DES MOINES – Today, the Ottumwa Courier gave their endorsement in the race for Iowa Governor to Governor Chet Culver.
Citing his commitment to preschool and improvement to selections of board and commission members, the southeast Iowa paper said Chet Culver deserves a second chance.
They also pointed to Terry Branstad’s against-everything-that-Chet-Culver-supports plan for Iowa as lacking vision and said the former governor will take us back to the '80s.
The Editorial Board said, “…making better appointments and recognizing the needs today for a better tomorrow trump living in the past and denying the reality of today. In a less than perfect world, the choice has to be to give Chet Culver a second chance.”
“I am honored to receive the endorsement of the Ottumwa Courier,” said Governor Culver. “This is a recognition of the hard work we have done to give our children a brighter future and help move Iowa forward. Whether it's tax breaks for the middle class, expanding preschool to all Iowa children, growing our leadership in renewable energy, or creating good-paying jobs all across the state, I will continue to do everything I can move this state forward and create the bright, prosperous future we all know is possible.”
Below is the text of the Ottumwa Courier endorsement:
Our Endorsement: A second chance for Culver
Ottumwa Courier, Oct 22, 2010
OTTUMWA — The differences between the two major party candidates for governor are clear. And the partisan rhetoric displayed by Chet Culver and Terry Branstad has saturated state airwaves.
Frankly, neither candidate has overwhelmingly inspired their parties’ faithful or more importantly, the real constituents who matter — the average Iowan.
Branstad wants a return to the past. His plan — counter everything Culver stands for or is in support of.
Branstad lays most of the blame for the state’s economic climate at Culver’s feet. He suggests turning the page back to the 1990s when the state economy was vibrant.
Problem is, however, that had more to do with a red-hot national economy and not necessarily a state economy he crafted himself.
Branstad doesn’t allow that Iowa’s current economic woes are not all Culver’s fault. The national economy has hampered every state in the union.
Surely Branstad remembers that he was unfairly targeted as the cause for the farm crisis of the mid-1980s, much of that connected to the sagging national economy.
There are also legitimate misgivings about Culver.
He admits not being clear about the specifics and the reach I-JOBS would have on the state. The governor now says he and his handlers should have said early on that I-JOBS were temporary construction jobs.
The hope, Culver insists, is that these construction jobs will build necessary infrastructure, which will lead to more permanent jobs in the state.
Culver also has problems on how he vets potential and current appointees to state boards and commissions.
The obvious example to Ottumwans: the member of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission who was critical of Ottumwa’s proposal before it was ever presented.
Her remarks made it clear that whatever proposal was submitted, she was going to say no.
In the end, the proposal’s financials were flawed and the IRGC really had no choice but to reject Ottumwa’s bid.
But, Culver should have removed her from the IRGC and found a new and impartial commissioner.
However, one candidate earns more favor.
Take for example the issue of pre-school for all 4-year-olds. Branstad said the program is nothing more than an “entitlement” program and argues most families can and would afford to pay their own way; only the most indigent who want their children to succeed in school should be eligible for state funding.
However, Branstad’s position denies that too many children will not be educated if that issue is left to choice. It ignores the fact that children unprepared for success in school have overwhelming influence on a school’s ability to educate those children around them even if their parents cared enough to pay for pre-school.
Culver knows this is not just an education issue. It’s an economic development issue as well as a public safety issue. It’s about preparing students for the future. Productive students mean a productive workforce. Those who do well in school are less likely to get in trouble.
Pre-school is not the lone issue, but it’s an indication of forward thinking that will be essential as Iowa forges its way into the new, global economy. Culver has acknowledged that changes must and will be made in his many appointments, and he believes he now has the right players in place to better screen candidates.
Iowans can only hope this is true, but in the final result, making better appointments and recognizing the needs today for a better tomorrow trump living in the past and denying the reality of today.
In a less than perfect world, the choice has to be to give Chet Culver a second chance.