Saturday, January 31, 2009
But that may not be Daschle's biggest problem. What about those Sally Jesse glasses, Senator?
We did a little celebrity sighting at the media center in downtown Tampa. Here are some of the famous football players we saw: Joe Theisman, Rod Woodson, Randy Clark, Shannon Sharpe, Justin Tuck, Nate Newton, Michael Irvin and Brian Billick. There were some others we were pretty sure were players, but we just couldn't think of their names. It's a lot tougher without their jerseys on.
Michael Irvin and Shannon Sharpe totally blew us off for our requests to talk to them. Brian Billick and Justin Tuck couldn't have been nicer. We also saw Jared, the Subway guy. We didn't try to interview him. Ross the Intern from The Tonight Show with Jay Leno stood next to us. He carried a pink football. Does that surprise you?
We may have missed the biggest drama. Several family friends say they saw Dennis Rodman led out by security from one of the malls here. Sorry we missed you, Worm.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
In 2006, after serving as Polk County Auditor for nearly a decade, I was elected Iowa’s Secretary of State. I am still humbled by the confidence that has been entrusted to me in this role, but also very proud of my accomplishments since taking office. However, there is still much work to do — my passion for public service and my commitment to the great state of Iowa is stronger than ever. That is why I am running again in 2010.
Obviously, it's the last line that grabs my attention.
It's Day One for us (Shawn Terrell and I) here in Tampa for Super Bowl 43. It's a soggy mess. It has rained much of the day. Not quite the sun-drenched paradise everyone at the office gave us so much crap about before we left! But it's hard to complain. We're staying with my in-laws, which has already meant great food...beef stew offered a great reason to stop by their house while we were working on our 10pm story. So did the strawberry cake (strawberries are in season in Florida right now) my wife's "Grammy" made. Man, it was good.
We haven't seen any celebrities yet. Maybe they're at the strip clubs. There sure seem to be a lot of them near Raymond James Stadium. And, no, we didn't stop at any of them. But we did get to listen to Bruce Springsteen practicing on the field at Raymond James Stadium (at least we were told he was actually in there instead of some recording they were playing inside). He is performing at half-time of the Super Bowl, in case you hadn't heard. We heard "Born to Run" and "Tenth Avenue Freeze Out" and we watched the practice fireworks. That was pretty cool, too.
I ran into Jay Gray from NBC news. I hadn't seem him since the Iowa Caucuses. He seems like such a great guy. I wonder how he handles traveling as a correspondent all over the country all the time. And maybe that "Earl" guy from the NBC show is right about karma. We UPS'd our equipment to Tampa, so we wouldn't have to carry it on the plane. Apparently, there was some big ice storm in Louisville, so only one of our three packages of equipment actually made it here. The rest is supposed to come Friday. Fortunately, the NBC crew from Tucson let us borrow its lights for our night-time shooting. What a huge help! On our way out, we found a way to return the favor. The NBC crew from Jackson, Mississippi had a minor crisis. Their camera battery died and they needed to shoot something. So we lent them ours. They were incredibly nice, extremely gracious. That southern hospitality, I guess. They said we should let them buy us a beer for helping them out. Sounds like a good idea.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Will this news disappoint Governor Chet Culver? I'm getting ready to head out to Tampa to cover the Super Bowl, so I didn't personally witness the exchange between the Gov and Yepsen during the Gov's budget address. But several observers tell me the Gov got a little flustered at Yepsen's questions today about whether the Gov is cutting enough to balance the budget next year.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Monday, January 26, 2009
DES MOINES – In the midst of a national economic recession, Governor Chet Culver will recommend reduced state spending and no tax increases in his fiscal year 2010 budget proposal, he said in a speech today to the annual meeting of the Iowa Business Council. The Governor also spoke about the need for the state to invest in creating jobs and rebuilding Iowa’s infrastructure.
“Our State’s sound fiscal management does not mean we can avoid cuts in government spending,” said Governor Culver. “Simply put, just as families and businesses across the state and around the nation are doing more with less, so too must state government.”
In his remarks to the group of state-wide business leaders, Governor Culver discussed key points in his recommended FY2010 budget, which will include a 6.5 percent reduction in spending for most State programs. Complete details of the proposed FY2010 budget will be released on Wednesday.
“While the current economic circumstance is not the fault of Iowans, it is something we must all face together,” added Governor Culver. “We have a history, under both Democratic and Republican leadership, of balancing our budget and acting appropriately to tough economic times.”
The Governor’s FY2010 budget proposal recommends a 6.5 percent cut in spending for the majority of State programs. Other key points about the FY2010 budget that Governor Culver addressed include:
· No tax increases will be proposed;
· Certain key areas – such as public safety, workforce development, human services, disaster relief, the teacher quality program, and early childhood education – will not see the full effect of the 6.5% cut;
· $200 million from the state’s cash reserves will be used in the FY2010 budget;
· Funds from a proposed federal economic stimulus package are not reflected in the proposed budget.
The proposed 6.5% cuts would apply to a total of 205 State programs. Cuts proposed in next year’s budget are in addition to nearly $180 million in spending reductions proposed by the Governor to the current budget. In December, he made selective cuts of $40 million and on January 1 a 1.5 percent across-the-board cut went into effect totaling approximately $90 million. In addition, Governor Culver has requested the legislature de-appropriate $37 million for a new state office building and approve transferring another $10 million to the General Fund.
Governor Culver pointed to the State’s strong fiscal management – including a $620 million cash reserve, a Triple-A bond rating, and one of the nation’s lowest debt levels – as enabling Iowa to take steps to get through the recession not available to many states. One example is the proposed Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Authority, a $700 million initiative to create jobs and improve the state’s infrastructure without raising taxes.
“Creating the Rebuild Iowa Authority will also allow us to build upon federal stimulus and flood recovery funds our state might receive and, when fully leveraged, this $700 million investment will lead to billions of dollars of projects to improve our state,” said Governor Culver. “So while we’re cutting day-to-day expenditures of state government, we would invest in creating jobs, supporting businesses, and strengthening our economy. And we’re in a position to do it without raising taxes.”
Sunday, January 25, 2009
"The idea that the Iowa Lottery might be leased is getting more attention from pundits and partisans than it deserves. There is no plan to sell or lease the lottery. Period. Governor Culver has made clear that he wants to look at options to lessen the impact of reduced revenues and further budget cuts. But as far the leasing the lottery is concerned, the Governor has held exactly one meeting with a group interested in this issue. This has become nothing more than a silly political game that some in the Republican Party want to play, and at a time when Iowans want a balanced budget and deserve bipartisan results. This much is certain: when the Governor releases his budget proposal in a few days, it will not include a line item reflecting a lease of the lottery."
Friday, January 23, 2009
Thursday, January 22, 2009
But the left-leaning does seem to work in prime-time. MSNBC is now looking to find another liberal show for the 9pm central time hour, instead of re-airing Olbermann's show.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
HARKIN CONGRATULATES FELLOW IOWAN TOM VILSACK ON CONFIRMATION AS AGRICULTURE SECRETARY
Leadership signifies focus on promoting the rural economy, nutrition, conservation and energy
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today issued the following comment after former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack was confirmed as Agriculture Secretary by the U.S. Senate. Harkin is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, the Committee that held nomination hearings on Vilsack’s appointment.
"President Obama could not have made a better selection for Agriculture Secretary than Tom Vilsack. He knows how to bring change that will help to strengthen and rebuild the farm and rural economy on a sound foundation. As governor, Tom Vilsack was committed to better nutrition and providing food assistance to those who need it. He built a strong record in promoting renewable energy, rural economic opportunity, and conservation. These qualifications will serve him well as he transitions into Agriculture Secretary. Tom Vilsack’s confirmation today signifies new leadership for the USDA, but also a new focus on the issues important to all Americans, including nutrition, conservation, energy and promoting the rural economy.”
Monday, January 19, 2009
Here's the release from Senator Mike Gronstal's office:
Democratic Senators and staff:
Senator Gronstal has cancelled all committee and floor action in the Senate on Wednesday so that Senators and staff may attend Senator Lundby’s funeral, which is scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday at St. Joe’s Catholic Church, 1790 14th Street, in Marion.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
(Photo courtesy: www.jibaros.com)
How much is too much to spend on a new president's inauguration? $150 million? That's the estimate of what everyone is spending for Barack Obama's big day. This price tag comes in the middle of possibly the worst recession since the Great Depression. In 2005, some Democratic congressman asked President George W Bush to scale his plans back because the country was in the middle of war (we still are, of course). Does this $150 million bother you or is money not the issue on a day like this?
And...how bout them Cardinals? Congrats to Kurt Warner and the rest of the former Gridbirds (that's what we called them when they were in St. Louis) as they head to the Super Bowl. I wonder if this latest push will get Warner into the Hall of Fame? Not bad for a former stock boy at Hy-Vee Grocery Store, huh?
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Friday, January 16, 2009
(DES MOINES) – Governor Chet Culver issued the following statement today congratulating former Chief of Staff Patrick Dillon on his new appointment as Deputy Director of Political Affairs for President Barack Obama.
"I could not be happier for Patrick, and the First Lady, Lt. Governor, and I wish him well in his new role at the White House. For more than three years, Patrick has been an invaluable member of our team – first during my campaign for Governor and then as Chief of Staff. Though we are all sad to see him go, Patrick’s skill and expertise will serve the President well in the coming years, and I couldn’t think of a better choice. Though he may no longer reside here, he will always be an Iowan. Our state couldn’t have a better friend in the Obama-Biden Administration.”
And happy birthday to this man!
(Photo courtesy: St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Cardinals' superstar Albert Pujols turns 29 today. It's hard to imagine what he could accomplish by the time he is 40! The picture comes from the Cardinals' Winter Warm-up last year. Fans will need a warm-up from the weather and from the lack of action by ownership this off-season. I'm not sure which one has been colder.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
He doesn't expect a "second-tier" opponent like he had last time around (Colonel Sanders look-a-like candidate, Art Small, offered a token contest against Grassley in 2002). But in 2010 Grassley expects a "first-tier" opponent, someone like Christie Vilsack he said. He said he is taking his re-election very seriously. He's held 8 fundraisers so far and has twice that many planned. Grassley will be 77 years of age by the 2010 election.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
They said the budget would be a battle this year, but...did you notice that shiner on the A.G.? Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller showed a black eye as he stood and applauded during Governor Culver's Condition the State Address. His office told me the A.G. fell on the ice at his step-son's house Thursday as they were leaving to go out to eat. Ouch! I wonder if the A.G. plans to sue?
Monday, January 12, 2009
3:11pm...I didn't get a call back from his office confirming this, but the office did email a statement. Dillon's departure had been rumored months ago when his wife worked for the Obama campaign out of state.
GOVERNOR CULVER APPOINTS CHARLES KROGMEIER AS NEW CHIEF OF STAFF, PATRICK DILLON TO STEP DOWN
Current Director of Department of Management to Assume Role
DES MOINES – Chief of Staff Patrick Dillon announced today that he is stepping down from his position, and Governor Culver announced that he has appointed Charles Krogmeier, currently Director of the Department of Management and a longtime state government manager, to succeed him.
Dillon is moving to Washington, DC, with his wife, Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, who was recently appointed Executive Director of the Democratic National Committee.
"Patrick Dillon has been an invaluable member of our team for more than three years, and I cannot thank him enough for his service to the people of Iowa. Most importantly, I appreciate his personal friendship and trusted advice,” said Governor Culver. “I’m sorry to see him leave Iowa for now, but Patrick and I have always said that we married up, and I fully understand he needs to be in the same city as his better half. I wish him all the best as he begins a new chapter in his career during this exciting transition to a new Administration."
Dillon has served as Chief of Staff since his appointment in December 2006. Prior to that time, he managed the Governor's campaign.
"This time of great change at the state and national levels is also a time of change in my life, and so now is the right time for me to be with my wife," said Dillon. "It has been the privilege of my life to work every day helping Governor Culver and Lt. Governor Judge serve the people of Iowa. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to work side-by-side with so many committed public servants throughout state government, among them Charlie Krogmeier. There is no person better suited for these challenging times in state government.”
"I am very pleased that my good friend and longtime advisor Charlie Krogmeier has agreed to serve as Chief of Staff,” added Governor Culver. “His rich experience in state and local government, thorough knowledge of the state budget, and extensive management skills all make him the best person for the job."
"I am honored to have this new opportunity to serve the people of Iowa," said Krogmeier. "I am ready to go to work helping Governor Culver and Lt. Governor Judge to meet the challenges of rebuilding Iowa, balancing the budget and creating jobs across the state.”
Krogmeier was appointed by the Governor to the position of Director of the Department of Management in December 2006, and confirmed by the Senate in March 2007. The Department of Management is the executive branch's planning and budget agency and serves as the Governor's principal financial advisor.
Previously, Krogmeier directed the gubernatorial transition in 2006, and served as First Deputy Secretary of State from June of 2004 to November 2006. Prior to that he was a partner in the Des Moines law firm of Brown, Winick, Graves, Gross, Baskerville and Schoenebaum for 7 years. Krogmeier began his career in public service as a Lee County Supervisor (1979-86) followed by service as General Counsel to the Iowa Department of Transportation (1986-89) and as a Deputy Attorney General (1989-1997).
Krogmeier assumes the position of Chief of Staff effective immediately, and Dillon will serve in an advisory role through a transition period.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Matt Strawn is humbled and honored by his election to chair the Republican Party of Iowa.
Strawn told me he has four goals:
1. rebuild the party
2. fund raise
3. recruit good candidates
4. communicate with Iowans and each other
Friday, January 09, 2009
Saturday, Iowa Republicans try to begin figuring out the "what's next?" for them. The State Central Committee picks a new chairman. As of last check there were six "candidates" to replace outgoing Chairman Stew Iverson (he had said he'd only do the job for 2008). I'm told by Republican sources to especially watch two people Saturday, former legislator Danny Carroll and Iowa Barnstormers' owner Matt Strawn.
Thursday, January 08, 2009
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
Eastern Iowa Congressman Bruce Braley looks like he's committed to keep coloring the country blue. Here's the release:
The DCCC today named the second of its three Vice Chairs – Congressman Bruce Braley (D-IA) will serve as Vice Chair for candidate services, responsible for the DCCC's offensive efforts including recruitment, money, and training.
DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen said, "The DCCC will stay aggressive this cycle and continue to challenge Republicans who are out of step with their districts. As a former chair and former member of the Red to Blue program, Bruce Braley knows first hand what it takes to be a successful candidate; his battle tested leadership will be a real asset to our candidates facing tough elections."
Congressman Bruce Braley brings his experience as chair of the DCCC's successful and effective 2008 Red to Blue Program and as a former member of the Red to Blue Program.
Vice Chair Bruce Braley said, "I'm looking forward to continuing my work at the DCCC in this new leadership role. It's critical for us to continue assisting our candidates with the money, messaging and mobilization they will need to get elected in the 2010 election cycle. I will work hard to help our candidates win their races."
Congressman Bruce Braley will serve as Vice Chair for candidate services. The DCCC's candidate services include recruiting, money, and training. A Vice Chair focusing on Member participation will be named at a later date.
Speaking of the budget... two things stick out from today. Three things, I guess.
Number One...Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal said leaders will be "saying no" a lot to people who want more money for existing programs or any money for new ideas.
Number Two...House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy was not in attendance at a statehouse news conference today (House Speaker Pat Murphy and Senate Prez Jack Kibbie were). Murphy said McCarthy had the flu.
Number Three...Kibbie at one point said "we will spend more money than last year". As you might guess, that got our attention pretty quickly. When Radio Iowa's Kay Henderson questioned his words, Kibbie later corrected himself with the obvious statement that "we'll spend less next year". Too bad. That would have REALLY made this an interesting session!
My Cardinals are now saying arbitration may limit them. Funny, because at the beginning of the season, I remember them saying they were knocking $30 million off the books when several players' contracts expired. $10 million of that may go toward raises due to arbitration. That leaves $20 million for new signings. Sounds like now there's some funny math going on. I realize money may be tight in a bad economy. But Cardinal fans expect to have a chance at winning it all each year and I don't see them flipping open their wallets for a team that's skimping in this economy.
Monday, January 05, 2009
Here's the rest of the release:
Christmas has come and gone yet state employee stockings continue to be filled.
Some state employees are luckier than others. For those not under union contract, they get lumps of coal in the form of layoffs and pay freezes. For AFSCME and union members, they get built in raises and promises of job security. Culver announced last week that non-union state employees wouldn’t be receiving deserved bonus, raises, or promotions. Layoffs are to be expected.
For the complete story on Culver's preferential money-saving plan click here.
The Culver cartoon will be featured on our website www.iowaprogressproject.com. Share the link with friends, family, and colleagues! You can also share this cartoon by using our “Forward to a friend” feature found below.
Santa may have brought some criticism for the Gov. But he didn't seem to bring my Cardinals much of anything. Royce Ring? Seriously???
Saturday, January 03, 2009
"I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully." September 2000, explaining his energy policies at an event in Michigan.
"Rarely is the question asked, is our children learning?" January 2000, during a campaign event in South Carolina.
"They misunderestimated the compassion of our country. I think they misunderestimated the will and determination of the commander in chief, too." Sept. 26, 2001, in Langley, Va. Bush was referring to the terrorists who carried out the Sept. 11 attacks.
"There's no doubt in my mind, not one doubt in my mind, that we will fail." Oct. 4, 2001, in Washington. Bush was remarking on a back-to-work plan after the terrorist attacks.
"It would be a mistake for the United States Senate to allow any kind of human cloning to come out of that chamber." April 10, 2002, at the White House, as Bush urged Senate passage of a broad ban on cloning.
Dear Fellow State Employee,
Over the last few weeks, I have ordered all state departments to reduce spending. This will have an effect on state employees, and the services you provide Iowans. I want to take this opportunity to tell you directly why I took these actions, and what the next steps will be as we respond to the national economic situation.
As you know, we are in the midst of an economic challenge that is historic in its scope. While its cause comes from actions on Wall Street, supported by misguided federal policies from Washington over the past eight years, the result has been an economic recession that is hitting Main Streets and factories and farms and families – and state governments - across the nation.
And as we speak, 43 of our states are either in or headed towards a deficit. Iowa’s Constitution does not allow our state to operate in a deficit. This means cuts in spending are needed to balance our budget.
This process began this fall, when the state’s revenues fell short of predictions. As a response, I directed agencies to cut expenses and unnecessary travel, and to freeze state hiring.
But maintaining a balanced budget and staying in front of this national economic crisis requires continued and shared responsibility throughout state government, as well as in communities statewide.
Last week marked another important step in this process. On Friday, the Revenue Estimating Conference lowered revenue projections for both fiscal years 2009 and 2010.
At that time I indicated I would take action to cut spending in the current 2009 budget by an additional $60 million. I was advised then that this amount would be an appropriate, measured response to the REC action. It would allow my office, state budget planners, the respective state departments and the legislature to begin focusing on the task ahead of putting together a 2010 budget.
However, after further review of our revenue projections and budget commitments along with several meetings of my budget team, I am convinced that $60 million in additional adjustments to the current budget is not enough to prepare us for the challenges before us.
The REC indicates that revenue estimates for both 2009 and 2010 may be reduced even more in April. My Council of Economic Advisors predicts that the bottom of this economic downturn has not yet reached Iowa. And economic trends, both nationally and internationally, continue to bear bad news.
As Governor, I hear these warnings. I will protect our State’s fiscal position, and I will do so without raising taxes on Iowans.
Therefore, over the next few weeks, I am going to take the following steps:
First, I am directing the Department of Management to immediately revise its projected balance sheet for the General Fund in order to adjust for the recent REC action and make other adjustments based upon DOM’s best projections of income and expenditures. This means the State will have a projected negative ending balance on June 30, the end of our current fiscal year.
Therefore, next week I will make across-the-board reductions in General Fund expenditures to assure there will be no State budget deficit at the end of fiscal year 2009. I will sign an Executive Order to implement an across-the-board cut of 1.5% to the general fund, or $91.4 million.
I will ask for one exception to this across-the-board cut: the Correction Officers and Troopers who are on the frontlines and are essential to our public safety. I will ask the legislature to “backfill” an appropriate amount of funding to make sure essential positions are not cut.
In addition, I will ask the legislature to approve transferring approximately $10 million to the General Fund from accounts and funds in state government that have balances that exceed the amount needed for the current fiscal year.
These actions are in addition to $77 million in reduced spending that I announced on December 9. Together, these cuts represent nearly $180 million. This will have an impact on programs that the State provides.
As you can imagine, this is not what I want to do, but as Governor I believe that this is what must be done.
Nonetheless, we are in a better position than most states. We have more than $620 million in cash reserves that will help us through this situation. We have a AAA bond rating that allow us to do some things that other states cannot.
And I am confident that, in January, President-elect Obama and Congress will immediately go to work on an economic stimulus package that will make a difference to critical financial issues facing all States, such as funding for Medicaid, improving our infrastructure, creating new jobs, and rebuilding our economy.
We did not cause this economic crisis. But the responsibility falls to us to respond to it. We have endured challenges in the past, and we have succeeded. Our long history of fiscal responsibility, coupled with the actions I have taken, gives me optimism and confidence about what the future holds for our state. Our Iowa values of resilience, strength, and common-sense will sustain us through this, and any, challenge.
Finally, as this year comes to a close, I want to thank you for your service to our state. From floods and tornadoes, to the economic situation we now face, state employees have always risen to the occasion. So, even as we meet these unexpected challenges, on behalf of the First Lady, and the Lt. Governor, I want to wish you and your families a safe holiday season, and best wishes in the New Year.
Chester J. Culver
Governor of Iowa