Governor Terry Branstad will deliver the annual “Condition of the State” address to state legislators later this morning. The occasion gives Branstad the time to make his case for action from lawmakers on a variety of issues, from bullying prevention to broadband expansion.
“We want to make the most of it,” Branstad said Monday during his weekly news conference.
It will the 20th time Branstad has given this annual speech and Branstad will offer an assessment of the state’s economy and the state of Iowa government. He’ll also outline his legislative priorities.
“There’s not going to be any big surprises,” Branstad said, stressing the word “big” in that sentence.
Branstad’s already given big hints about what subjects he’ll stress in the address.
“Infrastructure is going to be a major theme,” Branstad said Monday.
That includes finding a new way to get the private sector to extend broadband service to rural areas. In addition, Branstad has been warning that the state’s transportation infrastructure is on the decline and it’s time to find a “bipartisan solution” that will raise new tax revenue to finance road and bridge projects statewide. Branstad’s fellow Republicans control a majority of seats in the Iowa House, but Democrats have control of the state senate. Branstad told reporters yesterday that he wants to avoid partisan gridlock at the statehouse, so “good things can happen.”
“I want to set a very positive tone, one of working together in bipartisan cooperation, just as we’ve done the last four years,” Branstad said at his weekly news conference.
But the long-time Republican governor raised the hackles of Democrats on Monday by using an appearance at an Iowa GOP fundraising breakfast to ridicule Democratic election losses in 2014 and urge Republican leaders to start recruiting candidates for legislative races in 2016.
The “Condition of the State” address is scheduled to begin shortly after 10 a.m. this morning.