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Freedom Of Religion For All

Freedom Of Religion For All

Update: word usage mentioned in comments – Ed.

Bus in QuestionThis past week we were hit with what many probably thought was a a set of odd ideas. This all started when DART (Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority… that is, the local bus company) started displaying ads purchased by the Iowa Atheists and Freethinkers.

Of course, those ads could only be trouble.

Full disclosure: I am a born-again Jesus Freak of the 1st order.  I don’t want any confusion on this point as we proceed.

Odd idea #1: Atheists would be so bold as to attack God (or in some minds, Christians).  Today, we Christians are tending to be very sensitive to any kind of “persecution”.  If only we knew what persecution really is.  Personally, I was amazed that anyone actually made a fuss about these ads to begin with.  I’ve seen a lot more evil on the side of a bus than this statement: “Don’t Believe in God?  You are Not Alone”.  Quick, Martha, hide the kids and load the guns!

No, this was not an attack on any person.  I cannot even consider it an attack on God.  It is certainly a very vocal expression of a group’s decision to reject God, but I think God’s pretty much accustomed to people not believing in Him, or even when believing, still rejecting His plan for them.

Personally, I thought it was refreshing to see people who hold a religious perspective that is so contrary to what I think of as the norm and Truth, to be willing to express their perspective and reach out to others who share it.

Odd idea #2: Atheists don’t have the same rights as others to publicly share their (lack of) beliefs.  Although we have struggled over the past few decades to halt the erosion of our first amendment rights, it’s interesting that there was such a quick assumption that Atheists don’t deserve the same consideration as say, Christians.  As soon as the outcry hit, DART reacted and pulled the ads.  All kinds of excuses ensued.  The ACLU jumped in.  Heaven’s temple shook.  Governor Chet Culver even expressed his opinion (he was “offended” by the message of the ads).

Unfortunately, the bus company has been smarting from recent pedestrian accidents that have led to policy changes and may lead to bigger problems… the media nightmare was getting worse for them now, and the apparent public sentiment was to pull the ads.  Bad timing.  Bad decision.  It was making things worse, not better.

Odd idea #3: Bus companies don’t have the right to decide what ads they run or don’t run.  Buses have limited advertising space, and I assume they sell the space on a first come first serve basis.  Unless of course they don’t have as many ad clients as they’d like.  Now, if they specifically targeted one group to block but allowed a competing group (say, Christians), that would probably be a problem (not sure if a legal problem, but at least a political one) .  But if they decided to not allow ads for any religious group they might be okay.  But I think we all know where that would go… a lot of ads on buses are for religiously affiliated organizations (many attempting to reach out to people with needs they can serve).

So, technically one might make a case that the bus company was within its rights to pull the ad.  That, however, is not a case I would want to see fall in front of Sotomayer.

One caveat to that… DART, I believe, has been a beneficiary of government, especially Federal, money.  Which totally kills their ability to act independently (DART may actually be government run, but I’m not clear on how that works).

Odd idea #4: Bus companies can’t change their minds.  This is purely political silliness.  Obviously, anyone can err and then correct themselves.  The media frenzy over this has been no surprise, but people involved in trying to make a difference in the world need to focus on the real issues… and most of all the Conservative voices in our society need to stop pandering to unproductive religious polarization and accept the very facts that God himself accepts: not everyone is going to follow Jesus, and everyone begins apart from Him.  Continuing to castigate DART only serves to make Christians and political/social Conservatives look petty and misguided.

Odd idea #5: The First Amendment is intended to serve the interests of God, that is, Christians.  The Amendment reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

I will restrain myself from entering an all-out examination of the purpose of this amendment.  The point I wish to make is simple: there is no mention of God or Jesus or Christians.  The same amendment that protects the rights of Christians protects the same freedom of expression for Atheists.

So, the end of the story is that the ads are back.  Hopefully we can move on.

Reading assignment:

US Constitution – Amendment 1

The Letter from Paul to the Romans

Health Care Reform: Abortion Funding and Mandates Still on the Table

Health Care Reform: Abortion Funding and Mandates Still on the Table

babyIf you don’t already know, we are thoroughly Pro Life here at the The Conservative Reader.  From the moment of conception, the rights of every American should extend to even those that are still in the womb, despite the inconvenience they may pose to their mother.

We are also opposed to the current effort in Congress to foist a complex, expensive, invasive and industry-busting piece of legislation in the name of saving lives and improving the health of Americans.  We are not opposed to ensuring that all Americans have access to health-care, but this bill, in whatever form it has taken thus far, is not in the best interest America.  More on that in the next few days.

Worse yet, is that such a bill, in the name of saving lives, may end up funneling more and more money to take lives… innocent lives at that.

The following is a piece provided by Jenifer Bowen (appeared in the Facebook group page for Iowa Right To Life):

There is a battle going on in the Congress over Health Care reform and they, meaning the U.S. Representatives and U.S. Senators, are under heavy pressure to strike a deal and get it done before the summer recess in August. Our concern is a “deal” that would allow for funding and mandates in the bill.

There are millions of dollars at stake, and the abortion industry is working hard to get their hands on what they see as a gold mine of tax funding. Their goal includes mandating abortion as health care and having their mandates funded. The good news is that there are many leaders in congress with a conscience that want health care reform, but do not agree with mandating or funding abortion with taxpayer’s money.

However, the pressure from President Obama and the Democrat leadership is mounting, as they want abortion as part of Health Care Reform. This is bad news since it comes down to heavy political pressures on each representative.

This is when your voice really counts. This is a perfect example of the saying, “the squeaky wheel gets the oil,” and we need every “squeak”, every pro-life voice to sound the alarm and call congress. Literally thousands of little lives, and the lives of the elderly are depending on us to take action to stop this evil.

I am not overstating my case. This is real and its happening very quickly.

The fact is, the Health Care Reform bill says nothing about abortion, which IS the problem. Language must be added to the bill to exclude all abortion mandates and abortion funding.

It’s all in the language. Call the Congress now. If you have already called, please call again. The anti-life powers to be are working diligently to expand abortion and their profit margin on our dime. They are motivated and they are calling.

We need you to call and pass this on to your friends and family.

Note: It is critical that they do not split the difference on abortion mandates OR abortion subsidies in some compromise or “deal”. We want to make sure they exclude both abortion “mandates” and “funding.”

Please call both U.S. Senators and your U.S. Representative. If you do not know who your U.S. Representative is, click here:

Here is a helpful hint on what to say:

“Hi, my name is……………….. I’m calling about the “Health Care Reform bill that they are working on, and I would like to ask ………………… to make sure that the bill EXCLUDES all abortion–both funding AND mandates. I do not think it is right that my taxes should be used to pay for abortion. Will you please give him my message? Thank you.”

Call Both U.S. Senators:

U.S. Senate-Iowa
Charles Grassley (R)
Telephone: 202.224.3744

Tom Harkin (D)
Telephone: 202.224.3254
E-mail: [email protected]ov

U.S. House of Representatives-Iowa
Bruce Braley (D-01)
Telephone: 202.225.2911

David Loebsack (D-02)
Telephone: 202.225.6576

Leonard Boswell (D-03)
Telephone: 202.225.3806

Tom Latham (R-04)
Telephone: 202.225.5476 or Toll Free at 866.428.5642
E-mail: [email protected]

Steve King (R-05)
Telephone: 202.225.4426

For more information on Health Care Reform, click here:
NRLC Fact Sheet:

Kim Lehman
C 515.202.2517
[email protected]

GOP: Say No Thanks to Doak’s Advice

GOP: Say No Thanks to Doak’s Advice

handcuffed_gop_logo Retired editor of the Des Moines Register, Richard Doak, is concerned about the welfare of the GOP.  He says to restore the GOPs greatness don’t look to Reagan, instead look further in the past to Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt.

Thanks for the history lesson Mr. Doak, upon reading your column I began to wonder if you think that today’s GOP wouldn’t care about slavery?  While you don’t come right out and say it, that does seem to be implied.

Also implied is the same tired mantra that the GOP doesn’t care about “the common folk.”  What I fail to understand is how increasing taxes on businesses that employ “the common folk,” diminishing the quality of health care which “the common folk” benefit from, and seeing products and energy bills of “the common folk” increase somehow benefits “the common folk”?

You write at the end, and I swear the Democratic Party is feeding you its talking points, this:

It has no sense of caring for the common folk. It knows no problem that can’t be solved with another tax break for the rich. It knows no infrastructure projects that are better than tax cuts. It believes any curb on the rapaciousness of corporations is un-American.

It believes preserving the principle of private-sector health insurance is more important than letting people choose a cheaper, government-run option. It is hostile to public education, the one American invention that has done more for the common people than any other.

The philosophy of this modern Republican Party prevailed in America for the last quarter century – and it produced epic disaster.

Now the party is in the wilderness, and its partisans cry out that the only way out is to stick with the philosophy that produced the disaster.

Wouldn’t it be better to acknowledge failure and think again, start over again?

I know you’d rather see the party look to dependence on government programs rather than personal responsibility and voluntary charity.  You’d love to see a health care system like what Canada and the United Kingdom experience.  I know you believe that public education is the salvation of mankind, but when will you recognize that it is hopelessly broken and needs competition?

With the wild spending going on at our statehouse and in Washington we won’t have to worry about “tax cuts for the rich,” as we’ll soon experience tax increases for everybody in order to pay for this spending spree government has going on.  We’ll see how well increasing taxes on business will help increase employment as well.  But, I know, privately created jobs won’t help “the common folk” nearly as much as a taxpayer-funded government program.

To you I’m sure that this would seem like it would restore the health of a two-party system, but it would destroy it.  We would have instead Democrats and Democrat-Lite.  What we need right now is fiscal discipline, smaller government, lower taxes… the people seem to get it right now even if you don’t.

Originally posted at Caffeinated Thoughts

Fleecing The Ones You Love

Fleecing The Ones You Love

In full harmony with the wreckless abandon that led to two northeast Iowa communities getting a combined total $100,000 in relief money for weather related damage that never happened to them, news that Cedar Rapids residents who need relief are going to take second place to other community projects.

There are some great Des Moines Register reader comments at the story site above.  Many questions, most pointed being “What is being done to ensure the next flood doesn’t cause this kind of damage?”, are being asked.  And while I can certainly agree that when rebuilding from the ground up one would want to start afresh instead of just rebuilding the same structure in the same location, one can also rebuild in phases, designing facilitities to ensure that basic services and features are available while leaving additional work for later years or donations to provide additional space.

And that is all well and good for things like the Library.  Museums can wait a bit.  I would go so far as to say that Iowans as a whole, as generous as they are, would rather see any money going to building homes, levies, drainage systems, etc. instead of non-essentials (though desirable) such as a museum. 

Also, in rethinking the Libraries that need to be rebuilt, I can undestand needing to provide additional space for internet workstations.  But with all of the content that available digitally, how much paper-based primary sources for research are really needed?  I can see liesure reading material as important, but there should be a lot of content that can be left for internet access these days, it seems. 

All that said, this topic should be about priorities and limits.  Identify the things that truly need to be fixed or replaced (like peoples homes, especially if they are living in FEMA housing), but I don’t agree with spending state money, during such hard times economically, on non-essentials.  Let the private donors solve that for now, and wait for better times to fund more cultural projects.

But government won’t change their direction just because I say they should.  Or even if the majority of Iowans say they should.  That is, until those Iowans show up at the voting booth and find better leaders.

Iowa Race For Governor: Now Featuring Paul McKinley

Iowa Race For Governor: Now Featuring Paul McKinley

paul-mckinley-2My buddy Tim Albrecht at The Bean Walker sent out this exclusive update today:

In an exclusive Bean Walker interview, Senate Republican leader Paul McKinley says he will file the necessary paperwork to form a gubernatorial exploratory committee.

He says he will remain focused on his job as the Senate GOP leader, and expects to come to a decision “by early fall.”

McKinley will join Bob Vander Plaats, Rep. Chris Rants and Christian Fong, who have all filed the necessary paperwork in their potential runs for governor.

Full story by clicking here:

This is turning into a fairly respectable field, and not too awry from what I would have expected, although Christian Fong had only come to my attention a couple of weeks ago.

The candidates are still working through the initial “Who Am I, Really?” phase of their campaigns, from what I think I know about these candidates we can probably expect Vander Plaats to be more heavily focused on social issues than the rest of the field, while McKinley will be very focused on fiscal issues.  I’ve met all of these gentlemen at least once with the exception of Fong (who my friend David Chung tried to introduce to me at the Night of The Rising Stars Iowa GOP event in June, but didn’t work out), and those that I’ve met seem to have a good personality for the job.  Fact is, I still don’t know much about any of them.

Unfortunately, it’s going to be difficult to get a good read on where the candidates stand on the issues that Iowans will care about in 2010 just yet.  Partly because we don’t know what those issues will be (although I strongly suspect it will be all about the state budget, spending and taxation).  So, like most long campaigns (11 months to the June 8, 2010 primary), our perception of how well each of these men would serve will be formed and reformed until we get into the Spring of 2010.

A couple of comments:

  1. I am please to see an ethnically diverse candidate (Fong) in the mix.  It is refreshing to see more and more people from diverse cultures step up and offer their skills as leaders in our communities, and we should do all we can to encourage folks like Christian to step out and lead.
  2. I think it is time to see some women consider running for Governor.  For the past several years, I was represented in both the Iowa House and Senate by women (Libby Jacobs, who stepped down last year, and Pat Ward).  I have know a number of other women legislators from around the state and they all provide strong leadership.  While I am not advocating any specific person, it would be great to start seeing some of these women considering a run for Governor, and not to run because they are women, but because they have been gifted with the skills and vision to lead our state.  I believe some of them have, and that should be reason enough.

Linda Lantor Fandel expressed similar thoughts about the presence of women on the Supreme Court yesterday in the Des Moines Register.  I think, if I grasped her point correctly, that she and I both agree that the key issue in political diversity is not voting for someone or appointing someone because of their gender or ethnicity, but rather the grasping of opportunities by women and ethnically diverse individuals.  No one should feel constrained or limited because they are not male or white.

And just think, before this is all over, we will be starting to look at candidates for President for 2012.  We never get a break, do we?

Iowa: The “Fleece Me” State

Iowa: The “Fleece Me” State

free-moneyMore evidence that we need to put better controls on our government.  And before you discard this discussion as “more of the same government stupidity” that we’ve become accustomed to writing off as just “how the system works”, stop and read through this.  And really think about it.

I am loath to speculate on what specifically happened here, that is, how Rebuild Iowa managed to send $100,000 out to the towns of Dunkerton and Fairbank despite the lack of need or request for the money.  The story makes it sound like they just, well, used National Weather Service information. 

But I can’t wait to hear what the Governor’s office has to say about it.  If anything.

As you may know, Rebuild Iowa is a state project to coordinate spending the money allocated by the Legislature to help Iowa communities recover from the weather-related damage of 2008.  From the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier story:

Tina Potthoff, a spokesperson for Rebuild Iowa, said the Iowa Legislature approved the funds with no application process and with Gov. Chet Culver’s blessing. The money came from the state’s general fund.

“Since it’s state money, it comes with less restrictions than federal money,” Potthoff said. 

I am certainly glad that we were able to provide necessary funds to help the tornado and flood ravaged communities to recover, but there is an operational principle at work here that is a key to the gutting of our state’s financial resources:

If government money has been allocated, it needs to be spent on something, anything, quickly before someone decides to take it back.

After all, it’s free money, right?

The only problem is that it’s not free.  We are getting a superb opportunity to see how the state government, from the Legislature to the Governor to the folks that have been carelessly given free reign to just spend a huge chunk of money as they see fit (and feel compelled to spend every bit of it), and the folks who are recipients of our state’s enourmous generosity.

I don’t blame the leaders in Fairbank and Dunkerton.  The money is likely to be put to good use and may even help prevent loss of life in the future.  They may, however, become unwitting villains in a story they had no hand in writing.  I hope, for the sake of our state finances, that they decide to return the money to the state and await an appropriate opportunity to finance what things they truly need.  But I also wouldn’t blame them one bit if they kept the money and used it as they saw fit.

The State of Iowa, however, needs better accountability.  We already know that the current leadership of the General Assembly has become drunk with power and the unfettered ability to spend our state into oblivian.  The Governor is the author of what can, at best, be described as a constitutionally unauthorized bond measure that will keep the state in debt for decades.  And the Legislature puts no real constraints on the Governor appointed boards who are authorized to spend millions in tax dollars, in some cases for good cause, but in no case with appropriate public accountability. 

The spending needs to stop, or we will pay for it, either through higher taxes or other increased costs.

We, as the citizens and taxpayers of Iowa, are the ultimate holders of accountability.  We have lost the opportunity to address the legislation that led to this chaos.  We must voice, and continue to voice, our objections to the feckless manner in which our Legislature and Governor have brought us here, and take whatever appropriate action we can, including writing, phoning, and emailing them to voice those objects.  And then vote them out of office.

I would even advocate recall elections.  At this point I have no idea what that involves or what it would cost the state.  The question becomes whether the financial cost of such elections would be outweighed by the continued impact of another year with these folks in power.

Unless of course you actually like this.

Contact Senator Harkin About Cap And Trade!

Contact Senator Harkin About Cap And Trade!

Urgent alert from the Iowa GOP:

Energy Tax Disaster:  Congressmen Boswell, Braley, and Loebsack vote to raise energy costs on Iowans by about $400 a year for Iowa families and cost Iowa jobs.

ACTION ITEM:  Call Senator Harkin, IMMEDIATELY, and tell him to vote

NO on cap and trade (HR 2454)!

You can reach his Washington, DC office at:  202.224.3254

You can reach him via email at:

iowa-gopLast Friday was a dark day for our country.  Dark because the U.S. House of Representatives, with the support of Iowa’s three Democrat members, voted for energy legislation that will dramatically increase energy costs for Iowa consumers and turn the lights out on Iowa’s economy with staggering job losses.

Congressmen  Boswell, Braley,  and Loebsack all sided with California’s Nancy Pelosi and Henry Waxman in support of HR 2454, even though data from the Energy Information Administration and Congressional  Budget Office show the bill will increase electricity costs in Iowa and most of the rest of the country (while actually lowering them in Pelosi’s and Waxman’s home state of California).  Click here for the report. 

In fact, with energy costs estimated to rise by $250 million a year in Iowa as a result of this legislation, that equates to nearly $400 annually for an Iowa family of four. 

In addition, research from the Heritage Foundation shows Iowa will lose nearly 18,000 jobs by 2012 if HR 2454 becomes law (this is in addition to the more than 90,000 Iowans currently out of work).  Click here for the report.

Higher energy costs for Iowa families and fewer jobs for Iowa workers.  Reps. Boswell, Braley, and Loebsack have a lot to answer for when they come home to face Iowa voters.

THANK YOU to Republican Congressmen Steve King and Tom Latham.  Thank you for standing up for Iowa families, Iowa farmers, and Iowa businesses in opposition to this economy-killing legislation.

Now, it is not too late to stop this terrible legislation from becoming a reality.  We need EVERY Iowan to contact Senator Harkin’s office, IMMEDIATELY, and ask him to vote NO on HR 2454 (the cap and trade bill).

You can reach his Washington, DC office at:  202.224.3254

You can reach him via email at:

Below please find talking points on this legislation from the Republican National Committee:


The so-called “cap and trade” plan proposed by President Obama and Congressional Democrats is nothing more than a huge multi-billion dollar national energy tax that will hit almost every American family, small business and family farm.

  • President Obama and Congressional Democrats will tax our lights out — families and businesses will face higher energy costs every time they flip on a light switch, start a car or delivery truck, or manufacture a product.
  • Various studies also show that between 1.8 million to 7 million jobs could be lost.
  • Those hardest hit by this massive tax will be the poor and middle-class who are already struggling to make ends meet in today’s recession.
  • President Obama himself said on the campaign trial that if “cap and tax” were to pass families’ utility bills would “necessarily skyrocket.”
  • The American people want energy independence and a cleaner environment without a national energy tax.
  • Republicans have a better way – an “all of the above” approach that would lead to lower energy costs, more jobs, a cleaner environment and greater energy independence.
  • Republicans want to increase the use of all energy sources that will reduce carbon emissions, especially nuclear, clean-coal and renewable energy technologies.
  • Republicans want to increase environmentally-safe energy production to take advantage of abundant supplies of energy right here in America on remote lands and far off our shores.
  • Republicans would do all this while reducing frivolous lawsuits and encouraging Americans to conserve energy to preserve and protect our natural resources.

Members of the president’s own party oppose his national energy tax scheme.

  • John Dingell (D-MI): “Nobody in this country realizes that cap and trade is a tax, and it’s a great big one.” (Rep. John Dingell, Subcommittee On Energy And Environment, Energy And Commerce Committee, Hearing, 4/24/09)
  • Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN): “And you also run the risk of taking jobs away and not actually solving global warming.” (MSNBC’s “Hardball,” 3/25/09)
  • Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA): “I just don’t think an economy-wide cap and trade works.” (Gerard Shields, “La. Democrats key figures in federal emissions debate,” The Advocate, 5/2/09)
  • Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-LA): “I believe this bill would create an undue burden on families who are already paying too much in energy bills…” (Gerard Shields, “La. Democrats key figures in federal emissions debate,” The Advocate, 5/2/09)
  • •Rep. Jason Altmire (D-PA): “Any way you do it, it hurts Pennsylvania, especially western Pennsylvania. I think cap and trade is bad policy.” (Alex Isenstadt, “Cap and trade hits speed bumps,” Politico, 4/27/09)

CALL Senator Harkin, TODAY, and help stop this legislation from becoming a reality.  YOUR voice can make a difference, so call Senator Harkin, NOW!  

You can reach his Washington, DC office at:  202.224.3254

You can reach him via email at:

Tired of Democrats taking our country in the wrong direction?  Donate, NOW, to the Iowa GOP and help us continue the fight to take back our state and nation.

I voiced my concerns to Senator Harkin about this.  Here’s my email:

Dear Senator Harkin: 

Please vote “no” on the Senate version of HR2454.  I am convinced that this bill is bad for both Iowans and all Americans.  While I agree that we have a need to gain better control over how we manage the Earth and its resources, including the environment as a whole, this bill appears to do nothing more than tax Americans, through energy industries, to death.

I’m sure you’ve seen the information from the Heritage Foundation, and the analysis they’ve conducted has yielded compelling information.  Thousands of Iowans will lose their jobs.  Average Americans will see hundreds of dollars of added energy expense each year.  Gross Production will be negatively impacted.

I believe that you care about Iowans and Americans, and the needs of people, and I can’t see how you could support this bill.  I hope you will vote against it and vigorously oppose its passing.

Thank you for your efforts on our behalf in the US Senate.


Art Smith

More of a national view on this at TCR’s Main Web Site, including automated updates on the bill in the sidebar!

Governor Culver’s Polling Is Down

Governor Culver’s Polling Is Down


From the Iowa GOP web site:

Des Moines – The latest Survey USA poll indicates that more than half of all Iowans disapprove of Governor Chet Culver’s job performance.  Jeff Boeyink, Executive Director of the Republican Party of Iowa, said today, “Governor Culver’s free-spending, big debt, and job-killing agenda is out of touch with Iowa values and it is reflected in job approval ratings that are the lowest of his tenure as Governor.  More than half of Iowa voters now disapprove of the Governor’s job performance.”

In the June 2009 poll conducted by Survey USA, only 42% of Iowans approve of the Governor’s job performance, with more than half expressing disapproval. Independent voters are especially critical of Governor Culver, with 56% of those respondents saying they disapprove of his performance and only 35% expressing support for his work.

Boeyink continued, “Governor Culver and majority Democrats ignored the best interest of Iowans during the last legislative session and now they’re paying the price.  Iowans said they were against borrowing more than a billion dollars to pay for short-term projects. Iowans also said they want a vote to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. And, Iowans say they want to keep federal deductibility.  On each and every one of these issues, Governor Culver consistently ignores the will of the people.

“Iowa Republicans are ready, willing, and able to deliver on the priorities of Iowa voters and, if given an opportunity by the voters, will do so,” concluded Boeyink.

Link to the current poll results

As we’ve said here in the past, Iowa’s funamental financial problem is excessive spending.  Misuse of funds (spending money specifically earmarked for infrastructure on non-infrastructure projects) is a close second. 

The 2009 Legislative Session garnered a significant amount of attention from Iowans specifically because of the inability of the Democratically General Assembly to cut the Governor’s budget (despite Republican recommendations that would have saved millions, many of which came from public comment).  Throwing the public out of a public forum, with no reaction from the Governor’s office, certainly did nothing to enhance the public’s perspective of Democrats respect for those that sent them to serve in Des Moines.

Democrats have an additional opportunity in 2010 to make the lives of everyday Iowans better… or worse.  Continued disregard and apparent contempt for the needs and resources of Iowans may end up guaranteeing a backlash in November 2010. 

We really want to see what’s best for Iowans and it would be great if Iowans can have input into the process.  What is too bad is that the fate of Iowans’ futures are tied to the politics of reelection.

Iowa Race For Governor: Now Featuring Paul McKinley

Iowa Senate Republican Leader Paul McKinley’s Closing Remarks

paul-mckinley-2The following are Iowa Senate Republican Leader Paul McKinley’s (R-Chariton) final remarks delivered Sunday morning:

Thank you, Mr. President. Friends and Colleagues:

I know we are about to drop the gavel for the final time on this year’s legislative session and I know we are all a little tired but before we go home to the people in our districts, I think it might be necessary to look back at the last 104 days and provide the people of Iowa with some needed perspective. After all, it is the people of Iowa who are our employers and it is the people of Iowa who make our communities unique and our state something we can all be proud of.

These three million people elected us to act as their voice and their vote. They sent us to represent them. They are the hardworking people who truly make this state work. Yet, many Iowans have been left wondering whether their opinion really matters and if legislators are really listening to them.

It would be a mistake for us to forget what our very own Constitution says in Article 1, Section 2. The first sentence simply states: “All political power is inherent in the people.” Government is supposed to be of the people and for the people but sometimes this session I was left wondering at times if this was government versus the people.
We have witnessed the frustrations of so many Iowans who just want their government to live within its means. This Legislature has now spent more money than any Legislature in the 163 year history of the state of Iowa. There has been too much spending and too much borrowing and as a result, Iowans have become discouraged. As a result, we witnessed several thousand Iowans gather not only here at the capitol – but across Iowa and this country on April 15 to protest the spending and taxation policies of their government. They feel like their government is not listening to them.

When hundreds of Iowans packed the gallery of the House of Representatives to show their disappointment with a proposal to eliminate federal deductibility, force Iowans to pay a tax on a tax and raise taxes on Iowa families and employers in literally every single tax bracket, they were removed from the chambers and the doors were locked. The public was removed from a public hearing – 600 employers were kicked out of the people’s house by one employee.

Iowa families and employers are making tough decisions every day and yet they witness state government continue to tax and spend and borrow and spend while all this spending is not the solution needed to grow Iowa and bring about prosperity and opportunity.

There are over 80,000 Iowans out of work and yet there was no major piece of legislation passed that would help get those Iowans back into sustainable and permanent jobs. Iowans asked us for leadership on creating jobs – not creating government work through overwhelmingly unpopular bonding and debt proposals. Did we answer their call?

Earlier this month, seven elites on the Supreme Court struck down Iowa’s Defense of Marriage Act and opened up the definition of marriage to be something other than between one man and one woman. For the past three weeks, Iowans have been clamoring for a voice on this issue just as they have wanted a say in other important issues too. Yet, Senators in this body are obstructing the opportunity for the people of Iowa – the people we are here to represent – to have a say in this important and emotional issue. Before you leave this building today, do you want to go home without beginning the process of giving the people of Iowa a chance to vote on a Marriage Amendment? Ignoring the voices of the Iowans we are here to represent is a troubling trend that certainly needs to end.

Just over three months ago, I stood here on the floor of the Iowa Senate on the first day of session and said that we, as Republicans, would work tirelessly to offer solutions that would grow Iowa – not grow government and give a voice back to the people.

I am proud that we, as Republicans and Democrats, were able to find plenty of opportunities where we were able to find common ground and work together to deliver true bi-partisan results for the people of Iowa – the people we were sent here to represent. Yet, we all know there are major differences between the two parties and I think those differences in priorities were also apparent this session.

As I mentioned on the first day, Senate Republicans’ over-arching goal has been and will continue to be the need to re-establish a concept that I believe has been forgotten in recent years: the notion that it is Iowans who run government and not the other way around. Though I am confident and optimistic that we can eventually be successful in fully returning the government to its rightful owners – the people of Iowa – I do believe we have plenty of room for improvement.

I just want to conclude by reminding you of a wonderful Iowa story. I told this story on the first day of the session and I think it will serve as something to think about every day as we work during this interim to start to developing policy for next year’s session.

Economic opportunity is the great equalizer in a free society and it is economic opportunity that turns a dream into a business. It was a dream that David Vredenburg, a good southern Iowa boy, had in the 1930s. Months after the worst day on Wall Street, Mr. Vredenburg and a friend, Charles Hyde, opened a small general store. They opened a store at a time when the only thing more scare than money was hope. As unemployment began ramping up to one quarter of the population and a different bank closed every day the southern Iowa dreamer kept working. Today, as you know, Mr. Vredenburg’s legacy that began as a depression-era general store has become 220 Hy-Vee stores across the Midwest and boasts 55,000 thankful employees.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am going to leave here today with a sense of optimism because I believe in this state. I believe every community has many future David Vredenburgs and Charles Hydes and I hope that we can, in the future, work to make it easier for those Iowans to fully realize their dreams and aspirations.We must never forget that Iowans have common sense, are hardworking are some of the best educated in the world. This state has boundless potential and opportunity and I look forward to working to unleash the ingenuity, creativity and imagination that exists all throughout our great state.

Until we meet again, lets work to restore the public’s trust by truly having a government that’s responsive to the people’s wishes and needs.  Thank you.

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