Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chet Culver says his Republican rival, Jim Nussle, has cast dozens of votes in congress that cut federal education spending.
“Jim Nussle has voted 100 times — 100 record roll call votes — against education in the last 16 years,” Culver says. “While I have a plan to provide hope and opportunity for young people in this state by making college more affordable, Jim Nussle voted this year to cut $12.7 billion — that’s with a B — the largest cut in the history of the college loan program.”
Culver has embarked on a “back to school” tour of the state, with stops this weekend in Marshalltown, Ottumwa, West Burlington, Fort Madison, Keokuk, Sioux City and Carroll. On Monday afternoon, Culver held a news conference in the parking lot at North High School in Des Moiens.
Culver has promised to ask legislators to set aside 25 million dollars next year to provide up to five-thousand Iowa students with a scholarship for their first year of college. Culver says there’s a “real contrast” between his record and Nussle’s. “Actions speak louder than words,” Culver says.
Culver, a former high school teacher and assistant coach who has been Iowa’s Secretary of State since 1999, also criticizes Nussle for backing President Bush’s move to establish national standards for U.S. schools. “Jim Nussle has been in Washington, D.C. fighting for bureaucratic new federal laws like ‘No Child Left Behind’ — making it harder for our teachers to teach, making it harder for them to do the job and not providing the funds necessary to implement these restrictive bureaucratic new rules that are not working and are not fair,” Culver says.
Nussle campaign spokeswoman Maria Comella says “the bottom line is under Jim Nussle’s leadership overall (federal) education funding has doubled.” She says federal backing of “special ed” programs in U.S. schools has also doubled during Nussle’s tenure as chairman of the U.S. House Budget Committee. In addition, Comella says current college loan limits have increased and so-called Pell grants for low-income students have also increased.