outside the House of Representatives, Paul answered a few questions.  Here is one passage of that interview:

Radio Iowa news director O. Kay Henderson (me): “With Newt Gingrich getting in the race this week and with an elder statesman such as yourself, do you think voters are willing to look at leaders of your generation as an alternative to Obama, who is a couple of decades younger?”

Paul: “I don’t think in those terms and I’m not sure that people do, but I think they look more for the ideas. You know, I think the age is insignificant as compared to how young and exuberant the ideas are and I think that’s why we have a large following amoung young people. So I don’t think it’s so much how old Gingrich is or Obama is. I don’t think it’s quite that simple.”

Henderson: “Or how old you are.”

Paul: “I’m young.  Nobody knows how old I am because I fib about my age all the time.”

James Q. Lynch of The Cedar Rapids Gazette: “If you got the nomination you would be the oldest nominee of the two major parties and age was a factor in the last presidential election.  Can it be ignored?”

Paul: “I don’t think age was as big a factor because in the last campaign I had a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of my supporters went and worked for Obama.  And obviously, there was a little confusion there but he did talk about new ideas and change and all of that and, of course, that’s what I’m always talking about, so I think that’s more important than his age and my age.”

Paul is 75 years old.

House (didn’t really) debate casino smoking ban

The House a few minutes ago began debating a bill that deals with a wide range of gambling-related topis.  Representative Janet Petersen — a key sponsor of Iowa’s Smokefree Air Act — has sponsored an amendment to this gambling bill that would ban smoking on the gaming floors of the state-licensed casinos (with a twist; see below).  This was an exemption casinos won when the smoking ban passed in 2008. 

House Speaker Kraig Paulsen has just ruled that Petersen’s amendment is “germane” to the gambling bill.  That means it falls within the subject matter of the bill. 

When the senate debated this bill, Senate President Jack Kibbe was presented with an amendment to completely ban smoking at the casinos, but he ruled that the amendment was “not germane” to the gambling bill (that it did not fall within the subject matter of the bill). 

This is a major development for the gambling interests that have been pushing for this legislation, as the casino operators staunchly oppose the move to ban smoking on the gaming floors at the casinos.  House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (D-Des Moines) has just asked for a suspension in debate — before House members can debate the “smoking” amendment — and House Democrats have gone into a private meeting called a “Caucus” to discuss the development.

Ending smoking at the casinos is not a partisan issue, so it will be interesting to see what happens next.

UPDATE: Petersen did not mention this in her remarks explaining the amendment, but she has tied the smoking issue to something the casinos have been fervently lobbying for — an end to regular, county-wide referendums on gambling.  The bill as drafted sets up a reverse referendum process after a casino has become established in a county and two county-wide gambling referendums have passed.  (Casino opponents would have to collect petition signatures in order to force another referendum.)

Petersen’s proposal would only allow casinos to get out of being subject to referendums every eight years if they get rid of smoking on the casino floors. So, a casino could continue to allow smoking, but it would have to be subject to a county-wide referendum every eight years.  Here’s Petersen’s amendment.

UPDATE II:  there was (virtually) no debate.  The proposal lost on a voice vote.

Ron Paul forms 2012 exploratory committee (AUDIO)

Texas Congressman Ron Paul, the Libertarian candidate for president in 1988 and a GOP candidate in 2008, has just announced he has formed an exploratory committee for a bid for the Republican Party’s 2012 presidential nomination.  More importantly,  Paul has announced an “Iowa Leadership Team” that includes Drew Ivers of Webster City, Iowa.  Ivers was chairman of Paul’s 2008 Iowa Caucus campaign.  Ivers also worked on Pat Buchanan’s 1996 and 2000 presidential campaigns and he worked for Pat Robertson’s 1988 campaign.  Ivers is also part of Paul’s Campaign for Liberty network.

David Fischer, an engineer from Ivy, Iowa, will serve as vice chair of Paul’s Iowa Leadership Team.  Fischer is currently a member of the Republican Party of Iowa’s state central committee.  He also helped escort Kentucky Senator Rand Paul around a couple of weeks ago during Rand Paul’s first trip to Iowa.

The other vice chair of the Paul effort in Iowa is A.J. Spiker. a realtor from Ames. Spiker has been active in the Story County GOP, recently serving as its chairman.

Ivers, Fischer & Spiker are all members of the Iowa GOP’s State Central Committee. “After 35 years of political activism, I have not seen another candidate with more integrity, character…and courage that Ron Paul,” Ivers said.  Ivers said Paul was “perhaps destined to be America’s leader.”  He called Paul “Washington’s conscience” on fiscal issues and the “soul” of the Republican Party’s limited gov’t tradition.

“The immorality of spending money we don’t have is perhaps the gravest threat we face,” Ivers said. “…We will be able to build an organization and compete very well in this firs-ttin-the-nation Caucus state.”

Fischer made comments next. “I’ve watched my own party stray farther from its principles…I’ve stepped up to lead my party, to call the GOP back to its roots…of bringing us a constrained government…Ron Paul is a real Republican,” Fischer said, adding Paul’s vision was the “future of conservatism in America…Ron Paul is the right Republican with the right message at the right time.”

Spiker was next, speaking very briefly.  Paul then answered questions.

“The country is already quite different…millions of more people are concerned about the things I talked about four years ago…conditions are deteriorating,” Paul said.  “…It will be a much, much more significant campaign.”

In response to the second question: “I do see a lot of support,” Paul said, adding a few moments later: “I do intend to make a firm decision (about a race) in the not too distant future.”

A question about why Ron Paul rather than Rand Paul elicited a “you’ll have to ask him” response.

He was asked about Federal Reserve policy, but the question came from the back of the room, but Paul couldn’t hear and his aide had to repeat the question to him.   “The infaltionary problems, the creation of new money is historic,” Paul said.  “World history has never seen the monetary inflation that we have seen in the past couple of years…Higher prices will be the key issue in next year’s election…When it’s the American consumer who suffers…and then they see interest rates cropping up, this is a big deal and it is related to the Federal Reserve system.”

He didn’t take any more questions.  “I thank you for coming,” he said, walking out of the room.

Listen: RonPaulApril26

Iowa reaction to Barbour’s decision

Iowa Republicans don’t seem terribly surprised by Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour’s decision NOT to run for president.

“I’m neither surprised nor shocked,” State Senate Minority Leader Paul McKinley (R-Chariton) said.

State Senator Kent Sorenson, a Republican from Indianola, has signed on to spearhead Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s Iowa campaign effort — if she runs.  “I think it was very clear that (Barbour) was not somebody who was going to appeal to Iowans,” Sorenson said during an interview moments ago in the statehouse.  “I think he speaks in a rhetoric from the ’80s and I think the Republicans in Iowa are drastically different from that time period.”

Barbour ruffled conservative’s feathers in late June of 2009 when he gave a speech at an Iowa GOP event. Barbour cited Ronald Reagan’s “80/20” rule.

Barbour issued a written statemen today, speaking of the “fire in the belly” standard.

“A candidate for president today is embracing a ten-year commitment to an all-consuming effort, to the virtual exclusion of all else.  His (or her) supporters expect and deserve no less than absolute fire in the belly from their candidate.  I cannot offer that with certainty, and total certainty is required,” Barbour said.

State Senator Bill Dix, a Republican from Shell Rock, suggests that lack of an all-consuming passion is the key. “Taking on the challenge of getting a presidential campaign up and running would be a big task and if you recognize you don’t have the fire in the belly for it, he made the right choice,” Dix said.

As for that “passion” thing, Monte Shaw, a member of the Republican Party of Iowa’s State Central Committee, saw it from the other perspective.  “As I travel around (Iowa)…I didn’t ever run into someone who said, you know, ‘I’m going to put my life on hold and work for Haley Barbour if he throws his hat in the ring,” Shaw said.

Articles of impeachment against four justices

Five Republicans in the Iowa House filed resolutions yesterday, outling articles of impeachment against four justices on the Iowa Supreme Court.  Here’s the Radio Iowa story.

Here’s the text of one of the resolutions — the one that would apply to Mark Cady, the author of the Varnum v Brien decision, who is now chief justice of the court:

HOUSE RESOLUTION NO. 48

BY SHAW , ALONS , DE BOEF , MASSIE , and PEARSON

A Resolution impeaching Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark S. Cady for malfeasance in office.

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, That Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark S. Cady is impeached for malfeasance in office, and that the following  article of impeachment be exhibited and presented to the Senate:  That Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark S. Cady in violation of his constitutional oath undertaken before taking office to support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Iowa, has committed malfeasance in office through his action to sanction marriage between persons of the same sex in the Varnum v. Brien, 763 N.W.2d 862 (Iowa 2009), ruling issued on April 3, 2009, by the following conduct: 

ARTICLE I By unconstitutionally exercising functions properly belonging to the legislative and executive departments as follows: (1) By his action in the Varnum case, Chief Justice Cady improperly assumed the function and role of an elected legislator by ordering that the language in Iowa Code section 595.2 limiting civil marriage to a man and a woman must be stricken from the statute as enacted by the legislative department and approved by the governor of the executive department in 1998. (2) By his action in the Varnum case, Chief Justice Cady knowingly and intentionally usurped the proper function delegated solely and exclusively to the legislative department of declaring public policy, through his judicial declaration of a new public policy contrary to long-standing public policy acknowledged by society and established in Iowa Code section 595.2, subsection 1. (3) By his action in the Varnum case, Chief Justice Cady has improperly required the executive department to issue marriage licenses to parties of the same sex in direct contravention of Iowa Code section 595.2. (4) By his action in the Varnum case, Chief Justice Cady has created a constitutional crisis regarding the enforcement of the Varnum ruling by allowing different interpretations of the definition of marriage to exist indefinitely within the separate departments of government, leaving the people with no immediate remedy to address this crisis. (5) By his action in the Varnum case, Chief Justice Cady has created a constitutional imbalance and confusion within the State of Iowa as to the proper constitutional function of each department, thus undermining the integrity of the tripartite separation of powers among the departments and creating social disorder and unrest. 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE, That the conduct of Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark S. Cady, in committing malfeasance in office, warrants impeachment, trial by the Senate, and removal and disqualification from any office of honor, trust, or profit under the state pursuant to the procedures set out in Iowa Code chapter 68. 

Late last night, the top Democrat in the Iowa House (who is an attorney) issued the following:

STATEMENT FROM HOUSE DEMOCRATIC LEADER KEVIN MCCARTHY ON REPUBLICAN IMPEACHMENT RESOLUTIONS

“I issue the following challenge to Speaker Paulsen and Majority Leader Upmeyer on the proposed impeachment of the remaining Supreme Court Justices…either publicly condemn your own Republican members as well as members of the Republican Party for offering this outrageous, extremist proposal…or allow a full and open impeachment proceeding for all Iowans to consider knowing House Democrats will use every available procedural tool to shut down the Iowa House and defeat this right-wing effort.

I suspect, however that the House Republican Leadership will do neither and instead remain cowardly silent.  If that is true, then let it be clear to all Republicans where the House Republican Leadership truly stands on this issue.”

 This morning, House Speaker Kraig Paulsen (who is a lawyer)  issued a statement:

Paulsen Issues Statement on Impeachment Resolutions

(DES MOINES) – House Speaker Kraig Paulsen (R-Hiawatha) issued the following statement regarding the impeachment resolutions which were recently filed:

“While I agree with much of the reasoning behind the impeachment resolutions, I disagree with this remedy.  I do not expect it to be debated on the floor of the House and if it is, I will vote no.

“House Republicans remain focused on reducing government spending and lowering taxes for Iowa families and small businesses.”

In January, House Judiciary Committee chairman Richard Anderson, a Republican from Clarinda who is a lawyer, said there wasn’t enough support among House Republicans to advance articles of impeachment.

In mid-December, Representative Tom Shaw (R-Laurens) and two other newly-elected Republicans in the Iowa House started talking about filing the articles of impeachment.  Last night, Shaw told me they waited ’til now to file the resolutions outlining the proposed articles of impeachment because they wanted to ensure the language was right.  The three rookie House members — Shaw, Glen Massie of Des Moines and Kim Pearson of Pleasant Hill — co-sponsored the resolutions along with two GOP veterans in the House — Dwayne Alons of Hull and Betty De Boef of What Cheer.

The process of impeaching the justices in Iowa starts in the House, where articles of impeachment — in the form of a resolution — would have to pass the 100-member House.  The matter then would go to the Iowa Senate.  After the regular legislative session adjourns, the Senate would reconvene and hold a trial.

Branstad item vetoes tax proposals

Governor Terry Branstad used his item veto authority today to nix two tax proposals — one aimed at businesses, the other designed to give Iowa’s working poor a tax break.  Read the Radio Iowa story.  Here’s the press release from Branstad’s office.

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry E. Branstad today signed Senate File 209, which provides supplemental funding for indigent defense, Department of Human Services, Department of Public Safety and Department of Corrections, Department of Public Health and community colleges.

The governor also used his item veto authority to insist on broad tax relief, vowing to work with both parties in both chambers to build a tax relief package that promotes economic growth in Iowa.

“I am pleased to sign Senate File 209 to provide indigent defense funding, funding for the Department of Public Safety, Department of Human Services and Department of Corrections,” said Branstad. “I commend the House and Senate for making these supplemental appropriations in areas where the cuts would have adversely affected the health and safety of Iowans.”

In a letter to Senate President Jack Kibbie, attached to this email, Branstad stated:

“I am unable to approve the item designated as Division I. […]Any temporary economic stimulus effect of bonus depreciation is primarily accomplished through the federal tax code.  Iowa should instead focus its energies on improving our state’s long term competitive tax position for new job creation.  With our limited budget, that is best accomplished by reducing our commercial property taxes which are second highest in the country and our marginal corporate tax rate which is the highest in the nation.

“I am unable to approve the item designated as Division II.

“As earlier indicated, it is my desire to approach tax policy in a comprehensive and holistic manner.  As such, I urge members of the House and Senate to continue to work with my office on an overall tax reduction package that both fits within our sound budgeting principles while reducing those taxes that are impeding our state’s ability to compete for new business and jobs.”

Branstad also said, “I am pleased we could reach this agreement to fund our shared priorities in public safety, public health and indigent defense. I look forward to continuing our discussions on job creation and tax changes as we move forward toward adjournment.”

Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds continue to work with leaders in both the House and the Senate to develop a plan that fits Iowa’s long-term needs, while maximizing effectiveness by creating jobs, growing the state’s economy and putting Iowa on a path to fiscal prosperity.

Gov. Branstad used his item veto authority in accordance with Amendment IV of the Amendments of 1968 to the constitution of the State of Iowa to item veto Divisions I and II of Senate File 209.

Iowans for Tax Relief issued a statement. 

Significant Tax Relief Options Item-Vetoed by Governor Branstad
Weeks of work by the Legislature on Senate File 209 is removed in one day

MUSCATINE, IA—Today Governor Branstad item-vetoed two significant tax relief portions of Senate File 209, the tax and spending compromise bill.
Iowans for Tax Relief President Ed Failor, Jr. issued the following statement:

“It is discouraging to see Governor Branstad’s item- vetoes which remove significant tax relief options in place to help Iowa job creators and Iowa families. A bi-partisan group of Legislators have worked for over six weeks on the compromise bill, and it is built with the best intentions for the taxpayers of Iowa.”

[Read more…]

AUDIO: Human Rights chief loses senate confirmation vote

Isaiah McGee, the man Governor Branstad asked to serve as director of the Iowa Department of Human Rights, has failed to win senate confirmation to the job.  McGee needed the support of two-thirds of the senate.  The vote was 30 yes, 20 no.  McGee needs three more “yes” votes in order to win confirmation. (One of his supporters switched to a “no” at the last minute in order to be on the prevailing side and, as such, be able to file a motion to reconsider the vote.  So that means McGee had 31 yes votes today in reality, but not technically.)  (Listen to debate: McGeeVote mp3 runs 20 minutes)

“I personally have spent hours on this nomination,” Senator Pam Jochum (D-Dubuque) said, adding McGee refused to repeatedly to back down from a so-called “gag order” he issued for department staff and commissions — until an email sent today said no one would face repercussions for speaking with legislators.  “…I have done a lot of soul-searching on this nomination.”

Senator Randy Feenstra, a Republican from Hull, called McGee one of the “most interesting and great candidates I have seen for this position….He grew up dealing with racism.  He grew up dealing with poverty…and he worked through those and became a great leader in one of our communities…What else do we want from someone on this commission?”

Feenstra expressed support for the “gag order”.

“Have you ever been head of a private busienss?  If you were the leader…I can only hope that you want all communication to go through you because you want to be lock-step with everybody in that organization, you want to say the same thing every time,” Feenstra said.

Feenstra said lack of a cohesive message “corrupts” an organization like the Department of Human Rights. “It will actually make the organization fail.  You have to have one voice and work together for these causes,” Feenstra said.

Feensdtra then hinted bigotry and racism may be behind this decision. “Really, really, do you want to take him down because supposedly he didn’t allow somebody to say something?…Is there more behind this?”  Feenstra said.

Senator Bill Dix defended McGee. “He has, at least in my opinion, been open with the senate,” Dix said. 

Senator Brad Zaun, a Republican from Urbandale, defended McGee.  “This is about politics rather than the person,” Zaun said.  “…I just hate to see this body take down another good man…He has made mistakes and he has corrected those mistakes.”

Jochum said anyone who cast a no vote “did not do so lightly.”

“Look folks, I am a woman. I am a mother. I have an adult child with disabilities, severe disabilities — 34 going on 2.  I can assure you in my lifetime I have personally witnesses discrimination against those with disabilities.  I have,” Jochum said at the beginning of her closing comments on the nomination.

“…This is not about politics.  This is plain and simply about open and transparent government and a director/nominee who several months ago did put a gag order on,.” she said.

UPDATE:  Senate Republican Leader Paul McKinley has filed a “motion to reconsider” on McGee’s nomination.  It’s a parliamentary move, meaning McGee’s vote could be discussed again in the senate if four senators change their minds and vote for him.  The deadline for changing minds is April 15th.

Rand Paul makes first trip to Iowa

U.S. Senator Rand Paul, the son of Texas Congressman Ron Paul, is in Iowa today — a trip that is nearly four years after his father’s first trip to Iowa on April 11, 2007. 

During an interview this morning in Ames, I asked him which Paul is going to run for president in 2012?

“We really haven’t talked about it that much, to tell you the truth. I think that the signs I see of his travel and where he’s going and how much he has been going lead me to think he might be interested in running again,” Rand Paul said. “…I’ve told people that the only decision I’ve made is that I wouldn’t run against him…And even if he does, I want to be part of the process in some way.”

Were you to run, how would you avoid the criticism Republicans made of Obama in 2007 & 2008, that he lacked the experience to be president?

“Didn’t see to hurt him, did it?” Rand Paul said, chuckling.  “I think it’s interesting, you know, people want to complain about it, but, you know, Lincoln was elected with two years of experience as a congressman 15 years before he ran for president. Obama, I think, announced he was running 43 days into his term…I don’t know. I think people can make any criticism they want and whether it’s valid or not, I think that’s the winnowing process that goes through a primary and that’s what we decide.  We decide who best can articulate our vision.”

(A note: Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate in November of 2004, became a senator in January of 2005 and announced he was running for president in February of 2007.)

You have to be motivated to run.  Do you feel that passion?

“I feel the passion to try to fix the problems in our country before it’s too late…To many who say, ‘Why don’t you just sit on the back bench and when your time has come in 12 or 15 or 20 years, then you come forward?’ I see a shorter time line, not just for me, but I see a shorter time line for the country….There’s no money left…within a decade because we are showing just absolutely no restraint,” Rand Paul said. “…Is it just good for a country to continually spend beyond their means? And I see as it not just a Democrat/Republican problem.  I think Republicans are part of the problem as well…The entitlement program for prescription drugs is bigger than ObamaCare. Republicans are 100 percent against ObamaCare, but the vast majority of them voted for the prescription drug program.”

Paul said his book was an attempt to put the tenants of the Tea Party movement down on paper, and he suggested the Tea Party will play a major role in deciding who the GOP nominates in 2012.

David Fischer, a Republican from Ivy, Iowa, who supported Ron Paul’s 2008 presidential bid, and Fischer wants to see “one of the Pauls” run for president in 2012.

“They have a unique message,” Fischer says. “…They fill a void in the discourse.  There’s a genuine message common to both of them of promoting freedom and shrinking the size and scope of government…and a more rational foreign policy you’ll hear only coming from the Pauls.  That’s something that needs to be heard right now because we don’t have a rational foreign policy right now.”

Fischer, a 43-year-old engineering consultant, is a member of the Republican Party of Iowa’s State Central Committee.   He just finished Rand Paul’s book last night and had the senator sign it this morning.  Fischer is one of the small troupe of people guiding Paul through Iowa this weekend.

Paul is holding two book-signing events today in Iowa.  The first is in Ames at the University Book Store on the Iowa State University campus; the second is in metro Des Moines.  Paul was in Iowa City, on the University of Iowa campus last night.  Paul will also speak to Iowa College Republicans late this morning and he’ll meet with Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, a Republican, early this afternoon before headlining an Iowa GOP fundraiser this evening in Des Moines.

Listen to Cain, Bachmann, Paul in Iowa (AUDIO)

Three potential 2012 presidential candidates spoke over the noon-hour at a rally on the steps of the Iowa statehouse.  The crowd of home-schooling parents and their children cheered the trio, despite the chilly weather.

Listen to former Godfather’s CEO Herman Cain, who spoke first.

Listen to Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who spoke second.

Listen to Texas Congressman Ron Paul, who spoke last.

Cain was brief, speaking for about four minutes and promising the crowd he’d tell the rest of the story at an event later this afternoon.  Bachmann spoke for 25 minutes, stressing her Iowa roots.  “It’s great to be in Iowa.  Is there any other place?” Bachmann said at the beginning, laughing.  “…I come to you, first of all, as an Iowan….I’m a seventh-generation Iowan…What I love about Iowans is that we’re fighters.  We’re fighters.  We don’t take no for an answer.”  She was the only one of the three to specifically mention last fall’s judicial retention vote in which three Iowa Supreme Court Justices were voted off the bench.

Bachmann stressed her background as a home-schooling mom. Paul also talked extensively about home-schooling.  “The public school now is a propaganda machine. They start with our kids even in kindergarten, teaching ’em about family values, sexual education, gun rights, environmentalism, and they condition them to believe in so much that is totally un-American,” Paul said during his 11-minute speech.

UPDATE:  here’s the Radio Iowa story about this event.