Governor Terry Branstad is scheduled to deliver the annual “Condition of the State” message later this morning and he’ll emphasize steps the state can take to make Iowa a more attractive place for soldiers to settle after they leave the military.
Branstad also plans to unveil ideas for extending broadband service throughout the state and for dealing with the problem of bullying inside and outside of Iowa schools. This will be the 19th time Branstad has delivered the annual address to lawmakers.
“I’m as encouraged as I’ve ever been,” Branstad told reporters Monday during his weekly news conference.
Heading into the final year of his fifth term, Branstad said Iowa voters gave him an opportunity to govern and he wants to “make the best of it.”
“Yes, we have a split legislature, but we’ve proven that we can work together and accomplish things,” Branstad said. “This is Iowa, not Washington, D.C. We don’t spend all our time attacking and berating each other, but instead we try to tackle real problems and try to make a difference in the lives of Iowans.”
As for the impression Branstad hopes to leave with Iowans, it appears he’ll focus more on style than policy details.
“Working together and working hard,” Branstad said Monday. “These are a couple of themes we’ll mention in the speech and how that makes a real difference.”
State Senator Wally Horn of Cedar Rapids has heard all of Branstad’s “Condition of the State” speeches.
“You have to know this,” Horn said Monday afternoon during an interview. “Terry and I started together in ’72.”
In 1972, Horn, who’s a Democrat, and Branstad, a Republican, won their first terms in the Iowa House of Representatives.
“And I like him — I don’t like some of his ideas or decisions, but I like him,” Horn said. “We got along. We’re friends.”
But 42 years after the pair first entered the statehouse as elected officials, Horn doesn’t expect Branstad’s speech to change the political dynamics inside the statehouse at all.
“As the governor of Iowa, he has to make certain statements and do political cover and all of that and, sure, fine and so I don’t get upset with it,” Horn said. “I know where he’s coming from. I know where I’m coming from and so, o.k., now we walk away and we do what each party wants to do or can do and that’s it.”
Horn, who is 81 years old, is entering his 42nd consecutive year as a legislator. He served five terms in the Iowa House and is currently serving in the final year of his ninth term as a state senator.