Iowa Public Television

 

IA Secretary of State Chet Culver

posted on November 21, 2005

Borg: THE VALUE OF A NAME: THE SON OF FORMER U.S. SENATOR JOHN CULVER, IOWA SECRETARY OF STATE CHET CULVER, IS CAMPAIGNING TO BE GOVERNOR OF IOWA. WE'LL QUESTION CHET CULVER 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, NOVEMBER 18 EDITION OF 'IOWA PRESS.' HERE IS DEAN BORG.

Borg: BETWEEN NOW AND THE JUNE PRIMARY ELECTIONS, EIGHT DEMOCRATS AND TWO REPUBLICANS SEEKING THEIR PARTY'S GUBERNATORIAL NOMINATION WILL ATTEMPT TO SEPARATE THEMSELVES FROM THE OTHER CANDIDATES. ONE OF THE DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES IS CHET CULVER, NOW IN HIS SECOND FOUR-YEAR TERM AS IOWA'S SECRETARY OF STATE. SECRETARY CULVER, WELCOME TO 'IOWA PRESS.'

Culver: THANK YOU, DEAN.

Borg: AND ACROSS THE TABLE, TWO PEOPLE THAT I THINK YOU KNOW WELL: 'DES MOINES REGISTER' POLITICAL COLUMNIST DAVID YEPSEN AND 'IOWA PUBLIC RADIO' STATEHOUSE REPORTER JENEANE BECK.

Beck: WELL, SECRETARY CULVER, WE WANT TO START BY JUST LETTING YOU MAKE YOUR PITCH. WHY ARE YOU RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR, AND WHY SHOULD THE DEMOCRATS SELECT YOU AS THEIR CANDIDATE?

Culver: WELL, I WANT TO LEAD THE STATE I LOVE TO THE GREATNESS THAT WE ALL KNOW IS POSSIBLE. GOVERNOR VILSACK AND LT. GOVERNOR SALLY PEDERSON HAVE DONE A VERY, VERY GOOD JOB. THEY'VE PREPARED OUR ECONOMY WELL FOR THE 21ST CENTURY, OUR FISCAL HOUSE IS IN ORDER, AND THEY NEED TO BE COMMENDED. HOWEVER, WE'RE AT A CROSSROADS. IOWANS HAVE A VERY IMPORTANT DECISION TO MAKE. WE DO HAVE SOME CHALLENGES THAT REMAIN. WE'VE LOST MANUFACTURING JOBS. MANY OF OUR BEST AND BRIGHTEST YOUNG PEOPLE ARE LEAVING THE STATE. WE NEED TO DO BETTER IN TERMS OF EXCELLENCE IN EDUCATION AGAIN. AND I BELIEVE IF WE BUILD ON OUR STRENGTHS IN AGRICULTURE, IN EDUCATION, AND MANUFACTURING, WE CAN CREATE GOOD JOBS WITH GOOD BENEFITS FOR EVERY IOWAN IN EVERY CORNER OF THIS STATE. AND I BELIEVE WE CAN DO THAT PRIMARILY AROUND RENEWABLE ENERGY AND ALTERNATIVE FUELS. THIS IS VERY, VERY EXCITING AND I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS CAMPAIGN.

Yepsen: SECRETARY CULVER, WE WANT TO TALK ABOUT THAT. BUT ONE OF THE THINGS WE DO WITH ALL THE CANDIDATES OUT HERE IS WE TRY TO GIVE THEM A CHANCE TO RESPOND TO SOME OF THE NEGATIVES THAT THEY HAVE, SOME OF THE ATTACKS THAT ARE BEING MADE AGAINST THEM. ONE OF THE CRITICISMS THAT'S MADE AGAINST YOU IS THAT YOU'RE NOT UP TO THE JOB, THAT YOU'RE TOO YOUNG, YOU LACK EXPERIENCE, AND THAT YOU'RE JUST ESSENTIALLY CASHING IN ON YOUR FATHER'S LAST NAME. HOW DO YOU RESPOND TO THAT ISSUE?

Culver: WELL, I'M A PROUD FIFTH-GENERATION IOWAN AND I'M A PROUD PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRAT AND I'M VERY PROUD OF MY FATHER'S RECORD. I ALSO HAVE TWENTY YEARS OF EXPERIENCE IN PUBLIC SERVICE ON THE FRONT LINES: AS A TEACHER AND COACH, WORKING IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS HERE IN DES MOINES; AS AN INVESTIGATOR, A CONSUMER AND ENVIRONMENTAL ADVOCATE; AS A VOLUNTEER WORKING IN MY COMMUNITY WITH UNDERPRIVILEGED KIDS, COACHING THE SPECIAL OLYMPIC KIDS AND REALLY BEING INVOLVED AND ACTIVE FOR THE LAST TWENTY YEARS. AND THEN FOR THE LAST SEVEN YEARS, I'VE HAD THE GREAT HONOR OF SERVING IN THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH AS THE SECRETARY OF STATE. I WOULD BRING AS MUCH EXECUTIVE BRANCH EXPERIENCE TO THE OFFICE AS ANY RECENT GOVERNOR. TWO OF OUR MOST POPULAR GOVERNORS THAT WE'VE EVER HAD IN THE HISTORY OF IOWA, GOVERNOR RAY AND GOVERNOR HUGHES, WERE ACTUALLY FORTY YEARS OLD WHEN THEY WERE ELECTED. SO WE'VE DONE IT BEFORE. AND I'M BRINGING VISION AND EXPERIENCE TO THIS CAMPAIGN. AND WE'RE READY AND WE'RE WORKING VERY HARD TO LEAD THIS STATE.

Borg: ANOTHER POSSIBLE NEGATIVE -- I'LL LET YOU DETERMINE THAT -- IS THE DEATH PENALTY SUPPORT THAT YOU HAVE EXPRESSED. HELP DEMOCRATS SORT THAT OUT BECAUSE MANY DEMOCRATS OPPOSE THE DEATH PENALTY. UNDER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES -- FOR WHAT CRIMES WOULD YOU IMPOSE THE DEATH PENALTY?

Culver: WELL, THIS IS A TOUGH QUESTION FOR A LOT OF IOWANS, REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRAT. AND I, FIRST OF ALL, REALLY RESPECT THE DIFFERENT VIEWS ON THIS ISSUE. BUT I'M ALSO THE PROUD PARENT OF TWO YOUNG KIDS UNDER THE AGE FOUR AND A HALF. AND I DO BELIEVE THAT IN THE MOST HEINOUS SITUATIONS INVOLVING THE MOST HEINOUS CRIMES THAT THE DEATH PENALTY IS WARRANTED. AND I AM -- THAT IS A BELIEF THAT I HAVE. AND AS GOVERNOR, I WILL STAND UP TO THAT BELIEF AND -- BUT I ALSO UNDERSTAND THAT THERE ARE DIFFERENCES AMONG REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS ON -- WITH THIS QUESTION.

Yepsen: SPECIFICALLY, SECRETARY CULVER, WHY SHOULD -- WHEN SHOULD -- UNDER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD THE STATE EXECUTE SOMEONE? YOU SAY THE MOST HEINOUS CRIMES. WHAT ARE THEY? MURDER? RAPE? KIDNAPPING? WHERE ARE YOUR THRESHOLDS?

Culver: WELL, FIRST OF ALL, I'M NOT RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR TO REINSTATE THE DEATH PENALTY. IT'S NOT ON THE TOP OF MY LIST OF THINGS TO DO. BUT I BELIEVE THAT THOSE CASES INVOLVING THE MOST HEINOUS CRIMES, INCLUDING ABDUCTION AND MURDER OF A CHILD, THE MURDER OF A POLICE OFFICER, TERRORIST ATTACKS, IF WE HAVE THE DUE PROCESS AND THE APPEALS RIGHTS IN PLACE AND THE DNA, THAT IN THOSE SITUATIONS I BELIEVE IT'S WARRANTED.

Yepsen: SO THIS WOULD BE MURDER IN CONNECTION WITH THE COMMISSION OF ANOTHER FELONY?

Culver: YES, IT WOULD INVOLVE THE MOST HEINOUS AND SERIOUS CRIMES, AND I'VE LISTED THOSE IN TERMS OF MURDER AND ABDUCTION OF A CHILD AND MURDER OF A POLICE OFFICER.

Yepsen: BUT THOSE ARE TWO CRIMES.

Culver: RIGHT. VERY LIMITED -- VERY LIMITED SITUATIONS JUST INVOLVING THOSE -- LITERALLY THOSE THREE OR FOUR CRIMES.

Yepsen: AND YOU WOULD SIGN A BILL THAT WOULD DO THAT?

Culver: IF IT INVOLVED -- IF IT HAD THE EQUAL PROTECTION, THE DNA EVIDENCE AND EVERY OPPORTUNITY FOR PROOF OF INNOCENCE, YES.

Beck: ANOTHER ISSUE THAT'S COME UP DURING THIS CAMPAIGN AMONG DEMOCRATS IS THE ISSUE OF ABORTION. ONE OF YOUR FELLOW DEMOCRATS, AN OPPONENT, MIKE BLOUIN, HAS SAID HE IS PRO-LIFE BUT THAT HE WILL ESSENTIALLY LEAVE IOWA'S CURRENT LAWS ON ABORTION ALONE. IS THAT GOOD ENOUGH?

Culver: YOU KNOW, I WILL NEVER STOP BELIEVING THAT A WOMAN HAS THE RIGHT TO MAKE HER OWN HEALTH CARE DECISIONS. IT'S VERY SIMPLE AS FAR AS I'M CONCERNED, AND I WILL VETO ANY ATTEMPT TO INFRINGE UPON THAT RIGHT. I ALSO BELIEVE THAT THE BAN ON STEM CELL RESEARCH SHOULD BE LIFTED, THAT IN THIS STATE WE SHOULD OPEN THE DOORS TO THIS TYPE OF RESEARCH. YOU KNOW, EVERY THREE MINUTES SOMEONE DIES OF DIABETES. EVERY -- IT WILL SHORTEN THE LIFE SPAN FIFTEEN YEARS. WE HAVE PROBLEMS -- WE HAVE CURABLE DISEASES OUT THERE POTENTIALLY, AND STEM CELL RESEARCH IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF THAT. AND IOWA NEEDS TO OPEN THE DOORS BACK UP AND ALLOW STEM CELL RESEARCH TO MOVE FORWARD IN THIS STATE.

Borg: IS THAT SOMETHING THAT YOU'RE CAMPAIGNING ON? YOU'VE SAID BEFORE I WOULDN'T CAMPAIGN ON THIS ISSUE, BUT YOU SEEM -- YOU VOLUNTEERED THAT. IS THAT SOMETHING YOU'RE CAMPAIGNING ON?

Culver: YES, IT IS VERY -- IT IS CRITICALLY IMPORTANT. YOU KNOW, WE LOST A LEAD SCIENTIST, MARY HENDRIX, AT THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA, BECAUSE OF THE BAN ON STEM CELL RESEARCH IN IOWA. I THINK IT'S VERY IMPORTANT THAT THIS STATE TRY TO SAVE LIVES AND TO TRY TO CURE THOSE MOST HORRIBLE DISEASES. STATES AROUND US ARE MOVING FORWARD. IN MISSOURI THE VERY CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR IS LEADING THE WAY TO ALLOW STEM CELL RESEARCH IN MISSOURI. IN WISCONSIN THEY'VE CREATED A $700-MILLION RESEARCH FACILITY. AND WE LOST MARY HENDRIX, UNFORTUNATELY, AND HER WHOLE TEAM TO ILLINOIS. SO IT'S IMPORTANT FOR IOWA TO GET BACK IN THAT BUSINESS.

Beck: I JUST WANTED TO JUMP BACK TO THE ABORTION QUESTION QUICKLY THOUGH. AT THE JEFFERSON-JACKSON DAY DINNER, WHICH IS A BIG DEMOCRATIC DINNER, SOME OF THE LARGEST APPLAUSE CAME FOR WHEN CANDIDATES LIKE YOURSELF OR PATTY JUDGE, SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, TALKED ABOUT PROTECTING A WOMAN'S RIGHT TO CHOOSE. WILL THIS BE A CONTINUAL ISSUE FOR MIKE BLOUIN? WILL YOU GUYS MAKE IT AN ISSUE ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL?

Culver: IT IS AN ISSUE RIGHT NOW MORE SO THAT IT'S EVER BEEN IN RECENT HISTORY. WE HAVE A LOT OF UNCERTAINTY WITH RESPECT TO THE SUPREME COURT AND THE FUTURE NOMINEES. IN FACT, THE RECENT NOMINEE OF THE SUPREME COURT HAS WRITTEN THAT HE DOESN'T BELIEVE THE CONSTITUTION PROTECTS A WOMAN'S RIGHT TO MAKE HER OWN HEALTH CARE DECISIONS. THAT'S A PROBLEM. AND I WANT TO MAKE IT VERY, VERY CLEAR. AND I THINK IN THIS CAMPAIGN, WHAT IS REALLY IMPORTANT FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES TO DO IS TO BE VERY STRAIGHT AND HONEST WITH THE ELECTORATE. AND I COULDN'T BE MORE STRAIGHT AND HONEST ABOUT MY POSITION TO ALLOW A WOMAN TO MAKE HER OWN HEALTH CARE DECISIONS. AS GOVERNOR OF THIS STATE, I WOULD PROTECT THAT RIGHT AND VETO ANY ATTEMPT THAT WILL INFRINGE UPON IT.

Yepsen: SECRETARY CULVER, ANOTHER ISSUE IN FRONT OF IOWA POLICYMAKERS RIGHT NOW IS HOW WE DEAL WITH SEX OFFENDERS IN THIS STATE. DO YOU SUPPORT THE 2,000-FOOT LIMIT?

Culver: I DO. PUBLIC SAFETY IS CRITICALLY IMPORTANT TO A GOVERNOR AND TO -- OBVIOUSLY, A TOP PRIORITY OF A CULVER ADMINISTRATION.

Yepsen: AND WHAT DO YOU DO ABOUT PRISON BREAKS? WE HAD A COUPLE OF THOSE HERE THIS PAST WEEK. WHAT DO YOU DO TO PREVENT THAT?

Culver: WELL, IT'S A REAL CONCERN. AND WE ARE -- WE'RE REALLY SLIPPING IN TERMS OF PER CAPITA SPENDING ON PROTECTING THE PUBLIC. AND WE NEED TO MAKE A COMMITMENT AT THE LEGISLATURE TO MAKE THAT A HIGHER PRIORITY. AND AS GOVERNOR, I WILL DO THAT. THERE IS NOTHING MORE IMPORTANT THAN KEEPING OUR KIDS SAFE IN THIS STATE AND KEEPING OUR CITIZENS SAFE. AND WE ALL ARE VERY TROUBLED BY WHAT HAPPENED. I DO WANT TO TAKE A MOMENT, THOUGH, TO THANK THE MEN AND WOMEN WHO KEEP US SAFE: THE CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS AT FORT MADISON, THE POLICE OFFICERS ON THE FRONT LINES, THE TROOPERS IN THIS STATE. WE NEED TO GIVE THEM THE RESOURCES TO DO THEIR JOB. AND AS THE GOVERNOR OF IOWA, I WILL MAKE THAT A VERY HIGH PRIORITY.

Beck: DO THEY NOT HAVE THE RESOURCES CURRENTLY? DO YOU FEEL THAT THERE -- I MEAN THERE HAVE BEEN SOME COMPLAINTS THAT BUDGET CUTS WERE THE REASON THAT THIS PRISON BREAK OCCURRED. HAVE YOU LOOKED INTO THAT? DO YOU THINK THAT IT WAS ADEQUATELY FUNDED?

Culver: WELL, I KNOW THAT WE HAVE SLIPPED TO NEAR THIRTIETH IN PER CAPITA SPENDING ON PUBLIC SAFETY. THAT IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH. AND AS GOVERNOR, I WILL MAKE IT A PRIORITY TO GET US THE -- GET THE LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS ON THE FRONT LINES THE RESOURCES THEY NEED TO DO THEIR JOB.

Beck: WE HAVE A HOST OF ISSUES WE WANT TO ASK YOU ABOUT, BUT LET'S START WITH ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. ONE OF YOUR OPPONENTS, ED FALLON, HAS SAID THAT THE IOWA VALUES FUND, THE CURRENT SYSTEM IN PLACE AMOUNTS TO CORPORATE WELFARE, CORPORATE GIVEAWAYS. WHAT IS YOUR PHILOSOPHY ON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT? WOULD YOU KEEP THE IOWA VALUES FUND IN PLACE?

Culver: YES. AND I WOULD ADD TO IT. WE HAVE DETAILED A PLAN, 'LEADING IOWA FORWARD.' THIS PLAN FOCUSES ON A $100,000-MILLION IOWA POWER FUND IDEA TO LEAD THE NATION IN RENEWABLE ENERGY AND ALTERNATIVE FUELS TO CREATE GOOD JOBS IN EVERY CORNER OF THIS STATE WITH GOOD BENEFITS. RENEWABLE ENERGY AND ALTERNATIVE FUELS WILL DRIVE OUR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS.

Yepsen: BUT IS THAT THE SAME -- EXCUSE ME. IS THAT THE SAME AS THE VALUES FUND?

Culver: IT WILL COMPLEMENT THE VALUES FUND.

Yepsen: SO WOULD YOU CHANGE THE VALUES FUND?

Culver: NO, WE WOULD TRY TO -- WE WILL ALWAYS TRY TO MAKE ALL STATE PROGRAMS BETTER. THE ONE THING I WOULD LIKE TO LOOK AT, ALONG WITH A LOT OF LEGISLATORS AND SOME OF MY OPPONENTS IN THIS CAMPAIGN, IS MAKING THE VALUES FUND BETTER. WE NEED TO SPEND MORE MONEY, FOR EXAMPLE, IN RURAL IOWA. WE NEED TO HAVE MORE MONEY SET ASIDE FOR ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT. WE NEED TO HAVE A BETTER BALANCE BETWEEN RURAL AND URBAN. AND THIS IOWA POWER FUND THAT WE'VE DETAILED IN LEADING IOWA FORWARD WILL HELP US DRIVE THE VALUES FUND AND ADD TO IT --

Yepsen: FOR THOSE WHO DON'T READ THE LITTLE PHOTO PROPS THAT YOU HOLD HERE, HOW DOES YOUR FUEL FUND WORK?

Culver: WELL, WHAT WE'D DO IS WE WOULD SET UP A $100,000-MILLION IOWA POWER FUND. THE IDEA WOULD BE TO GENERATE $2- TO $300 MILLION IN PRIVATE INVESTMENT, IN RENEWABLE ENERGY --

Yepsen: WHERE DO YOU GET THE $100 MILLION?

Culver: WE HAVE -- THE MONEY -- EVERY YEAR WE HAVE $5 BILLION AT THE STATE LEVEL. REVENUE PROJECTIONS ARE UP. AGAIN, THE THE GOVERNOR HAS DONE A GOOD JOB. THE ECONOMY IS MOVING FORWARD. THE REVENUE PROJECTIONS FOR 2007 ARE ACTUALLY UP $125 MILLION. IT NEEDS TO BE A PRIORITY. WE WILL APPOINT A DIRECTOR OF RENEWABLE ENERGY WHOSE SOLE FOCUS WILL BE ON CREATING THESE TYPES OF NEW JOBS, ADVANCED MANUFACTURING JOBS THAT WE NEED TO FOCUS ON. WE WILL LEAD THE NATION IN TERMS OF TRYING TO GENERATE PRIVATE INVESTMENT INTO THIS STATE. WE WILL BE A LEADING CONSUMER AT THE STATE LEVEL OF RENEWABLE ENERGY, CONVERTING THE ENTIRE STATE FLEET OF VEHICLES, FOR EXAMPLE, TO FLEX-FUEL VEHICLES. WE WILL RAPIDLY CONVERT ALL THE PUMPS, AS MANY PUMPS AS WE CAN, TO ETHANOL 85 AND BIODIESEL, AND WE NEED TO DO A BETTER JOB OF EXPANDING THE MARKET. RIGHT NOW IN THIS STATE, DAVID, WE ONLY HAVE 21 ETHANOL 85 PUMPS. WE HAD OUR FIRST PUMP YESTERDAY OPEN IN THE WHOLE METRO AREA HERE IN DES MOINES. WE HAVE INCREDIBLE OPPORTUNITY IN TERMS OF RENEWABLE FUELS AND ALTERNATIVE ENERGY. I BELIEVE WE ARE SITTING ON TOP OF A GOLD MINE. AND AS GOVERNOR OF THIS STATE, I WILL MAKE IT A TOP PRIORITY, AND WE'VE OUTLINED THIS.

Yepsen: DO YOU FAVOR AN ETHANOL MANDATE?

Culver: YES, THAT WOULD BE A PART OF OUR PLAN AS WELL, 10-PERCENT ETHANOL MANDATE.

Yepsen: AS JENEANE MENTIONED, WE HAVE WAY TOO MANY ISSUES AND NOT ENOUGH TIME, SO I WANT TO SWITCH GEARS AND GO TO HEALTH CARE, A BIG ISSUE WITH A LOT OF PEOPLE: AVAILABILITY, COST. WHAT, IF ANYTHING, CAN A GOVERNOR DO?

Culver: A GOVERNOR CAN HAVE A GREAT IMPACT ON ALL ISSUES RELATED TO QUALITY OF LIFE.

Yepsen: WELL, WHAT WOULD YOU DO ON HEALTH CARE?

Culver: WELL, NUMBER ONE, WE WILL FIND A WAY TO GET 30,000 YOUNG IOWANS COVERED. TODAY IN THIS STATE, 30,000 YOUNG PEOPLE DO NOT HAVE HEALTH CARE COVERAGE. WE HAVE OVER 300,000 THAT HAVE NO HEALTH CARE. I'M VERY INTERESTED IN WHAT IS HAPPENING AROUND THE COUNTRY. FOR EXAMPLE, IN ILLINOIS THEY HAVE COME UP WITH A CREATIVE WAY TO GET MORE PEOPLE COVERED. ALSO IN ARIZONA, GOVERNOR NAPOLITANO HAS COME UP WITH A WAY TO GET EVERY KID COVERED. I WILL MAKE IT A PRIORITY IN THIS ADMINISTRATION. AND YOU KNOW WHAT? WE CAN DO THIS IN IOWA. WE ARE THE INSURANCE CAPITAL OF THE COUNTRY, AND EVERYONE NEEDS TO COME TOGETHER -- REPUBLICAN, DEMOCRAT, PUBLIC SECTOR, PRIVATE SECTOR -- AND MAKE THIS A TOP PRIORITY. AND I WILL GIVE THE GOVERNOR, AGAIN, CREDIT. WE HAVE EXPANDED THE HAWKEYE PROGRAM. WE HAVE COVERED MORE KIDS IN RECENT YEARS THAN EVER BEFORE. AND WE WILL CONTINUE TO USE THE HAWKEYE KIDS PROGRAM AS THE BASE FOR GETTING MORE KIDS COVERED, BECAUSE THE FACT IS THERE ARE ELIGIBLE FAMILIES AND CHILDREN OUT THERE, BUT WE JUST NEED TO GET THEM SIGNED UP.

Beck: WELL, LET'S TALK ABOUT THE FINANCES OF THAT. THE STATE'S MEDICAID PROGRAM HAS BEEN AN EXPENSIVE PROGRAM THAT'S GONE UP. FUNDING FOR THAT HAS GONE UP EVERY YEAR AS MORE IOWANS NEED HELP WITH HEALTH CARE. WHERE DO YOU FIND THE MONEY FOR BOTH $100-MILLION ENERGY FUND AND MAKING SURE 30,000 MORE KIDS ARE COVERED WITH HEALTH INSURANCE?

Culver: WELL, AGAIN, WE HAVE A $5-BILLION BUDGET. AND I BELIEVE IT REALLY COMES DOWN TO PRIORITIES AND VALUES. AND TO ME, THERE'S NOTHING MORE IMPORTANT THAN CREATING JOBS IN EVERY CORNER OF THIS STATE, AND WE'LL DO THAT WITH THE IOWA POWER FUND. THERE'S NOTHING MORE IMPORTANT THAN GIVING OUR YOUNG KIDS INSURANCE SO THAT THEY COME TO SCHOOL PREPARED TO LEARN. AND THERE'S NOTHING MORE IMPORTANT THAN INVESTING IN EDUCATION. AND I WOULD BE THE ONLY GOVERNOR IN THE NATION THAT HAS ACTUALLY BEEN IN THE CLASSROOM IN THE LAST TWENTY YEARS. SO EDUCATION WILL ALSO BE A PRIORITY IN OUR ADMINISTRATION.

Yepsen: YOU'VE JUST LED TO OUR NEXT QUESTION, WHICH IS EDUCATION. AS BRIEFLY AS YOU CAN, WHAT DO YOU DO TO IMPROVE EDUCATION IN IOWA?

Culver: WELL, I WILL TAKE A BACK SEAT TO NO ONE WHEN IT COMES TO PREPARING OUR YOUNG PEOPLE FOR THE JOBS OF THE FUTURE. AGAIN, I'VE BEEN IN THE CLASSROOM. I'VE BEEN ON THE FRONT LINES AS AN EDUCATOR. I HAVE A MASTERS DEGREE IN TEACHING. AND WE NEED TO REALLY FOCUS ON THREE THINGS IMMEDIATELY. ONE IS EXPANDING EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION STATEWIDE. TWO IS TO BETTER PREPARE OUR YOUNG PEOPLE FOR LIFE AFTER HIGH SCHOOL, WITH LOOKING AT WHAT WE TEACH AND WHEN WE TEACH IT. THREE, WE NEED TO MAKE COLLEGE MORE AFFORDABLE. THAT HAS GOT TO BE A PRIORITY. COMMUNITY COLLEGE COSTS HAVE INCREASED SIGNIFICANTLY. COSTS AT OUR REGENTS UNIVERSITIES HAVE INCREASED SIGNIFICANTLY. AND FINALLY, TEACHER PAY, WE HAVE TO GET OUR TEACHERS IN THIS STATE TO THE NATIONAL AVERAGE IN TEACHER PAY.

Borg: THIS STRIKES ME THAT EVERYTHING WE'VE ASKED ABOUT IN THE LAST FEW MINUTES -- ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, HEALTH CARE, EDUCATION -- ARE ALL GOING TO BE PRIORITIES. AND I'VE HEARD YOU OUTLINING SEVERAL VERY COSTLY THINGS THAT YOU SAY YOU'RE GOING TO MAKE IT AS A PRIORITY. WELL, AND THEN WE GET TO THE ENVIRONMENT. THE ENVIRONMENT HAS SORT OF SLIPPED IN IOWA. SOME FEEL WATER QUALITY IS NOT WHAT IT SHOULD BE. WHERE DOES THAT STRIKE IN YOUR PRIORITY, AND HOW ARE YOU GOING TO DO WHAT IS NEEDED AND PAY FOR IT?

Culver: WELL, I'M GLAD THAT YOU RAISED THAT IMPORTANT ISSUE, DEAN. I GREW UP AS A YOUNG KID SPENDING A LOT OF TIME UP ON THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER. WE HAD A HOME IN MCGREGOR, IOWA. WE ALL HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT THE LAND, LAKES, RIVERS, AND STREAMS THAT WE LOVE. I AM VERY CONCERNED THAT AS MANY AS 2- TO 300 OF OUR LAKES, RIVERS, AND STREAMS ARE IMPAIRED. THE GOOD NEWS, DEAN, IS THAT THERE IS FEDERAL MONEY AVAILABLE. BUT WHAT WE REALLY HAVE TO DO IS COME TOGETHER, AGAIN, AT THE LEGISLATURE IN A BIPARTISAN WAY, WORKING WITH THE DNR, AND MAKE IT A PRIORITY. LET'S CLEAN UP THESE RIVERS, LAKES, AND STREAMS. AND THAT'S A VALUE THAT I BRING TO THIS RACE. I WAS, AGAIN, AN ENVIRONMENTAL ADVOCATE IN THE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE. AND THE THING WE HAVE TO DO FINALLY IS HOLD THE POLLUTERS RESPONSIBLE. I WENT AFTER THE BIG OIL COMPANIES WHEN I WORKED IN THE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE, THE BIG OIL COMPANIES THAT POLLUTED OUR LAND. AND WE HELD THEM ACCOUNTABLE AND RESPONSIBLE, AND THEY CLEANED UP THEIR MESS AND PAID THE STATE $36 MILLION TO DO THAT.

Yepsen: DO YOU HOLD FARMERS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE POLLUTION THAT THEY DO?

Culver: WE HAVE TO HOLD EVERYONE ACCOUNTABLE.

Yepsen: MOST OF THE POLLUTION IN IOWA'S WATERWAYS, MR. SECRETARY, AS YOU KNOW, COMES FROM AGRICULTURAL RUNOFF.

Culver: RIGHT. THE VAST MAJORITY OF OUR FARMERS DO A TERRIFIC JOB PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENT. THEY RELY ON THE LAND TO MAKE THEIR LIVING. WHAT WE HAVE TO DO IS ABSOLUTELY ENFORCE NOT ONLY THE BIG OPERATORS BUT THE SMALL ONES THAT ARE VIOLATING THE ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS.

Beck: DO YOU PUT NEW LIMITS ON, SAY, FERTILIZER APPLICATION OR THINGS LIKE THAT?

Culver: I DON'T BELIEVE WE HAVE TO DO THAT AT THIS TIME. I THINK WHAT WE HAVE TO DO IS JUST ENFORCE THE EXISTING LAWS, MAKE IT A PRIORITY, AND HOLD THOSE ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR MESS.

Yepsen: DO YOU FAVOR LOCAL CONTROL OF HOG CONFINEMENTS?

Culver: I ABSOLUTELY FAVOR LOCAL CONTROL IN THIS STATE WITH RESPECT TO EDUCATION, SITING OF HOG LOTS. WE HAVE TO GIVE THE FOLKS AT THE LOCAL LEVEL THE POWER. THIS HAS BEEN A STATE THAT HISTORICALLY HAS BEEN ABSOLUTELY COMMITTED TO LOCAL CONTROL. AND THEY NEED TO HAVE MORE OF A SAY, ESPECIALLY IN TERMS OF WHERE THESE HOG CONFINEMENT LOTS ARE SITED. AND THE CURRENT MATRIX THAT WE'RE USING IS NOT QUITE GETTING IT DONE, AND WE NEED TO LOOK AT THAT.

Beck: LET'S MOVE ON TO SOME SOCIAL ISSUES. WE HAVE A COUPLE THAT WE WANT TO ASK YOU ABOUT. FIRST, GAMBLING. DO YOU FAVOR MORE EXPANSION IN IOWA, OR HAVE WE HIT OUR LIMIT?

Culver: I THINK WE'RE AT A GOOD PLACE RIGHT NOW. I'M VERY HAPPY THAT A NUMBER OF PEOPLE ACROSS THE STATE -- THEY HAD A REFERENDUM ON THE QUESTION, FOR EXAMPLE, IN EMMETSBURG. THE FOLKS IN NORTHWEST IOWA WERE VERY EXCITED ABOUT THAT OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE GAMBLING.

Yepsen: NOTHING MORE IN WATERLOO AND OTTUMWA?

Culver: I THINK FOR NOW WE'RE TOP TEN IN THE NATION PER CAPITA IN GAMBLING. AND AGAIN, IT'S, IN PART, A LOCAL DECISION. AND WE WILL MONITOR THAT AND MAKE DECISIONS DOWN THE ROAD. BUT I ALSO WANT TO SAY THAT IT IS CRITICALLY IMPORTANT, WITH THIS MUCH GAMBLING THAT WE HAVE, THAT WE HAVE THE APPROPRIATE FUNDS SET ASIDE FOR TREATMENT. AND WE DON'T HAVE QUITE ENOUGH SET ASIDE RIGHT NOW. IN FACT, THEY'VE BEEN USING GAMBLING TREATMENT MONEY FOR SUBSTANCE ABUSE TREATMENT. AND SO I THINK, AGAIN, WE NEED TO COME TOGETHER AND MAKE SURE THE RESOURCES ARE THERE TO HELP THOSE PROBLEM GAMBLERS.

Beck: LET'S MOVE ON TO CIVIL RIGHTS FOR GAYS. DO YOU SUPPORT CIVIL UNIONS OR GAY MARRIAGE?

Culver: I DON'T THINK WE NEED TO CHANGE THE EXISTING LAWS IN THIS STATE RELATED TO MARRIAGE. BUT WHAT I -- WHAT I WILL DO AS GOVERNOR IS ENSURE THAT EVERYONE'S CIVIL RIGHTS ARE PROTECTED, ESPECIALLY IN THE WORKPLACE, REGARDLESS OF RACE OR GENDER OR SEXUAL ORIENTATION. THIS IS A CIVIL RIGHTS ISSUE. WE WILL HAVE A ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY WHEN IT COMES TO DISCRIMINATORY PRACTICES IN THE WORKPLACE. AND THIS IS IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF IOWA. WE WANT THIS TO BE AN OPEN STATE, AN INVITING STATE, A WELCOMING STATE.

Beck: FOR SOME GAYS, THE FACT THAT THEY'RE NOT ALLOWED TO MARRY HERE MEANS THAT WE'RE NOT AN OPEN STATE FOR SOME.

Culver: WELL, I THINK THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT THERE ARE A NUMBER OF INSURANCE COMPANIES THAT ARE PROVIDING, FOR EXAMPLE, BENEFITS FOR PARTNERS. THAT IS IMPORTANT. IT IS ALSO SOMETHING WE HAVE TO LOOK AT IN TERMS OF HOSPITAL VISITATION AND PASSING ON REAL ESTATE AND JUST TREATING PEOPLE WITH RESPECT AND DIGNITY THAT THEY DESERVE. AND AGAIN, I THINK THAT IS WHAT IOWA HAS HISTORICALLY BEEN ABOUT. WE HAVE BEEN A WELCOMING STATE, AND IT IS IMPORTANT TO MAKE SURE THAT THIS IS A PRIORITY AS WELL. AND AGAIN, THIS IS ALL ABOUT CIVIL RIGHTS AND JUST TREATING PEOPLE WITH THEIR RIGHTS AND MAKING SURE THEY'RE PROTECTED UNDER THE LAW.

Yepsen: MR. SECRETARY, ANOTHER ISSUE THAT ALWAYS VEXES GOVERNORS AND POLICYMAKERS IS TAX POLICY.

Culver: YES.

Yepsen: WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO TO IOWA'S TAX SYSTEM?

Culver: WELL, THERE ARE A NUMBER OF CHARACTERISTICS THAT I THINK ARE CRITICALLY IMPORTANT WHEN IT COMES TO TAX STRUCTURE: ONE, THEY NEED TO BE EASY TO UNDERSTAND; TWO, THEY NEED TO BE FAIR AND EQUITABLE; THREE, THEY NEED TO GENERATE THE TYPE OF REVENUE WE NEED AT THE STATE AND LOCAL LEVEL TO PROVIDE SERVICES; AND FOUR, I THINK THERE SHOULD BE A SPECIAL EFFORT TO TAKE CARE OF THOSE INDIVIDUALS THAT NEED HELP, FOR EXAMPLE, VETERANS, SENIORS, POOR PEOPLE THAT ARE LIVING BELOW THE POVERTY LINE. I BELIEVE THAT WE CAN DO ALL OF THOSE THINGS. FOR EXAMPLE, FEDERAL DEDUCTIBILITY, THAT COMPLICATES THINGS. THAT MAKES IT HARDER TO ATTRACT BUSINESSES. WE END UP SPENDING TOO MUCH TIME EXPLAINING OUR TAX STRUCTURE. LET'S SIMPLIFY IT. LET'S MAKE IT EASIER. WE'VE DONE SOME UNIQUE THINGS IN THE SECRETARY OF STATE'S OFFICE WHEN IT COMES TO FILING CORPORATE INFORMATION. I THINK WE CAN USE TECHNOLOGY TO ALSO MAKE IT EASIER TO ACTUALLY FILE. SO I'M LOOKING AT A COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH BRINGING ALL OF THE INTERESTS TO THE TABLE. ONE THING I'M VERY CONCERNED ABOUT IS COMMERCIAL RATES. WE'RE MAKING IT VERY, VERY TOUGH ON OUR ENTREPRENEURS AND SMALL BUSINESSES, ESPECIALLY IN RURAL IOWA --

Yepsen: MR. SECRETARY, HOW DO YOU BUY DOWN COMMERCIAL PROPERTY TAXES WITHOUT DENYING REVENUES TO CITIES, COUNTIES, AND SCHOOLS?

Culver: WELL, WHAT WE HAVE TO DO IS -- I THINK AT THIS POINT WE'RE RELYING TOO MUCH ON PROPERTY AND SALES. WE HAVE TO HAVE A BETTER BALANCE, A MORE EQUITABLE BALANCE. AND I BELIEVE THAT WE CAN BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER TO COME UP WITH AN APPROACH THAT MAKES MORE SENSE FOR EVERYONE INVOLVED.

Yepsen: MR. SECRETARY, I WANT TO GO BACK TO THE ISSUE OF HOW YOU PAY FOR ALL THIS. DEAN BROUGHT THIS UP EARLIER. YOU'VE ADVOCATED OUT HERE MORE MONEY FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, HEALTH CARE, EDUCATION, WATER QUALITY, HIRING MORE PRISON GUARDS. HOW DOES THIS ALL PENCIL OUT? IS IT JUST ENOUGH TO SAY, WELL, WE HAVE A $5-BILLION BUDGET AND IT GROWS A LITTLE BIT? DOES ALL THIS PENCIL OUT IN YOUR MIND?

Culver: YOU KNOW, WE PENCIL OUT $5 BILLION EVERY YEAR, AND WE PROVIDE --

Yepsen: EXCUSE ME. YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT ABOVE AND BEYOND THIS. I'D LIKE TO SEE HOW YOU PENCIL OUT YOUR BUDGET SO THAT IT ACCOMPLISHES PAYING FOR ALL THESE THINGS YOU'VE JUST ADVOCATED.

Culver: WELL, AGAIN, IN OUR PLAN TO LEAD THE STATE FORWARD, WHICH I MIGHT ADD IS AVAILABLE AT CHETCULVER.COM, WE HAVE PUT OUT ON THE TABLE A COMPREHENSIVE OVERVIEW OF EXACTLY HOW WE WANT TO LEAD THIS STATE. AND THROUGH THE COURSE OF THIS CAMPAIGN -- AGAIN, I TOLD YOU THAT WE WILL GIVE STRAIGHT ANSWERS. WE WILL BE STRAIGHTFORWARD WITH THE PEOPLE.

Yepsen: OKAY, HERE'S A SIMPLE QUESTION.

Culver: RIGHT.

Yepsen: WILL YOU SHOW US A BUDGET THAT COVERS ALL OF THIS STUFF WHILE STILL PAYING THE REST OF THE STATE'S BILLS?

Culver: ABSOLUTELY. WE WILL, THROUGH THE COURSE OF THIS CAMPAIGN, SHOW ALL IOWANS EXACTLY HOW WE PLAN TO DO EVERYTHING WE HAVE PROPOSED. AND THAT'S IMPORTANT. THE VOTERS DESERVE THAT AND THAT'S A PART OF RUNNING FOR ANY OFFICE. YOU BETTER EXPLAIN TO THE VOTERS HOW YOU'RE GOING TO GET THINGS DONE AND HOW YOU'RE GOING TO PAY FOR IT.

Beck: IS THERE ANYTHING OFF THE TOP OF YOUR HEAD, AFTER SPENDING EIGHT YEARS AT THE STATE LEVEL IN GOVERNMENT, THAT'S EXTRA, THAT NEEDS TO BE TRIMMED, THAT'S WASTEFUL, THAT COULD GO SO THAT YOU COULD HAVE ONE OF YOUR PRIORITIES MET?

Culver: WELL, YOU KNOW, I AM CONCERNED THAT WE HAVE ONE PERCENT OF THE PEOPLE IN THIS STATE -- ONE PERCENT OF THE POPULATION IN THE UNITED STATES AND SIX PERCENT OF THE GOVERNMENT. AND, LOOK, I HAVE RUN A LEAN, EFFICIENT OFFICE. WE HAVE ENDURED SIGNIFICANT BUDGET CUTS. WE ARE ARGUABLY ONE OF THE MOST EFFICIENT OFFICES, AT THE SECRETARY OF STATE'S OFFICE, IN ALL OF STATE GOVERNMENT. ONE AREA I THINK WE COULD POTENTIALLY SAVE A LOT OF MONEY IN IS USING TECHNOLOGY TO DELIVER SERVICES. FOR EXAMPLE, IN OUR OFFICE, IN THE SECRETARY OF STATE'S OFFICE, WE HAVE AN ONLINE BUSINESS CENTER. WE HAVE LITERALLY SAVED HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS BY GETTING RID OF PAPER FILINGS, CUTTING FEES, AND MAKING IT EASIER TO DO BUSINESS WITH THE STATE.

Borg: I'M GOING TO INTERRUPT SO THAT YOU CAN HAVE A CHANCE TO SUMMARIZE HERE. I SAID AS I INTRODUCED YOU THAT YOU'RE TRYING TO DISTINGUISH YOURSELF FROM THE OTHERS SEEKING THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION. SPEAK TO DEMOCRATS NOW. WHAT DIFFERENTIATES YOU FROM, SAY, MIKE BLOUIN, PATTY JUDGE, AND THE OTHERS.

Yepsen: IN ABOUT FIFTEEN SECONDS.

Culver: WELL, ONE, I HAVE A VISION AND A PLAN TO LEAD THE STATE FORWARD. AGAIN, IT'S DETAILED AT CHETCULVER.COM. IT'S ONE THING TO TALK ABOUT WHERE YOU WANT TO TAKE THE STATE; IT'S ANOTHER THING TO PUT IT INTO A PLAN AND SHOW PEOPLE EXACTLY HOW YOU'RE GOING TO GET THERE. TWO, I AM A VERY PROUD PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRAT. I STAND UP FOR OUR CORE VALUES, LIKE A WOMAN'S RIGHT TO MAKE HER OWN HEALTH CARE DECISIONS, LIKE FIGHTING TO KEEP ENVIRONMENT CLEAN, LIKE GIVING KIDS OPPORTUNITIES IN TERMS OF PUBLIC EDUCATION. AND THREE, WE HAVE A RECORD, DEAN. WE'VE WON TWICE STATEWIDE AND WE HAVE --

Borg: I HAVE TO STOP YOU. THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR SHARING THAT WITH US TODAY AND FOR THE TIME THAT YOU'VE GIVEN US. ON OUR NEXT EDITION ON 'IOWA PRESS,' WE CONTINUE OUR FOCUS ON THE IOWA STATEHOUSE. GOVERNOR TOM VILSACK WILL BE HERE. IN THE PAST FEW DAYS, HE'S BEEN HIGHLIGHTING SOME OF HIS PRIORITIES FOR HIS FINAL YEAR AS GOVERNOR. WE'LL BE GETTING ADDITIONAL DETAILS ON THOSE AND MORE. GOVERNOR VILSACK NEXT WEEKEND, REGULAR AIRTIMES: 7:30 FRIDAY; SUNDAY AT NOON. I HOPE YOU'LL WATCH. 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.

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