At high noon today, Republican Bob Vander Plaats will officially announce he is running for governor.
"In early January we announced the formation of an exploratory committee to test the waters for organization, financial support and we’re just thrilled to say that we’ve got a vibrant network throughout this state, we’re on our fundraising goals and the early polling shows us far out in front of the field," Vander Plaats says, "so we feel really good to be announcing on Labor Day in my hometown."
Vander Plaats is holding his formal campaign kick-off at the City Park in Sheldon, a northwest Iowa town of about 4800.
"I picked Sheldon because that’s where I was raised and that’s where the values were instilled in me and whether it was through home or through church or through school or through the community, it’s the values of: ‘We value life and we value a culture of life,’" Vander Plaats says. "…It’s where we learned about marriage: one man/one woman, traditional marriage."
Vander Plaats has run for governor twice before, first in 2002 then in 2006 when he wound up as the Republican Party’s lieutenant governor nominee. The past eight years have been a "journey," according to Vander Plaats.
"But what I sense today is that the people of Iowa are really embracing the message more than ever that we need a real life leader from real life experience and real life results to serve," Vander Plaats says. "They don’t want politics as usual anymore."
Vander Plaats has never before held elective office, but he argues that’s a plus in the current environment. "People are discouraged with kind of the entitlement, the establishment and just politics as usual," Vander Plaats says. "They want fresh blood."
That is a barb aimed at former Governor Terry Branstad and party insiders who are pushing Branstad to run for a fifth term. Vander Plaats says the public is fed up with career politicians.
"I think when you take a look at the ‘Tea Party’ movement, if you take a look at the town hall meetings and the people who are showing up and voicing their opinion, those just aren’t rank-and-file Republicans — those are Independents; those are Democrats; some of them have never been involved in the process before," Vander Plaats says. "Basically, they’re saying: ‘I’ve had enough!’"
Vander Plaats will visit a farm near Kalona later this afternoon and he has scheduled a news conference at the statehouse tomorrow Tuesday as part of his campaign kick-off. Vander Plaats worked as a teacher, coach and later a principal in four different school districts before becoming manager of a non-profit heath care agency in Sioux City in 1996. He’s currently a business consultant.