Governor Terry Branstad said again today that calls for a special session to reverse his veto of money to keep Iowa Workforce Development offices open is simple politics. Branstad, a Republican, says the plan to close over 30 offices and switch the services to places like libraries, was well thought out.
Branstad says many of the offices were only part-time and had staff only a couple days a week. He says they are now offering longer hours and more opportunity. Branstad says he wants to be sure that Iowans who’re looking for work get all the help they need. He says he plans to visit some of the new sites in the weeks and months ahead to ensure they are offering services “in a good and thoughtful way.” Branstad says the old way things were being done was not that effective, while also being very expensive.
The governor also answered critics of the upcoming Republican Straw Poll in Ames, who say it’s not representative of Iowa voters.
Branstad says you have to be an Iowan and have to show an I.D. to vote, which he says is more strict than voting in the general election.
“I think it’s certainly designed to be a fair, objective deal. Now remember, it’s not scientific, and you have to go to Ames, and it costs $30 to participate, but it’s a lot of fun,”Branstad said. Branstad says the straw poll is important in a lot of ways for candidates.
The governor says it’s an expectation game, as it’s not only about who wins, but who beats expectations. He says the winner isn’t assured of winning the Iowa Caucuses, but he says it gives a candidate tremendous exposure to the media, and will give a boost to those who surpass expectations.
Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds both say they will vote in the straw poll, but the governor isn’t saying which candidate he favors. “It’s a secret ballot and we’re gonna keep it secret,” Branstad says. He says part of the reason he keeps his choice secret is that he wants to encourage all of the candidates to participate. He says the participation brings in lots of interest and lots of dollars to the state. The straw poll is this Saturday.