Senate Republican Leader Mary Lundby says some of the controversies over a few of the people Iowa’s new Democratic governor wants to serve in state government can be attributed, in part, to Chet Culver’s youth. Republican Senators voted to block the appointment of Culver’s Public Safety Commissioner this past week.
Lundby suggested that Culver withdraw the nomination, and appoint Gene Meyer to serve as an interim director, but Culver refused. Lundby chalks that up to the inexperience of youth. "He is young. I’m jealous," Lundby said this past week, joking with reporters. "…My point: he’s got a lot to learn yet because he’s young. He’s not been governor very long. I’m an old — as Senator Gronstal says — political hack. I’ve been around here a long time and he’s got a learning curve…but I’m absolutely confident he’ll learn it all."
Lundby says Culver, and his staff, needs to learn more about the legislative process. "I think he has a very young, hard-working, willing staff that’s probably never stepped foot in the legislature until this year and they’re on a learning curve as well," Lundby says. "…I think that’s where Lieutenant Governor Judge plays such a crucial part because she used to be a senator and she understands the process, and the process is not always pretty."
Democratic legislative leaders point out that Culver is a few years older than former Republican Governor Terry Branstad was when Branstad took office in 1983. Branstad still holds the record as Iowa’s youngest governor, elected at the age of 38. Culver was 40 years old when he was elected last November and he turned 41 on January 25th.
One of the most famous statements made during a presidential debate focused on youth, when then-President Ronald Reagan said he would not "exploit, for political purposes, (his) opponent’s youth and inexperience." Reagan was referring to former Vice President Walter Mondale, who was the Democratic presidential nominee in 1984.