Governor Chet Culver spoke with reporters after visiting with the Iowa Economic Development Board this morning and was asked about concerns over the number of out-of-state workers who’ll help build the new state penitentiary in Fort Madison. Iowa labor groups raised concern after an Illinois contractor submitted the low bid for the project.
“I am excited that we’re investing a 160-million dollars in southeast Iowa to build a new prison,” Culver says,”I’m proud of the fact that the overwhelming majority of the workers are gonna be from Iowa, because of the project labor agreement we signed. The project is part of the Governor’s “I-Jobs” project, and he touted the benefits of the program.
Culver says the prison will employ 400 more people and says it’s another example of putting people work on I-Jobs projects and says they are doing the same thing across the state with 17-hundred I-jobs projects. Culver’s Republican rival, Terry Branstad, criticized Culver’s job creation record during the opening moments of Tuesday night’s debate in Sioux City.
“The unemployment rate has increased from 3.7 when he took office to 6.8 percent today,” Branstad said. “We have 50,000 more people unemployed.” Branstand has advocated getting rid of the Department of Economic Development, and Culver said his visit today was a sort of pep talk to the department to thank them.
“Terry Branstad the other night called them ‘a bunch of bureaucrats’…I’m lifting up our state employees, I’m thanking these dedicated, hard-working public servants who help run government every single day, and he’s saying derogatory things about public servants,” Culver said. Culver spent around 20 minutes talking to the D-E-D board and gave them a handout listing the “Top Ten facts about Iowa’s financial condition”