Kiernan Blasts Vander Plaats’ Entrance into the Race

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If you are up for a little word-watching, you’ll want to check these out. Bob Vander Plaats officially announced he is running for governor. There hadn’t been much doubt that Team VP was “all in” for this one. But he made the official announcement in his hometown of Sheldon. He will re-announce (or in this case, that would be…re-re-re-announce, since he has run two other times already) Michael Kiernan, the Chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party, then continued his last few weeks of aggressive responses to the day’s news/announcements/etc. Here are the releases:

Vander Plaats

SHELDON – Speaking before a crowd in the town where he grew up, Sioux City businessman Bob Vander Plaats today formally announced his candidacy for the 2010 Republican gubernatorial nomination by pledging to pay down the enormous debt generated by Governor Chet Culver, improve Iowa’s tax and regulatory climate to draw new companies to Iowa, create a 21st Century communications infrastructure and take action to allow a statewide vote on the definition of marriage.

Vander Plaats set a goal of repaying by the end of his first term the long-term borrowing Governor Chet Culver and legislative Democrats approved to create the short-term I-Jobs program. The $750 million they borrowed will require the state to pay $1.8 billion in principal, interest and fees if the state takes the entire length of time scheduled to repay the debt.

“Our state is too great to allow it to continue to waste away, as it has under Chet Culver’s watch. The first step any turnaround CEO takes is to stop the bleeding. We need to pay off the debt Chet Culver has saddled us with so we can start investing in the future instead of leaving our kids to cover the millions of dollars interest on his credit card,” Vander Plaats said during a noon event at City Park. “A turnaround CEO also brings in the best and brightest people from the public and private sector to lead an organization. I’ll do that.”

Vander Plaats vowed to reassert the governor’s authority and a proper balance between the judicial, executive and legislative branches in the wake of the Iowa Supreme court’s opinion earlier this year to same-sex marriages are legal. He pledged to sign an executive order on his first day in office to stay future same-sex marriages until Iowans have an opportunity to vote in a statewide referendum on the definition of marriage.

“We call it the Foundation Proclamation because it will defend key foundations of our society and government – the family and the separation of powers,” he said.

He added, “I will be a governor who stands up for true conservative principles. I will work to reduce the tax burden on Iowans instead of increasing it. I will oppose the drumbeat of expanded gambling. And I will be a governor who supports a culture of life from conception to natural death, and I’ll appoint a lieutenant governor who is as passionate about that foundation of society as I am.”

Noting his commitment to “open Iowa for business,” Vander Plaats said, “I want to make sure Iowa will be a bridge to anywhere – a place where the top companies in the world, large or small – want to locate, grow and thrive. We cannot afford to have hit-and-miss cell phone coverage across parts of the state and internet service that’s 10 years behind the times. Just as we need our roads and airports to be up to standard, we need a reliable 21st century communications infrastructure. ”

Vander Plaats’ administration will remove the public school system’s “model core curriculum” and aggressively reform education through the setting of international standards, simplified funding, accountability and transparency.

“I want Iowa to lead the United States and the world and the only way to do that is to have high standards in math, science, communication, technology and authentic American and world history. To reestablish Iowa as an educational leader, we need less federal interference and we must get rid of Chet Culver’s one-size-fits-all approach,” he said. “I will create an environment where resources are directed towards student achievement, where districts learn from the successes of others, where all districts are held accountable for results and where they report those results in the most transparent and accessible manner.”

Vander Plaats said his campaign is “about leadership and freedom” and he is not running to be a governor who defends the status quo or tinkers at the margins.

“I’m in this race to be a transformational governor who limits the size of government, reforms our tax structure to make Iowa far more competitive, sets our education system on course to be the international standard and demands excellence from every dollar we spend on public services,” said the Sioux City businessman, who also had a scheduled appearance in Kalona on Tuesday evening as part of a week-long statewide tour.

Vander Plaats, 46, is a former high school teacher and principal, former president and chief executive officer of a nonprofit rehabilitation facility for people with brain injuries and the Republican Party’s 2006 nominee for lieutenant governor. He is the president of MVP Leadership, a consulting firm that helps business executives hone their leadership and strategic skills. Vander Plaats and his wife, Darla, live in Sioux City. They have four sons. Their third son, Lucas, was born with a severe brain condition. He inspired Vander Plaats to write the book “Light from Lucas,” published by Focus on the Family.

Here’s the response from Kiernan:

DES MOINES – “Bob Vander Plaats opened fire on Iowans today. The candidate who said President Obama has been good for only two industries – guns and ammunition – not surprisingly started off by going negative on his home state.

Vander Plaats repeatedly said Iowa wasn’t economically competitive, though we have the 4th best business climate in the nation, and the 8th fastest growing economy among states. He called the I-JOBS program which is creating jobs, stimulating the economy and replacing our aged infrastructure, a ‘credit card.’

“If all that weren’t insulting enough to Iowans, Vander Plaats chose labor day — the day we celebrate the hard work of generations who built this state — for his announcement. And let’s be clear: Bob Vander Plaats is no friend of the working men and women of this state. He opposed virtually every piece of pro-worker legislation that has been debated in recent years.

“The Vander Plaats announcement also provides further evidence of the deep divide in the GOP. Vander Plaats epitomizes the uncompromising right-wing fringe that would rather have a candidate with whom they agree on all the issues, than one who can win. Vander Plaats’ announcement is proof this will be a tough, bruising primary – no matter who else runs.

“I welcome him to the race.”


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