In 1975, Iowaâ€™s elected so-and-soâ€™s felt inclined to establish the Iowa Finance Authority, giving it the mission of assisting the people of Iowa in acquiring affordable housing.Â I guess Iowans tended to live in mud shacks prior to 1975, but no matter, the government is here to help.
Except, it doesnâ€™t help. The Iowa Finance Authorityâ€™s own website (http://www.iowafinanceauthority.gov/) tells the tale, and affordability is not the goal of our state-level state corporatists. According to the talking points, IFA helps low-income Iowans, the disabled, and the otherwise strained in the task of obtaining affordable housing, which is simply not true. Nothing the IFA does is aimed at helping citizens afford anything, all they do is encourage easy credit.
Getting easy credit is not the same as being able to afford something. What IFA is doing is helping people borrow too much money for assets that are priced too highly for them to otherwise afford, thus allowing more people to overspend on housing. With more people able to arrange the credit for higher priced assets, the prices of the assets (in this case, housing) are able to stay higher than they otherwise would. They even provide direct cash subsidies for down payments. Â Imagine the housing market as a giant auction. If the bidders are on a budget, the winning bids will trend downwards. If the bidders are flush with cash and anxious to buy, bids will trend upwards.
Thus, IFA is working to make housing expensive, not affordable. So, pat yourselves on the back, IFA, for making it easier for the disadvantaged to borrow too much to purchase assets that are overpriced; thatâ€˜s compassion in action.
There has also been some mission creep at IFA over the past thirty seven years, with the agency taking on financing of apartment blocks, renovations, and a shadowy, ill-defined activity called â€œeconomic development.â€
Considering that we donâ€™t have one any more, efforts to develop an economy are uniquely popular among voters, and this popularity allows government to push any issue it wishes under the guise of being an economic development initiative. Economic development, then, is anything politicians say it is, period.
Considering the vague nature of economic development programs, the Iowa Finance Authority is surprisingly straightforward with its role in the economic development process. On the IFA website, by clicking a tab marked â€œEconomic Development,â€ we can get the clear picture:
â€œThe Iowa Finance Authority (IFA) issues tax-exempt bonds for a wide range of projects.â€
Well, there you have it. Not content with helping to arrange mortgages for people who canâ€™t afford them, IFA has branched into the tax-exempt bond market. They also arrange revenue bonds for private projects, and although the State of Iowa isnâ€™t legally on the hook if the project fails, any default would affect the credit ratings of future revenue bonds, and it is a virtual certainty that the state would opt to pay in the end.
So, IFA arranges bonds for economic development projects, diverting your taxes and userâ€™s fees towards providing tax-exempt income to rich people in the process.
The Authorityâ€™s defenders will say that it is self-sufficient. Thereâ€™s a reason to keep an odious program. Might I suggest the immediate establishment of the Iowa Cocaine Authority; that will be financially self-sufficient.
IFA isnâ€™t really a line-item on the state budget, but the state is the ultimate guarantor of the debts being incurred by this program, and while perhaps not legally obligated to make good, the state will do so in a pinch, lest the ratings of future bonds be damaged. Thus, there is potential downside risk which the Authorityâ€™s champions in the legislature have not bothered to consider.
The Iowa Finance Authority is a detrimental, utterly unnecessary political boondoggle and economic white elephant. Its rhetoric and its effects do not match up, and its only redeeming feature – financial self-sufficiency – belies potential risks that have not been properly explored. It is an agent of expanding municipal bond debt, and Iowaâ€™s own contribution to the ongoing assault on thrift that is being conducted by governments at all levels.
Therefore, the time has come that we do away with this middle-aged, miniature HUD. Iowa did without it for better than one hundred years, and we can do so again.
After talking to a number of Des Moines based candidates in the last few weeks, we head out to Northeastern Iowa to touch base with the Republican candidate for Iowa House District 64, Jim Givant.
The republican side of the ledger in this district was pretty chaotic leading up to the filing deadline, as incumbent Republican Dan Rasmussen opted not to run at the last minute.Â Oelwein Republican Jim Givant stepped up to the plate andÂ set up a showdown with Democrat Oelwein City Council member Bruce Bearinger.Â After getting a late start, GivantÂ now hasÂ the campaign on schedule and already has sent 4,000 mailers and has signs and banners on the way.Â For further info on his campaign and positionsÂ head to his website at www.givantforiowa.com.
House District 64 is composed of the Southern half of Fayette County and all but the Southeast corner of Buchanan County, with the biggest population centers by far being the cities of Oelwein and Independence.Â Â HD 64 firmly qualifies as a swing district withÂ a Democrat registration advantage of 1,355, and 8,553 Non-PartyÂ registered voters.Â A win by Mr. Givant inÂ November would go a long way in strengthening theÂ Republican majority in the Iowa House.
#1.Â What is the feeling on the ground in your district concerning all the races on your ballot this November (presidential included), and give us a brief summary of how your campaign has been going so far?
It is going to be a tough race. Both Romney and Obama visited Iowa recently, both to large crowds of supporters. The current polls show Obama ahead by 2 percent but Iowa is listed as a tossup state.Â In my county/district local races will also be close.Â Republicans will need to get involved to turn this election around.
My campaign has had a slow start. I will be getting some signs out and building name recognition. I have a new website at www.givantforiowa.com . In the June primary I received 99.2 percent of the Republican vote which is a good sign. In my district there are a greater number of registered DemocratsÂ over Republicans.
#2.Â As you call on voters in your district, what are the two or three state-level issues that are concerning them the most?Â
A)Â Property Taxes – There have been many discussions about raising both business and personal property taxes.Â House speaker Kraig Paulsen stated, that with a 60-40 split in the house, we will need to pick up two seats in the senate to gain a majority to push though the tax reforms that are needed.
B)Â Education – I believe in honoring good teachers, providing them with a competitive salary and the tools they need to teach the students. To serve as an example for the rest. There is also much discussion of leaving the no child left behind mandates and putting more control of Iowa education at state and local levels.
C)Â Gas Taxes â€“ These need to be regulated, when gas prices go up all prices for goods and services go up accordingly. This is one of the major issues that affect our economy.
#3.Â Assuming you win in November and enter the Iowa House, what are the three votes that you most look forward to casting and why?
A) Â DOMA – I believe in the bible that it states that marriage is between a man and a woman.
B)Â Â Â Agriculture issues â€“ Legislation to protect family farmers.
C)Â Education Reform â€“ As stated previously.
Dave Edwards is the Republican candidate for Iowa Senate District 16, the vast majority of which covers Des Moines and then swings Southeast to include Pleasant Hill.
While there is no getting around the fact that this is a Democrat stronghold (they haveÂ double the number of registered voters), if any RepublicanÂ can win this district it is most certainly Dave Edwards.Â What makes this race one of the most fascinating in the state this year is that Mr. Edwards is a blue collar, union member who is bringing the fight to Democrats on their turf.Â He is challenging an incumbent who has already been in the Iowa Senate for 18 years (and was in the Iowa House before that), and few would argue that this particular district is better off than it was two decades ago.
Besides knowing these neighborhoodsÂ well, I have seen Mr. Edwards speak on multiple occasions and can tell you first hand that his style and message will resonate.Â He has displayed courage both by stepping up to run, and by being willing to talk about illegal immigration, which is such an obvious problem that most are scared to talk about.Â Republicans who live in or near this district need to return the favor, and can do so by visiting his website (click here), and getting involved to any extent possible.
As you will see below, his answers are extremely thoughtful, spot-on, and the case he is making to traditional Democrats is very convincing.Â The age-old notions of the Republican Party that persist in this part of Des MoinesÂ certainly present a challenge, but there is no reason that a message of less government, fewer taxes, and more liberty can’t take root in districts like SD 16.
Simply put, Dave Edwards is the right candidate at the right time to be this messenger.Â Should he win, the more “buttoned-up” folks at the State House (including Republicans) would be wise to listen to him…but for now lets just hope the voters in his district are truly listening to him.
1) Being a blue collar, union member Republican running in a heavily Democratic district makes you and your race one of the most unique in the state. Briefly tell us how your campaign is going, and if you are finding folks in your district receptive to the different political solutions you are offering? If so, which ones are resonating?
The campaign is going great. I have talked to literally thousands of people over the last year or so. In my job as a union laborer, I drive a truck all around the city during the day. I have the opportunity to interact with Republicans and Democrats alike. I have grown to understand that the issues we face, we face as Iowans, and not as Democrats or Republicans. The economic hardships that are facing the people of this state are affecting us all – not just one party or the other.
I am talking to all the voters in this district when we are door knocking. Naturally, when I knock on a democratâ€™s door, they are reluctant to talk to me when they find out Iâ€™m a republican. But as we talk, they begin to see that my message is not one of partisan politics. My goal is to be the voice of the working people of this state. I want to work to make Iowa a state where business can thrive and where our citizens can earn a living wage. The legislature shouldnâ€™t be burdening the people of this state with more regulations, and definitely shouldnâ€™t be adding any new taxes, when people canâ€™t pay their bills or feed their families. These are messages that are resonating with the residents of my district.
2) As you are out door knocking and talking to voters, what are the top few issues weighing on the minds of the people in your district? And what are they saying they want done about them?
People in my district are definitely concerned about the economy and their job security. They want to be able to go to work every day, and at the end of the week, have something to show for it. My top priority as a senator will be to alleviate the tax burden on the working people and the businesses of this state.
Iowa is one of the 10 lowest-ranked states in Tax Foundationâ€™s 2012 State Business Tax Climate Index. The ranking is arrived at by looking at all the taxes levied in a state. Iowa is known for high corporate tax rates, high property taxes, high individual income tax rates and high unemployment insurance tax rates – all of which are taken into account in arriving at this poor ranking. That is a very sad state of affairs. The fact that we need to offer tax incentives to get businesses to come to this state speaks volumes about Iowaâ€™s tax climate. Letâ€™s get rid of the incentives and lower Iowaâ€™s total tax burden. If we improve the tax climate in Iowa, we create more jobs and people have more money to spend, thereby improving the quality of life for all Iowans.
Another issue on the minds of the people of my district is illegal immigration. They want the problem dealt with. I believe the existing immigration laws of this state and this nation should be enforced. The illegal workforce here is driving down wages, and placing an extraordinary burden on Iowaâ€™s social safety net . Recently, I have been sharing my belief that the illegal immigrant population in this state is being held in bondage. They are forced to take low-wage jobs with unscrupulous employers who donâ€™t care about the safety of their workers. Because of their low wages, they are forced to live in low-rent housing under sub-standard living conditions and because of their immigration status, they feel they do not have the freedom to report these conditions .This issue is pitting the working class citizens of this state against the immigrant population. But the real problem here is the governmentâ€™s failure to enforce its own laws.
3) Assuming you are victorious in November and get sworn into the Iowa Senate, what are the three votes that you most look forward to casting, and why?
I have vowed to introduce a bill on day one of the session that will outlaw traffic enforcement cameras. We have got to put a stop to government intrusion into areas where it doesnâ€™t belong, starting with traffic cameras. These cameras are an infringement of privacy and violate due-process laws. The citizens of this state have shown overwhelmingly that they are against these cameras. The fact is, they donâ€™t improve safety. They are being used as a revenue source for municipalities.
Another vote I am looking forward to casting is one in favor of across-the-board property tax reform. This will be a good starting point towards making Iowa more attractive for business and giving our economy a much-needed jump-start.
Lastly, when the republicans gain control of the senate this fall, I really look forward to the opportunity to vote for a new senate majority leader to replace Michael Gronstal!
Patti Branco is the Republican candidate for Iowa House District 34,Â whichÂ covers theÂ Southern portion of Des Moines.Â She is running against long entrenched Democratic incumbent Bruce Hunter, in a district that has been traditionally tough for Republicans.
Bruce HunterÂ has “LaborÂ UnionÂ Liberal” written all over him, as not only does he sit as the ranking member of the Labor Committee, his wife happens to be the State Political Director for the AFL-CIO.Â His top three priorities, in his own words, are all union strengthening give aways–leaving absolutely no doubtÂ on how he feels is the best way toÂ grow the economy.
An example of the type of candidate we are talking about hereÂ is as follows, and I am not making this up.Â Among his top priorities for next session are increasing the minimum wage, “investing in infrastructure”, ensuring that teachers are “well rewarded”, and codifying “better protection of workers rights”.Â After doing these things his plan then is to “aggressively market Iowa’s (low) cost of doing business“.Â You can’t make this stuff up, and it’s high time this antiquated nonsense is voted out of office.
Beyond this, he appears out of touch in other areas.Â Apparently his district is the only one in the state that is unconcerned with soaring taxes, and he lists one of his missions as “to work to keep Iowa school’s the best in the nation”.Â It seems he has not studied any education data since the mid-1990’s.
Mrs. Branco is a very strong candidate who brings a long and impressive business background to the table.Â SheÂ has been working hard, remaining highly visible, and doing everything it takes to wage a successful campaign.Â All Republicans, especially those of you in her district, should take the time to check out her website and resume, and get involved to help her effort.
The Conservative Reader: Iowa recently reached out to her for our continuing “3 Questions With” series.Â Below is Mrs. Branco’s take onÂ the HD 34 raceÂ and what sheÂ views as her top priorities should she win.
1)Â You are running in a traditionally tough district for Republicansâ€”how is the campaign going? And are you finding voters receptive to a change in ideology?
I feel good about the campaign.Â I have a strong business background and quite a bit of nonprofit work on boards, but this is my first foray into the political arena.Â I have had excellent mentors from the House and the Party sharing ideas and strategies that work, and I have several able and enthused volunteers.Â We are door knocking daily, attending events and getting signs out in the in the district, making calls and raising money for a final mailing in October.
I am finding that some voters are going to pull the straight ticket, Democrat, but many others seem to be disillusioned and open to my message. At one door I was toldâ€¦â€I am firing every incumbent, so if you are not one, you have my voteâ€. Â Others have indicated that maybe itâ€™s time for change. I guess the final answer to the first question will be given on November 6th!
2)Â What would you characterize as the top two major differences in political philosophy between you and your opponent?Â And how/why would your approach better serve the people of your district?
In a nutshell, I am conservative, and my opponent is liberal. I am for smaller government, lower taxes; I am for Veterans benefits,Â I am pro-life,Â I am for communication with the constituents to learn of their issues, and of the many doors I have knocked I find very little recognition or awareness of who the current 10 year incumbent is.Â Let me say, without making disparaging comments, that I believe he is the opposite on most issues, and his voting record is public information.
The first thing I would do if elected is set up a data base so that I could reach out to my constituents, learn what is important to them and share what is happening in the halls of the Capitol.Â I would be a full time pro business legislator, having no other full time career.Â I am a people person, I love Iowa and I love America.
I have been endorsed by the Iowa Right to life Organization, the Family Leader and The National Federation of Independent Small Business Owners (NFIB).
3)Â Should you prevail and enter the Iowa House next year, what are the two or three votes that you most look forward to casting? And why?
A.Â Taxes! Real estate, property and corporate.Â We have some of the highest taxes in those categories and if we want to continue to attract business to our state we need to reform the tax rates.Â More businesses in Iowa means more jobs, a robust economy, increased net worth for families!Â Lower taxes often means additional discretionary income.
B.Â I think Voter ID is an important issue and the fact that the ACLU and the courts are making it such a big obstacle course makes it even more suspect. Why would any law abiding citizen want to encourage voter fraud or prevent measures to eliminate votes from deceased voters, non-citizen voters or legal voters who manage to vote multiple times posing as others for the same ballot?
C.Â Education reform. Give tax paying parents more options. Give community leaders and local directors more control. If a teacher isnâ€™t producing let parents choose the school they prefer. Demand accountability from teachers and from the educational boards of directors.
(Click for The Conservative Reader:Iowa’s complete overview of the 2012 Legislative Races)
Pat Ward (R) vs. Desmund Adams (D)
Pat Ward is an incumbent SenatorÂ from aÂ different district, while Desmund Adams is an attorney who currently runs a executive search andÂ public relationsÂ firm.
Senate District 22 is comprised ofÂ both Polk and DallasÂ Counties.Â Â The cities that make the district are Clive, Waukee, and the Western part of West Des Moines.Â Â As you could likely guess this is pretty heavy Republican territory, though the actual registration advantage is smaller than one would think.Â Registrations=Â R 15,374 – D 10,564 – Â NP – 12,464 (R + 4,810).
Instead of staying put and running against Matt McCoy after map day, Ward chose to move west and was greeted by a challenge from the right by Waukee pastor Jeff Mullen.Â The primary that unfolded between these two got truly out of hand, with MullenÂ crossing the line multiple times from tough attacks toÂ outrageous defamation.Â This forced Ward to respond heavy with radio advertising and deplete far more funds than I am sure she was hoping to.Â The end result was that Mullen’s conduct backfired andÂ he was defeated by 16 points.
The reasons for this seat landing in the leaner category instead of solid Republican are that (1) Ward just moved into the district, (2) she went through a bruising primary with a popular pastor, (3) at the last filing she had about $7,000 less than Adams, (4) the registration advantage is technically surmountable, and last but not least, (5) Adams is flat out a great candidate.Â If he were running in an even district, I would bet money on Adams being able to win over voters and prevail.
I do think this seat will go Republican in the end.Â The reasoning here is, (1)Â the math and the political leanings of the district , (2) if the Party thinks the seat is endangered they will spend big to keep it, (3) Ward will be able to kill Adams on his support of “stimulus” as a general governing tactic to deal with economic issues, and (4) AdamsÂ support of liberal social policyÂ will hurt him badly in the Western part of the district (Mullen’s home base).
Though he is wisley making the pitch that “moderation needs a voice”,Â Adam’s positions do not seem to suggest that he is a moderate Democrat at all.Â The reason I say “suggest” is that he only lists “beliefs” on his website (which include pro-choice and pro-gay marriage positions), andÂ nothingÂ specific on individual pieces of legislation or votes he would make.
What strikes me most about this race is that Desmund Adams, even in defeat, will be a major player for Democrats going forward–you have not heard the last of him.
Pat Ward – wardforiowa.com
Desmund Adams – desmundadams.com
Below is the full text of a press release sent out by the Family Pac.Â Branco is running in a very tough district in Des Moines where the number of registered Democrats is more than twice that of registered Republicans.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, September 12, 2012
The Iowa Family PAC announces its endorsement of Patti Branco, a pro-family, pro-constitutional candidate for the general election for House District 34.
The Iowa Family PAC is endorsing Branco because of her proven ability to lead and stand firm for constitutional, conservative, pro-family principles.
The qualifications for an endorsement from The Iowa Family PAC include the belief that society and government work best when citizens accept a high level of personal responsibility and that the only way our nation can reclaim a God-honoring culture is to defend strong families. Other key qualifications include the protection of life from conception to natural death and the belief that marriage is a permanent, lifelong commitment between one man and one woman. The Iowa Family PAC also only supports candidates who believe it is the duty of parents to overseethe education of their children and that an ethical, free enterprise system is consistent with the biblical notion of stewardship. Endorsed candidates will be expected to support and defend both the Iowa and U.S. Constitutions.
Chuck Hurley, Chair of The Iowa Family PAC, said, â€œThe Iowa Family PAC is happy to endorse Patti Branco, a godly woman of faith, whose worldview is consistent with Judeo-Christian principles and who will boldly defend and honor issues relating to the family. Patti understands the values of her district and will work hard to champion pro-family values of Iowans in her district. We will be praying diligently between now and November 6th for Patti Branco and her family.â€
Contact: Julie Summa
[email protected] ; 515-263-3495, ext.14 (office), 515-210-7475 (cell)
About The Iowa Family PAC
The Iowa Family PAC is the official affiliated PAC of The FAMiLY LEADER. The Iowa Family PAC exists to elect pro-family lawmakers. It applies truth through direct intervention and support for the campaigns of bold, compassionate, pro-family candidates. Learn more about The Iowa Family PAC by going to www.thefamilyleader.com/inside-tfl/iowa-family-pac
(Click for The Conservative Reader: Iowa’s complete overview of this year’s legislative races)
Amy Sinclair(R) vs. Dick Schrad(D)
Amy Sinclair is a former Wayne County Supervisor, and Dick Schrad is the former Knoxville City Manager.
The newly drawn Senate District 14 (map)Â is located dead center on Iowaâ€™s Southern border.Â It contains all of Clarke, Decatur, Lucas, and Wayne Counties, most of Marion County, and a small Southern portion of Jasper County.
This Senate seat was left open by the retirement of Senate Minority Leader Paul Mckinley.Â Both candidates faced primary opponents and crushed them, and during her Republican primary Sinclair won the endorsement of Caffeinated Thoughts and its founder Shane Vander Hart.Â The Republican advantage in this district has fluctuated down then up since map day and currently stands at Republicans +2,590 (R=13,327 D=10,737), with 12,873 non-party registrations.Â Both candidates haveÂ big loans to their campaigns out and as of now there is no significantÂ money advantage one way or the other.
I have this seat as leaningÂ pretty strongly Republican.Â I attended a two day Farm Bureau event with Mrs. Sinclair earlier this year and can attest to the fact that she is a very personable and knowledgeable candidate.Â Based on this first-hand experience and the district make-up, I am comfortable with making the call that she will prevail over Mr. Schrad.
Amy Sinclair Campaign Face Book Page =Â http://www.facebook.com/pages/Amy-Sinclair/279841215392767
Dick Schrad Campaign WebsiteÂ =Â http://www.dickschrad4senate.com/
(This is the second installment of a continuing seriesÂ posing 3 questions to Republican candidates statewide)Â
Vicki Stogdill is running for the seat representing Senate District 18 in the Iowa Legislature.Â She has been campaigning hard for months to give this traditionally Democratic territory a new voiceÂ at the State House.Â Every race in theÂ Iowa SenateÂ this year is of utmost importance, andÂ Stogdill’sÂ effort to engage the voters of District 18Â will reveal much about the Iowa electorate at large.Â Â Voters both in and out of her district should take the timeÂ to check out her positions and background on her website, and to showÂ her support in any way they can.Â She brings to the table a long career in small business andÂ a host of new ideas to strengthen Iowa’s communities and economy.
Recently, Vicki was kind enough to sit down with The Conservative Reader:Iowa to talk about her campaign and answer three questions that will have a direct impact both on her constituents and the state of Iowa.
1.) Nearly 28% of the voters in your district are not registered with either political party, what two things would you like these folks to know about you and your candidacy before they vote in November?
A.Â I ran as an Independent/NP candidate in 2008 â€“ which demonstrates that Iâ€™m not afraid to stand up for principles before a party affiliation.Â I wonâ€™t support a bill thatâ€™s not good for Iowa, regardless of party recommendations.Â Â I want to foster greater cooperation between the two parties.Â People are tired of the â€œpartisanshipâ€ at our State Capitol, and Iâ€™d like to help minimize that.Â Instead of the two parties going to their â€œopposing cornersâ€ in a disagreement, I will attempt to sit down and discuss where there are differences and find common ground, without compromising on principle.Â I will put â€œpeople before politics.â€
B.Â I will self-impose term limits to allow more Iowans to have a chance to participate in the process.Â I want to bring my business experience, creativity and problem-solving skills to the Iowa Capitol and have a positive influence on improving the future of our State.Â Letâ€™s bring fresh ideas and perspective to the discussion.
2.) Education is both an issue you are passionate about and one that will be front and center next session.Â What major reforms need to be implemented to improve results state-wide (and in Des Moines especially), and why should voters resist the urge to not make these changes?
First of all, I donâ€™t claim to have all the answers on how to â€œfixâ€ Iowaâ€™s Education system.Â However, I believe one of the biggest keys to restoring our State to excellence in education is to restore more local control to school districts.Â I am also a strong proponent of giving parents more choices in educating their children, and to having the dollars “follow the child” in those choices.
Iowa should repeal the â€œcore curriculumâ€ mandates and instead offer recommendations which would allow local school districts to decide how and what to teach again.Â Locally elected school boards and administrators should make curriculum decisions based on the needs of their community, such as whether to enhance vocation programs for kids who do not choose a 4-year college after graduation, etc.Â The Iowa Dept. of Education should be downsized to serve as an advisory support agency instead of an umbrella.Â The State should continue to license and certify teachers.Â School districts should conduct annual assessments (such as ITBS) and scores should be published locally for taxpayers to see what kind of results they are getting for their investment.Â The State would only step in if a school district is consistently under-performing.
While technology and cutting edge learning must be a priority — we can’t lose sight of the “tried and true” teaching methods and foundational basics that have served us well in the past.Â And throwing out “old” methods just because theyâ€™re old isn’t necessarily progress.Â Teachers should have the ability to use their creativity again – to inspire kids to learn, with oversight from their local school administrators and school boards, instead of the State.Â Iowa must stop trying to mold each child into a cookie-cutter curriculum and teaching methodology that obviously isnâ€™t working. Iowa should continue to reject â€œNo Child Left Behindâ€ mandates.
In Des Moines our test scores and drop-out rates demonstrate that local voters need to recruit better local school board candidates and then â€œclean houseâ€ at the voting booth.Â The results of our local schools are unacceptable at best, and it is not the job of the State to fix it â€“ it is the responsibility of the community to demand it.Â Local taxpayers must hold their local school boards and administrators accountable.Â When searching for administrators, we should look first at the wealth of Iowa educators who are qualified to lead our schools â€“ instead of conducting expensive searches to bring in out-of-state educators.Â Â We have more than enough talented educators in Iowa who already know the landscape, challenges and history of our state.
A few other ideas that are worthy of consideration are to implement a dress code so students could focus on learning instead of fashion, which might also improve discipline and respect in our classrooms.Â We must also realize that itâ€™s not the job of schools to â€œsocially engineerâ€ our kidsâ€”that task is the duty and responsibility of parents.Â In the Iowa Senate, I will work with educators, parents and the business community to arrive at recommendations which will prepare students for a career path after graduation.Â Iowans deserve better than what weâ€™re currently delivering in Education, and I will work tirelessly to achieve positive results for Iowaâ€™s kids, parents and taxpayers.
3.)Â Should you prevail in November and enter the Iowa Senate, what are the two or three votes you would most like to cast, and why?
While there are many bills Iâ€™m passionate about seeing passed â€“ these three are among the most commonly suggested from my constituents, so they will be top priorities for me in the upcoming session:
A.Â Voter ID â€“ because NOT verifying the identity of voters is unconstitutional â€“ and my vote is disenfranchised when fraud is allowed to potentially cancel it out.
B.Â Â Property tax reform â€“ on all classes of property.Â For businesses, this will spur more expansion and investment which in turn will create more jobs when we stop penalizing the very engine of economic growth.Â For homeowners it will mean leaving more money in the pockets of those who earned it. For farmers, it will mean using a funding formula that doesnâ€™t penalize them for success.
C.Â Â Education Reform, as discussed above.
The news last week thatÂ recentlyÂ hired Yahoo News Washington DC Bureau Chief David Chalian was fired for a truly unbelievable â€œhot micâ€ moment was bad enoughâ€“but digging into his background re-enforces the mess thatÂ likely awaits Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan come debate time.
Chalian was fired for yucking it up with fellow reporters by saying that â€œThey (Republicans)Â are not concerned at all.Â They are happy to be having a party while black people are drowning (Hurricane Isaac).â€Â You can hear the â€œhot micâ€ comment hereÂ along with the, almost as disturbing,Â huge laughs this got from the reporters he was talking to.
In an earlier piece, I made the point that the folksÂ selected to moderate the three Presidential debates and the one VP debate were very concerningâ€“and possibly incapable of approaching this crucial role objectively.Â This revelation regarding David Chalian should win overÂ any ofÂ those who thought I was making too much of this storyâ€“here is why.
David Chalianâ€™s Background
As noted by Tucker Carlson, Chalian was not a mere media foot soldier.Â He had risen through the ranks to become Political Director at ABC news (2007-2010), Political Editor for PBS NewsHour (2010-2012), and had just been hired as the Washington DC Bureau Chief for Yahoo News (November 14, 2011-last week).Â Not too shockingly,Â his professional accomplishmentsÂ include an Emmy nomination for producing Charlie Gibsonâ€™s infamous Alaska interview with Sarah Palin in 2008.Â There is simply no chance that his personal hyper-partisan and crass political viewpoint did not come up in the private job interviews he had with theÂ network brass that eventually hired him.
Worse yet is that, recalling the four news organizations who are supplying the moderators, two of Mr. Chalianâ€™s former employers will be controlling the conversation in what will be the most watched debates in political history.
First, you have the PBS NewsHour.Â Â This is both where Chalian had worked until last November as Political Editor and the home of Jim Lehrer who will moderate the first debate.Â Second, you have ABC News, where Chilian served as Political Director for three years.Â This newsÂ room is providing Martha RadditzÂ as the moderator for the Paul Ryan vs. Joe Biden debate.
This is not to say that these moderatorsÂ share the same despicable viewÂ of Republicans that Chalian was revealed to have, but what it does point to is the internal cultureÂ that thrives in these organizations.Â Simply putâ€“there is a great chance that this bias not only exists in the other â€œjournalistsâ€ who have climbed theÂ totem pole at these networks, but that it will shine through one way orÂ another in the upcoming debates.
Upon being hired by Yahoo News last year, ChilainÂ did an interviewÂ in which he said working with Yahoo would provide, â€œan unparalleledÂ opportunity to deliver high impact, high quality storytelling in what is shaping up to be a really consequential presidential election.â€Â Huhâ€¦I wonder what he meantÂ by â€œhigh impactâ€ storytelling?
((To read original story click hereâ€“ â€œThe 2012 Presidential Debates: When Moderators Arenâ€™t Moderateâ€ ))
The post 2012 Debates Story Update: Fired and Disgraced Yahoo Bureau Chief Tied To Moderators Employers appeared first on The Conservative Reader.
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.Â Since the Iowa House is in no danger of flippingâ€”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.Â Here is how we get from the 26 Senate seats up for grabs down to the 5 that will determine control of that chamberâ€”and hence political control of Iowa for the next two years.
First things first: From 50 to 26 to 22
From 50 to 26â€” There are 50 seats in the Senate and all even numbered districts are on the ballot this year plus SD 49, which holds a race for a two year term before going back on the ballot in 2014.Â This means that there will be 26 seats in play, with the Democrats starting with an advantage due to having 13 of the hold over seats to the Republicans 11.
From 26 to 22â€” Of the 26 races, Republicans have fielded a candidate in all of them while the Democrats have let four seats go unchallenged (SD 2, SD 10, SD 12, and SD 20).Â This takes us from 26 possible races to 22 that will actually take place.
From 22 to 13â€” Of these 22 races, nine heavily favor* one party or the other.Â Four favor the Republican candidate (SD 40, SD 28, SD 6, and SD 4); while 5 favor the Democrat candidate (SD 50, SD 34, SD 32, SD 18, and SD 16).
*Note: This analysis is largely based on the past history of communities making up the districts, registered voter advantages, and money raised and on hand for each candidate.Â In all likely and leaner districts there are more than enough registered Independents to technically make up R and D registration advantages.
The Battle Field
From 13 to 5â€” This leaves 13 races left which will be heavily contested and which will draw the attention of, and funds from, the state political parties.Â Of these, I see five leaning Republican and 3 leaning Democrat– for Republicans they are SD 46, SD 38, SD 24, SD 22, and SD 14, and for Democrats they are SD 44, SD 42, and SD 8.
Of note here is that, for the time being, Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal is given SD 8 over Al Ringgenberg.Â Also, the best shot for Republicans in these Democrat leaners are SD 42 and SD 8, while Democrats look to have the best chance in SD 46 and SD 38.
The Final 5
The remaining 5 races can truly go one way or the other and are absolutely critical for control of the Iowa Senate.Â They are SD 49, SD 48, SD 36, SD 30, and SD 26.
Here is a recap of how we got there:
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â RepublicansÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Democrats
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Hold Over SeatsÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 11Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 13Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â UncontestedÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 4Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 0 Â
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Likely R or DÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 4Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 5 Â
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Lean R or DÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 5Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 3 Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â ——————————————Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 24Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 21
As you can see from above, assuming my â€œlikelyâ€ and â€œleanâ€ numbers hold true, Republicans are in great shape to take the Senate as they only need to win 1 of the â€œfinal 5â€ races to tie and only 2 of the 5 to gain outright control.Â Conversely, Democrats would have to win 4 of the â€œfinal 5â€ for a tie and would need a clean sweep to retain control.
Two interesting facts here are that all the big action is in Eastern Iowa, which is home to all 5 of these decisive races, and that 4 of the 5 are contained in U.S Congressional District 1.Â This is further good news for Republicans as Ben Lange is a great candidate who seems to be gaining steam against a sputtering Bruce Braley.
In the coming weeks The Conservative Reader: Iowa will be featuring interviews with Republican candidates from across the state.Â Additionally, we will be taking in-depth looks at the 8 races which will be highly contested and the 5 that will be utterly critical for taking the Iowa Senate.
The voters in these 13 districts will ultimately answer the questions of how much property tax relief we receive, what reforms are made to our declining education system, and whether Iowa will set up health insurance exchanges for Obamacare.Â One thing I have no question about is that these districts are where the battle for ideological control of Iowa will be won or lost.