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Iowa Press #2736 - Rep. Brent Siegrist and Sen. Stewart Iverson
May 7, 2000

Borg: THE 78TH IOWA GENERAL ASSEMBLY IS NOW HISTORY. WE'LL DISCUSS THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION OF 2000 WITH MEMBERS OF THE MAJORITY LEADERSHIP... SPEAKER OF THE IOWA HOUSE BRENT SIEGRIST, AND SENATE MAJORITY LEADER STEWART IVERSON, 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, MAY 7th EDITION OF IOWA PRESS. HERE IS DEAN BORG.

Borg: THE 78TH IOWA GENERAL ASSEMBLY ADJOURNED 11 DAYS AGO. THE SESSION'S LEGACY, THOUGH, IS A WORK IN PROGRESS AS LEGISLATORS AND THEIR CONSTITUENTS CONTINUE TO EVALUATE THE IMPLICATIONS OF THE LEGISLATION THEY PASSED. THIS YEAR'S SESSION MARKED ACCOMPLISHMENTS, BUT NOT WITHOUT THE USUAL CONFLICTS. IN FACT, CONTROVERSY CONTINUES WITH THE NEWS ON WEDNESDAY OF THIS PAST WEEK THAT PAUL JOHNSON, THE DIRECTOR OF THE IOWA DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES, IS RESIGNING. THE HIGHLY-REGARDED JOHNSON CITES THE LEGISLATURE'S INABILITY AND UNWILLINGNESS TO MOVE ON A NUMBER OF KEY ENVIRONMENTAL FRONTS THAT HE CONSIDERED ESSENTIAL. THERE'S MORE TO COME ON THAT ISSUE AND OTHERS. WELL, TODAY WE BEGIN A REVIEW OF THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION OF 2000. IN FACT, IT'S THE FIRST OF BACK-TO-BACK IOWA PRESS EDITIONS ON THE TOPIC. NEXT WEEK, WE WILL BE QUESTIONING TWO LEGISLATORS FROM THE DEMOCRATIC MINORITY LEADERSHIP, SENATOR MIKE GRONSTAL AND REPRESENTATIVE DAVE SCHRADER. BUT TODAY, TWO LEADERS FROM THE REPUBLICAN MAJORITY WITH US. SENATOR STEWART IVERSON IS A REPUBLICAN FROM DOWS. HE IS THE MAJORITY LEADER OF THE IOWA SENATE; AND REPRESENTATIVE BRENT SIEGRIST, A REPUBLICAN FROM COUNCIL BLUFFS, HE'S THE SPEAKER OF THE IOWA HOUSE. WELCOME BACK TO IOWA PRESS. THANK YOU. AND STATEHOUSE REPORTERS ACROSS THE TABLE... DAVID YEPSEN OF THE DES MOINES REGISTER, AND MIKE GLOVER OF THE ASSOCIATED PRESS.

Glover: SPEAKER SIEGRIST, YOU NOW HAVE A TWO-YEAR RECORD OF THIS GENERAL ASSEMBLY TO TAKE TO VOTERS THIS FALL. DEFEND THAT RECORD. WHAT DID THIS LEGISLATURE AND GENERAL ASSEMBLY ACCOMPLISH?

Siegrist: WELL, I THINK IT ACCOMPLISHED A LOT THAT WILL AFFECT A LOT OF IOWANS. ONE OF THE BIGGEST PARTS IS MAKING SURE THE BUDGET STAYS UNDER CONTROL SO WE CAN CONTINUE TO MOVE TO THE FUTURE. BUT VERY QUICKLY, LONG-TERM SENIOR CARE PROPOSALS WHICH THE GOVERNOR HAS SIGNED, WHICH IS GOING TO ALLOW SENIORS FOR DIGNITY AND MORE ABILITY TO STAY OUT OF NURSING HOMES; THE WATER-QUALITY ISSUE, I THINK, IS A MAJOR PIECE; THE VISION IOWA PROJECT; SCHOOL INFRASTRUCTURE; THE TOBACCO SETTLEMENT MONEY; THE FIRST STATE IN THE MONEY NATION TO PUT ALL OF THE MONEY INTO HEALTH CARE, ON DOWN THE LINE. NOW, I'M NOT SUGGESTING WE HAVE SOLVED THOSE PROBLEMS, BUT I AM SAYING THAT WE MADE SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS IN EACH ONE OF THOSE AREAS.

Glover: SENATOR IVERSON, OTHER ISSUES THAT THIS LEGISLATURE ACCOMPLISHED DURING THIS TWO-YEAR TERM.

Iverson: WELL, I THINK THAT BASICALLY WHEN YOU SAID DEFEND OUR RECORD, I THINK WE GO BEYOND DEFENDING IT. I THINK WE PROMOTE WHAT WE HAVE DONE FOR THE STATE OF IOWA. WE HAVE BROUGHT BACK A TRULY BALANCED BUDGET, AN HONEST BUDGET. IT'S THE LOWEST INCREASE IN SEVEN YEARS. THE BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION THAT WE CAN DO -- OR THE BIGGEST INJUSTICE WE CAN DO THE PEOPLE OF IOWA IS SPEND MORE MONEY THAN WE TAKE IN. A GOVERNMENT BUDGET HAS TO WORK LIKE THE FAMILY BUDGET, AND I THINK THAT'S ONE OF THE MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENTS. AND REPRESENTATIVE SIEGRIST HAS DISCUSSED A NUMBER OF THE OTHERS.

Yepsen: SENATOR IVERSON, DEAN MENTIONED DURING THE OPEN, PAUL JOHNSON'S DEPARTURE AS HEAD OF THE DNR. HE TOOK SOME SHOTS AT THE LEGISLATURE ON THE WAY OUT THE DOOR. HOW DO YOU RESPOND TO PAUL JOHNSON'S CRITICISM THAT THIS LEGISLATURE DID NOT SPEND ENOUGH ON THE ENVIRONMENT?

Iverson: I AM VERY SURPRISED TO HEAR PAUL JOHNSON'S REMARKS. WE HAVE INITIATED THE GREATEST ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAM IN THE HISTORY OF THE STATE OF IOWA, THE WATER-QUALITY INITIATIVE. THE ENVIRONMENTAL STUFF -- THE ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES IN THE INFRASTRUCTURE FUND GAINED 28 PERCENT IN FUNDING. THESE ARE HUGE STEPS IN THE HISTORY OF IOWA, AND I AM ABSOLUTELY APPALLED AT THE STATEMENTS THAT DIRECTOR JOHNSON MADE, BECAUSE WE HAVE MADE HUGE STRIDES. ALL OF US KNOW IN GOVERNMENT EVERYTHING IS INCREMENTAL. YOU HAVE TO DO A LITTLE BIT EACH YEAR. A HALF A BITE OF THE APPLE IS MUCH BETTER THAN EITHER ALL OR NOTHING. BUT I THINK THIS LEGISLATURE THIS YEAR TOOK HUGE STEPS IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION FOR WATER QUALITY AND FOR IMPROVING THE AIR, AND SO I'M REALLY SURPRISED.

Yepsen: MR. SPEAKER, WHAT IS YOUR REACTION TO HIS COMMENTS?

Siegrist: WELL, IT WOULD BE SIMILAR. I THINK, AS I'VE STATED BEFORE, I'M VERY COMFORTABLE RUNNING ON THE RECORD WE'VE ACCOMPLISHED ON ENVIRONMENTAL AND RECREATION AND TOURISM CONCERNS. FOR EXAMPLE, PAUL JOHNSON WAS IN THE LEGISLATURE, I SERVED WITH PAUL -- HE'S A NICE GUY, A GREAT GUY -- WHEN OUR PARKS WERE BEING RUN DOWN AND THE DEMOCRATS DIDN'T DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT. AND YET THIS YEAR, WE EXTENDED OUR "RESTORE THE OUTDOOR" PROGRAM ANOTHER THREE YEARS TO RESTORE OUR STATE PARKS. BUT A TELLING THING FOR ME -- AND THIS IS A TELLING OVERALL THING AS IT RELATES TO THE BUDGET, AS IT RELATES TO GOVERNMENT AND HOW WE MOVE OUR STATE AHEAD -- IS DIRECTOR JOHNSON WAS MOST FRUSTRATED WHEN HE APPEARED BEFORE THE BUDGET SUBCOMMITTEE AND THEY ASKED HIM TO IDENTIFY PLACES WHERE WE COULD FIND FUNDING, WHERE WE COULD CUT FUNDING AND REINVEST IT, AND THE DIRECTOR SAID "NOWHERE." SO, APPARENTLY, DIRECTOR JOHNSON IS PROBABLY LEAVING BECAUSE HE RUNS THE PERFECT DEPARTMENT, BECAUSE THERE WAS NO MONEY THAT WE COULD FIND WITHIN THAT BUDGET. I SAY THAT FACETIOUSLY, BUT FOR US TO MOVE INTO THE FUTURE BOLDLY -- IF IT'S ON TEACHERS' SALARIES OR IF IT'S ON ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS -- WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO TAKE OUR $4.9-BILLION BUDGET AND REINVEST INTERNALLY, AND I DON'T THINK PAUL WAS WILLING TO DO THAT.

Glover: SENATOR IVERSON, AN ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUE THAT'S FLARED AGAIN RECENTLY IS HOG LOTS. THERE'S A CONTROVERSY IN STORY COUNTY ABOUT A BIG NEW HOG LOT BEING DEVELOPED UP THERE, FAIRLY NEAR SOME CITIES. LOCAL OFFICIALS COMPLAINED. WHEN IS THE LEGISLATURE GOING TO DEAL WITH THAT ISSUE?

Iverson: WE HAVE DEALT WITH THE ISSUE A NUMBER OF TIMES, QUITE FRANKLY, WHEN HOUSE FILE 519 WAS PASSED, AND IT IS STILL ONE OF THE TOUGHEST ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS IN THE NATION. WE ALSO, TWO YEARS AGO, REMOVED THE LANGUAGE THAT ESSENTIALLY SAID YOU CAN SUE SOMEONE, BUT YOU CAN'T WIN WITH CLEAR AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE WHICH, INCIDENTALLY, THE GOVERNOR ACTUALLY WROTE THAT LANGUAGE WHEN HE WAS IN THE SENATE. WE TOOK IT BACK TO PREPONDERANCE OF THE EVIDENCE. WE GAVE COUNTIES THE ABILITY TO SUBMIT, IF THERE'S CONCERNS ENVIRONMENTALLY, TO THE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES ON THE PERMITTING PROCESS. SO WE HAVE MADE IT MUCH MORE USER-FRIENDLY ON BOTH SIDES. WE HAVE TO BALANCE THIS, AND I THINK THAT WAS A HUGE ACCOMPLISHMENT A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO.

Glover: SPEAKER SIEGRIST, IF THIS IS SUCH A TOUGH ENVIRONMENTAL LAW, WHY ARE PEOPLE IN STORY COUNTY COMPLAINING THAT THEY CAN'T DO ANYTHING TO PROTECT THEIR OWN ENVIRONMENT?

Siegrist: WELL, THERE'S STILL OBVIOUSLY A LOT OF PEOPLE THAT AREN'T SATISFIED WITH WHAT THE LEGISLATURE HAS DONE ON THIS ISSUE.

Glover: SO, WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO SAY TO THEM?

Siegrist: WELL, TO THEM, I AM GOING TO SAY THAT WE HAVE SOME OF THE STRICTEST WATER-QUALITY STANDARDS, AS SENATOR IVERSON SAID. WE HAVE SOME OF THE STRICTEST ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS -- OR ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATIONS OF ANY STATE IN THE NATION. BUT IT'S STILL AN ISSUE THAT THE LEGISLATURE WILL CONTINUE TO GRAPPLE WITH OVER THE NEXT SEVERAL YEARS.

Yepsen: SENATOR, BUT THOSE FACILITIES SMELL. THERE'S SOME QUESTION WHETHER THEY'RE HEALTHY OR NOT, BUT THEY DO STINK. YOU DRIVE AROUND IOWA TODAY, THE STATE STINKS. DO WE HAVE TO PUT UP WITH THIS AS A PRICE OF HAVING THE HOG INDUSTRY NOW, THIS GOD-AWFUL ODOR ALL OVER?

Iverson: A COUPLE OF THINGS, DAVID. AND FIRST, YOU KNOW, I AM A FARMER. I'VE RAISED LIVESTOCK. THERE'S NO WAY YOU CAN RAISE LIVESTOCK WITHOUT ODOR. THE THING THAT HAS COME ABOUT, OR IS COMING ABOUT -- THE TECHNOLOGY WHICH IOWA STATE HAS TESTED A NUMBER OF CHEMICALS THAT WILL HELP BRING DOWN THE ODOR. THE DIFFERENCE IS WE'RE RAISING NO MORE HOGS IN THE STATE OF IOWA TODAY THAN WE DID TWENTY OR THIRTY YEARS AGO. THE DIFFERENCE IS THEY'RE IN CONCENTRATED AREAS A LITTLE MORE HEAVILY. AND THAT'S ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WE HAVE WORKED ON. AND WE MADE A CONSCIOUS DECISION TWO YEARS AGO, BECAUSE OF THE TECHNOLOGY THAT'S COMING ON, NOT TO REQUIRE EVERY PIT HAVE AN ODOR --

Glover: SENATOR, FOR YEARS WE'VE BEEN TOLD THAT IOWA STATE IS GOING TO COME UP WITH THE SOLUTION TO THE ODOR, TO THE POLLUTION PROBLEM. WHEN DO WE SEE THE SOLUTION?

Iverson: WELL, THERE ACTUALLY ARE PRODUCTS OUT ON THE MARKET NOW -- SOME COMPANIES ARE USING THEM, SOME INDIVIDUALS ARE USING THEM -- THAT BREAKS DOWN THE MANURE, THAT HOLDS DOWN THE ODOR. SOME OF THAT'S OUT THERE ALREADY.

Glover: THEN WHY ö

Iverson: THE BIGGEST THING THAT -- WITHIN THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS, THE HOG MARKET REALLY TOOK A NOSE DIVE A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO. AND SO IT WAS JUST PURE ECONOMICS -- WHEN YOU START ADDING MORE COSTS, IT AFFECTS THE BOTTOM LINE. SO THAT'S AN ISSUE THAT WE'LL PROBABLY BE TALKING ABOUT. SOME PEOPLE ARE LITERALLY ADDRESSING THAT ALREADY.

Yepsen: SENATOR, DO YOU EXPECT THE HOG ISSUE TO BE BACK NEXT YEAR IN THE LEGISLATURE?

Iverson: THE LIVESTOCK ISSUE COMES BEFORE THE LEGISLATURE EVERY SINGLE YEAR.

Yepsen: WELL, BUT YOU DIDN'T DO ANYTHING THIS YEAR.

Iverson: WELL, THE BIGGEST THING YOU HAVE TO REMEMBER, DAVID -- FIRST OF ALL, IOWA IS AN AGRICULTURE STATE. WE HAVE TO HAVE AGRICULTURE IF WE WANT VALUE-ADDED AGRICULTURE WHICH IS MORE THAN JUST SHIPPING THE CORN AND THE SOYBEANS OUT OF THE STATE OF IOWA. THAT IS A PROCESS THAT WE HAVE TO GO THROUGH.

Glover: SPEAKER SIEGRIST, TO GET BACK TO DAVE'S QUESTION: THE COST IS IOWA HAS TO STINK.

Siegrist: WELL, WHENEVER YOU HAVE LIKESTOCK, AS SENATOR IVERSON SAYS, THERE ARE ODORS.

Glover: SO, THE ANSWER IS YES.

Siegrist: IOWA WILL ALWAYS HAVE RURAL AREAS WHERE THERE IS LIVESTOCK ODORS.

Yepsen: ANOTHER ISSUE, MR. SPEAKER, THANK YOU MENTIONED WAS TEACHER PAY. I HEAR LEADERS IN BOTH PARTIES TALKING ABOUT THE NEED TO INCREASE TEACHER PAY, THAT WE'RE LOSING TEACHERS AND WE NEED TO KEEP THEM. WHAT WILL THE LEGISLATURE DO ABOUT THIS PROBLEM NEXT YEAR IF THE REPUBLICANS ARE IN CONTROL?

Siegrist: WELL, HOPEFULLY, WE'LL ADDRESS IT. THERE ARE GOING TO BE SOME PROPOSALS THAT WILL BE ON THE TABLE VERY SOON, ACTUALLY, FROM WHAT I'M BEING TOLD FROM SOME BUSINESS GROUPS THAT ARE LOOKING AT SOME THINGS. BUT THIS KIND OF GOES BACK TO MY FIRST COMMENT. FOR US TO DO WHAT WE NEED TO DO FOR TEACHER SALARIES IN THE STATE, WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO IDENTIFY MONEY WITHIN OUR BUDGET. THIS IS A BIG PROBLEM, $150-MILLION-PLUS PROBLEM. WE CAN LOOK AT THINGS LIKE "PHASE THREE," WHICH IS MONEY THAT GOES TO TEACHERS NOW. WE COULD LOOK AT, FOR EXAMPLE, OUR ALLOWABLE GROWTH FIGURE OF WHICH MOST OF THAT NEW MONEY EVERY YEAR GOES TO TEACHER SALARIES. WE CAN FIND SOME MONEY TO START THAT POT, BUT IT'S GOING TO TAKE ADDITIONAL REVENUE, AND IT'S GOING TO TAKE AN ADDITIONAL REINVESTMENT. BUT WHAT WE NEED TO DO IS LOOK AT SOME TYPE OF STATEWIDE SALARY SCHEDULE -- I'M NOT SURE HOW THIS ALL WORKS YET, BECAUSE WE'RE STILL LOOKING AT IT -- SO THAT RURAL IOWA HAS THE SAME OPPORTUNITIES AS URBAN IOWA. AND THEN WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO LOOK AT SOME TYPE OF PERFORMANCE-BASED SCHOOLS. WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO MAKE SURE THAT WE'RE GETTING THE BANG FOR THE BUCK. WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO HAVE DIFFERENTIATIONS ON HOW WE PAY TEACHER SALARIES. I'VE SAID IT BEFORE, WE COULD PUT ENOUGH MONEY INTO TEACHER SALARIES TODAY TO GET THE NATIONAL AVERAGE; BUT IF YOU DON'T CHANGE THE WAY YOU PAY TEACHERS, FIVE YEARS FROM NOW, YOU'LL BE BELOW THE NATIONAL AVERAGE AGAIN.

Yepsen: SENATOR IVERSON, HOW WILL THIS ISSUE FLY IN THE SENATE?

Iverson: WELL, I THINK WE'RE VERY RECEPTIVE TO THE IDEA, AS MOST IOWANS ARE. FIRST OF ALL, WE NEED TO PAY GOOD TEACHERS MORE. WE ALSO NEED THE ABILITY TO LITERALLY REMOVE POOR TEACHERS FROM THE CLASSROOM. THIS BECOMES A BALANCE. STRICTLY BY PUTTING MORE MONEY INTO A PROBLEM WON'T SOLVE IT. WE HAVE TO HAVE ACCOUNTABILITY. AND I THINK A LOT OF THAT GOES TO THE STUDENTS AND TO THE PARENTS. LITERALLY, WE IN THIS SOCIETY CAN'T EXPECT JUST TO TURN OUR KIDS OVER TO THE SCHOOL SYSTEM AND SAY, "OKAY, YOU EDUCATE THEM." I THINK WE NEED MORE PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT. BUT THE KEY THING IS ACCOUNTABILITY AND BEING ABLE TO REMOVE BAD INDIVIDUALS.

Yepsen: WHERE ARE YOU GOING TO GET THE MONEY? I MEAN, EVEN IF YOU BUILD A COMPONENT OF ACCOUNTABILITY AND GETTING RID OF BAD TEACHERS IN THERE, YOU'VE STILL GOT TO COME UP WITH AT LEAST $150 MILLION IS THE FIGURE I HEAR TOSSED ABOUT, MAYBE MORE. WHERE IN THE EXISTING STATE BUDGET DO YOU GO TO GET THAT MONEY?

Iverson: SOME OF THE THINGS WE DID THIS YEAR, LITERALLY SIX OUT OF THE TEN BUDGETS GOT LESS DOLLARS THAN THEY DID THE YEAR PRIOR. WE PRIORITIZED. WE PUT MORE MONEY INTO EDUCATION. AND THAT'S A HUGE COMPONENT OF IT. BUT IT'S GOING TO COME WITHIN THE BUDGET OR FROM THE GROWTH WITHIN THE BUDGET, BECAUSE RAISING TAXES IS NOT THE ULTIMATE SOLUTION, BECAUSE ALL WE'RE DOING IS TAKING FROM THE FAMILIES OUT THERE AND SAYING WE, AS GOVERNMENT, KNOW HOW BETTER TO SPEND YOUR MONEY. SO IT'S GOING TO HAVE TO BE INCREMENTAL. TO LITERALLY JUST COME UP WITH $150 MILLION AND SAY, "ALL RIGHT, WE'RE GOING TO PUT THIS INTO TEACHER SALARIES," IT'S PROBABLY GOING TO TAKE A LITTLE TIME.

Yepsen: YOU MAY HAVE ANSWERED MY QUESTION. WILL THERE BE A TAX INCREASE TO PAY FOR THIS?

Iverson: NO.

Siegrist: NO.

Yepsen: SPEAKER, WILL THERE BE A TAX INCREASE?

Siegrist: NO, THERE WON'T BE AND HERE'S WHY, MIKE -- DAVID, SORRY. WHAT WE TRIED TO DO THIS YEAR WITH OUR BUDGETS -- AND WE TOOK A LOT OF CRITICISM -- IS WE TRIED TO GO IN AND ACTUALLY FIND SOME SAVINGS WITHIN THE BUDGET. WE DID CUT A COUPLE OF PROGRAMS. THE DAIRY PRACTICES REGULATION PROGRAM WAS CUT. THE MID-LEVEL PRACTITIONER PROGRAM WAS CUT. WE ACTUALLY DID CUT SOME THINGS THIS YEAR. BUT WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO FIND MONEY TO REINVEST WITHIN OUR CURRENT BUDGET. BEFORE I RAISE TAXES, WHICH I'M NOT GOING TO DO, I'M GOING TO MAKE SURE THAT I'VE SQUEEZEED OUT ALL THE SAVINGS OUT OF THE GOVERNMENT'S BUDGET BEFORE I TAKE MONEY FROM THE FAMILY'S BUDGET. WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO FIND MONEY IN THERE. BUT LET -- "PHASE THREE" MONEY CAN BE USED. SOME MONEY WE GENERALLY PUT TO ALLOWABLE GROWTH COULD BE USED. AEA'S CONSOLIDATION HAS BEEN TALKED ABOUT. WE HAVE TO IDENTIFY MONEY IN THERE AND PUT SOME NEW MONEY ON TOP OF IT. IT WILL BE A TWO-YEAR PROJECT MINIMUM, MAYBE THREE, BUT PEOPLE HAVE TO CHANGE THEIR MINDS. IF THE TEACHER'S UNIONS SAYS, "NO, NO, NO. WE CAN'T CHANGE THE WAY WE DO COLLECTIVE BARGAINING, WE CAN'T GO TO A STATEWIDE SALARY," THIS WON'T HAPPEN. PEOPLE, INCLUDING DEMOCRATS, ARE GOING TO HAVE TO TAKE A NEW VIEW ON HOW WE COMPENSATE TEACHERS. I'M WILLING TO TAKE THE LEAP. I HOPE SENATOR GRONSTAL AND MINORITY LEADER SCHRADER ARE WILLING TO LEAP WITH US.

Glover: SENATOR IVERSON, YOUR STATE REPUBLICAN PARTY CHAIRMAN IS BACK IN THE NEWS THIS PAST WEEK. HE'S THE TOP OFFICIAL OF THE NRA. HE'S QUOTED AS SAYING THAT IF GOVERNOR BUSH IS ELECTED PRESIDENT, THE NRA WILL BE ABLE TO OPERATE OUT OF THE OVAL OFFICE, THEY HAVE SUCH A TIGHT RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM. IS THAT HELPFUL, AND ARE YOU HAPPY HAVING YOUR PARTY ASSOCIATED WITH THE GUN LOBBY?

Iverson: WELL, FIRST OF ALL, WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE NRA AND THE COMMENT THAT CHAIRMAN ROBINSON MADE, I THINK IN REALITY WHAT IT'S SAYING, FOLKS, "WE HAVE AN INDIVIDUAL THAT WE CAN WORK WITH." A LOT OF PEOPLE LIKE TO CLAIM THAT THEY MAY BE OPERATING OUT OF AN OFFICE OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT, BUT IN REALITY, I THINK CHAIRMAN ROBINSON HAS DONE A VERY GOOD JOB IN LEADING THE REPUBLICAN PARTY. AND I THINK HE'S DONE AN EXCELLENT JOB IN WORKING ON PEOPLE'S 2ND AMENDMENT RIGHTS. GOVERNOR BUSH DOES SUPPORT 2ND AMENDMENT RIGHTS. I THINK THIS HAS PROBABLY BEEN OVERBLOWN A LOT; AND I THINK IN THE BIG SCHEME OF THINGS, I THINK WE NEED A PRESIDENT THAT'S GOING TO LOOK OUT AND BALANCE THE NEEDS AND AMENDMENT RIGHTS OF ALL THE CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES.

Glover: SPEAKER SIEGRIST, IN WHAT APPEARS TO BE A FAIRLY TIGHT PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, ARE YOU COMFORTABLE HAVING YOUR PARTY ALIGNED WITH THE GUN LOBBY?

Siegrist: I DON'T KNOW THAT I CONSIDER IT ALIGNED WITH THE GUN LOBBY. OBVIOUSLY, CHAIRMAN ROBINSON, KAYNE, IS A GOOD PERSON WHO I WORK WITH CLOSELY. HE IS INVOLVED IN THE NRA, AND THAT'S FINE. BUT I WORRY ABOUT WHERE WE'RE GOING WITH EDUCATION. I WORRY ABOUT WHERE WE'RE GOING WITH OUR SENIOR CITIZENS. I WORRY ABOUT ISSUES THAT AFFECT OUR RECREATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES, AND SO DOES KAYNE ROBINSON. SO, YOU KNOW, I JUST THREW AWAY --

Glover: POLITICALLY ö

Siegrist: TO BE HONEST, I JUST THREW AWAY MY QUESTIONNAIRE FROM THE NRA THE OTHER DAY. I DIDN'T ANSWER IT. I DON'T ANSWER MANY OF THOSE SURVEYS ANYWAY.

Borg: SPEAKER SIEGRIST, WE WERE TALKING A LITTLE BIT AGO ABOUT TEACHER SALARIES AND WHERE YOU'RE GOING TO GET THE MONEY. DO I ASSUME THAT BECAUSE THERE WERE NO MAJOR TAX-REVISION CUTS DURING THIS LEGISLATIVE SESSION, IS THAT BECAUSE YOU WERE SCRAMBLING TO FIND MONEY TO DO WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO?

Siegrist: YEAH, I THINK SO. WE HAVE MADE MAJOR TAX REDUCTIONS THE PAST FEW YEARS, BECAUSE OF THE FARM ECONOMY IN PARTICULAR, AND SOME OVERSPENDING BY THE LEGISLATURE AND THE GOVERNOR. IT WAS A TIGHTER BUDGET YEAR, BUT WE MADE IT WORK THIS YEAR. WE ADHERED TO THE 99-PERCENT SPENDING LIMITATION LAW, AND WE ENDED UP WITH SOME VERY TARGETED TAX CUTS, WHICH I THINK WILL HELP WITH RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT, HISTORIC PRESERVATION, TAX CREDITS, AND SO ON. SO MOSTLY IT WAS DUE TO THE BUDGET CONSTRAINTS. WE HAVE ALWAYS SAID WE'RE GOING TO REDUCE THE TAX BURDEN ON IOWA'S PEOPLE AS BEST WE CAN WITHIN THE CONFINES OF THE BUDGET. WE DID THAT THIS YEAR AND I HOPE GOVERNOR VILSACK SIGNS EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THOSE TAX REDUCTIONS.

Yepsen: SENATOR IVERSON, WILL THE NEXT YEAR'S LEGISLATURE, IF THE REPUBLICANS ARE IN CONTROL, DO SOME KIND OF TAX REFORM? I MEAN, THE CRITICS OF OUR TAX SYSTEM SAY IT'S TOO HIGH, IT'S TOO COMPLICATED, AND IT'S TOO UNFAIR. CAN WE LOOK TO THE REPUBLICAN PARTY TO LEAD THE CHARGE TO DEAL WITH THOSE PROBLEMS IN IOWA'S TAX CODE?

Iverson: I THINK WE'VE LOOKED AT A NUMBER OF THINGS WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT TAX REFORM. ALMOST EVERY TAX THAT I HAVE EVER HEARD ABOUT IS TOO MUCH, TOO COMPLICATED. I MEAN, DO WE LITERALLY GO TO A FLAT TAX? DO WE LITERALLY GO TO A SALES TAX INSTEAD OF AN INCOME TAX? DO WE MAKE MAJOR REFORMS LIKE THAT? I THINK WHAT WE'RE GOING TO DO IS TAKE A LOOK -- FIRST OF ALL, WE ALL KNOW WHAT THE SYSTEM IS. WE TALK ABOUT FEDERAL DEDUCTABILITY, WHICH A LOT OF PEOPLE FIND VERY CUMBERSOME. BUT IN REALITY, OUR TAX RATE -- WE RANK ABOUT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE COUNTRY WITH OUR TAX RATES. ARE WE GOING TO MAKE HUGE, SWEEPING REFORMS? I DON'T KNOW IF WE'LL MAKE HUGE, SWEEPING REFORMS. WE'VE LOOKED AT A VARIOUS NUMBER OF PROPOSALS, BUT IT TAKES A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF MONEY TO IMPLEMENT THOSE PROPOSALS. BECAUSE THE LAST THING WE WANT TO DO IS TO END UP INCREASING THE TAXATION ON THE PEOPLE OF IOWA. THAT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE.

Yepsen: MR. SPEAKER, --

Siegrist: WHAT I CAN SAY --

Yepsen: WILL THE LEGISLATURE DEAL WITH THE COMPLEXITY, THE SIZE, THE SIMPLICITY OF THE TAX FAIRNESS?

Siegrist: I THINK YOU WILL SEE SOME SIGNIFICANT DISCUSSIONS INVOLVING LOCAL, COUNTY, AND CITY GOVERNMENTS AS IT RELATES TO THE PROPERTY TAX SYSTEM BETWEEN NOW AND THE ELECTION. I WOULD LIKE US TO HAVE A PROPOSAL OUT THERE THAT WE CAN RUN ON AND ENACT WHEN WE GET BACK IN CONTROL IN JANUARY. NOW, YOU SAID "IF" THE REPUBLICANS ARE IN CONTROL AGAIN. I WOULD SAY "WHEN" WE'RE IN CONTROL AGAIN. BUT I CAN TELL THE PEOPLE OF IOWA THAT YOU CAN LOOK AT GOVERNOR VILSACK'S PROPOSAL THIS YEAR FOR FEDERAL DEDUCTABILITY. IF THE DEMOCRATS ARE IN CONTROL, CERTAIN GROUPS OF IOWANS WILL SEE THEIR TAXES GO UP. THERE WILL BE INCOME REDISTRIBUTION, BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT HIS PLAN DID. IT RAISED TAXES ON FAMILIES MAKING $75,000 AND ABOVE, AND CUT TAXES BELOW. WE'RE NOT GOING TO GO THAT WAY. BUT IF YOU'RE A FAMILY WITH AN INCOME OF $75,000 OR MORE, AND YOU'D LIKE TO SEE YOUR TAXES GO UP, THEN I WOULD SUGGEST YOU VOTE FOR THE DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE.

Yepsen: WHAT ABOUT BOTH OF THE ABOVE? DO HIS FEDERAL DEDUCTABILITY AND THEN DO YOUR TAX CUT. WE END UP WITH A WIN-WIN SITUATION.

Siegrist: WELL, IF WE MOVE IN THAT DIRECTION, WE HAVE TO MOVE IN THAT DIRECTION TO BALANCE THOSE OUT. NOBODY'S TAXES NEED TO GO UP.

Iverson: AND WHAT THAT DOES DO, DAVID, IS -- FIRST OF ALL, TO MAINTAIN THAT NO ONE GETS A TAX INCREASE TAKES ABOUT $200 MILLION. SO DO WE MAKE THE TRADE-OFF ON DOING THAT VERSUS PUTTING SOME DOLLARS INTO EDUCATION? ALL OF THESE BECOME TRADE-OFFS.

Glover: SPEAKER SIEGRIST, I HAVE PUBLICLY ACCUSED YOU ON THIS PROGRAM OF BEING A MODERATE. OTHERS IN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY LAUNCHED SIMILAR ATTACKS ON YOU. THE RIGHT WING OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY HAS BEEN RESTIVE FOR A YEAR OR SO. THEY SAY THIS LEGISLATURE HAS NOT DEALT WITH A LOT OF THE SOCIAL ISSUES THAT ARE IMPORTANT TO THEM. THIS YEAR YOU DID SOMETHING ON ABORTION, YOU DID DO SOMETHING ON GAY RIGHTS. THEY SAY A LOT OF IMPORTANT SOCIAL ISSUES HAVE BEEN LEFT BEHIND. HOW DO YOU RESPOND?

Siegrist: I RESPOND THAT WE HAVE POSITIONED OUR PARTY AND WE HAVE POSITIONED THE STATE TO MOVE INTO THE FUTURE AND INCREASED THE AMOUNT OF PEOPLE LIVING HERE AND INCREASED THE AMOUNT OF WELL-PAYING JOBS. TO THE SOCIAL AGENDA OF SOME PEOPLE IN THE PARTY, I HAVE A GOOD RELATIONSHIP WITH THOSE PEOPLE. CHUCK HURLEY, WHO RUNS THE FAMILY POLICY CENTER -- ACTUALLY I HAVE A MEETING WITH CHUCK NEXT WEEK TO TALK ABOUT SOME OF THE ISSUES. HIS GROUP, TOO --

Glover: YOU JUST DON'T PASS HIS BILLS.

Siegrist: WELL, NO, WE DO. WE DO. I MEAN, YOU MENTIONED A COUPLE. COVENANT MARRIAGE WAS SOMETHING ELSE THEY FELT STRONGLY ABOUT THIS YEAR. THAT'S SOMETHING I CO-SPONSORED BECAUSE I THOUGHT IT WAS A GOOD WAY TO GO. I THINK WE HAVE DONE A LOT IN THE EIGHT YEARS THAT WE'VE HAD CONTROL OF THE LEGISLATURE AND WEâLL CONTINUE TO LOOK AT THINGS THAT WE THINK ARE REASONABLE SOCIAL ISSUES IN ORDER TO PROGRESS THE STATE.

Glover: SENATOR, I'M SORRY, ARE YOU COMFORTABLE WHERE YOU'VE POSITIONED YOURSELF IN DEALING WITH THE RIGHT WING OF YOUR PARTY?

Iverson: I'M VERY COMFORTABLE BECAUSE IT'S LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE, INCREMENTALLY, YOU TAKE A LOOK AT THINGS. BUT BY THE SAME TOKEN, I DON'T THINK YOU SEE US JUST JUMPING OFF THE DEEP END AND DOING HUGE REFORM THAT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE. I THINK WE TAKE A LOOK AT THE ISSUES AT HAND AND DO WHAT WE CAN. I MEAN, WE HAVE TO -- OUR JOB IS TO GET 26 VOTES ON THE SENATE SIDE, 51 VOTES ON THE HOUSE SIDE. AND THESE ARE ISSUES THAT WE LITERALLY HAVE FOLKS ALL OVER THE SPECTRUM IN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY. AND WE WORK VERY HARD TO WORK OUT THE COMPROMISES AND DO WHAT WE CAN DO. AND IT HAS TO BE ACCEPTABLE NOT ONLY TO THE MEMBERS OF THE LEGISLATURE, BUT ALSO TO THE PEOPLE OF IOWA.

Yepsen: MR. SPEAKER, MILLENNIUM FUND. ONE OF THE LEGISLATURE'S BIG ACCOMPLISHMENTS THAT EVERYONE CITES IS THE MILLENNIUM FUND. YOU'RE GOING TO BORROW $300 MILLION AND THEN GIVE IT BACK TO COMMUNITIES FOR BIG PROJECTS. CRITICS OF THAT SAY BECAUSE YOU CAPPED HOW MUCH ANY ONE PROJECT CAN GET THAT THE PROGRAM MAY NOT WORK. ARE YOU CONCERNED THAT "THE MILLENNIUM FUND", "VISION IOWA FUND", WHATEVER YOU WANT TO CALL IT, WILL WORK?

Siegrist: NO, I'M NOT. IT WILL BE THE SIGNATURE ITEM OF THIS LEGISLATIVE SESSION WELL INTO THE FUTURE. WOULD I LIKE TO SEE SOME DIFFERENT NUMBERS, PERHAPS MORE MONEY AVAILABLE WITH NO CAP ON IT OR SOMETHING? SURE, BUT I THINK IT WILL CLEARLY WORK. I THINK THE "VISION IOWA" PART WILL TOUCH, MAYBE, FOUR OR FIVE COMMUNITIES. YOU ADD ON TOP OF IT THE SCHOOL INFRASTRUCTURE, ON DOWN THE LINE. I THINK IT WILL WORK. WE MAY HAVE TO REVISE IT, AS YOU DO WITH MAJOR PROGRAMS.

Borg: BUT YOU DID QUICKLY COME OVER TO CEDAR RAPIDS AND SAY, "DON'T COUNT ON THIS RAIN FOREST HAPPENING, BECAUSE WE'RE ONLY GIVING YOU 75 MILLION."

Siegrist: WELL, THAT'S A HUGE AMOUNT OF MONEY. I SAID THAT IN THAT I THINK THEY'LL HAVE A TOUGH TIME RAISING $200 MILLION OF PRIVATE CAPITAL. IF THEY DO, I THINK THE STATE -- THIS BOARD WE SET UP WOULD PROBABLY LOOK FAVORABLY ON THAT PROJECT. MY POINT WAS THAT IT WILL BE TOUGH FOR THEM LOCALLY. RON CORBETT HAS GOT HIS WORK CUT OUT FOR HIM TO RAISE THAT MONEY LOCALLY. BUT IF THEY DO, I THINK THAT PROJECT WILL BE LOOKED UPON FAVORABLY BY THIS BOARD.

Glover: SENATOR IVERSON, LET ME PLAY DEVIL'S ADVOCATE HERE FOR A SECOND.

Iverson: YOU'RE VERY GOOD AT THAT, MIKE.

Glover: THANK YOU. EVERYBODY SAYS THAT THIS BIG NEW $300-MILLION BORROW-AND-SPEND PROGRAM IS GOING TO BE THE SIGNATURE ITEM OF THIS LEGISLATURE. WHAT KIND OF CONSERVATIVES ARE YOU?

Iverson: WELL, I THINK IT IS MUCH MORE THAN IF YOU COUNT THIS AS A SIGNATURE ITEM OR THE MAIN ITEM THAT WE ACCOMPLISHED. I THINK THE BIGGEST THING THAT WE'VE WORKED ON, ONE, DOES THE STATE NEED TO PARTNER WITH SOME COMMUNITIES IN DOING THIS? ABSOLUTELY. I THINK WE NEED TO DO THAT. I THINK THE MISPERCEPTION OUT THERE THAT THIS IS SOME TYPE OF GUARANTEE TO DES MOINES AND CEDAR RAPIDS IS ALSO ANOTHER MISPERCEPTION. THERE'S A MECHANISM THAT EVERY COMMUNITY HAS TO GO THROUGH TO MAKE THIS WORK, AND EVERY COMMUNITY HAS TO HAVE PRIVATE MATCH AND A NUMBER OF THINGS. I THINK THIS IS SOMETHING THAT WILL HELP THE STATE OF IOWA INTO THE FUTURE. THE VERY THINGS THAT WE'VE TALKED ABOUT WE WANT TO DO BECAUSE ENTERTAINMENT IS A VERY IMPORTANT FACTOR IN GETTING IOWANS INVOLVED.

Yepsen: SENATOR IVERSON, I'VE GOT WAY TOO MANY QUESTIONS AND NOT ENOUGH TIME. DEREG... WILL THE BILL TO RESTRUCTURE UTILITIES IN IOWA BE BACK NEXT YEAR IF YOU GUYS ARE IN CONTROL?

Iverson: I THINK IT IS AN ISSUE WE WILL CONTINUE TO LOOK AT. WITH ELECTRICITY DEREGULATION, IT IS NOT A MATTER OF WHEN -- OR IF IT'S GOING TO HAPPEN. IT'S A MATTER OF WHEN IT'S GOING TO HAPPEN. I THINK A LOT OF THINGS THAT CAME ALONG THIS YEAR, SOME THINGS LITERALLY CAME TOO LATE IN ORDER FOR THE PEOPLE TO DIGEST AND TAKE CARE OF. AND QUITE FRANKLY, THERE WAS A VERY GOOD CAMPAIGN ON THROUGH FEAR, LIKE GRANDMA'S LIGHTS ARE GOING TO BE TURNED OFF, WHICH WE ALL KNOW THAT IS A LUDICROUS THING. BUT THAT TYPE OF THING IS VERY EASILY DONE, AND I THINK FOLKS LOOKED AT MAYBE POTENTIALLY SOME OF THE DISADVANTAGES OR FEAR TACTICS VERSUS WHAT THE ADVANTAGES ARE. TWENTY-FIVE STATES HAVE PASSED IT ALREADY. WE ARE GOING TO HAVE TO DO IT.

Glover: SPEAKER SIEGRIST, IN THE WAKE OF THIS SESSION, THE GROUP THAT'S PROBABLY COMPLAINING LOUDEST ABOUT THE BUDGET IS THE STATE'S BOARD OF REGENTS. THEY SAY THEY WERE UNDERFUNDED, AND IT'S GOING TO DRIVE TUITION UP. HOW DO YOU RESPOND?

Siegrist: THAT ALL THREE REGENTS INSTITUTIONS -- ACTUALLY THERE ARE FIVE, COUNTING BLIND AND DEAF. ALL OF THEM RECEIVED INCREASES. ALL OF THEM RECEIVED SIGNIFICANT INCREASES, PARTICULARLY WHEN YOU ADD IN SALARY MONEY. THEY HAVE SOME REASON FOR A LITTLE BIT OF GRIPING IN TERMS OF THEY DIDN'T HAVE THE BEST YEAR THAT THEY POSSIBLY COULD HAVE HAD. BUT THERE IS SOME -- I DON'T WANT TO -- THERE IS SOME -- I DON'T WANT TO USE "DISTRUST," BUT THERE'S SOME CONCERN BETWEEN THE LEGISLATURE AND THE REGENTS AS TO HOW ACCOUNTABLE THEY ARE. I THINK SOME OF THOSE PROBLEMS ARE BEING ADDRESSED. BUT I THINK THEY HAD A REASONABLE YEAR.

Yepsen: MR. SPEAKER, LOOK AHEAD. WHAT'S NEXT YEAR'S AGENDA? YOU'VE MENTIONED A COUPLE OF THINGS HERE TODAY. BUT WHAT DOES A VOTER GET IF YOU VOTE FOR A REPUBLICAN FOR THE IOWA LEGISLATURE? WHAT'S ON THE REPUBLICAN AGENDA FOR NEXT SESSION?

Siegrist: WELL, WE'LL CONTINUE TO MOVE AHEAD IN THE AREAS OF ENVIRONMENT, RECREATION, TOURISM, QUALITY OF LIFE. YOU CAN LOOK FORWARD TO HAVING NO TAX INCREASES. YOU CAN LOOK FORWARD TO HAVING A BALANCED BUDGET. AND YOU CAN LOOK FORWARD TO HAVING A CONTROL OVER GOVERNOR VILSACK. MY PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH GOVERNOR VILSACK IS PRETTY GOOD. TOM VILSACK'S BEST FRIENDS -- TOM VILSACK'S BEST HOPE TO GET REELECTED IN 2002 -- ARE STEW IVERSON AND BRENT SIEGRIST BECAUSE WE WILL KEEP THE LID ON THE BUDGET. AND IF HE HAS A DEMOCRATIC LEGISLATURE, THEY WILL SPEND US INTO A TAX INCREASE, AND TOM VILSACK WILL HAVE A TOUGH TIME GETTING REELECTED IN 2002.

Glover: SENATOR IVERSON, IT WOULDN'T BE AN OFFICIAL "IOWA PRESS" PROGRAM UNLESS WE STOPPED TALKING ABOUT THIS POLICY AND WADED INTO PURE POLITICS. SO LET'S DO THAT RIGHT NOW WHILE WE'VE GOT A FEW MINUTES LEFT. RATE GOVERNOR VILSACK. I MEAN, HIS APPROVAL RATINGS ARE APPARENTLY FAIRLY HIGH. HE'S REASONLY POPULAR. RATE HIS PERFORMANCE AS GOVERNOR. HOW'S HE DONE?

Iverson: IN SOME RESPECTS, I HAVE THE SAME RELATIONSHIP AS REPRESENTATIVE SIEGRIST DOES WITH THE GOVERNOR. PERSONALLY, I GET ALONG VERY WELL. PHILOSOPHICALLY, QUITE FRANKLY, WE'RE NOT EVEN IN THE SAME BOOK. YOU KNOW, GOVERNOR BRANSTAD AND I CERTAINLY HAD DISAGREEMENTS. BUT I'D SAY THAT THE GOVERNOR'S RATING, AT LEAST ACCORDING TO ME, WITH MY WORKING WITH HIM, I'D PROBABLY GIVE HIM ABOUT AN AVERAGE GRADE. BECAUSE IF THE PEOPLE OF IOWA ARE NOW STARTING TO SEE THE AMOUNT OF SPENDING HE WANTS TO DO, WHICH CAME IN $86 MILLION OVER WHAT WE HAD, IF HE LITERALLY GOT A LOT OF HIS PROGRAMS IMPLEMENTED, BRENT IS EXACTLY RIGHT. THE GOVERNOR WON'T GET ELECTED NEXT TIME. SO WE ARE LITERALLY THE CHECK AND BALANCE FOR HIM.

Yepsen: MR. SPEAKER, WHO HAVE YOU GOT WHO CAN BEAT HIM IN 2002? WHO'S OUT THERE IN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY THAT WOULD BE A WINNING CANDIDATE?

Siegrist: YOU KNOW, ANY ONE OF THE CONGRESSMEN, IF THEY WERE INTERESTED. SENATOR IVERSON HAS SOME INTEREST, I THINK. THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE OUT THERE. BUT TO BE HONEST, BECAUSE I ALWAYS TRY TO BE HONEST WITH YOU, THERE ISN'T A GREAT CLAMOR AT THE DOOR TO RUN AGAINST TOM VILSACK, BUT I THINK THAT WILL CHANGE AS WE MOVE INTO THE NEXT TWO YEARS. I MEAN, HE'S STILL TWO AND A HALF YEARS AWAY FROM REELECTION.

Yepsen: ARE YOU INTERESTED IN RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR?

Siegrist: WELL, YOU KNOW, I HAVE A SLIGHT INTEREST. BUT, AS I'VE EXPRESSED ON THIS SHOW BEFORE, MY MAIN INTEREST MAY BE IN GOING BACK HOME TO MY FAMILY, OR I WOULD LOOK AT A CONGRESSIONAL SEAT IF ONE OPENED UP.

Yepsen: SENATOR IVERSON, I'VE HEARD YOUR NAME TALKED ABOUT AS A POSSIBLE CANDIDATE FOR GOVERNOR. WOULD YOU BE INTERESTED IN THAT?

Iverson: THAT IS AN ISSUE THAT I'VE HAVE THOUGHT ABOUT A LOT. I HAVE NOT MADE ANY DECISIONS. I HAVE HAD MANY, MANY, PEOPLE ASK HE ABOUT IT. I LITERALLY HAVE NO INTENTION OF MAKING ANY DECISIONS AT LEAST UNTIL, YOU KNOW, THE BEGINNING OF THE NEW YEAR. I DON'T KNOW. THERE ARE MANY PEOPLE, I THINK, THAT WOULD DO A GREAT JOB OF RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR, OF RUNNING THIS STATE, AND THEY'RE ALL ACROSS THE BOARD. SO I THINK LITERALLY, AT THIS POINT IN TIME, THE FIELD IS WIDE OPEN.

Glover: BEFORE WE GET TO THAT ELECTION, WE'RE GOING TO HAVE A LEGISLATIVE ELECTION. CAN YOU GUARANTEE REPUBLICANS ARE GOING TO RUN THE SENATE AFTER THIS ELECTION?

Iverson: IT IS MY FIRM COMMITMENT TO MAKE SURE THAT WE NOT ONLY KEEP CONTROL OF THE IOWA SENATE, BUT EXPAND UPON OUR MAJORITY. I THINK WE HAVE DONE A VERY GOOD JOB IN REPRESENTING THE PEOPLE THAT HAVE ELECTED US AND KEEPING A BALANCED BUDGET, MORE ACCOUNTABILITY IN THE GOVERNMENT. AND I THINK OUR CANDIDATES -- WE HAVE AN OUTSTANDING FIELD OF CANDIDATES -- I THINK THEY WILL DO AN OUTSTANDING JOB.

Glover: AND YOU'RE SPEAKER NEXT YEAR AT THIS TIME?

Siegrist: IF MY COLLEAGUES WILL REELECT ME. AND ONE QUICK THING IS WE HAVE 49 INCUMBENTS RUNNING FOR REELECTION. THEY HAVE 38. I LIKE MY ODDS; IT TAKES 51.

Yepsen: WE'VE GOT ABOUT FIFTEEN SECONDS LEFT, MR. SPEAKER. IF GORGE W. BUSH CALLED YOU UP AND ASKED, "WHO SHOULD I PUT ON MY TICKET WITH ME AS MY RUNNING MATE," WHO WOULD YOU WANT TO SEE RUNNING WITH GOVERNOR BUSH?

Siegrist: WHEW! THERE COULD BE A LOT OF PEOPLE. I SUPPOSE WHO I'D LIKE TO SEE IS COLIN POWELL. I DON'T KNOW THAT THAT WOULD HAPPEN.

Yepsen: HE'S NOT DOING IT, SO --

Siegrist: YOU KNOW, JOHN MCCAIN WOULD BE FINE. JOHN KASICH. ELIZABETH DOLE. I THINK THERE'S A LIST OF PEOPLE.

Yepsen: SENATOR IVERSON, WHO'S YOUR FAVORITE?

Iverson: I LIKE JOHN KASICH A LOT. I THINK HE'S DONE AN OUTSTANDING JOB ON THE BUDGET STUFF. I GOT TO KNOW HIM VERY WELL. I THINK HE'D BE AN OUTSTANDING PICK.

Yepsen: YOU GUYS HAVE LOST IOWA THREE TIMES IN A ROW. CAN YOU CARRY IT THIS TIME? WHY WILL YOU WIN THIS TIME?

Iverson: I DON'T KNOW IF IT'S NECESSARILY BRENT AND I THAT ARE LOSING OR WINNING THIS STATE.

Yepsen: WELL, YOU'RE A REPUBLICAN.

Siegrist: WE'LL WIN IT BECAUSE OF THE CANDIDATE.

Iverson: THE CANDIDATE MAKES THE DIFFERENCE.

Siegrist: THE CANDIDATE MAKES THE DIFFERENCE.

Borg: IT'S ALL IN THE STARS.

Iverson: YES.

Borg: THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR TAKING TIME TO BE WITH US TODAY. AS INDICATED EARLIER, TODAY'S IOWA PRESS IS THE FIRST OF TWO EDITIONS TO REVIEW THE 78th IOWA GENERAL ASSEMBLY, AND TODAY WE'VE HEARD FROM THE REPUBLICAN MAJORITY LEADERS. AND NEXT SUNDAY WE'LL GET ASSESSMENTS FROM THE LEADERS OF THE DEMOCRATIC MINORITY. SENATOR MIKE GRONSTAL, WHO SERVES AS MINORITY LEADER IN THE IOWA SENATE, AND REPRESENTATIVE DAVE SCHRADER, THE MINORITY LEADER IN THE IOWA HOUSE, WILL BE HERE WITH THEIR ASSESSMENTS OF THE JUST-COMPLETED LEGISLATIVE SESSION. THAT'S NEXT SUNDAY AT NOON AND 7:00. I HOPE YOU'LL WATCH. UNTIL THEN, 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. AND BY THE ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS OF IOWA, THE PUBLIC'S PARTNER IN BUILDING IOWA'S HIGHWAY, BRIDGE, AND MUNICIPAL UTILITY INFRASTRUCTURE.