A Republican who’ll likely be a candidate for governor in 2010 says Democratic Governor Chet Culver lacks the right "instincts" to lead the state.
Bob Vander Plaats cites Culver’s plan to borrow $750 million for state projects as an example.
"We’re out of money, so let’s borrow our way into the future for infrastructure needs?" Vander Plaats asks.
"We’re receiving, I believe, about $360 million dollars in the (federal) stimulus package for infrastructure. I think these are uncertain times. I mean, if you read in the paper just Friday, you would see that Iowans rank lowest in the amount of credit card debt."
Vander Plaats argues that shows Iowans are conservative when it comes to debt and that ethic is at odds with Culver’s plan to have the state borrow three-quarters-of-a-billion dollars.
Vander Plaats has run for governor twice before — in 2002 and 2006. Vander Plaats has formed a committee to accept campaign contributions and expects that by this summer he will formally declare himself a candidate for 2010. "I think what Iowans are seeing is a lack of instinct — of good instinct — on behalf of Governor Chet Culver," Vander Plaats says.
Vander Plaats ridicules a proposal Culver made in his first year in office, something that was rejected by legislators. As you may recall, Culver proposed raising the state deposit on bottles and cans.
"That’s poor instinct," Vander Plaats says of that idea. He goes on to ridicule an idea Culver floated in December, one that — again, has been abandoned. "I want to sell the Iowa Lottery at a fraction of a cost (despite) it’s benefit to Iowa and Iowa taxpayers. That’s poor instinct. I think today he’s saying, ‘I want to do prevailing wage. I want to remove the right to work,’ is really what he’s saying. I think that’s poor instinct of leadership."
Pete D’Allessandro, political director of the "Chet Culver Committee" – the governor’s re-election campaign, issued a response via email. "I find it interesting that a guy who has never won an election and aborted his last run to hitch his wagon to the Jim Nussle boomlet would talk of ’poor instincts,’" D’Allessandro said. "Governor Culver on the other hand has been elected statewide three times. In addition he has won two statewide primaries."
Vander Plaats says if he’s elected governor, he’ll focus on shrinking the size of government. "We need to reform government. We need to get our hands around K-12 education. We throw 250 million new dollars at K-12 education, but we don’t change any of the expectations. We grow state government by 2600 employees," Vander Plaats says. "So it’s a balance of how do I reform government to get the results I want?"
Vander Plaats made his comments this morning during taping of the Iowa Public Television program, "Iowa Press" which airs tonight at 6:30.