Governor-elect Chet Culver won by more than one-hundred-thousand votes in this past November’s election, and Democrats won a comfortable majority of seats in the Iowa House and Senate. But Culver is cautioning his fellow Democrats not to try to do too much, too soon.
“Certainly, we’re all anxious to get to work and to get the legislative process moving and to sign bills, but we have to be rational and reasonable in our approach — and practical, I think, in terms of expectations,” Culver says. “And we will be.”
House Democratic Leader Kevin McCarthy of Des Moines says if there was a “mandate” in November’s election, it was probably to raise teacher pay.
“I think that’s something that Chet really campaigned on, (Democratic candidates for the legislature) campaigned on,” McCarthy says.
House Republican Leader Christopher Rants of Sioux City agrees. “(Democrats) can claim they have a mandate on raising teacher pay…that’s fine. I understand that,” Rants says. “But they did not campaign on repealing Iowa’s Right-to-Work Law. That was sort of the secret or shadow agenda that (Democrats) had.”
Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs says Rants is wrong. “We have no plans to repeal the Right-to-Work law,” Gronstal says. “As usual, Republicans are a little more interested in scare tactics than actually working together to find resolutions to problems.”
Senate Republican Leader Mary Lundby of Marion says so many issues were tossed about in the past election, she can’t identify what Culver’s uppermost priority will be.
“I mean there was clean water and teacher pay and there was education and more money for the Regents and health care promises,” Lundby says. “There were just so many I’ve yet to identify what will be his number one priority.”
Culver will deliver his Inaugural Address on Friday, January 12th. Later this month Culver will deliver another speech at the statehouse outlining his state budget priorities.