During a speech this morning at the Iowa Farm Bureau’s annual meeting, Governor Culver offered a defense of his three-year record as governor and outlined some of the proposals he’ll ask legislators to approve in 2010.
Culver ordered a 10 percent across-the-board cut in the state budget in October and Culver plans to ask legislators to pare even deeper in next year’s state spending plan. During his speech to Farm Bureau members, Culver, a Democrat, offered this rhetorical stiff-arm to Republicans.
“We can debate all day long about how we got here, what caused it. I don’t think that’s very productive,” Culver said. “The question is: what are we going to do about it?”
Culver said “fair questions” had been raised about some of the decisions he’s made this fall, but the governor argued it’s time to focus on the future and how to remake state government to make it more efficient.
“Despite some of these challenges and setbacks, I feel overall we are headed in the right direction,” Culver said.
Culver asked Farm Bureau members to lobby legislators to support his proposals to reorganize state government, like combining the state’s 20 separate computer systems and five different vehicle fleets. Culver referred to his 2010 reelection effort, telling the Farm Bureau members he was “proud” of his record as governor.
“I hope I can earn your support in the future,” Culver said at the end of his half-hour-long speech. “I have enjoyed serving as governor. It’s been a privilege and I’ve particularly enjoyed working with your president and this organization and your members across the state.”
Culver appointed Iowa Farm Bureau president Craig Lang to the Iowa Board of Regents, the board that governs Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa. Lang was the person who introduced Culver at this morning’s Farm Bureau gathering.
“This isn’t the easiest time to be governor. As you know, we have budget concerns. This governor has gone through disasters like Iowa has never seen before and we weathered that very, very well,” Lang said. “…I’m going to say on the part of this governor, this governor is going to make the tough decisions and in the end those are the kind of decisions that are going to direct us in the future.”
A few moments later, Culver mentioned that his family sometimes leaves the governor’s mansion and stays at their home nearby in a West Des Moines neighborhood.
“My neighbor yelled across the fence line a few weeks ago, he said, “Hey Chet, how come you couldn’t have picked a more boring time to be governor?'” Culver told the Iowa Farm Bureau delegates. “I said, ‘Well, Jerry, that’s kind of out of my control and we’re making good decisions. We’re going to fight through these challenging times,’ and he said, ‘Well, you know, I guess it’ll be prepare you for something.'”
You can listen to Culver’s entire 28 minute speech here: Culver