A Bush Administration official who splits his time between Des Moines and D.C. says “money is a coward,” as investors are reluctant to spend when all they hear is bad news. Ronald Langston is director of the Minority Business Development Agency in the Department of Commerce, and he’s touting new stats which show just over 11-thousand new jobs have been created in Iowa since last June.Langston says Iowa is “seeing some very positive numbers” and economic trend lines are moving in the right direction. Langston says the U.S. economy has suffered a lot of shocks during the Bush Administration, like the attacks on 9/11 and the business scandals at Enron and WorldCom, but there appears to be a “sustained recovery” in the works. Langston is among a number of republican officials who’ve issued statements today touting the latest job report. Langston says the President is committed to helping businesses grow. Langston says the Minority Business Development Agency he heads has received a 20 percent budget boost in the past year to help accomplish that goal. Langston, who is from Des Moines, was a member of the Iowa Transportation Commission and ran unsuccessfully as a republican candidate for the state senate.Meanwhile, the Iowa Democratic Party is sponsoring a contest to focus attention on skyrocketing gas pricesAs you might guess, the purpose of the exercise is to lay the blame on President Bush. Iowa Democratic Party chairman Gordon Fischer held a news conference this afternoon in front of a gas station.Fischer says the high gas prices are a direct result of George Bush’s failed policies. Fischer says Iowa pump prices have increased 52 cents a gallon since Bush has been president. The winner of the democrats’ guess-the-gas-price on Labor Day contest won’t win free gas.The winner will get a John Kerry campaign poster signed by Kerry and a phone call from Governor Tom Vilsack. If you’re interested in entering the contest, send an e-mail [email protected]. Republicans say gas prices wouldn’t be so high if democrats hadn’t blocked passage of the energy bill last November, a bill that sought to boost alternative fuels like ethanol and soy-diesel.