House debate on gay marriage

As many House members sit at their desks to eat the lunches provided by Iowa’s insurance industry, the debate has begun on a resolution that would set up a statewide vote on a constitutional amendment, an amendment which would declare the only legally valid unions in Iowa are those between a man and a woman.  It would make civil unions, domestic partnerships and same-sex marriages illegal. 

At 11:19 a.m., Representative Dwayne Alons began speaking about the history behind this proposal.  “A groundswell of support for traditional marriage has arisen and people all across Iowa are saying, ‘Let us vote!’ Alons said, raising his voice as he said those last three words.

He mentioned the 2010 judicial retention election which tossed three justices off the Iowa Supreme Court. “Iowans are kind of like the person in the cell phone advertisement,” Alons said. “They’re saying, ‘Can you hear me now?'”

Alons said a constitutional amendment is “the only way to rectify the overreach of the court in this situation.”

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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.

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Iowa House Democrats elect new assistant leaders

Whitaker, SteckmanThe 56 Democrats in the Iowa House are meeting in private today in Grinnell.  They’ve elected two new assistant leaders to replace Representative Mike Reasoner, a Democrat from Creston who resigned from the job of assistant leader last spring, and (former) Representative John Whitaker, a Democrat from Hillsboro who resigned from the House to take a job in the U.S.D.A.  Whitaker is now serving as the head of the Farm Service Agency in Iowa.

Whitaker and Reasoner are being replaced by Representatives Dave Jacoby of Coralville and Sharon Steckman of Mason City.  (Read the news release below about Steckman & Jacoby.)

Representative Polly Bukta of Clinton remains as House Speaker Pro Tempore.  Representatives Ako Abdul-Samad of Des Moines and Representative Eleisha Gayman of Davenport remain as assistant leaders.  (Gayman has ruffled some feathers with her consulting work for the Iowa Federation of Labor, but she did not lose her leadership post.)

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House leaders create new “Rebuild Iowa” panel

The big news regarding leadership in the Iowa legislature occured on Monday, while I was on vacation, when House Republicans elected Rep. Kraig Paulsen of Hiawatha as their leader.  He replaces Rep. Christopher Rants of Sioux City who had been a House GOP leader since 1999.

Today, House Democrats met in private.  Leadership changes were not expected and did not occur. Rep. Pat Murphy of Dubuque will continue as House Speaker and Rep. Kevin McCarthy of Des Moines will continue as House Majority Leader. Read the news release from House Democrats below:

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