All Posts Tagged With: "Mike Gronstal"

Term Limits In Iowa: A Policy Proposal

Cronstal 1st yearIOne of my favorite self-coined terms is “legi-saurs”.  As you may guess it refers to politicians at all levels of government who get elected–and then never go away.

Like many on the right I am convinced this semi-permanent presence in the halls of power is a destructive one in politics.  These careers start innocently enough.  The member actually has a job in the private sector, lives as a normal citizen, and regardless of ideology brings fresh ideas and solutions to the table.  But in most cases, over time, they eventually detach from the economy by not working  outside the Capitol, they develop grudges against their colleages, their ideas and thinking become stale, and they learn to play the legislative process like a game.…


2013 Legislative Session Delivering Little Hope for Conservatives So Far

Iowa HouseQuestion: What has happened so far at the Statehouse this session?

Answer: Mostly a whole lot of nothing.

With potentially as little as three weeks left before they gavel out this has been one of the most uneventful sessions since I began following them closely.  There could still be some fireworks in store as the larger ticket items get discussed, but as it stands now nearly everything Governor Branstad has signed into law has been with near unanimous consent from both Parties.  In fact, of the 36 bills he has signed so far most have been technical or clerical items passed with no dissent—and all but a couple have had no more than 3 no votes between the two chambers (notable exceptions being SF 184 …


Iowa Senate Races: A Closer Look At The Leaners (SD 8)

(For a complete overview of the Iowa Senate races click here)

The Candidates

Mike Gronstal (D) vs.  Al Ringgenberg (R)

Mike Gronstal is the longtime incumbent, and Al Riggenberg is a retired Air Force Colonel and former prosecutor.

The District

Senate District 8 is on the Southwestern border of Iowa and is essentially made up of the city of Council Bluffs.  Incumbent Mike Gronstal was first elected to the Iowa House in 1982.  After serving one term there he moved up to the Senate in 1986, and has been the Democratic Leader in that body for the last 15 years.  In short, he is the definition of an entrenched Democrat legis-saur (legislator+dinosaur).  The registered voter breakdown for SD 8 is (D-10,606) (R-10,020) (NP-10,720), leaving …


The 5 Legislative Races That Will Determine Iowa’s Political Future

While the direction of the Country will be decided at the top of the ballot this November, the epic struggle for control of Iowa’s political landscape will be decided down ballot.

Of all the races taking place across the state, the long blocked agenda of Iowa Republicans is only two Senate seat gains away from being able to be implemented.  Since the Iowa House is in no danger of flipping—the fate of this agenda lies in the Iowa Senate’s 26 open seats.

While anything can happen in these legislative races between now and November, this following analysis reflects where they stand today.  Here is how we get from the 26 Senate seats up for grabs down to the 5 that will determine control of that …


2012 Legislative Session Ends Minus Tax Deal: Analysis and Governor’s Statement

After failing to reach a compromise on tax reform for the second consecutive session, today the Iowa Legislature adjourned until next year.  In the end the Governor-backed House proposal on property tax reform failed to even see a vote in the Senate, as Senator Gronstal refused to bring it to the floor.

We will have analysis on this in the coming days, but my gut tells me that privately many Republicans, especially those in the 2010 crew, are more than willing to gamble on a majority in the Iowa Senate after November.  This is not to say that they did not want to put something on the books this session, but there are multiple reasons why this conclusion was advantageous.

First, considering the alternative, the …


Why Iowa’s 2011 Legislative Session Matters to Conservatives: The Conservative Reader Interview with Senator Jack Whitver (Part 1 of 2)

Three weeks removed from ending the third longest legislative session in Iowa history, I had the pleasure of sitting down for an interview with District 35’s representative in the Iowa Senate—Republican Jack Whitver. The main focus of our conversation was the results of the 172 day session and the political clouds already forming on the horizon for next year’s Senatorial get together.

In the interest of adding perspective, here is a brief overview of Senator Whitver’s political and business careers: He joined the Iowa Senate this year by virtue of winning a special election to fill the seat of Larry Noble, first beating five other Republicans in a truncated primary and then defeating Democrat John Calhoun (63%-36%). The district covers most of the northern half …


2010 Iowa General Assembly Preview

gavelMonday is the first day of the 2010 session of the Iowa Legislature.  Over the past month or so I’ve had an opportunity on my internet radio show The Conservative Reader Report to discuss the upcoming session with a few local Republican House Members, including Peter Cownie, Erik Helland, and Chris Hagenow.  All of them had the same message we’ve been hearing via the press: this year’s session will be about the Budget.

These Republicans also stated their support for giving Iowan’s the right to vote for a Constitutional Amendment to define marriage, despite the fact that it appears unlikely such an opportunity will exist in the 2010 session. Mike Grandstall has already stated that he will not allow …


Iowa Same-Sex Marriage Decision Update

Just to give you an update on what’s been going on with the fallout after Friday’s Iowa Supreme Court decision to strike down the Iowa Defense of Marriage Act.

Iowa Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal (D-Council Bluffs) says he will not allow debate on the matter.

Gronstal, who lauded the Supreme Court decision handed down Friday overturning the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, was asked by Senate Minority Leader Paul McKinley, R-Chariton, if he would join with Republicans in crafting a bill to move an amendment forward.

“Eleven years ago, you voted in favor of protecting marriage as between one man and one woman,” McKinley said. “Will you pledge to work with me and craft a leadership bill on this important issue and bring


2009 Iowa General Assembly Preview

Monday January 12 will be the opening session of the 2009 General Assembly.  This year’s session timetable is here.  As was the case the pass two years, both the House and the Senate have Democratic majorities.

We urge you, as the session progresses, to take the time to communicate with your elected representatives.  Go to this link, and find your representative’s name, click on it, and you’ll get phone numbers, email addresses, information about committee assignments and links to bill sponsorships.  I will be in contact with Peter Cownie and Pat Ward, the House and Senate members who represent me here in West Des Moines.

I exchanged emails with Peter last week.  This is his freshman years in the Statehouse, and …


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