Iowa Public Television

 

Secretary Of Agriculture Patty Judge

posted on October 3, 2005

Borg: SWITCHING OFFICES AT THE IOWA STATEHOUSE. AGRICULTURE SECRETARY PATTY JUDGE WOULD LIKE TO MOVE INTO THE GOVERNOR'S SUITE, BUT FIRST SHE'LL HAVE TO WIN A COUPLE OF ELECTIONS. WE'LL QUESTION HER ON THIS EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS." FUNDING FOR "IOWA PRESS" WAS PROVIDED BY "FRIENDS," THE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION FOUNDATION; AND BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS. ON STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION, THIS IS THE FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30 EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS." HERE IS DEAN BORG.

Borg: THE FIELD OF CONTENDERS SEEKING THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION FOR GOVERNOR IS SOMEWHAT CROWDED. IOWA'S SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, PATTY JUDGE OF ALBIA, IS AMONG THE CANDIDATES CAMPAIGNING TO PERSUADE DEMOCRATS THAT THEY CAN KEEP THE PARTY IN POWER WHEN GOVERNOR TOM VILSACK'S TERM EXPIRES. SECRETARY JUDGE SERVED TWO FOUR-YEAR TERMS IN THE IOWA SENATE BEFORE HER 1998 ELECTION AS SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE AND HER REELECTION IN 2002. SECRETARY JUDGE, WELCOME TO "IOWA PRESS."

Judge: THANK YOU. IT'S GREAT TO BE HERE WITH YOU.

Borg: AND YOU KNOW THE GENTLEMEN ACROSS THE TABLE.

Judge: I DO.

Borg: "DES MOINES REGISTER" POLITICAL COLUMNIST DAVID YEPSEN AND "ASSOCIATED PRESS" SENIOR POLITICAL WRITER MIKE GLOVER.

Glover: SECRETARY JUDGE, ONE OF THE THINGS WE LIKE TO DO ON PROGRAMS LIKE THIS IS GIVE CANDIDATES THE OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE THE CASE FOR THEMSELVES. SO MAKE THE CASE FOR PATTY JUDGE AS THE DEMOCRATIC GUBERNATORIAL NOMINEE. WHAT'S YOUR COMMERCIAL?

Judge: WELL, I THINK IOWA NEEDS A STRONG LEADER, A LEADER WITH A VISION TO MOVE THE STATE FORWARD. AND I AM AN EXPERIENCED PERSON. I'VE BEEN ELECTED AND REELECTED, AS DEAN SAID, MANY TIMES. I HAVE A STRONG BACKGROUND IN HEALTH CARE, IN AGRICULTURE, IN SMALL BUSINESS OWNERSHIP, LEGISLATIVE EXPERIENCE, AND ADMINISTRATION OF A LARGE STATE AGENCY. I THINK I AM THE MOST EXPERIENCED PERSON IN THE FIELD. I AM A PERSON WHO CAN MAKE A DECISION AND LIVE WITH THE DECISION, AND I THINK I BRING A LOT OF STRENGTH TO THE TICKET.

Glover: WHY PATTY JUDGE AS OPPOSED TO YOUR DEMOCRATIC RIVALS? WHAT DO YOU HAVE THAT THEY DON'T HAVE?

Judge: WELL, I THINK I HAVE -- I AM THE MOST COMPLETE PACKAGE. SOME OF THE RIVALS HAVE STRENGTHS IN SOME AREAS, BUT I THINK OVERALL IN HEALTH CARE, WHICH IS A HUGE ISSUE RIGHT NOW FOR US, IN AGRICULTURE, IN BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, IN LEGISLATIVE EXPERIENCE, AND IN EXECUTIVE EXPERIENCE, I AM THE ONLY PERSON IN THE FIELD.

Glover: AND WHERE IS THE DEMOCRATIC ESTABLISHMENT? OF THE 25 DEMOCRATIC STATE SENATORS, 18 HAVE ENDORSED MIKE BLOUIN. MANY PEOPLE IN THE DEMOCRATIC ESTABLISHMENT ARE BACKING SECRETARY OF STATE CHET CULVER. WHERE'S THE DEMOCRATIC ESTABLISHMENT IN THIS WHOLE THING?

Judge: WELL, I THINK THE DEMOCRATIC ESTABLISHMENT IS -- IS ALL OVER THE BOARD RIGHT NOW, AND THAT'S OKAY. YOU KNOW, WE'RE ALL AFTER ENDORSEMENTS AND WE'LL ALL HAVE SOME ENDORSEMENTS. BUT IN THE END THERE'S ONLY ONE ENDORSEMENT THAT MATTERS ON THE FIRST TUESDAY IN JUNE, AND THAT'S THE ENDORSEMENT OF THE VOTER. THERE'S LOTS OF TIME TO MAKE THAT CASE, AND THAT'S WHAT WE'RE ALL ABOUT RIGHT NOW.

Yepsen: SECRETARY JUDGE, IOWA HAS NEVER ELECTED A WOMAN TO THE GOVERNORSHIP. WHY?

Judge: IOWA DOESN'T DO ANYTHING REAL FAST, REAL QUICK. WE LIKE TO THINK ABOUT THINGS AND STUDY THINGS OUT. I THINK IT'S TIME. AND AGAIN, WHEN I RAN FOR THE STATE SENATE FROM A PART OF -- A FAIRLY CONSERVATIVE PART OF SOUTHERN IOWA, CONVENTIONAL WISDOM WAS THAT I COULDN'T WIN THAT RACE. I WON IT AND THEN I WON REELECTION EASILY. IN 1998 I MADE THE BID TO RUN FOR SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, AND PEOPLE REALLY THOUGHT I WAS MAYBE NUTS, INCLUDING MY HUSBAND, WHEN I DECIDED TO DO THAT. PEOPLE DID NOT THINK I COULD WIN THAT RACE. I DID. I WON AGAIN. AND I BELIEVE THAT WE'RE READY AND THAT IOWA WILL ELECT A WOMAN.

Yepsen: HOW DO YOU OVERCOME THAT BIAS, IF YOU WILL, AGAINST WOMEN IN THE GOVERNORSHIP? I MEAN WE REALLY ARE ONE OF ONLY TWO OR THREE OR FOUR STATES THAT HAVE NEVER ELECTED A WOMAN TO THE GOVERNORSHIP.

Judge: I THINK -- I TAKE MY EXPERIENCE, MY VISION, AND MY CHARACTER TO THE IOWA PEOPLE. THAT'S WHAT I'VE DONE IN THE PAST. THAT'S WHAT I'VE DONE SUCCESSFULLY IN FIVE ELECTIONS, AND THAT'S WHAT I'M DOING RIGHT NOW.

Borg: SECRETARY JUDGE, OTHER THAN GENDER, HOW DO YOU -- AND YOU'VE TICKED OFF A FEW. HOW DO YOU DIFFERENTIATE YOURSELF FROM THE OTHER DEMOCRATS SEEKING THE NOMINATION? AND OF THOSE THINGS THAT YOU'VE ALREADY TICKED OFF HERE, EXPERIENCE BEING THE ONE THAT YOU'VE EMPHASIZED, WHICH DO YOU THINK IS MOST IMPORTANT IN SEEKING AND GETTING THAT NOMINATION? HOW DO YOU SPEAK TO DEMOCRATS AND SAY, "THIS IS WHERE I'M DIFFERENT"?

Judge: WELL, I THINK THIS ELECTION IS GOING TO BE ALSO -- AT LEAST THIS PRIMARY. WE'RE TALKING ABOUT A PRIMARY RIGHT NOW. THIS PRIMARY IS GOING TO BE ABOUT DEMOCRATIC VALUES. WE ARE -- WE ARE TALKING TO DEMOCRATIC VOTERS, DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY VOTERS, AND WE NEED TO BE TALKING ABOUT DEMOCRATIC PRINCIPLES. I AM -- I WILL STAND ON MY DEMOCRATIC PRINCIPLES. I WILL STAND ON MY POSITION THAT IT IS IMPORTANT -- ABSOLUTELY IMPORTANT FOR A WOMAN TO HAVE THE RIGHT TO MAKE -- AND THE FREEDOM TO MAKE HER OWN DECISIONS ABOUT HEALTH CARE ISSUES. I WILL STAND ON THE PRINCIPLE THAT I DON'T THINK REAGAN ECONOMICS, TRICKLE DOWN ECONOMICS, IS NECESSARILY THE PATH TO RICHES IN THIS STATE. I THINK THOSE KIND OF BASIC ISSUES WILL DIFFERENTIATE ONE CANDIDATE FROM THE OTHER, AND IN THE END, AS IOWA VOTERS ALWAYS DO, THEY'LL MAKE THAT DECISION BASED ON THE INFORMATION.

Glover: ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WE USE TO MEASURE CANDIDATES AS THEY'RE HEADING TOWARDS AN ELECTION IS THE AMOUNT OF MONEY THEY'RE ABLE TO RAISE. HOW IS THE MONEY GOING FOR YOU, AND HOW MUCH WILL YOU BE ABLE TO RAISE AND SPEND FOR THE PRIMARY?

Judge: WELL, WE ARE ACTIVELY RAISING MONEY, AS IS EVERYBODY THAT'S IN THIS RACE. WE KNOW THAT IT'S EXPENSIVE. MEDIA COSTS ARE VERY, VERY HIGH. I THINK WE'RE DOING WELL. WE CERTAINLY STARTED LATER THAN SOME OF THE CANDIDATES IN THE FIELD, BUT WE'RE FINDING AREAS THAT WE CAN FUND-RAISE, AND I THINK WE WILL BE COMPETITIVE. WE WILL BE COMPETITIVE.

Glover: HOW MUCH WILL YOU RAISE FOR THE PRIMARY?

Judge: I DON'T KNOW HOW MUCH WE'LL RAISE. I WISH I HAD THAT ANSWER, BUT I THINK THE ESTIMATES THAT PEOPLE HAVE GIVEN ME FOR THE RACE -- AND I'M HEARING THE SAME THING BASICALLY FROM EVERYONE -- IS AROUND $2 MILLION FOR A PRIMARY.

Yepsen: POLITICAL EXPERTS HAVE SAID THAT ONE REASON WOMEN DON'T WIN HIGH OFFICES IS THAT THEY HAVE DIFFICULTY RAISING MONEY. ARE YOU HAVING DIFFICULTY RAISING MONEY BECAUSE PEOPLE SAY, WELL, YOU'RE A WOMAN, YOU CAN'T WIN?

Judge: I DON'T THINK SO. I THINK I -- I'VE OVERCOME THAT POINT IN TIME. I CERTAINLY WOULD NOT DISPUTE YOU THAT THAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN AN ISSUE FOR ME IN 1998 WHEN I FIRST -- THE FIRST TIME I RAN STATEWIDE. BUT I'VE RUN SUCCESSFULLY TWICE STATEWIDE. I'VE BEEN ABLE TO RAISE MONEY TO RUN A RACE AND BUY AIRTIME, AND I THINK WE'RE GOING TO DO THAT AGAIN WITHOUT TOO MUCH DIFFICULTY. I'VE ALSO GOT THE BACKING OF SOME GROUPS LIKE EMILY'S LIST, WHICH ARE GOING TO BE EXTREMELY HELPFUL.

Glover: SO TO BE CLEAR, YOU THINK IT'S GOING TO TAKE $2 MILLION TO DO A DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY, AND YOU'RE GOING TO BE ABLE TO RAISE THAT.

Judge: I THINK WE WILL BE GETTING CLOSE TO THAT, YES. I MEAN IT'S GOING TO BE DIFFICULT TO DO, BUT THAT'S WHAT IT'S GOING TO TAKE. AND IF WE'RE GOING TO BE COMPETITIVE, THAT'S WHERE WE'LL HAVE TO BE.

Yepsen: SECRETARY JUDGE, I WANT TO SWITCH GEARS AND MOVE AWAY FROM POLITICS HERE AND TURN TO SOME OF THE ISSUES IN THE CAMPAIGN. YOU'VE ALSO MENTIONED A COUPLE OF THESE. BUT VERY QUICKLY ON THE SOCIAL ISSUES, ABORTION, ARE YOU PRO-LIFE OR PRO-CHOICE?

Judge: I AM PRO-CHOICE. I BELIEVE VERY STRONGLY THAT A WOMAN HAS THE RIGHT TO MAKE AND SHOULD HAVE THE FREEDOM TO MAKE HER OWN DECISIONS ABOUT HEALTH CARE ISSUES. AND ANYTHING SHORT OF THAT IS RELEGATING WOMEN TO A PLACE -- A SECOND CLASS POSITION.

Yepsen: AND THE DEATH PENALTY, ARE YOU FOR OR AGAINST CAPITAL PUNISHMENT?

Judge: I'M AGAINST CAPITAL PUNISHMENT. I ALWAYS HAVE BEEN AND I DON'T THINK THAT THERE'S ANY ISSUE THERE THAT -- ANY DISCUSSION THAT WOULD CHANGE MY MIND ON THAT WHATSOEVER.

Yepsen: AND GAY RIGHTS, ARE YOU FOR OR AGAINST BANS ON DISCRIMINATION AND EMPLOYMENT --

Judge: I BELIEVE ANY IOWAN, REGARDLESS OF THEIR RACE, THEIR GENDER, THEIR SEXUAL ORIENTATION, HAS THE RIGHT TO THE SAME RIGHTS UNDER IOWA LAW.

Yepsen: WHAT ABOUT GAY MARRIAGE?

Judge: MARRIAGE IS DEFINED, I GUESS, HOW PEOPLE WANT TO DEFINE IT. BUT I THINK WHAT IS REALLY IMPORTANT IS THAT THEY HAVE RIGHTS -- LEGAL RIGHTS UNDER LAW.

Glover: WE'VE HAD A BIG DEBATE IN THIS STATE OVER GAMBLING. A TWO-PART QUESTION. IS, IN YOUR MIND, THE DEBATE OVER GAMBLING A SUBTLE ISSUE? IS GAMBLING JUST A PART OF OUR ECONOMY NOW?

Judge: I THINK GAMBLING IS A PART OF THE ECONOMY NOW. I THINK THE DEBATE WAS HELD WHEN I WAS IN THE LEGISLATURE MORE THAN NOW. THE QUESTION NOW IS HOW MUCH FURTHER DO WE GO. I DON'T THINK GAMBLING GOES AWAY. THE QUESTION IS HOW MUCH MORE DO WE --

Glover: DID WE MAKE A MISTAKE GETTING INTO THE BUSINESS?

Judge: I DON'T THINK SO. I HAD REAL MIXED FEELINGS AT THE TIME I STARTED MY LEGISLATIVE CAREER ABOUT THAT WHOLE VENUE AS AN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT TOOL. I PARTICULARLY HAVE BEEN WATCHING THE RACING INDUSTRY. AS SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, I'M VERY MUCH AWARE OF WHAT HAS HAPPENED IN THAT INDUSTRY, IN THE GROWTH OF HORSES IN THE STATE AND IN THE QUALITY OF HORSES THAT WE'VE BEEN ABLE TO START RAISING IN THE STATE THAT SIMPLY WEREN'T HER FIFTEEN YEARS AGO. SO THERE HAS BEEN SOME POSITIVES, AND I THINK THAT WE'RE READY FOR THAT TO BE HERE.

Glover: AND IS THERE ROOM FOR EXPANSION IN THE GAMBLING INDUSTRY?

Judge: MY BELIEF IS THAT IF WE LEGALIZED GAMBLING, WHICH WE DID -- THAT'S PAST -- THAT COMPETITION IN THE INDUSTRY IS GOOD FOR ALL OF US. IT MAKES A BETTER -- A BETTER VENUE FOR THE CONSUMER, AND WITH THE PROPER REGULATION SO THAT WE'RE CERTAIN THAT THEY'RE BEING -- THAT THEY ARE THE KIND OF ESTABLISHMENT THAT WE WANT TO HAVE IN THE STATE, THAT WE SHOULD -- WE SHOULD VIEW THAT -- THOSE LICENSES. PEOPLE THAT MEET THE THRESHOLD SHOULD HAVE A LICENSE.

Glover: SO WHATEVER THE MARKET WILL HOLD?

Judge: THAT'S MY BELIEF, AS LONG AS THEY MEET OUR CRITERIA.

Yepsen: SECRETARY JUDGE, ONE OF THE THINGS WE LIKE TO DO IS TO GIVE CANDIDATES A CHANCE TO RESPOND TO SOME OF THE NEGATIVES THAT ARE SAID ABOUT THEM.

Judge: SURE.

Yepsen: ONE OF THE CRITICISMS THAT'S MADE ABOUT YOU IS THAT AS SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, YOU HAVE BEEN WEAK ON THE ENVIRONMENT, THAT YOU HAVE NOT DONE ALL THAT YOU COULD DO TO PROTECT IOWA'S GROUNDWATER.

Judge: AND I'M GLAD TO ANSWER THAT, DAVE. I'M, IN FACT, GRATEFUL FOR THAT QUESTION. I'M REALLY PLEASED WITH WHAT WE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO DO. FROM THE TIME I WAS IN THE LEGISLATURE WHEN WE HAD ALMOST NO PROGRAMS AND WE HAD ALMOST NO REGULATION, WE HAVE MOVED AN INCREDIBLE DISTANCE. TODAY WE DO HAVE CONSTRUCTION STANDARDS, WE DO HAVE MANURE APPLICATION STANDARDS, AND WE HAVE SOME GREAT PROGRAMS OPERATING TO START TO CHANGE THE QUALITY OF WATER IN THE STATE. I THINK IT'S -- WE NEED TO -- PEOPLE NEED TO UNDERSTAND THAT WE DID NOT GET TO THE IMPAIRED WATER SITUATION OVERNIGHT OR EVEN IN THE LAST TEN YEARS. THAT SITUATION IS A CULMINATION OF FARMING PRACTICES AND OTHER PRACTICES FOR 100 -- MORE THAN 150 YEARS. BUT WITH THE WORK THAT WE'RE DOING NOW IN THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, WITH THE WETLAND DEVELOPMENT, WHICH IS A GREAT PROGRAM, DEVELOPING WETLANDS TO ACT AS FILTERS FOR IOWA CROP GROUND, WITH THE BUFFER STRIP PROGRAMS, GRASSED WATERWAYS, TERRACING, ALL OF THOSE, WE ARE STARTING TO MAKE A SUBSTANTIAL DIFFERENCE IN THE LANDSCAPE IN IOWA.

Glover: AT WHAT POINT WILL WE NOT HAVE IMPAIRED WATERWAYS?

Judge: I DON'T THINK YOU CAN SET A SHORT TIMETABLE. THIS IS SLOW WORK. IT IS WORK THAT REQUIRES DOLLARS. AND AS LONG AS WE STAY ON TRACK, AS LONG AS WE UNDERSTAND THAT THAT IS WORK THAT WE HAVE TO DO AND ALSO AS LONG AS WE CONTINUE TO -- TO LOOK FOR BETTER WAYS TO FARM, FOR BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES, WE'RE GOING TO MAKE SUBSTANTIAL PROGRESS AND THERE WILL BE A DAY THAT WE WILL HAVE IT CORRECTED.

Borg: I'D LIKE TO GO BACK TO ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. YOU MENTIONED IT JUST IN PASSING WHEN WE WERE TALKING ABOUT GAMBLING, AS GAMBLING BEING ONE OF THE TOOLS THERE. BUT BROADENING THAT, IS THE STATE ON THE RIGHT TRACK IN USING THE VALUES FUND AS GRANTS TO BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY TO SPUR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT?

Judge: WELL, I THINK INCENTIVE PACKAGES ARE A TOOL. I'M NOT SURE THAT THEY ARE THE BEGINNING AND THE ENDING OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, AND I WOULD LIKE TO SEE A MUCH MORE COMPREHENSIVE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM.

Borg: WHAT WOULD THAT INCLUDE?

Judge: WE HAD A REPORT THAT WE WERE LAST -- DEAD LAST IN ENTREPRENEURIAL START-UPS IN THIS STATE. AND DEFINITELY WE NEED -- WE NEED TO BE SEEING WHAT WE CAN DO, IN MY MIND, WHAT WE CAN DO TO GROW BUSINESSES, TO START BUSINESSES, PARTICULARLY BUSINESSES IN RURAL IOWA. I THINK WE HAVE AN INCREDIBLE OPPORTUNITY RIGHT NOW IN RENEWABLE FUELS ARENA. WE'RE GETTING ETHANOL PLANTS UP. AND THE GOOD THING ABOUT IT IS THAT MOST OF THEM ARE OWNED BY IOWANS OR GROUPS OF IOWANS. WE ARE REALLY IN A UNIQUE PLACE RIGHT NOW IN TIME WITH OUR ABILITY TO CREATE RENEWABLE FUELS, AND WE NEED TO BE FOCUSING ON MAKING IOWA THE ABSOLUTE EPICENTER OF RENEWABLE FUELS. ONE OTHER THING I'D LIKE TO SAY ABOUT INCENTIVE PACKAGES IS THAT I THINK ONE OF THE PROBLEMS WE HAVE RIGHT NOW IS THE -- IS THE VERY HIGH COST OF HEALTH CARE, AND THAT IS REALLY DRIVING A LOT OF THE PROBLEMS WE HAVE WITH THE MOVING OF JOBS OUT OF IOWA AND OUT OF THE COUNTRY. AN INTERESTING IDEA THAT I THINK SHOULD BE EXPLORED IS MOVING AN INCENTIVE PACKAGE TO HEALTH CARE SUBSIDIZATION. IN OTHER WORDS, RATHER THAN A TAX CREDIT, LET'S DO A HEALTH CARE CREDIT, HELP THOSE EMPLOYERS WITH THE COST OF HEALTH CARE FOR THEIR EMPLOYEES AS A ROAD OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT.

Glover: HOW WOULD THAT WORK?

Judge: WELL, RATHER THAN A TAX INCENTIVE, SO MANY DOLLARS ON HEALTH CARE BENEFITS. SO THAT'S GOING TO HELP --

Glover: SO THE STATE WOULD SUBSIDIZE AN EMPLOYER TO HELP THEM PAY FOR HEALTH CARE BENEFITS FOR THEIR WORKERS?

Judge: RIGHT.

Glover: HOW MUCH WOULD THAT COST?

Judge: WELL, I GUESS IT COULD COST WHATEVER WE WANTED IT TO COST. I MEAN RIGHT NOW WE'VE COMMITTED $50 MILLION A YEAR FOR -- IN THE IOWA VALUES FUND. YOU KNOW, PART OF THAT OR ALL OF THAT WOULD GO A LONG WAY TO BUYING DOWN HEALTH CARE COSTS IN THE STATE.

Yepsen: WOULD YOU TARGET YOUR PROGRAM -- YOUR HEALTH CARE PROGRAM AT ALL BUSINESSES IN IOWA OR AT SMALLER BUSINESSES? ONE OF THE CRITICISMS THAT'S MADE OF THE VALUES FUND IS THIS CORPORATE WELFARE GOES TO BIG CORPORATIONS THAT MAKE HUGE PROFITS AND THAT WE WOULD BE, IN FACT, BETTER OFF PUTTING OUR DOLLARS INTO SMALLER BUSINESSES. SO WOULD YOU PUT A CAP ON THIS?

Judge: YES, I THINK WE WOULD HAVE TO CAP IT. I MEAN, AGAIN, I THINK THAT'S BEEN ONE OF THE PROBLEMS WITH THE VALUES FUND IS THAT TOO MANY DOLLARS CAN FLOW INTO ONE ENTITY. AND IF WE ARE REALLY GOING TO BE SERIOUS ABOUT RURAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND ABOUT SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, WE REALLY HAVE TO LOOK AT WHAT WE CAN DO TO ASSIST THOSE SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS. AND ABSOLUTELY, HEALTH CARE COSTS WILL MAKE OR BREAK A SMALL BUSINESS. AND SO IF WE CAN FOCUS SOME THOUGHT ON THAT IN THE NEXT TWO OR THREE YEARS AS TO WHAT WE CAN DO TO CONTROL THAT COST AND TO HELP THEM MEET THAT COST, I THINK THAT WILL GO A LONG WAY FOR THEM.

Glover: GOVERNOR VILSACK HAS SIGNED AN EXECUTIVE ORDER AUTOMATICALLY RESTORING VOTING RIGHTS TO FELONS WHO HAVE SERVED THEIR SENTENCES. THAT MEANS THE NEXT GOVERNOR WILL HAVE THAT DECISION TO MAKE. WHAT WOULD YOUR DECISION BE ON THAT?

Judge: I WOULD NOT REVERSE IT. I THINK THE GOVERNOR MADE THE RIGHT DECISION, AND I WOULD ABIDE BY THAT.

Yepsen: SECRETARY JUDGE, ONE OF THE ISSUES CONFRONTING IOWA INVOLVES OUR NATIONAL GUARD TROOPS IN IRAQ. HAVE WE GOT TOO MANY GUARDSMEN AND GUARD PERSONNEL IN IRAQ? SHOULD THEY BE BROUGHT HOME NOW?

Judge: I DON'T KNOW IF WE HAVE TOO MANY PEOPLE -- TOO MANY SERVICEMEN IN IRAQ. I'M CERTAINLY NOT IN A POSITION TO JUDGE TROOP STRENGTH IN IRAQ. SHOULD WE HAVE THEM AT HOME, IN MY OPINION, YES. I THINK WE SAW CLEARLY FROM THE PROBLEMS IN THE SOUTH, THE HURRICANES, THAT WE HAVE CREATED A POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS SITUATION BY HAVING OUR GUARDSMEN DEPLOYED OTHER PLACES. I'D LIKE TO SEE THOSE PEOPLE BROUGHT HOME. I WOULD LIKE TO SEE THEM BROUGHT HOME IMMEDIATELY. I UNDERSTAND THAT THAT MAY NOT BE POSSIBLE RIGHT NOW, BUT CERTAINLY AS SOON AS WE CAN GET THEM BACK, WE SHOULD DO THAT.

Glover: YOU MENTIONED HURRICANE KATRINA AND HURRICANE RITA. THAT RAISES THE ISSUE, IS IOWA PREPARED FOR A NATURAL DISASTER. WE HAD ONE IN 1993 WITH THE FLOODS. ARE WE PREPARED FOR ANOTHER ONE?

Judge: I'VE BEEN WORKING VERY CLOSELY AS SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE WITH HOMELAND SECURITY ON AGRICULTURAL SECURITY AND AGROTERRORISM ISSUES. CAN WE MEET A NATURAL DISASTER HERE TODAY? I WILL TELL YOU THAT WE'RE WORKING HARD TO BE ABLE TO DO THAT. THE AMOUNT OF TIME THAT WE HAVE DEVOTED IN THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE SINCE 9/11 TO ISSUES LIKE THAT IS -- SOMETIMES MAKES ME SCRATCH MY HEAD. BUT I DO ALSO KNOW THAT WE DO NEED THAT STRENGTH OF OUR NATIONAL GUARD. THAT HAS BEEN OUR BACKBONE. THAT HAS BEEN OUR RESPONDERS AND WITHOUT THEM HERE, IT WOULD BE VERY DIFFICULT.

Yepsen: WELL, IS YOUR CONCERN ABOUT NATIONAL GUARD TROOPS THAT THEY SHOULDN'T BE IN IRAQ OR THAT WE NEED THEM AT HOME TO PROTECT OURSELVES?

Judge: WELL, I THINK WE NEED THEM AT HOME. I MEAN THE QUESTION ABOUT WHETHER THEY SHOULD OR SHOULDN'T BE IN IRAQ IS A DIFFERENT QUESTION. YOU KNOW, MY PERSONAL BELIEF ABOUT THEM BEING IN IRAQ IS THAT PROBABLY THEY DON'T BELONG THERE. BUT IF I'D HAD MY VOTE, THAT PROBABLY WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN A DIRECTION WE HAD GONE.

Glover: ANOTHER ISSUE THAT WILL FACE THE NEXT GOVERNOR IS THE QUESTION OF TAX POLICY. WHAT WOULD YOU WANT TO DO ABOUT OUR TAX SYSTEMS IN IOWA?

Judge: WELL, TAXES ARE NOT A SIMPLE ISSUE. I SPENT ENOUGH YEARS IN THE LEGISLATURE THAT I KNOW THAT TALKING ABOUT QUICK FIXES IS NOT -- IS NOT REAL. WE HAVE I HODGEPODGE OF TAXING SYSTEMS IN THE STATE OF IOWA. WE ARE STILL A PROPERTY TAX DEPENDENT STATE, EQUATING THE HOLDING OF LAND WITH WEALTH AND TAXING ACCORDINGLY. WE REALLY NEED TO LOOK AT THOSE SYSTEMS AND SEE WHAT WE CAN DO, PARTICULARLY IN THE AREAS OF MENTAL HEALTH AND EDUCATION TO RELIEVE SOME PROPERTY TAX BURDEN. BUT WE ALSO NEED TO UNDERSTAND THAT IT COSTS MONEY, THAT THERE IS NO FREE LUNCH, AND THAT WE WILL HAVE TO, IF WE WANT THAT LEVEL OF SERVICE, THAT SOMEONE HAS TO PAY FOR IT.

Glover: ONE OF YOUR POTENTIAL REPUBLICAN OPPONENTS JUST LAST WEEK CAME OUT HERE AND SAID HE THOUGHT THAT A LOT OF THE EDUCATION BURDEN SHOULD BE TAKEN OFF THE PROPERTY TAX ROLLS AND PUT ON THE STATE'S TAX ROLLS. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THAT?

Judge: I'M NOT SURE THAT I AGREE WITH HIM. I WAS IN A CONVERSATION WITH HIM AT ANOTHER FORUM AND HEARD THAT -- THAT THEORY. AGAIN, THAT IS NOT -- NOT A LESSENING OF THE TAX BURDEN; THAT'S A TAX SHIFT. SO I THINK THAT IS SOMETHING THAT WOULD HAVE TO BE STUDIED. IS THAT -- DOES THAT ULTIMATELY -- IS THAT ULTIMATELY A GOOD OR A GAIN? I DO THINK THAT THE MENTAL HEALTH PORTION OF THAT EQUATION PROBABLY SHOULD BE A STATE FUNCTION.

Glover: ARE YOU COMFORTABLE WITH THE MIX THAT WE HAVE IN IOWA BETWEEN PROPERTY, SALES, AND INCOME TAX, THE ROUGH MIX WE HAVE? IS THAT -- ARE YOU COMFORTABLE WITH --

Judge: I DON'T THINK WE SHOULD BE COMFORTABLE WITH IT. I THINK IT'S SOMETHING THAT WE NEED TO ALWAYS BE SCRUTINIZING. I THINK PROBABLY PROPERTY TAX IS A LITTLE HIGH IN IOWA. BUT I DON'T THINK WE SCRAP THE WHOLE THING. I THINK IT'S SOMETHING THAT WE STUDY VERY CAREFULLY.

Yepsen: ONE OF THE THINGS I ALWAYS HEAR ON TAX POLICY, A LOT OF REPUBLICANS WHO SAY WE OUGHT TO HAVE A FLAT TAX. OTHERS SAY WE OUGHT TO EXPAND THE SALES TAX. YOU HEAR DEMOCRATS SAY WE OUGHT TO ELIMINATE FEDERAL DEDUCTABILITY AND LOWER THE TAX RATES. WHERE DO YOU COME DOWN ON THE OVERARCHING QUESTION OF WHAT WE OUGHT TO DO WITH OUR INCOME TAX IN IOWA?

Judge: WELL, I'M A DEMOCRAT. SO, YOU KNOW, I THINK YOU JUST SAID IT. I THINK THAT THE FIRST THING WE OUGHT TO DO IS ELIMINATE THAT FEDERAL DEDUCTABILITY SO THAT WE ARE LOOKING AT GETTING A TRUE PICTURE OF WHAT -- WHERE WE ARE IN TAXING IN THE STATE OF IOWA.

Glover: WITH STATE GOVERNMENT AS NARROWLY DIVIDED AS IT IS, CURRENTLY WE HAVE A DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR AND A LEGISLATURE THAT'S BASICALLY TIED. IS IT REALISTIC TO TALK ABOUT THINGS LIKE ELIMINATING FEDERAL DEDUCTABILITY?

Judge: I THINK WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT IT. I'VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT IT SINCE 1992, AND EVENTUALLY I THINK THAT THAT WILL HAPPEN. AND AGAIN, ELECTING DEMOCRATS, ELECTING DEMOCRATS TO THE LEGISLATURE AND TO THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE, I THINK THAT WILL HAPPEN.

Glover: JUST THIS WEEK GOVERNOR VILSACK SAID THAT HE WILL AGAIN ASK THE LEGISLATURE NEXT YEAR TO POUR A SUBSTANTIAL AMOUNT OF ADDITIONAL MONEY INTO EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION AND PRESCHOOL PROGRAMS. IF ELECTED GOVERNOR, IS THAT A PATH YOU'D FOLLOW?

Judge: YES, I WOULD. I THINK THAT THERE'S ENOUGH STUDIES COMPLETED AND KNOWLEDGE THAT WE KNOW THAT THOSE FIRST FIVE YEARS OF A CHILD'S LIFE ARE CRITICAL TO THEIR DEVELOPMENT. WE NEED TO BE DOING EVERYTHING WE CAN IN THIS STATE TO MAKE CERTAIN THAT -- THAT WE TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THAT.

Glover: NOW, PATTY JUDGE FROM ALBIA, LET ME ASK YOU THIS QUESTION. ARE THERE TOO MANY TINY, RURAL SCHOOLS IN IOWA? IS IT TIME TO FORCE CONSOLIDATIONS?

Judge: NO, I DON'T THINK WE FORCE CONSOLIDATIONS. AS PATTY JUDGE FROM ALBIA WILL TELL YOU THAT WE DON'T LIKE THE IDEA OF YOU FORCING US TO DO ANYTHING. I THINK THAT RURAL SCHOOLS HAVE SERVED A GREAT PURPOSE. THEY NEED --

Glover: WHAT DO YOU SAY TO A PARENT IN RURAL IOWA WHOSE KID JUST DOESN'T HAVE THE SAME OPPORTUNITIES AS A KID -- A PARENT WHOSE KID GOES TO A CEDAR RAPIDS OR A DES MOINES SCHOOL WITH ALL THE OPPORTUNITIES THEY HAVE?

Judge: YOU KNOW, I THINK WE CAN PROVIDE THE SAME OPPORTUNITIES. I THINK WE UNDERSTAND SOME PATHS SO WE CAN DO THAT, AND IT'S UP TO THE LOCAL SCHOOLS TO FIGURE THAT OUT. BUT I KNOW THAT TODAY, THOSE RURAL SCHOOLS, THROUGH OUR COMMUNITY COLLEGE SYSTEM, ARE BEING ABLE TO OFFER THE KIND OF CURRICULUM THAT THEY NEED TO BE COMPETITIVE IN A COLLEGE OR A UNIVERSITY SETTING. NOT ONLY ARE THEY OFFERING THAT THROUGH COMMUNITY COLLEGE, THEY'RE ALSO GETTING THE ADVANTAGE OF SOME LOW-COST CREDITS WHEN THEY -- WHEN THEY STEP IN THE DOOR OF THAT UNIVERSITY. IN FACT, I WAS MEETING WITH SOME STUDENTS JUST YESTERDAY FROM A PRIVATE COLLEGE WHO WERE KIND OF CHASTISING ME ABOUT THE FACT THAT SOME OF THEM THAT WERE FROM METRO SCHOOLS WHERE THEY HAD A.P. PROGRAMS, ADVANCED PROGRAMS, DIDN'T HAVE THE SAME ADVANTAGE THAT SOME OF THE KIDS IN THE RURAL SCHOOLS DID WHO CAME IN WITH ALMOST TWO FULL YEARS OF COLLEGE CREDITS.

Yepsen: SECRETARY JUDGE, I WANT TO GO BACK TO A DISCUSSION WE WERE HAVING A MOMENT AGO ABOUT ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, AGRICULTURE, AND THE ENVIRONMENT. THERE SEEMS TO BE IN OUR STATE A TENSION BETWEEN AGRICULTURE -- PRODUCTION AGRICULTURE AND PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENT. NOW, HOW DOES THE NEXT GOVERNOR OF THIS STATE BALANCE THOSE TWO OFTEN CONFLICTING INTERESTS?

Judge: FIRST OF ALL, I WOULD LIKE TO SAY THAT I DON'T THINK THE INTERESTS NEED TO BE CONFLICTING.

Yepsen: ALL POLITICIANS SAY THAT.

Judge: I'M SURE THAT'S TRUE. BUT FARMERS, THE RURAL COMMUNITY, SINCE THIS STATE WAS FOUNDED, HAVE BEEN CONCERNED ABOUT THE SOIL -- ABOUT PROTECTING THE SOIL. WE HAVE OVER 15,000 FARMS IN THIS STATE THAT HAVE BEEN IN THE SAME FAMILY FOR OVER 100 YEARS, SOME OF THEM 150 YEARS. AND BELIEVE ME, THEY DO -- THEY PROTECT THAT, THEY NURTURE IT. WE NEED TO CONTINUE TO UNDERSTAND THAT WE NEED THE RESEARCH FROM THE UNIVERSITIES SO THAT WE ARE UTILIZING BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES, THAT WE NEED TO HAVE A COMMITMENT TO ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AND CLEANUP IN THE FORM OF DOLLARS.

Glover: BUT DOES IOWA'S SELECT FARMS FIT INTO THAT CATEGORY OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN IN THE STATE FOR A CENTURY AND CARE ABOUT THE LAND?

Judge: WELL, ACTUALLY MOST OF THE GROWERS FOR IOWA SELECT FARMS ARE PEOPLE THAT HAVE BEEN HERE FOREVER. AND SO THERE'S A LOT OF FAMILY FARMERS OUT THERE THAT ARE RAISING LIVESTOCK IN IOWA AND ARE DOING IT RIGHT. UNFORTUNATELY, YOU KNOW, THERE IS THAT JERK FACTOR IN ANY GROUP OF PEOPLE THAT -- THAT ARE A PROBLEM.

Glover: AND YOUR CRITICS SAY YOU'VE NOT DONE ENOUGH TO DEAL WITH THAT JERK FACTOR.

Judge: WELL, I THINK YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND, FIRST OF ALL, THAT I DO NOT REGULATE -- THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE HAS NO REGULATORY AUTHORITY OVER LIVESTOCK CONFINEMENTS. THAT WAS PLACED IN THE HANDS OF DNR IN THE ORIGINAL REGULATORY LEGISLATION. I WISH I DID.

Borg: WELL, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY?

Judge: WELL, I THINK THAT YOU START -- YOU START WORKING WITH PEOPLE INSTEAD OF -- INSTEAD OF TRYING THE WHITE-HAT/BLACK-HAT APPROACH, AND START TRYING TO AGAIN INCORPORATE MANAGEMENT PRACTICES THAT NEGATE A PROBLEM. I THINK THAT WE HAVE BUILT A CONFRONTATIONAL ATMOSPHERE WHERE WE SHOULD HAVE BEEN BUILDING A COOPERATIVE ATMOSPHERE ABOUT SOLVING THE PROBLEM.

Yepsen: SECRETARY JUDGE, WE'VE GOT ABOUT THIRTY SECONDS LEFT. I'LL GIVE IT TO YOU. WHAT'S THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU WANT DEMOCRATS TO REMEMBER ABOUT YOU BEFORE THEY GO TO VOTE IN THE PRIMARY?

Judge: I WANT -- I WOULD LIKE THEM TO REMEMBER THAT I'M EXPERIENCED, I HAVE A VISION, I HAVE A CHARACTER. I'VE BEEN CALLED IOWA STUBBORN MORE THAN ONCE, AND THAT'S OKAY BECAUSE I'M GOING TO DO MY BEST FOR EVERYBODY IN THE STATE, FOR THE VOTERS OF THE STATE OF IOWA.

Glover: CAN YOU BEAT JIM NUSSLE?

Judge: I CAN BEAT JIM NUSSLE.

Borg: WE WON'T ASK YOU HOW RIGHT NOW. WE'LL HAVE YOU BACK NEXT TIME.

Judge: I'LL COME BACK.

Borg: THAT'S IT FOR THIS WEEKEND'S EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS." I HOPE YOU'LL WATCH NEXT WEEKEND, REGULAR AIRTIMES: 7:30 FRIDAY, SUNDAY AT NOON. I'M DEAN BORG. THANKS FOR JOINING US TODAY. FUNDING FOR "IOWA PRESS" WAS PROVIDED BY "FRIENDS," THE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION FOUNDATION; AND BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS.


Tags: agriculture Iowa Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Patty Judge