September 3, 2015

Democrat Kim Weaver announces bid in 4th congressional district

Kim Weaver at the Iowa Democratic Wing Ding last Friday night.

Kim Weaver at the Iowa Democratic Wing Ding last Friday night.

Two Democratic candidates have emerged as potential challengers to two of Iowa’s Republican congressmen. Kim Weaver of Sheldon — the chairwoman of the O’Brien County Democratic Party — hopes to be the Democratic nominee to challenge Republican Congressman Steve King in 2016.

“Every day we wake up to have one of the most ineffective and offensive members of congress representing us in Washington,” Weaver said.

Weaver announced her candidacy this past weekend during the Iowa Wing Ding in Clear Lake where more than 2000 Democrats cheered her on — and booed King.

“Hardly a week goes by without him making some kind of derogatory comment and this has to stop,” Weaver said.

Weaver supports raising the minimum wage, opposes “privatizing” Social Security and Medicare and she described herself as “strongly pro-choice.”

“I believe that women should determine their health care and not have it dictated to them by Steve King,” she said.

Weaver, a Des Moines native, has lived in Sheldon for the past 24 years. She’s a single mom with two children in college and another who’s a graduate of MIT. She is a long-term care ombudsman who travels in 15 counties in northwest Iowa for her job. The fourth congressional district has a Republican voter registration edge. King plans to seek reelection in 2016 to an eighth term in congress. He defeated Democrat Jim Mowrer in the 2014 election.

Mowrer, who is now vice chair of the Iowa Democratic Party, has moved to Des Moines and announced on Monday that he would run again for congress, but in the third district. The seat is currently held by first-term Republican David Young of Van Meter.

Mowrer will face a primary. In July, Democrat Desmund Adams of West Des Moines announced he would run in the third district. Adams was an unsuccessful candidate for a state senate seat in 2012.

(Photo by Asya Akca)

Congressman King ‘very concerned’ by Iran nuclear deal

Congressman Steve King. (file photo)

Congressman Steve King. (file photo)

Republican Congressman Steve King says he’ll review all the details, but he’s more than skeptical of the nuclear deal Iran, the U.S. and five other countries have just struck.

“I’ve listened to what they’re saying in places like Israel, who rejects this deal and I’m very concerned that this starts the nuclear arms race in the Middle East,” King said Tuesday afternoon. “If Saudi Arabia is against it, if Israel is against it, how do we think that we’ve made a good deal here?”

King watched on TV early Tuesday as President Obama spoke about the deal.

“It sounded so good and so compelling,” King said in a video statement released by his congressional office. “I felt like I were Rip Van Winkle and I’d been asleep for the last 20 years and I woke up not knowing all that had transpired between us and Iran throughout all these negotiations.”

If the deal is ratified by the U.S. congress and Iran’s supreme leader gives it his blessing, King doubts inspectors who are to be policing Iran’s nuclear capabilities will be able to go wherever they wish in Iran — and King doubts economic sanctions would be restored if Iran fails to grant those inspection requests.

“What really happens is this: $100 billion in sanctions and assets will be released of the Iranians,” King said.

And King believes the oil embargo will be undone for good if this deal goes through, regardless of Iran’s quest for a nuclear weapon or financing of terrorism around the globe.

President Obama said “every pathway to a nuclear weapon” in Iran would be “cut off” by the deal and Obama argues no deal “means a greater chance of war” in the Middle East. Congress now has 60 days to review the deal and take an up or down vote on it.

Negotiators from the United States, Britain, China, Germany, France and Russia spent 20 months negotiating with Iranian diplomats before the deal was announced early Tuesday. Read more reaction from others in Iowa’s congressional delegation, as well as the GOP presidential candidates who were in Iowa when the deal was announced.

King seeks House vote on same-sex marriage ruling

Steve King (file photo)

Steve King (file photo)

Republican Congressman Steve King is trying to get the U.S. House to pass a resolution that says States “may refuse” to recognize or license same-sex marriages, although such non-binding resolutions do not have the force of law. King’s resolution is his latest response to last month’s U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

“We’re in a place where the Supreme Court has put themselves above the law, above the Constitution and above the will of the people,” King said Thursday evening during a speech on the House floor.

Most Republicans in congress have publicly expressed opposition to the court’s ruling, so the resolution would likely pass, although House leaders have not indicated it’s a priority for debate. King’s House Resolution embraces what he calls the “traditional definition of marriage” as a “union between one man and one woman.”

“The domestic life of America has been dramatically transformed by the order of the Supreme Court,” King said.

King calls the court’s same-sex marriage opinion a “blatant act of judicial activism” that has “perverted” the word marriage.

“And they will impose it on the rest of the country because they’re the ‘enlightened five’ of nine in black robes,” King said. “Well, the Supreme Court has had a terrible record on dealing with large domestic issues.”

King cites the court’s 1857 Dred Scott decision which ruled African Americans weren’t citizens and the federal government had no authority to restrict or regulate slavery and the 1962 decision that ruled mandatory prayer in public schools is unconstitutional.

Earlier this year, before the court’s ruling on same-sex marriage last month, King tried to get congress to pass legislation that would forbid the federal courts from deciding such cases, but that legislation stalled.

King: symbols like the Confederate flag aren’t ‘erased’ in a free country

Congressman Steve King. (file photo)

Congressman Steve King. (file photo)

Republican Congressman Steve King on Thursday said he regrets the “tragic, evil and brutal” murders of nine African Americans in a South Carolina church, but he opposes efforts to ban the Confederate battle flag from Civil War cemeteries run by the National Park Service.

“I have been listening to this debate over the last week or so and it troubles me greatly over symbolism that has been redefined by a lot of members of the opposite party,” King said.

The chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa this past week made clear he does not want the party of Lincoln associated with the Confederate battle flag after the driver of a Marion County parade float last weekend displayed three Confederate flags on his truck. King, however, said he sees the situation differently.

“I grew up in the north. The Confederate flag always was a symbol of the pride of the south from where I grew up,” King said. “My family, my predecessors, my ancestors were abolitionists. They went to war to put an end to slavery.”

One of King’s five-times-great uncles served in the Civil War and his grandfather from five generations ago was killed fighting for the Grand Army of the Republic.

“This country has put this behind us,” King said. “We’ve been through this brutal and bloody battle. We’ve gone back together for the Reconstruction and we’ve healed this country together and I regret deeply that we’re watching this country be divided again over a symbol.”

King said in a free country, “we have to tolerate” speech and symbols that some find offensive, so that people not only have the right to burn “Old Glory”, they have the right to fly the Confederate flag.

“When I go to Germany and they’ve outlawed the swastika, I look at them and I think: ‘We have a First Amendment. That can’t happen here in the United States because we’re open enough,'” King said.

According to King, the country cannot “erase” history, but should “keep it in front of us” so it can be evaluated by each new generation. King considers to the Confederate battle flag to be “part of the country’s heritage.”

“Everything about America’s history is not glorious. Everything about our history is not right in our judgment, looking back in hindsight, but none of us know what it was like for the people to live in that time and that era,” King said. “We can accept our history, we be proud of our history, we can unify our country, we can grieve for those who were murdered and we can preserve our First Amendment rights.”

King made two speeches on the topic yesterday on the floor of the U.S. House. After objections from Democrats, House Republican leaders tabled a vote on a budget bill that would have allowed the limited display of Confederate flags in cemeteries that are adjacent to Civil War battlefields and maintained by the National Park Service. The Republican speaker of the House said he wants to have a bipartisan review of the issue and that will include whether the Confederate flag and its image may continue to be displayed in the U.S. Capitol. The State of Mississippi’s flag is there, for example, and it bears the image of the battle flag of the Confederate Army.

As this debate was raging in Washington, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley approved legislation to remove the Confederate battle flag from the statehouse grounds in Columbia.

Congressman Steve King praises Donald Trump’s ‘scrappiness’

Congressman Steve King.

Congressman Steve King.

Iowa Congressman Steve King has come under fire in the past for making controversial comments about immigrants and King now is coming to the defense of GOP candidate Donald Trump. In mid-June when Trump formally entered the presidential race, Trump said some of the people coming into this country from Mexico are “people with problems” like drug runners and rapists.

During an interview with KAYL Radio in Storm Lake this morning, King said he appreciates Donald Trump’s “scrappiness.”

“Donald Trump is one of the few individuals that will speak boldly about what he believes in and he’ll be challenged by the P.C. Police, the Politically Correct police, and instead of backing up and curling up, he just goes forward,” King said.

There is truth behind Trump’s comments, according to King.

“In this country, if you speak the truth — if it is the demonstrable, objective truth — that should always be a defense for uttering a statement,” King said. “And instead, you know I catch some of that criticism…Eventually, if you can corner them, they’ll say, ‘Well, O.K., I’ll have to concede what you said is true, but you should have found a different way of saying it.’ And my answer to that is: ‘I said it the real gentle way for a long time and you weren’t listening, so I had to tell you in a way that you actually got it.’ That’s what Donald Trump does.”

Macy’s today announced it would no longer sell Trump merchandise. Trump has been featured in the company’s commercials in the past.

Trump is suing Univision after the network announced it would not air the Miss USA beauty pageant Trump owns. NBC Universal also ended its business relationship with Trump, who had been the star of the network’s “Celebrity Apprentice” reality TV show. Trump has called the network “weak and foolish” and is threatening to sue NBC, too.

(Reporting by Joel Hermann, KAYL, Storm Lake; additional reporting and editing by Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson)

Congressman King critical of gay marriage ruling, Loebsack praises it

Steve King

Steve King

Iowa Congressman Steve King, a republican from Kyron, says today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision on gay marriage is another example of “extreme judicial overreach,” just like the decision on Obamacare.

“If gay marriage is to be the policy of this land — that needs to be a decision made by the people through their elected representatives — not by judicial fiat,” King says. In a video statement, King says this court decision is like the Dred Scott decision on slavery, and the other Supreme Court decisions that banned prayer in public schools and allowed abortion. “The Supreme Court has a terrible record in trying to transform our society and put an end to issues,” King says. “The only way we put an end to issues if it is the will of the people. It’s not the will of the people to have same-sex marriage. Now there is no reason to have civil marriage whatsoever.”

King says there’s a way to deal with the ruling. “So, I’m calling upon the states, just abolish civil marriage, let’s go back to holy matrimony the way it began. Do that alone,” King says. “And by the way, I want to send a message to the Supreme Court — a good strong message — and in the next days and weeks I will be introducing legislation to do just that.”

Congressman Dave Loebsack.

Congressman Dave Loebsack.

On the other side of the issue, Congressman Dave Loebsack, a Democrat from Iowa City, released this statement on the gay marriage ruling:

“Iowans are no strangers to being on the forefront of fighting for greater civil rights. We have long strived for equality, whether it is based on race, gender or sexual orientation. That is why I am thrilled that the Supreme Court today struck down state laws that discriminate against gay and lesbian couples, effectively legalizing marriage between two people of the same sex nationwide. This is a momentous day in civil rights history, and I am so happy that same-sex couples are one important step closer to the equality they deserve.”


Carson says GOP must offer ‘really appealing’ ObamaCare alternative; Congressman King reacts to ruling

Ben Carson

Ben Carson

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said this morning he’s “deeply disappointed” in the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that “ObamaCare” subsidies are legal. But Carson is urging ObamaCare opponents not to “waste time and energy mourning” the decision, but instead “redouble” the effort to get congress to repeal the law.

“We have to come out with something that is really appealing,” Carson told reporters in Sioux Center. “…That’s going to require some legislative changes, which means we’ve got to get brave people in there in leadership positions.”

Carson said it’s important to “get rid of things” in ObamaCare that are “killing the economy” and that means ending the “employer mandate” which requires businesses with 50 or more full-time employees to provide health insurance or pay a fine.

“It used to be as your company was growing, you were really happy. You got 40 and then you got 50 and then you got 100 employees. That doesn’t happen anymore. Now you get to 40 and you start backing off,” Carson said. “That antithetical to growth in our society.”

Carson made his comments after speaking to a big crowd this morning at the Fruited Plain Cafe in Sioux Center.

Congressman Steve King.

Congressman Steve King.

Iowa Congressman Steve King, a leading critic of ObamaCare, issued a video statement late this morning on the ruling.

“This is a frustrating day when you’re in the business of writing laws and watching the Supreme Court amend them at their will,” King said, “by using their own judgment on what public policy should be in the United States.”

King said when it comes to the Affordable Care Act, the court has decided to “make it up” as it goes along.

“And they have ruled, essentially, that the law doesn’t mean what it says,” King said.

This decision on “ObamaCare” was the first of two big rulings expected from the court before it recesses for the summer.

“I’m really concerned about what can happen with the decision on marriage,” King said. “They’ll likely conclude that the Constitution doesn’t mean what it says either.”

Senator Chuck Grassley, the senior member of Iowa’s congressional delegation, issued a written statement late this morning. Grassley said he respect the court, but Grassley said ObamaCare “remains a terrible law” and he is “committed to repealing and replacing it with effective reforms driven by the marketplace, not the heavy hand of government.”

Congressman Dave Loebsack, the only Democrat in Iowa’s congressional delegation, called today’s decision “a big relief for the thousands of Iowa families who would have faced large, unforeseen, out of pocket increases in their health care costs.” Loebsakc said in his written statement that it’s time to “move forward and work to strengthen this law, not continue to try and dismantle it.”

Congressman David Young of Van Meter, one of Iowa’s two rookie Republicans in the U.S. House, issued a statement this afternoon saying there are “real problems with the Affordable Care Act” and it “needs to be repealed and replaced with a common sense patient-centered solution.”

Senator Joni Ernst was the first member of Iowa’s congressional delegation to react today. Read her statement here, along with analysis from a University of Iowa law professor. Freshman Congressman Rod Blum, a Republican from Dubuque, has not released a statement on today’s ruling.

Two other GOP presidential candidates are campaigning in the state today. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee called the ruling “an act of judicial tyranny” and he says congress should “admit they screwed up” and repeal the law. Rick Santorum will be in Glenwood this evening. The former Pennsylvania senator calls the ruling a “reminder” that in order to get rid of ObamaCare, the nation must elect a “conservative president.”

(Reporting in Sioux Center and Ben Carson photo by Doug Broek of KSOU Radio)

(This post was updated at 1:31 p.m. with additional information.)