Republican Governor Terry Branstad is denouncing a former aide’s recommendation that the governor improve his “governance” of state government. Doug Gross, the Republican Party’s 2002 nominee for governor, urged Branstad to return to politics and run for governor in 2010, but Branstad is making it clear this latest advice from his former chief of staff isn’t welcome.
“I’d just say he has not been on this staff for 25 years. I am the governor of Iowa. I don’t get a chance to talk to everybody all the time,” Branstad told reporters this morning. “I would just say he is not knowledgeable about what’s going on on a day-to-day basis in this office. He has his own law office that he runs. I don’t tell him how to run that office.”
During a weekend appearance on Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press” program, Gross called Branstad the greatest campaigner in the history of Iowa, but Gross said recent allegations about management decisions in state government should prompt Branstad to improve his “governance.” Branstad was terse this morning when a reporter asked the governor to respond.
“He has not been on my staff for 25 years and he’s clearly out of touch with what’s happening today,” Branstad said. “Next question.”
Branstad said Gross is “wrong” and the governor told reporters he has no plans for staff or management changes in state government.
Also this morning, Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds denied pressuring the Iowa Department of Transportation to fire two employees at a maintenance garage in Osceola, where she lives.
“I’m an elected official and I am elected to represent the people of Iowa. We do it every single day as we travel across the state. I had some constituents reach out to me with some concerns. I met with them. I compiled their concerns and I forwarded them to the director of the DOT at that time, which was Nancy Richardson,” Reynolds said. “And I believe that’s what you do as an elected official, is to represent Iowans if they have a concern. It happens. We do it all the time.”
The Des Moines Register reported this weekend that an administrative law judge has ruled the folks who complained to Reynolds misled her and lied under oath during his investigation. Branstad is defending Reynolds’ actions.
“What the lieutenant governor did is exactly what any good public official should do,” Branstad said during his weekly news conference. “When you have constituents that have a concern, you sit down and you listen to their concerns.”
Branstad said Reynolds merely passed on the complaints and “didn’t tell” the DOT “what to do.” The administrative law judge has ordered the DOT to rehire the workers, a decision the agency has appealed. Branstad said this case is another example of why state personnel records should be open to the public, so anyone can find out why a state worker has been fired.
AUDIO of Branstad’s weekly news conference, 26:00