Iowa Public Television

 

CAMPAIGN 2002: Candidate For Governor

posted on October 30, 2002

Yepsen: GOOD EVENING. TONIGHT'S PRESENTATION IS THE THIRD IN A FOUR-PART SERIES TITLED "THE CANDIDATES WITH DAVID YEPSEN," WHERE THE MAJOR PARTY CANDIDATES FOR THE U.S. SENATE AND FOR GOVERNOR JOIN US TO DISCUSS THE CAMPAIGN OF 2002. WE BEGAN OUR SERIES ON MONDAY EVENING WITH CONGRESSMAN GREG GANSKE, REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE FOR THE UNITED STATES SENATE. LAST NIGHT DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR TOM VILSACK, NOW SEEKING A SECOND FOUR-YEAR TERM IN OFFICE, WAS OUR GUEST. TONIGHT WE CONTINUE OUR DISCUSSION ON THE RUN FOR TERRACE HILL, AND JOINING US IS THE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE FOR GOVERNOR, DOUG GROSS. HE'S ON THE BALLOT FOR THE FIRST TIME, BUT HE'S NOT A POLITICAL ROOKIE. MR. GROSS KNOWS HIS WAY AROUND THE HALLS OF THE IOWA STATEHOUSE AS WELL AS ANYONE, AND HE SHOULD. MR. GROSS EARNED HIS POLITICAL STRIPES BY SERVING AS AN ADVISOR AND CONFIDANT TO IOWA'S LAST TWO REPUBLICAN GOVERNORS, AS AN ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT TO ROBERT RAY, AND AS CHIEF OF STAFF FOR TERRY BRANSTAD. ADDITIONALLY, MR. GROSS WORKED AS A STAFFER ON THE ENERGY POLICY COUNCIL AND FOR THE STATE BOARD OF REGENTS. AND ALONG THE WAY, HE GOT HIS LAW DEGREE FROM DRAKE UNIVERSITY AND HAS SERVED AS THE MANAGING PARTNER OF IOWA'S THIRD LARGEST LAW FIRM. MR. GROSS, WELCOME ONCE AGAIN TO IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION.

Gross: DAVID, IT'S GREAT TO BE HERE.

Yepsen: WE'RE GLAD YOU'RE WITH US TONIGHT.

Gross: THANK YOU.

Yepsen: WE'RE LIVE. YOU OPENED TODAY, YOUR BUS TOUR AROUND IOWA, TO CLOSE UP THE CAMPAIGN. POLLS SHOW YOU'RE BEHIND. WHAT ARE YOU SAYING TO REPUBLICAN AUDIENCES ON THIS BUS TOUR TO GET THE VOTE OUT?

Gross: WELL, IF WE WANT TO HAVE CHANGE IN IOWA, WE NEED TO VOTE FOR DOUG GROSS AND DEBI DURHAM. PEOPLE OF IOWA DO NOT WANT FOUR MORE YEARS LIKE THE LAST FOUR YEARS. I'M CONVINCED OF THAT, DAVID. IF YOU LOOK AT WHAT'S OCCURRED IN OUR STATE, WE'RE THE ONLY STATE AMONG ALL OF OUR NEIGHBORING STATES SINCE TOM VILSACK HAS BEEN GOVERNOR TO ACTUALLY BE DECLINING IN POPULATION. OUR BUDGET IS A MESS. WE'VE GOT TROOPERS DRIVING WITH 130,000 MILES ON THEIR CARS. WE'VE GOT PEOPLE IN DETENTION FACILITIES FOR AS MUCH AS SIX MONTHS, WAITING TO GET A PLACE AT A GROUP HOME. WE'VE THE DHS AS DYSFUNCTIONAL AS THE FAMILIES IT'S TRYING TO SERVE. WE'VE GOT PROBLEMS IN IOWA, SERIOUS PROBLEMS, AND PEOPLE WANT CHANGE. IF THEY WANT GROWTH IN IOWA AGAIN, IF THEY WANT GOOD GOVERNMENT IN IOWA AGAIN, THEN THEY NEED TO COME OUT AND VOTE FOR US.

Yepsen: THIS LEADS ME TO MY NEXT QUESTION. LET'S ASSUME THIS WERE A JOB INTERVIEW AND YOU'VE GOT THE LARGEST AUDIENCE --

Gross: DAVID, I NEVER WANTED TO HAVE TO INTERVIEW WITH YOU. [ LAUGHTER ]

Yepsen: YOU'VE GOT YOUR LARGEST AUDIENCE THAT YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE BEFORE THE ELECTION. WHY SHOULD YOU BE OUR NEXT GOVERNOR?

Gross: IF THE PEOPLE OF IOWA WANT TO GROW AGAIN, IF THEY WANT TO KEEP THEIR KIDS HERE AND GIVE THEM JOB OPPORTUNITIES WHEN THEY GRADUATE FROM SCHOOL, INSTEAD OF THE RECORD NUMBER WE'RE HAVING TO LEAVE THE STATE ALL THE TIME IN ORDER TO GET JOB OPPORTUNITIES, THEN THEY NEED TO VOTE FOR DOUG GROSS.

Yepsen: WHY ARE YOU BETTER THAN TOM VILSACK?

Gross: BECAUSE I'VE HAD A CHANCE TO WORK IN BOTH THE PUBLIC AND THE PRIVATE SECTORS, DAVID. I'VE WORKED WITH TWO GREAT GOVERNORS, HELPED THEM DEVELOP THEIR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AGENDAS AND PUSHED THEM FORWARD, AND WORKED IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR, WORKING WITH COMPANIES AND SEEING WHAT IT TAKES TO GROW GOOD PAYING JOBS IN IOWA. WE'VE LAID OUT A VERY CLEAR AND PROBABLY THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AGENDA YOU'VE EVER SEEN IN THIS STATE FROM A PUBLIC POLICY OFFICIAL. SO I'M PREPARED TO LEAD AND I KNOW EXACTLY WHAT IT TAKES IN ORDER TO GROW GOOD PAYING JOBS IN IOWA.

Yepsen: TALK TO THE UNDECIDED VOTER. THOSE SAME POLLS STILL SHOW A NICE SUBSTANTIAL SEGMENT OF THE IOWA ELECTORATE STILL WATCHING, STILL THINKING ABOUT IT. IF YOU WERE SITTING AROUND THE KITCHEN TABLE ON A SUNDAY NIGHT WITH FOLKS AS THEY TALKED ABOUT WHO THEY'RE GOING TO VOTE FOR, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO THEM?

Gross: I'D SAY THIS, DAVID. YOU KNOW, IOWA HAS BEEN THROUGH SOME TOUGH TIMES IN THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS. THE PROBLEM IS IF YOU SORT IT ALL OUT, IT'S NOT OUR LOCATION, IT'S NOT THE NATIONAL RECESSION. WHAT IT IS, IT'S LEADERSHIP. IOWA NEEDS STRONG LEADERSHIP AT THE TOP NOW MORE THAN EVER BEFORE, SOMEONE WHO CAN BE DISCIPLINED, WHO CAN BE FOCUSED. WHAT WE'VE HAD WITH GOVERNOR VILSACK HAS BEEN SOMEONE WHO HAD 77 PRIORITIES IN HIS FIRST TERM, AND THAT MEANS HE DIDN'T HAVE ANY. SO, REALLY, WHAT DO WE HAVE TO SHOW FOR HIS TIME IN OFFICE? WE WENT FROM A BILLION-DOLLAR SURPLUS TO A BILLION-DOLLAR DEFICIT. WE'VE GOT ALL THESE DIFFICULTIES. WHAT WE NEED IN IOWA NOW IS DISCIPLINED, FOCUSED LEADERSHIP TO PUT THE ATTENTION ON ECONOMIC GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT AGAIN BECAUSE, SEE, IF WE DON'T, WE WON'T BE ABLE TO SUPPORT THE THINGS WE HOLD MOST DEAR IN IOWA, THINGS LIKE OUR EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS AND PROVIDING HEALTH CARE FOR SENIOR CITIZENS. WE'VE WON'T BE ABLE TO AFFORD THEM, SO WE'VE GOT TO GROW THE ECONOMY IN IOWA AGAIN. WE'VE GOT A PLAN TO JUMP-START IT BY CREATING -- MAKING THE ENTIRE STATE AN ENTERPRISE ZONE TO MAKE SURE WE HAVE COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGES IMMEDIATELY AND, LONG TERM, FOCUSING ON THE CRITICAL ELEMENTS THAT MAKE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN JOBS BEING GROWN IN THIS STATE OF LEAVING THIS STATE.

Yepsen: LET'S FLUSH THAT OUT A LITTLE BIT.

Gross: SURE.

Yepsen: WE'VE GOT SOME TIME. WHAT IS YOUR ECONOMIC GROWTH PLAN? GO THROUGH THE POINTS OF IT.

Gross: BASICALLY, DAVID IT'S THIS. IN IOWA, OFTENTIMES WE TRY TO BE SOMETHING THAT WE'RE NOT. REMEMBER THE LASER CENTER AT THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA? WE WERE GOING TO BE THE LASER CENTER OF THE WORLD THERE, AND THEY STORE CANOES IN A PORTION OF THAT BUILDING NOW, A RESEARCH FACILITY. WHAT IT DOES IS IT TELLS US WE NEED TO FOCUS ON OUR STRENGTHS. WHAT ARE OUR STRENGTHS? WELL, WE GROW THINGS BETTER IN IOWA THAN ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD. SO VALUE-ADDED AGRICULTURE AND BIOTECHNOLOGY ARE CRITICAL AREAS THAT WE NEED TO FOCUS ON. SECONDLY, WE HAVE INFORMATION SERVICES AND INSURANCE AND FINANCIAL SERVICES HERE. WE NEED TO FOCUS ON THAT. THEN WE MANUFACTURE THINGS WELL IN IOWA. BUT THEN WE NEED TO GO BEYOND THAT. WE NEED TO SAY HOW CAN STATE GOVERNMENT TRULY IMPACT THE ABILITY OF THOSE INDUSTRIES TO GROW GOOD PAYING JOBS. YOU DO IT WITH THE WORKERS YOU EDUCATE AND TRAIN. YOU DO IT WITH THE INFRASTRUCTURE YOU PROVIDE, LIKE ROADS AND BRIDGES AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS, AND YOU DO IT WITH THE WAY YOU TAX AND YOU REGULATE. WHAT IOWA NEEDS TO DO IS SYSTEMATICALLY MAKE ITSELF BETTER WITH REGARD TO EACH ONE OF THOSE THINGS: BETTER EDUCATE WORKERS, PROVIDE BETTER INFRASTRUCTURE, AND PROVIDE A BETTER TAX AND REGULATORY CLIMATE. IF WE DO THAT, WE'LL GROW THOSE INDUSTRIES AND WE'LL GROW GOOD PAYING JOBS IN IOWA.

Yepsen: WHY IS YOUR SYSTEM BETTER THAN -- YOUR PROPOSAL BETTER THAN TOM VILSACK'S? I MEAN, HE WAS HERE THE OTHER NIGHT. HE'S FOR GROWTH. ECONOMIC GROWTH ARE LIKE MOTHERHOOD, APPLE PIE, AND THE FLAG. YOU'RE ALL FOR IT.

Gross: HE'S LIKE RIP VAN WINKLE WHEN IT COMES TO ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, THOUGH. HE WAS ASLEEP FOR THREE AND A HALF YEARS. AND WHEN IT CAME TO AN ELECTION YEAR, HE DECIDED HE WANTED TO DO SOMETHING. BUT IF YOU LOOK AT HIS PLANS, THEY'RE ALL ABOUT SPENDING MORE GOVERNMENT MONEY, MONEY THAT HE'S ALREADY SPENT WAY TOO MUCH OF AND WE DON'T HAVE ANY LEFT. WHAT WE HAVE IS A MARKET-BASED ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AGENDA, BECAUSE THE ONLY WAY WE'RE GOING TO SUSTAIN GOOD PAYING JOBS IN IOWA IS IF THE ECONOMY WILL SUPPORT THEM, SO WE'VE GOT TO CREATE MORE ECONOMIC ACTIVITY IN IOWA. YOU SEE, WE'RE RATED FIFTIETH IN THE COUNTRY RIGHT NOW WHEN IT COMES TO A PLACE TO HAVE A SMALL BUSINESS. WE WERE FIFTIETH IN THE COUNTRY LAST YEAR WHEN IT CAME -- WHEN THEY MEASURED HOW MANY NEW BUSINESSES WERE STARTED IN THIS STATE. WE HAVE TO HAVE MUCH MORE ENTREPRENEURIAL ACTIVITY IN OUR STATE AND A GREATER FOCUS ON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ALL THE TIME.

Yepsen: WE'LL TALK ABOUT SOME OF THESE ISSUES A LITTLE BIT LATER, BUT I WANT TO JUST BACK UP FOR A MINUTE AND ASK YOU A QUESTION THAT I ALWAYS SEE BRIAN LAMB ASK ON HIS "BOOKNOTES" INTERVIEW PROGRAM ON C-SPAN. A LOT OF PEOPLE DON'T KNOW YOU. AS I MENTIONED EARLIER, YOU'VE NOT RUN FOR OFFICE BEFORE. WHO IS DOUG GROSS?

Gross: DOUG GROSS IS A KID THAT GREW UP FOURTH IN A FAMILY OF TEN IN DEFIANCE, IOWA, A TOWN OF 345 PEOPLE. MY NEXT YOUNGEST BROTHER WAS TEN AND A HALF MONTHS YOUNGER THAN I WAS, SO MY MOTHER STARTED US IN THE SAME GRADE IN SCHOOL BECAUSE SHE COULDN'T AFFORD SEPARATE SETS OF TEXTBOOKS. WHEN YOUR NEXT YOUNGEST BROTHER IS ONLY TEN AND A HALF MONTHS YOUNGER THAN YOU ARE, DAVID, YOU LEARN TO BE INDEPENDENT REALLY QUICK, AND I DID. AS A RESULT OF THAT, WHAT I FOCUSED ON WAS GETTING A GOOD EDUCATION. I SAW IT AS A TICKET TO OPPORTUNITY, AND THAT'S VERY, VERY IMPORTANT TO ME. I HAD A TEACHER IN FIFTH GRADE WHO MADE ME BELIEVE I COULD BE MORE THAN I WAS, AND THAT'S WHY I'M SITTING HERE WITH YOU TONIGHT. I WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN HERE WITHOUT HER. SO I'M FOCUSED ON EDUCATION. EILEEN AND I HAVE FIVE CHILDREN: TWO GIRLS, THREE BOYS. THE OLDEST HAS JUST GRADUATED FROM COLLEGE. THREE BOYS ARE STILL IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS HERE IN IOWA. AND SO I'VE HAD AN OPPORTUNITY -- GREAT OPPORTUNITIES IN THIS STATE THROUGH A GOOD EDUCATION TO ACHIEVE AND BE A SUCCESS. I THINK NOW IT'S MY OBLIGATION, AT A TIME WHEN I THINK IOWA IS AT A CROSSROADS, TO PROVIDE LEADERSHIP THAT I THINK I CAN PROVIDE TO THIS STATE TO HELP US ALL GROW.

Yepsen: WHAT IS YOUR POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY? HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY?

Gross: WELL, I WOULD BE ON THE CONSERVATIVE SIDE OF THE CENTER.

Yepsen: WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

Gross: WHAT DOES THAT MEAN, DAVID? WELL, I WOULD SAY -- SUGGEST THIS, THAT WHEN IT COMES TO TAXES AND SPENDING, I THINK WE HAVE TO BE VERY, VERY CONSERVATIVE WITH THE TAXPAYERS' MONEY. ONE THING THAT REALLY DISTURBS ME ABOUT WHAT GOVERNOR VILSACK HAS DONE IS HE TOOK TERRY BRANSTAD'S $943-MILLION SURPLUS AND HE TURNED IT INTO A $1.2-BILLION STRUCTURAL DEFICIT. WE ARE HEADED TO A WALL NEXT FISCAL YEAR THAT NOBODY SEEMS TO BE ACKNOWLEDGING. MARK MY WORD, DAVID, WHEN WE GET PAST NOVEMBER 5, IF FOR SOME REASON GOVERNOR VILSACK IS REELECTED, THE SKY WILL START TO FALL AND THERE WILL BE CALLS FOR TAX INCREASES. MARK MY WORD. WE NEED TO SAY NO TO TAX INCREASES IN THIS STATE, BECAUSE WE'RE TAXED PLENTY. SO AS A RESULT, I'M FISCALLY QUITE CONSERVATIVE. I THINK THAT'S THE WRONG MOVE. IN TERMS OF OTHER MATTERS, I'M PRAGMATIC ABOUT GETTING THINGS DONE. I THINK THAT'S ONE THING I CAN OFFER TO THE PEOPLE OF IOWA IS A KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING AND ABILITY TO ACCOMPLISH THINGS. I THINK IOWANS ARE READY FOR SOMEBODY TO STRETCH -- TO PUT THEIR HAND ACROSS THE AISLE, WHETHER IT'S DEMOCRAT, REPUBLICAN, INDEPENDENT, WHATEVER THE CASE MIGHT BE, AND PUT TOGETHER A WORKING COALITION TO ACCOMPLISH THINGS IN IOWA. AND I HAVE THE ABILITY, I THINK, TO DO THAT.

Yepsen: ARE YOU OPTIMISTIC OR PESSIMISTIC ABOUT IOWA'S FUTURE?

Gross: IF YOU LOOK AT IOWA TODAY, DAVID, YOU HAVE TO BE OPTIMISTIC ABOUT ITS FUTURE, BECAUSE WE HAVE ENORMOUS RESOURCES HERE. JUST COMPARE US TO OTHER STATES THAT ARE GROWING LIKE NEBRASKA AND SOUTH DAKOTA, FOR EXAMPLE. I MEAN, MY GOSH, WE EVEN TAUGHT NEBRASKA HOW TO PLAY FOOTBALL THIS YEAR, BUT GENERAL CUSTER DIDN'T COME BACK FROM LITTLE BIGHORN. HE DIDN'T WANT TO RE-CROSS NEBRASKA. YET NEBRASKA HAS GROWN AND WE'RE NOT. THERE'S GOT TO BE SOME REASON FOR THAT. IF YOU LOOK AT IOWA, WE'VE GOT ENORMOUS AND RICH NATURAL RESOURCES, WE'VE GOT GREAT PEOPLE, HARD WORKING, GOOD PEOPLE. WE'RE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE RICHEST NATION IN THE WORLD. WE'RE CLOSE TO GOOD MARKETS. WE HAVE A GOOD TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM, A GOOD EDUCATION SYSTEM. SO WE'VE GOT ALL THE ELEMENTS, BUT THE THING THAT WE'RE MISSING IS THE LEADERSHIP. IT'S LIKE A SPARK. AN ENGINE WON'T WORK WITHOUT A SPARK PLUG. I WANT TO BE THE SPARK PLUG FOR IOWA.

Yepsen: WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST SUCCESS IN PUBLIC LIFE? WHAT'S YOUR BIGGEST FAILURE?

Gross: MY BIGGEST SUCCESS IN PUBLIC LIFE PROBABLY, DAVID, WOULD BE WINNING THE REPUBLICAN PRIMARY. WHEN YOU CONSIDER THE FACT THAT I STARTED IN JANUARY, ACTUALLY DIDN'T MAKE THE DECISION TO RUN UNTIL JANUARY AND THEN WAS SUCCESSFUL IN THAT REPUBLICAN PRIMARY IN JUST A FEW SHORT MONTHS, THAT WAS AN ACCOMPLISHMENT IN A VERY SHORT PERIOD OF TIME.

BIGGEST FAILURE? BIGGEST SHORTCOMING?

Gross: I NEVER LOOK BACK, DAVID. ONE TIME I HAD A FOOTBALL COACH IN HIGH SCHOOL WHO ONCE TOLD ME THE ONLY THING YOU LEARN FROM FAILURE IS NOT TO DO IT AGAIN. THAT'S KIND OF WHAT I LEARNED.

Yepsen: I'M TRYING TO GIVE PEOPLE A SENSE OF WHO YOU ARE. TELL ME WHO YOU WOULD MOST ADMIRE IN POLITICS. IF YOU GET ELECTED GOVERNOR, WHOSE PICTURE GOES ON THE WALL?

Gross: I ADMIRE BOB RAY A LOT. HE MADE IOWANS FEEL GOOD ABOUT THEMSELVES. HE MADE THE STATE FEEL GOOD ABOUT ITSELF, PROJECTED A VERY POSITIVE, GOOD IMAGE ABOUT THE STATE. I ADMIRE TERRY BRANSTAD AND THE KIND OF WORK ETHIC HE PROVIDED AND THE DEDICATION HE HAD TO THE STATE. IF YOU GO OUTSIDE OF IOWA, TEDDY ROOSEVELT HAS ALWAYS BEEN A GUY THAT I HAVE ADMIRED A GREAT DEAL BECAUSE OF HIS ENERGY AND VITALITY AND ENTHUSIASM AND THE WAY HE MADE THIS COUNTRY BECOME A WORLD POWER IN A VERY SHORT PERIOD OF TIME. I'D LIKE TO BRING THAT KIND OF ENERGY AND ENTHUSIASM TO THE STATE OF IOWA TO MAKE US MORE THAN WE ARE TODAY.

Yepsen: I WANT TO GIVE YOU A CHANCE TO ANSWER SOME OF THE ATTACKS THAT HAVE BEEN MADE AGAINST YOU IN THIS CAMPAIGN. IT'S BEEN A VERY NEGATIVE CAMPAIGN WITH THE ATTACK ADS, AND SO FORTH. IT SEEMS TO ME LIKE THERE'S TWO GENERAL CRITICISMS THAT HAVE BEEN MADE OF YOU. ONE IS THAT YOU'VE NOT RUN FOR OFFICE BEFORE, THAT YOU'RE INEXPERIENCE, THAT YOU'RE A ROOKIE. AND THE SECOND IS THAT YOU'RE JUST A BIG CORPORATE HOG LOT LAWYER FROM DES MOINES. SO ANSWER EACH OF THOSE CRITICISMS, IF YOU WOULD.

Gross: WELL, FIRST OF ALL, WITH REGARD TO MY EXPERIENCE, I WORKED FOR TOM TAUKE. I HELPED HIM RUN HIS FIRST CAMPAIGN WAY BACK IN 1978, WAS HIS CHIEF LEGISLATIVE ASSISTANT. I CAME BACK HERE, WORKED WITH THE BOARD OF REGENTS, WORKED AS CHIEF LEGISLATIVE ASSISTANT TO GOVERNOR RAY, CHIEF OF STAFF TO GOVERNOR BRANSTAD, BEEN INVOLVED IN ALMOST EVERY CAMPAIGN SINCE THAT TIME AS AN ADVISOR OF SOME SORT OR ANOTHER, SO I'VE GOT A LOT OF EXPERIENCE WHEN IT COMES TO CAMPAIGNS AND, FRANKLY, THE GOVERNANCE IN THE STATE OF IOWA. I THINK I OFFER THE PEOPLE OF IOWA AN OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE A GOVERNOR THEY CAN ELECT AND, THE FIRST DAY ON THE JOB, IS GOING TO KNOW HOW TO GET IT DONE. I THINK THAT'S REAL IMPORTANT. WITH REGARD TO MY LAW PRACTICE, DAVID, BASICALLY, WHAT I'VE DONE DURING THE COURSE OF MY PRACTICE, I'VE REPRESENTED BOTH LARGE AND SMALL HOG PRODUCERS. I'VE REPRESENTED COMMUNITIES THAT TRIED TO GET RID OF THESE FACILITIES AND COMMUNITIES THAT WERE TRYING TO ATTRACT THEM. I THINK I UNDERSTAND THAT ISSUE WELL. THAT'S WHY I'VE LAID OUT A VERY CLEAR POSITION ON WHERE WE SHOULD GO TO TRY TO RESOLVE THAT ONCE AND FOR ALL. WHAT WE NEED TO DO IS HAVE A LEVEL OF LOCAL CONTROL WHERE LOCAL PEOPLE CAN HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE A SAY IN WHERE THESE FACILITIES GO AND PRODUCERS KNOW WHAT THE RULES OF THE GAME ARE IN ADVANCE. GOVERNOR VILSACK HASN'T LAID OUT THAT PLAN TO THE LEGISLATURE SINCE HE'S BEEN IN OFFICE. HE TALKS ABOUT IT, BUT HE DEMAGOGUES IT. AND IT'S AN IMPORTANT INDUSTRY FOR OUR STATE: 77,000 JOBS; $6 BILLION OF INCOME. IT DOESN'T NEED TO BE A POLITICAL FOOTBALL. WE NEED TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM.

Yepsen: DEAL WITH THE ISSUE, THOUGH, ABOUT YOUR INTERESTS, YOUR BACKGROUND REPRESENTING SOME OF THESE HOG LOTS. YOU'VE TAKEN MONEY FROM THEM. YOU'VE EARNED A LIVING REPRESENTING SOME OF THESE SORTS OF CLIENTS. WHY SHOULDN'T PEOPLE BE A LITTLE BIT CONCERNED ABOUT YOUR OBJECTIVITY IF YOU GET INTO THE GOVERNORSHIP.

Gross: THEY SHOULDN'T BE CONCERNED ABOUT MY OBJECTIVITY WHATSOEVER, DAVID, BECAUSE I'VE REPRESENTED, FOR EXAMPLE, PEOPLE THAT WERE TRYING TO PROVIDE CHILD CARE NEEDS FOR KIDS IN THE STATE. I'VE REPRESENTED PEOPLE WHO WERE TRYING TO PROVIDE HEALTH CARE FOR SENIORS. I'VE REPRESENTED LOTS OF FOLKS ALL ACROSS OUR STATE. YOU ARE NOT WHO YOUR CUSTOMER IS WHEN YOU'RE AN ATTORNEY. YOUR JOB IS TO DO YOUR BEST JOB AT REPRESENTING SOMEBODY AGGRESSIVELY AND FAIRLY. AND THAT'S WHAT I'VE DONE, NO MATTER WHO THE CLIENT IS. AS I INDICATED TO YOU BEFORE, I'VE ACTUALLY ESCORTED SOME OF THESE LARGE LOTS OUT OF THE STATE WHEN THEY WERE LOCATED IN THE WRONG PLACES, AND I WOULD DO THAT AGAIN IF THEY'RE NOT LOCATED IN THE RIGHT PLACE.

Yepsen: THIS HAS BEEN A TOUGH ISSUE IN IOWA FOR MANY YEARS. WHAT'S MAKE YOU THINK YOU'RE GOING TO BE IN A POSITION TO SOLVE IT, TO TAKE THE PAIN OF THIS ISSUE OUT. IT'S RIPPING UP IOWA SOCIETY. WHY DO YOU THINK YOU'RE GOING T BE THE BEST PERSON TO DEAL WITH THAT?

Gross: BECAUSE I UNDERSTAND IT, I THINK, DAVID, AS WELL OR BETTER THAN ANYBODY ELSE DOES. I UNDERSTAND WHY PEOPLE IN THE ENVIRONMENTAL COMMUNITY ARE CONCERNED ABOUT WATER QUALITY. THAT'S WHY THEY SHOULDN'T BE IN FLOODPLAINS. I UNDERSTAND VERY WEEL WHY LOCAL PEOPLE ARE CONCERNED ABOUT NOT HAVING ANY SAY IN WHERE THEY GO. IF YOU HAVE SOMETHING IN YOUR LOCAL COMMUNITY, YOU WANT TO HAVE SOME SAY IN IT. I UNDERSTAND THE CONCERN PRODUCERS HAVE IN NOT KNOWING WHAT THE RULES OF THE GAMES ARE, PARTICULARLY SMALL PRODUCERS IN OUR STATE. WHAT WE'VE DONE EFFECTIVELY IN OUR STATE IS WE'VE INSTITUTIONALIZED CONFLICT. AND AS A RESULT, WE ARE RIPPING APART MANY OF OUR RURAL COMMUNITIES. AND WE NEED SOMEBODY TO COME IN, GET EVERYBODY SEATED AT THE TABLE, AND RESOLVE THIS ISSUE ONCE AND FOR ALL.

Yepsen: LET'S TALK ABOUT SOME OF THE ISSUES IN THIS CAMPAIGN. WE TOUCHED ON THE ECONOMY. MAYBE WE CAN FOCUS MORE ON THAT IF YOU WANT TO. BUT I GUESS I GO BACK TO SOMETHING YOU AND I HAVE BOTH HEARD SAID BEFORE. GOVERNOR PETE DUPONT OF DELEWARE ONCE SAID A GOVERNOR CAN DO ANYTHING WE WANTS, HE JUST CAN'T DO EVERYTHING HE WANTS. SO WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PROBLEM FACING IOWA, AND WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO ABOUT IT?

Gross: ABSOLUTELY THE MOST IMPORTANT PROBLEM FACING IOWA TODAY, DAVID, IS THAT WE'RE NOT GROWING. WE CANNOT SUPPORT OUR REGENT UNIVERSITIES. WE CAN'T SUPPORT OUR COMMUNITY COLLEGES. WE CAN'T SUPPORT OUR K-12 INSTITUTIONS IF THE STATE DOESN'T START TO GROW AGAIN. CLEARLY WHAT WE'VE GOT HERE IS A SITUATION WHERE OUR ECONOMY CANNOT SUPPORT THE LEVEL OF GOVERNMENT SERVICES WE CURRENTLY HAVE, SO WE'VE GOT TO DEAL WITH THAT. WE FIRST HAVE TO DEAL WITH THE APPETITE FOR THOSE SERVICES, REFORM THEM, RESTRUCTURE THEM, MAKE CERTAIN THAT THEY AREN'T EXCESSIVE. AND SECONDLY, WE'VE GOT TO GROW OUR ECONOMY AGAIN. THAT IS WHAT IOWA FACES RIGHT NOW. THAT'S A CRITICAL CROSSROADS WE HAVE. IF WE MAKE THE WRONG DECISIONS IN THE NEXT COUPLE YEARS, DAVID, WE MAY NOT GROW FOR GENERATIONS. WHAT WE HAVE TO DO IS MAKE CERTAIN, MAKE ABSOLUTE CERTAIN THAT WE MAKE THE RIGHT DECISIONS AND INDEED RESTRUCTURE GOVERNMENT, CURB THAT APPETITE, AND HAVE A STRONG GROWTH AGENDA IN IOWA AGAIN.

Yepsen: DON'T YOU AND TOM VILSACK RAISE OUR HOPES FALSELY BY SUGGESTING THAT A GOVERNOR REALLY CAN DO A WHOLE LOT ABOUT THE ECONOMY? I MEAN IF YOU LOOK AT WHAT AFFECTS IOWA'S ECONOMY: ITS INTEREST RATES, THOSE ARE SET ELSEWHERE; IT'S CONGRESSIONAL FARM POLICY AND SOCIAL POLICY, THAT'S SET ELSEWHERE; ITS INTERNATIONAL TRADE POLICY. I MEAN IOWA'S ECONOMY IS WORTH $90 BILLION A YEAR. THE STATE GOVERNMENT'S GENERAL FUND BUDGET IS ABOUT $5 BILLION. WHAT'S MAKES YOU THINK YOU'RE GOING TO BE ANYTHING BUT A BID PLAYER IN THE BATTLE TO MAKE THE ECONOMY BETTER?

Gross: BECAUSE IF YOU LOOK AROUND THE STATE AND AROUND THE COUNTRY AND YOU LOOK AROUND THE WORLD, YOU'LL FIND THAT POLICIES DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN TERMS OF WHETHER OR NOT A JURISDICTION GROWS OR NOT. TAKE JAPAN... JAPAN HAS BEEN IN A TEN-YEAR NONSTOP RECESSION, LARGELY BECAUSE THEY HAVEN'T BEEN ABLE TO CHANGE THE BUREAUCRATIC TAX STRUCTURE, THE BUREAUCRATIC STRUCTURES ASSOCIATED WITH HOW THEY DEAL WITH BUSINESS AND BANKING. AS A RESULT, THEY'VE GOT ABOUT ZERO-PERCENT INTEREST RATES, DAVID, AND STILL CAN'T GROW. IRELAND, ON THE OTHER HAND, ABOUT FIFTEEN YEARS AGO SUBSTANTIALLY CHANGED THEIR TAX STRUCTURE, CHANGED THEIR POLICIES WITH REGARD TO EDUCATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE, AND THEY PROMOTED THEMSELVES. AND THEY'VE GROWN BY 9.3 PERCENT A YEAR AVERAGE FOR EACH OF THE LAST TEN YEARS. THE LESSON OF THAT IS THIS: POLICIES MAKE A DIFFERENCE. AND YOU NEED TO HAVE SOMEONE FOCUSED ON POLICIES AND MAKE CERTAIN THAT THEY GET CHANGED IN ORDER TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN OUR STATE. THAT'S WHY I WANT TO SEE OUR INCOME TAX AND OUR PROPERTY TAX SYSTEMS RESTRUCTURED IN IOWA. WE HISTORICALLY HAVE TO DO THAT BECAUSE TODAY THEY ACT AS A WET BLANKET ON GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT IN OUR STATE. IF YOU COMPARE IOWA TO OTHER STATES, COMPARATIVELY WE'RE 38TH THE COUNTRY IN AVERAGE ANNUAL PAY, WE ARE GROWING AT HALF THE PER CAPITA INCOME RATE AS OTHER STATES, WE'RE THE ONLY STATE IN THE REGION AMONG ALL OUR STATES THAT'S DECLINING IN POPULATION. THERE'S GOT TO BE SOMETHING HERE, DAVID, ABOUT OUR POLICY THAT'S IMPACTING THIS. AND I THINK WE CAN IDENTIFY THOSE AND MAKE THOSE CHANGES.

Yepsen: TOM VILSACK SAYS YOU'RE BASICALLY PROPOSING TAX GIVEAWAYS, THAT IT'S JUST CORPORATE TAX BREAKS, THAT'S ALL YOUR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM IS. WHAT DO YOU SAY IN RESPONSE TO THAT?

Gross: THAT HE OUGHT TO READ IT. WHAT HE'LL SEE IS WE HAVE THREE CRITICAL ELEMENTS OF OUR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT POLICIES. FIRST IS EDUCATION AND TRAINING. A CRITICAL ELEMENT OF IOWA'S ECONOMIC COMPETITIVENESS IS OUR EDUCATION SYSTEM. I MEAN THE QUALITY AND THE PRODUCTIVITY OF OUR WORKERS GIVES US AN ADVANTAGE OVER EVERY OTHER STATE, SO THAT HAS TO BE PROTECTED. THAT'S WHY YOU DON'T RAISE TUITION RATES BY 50 PERCENT IN THREE YEARS. THAT'S WHY YOU DON'T HAVE COMMUNITY COLLEGE TUITIONS AT 158 PERCENT OF THE NATIONAL AVERAGE. YOU'VE GOT TO BE COMPETITIVE AND HAVE ACCESS TO A GOOD EDUCATION. IN ADDITION TO THAT, WE FOCUS ON INFRASTRUCTURE TOO, DAVID, BEYOND JUST TAXES AND REGULATION. I THINK IT'S CRITICALLY IMPORTANT, FOR EXAMPLE, FOR IOWA -- WE SHOULD HAVE DONE THIS SOME TIME AGO -- TO BUILD WHAT'S CALLED BIOLOGICS FACILITY, SO IOWA COULD BE THE CENTER OF THE BIOFARMING REVOLUTION THAT'S GOING TO OCCUR IN THIS COUNTRY. NOW, WHAT HAS GOVERNOR VILSACK DONE? HE SITS AS CHAIRMAN OF THE GOVERNORS PARTNERSHIP ON BIOTECHNOLOGY, AND SAT IDLY BY WHILE THE BIO GROUP, WHICH IS A NATIONAL GROUP OF BIOPHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES, BASICALLY REDLINED IOWA AND SAID, "YOU'RE NOT GOING TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS REVOLUTION." WE NEED A GOVERNOR THAT GETS OUT IN FRONT OF THAT ISSUE, SETS THE STANDARDS ASSOCIATED WITH THE BIOTECHNOLOGY SO IOWA CAN REACH THAT POTENTIAL.

Yepsen: ONE THING IRELAND DOES, MR. GROSS, IS THEY PROVIDE TAX CREDITS FOR CREATIVE PEOPLE, INCLUDING WRITERS. WHAT ABOUT THAT?

Gross: WELL, DAVID, THAT'S SELF-INTEREST ON YOUR PART. WHAT ARE YOU, SOME CORPORATE LOBBYIST OR WRITER OR SOMETHING? WHAT'S THE DEAL? [ LAUGHTER ]

Yepsen: MR. GROSS, THESE ARE SCARY TIMES TO A LOT OF PEOPLE: SNIPERS AND ANTHRAX AND TERRORISM. WHAT WOULD YOU DO TO MAKE IOWANS FEEL SECURE AGAIN?

Gross: WELL, I AM CONCERNED ABOUT SOME OF THE BIOSECURITY CONCERNS THAT WE'VE GOT IN OUR STATE. I DON'T KNOW IF PEOPLE ARE AWARE OF THIS, BUT IF SOMEONE INTRODUCED FOOT-AND-MOUTH DISEASE IN IOWA, IT WOULD SHUT DOWN OUR LIVESTOCK INDUSTRY, CATTLE AND HOGS, OVERNIGHT. THAT'S A HUGE IMPACT. AND I'M TOLD BY THE PEOPLE THAT I AM FAMILIAR WITH WHO'VE REVIEWED THIS THAT WE'RE NOT PREPARED TO DEAL WITH THAT. WE'VE NOT PREPARED TO PREVENT IT OR TO DEAL WITH IT. WE'VE GOT A RAINY DAY FUND THAT HAS NO MONEY IN IT, SO WE'D BE IN A REAL WORLD OF HURT. I'M ALSO CONCERNED WHEN THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT SHIPPING NUCLEAR WASTE ACROSS OUR STATE, PARTICULARLY ON THE RAIL. IF YOU LOOK AT THE U.P. LINE THAT GOES ALONG HIGHWAY 30, THAT GOES THROUGH THE MIDDLE OF SOME DOWNTOWNS: AMES, BELLE PLAINE, AND OTHERS. I DON'T KNOW IF WE'RE PREPARED TO MAKE CERTAIN WE CAN DEAL WITH THAT AS WELL. SO THE WAY IN WHICH WE CAN ASSURE IOWANS THAT WE'RE PREPARED IS TO BE PREPARED, AND I'M NOT SURE WE'RE THERE YET.

Yepsen: TALK ABOUT THE STATE BUDGET FOR A MOMENT. EVERYONE AGREES THAT THE TOUGH TIMES ARE NOT OVER. THERE IS AN ARGUMENT ABOUT HOW BAD THINGS ARE. BUT EVERYONE IN PUBLIC POLICY IN IOWA THAT I TALK TO SAYS WE ARE GOING TO HAVE SOME ADDITIONAL CUTS AND BUDGET ADJUSTMENTS THAT WILL HAVE TO BE MADE NEXT YEAR.

Gross: DOES THE GOVERNOR SAY THAT?

Yepsen: I THINK HE'S ACKNOWLEDGED THAT. NOW, YOU TWO WILL DISAGREE OVER THE SIZE OF THIS. BUT MY QUESTION IS WHAT WOULD YOU -- DO YOU KNOW RIGHT NOW ANYTHING YOU WANT TO CUT OR GET RID OF? IF THIS STRUCTURAL DEFICIT IS AS BIG AS YOU SUGGEST -- IT'S OVER A BILLION DOLLARS; HE DISAGREES WITH THAT -- WHERE DO YOU GO TO START SAVING MORE MONEY?

Gross: WELL, FIRST OF ALL, DAVID, WITH REGARD TO THE PROBLEMS WE FACE, THE GOVERNOR NEEDS FACE THE PROBLEMS. ONE WAY TO DEAL WITH ADVERSITY IS TO FACE REALITY. HE'S RUNNING AROUND THE STATE TELLING PEOPLE WE'VE GOT AN $800-MILLION SURPLUS, DAVID. HE DOESN'T ACKNOWLEDGE THE DEFICIT. IF WE SIMPLY FUND THE THINGS THAT ARE ALREADY OBLIGATED AND PAY BACK THE FUNDS THAT HAVE BEEN BORROWED FROM, WE'RE IN DEBT BY $1.2 BILLION ENTERING THE NEXT FISCAL YEAR. SO WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT IT? WELL, FIRST OF ALL, WE OUGHT TO HAVE SOME REFORM IN OUR BUDGET PROCESS. WE SHOULD REQUIRE THE GOVERNOR AND THE LEGISLATURE EVERY YEAR TO PASS TWO-YEAR BUDGETS SO WE COULDN'T HAVE A SITUATION LIKE THIS WHERE PEOPLE DON'T KNOW WHAT THE TRUE REALITY IS. I'VE SEEN THE NUMBERS. THEY'VE NEVER CHALLENGED MY NUMBERS, YET AT THE SAME TIME, THEY WON'T ACKNOWLEDGE THEM, SO WE OUGHT TO HAVE TWO-YEAR BUDGETS. IN ADDITION TO THAT, WHAT WE NEED TO DO IS WE NEED TO HAVE A RESTRUCTURING OF STATE GOVERNMENT. BY THAT I MEAN NOT JUST IN TERMS OF COMBINING UNITS, BUT YOU NEED TO LOOK AT EVERY PROGRAM AND AGENCY, DAVID, AND ASK THE QUESTION, "DOES IT STILL SERVE A NEED."

Yepsen: WELL, DO YOU KNOW OF ANY RIGHT NOW THAT YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO GET RID OF?

Gross: SURE, ONE THAT I STARTED IN 1979 WHEN I WAS HEAD OF THE FUELS DIVISION OF THE IOWA ENERGY POLICY COUNCIL. I STARTED A GASOLINE PRICE REPORTING SYSTEM EVERY MONTH, AND WE STILL HAVE 2FDE, AND DNR IS STILL DOING IT, EVEN THOUGH I WAS A YOUNG, ENTERPRISING BUREAUCRAT AND CREATED IT OUT OF WHOLE CLOTH.

Yepsen: SO YOU THINK EVEN WITH THE CUTS THAT HAVE BEEN MADE SO FAR IN STATE GOVERNMENT THAT THERE'S MORE THAT CAN BE --

Gross: WE HAVE NOT LOOKED AT PROGRAMS AND LAID OUT OBJECTIVES AND SAID, "THESE ARE THE PERFORMANCE MEASURES WE WANT TO ACHIEVE FROM THESE PROGRAMS. ARE THEY ACHIEVING THEM?" TO GIVE YOU A COUPLE OF OTHER EXAMPLES OF THINGS I THINK WE SHOULD DO, DAVID, THE MEDICAID PROGRAM IN IOWA WAS $100 MILLION OVERBUDGET EACH YEAR FOR THE LAST TWO YEARS. TWO MONTHS INTO THE FISCAL YEAR, IT'S $60 MILLION OVERBUDGET. WE HAVE A HAWKEYE PROGRAM, WHICH IS A PROGRAM FOR CHILD CARE FOR INDIGENT KIDS. IT'S MODELED ON AN INSURANCE PROGRAM, AND IT'S WORKING GREAT AND PROVIDES HEALTH CARE FOR LOTS OF KIDS. WE OUGHT TO TAKE THE MEDICAID PROGRAM AND GET OUR HEALTH CARE EXPERTS TOGETHER AND MODEL IT SIMILARLY, SO WE CAN PROVIDE NEEDED SERVICES FOR THOSE WHO NEED IT BUT NOT HAVE $100-MILLION COST OVERRUNS. THAT'S SOMETHING WE CAN DO IN THE STATE AND OUGHT TO DO. YET, LAST YEAR WE WERE ONE OF ONLY NINE STATES IN THE COUNTRY THAT DID ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO MANAGE THE MEDICAID PROBLEM. IN ADDITION TO THAT, STATE PUBLIC EMPLOYEE UNION SALARIES ARE GOING UP BY 7 PERCENT, PLUS THEY'RE GETTING A SIGNIFICANT KICK IN TERMS OF ADDITIONAL STATE PICK-UP OF THEIR COST FOR HEALTH INSURANCE NEXT FEBRUARY. AT A TIME WHEN THE STATE'S BUDGET IS IN A WORLD OF HURT, I DON'T KNOW THAT WE CAN JUSTIFY THAT LEVEL OF INCREASE. AND I WOULD ASK THE STATE PUBLIC EMPLOYEE UNIONS TO SIT DOWN AT THE TABLE WITH ME AND NEGOTIATE A LEVEL THAT MAKES SOME SENSE.

Yepsen: EDUCATION. POLLS SHOW, MR. GROSS, IOWANS ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THEIR LOCAL SCHOOLS AND ABOUT HIGHER EDUCATION. WHY WOULD YOU BE THE BEST GOVERNOR TO DEAL WITH EDUCATION ISSUES?

Gross: BECAUSE I'M PREPARED TO SET PRIORITIES. AND CRITICALLY IMPORTANT TO KEEPING EDUCATION STRONG IN IOWA IS HAVING A GOVERNOR WHO'S WILLING TO MAKE IT THE TOP PRIORITY WHEN IT COMES TO FUNDING. I SAT WITH BOTH GOVERNOR RAY AND GOVERNOR BRANSTAD WHEN MANY PEOPLE, PARTICULARLY IN THE LEGISLATURE, WANTED TO UNDO WHAT WE HAD DONE TO EDUCATION, AND THEY SAID NO. THAT WAS CRITICAL TO PROTECTING THE QUALITY OF EDUCATION IN OUR STATE. GOVERNOR VILSACK HERE IN AUGUST OF 2001 DECLARED WAR BETWEEN THE EDUCATIONAL -- WITHIN THE EDUCATIONAL COMMUNITY, BETWEEN HIGHER ED AND K-12. I KNOW YOU'VE TALKED ABOUT THAT TOO, AND MAYBE EVEN ENCOURAGED IT, DAVID. WHEN THAT OCCURS, WHEN A GOVERNOR DOES THAT, IT BASICALLY BECOMES OPEN SEASON IN EDUCATION. THAT'S WHY WE'VE HAD $125-MILLION DECREASE IN FUNDING FOR OUR REGENT INSTITUTIONS IN TWO YEARS. THAT'S LIKE LOSING UNI AND ANOTHER HALF IN TWO YEARS. IT MEANS IN K-12 INSTITUTIONS, WE ENDED UP GOING FROM 4-PERCENT ALLOWABLE GROWTH TO 1, AND THEN DIDN'T FUND THAT. WHAT'S HAPPENED IN EDUCATION IS EDUCATION UNDER TOM VILSACK IS MEDICAID WENT UP 33 PERCENT, STATE PUBLIC EMPLOYEE UNION SALARIES WENT UP 20 PERCENT, EDUCATION WENT UP 5, AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT WENT DOWN TO 30 PERCENT.

Yepsen: LET ME JUST INTERRUPT YOU THERE. OKAY, YOU'VE KICKED HIM AROUND AND THAT'S FINE. BUT TALK ABOUT WHAT YOU WANT TO DO.

Gross: I'D BE HAPPY TO TALK ABOUT THAT. THANK YOU. WHAT I WOULD WANT TO DO IS, FIRST OF ALL, MAKE IT TRULY THE TOP PRIORITY FOR STATE FUNDING SO THAT THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF GROWTH IN STATE SPENDING SHOULD ALWAYS BE IN EDUCATION. THAT'S FIRST. SECONDLY, THE MOST IMPORTANT THING, WE ALL KNOW, TO A GOOD EDUCATION -- YOU KNOW WITH YOUR DAUGHTER; I KNOW WITH OUR KIDS -- THAT THE KEY THING TO A GOOD EDUCATION ARE GOOD TEACHERS. WE ALSO KNOW IT IN TERMS OF OUR OWN PRIVATE EXPERIENCES. SO WHAT WE NEED TO DO IS WE NEED TO FOCUS ON HOW WE KEEP GOOD TEACHERS IN THE CLASSROOM. WE'VE GOT 40 PERCENT OF OUR TEACHERS ARE GOING TO RETIRE HERE IN THE NEXT TEN YEARS. WE IMPLEMENTED A PERFORMANCE-BASED PAY PROGRAM TO PAY GOOD TEACHERS BETTER, BUT WE HAVEN'T FUNDED IT. I WOULD FUND IT. WE SHOULDN'T BE A STATE THAT PRIDES ITSELF ON HAVING WORLD CLASS K-12 EDUCATION AND BE 33RD IN THE COUNTRY WHEN IT COMES TO AVERAGE TEACHER SALARIES. WE SHOULD BE AT THE NATIONAL AVERAGE WITH REGARD TO THAT. BUT BEYOND THAT, THEN, WE SHOULD ASK FOR ACCOUNTABILITY. WE SHOULD MEASURE WHAT WE'RE DOING AND WE SHOULD NOT ACCEPT THE FACT THAT 25 TO, IN SOME CASES, 50 PERCENT OF OUR KIDS AREN'T READING OR COMPUTING AT GRADE LEVEL. WE SHOULD DEMAND THAT WE BE COMPUTING AND READING AT GRADE LEVEL.

Yepsen: WE'VE ONLY GOT A COUPLE MINUTES LEFT. I WANT YOU TO EXERCISE SOME LEADERSHIP HERE AND SPEND SOME CAPITAL. TELL IOWANS WHAT THEY OUGHT TO BE DOING DIFFERENTLY. HOW SHOULD WE BE DIFFERENT? HOW SHOULD WE AS A PEOPLE ACT OR REACT? WHAT SHOULD WE DO DIFFERENTLY?

Gross: WE NEED TO TAKE RISKS, DAVID, AGAIN. SEE, UNFORTUNATELY, ONE OF THE THINGS THAT'S HAPPENED TO IOWA, BECAUSE OF THE FEDERAL FARM LEGISLATION, IS IT'S BOTH DRAINED THE POPULATION OUT OF OUR RURAL PARTS OF OUR STATE BY SUBSIDIZING COMMODITY PRODUCTION, AND IT'S ALSO DRAINED THE ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT OUT OF OUR STATE. WE IN IOWA NEED TO MAKE IT OKAY AGAIN TO TAKE RISKS AND EVEN TO FAIL AT TIMES, BECAUSE UNLESS WE TAKE RISKS, WE'RE NEVER GOING TO GET REWARDS. THAT'S HOW THE MARKETPLACE WORKS. IOWA HAS A LOT OF MATURE INDUSTRIES WITH VERY SMALL PROFIT MARGINS THAT ARE DRIVING COSTS DOWN ALL THE TIME. THAT'S WHY OUR INCOMES AREN'T RISING AS FAST AS OTHER PARTS OF THE COUNTRY. WE NEED MORE ENTREPRENEURS, MORE RISK TAKERS.

Yepsen: MR. GROSS, WE'VE ONLY GOT ABOUT 45 SECONDS LEFT. I'LL GIVE YOU THE FLOOR. WHAT'S THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU WANT IOWANS TO REMEMBER ABOUT YOU AS THEY HEAD TO THE POLLS NEXT TUESDAY?

Gross: IF THEY WANT TO SEE IOWA GROW AGAIN, THEN THEY SHOULD VOTE FOR DOUG GROSS. THAT'S WHAT THEY NEED TO REMEMBER, BECAUSE I WILL DEDICATE MYSELF AND ALL MY TIME AND MY ENERGIES TO TURNING THIS STATE AROUND, TO MAKING OUR STATE A STATE OF GROWTH SO THAT OUR KIDS, WHEN THEY GET OUT OF SCHOOL, THEY'LL BE ABLE TO REALIZE THEIR HOPES AND THEIR DREAMS AND THEIR OPPORTUNITIES ARE RIGHT HERE IN IOWA.

Yepsen: THANK YOU.

Gross: THANK YOU, DAVID.

Yepsen: APPRECIATE YOUR TIME.

Gross: ENJOYED BEING WITH YOU. NOW, AS INDICATED EARLIER, TONIGHT'S PROGRAM IS THE THIRD IN OUR FOUR-PART SERIES AS WE SPOTLIGHT THE MAJOR PARTY CANDIDATES FOR THE UNITED STATES SENATE AND FOR GOVERNOR OF IOWA. TOMORROW AT 6:30, SENATOR TOM HARKIN JOINS ME TO DISCUSS THE ISSUES IN HIS CAMPAIGN FOR THE UNITED STATES SENATE. I HOPE YOU'LL BE JOINING US AT THAT TIME. MR. GROSS, OUR THANKS AGAIN TO YOU FOR BEING WITH US TONIGHT. I'M DAVID YEPSEN OF "THE DES MOINES REGISTER." THANKS FOR JOINING US HERE ON STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION.

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY "FRIENDS," THE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION FOUNDATION... GENERATIONS OF FAMILIES AND FRIENDS WHO FEEL PASSIONATELY ABOUT THE PROGRAMS THEY WATCH ON IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION.


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