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A Rare Bi-Partisan Legislative Effort Launches Today In Des Moines

A Rare Bi-Partisan Legislative Effort Launches Today In Des Moines

Especially after the last two years of bitter political fighting in Iowa, when you hear an initiative is being co-championed by Rep. Ako Abdul-Samad, Brad Zaun and Kevin Koester–you take note.

Below is the full press release announcing this effort.  Though we are closing down shop tomorrow for Thanksgiving, on Friday we will run a detailed look at the legislation so you can form your own thoughts on its merits.



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Rev. Bobby Young, President

515-491-0905; [email protected]

Jonathan R. Narcisse, Advisor

515-770-1218; [email protected]


 Iowa Urban Initiative To Announce Economic Empowerment Act

On Wednesday, November 21 at 8:15 a.m. at Mt. Hebron Baptist Church, 1338 – 9th Street in Des Moines, the Iowa Urban Initiative will announce the Every Working Iowa Economic Empowerment Act or Empowerment Act campaign.

In addition to Pastor Bobby Young, President of the Initiative, a bi-partisan legislative effort will be headed by Sen. Brad Zaun (Rep.) of Urbandale who signed on to the effort this spring at an informational gathering for community leadership, Ast. Minority Leader Rep. Ako Abdul-Samad (Dem.) of Des Moines, Rep. Deborah Berry (Dem.) from Waterloo and Rep. Kevin Koester (Rep.) from Ankeny.

Other local and state activist are expected to be present also representing the political spectrum from those who were engaged in the Occupy movement to Tea Party leadership.

Statewide Campaign

Representatives Abdul-Samad and Berry will take the lead in promoting the Act statewide. Town Hall Forums will be held in Des Moines, Waterloo, Davenport, Cedar Rapids and Sioux City and a barnstorming media blitz will cover several communities throughout Iowa including Clinton, Dubuque, Burlington, Fairfield, Iowa City,  Ottumwa, Marshalltown, Mason City, Ft. Dodge, Spencer, Council Bluffs, Ames, Storm Lake and Lee County.

Senator Zaun To Head G.O.P. Support

“The reason I am here today is to support an idea that is thinking outside the box. What we have been doing the past few decades has not been working. This is a method to empower every working Iowan – to reward people for their hard  work and sacrifice; to reward Iowans by creating a way for them to invest back in their communities; to invest in their favorite non-profits; to invest in their churches and favorite organizations; to invest in rebuilding our small towns and rural Iowa; and to invest in small business and economic growth – in all 99 counties. This act will create accountability and take control from politicians and bureaucrats and put it back in the hands of the people where it belongs.”

With those words State Senator Brad Zaun (R) embraced Pastor Bobby Young, Chair of the Iowa Urban Initiative in announcing his support for the Every Working Iowan Economic Empowerment Act this spring.

Zaun stated that this Act represents not only the best of what Republicans stand for but a key to growing Iowa’s economy and population after years of decline. He especially praised the Acts shift from reliance on big government as the solution to returning power, hope and opportunity to every working Iowan.

Sen. Zaun,  one of Central Iowa’s most popular and respected Republicans, was the party’s nominee for U.S. House District 3 in 2010 and is the former ranking member on the Iowa Senate’s Ways and Means committee. Zaun currently serves on the Senate’s Commerce, Rules and Administration, Transportation and Ways and Means committees and came to the Senate in 2005 after serving as Mayor of Urbandale, Iowa from 1998 to 2005.

A District In Need

“I feel this is the first step to addressing the economic needs of community – urban and rural. It gives people the opportunities to become self-sufficient and determine their own economic destiny,” stated Rep. Berry.

Berry, a former member of the Waterloo City Council, serves perhaps Iowa’s most urban district when poverty, academic woes, health disparities and rampant violence are factored in.

“Most Iowans, including our legislators and governor, can even comprehend the dire condition of this district and the plight of urban Iowans. This Act is a powerful remedy to the pain and needs we face.”

She currently serves on the Iowa House Local Government, Public Safety, Veterans Affairs committees and the Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee.

We Can End Poverty

“For most of my life schemes have been introduced to revitalize urban Des Moines and urban Iowa. In Des Moines we do not see the impact of a quarter billion in federal funds on a still blighted “Model Cities” community. We do not see the benefit of trickle down economics. What we find instead is that 70% of the families with children in the Des Moines School District, our state’s largest, can not feed them without the government putting food on their table,” stated Rep. Abdul-Samad.

“This Act is vital on a number of levels,” stated Rep. Abdul-Samad whose district is in comparable shape to Rep. Berry’s.

“First it grows the Iowa economy from the ground up. Again, trickle down economics has not worked in our state. It helps small businesses with workers and capital. It helps working families retain and invest their earnings. And, it provides vital resources to those serving communities in all 99 counties; to key rural revitalization initiatives and to business ventures at every level. Finally, this Act has the potential to end poverty in Iowa. Republicans and Democrats must join together in getting this legislation passed and starting the reconstruction of our state.

Addition of Rep. Koester

“We are honored to have Rep. Koester join this effort,” stated President Young. Many Iowans are suffering. Urban Iowans are especially struggling. The addition of Rep. Koester demonstrates that this truly is a bi-partisan initiative that will help Iowans in all 99 counties. We look forward to securing the 51 votes in the House and the 26 votes in the Senate to get this to the governor’s desk,” stated President Young.


Iowa Senate Races: A Closer Look At The Leaners (SD 38)

Iowa Senate Races: A Closer Look At The Leaners (SD 38)

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

The Candidates

Tim Kapucian (R)  vs.  Shelley Parbs (D)

Tim Kapucian is the incumbent, having first been elected to the Senate in 2009.  Shelley Parbs is a first time candidate and a production worker at Rockwell-Collins.

The District

Iowa Senate District 38 is located Northeast of Des Moines, halfway between Polk County and the Illinois border.  It is made up entirely of three whole counties (Poweshiek, Iowa, and Benton).  The number breakdown of registered voters in SD 38 is as follows: (R-12,549) (D-10,963) (NP-16,512), which leaves a Republican advantage of +1,586.

The Race

Since being elected in 2009 Tim Kapucian has taken on a high profile role in the Senate minority.  This includes, but is not limited to, being elected Assistant Republican Leader and being the ranking member of the Senate Transportation Committee and the Transportation, Infrastructure and Capitals Appropriations Subcommittee.  The Bleeding Heartland makes the very good observation that Democrats will attack hard on the fact that he is on the record twice voting for an increase in the per-gallon tax on gasoline.  Kapucian has gotten major backing from Farm Bureau and, beyond being a farmer himself, this is likely not a coincidence as they spent the last year leaning on Republicans to support this unpopular price hike.

Shelley Parbs easily won a three way Democratic Primary to earn the right to take on Kapucian.  She is a production worker with Rockwell-Collins and a member of the union, IBEW.  Mrs. Parbs appears to be another Democratic labor union candidate (she’s been endorsed by every union in a 50 mile radius), and yet another Democratic candidate with absolutely no information on her campaign website regarding her political views or agenda.  All the visitor gets is that Parbs wants to “invest in worker training” and “make sure jobless Iowans get the help they need to get back on thier feet”.  This is the case with so many of these Democrat candidates that it is beyond a trend and is surely an intentional strategy from the political higher-ups in the Party.  How they are expecting to bring anyone into the campaign with no information on issues, not even platitudes—fully escapes me.

This seat is a strong Republican leaner because the challenger is not that threatening and the Republican Party will not let Kapucian go without plenty of resources and attention.  He made not need much help, as the fact that he already had a $41 thousand to $15 thousand dollar cash on hand advantage as of July 19th shows he doesn’t exactly struggle in the fund raising department.

It strikes me that this race could be very interesting if there was a Democrat surge for the candidate on the presidential ballot, as there was in 2008 for Obama.  The fact is this will not be the case in 2012 and Senator Kapucian should be returning to the Senate, perhaps in the majority, in 2013.

Further Information

Tim Kapucian — Senate Republican Caucus page

Shelley Parbs — Shelley4Senate

(Complete TCR: Iowa overview of the races crucial to Republicans winning a majority in the Iowa Senate)


Completely Pointless and Utterly Absurd

Completely Pointless and Utterly Absurd

First, some chemistry; iodine turns black when exposed to starch. So, a lighter ink which contains iodine will turn black when it comes into contact with starch, which is included in the manufacturing process of standard copy paper. When the ink is used on paper that doesn’t contain starch (such as most paper made with cotton fiber instead of wood pulp) the ink will maintain a sort of brownish-yellow color.

If you pay for gasoline with a fifty dollar bill, chances are the cashier will make a mark on it with a counterfeit detector pen. American currency, made of cotton fiber and not including starch, will leave the ink that lighter color. Counterfeit currency printed on regular paper will make the ink turn black.

Interestingly enough, counterfeit currency made with cotton fiber parchment paper, available at every stationary supply store in the country, will pass as genuine under the ink test. The Secret Service, which investigates counterfeiting, doesn’t include the detector pens in their list of recommendations for examining currency.

So, a counterfeit bill passes the test and is accepted by a cashier. Later, the bank where the money is deposited is able to detect that it is fake. The incident makes headlines, and every store in town attempts to take precautions – by buying counterfeit detector pens, which will give a passing grade to upscale resume stationary. A completely pointless test creates a new vulnerability and becomes utterly absurd.

It appears to me that just about everything sold as urgently necessary is, upon closer examination, completely pointless and utterly absurd.

Prairie Meadows Casino was billed as a way to revitalize the economy. It is owned by Polk County, and the revenue was supposed to fund education, roads, and economic development.

Much of the money is used to pay the interest on the tax-exempt bonds issued to build the Iowa Events Center – which, although a lovely facility, employs only a handful of people and isn’t exactly the urban goldmine that developers always claim to have in their hip pocket.

I haven’t been to a casino in years and don’t intend to go back. Gambling used to be a risqué vice; now it is nothing more than another way to feed the voracious wolves.

Speed cameras should go in this category as well because they don‘t stop speeding nor do they protect the public. I was on the interstate in Cedar Rapids a while back, and everyone around me was driving above the speed limit. Upon approaching the sign indicating a traffic camera, they all slammed on the brakes very hard. After passing the camera, they sped up again.

Furthermore, I could drive down that stretch of highway drunk, while sending a text message, and using hallucinogenic drugs- but as long as I am not speeding, the camera is useless.

Government at all levels promises to build roads and develop your economy.  What actually happens is that they tax you, fine you, and monitor you – and the roads are still terrible. Infrastructure projects have become the best Trojan Horse to sneak in a tax increase- actually go and take a look at the budget of your local government. How much of your tax money goes to bond interest for infrastructure projects?

Iowa Title Guaranty, a part of the Iowa Finance Authority, was created in 2001. You see, in Iowa, when you buy a house it is traditional to have a lawyer review a title abstract and write an opinion about it. In every other state, you just buy title insurance, and when the big investment banks started jamming mortgages together into mortgage-backed securities they got used to having a standardized title insurance policy along with their mortgages.

They simply didn’t know how to deal with an attorney’s title opinion letter. Pity. It looked like Iowans might be denied the joy of subprime mortgages, and would have to make do with conforming loans.

But, not to worry! Here comes the state legislature with Iowa Title Guaranty, offering what the big investment banks were used to seeing. Oh, the joy of it; Iowans would have access after all to mortgages with bad terms, adjustable rates, and given without regard to lending standards. Being suckered into bad loans is practically a human right, after all. Title Guaranty – Completely pointless, and utterly absurd.

Even jobs can be completely pointless and utterly absurd. Anything involving the “green economy” springs to mind. Being paid by the government to build solar panels that will never be installed, for instance. Sure, a few people earned a few paychecks before Solyndra folded, but they produced absolutely nothing of value for the economy as a whole.

The Federal Reserve was billed as a way to avoid economic crises and facilitate greater wealth. In the end, it facilitated the largest fiscal and trade deficits in human history. Since 1990, we have run aggregate trade deficits in excess of eight trillion dollars, which is interesting because back in 1990 the M2 supply was only three trillion dollars. Either we ran out of currency (three times) or we were paying for imports with inflation.

When the Byzantines wanted to buy Chinese silk, they had to sell glass and other wares, or else they would have run out of gold. (They ended up stealing silk worms and producing it themselves). We can buy foreign goods by doing nothing more complicated than printing money.

Politicians offer to solve this problem with government action – either stimulus spending or trade wars – but never with stable currency policy, making any of their efforts completely pointless and utterly absurd.

I believe that our future as a nation will come down to whether or not we can successfully identify the completely pointless and utterly absurd things swirling around in our government, our economy, our businesses, and our culture. This will involve a great deal of complaining, which fortunately is the only real talent I possess. Now, to find a way to earn tons of money while doing it.


Iowa Senate Races: A Closer Look At The Leaners (SD 42)

Iowa Senate Races: A Closer Look At The Leaners (SD 42)

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

The Candidates

Larry Kruse (R) vs. Rich Taylor (D)

Larry Kruse has been on the Lee County Board of Supervisors since 2002, and Rich Taylor is a retired HVAC Technician for Fort Madison Iowa State Penitentiary and a former Union Steward and Treasurer

The District

Senate District 42 sits in the very Southeastern corner of Iowa.  It includes all of Lee, most of Henry, and small parts of Jefferson and Washington counties.  The Democrats start with a registration advantage of 2,408, with the breakdown being: (D- 13,344) (R- 10,936) and (NP-13,501).

The Race

Both candidates won primaries to gain their parties nomination, but the path each took was very different.  Democrat Rich Taylor somewhat surprisingly won by 15 points, while Larry Kruse demolished his opponent by more than doubling him up.

I have this seat leaning Democrat–but just barely.  Of all the 8 leaners I see this seat as most likely to go the other way.  Taylor has the advantage in registrations– and he will need every bit of it.  Kruse holds the advantage in experience and cash on hand as of July 19th ($5,402 to $3,193), and could very well pull out the victory.

Noteworthy here is that Rich Taylor is yet another Democratic Union member candidate vying for a seat in the legislature.  The amount of Union candidates representing the Democrat Party on the ballot this year is truly staggering and points to the fact they believe it may be a down year for Democrats, thus needing the Union get out the vote push more than ever, and that a collective bargaining showdown with Governor Branstad is on the horizon.

Also worth a mention, as you can see yourself by clicking the link below, is that Rich Taylor is yet another Democrat candidate whose campaign website makes absolutely no mention of issues, positions, platform, or legislative priorities.  In my book this approach is both unsettling and unacceptable, and begs the question…if you are not going to be open and accountable to your potential constituents when you are seeking their support–how in the world can you be expected to be open and accountable to them once you are in office?

Further Information

Larry Kruse –

Rich Taylor –

3 Questions With Iowa Senate Candidate Dave Edwards

3 Questions With Iowa Senate Candidate Dave Edwards

Dave Edwards is the Republican candidate for Iowa Senate District 16, the vast majority of which covers Des Moines and then swings Southeast to include Pleasant Hill.

While there is no getting around the fact that this is a Democrat stronghold (they have double the number of registered voters), if any Republican can win this district it is most certainly Dave Edwards.  What makes this race one of the most fascinating in the state this year is that Mr. Edwards is a blue collar, union member who is bringing the fight to Democrats on their turf.  He is challenging an incumbent who has already been in the Iowa Senate for 18 years (and was in the Iowa House before that), and few would argue that this particular district is better off than it was two decades ago.

Besides knowing these neighborhoods well, I have seen Mr. Edwards speak on multiple occasions and can tell you first hand that his style and message will resonate.  He has displayed courage both by stepping up to run, and by being willing to talk about illegal immigration, which is such an obvious problem that most are scared to talk about.  Republicans who live in or near this district need to return the favor, and can do so by visiting his website (click here), and getting involved to any extent possible.

As you will see below, his answers are extremely thoughtful, spot-on, and the case he is making to traditional Democrats is very convincing.  The age-old notions of the Republican Party that persist in this part of Des Moines certainly present a challenge, but there is no reason that a message of less government, fewer taxes, and more liberty can’t take root in districts like SD 16.

Simply put, Dave Edwards is the right candidate at the right time to be this messenger.  Should he win, the more “buttoned-up” folks at the State House (including Republicans) would be wise to listen to him…but for now lets just hope the voters in his district are truly listening to him.



1) Being a blue collar, union member Republican running in a heavily Democratic district makes you and your race one of the most unique in the state. Briefly tell us how your campaign is going, and if you are finding folks in your district receptive to the different political solutions you are offering? If so, which ones are resonating?

The campaign is going great. I have talked to literally thousands of people over the last year or so. In my job as a union laborer, I drive a truck all around the city during the day. I have the opportunity to interact with Republicans and Democrats alike. I have grown to understand that the issues we face, we face as Iowans, and not as Democrats or Republicans. The economic hardships that are facing the people of this state are affecting us all – not just one party or the other.

I am talking to all the voters in this district when we are door knocking. Naturally, when I knock on a democrat’s door, they are reluctant to talk to me when they find out I’m a republican. But as we talk, they begin to see that my message is not one of partisan politics. My goal is to be the voice of the working people of this state. I want to work to make Iowa a state where business can thrive and where our citizens can earn a living wage. The legislature shouldn’t be burdening the people of this state with more regulations, and definitely shouldn’t be adding any new taxes, when people can’t pay their bills or feed their families. These are messages that are resonating with the residents of my district.


2) As you are out door knocking and talking to voters, what are the top few issues weighing on the minds of the people in your district? And what are they saying they want done about them?

People in my district are definitely concerned about the economy and their job security. They want to be able to go to work every day, and at the end of the week, have something to show for it. My top priority as a senator will be to alleviate the tax burden on the working people and the businesses of this state.

Iowa is one of the 10 lowest-ranked states in Tax Foundation’s 2012 State Business Tax Climate Index. The ranking is arrived at by looking at all the taxes levied in a state. Iowa is known for high corporate tax rates, high property taxes, high individual income tax rates and high unemployment insurance tax rates – all of which are taken into account in arriving at this poor ranking. That is a very sad state of affairs. The fact that we need to offer tax incentives to get businesses to come to this state speaks volumes about Iowa’s tax climate. Let’s get rid of the incentives and lower Iowa’s total tax burden. If we improve the tax climate in Iowa, we create more jobs and people have more money to spend, thereby improving the quality of life for all Iowans.

Another issue on the minds of the people of my district is illegal immigration. They want the problem dealt with. I believe the existing immigration laws of this state and this nation should be enforced. The illegal workforce here is driving down wages, and placing an extraordinary burden on Iowa’s social safety net . Recently, I have been sharing my belief that the illegal immigrant population in this state is being held in bondage. They are forced to take low-wage jobs with unscrupulous employers who don’t care about the safety of their workers. Because of their low wages, they are forced to live in low-rent housing under sub-standard living conditions and because of their immigration status, they feel they do not have the freedom to report these conditions .This issue is pitting the working class citizens of this state against the immigrant population. But the real problem here is the government’s failure to enforce its own laws.


3) Assuming you are victorious in November and get sworn into the Iowa Senate, what are the three votes that you most look forward to casting, and why?

I have vowed to introduce a bill on day one of the session that will outlaw traffic enforcement cameras. We have got to put a stop to government intrusion into areas where it doesn’t belong, starting with traffic cameras. These cameras are an infringement of privacy and violate due-process laws. The citizens of this state have shown overwhelmingly that they are against these cameras. The fact is, they don’t improve safety. They are being used as a revenue source for municipalities.

Another vote I am looking forward to casting is one in favor of across-the-board property tax reform. This will be a good starting point towards making Iowa more attractive for business and giving our economy a much-needed jump-start.

Lastly, when the republicans gain control of the senate this fall, I really look forward to the opportunity to vote for a new senate majority leader to replace Michael Gronstal!


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