Iowa Public Television

 

Secretary of State, Chet Culver

posted on June 1, 2006

Borg: EXTENDING A POLITICAL LEGACY. SINCE THE 1960S, THE CULVER NAME HAS BEEN PROMINENT IN IOWA PUBLIC OFFICES. CURRENT SECRETARY OF STATE CHET CULVER SEEKS TO ADD THE GOVERNORSHIP TO THE LIST. WE'LL QUESTION HIM, AND LATER ONE HIS OPPONENTS FOR THE DEMOCRATIC GUBERNATORIAL NOMINATION, IN THIS SPECIAL ONE-HOUR EDITION OF 'IOWA PRESS.' FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY FRIENDS, THE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION FOUNDATION; BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS; BY THE ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS OF IOWA, THE PUBLIC'S PARTNER IN BUILDING IOWA'S HIGHWAY, BRIDGE, AND MUNICIPAL UTILITY INFRASTRUCTURE; AND BY CAPITOL RESOURCES, INC., LOCATED IN BROOKLYN, IOWA; AND BY NICOLE SCHLINGER AND ERIC LANGE INDIVIDUALLY, FUND-RAISING AND COMMUNICATION SERVICES FOR MAJOR CAMPAIGNS SINCE 1996.

ON STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION, THIS IS THE FRIDAY, MAY 26 EDITION OF 'IOWA PRESS.' HERE IS DEAN BORG.

Borg: ON JUNE 6, ONE WEEK FROM TUESDAY, IOWANS GO TO THE POLLS TO NOMINATE POLITICAL PARTY CANDIDATES FOR NOVEMBER'S GENERAL ELECTION. DEMOCRATS WILL CHOOSE THEIR CANDIDATE FOR GOVERNOR FROM FOUR CONTENDERS. CHET CULVER IS ONE OF THEM, SEEKING STATEWIDE OFFICE FOR THE THIRD TIME. HE'S NOW SERVING HIS SECOND FOUR-YEAR TERM AS IOWA'S SECRETARY OF STATE. HE'S ALSO AN EDUCATOR, HAVING TAUGHT GOVERNMENT AND HISTORY AT THE HIGH SCHOOL LEVEL. WHEN HE LEFT TEACHING FOR PUBLIC OFFICE IN 1998, MR. CULVER WAS THE NATION'S YOUNGEST SECRETARY OF STATE. IOWANS REELECTED HIM IN 2002. ONE OF MR. CULVER'S OPPONENTS FOR THE DEMOCRATIC GUBERNATORIAL NOMINATION, MIKE BLOUIN, WILL BE QUESTIONED DURING OUR SECOND HALF HOUR IN THIS SPECIAL ONE-HOUR PROGRAM. SECRETARY CULVER, WELCOME BACK TO 'IOWA PRESS.'

Culver: GREAT TO BE WITH YOU. THANK YOU, DEAN.

Borg: YOU KNOW THE PEOPLE ACROSS THE TABLE. I'LL INTRODUCE THEM: 'DES MOINES REGISTER' POLITICAL COLUMNIST DAVID YEPSEN AND 'ASSOCIATED PRESS' SENIOR POLITICAL WRITER MIKE GLOVER.

Glover: SECRETARY CULVER, ONE OF THE THINGS WE LIKE TO DO ON SHOWS LIKE THIS IS TAKE CRITICISM TO A CANDIDATE AND GIVE THEM A CHANCE TO ANSWER THAT. SO I'D LIKE TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT SOME OF THE CRITICISM YOU'VE GOTTEN. ONE OF THEM IS YOUR CRITICS SAY THAT YOU HAVE BEGUN DUCKING CAMPAIGN DEBATES, IN ESSENCE, SITTING IN THE LEAD. HOW DO YOU ANSWER THAT?

Culver: YOU KNOW, I AGREED TO SIX DEBATES IN THIS PRIMARY CAMPAIGN. WE HAD FIVE OF THEM. THE ONE IN IOWA CITY WAS CANCELED DUE TO THE TORNADO. AND IN ADDITION TO THAT, WE HAVE HAD LITERALLY DOZENS OF FORUMS ALL OVER THIS STATE OVER THE LAST TWELVE MONTHS. MY FOCUS DOWN THE HOME STRETCH IS ON REACHING OUT TO VOTERS. I'VE BEEN THIS WEEK TO COUNCIL BLUFFS, SIOUX CITY, WATERLOO, CEDAR RAPIDS, CARROLL. WE ARE ON THE MOVE, TRYING TO GET AS MUCH SUPPORT AS WE CAN IN THE CLOSING DAYS OF THIS CAMPAIGN.

Yepsen: MR. CULVER, YOU'VE STARTED TO RUN AN AD CRITICAL OF ONE OF YOUR OPPONENTS, MIKE BLOUIN, FOR ONCE HAVING TRIED TO GET A MEATPACKING PLANT IN DES MOINES YEARS AGO WHEN HE WAS INVOLVED IN THE DES MOINES CHAMBER OF COMMERCE. WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH THE FUTURE OF OUR STATE?

Culver: YOU KNOW, I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT TO CAMPAIGNS TO SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT. UNFORTUNATELY, A NUMBER OF WEEKS AGO, MIKE BLOUIN DECIDED TO RUN A NEGATIVE CAMPAIGN. WE ARE SIMPLY TRYING TO SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT, AND I THINK THAT'S IMPORTANT FOR THE VOTERS TO KNOW EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED AND WHEN IT HAPPENED. AND I'M FOCUSING AGAIN, DAVID, ON THE FUTURE AND ON THE CULVER PLAN TO LEAD THIS STATE FORWARD.

Yepsen: WELL, ISN'T THERE A DANGER, THOUGH, MR. CULVER, THAT IF YOU AND MIKE BLOUIN ARE GOING TO GET INTO IT LIKE THIS THAT THE REAL WINNERS ARE EITHER ED FALLON, THE OTHER CANDIDATE IN THE DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY, OR JIM NUSSLE, THE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE?

Culver: YOU KNOW, THIS HAS BEEN A GREAT PRIMARY, A SPIRITED PRIMARY, AND I THINK A PRIMARY IS IMPORTANT. I THINK THE CANDIDATES BECOME MUCH BETTER. I THINK THE PARTY WINS IN TERMS OF ORGANIZATION. AND IT'S OKAY TO HAVE OUR DIFFERENCES. IT'S ALSO IMPORTANT FOR THE VOTERS TO HAVE THE FACTS. AND MIKE BLOUIN HAS BEEN CRITICAL OF WORK THAT I DID TWENTY YEARS AGO AS AN ASSISTANT, ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT TO ED CAMPBELL, A FORMER STATE PARTY CHAIRMAN AND DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE FOR GOVERNOR. AND HE'S BEEN CRITICAL OF THAT WORK WHILE, AT THE SAME TIME A FEW YEARS AGO, HE LED THE CHARGE TO BRING A MEATPACKING PLANT TO DES MOINES AS THE CHAMBER PRESIDENT OF DES MOINES. WE WANT THE TRUTH IN CAMPAIGNS, AND WE WANT PEOPLE TO BE CONSISTENT AND HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR RECORDS, AND THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT WE'RE DOING IN THIS CAMPAIGN.

Glover: ANOTHER CRITICISM THAT YOUR CAMPAIGN RECEIVES IS THAT YOU'VE CALLED FOR A REINSTATEMENT OF THE DEATH SENTENCE IN A PARTY THAT'S LARGELY OPPOSED TO CAPITAL PUNISHMENT. HOW DO YOU ANSWER THAT CRITICISM?

Culver: WELL, I ACTUALLY HAVE NOT CALLED FOR REINSTATEMENT OF THE DEATH PENALTY. WHAT I HAVE SAID IS THAT I PERSONALLY BELIEVE AS A FATHER OF TWO KIDS UNDER THE AGE OF FIVE THAT THE DEATH PENALTY IS WARRANTED IN LIMITED SITUATIONS, INCLUDING ABDUCTION AND MURDER OF A CHILD, THE MURDER OF A POLICE OFFICER IN THE LINE OF DUTY, FOR EXAMPLE. MY POSITION IS CONSISTENT WITH THE MAJORITY OF DEMOCRATS. EVERY PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, FOR EXAMPLE, THAT'S RUN SINCE 1988 HAS BEEN IN FAVOR OF A LIMITED DEATH PENALTY. SENATOR HARKIN, CONGRESSMAN BOSWELL VOTED FOR THE CRIME BILL THAT INCLUDED A LIMITED DEATH PENALTY. SO I HAVE NOT SAID THAT WE SHOULD REINSTATE IT. IT'S MY PERSONAL BELIEF. I'M GOING TO BE HONEST AND STRAIGHTFORWARD IN THIS CAMPAIGN, AND I THINK THAT'S IMPORTANT FOR THE VOTERS TO KNOW.

Glover: THE IMPORTANT THING FOR A VOTER TO KNOW IS, AS GOVERNOR, YOU WOULD SIGN A BILL REINSTATING THE DEATH SENTENCE.

Culver: YOU KNOW, I WILL LOOK AT EVERY PIECE OF LEGISLATION THAT COMES ON MY DESK AS GOVERNOR. AND I THINK WHAT VOTERS ARE LOOKING FOR IS CONSISTENCY AND HONESTY ON THE EASY ISSUES AND ON THE TOUGH ISSUES. AND I'VE BEEN CONSISTENT, I MIGHT ADD, THROUGHOUT THE COURSE OF THIS CAMPAIGN ON THAT POSITION.

Yepsen: THE FOURTH CRITICISM THAT IS MADE OF YOU, MR. CULVER, IS THAT YOU'RE NOT READY FOR PRIME TIME, TOO YOUNG, AND THAT, IN FACT, MANY LEGISLATORS WHO KNOW YOU, WORKED WITH YOU AT THE STATE CAPITOL, MANY DEMOCRATIC LEGISLATORS HAVE ENDORSED MIKE BLOUIN AS A RESULT. HOW DO YOU RESPOND?

Culver: YOU KNOW, I AM VERY, VERY EXCITED ABOUT THIS CAMPAIGN. I HAVE MORE EXECUTIVE BRANCH EXPERIENCE, EIGHT YEARS IN THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH, THAN ANY GOVERNOR IN RECENT HISTORY. I'M THE SAME AGE AS GOVERNOR RAY, I'M THE SAME AGE AS HAROLD HUGHES, WHEN THEY WERE ELECTED. I BRING TWENTY YEARS OF EXPERIENCE IN THE PUBLIC SERVICE AS A TEACHER, AS A COACH, AS A CONSUMER AND AN ENVIRONMENTAL ADVOCATE, AS A SECRETARY OF STATE WORKING SHOULDER TO SHOULDER WITH GOVERNOR VILSACK FOR THE LAST EIGHT YEARS. I AM PREPARED. I'M READY TO LEAD THIS STATE THAT I LOVE TO THE GREATNESS THAT WE ALL KNOW IS POSSIBLE.

Borg: ADD TO THAT, MR. SECRETARY, WHY SHOULD DEMOCRATS, THOUGH, CONSIDERING WHAT YOU'VE JUST SAID, CONSIDER YOU MOST ELECTABLE AGAINST JIM NUSSLE?

Culver: WELL, REALLY TWO REASONS, DEAN. ONE, I KNOW WHY I WANT TO RUN. I WANT TO BUILD ON OUR STRENGTHS IN EDUCATION AND AGRICULTURE AND MANUFACTURING TO CREATE GOOD JOBS WITH GOOD BENEFITS IN EVERY CORNER OF THIS STATE, AND I HAVE A PLAN TO DO THAT. THE CULVER PLAN TO LEAD IOWA FORWARD IS DETAILED. WE'VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT THIS FOR NEARLY A YEAR NOW. IT'S AVAILABLE AT CHETCULVER.COM. I THINK IF YOU WANT TO LEAD, YOU NEED TO KNOW WHERE YOU WANT TO TAKE THE PEOPLE THAT YOU WANT TO REPRESENT. NUMBER TWO, I'M ACTUALLY BEATING JIM NUSSLE TODAY IN THE MOST RECENT INDEPENDENT POLL. I'M AHEAD 49 TO 41. I'M THE ONLY DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE THAT CAN SAY THAT. AND I'VE WON TWICE STATEWIDE AND I'VE CARRIED 69 OF THE 99 COUNTIES IN MY REELECTION BY 106,000 VOTES. IT'S ABOUT A PLAN, THE ABILITY TO WIN, AND THE ABILITY TO LEAD. AND I BRING ALL OF THAT TO THIS RACE.

Glover: LET'S TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE POLITICAL CLIMATE THIS YEAR. THERE'S A GROUP OF PEOPLE WHO SAY THIS IS SHAPING UP AS A PRETTY GOOD DEMOCRATIC YEAR. PRESIDENT BUSH'S NUMBERS ARE IN THE TOILET. THERE'S A LOT OF SCANDALS IN CONGRESS SO THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE SAY IT'S GOING TO BE A GOOD YEAR FOR DEMOCRATS. OTHERS SAY IT'S GOING TO BE A POX ON ALL YOUR HOUSES, THAT VOTERS ARE FED UP WITH POLITICIANS IN BOTH PARTIES. GIVE US YOUR ASSESSMENT OF THE CLIMATE.

Culver: YOU KNOW, I THINK WHAT VOTERS WANT IS THEY WANT LEADERSHIP. THEY WANT COURAGE. THEY WANT INTEGRITY. THEY WANT SOMEONE THAT HAS A VISION AND ENERGY AND IDEAS --

Glover: SECRETARY CULVER, LET ME INTERRUPT HERE. GO BACK TO MY QUESTION. THE QUESTION IS WHAT'S THE POLITICAL CLIMATE.

Culver: I THINK THAT CANDIDATES WILL WIN RUNNING FOR OFFICE AT EVERY LEVEL IF THEY HAVE A PLAN, IF THEY KNOW EXACTLY WHAT THEY WANT TO DO. I BELIEVE, MIKE, THAT THIS COULD BE A YEAR LIKE 1964. I REALLY BELIEVE IT COULD BE A LANDSLIDE YEAR FOR DEMOCRATS IN EVERY PART OF THIS COUNTRY. I KNOW A LITTLE BIT ABOUT 1964. THAT'S THE YEAR MY FATHER GOT ELECTED WHEN PRESIDENT JOHNSON RAN FOR PRESIDENT. SO IN ANSWER TO YOUR QUESTION, I DO BELIEVE THIS IS GOING TO BE A GREAT YEAR, BUT DEMOCRATS HAVE TO HAVE A PLAN TO WHERE THEY WANT TO TAKE THE STATE AND THE COUNTRY, AND I THINK WE'LL OFFER THAT. AND I THINK WE CAN DO WHAT HAROLD HUGHES DID, HONESTLY: KEEP THE GOVERNOR'S SEAT, WIN THE SENATE, AND WIN THE HOUSE HERE IN IOWA.

Yepsen: THERE ARE A LOT OF -- GOING TO THE BACK HALF OF MIKE'S QUESTION, THERE ARE A LOT OF DEMOCRATS WHO ARE DOWN, THEY'RE DISPIRITED, THEY'RE ANGRY. THEY'RE ANGRY AT THEIR PARTY. THEY'RE ANGRY AT THE GENERAL ENVIRONMENT. HOW DO YOU REACH OUT TO DEMOCRATS WHO AREN'T FOR YOU? AND I'M THINKING SPECIFICALLY OF ED FALLON'S SUPPORTERS.

Culver: WELL, ED FALLON HAS DONE A GREAT JOB IN THIS CAMPAIGN. MIKE BLOUIN HAS WORKED HARD TRAVELING THE STATE. ON JUNE 7 IT WILL BE MY JOB TO UNIFY THIS PARTY. I PLAN ON WINNING THIS NOMINATION ON JUNE 6 IN THE PRIMARY. I'M WORKING HARD TO EARN EVERY SINGLE VOTE. I WANT TO SPEAK TO THE UNDECIDED VOTERS TODAY AND HOPEFULLY GET THEIR SUPPORT IN THIS CAMPAIGN. I DON'T SEE THAT PEOPLE ARE DISPIRITED, DAVID. I WAS IN SIOUX CITY LAST NIGHT. WE HAD A HUNDRED PEOPLE PACKED INTO A ROOM. PEOPLE ARE ENERGIZED. SEVENTY-FOUR PERCENT OF AMERICANS THINK THAT GEORGE BUSH IS ON THE WRONG TRACK. SO THIS IS GOING TO BE A GREAT YEAR. I CAN SEE A LOT OF EXCITEMENT OUT THERE. BUT I THINK WHAT DEMOCRATS ARE LOOKING FOR IS SOME COURAGE IN THEIR POLITICAL LEADERS. I'M FOR A WOMAN'S RIGHT TO MAKE HER OWN HEALTH CARE DECISIONS. I'M FOR STEM CELL RESEARCH. I'M FOR INCREASING THE MINIMUM WAGE. I WILL HAVE THE COURAGE TO FIGHT FOR THESE IMPORTANT DEMOCRATIC VALUES AS GOVERNOR. THAT'S WHAT THEY'RE LOOKING FOR.

Yepsen: MR. CULVER, IF YOU WIN, YOU WILL SUCCEED TOM VILSACK. HOW WILL YOU BE DIFFERENT FROM GOVERNOR VILSACK?

Culver: YOU KNOW, GOVERNOR VILSACK HAS DONE A GREAT JOB, AND HE DESERVES TO BE COMMENDED FOR HIS LEADERSHIP. OUR FISCAL HOUSE IS IN ORDER. HE'S PREPARED OUR ECONOMY WELL FOR THE 21ST CENTURY. WE ALL BRING DIFFERENT CHARACTERISTICS TO PUBLIC OFFICE.

Yepsen: HOW DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DIFFERENT?

Culver: WELL, THAT'S UP TO THE VOTERS TO DECIDE. THAT'S UP FOR -- THAT'S UP TO THE POLITICAL REPORTERS, THE PUNDITS TO MAKE THOSE DISTINCTIONS. I THINK WHAT WE HAVE IN COMMON IS A REAL LOVE FOR THE PEOPLE OF THIS STATE, A PASSION FOR OUR PARTY. AND I THINK WE ALSO BRING THE SAME TYPE OF FISCAL DISCIPLINE TO THIS OFFICE. I KNOW HOW TO BALANCE BUDGETS. HE'S DONE A GREAT JOB AT MANAGING THE TAXPAYER MONEY. THAT'S WHAT WE HAVE IN COMMON, AND I FOCUS ON THOSE THINGS AS OPPOSED TO OUR DIFFERENCES.

Yepsen: AND WHAT DO YOU SAY TO THE ANALYSIS THAT GOVERNOR VILSACK AND HIS PEOPLE ARE TILTING TO MIKE BLOUIN? BLOUIN IS HIS ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR. MATT PAUL WAS HIS PRESS SECRETARY, LEFT OFFICE TO GO RUN BLOUIN'S CAMPAIGN. IS THERE A BLOUIN TILT OF VILSACK AND HIS PEOPLE.

Culver: I HAVE GOTTEN GOVERNOR VILSACK'S WORD THAT HE IS NOT BEING -- HE'S NOT INVOLVED IN THIS RACE FOR GOVERNOR. THE FIRST LADY HAS TOLD ME THE SAME THING. THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR HAS SAID THE SAME THING. I WILL TAKE THEM AT THEIR WORD, AND I LOOK FORWARD TO WORKING WITH GOVERNOR VILSACK, STARTING ON JUNE 7. I NEED HIM TO HELP ME WIN THIS RACE, AND NOT ONLY IN IOWA BUT ACROSS THE COUNTRY. THIS IS GOING TO BE A TARGETED RACE. GOVERNOR VILSACK IS RECOGNIZED AS A NATIONAL LEADER, AND I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO WORKING WITH HIM, SALLY PEDERSON, AND CHRISTIE VILSACK AFTER THIS PRIMARY.

Glover: YOUR OPPONENT, MICHAEL BLOUIN, HAS GOTTEN THE ENDORSEMENT OF THE BULK OF ORGANIZED LABOR. HE'S GOTTEN THE ENDORSEMENT OF THE IOWA FEDERATION OF LABOR, THE LARGEST WORKER UNION REPRESENTING STATE WORKERS. YOU'VE GOTTEN SOME LABOR, BUT HE'S GOTTEN THE BULK OF IT. AS A PRACTICAL MATTER, HOW DO YOU OFFSET THE BACKING OF ORGANIZED LABOR FOR AN OPPONENT IN THE DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY?

Culver: YOU KNOW, I HAVE A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF SUPPORT FROM ORGANIZED LABOR. I HAVE 50,000 ACTIVE AND RETIRED MEMBERS OF UNION SUPPORTING ME. THE UNITED AUTO WORKERS, ONE OF THE STRONGEST, HARDEST WORKING UNIONS IN THE STATE IN TERMS OF POLITICAL INVOLVEMENT, THEY ARE SUPPORTING MY CAMPAIGN. THE MACHINISTS, THE CENTRAL IOWA BUILDING TRADES, THE LETTER CARRIERS, THE TRANSPORTATION WORKERS. ON TOP OF THAT, WE HAVE 50,000 MEMBERS OF PLANNED PARENTHOOD THAT ARE SUPPORTING MY CANDIDACY.

Glover: THIS IS ABOUT LABOR, NOT ABORTION.

Culver: WELL, I'M JUST SUGGESTING THAT WE HAVE OUR FAIR SHARE OF ENDORSEMENTS.

Glover: BUT THE QUESTION WAS PREMISED ON -- IN FACT, HE HAS THE HEST OF IT. HOW DO YOU OFFSET THAT?

Culver: WELL, I HAVE 50,000 ACTIVE AND --

Glover: SO YOU HAVE NO ANSWER FOR HOW YOU OFFSET IT.

Culver: IT DOESN'T -- WE HAVE A GREAT GROUP OF LABOR ACTIVISTS SUPPORTING US. AND I BELIEVE THAT WILL SHOW ON ELECTION DAY. THEY ARE WORKING EXTREMELY HARD TO GET THIS -- TO GET THE VOTE OUT FOR THE CULVER-JUDGE TICKET ON JUNE 6.

Yepsen: IF YOU WIN THE PRIMARY, HOW DO YOU GET IT, ORGANIZED LABOR, BACK IN YOUR CAMP? I MEAN MIKE IS RIGHT, IT'S A FACT, 80 PERCENT OF ORGANIZED LABOR IN THIS STATE IS WITH MIKE BLOUIN. NOW, THE CHALLENGE FOR YOU WILL BE REACHING OUT TO THOSE PEOPLE. HOW DO YOU DO THAT?

Culver: I THINK THE OTHER FACT TO MIKE'S QUESTION, I REALLY BELIEVE THE RANK AND FILE MEMBERS OF LABOR ARE SUPPORTING MY PLAN TO LEAD THIS STATE FORWARD. THEY UNDERSTAND I HAVE A RECORD WHEN IT COMES TO STANDING UP AND FIGHTING FOR WORKING MEN AND WOMEN. SO I BELIEVE, DESPITE THE FACT THAT SOME OF THE LEADERSHIP IN THESE UNIONS HAVE GONE THE OTHER WAY, MANY OF THE RANK AND FILE WILL VOTE FOR ME. AND THAT'S WHAT I'M AFTER. THAT'S WHY I'M ON THE ROAD RIGHT NOW. IT WILL BE MY JOB, DAVID, AS THE NOMINEE TO BRING THIS PARTY TOGETHER, AND I LOOK FORWARD TO DOING THAT. AND I WILL SHOW LEADERSHIP, AND WE WILL BRING EVERYONE TOGETHER STARTING ON JUNE 7. ABSOLUTELY.

Glover: ONE OF THE ISSUES IN THE RACE IS THE ROLE THAT THE IOWA VALUES FUND HAS PLAYED IN THE STATE'S ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ISSUES. IT'S GOVERNOR VILSACK'S CENTERPIECE, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM. MIKE BLOUIN HAS HIS DIRECTOR OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. HE'LL RUN THAT PROGRAM. WOULD YOU HAVE DONE ANYTHING DIFFERENTLY WITH THE IOWA VALUES FUND?

Culver: YES, MY PROBLEM -- AND I'VE SAID THIS THROUGHOUT THE COURSE OF THIS CAMPAIGN, MY CONCERN WITH THE VALUES FUND IS ACCOUNTABILITY AND TRANSPARENCY. MIKE BLOUIN IS NOT BEING HONEST WHEN HE SUGGESTS ON HIS TELEVISION COMMERCIALS THAT THE IOWA VALUES FUND HAS BROUGHT IN 25,000 JOBS. HIS OWN DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT SPOKESPERSON SAID THAT NUMBER IS 7,000. ED FALLON SUGGESTS IT'S EVEN LOWER THAN THAT. WHAT WE NEED -- THE VALUES FUND, THE PREMISE OF IT MAKES SENSE IF IT WORKS, IF THESE COMPANIES DELIVER ON THEIR PROMISES. AND IN A CULVER ADMINISTRATION, WE WILL HOLD THESE COMPANIES ACCOUNTABLE AND THEY WILL PAY BACK THE TAXPAYERS OF IOWA WITH PENALTIES IF THEY DON'T DELIVER ON THEIR JOB CREATION PROMISES. AND THAT'S THE PROBLEM. IT'S ABOUT TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY, AND I DON'T BELIEVE THAT THIS HAS BEEN MANAGED WELL. AND IT WASN'T MANAGED WELL WHEN MIKE BLOUIN WAS IN CHARGE OF IT. THAT'S THE PROBLEM.

Glover: IS IT YOUR POSITION THAT IT HASN'T WORKED?

Culver: WELL, I HAVE MY CONCERNS. WE HAVE JUST LEARNED THAT 18 COMPANIES HAVE COMPLETELY FAILED, 26 COMPANIES ARE BEHIND ON THEIR JOB CREATION PROMISES, 50 COMPANIES DIDN'T EVEN BOTHER TO TELL US HOW THEY'RE COMING. WE NEED SOME -- WE NEED SOME OVERSIGHT. WE NEED SOME ACCOUNTABILITY. I BELIEVE THERE ARE EXAMPLES WHERE IT HAS WORKED. DON'T GET ME WRONG. AND IN AN CULVER ADMINISTRATION, WE WILL MAKE IT WORK ALL THE TIME WHERE THE TAXPAYERS WILL GET THEIR MONEY BACK. THAT'S WHAT'S MISSING IN THIS EQUATION, AND MIKE BLOUIN HAS TO ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS. AND WHY ON HIS WEB SITE TODAY -- HIS CAMPAIGN WEB SITE DOES HE CONTINUE TO SAY THAT HE'S CREATED 25,000 JOBS RELATED TO THE IOWA VALUES FUND? THAT IS NOT ACCURATE.

Yepsen: MR. CULVER, WHAT WILL YOU DO TO MAKE THAT VALUES FUND WORK MORE FOR RURAL IOWA? I HEAR A LOT OF CRITICISM FROM PEOPLE IN RURAL PARTS OF THE STATE THAT ALL THAT VALUES FUND DOES IS JUST HELP COMMUNITIES THAT DON'T REALLY NEED IT, LIKE DES MOINES. YET, CAN YOU FIND A WAY TO HAVE THAT FUND DO MORE FOR RURAL IOWA?

Culver: ABSOLUTELY. AND THAT HAS BEEN ANOTHER CRITIQUE THAT I'VE SUGGESTED THROUGHOUT THE COURSE OF THIS CAMPAIGN. WE NEED ONE IOWA. WE NEED TO BRING URBAN IOWA AND RURAL IOWA TOGETHER. I WAS IN LIDDERDALE YESTERDAY CAMPAIGNING, RIGHT OUTSIDE OF CARROLL. I WANT TO HELP LIDDERDALE, IOWA. I BELIEVE WITH THE IOWA VALUES FUND, WE CAN TARGET MORE OF THE MONEY TO MAIN STREETS. I WANT TO DOUBLE THE SIZE, FOR EXAMPLE, OF THE IOWA MAIN STREET PROGRAM. I SPENT A LOT OF TIME AS A YOUNG PERSON IN MCGREGOR, IOWA, A TOWN OF A THOUSAND PEOPLE. I THINK THAT IS ONE OF OUR REAL STRENGTHS, ESPECIALLY NOW WITH THE INCREDIBLE OPPORTUNITIES WITH RENEWABLE ENERGY AND ALTERNATIVE FUEL. AND FINALLY, DAVID, MY RUNNING MATE, PATTY JUDGE, IS FROM ALBIA, IOWA. WE BRING A REALLY UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE TO THE IMPORTANCE OF ONE IOWA AND MAKING SURE THAT NOT ONLY THE LARGER URBAN AREAS DO WELL, BUT THE SMALLER COMMUNITIES GET SOME SUPPORT TOO.

Borg: HOW DO YOU MAKE THEM COMPETITIVE, THOUGH, AGAINST THE LARGER URBAN CENTERS WHERE THE LABOR MARKET IS?

Culver: WELL, I DON'T THINK IT SHOULD BE ABOUT COMPETITION, DEAN. I THINK WE SHOULD ALL COME TOGETHER AND REALIZE THAT THE WHOLE STATE IS IMPORTANT. I WAS IN COUNCIL BLUFFS THIS WEEK. I WAS IN SIOUX CITY THIS WEEK. WESTERN IOWA IS IMPORTANT. EVERY COUNTY IS CRITICALLY IMPORTANT TO THE FUTURE AND TO THE SUCCESS OF OUR STATE IN THE FUTURE. SO THAT'S BEEN THE PROBLEM, DEAN, IS IT'S BEEN COMPETITION, ONE PITTED AGAINST THE OTHER, URBAN VERSUS RURAL. WE NEED TO CHANGE THE MINDSET. WE NEED TO THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX. AND PATTY JUDGE AND I BRING THIS NEW, FRESH PERSPECTIVE TO THIS CHALLENGE. AND I KNOW THAT WE CAN DO A LOT BETTER.

Glover: YOU SAY YOU WANT TO DOUBLE THE SIZE OF THE MAIN STREET PROGRAM AS PART OF THE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS. DOES THAT MEAN YOU WANT TO TAKE THAT MONEY AWAY FROM THE VALUES FUND MONEY THAT'S GOING TO OTHER COMPANIES? DO YOU WANT TO EXPAND THE SIZE OF THE PROGRAM? HOW DOES THAT WORK?

Culver: WELL, THE NICE THING ABOUT THIS, MIKE, IS THAT WE HAVE EARMARKED $50 MILLION A YEAR FOR THE NEXT TEN YEARS. THE QUESTION IS HOW ARE WE GOING TO USE THAT -- THOSE RESOURCES, HOW ARE WE GOING TO TARGET THEM. SO I'M JUST SUGGESTING THAT WE HAVE A LITTLE MORE BALANCE BETWEEN URBAN AND RURAL. WELL, WE CAN SPREAD IT OUT. I THINK WE CAN BE FAIR ABOUT THIS AND HAVE MORE OF A FOCUS ON SMALL BUSINESSES, ON ENTREPRENEURS, ON VENTURE CAPITAL PROJECTS RELATED AGAIN TO RENEWABLE ENERGY AND ALTERNATIVE FUEL. THAT'S WHERE I THINK WE NEED TO TARGET OUR MONEY MORE, RURAL AND MORE SUPPORT FOR SMALL BUSINESSES AND EXISTING BUSINESSES THAT WANT TO GROW.

Yepsen: WHAT DO YOU SAY TO THE CRITICISM, THOUGH, THAT IF YOU DO THAT, YOU'RE JUST FRITTERING THE MONEY AWAY; THAT IOWA HAS A LIMITED AMOUNT OF RESOURCES; WE HAVE TO PLACE IT ON THE BEST BETS, AND THOSE HAPPEN TO BE IN THE LARGER, URBAN AREAS; THAT IF YOU GIVE IT TO ALL THE COUNTIES AND YOU BUILD 99 GAZEBOS, WHAT DOES THIS ACCOMPLISH FOR THE STATE'S ECONOMY?

Culver: WELL, I'M SUGGESTING THAT WE TARGET THE FUNDS. AND WE CAN DO BOTH. WE HAVE COMMITTED OVER $500 MILLION TO THE IOWA VALUES FUND, AND IT'S A MATTER OF BALANCE. AND I'M NOT SUGGESTING EVERY COUNTY GETS THE EXACT SAME AMOUNT OF MONEY, BUT I AM SAYING THAT WE CAN LOOK AT REGIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES AND JUST HAVE A LITTLE BETTER BALANCE BETWEEN URBAN AND RURAL.

Yepsen: I WANT TO SWITCH GEARS. AGRICULTURE AND THE ENVIRONMENT, THEY SEEM TO BE LIKE THIS. THE COMPETITION OF THE NEEDS OF AGRICULTURE AND WHAT THE STATE'S ENVIRONMENTALISTS WANT TO DO. WE CAN'T SEEM TO GET THAT RIGHT. WHAT WOULD YOU DO AS GOVERNOR TO BALANCE TWO VERY IMPORTANT NEEDS?

Culver: WELL, YOU KNOW, I BELIEVE WE HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT THE LAND, THE LAKES, AND THE RIVERS AND STREAMS THAT WE ALL LOVE. AGAIN, AS A YOUNG PERSON SPENDING A LOT OF TIME IN CEDAR RAPIDS AND MCGREGOR, IOWA, I HAD A WONDERFUL APPRECIATION FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND HAD A LOT OF FUN AS A KID SWIMMING IN THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER AND HAVING OPPORTUNITIES BECAUSE OF OUR CLEAN ENVIRONMENT. AND WE HAVE WORK TO DO. WATER QUALITY IS A REAL CONCERN, AND I WILL MAKE A COMMITMENT TO CLEANING UP OUR WATER IN PARTICULAR. BUT AGAIN, IT'S ABOUT -- IT'S ABOUT BALANCE, DAVID. IT'S ABOUT RESPONSIBLE LAND USE. THAT'S WHAT WE NEED. COMPREHENSIVE PLANNING INTO THE FUTURE WHERE WE THINK LONG-TERM ABOUT HOW WE WANT TO USE THIS LAND.

Glover: AND THERE ARE THOSE WHO QUESTION YOUR CREDIBILITY ON THE ISSUE. YOU MENTIONED YOUR RUNNING MATE, PATTY JUDGE, EARLIER. SHE RAN EARLIER FOR THE DEMOCRATIC GUBERNATORIAL NOMINATION AND CAME UNDER CRITICISM BECAUSE THE BULK OF HER CAMPAIGN MONEY CAME FROM BIG HOG LOTS. HOW DO YOU ANSWER THAT?

Culver: YOU KNOW, PATTY JUDGE WAS THE FIRST WOMAN EVER ELECTED SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE. SHE HAS USED --

Glover: SECRETARY OF AG, WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH WHERE SHE GOT HER CAMPAIGN MONEY?

Culver: IT MEANS THAT SHE HAS BEEN BEFORE THE VOTERS TWICE STATEWIDE. THEY HAVE SUPPORTED HER VISION, HER PLAN AS SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE. THEY HAVE ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT CONTRIBUTIONS IN THE PAST, AND SHE HAS ANSWERED THEM. SHE DOES NOT HAVE REGULATORY AUTHORITY AS SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE. IN TERMS OF WHERE THESE LARGE HOG LOTS ARE PLACED, FOR EXAMPLE. SO SHE HAS BEEN A CHAMPION FOR VALUE-ADDED AGRICULTURE. I'M PROUD TO HAVE HER AS MY RUNNING MATE, AND I THINK WE'RE GOING TO WIN THIS RACE BECAUSE OF SOME OF THE THINGS THAT SHE BRINGS TO THIS TICKET.

Glover: SWITCHING GEARS JUST A LITTLE BIT. DURING THIS PAST SESSION, THE LEGISLATURE APPROVED A LONG-TERM FUNDING BILL FOR K-12 EDUCATION, PUTTING MORE MONEY IN THE POT FOR TEACHER PAY AND SO FORTH. BUT IF YOU LOOK AT HIGHER EDUCATION IN THE STATE, COMMUNITY COLLEGE STUDENTS PAY AMONG THE HIGHEST TUITIONS IN THE COUNTRY AND REGENT STUDENTS HAVE SEEN THEIR TUITION GO UP 50 PERCENT IN THE PAST TWO YEARS. WHAT WOULD YOU DO ABOUT THAT?

Culver: WELL, I HAVE A PLAN TO MAKE COLLEGE MORE AFFORDABLE. NUMBER ONE, WE'RE GOING TO EXPAND THE SENIOR YEAR PLUS PROGRAM TO ALLOW EVERY HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR IN THIS STATE TO RECEIVE UP TO A YEAR OF COLLEGE CREDIT BEFORE THEY LEAVE THE BUILDING. AND WE CAN DO THAT. WE CAN EXPAND THAT PROGRAM. NUMBER TWO, WE'VE COME UP WITH AN ALL-IOWA OPPORTUNITY SCHOLARSHIP WHERE WE WILL TELL THE CLASS OF 2008, IF YOU GET A 2.5 GRADE POINT AVERAGE, WE WILL GIVE YOU THE CHANCE TO HELP YOU PAY FOR YOUR FIRST YEAR OF COMMUNITY COLLEGE; PRIVATE OR PUBLIC COLLEGE, WE'LL PAY UP TO $5,000 TO KEEP THEM IN THIS STATE. WE NEED TO INVEST IN OUR KIDS AND MAKE COLLEGE MORE AFFORDABLE. AND THOSE TWO PROGRAMS ALONE COULD REDUCE THE COST, FOR EXAMPLE, AT THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA, AS MUCH AS 25 TO 50 PERCENT.

Yepsen: ANOTHER IMPEDIMENT TO ECONOMIC GROWTH IN THIS STATE ARE HIGH COMMERCIAL PROPERTY TAXES. THEY'RE AMONG THE HIGHEST IN THE COUNTRY. WHAT WOULD GOVERNOR CHET CULVER DO TO REDUCE PROPERTY TAXES ON BUSINESSES?

Culver: THE FIRST THING WE HAVE TO DO -- AND I WILL DO THIS IMMEDIATELY AS GOVERNOR -- IS BRING TOGETHER ALL OF THE PLAYERS, BRING THEM TO THE TABLE. WE NEED A COMPREHENSIVE REFORM. WE NEED COMPREHENSIVE OVERVIEW WHEN IT COMES TO PROPERTY TAXES: COMMERCIAL, RESIDENTIAL, AG LAND. WE NEED TO HAVE MORE BALANCE AND MORE FAIRNESS AND MORE EQUITY WHEN IT COMES TO OUR PROPERTY TAXES. AND THAT'S GOING TAKE SOME LEADERSHIP, AND THE TIME IS NOW TO TAKE THAT ON IN THIS STATE.

Yepsen: HISTORICALLY, THE ONLY WAY WE'VE LOWERED PROPERTY TAXES IS TO SUBSTITUTE SALES AND INCOME TAX REVENUES FOR THEM. IS THAT WHAT YOU WOULD DO?

Culver: YOU KNOW, I THINK WE NEED TO DO THREE THINGS: IT NEEDS TO BE FAIR; IT NEEDS TO BE EASY TO UNDERSTAND; AND IT NEEDS TO GENERATE THE REVENUE FOR THE STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS. I BELIEVE WE CAN DO THAT. OTHER STATES -- VIRGINIA RECENTLY, FOR EXAMPLE, HAD A COMPREHENSIVE OVERVIEW OF THEIR TAX STRUCTURE. THEY'RE NOW DOING EXTREMELY WELL. THEIR ECONOMY IS IN GREAT SHAPE AND REVENUES ARE COMING INTO THE STATE, AND THAT'S WHAT WE NEED TO DO IN IOWA.

Borg: YOU'VE COME OUT OF THE HIGH SCHOOL CLASSROOM. YOU RELATE OSTENSIVELY TO YOUNG PEOPLE. WHAT IS IT ABOUT IOWA THAT NEEDS TO CHANGE IN ORDER TO KEEP MORE OF THEM HERE?

Culver: WELL, AGAIN, I THINK COLLEGE TUITION, WE NEED TO TELL YOUNG PEOPLE THAT WE WANT THEM TO STAY IN THIS STATE.

Borg: BUT THEY GO TO COLLEGE AND LEAVE.

Culver: RIGHT. NUMBER TWO, I WANT TO CREATE A SILICON VALLEY OF THE MIDWEST RIGHT HERE IN IOWA, DEAN. THERE'S NO REASON WHY IOWA CAN'T LEAD THE NATION AND BECOME THE FIRST STATE TO DECLARE OUR INDEPENDENCE FROM FOREIGN OIL AND PRICE-GOUGING, BIG OIL COMPANIES. AND WITH OUR IOWA POWER FUND, WE WANT TO MAKE INVESTMENTS. WE WANT TO CREATE GOOD JOBS, JOBS OF THE FUTURE IN IOWA AND CLOSE TO THE LAND. THAT'S WHAT IT'S GOING TO TAKE. ACCESS TO HIGHER EDUCATION AND A GOOD JOB WHEN THEY GRADUATE.

Glover: THIS WHOLE ISSUE OF DOING SOME KIND OF A TAX REFORM QUESTION, THEY'VE TRIED THAT FOR A COUPLE OF DECADES UP THERE, AND IT HASN'T WORKED.

Culver: WELL, THAT'S ONE REASON I'M RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR, MIKE. THEY'VE TRIED A LOT OF THINGS UP AT THE LEGISLATURE, AND I SHARE IOWANS' FRUSTRATION WHEN IT COMES TO EDUCATION AND HEALTH CARE AND JOB CREATION AND CLEANING UP OUR ENVIRONMENT. IT'S GOING TO TAKE LEADERSHIP, BIG IDEAS, AND BOLD INITIATIVES, AND I'M READY TO LEAD THIS STATE. I BELIEVE THAT'S WHAT PEOPLE ARE LOOKING FOR IS COURAGE AND COMMITMENT AND A PLAN TO MOVE THIS STATE FORWARD. AND I WILL BRING THAT TO THIS GOVERNOR'S OFFICE.

Yepsen: VERY QUICKLY IN LESS THAN A MINUTE, HOW WOULD YOU FOSTER DEVELOPMENT OF ETHANOL?

Culver: YOU KNOW WHAT, WE NEED TO CONTINUE TO EXPAND. WE NEED TO CONTINUE TO PUT ETHANOL PLANTS ACROSS THIS STATE. WE'RE NUMBER ONE IN THE NATION IN ETHANOL. THE PROBLEM, DAVID, IS THAT WE ONLY HAVE 30 E85 PUMPS IN THE WHOLE STATE. MINNESOTA HAS 215. ILLINOIS HAS 110. WE NEED TO RAPIDLY CONVERT PUMPS. WE NEED TO INCREASE CONSUMPTION BY GIVING IOWANS UP TO A $4,000 TAX CREDIT TO PURCHASE FLEX FUEL VEHICLES, AND WE NEED CONSUMER EDUCATION AND OUTREACH. AND I WOULD APPOINT A DIRECTOR OF RENEWABLE ENERGY TO LEAD THAT EFFORT.

Borg: WHAT WOULD YOU WANT DEMOCRATS TO REMEMBER AS THEY GO INTO THE VOTING BOOTH ON TUESDAY ABOUT THIS TICKET, THIS CULVER/JUDGE TICKET, THAT DIFFERENTIATES YOU FROM EVERYBODY ELSE? WHAT DO YOU WANT THEM TO RECALL?

Culver: IT'S THE WINNING TICKET. THIS IS THE TICKET THAT'S GOING TO WIN JUNE 6, BEAT JIM NUSSLE ON NOVEMBER 7, AND BE READY TO GOVERN. THAT'S THE OTHER IMPORTANT POINT. WE BRING SIXTEEN YEARS OF EXECUTIVE BRANCH EXPERIENCE TO THIS OFFICE, BOTH SERVING IN THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH FOR THE LAST SIXTEEN YEARS COLLECTIVELY. AND WE LOVE THIS STATE. WE HAVE A PLAN, DEAN, TO LEAD IOWA FORWARD. I COULDN'T HAVE A MORE CAPABLE, CONFIDENT RUNNING MATE. PATTY JUDGE IS A STRONG DEMOCRAT, AND WE WANT TO LEAD THIS PARTY IN THE STATE THAT WE LOVE. AND WE HAVE A VISION AND ENERGY THAT WE BRING TO THIS CAMPAIGN THAT IS IMPORTANT. AND OUR ROOTS ARE DEEP; I'M A PROUD FIFTH-GENERATION IOWAN. MY FAMILY CAME HERE IN 1861, AND I WANT TO FIGHT TO MAKE THINGS A LOT BETTER IN IOWA.

Borg: THANKS, MR. SECRETARY, FOR SPENDING TIME WITH US TODAY.

Culver: THANK YOU SO MUCH, DEAN.

Borg: DURING THE PAST THREE WEEKS, INCLUDING THIS WEEKEND, 'IOWA PRESS' IS FOCUSING ON CANDIDATES, AS YOU'VE HEARD, IN THE MAJOR CONTENDED RACES. WE'LL CONTINUE THAT INSIGHT DURING THE NEXT HALF HOUR, AS WE QUESTION ANOTHER CANDIDATE WHO WANTS DEMOCRATS TO NOMINATE HIM FOR GOVERNOR. WE'LL BE TALKING WITH MIKE BLOUIN IN JUST A MOMENT, WHEN 'IOWA PRESS' CONTINUES ON IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION.

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY 'FRIENDS,' THE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION FOUNDATION; BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS; BY THE ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS OF IOWA, THE PUBLIC'S PARTNER IN BUILDING IOWA'S HIGHWAY, BRIDGE, AND MUNICIPAL UTILITY INFRASTRUCTURE; AND BY CAPITOL RESOURCES, INC., LOCATED IN BROOKLYN, IOWA; AND BY NICOLE SCHLINGER AND ERIC LANGE INDIVIDUALLY, FUND-RAISING AND COMMUNICATION SERVICES FOR MAJOR CAMPAIGNS SINCE 1996.

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