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Polk County Republicans To Elect Chair And Co-chair

Polk County Republicans To Elect Chair And Co-chair

Tomorrow night at the monthly Polk County Republican Central Committee meeting, the committee will elect a new Chairman and Co-chairman.  Ryan Anderson, John Bloom and John Gruber have all announced their intention to run for Chairman.  Will Rogers and Art Smith (yes, one and the same) have announced their plans to run for Co-chairman.

This election will be another version of the Republican Party of Iowa election earlier this year.  Most observers and insiders are aware that the party is struggling to get a handle on its identity and purpose.  As Republicans, we have clearly missed some critical opportunities to get our message into the public eye in a way that is both clear and compelling.  Party leadership at many levels (not necessarily within Polk County) has been challenged by mixed priorities, including priorities of personal power.

Everyone is fairly convinced that change is needed.

Our hope is that whomever is elected, that they will be prepared to work hard in the coming year to rebuild party unity, creating and communicating a vision that demonstrates the Party’s relevance and value in helping our community, our state and nation to recover its stature, integrity and ability to open the horizons of all citizens.

I do want to express appreciation for Ted Sporer and Sarah Bowman for their excellent leadership!!!

Iowa Senate Democrats Against Iowa Voters

Iowa Senate Democrats Against Iowa Voters

This just released by Senator Minority Leader Paul McKinley’s (R-Chariton) office:

Senate Democrats Pass “Iowa Voter Irrelevancy Act”

Out of State Government Committee

Senate Republicans instead focus on creating jobs and promoting Iowa’s economy and wonder why Senate Democrats are more focused on making Iowa’s voters irrelevant

DES MOINES, IA  – A Senate Democrat proposal to strip Iowa of its influence in future presidential elections, dubbed the “Iowa Voter Irrelevancy Act”, passed out of the Senate State Government Committee today on an 8-7 vote with two Democrats joining unified Republican opposition to the bill. While Senate Republicans are busy trying to find way to save taxpayers money, keep taxes low, create good paying jobs and grow Iowa’s economy, this unpopular bill is being pushed through the legislative process. Should it gain enough votes in the Iowa House, the Iowa Senate and if it is signed by Governor Culver, Iowans right to have a say in who becomes the President of the United States will be dramatically diminished.

“As Iowans hear the details of this bill, I think they will end up coming to the capitol in outrage and demand answers. This is a terrible piece of legislation and Iowans must contact their legislators about this immediately to stop the Democrats from making Iowa voters irrelevant,” said Senate Republican Leader Paul McKinley (R-Chariton). “Senate Republicans are focused on trying to grow Iowa’s economy, create and retain jobs and root out wasteful government spending but it appears that the Democratic agenda rests figuring out ways to cut Iowans out of presidential election process. You would think they already have enough on their plate considering their hundreds of millions in self inflicted budget deficits and their union boss anti-job agenda that will only raise taxes on Iowans already dealing with tough financial times.”

This bill would reverse traditions that date back centuries as our country’s founding fathers put the Electoral College in place to protect smaller states from having their say diminished by the larger, more heavily populated states. As it stands now, Iowa has seven electoral votes and those votes are awarded to whichever presidential candidate manages to win the most votes based on the results of Iowa’s 99 counties. However, this Democrat pushed bill will undermine that storied tradition with one fail swoop. This bill will force Iowa to give its seven electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote instead of Iowa’s popular vote.

“Democrats must really want voters in urban centers like Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles, Miami or Boston having more say in the process than the voters in our communities all over the state,” said McKinley. “During last year’s election, groups like ACORN were out meddling with voter registrations and tampering with our elections. Do we really want to give them more opportunity to steal our legitimate right to determine who becomes our country’s president?”

If this bill were enacted, presidential candidates would have very limited motivation to come to Iowa to campaign for votes because Iowa is only about 1/100 of the country’s population. They would instead stick to campaigning in other states where the population is more dense and Iowans would be ignored and our issues would be swept aside. This is just another example of how our founding fathers were once again right on target in their desires to protect smaller states.

“I want to urge every Iowan to immediately contact their Senator about this bill and let them know that it is wrong for Senate Democrats to make Iowa’s voters irrelevant,” said McKinley. “Let them know that with 80,000 Iowans out of work, they should be focused on creating jobs and growing Iowa’s economy instead of limiting our influence in presidential elections.”

Committee Roll Call Vote:

Nay: Sen. Feenstra (R-Hull), Sen. Behn (R-Boone), Sen. Hartsuch (R-Bettendorf), Sen. Seymour (R-Woodbine), Sen. Wieck (R-Sioux City), Sen. Horn (D-Cedar Rapids), Sen. Black (D-Grinnell)

Yes: Sen. Appel (D-Ackworth), Sen. Kibbie (D-Emmetsburg), Sen. Sodders (D-State Center), Sen. Jochum (D-Dubuque), Sen. Hatch (D-Des Moines), Sen. Dearden (D-Des Moines), Sen. Danielson (D-Cedar Falls), Sen. Courtney (D-Burlington)

You already know how I feel if you’ve been following this.  I feel like we’re watching one of those movies where the folks who are supposed to be protecting us are too stupid to realize they’re being taken in by the very people they are supposed to be protecting us from.

Next we’ll be looking at legislating by referendum (works great for California, don’t you think?).  And the current leadership will love it because they can leave the dicey stuff up to the public, similar to their current approach of leaving the dicey stuff up to the courts.  Either way, they don’t have to take a stand.  Only one word for someone like that: coward.

The plan to work around the US Constitution (don’t you hate how that thing gets in the way of doing things like restricting freedom?) is just going to create a miserable mess.  Instead of sneaking this past voters just to make Democrats feel better about losing in 2000, let’s have an open public debate about the continued viability of the Electoral College.

Oh, sorry, is that too much trouble?

Unless you want to be treated like sheep, contact your State House Representative and Senator.  At these links you’ll find email, phone numbers, and home addresses.  I would urge you to send an email right away, and perhaps follow up with a phone call.  I have contacted both Representative Peter Cownie and Senator Pat Ward, and they have assured they are “No” votes on this bill, but your legislator need to hear from you!

David Vaudt: Budget Man!

David Vaudt: Budget Man!

David Vaudt is Iowa’s Auditor.  A Conservative Republican, he has consistently provided an unbiased, unvarnished view into the realities of Iowa’s financial planning and execution.  If anyone knows the score and knows what is required right now, it is David. I think we all know that more needs to be done, and that it is imperative that we stay out of the Rainy Day Fund.  And that we don’t go doing something really stupid like selling off the Lottery.  Stop spending!

Following are some comments from Senator Paul McKinley:

Senate Republicans Applaud Auditor’s Commitment

to Fiscal Responsibility, Sustainable Budgeting

Had governor, legislative Democrats heeded Vaudt’s advice during the past two years, Iowa’s fiscal condition would be significantly stronger today

DES MOINES, IA – Senate Republican Leader Paul McKinley (R-Chariton) today issued the following statement commending Auditor David Vaudt today as he renewed his warnings to lawmakers and the governor that tough and significant spending cuts will need to be made to stave off a potentially disastrous budgetary crunch:

“For the past two years, the auditor has been travelling all over the state speaking to taxpayers about Iowa’s budget and he has been an outspoken and consistent advocate of keeping government living within its means. Iowans are tired of the out of control spending and irresponsible budgeting of the past two years and I want to strongly urge the governor and legislative Democrats to finally listen to the smart suggestions being proposed by the auditor. The auditor is an extremely well respected taxpayer watchdog and he has been right for the past two years and he is right again today. We need to put his proposals into practice and keep this state’s budget balanced without raising taxes or putting hundreds of millions of additional dollars on the state’s credit card.”

“I have been hearing from Iowans in all corners of the state who are fed up with the out of control spending during the past two years. Now, more than ever, it is vitally important that we re-establish the notion that is Iowans who run government and not the other way around. We should be focused on growing Iowa not growing government.”

Hear, hear!

Peter Cownie’s Weekly Update: Governor Culver, Shake Up Microsoft!

Peter Cownie’s Weekly Update: Governor Culver, Shake Up Microsoft!

This week’s newsletter from Iowa House District 60 Representative Peter Cownie is addressed to Governor Culver and provides encouragement for the Iowa Governor to travel to Microsoft headquarters to press for the software giant to recommit to their plans for a data center in West Des Moines.

Dear Governor Culver,

One of the most important jobs a governor can perform is that of advocating for new businesses and jobs to come to his/her state. No one is as recognizable or deserves to be listened to more than a governor in this respect. Therefore, I respectfully encourage you to go directly to Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington and advocate for Microsoft to remain committed to building the data center in West Des Moines.  The data center was scheduled to break ground in 2009. However, Microsoft recently informed West Des Moines officials that plans would be postponed indefinitely due to the difficult economic times. The data center represents $550 million in new development for West Des Moines and Iowa as well as the creation of 75 new jobs with salaries near $70,000. 

Governor Culver, now is not the time to sit and wait for Microsoft to decide what they want to do. Iowa needs to be proactive in bringing business to our great state. Nobody has more credibility in selling Iowa than you. Microsoft is an example of new business that would bring millions of dollars to Iowa. Real leadership means taking chances even when failure is a possibility. Real leadership also means going to bat for the people who elected you. As a State Representative for West Des Moines, I feel strongly that you can make a real difference for the people of Iowa in this case. This COULD be a signature moment for Iowa and your tenure as governor. I hope you will decide to rise to the challenge. I would be happy to accompany you.


State Representative Peter Cownie
District 60
West Des Moines

This is the type of action that our state leaders need to take… acting intentionally to ensure that players like Microsoft don’t think we’re just fine like we are.  This is the time to act as if the deal were new and we are in contention with other states or cities… if you think that Microsoft isn’t looking somewhere else right now, you don’t know much about the world.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

By the way, this reminds me of the fact that the General Assembly seems to be sitting on their collective hands waiting for the Stimulus package.  Among other things, Iowa has around 50 projects that are specifically waiting for federal money to be commenced.  I don’t know how many of those projects need state legislative action to proceed, but it’s a little concerning that we’re getting in line for money in some cases for projects that have questionable value or relevance in our current economic times.  After all the criticism of US Banks for how they manage their [stockholders’] money, it’s rather ironic that we won’t treat the excesses of government spending being brought about by this huge pile of pork manure with the same level of contempt.

More on these projects later.

Polk County Republicans To Elect Chair And Co-chair

Getting Around The Constitution

Some like to use the Court System.  Some like to use creative Congressional Legislation.  Some even like to use Executive Orders.

Others seek a coalition of states to enact laws to just circumvent the Constitutional system.

Today we look at a bill before the Iowa General Assembly (House version, Senate version).  This same bill has already been enacted into law in Maryland and New Jersey.  It is still in the “Study Bill” state (in a committee for review), and will essentially cause Iowa to select Electors based on the National Popular Vote results instead of Iowa’s Popular Vote results.  Once enough states opt into this coalition to cover 270 electoral votes (the number of votes currently needed to win the Presidency), the law would go into effect.  In case it’s not obvious, the point is to make the College meaningless.

I am very concerned about this bill. I’ll start by saying I support the Electoral College structure that we have in place today to mange the electing of the President, and although I could use this space to explain my support for it, my concern with the bill is not in the value of the College, but rather in the Compact that this bill places Iowa in.

This bill, in concert with the same language in other states’ codes, is intended to provide a means to circumvent the Constitution of the Unites States. I consider that a serious matter. Despite the fact that each state has the right to select its electors for President by whatever means it deems appropriate, this is a creative way to achieve a populist agenda that should be given the due course of debate at a national level and resolved by changing the Constitution as it is intended to be managed.

Further, this bill will hurt Iowans in the following ways:

  1. Iowa, along with the other states that are agreeing to this compact, will become at odds with the Federal Government. Circumventing the Constitution is serious business. Congress will, of course, take notice and somehow act. Congress may act in a way that penalizes the states that participate in this Compact.
  2. If this is passed, I am confident that Iowa will lose its first-in-the-nation caucus status. Both parties will abandon Iowa as due to the negative impact we are supporting against national party politics.
  3. Iowa will lose its voice in the national debate. Becoming part of this Compact will mean that no matter how Iowans vote, it will be the national voice that we speak, not our own.
  4. The loss of Iowa’s relevance will mean that candidates will no longer bother coming to Iowa. They will focus on the urban centers such as the Northeast, Chicago, the West Cost, and Texas. Agrarian states will get no attention.

Other problems with this bill include the fact that this course of action may, ironically, be executable without the favor of a majority of American Citizens. Only required is that the legislatures of enough states to acquire a majority of the Electors approve this measure. Regardless of the polling on this issue, it deserves to be debated and decided by all Americans.

Once this Compact is enacted, the Electoral College will become irrelevant. Congress will be forced to act. It could take the course of withdrawing the Electoral College, which is what the Compact supporters desire more than anything. Again, I will refrain from speaking to that issue at this time.

Or, Congress may decide to take other action to abolish the Compact. It may determine that it will have to define how electors are selected. I don’t think we want that.

We are currently suffering from a series of attacks on the Constitution. Plans nationally to enact the “Fairness Doctrine”, the recently approved Stimulus Package, discussions around nationalizing the banking system, plans to further limit religious expression and the holding of firearms, and the repeated use of the court system to decide the things that we should be deciding in the halls of our legislative bodies are all slowly eating away at the foundation of our law.

Even if this is the direction that Iowans and Americans really want to go, it concerns me that such a dramatic change could be thrust into the heart of our country while we are trying so desperately to recover from economic challenges and a significant shift in popular thinking… this decision, this idea needs more time and more debate.

If you live in Iowa, please contact your State House Representative and Senator.  At the this links you’ll find email, phone numbers, and home addresses.  I would urge you to send an email right away, and perhaps follow up with a phone call.

Since this topic has both Iowa and National impacts, it is being posted on both The Conservative Reader and The Conservative Reader: Iowa.
Peter Cownie’s Weekly Update: Governor Culver, Shake Up Microsoft!

Peter Cownie’s Weekly Update: Budgets and Fair Share

Since I don’t currently have the time I need to follow the work of the Iowa General Assembly as closely as I’d like, it helps me to read these updates from Peter.  This week, I’m surprised to learn that the Democrats are anxious to bring back the “Fair Share” concept that they tried to force down Iowan’s throats last year.

It isn’t bad enough that we have to struggle to ensure that spending is under control and that we don’t depend on the Federal Government to meet our fiscal needs, but do we really have to start sucking up to the unions yet again by taxing non-union members to pay for the junkets of corrupt union leaders?

Mind you, if union members really want to throw their money away by paying union dues that cost them more than they get (and I mean costing in terms of lost opportunities, meager strike funds and ridiculous concessions that just bankrupt the companies they work for), that’s their business.  But dragging their co-workers into paying for the same obsolete concept is larceny.

Call your representative and stop this madness!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Meanwhile the budget battle goes on.  Evidently, the message continues to be finding ways to keep the spending flowing despite any sense of thoughfulness.  Granted, I think we can live on a lot less  spending even when the economy is good… and if we worked with that mindset, it wouldn’t be so hard for us right now because we’d already have budget, the government, the horse trough, all under control.  It’s too bad we don’t do enough to hold the politicians accountable.

But you can.  Call them.  And start planning for the 2010 elections.

Peter Cownie’s Weekly Update: Governor Culver, Shake Up Microsoft!

Peter Cownie Weekly Newsletter: Make Smart Choices For Iowa

You can view Peter’s newsletter here.

Peter poses some great positive ideas for improving the current economic state of affairs in Iowa, with particular and appropriate emphasis on our need to reduce state government spending:

These cuts should be a positive thing for the taxpayers of Iowa. Like any business that goes thru [sic] hard times, the cutting of excess can make government leaner and more efficient in the long run.

This should be a message spread throughout the States’ and Federal Legislatures: part of our problem has always been too much government spending, too much bloating in the government, too big a trough for elected officials to feed on and build electoric favoratism to ensure a nice long career as a politician.

Although I haven’t had time to peruse the budget that Governor Culver has placed in front of the General Assembly yet, I appreciate the fact that he has gone a long way to cutting the fat out of Iowa Government.  However, since we are still a ways from seeing a balanced budget, there is more to do.  The Entitlements need more thoughtful review.  I hope to have some thoughts on the content of the budget next week.  Meanwhile, if you’re interested,  you can read the budget here.

And the convoluted attempts to raise money through shenanigans such as leasing or selling the Lottery cannot be allowed to move forward.  Emily Geiger at Battleground Iowa had a great analysis of the current state of the politics around this issue Thursday.

At any rate, we don’t get a lot of time to do the lawmaking here in Iowa.  We need to all pay attention as our Legislators and Governor are making decisions that may impact us for a while.  Keep in mind that even though we have a Balanced Budget law in Iowa, the politicians are still adept at manipulating the numbers to convince us they’ve done as much even though they have not.

And get in contact with your Statehouse Representative and Senator.  They are there for you.

Peter Cownie’s Weekly Update: Governor Culver, Shake Up Microsoft!

Peter Cownie’s Weekly Update

Peter Cownie was elected to the Iowa State House (District 60) this past November and enters his freshman year.  I think that Peter’s insights into this year’s General Assembly work will be valuable, and will be posting his newsletter here.

First, the following text was included in the email with his first newsletter:


The inauguration of President Barack Obama this past week was a historic moment for the United States. Not only is President Obama the first African-American to become President of the United States, but he is probably inheriting more problems than any other President in recent history. However, I believe this to be a time of optimism for  Americans and Iowans alike. The most important thing I took from President Obama’s  inaugural address is his increased emphasis on personal responsibility. This is referring to  personal responsibility for all citizens in their daily lives. We should not wait for the government or anyone else to solve our problems. President Obama’s tone and rhetoric are sadly not struck upon enough in American politics and society.

President Obama is surely one of the greatest speakers to ever ascend to the White House. It will take all of his powers of oratory as well as salesmanship to be a successful president. President Obama inherits two wars, a recession, a massive federal deficit, and nearly every state in the Union looking for a bailout to deal with its own budget problems. Iowa is no different in this regard. The Statehouse seems to be “waiting by the phone” to see how much money we will get. Frankly, I do not see this as the job of your elected officials to sit and wait for the feds to bail the state out. You elected us to solve problems.

I intend to follow one of President Obama’s guidelines and work in a bipartisan manner to solve Iowa’s problems. Too often the people’s government gets bogged down in petty differences and party politics. There will obviously be differences during this session and it will be the minority party’s job to highlight those differences. However, I think the people of Iowa will be better served if the Legislature spent more time finding common ground amongst ourselves rather than worry about the next election cycle. Instead, we should be focusing on helping the people that are still displaced from the floods of this past summer and working to cut waste from our state budget. Hopefully next week I will be able to report some progress on these fronts.

In closing, Iowa lost one of its finer public servants this past week. State Senator Mary Lundby of Marion passed away after a long battle with cancer. Senator Lundby was a tireless worker for her state and district as well as one of the most effective legislators to serve at the Statehouse. On a personal note, Senator Lundby hired me a few years ago to work for the Senate Republican Caucus staff. I credit Senator Lundby with my start in public service. Thank you, Senator Lundby. You will be missed.

Peter’s newsletter requires Adobe Acrobat Reader (download here).  The newsletter is at this link.

2009 Iowa General Assembly Preview

2009 Iowa General Assembly Preview

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

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

I exchanged emails with Peter last week.  This is his freshman years in the Statehouse, and he managed to get assigned to Appropriations, Economic Growth, Educatio nand Labor committees, and on Appropriations, he is the ranking member of the Economic Development subcommittee.  He told me that this year is pretty much all about the Budget.

Which leads me to Friday Night’s Iowa Press on IPTV.  Senator Mike Gronstal (D-Senate Majority Leader from Council Bluffs) and Representative Pat Murphy (D-Speaker of the House from Dubuque) were grilled by Dean Borg (the host), David Yepsen from the Des Moines Register, and Mike Glover from the Associated Press.

The message from Gronstal and Murphy was the same one that Peter heard… it’s about the budget.  We’ve already seen Governor Culver make two swipes at state spending to try and get the budget aligned with expected revenues.  Gronstal started responding to the budget question from Glover by saying that committees will be working hard on cutting expenses, and then proceeded to hit the first shortsighted decision which is the canceling of plans for a new state office building.  Gronstal said: “we need a new state office building, Wallace needs to be replaced but not today.”  On the one hand, if we don’t have the money, we don’t have the money… but on the other hand the cost of the new building, which “we need” will jump up every year we wait.  On the third hand, we could reduce the size of government and eliminate the need for the Wallace Building altogether, but that’s not likely to happen.  This is one project that needs more careful review in my opinion.

As they discussed ideas such as leasing the Lottery (an idea that’s been floated around lately) and allowing open positions in government to stay vacant, it became clear that Gronstal wasn’t quite prepared to express a confident opinion about anything yet… he said he wasn’t going to reject any idea until looking at the details.  Glover asked about what has been at the heart of the Lottery question for decades, which is the possibility that leasing it to private interests could quickly lead to expanded gambling in Iowa (as if any more expansion is going to really matter any longer), which Gronstal rejected out of hand.  Yepsen went on the offensive, asking about campaign contributions from gambling interests, and Gronstal didn’t like it:

Yepsen: The gambling industry makes campaign contributions to state legislators. How much does that have to do with this decision? If the gambling industry wants to buy the lottery from you and you’re getting thousands of dollars in campaign donations doesn’t it get sold?

Gronstal: No, David, I don’t think that’s true at all. Look, I think it’s an interesting idea, it’s one worth considering. If we go through that process we very well may decide, no, it doesn’t make sense. But why reject the idea of considering it? I think that’s fairly silly to reject even considering an idea. I’m actually really surprised at your critical questions. The legislature has often advocated considering privatization.

Yepsen: We always ask critical questions, Senator.

Gronstal: But the idea of privatization shouldn’t be rejected out of hand.

Yepson then took the opportunity to jump to a question that should be bugging all of us: AFSCME, the state workers union, is asking for a 5% pay raise for workers next year, and another 5% the year after that.  While people in the private sector are losing their jobs, not getting raises even close to 5%, and the key question of how every state worker makes 30% more than the average citizen.  Gronstal made one smart-mouthed response about CEOs (that was just inappropriate), and then said he wouldn’t comment on it because of the fact that the state is actively engaged in negotiations, and it’s the Governor’s job, not the General Assembly.  Yepsen kept the heat up, Murphy tried defending the salaries by talking about what some of the state workers do (covering maybe 5% of those workers… don’t get me wrong, I want police and fire protection paid well, but we’re talking about a lot of overpaid workers).

Bottom line on the union is that we won’t get any serious discussion about this from Democratic leaders because they’ll lick the union bosses’ shoes just to ensure they continue to have votes in 2010.  And we’ll be left holding the check.

There was a good conversation about the use of the state’s Rainy Day Fund and the general Cash Reserve.  It was good to hear that the leaders would consider usnig the RDF if necessary to ensure Iowans that are struggling from the weather and economic disasters of 2008 are helped appropriately… I agree that the Cash Reserve should be left alone as that is needed to ensure that we don’t need to borrow money if revenue shortfalls start to impact cash flows.

Also good conversation around the numerous proposals for local option sales taxes and the possibility of introducing flexibility for local governments to collect fees to offset property taxes.  Gronstal actually said something I can strongly agree with: property taxes are too high.  The trouble is, some fees are just another property tax, so I’m not exactly keen on that.  Local option sales taxes are fine, and all the state is doing is allowing the local governments to decide to impose them… the state doesn’t pay or benefit from that EXCEPT that the pressure on the state to help out is reduced.

They also discussed the proposal to raise the gas tax by a nickel to help create jobs and improve the existing transportation infrastructure.  I’m a bit torn… I like the fact that it helps keep people employed, but I hope we don’t end up wasting money on unnecessary projects.

They also hit on teacher pay, and corrections facility needs.  The most revealing statement of the evening came next, however.  Yepsen asked if Gay Marriage would be debated this year.  Both politicians flatly said “No.”, with Murphy adding that they were going to “let the courts make that decision”.  It shouldn’t amaze me that these guys are clearly incapable of true leadership, but I suppose when you know you lack both a credible position and will lose power if you do the right thing, having the Iowa Supreme Court there to bail you out is certainly a reasonable option.

Gronstal ended by saying this year is about the Budget and Disaster Recovery.  I wonder whether we’ll ever recover from the 2009 session?

New RPI Chair: Matt Strawn

New RPI Chair: Matt Strawn

Today the Republican Party of Iowa finally ended one of the more unusual elections for party officers in recent memory, which included last week’s candidate forum.  The new slate of officers are:

  • Party Chair: Matt Strawn
  • Party Co-chair: Jim Kurtenbach
  • Party Treasurer: Matt Randall
  • Party Secretary: Bill Schickel

Strawn is a 35-year-old businessman and co-owner of the Iowa Barnstormers Arena Football Team.  Strawn’s focus in his campaign has been on better use of technology, communication and encouraging participation by younger Iowans in the political process.

After listening to Polk County GOP Chairman Ted Sporer (for the first time in a couple of months, by the way) on Steve Deace’s show Friday afternoon, I suspect that one of the first things Matt will need to do is get with some of the more vocal party activists and leaders such as Ted and try to bring some consistency into the party’s message.  Ted was pretty vocal that he didn’t think Matt or any of the other candidates would provide adequate leadership for the party in Iowa (although I don’t recall seeing Ted at the candidate forum, so I wonder what the basis is for his opinion on this).

The fact is, Ted has an opinion on what party priorities should be, as does Gopal Krishna, and Matt Strawn and Danny Carroll, and Deace, and many others.  We need internal party dialogue and a common message or we will continue to appear to be, as well as actually be, splintered.  While WHO Radio and public blogs are a great place to have public discourse about public policy and issues facing Americans and Iowas, they are not an effective way to solve internal party issues.

More at IowaPolitics, RadioIowa, and Krusty.

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