Iowa Public Television

 

Governor Tom Vilsack

posted on November 28, 2005

Borg: CRAFTING A LEADERSHIP LEGACY. GOVERNOR TOM VILSACK SETS PRIORITIES FOR THE IOWA GENERAL ASSEMBLY DURING HIS FINAL YEAR AS GOVERNOR. THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH AGENDA FROM GOVERNOR TOM VILSACK 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 25 EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS." HERE IS DEAN BORG.

Borg: IOWA'S 2006 LEGISLATIVE SESSION, THE SECOND SESSION OF THE 81ST GENERAL ASSEMBLY, CONVENES JANUARY 9. AS LEGISLATIVE LEADERS DEVELOP AGENDAS, GOVERNOR TOM VILSACK IS MAKING HIS PRIORITIES KNOWN TOO. HIS TOTAL AGENDA, OF COURSE, IS SPELLED OUT WHEN HE PRESENTS THE CONDITION OF THE STATE ADDRESS ON THE SECOND DAY OF THE NEW LEGISLATIVE SESSION. ALL OF THIS, OF COURSE, PLAYS OUT IN WHAT NEXT YEAR IS AN ELECTION YEAR, WITH A NEW GOVERNOR TO BE ELECTED AND THE POLITICAL BALANCE OF A NEW GENERAL ASSEMBLY DETERMINED. IT'S WITH THAT BACKDROP THAT TODAY WE WELCOME GOVERNOR TOM VILSACK TO THE "IOWA PRESS" TABLE. WELCOME BACK.

Vilsack: THANK YOU, DEAN.

Borg: NICE TO HAVE YOU HERE. JOINING THE CONVERSATION: "DES MOINES REGISTER" POLITICAL COLUMNIST DAVID YEPSEN AND "ASSOCIATED PRESS" SENIOR POLITICAL WRITER MIKE GLOVER.

Glover: GOVERNOR, FOR THE PAST COUPLE OF WEEKS THE NEWS HAS BEEN DOMINATED BY AN ESCAPE FROM THE MAXIMUM SECURITY PRISON IN FORT MADISON. HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN WHAT HAPPENED DOWN THERE, AND WHAT'S GOING TO BE THE FALLOUT FROM THAT?

Vilsack: WELL, MIKE, WE HAVE TAKEN SEVERAL STEPS IN ORDER TO RECTIFY THE FAILURES AT THE FORT MADISON PRISON. FIRST OF ALL, THE WARDEN HAS BEEN REASSIGNED. JOHN AULT FROM ANAMOSA WILL BE THE WARDEN AT THE FORT MADISON PENITENTIARY. SEVERAL SUPERVISORY PERSONNEL IN CHARGE OF AND RESPONSIBLE FOR SECURITY WILL BE LEAVING THE INSTITUTION AND WILL BE REASSIGNED. A NUMBER OF FRONT-LINE PERSONNEL WILL BE REPRIMANDED, AND ONE INDIVIDUAL ASSOCIATED WITH PRISON INDUSTRIES WAS SUSPENDED AND RELEASED. WE WILL BE LOOKING AT THE LIGHTING ARRANGEMENTS IN THE PRISON AND SUGGESTING CHANGES TO BETTER LIGHT THE OVERALL PRISON. AND WE'RE ALSO GOING TO HAVE A NATIONAL BOARD COME IN AND WORK WITH THE AFSCME REVIEW OF STAFFING. AND FINALLY, WE'RE GOING TO SUGGEST THAT THE DIRECTOR OF CORRECTIONS AND THE BOARD OF CORRECTIONS SUBMIT TO ME WITHIN THIRTY DAYS A REPORT AS TO WHETHER OR NOT A PRISON THAT BEGAN OPERATION IN 1839 IS CURRENTLY WHAT IT NEEDS TO BE OR WHETHER WE OUGHT TO CONSIDER A NEW FACILITY IN FORT MADISON.

Yepsen: WOULD THE NEW PRISON BE -- IT WOULD BE IN FORT MADISON.

Vilsack: THAT'S CORRECT.

Yepsen: WOULD YOU RAZE THE CURRENT FACILITY AND START OVER?

Vilsack: YOU WOULD. YOU WOULD. I MEAN THE DESIGNS OF PRISONS OBVIOUSLY HAVE CHANGED RATHER DRAMATICALLY IN THE LAST 170, -80 YEARS.

Yepsen: GOVERNOR, WHAT IN ANY OF THIS DO YOU WANT THE LEGISLATURE TO DO? ARE YOU FAR ENOUGH ALONG IN THIS PROCESS THAT YOU KNOW YOU'RE GOING TO BE ASKING THE LEGISLATURE TO DO SOMETHING HERE?

Vilsack: WELL, WE'RE GOING TO SEE WHAT GARY MAYNARD AND THE BOARD OF CORRECTIONS PROPOSES RELATIVE TO A NEW PRISON. AND OBVIOUSLY, IF THE RECOMMENDATION IS THAT A NEW PRISON COULD BE MORE EFFECTIVE, MORE EFFICIENT, AND MORE -- SAFER AND MORE SECURE, THEN WE MAY TAKE A LOOK AT HOW THAT MIGHT BE FINANCED THROUGH AN INFRASTRUCTURE PROPOSAL.

Yepsen: WHAT DO YOU SAY, GOVERNOR, TO THE CRITICISM THAT'S MADE OF YOU AND THE LEGISLATURE THAT IT WAS BUDGET CUTS THAT CAUSED THIS?

Vilsack: DAVID, ESSENTIALLY WHAT HAPPENED WAS A COUNT WAS NOT MADE IN THE PRISON INDUSTRY SECTION OF THE PRISON THAT WOULD HAVE IDENTIFIED IMMEDIATELY THAT INDIVIDUALS WERE MISSING. THIS WAS NOT ABOUT STAFFING. THIS WAS ABOUT PEOPLE DOING THEIR JOB. THERE WERE SEVERAL OTHER PROBLEMS THAT WERE IDENTIFIED DURING THE COURSE OF THE REVIEW THAT WILL ALLOW US TO HAVE A MORE SECURE FACILITY. IF YOU TAKE A LOOK AT THE STAFFING AT FORT MADISON AND COMPARE IT TO THE OTHER PRISONS, WHAT YOU'RE GOING TO FIND IS THAT WE HAVE A FAIRLY SIGNIFICANT STAFF RATIO DOWN THERE RELATIVE TO ANAMOSA OR SOME OF THE OTHER PRISONS. I DON'T BELIEVE THIS WAS A STAFFING ISSUE. I THINK IT WAS THE FACT THAT PEOPLE JUST SIMPLY DIDN'T DO THE JOB THAT THEY SHOULD HAVE DONE.

Glover: IF WE LOOK AT BUILDING A NEW PRISON AT FORT MADISON, THAT'S AN AWFULLY EXPENSIVE PROPOSAL. WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?

Vilsack: WELL, IT'S AN AWFULLY EXPENSIVE PROPOSAL RELATIVE TO DOLLARS AND CENTS. BUT THE IDEA IS CAN WE, IN FACT, PROVIDE FOR A MORE SECURE ENVIRONMENT, NUMBER ONE. AND NUMBER TWO, COULD A NEW PRISON ACTUALLY BE OPERATED LESS EXPENSIVELY. THIS IS A RATHER LARGE OPERATION IN FORT MADISON, AND YOU MIGHT ACTUALLY BE ABLE TO PAY FOR THE NEW FACILITY BY THE SAVINGS THAT WOULD OCCUR IN TERMS OF USING NEW TECHNOLOGIES.

Glover: HOW QUICKLY DO YOU HAVE TO MAKE THIS DECISION?

Vilsack: WELL, IF I'M GOING TO PROPOSE IT, WE OBVIOUSLY HAVE TO MAKE IT WITHIN THE NEXT THIRTY DAYS, WHICH IS WHY I'VE ASKED THE BOARD OF CORRECTIONS AND THE DIRECTOR TO SUBMIT A RECOMMENDATION.

Borg: IS THIS CONCENTRATING ONLY ON FORT MADISON, OR IS THE INCIDENT THERE -- HAS IT CAUSED YOU TO LOOK SYSTEM-WIDE?

Vilsack: WELL, ALL OF THE SECURITY MEASURES WILL BE REEXAMINED, AND CERTAINLY IN FORT MADISON WE'RE ALSO GOING TO PROVIDE FOR MORE FREQUENT SHAKEDOWNS OF VARIOUS LOCATIONS WHERE PRISONERS ARE WORKING. SO THIS WAS A WAKE-UP CALL. WE ARE VERY FORTUNATE THE TWO INDIVIDUALS WERE APPREHENDED AND ARE BACK IN CUSTODY, BUT I THINK WE'VE TAKEN SWIFT AND SIGNIFICANT ACTION HERE IN ORDER TO ADDRESS THE PERSONNEL ISSUES, IN ORDER TO ADDRESS ANY OTHER SECURITY ISSUES AT THE PRISON. BUT I THINK WE NEED TO ASK THE QUESTION: DO WE CURRENTLY HAVE A FACILITY SIMPLY BECAUSE OF ITS DESIGN, ITS SIZE, THE WAY IN WHICH IT'S BEEN DEVELOPED OVER A PERIOD OF 180 YEARS OR SO -- DO WE HAVE A FACILITY THAT'S OUTLIVED ITS USEFULNESS? AND IF WE DO, THEN PERHAPS WE OUGHT TO CONSIDER CONSTRUCTING A NEW FACILITY WHICH WOULD BE STATE OF THE ART, WHICH WOULD BE LESS EXPENSIVE TO OPERATE AND, OVER TIME, PAY FOR ITSELF.

Yepsen: GOVERNOR, ANY IDEA WHAT THE PRICE TAG WOULD BE?

Vilsack: THE PRICE TAG THAT NORMALLY IS ASSOCIATED WITH SOMETHING OF THIS NATURE IS IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF $40 MILLION. THE SAVINGS COULD BE AS MUCH AS $5 TO $6 MILLION A YEAR. SO IN A RELATIVELY SHORT PERIOD OF TIME, CERTAINLY IN THE LIFE OF THE PRISON, YOU MIGHT BE ABLE TO ACTUALLY SAVE THE COST OF IT.

Yepsen: WHY BUILD IT IN FORT MADISON? THAT IS THE FAR EASTERN END OF THE STATE. IT MAY HAVE MADE SENSE WHEN IOWA WAS A TERRITORY. THE POPULATION CENTER OF THE STATE IS FARTHER WEST. WHY BUILD IT IN FORT MADISON?

Vilsack: I DON'T THINK IT HAS ANYTHING TO DO WITH WHERE THE POPULATION CENTER IS. I THINK THIS IS A COMMUNITY THAT UNDERSTANDS CORRECTIONS. IT IS A COMMUNITY THAT'S LIVED WITH CORRECTIONS. IT HAS A BASE OF EMPLOYEES THERE THAT OBVIOUSLY UNDERSTAND CORRECTIONS, SO I THINK IT WOULD BE APPROPRIATE AND REASONABLE. PLUS, FRANKLY, SOUTHEAST IOWA DOESN'T NEED ANOTHER SIGNIFICANT ECONOMIC HIT. THIS IS AN AREA OF THE STATE WHERE I RECENTLY ATTENDED A SUMMIT. I'M TRYING TO ENCOURAGE FOLKS TO TAKE A LOOK AT NEW CREATIVE WAYS TO DO BUSINESS DOWN THERE SO THAT WE CAN BRING SOME ECONOMIC VITALITY BACK INTO THE REGION.

Glover: THAT'S ONE THING WE'VE GOTTEN OUT OF THE WAY THAT YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE FOR THE LEGISLATURE THIS YEAR. TURN TO A COUPLE OF OTHER ISSUES YOU'RE LIKELY TO APPROACH THE LEGISLATURE WITH. ONE OF THE THINGS WE HEAR A LOT OF BUSINESS LEADERS COMPLAIN ABOUT IS THE COST OF PROVIDING HEALTH CARE. IT MAKES AMERICA UNCOMPETITIVE, SOME ARGUE. WHAT CAN THIS STATE DO?

Vilsack: WELL, AS YOU KNOW, WE'VE BEEN VERY AGGRESSIVE IN EXPANDING ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE FOR CHILDREN AND IN CREATING A VERY INNOVATIVE AND CREATIVE APPROACH FOR OUR SENIOR CITIZENS WITH THE SENIOR LIVING TRUST. AND LAST YEAR, WORKING IN A BIPARTISAN WAY, WE ESTABLISHED A PROGRAM FOR THOSE UNDER 200 PERCENT OF POVERTY. THE NEXT STEP IN THIS PROCESS IS TO FOCUS ON SMALL BUSINESSES, BUSINESSES THAT EMPLOY LESS THAN 25 INDIVIDUALS, WHICH IS THE BULK OF BUSINESS IN IOWA. MANY OF THOSE BUSINESSES ARE HAVING TO MAKE A TOUGH DECISION RELATIVE TO THEIR COMPETITIVENESS AND HEALTH CARE COSTS. ONE THING THAT HAS BEEN TRIED IN NEW YORK AND ARIZONA IS THE CREATION OF A REINSURANCE POOL THAT THE STATE WOULD BASICALLY FUND, PROVIDING REINSURANCE TO HEALTH INSURANCE CARRIERS THAT PROVIDE INSURANCE TO SMALL BUSINESSES. I BELIEVE THAT THIS WOULD BE A GOOD IDEA FOR IOWA TO CONSIDER. AND I THINK WE SHOULD EXPAND IT NOT JUST TO INCLUDE SMALL BUSINESSES BUT ALSO SCHOOL DISTRICTS. IF YOU TAKE A LOOK AT SCHOOL BUDGETS, WHAT YOU'RE GOING TO FIND IS THAT A LOT OF THE NEW MONEY, QUOTE/UNQUOTE, THAT'S PROVIDED IS BEING REDIRECTED SIMPLY TO PAY FOR BENEFIT PACKAGES. IF WE CAN BASICALLY TAKE THE PRESSURE OFF THOSE BENEFIT PACKAGES, THEN WE MIGHT BE ABLE TO GET OUR SALARIES MORE COMPETITIVE.

Glover: WELL, HOW DOES THAT WORK? DO YOU A REINSURANCE PACKAGE THAT WOULD COVER CATASTROPHIC ILLNESSES?

Vilsack: IT COULD BE CATASTROPHIC ILLNESSES OR IT COULD BE SPECIFICALLY DESIGNATED ILLNESSES THAT ARE DRIVING HEALTH CARE COSTS. WE HAVE NOT YET MADE A DETERMINATION AS TO EXACTLY SPECIFICALLY WHAT TYPE OF REINSURANCE WE WOULD PROVIDE. BUT WE ARE THINKING OF A POOL SOMEWHERE IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF $30- TO $40 MILLION THAT WOULD BE AVAILABLE EACH YEAR. WE WOULD WORK WITH INSURANCE INDUSTRY IN THE STATE TO TRY TO LOWER THE COST AND STABILIZE THE COST OF HEALTH CARE, AND WE WOULD ALSO WORK WITH SCHOOL DISTRICTS AS THEY RENEGOTIATE THEIR COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENTS.

Glover: SO $30- TO $40 MILLION, A STATE POOL WHICH WOULD HELP SMALL BUSINESSES AND SCHOOLS BUY DOWN THE COST OF THEIR HEALTH INSURANCE.

Vilsack: BUY DOWN THE COST OF THEIR HEALTH INSURANCE AND/OR STABILIZE INCREASES IN THE FUTURE.

Yepsen: IS THIS A ONE-TIME SHOT OF STATE MONEY?

Vilsack: NO, THIS WOULD BE AN ONGOING EFFORT. AND OUR PROPOSAL WOULD BE TO TAKE A LOOK AT THE CIGARETTE TAX, AND TO USE A PORTION OF THE CIGARETTE TAX PROCEEDS FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS PROGRAM, AS WELL AS REPAYING THE SENIOR LIVING TRUST.

Yepsen: HOW BIG OF CIGARETTE TAX INCREASE WILL YOU BE ASKING FOR?

Vilsack: THE SAME THING WE ASKED FOR LAST YEAR.

Yepsen: WHICH WAS?

Vilsack: EIGHTY CENTS.

Glover: AND YOU COULDN'T GET IT THROUGH LAST YEAR. WHY DO YOU THINK IT WILL HAPPEN THIS YEAR IN AN ELECTION YEAR?

Vilsack: WELL, I THINK PEOPLE ARE GOING TO BE CONFRONTED WITH A SERIES OF ISSUES AND PROBLEMS FROM SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS WHO SAY WE'D LOVE TO HAVE A LITTLE HELP AND A LITTLE RELIEF SO WE COULD PROVIDE HEALTH INSURANCE TO OUR EMPLOYEES. IT TAKES PRESSURE OFF THE MEDICAID BUDGET, WHICH IS OBVIOUSLY VERY IMPORTANT. AND REPAYING THE SENIOR LIVING TRUST AND MAKING SURE THAT THAT'S VIABLE I THINK OUGHT TO BE A PRIORITY OF ALL OF THE LEGISLATORS. AND FINALLY, TO THE EXTENT THAT WE CAN HELP SCHOOL DISTRICTS AND EDUCATORS HAVE MORE COMPETITIVE SALARIES SO WE CAN MAINTAIN QUALITY IN THE CLASSROOM, I WOULD THINK THAT THAT WOULD ALSO BE A GOOD REASON FOR CONSIDERATION, NOT TO MENTION THE FACT THAT IF WE DO RAISE THE CIGARETTE TAX, WE SAVE LIVES, WHICH IS THE MOST IMPORTANT REASON FOR DOING IT.

Borg: I'D LIKE TO EXPAND THE DISCUSSION ON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. THERE'S AN OLD EUPHONISM -- I KNOW THAT YOU'RE FAMILIAR WITH IT -- WHEN GENERAL MOTORS SNEEZES, AMERICA CATCHES COLD. EARLIER THIS WEEK GENERAL MOTORS REALLY SNEEZED. AND I'M WONDERING HOW CONTAGIOUS DO YOU THINK THAT IS AND HOW MIGHT IT AFFECT ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT EVEN IN IOWA?

Vilsack: WELL, YOU KNOW, THAT USED TO BE THE ADAGE, BUT I'M NOT SURE THAT THAT'S NECESSARILY THE CASE TODAY. CLEARLY MANUFACTURING IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA IS UNDER A GREAT DEAL OF STRESS BECAUSE OF COMPETITIVE PRESSURES. INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH IN THE LAST FIVE QUARTERS, GROWTH AND MANUFACTURING IN IOWA HAS EXCEEDED THE NATIONAL AVERAGE. AND IT'S ALSO TRUE IN ELEVEN OF THE LAST TWELVE QUARTERS THAT ECONOMIC GROWTH IN TERMS OF WAGE AND SALARY INCOME IN IOWA HAS EXCEEDED THE NATIONAL AVERAGE, WHICH IS ONE OF THE REASONS WHY WE'VE GOT THE FASTEST GROWING ECONOMY IN THE MIDWEST AND THE FASTEST GROWING ECONOMY IN THE COUNTRY. NOW, TO YOUR QUESTION, DEAN, I THINK THIS IS A WAKE-UP CALL FOR THE NATION. I BELIEVE THAT THERE OUGHT TO BE AN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT POLICY, IF YOU WILL, FOR THE NATION. I THINK IT OUGHT TO BE FOCUSED ON INNOVATION. CLEARLY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAS TO INVEST MORE IN RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT, SIMILAR TO WHAT STATES ARE DOING, SIMILAR TO WHAT WE'VE DONE WITH THE IOWA VALUES FUND, WORKING WITH OUR UNIVERSITIES. IN IOWA, WE HAVE BASICALLY THREE SECTORS THAT MAKE SENSE FOR US TO PROMOTE: THE BIOECONOMY, BIOTECHNOLOGY, PARTICULARLY IN THE AG SECTOR AND CHEMICALS AND MATERIALS; ADVANCED MANUFACTURING, WHICH WE ARE ENCOURAGING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF LEAN INSTITUTES TO HELP OUR EXISTING BUSINESSES BE MORE PRODUCTIVE AND COMPETITIVE; AND THE INSURANCE AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY.

Borg: DO YOU THINK IN BIOTECHNOLOGY, IOWA HAS AN EDGE AND THEREFORE --

Vilsack: I DON'T THINK, I KNOW IT DOES. WE ARE ONE OF SIX STATES THAT HAS NATIONAL LEADERSHIP IN A SECTOR OF BIOTECHNOLOGY. BIOTECHNOLOGY, DEAN, IS A VERY, VERY LARGE, DEFINED SECTOR OF THE ECONOMY. CERTAINLY IN RENEWABLE FUELS, IN TURNING OUR CROPS INTO CHEMICALS AND MATERIALS, THE STATE OF IOWA IS CONSIDERED TO BE ONE OF THE TOP STATES IN THE COUNTRY.

Borg: MORE ETHANOL PLANTS?

Vilsack: WELL, WE ALREADY HAVE 20 ETHANOL PLANTS IN PRODUCTION, 6 MORE ONLINE. WE'LL BE AT 1.5 BILLION GALLONS OF PRODUCTION BY THE MIDDLE OF NEXT YEAR, WHICH OBVIOUSLY PUTS US NUMBER ONE IN COUNTRY IN THAT FUEL. ALSO IN SOY DIESEL, THERE ARE OBVIOUSLY A LOT OF INTEREST IN THE LEGISLATURE IN BOTH DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS TO FIGURE OUT WAYS IN WHICH WE CAN ENCOURAGE E85. AND WE SHOULD DO THAT.

Glover: IS YOUR MESSAGE THAT TRADITIONAL MANUFACTURING THAT WE'RE SEEING THE MICHIGAN MANUFACTURING BASE HAS DONE?

Vilsack: IT'S NOT DONE BUT IT HAS TO BE MORE COMPETITIVE AND IT HAS TO BE MORE INNOVATIVE. ONE OF THE PROBLEMS WITH GENERAL MOTORS IS THAT THEY ESSENTIALLY ALLOWED TOYOTA AND OTHER FOREIGN CAR COMPANIES TO BE MORE INNOVATIVE WITH HYBRID CARS WITH NEW TECHNOLOGIES. WE'VE GOT TO GET OUR GAME UP TO WHERE THE INTERNATIONAL LEVEL IS. NOW, THAT REQUIRES, MIKE, A COMMITMENT NOT JUST IN THE SHORT TERM BUT THE LONG TERM. AND IT REQUIRES A SIGNIFICANT COMMITMENT ON THE PARTS OF STATES AND THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IN EDUCATION, WHICH IS WHY WE HAVE SUGGESTED AND PROPOSED IN THIS STATE THAT WE FINALLY TAKE THE STEP TO GUARANTY ACCESS TO PRESCHOOL FOR ALL FOUR YEAR OLDS, TO CONTINUE OUR STRONG START INITIATIVE, TO MAKE SURE THAT OUR TEACHING SALARIES ARE COMPETITIVE, AND TO ESTABLISH A GRANT PROGRAM, IF YOU WILL, WHICH WILL ESSENTIALLY BE THE RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT FOR THE K-12 SYSTEM IN THE STATE. IF WE WANT LONGER SCHOOL YEARS, IF WE WANT LONGER SCHOOL DAYS, IF WE WANT TO CONSOLIDATE SCHOOL DISTRICTS, IF WE WANT SCHOOLS WITHIN SCHOOLS IN LARGE URBAN CENTERS, IF WE WANT MATH AND SCIENCE TO BE TAUGHT BY QUALIFIED FOLKS, IF WE WANT TO BRING ARTS AND MUSIC BACK INTO THE CURRICULUM, ALL OF THAT IS GOING TO REQUIRE RESOURCES AND INNOVATION. AND WE OUGHT TO MAKE THAT AVAILABLE.

Yepsen: GOVERNOR, WHAT'S THE PRICE TAG FOR ALL THAT? YOU'VE GOT AN AMBITIOUS EDUCATION PROGRAM THERE. CAN WE AFFORD IT?

Vilsack: WE, CAN AFFORD IT, DAVID, IF WE STRETCH IT OVER A PERIOD OF FIVE YEARS, IF WE MAKE A COMMITMENT AS WE'VE DONE WITH THE VALUES FUND. IF IT'S GOOD ENOUGH FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, IT OUGHT TO BE GOOD ENOUGH FOR OUR CHILDREN. THIRTY MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR GETS OUR TEACHING SALARIES TO A POINT WHERE THEY'RE COMPETITIVE. FIFTEEN MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR FOR FIVE YEARS GETS US ACCESS FOR EVERY FOUR YEAR OLD IN THE STATE OF IOWA TO PRESCHOOL. THAT'S A RELATIVELY SMALL PRICE, IF YOU WILL, FOR THE BENEFIT AND THE RETURN ON THAT INVESTMENT, WHICH IS A SMARTER GROUP OF YOUNG PEOPLE, YOUNG PEOPLE WHO UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF EDUCATION, GO ON TO COLLEGE, YOUNG PEOPLE WHO ARE GOING TO DRIVE THIS INNOVATION-DRIVEN ECONOMY THAT I TALKED ABOUT EARLIER.

Yepsen: ARE THERE OTHER REFORMS, GOVERNOR, THAT WE NEED TO MAKE IN IOWA TO OUR EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM? THE CRITICISM THAT'S MADE OF THIS AND OTHER IDEAS IS THAT WE'RE SPENDING EVER-INCREASING SUMS OF MONEY TO EDUCATE FEWER AND FEWER KIDS, AND TEST SCORES, ACCORDING TO NAAP, ARE GOING DOWN.

Vilsack: WELL, FIRST OF ALL, LET'S MAKE SURE WE UNDERSTAND WHAT NAAP IS. IT IS A REALLY, REALLY SMALL SAMPLE OF YOUNG PEOPLE THAT ARE TESTED. THE TEST SCORES IN IOWA ACTUALLY ARE GOING UP, IF YOU TAKE A LOOK AT THE BASIC SKILLS TESTS. FOR THE LAST FIVE YEARS, WE'VE SEEN INCREASES IN READING AND MATH AT THE EARLY LEVELS. PART OF IT'S OUR CLASS SIZE REDUCTION AND READING INITIATIVE PROGRAM, WHICH WAS SUPPORTED BY THE LEGISLATURE. THERE IS ALWAYS A NEED TO LOOK AT HOW WE COULD DO THINGS BETTER IN EDUCATION, WHICH IS WHY WE NEED TO PROVIDE RESOURCES TO ALLOW PEOPLE TO TAKE CHANCES AND RISKS. THERE ARE MANY SUPERINTENDENTS, MANY PRINCIPALS, MANY TEACHERS THAT WOULD LOVE TO HAVE MORE TIME IN THE CLASSROOM AND NEED MORE TIME, PARTICULARLY LOW-PERFORMING SCHOOLS. THERE ARE MANY THAT WOULD LOVE TO BE ABLE TO BRING MUSIC AND ART BACK INTO THE CURRICULUM. THEY HAD TO CUT THAT BECAUSE OF BUDGET CUTS. THERE ARE MANY THAT WOULD LOVE TO HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY IN LARGE URBAN CENTERS TO HAVE SCHOOLS WITHIN SCHOOLS SO THAT YOUNGSTERS WOULD HAVE THE ATTENTION AND THE PERSONAL ATTENTION THAT THEY NEED SO THAT THEY DON'T DROP OUT. ALL OF THAT NEEDS TO BE DONE, AND OBVIOUSLY IT NEEDS TO BE DONE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. THAT'S WHY WE'VE PUT THIS PROPOSAL ON THE TABLE. AND THIS PROPOSAL DOESN'T TAKE RESOURCES AWAY FROM ANY OTHER ASPECT OF STATE GOVERNMENT. IT PROVIDES AN OPPORTUNITY TO USE SURPLUS MONEY, WHICH IS ONE-TIME MONEY FOR ONE-TIME INVESTMENTS.

Glover: ONE OF THE THINGS THAT PEOPLE OFTEN TALK ABOUT IS THE AMOUNT OF MONEY THAT GETS SPENT ON A RUNNING LOCAL GOVERNMENT. WE'VE GOT 99 COUNTIES IN THIS STATE. WE'VE GOT 900 AND SOME CITIES. WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT THAT? YOU TRIED TO CHANGE THE GOVERNANCE STRUCTURE IN THE LAST SESSION OF THE LEGISLATURE AND WERE UNSUCCESSFUL. WHAT'S HAPPENS --

Vilsack: WE JUST KEEP TRYING. ACTUALLY I THINK WE WERE SUCCESSFUL IN THE SENSE THAT WE GOT THIS ISSUE ON THE TABLE. WE GOT PEOPLE TO BE MORE COMFORTABLE TALKING ABOUT IT. I THINK WITH REPRESENTATIVE RAECKER'S NEW POSITION AS THE APPROPRIATIONS CHAIR, HE WAS VERY INTERESTED AND INVOLVED IN THIS AND I WOULD IMAGINE THAT WE CAN WORK TOGETHER TO TRY TO COME UP WITH A PROPOSAL. ONE OF THE THINGS I THINK WE SHOULD DO IS TO MAKE SURE THAT WE FUND AN INNOVATIONS FUND AND COMMISSION THAT WILL ENCOURAGE LOCAL GOVERNMENTS TO LOOK AT REGIONAL APPROACHES, SHARING OF SERVICES, NEW FORMS AND NEW WAYS TO PROVIDE SERVICES. WE OUGHT TO HAVE A CENTER FOR EXCELLENCE ASSOCIATED WITH OUR UNIVERSITIES OR COLLEGE COMMUNITY WHERE THE BEST PRACTICES ACROSS THE COUNTRY CAN BE IDENTIFIED AND IMPLEMENTED. AND WE OUGHT TO TAKE A LOOK AT WAYS IN WHICH WE CAN INCENT OR PROVIDE INCENTIVES OR ENCOURAGEMENT TO LOCAL GOVERNMENT TO TAKE A LOOK AT HOW TO DO THIS. ONE OF THE THINGS WE COULD LOOK AT OR CONSIDER IS HOW WE ISSUE PROPERTY TAX CREDITS AND UNDER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES THEY WOULD BE FULLY FUNDED OR NOT, DEPENDING UPON WHETHER OUR LOCAL GOVERNMENT WAS INTERESTED IN EMBRACING NEW WAYS. BOTTOM LINE IS THIS: PEOPLE IN IOWA, PEOPLE IN AMERICA HAVE GOT TO EMBRACE CHANGE. THERE'S JUST NO WAY AROUND IT. THE WORLD IS CHANGING RAPIDLY AND IF WE DON'T CHANGE WITH IT, CHANGE WILL BASICALLY DICTATE OUR LIFE. AND I'M NOT SURE WE WANT THAT.

Glover: SO WHAT YOU DO IS YOU TAKE PROPERTY TAX REPLACEMENT DOLLARS AND YOU SAY WE'LL GIVE YOU A PORTION OF THAT REGARDLESS BUT A PORTION OF THAT WILL COME ONLY IF YOU AGREE TO SHARE SERVICES?

Vilsack: OR IF YOU BEGIN THE PROCESS OF TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WAYS TO REGIONALIZE, ECONOMIZE, PROVIDE BETTER SERVICE, LOWER COST. THIS IS A CHALLENGE. NO ONE IS GOING TO LIKE THIS. NO ONE IS GOING TO LIKE IT. NOBODY LIKES TO MAKE TOUGH DECISIONS, BUT THE REALITY OF TODAY IS THAT IOWA HAS TO TAKE A LOOK AT ITS GOVERNANCE STRUCTURE AT SOME POINT IN TIME. IT MIGHT AS WELL BE SOONER THAN LATER. IOWA SCHOOLS HAVE TO CONFRONT THE NOTION THAT WE HAVE TO EXPAND INSTRUCTION OPPORTUNITY, SO THAT MEANS LOOKING AT CONSOLIDATION OF ADMINISTRATION SOONER RATHER THAN LATER. LET'S PROVIDE THE RESOURCES. LET'S PROVIDE THE INCENTIVES. LET'S PROVIDE THE FRAMEWORK IN WHICH THAT CAN TAKE PLACE.

Yepsen: GOVERNOR, ANOTHER ISSUE CONFRONTING THE STATES IS RESPONSE TO DISASTERS. DOES THE EPISODE WITH HURRICANE KATRINA PROMPT YOU TO THINK THAT IOWA NEEDS TO DO ANYTHING DIFFERENTLY IN THE WAY WE RESPOND TO DISASTERS IN THIS STATE?

Vilsack: YOU KNOW, SEVERAL MONTHS AGO I WAS IN A FACILITY IN THE DOWNTOWN AREA WHERE WE HAD AN EXERCISE WITH OUR HOMELAND SECURITY FOLKS, WITH PUBLIC SAFETY, PUBLIC HEALTH, AND A VARIETY OF OTHER STATE AGENCIES. DURING THE COURSE OF THAT EXERCISE, WE PRETENDED THAT SEVERAL DISASTERS STRUCK THE STATE AT ONE TIME AND WHAT WAS OUR RESPONSE. WHAT I LEARNED FROM THAT EXERCISE WAS THAT THERE WAS NOT A DECISION MATRIX IN PLACE IN THE STATE OF IOWA THAT WOULD ALLOW US TO BE ABLE TO KNOW EXACTLY WHAT QUESTIONS NEEDED TO BE ASKED AND BY WHOM AND WHEN. SINCE THAT TIME THERE HAS BEEN A LOT OF WORK DONE, AND WE'VE CREATED I THINK A STATE-OF-THE-ART -- A NATIONAL MODEL FOR THAT DECISION MATRIX. IOWA IS NOW CONSIDERED TO BE ONE OF THE BETTER PREPARED STATES. OUR EFFORTS IN HOMELAND SECURITY AND DISASTER PREPAREDNESS HAVE BEEN CITED AT NATIONAL CONFERENCES. SO I'M FAIRLY CONFIDENT, AS CONFIDENT AS ONE CAN BE WITHOUT ACTUALLY BEING TESTED, THAT OUR RESPONSE WOULD BE WHAT IOWANS WOULD EXPECT IT TO BE.

Yepsen: WHAT IS IOWA'S RESPONSE GOING TO BE TO THIS THREAT OF BIRD FLU?

Vilsack: WE HAVE PUT TOGETHER A RATHER EXTENSIVE PROTOCOL AND SET OF STEPS CONSISTENT WITH THE HOMELAND SECURITY AND THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES PROTOCOLS AND PLAN. ESSENTIALLY IT, FIRST AND FOREMOST, STARTS WITH MAKING SURE WE HAVE ADEQUATE SUPPLIES OF VACCINE, WHICH IS ACTUALLY SOMETHING THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO WORK ON. WE HAVE A SERIES OF STEPS THAT WE WOULD GO THROUGH IN TERMS OF IDENTIFYING IF IT IN FACT COMES TO IOWA, QUARANTINING INDIVIDUALS OR FAMILIES, COMMUNITIES THAT MIGHT BE IMPACTED AND AFFECTED. WE HAVE THAT IN PLACE. WE HAVE LAW ENFORCEMENT'S ROLE IDENTIFIED, AND WE ALSO HAVE PUBLIC HEALTH'S ROLE IDENTIFIED.

Yepsen: GOVERNOR, I SEE THAT YOU DECIDED NOT TO DO THE TRADITIONAL PARDONING OF THE TURKEY. WHAT WAS THAT ALL ABOUT? ARE YOU AFRAID TO TOUCH A TURKEY?

Vilsack: NO, NO, NO.

Yepsen: I MEAN THAT'S USUALLY BEEN KIND OF A HUMOROUS PUBLIC RELATIONS THING.

Vilsack: I WAS REALLY THINKING ABOUT ACTUALLY EXTENDING THE PARDON TO YOU, DAVID, BUT I CHOSE NOT TO DO THAT. I THINK THIS IS A SERIOUS TIME, AND YOU'VE RAISED A SERIOUS QUESTION ABOUT THE AVIAN FLU. WE WANTED TO REASSURE PEOPLE THAT INDEED THERE WAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG WITH THE TURKEY SUPPLY IN IOWA AND THE UNITED STATES. WE'VE NOT HAD AN INCIDENT OF AVIAN FLU. WE'VE NOT HAD AN INCIDENT OF AN INDIVIDUAL OR A HUMAN BEING AFFECTED BY THIS. THERE ARE WAYS IN WHICH YOU CAN PREPARE TURKEYS. I HAVE MY RECIPE: 275, 22 MINUTES A POUND, BREAST DOWN. YOU'VE GOT THE FINEST WHITE MEAT YOU COULD POSSIBLY HAVE. AND THAT'S WHAT OUR FAMILY IS GOING TO HAVE ON THANKSGIVING. WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TURKEY AND WE ENCOURAGE EVERY FAMILY TO HAVE IT. IT'S ALSO IMPORTANT IN TERMS OF THE ECONOMY IN THE STATE. IT'S A $128-MILLION ECONOMIC HIT TO THE ECONOMY IF THE POULTRY INDUSTRY TAKES A DIVE. WE CERTAINLY DON'T WANT THAT TO HAPPEN, AND IT SHOULDN'T HAPPEN.

Glover: GOVERNOR, IT WOULDN'T BE AN OFFICIAL IOWA PRESS SHOW IF WE DIDN'T TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT POLITICS.

Vilsack: OKAY.

Glover: WE'VE GOT A COUPLE OF POLITICAL EVENTS COMING UP. ONE OF THEM IS THE IOWA CAUCUSES. ON THE DEMOCRATIC SIDE OF THE AISLE, THE CAUCUSES ARE UNDER PRESSURE. WHAT'S GOING TO BE THE OUTCOME THERE?

Vilsack: I THINK IOWA WILL ABSOLUTELY RETAIN ITS FIRST-IN-THE-NATION STATUS. THERE'S NO QUESTION ABOUT THAT. I THINK THE ONLY QUESTION IS WHETHER OR NOT THERE WILL BE A PERIOD OF TIME BETWEEN IOWA AND NEW HAMPSHIRE AND WHETHER OR NOT THERE WILL BE ONE OR MORE CAUCUSES PLACED IN BETWEEN IOWA AND NEW HAMPSHIRE. THAT'S THE ISSUE RIGHT NOW. I CAN'T SAY FOR SURE WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN. IF I WERE TO BE -- IF I WERE ASKED TO MAKE A GUESS, MY GUESS WOULD BE THAT THERE WOULD BE A PERIOD OF TIME BETWEEN IOWA AND NEW HAMPSHIRE AND ONE OR TWO CAUCUSES IN BETWEEN.

Glover: WHAT IMPACT WILL THAT HAVE ON THE CAUCUSES?

Vilsack: NONE.

Glover: SO THE CAUCUSES WILL REMAIN FIRST AND IMPORTANT ON BOTH PARTIES IN THE 2008 ELECTION CYCLE?

Vilsack: I DON'T THINK THERE'S ANY QUESTION ABOUT IT, AND I THINK ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS LOOK AT THE TRAVEL SCHEDULES OF A LOT OF POTENTIAL CANDIDATES. THEY'RE COMING TO IOWA AND THAT'S A GOOD THING.

Yepsen: BUT, GOVERNOR, NEW HAMPSHIRE DOES NOT LIKE THIS PLAN. YEAH, IT KEEPS IOWA FIRST, BUT FOR TWENTY YEARS WE'VE HAD A DEAL WITH NEW HAMPSHIRE THAT WE WORK IN TANDEM, THAT THE IOWA CAUCUSES COME EIGHT DAYS AHEAD OF THE NEW HAMPSHIRE PRIMARY. THEY'RE NOT HAPPY WITH US. THEY'RE THREATENING TO MOVE UP THEIR PRIMARY IN ORDER TO AVOID THESE MIDDLE CAUCUSES THAT ARE BEING TALKED ABOUT. WON'T THAT CAUSE IOWA TO HAVE TO MOVE ITS CAUCUSES UP?

Vilsack: I DON'T THINK SO. I THINK THIS IS GOING TO GET WORKED OUT. I THINK PARTY OFFICIALS IN WASHINGTON, D.C., AND AROUND THE COUNTRY ARE WORKING VERY, VERY HARD TO TRY TO GET THIS THING SETTLED. I THINK THERE'S A BELIEF AND A RECOGNITION THAT WE NEED TO HAVE A MORE DIVERSE CAUCUS CALENDAR. AND I THINK WE CAN ACCOMPLISH THAT WITHOUT TAKING ANYTHING AWAY FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE. THE REALITY IS NEW HAMPSHIRE WILL IN FACT BE THE FIRST PRIMARY. IT'S AN OPEN PRIMARY, WHICH MAKES IT A COMPLETELY UNIQUE EXPERIENCE. AGAIN, CANDIDATES ARE COMING AND GOING TO NEW HAMPSHIRE FREQUENTLY, FROM WHAT I CAN TELL, AND THAT'S A GOOD THING. AND WE WANT NEW HAMPSHIRE TO BE FIRST BECAUSE IT'S IMPORTANT FOR BOTH IOWA AND NEW HAMPSHIRE TO RETAIN THEIR STATUS, AND THE REASON IS JUST SIMPLE. WE WANT THIS TO BE -- CONTINUE TO BE A RETAIL DRIVEN PROCESS AT THE BEGINNING BECAUSE IT GIVES EVERYBODY A CHANCE. IT GIVES EVERYBODY AN OPPORTUNITY. THE PERSON WHO HAS THE HIGHEST NAME I.D. WITH THE MOST MONEY IN THE BANK DOESN'T AUTOMATICALLY WIN A PRIMARY OR A CAUCUS AT THE BEGINNING.

Glover: WELL, WHAT IMPACT DOES THAT HAVE ON YOU? YOU'VE THOUGHT ABOUT RUNNING FOR A HIGHER OFFICE.

Vilsack: I HAVEN'T EVEN THOUGHT ABOUT THAT, MIKE. I'M FOCUSED ON MY AGENDA IN THIS UPCOMING LEGISLATIVE SESSION. I'VE BEEN TRAVELING AROUND THE STATE TALKING ABOUT IMPROVEMENTS TO EDUCATION, EXPANDING ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE.

Glover: WELL, WHAT'S THE UPSIDE TO YOU IN HAVING THE IOWA CAUCUSES FIRST? THERE ARE THOSE WHO SUGGEST IOWA IS A NO-WIN SITUATION FOR YOU.

Vilsack: YOU KNOW, I HAVEN'T EVEN THOUGHT ABOUT THAT AT ALL. I'M FOCUSED ON MY JOB AND, FRANKLY, ANY POLITICS THAT I'M FOCUSED ON CENTERS AROUND THE GOVERNORS RACES THAT ARE GOING TO TAKE PLACE AROUND THIS COUNTRY. I THINK IT'S AN OPPORTUNITY FOR MY PARTY TO ESTABLISH A VERY BONA FIDE NATIONAL MESSAGE THAT CAN LAY THE FOUNDATION FOR A 2008 SUCCESSFUL CAMPAIGN, AND THAT'S WHY WE SHOULD BE FOCUSING ON GOVERNORS RACES.

Yepsen: GOVERNOR, I REALLY HAVE TO CHALLENGE YOU ON THE STATEMENT YOU HAVEN'T THOUGHT ABOUT IT AT ALL.

Vilsack: I HAVEN'T.

Yepsen: YOU WERE SCHEDULED TO GO TO NEW HAMPSHIRE. NOW, WHAT WAS THAT ALL ABOUT?

Vilsack: JOHN LYNCH, THE GOVERNOR OF NEW HAMPSHIRE, SUGGESTED THAT I VISIT WITH THE SEA COAST DEMOCRATS, AND IT WOULD BE AN OPPORTUNITY FOR ME TO HELP HIM AND REINFORCE HIS EFFORTS. THERE WAS ALSO SEVERAL CANDIDATES FOR MAYOR THAT HAD REQUESTED OPPORTUNITIES FOR ME TO ATTEND, AND I WAS HAPPY TO DO IT. AS IT TURNED OUT, I DIDN'T GO.

Yepsen: SO THAT WASN'T THE START OF THE VILSACK '08 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN?

Vilsack: NO, YOU'LL BE THE FIRST TO KNOW THAT, DAVID.

Glover: THERE ARE 36 GOVERNORS RACES NEXT YEAR. YOU HAVE SAID YOU'RE GOING TO BE ACTIVE IN THOSE GOVERNORS RACES AND IT'S, IN EFFECT, A NATIONAL ELECTION. WHAT'S THE MESSAGE THAT DEMOCRATS OUGHT TO BE OFFERING TO THE VOTERS IN THOSE 36 STATES?

Vilsack: IN A SINGLE WORD, COMMUNITY, RESTORING THE AMERICAN COMMUNITY, AND RENEWING THE AMERICAN PROMISE. FORTY PERCENT OF AMERICA'S YOUNG PEOPLE NO LONGER BELIEVE IN THE AMERICAN DREAM. SIXTY-SIX PERCENT OF AMERICAN ADULTS NO LONGER BELIEVE THAT THEIR CHILDREN WILL HAVE A BETTER FUTURE THAN THEY HAD. THIS IS AN UNACCEPTABLE CIRCUMSTANCE IN THIS COUNTRY, WHICH HAS BEEN BUILT ON THE NOTION THAT IF YOU WORK HARD, YOU CAN GET AHEAD. I BELIEVE THAT THERE CAN BE AN OPPORTUNITY FOR THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY TO TALK ABOUT KEEPING PEOPLE SECURE -- SAFE AND SECURE, ABOUT TRANSFORMING THIS ECONOMY, ABOUT MAKING SURE THAT FOLKS KNOW THAT WE'RE ON THEIR SIDE AS THEY TRY TO RAISE KIDS IN A VERY COARSE AND DIFFICULT AND SOMETIMES CHALLENGING TIME, AND THAT WE ARE A PARTY OF REFORM. WE ARE A PARTY THAT'S WILLING TO CHANGE. WE'RE A PARTY THAT'S WILLING TO TAKE RISKS TO PUT AMERICA BACK WHERE IT BELONGS.

Glover: AND IN VIRGINIA, WHERE YOU WON THE GOVERNORS RACE THIS TIME, THE DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE TALKED A LOT ABOUT HIS FAITH.

Vilsack: ABSOLUTELY.

Glover: SHOULD DEMOCRATS BE TALKING ABOUT THEIR FAITH?

Vilsack: THERE'S NO QUESTION ABOUT IT. WHEN I TALK ABOUT COMMUNITY, I USE THE EXAMPLE OF THE STORY OF THE LOAVES AND THE FISHES, WHICH IS A WONDERFUL STORY AND A SERMON THAT WAS GIVEN IN MY CHURCH A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO BY A PRIEST WHO SAID THAT WHAT CHRIST DID IN THAT STORY IS HE REMOVED THE FEAR OF SHARING. WHAT'S HAPPENING IN AMERICA TODAY IS THAT WE ARE FEARFUL OF SHARING, AND THAT MAKES AMERICA LESS STRONG. AND IT IS IMPORTANT FOR AMERICA TODAY, IN THE WORLD AS IT IS, FOR AMERICA TO BE THE STRONGEST POSSIBLE NATION IT CAN BE. IT CANNOT BE STRONG IF YOU DON'T HAVE COMMUNITY.

Borg: I'M SORRY, GOVERNOR, WE'RE OUT OF TIME.

Vilsack: THAT'S OKAY.

Borg: THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR TAKING TIME TO BE WITH US TODAY. ON OUR NEXT EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS," WE'RE EXAMINING DISASTER PREPARATION IN IOWA. RETIRED GENERAL TOMMY THOMPSON, A MEMBER OF THE IOWA NATIONAL GUARD FOR FORTY-THREE YEARS, WILL BE HERE, ALONG WITH STATE EPIDEMIOLOGIST DR. PATTY QUINLISK FROM THE IOWA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH. WE'LL QUESTION GENERAL THOMPSON AND DR. QUINLISK ABOUT IOWA'S READINESS FOR DISASTERS: TERRORISM, EVEN FLU PERHAPS. NEXT WEEKEND'S "IOWA PRESS," THOUGH, IS ON FRIDAY ONLY AND IT'S AT 6:30 FRIDAY NIGHT. NOTE THE TIME CHANGE. AND ON THIS THANKSGIVING WEEKEND, ALL OF US HERE AT IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION WISH A SAFE AND MEANINGFUL ONE FOR YOU. 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: governors Iowa Tom Vilsack