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IOWA PRESS #2718 – Rep. Brent Siegrist
January 2, 2000

Borg: ONE WEEK FROM TOMORROW GAVELS FALL TO CONVENE THE SECOND SESSION OF THE 78TH IOWA GENERAL ASSEMBLY. SPEAKER OF THE IOWA HOUSE BRENT SIEGRIST JOINS US TO DISCUSS THE UPCOMING SESSION ON THIS EDITION OF IOWA PRESS.

FUNDING FOR IOWA PRESS WAS PROVIDED BY FRIENDS OF IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION. AND BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION. FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS.

THIS IS THE SUNDAY, JANUARY 2nd EDITION OF IOWA PRESS. HERE IS DEAN BORG.

Borg: WELL, AS YOU MIGHT IMAGINE, THE IOWA STATEHOUSE IS A BUSY PLACE THESE DAYS AS LEGISLATORS AND THEIR STAFFS READY THEMSELVES FOR THE 2000 IOWA LEGISLATIVE SESSION. LEADERS OF THE REPUBLICAN MAJORITY, AND THOSE LEADING THE MINORITY DEMOCRATS, EACH HAVE CAUCUSED WITH THEIR LEGISLATORS IN DECEMBER TO SET THE RESPECTIVE LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES. REAL AND ANTICIPATED REVENUE SHORTFALLS IN IOWA ARE CAUSING SOME RETOOLING OF THE EXISTING STATE BUDGET AND THE LEGISLATIVE AGENDA THAT GOES ALONG WITH IT. GOVERNOR VILSACK DELIVERS HIS ANNUAL CONDITION-OF-THE-STATE ADDRESS ON TUESDAY, JANUARY 11, THAT'S THE DAY AFTER THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE, BRENT SIEGRIST, CONVENES THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. SPEAKER SIEGRIST, WELCOME BACK TO IOWA PRESS.

Siegrist: GOOD TO BE HERE.

Borg: ACROSS THE TABLE, STATEHOUSE REPORTERS, DAVID YEPSEN OF THE DES MOINES REGISTER AND MIKE GLOVER OF THE ASSOCIATED PRESS.

Glover: MR. SPEAKER, YOU'RE ABOUT TO OPEN ANOTHER SESSION OF THE IOWA LEGISLATURE. WHAT DO YOU WANT THIS SESSION OF THE LEGISLATURE REMEMBERED FOR?

Siegrist: WELL, I THINK IT WILL BE REMEMBERED FOR TAKING POSITIVE INCREMENTAL STEPS AHEAD ON THE PROBLEMS FACING IOWA. I'D LIKE IT TO BE REMEMBERED FOR COOPERATION BETWEEN THE PARTIES AND THE GOVERNOR, AND HOPEFULLY IT WILL BE, BUT I THINK AT THE BOTTOM LINE, THE AGENDA ITEMS ARE GOING TO BE EDUCATION, PARTICULARLY READING AND MAKING SURE OUR KIDS ARE READING AT LEVEL. I THINK THERE ARE SOME QUALITY-OF-LIFE ISSUES RANGING FROM RECREATION AND TOURISM TO ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS, WATER QUALITY, WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT. I THINK IT WILL BE REMEMBERED AS A SESSION THAT GOT SOME THINGS DONE.

Glover: WHEN YOU USED THE WORD INCREMENTAL, I ASSUME YOU'RE USING THAT WORD ADVISEDLY, IN OTHER WORDS, YOU'RE LOWERING EXPECTATIONS.

Siegrist: WELL, I AM, BUT I'VE BEEN SAYING THAT FOR A WHILE TOO BECAUSE SOME OF THE DEMOGRAPHIC PROBLEMS FACING OUR STATE AS IT RELATES TO POPULATION GROWTH AND THE AGING POPULATION, THOSE ARE NOTHING THAT THERE'S A SILVER BULLET THAT WE CAN ADDRESS IT WITH, AND WE HAVE TO INCREMENTALLY MAKE POSITIVE PROGRESS.

Yepsen: YOU'VE TOUCHED ON A NUMBER OF THINGS. THE GOVERNOR WILL OUTLINE HIS AGENDA, AS DEAN MENTIONED, WHEN HE GIVES HIS SPEECH TO YOU, BUT WHAT'S THE REPUBLICAN AGENDA FOR THIS SESSION?

Siegrist: WELL, YEAH, I BRIEFLY LAID IT OUT, AND I WILL SAY, NOT FOR ONCE, BUT I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO THE STATE-OF-THE-STATE BECAUSE WE DON'T HAVE ALL THE DETAILS OF WHAT THE GOVERNOR WANTS TO DO. BUT THE AGENDA ITEMS ARE EDUCATION, IMPROVING EDUCATION, CONTINUING THE WORK WE'RE DOING, PARTICULARLY AS IT RELATES TO EARLY EDUCATION AND READING AND MAKING SURE THAT KIDS ARE READING AT LEVELS SO WE CAN CONTINUE TO MOVE THEM THROUGH THE SCHOOL SYSTEM. WE HAVE A WORK FORCE SHORTAGE IN OUR STATE. THAT'S A KEY ISSUE. WE PASSED SOME GREAT LEGISLATION LAST YEAR. THE GOVERNOR VETOED MOST OF IT. WE WANT TO WORK THIS YEAR TO GET THAT TAKEN CARE OF. AND THE ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS AS IT RELATES TO WATER QUALITY IS IMPORTANT, BUT THERE'S QUALITY OF LIFE ISSUES TOO, RANGING FROM RECREATION AND TOURISM AND THOSE TYPES OF ISSUES THAT WE'RE GOING TO BE ADDRESSING THIS YEAR.

Glover: THERE ARE A LOT OF POLLS THAT SHOW THAT MANY PEOPLE FEEL DISCONNECTED FROM GOVERNMENT. THEY DON'T FEEL LIKE GOVERNMENT REALLY TOUCHES THEM. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO IN THIS LEGISLATIVE SESSION THAT'S GOING TO TOUCH REAL PEOPLE? WE ALWAYS CALL IT IN THE PRESS CORP THE JOE-SIX-PACK BILL.

Siegrist: WELL, THE JOE SIX PACKS OUT THERE THAT HAVE KIDS IN SCHOOL, I THINK, ARE GOING TO FEEL TOUCHED BY WHAT WE'RE DOING WITH CLASS-SIZE REDUCTION AND READING. I THINK THAT THOSE PEOPLE YOU TALK ABOUT ARE GOING TO FEEL VERY STRONGLY ABOUT WHAT WE DO TO IMPROVE PARK FACILITIES, RECREATIONAL FACILITIES, THINGS THAT THEY REALLY CARE ABOUT, AND HOPEFULLY, SOME PEOPLE OUT THERE WILL BE TOUCHED BY SOME OF THE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT POSITIONS OR POLICIES THAT WE'LL BE WORKING ON.

Yepsen: WHAT ARE YOUR DIFFERENCES WITH THE GOVERNOR? WHERE ARE THE FLASH POINTS GOING TO BE IN THIS SESSION?

Siegrist: WELL, THERE WILL BE SOME, AND WE'LL WORK THOSE OUT. WE DO INTEND TO REDUCE THE TAX BURDEN AGAIN IN THE STATE OF IOWA. TO DO THAT, GIVEN THE BUDGET, WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO FIND MONEY TO MAKE THAT HAPPEN. THAT COULD VERY WELL BE A FLASH POINT WITH HIM. A BIGGER FLASH POINT IS GOING TO BE THE OVERALL BUDGET. WE ARE WAITING TO SEE HERE IN 8 OR 10 DAYS -- 8 OR 9 DAYS, I GUESS IT IS, WHERE HE'S GOING TO TRY TO FIND THE MONEY TO SPEND ON THESE PROGRAMS. WE THINK HE'S GOING TO GO IN AND TAKE IT OUT OF THE INFRASTRUCTURE FUND TO SPEND ON OTHER TYPES OF PROGRAMS. THAT COULD VERY WELL BE A FLASH POINT BECAUSE WE HAVE INFRASTRUCTURE NEEDS, AND THERE WILL BE A LITTLE BIT OF A FLASH POINT ON THE SPENDING OF THE TOBACCO MONEY, ALTHOUGH I EXPECT SOME BROAD AGREEMENT THERE. THERE WILL BE SOME DIFFERENCES WE'LL FLESH OUT.

Glover: TWO THINGS THE GOVERNOR IS GOING TO ASK YOU FOR, HE'S ALREADY SIGNALED: ONE, HE WANTS A REFERENDUM BEFORE ANY TAX INCREASE IS GOING TO BE PUT IN PLACE. ARE YOU GOING TO START THAT PROCESS?

Siegrist: WE WANT TO SEE HIS EXACT LANGUAGE, BUT THERE IS ABSOLUTELY A GOOD DEAL OF INTEREST IN THAT IN THE REPUBLICAN CAUCUS.

Glover: AND HE HAS SUGGESTED SOME TAX BREAKS FOR KEY PROFESSIONS, TEACHING AND ENGINEERING, IF PEOPLE MOVE BACK INTO THE STATE. DOES THAT HAVE A WARM RECEPTION?

Siegrist: IT HAS A REASONABLE RECEPTION. WE WANT TO TAKE TIME TO LOOK AT IT. I'M NOT TOTALLY CONVINCED YET THAT WE HAVE TO DO THAT. THERE ARE SHORTAGE AREAS IN THE TEACHING PROFESSION THAT IT WOULD MAKE SENSE FOR, BUT JUST TO BLANKETLY SAY TEACHERS ARE GOING TO GET A TAX BREAK, I'M NOT SURE THAT'S THE RIGHT WAY TO GO. BUT WE'RE APPROACHING THAT WITH OUR EYES OPEN AND SAYING "WE'LL LOOK AT IT IN A SERIOUS WAY."

Borg: AND A LITTLE OVER A MONTH AGO ON THIS PROGRAM, GOVERNOR VILSACK SAID THAT HE'S GOING TO PROPOSE TO YOU TO ELIMINATE THE ABILITY OF IOWANS TO DEDUCT WHAT THEY PAY IN FEDERAL INCOME TAX FROM THEIR STATE INCOME TAX LIABILITIES, THAT BEING A TRADE-OFF TO LOWER THE INCOME TAX RATE, THEN TO MAKE THE TAX RATE MORE COMPETITIVE AND LURE SOME IOWANS OR FORMER IOWANS BACK AND NEW RESIDENTS TO THE STATE. IS THAT GOING TO FLY?

Siegrist: IT PROBABLY ISN'T GOING TO COME UP FOR A VOTE IN THE IOWA HOUSE. THERE ISN'T A BIG CLAMORING FROM THE PEOPLE OF IOWA TO SAY TAKE AWAY THIS DEDUCTION. I THINK YOU CAN CRAFT THAT SO THAT YOU HAVE A BASICALLY REVENUE-NEUTRAL SITUATION, BUT I DON'T THINK THAT THAT'S PROBABLY GOING TO HAPPEN, JUST TO BE HONEST.

Yepsen: ONE OF THE THINGS HE'S ALSO GOING TO ASK YOU TO DO IS TO PASS A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO LIMIT THE TERMS OF A GOVERNOR TO TWO CONSECUTIVE FOUR-YEAR TERMS. WILL THE LEGISLATURE PASS THAT?

Siegrist: WELL, WE HAVEN'T HAD TIME TO TALK ABOUT THAT. HE THREW THAT ON THE TABLE AFTER WE HAD ALREADY MET IN OUR CAUCUSES, BUT I SUSPECT THERE WILL BE INTEREST IN DOING THAT, MANY STATES DO. I THINK THE ONLY DOWNSIDE TO THAT, DAVID, WOULD BE IF WE GET INTO A FULL-BLOWN TERM-LIMIT DEBATE THEN IT COULD ALL -- NONE OF IT COULD HAPPEN. BUT I WILL ENTERTAIN ALLOWING THAT TO HAPPEN, YES.

Yepsen: ONE OF THE THINGS THE GOVERNOR IS REQUIRED BY LAW TO DO IS TO GIVE US A CONDITION-OF-THE-STATE MESSAGE. WHAT IS YOUR VIEW OF THE CONDITION?

Siegrist: I THINK THE STATE IS MAKING PROGRESS IN THE CRITICAL AREAS THAT WE NEED TO MAKE PROGRESS IN AS IT RELATES TO ATTRACTING WORKERS, KEEPING PEOPLE IN OUR STATE, TAKING CARE OF OUR ELDERLY, MAKING SURE OUR EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM DOES AN EVEN BETTER JOB. I THINK THE FISCAL PICTURE OF THE STATE IS STRONG. THE OVERALL BUDGET PICTURE HAS, RIGHT NOW AS WE SIT HERE, AT LEAST $600 MILLION IN THE BANK. I THINK THE ECONOMY IS MODERATELY STRONG. I MEAN GIVEN THE FARM ECONOMY WHERE IT'S AT AND OUR ECONOMY IS STILL GROWING AT A PROJECTION OF 3.7, THAT'S PRETTY STRONG GROWTH CONSIDERING THE MAJOR ENGINE OF YOUR ECONOMY IS IN THE DOLDRUMS. SO I THINK WE'RE IN PRETTY GOOD SHAPE THERE. THE YEAR-TO-YEAR BUDGET, THE BUDGET WE'RE WORKING ON THIS YEAR IS IN BAD SHAPE. AND SO THAT IS GOING TO CAUSE SOME PROBLEMS, BUT THE OVERALL PICTURE OF THE STATE, I THINK THE GOVERNOR WILL SAY IS GOOD BUT NEEDS IMPROVEMENT, AND WE WILL AGREE WITH HIM.

Glover: IF YOU THINK THE OVERALL YEAR-TO-YEAR BUDGET, THE RUNNING BUDGET, IS IN BAD SHAPE, IN YOUR WORDS, IS THERE ROOM FOR TAX CUTS, AND IF SO, HOW MUCH AND WHAT TAXES?

Siegrist: WELL, THAT, AS I SAID EARLIER, AS YOU KNOW, I TRY TO BE AS OPEN AS I CAN. WE INTEND TO LOOK AT A COUPLE OF AREAS WHERE WE CAN REDUCE TAXES, BUT TO DO THAT WE ARE GOING TO HAVE TO IDENTIFY MONEY IN THE BUDGET. THAT WILL CERTAINLY LOWER EXPECTATIONS IN TERMS OF HOW MUCH WE CAN DO IF IT'S 20 MILLION, 30 MILLION, WE'LL MAKE THOSE DECISIONS. GOVERNOR VILSACK HAS SAID, I BELIEVE ON THIS SHOW AND PUBLICLY, HE'S INTERESTED IN SOME TARGETED BREAKS; VENTURE CAPITAL WOULD BE ONE. THAT'S A TAX CREDIT; THAT'S A TAX CUT. COULD HAVE SIGNED IT LAST YEAR AND WE'D HAVE IT IN EFFECT ALREADY BECAUSE WE PASSED IT, BUT HE CHOSE TO VETO IT SO HE COULD COME UP WITH HIS IDEA. I THINK HE'LL HAVE SOME MONEY BUILT IN HIS BUDGET, AND WE'LL BE ABLE TO FIND ADDITIONAL MONEY, BUT WE HAVE TO FIND CUTS.

Glover: CAN YOU GIVE US A LEVEL? WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT? ARE YOU LOOKING AT 20 MILLION, 50 MILLION, 100 MILLION?

Siegrist: YEAH, I GUESS I WOULD SAY BETWEEN 20 AND 50, AND WE REALLY HAVEN'T SETTLED ON THAT. WE HAVE TO FIND THE MONEY TO DO IT, AND THAT'S A REASONABLE AMOUNT.

Yepsen: CAN YOU ASSURE THE PEOPLE OF IOWA HERE TODAY THAT THIS LEGISLATURE WON'T PLAY GAMES WITH THE BUDGET? IN THE PAST WHEN POLITICIANS GET INTO BUDGET TROUBLES, YOU DO THINGS LIKE MOVE STUFF OUT OF THE GENERAL FUND AND INTO THE INFRASTRUCTURE FUND SO THAT YOU CAN MAKE YOUR GENERAL FUND LOOK LIKE IT'S GROWING LESS. YOU'RE ALREADY SPENDING MORE THAN YOU COLLECT IN REVENUES, WHICH IS ONE OF THE REASONS WHY YOU'RE IN THIS BUDGET JAM, BUT CAN YOU PROMISE THE PEOPLE HERE TODAY THAT THIS WILL BE AN HONEST BUDGET AND THERE WILL BE NO GAMES LIKE THAT?

Siegrist: WELL, I WOULD SAY THAT IT WILL BE AN HONEST BUDGET, EVERYTHING WILL BE ON THE TABLE. LAST YEAR GOVERNOR VILSACK WANTED TO MOVE A COUPLE OF THINGS OUT OF THE GENERAL FUND BUDGET INTO THE INFRASTRUCTURE BUDGET, AND WE RESISTED THAT. THAT'S NOT NECESSARILY DISHONEST; HE WAS ON THE TABLE WITH IT. WE'RE GOING TO RESIST THOSE EFFORTS, BUT EVERYTHING WE DO WILL BE ON THE TABLE. YOU MAY HAVE SOME DISAGREEMENTS WITH US BUT, I MEAN, IT WON'T BE HIDDEN.

Yepsen: IN OTHER WORDS, YOU MAY PLAY SOME GAMES WITH THE BUDGET BUT AT LEAST WE'LL BE ABLE TO SEE IT.

Siegrist: THAT'S NOT WHAT I SAID, BUT HAVING REAP COME OUT OF THE INFRASTRUCTURE BUDGET IS A REASONABLE THING TO DO WITH THE BUDGET. HAVING THE HIGHWAY PATROL COME OUT OF THE ROAD USE FUND, AS WE USED TO HAVE, OR OUT OF THE INFRASTRUCTURE BUDGET, THAT'S A TRICK, AND WE WILL NOT DO ANY OF THAT, NO.

Glover: BEFORE WE LEAVE THIS, THIS WHOLE BUDGET TOPIC, I'D LIKE TO RAISE THIS FEDERAL DEDUCTIBLITY ISSUE. WHEN DEAN ASKED YOU ABOUT THAT, YOU GAVE THE STANDARD REPUBLICAN ORTHODOX ANSWER, NO TOUCHING FEDERAL DEDUCTIBILITY. AT WHAT POINT DOES THE REPUBLICAN PARTY START TO HURT ITSELF BY NOT BEING OPEN TO A DISCUSSION OF TAKING AWAY FEDERAL DEDUCTIBILITY AND USING THAT MONEY TO MAKE IOWA'S RATES MORE COMPETITIVE WITH OTHER STATES? IT SOUNDS LIKE COMPETITION WITH OTHER STATES IS SOMETHING REPUBLICANS WOULD BE HAPPY TO DO.

Siegrist: YEAH, I'M NOT SAYING THAT WE WON'T DISCUSS IT IN TERMS OF THERE'S INTERNAL DISCUSSIONS GOING ON ABOUT IT. I JUST WANT TO TELL YOU THAT I DON'T THINK IT'S PROBABLY GOING TO HAPPEN THIS YEAR. IT COULD HAPPEN AS A BROADER LOOK AT THE TAX SYSTEM AT ANOTHER TIME. I THINK THE PROBLEM OF FEDERAL DEDUCTIBILITY IS REALLY SIMPLE. THAT IS, NOBODY REALLY IS CLAMORING FOR IT. THE CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE, WHO I VISIT WITH FREQUENTLY, TALK ABOUT IT, BUT THEN THEY DON'T DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT. AND MAKING A MAJOR CHANGE IN YOUR TAX SYSTEM, TAKING AWAY A MAJOR DEDUCTION, YOU NEED A LITTLE PUSH BEHIND IT. THE JOE SIX PACK ISN'T PUSHING IT ONE WAY OR ANOTHER. SO THERE NEEDS TO BE SOMEBODY BEHIND IT.

Yepsen: ONE NICE PROBLEM THAT YOU HAVE IS THE THING CALLED THE TOBACCO SETTLEMENT. YOU START GETTING BIG FAT CHECKS FROM TOBACCO COMPANIES. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH ALL THAT MONEY?

Siegrist: WELL, FIRST OFF, THE CHECK'S GOING TO BE LESS THAN WE THOUGHT BECAUSE, AS YOU KNOW, IT'S TIED TO SMOKING RATES, AND THE GOVERNOR TOLD ME A FEW WEEKS AGO THAT IT'S GONE FROM 62 TO MAYBE 53, 54 MILLION BECAUSE THE RATES ARE GOING DOWN. BUT TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTION, WE ARE GOING TO SPEND AT LEAST HALF OF IT ON HEALTH CARE, PERHAPS MORE. WE STILL HAVE TO SEE THE GOVERNOR DELINEATE WHAT HE WANTS TO DO WITH IT, AND IN THAT PART OF THAT HEALTH CARE PACKAGE, WE WILL DO SOME ANTISMOKING EFFORTS. TOM MILLER HAS RECOMMENDED ABOUT $21 MILLION. I DON'T THINK WE'LL DO THAT MUCH, BUT WE'RE GOING TO TAKE THE COMPONENTS THE ATTORNEY GENERAL HAS LAID OUT, AND WE'LL PROBABLY DO THE COMPONENTS. IF IT'S ENFORCEMENT, IF IT'S COUNTERADVERTISING, WHATEVER, WE'LL PROBABLY DO ALL OF THOSE COMPONENTS, BUT MAYBE NOT AS MUCH AS HE'S DOING, AND THAT'S WHERE MOST OF IT'S GOING TO GO. WE'RE CONCERNED ABOUT PUTTING IT ALL INTO THE BUDGET AND THEN HAVING THE REVENUES DROP, AND WE END UP IN A SITUATION WHERE WE HAVE TO MAKE THAT MONEY UP. WE ARE LOOKING AT DOING SOME OF THE MONEY ON A ONE-TIME PROJECT. THAT COULD BE IN THE HEALTH CARE AREA, BUT WE DON'T WANT TO TIE IT ALL UP IN THE GENERAL FUND BUDGET.

Glover: SO HALF OF IT, ROUGHLY, WILL GO TO HEALTH CARE, AND PART OF THAT WILL BE TOBACCO CESSATION.

Siegrist: YES.

Glover: WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER HALF?

Siegrist: WELL, IT COULD BE A VARIETY OF THINGS. WE HAVE SOME OF OUR MEMBERS TALKING ABOUT SCHOOL INFRASTRUCTURE. I KNOW SENATOR GRONSTAL SAYS THAT'S NOT RIGHT. YOU CAN'T DO IT. WELL, SURE WE CAN. IF WE PASS, IT WE CAN DO IT. THAT'S FOR KIDS. I MEAN, THIS MONEY IS THE TAXPAYERS' MONEY AND SOME PEOPLE WOULD LIKE TO PUT IT IN SCHOOL INFRASTRUCTURE. I THINK THAT'S A REASONABLE PLACE THAT WE COULD TAKE A LOOK AT DOING THAT. SOME PEOPLE TALK ABOUT MAJOR COMMUNITY-ATTRACTION PROJECTS. THAT WOULD BE A REASONABLE PLACE TO DO IT. WE MAY WANT TO PUT IT IN LONG-TERM CARE PROGRAMS FOR OUR ELDERLY. WE'RE NOT RULING ANYTHING IN OUR OUT; WE JUST WANT TO MAKE SURE WE DON'T ENCUMBER OURSELVES WITH ALL OF THE MONEY ON ONGOING PROGRAMS AND THEN HAVE SMOKING RATES DROP IN THE NATION, WHICH WOULD BE GREAT, AND FIND OUT WE GET $5 MILLION LESS NEXT YEAR AND HAVE THAT PROBLEM.

Glover: ONE ISSUE THAT YOU FACE ALMOST EVERY SESSION IS THE ISSUE OF PRISONS AND CRIME. (A) ARE YOU GOING TO BUILD A NEW PRISON? AND (B) ARE YOU GOING TO DO SOME KIND OF A SENTENCING REFORM PACKAGE?

Siegrist: (A) WE ARE NOT GOING TO BUILD A NEW PRISON. WE'RE NOT PROBABLY LIKELY TO BUILD A NEW POD OR A WING ON A PRISON. WE ARE LIKELY TO, PERHAPS, INVEST SOME MONEY AT THE COMMUNITY-BASED LEVEL TO ADD SOME BEDS FOR NONVIOLENT OFFENDERS. (B) ON THE SENTENCING REFORM, OBVIOUSLY, THERE'S BEEN A COMMISSION OUT THERE MEETING. IT IS KIND OF NOT BEING ABLE TO COME TO A CONSENSUS, WHICH SOME PEOPLE VIEW AS VERY BAD, BUT IT'S NOT NECESSARILY BAD, BECAUSE ALL THE IDEAS ARE OUT THERE. AND I SUSPECT, REGARDLESS OF WHAT THAT COMMISSION RECOMMENDS OR DOESN'T RECOMMEND, THOSE IDEAS ARE GOING TO GET INTRODUCED TO THE LEGISLATURE, AND WE WILL TAKE A LOOK AT SOME OF THOSE AREAS WHERE, PERHAPS, IT MAKES SENSE TO HAVE NONVIOLENT OFFENDERS INCARCERATED IN A DIFFERENT WAY. REGARDLESS OF WHAT THE SENTENCING COMMISSION DOES, IT'S AN ISSUE FOR THE LEGISLATURE.

Yepsen: MR. SPEAKER, MANY URBAN COUNTIES IN IOWA ARE PASSING LOCAL OPTION SALES TAXES TO FIX UP THEIR SCHOOLS. THIS HAS CREATED A SITUATION WHERE A LOT OF RURAL LEGISLATORS ARE SAYING, WAIT A MINUTE, THIS IS OUR PEOPLE PAYING MONEY TO URBAN AREAS FOR YOU TO FIX UP YOUR SCHOOLS. WE WANT SOME OF THAT MONEY FOR OUR RURAL AREAS. WILL THIS LEGISLATURE CHANGE THE LOCAL OPTION SALES TAX LAW TO ALLOW THAT?

Siegrist: AS YOU KNOW, THAT'S A BIG PROBLEM IN TERMS OF PEOPLE HAVING A CONCERN WITH IT AND THEY'RE SEARCHING FOR AN ANSWER. I DON'T KNOW THAT THEY'VE GOT ONE YET. YOUR QUESTION IS WILL WE MAKE A CHANGE IN THE WAY WE DO IT NOW. PROBABLY NOT. IN TERMS OF, FOR EXAMPLE, POLK COUNTY, THEY LAID OUT A PLAN: HERE'S WHAT WE'RE GOING TO DO WITH THE LOCAL OPTION SALES TAX MONEY, AND FOR THE STATE NOW TO COME IN AND SAY JUST KIDDING, WE'RE GOING TO TAKE SOME OF THAT AND GIVE IT TO THE CONTIGUOUS COUNTIES, I DON'T THINK WE SHOULD PROBABLY DO THAT. I MEAN, YEAR IN, YEAR OUT PEOPLE COME TO THE COMMERCIAL CENTERS TO SPEND THEIR MONEY. AND THAT DOESN'T CHANGE UNDER THIS SCENARIO EITHER. BUT IT IS AN ISSUE WE NEED TO ADDRESS IN SOME WAY, BUT I'M NOT SURE WE'VE GOT THE SOLUTION FOR THAT.

Yepsen: A COMMUNITY SUCH AS DES MOINES OR ANY OF THESE OTHER LARGE URBAN CENTERS THAT HAVE PASSED THIS TAX, THEY CAN PRETTY WELL COUNT ON THAT MONEY BEING THERE AS PROJECTED?

Siegrist: I WOULD THINK SO, YES. AT THIS POINT THAT'S WHAT I WOULD SAY BECAUSE I DON'T THINK WE HAVE A CONSENSUS ON THAT.

Glover: THAT RAISES A QUESTION OF A LARGER DEBATE BETWEEN PEOPLE FROM RURAL AREAS OF THIS STATE AND PEOPLE IN URBAN AREAS OF THIS STATE. DEMOGRAPHICS SHOW THAT URBAN AREAS ARE EXPANDING, RURAL AREAS ARE SHRINKING. IS THERE A RURAL/URBAN FIGHT SHAPING UP AT THE STATEHOUSE? IS THAT GOING TO BE THE PRIME DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PEOPLE UP THERE IN THE FUTURE?

Siegrist: I DON'T THINK IT WILL BE THE PRIME DIFFERENCE. IT'S BEEN THERE FOR QUITE A FEW YEARS, AS YOU KNOW, AND PARTICULARLY, GIVEN THE DOWNTURN IN THE FARM ECONOMY RIGHT NOW, IT'S PROBABLY MAYBE CRYSTALLIZED A LITTLE MORE. BUT WE WORK VERY WELL BETWEEN THE RURAL AND URBAN MEMBERS OF OUR CAUCUS, AND I THINK THE DEMOCRATS DO THE SAME. BUT IS THERE A TENSION THERE? ABSOLUTELY. ARE THERE DECISIONS THAT ARE COLORED BY WHERE YOU COME FROM IN THE STATE? ABSOLUTELY. STEWART IVERSON DOES A GREAT JOB. HE'S FROM DOWS, IOWA. HE SEES THINGS IN A STATEWIDE VISION, BUT HE ALSO HAS THAT BACKGROUND. I COME FROM COUNCIL BLUFFS. WE HAVE TO WORK THOSE DIFFERENCES OUT. BUT IT IS AN ISSUE? ABSOLUTELY.

Glover: THERE'S A CENSUS COMING UP. ARE WE GOING TO REAPPORTION USING THE LAWS ON THE BOOKS NOW OR ARE YOU GOING TO CHANGE IT?

Siegrist: I WOULD SAY THAT THERE'S NO INTENTION OF CHANGING THE WAY WE DO OUR REDISTRICTING. IT WORKS WELL. IT'S UNIQUE IN THE NATION, AND I THINK IT WILL REMAIN THAT WAY.

Yepsen: ANOTHER ISSUE THAT ALWAYS CONFRONTS THE LEGISLATURE IS THE REGULATION OF LARGE HOG CONFINEMENTS. WILL THIS LEGISLATURE DO ANYTHING?

Siegrist: IT WILL BE AN ISSUE THAT WILL BE DEBATED AGAIN. AT LEAST, I ASSUME IT WILL BE DEBATED AGAIN. IT'S STILL A BIG ISSUE IN CERTAIN PARTS OF THE STATE. AT THIS POINT THE ONE ISSUE THAT'S OUT THERE IS LOCAL CONTROL OF THOSE HOG FACILITIES. I DON'T THINK THE VOTES ARE THERE YET TO PASS THAT.

Glover: YOU MENTIONED ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES EARLIER. YOU'VE MADE SOME ENVIRONMENTAL PROPOSALS IN THE PAST TO KIND OF SOFTEN THE IMAGE OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO HAVE FOR US THIS YEAR? WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO FOR THE ENVIRONMENT?

Siegrist: WELL, WE'RE LOOKING AT THE INFRASTRUCTURE FUND, AND WHAT WE CAN DO FOR RECREATION AND TOURISM, WHICH I CONSIDER ENVIRONMENTAL INITIATIVES, AND WE WANT TO CONTINUE SOME OF THE THINGS WE'RE DOING THERE. THE RESTORE-THE-OUTDOOR PARK PLAN, WHERE WE'RE MAKING OUR PARKS COME UP TO SNUFF, DNR HAS ASKED TO EXTEND THAT FOR TWO YEARS, AND I THINK WE WILL DO THAT OUT OF THE INFRASTRUCTURE FUND. THIS SUPERPARK THAT THE DNR HAS TALKED ABOUT, I FULLY SUPPORT THAT CONCEPT. I THINK WE NEED TO DO SOME OF THOSE THINGS. BEYOND THAT THOUGH, I MEAN, PAUL JOHNSON HAS TALKED ABOUT THESE BUFFER STRIPS ALONG OUR STREAMS VOLUNTARILY DONE. I THINK WE NEED TO DO THAT. I'M NOT SURE IF WE'LL DO IT AT THE LEVEL HE WANTS. I THINK HE'S RECOMMENDED SEVERAL MILLION DOLLARS, BUT I THINK YOU WILL SEE US TAKE ACTION ON THAT AND WATER QUALITY AS WE STARTED LAST YEAR. THE DEMOCRATS WILL SAY, OH, THAT'S OUR AGENDA ITEM. WELL, NO, I DON'T CARE WHOSE AGENDA ITEM IT IS, THE REPUBLICANS PASSED IT AND WE'RE GOING TO CONTINUE TO WORK ON WATER QUALITY THIS SESSION.

Glover: THERE HAVE BEEN SOME PROPOSALS FROM THE GOVERNOR TO INCREASE FUNDING FOR REAP, RESOURCE ENHANCEMENT PROTECTION PROGRAM, THE CENTERPIECE ENVIRONMENTAL EFFORT. DOES THAT FALL ON RECEPTIVE EARS IN THE LEGISLATURE?

Siegrist: WELL, I THINK YOU'LL SEE US TAKE REAP UP. WE ARE AT $10.5 MILLION. HE WANTS TO TAKE IT TO 20 MILLION. FIRST OFF, I HAVE TO SEE HOW HE DOES ALL THE THINGS HE'S TALKING ABOUT WITH THE MONEY WE HAVE. BUT I DID GO BACK AND ADD UP WHAT WE DO IN ENVIRONMENTAL-LIKE PROJECTS, $4.5 MILLION FOR LAKE DREDGING, THINGS OF THAT NATURE WHERE WE COME IN AND DO BIKE TRAILS AND RECREATION AND RESTORE THE OUTDOOR, AND LAST YEAR WE DID $33.5 MILLION. NOW, THAT'S NOT REAP, BUT IT'S REAP-LIKE, AND SO I WANT TO SEE IF YOU WANT TO GO TO 20 MILLION ON REAP AND USE THAT FORMULA, WHERE ARE YOU GETTING THAT MONEY? ARE YOU TAKING AWAY LAKE DREDGING OVER HERE? AND THEN WE'LL MAKE THE CHOICE OF SHOULD WE PUT IT HERE OR PUT IT THERE.

Yepsen: YOU MENTIONED AT THE BEGINNING OF THE PROGRAM, MR. SPEAKER, THE REPUBLICANS IN THE LEGISLATURE WANTED TO DO SOMETHING TO HELP EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION. WHAT HAVE YOU GOT IN MIND?

Siegrist: WELL, ACTUALLY, MORE OF THE SAME. WE HAVE BEEN WORKING ON THIS FOR SEVERAL YEARS. THERE'S A GROWING RECOGNITION OF THE DECLINING SCORES IN READING. WE STILL HAVE GOOD READING SCORES, BUT THEY'VE BEEN DECLINING. WE HAVE INVESTED IN OUR EARLY CHILDHOOD AND WHAT WE CALL THE EMPOWERMENT ZONE LEGISLATION. WE'LL PUT AN ADDITIONAL $5.2 MILLION IN THAT PROGRAM THIS YEAR. THAT'S FROM BIRTH TO 5, TO IDENTIFY AT-RISK KIDS. LAST YEAR WE DID THE READING AND CLASS-SIZE INTIATIVE. WE'RE GOING TO PUT ANOTHER $10 MILLION INTO THAT. BUT THE BOTTOM ANSWER TO THAT, DAVID, IS I WANT TO BE ABLE TO LOOK EVERY PARENT OR GRANDPARENT IN THE STATE IN THE EYE. MY CHILD IS FOUR AND A HALF AND MY DAUGHTER'S -- MY BOY IS FOUR AND A HALF, EVAN, AND MY DAUGHTER, HARRIET, IS FIFTEEN MONTHS. I WANT TO BE ABLE TO LOOK ME IN THE EYE AND LOOK PARENTS IN THE EYE AND SAY THAT IF YOUR KID IS IN THIRD GRADE, THEY'RE GOING TO READ AT THE THIRD GRADE LEVEL. I WANT TO MAKE THAT AGREEMENT WITH PARENTS, AND IF THEY CAN'T, WE'RE GOING TO STEP UP OUR EFFORTS. WE'RE GOING TO HAVE AFTER-SCHOOL READING PROGRAMS. WE'RE GOING TO HAVE SUMMER SCHOOL PROGRAMS. THAT WILL BE THE NEXT STEP WE TAKE THIS YEAR IS TO SAY HOW WE DO THAT.

Glover: I HAVEN'T HEARD MUCH TALK IN THIS WHOLE EDUCATION DEBATE -- AND THE DEMOCRATS ARE TALKING ABOUT THE PUBLIC ON EDUCATION AS WELL -- I'VE NOT HEARD A LOT OF TALK ABOUT THE REGENTS. ARE THEY JUST A FORGOTTEN CHILD?

Siegrist: NO, THE REGENTS WOULD TELL YOU THEY DON'T DO VERY WELL FINANCIALLY FROM -- WELL, THEY WOULDN'T SAY THAT, BUT THEY'D SAY COULD DO BETTER. I THINK THEY DO FAIRLY WELL FROM US, AND I THINK THE REGENTS WILL GET SOME MONEY THIS YEAR THAT WILL HELP THEM OUT.

Glover: BUT NOT THE FOCUS?

Siegrist: THE FOCUS IS AT K-12, I THINK. BUT THE FOCUS IS, FOR EXAMPLE, ON THIS PLANT SCIENCE INITIATIVE AT IOWA STATE. I THINK THAT WILL GET A LOT OF ATTENTION. BUT IOWA AND U.N.I. HAVE THINGS THEY WANT TO DO ALSO.

Yepsen: DO THE REGENTS DO TOO WELL? I MEAN A LOT OF UNIVERSITY GRADUATES LEAVE THIS STATE. WOULDN'T WE BE BETTER OFF TO SPEND THOSE RESOURCES ON K-12 OR ON COMMUNITY COLLEGES WHERE THE STUDENTS ARE IN IOWA, OR MAY IN FACT STAY HERE FOR A WHILE?

Siegrist: NO, NOT NECESSARILY. THAT'S PART OF THE PUBLIC POLICY BALANCING ACT WE DO. WE'RE INVESTING IN K-12 AS WE SHOULD, AS WELL AS COMMUNITY COLLEGES. THEY HAD A GOOD YEAR LAST YEAR. WE NEED TO DO THIS WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM IN A WAY WITH THE GOVERNOR THAT IT BENEFITS THE COMMUNITY COLLEGES AND HELPS WITH WORKER TRAINING, BUT WE CAN'T OVERLOOK THE VAST POTENTIAL OF THE REGENTS AS IT RELATES TO RESEARCH AND SO ON.

Yepsen: BUT, MR. SPEAKER, YOU'VE GOT RELATIVELY LOW TUITIONS AT REGENTS INSTITUTIONS AND RELATIVELY HIGH TUITIONS AT COMMUNITY COLLEGES. WHAT DOES THAT SUGGEST TO YOU?

Siegrist: THAT SUGGESTS THAT WE NEED TO MAKE SURE WE BRING COMMUNITY COLLEGE TUITIONS DOWN, AND WE GAVE THEM THEIR FULL ASKING FOR THE GENERAL FUND LAST YEAR, AND WE'LL TRY TO DO THAT AGAIN THIS YEAR.

Borg: I WANT TO MOVE OUR DISCUSSION --

Siegrist: PLEASE DO.

Borg: -- TO POLITICS, AND IT CONCERNS YOU DIRECTLY. YOU'RE CONVENING YOUR FIRST SESSION AS SPEAKER. RON CORBETT RESIGNED TAIL END OF LAST SESSION TO TAKE A JOB AT THE CEDAR RAPIDS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO HAVE TO DO THIS SESSION IN ORDER TO KEEP THAT JOB, AND TO KEEP THAT JOB, YOU MUST REMAIN THE MAJORITY PARTY IN THE HOUSE. HOW ARE YOU GOING TO ACHIEVE THAT?

Siegrist: WELL, MY NUMBER ONE GOAL, OBVIOUSLY, IS TO DO THINGS TO IMPROVE THE STATE, BASICALLY FOR MY CHILDREN AND EVERYBODY ELSE, AND SECONDLY, MY JOB IS TO STAY IN CONTROL. WE THINK THE AGENDA -- WELL, THE ANSWER IS CANDIDATES IN THE NEXT ELECTION, AND WE'RE DOING VERY WELL WITH THAT. WE FEEL COMFORTABLE. BUT THE OTHER THING IS THE AGENDA AND THE AGENDA ITEMS. WE FEEL WE SAW KIND OF A FORESHADOWING OF IT IN THE CEDAR RAPID'S RACE TO REPLACE MR. CORBETT. THEY RAN ON THEIR ISSUES; WE RAN ON OUR ISSUES, AND WE WON IN THAT SWING DISTRICT. BUT THE ANSWER TO YOUR QUESTION, DEAN, IS WE'RE GOING TO CONCENTRATE ON OUR ISSUES, WHICH IS GOING TO BE EDUCATION, IMPROVING THE ENVIRONMENT, SOME REDUCTION OF OUR TAXES TO MAKE THIS A BETTER PLACE TO LIVE. WE THINK IF WE DO THAT AND WE DO OUR JOB, THE INCUMBENTS THAT ARE IN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY ARE GOING TO BE VIEWED VERY FAVORABLY.

Borg: ANOTHER CHALLENGER RIGHT AWAY TO REPLACE KAY CHAPMAN IN THE CEDAR RAPID'S AREA.

Siegrist: RIGHT. AND THAT'S AN EXTREMELY DEMOCRATIC SEAT. JIM LEACH GOT 33 PERCENT OF THE VOTE IN THAT DISTRICT LAST TIME. THAT MOST LIKELY WILL REMAIN A DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE.

Yepsen: HOW TOUGH WILL IT BE FOR REPUBLICANS TO KEEP CONTROL OF THE LEGISLATURE WHEN YOU'RE GOING TO BE RUNNING AGAINST A DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 30 YEARS? DO YOU KNOW HOW TO DO THAT? USUALLY YOU'VE HAD A GOVERNOR ON YOUR SIDE. NOW YOU'RE GOING TO BE FIGHTING WITH TOM VILSACK OUT THERE ON THE STAND.

Siegrist: CERTAINLY IT'S MORE DIFFICULT WHEN YOU DON'T HAVE THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE. BUT AGAIN, WE FEEL COMFORTABLE ABOUT WHAT WE ARE GOING TO RUN ON AND OUR CANDIDATES, AND SO IT'S GOING TO BE TOUGHER THAN LAST TIME ABSOLUTELY. BUT I LIKE MY CHANCES. IT'S MOST LIKELY GOING TO BE GEORGE W. BUSH AT THE TOP OF THE TICKET AGAINST AL GORE OR BILL BRADLEY. I THINK THAT WILL PLAY WELL INTO OUR CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS, WHICH PLAYS WELL INTO OUR LOCAL --

Glover: YOU LEAPFROGGED AHEAD OF ME, SPEAKER SIEGRIEST.

Siegrist: I'M ALWAYS TRYING TO GET AHEAD OF YOU, MIKE.

Glover: THERE'S A PRESIDENTIAL RACE GOING ON RIGHT NOW. YOU HAVE ENDORSED GOVERNOR BUSH ON THE REPUBLICAN SIDE. HANDICAP THAT FOR ME. HOW DOES THAT LOOK HERE IN IOWA?

Siegrist: I THINK IT LOOKS WELL. I THINK GOVERNOR BUSH IS GOING TO DO VERY WELL HERE. HE'S OBVIOUSLY BEING CHALLENGED IN NEW HAMPSHIRE BY SENATOR MCCAIN, BUT I THINK AFTER NEW HAMPSHIRE IS OVER, GOVERNOR BUSH WILL START TO WIN MOST OF THOSE OTHER PRIMARIES. I THINK GEORGE W. BUSH TALKS A LANGUAGE THAT I LIKE. HE TALKS ABOUT EDUCATION. HE TALKS ABOUT DIVERSITY. HE TALKS ABOUT IMPROVING THE ECONOMIC PICTURE, AND I THINK HE'S GOING TO DO VERY WELL AND HELP US IN IOWA.

Glover: LOOK BELOW GEORGE BUSH IF HE'S GOING TO BE THE WINNER IN YOUR VIEW. WHO'S GOING TO BE SECOND? WHO'S GOING TO BE THIRD? CAN JOHN MCCAIN SORT OF FLY THE WISDOM?

Siegrist: I STILL THINK PROBABLY STEVE FORBES WILL PLACE SECOND HERE. MCCAIN HAS A SHOT, BUT I DON'T KNOW. AS YOU ALL KNOW, IT'S ORGANIZATIONAL ABILITY IN IOWA. MCCAIN HASN'T DONE THAT. IF HE CAME UP AND SHOCKED EVERYBODY AND GOT SECOND, TWO THINGS WOULD HAPPEN: ONE, HE'D GET A BOUNCE, AND EVERYBODY ELSE MIGHT AS WELL DROP OUT, BECAUSE IF MCCAIN GETS SECOND HERE, NOBODY ELSE HAS A VIABLE CHANCE.

Yepsen: WHAT ABOUT THE ARGUMENT, MR. SPEAKER, THAT YOU HEAR BEING MADE ABOUT GOVERNOR BUSH, THAT HE'S A LIGHTWEIGHT, THAT HE'S AN EMPTY SUIT? WE'VE STARTED TO HEAR THAT. WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF THAT?

Siegrist: WELL, YOU ALL, YOU'VE HAD HIM ON IOWA PRESS. YOU KNOW BETTER. I'VE SPENT PRIVATE TIME WITH THE GOVERNOR. I'M EXTREMELY IMPRESSED, PARTICULARLY IN HIS KNOWLEDGE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS. IT'S KIND OF AN INTERESTING STORY WHEN I DECIDED -- WELL, I HADN'T DECIDED TO ENDORSE HIM, BUT AFTER LAMAR ALEXANDER DROPPED OUT, I ASKED FOR A PRIVATE MEETING WITH HIM, AND I WAS GRANTED IT. AND THE ONLY QUESTION I ASKED HIM WAS FOREIGN AFFAIRS, AND I FOUND HIM TO BE VERY KNOWLEDGABLE, AND I FELT VERY COMFORTABLE WITH THAT. I DON'T THINK HE'S A LIGHTWEIGHT AT ALL. LISTEN, YOU DO NOT RUN A STATE, I DON'T CARE IF IT'S THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA OR TEXAS AND BE A LIGHTWEIGHT, IT JUST DOESN'T WORK THAT WAY, AND SO I THINK HE'S EXTREMELY BRIGHT. AND HE UNDERSTANDS THE NUMBER ONE ISSUE OF A LEADER, AND THAT'S YOU SURROUND YOURSELF WITH GOOD PEOPLE. HE KNOWS WHAT HE'S DOING. HE WILL BE AN EXCELLENT PRESIDENT.

Yepsen: WHAT'S HE HAVE TO DO TO OVERCOME THAT?

Siegrist: I THINK HE JUST NEEDS TO CONTINUE TO VISIT WITH PEOPLE AND GET PEOPLE TO KNOW HIM. I THINK THAT WILL EVENTUALLY HAPPEN. HIS PERFORMANCES IN THE DEBATES ARE GETTING BETTER. HE HASN'T BEEN IN THAT SITUATION VERY OFTEN, AND I THINK MORE PEOPLE ARE BECOMING COMFORTABLE WITH HIM. HE'S FAR FROM A LIGHTWEIGHT. HE'S A FORMIDABLE MAN.

Glover: THERE'S ANOTHER PROBLEM REPUBLICANS HAVE TO DEAL WITH, AND THAT'S WINNING THIS STATE IN THE FALL ELECTION. YOU HAVEN'T CARRIED IOWA IN THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION FOR THREE CONSECUTIVE ELECTIONS.

Siegrist: I'M AWARE OF THAT.

Glover: WHAT DO YOU DO THIS TIME DIFFERENTLY TO CARRY THE THIS STATE?

Siegrist: WELL, I THINK IT'S THE CANDIDATE. WE'RE GOING TO FOCUS ON ORGANIZATIONAL ABILITIES WITH THE STATE PARTY, AND WORK IN OUR COUNTIES AND EVERYTHING ELSE FOR TURNOUT, WHICH WILL HELP. BUT I THINK IT'S THE CANDIDATE MORE THAN ANYTHING, AND I THINK GEORGE W. BUSH IS GOING TO PLAY VERY WELL IN IOWA. AND I SUSPECT AND I WOULD PREDICT, HERE, THAT HE WILL WIN IOWA. AND THAT WILL HELP US MAINTAIN CONTROL OF THE FOUR CONGRESSIONAL SEATS WE HAVE IN THE HOUSE AND SENATE.

Yepsen: MR. SPEAKER, WE ALL EXPECT YOU TO SAY HE'S GOING TO CARRY IOWA, BUT WHAT ABOUT THE CONDITION OF THE PARTY? MIKE MENTIONED THREE IN A ROW YOU'VE DROPPED IN THE RACE FOR PRESIDENT, BUT IT'S MORE THAN THAT. YOU'VE DROPPED THE U.S. SENATE RACE AND YOU'VE DROPPED THE GOVERNORSHIP. WHAT'S THE CONDITION OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY? DO YOU NOW LACK THE CAPABILITY TO TURN OUT YOUR BASE VOTE OR SOMETHING?

Siegrist: NO, I DON'T THINK THAT WE DO, ALTHOUGH, OBVIOUSLY, AGAIN, CANDIDATES COUNT FOR A LOT, AND THAT HELPS DRIVE THAT. BUT THE LAST TIME, WE DIDN'T GET SOME OF OUR BASE VOTE OUT FOR A LOT OF REASONS. I WILL TELL YOU THE STATE CHAIRMAN AND HIS STAFF ARE WORKING SPECIFICALLY ON TURNOUT. IT'S ONE OF THOSE DEALS WHERE WE INCREASED OUR REPRESENTATION IN THE HOUSE AND SENATE AND LOST THE GOVERNOR'S RACE. SO WE KNOW HOW TO TURN THE VOTES OUT, AND SO WE NEED THE PARTY TO FOCUS ON THAT, AND THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT THEY'RE DOING. IT HURT US TREMENDOUSLY LAST TIME IN THE GOVERNOR'S RACE THAT TOM LATHAM DIDN'T HAVE AN OPPONENT AND GREG GANSKE LITERALLY DIDN'T HAVE AN OPPONENT, AND THERE WAS NO DRIVE THERE OUT OF OUR BASE REPUBLICAN AREAS. AND SO I HATE TO SAY THIS TO MR. LATHAM AND GANSKE, BUT I HOPE THEY HAVE OPPONENTS, NOT REAL TOUGH ONES, SO WE HELP TO DRIVE OUR TURNOUT.

Borg: SPEAKER SIEGRIST, WE'RE OUT OF TIME, BUT I THINK THIS IS THE BEGINNING. THE NEXT FEW MONTHS WE'LL BE SEEING A LOT OF YOU.

Siegrist: I HOPE SO. IT'S GOOD TO BE HERE, THANKS.

Borg: AS INDICATED EARLIER, A DAY AFTER THE CONVENING OF THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION OF 2000, GOVERNOR TOM VILSACK DELIVERS HIS CONDITION-OF-THE-STATE ADDRESS TO THE IOWA GENERAL ASSEMBLY AND THE PEOPLE OF IOWA. AND IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION WILL BE AT THE STATEHOUSE FOR LIVE COVERAGE OF THE GOVERNOR'S ADDRESS AT 10:00 THAT MORNING, THAT'S TUESDAY, JANUARY 11. I HOPE YOU'LL TUNE IN AT THAT TIME. IF NOT, A REBROADCAST IS SCHEDULED ON STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION AT 6:30 THAT NIGHT.

AND WE'D LIKE TO PASS ALONG ANOTHER PROGRAM REMINDER BEFORE WE LEAVE YOU THIS SUNDAY. THE PRESIDENTIAL PRE-CAUCUS CAMPAIGNING CONTINUES, OF COURSE, AND THE DES MOINES REGISTER IS SPONSORING TWO DEBATES AMONG THE MAJOR-PARTY CANDIDATES LATER THIS MONTH. SATURDAY, JANUARY 8, LIVE AT 1:00 IN THE AFTERNOON, WE'LL HAVE A REBROADCAST AT 9:00 THAT NIGHT WITH VICE PRESIDENT AL GORE AND FORMER U.S. SENATOR BILL BRADLEY INVOLVED IN THAT PRE-CAUCUS DEBATE. AND A WEEK LATER ON SATURDAY, JANUARY 15, THE REPUBLICAN NOMINATION CONTENDERS CENTER STAGE WITH TEXAS GOVERNOR GEORGE W. BUSH, SENATOR ORRIN HATCH, FORMER AMBASSADOR ALAN KEYES, PUBLISHER STEVE FORBES, ACTIVIST GARY BAUER, AND SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN DEBATING AT 1:00 IN THE AFTERNOON ON THAT DAY, AND AGAIN TAPED REBROADCAST AT 9:00 THAT NIGHT.

WE LOOK FORWARD TO DELIVERING SPECIALIZED PUBLIC AFFAIRS PROGRAMMING TO YOU HERE ON STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION. AND THAT'S IT FOR THIS WEEK'S EDITION OF IOWA PRESS.I'M DEAN BORG. THANKS FOR JOINING US TODAY.

FUNDING FOR IOWA PRESS WAS PROVIDED BY FRIENDS OF IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION. AND BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION. FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS.