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Yet Another Election Day!

Yet Another Election Day!

ballotTuesday December 1 is runoff day for cities around Iowa, including Des Moines, Windsor Heights and West Des Moines Ward 1.  Polls open at 7:00 AM and close at 8:00 PM.

It should be pretty simple.  All of Des Moines has to vote today.  Period.  If you live in Ward 1 of Des Moines, you are voting for an At Large (Leisha Barcus v Skip Moore) PLUS the hotly contested race of Tom Vlassis v Halley Griess.  Those of you in the other wards in Des Moines are just voting for the At Large seat.

Also, all of Windsor Heights is voting to fill two At Large seats… your ballot will indicate “Vote for only two” with the following choices provided: Betty Glover v  Flo Hunter v Carole Tillotson, v David Jenison.

Folks in West Des Moines have to think a little bit harder… only Ward 1 voters will be voting in West Des Moines, with the choices being Robert Parks v Kevin Trevilliyan.  If you don’t know whether you live in Ward 1 or not, look at this link (Adobe Reader required).

All of your ballots and polling places can be found at this link.

I hope you don’t get tired of me saying… get out there and vote!!!

Dr. Patrick Bertroche is challenging Rep. Boswell

Dr. Patrick Bertroche is challenging Rep. Boswell

bertrocheI have previously listened to Dr. Pat Bertroche speak on several occasions, including the day I went all the way to Sigourney to participate in Leonard Boswell’s “Town Meeting” (that’s French for “Stuffed with Union members”) only to be turned away.  At least Bertroche had time for me that day, along with a handful of others who talked with him for a couple of hours at the Pizza Ranch in Sigourney.

Although Pat had already publicly stated his intention to run for 3rd District US House, he put out a press release this past week (which I’ve provided below).  In addition to the information provided by his campaign, it’s worth noting that he is now hosting an internet radio show on Friday afternoons called “The Reasonable Republican” on Des Moines Local Live (where I also happen to host The Conservative Reader Report on Tuesdays).  Pat joins Jim Gibbons, Dave Funk and Brad Zaun in what will likely be a very competitive primary race.  I have had Dave Funk as a guest on my show, and plan to have the other three as well in the near future.

Dr. Patrick Bertroche is announcing he intends to defeat Rep. Boswell Next November.  Dr. Bertroche has spent the last 9 years serving the medical needs of central Iowans, and will bring a potent insight and deep understanding to the race for Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District. 

He is a local boy, born in Des Moines and raised in Indianola.  He graduated from Indianola High School, and the Graduated from Drake University with a BA in Political Science.  He then went to The University of Osteopathic Medicine and Health Sciences, now Des Moines University, and graduated in 1995. After completing his residency, he returned to the Des Moines area, and started his private practice in Clive.  He has been serving the needs of central Iowans since 2000.

Dr. Bertroche has a son, Pat, who is in the Marine reserves, and is stationed in Des Moines.  He will be returning to college next year, and intends to complete his business degree.  It is his son who challenged Dr. Bertroche to pursue this candidacy, by asking Dr. Bertroche, “In 20 years, what are you going to say you did to save our country?”  It was then he decided to run for Iowa’s 3rd District seat.

Dr. Bertroche has shown determination and drive in all he has accomplished.  He has traveled extensively around the world, starting with his first international trip when he was 12 to Ireland with the Friendship Force.  From his international experiences, he has gained an insight into other world cultures that is lacking in today’s US Government.  He would bring this expertise to Washington, and would help re-establish America as a respected global leader.

He is an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Des Moines University.  As a Professor, he is playing a role in educating future physicians.  As a mentor, he has influenced hundreds of students, some of them now physicians, and has provided a positive and rewarding learning experience. 

Like most rural boys, his first job was on a farm.  It didn’t take him long to learn the valuable lessons of hard work, integrity, and prayer.  With this knowledge and experience, at 16 he tried his hand at business, and has been creating jobs for central Iowans since.  He understand the struggles of small business, and knows that small businesses are really good people pursuing their American Dream.  As a small businessman, he understands that struggle, and will work hard for Iowa’s small businesses.  He knows small businesses create jobs that Iowans need.

From his work as a physician, Dr. Bertroche also understands the struggles of hard working folks who are overburdened with taxes on everything they earn, and everything they own.  He understands that families today need to have two incomes, not by choice, but because of the amount of taxation that occurs that strip them of the ability to provide a good life for their children with a single income.  Dr. Bertroche thinks it is wrong for families to be forced into placing their children in daycare instead being able to stay home because of a punishing tax system that benefits Washington greed and power mongering.

Dr. Bertroche has received much encouragement to pursue Iowa’s 3rdCongressional District seat.  He has the support of many small businesses, and physicians.  He has put together a team of great volunteers that has helped get his message out to potential voters.  Most importantly, Joe Grandanette has joined his campaign as Campaign Chairman, and brings many years of experience to running a campaign.  Also, Susan LaSala has joined the campaign as Volunteer Co-Coordinator, and brings years of experience in organizing.  Jeff Green has agreed to be the Webmaster, and Jeff brings years of design and IT experience.

With great people like these behind Dr. Bertroche, he is confident that he can win the nomination and defeat Rep. Boswell next November.  For more information, you can check out his website,, you can call the campaign headquarters at 515-556-0526, or Campaign Chairman Joe Grandanette at 515-710-0798.

You can also follow him on Twitter at PatBertroche, and on Facebook, Pat Bertroche.

Upcoming Conservative Reader Report December 1 2009 – Guest Erik Helland, Iowa House Member

Upcoming Conservative Reader Report December 1 2009 – Guest Erik Helland, Iowa House Member

Erik HellandJoin us this Tuesday from 3 to 5 at Des Moines Local Live for The Conservative Reader Report!  Our guest will be Republican Erik Helland, representative from Iowa House District 69, which covers the northern part of Polk County and includes the towns of Sheldahl, Alleman, Elkhart, Polk City, Johnston, Grimes, and Saylorille.  The state of the Iowa Budget, the upcoming 2010 legislative session, and your questions will be included in our discussion with Erik. 

We will also be talking about the latest Iowa Poll results on how Iowan’s perceive themselves politically, government and business issues of the day, and your opinions. 

Join the conversation by entering the chatroom or calling the studio at 888-327-1007 or 515-327-1007.  You can also participate by twittering me at @tcr_report.

Iowa Republican Party “Leadership For Iowa”

Iowa Republican Party “Leadership For Iowa”

rpi-logoTonight Republicans from around Iowa met at the Elwell Family Center at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.  Isaiah McGee, Iowa State Central Committee Member, acted as Master of Ceremonies.  He made some brief remarks, including “We Must Unite!”

Video presentations from David Vaudt, who criticized Democrats 30% slash of his budget as an attempt to “muzzle the taxpayers’ watchdog” and Bill Northey who wants to see more republicans in the state capital.

Representatives Tom Latham and Steve King could not attend, but they probably had a good excuse since they are working in Washington tonight.  Both provided videos where they spoke to the health care bill being debated today.  Both are trying to kill it.  King stated that “Iowans need to speak out until the bill is mortally wounded with a stake in its heart!”

Huge applause came for Senator Grassley as he stepped on the stage to speak.

Quotes from Chuck Grassley: “Our common focus is leadship and vision for the future.”, “Iowans of every political stripe were telling me, both by words and by action, that they are scared.” “For the first time in the history of the United States the government wants to tell us we must buy something.”  Grassley also mentioned that Republicans have a 200 page bill as an alternative to Democrats 1,995 page bill.  “They want to redistribute wealth, they want to take property without just compensation, and that is not Constitutional.  That won’t happen on my watch.”

Quotes from Matt Strawn: “It’s a good week to be a Republican, not just because of how we won, but how we were able to show the distinctions between Republicans and Democrats to the voters.”, “Iowans are desperate for competent leadership.”  “Real leaders don’t sign the largest budget in the states history and then try to convince iowans otherwise.” 

Pawlenty: “Chuck Grassley has changed Washington more than Washington has change him.” “(Re: Virginia and New Jersey) We need to launch the same comeback across America.” 

Tim Pawlenty provided a stimulating speech to Republicans in Iowa tonight.  It was clear before too long that he was working on his 2012 campaign, but provided ammunition and motivation to push folks toward 2010 as well.

All of the candidates for Governor provided strong speeches, each providing their own unique angle on pretty much the same message: Culver is making a mess of things, we need to cut spending, fix the definition of Marriage, bring more jobs to Iowa by making the state more business friendly. 

Tonight was the first big night for Republican activists to get a taste of Terry Branstad 2.0 (or perhaps 2.1).   He seemed a little rough tonight, starting out hesitatingly, but he eventually warmed up and did well. 

A major benefit of tonight’s event is the continued opportunity for activists to hear not just stump speeches, but ideas.  Although Republicans will be selecting one person to run against Chet Culver, the combined voices of all of the candidates bring some great perspective, great ideas, great concepts to merge together into a platform that our candidate for governor, whoever that ends up being, can bring.  The crowd tonight was well engaged… the big challenge is to keep them and voters engaged through the coming year and maintaining focus.

You can watch the entire event at CSPAN’s web site shortly.  We will provide a direct link to the video tomorrow.

Republican Event Tonight!

Iowa Republicans are holding their Leadership For Iowa event this evening, which will feature Tim Pawlenty, governor of Minnesota, and all of the remaining candidates for Iowa governor.

New for me tonight is the Press Pass.  Even though I would have planned to attend anyhow, I was invited to be part of Bloggers’ Row, with the opportunity to speak with all of the candidates prior to the event.  Sharing the table with Craig Robinson of The Iowa Republican, and Albert Bregar of Iowa Defense Alliance, Grant Young of Questions, Comments and Insults,  Shane Vander Hart of Caffienated Thoughts, and some others.

Looks like we get to interview a bunch of politicians.  Should be interesting.

Branstad Must Be In Now

Branstad Must Be In Now


Note: Art Smith is Communications Director for the Polk County Republican Party.  His views as expressed here are not necessarily those of the Polk County Republican Party.

Just an observation but if the Executive Director of the Republican Party of Iowa (RPI)leaves this key position to work on the Branstad campaign, is that not sufficient reason to confirm that Branstad is going to run?   Well, Jeff Boeyink did.  RPI has benefited greatly from Jeff’s work, and will certainly be a challenged in finding a comparable replacement.  Matt Strawn had this to say today:

“I hope all Iowa Republicans join me in thanking Jeff for a job well done. The Iowa GOP is better off because of his service and tireless advocacy for principled, conservative government. I’m personally grateful for his wisdom and guidance and wish him well.”

This is a major coup for the Branstad campaign, due to Boeyink’s strong skills, relationships, experience, and the level of credibility he adds to the campaign.

From Terry Branstad’s campaign comes this statement:

Richard Schwarm today announced the hiring of Jeffrey Boeyink to lead the Terry Branstad 2010 Committee as it continues to explore a possible gubernatorial run by former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad.

Schwarm said, “This is the next natural step in our exploratory process as we move from a volunteer effort to the acquisition of professional staff and financial resources to take Terry Branstad 2010 to the next level of effectiveness.”

Boeyink has served as Executive Director of the Republican Party of Iowa (RPI) since last February and resigned yesterday to accept this new position. Prior to joining RPI, Boeyink served as President of Iowans for Tax Relief where he worked for more than two decades.

Schwarm also noted, “This appointment does not signal any change in Terry Branstad’s status as a potential gubernatorial candidate. He continues in his role at Des Moines University and will make his plans known at a future date.”

Others commenting today included Polk County GOP Co-Chair Will Rogers:

“Jeff has a tremendous amount of experience and will bring a level of talent to the race that is unparalleled by any of the other campaigns including Culver’s.”

The story broke this morning at The Iowa Republican web site (although I first found out about it from David Chung’s Hawkeye GOP site via Facebook).  As David stated, finding a new Exective Director is going to be job one for Matt Strawn.

For all of the other candidates for Governor, I think the time has come to acknowledge that Branstad is in the race, despite Schwarm’s comments about the campaign being “exploratory”.  For some, that might mean cutting off the campaign and for others it means being more direct in speaking about Branstad’s record and ability to beat Culver.  Either way, the elephant in the room should be visible now.

We will be talking about this today on The Bean Walker Live! internet radio show during the first hour.  Email me or chat me your comments today!

Art Smith Hosting Radio Show Again

Art Smith Hosting Radio Show Again

MicrophoneThis week, once again, I will be hosting the internet rafio show The Bean Walker Live at Des Moines Local Live! The show airs Tuesday from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM. During the first hour we will be talking about the Iowa Gubernatorial Candidate Forum this past weekend, the situation with the Iowa state budget, and Friday’s CBO report on the benefits of Tort Reform. During the second hour, we will have Pastors Quintin Stieff and Dan Wentworth from Valley Church in West Des Moines to talk about a new program at Valley Church called “Love You Des Moines!”.

Join us!

State-based Health Care Reform Solutions

State-based Health Care Reform Solutions

Paul-McKinleyI’ve heard this week some suggestions that having the individual states administer reforms to provide improved health care might be a better way to accomplish what is needed.  Paul McKinley, Senate Minority Leader and candidate for the Republican nomination for Iowa Governor, released one of his insightful memos today on this very topic.

“Iowans are overwhelmingly in favor of making health care more affordable, accessible and portable. Most Iowans are also happy with their health care coverage, they just want their elected officials to institute some reasonable and responsible market-based revisions to the current system to make health care less expensive, more accessible and more portable.

“The direction some in Washington D.C. want to pursue will not make health care more affordable, accessible or portable and instead amounts to a government take over of nearly one-fifth of the country’s economy. Instead of empowering patients and physicians, the direction D.C. is headed will strip away personal liberties and empower government bureaucrats. Now is not the time to throw out the entire system we utilize today and replace with an expensive, rigid and confusing bureaucrat controlled government takeover. The plans being discussed in Washington would add hundreds of billions in debt and do nothing to improve affordability, accessibility or portability.

“Instead, Iowa Senate Republicans are proposing a set of initiatives and reforms that can be implemented at a state level within the market-based health care system already in place. They are carefully crafted to make health care in Iowa more affordable, more accessible and more portable.

“First, Iowa Republicans propose to establish a statewide online information hub that brings together both cost and outcome quality data in a searchable format for consumers. We believe the information age provides a tremendous opportunity to compare cost and quality in the delivery of health care services. Competition and comparisons save employers, families and individuals money.

“Younger Iowans in the 18-30 age, given their relative age and better health, often do not make purchasing health insurance a high priority. As a result, when they do have to seek medical treatment it is often for a serious condition and therefore very expensive. In fact, there are 106,000 Iowans in this age group who do not have health insurance and account for roughly half of all the uninsured in the entire state. Therefore, Senate Republicans propose legislation that will encourage the development of low cost market-based catastrophic insurance products that will provide base care for younger Iowans.

“Third, no serious attempt at reducing rising health care and insurance costs can move forward without an honest attempt to address the issue of medical malpractice reform. We have continually championed the need to pass legislation that raises the burden of proof for malpractice claims and places reasonable limits on payment for damages. Those hefty costs are passed on to consumers like you.

“Next, current law allows large employers the opportunity to deduct health care costs “above the line” – meaning a dollar for dollar reduction in their taxable income equal to the employer share of health insurance costs. This is a tremendous incentive for employers to provide health insurance to their employees. Thus, it should be no surprise an independent study shows 94 percent of employers who have 50 or more employees provide health insurance, whereas 36 percent of employers who have 10 or fewer employees only offer health benefits.

“Because a significant portion of our population now work for small businesses or for themselves, we believe such “above the line” deductions for health insurance costs should be extended to all businesses and individuals. Some estimates suggest an above the line deduction for health insurance costs may provide a 30 percent savings on such costs and provide a significant incentive to offer health insurance benefits to their employees. If it’s good enough for Wall Street, it ought to be good enough for Main Street.

“Prevention programs that encourage long-term commitment to wellness practices are proven to reduce demand for expensive health services and curb future growth in health care spending. However, our current system chooses to focus on imposing penalties on those who practice less healthy lifestyle through higher insurance rates rather than rewarding good health practices with lower rates.

“Consequently, we propose legislation to encourage insurers to offer “prevention credits” to individuals and businesses that can be used to reduce health insurance rates for those that demonstrate a commitment to wellness and prevention. “Prevention credits” will allow an average Iowa family to save upwards of 15 percent on their health insurance premium or $1,635 on an average family policy. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services there is a return on investment of up to $4.91 for every dollar spent on wellness.

“Finally, we favor a bill that prohibits the denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions if you change policies within a health insurance company. Simply changing policies within a company does not mean you should lose your coverage if you have a pre-existing condition.

“I know we can make a real difference in lowering the cost of health care without turning our entire health care system and a large segment of our economy over to the government. We must utilize common sense reforms that can be done right here in Iowa. We can be a leader in showing the rest of the country how to achieve market based health care reforms that make health care more affordable, accessible and portable without adding hundreds of billions in generational debt and putting the government in charge of our health care.

 “As always, I welcome hearing from you and can be reached by phone at 515-281-3560 or by e-mail at [email protected].”

I think there is a lot to be said for focusing many of these efforts at a state level instead of federal.  Some states, like Florida, have implemented some tremendous solutions to help reduce costs and ensure that patients help participate in controlling those costs.  In some cases, both the challenges and solutions may more regionally specific and better solved regionally.

One area that will likely require some federal oversight will be cross-state portability.  Some states might be resistant to such portability (and admittedly, due to influence by Insurance Lobbiests), but it would still be beneficial to make this a joint effort between the states under the herding of Congress.

I like where Iowa Republican leadership is headed.

Polk County Republicans Fall Picnic With Candidates For Governor!

Polk County Republicans Fall Picnic With Candidates For Governor!

The Polk County Republicans present “A Barn-burner at Living History Farms” where you can hear all declared GOP Gubernatorial Candidates speak out.  Click the image at right to view the invitation!

This fundraising event will be held at Living History Farms Flynn Barn (11121 Hickman Road in Urbandale) on Sunday, October 11, 2009 at 5:30p (buffet dinner catered by The Iowa Machine Shed starts at 6:00p).  Parking will be available at the Visitor Center, and a shuttle will take you to the barn.  Handicapped assistance will be provided.

Tickets cost $30/single, $50/couple and $65/family

If you would like to RSVP, purchase a ticket, or have a question please contact:

Art Smith Hosting Radio Show Again

Art Smith Hosting The Bean Walker Live!

MicrophoneUpdate! Link to podcast of today’s show!

Last Tuesday (September 29), I hosted the second half of Tim Albrecht’s program “The Bean Walker Live!” on Des Moines Local Live, and today begins 3 weeks of hosting the program in full while Tim concentrates on getting married!

On today’s show, during the first hour I will have Shane Vander Hart from Serve Our Youth Network to share about the volunteer opportunities they have and how they cooperate with local government to impact the lives of high-risk kids in the Des Moines Metro area.

During the second hour, Connie Schmett from Polk County (Iowa) Republicans will join us to talk about the upcoming Fall Dinner at Living History Farms this Sunday featuring the Iowa Republican Gubernatorial Candidates.  We will also talk about some of the big issues in state and federal government this week.

Here’s a link to the podcast of last week’s show.

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