The top Republican in the Iowa Legislature is accusing Governor Tom Vilsack of slinging pot shots at people from both parties as Vilsack rides into the sunset of his term.
During a visit to Clear Lake, Vilsack lambasted legislators on the Rules Review Committee who earlier this week objected to giving the director of the Department of Natural Resources the power to veto construction permits for livestock confinements.
House Speaker Christopher Rants, a Republican from Sioux City, is riding to the defense of that panel. “The governor made some very pointed comments to the press that I think were out of line,” Rants says. Rants points out that two Democrats joined with five Republicans to object to giving the D-N-R director that new power.
“Because they believed — both Republicans and Democrats on that committee — that the Department of Natural Resources and this administration were exceeding their legislative authority,” Rants says. Vilsack will leave office in early January and Rants says the governor’s exit from the state is like an old western movie, but Vilsack’s not riding out “to the cheers of the townspeople.” He’s “blazing out of town in a black hat shooting out the store windows” according to Rants.
Rants accuses the governor of trying to expand the reach of government in his last months in office.
“This administration needs to follow the law. You can’t just give the Department of Natural Resources carte blanche to create law,” Rants says.
During remarks in Clear Lake on Wednesday, Vilsack also criticized both the Republican and Democratic candidates for governor for failing to tell Iowans where they stand on environmental issues.