Governor-elect Chet Culver says he wants to work “cooperatively” with both Democrats and Republicans in the legislature. Culver, a Democrat, cruised to a 10-point victory over Republican challenger Jim Nussle in Tuesday’s election, and Democrats seized control of the Iowa House and Senate. But in a news conference this (Wednesday) morning in the statehouse, Culver pledged to govern in a bipartisan way.
“We are excited and ready to go,” Culver said. “We are also going to make it a top priority to reach out across the aisle to ask the Republican leaders, the Democratic leadership and Independents across this state to come together,” Culver said. “We want to create one Iowa.”
Culver said he intends to “hit the ground running” but provided no details of his transition plans. Outgoing Governor Tom Vilsack and Culver met privately at midday to talk about the transition process. Vilsack says he ensured an office suite — with computers and telephones — has been set up in a state office building near the capitol, ready for Culver and crew to move in today.
“We could not be in a better position thanks to the great work of Governor Vilsack and his team. He’s prepared us well,” Culver said. “We look forward to now moving full speed ahead and we will be making announcements regularly here, perhaps as soon as tomorrow, on the next phase of our transition.”
Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs says despite Democratic victories on Tuesday, it is wise to collaborate with Republicans. “The reason to pursue that ground is that I don’t think Iowans want partisan solutions to the challenges facing this state,” Gronstal says. “We’re going to work together with Republicans.”
House Democratic Leader Pat Murphy of Dubuque agrees. “I think one thing that became very clear from this last election is that people want some of the partisan bickering to stop,” Murphy says. Yet Murphy says there are issues on which Republicans and Democrats will not agree, like raising the minimum wage — one of the first acts state Democratic legislators vow to make in 2007.