Early this (Thursday) morning, Iowa’s Secretary of State officially announced he’s a candidate for governor. Thirty-nine-year-old Chet Culver chose to make the announcement at Hoover High School in Des Moines, where he taught and coached before seeking public office for the first time in 1998.
Culver, a Democrat, said he’d build on the successes of current Democratic Governor Tom Vilsack, and he attacked Republican gubernatorial candidate Jim Nussle. “As Iowans begin to select our next governor we have some serious choices to make,” Culver said. “Will we continue the economic progress of Governor Vilsack or turn the clock back and turn the state over to a George Bush clone.”
Culver said he wants to raise the minimum wage and he wants to raise teacher pay and plow more money into the state’s community colleges. The crowd’s loudest applause, though, came when Culver stated his position on abortion. “Government has no business infringing on the rights of a woman to make her own health care decisions and as governor I will veto any attempt to do so,” Culver said.
Culver today (Thursday) also revealed details of a plan he said would make Iowa the energy capital of the world. “In the past, Iowa has fed the world,” Culver said. “Now it’s time for Iowa to fuel the world.” Culver said as governor, he’d make the production of renewable energy and fuels like ethanol and soydiesel the primary focus of state economic development efforts.
Culver said he would work to get a new plant in Iowa that would build cars that burn alternative fuels, or make the parts for those cars. “With our skilled workforce and a commitment from the governor and the legislature, why can’t we build the alternative fuel vehicles of the future right here in Newton, Amana, or Waterloo, Iowa?” Culver asked. He says he believes Iowa could become the leading manufacturer of all flex fuel related vehicles and their components.
Culver also proposes a 100-million dollar “Iowa Power Fund” that would hand out grants and technical advice to companies that are in the renewable energy business, and he’s appoint a state renewable energy czar to coordinate state efforts. Each of the candidates running for governor — from both parties — is touting a plan they contend would help make Iowa energy independent.
Culver is the son of former U.S. Senator John Culver.