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Iowa Press #2724 - Rep. Christopher Rants
February 13, 2000

Borg: AT THE IOWA STATEHOUSE, LEGISLATORS CONTINUE THE 78TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY. WE'LL GET AN UPDATE FROM THE REPUBLICAN MAJORITY LEADER IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, CHRISTOPHER RANTS, 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. AND BY THE ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS OF IOWA, THE PUBLIC'S PARTNER IN BUILDING IOWA'S HIGHWAY, BRIDGE AND MUNICIPAL UTILITY INFRASTRUCTURE.

THIS IS THE SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 13th EDITION OF IOWA PRESS. HERE IS DEAN BORG.

Borg: WELL, THE IOWA LEGISLATIVE SESSION OF 2000 IS PAST THE ONE-MONTH MARK IN ITS SCHEDULED 100-DAY SESSION. THE BIG ISSUES -- EDUCATION, THE ENVIRONMENT, TAX REFORM, AND HOW TO SPEND THE TOBACCO SETTLEMENT -- ARE STILL TOP PRIORITIES. GOVERNOR TOM VILSACK JOINED US HERE ON "IOWA PRESS" LAST SUNDAY TO DISCUSS HIS PRIORITIES, AND TODAY WE HAVE A MEMBER OF THE REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP. REPRESENTATIVE CHRISTOPHER RANTS OF SIOUX CITY IS NOW IN HIS FOURTH TERM IN THE IOWA LEGISLATURE. HE LEADS THE MAJORITY REPUBLICANS IN THE IOWA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. MR. RANTS, WELCOME BACK TO IOWA PRESS.

Rants: THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

Borg: AND ACROSS THE TABLE, STATEHOUSE REPORTERS, DAVID YEPSEN OF THE DES MOINES REGISTER, AND KAY HENDERSON OF RADIO IOWA.

Henderson: REPRESENTATIVE RANTS, YOU'RE GETTING A HUGE CHUNK OF CHANGE FROM THE CIGARETTE MAKERS. HOW DO YOU INTEND TO SPEND THAT?

Rants: I THINK WE'RE GOING TO DO SOMETHING IN IOWA THAT MAY BE UNIQUE IN THE NATION, IN THAT WE'RE GOING TO DEVOTE ALL OF THAT MONEY TO HEALTH CARE IN ONE FASHION OR ANOTHER. WE'RE LOOKING AT INCREASING ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE, WHICH WILL PROBABLY TAKE UP MOST OF THE FUNDS. WE'RE GOING TO SPEND SOME MONEY ON SMOKING CESSATION EFFORTS, ALSO SUBSTANCE ABUSE, AND ALSO SOME PREVENTATIVE EFFORTS. A LOT OF STATES HAVE TENDED TO DIVERT THE MONEY A LOT DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS. WE HAVE COME TO A CONSENSUS THAT WE NEED TO DEVOTE THAT MONEY TO HEALTH CARE PROBLEMS, PARTICULARLY THE AREA OF IMPROVING ACCESS FOR IOWANS.

Henderson: REPUBLICANS ALSO INTEND TO DIVERT A LITTLE BIT OF IT INTO SORT OF AN ESCROW ACCOUNT TOO. HOW MUCH OF THAT DO YOU THINK YOU NEED TO HOLD IN RESERVE?

Rants: THAT IS ONE OF THE TOPICS OF CONVERSATION WE'RE STILL HAVING RIGHT NOW. WE DO HAVE A CONCERN THAT THIS MONEY ISN'T A RELIABLE FUNDINGS FRAME AND WE DO NEED TO SET SOME ASIDE, BECAUSE IF THE FUNDS START TO DISAPPEAR, WE'D LIKE TO MAKE SURE WE HAVE SOME FUNDS TO CONTINUE TO IMPROVE ACCESS. WE HAVEN'T SETTLED ON A NUMBER YET, BUT THAT WILL PROBABLY BE COMING OUT IN THE NEXT WEEK OR SO.

Yepsen: GOVERNOR VILSACK HAS PROPOSED A STATE BUDGET THAT PROPOSES TO INCREASE SPENDING BY DOUBLE AND MAYBE EVEN TRIPLE THE RATE OF INFLATION. WILL THE LEGISLATURE CONCUR?

Rants: NO. THAT IS PART OF THE PROBLEM THAT WE'VE BEEN HAVING. WE'VE BEEN TAKING SOME CRITICISM FOR COMING OUT LATE WITH BUDGET TARGETS. THE GOVERNOR HAS SAID IT TOOK HIM SEVEN MONTHS TO PUT HIS BUDGET TOGETHER. IT'S NO SURPRISE IT'S TAKING US AT LEAST SEVEN WEEKS TO UNRAVEL SOME OF WHAT HE'S DOING AND TRY AND PUT IT BACK TOGETHER AGAIN. WE'RE STARTING OFF FROM THE BUDGETS THAT WE'VE HAD IN PREVIOUS YEARS; WE'RE NOT NECESSARILY WORKING STRAIGHT OFF OF THE GOVERNOR'S BUDGET. WE KNOW THAT THERE'S GOING TO HAVE TO BE SOME COMPROMISE DONE, BUT WE'RE STARTING OUT FROM THE PERSPECTIVE THAT WE WANT TO MAKE SURE WE HAVE AN HONEST BUDGET, AND THAT MEANS ABIDING BY THE EXISTING EXPENDITURE LIMITATION LAW AND GENERALLY ACCEPTED ACCOUNTING PRINCIPLES. WE HAD A LONG, HARD FIGHT BACK IN THE EARLY 1990S TO GET THAT DONE WHEN THE STATE WAS IN DEBT. WE DON'T WANT TO START BACKSLIDING NOW. IF WE DO THAT, AND WE STICK TO THE 99-PERCENT EXPENDITURE LIMITATION LAW, AUTOMATICALLY MEANS THERE ARE SOME PROGRAMS THAT THE GOVERNOR PROPOSED FUNDING THAT WE'RE NOT GOING TO HAVE THE MONEY TO DO. AS A CONSEQUENCE OF THAT, WE WILL BE SPENDING LESS MONEY THAN THE GOVERNOR PROPOSED.

Yepsen: YEAH, BUT MY QUESTION ISN'T WILL YOU SPEND LESS THAN THE GOVERNOR, IT'S HOW MUCH MORE THAN CURRENT LEVELS OF SPENDING. MR. RANTS, IN THE OLD DAYS WE USED TO THINK OF REPUBLICANS AS THE POLITICAL PARTY THAT CUT BUDGETS. YOU'VE NEVER DONE THAT IN ALL THE YEARS YOU'VE BEEN IN CONTROL. WILL THIS LEGISLATURE DO ANY BUDGET CUTTING?

Rants: ABSOLUTELY.

Yepsen: WHERE?

Rants: A NUMBER OF DIFFERENT AREAS, DAVID. IT'S BEEN SAID THAT WE'VE NEVER ELIMINATED ANY PROGRAMS, AND WE HAVE. WE'VE LOOKED AT, FOR INSTANCE, LIKE, THE SEED CAPITAL CORPORATION IS A GOOD EXAMPLE OF A PROGRAM THAT THE LEGISLATURE ACTUALLY ELIMINATED. WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO GO IN TO THE GOVERNOR'S BUDGET AND REDUCE HIS PROPOSALS BY ABOUT 50 TO $60 MILLION. IS THAT STILL AN INCREASE OVER WHERE WE'VE BEEN IN THE PAST? YES. BUT WHAT OUR BUDGET CHAIRPERSONS ARE DOING RIGHT NOW IS GOING THROUGH AND LOOKING FOR PROGRAMS TO ELIMINATE IN THEIR ENTIRETY, LOOKING AT PLACES WHERE WE CAN FIND SOME EFFICIENCIES.

Yepsen: ONE AREA THAT KEEPS THE HEAT THAT THE GOVERNOR HAS BROUGHT UP IS SCHOOL INFRASTRUCTURE. HE'S SUGGESTING THAT THE STATE START GETTING IN AND PROVIDING SOME HELP FOR LOCAL SCHOOLS. YOU'VE GOT SOME OF YOUR MEMBERS THAT WANT TO DO THAT TOO. BUT WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN WITH THAT? I HEAR CRITICISM OF THAT, THAT, NO, WE CAN'T GET THE STATE INVOLVED IN THE BUSINESS OF SCHOOL INFRASTRUCTURE. WILL THIS LEGISLATURE PROVIDE STATE HELP TO LOCAL SCHOOLS TO FIX UP THEIR BUILDINGS?

Rants: I THINK THAT THERE IS A ROLE FOR THE STATE TO PLAY IN IT, PARTICULARLY IN THE AREA OF FIRE AND SAFETY. WE DO HAVE A CONCERN THAT IN RURAL IOWA WE ARE GOING TO HAVE TO PROVIDE SOME ASSISTANCE. THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF CRITICISM, FOR INSTANCE, ABOUT THE LOCAL OPTION SALES TAX AND HOW THAT'S BENEFITED CERTAIN AREAS IN THE STATE. WE'RE VERY COGNIZANT OF THAT FACT AND THAT RURAL IOWA IS GOING TO NEED SOME ASSISTANCE. AT A TIME WHEN WE'RE TALKING ABOUT DOING MILLENNIUM-TYPE PROJECTS IN THE LARGE QUALITY-OF-LIFE-TYPE ISSUES, WE THINK IF WE DO THAT, WE ALSO NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT WE ARE PROTECTING OUR RURAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS. WE ARE LOOKING FOR A MECHANISM TO DO IT, PROBABLY ON A PER-PUPIL BASIS TO THOSE SCHOOL DISTRICTS THAT DON'T HAVE LOCAL OPTION SALES TAXES AND A PLACE WHERE WE CAN TARGET IT TOWARD FIRE AND SAFETY NEEDS.

Yepsen: ONE OF THE CRITICISMS IS A FOLLOW-UP TO THAT THAT'S MADE OF THE STATE PROVIDING HELP TO RURAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS IS THE NOTION THAT YOU'RE PROPPING UP SMALL SCHOOLS THAT OUGHT TO BE FORCED TO CLOSE. HOW DO YOU RESPOND TO THAT CRITICISM?

Rants: THAT'S WHY WE WON'T BE PUTTING MONEY INTO JUST A BLANK CHECK TO BE USED FOR ANYTHING THEY WANT, AND THAT'S WHY THERE WON'T BE TRULY LARGE AMOUNTS. WE'RE LOOKING TO SATISFY A SPECIFIC CONCERN THAT'S OUT THERE. MAKING SURE THAT OUR SCHOOLS ARE SAFE IS THAT PRIMARY CONCERN. SO I THINK IF WE GO DOWN THAT ROAD, THAT'S WHERE THE MONEY WILL BE DEDICATED.

Borg: AS WE LOOK TOWARD PRUNING THINGS THAT OUGHT NOT TO BE, I'M WONDERING ABOUT ACCESS AIR, THAT IS, IOWA'S START-UP AIRLINE THAT'S HIT SOME FINANCIAL ROUGH AIR RIGHT NOW. WOULD THE LEGISLATURE INFUSE MONEY INTO THAT AIRLINE?

Rants: WE SORT OF WAVED OFF ACCESS AIR A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO. THERE WERE A NUMBER OF QUESTIONS THAT THE LEGISLATURE WAS NOT SATISFIED WITH THE ANSWERS THAT WERE FORTHCOMING ABOUT HOW THEY'RE GOING TO ATTRACT PASSENGERS BACK. WE'VE GOT A NUMBER OF PEOPLE WHO ARE CONCERNED ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT THAT'S A PROPER ROLE FOR STATE GOVERNMENT TO PLAY IN THE FIRST PLACE. BUT, GIVEN THE FACT THAT THEY WERE IN BANKRUPTCY, SOME CONCERNS ABOUT GETTING PASSENGERS BACK AND NOT REALLY SEEING A BUSINESS PLAN FOR HOW THEY'RE GOING TO BE PROFITABLE, THE LEGISLATURE CHOSE NOT TO INVEST THAT MONEY. NOW IT'S BACK IN THE HANDS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. AS YOU KNOW, DIRECTOR LYONS WAS ABLE TO GET SOME FUNDING FOR THEM IN THE PAST. IT IS STILL WITHIN THEIR REALM TO TAKE EXISTING DOLLARS THAT HAVE BEEN MADE AVAILABLE TO THE DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT TO PUT TOWARD ACCESS AIR. I DON'T KNOW WHETHER THEY WILL TAKE THAT ACTION OR NOT, BUT THE GOOD THING THAT'S COME OUT OF THE ACCESS AIR DEBATE IS WE MAY HAVE FOUND A NEW PARTNER THAT THE STATE CAN BEGIN TALKING TO, THAT BEING A.T.A. AND GETTING SERVICE INTO MIDWAY. THERE'S ALWAYS BEEN A BIG DEBATE OVER WHETHER OR NOT THE IDEA THAT WE NEEDED TO SERVE DESTINATION CITIES OR WHETHER WE NEEDED ACCESS TO HUBS, WHICH WAS MORE IMPORTANT, AND A.T.A. MAY PROVIDE US THAT ANSWER TO GET INTO MIDWAY.

Henderson: LEGISLATORS ARE TALKING ABOUT SOME SORT OF A FUND IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF $300 MILLION WHICH, OVER THE NEXT TWENTY YEARS OR SO, WOULD HELP COMMUNITIES BUILD LARGE PROJECTS. FOR INSTANCE, IN DES MOINES PERHAPS A SPORTS ARENA THAT WOULD REPLACE VETERANS MEMORIAL AUDITORIUM. WHAT'S THE PROSPECT FOR THAT SORT OF A LARGE FUND FOR LARGE PROJECTS IN URBAN AREAS WHEN YOU HAVE THE RURAL PEOPLE SAYING WHAT'S IN IT FOR ME?

Rants: IT'S A VERY DIFFICULT ISSUE, BUT I THINK IT'S ONE THAT WE NEED TO ADDRESS. IF WE WANT TO GROW THIS STATE, WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO ADDRESS THE QUALITY-OF-LIFE ISSUE. IT ALWAYS COMES DOWN TO AND IT'S ALWAYS MENTIONED, IT'S DES MOINES AND CEDAR RAPIDS. THE REALITY IS WE CAN'T LIMIT OURSELVES TO LOOKING AT JUST TWO PROJECTS IN TWO COMMUNITIES. WHEN WE PUT TOGETHER THIS FUND, WE NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT IT'S DONE ON A COMPETITIVE BASIS. THERE NEEDS TO BE SOME CAPS IN THERE SO THAT THE TWO COMMUNITIES DON'T EAT UP THE ENTIRE AMOUNT OF FUNDING THAT'S AVAILABLE. BUT THERE ARE STILL A NUMBER OF ISSUES THAT NEED TO BE WORKED OUT. WE NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT THERE'S A MECHANISM AND AN EXTENSION OF OUR CURRENT COMMUNITY ATTRACTION AND TOURISM FUND FOR SMALLER COMMUNITIES IN THE STATE, WHETHER THEY BE THE SIZE OF AN OTTUMWA OR THE SIZE OF A LEMARS OR THE SIZE OF AN ALGONA. DES MOINES OR SIOUX CITY MIGHT BE LOOKING AT A NEW AUDITORIUM, AN ARENA. A LEMARS, IOWA, MIGHT BE LOOKING AT REFINISHING OR REFURBISHING A BAND SHELL. WE HAVE GOT A LOT OF OPPORTUNITIES IN THIS STATE TO ENHANCE OUR CULTURE, THINGS TO DO FOR IOWANS OF ALL AGES. IT'S TIME WE STEP UP AND ADDRESS THAT ISSUE, BUT IN DOING SO WE NEED TO MAKE SURE WE DON'T LEAVE RURAL IOWA OUT.

Henderson: BUT DO YOU HAVE ENOUGH OF YOUR COLLEAGUES WHO THINK THE SAME WAY, THAT THAT'S EVER GOING TO COME TO FRUITION?

Rants: I THINK THEY'RE STARTING TO COME AROUND. THIS ISN'T GOING TO BE PASSED ON A UNANIMOUS VOTE; I DON'T HAVE ANY MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT THAT. BUT WE NEED TO GET FOLKS TO LOOK, ENVISION ABOUT WHERE THEY WANT IOWA TO BE IN THE FUTURE. OUR BIGGEST PROBLEM WE HAVE IN THIS STATE IS WE DON'T HAVE ENOUGH IOWANS. AND IF WE WANT TO IMPROVE THAT, WE HAVE GOT TO FIND A WAY TO KEEP PEOPLE HERE. WE'RE HEARING FROM EMPLOYERS MORE AND MORE THAT QUALITY OF LIFE IS ONE OF THE KEYS TO ATTRACTING AND TO RETAINING GOOD-QUALITY EMPLOYEES. WE NEED TO STEP UP TO THE PLATE AND INVEST IN THIS STATE. AND THE POINT I TRY TO MAKE WITH MY RURAL COLLEAGUES AND, TO BE HONEST, COLLEAGUES ON BOTH BORDERS OF THE STATE, IS THE MONEY THAT'S IN THE INFRASTRUCTURE FUND IS GOING TO BE SPENT. IT'S GOING TO BE SPENT ON A STATE GOVERNMENT BUILDING THAT NO ONE WILL USE OTHER THAN STATE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, OR THERE'S AN OPPORTUNITY THAT WE SPEND THAT MONEY ON A PROJECT THAT ALL IOWANS CAN BENEFIT FROM. AND I THINK THAT'S WHERE WE OUGHT TO PUT THE MONEY.

Yepsen: IT MAY BE THE SAME QUESTION: THERE'S ALSO DISCUSSION ABOUT BUILDING A RAIN FOREST IN CEDAR RAPIDS. WILL THAT FLY?

Rants: DAVID, I THINK THAT WHEN WE PUT TOGETHER THIS FUND THAT WE NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT DIFFERENT PROJECTS CAN COMPETE FOR IT. WE WILL NOT EARMARK. WE WILL NOT EARMARK THE MONEY FOR ONE PROJECT OR THE OTHER. BUT CEDAR RAPIDS CAN COMPETE FOR IT AND DES MOINES CAN COMPETE FOR IT, SIOUX CITY, COUNCIL BLUFFS, WATERLOO, DAVENPORT; THEY ALL NEED TO HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO COMPETE FOR IT.

Yepsen: WHY DOES THIS HAVE TO BE AN EITHER-OR PROPOSITION? WHY DO WE HAVE TO CHOOSE BETWEEN A NEEDED RAIN FOREST IN CEDAR RAPIDS, A NEEDED ARENA IN DES MOINES, I'M SURE THERE'S PROJECTS IN SIOUX CITY, THERE'S A RACE TRACK THAT WAS TALKED ABOUT FOR DAVENPORT. WHY DO WE HAVE TO CHOOSE? WHY CAN'T YOU PROVIDE A BILLION DOLLARS' WORTH OF FUNDING TO DEAL WITH THESE PROJECTS?

Rants: I DON'T KNOW THAT WE'VE GOT THE REVENUE STREAM TO DO A BILLION DOLLARS.

Yepsen: AS A MATTER OF FACT, MR. RANTS, IOWA HAS SOME OF THE LOWEST LEVELS OF PER CAPITA PUBLIC DEBT OF ANY STATE IN THE COUNTRY. YOU COULD BORROW $1 BILLION, AND YOU COULD HAND IT OUT TO 15 OF THE LARGEST CITIES IN THIS STATE TO DO ALL OF THESE PROJECTS, AND YOU STILL WOULD HAVE PER CAPITA PUBLIC DEBT IN THIS STATE AT BELOW THE NATIONAL AVERAGE. WHY DON'T WE DO SOMETHING LIKE THAT?

Rants: WELL, YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT PER CAPITA PUBLIC DEBT, BUT WHAT I'M MOST CONCERNED ABOUT, DAVID, IS THE REVENUE STREAM THAT PAYS FOR THAT. WE STILL HAVE, DESPITE THE NEED TO DO MAJOR PROJECTS, WE STILL HAVE SOME INFRASTRUCTURE PROBLEMS THAT ARE FACING OUR REGENTS INSTITUTIONS, STATE GOVERNMENT, AND YOU MADE A CASE EARLIER THAT WE NEED TO PUT SOME MONEY INTO IMPROVING THE INFRASTRUCTURE OF OUR SCHOOLS. IT'S DIFFICULT TO AFFORD TO DO ALL FOUR OF THOSE. THE IDEA OF JUST BONDING FOREVER --

Yepsen: SO YOU WIND UP BUILDING 99 BAND SHELLS IN EVERY COUNTY SEAT TOWN; RIGHT?

Rants: NO, THAT'S NOT WHAT I SAID, DAVID, BUT WHAT I DID SAY WAS THAT WE NEED TO MAKE SURE WE DON'T LEAVE OUT RURAL IOWA, THAT WE NEED TO INCLUDE THOSE, BECAUSE WE WANT THOSE AREAS TO GROW AS WELL.

Henderson: THE TRAGIC DEATH OF SHELBY DUIS FROM SPIRIT LAKE HAS SORT OF CONSUMED THE LEGISLATURE IN THE PAST COUPLE OF WEEKS, AND THERE HAS BEEN TALK ABOUT A CHANGE IN THE CONFIDENTIALITY RULES WHEREBY THE INFORMATION ABOUT CHILD-ABUSE INVESTIGATIONS ARE SHARED WITH THE PUBLIC, OR AT LEAST LEGISLATORS. WHAT DO YOU THINK WILL BE THE OUTCOME OF THIS WHOLE DEBATE? DO YOU THINK THERE WILL BE LEGISLATION AND CONFIDENTIALITY RULES REALLY CHANGED?

Rants: I BELIEVE THERE WILL BE. I KNOW REPRESENTATIVE DAN BODDICKER FROM TIPTON IS WORKING ON A PIECE OF LEGISLATION THAT WE WILL BE TALKING ABOUT IN OUR CAUCUS IN THIS COMING WEEK. THE KEY TO THIS WHOLE ISSUE IS THAT THERE NEEDS TO BE OVERSIGHT AND THERE NEEDS TO BE ACCOUNTABILITY. HOW WE STRUCTURE WHO HAS ACCESS TO THOSE LAWS IS GOING TO BE RELATIVELY DIFFICULT TO DO, BUT WE NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT SOMEONE HAS ACCESS. THE GOVERNOR, CLEARLY, THE GOVERNOR OR HIS DESIGNEE SHOULD HAVE ACCESS. SOMEONE REPRESENTING THE LEGISLATIVE BODIES SHOULD HAVE ACCESS. I DON'T THINK ALL 150 SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES NEED IT. I PERSONALLY WOULD NOT WANT IT. BUT I DO BELIEVE WE HAVE TO ENSURE THAT THERE IS OVERSIGHT AND ACCOUNTABILITY.

Yepsen: MR. RANTS, WHY SHOULDN'T THE PUBLIC HAVE ACCESS TO THIS? DHS IS THE ONLY AGENCY IN GOVERNMENT -- THEY'RE LIKE THE PENTAGON, WHERE THEY SAY, "WELL, WE CAN'T TELL YOU FOR NATIONAL SECURITY." HOW DO CITIZENS HAVE ANY WAY OF MONITORING WHETHER THIS GOVERNMENTAL AGENCY IS DOING ITS JOB WHEN THEY CAN'T GET AT THE RECORDS?

Rants: THAT'S MY POINT, DAVID. THERE OUGHT TO BE SOME OVERSIGHT THROUGH THE LEGISLATIVE BODY AND THROUGH THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE. AND, OSTENSIBLY, WE ARE THE PUBLIC IN ENSURING THAT THE DHS IS DOING THEIR JOB. I HAVE CONCERNS ABOUT THE WHOLE ISSUE BECAUSE THIS IS A VERY DIFFICULT, VERY EMOTIONAL ISSUE WHEN YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT PEOPLE WHO ABUSE THEIR CHILDREN. IN THIS CASE WE'RE TALKING ABOUT A CASE WHERE THE DHS MISSED THE CALL, AND LEFT A CHILD IN A HOME WHEN THEY SHOULDN'T HAVE. IN MANY CASES WE GET JUST AS MANY COMPLAINTS -- WE ACTUALLY GET MORE COMPLAINTS FROM PEOPLE WHO THINK THE DHS HAS OVERREACTED. WE HAVE A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO ARE ACCUSED OF ABUSING CHILDREN AND THEN THE CASES ARE NEVER FOUNDED. THERE IS NO SIMPLE ANSWER TO THIS SOLUTION. IF WE'RE GOING TO ERR IN THIS STATE, WE OUGHT TO ERR ON THE SIDE OF PROTECTING CHILDREN. IN THIS CASE THAT DIDN'T HAPPEN, AND THERE DOES NEED TO BE SOME OVERSIGHT.

Henderson: IN THE PAST YOU'VE BEEN INVOLVED IN DISCUSSIONS ABOUT STATEHOUSE SECURITY. THIS PAST WEEK AN INMATE FROM THE NEWTON CORRECTIONAL FACILITY, A MINIMUM SECURITY PRISONER WHO WAS WORKING DOING SOME CLEANING AT THE STATEHOUSE, WAS NOT ON THE JOB BECAUSE THERE WERE SOME QUESTIONS ABOUT HOW HE CONDUCTED HIMSELF IN REGARDS TO THE PUBLIC. HE'S WORKING IN THE CAPITOL BUILDING. DO YOU HAVE ANY CONCERNS ABOUT STATEHOUSE SECURITY IN THE WAKE OF THAT?

Rants: THAT'S NEWS TO ME. YES, I GUESS I WOULD HAVE SOME CONCERNS ABOUT THAT. WE HAVE HAD PEOPLE WORKING IN THE STATEHOUSE FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS, AND TO MY KNOWLEDGE, THAT'S THE FIRST INCIDENT THAT WE MAY HAVE HAD. IT MAY BE THAT WE DO NEED TO REVIEW THAT PROCESS. I'M GOING TO NEED SOME MORE DETAILS BEFORE I JUMP TO ANY CONCLUSIONS ON THAT.

Yepsen: ANOTHER ISSUE THE GOVERNOR HAS PRESENTED TO THE LEGISLATURE IS MONEY TO CLEAN UP THE ENVIRONMENT. IS THERE A PROBLEM HERE IN IOWA? HE SAYS THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS THREATENING US, 159 WATERWAYS THAT MAY BE POLLUTED. IS THERE A PROBLEM?

Rants: WELL, CLEARLY THERE IS A PROBLEM. IF THE EPA IS THREATENING TO COME IN AND START TELLING IOWA FARMERS HOW TO FARM, WE WANT TO AVOID THAT. WE SPEND -- AND SOMETIMES WE DON'T GET A LOT OF CREDIT FOR WHAT THE LEGISLATURE DOES ON ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION. BUT A FEW YEARS AGO WE STEPPED UP TO THE PLATE AND STARTED SEALING AG DRAINAGE WELLS BECAUSE WE WERE CONCERNED ABOUT POLLUTION GETTING INTO OUR AQUIFERS. THIS STATE, THE REPUBLICAN CAUCUS, AND THE LEGISLATURE WILL BE COMING FORWARD NEXT WEEK WITH SOME PROPOSALS ON HOW WE CONTINUE TO IMPROVE OUR NATURAL RESOURCES, PROTECT OUR WATER, PROTECT OUR AIR, AND THINGS OF THAT NATURE. WE'RE GOING TO BE LAYING OUT SOME PROPOSALS THAT WILL STEP UP TO THE PLATE IN SOME AREAS. WE ARE GOING TO ADDRESS THE ISSUE OF BUFFER STRIPS IN DEALING WITH WATER QUALITY. ONE THING THAT WE NEED TO PROBABLY LOOK AT DOING, BECAUSE THE REGISTER JUST DID THE STORY RECENTLY ON AIR TOXICS, IS IN THIS STATE WE HAVEN'T REALLY DONE AN INVENTORY OF AIR TOXICS IN THE LAST DECADE. BEFORE WE START BUILDING OR PUTTING OUT A LOT OF MONITORING SITES, WE NEED TO DO ANOTHER INVENTORY. THAT'S THE FIRST STEP THAT WE SHOULD DO TO FIND OUT JUST EXACTLY IF WE DO HAVE A PROBLEM AND WHERE THAT PROBLEM EXISTS IN THIS STATE.

Henderson: ANOTHER ISSUE ON YOUR AGENDA, ELECTRIC DEREGULATION; YOU GUYS CALL IT RESTRUCTURING.

Rants: RESTRUCTURING.

Henderson: HOW IS THAT GOING TO AFFECT CONSUMERS? ARE DINNER TIMES GOING TO BE INTERRUPTED BY ALL SORTS OF PURVEYORS WANTING TO SELL US ELECTRICITY, AND IS IT GOING TO REDUCE OUR BILLS OR IS IT GOING TO INCREASE THEM?

Rants: WELL, TO ANSWER THE FIRST QUESTION, THERE IS POTENTIAL THAT YOU WILL HAVE A LOT OF MARKETING GOING ON. THE REASON I SAY WE DON'T CALL IT ?DEREGULATION? IS BECAUSE WE'LL END UP WITH MORE REGULATION BY THE TIME WE'RE DONE, AND THE IDEA OF PROTECTING CONSUMERS FROM BAD MARKETERS AND DISREPUTABLE MARKETERS IS GOING TO TAKE A LOT OF REGULATION ON THE PART OF THE UTILITIES BOARD. IT'S MY HOPE WHEN WE COME OUT OF THIS THAT WE HAVE A BILL THAT, IN THE FIRST PLACE, HOLDS CONSUMERS HARMLESS. I DON'T WANT TO PASS A BILL THAT'S GOING TO INCREASE CONSUMER RATES. THAT'S CERTAINLY NOT A WAY FOR ME TO GET RE-ELECTED, AND I THINK ABOUT THAT ON OCCASION. OUR GOAL IS TO PASS SOMETHING THAT WILL HAVE A RATE FREEZE INITIALLY. WE BELIEVE THERE'S A GREAT DEAL OF POSSIBILITIES TO LOWER RATES IN THIS STATE. WHEN YOU LOOK LONG TERM -- AND I ASK AT PUBLIC FORUMS THIS QUESTION A LOT: HOW MANY PEOPLE THINK THEIR ELECTRICITY BILL, IF WE DO NOTHING, IS GOING TO STAY THE SAME OR GO DOWN OVER THE NEXT FIFTEEN YEARS? NOBODY PUTS THEIR HANDS IN THE AIR; THEY THINK IT'S GOING TO GO UP. SO IF THAT'S THE CASE, HOW DO WE BEST HOLD RATES DOWN, KEEP RATES TO A MINIMUM? I THINK THAT'S THE CHOICE. BRING COMPETITIVENESS TO THE UTILITY INDUSTRY.

Yepsen: MR. RANTS, WE HEARD THE SAME THING WITH THE AIRLINE INDUSTRY.

Rants: IT'S NOT THE SAME THING.

Yepsen: YES, WE DID. IF YOU DEREGULATE, THEN YOU HAVE MORE PEOPLE GETTING INTO IT AND COMPETITION. INSTEAD, WHAT WE'VE HAD IS BORDERLINE PRICE FIXING. WHAT MAKES --

Rants: IN THIS CASE, THOUGH --

Yepsen: WHAT GUARANTEE CAN YOU PROVIDE HERE THAT RATES ARE NOT GOING TO GO UP?

Rants: IN THE LEGISLATION, WE HAVE CONSUMER PROTECTION BUILT IN THAT YOU HAVE TO HAVE A COMPETITIVE MARKETPLACE. YOU HAVE TO HAVE MORE PLAYERS COMING INTO THE MARKETPLACE BEFORE WE GO FULL-BLOWN, WIDE-OPEN COMPETITION. WE DO HAVE A PERIOD OF TIME WHERE IT CONTINUES TO BE REGULATED BY THE UTILITIES BOARD, AND A TRULY COMPETITIVE MARKET MUST EXIST. YOU RAISE A GOOD POINT THAT IF WE DON'T HAVE MORE COMPETITORS AND MORE SERVICE PROVIDERS ENTERING IOWA, WE HAVEN'T DONE ANY GOOD AT ALL, THAT PASSING THE BILL WAS POINTLESS. THAT'S WHY WE'VE DONE A COUPLE THINGS THAT MAKE IOWA UNIQUE IN THE NATION. THE ISSUE OF RECIPROCITY... EVERY OTHER STATE THAT'S LOOKED AT ELECTRICAL RESTRUCTURING HAS REQUIRED THAT FOR AN ELECTRIC COMPANY TO COME IN AND OFFER SERVICE, THEIR STATE ALSO HAS TO GO THROUGH RESTRUCTURING. IT'S A GAME THE UTILITIES HAVE PLAYED TO GET THE NEXT STATE TO DO IT. WE REQUIRE NO RECIPROCITY, SO YOU CAN COME FROM ANY STATE TO OFFER SERVICES INTO IOWA. WE'RE ALSO MAKING SURE THAT WE HAVE GOOD LANGUAGE ABOUT AGGREGATION, THAT IS, SO THAT WHETHER IT BE THE AARP, THE IOWA FARM BUREAU -- I BELIEVE THE IOWA SCHOOL BOARD ASSOCIATION IS GOING TO AGGREGATE AMONG SCHOOL DISTRICTS SO THAT THEY CAN COMBINE THEIR LOAD AND THEN GO OUT ON THE MARKETPLACE AND FIND THE BEST POSSIBLE PRICE. THAT'S THE WAY THAT WE'RE GOING TO GET COMPETITION, AND THAT'S THE WAY WE'RE GOING TO HOLD RATES DOWN.

Yepsen: SO YOU PASS THIS BILL AND MY LIGHT BILL GOES UP? THEN WHAT DO I DO? VOTE FOR A DEMOCRAT?

Rants: I DON'T THINK YOUR LIGHT BILL IS GOING TO GO UP, DAVID.

Yepsen: ANOTHER QUESTION THAT'S FACING THE LEGISLATURE IS CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT ON TAX INCREASES, A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO ALLOW REFERENDUMS ON TAX INCREASES. THE GOVERNOR HAS SUGGESTED THAT IF THE LEGISLATURE EVER WANTS TO RAISE THE INCOME TAX OR THE SALES TAX, THAT AFTER THE LEGISLATURE APPROVES IT THAT IT BE PUT TO A VOTE OF THE PEOPLE. WILL THE LEGISLATURE PASS THIS? Rants: WE PASSED THAT BILL OUT OF OUR HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE THIS LAST WEEK. I'M LOOKING TO FIND SOME FLOOR TIME TO DO THAT IN THE NEAR FUTURE. I DO HAVE ONE CONCERN ABOUT THE GOVERNOR'S PROPOSAL. THE GOVERNOR'S PROPOSAL ONLY DEALS WITH RATES. IT DOESN'T INCLUDE DEDUCTIONS; IT DOESN'T INCLUDE CREDITS OR EXEMPTIONS. MY CONCERN WITH THE PROPOSAL IS THAT YOU COULD ELIMINATE A DEDUCTION, THEREBY INCREASING RATES, THAT DOESN'T GO TO THE VOTE OF THE PEOPLE. THAT'S A CONCERN THAT I HAVE. I THINK WE NEED TO LOOK AT PLUGGING THAT LOOPHOLE BEFORE WE BRING IT TO THE FLOOR.

Yepsen: ANOTHER IDEA HE'S GOT IS A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO LIMIT THE TERM OF THE GOVERNOR TO TWO CONSECUTIVE FOUR-YEAR TERMS. WILL THE LEGISLATURE PASS THIS?

Rants: I DON'T KNOW. I WOULD LIKE TO SEE US BRING IT UP FOR VOTE. I KNOW THAT THERE ARE A NUMBER OF OTHER LEGISLATORS WHO HAVE CONCERNS ABOUT DOING THAT. A) SOME PEOPLE ARE AFRAID OF LOOKING PARTISAN EVEN THOUGH A DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR HAS PROPOSED IT. OTHER FOLKS ARE CONCERNED THAT IT'S GOING TO BE EXPANDED TO INCLUDE EVERY OTHER OFFICE THAT'S OUT THERE. I, AT THIS POINT IN TIME, DON'T KNOW IF THERE ARE THE VOTES TO PASS THAT OR NOT.

Henderson: ARE THERE VOTES TO PASS A BILL THAT WOULD RAISE THE SPEED LIMIT ON IOWA'S INTERSTATES? THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO WOULD LIKE TO SEE THAT.

Rants: I WOULD BE ONE OF THEM. I BELIEVE WE HAVE THE VOTES IN THE HOUSE. I DON'T KNOW IF THERE ARE THE VOTES IN THE SENATE. ONE OF THE PROBLEMS WE HAVE HAD IN THE PAST IS THEY HAVEN'T DEBATED THE BILL IN THE SENATE. IOWANS HAVE ALREADY VOTED ON THIS ISSUE. IOWANS ARE VOTING WITH THEIR FEET EVERY TIME THEY GET ON THE INTERSTATE, AND THEY'RE VOTING FOR A HIGHER SPEED LIMIT. THE LEGISLATURE NEEDS TO RESPOND TO THAT.

Henderson: YOU ARE SOMETHING OF A NET HEAD, OR A COMPUTER AFICIONADO.

Rants: I'LL TAKE THAT AS A COMPLIMENT.

Henderson: WHAT ABOUT E-COMMERCE? IS THERE A NEED FOR THE STATE TO STEP UP AND PROVIDE SOME PRIVACY FOR TRANSACTIONS OVER THE INTERNET OR INFORMATION THAT'S AVAILABLE ABOUT YOURSELF OVER THE INTERNET SINCE THERE APPEARS TO BE NO PROGRESS IN THE NATION'S CAPITOL AND SOME SORT OF BLANKET LEGISLATION AT THIS POINT? IS IT TIME FOR THE STATE TO STEP IN HERE AND DO SOMETHING?

Rants: I'M NOT OPPOSED TO DOING THAT. I HAVEN'T SEEN ANY SPECIFIC PROPOSAL ON THAT. AS YOU KNOW, LAST YEAR THE STATE LEGISLATURE GOT INVOLVED IN THE ISSUE OF SPAM AND UNWANTED E-MAIL. I THINK WE'VE GOT SOME GOOD E-COMMERCE LAWS THAT ALLOW FOR BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS TRANSACTIONS AND MAKING SURE THAT THOSE ARE SOLID AND THAT THEY DON'T GET CHALLENGED IN COURT, THINGS OF THAT NATURE. ANOTHER AREA THAT I THINK WE NEED TO LOOK AT IN REGARDS TO E-COMMERCE IS THE WHOLE ISSUE OF UCEDA, WHICH GETS VERY -- UCEDA IS A VERY COMPLICATED PROPOSAL THAT WE'VE SEEN TRIED IN WASHINGTON AND A FEW OTHER STATES IN THE NATION THAT HAVE TO DO WITH THE LICENSE AGREEMENTS. THE COMPANIES PAY FOR SOFTWARE. AND I THINK IOWA NEEDS TO LOOK AT THAT ISSUE, NOT FROM THE POINT OF PASSING THAT LEGISLATION, BUT BY PROTECTING IOWA BUSINESSES THAT ARE ENGAGED IN ELECTRONIC COMMERCE AND HAVE A LOT OF SOFTWARE LICENSES BY ADOPTING LEGISLATION THAT WOULD PROHIBIT UCEDA-TYPE LANGUAGE FROM TAKING PLACE IN IOWA.

Yepsen: WE'VE ONLY GOT A FEW MINUTES LEFT, AND IT'S ALWAYS NEVER AN OFFICIAL SHOW HERE UNLESS WE TALK SOME POLITICS. THE TALK IN THE LOBBY UP THERE IS THAT REPUBLICANS ARE GOING TO LOSE CONTROL OF THE IOWA HOUSE THAT YOU'VE GOT A LOT MORE RETIREMENTS THAN DEMOCRATS HAVE, THAT YOU'VE GOT A DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR BREATHING DOWN YOUR NECK. WILL THE REPUBLICANS KEEP CONTROL OF THE IOWA HOUSE?

Rants: ABSOLUTELY. REPUBLICANS WILL KEEP CONTROL OF THE IOWA HOUSE, AND I'LL TELL YOU WHY: BECAUSE REPUBLICANS HAVE PROVEN TO THE PEOPLE OF THIS STATE THAT WE CAN IMPROVE EDUCATION IN THIS STATE; WE HAVE TAKEN ACTIONS TO IMPROVE THE ENVIRONMENT IN THIS STATE; WE'RE CONCERNED ABOUT WORK FORCE DEVELOPMENT; WE'RE WORKING TO IMPROVE THE QUALITY THE LIFE. AND WE'VE DONE ALL FOUR OF THOSE THINGS WHILE MAKING AN HONEST BUDGET --

Yepsen: WAIT --

Rants: AND BALANCING THE BUDGET. THE DEMOCRATS HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO DO THOSE THINGS AND ALSO KEEP THE BUDGET IN BALANCE. THAT'S THE BIG DIFFERENCE BETWEEN US.

Yepsen: HOW CAN YOU SAY IT'S AN HONEST BUDGET WHEN YOU'RE STARTING TO SPEND MORE THAN YOU TAKE IN IN REVENUES?

Rants: WE'RE NOT GOING TO BE SPENDING MORE THAN WE TAKE IN IN REVENUES.

Yepsen: BUT YOU HAVE IN THE PAST.

Rants: IT HAS HAPPENED IN THE PAST WHERE WE HAVE SPENT MONEY THAT HAS COME IN ABOVE REVENUE EXPECTATIONS, BUT THAT WON'T BE THE CASE THIS YEAR.

Yepsen: AND HOW CAN YOU SAY IT'S AN HONEST BUDGET WHEN YOU SPEND AT DOUBLE AND TRIPLE THE RATE OF INFLATION? HASN'T NET GOVERNMENT GROWN UNDER REPUBLICAN STEWARDSHIP IN THE LEGISLATURE?

Rants: THAT'S CORRECT, BUT PART OF THE THINGS THAT WE SPEND MONEY ON, DAVID, ARE EDUCATION, HAS BEEN THE FASTEST GROWING PART OF BUDGET, AS WELL AS OUR PRISON SYSTEM. THE OTHER AREA THAT WE SPEND A LOT OF MONEY ON IN STATE GOVERNMENT IS RETURNING DOLLARS BACK TO THE LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS AND THE LOCAL COUNTIES TO OFFSET PROPERTY TAXES. THAT COUNTS AS SPENDING; THAT IS WHAT WE SPEND MONEY ON, BUT IT ENDS UP GOING TO THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT SO THEY DON'T HAVE TO RAISE PROPERTY TAXES, AND THAT'S AN OFFSET.

Borg: EARLIER IN THE PROGRAM WE WERE TALKING ABOUT THE RAIN FOREST OF CEDAR RAPIDS AND THE ARENA IN DES MOINES, AND YOU SAID WE NEED TO MAKE THIS THING COMPETITIVE. WE'RE STRUCK BY THE FACT THAT SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE IS FROM COUNCIL BLUFFS, REPRESENTATIVE SIEGRIST, YOU'RE FROM SIOUX CITY, WESTERN IOWA. NOW, THIS IS THE TRADITIONAL AREA THAT SAYS WE HAVE BEEN SHORTCHANGED FOR A LONG TIME. ARE YOU GOING TO BE BRINGING HOME THE BACON TO THAT AREA? Rants: WELL, THE WHOLE POINT OF MAKING IT COMPETITIVE IS TO TAKE IT OUT OF THE HANDS OF THE LEGISLATURE, TAKE OUT SOME OF THE POLITICAL INFLUENCE --

Borg: BEYOND THAT, ARE THERE OTHER THINGS THAT YOU'RE GOING TO BE DOING AND LOOKING TO DO FOR WESTERN IOWA?

Rants: MY CONSTITUENTS EXPECT ME TO LOOK OUT FOR THEIR INTERESTS ALL THE TIME, AND I TRY TO BALANCE THAT WITH MY POSITION AS MAJORITY LEADER.

Yepsen: YOU DON'T HAVE A RAIN FOREST, ARENA IN SIOUX CITY?

Rants: I DON'T HAVE A RAIN FOREST, NOTHING LIKE THAT, NO.

Henderson: LET'S TALK ABOUT THE HEALTH OF THE GOP IN THIS STATE. ONLY 87,000 PEOPLE WENT OUT ON CAUCUS NIGHT ON A HIGHLY PUBLICIZED EVENT, THE CAUCUSES. WHAT'S WRONG? WHY AREN'T PEOPLE ENERGIZED ON YOUR PARTY? Rants: I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE IN MY PARTY ARE VERY ENERGIZED. I THINK PART OF THE PROBLEM THAT HAPPENED ON CAUCUS NIGHT IS THAT PEOPLE THOUGHT THAT THERE WAS A FORGONE CONCLUSION, WHO WAS GOING TO TURN OUT TO VOTE, AND THAT THEY WOULD TURN OUT AND VOTE FOR GEORGE BUSH, AND SO A LOT OF FOLKS CHOSE TO STAY HOME. THAT SOMETIMES HAPPENS. THAT'S BEEN A CONCERN WITH PREANNOUNCING THE RESULTS ON ELECTION NIGHT. IF PEOPLE THINK IT'S A FORGONE CONCLUSION, THEIR VOTE DOESN'T COUNT, THEY DON'T GO. I THINK THAT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY IN IOWA IS VERY ENERGIZED. THEY'RE STARTING TO WAKE UP TO THE NEW REALITIES OF HAVING A DEMOCRAT AT TERRACE HILL. THAT IS CERTAINLY SOMETHING THAT GETS THEM ENERGIZED. WE ARE VERY EXCITED ABOUT OUR OPPORTUNITIES AT RETAKING THE WHITE HOUSE. SO I THINK THE REPUBLICANS IN THIS STATE ARE VERY ENERGIZED. ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS LOOK AT THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE THAT TURNED OUT ON A HOT DAY IN AUGUST AT THE STRAW POLL IN AMES, AND THEY CAME IN FROM ALL ACROSS THE STATE. TO ME THAT TELLS ME THAT THERE'S A NEW ENTHUSIASM GOING ON.

Yepsen: SO YOU'VE LOST THE U.S. SENATE RACE IN '96, YOU'VE LOST THE GOVERNORSHIP IN '98, AND YOU'VE LOST THE PRESIDENCY THREE TIMES IN A ROW IN THIS STATE, SOMETHING THAT'S NEVER BEFORE HAPPENED IN IOWA HISTORY. IN THE FACE OF THOSE FACTS, YOU'RE TELLING US THAT THE HEALTH OF THE GOP IN IOWA IS GOOD?

Rants: ABSOLUTELY, DAVID. WE WON FOUR OUT OF FIVE CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS, WE WON A UNITED STATES SENATE RACE, AND WE PICKED UP THE IOWA SENATE AT A TIME WHEN EVERYTHING WAS GOING AGAINST US. WE MAINTAINED AND EXPANDED OUR MAJORITIES IN THE IOWA HOUSE AT THE TIME THAT THE STATE WAS VOTING FOR A DEMOCRAT GOVERNOR. I THINK THE HEALTH OF THE GOP IS VERY GOOD.

Yepsen: YOU ENDORSE GEORGE W. BUSH TO BE YOUR NOMINEE. HOW WORRIED ARE YOU ABOUT JOHN MCCAIN HERE? IS JOHN MCCAIN GOING TO KNOCK OFF GEORGE W. BUSH?

Rants: I DON'T THINK SENATOR MCCAIN WILL KNOCK OFF GOVERNOR BUSH. I AM CONCERNED ABOUT THAT. SOME OF MY CONCERNS WITH SENATOR MCCAIN HAVE TO DO WITH HOW THAT IMPACTS THE ABILITY OF THE GOP TO MAINTAIN ITS CONTROL AT THE FEDERAL ELECTION LEVEL. SO I DO HAVE CONCERNS ABOUT THAT, BUT I THINK GOVERNOR BUSH WILL PULL IT OUT IN THE END.

Yepsen: AND REAL QUICKLY, WHAT ARE YOUR POLITICAL PLANS? ARE YOU GOING TO RUN FOR CONGRESS OR GOVERNOR?

Rants: MY GOAL, MR. YEPSEN, IS TO MAKE SURE THAT WE HAVE AT LEAST 56 REPUBLICANS COME BACK TO MAINTAIN CONTROL OF THE IOWA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES NEXT YEAR.

Borg: TALK ABOUT CONTROL, I HAVE TO TAKE CONTROL. WE'RE OUT OF TIME. THANK YOU, MR. RANTS, FOR BEING WITH US TODAY.

ON OUR NEXT EDITION OF IOWA PRESS, OUR FOCUS REMAINS ON THE STATEHOUSE. JOINING US IS PAUL JOHNSON; HE'S THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE IOWA DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES. WE'LL BE ASKING ABOUT HIS PROPOSALS AND LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES. NEXT SUNDAY AT NOON AND 7:00 FOR PAUL JOHNSON ON IOWA PRESS. AND THAT'S IT FOR THIS WEEK'S EDITION. I HOPE YOU'LL JOIN US NEXT WEEK. UNTIL THEN, I'M DEAN BORG. THANKS FOR BEING WITH 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; AND BY THE ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS OF IOWA, THE PUBLIC'S PARTNER IN BUILDING IOWA HIGHWAY, BRIDGE, AND MUNICIPAL UTILITY INFRASTRUCTURE.