Tuesday, January 12, 2010

RPI Chairman Strawn: Culver Failed to Come Clean with Iowans

Des Moines, IA – Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Matt Strawn issued the following response to Governor Culver’s condition of the state speech:

“Governor Culver today failed to come clean with Iowans. For him to stand up and say that he balanced the budget without raising taxes is just false. The Governor has repeatedly approved spending the state cannot support, and has passed the buck on to Iowans through the form of property tax increases.

“Today Culver said Iowans need to take bold action to overcome our economic troubles and I agree. That bold action will be Iowans going to the polls this November and decisively voting him out of office."

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Monday, January 11, 2010

RPI Chairman Strawn Revs Republicans with Talk of Solutions, Leadership

Delivers Keynote Speech at Annual GOP Legislative Breakfast

Des Moines, IA – Republican Party of Iowa State Chairman Matt Strawn today took the fight to Governor Culver and majority statehouse Democrats as he repeatedly stressed the need for new leadership at the annual GOP Legislative Kick-off Breakfast.

Chairman Strawn delivered the keynote speech to Republican legislators, staff, other elected leaders, candidates and supporters. In that speech, he discussed a favorable political and issues environment for the Iowa GOP, candidate recruitment successes and recapped the Republicans’ Real Solutions for Iowa’s Families issue agenda.

To watch Chairman Strawn’s remarks, go to www.youtube.com/iowagop.

His remarks as prepared for delivery are included below.

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*Remarks to the 2010 Republican Legislative Kick-off Breakfast
Chairman Matthew N. Strawn
Republican Party of Iowa
Monday, January 11, 2010
(*remarks as prepared)

Good morning.

Today, we stand 364 days removed from the last Republican legislative kick-off breakfast, and let me tell you, I like the feel of this one a lot better. I can stand here today and confidently tell you that I believe this state is 295 days from a transformational election.
The political landscape nationally and in Iowa has changed dramatically since we last got together. Iowans, both on the national and the state level, have gotten a taste of what one-party Democrat rule tastes like … and suffice to say, I don’t think they are going back for seconds.

Here in Iowa, I certainly don’t need to state the obvious, but I will. Governor Chet Culver is one of the most vulnerable incumbent governors in the United States. Period. Despite spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on television advertising over a year before the election, he has failed to improve his standing in the eyes of Iowans. Poll after poll documents that Iowans are unhappy with his performance as Governor and are prepared to go in a new direction.

Furthermore, it isn’t just Republicans who are saying this. Highly respected and veteran political commentators are placing Governor Culver on their lists of most vulnerable incumbents, and just last week, the Washington Post’s noted political guru, Chris Cillizza, included Culver on his political losers list, openly speculating whether he would follow the path chosen by so many other national Democrats and just retire instead of face electoral defeat.

The momentum isn’t just on paper and in the eyes of political prognosticators. You can see it in the candidates stepping up to run for office as Republicans here in Iowa. You can feel it as your travel the state, as I have, hitting nearly 70 counties last year alone. You can feel it in the room today. For those of you working up at the Capitol, talk to me at the end of the first week once you’ve had a chance to interact with legislators from both parties – I’m pretty confident where you’ll find the optimism.

Iowa Republicans’ optimism isn’t limited to the Governor’s race where we clearly have Chet Culver on the run and on the defensive, but it’s remarkably clear, when looking at other races here in Iowa, that there is one party on offense and there is one party that is not only on the defensive, but even struggling to recruit top-tier candidates in key races.
Taking a brief look at the political landscape, we start with Congress. First, Republicans have our senior senator, Chuck Grassley, leading our ticket. As always, Senator Grassley is hard at work – I believe even hitting 21 counties in the next couple of days – and has his well-oiled political machine ready for battle against a liberal, out-of-touch opponent who could literally fund her own campaign with one signature on a personal check. Meanwhile, the Democrats have yet to find top-tier challengers to both Tom Latham and Steve King as Republicans prepare to mount significant challenges to all three of Iowa’s Democrat congressional incumbents. In fact, right here in the Third District, many national commentators are starting to downgrade Leonard Boswell’s chances for re-election and question whether he, too, should even stand for re-election.

Statewide recruiting has also been a boon for Iowa Republicans. If it’s recruiting momentum you’re looking for, look no further than our incredible slate of candidates lining up to run for the down-ballot statewide offices. We have great candidates competing in primaries for the offices of Secretary of State and State Treasurer, while again, the Democrats are struggling to find legitimate candidates against our very strong and talented Republican Ag Secretary Bill Northey and State Auditor Dave Vaudt.

Lastly, is the Iowa Legislature, which has already been touched upon by Senator McKinley and Leader Paulsen. We are very optimistic about our candidates and prospects for a GOP majority under the golden dome.

Great candidates who have the resources to compete are only one reason Republicans are optimistic heading into 2010. Another reason is the issue environment facing our candidates and Democrat incumbents.

While the theme of this breakfast is the kick-off of the 2010 legislative session, make no mistake about it, when every one of those incumbent Democrat legislators, who are up for re-election this November, walks into the House or Senate chamber, they enter with the political albatross of Governor Chet Culver squarely around their neck.

It is Governor Culver’s failed leadership – as well as their own – that is the story heading into this legislative session and election year. Just think about the record of failed leadership that Governor Culver and Democrat legislators will be taking to the voters:

1. A $1 billion budget deficit largely caused by passing, and signing into law, the largest budget in Iowa’s history in 2009;
2. A bonding scheme that places nearly $1 billion dollars of debt on this state’s children;
3. Near certain local property tax increases solely due to Democrat overspending in Des Moines;
4. Attempting to raise taxes on over half a million Iowans by repealing federal deductibility;
5. At a time of record unemployment and over 110,000 Iowans out of work, attempting to pass the most anti-small business labor agenda in Iowa history; and,
6. Failing to give Iowans the right to vote for ourselves, via constitutional amendment, on protecting marriage.

So, put yourself in the shoes of the Democrat legislators today, how confident would you feel about taking that record to your constituents? If you’re Representative Larry Marek talking with the fellas over coffee in Kalona … how do you look your constituents in the eye and explain that your Party just put their children and grandchildren into debt so Chet Culver and Patty Judge can tour the state and cut a few ribbons. If you’re Senator Bill Heckroth walking down main street in Waverly, how can you look your struggling small business owners in the eye and explain that your Party doesn’t have the will to make tough spending decisions, so THEIR property taxes will be going up.

Folks, I can guarantee that this is a record that Iowa voters will have burned into their consciousness when they go to the polls next November; but, it is also important that Republicans understand that winning the trust, and the votes, of Iowans means we must also share our solutions for improving the lives of Iowa’s families. And that is exactly what we have done.

Over the past six months, Republicans have been talking about our principled solutions as part of the Real Solutions for Iowa’s Families agenda. In August, along with Senator Kettering and Representative Scott Raecker, we unveiled a series of common sense budget reform measures. In September, Senator Kim Reynolds and Reps. Mike May and Jodi Tymeson showcased GOP public education reforms. Later that month, Iowa Republicans Senator David Johnson and House GOP Whip Linda Upmeyer toured the state promoting state-level and market-based health care reforms. Later in the year, Senator Reynolds and Representative Doug Struyk proposed a series of open government reforms to make state government more transparent to taxpayers; while, Reps. Chris Hagenow and Matt Windschitl talked about fighting back against judicial activism by giving Iowans the right to vote on marriage via a constitutional amendment. Last, but certainly not least, has been Iowa Republicans laser focus on the economy and job creation.

Quite frankly, when it comes to talking about job creation and the economy, the distinction between the parties is crystal clear. First, as a guy who makes his living as a job-creator and entrepreneur in the private sector, I know that it isn’t people like Mike Gronstal and Pat Murphy, who have collectively served nearly half a century in the legislature, that create jobs. It is Iowans. It’s Iowans with an idea and either putting their own capital, blood, sweat and tears into that idea – or finding others who believe in them and invest their time and treasure. It is the Iowa small business owner that creates two-thirds of the jobs in this state and it is the Iowa small business owner that will be the catalyst to driving our state out of this economic downturn.

In the face of a punishing labor agenda, backdoor tax increases by pushing the burden to property tax payers and school districts, it is time for those who share and advocate for free market principles and free enterprise to stand with those who stand up for them.

The most important vote a legislator makes is the first one, for Speaker, for Majority Leader. No matter where a Democrat legislator stands on issues like prevailing wage, eliminating right-to-work, or gutting workers comp policy through doctor-shopping, the only vote that matters when it comes to improving the lives of Iowans and those who create jobs for Iowans, is the first vote.

And you know when you change the people making that first vote – all of a sudden we can start putting this state back to work, opening Iowa for business, for entrepreneurial capital and spirit to flourish without the specter of tax increases or a hostile regulatory environment.

This only happens with a Speaker Paulsen or a Majority Leader McKinley. Why? Not because they had to be lobbied to take free market positions, but because it’s something they, and all legislative Republicans, already believe.

Now, is the time to make this happen. As I close, I want everybody to think about why they first became involved in politics. Whether it was as a College Republican or later in life because of some catalyst in your business or in your family that motivated you to get involved, what was that fire that got you started initially?

Today, we stand 295 days from electing a majority that will move Iowa forward. We need everyone in this room to find that fire again, because we can do it. Let’s make sure that next year we have Speaker Paulsen, Senate Majority Leader McKinley and a Republican in the governor’s office.

Thank you.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Chairman Strawn Issues Statement Following Partisan Vote on Health Care Experiment

Des Moines - Matt Strawn, Chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa, issued the following statement this morning after the U. S. Senate approved a health care bill along partisan lines:

“Today’s vote should be a major disappointment for all of us who want to see affordable health care reform. After months of bipartisan work, Democrats pushed Republicans like Senator Chuck Grassley aside and rammed through a partisan bill that does not accomplish what Americans want. Instead of lowering health care costs, this bill will result in increased taxes, higher premiums and cuts to Medicare."

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Strawn: Iowans Shouldn’t Buy Braley’s “Job Creation” Spin

DES MOINES – Today, in an effort to distract from his past congressional votes to allow terrorist detainees on American soil, First District Congressman Bruce Braley is claiming the decision to transport Guantanamo terror detainees mere miles from Iowa’s eastern border is all about job creation.

“When it comes to job creation for Iowans, the Bruce Braley record tells an entirely different story,” said Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Matt Strawn. “On congressional vote after vote, Congressman Braley has voted against the interests of taxpayers and the small business owners that create two-thirds of Iowa’s jobs.”

“Iowans shouldn’t buy Congressman Braley’s recent effort to cloak himself as a job creating crusader, as his voting record in Congress indicates a repeatedly hostility to those in Iowa who actually create jobs ,” said Strawn.

First, Congressman Braley voted for the President’s nearly $800 billion failed stimulus legislation. Not only has Iowa lost 13,590 jobs since Braley voted for the bloated stimulus legislation, but more recently the White House’s own website took credit for stimulus job creation in non-existent Iowa congressional districts. Those jobs the White House and Braley claimed were created or saved, in Iowa, came at a cost of $283,692 per job.

Second, Congressman Braley voted for Nancy Pelosi’s “cap-and-trade” energy tax legislation that would not only devastate Iowa’s agriculture and livestock industries, but would raise Iowans’ utility bills by an estimated 25 percent.

Third, Congressman Braley led the charge on the House Energy and Commerce Committee for health care legislation that would cost taxpayers nearly $700 billion over the next ten years, with employers and job creators footing much of that bill.

“What politicians like Congressman Braley don’t understand is that it is hard-working Iowans, farmers, and small business owners that will create the jobs to pull our state and nation out of recession. Instead of promoting policies empowering these Iowans, Congressman Braley continually supports job-killing bills that raise the federal deficit and increase taxes on energy consumers and job providers,” said Strawn.

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Friday, December 11, 2009

Chairman Strawn Issues Statement Following REC Meeting

Des Moines - Matt Strawn, Chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa, issued the following statement Friday afternoon following reports on budget projections and spending cuts:

“I’m encouraged to see Governor Culver finally picking up our cost-savings ideas. We encourage him to adopt more Republican fiscal restraint as the state continues to deal with the effects of runaway spending at the hands of Democrats. Even though Culver ignored our warnings and led us into this deficit, Republicans are happy to be part of the solution.”

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Monday, November 09, 2009

RPI Chairman Strawn Statement on Conlin Candidacy for U.S. Senate

Des Moines, IA – Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Matt Strawn issued the following statement in response to Roxanne Conlin’s challenge to Senator Chuck Grassley:

“Roxanne is out of touch with Iowa. She rails on special interests, yet she was president of one of the biggest special interests known - the American Trial Lawyers Association. As a trial lawyer, Roxanne got the lion's share of $75 million from a class-action lawsuit that left regular Iowans with $16-29 apiece, according to news reports. Instead of fighting against special interests, the reality is, Roxanne Conlin is one of them. Roxanne thinks you can just sue your way to economic prosperity, but Iowans know that’s just not the case. We need solutions to cure our economic woes, not lawsuits.”

Click here to read the Associated Press story on the lawsuit settlement.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Taxpayers Hold Governor to His Promise

Des Moines, IA – Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Matt Strawn had this to say after Governor Culver’s office told news media that he will repay the state $13,000, or 10 percent of his salary:

“I am happy to see the governor commit to returning 10% of his total salary to the state, even if it took public pressure and media reports to make him fulfill his promise to Iowa taxpayers.”

(Read Governor Culver’s latest statement here.)

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Statement from Governor Culver’s News Release Oct. 14:
Governor Chet Culver announced today that, as state government begins to implement a 10% across-the-board cut in spending, he is going to reduce his state salary by ten percent.
“This national economic recession has meant financial sacrifices for everyone across the State of Iowa, and it should be no different for me” said Governor Culver. “As Iowans face reduced state services and many state employees face the likelihood of layoffs, my office will lead by example in making budget cuts and it will begin with my salary. We must face this challenge together.”
The salary for the Governor of Iowa is $130,000 as determined by state law.
Source: Office of Governor Culver news release. Click here.

Fact Check

A 10 percent reduction of Governor Culver’s $130,000 salary would mean cutting $13,000. However, the draft plan reductions released yesterday show only a $7,000 cut in the Governor’s salary, about a 5% reduction. The Des Moines Register reports that Culver’s staff explained the difference, saying the 10% reduction only applies to the remaining salary for the fiscal year. Even under that theory, Culver’s $7,000 salary reduction still falls short.

Click here to read the entire Des Moines Register article.
Click here to read the preliminary budget cut plans.

FACT CHET: a periodic fact check report published to bring clarity to the frequent misstatements, misunderstandings, and outright deceptions coming from Governor Culver and his office.

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Gubernatorial Line-up Set for Leadership for Iowa Event

Party officials also announce C-SPAN will nationally televise the event live from the Iowa State Fairgrounds

Des Moines, IA -- National attention is building for the Republican Party of Iowa’s “Leadership for Iowa” reception as Iowa GOP Chairman Matt Strawn today announced that C-SPAN will televise the November 7 event, featuring Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, live to a nationwide audience.

Strawn also announced that the event’s gubernatorial portion of the program has been finalized as Iowa Republicans and a nationwide audience will hear personally from Senator Jerry Behn, Governor Terry Branstad, businessman Christian Fong, Representative Chris Rants, Representative Rod Roberts, and businessman Bob Vander Plaats.

“Iowa Republicans have a strong field of candidates for governor and I’m proud we have an opportunity to showcase these leaders to both a statewide and national television audience,” said Strawn. “Iowans are hungry for leadership, and our candidates for governor will lay out their vision for the type of principled, competent leadership the Hawkeye state desperately needs and only a Republican governor will provide.”

The “Leadership for Iowa” event will be held at the Elwell Family Center on the Iowa State Fairgrounds. Event details include:

Saturday, November 7, 2009
5:00 p.m. – Doors Open
5:30 p.m. -- General Reception
6:00 p.m. -- Program
Elwell Family Center, Iowa State Fairgrounds
Des Moines, IA

Tickets to the event are $25 per person and can be purchased by calling 515.263.8238, emailing RSVP@iowagop.org, or through the Republican Party of Iowa website: http://www.iowagop.org.


NOTE: For Leadership for Iowa media credentials, please email Danielle Plogmann at dplogmann@iowagop.org.