Republicans in the Iowa Senate met today and elected the same leaders they’ve had for the past four years. Senate President Mary Kramer of West Des Moines says the greatest challenge in the year ahead will be the state’s precarious budget situation. She says “the cookie jar is empty and we need to be prepared for that.” Kramer says their priority will be finding ways to stimulate the state’s economy. She says it’s been a long hard campaign trail and they’re now all prepared to put that down and provide leadership for a positive future. Republicans in the Legislature have been clashing with Democrat Governor Tom Vilsack the past two years, even before the conflict of the past campaign, but Senate Republican Leader Stewart Iverson of Dows says G-O-P lawmakers will be able to work with Vilsack again. He says it’s time to govern now that the election is over.Iverson, though, says Republicans won’t actively pursue hot-button issues like the death penalty and abortion, as they know Vilsack’s going to be an obstacle to items on their social agenda for the next four years. Plus, Iverson says the Republicans’ number one priority is fixing the state’s budget.Republicans in the House meet next Tuesday to elect their leaders. The House and Senate Republicans will then meet together to craft a unified agenda for the 2003 Legislative session.
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