Home

Iowa Press Transcripts

Iowa Press Links

Iowa Press #2807 - One Hour Edition of Iowa Press
October 15, 2000

Yepsen: THE BALANCE OF POWER AT THE IOWA STATEHOUSE AND ON CAPITOL HILL IN WASHINGTON D.C. IS ON THE LINE IN THE UPCOMING GENERAL ELECTION OF NOVEMBER 7th. WE'LL DISCUSS THE ISSUES DRIVING THE CAMPAIGN OF 2000 WITH FOUR IOWA STATEHOUSE LEADERS AND WITH TWO CANDIDATES FOR THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS ON THIS EDITION OF IOWA PRESS.

FUNDING FOR IOWA PRESS HAS BEEN PROVIDED BY FRIENDS OF IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION; BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS; AND BY THE ASSOCIATION OF BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY, THE VOICE OF IOWA BUSINESS, REPRESENTING THE INTERESTS OF OVER 1,500 IOWA BUSINESSES EMPLOYING 300,000 IOWANS.

THIS IS THE SUNDAY, OCTOBER 15th EDITION OF IOWA PRESS. HERE IS DAVID YEPSEN.

HELLO, I'M DAVID YEPSEN OF THE DES MOINES REGISTER" AND AS DEAN BORG MENTIONED A BIT EARLIER, WE'RE UNDERWAY WITH A ONE-HOUR EDITION OF IOWA PRESS. OUR FOCUS IS ON THE CAMPAIGN OF 2000, SPECIFICALLY ON THE IOWA STATEHOUSE AND ON THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS. IN THE SECOND HALF OF OUR PROGRAM, DEAN BORG RETURNS AND JOINING US AT THE IOWA PRESS TABLE ARE THE TWO MAJOR-PARTY CANDIDATES SEEKING TO REPRESENT NORTHEAST IOWA IN WASHINGTON, D.C. SECOND DISTRICT REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN JIM NUSSLE AND HIS DEMOCRATIC CHALLENGER DONNA SMITH JOIN US. IN OUR FIRST HALF HOUR, WE TAKE A LOOK AT POLITICS A BIT CLOSER TO HOME, THE BATTLE FOR THE LEGISLATURE. THE REPUBLICANS HAVE HELD THE MAJORITY STATUS OVER THE DEMOCRATS IN BOTH CHAMBERS OF THE IOWA GENERAL ASSEMBLY SINCE THE ELECTION OF 1996. THE MARGINS ARE CLOSE ENOUGH FOR THE DEMOCRATS TO MAKE A MOVE TO CAPTURE ONE, PERHAPS BOTH, IN THE ELECTION. DEMOCRATS SAY A PRECURSOR TO A SEA CHANGE IS THE FACT THAT GOVERNOR TOM VILSACK'S ELECTION IN 1998 BROKE A 30-YEAR RUN OF G.O.P. CONTROL OF TERRACE HILL, AND THEY HOPE THE MOMENTUM CONTINUES IN THE LEGISLATIVE RACES THIS YEAR. LET'S TAKE A LOOK AT THE NUMBERS. IN THE IOWA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, THE REPUBLICAN MAJORITY ADVANTAGE IS 56 TO 44. AS IS THE CASE EVERY TWO YEARS, ALL 100 SEATS IN THE IOWA HOUSE ARE ON THE NOVEMBER BALLOT. IN THE IOWA SENATE, 25 OF THE 50 SEATS ARE ON THE NOVEMBER 7 BALLOT, AND HERE'S A LOOK AT THOSE NUMBERS. THE G.O.P. ENJOYS A MAJORITY ADVANTAGE OF 10, WITH THE MARGINS STANDING AT 30 TO 20 OVER THE DEMOCRATS. ONE SIDE NOTE... OF THE 25 SENATE SEATS ON THE BALLOT, 3 ARE OPEN SEATS WITH NO INCUMBENT SEEKING REELECTION, AND 3 ARE UNCONTESTED SEATS: 2 DEMOCRATS AND 1 REPUBLICAN. THAT LEAVES 19 SEATS: 14 HELD BY REPUBLICANS AND 5 HELD BY DEMOCRATS TO BE DETERMINED ALONG WITH THOSE 3 OPEN SEATS. SO LET'S PUT THE NUMBERS ASIDE AND DISCUSS THE STATEHOUSE ELECTIONS OF 2000. JOINING US ARE THE TWO DEMOCRATIC LEADERS, SENATOR MIKE GRONSTAL OF COUNCIL BLUFFS, MINORITY IN THE IOWA SENATE, AND REPRESENTATIVE DAVE SCHRADER OF MONROE, MINORITY LEADER IN THE IOWA HOUSE. ALSO WITH US ARE TWO LEADERS FROM THE REPUBLICAN MAJORITY, SENATOR STEWART IVERSON OF DOWS, MAJORITY LEADER IN THE IOWA SENATE, AND SPEAKER OF THE IOWA HOUSE, REPRESENTATIVE BRENT SIEGRIST OF COUNCIL BLUFFS. MR. SPEAKER, WHY SHOULD REPUBLICANS BE KEPT IN THE MAJORITY?

Siegrist: WELL, FIRST, EVERYBODY NEEDS TO VOTE. I WANT TO TELL EVERYBODY THAT'S WATCHING TO MAKE SURE THEY GET OUT AND VOTE, AND THEN I WOULD LIKE TO SEE THEM VOTE FOR REPUBLICANS. PART OF IT IS A BALANCE OF POWER IN THE GOVERNMENT. FOR THE LAST TWO YEARS, I THINK IOWA HAS BEEN MOVING AHEAD. WE'VE ACCOMPLISHED A GREAT DEAL: IF IT'S SENIOR LONG-TERM CARE, IF IT'S FURTHER MONEY FOR CLASS SIZE AND READING PROGRAMS FOR EDUCATION. WE'VE BEEN ABLE TO WORK WITH GOVERNOR VILSACK DESPITE THE DIFFERENCES WE DO HAVE OCCASIONALLY. SO WE CAN CONTINUE TO MOVE THE STATE AHEAD AND MAKE SUBSTANTIAL INVESTMENTS IN KEY AREAS: QUALITY OF LIFE, EDUCATION, WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT, AND YET MAKE SURE THAT THE GOVERNOR DOESN'T GET TOO CARRIED AWAY WITH HIS SPENDING HABITS, WHICH WE THINK COULD BE VERY DETRIMENTAL TO THE LONG-TERM FUTURE OF THE STATE.

Yepsen: SENATOR IVERSON, SAME QUESTION TO YOU. WHY SHOULD REPUBLICANS BE KEPT IN THE MAJORITY?

Iverson: I THINK AS REPRESENTATIVE SIEGRIST POINTED OUT, THE NUMBER OF ISSUES WITH EDUCATION, TAXATION. AND I THINK, MOST IMPORTANTLY, OUR MAIN FOCUS ALWAYS HAS BEEN TO KEEP THE BALANCED BUDGET AND NOT SPEND MORE THAN WE TAKE IN. THAT'S A CONTINUING BATTLE EVERY YEAR. THERE IS PRESSURE PUT ON ALL OF US TO CONTINUE TO EXPAND GOVERNMENT. AND OUR FEELING IS GOVERNMENT CAN DO CERTAIN THINGS FOR US, BUT BY THE SAME TOKEN, THERE NEEDS TO BE A BALANCE. WE CAN'T SPEND MORE THAN WE TAKE IN, OR WE'LL GO RIGHT BACK TO THE AREA WHERE WE WERE JUST A FEW SHORT YEARS AGO.

Yepsen: LET'S TURN TO THE DEMOCRATS. SENATOR GRONSTAL, WHY IS IT TIME FOR A CHANGE?

Gronstal: I THINK IT'S TIME TO DEAL WITH SOME OF THE SERIOUS PROBLEMS FACING THE STATE. I THINK WE HAVE A GREAT NEW GOVERNOR THAT'S WILLING TO LEAD AND MOVE THIS STATE FORWARD. I THINK EDUCATION IS GOING TO BE A MAJOR ISSUE IN THE NEXT SESSION OF THE LEGISLATURE. HEALTH CARE ISSUES ARE GOING TO BE VERY IMPORTANT IN THE NEXT SESSION OF THE LEGISLATURE. I THINK IF YOU LOOK AT THE RECORD OF THE REPUBLICANS, YOU DON'T SEE MUCH OF A COMMITMENT TO EDUCATION. IT WAS TWO SHORT YEARS AGO, TWO AND A HALF YEARS AGO THAT MARV POMERANTZ CAME WITH HIS FIRST SET OF RECOMMENDATIONS ON IMPROVING EDUCATION IN THIS STATE. DEMOCRATS TOOK THOSE RECOMMENDATIONS. WE WANTED TO DO SOME THINGS IN ADDITION TO THOSE, BUT WE WENT ALONG WITH THOSE PROPOSALS, TRIED TO HELP PASS THEM. THE REPUBLICANS TOOK THOSE UP, THREW THEM IN THE TRASH CAN, ENDED UP WITH A BILL THAT THEIR OWN REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR SAID "FAINT HALFHEARTED STEPS." I THINK IT'S REALLY A QUESTION OF WHO YOU TRUST. THEY TOOK UP CLASS-SIZE REDUCTION EFFORTS IN THE FIRST YEAR OF THE VILSACK ADMINISTRATION. THE FIRST ACTION OF THE IOWA HOUSE OUT OF APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE WAS TO CUT IT BY 80 PERCENT, ONLY AFTER WE PRESSED THOSE EDUCATION ISSUES. ONLY AFTER WE PRESSED DID THEY ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. I THINK IT'S A QUESTION OF WHO DO YOU TRUST TO DO THE THINGS THAT NEED TO GET DONE FOR EDUCATION.

Yepsen: MR. SCHRADER?

Schrader: WELL, I THINK THE PEOPLE IN IOWA WANT THE LEGISLATURE TO SOLVE PROBLEMS, NOT ADDRESS PROBLEMS, THEY WANT PROBLEMS SOLVED. IN EDUCATION, WHICH IS OUR TOP PRIORITY, WE'RE SEEING STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT LAG BEHIND WHEN WE COMPARE STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT TO OUR OWN KIDS A FEW YEARS AGO OR WHEN WE COMPARE IOWA STUDENT ACHIEVEMENTS TO PEOPLE ACROSS THE NATION. WE'VE LAGGED BEHIND THE TRADITIONAL PLACE THAT WE'VE BEEN ON TOP. WE NEED TO HAVE DEMOCRATS IN OFFICE THAT HAVE A COMMITMENT TO EDUCATION, A TOP-PRIORITY FOCUS ON EDUCATION TO SOLVE THE PROBLEMS AND GET THAT TREND LINE TURNED AROUND FOR US. ALSO IN HEALTH CARE... PEOPLE OUGHT TO HAVE A RIGHT, WHEN INSURANCE COMPANIES ARE MAKING DECISIONS THAT HARM THEM, TO SUE THEM JUST AS THEY WOULD A DOCTOR IF A DOCTOR HARMED THEM. IT'S GOING TO TAKE DEMOCRATS TO MAKE THAT DECISION IN IOWA AND SOLVE THAT PROBLEM THAT PEOPLE ARE FACING.

Yepsen: MR. SPEAKER, DO YOU WANT A REBUTTAL HERE TO ANY OF THAT?

Siegrist: WELL, IT'S LUDICROUS TO ASSERT THAT REPUBLICANS HAVEN'T BEEN FORTHCOMING ABOUT EDUCATION. WE DID PUT MORE MONEY INTO CLASS-SIZE REDUCTION, READING PROGRAMS. WE PUT MORE MONEY IN EXPANDED AND EXTENDED THE TECHNOLOGY FUNDING. WE HAVE LOOKED AT DIFFERENT AREAS IN TERMS OF AT-RISK STUDENTS, THE EMPOWERMENT ZONE LEGISLATION. I'VE GOT A FIVE-YEAR-OLD SON AND A TWO-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER. I CARE DEEPLY ABOUT EDUCATION. WE'LL CONTINUE TO FOCUS IN ON THAT. AND AS TO WHETHER OR NOT IT'S A QUESTION OF WHO YOU CAN TRUST, YOUR OWN PAPER, DAVID, DID A POLL: 65 PERCENT OF THE PEOPLE OF IOWA THINK WE'RE ON THE RIGHT TRACK. I THINK THEY KNOW WHO THEY CAN TRUST. THEY CAN TRUST A BALANCED GOVERNMENT. GOVERNOR VILSACK IS DOWNSTAIRS FOR TWO YEARS, REPUBLICANS ARE IN CONTROL UPSTAIRS, AND WE'LL BE ABLE TO MOVE THE STATE FORWARD.

Yepsen: SENATOR GRONSTAL, DO YOU WANT TO REBUT ANY OF THAT?

Gronstal: REBUT THE REBUTTAL. [ LAUGHTER ] I'M SERIOUS. YEAH, BRENT, REPUBLICANS DO HAVE SOME COMMITMENT TO EDUCATION, BUT I THINK IT'S A QUESTION OF WHO YOU TRUST MORE TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. THE LAST SESSION -- IN OUR DISTRICT, WE HAVE AN ALTERNATIVE HIGH SCHOOL. VERY DIFFICULT TO SERVE KIDS. THE REPUBLICANS CUT ALTERNATIVE SCHOOL BUDGET FOR OUR SCHOOL IN COUNCIL BLUFFS BY 35 PERCENT. THAT'S JUST WRONG. I QUESTION YOUR REAL COMMITMENT TO EDUCATION. YOU CAN THROW SOME NUMBERS AROUND LOOKING AT THE WHOLE BUDGET AND SAY, "GEE, WE DO A WHOLE LOT," BUT FACT OF THE MATTER IS WHEN PUSH COMES TO SHOVE, OUR ALTERNATIVE SCHOOL GOT CUT 35 PERCENT.

Siegrist: BUT WE PUT IT IN THE --

Gronstal: WHEN BRANSTAD BROUGHT HIS RECOMMENDATIONS ALONG WITH POMERANTZ ON IMPROVING THE TEACHING PROFESSION, HIS WORDS WERE "FAINT HALFHEARTED STEPS."

Yepsen: SENATOR IVERSON.

Iverson: WE CAN ARGUE ABOUT THIS FROM HERE TO DOOMSDAY. I SPENT 15 YEARS ON THE SCHOOL BOARD. I AM VERY COMMITTED TO EDUCATION IN THE STATE OF IOWA, AS IS ALL OF US, AND IT'S A NUMBER ONE ISSUE. THE KEY DIFFERENCE IS YOU AREN'T GOING TO SOLVE A PROBLEM BY THROWING MORE MONEY AT IT. YOU HAVE TO MAKE SOME FUNDAMENTAL CHANGES. THAT'S WHAT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT IS SOME FUNDAMENTAL CHANGES IN THE WAY EDUCATION IS DELIVERED TO OUR STUDENTS.

Yepsen: I WANT TO GET TO EDUCATION IN JUST A SECOND BUT, SENATOR IVERSON, LET ME ASK YOU THE JIM LEHRER QUESTION IN DEBATES. WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE TO THE VOTER WHO IS TRYING TO DECIDE DO I VOTE FOR A DEMOCRAT OR DO I VOTE FOR A REPUBLICAN FOR THE LEGISLATURE? WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?

Iverson: THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE IN DECIDING WHETHER YOU WANT TO VOTE FOR A DEMOCRAT OR A REPUBLICAN IS DO YOU WANT ACCOUNTABILITY WITH THE DOLLARS THAT ARE SPENT OR DO YOU WANT MORE MONEY THROWN AT A PROBLEM OR DO YOU WANT TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM. THAT IS PROBABLY THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE. WE ALL AGREE EDUCATION IS OUR NUMBER ONE PRIORITY, BUT WE HAVE MANY OTHER THINGS THAT WE HAVE TO WORK ON. AND OUR RESPONSIBILITY IS TO TAKE THE PIE, THE DOLLARS THAT ARE AVAILABLE, AND IT'S HOW WE DIVIDE THE PIE. THOSE ARE LEGITIMATE ARGUMENTS. THE DIFFERENCE IS WE WILL HAVE A HUGE DIFFERENCE IN THE SIZE OF THE PIE. IF WE HAD ADOPTED THE GOVERNOR'S BUDGET LAST YEAR, ACCORDING TO THE AUDITOR, WE WOULD HAVE OVERSPENT BY $120 MILLION. IF WE WOULD WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT GOVERNOR VILSACK NEVER GOT ELECTED AGAIN, WE COULD JUST ADOPT HIS BUDGET, BECAUSE OUR FISCAL HOUSE WOULD BE A MESS IN A COUPLE OF YEARS.

Yepsen: MR. SCHRADER, SAME QUESTION TO YOU. WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE TO THE VOTER TRYING TO DECIDE "D" OR "R"?

Schrader: WELL, FIRST, THIS ARGUMENT WE'VE HEARD IS ABOUT THE PAST. I THINK VOTERS ARE MORE CONCERNED ABOUT THE FUTURE. DEMOCRATS HAVE EDUCATION AS THEIR TOP PRIORITY. IT'S GOING TO COST ABOUT $50- TO $60 MILLION IN THE FIRST YEAR TO ADDRESS THE PROBLEMS THAT WE HAVE WITH TEACHER PAY TO GET A BETTER STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT. REPUBLICANS, HOWEVER, SAY THAT THEY'RE FOR EDUCATION AS A TOP PRIORITY, BUT THEY ALSO SAY THAT THEY'RE FOR ELIMINATING THE TAX ON SOCIAL SECURITY, WHICH IS ANOTHER $60 MILLION. THIS WEEK THEY SAID THEY'RE FOR ELIMINATING THE TAXES ON UTILITY BILLS, YOUR HEATING BILLS AT HOME. THESE ARE ALL GOOD THINGS, BUT THAT'S $80 MILLION. AND THE FACT IS THAT WE KNOW RIGHT NOW -- WE ALL KNOW THAT WHEN WE GO INTO SESSION, THE SPENDING THAT HAS ALREADY BEEN AUTHORIZED IS GOING TO EAT UP ANY NEW MONEY THAT'S THERE AND WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO FIND THAT $50 TO $60 MILLION FOR EDUCATION. IT SEEMS TO ME WE'RE 30 DAYS FROM ELECTION. I KNOW THE PRESSURES ARE HARD ON POLITICIANS TO GO OUT THERE AND PROMISE AND PROMISE AND PROMISE, BUT WHEN I'VE SEEN REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES ACROSS THE STATE PROMISING $80 MILLION HERE, $60 MILLION HERE, AND THEN STILL SAYING THEY'RE GOING TO FIX THE EDUCATION SYSTEM, I DON'T KNOW -- IT'S HARD TO SORT OUT WHICH OF THOSE TOP PRIORITIES THEY SAY ARE TOP PRIORITIES REALLY ARE.

Yepsen: LET'S TALK ABOUT EDUCATION. YOU'VE ALL MENTIONED IT. MR. SPEAKER, WHAT WOULD REPUBLICANS DO TO IMPROVE LOCAL SCHOOLS? VOTERS TELL US THAT EDUCATION IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE FACING THE STATE. WE'VE GOT A REPUBLICAN PLAN. WE'VE GOT A DEMOCRATIC PLAN THAT HAS BEEN PROPOSED SO FAR. SO, MR. SIEGRIST, WHAT WOULD REPUBLICANS DO?

Siegrist: WELL, TWO THINGS: ONE, TO GO BACK TO SENATOR GRONSTAL'S COMMENT, AND I HATE TO DO THAT ON ALTERNATIVE SCHOOLS -- HE'S RIGHT, I DIDN'T GET WHAT I WANTED FOR COUNCIL BLUFFS. BUT YOU KNOW WHAT WE DID DO IS WE SPREAD ALTERNATIVE SCHOOL FUNDING TO EVERY SCHOOL DISTRICT IN THE STATE AND WE PUT IT INTO THE FOUNDATION FORMULA SO THAT EVERY SCHOOL DISTRICT IN THE STATE WILL CONTINUE TO GET MORE MONEY FOR ALTERNATIVE SCHOOLS, AND THAT IS A PAST RECORD AND ALSO A FUTURE THING. THE SECOND THING IS TEACHER SALARIES. AND DAVID'S RIGHT, TO DO THIS RIGHT -- WE DO HAVE SOME BIPARTISAN AGREEMENT THAT WE WANT TO DO THAT. IT'S GOING TO TAKE A GOOD DEAL OF MONEY. A LOT OF MONEY IS GOING TO HAVE TO COME FROM WITHIN THE BUDGET ITSELF AS WE MOVE SOME FUNDS AROUND AND REALLOCATE. WHAT WE'RE GOING TO DO IN EDUCATION, THOUGH, IS TO CHANGE FUNDAMENTALLY THE WAY WE PAY TEACHERS IN THE STATE. CURRENTLY IT'S BASED ON SENIORITY. WE WANT TO BASE IT ON A MORE IDENTIFIABLE OBJECTIVE, SOME TYPE OF A CAREER LADDER, IF YOU WILL, THAT WHEN A TEACHER DOES THIS, THEY GET THIS AMOUNT OF MONEY, WHEN THEY DO THIS, THEY MOVE UP, THAT THEY HAVE SOME DEFINABLE GOALS, SOME BENCHMARKS, SOME COMPETENCIES. NOT JUST PEGGING IT TO A NATIONAL AVERAGE, BUT SOME REAL COMPETENCIES. THAT WILL IMPROVE DISTRICTS AT THE LOCAL LEVEL. THEY'LL HAVE BETTER TEACHERS. AND THEN A SIDE PART OF THAT WILL BE SOME PERFORMANCE-BASED PAY, BE IT SCHOOL-BASED PAY, BY SCHOOL OR STUDENT, WHICH WE HAVE TO WORK OUT, WHICH WILL BE ALLOCATED AT THE LOCAL LEVEL. THAT'S THE FUNDAMENTAL THING WE NEED TO DO.

Yepsen: SENATOR IVERSON, WHAT ABOUT WHAT MR. SCHRADER JUST SAID, THAT IF YOU GIVE ALL THESE TAX CUTS OUT, LAUDABLE AS THEY MAY BE, HOW ARE YOU GOING TO AFFORD HELP FOR SCHOOLS, HIGHER TEACHER PAY?

Iverson: WELL, PART OF OUR RESPONSIBILITY IS THE BALANCING ACT, WHICH REPRESENTATIVE SCHRADER TALKED ABOUT, AND WE WILL BALANCE THOSE THINGS. ARE WE SAYING WE CAN DO EVERYTHING TOMORROW? NO. BUT OUR GOAL IS WE'RE LOOKING DOWN THE ROAD, NOT JUST THIS YEAR BUT IN THE NEXT YEAR AND THE NEXT YEAR. THESE ARE GOALS WE WANT TO ACCOMPLISH IN THE NEXT FIVE, SIX YEARS. I THINK YOU HAVE TO HAVE A GOAL IN ORDER TO START OUT, AND THAT'S WHERE OUR GAME PLAN IS.

Yepsen: LET'S TURN TO THE DEMOCRATS. LOCAL SCHOOLS... SENATOR GRONSTAL, WHAT SHOULD WE BE DOING ABOUT THEM? HOW DO DEMOCRATS DIFFER FROM REPUBLICANS ON THIS ISSUE?

Gronstal: AGAIN, I THINK IT'S WHO DO YOU TRUST MORE TO ACCOMPLISH THESE GOALS. EVERYTHING THEY'VE TALKED ABOUT IS -- THE BEGINNINGS OF IT WERE IN THE REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR'S PLAN TWO YEARS AGO, TALKING ABOUT CAREER LADDERS AND TEACHER STARTING PAY AND THOSE KIND OF ISSUES. AND SENATOR IVERSON SAID THEY DON'T BELIEVE IN THROWING MONEY AT THE PROBLEM. WELL, THAT'S PRECISELY WHAT THEY DO TWO YEARS AGO, THREW 17 MILLION AT THE PROBLEM, NO STRINGS ATTACHED. SO THE ISSUE IS CREATING ACCOUNTABILITY. AND I THINK BRENT IS RIGHT; I THINK WE CAN WORK OUT OUR DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE FORSYTH PLAN AND THE POMERANTZ PLAN. I THINK WE CAN COME UP WITH SOME THINGS TO DEAL WITH THOSE ISSUES. THE DIFFERENCE IS THAT BOTH OF THEM ARE ABOUT MORE TEACHER COMPETENCY. BUT I SAY TO YOU, WHAT WOULD YOU, THE POLITICAL REPORTER FOR "THE REGISTER" SAY TO US IF STUDENT PERFORMANCE IN THIS STATE WAS 35TH COMPARED TO OTHER STATES AND TEACHER SALARIES WERE IN THE TOP FIVE? YOU'D SAY YOU GUYS ARE DOING SOMETHING WRONG. WELL, IN FACT, THE OPPOSITE IS TRUE. STUDENT PERFORMANCE IN THIS STATE IS IN THE TOP FIVE AND TEACHER SALARIES ARE 35TH. WE'RE LOSING OUR BEST AND BRIGHTEST TO OTHER STATES.

Yepsen: MR. SCHRADER, IF THE DEMOCRATS ARE ELECTED, HOW QUICKLY WILL TEACHER PAY RISE? WHAT CAN A TEACHER EXPECT TO BE MAKING NEXT YEAR?

Schrader: WELL, FIRST, THE TWO PLANS THAT HAVE BEEN PUT ON THE TABLE, WE ALL MET, THE LEADERS MET. WE HAD A GOOD FIRST MEETING. THOSE TWO PLANS HAVE SOME DIFFERENCES. THEY'RE SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCES BUT THEY'RE NOT THE KIND OF DIFFERENCES THAT CAN'T BE WORKED OUT. I THINK THAT THERE'S A GREAT OPPORTUNITY HERE. THE PROBLEM -- THE HEAVY LIFTING IS IN FUNDING THE PLAN. NO MATTER WHAT THE PLAN LOOKS LIKE IN THE END, THE HEAVY LIFTING IS IN FUNDING THAT. THE FIRST YEAR TO HAVE -- IF WE TAKE A TINY, INCREMENTAL STEP, WE DON'T EVEN KEEP UP WITH OUR NEIGHBORS. THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS, THE WORLD HAS SHRUNK. OUR KIDS DON'T THINK ANYTHING OF LIVING IN TEXAS OR SOMEWHERE ELSE, AND WHEN OUR SALARIES AREN'T COMPETITIVE, THEY'RE LEAVING. THE ONLY FRAME OF REFERENCE -- THE GOVERNOR ASKED A QUESTION AT THAT MEETING, AND HIS QUESTION WAS "WHAT DO YOU THINK IS MOST IMPORTANT THAT WE NEED TO ADDRESS IN THIS ISSUE?" AND THE ONLY FRAME OF REFERENCE THAT I HAD WAS THE POLITICAL WORLD THAT I WORK IN. AND IT SEEMS LIKE WHEN WE HAVE SUCCESS IN A POLITICAL RACE, THE NUMBER ONE FACTOR IN THAT SUCCESS IS HAVING THE RIGHT PERSON STEP FORWARD TO BEGIN WITH AS A CANDIDATE. I THINK THAT OUR NUMBER ONE FOCUS NEEDS TO BE ON GETTING THE RIGHT PEOPLE INTO THE TEACHING PROFESSION AND KEEPING THOSE FOLKS THERE TEACHING. RIGHT NOW WITH A STARTING SALARY OF $23,000, I CAN IMAGINE A GROUP OF YOUNG PEOPLE ON A COLLEGE CAMPUS IN A DORM OR FRATERNITY HOUSE TALKING ABOUT THE JOB OFFERS THEY'RE HAVING, AND SOME ARE $40,000, $50,000. AND HERE'S SOMEONE WANTING TO BE A TEACHER, THEY'RE CHANGING THEIR CAREERS IN MIDSTREAM, AND WE'RE NOT GETTING THOSE BEST FOLKS, OR THEY'RE LEAVING TO ANOTHER STATE.

Iverson: BUT THE IMPORTANT THING TO REMEMBER IS, FIRST OF ALL, THERE ARE STILL AN ENORMOUS AMOUNT OF PEOPLE GRADUATING FROM THE TEACHING PROFESSION IN THE STATE OF IOWA. WE HAVE CERTAIN AREAS THAT THERE ARE SHORTAGES, BUT WE ARE GRADUATING ENOUGH PEOPLE, AND WE'VE GOT TEXAS, CALIFORNIA, AND NEVADA THAT ARE HEAVILY RECRUITING IN IOWA BECAUSE OUR STUDENTS ARE VERY WELL TRAINED COMPARED TO A LOT OF OTHER STATES. WHEN WE COMPARE TEACHER SALARIES, THEY'RE ABOUT IN LINE WITH WHAT THE REST OF IOWA SALARIES ARE NATIONWIDE. BUT DO WE THINK THAT'S GOOD ENOUGH? NO, WE NEED TO IMPROVE THAT. I WHOLEHEARTEDLY AGREE. BUT WHEN WE COMPARE APPLES TO APPLES, WE'RE IN THE BALLPARK. IT'S BEEN A FEW YEARS AGO SINCE I'VE LOOKED AT THE STATISTICS, BUT THERE ARE PLACES, ESPECIALLY ON THE EAST COAST, SOME STATES THAT PAY VERY HIGH SALARIES AND THEIR STUDENT PERFORMANCE IS TERRIBLE IN COMPARISON WITH OTHER STATES. SO IT'S MORE THAN JUST THE DOLLARS THAT MAKE IT HAPPEN. THE DISCIPLINE IN THE CLASSROOM IS VERY IMPORTANT ALSO. I'VE HEARD A LOT OF TEACHERS TALK ABOUT THAT. WE HAVE TAKEN A FIRST STEP THERE, AT LEAST, FOR THE LIABILITY SIDE IF THEY BREAK UP A FIGHT, BUT THERE'S OTHER THINGS I THINK WE NEED TO DO. THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR FOR A STUDENT'S ABILITY TO LEARN COMES FROM THE HOME. THAT'S SOMETHING WE CANNOT LEGISLATE. FORTY-EIGHT PERCENT OF A CHILD'S ABILITY TO LEARN COMES FROM THE HOME LIFE. YOU CAN HAVE A CHILD IN THE MOST STRUCTURED ENVIRONMENT AND THE GREATEST TEACHER IN THE WORLD, AND IT CAN BE UNDONE IN TEN MINUTES IN A BAD HOME.

Yepsen: I HAVE TO INTERRUPT YOU BECAUSE WE'VE GOT WAY TOO MANY ISSUES AND WE'RE NOT GOING TO GET TO THEM ALL IF WE DON'T MOVE ON. CHILD ABUSE... SENATOR GRONSTAL, EVERYBODY IN IOWA IS TALKING ABOUT THE SHELBY DUIS CASE. WHAT DO DEMOCRATS WANT TO DO IN THE NEXT SESSION TO PREVENT CHILD ABUSE IN THIS STATE?

Gronstal: I THINK THERE ARE A HOST OF THINGS WE CAN DO, BUT I KNOW A LOT OF SOCIAL WORKERS. I CAME FROM A SOCIAL WORK BACKGROUND BEFORE I GOT INTO POLITICS, AND I WILL TELL YOU CASELOADS HAVE RISEN DRAMATICALLY ACROSS THE STATE OVER THE LAST 20 YEARS. DRAMATICALLY. I THINK WE NEED TO -- I APPRECIATE THE GOVERNOR'S NEW POLICY OF "WHEN IN DOUBT, TAKE THEM OUT." I THINK THAT'S APPROPRIATE. BUT THAT'S GOING TO MEAN WE'RE GOING TO NEED MORE FOLKS TO PROVIDE FOSTER CARE AND TO TRACK THOSE KIDS AND TRY AND PUT THOSE FAMILIES BACK TOGETHER. THERE'S GOING TO BE A LOT MORE NEED FOR THAT NEXT YEAR. I'D LIKE TO SEE A TOUGHER LAW. I THINK PART OF THE REACTION A FEW YEARS AGO WHEN WE CHANGED TO AN ASSESSMENT PROCESS BECAUSE SOME PEOPLE WERE CONCERNED WE WERE GOING TOO FAR INTERVENING IN FAMILY LIVES, I THINK WE'VE GOT TO GO BACK AND REVIEW THAT AND MAKE SURE WE ARE TAKING KIDS OUT WHEN THERE ARE DANGER SIGNS.

Yepsen: MR. SIEGRIST, SAME QUESTION. WHAT WOULD REPUBLICANS DO ABOUT CHILD ABUSE?

Siegrist: WELL, I THINK WE'LL HAVE SOME COMMONALTY THERE IN TERMS OF WHAT WE NEED TO DO. BUT BEFORE WE THROW A BUNCH OF NEW CASE WORKERS THERE -- AND I THINK THAT IS A POSSIBILITY -- WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THE PROCESS IS WORKING. THERE ARE SOME CONCERNS I THINK ABOUT HOW THE PROCESS HAS BEEN WORKING, AT LEAST IN SOME CASES, SO WE WANT TO REVIEW THAT FIRST. IT WOULD BE EASY TO JUMP ON SOME OF THE DECISIONS MADE ON THE MANAGEMENT SIDE OF DHS, BUT I'M NOT GOING TO DO THAT. I THINK THERE'S A PROBLEM OUT THERE THAT WE DO NEED TO ADDRESS, BUT YOU DON'T ADDRESS IT WITH MIDDLE MANAGERS. IF WE'RE GOING TO HIRE SOME NEW PEOPLE, WE NEED TO PUT THEM WHERE THEY NEED TO BE. BUT I WANT TO MAKE SURE THE PROCESS OF CHILD ABUSE REPORTING WORKS BEFORE I JUST GO AHEAD AND SAY WE NEED MORE PEOPLE. THAT'S SOMETHING WE'LL HAVE TO TALK ABOUT.

Yepsen: SENATOR IVERSON, ANOTHER ISSUE PEOPLE IN IOWA ARE TALKING A LOT ABOUT IS HIGH ENERGY PRICES. WE'RE PAYING A LOT MORE FOR GASOLINE. WE'RE GOING TO BE PAYING A LOT MORE FOR NATURAL GAS THIS WINTER. WHAT, IF ANYTHING, SHOULD THE LEGISLATURE DO ABOUT IT? WHAT WOULD REPUBLICANS IN THE LEGISLATURE DO ABOUT IT?

Iverson: IT IS VERY DIFFICULT FOR US AT A STATE LEVEL TO DO A LOT ABOUT THE NATIONAL CRISIS IN ENERGY. ONE THING THAT I KNOW BRENT HAS MENTIONED, THE POSSIBILITY OF THE TAXES ON YOUR UTILITY BILLS, THAT'S ONE THING. HOW DO WE -- [ SPEAKING AT ONCE ] BUT THE BIGGEST ISSUE IS DO WE HAVE ENOUGH SUPPLY TO MEET THE DEMAND. AND I THINK MOST OF THAT IS HAPPENING OUT OF WASHINGTON. WE DON'T HAVE ENOUGH REFINING CAPACITY. EVEN IF THE FLOOD GATES OPENED AND ALL THE OIL FLOWED INTO HERE THAT WE HAD, WE CAN'T REFINE IT FAST ENOUGH TO MAKE IT WORK. THIS IS SOMETHING THAT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN IN THE NEXT 30 TO 60 DAYS OR THE NEXT SIX MONTHS. THIS IS SOMETHING THAT'S GOING TO TAKE SEVERAL YEARS TO DO, AND I THINK WE HAVE TO LOOK AT MORE EXPLORATION HERE AT HOME. I THINK WITH ENERGY, ONE THING THAT PEOPLE IN IOWA CAN DO IS BUY ETHANOL. I THINK THAT'S A VERY GOOD THING. WE HAVE MADE THE DECISION, MANY OF US -- WE'VE ACTUALLY VOTED ON THIS -- NOT TO MANDATE THE USE OF ETHANOL, BUT INDIVIDUAL PEOPLE CAN SAY WE'RE GOING TO USE 10 PERCENT LESS OIL IF WE USE ETHANOL. AND RIGHT NOW IT HAS JUMPED TO 52 PERCENT, BUT IT WOULD BE MUCH BETTER IF IT WAS UP AROUND 60 OR 65.

Yepsen: MR. SCHRADER, SAME QUESTION. WHAT WOULD DEMOCRATS DO ABOUT ENERGY PROBLEMS, SPECIFICALLY GASOLINE AND HIGH NATURAL GAS PRICES?

Schrader: WELL, WE'RE AN IMPORTER OF ALMOST ALL THE ENERGY IN THIS STATE. ABOUT 98 PERCENT OF IT, WE HAVE TO IMPORT. WHEN WE HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO PRODUCE SOME ENERGY HERE -- AND ETHANOL IS A GREAT OPPORTUNITY FOR IOWA -- WE OUGHT TO BE DOING MUCH MORE. THE GOVERNOR CALLED FOR AN OXYGENATE STANDARD, WHICH WOULD HAVE REQUIRED ETHANOL USE IN IOWA. THAT HAPPENS EVERYWHERE IN MINNESOTA, THE ENTIRE STATE. THAT'S HAPPENED IN CHICAGO. THAT'S HAPPENING IN ST. LOUIS. THIS ISN'T SOMETHING NEW. IT'S SOMETHING WE OUGHT TO DO HERE IN IOWA. I THINK IT'S THE WORST MINNESOTA JOKE THERE IS, THAT MINNESOTA PROMOTES ETHANOL MORE THAN WE DO HERE IN IOWA. WE SHOULD DO THAT. THAT WOULD TAKE 10 PERCENT OF THE MARKETPLACE THAT'S CURRENTLY HELD BY PEOPLE OUTSIDE OF IOWA -- WE HAVE NO CONTROL OVER THEIR PRICING WHATSOEVER -- AND GIVE THAT MARKETPLACE, AT LEAST THE RAW MATERIALS IN THAT MARKETPLACE, TO IOWA FARMERS. THAT'S A GOOD FIRST STEP. WE OUGHT TO WORK IT IN OUR ENERGY -- IN OUR ELECTRIC ENERGY AREA AND DO EVEN MORE TO PROMOTE ANYONE THAT'S TRAVELED TO NORTHWEST IOWA OR NORTH CENTRAL IOWA AND SEEN THE WIND FARMS. THAT'S SOMETHING THAT WE CAN DO HERE IN IOWA TO LESSEN THAT RELIANCE ON OTHERS THAT DON'T CARE MUCH ABOUT US.

Yepsen: SENATOR GRONSTAL, ANOTHER ISSUE THAT IOWANS ARE TALKING ABOUT THESE DAYS IS IMMIGRATION. THE 2010 REPORT SUGGESTS THAT ONE WAY WE EASE THE LABOR SHORTAGE IN THIS STATE IS TO BRING MORE IMMIGRANTS HERE. THERE'S SOME CONTROVERSY ABOUT THAT. HOW DO DEMOCRATS FEEL ABOUT THAT?

Gronstal: WELL, I THINK WE'RE READY AND PREPARED TO MOVE FORWARD WITH ENCOURAGING IMMIGRATION, BUT I THINK WE'VE GOT TO BE SPECIFIC ABOUT WHAT IT IS WE'RE LOOKING FOR. WE'RE LOOKING FOR PEOPLE THAT WANT TO COME TO IOWA AND BUILD A LIFE HERE. WE'RE NOT LOOKING FOR PEOPLE THAT WANT TO COME HERE FOR A COUPLE YEARS, WORK IN A LOW-WAGE, LOW-SKILLED JOB, AND TAKE ALL OF THE MONEY FROM THAT AND MOVE IT BACK TO THEIR HOME COUNTRY. WE'RE LOOKING FOR PEOPLE THAT WANT TO COME TO IOWA AND BUILD A LIFE HERE, COME HERE WITH SKILLS, AND THAT'S GOING TO BE PART OF OUR GROWTH PATTERN. YOU KNOW, 140 YEARS AGO, THE HOMESTEAD ACT, THIS STATE WAS FILLED WITH SCANDINAVIANS AND IRISH PEOPLE AND GERMANS AND CZECHS ALL ACROSS THIS STATE. THEY CAME FOR THE OPPORTUNITY. I THINK WE OUGHT TO WELCOME A NEW GENERATION OF IMMIGRANTS THAT WANT TO COME HERE FOR THE OPPORTUNITY.

Yepsen: MR. SIEGRIST, SAME QUESTION... IMMIGRANTS -- IMMIGRATION, GOOD IDEA? BAD IDEA?

Siegrist: WELL, WE NEED TO INCREASE THE LABOR FORCE IN THE STATE. WE'RE LOSING EXPANSIONS OUT OF THE STATE, SO WE DO NEED TO HAVE MORE LEGAL IMMIGRANTS COMING INTO THE STATE. IT'S NOT JUST -- IT'S BEING CAST, I THINK, USUALLY AS JUST LATINOS, BUT THERE'S HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT IN CANADA. BOSNIANS HAVE COME OVER. THERE ARE PLACES AROUND THE WORLD WHERE WE COULD CERTAINLY BE ABLE TO BRING IN IMMIGRANTS, AS MIKE SAID AND I WOULD CONCUR, THAT WANT TO COME HERE AND LIVE HERE. BUT WHEN WE DO THAT, IT DOES PUT STRESS ON CERTAIN COMMUNITIES. THE BEEF PACKING PLANT THAT'S TALKED ABOUT, IF YOU TAKE THAT INTO A SMALL COMMUNITY, THERE'S AN INCREDIBLE AMOUNT OF STRESS. WHEN WE DO SOMETHING LIKE THAT, THE STATE IS GOING TO HAVE TO STEP UP, OR A COMPANY THAT'S BRINGING IT IN, AND HELP WITH SOME OF THOSE SOCIAL PROBLEMS, IF IT'S MORE MONEY FOR ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE CLASSES, ENGLISH IMMERSION, THINGS OF THAT NATURE. WE NEED TO DO THAT. THERE'S TWO PARTS TO THE IMMIGRATION QUESTION, OR THE POPULATION QUESTION. ONE IS WE NEED TO CONTINUE TO MARKET OUR STATE FOR OUR FORMER IOWANS TO COME BACK. WE NEED TO CONTINUE, AS WE HAVE, TO IMPROVE RECREATION OPPORTUNITIES, WATER QUALITY ISSUES, AND THOSE TYPES OF THINGS TO HAVE PEOPLE WANT TO COME BACK HERE. THE SECOND PART OF THAT IS TO LOOK FOR IMMIGRATION THAT COULD HELP US WITH OUR WORKFORCE.

Yepsen: SENATOR IVERSON, PROPERTY TAXES... A LOT OF IOWANS ARE CONCERNED ABOUT RISING PROPERTY TAXES. THERE'S SOME DISCUSSION ABOUT MAYBE FREEZING COUNTY AND CITY PROPERTY TAXES. HOW DO SENATE REPUBLICANS FEEL ABOUT THAT?

Iverson: THE BULK OF OUR FOLKS FEEL VERY STRONGLY THAT IT'S OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO HAVE A LIMITED FORM OF GOVERNMENT, AND I CERTAINLY HAVE ALWAYS BEEN IN FAVOR OF LIMITED GOVERNMENT. ALLOWING THE TAXES TO RAISE AT THE RATE OF INFLATION I THINK MAKES SENSE. IF THE LOCAL COMMUNITY OR THE COUNTY WANT TO DO MORE THAN THAT, THEY CERTAINLY CAN. I THINK IN A LOT OF CASES, THIS IS REALLY A HELPFUL SITUATION TO A LOT OF THE CANDIDATES. WHEN WE HAD THE PROPERTY TAX LIMITATION BEFORE, I HAD MANY SUPERVISORS SAY, WELL, WE GET TO USE YOU AS AN EXCUSE TO BE ABLE TO TELL PEOPLE WE CAN'T DO THIS AND WE CAN'T DO THAT. BUT IT IS A SERIOUS CONCERN WITH PROPERTY TAX, BECAUSE THEY ARE RAISING RATHER FAST, AND I THINK IT MAKES SENSE. AND, YES, WE'RE GOING TO WORK ON THAT.

Yepsen: MR. SCHRADER, HOW DO HOUSE DEMOCRATS FEEL ABOUT A PROPERTY TAX FREEZE?

Schrader: WELL, FIRST OFF, WE DON'T FEEL VERY GOOD ABOUT PROPERTY TAXES. WHEN WE LOOK AT TAX CUTS, THAT'S OUR FIRST TAX THAT WE LIKE TO CUT. THAT'S OUR TOP PRIORITY IN LOWERING PROPERTY TAXES. HOWEVER, THERE ARE SOME REAL PROBLEMS. AS YOU KNOW, DURING THE REPUBLICAN LEGISLATURE LAST YEAR, THIS PLAN WAS IN PLACE. IT NEVER MOVED FROM COMMITTEE BECAUSE IT JUST WASN'T PRACTICAL. THERE ARE SEVERAL THINGS THAT ARE DIFFICULT. ONE OF THEM IS FINDING A BASIS, A PARITY. DIFFERENT COMMUNITIES, DIFFERENT COUNTIES, DIFFERENT CITIES ARE AT DIFFERENT LEVELS OF NEED RIGHT NOW. SOME NEED SERVICES OR STRUCTURES OR WHATEVER THAT OTHERS HAVE ALREADY GOTTEN. AND YOU KNOW, I DIDN'T RUN FOR MAYOR OR COUNTY SUPERVISOR. I RAN FOR STATE REPRESENTATIVE. AND I LOOK AT MY OWN COMMUNITY, DAVID, AND IN MY COMMUNITY, WHEN I WAS A KID AND YOU GOT HURT BAD, YOU RODE TO THE HOSPITAL IN A MAKE-SHIFT AMBULANCE OWNED BY THE UNDERTAKER. NOW WE HAVE AN EMERGENCY UNIT THAT'S STATE-OF-THE-ART AND WE'RE PROUD OF IT AND PEOPLE WANT IT. THE LIBRARY WAS TWO SHELVES IN THE CITY CLERK'S OFFICE. NOW WE HAVE A LIBRARY WE'RE PROUD OF. I THINK THOSE LOCAL PEOPLE HAVE A SAY RIGHT NOW WHEN THEY ELECT THEIR LOCAL OFFICIALS.

Yepsen: WE'VE GOT JUST -- WE HAVE LESS THAN A MINUTE, SO I WANT TO SPLIT IT, SORT OF, DOWN THE MIDDLE. MR. SPEAKER, GIVE ME A GOOD 15-SECOND SOUND BITE ON WHY A VOTER OUGHT TO VOTE FOR REPUBLICANS FOR THE LEGISLATURE.

Siegrist: TO BALANCE GOVERNMENT. WE WILL MAKE SURE WE DON'T VIOLATE THE 99-PERCENT SPENDING LIMITATION LAW AND, AT THE SAME TIME, WE WILL INVEST IN THE ISSUES THAT ARE MOST IMPORTANT: EDUCATION, WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT, QUALITY-OF-LIFE ISSUES.

Yepsen: SENATOR GRONSTAL?

Gronstal: IF YOU WANT THE LEGISLATURE TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT PRESCRIPTION DRUGS, TO MOVE BOLDLY FORWARD ON EDUCATION, I THINK YOU SHOULD VOTE FOR DEMOCRATS. IF YOU WANT FAINT, HALFHEARTED STEPS, VOTE FOR REPUBLICANS.

Yepsen: GENTLEMEN, I'M SORRY, WE'RE OUT OF TIME. THANK YOU ALL FOR BEING WITH US TODAY. WE'LL BE TRACKING THE ISSUES AND THE PROGRESS OF THE 79TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY HERE ON IOWA PRESS THROUGHOUT ITS SESSION OF 2001. IOWA PRESS CONTINUES IN JUST A MOMENT, AS DEAN BORG REJOINS US AND AS WE FOCUS ON CONGRESSIONAL POLITICS. JOINING US AT THE "IOWA PRESS" TABLE ARE THE TWO MAJOR-PARTY CONTENDERS HOPING TO REPRESENT NORTHEAST IOWA'S SECOND CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT: REPUBLICAN INCUMBENT JIM NUSSLE OF MANCHESTER AND HIS DEMOCRATIC CHALLENGER, DONNA SMITH OF DUBUQUE. STAY WITH US. WE RETURN ON IOWA PRESS IN JUST A MOMENT.

PROMO: ELEVEN CANDIDATES SEEKING TO REPRESENT IOWA IN THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS DISCUSS THEIR CAMPAIGNS FOR THE U.S. HOUSE ON IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION. WATCH ON THE IOWA BALLOT, THE RACE FOR CONGRESS, TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY, AND THURSDAY, OCTOBER 24-26 AT 6:30 P.M. AN INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE PLUS CANDIDATES FROM THE REFORM PARTY, THE SOCIALIST WORKERS PARTY, THE EARTH FEDERATION, THE INDEPENDENCE PARTY, AND THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY SHARE THEIR POLITICAL VIEWS ON IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION.

FROM THE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION STUDIOS, IOWA PRESS CONTINUES WITH ITS SUNDAY, OCTOBER 15 EDITION. HERE IS DEAN BORG.

Borg: FROM THE IOWA STATEHOUSE TO CAPITAL HILL IN WASHINGTON, D.C., THAT'S THE RANGE OF THIS ONE-HOUR EDITION OF IOWA PRESS. WE FOCUS NOW ON THE CAMPAIGN FOR THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS... SPECIFICALLY, ON THE CAMPAIGN TO REPRESENT NORTHEAST IOWA IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. THIS PROGRAM IS THE THIRD, OF COURSE, OF FIVE IOWA PRESS EDITIONS FOCUSING ON THE CAMPAIGN FOR THE U.S. HOUSE. IN IOWA'S SECOND U.S. CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT WE HAVE A REMATCH. OUR GUESTS MET ON THE BALLOT IN 1996. REPUBLICAN REPRESENTATIVE JIM NUSSLE OF MANCHESTER IS SEEKING HIS SIXTH TWO-YEAR TERM IN THE U.S. HOUSE. HIS DEMOCRATIC CHALLENGER IS DONNA SMITH OF DUBUQUE. SHE'S A MEMBER OF THE DUBUQUE COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS. WELCOME TO IOWA PRESS.

THANK YOU.

Borg: YOU WERE HERE FOUR YEARS AGO, AND YOU'RE BACK FOR A RETURN APPEARANCE. AND OF COURSE, ACROSS THE TABLE, POLITICAL REPORTERS DAVID YEPSEN OF THE DES MOINES REGISTER AND KAY HENDERSON OF RADIO IOWA.

Henderson: CONGRESSMAN, WHY SHOULD IOWANS REHIRE YOU?

Nussle: WELL, I BELIEVE THAT IOWA IS A GREAT STATE FILLED WITH GOOD PEOPLE THAT MAKE BETTER DECISIONS ABOUT THEIR DAILY LIVES THAN THE GOVERNMENT CAN FOR THEM. AND I'VE BROUGHT THAT PHILOSOPHY TO WASHINGTON WITH SOME SUCCESS: SUCCESS IN BALANCING THE BUDGET; REDUCING THE NATIONAL DEBT THIS YEAR TO A TOTAL OF $350 BILLION DOWN IN THE NATIONAL DEBT; REFORMED THE WELFARE PROGRAM, WHICH PUT SIX MILLION PEOPLE BACK TO WORK IN AMERICA PRODUCING FOR THEIR FAMILIES AND FOR THEIR COMMUNITIES; REFORMED OUR HEALTH CARE SYSTEM SO THAT IN IOWA, AS AN EXAMPLE, IN THE DISTRICT I REPRESENT, WE'VE DOUBLED IN THE TIME I'VE BEEN THERE, THE MEDICARE REIMBURSEMENT -- IT'S NOT AS HIGH AS IT NEEDS TO BE, AND WE'RE GOING TO DO THAT NEXT WEEK -- BUT DOUBLED THE REIMBURSEMENT FOR MEDICARE AND ARE GOING TO ADD A PRESCRIPTION DRUG BENEFIT; WE SAVED SOCIAL SECURITY; AND WE'VE DONE SOME GOOD WORK IN OPENING UP MARKETS FOR OUR FARMERS TO HELP GIVE THEM MORE INDEPENDENCE ON FARM TO MAKE SOME OF THE DECISIONS THAT THEY NEED TO MAKE. PRICES ARE TOO LOW BUT WE'VE GOT SOME WORK THAT HAS BEEN DONE IN A POSITIVE WAY IN TRADE. SO THOSE ARE THE REASONS THAT I THINK IOWA'S SECOND DISTRICT SHOULD REPRESENT WITH AN ELECTION BACK TO CONGRESS FOR ME.

Henderson: SUPERVISOR SMITH, WHY SHOULD IOWANS FIRE HIM?

Smith: WELL, I PREFER TO LOOK AT IT THAT I WILL BE THE REPRESENTATIVE FOR THE SECOND DISTRICT, AND I WILL GO TO CONGRESS WITH A DEMOCRATIC MAJORITY. AND THE FIRST ITEM OF BUSINESS FOR THE SECOND DISTRICT AND IOWANS WILL BE TO REPEAL THE FREEDOM TO FAIL FARM BILL, THIS DISASTROUS FARM BILL THAT JIMMY NUSSLE SUPPORTED AND CONTINUES TO SUPPORT THAT'S CAUSED RECORD-LOW DEPRESSION PRICES IN MOST OF THE COMMODITY AND LIVESTOCK AREA, HAS CAUSED THE NEED FOR NOT ONLY THE SEVEN-YEAR TRANSITION PAYMENTS BUT ALSO EMERGENCY PAYMENTS, BILLIONS AND BILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO HELP PROTECT AND SHORE UP OUR FAMILY FARMERS, THOSE THAT ARE STILL STRUGGLING AND HOLDING ON. AND ALONG WITH IT, I WILL GO TO CONGRESS AND I WILL WORK NIGHT AND DAY TO PROHIBIT THE UNITED STATES SMALL BUSINESS ASSOCIATION USING THE 504 LOAN PROGRAM TO FUND OUR CORPORATE HOG FACTORIES NOT ONLY HERE IN IOWA BUT ACROSS THIS NATION. I AM A COUNTY SUPERVISOR. I HAVE A LOT OF EXPERIENCE AT THE COUNTY LEVEL, AND I SERVE ON ECIA'S BUSINESS GROWTH 504 CORPORATE BOARD, AND OUR PURPOSE IS TO ADVANCE SMALL BUSINESS APPLICATIONS FOR THOSE LOANS. WE HAD A REQUEST TO FUND A HOG FACTORY IN THE SECOND DISTRICT. WE WERE MAD AS HELL, THE MEMBERS OF OUR BOARD. AND WE SAID WE WILL NOT FUND IT. SO WE THEN ASKED THE DIRECTOR TO COME IN FROM CEDAR RAPIDS AND EXPLAIN HOW THEY COULD BE USING THE SBA 504 SMALL BUSINESS LOAN TO FUND CORPORATE -- CORPORATE HOG CONFINEMENT OPERATIONS. AND HE EXPLAINED IT THOROUGHLY. I THEN DID SOME RESEARCH AND I STILL DON'T HAVE THE FULL HISTORY ACROSS THIS NATION.

Borg: SO IS IT SAFE TO SAY THAT YOU'RE GOING TO CONCENTRATE ON IOWA ISSUES, LOCAL ISSUES?

Smith: IT'S THAT, DEAN, BUT IT'S ALSO LIKE I AM GOING TO WORK AS A MEMBER OF CONGRESS ENSURING THAT GOVERNMENT WORKS FOR OUR PEOPLE IN THE SECOND DISTRICT AND NOT AGAINST THEM.

Henderson: YOU RAN IN 1996 AGAINST CONGRESSMAN NUSSLE. WHAT ISSUES HAVE POPPED UP IN THOSE FOUR YEARS TO MAKE THIS A DIFFERENT RACE?

Smith: WELL, ACTUALLY THE FREEDOM TO FARM BILL WAS THE KEY ISSUE IN '96 WHEN IT WAS PASSED, AND I DIDN'T SUPPORT IT THEN BECAUSE IT SHREDS THE SAFETY NET FOR OUR FAMILY FARMERS. IT SHREDDED A FARM PROGRAM THAT WAS PUT IN PLACE TO ENSURE THE VERY THING WOULDN'T HAPPEN THAT HAS HAPPENED. THAT'S NOT THE ONLY ISSUE. THE OTHER ISSUE THAT IS SO VITAL IS THAT WE HAVE LOST THOUSANDS OF JOBS, GOOD PAYING JOBS IN NORTHEAST IOWA IN THE 21 COUNTIES I'LL REPRESENT. DUBUQUE HAS GOT 1,500 JOBS ON THE LINE RIGHT NOW. PEOPLE HAVE LOST THEIR JOBS. AT SMITHFIELD FOOD, ONE OF THE PACKER/PRODUCER, VERTICALLY INTEGRATED, BIG CORPORATE INTERESTS HAS COME IN AND BOUGHT IT UP AND SHUT DOWN THE PLANT. IT GOES ON. JOHN DEERE'S JOBS HAVE GONE TO MEXICO, AND THERE'S MORE GOING. ERTL'S PLANT IS PRETTY WELL SHUT DOWN IN DYERSVILLE, MORE JOBS GOING. SO NAFTA AND FAIR TRADE, GETTING TRADE AGREEMENTS THAT WILL ENSURE THAT OUR PEOPLE HAVE JOBS FIRST.

Yepsen: CONGRESSMAN NUSSLE, DO YOU CARE TO RESPOND ANY OF THAT?

Nussle: WELL, SURE. FIRST OF ALL, ON FREEDOM TO FARM, IT'S EASY TO INDICT FREEDOM TO FARM AND SAY LET'S REPEAL IT, BUT WHAT DO YOU REPLACE IT WITH? YOU CANNOT FIND A FARMER IN THE SECOND DISTRICT THAT WANTS TO GO BACK TO THE OLD FAILED PROGRAMS OF GOVERNMENT RUNNING AGRICULTURE. NOT ONE THAT I'VE RUN INTO THAT HAS TOLD ME, "JIM, PLEASE GIVE US BACK MORE GOVERNMENT CONTROL OF AGRICULTURE." NOW, ARE THERE FINE TUNINGS THAT WE HAVE TO DO IN AGRICULTURE ON FREEDOM TO FARM? SURE. AND IN FACT, NEXT YEAR, REGARDLESS OF WHO THE CONGRESS IS, REGARDLESS OF WHO THE PRESIDENT IS, WE WILL ADDRESS THEM BECAUSE FREEDOM TO FARM COMES DUE, AND SO WE HAVE TO GO IN AND WE HAVE TO LOOK AT AGRICULTURE. BUT I'LL TELL YOU THIS, THERE IS NO FARM PROGRAM IN AMERICA THAT WILL WORK WHEN YOU HAVE AN ADMINISTRATION THAT DOES NOT WORK TO OPEN MARKETS ACROSS THE COUNTRY, ACROSS THE WORLD. WE'VE GOT MARKETS THAT HAVE FAILED IN THE FAR EAST, AND THAT HAS DEVASTATED OUR ABILITY TO SELL OUR PRODUCTS OVERSEAS. AND THAT IS A KEY INGREDIENT TO ANY FARM PROGRAM BEING SUCCESSFUL IN THE FUTURE.

Yepsen: SUPERVISOR SMITH, THE MIDDLE EAST IS HEATING UP. WHAT SHOULD THE ROLE OF THE UNITED STATES BE IN THE MIDDLE EAST?

Smith: I THINK WE'RE DOING A GOOD JOB WITH PRESIDENT CLINTON WORKING WITH THE UNITED NATIONS LEADER AND OTHER COUNTRIES TRYING TO BRING TOGETHER A SENSE OF SUMMIT. IF YOU CAN GET A SUCCESSFUL SEATING AT THE TABLE, HOPEFULLY THEY CAN END THE VIOLENCE AND THE TERRORISM THAT'S GOING ON AT THIS POINT AND GET ON WITH NEGOTIATING A MORE PERMANENT PEACE AGREEMENT FOR THAT AREA.

Yepsen: CONGRESSMAN, SAME QUESTION.

Nussle: FIRST OF ALL, YOU CANNOT TOLERATE TERRORISM, THAT'S NUMBER ONE. THERE IS NO ROOM FOR TERRORISM. NOT THE TERRORISM THAT WE SAW IN YEMEN VERSUS OUR SHIP, THE USS COLE, OR TERRORISM THAT OCCURS IN THE WEST BANK OR IN ISRAEL ITSELF. THAT'S NUMBER ONE. NUMBER TWO, I DO SUPPORT BRINGING ALL OF THE PARTIES BACK TO THE TABLE. IT'S TAKING AN ENORMOUS AMOUNT OF PATIENCE ON THE PART OF PRESIDENT CLINTON AS WELL AS A NUMBER OF LEADERS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD TO CONTINUE TO WORK HARD ON THIS ISSUE. THAT PATIENCE HAS HAD TO BE THERE FOR MANY MORE YEARS THAN JUST THIS LAST ADMINISTRATION'S TERM, BUT I THINK THAT PATIENCE IS IMPORTANT AS WE TRY AND SEARCH FOR A RESOLUTION, BECAUSE THE RESOLUTION IS NOT EASILY DISCOVERED IN ONE SIT-DOWN AT A TABLE. SO I THINK WHAT THE ADMINISTRATION IS DOING AND SUCCESSFULLY HAD DONE AS A RESULT OF THE NEWS THIS MORNING IN BRINGING BACK THE PARTIES TO THE TABLE I THINK IS THE ONLY FIRST STEP THAT CAN WORK.

Henderson: ONE OF THE TOPICS THAT'S BEEN DISCUSSED DURING THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN IS MILITARY READINESS. SUPERVISOR SMITH, HOW SHOULD U.S. TAX DOLLARS BE USED IN REGARDS TO MILITARY SPENDING? SALARIES? EQUIPMENT?

Smith: WE HAVE MILITARY PERSONNEL THAT HAVE BEEN ELIGIBLE FOR PUBLIC ASSISTANCE. THEIR PAY, THEIR BENEFITS, AND THEIR SALARIES SHOULD BE INCREASED. THEY SHOULD NOT HAVE TO LIVE ON PUBLIC ASSISTANCE WHILE SERVING THIS NATION SO HONORABLY. BUT IT GOES BEYOND INCREASING THOSE BENEFITS AND SALARIES AND IT GOES INTO THE CUTS THAT HAVE BEEN MADE BY CONGRESS ON VETERANS' BENEFITS AND SERVICES THROUGHOUT THIS NATION. A REAL DISSERVICE TO THOSE WHO HAVE GIVEN THEIR LIVES, GIVEN THEIR LIVELIHOOD FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS SERVING THIS NATION. WE CAN DO BETTER. WHEN I'M IN CONGRESS, WE WILL.

Henderson: CONGRESSMAN NUSSLE, HOW SHOULD TAX DOLLARS BE SPENT IN REGARDS TO MILITARY?

Nussle: WELL, FIRST AND FOREMOST, YOU'RE RIGHT, YOU'VE GOT TO TREAT YOUR PEOPLE WELL. WE'VE GOT THE BEST FIGHTING FORCE THAT THE WORLD HAS EVER SEEN. BUT IF WE DON'T TREAT THEM WELL, WE'RE GOING TO LOSE THEM. WE'RE GOING TO LOSE PILOTS, WE'RE GOING TO LOSE OFFICERS, WE'RE GOING TO LOSE KEY PERSONNEL, AND WE'RE NOT EVEN GOING TO BE ABLE TO RECRUIT PEOPLE. THAT'S WHY CONGRESS, THE LAST THREE YEARS, OVER THE OBJECTION OF THE PRESIDENT, GAVE PAY RAISES, NUMBER ONE. NUMBER TWO, WE CAN'T JUST ASSUME THAT A COLD WAR FIGHTING FORCE IS THE BEST FIGHTING FORCE FOR THE FUTURE. WE'RE IN A MUCH DIFFERENT WORLD. JUST WHAT WE SAW IN YEMEN IS A GOOD EXAMPLE. WE'RE NOT GOING TO BE ATTACKED AS A NATION BY THREE DIVISIONS COMING OVER A HILL. IT'S GOING TO BE A LITTLE PONTOON BOAT FILLED WITH EXPLOSIVES GOING AFTER OUR MEN AND WOMEN WHO SERVE OUR NATION. NUMBER THREE, ON VETERANS' BENEFITS, NOT ONLY HAVE WE INCREASED VETERANS' BENEFITS, BUT WE HAVE INCREASED VETERANS' HEALTH CARE, EXPANDING THE HEALTH CARE PROGRAM AND, IN THE SECOND DISTRICT OF IOWA, HAVE THREE NEW CLINICS AS A RESULT OF MY WORK IN DUBUQUE, IN WATERLOO, AND IN MASON CITY TO PROVIDE VETERANS WITH CLOSER-TO-HOME HEALTH CARE SERVICES SO THAT THEY DIDN'T HAVE TO TRAVEL ALL THE WAY TO IOWA CITY OR DES MOINES TO GET THOSE SERVICES. I THINK THOSE ARE WAYS THAT YOU CAN HELP IOWA'S MEN AND WOMEN BOTH IN SERVICE AND RETIRED.

Borg: SUPERVISOR SMITH, YOU TALKED A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE MIDDLE EAST AND YOU SAID YOU WERE SATISFIED WITH WHAT'S BEING DONE THERE BY PRESIDENT CLINTON AND THE CURRENT ADMINISTRATION. UNDER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES WOULD THE U.S. HAVE TO INTRODUCE TROOPS INTO THAT AREA?

Smith: WELL, I'D HAVE TO SAY THAT I'D LIKE TO HAVE OUR TROOPS INTRODUCED IN COLLUSION WITH THE UNITED NATIONS. AND THAT IS A MEMBER OF THE UNITED NATIONS AND IN GOOD STANDING, AND PAY WHAT WE OWE, I MIGHT ADD. WE CAN BE PARTNERS ON A WORLDWIDE BASIS WHEN WE HAVE CONFLICTS LIKE THIS, BUT I DON'T BELIEVE OUR NATION CAN BE THE POLICEMAN OF THE WORLD ALONE.

Borg: NOT EVEN IN THE MIDDLE EAST UNDER THE CURRENT CIRCUMSTANCES?

Smith: YOU'VE GOT TO, DEAN -- YOU'VE GOT TO GET INTO THE QUESTION OF WHAT'S HAPPENING AGAIN TO THIS NATION. THIS CURRENT CONGRESS HAS FAILED TO ESTABLISH ANY ALTERNATIVE ENERGY POLICY. WE'RE NOW FACING SOME RECORD PRICE INCREASES IN OUR FUEL COSTS AND MORE TO COME. WE ARE AT THE MERCY, SO TO SPEAK, OF THE OPEC, THE OIL CARTEL AND FOREIGN OIL. WE'VE GOT A TRADE DEFICIT THAT'S NEVER BEEN HIGHER. OIL IS PART OF IT BUT NOT ALL OF IT, SO THERE'S A LOT TO BE DONE. AND THAT MEANS GETTING ALTERNATIVE FUELS IN PLACE AND MAKING THE INVESTMENT, INCLUDES ETHANOL AS A MANDATORY CLEAN AIR ADDITIVE.

Borg: I WANT TO INCLUDE ENERGY IN THIS BECAUSE THE MIDDLE EAST IS STRATEGIC FROM THAT ASPECT, CONGRESSMAN. ARE THERE CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER WHICH, IN THE CURRENT INFLAMMATORY NATURE OF WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THE MIDDLE EAST, ARAB AND ISRAELI CONFLICT, ARE THERE CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER WHICH TROOPS SHOULD BE INTRODUCED?

Nussle: I DON'T SEE ANY CURRENTLY. I DON'T SEE A REASON WHY THAT WOULD BE NECESSARY CURRENTLY. A COUPLE OF REASONS... NUMBER ONE, IT SHOULD NOT BE DONE WITH ONLY THE UNITED STATES. I DON'T SEE ANY SITUATION WHERE THE UNITED STATES ALONE WOULD BE THE ONLY SITUATION WHERE WE WOULD GO IN ON OUR OWN. NUMBER TWO, WE'VE PAID OUR DUES TO THE UNITED NATIONS. BUT, HEY, BEING A DUE'S PAYING MEMBER OF THE U.N. DOESN'T MEAN THAT THEY'RE STRONG ENOUGH TO DEAL WITH WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THE PERSIAN GULF, LET ALONE IN ISRAEL. WE'VE GOT A SITUATION WHERE WE PUT TOGETHER A COALITION FORCE IN 1991, AND IT WAS AN UNDERSTANDING THAT PEOPLE IN THE REGION, NOT FRENCH, NOT DENMARK, NOT MEXICO, BUT PEOPLE IN THE REGION HAVING TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM, SO THAT'S THE SECOND. THEN FINALLY ON ENERGY, JUST TO ANSWER YOUR FINAL QUESTION, IT WAS SECRETARY OF ENERGY RICHARDSON WHO SAID THAT IT WAS THE ADMINISTRATION THAT WAS CAUGHT NAPPING DURING THE LAST TEN YEARS ON THE ENERGY POLICY, NOT THE CONGRESS. WE HAVE SUPPORTED ETHANOL. IN FACT, OUR ENTIRE IOWA DELEGATION HAS DONE MORE IN THE AREA OF ENERGY AND RENEWABLE RESOURCES THAN PROBABLY ANY OTHER DELEGATION IN THE CONGRESS, AND IT'S BEEN BY BIPARTISAN. AS MUCH AS THERE SEEMS TO BE SOME PARTISAN MOMENTS ONCE IN A WHILE, IT'S BEEN BIPARTISAN AND I'M PROUD OF THAT.

Yepsen: CONGRESSMAN, LET'S LOOK AT THIS A LITTLE MORE, WITHOUT GETTING INTO WHO CAUSED WHAT BACK WHEN. PROSPECTIVELY, WHAT DO WE DO NOW? EVERYONE IS COMPLAINING ABOUT HIGH GASOLINE PRICES. EVERYONE IS GOING TO BE SOCKED BY HIGHER HEATING BILLS. WHAT WILL YOU DO ABOUT THAT, CONGRESSMAN NUSSLE?

Nussle: NUMBER ONE, ALTERNATIVE ENERGY. YOU CANNOT, WHETHER IT'S TODAY OR 20, 30 YEARS INTO THE FUTURE, ASSUME THAT FOSSIL FUELS ARE GOING TO BE THE ANSWER TO OUR ENERGY NEEDS, NUMBER ONE. NUMBER TWO, EVEN DURING THE INTERIM OF TRANSITION AS YOU MOVE TO ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SOURCES, BE IT NATURAL GAS OR FUEL CELL OR HYDROGEN, YOU NAME IT, ETHANOL OF COURSE BEING ONE OF THOSE, YOU CANNOT ASSUME THAT FOSSIL FUELS WE CAN BE DEPENDENT TO 56 PERCENT OF OUR DEPENDENCY ON FOREIGN OIL AND THAT WE'RE GOING TO BE INDEPENDENT WHEN IT COMES TO OUR ECONOMIC FORCES. SO WE HAVE TO DO WHAT WE CAN EXPLORING IN THE UNITED STATES FOR THOSE KINDS OF ENERGY SOURCES SO THAT WE AREN'T DEPENDENT ON FOREIGN OIL. AND I'LL TELL YOU WHAT, JUST RELEASING A FEW MILLION BARRELS OF THE STRATEGIC ENERGY RESERVE IN A POLITICAL MOMENT ISN'T GOING TO BE THE BE-ALL AND END-ALL OF OUR ENERGY POLICY.

Yepsen: YOU'D EXPLORE INCLUDING THE ALASKAN NATIONAL WILDLIFE RESERVE?

Nussle: YES, I WOULD. YES, I WOULD BECAUSE THERE'S A SAFE WAY TO DO IT. IT SHOULDN'T BE DONE TO THE DETRIMENT OF THAT VERY IMPORTANT ENVIRONMENTAL AREA, BUT THERE ARE SAFE WAYS IN ORDER TO EXPLORE THERE THAT CAN BE DONE IN A WAY THAT IS FRIENDLY TO THE ENVIRONMENT AS WELL.

Yepsen: SUPERVISOR SMITH, SAME QUESTION TO YOU. WHAT DO WE DO PROSPECTIVELY ABOUT THE ENERGY PROBLEMS WE FACE AND SPECIFICALLY EXPLORING IN THE ALASKA NATIONAL WILDLIFE RESERVE?

Smith: WE, FIRST OFF, HAVE TO GET INTO MORE INCENTIVES FOR ALTERNATIVE FUELS AND WE HAVE TO STOP SUBSIDIZING THE OIL INDUSTRY AT THE EXPENSE OF THE OTHER ALTERNATIVES. THEN WE NEED TO GO ON WITH CONSERVATION IN THE SHORT RANGE AND PUMP UP NATURAL GAS, BECAUSE THAT'S MORE WITHIN OUR UNITED STATES INTEREST AND CONTROL AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO OIL. AND WE NEED TO -- WE DON'T HAVE TO EXPLORE, WE ALREADY HAVE... SOLAR, AND WE HAVE THE WIND GENERATED UP IN MASON CITY, STORM LAKE. WE ALREADY KNOW THOSE SYSTEMS WORK. AND I WOULD NOT OPEN THE ARCTIC WILDLIFE PRESERVE AND THE PRISTINE NATURE OF THAT TO A SHORT-TERM DRILL.

Henderson: THE AGING LOCK AND DAM SYSTEM ALONG THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER IS AN ISSUE IN YOUR DISTRICT IN PARTICULAR. CONGRESSMAN, WHAT DO YOU THINK SHOULD BE DONE?

Nussle: WELL, FIRST OF ALL, WE HAVE A STUDY IN PLACE TO ANSWER THAT QUESTION. THAT STUDY HAS BEEN DELAYED BECAUSE OF SOME INTERNAL CONTROVERSY AND SCANDAL. THAT SHOULD BE REMOVED IMMEDIATELY AND WE SHOULD GET THIS STUDY COMPLETED SO WE HAVE THE ANSWER, NUMBER ONE. NUMBER TWO, IN THE MEANTIME, THERE IS SOME VERY IMPORTANT PROJECTS THAT CAN AND SHOULD MOVE FORWARD. IN FACT, TOMORROW I'M GOING TO BE AT THE GROUNDBREAKING OF THE LOCK DOWN IN BELLVIEW, IOWA, WHICH WILL BE A REPAIR THAT IS WELL NEEDED. IT COULD BE AS MUCH AS, ACCORDING TO THE STUDY WE HAVE ON HAND, ABOUT $500-MILLION ECONOMIC BENEFIT THAT JUST REPAIRING THESE LOCKS AND DAMS THAT WE CURRENTLY HAVE, EVEN BEFORE WE TALK ABOUT THE POSSIBILITY OF EXPANSION, REMOVING HAZARDOUS ASBESTOS, MAKING SURE THAT THEY ARE ENERGY EFFICIENT, ALL OF THESE ARE WAYS THAT WE CAN KEEP THIS VERY IMPORTANT BALANCE BETWEEN THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER THAT WE ALL LOVE AND WANT TO ENJOY FROM AN ENVIRONMENTAL STANDPOINT BUT ALSO NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT OUR FARMERS HAVE ALTERNATIVE TRANSPORTATION TO THE WORLD MARKETS.

Henderson: SUPERVISOR SMITH, WHAT SHOULD BE DONE WITH THE LOCK AND DAM SYSTEM? IMPROVE IT OR JUNK IT?

Smith: THE CURRENT LOCK AND DAM SYSTEM IS UNDER MAJOR REPAIR UP AND DOWN THE MISSISSIPPI, BUT BEYOND THAT, THE ARMY CORPS' STUDY WAS SCAMMED. UNTIL THERE'S A NEW STUDY THAT PRODUCES REASONABLY ASSURED REPORTS THAT THE NEED IS THERE, YOU STILL HAVE TO LOOK AT WHY ON EARTH IOWA FARMERS WOULD WANT TO SHIP LIKE THIRD WORLD FARMERS THEIR RAW COMMODITY ON THE BARGES TO THE BIG CORPORATE INTERESTS WORLDWIDE BROKERS INSTEAD OF FINISHING THE PRODUCT, VALUE ADDING RIGHT HERE IN IOWA, CREATING NEW JOBS AND FINDING AND DOING RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT ON OTHER USES FOR THESE COMMODITIES.

Borg: DO I UNDERSTAND, THEN, THAT YOU WOULD NOT BE IN FAVOR OF IMPROVING THE LOCKS AND DAMS ON THE MISSISSIPPI?

Smith: I'M IN FAVOR OF IMPROVING THE LOCKS AND DAMS AS WE ARE NOW DOING. I'M NOT SO SURE THAT WE NEED TO EXPAND THE LOCK AND DAM SYSTEM SO THAT WE CAN DOUBLE THE CAPACITY OF BARGES MOVING THROUGH MORE SWIFTLY OR DEEPENING THE CHANNEL.

Borg: YOU WERE QUITE ADAMANT ABOUT REPLACING FREEDOM TO FARM. WITH WHAT?

Smith: FREEDOM TO FARM SHOULD BE REPLACED, TOTALLY SCRAPPED, DON'T EVEN LET IT GO TO ITS FULL CONCLUSION AND YOU'D START OVER. YOU WOULD GIVE CONSERVATION INCENTIVES FOR FAMILY FARMERS TO PLANT THEIR CROPS, BUT NOT FROM FENCE ROW TO FENCE ROW. YOU WOULD ALSO PULL BACK WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH THE FREEDOM TO FARM. AND WHAT'S HAPPENING IS -- WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE MEMBER HERE JIM NUSSLE CAN TELL YOU EVEN MORE -- BUT THE BIG OPERATORS ARE BEING SUBSIDIZED ON THE EMERGENCY PAYMENT AND THE TRANSITION PAYMENT AS THEY COMPETE WITH OUR FAMILY FARMERS. YOU PULL BACK THOSE SUBSIDIES AND YOU SUBSIDIZE AS NEEDED A SAFETY NET UNLEASHING CONSERVATION, SET-ASIDE, AND GOOD STEWARDSHIP. NOW, ON A WORLD MARKET, YOU PULL BACK OTHER INCENTIVES FOR THESE BIG AG INDUSTRIES THAT HAVE MOVED IN AND ARE TAKING CONTROL. NOW YOU'RE INTO THE HOG FACTORIES BEING FUNDED BY THE SBA FEDERAL MONEY DIRECTLY AND, FOR THAT MATTER, THERE'S OTHERS. AND YOU LOOK AT THOSE AND YOU DO AWAY WITH THOSE SUBSIDIES.

Borg: CONGRESSMAN NUSSLE, HOW WOULD YOU TINKER, AS YOU SAID EARLIER, WITH FREEDOM TO FARM? HOW ARE YOU GOING TO MAKE THE CHANGE IN WHAT'S NEEDED?

Nussle: WELL, FIRST OF ALL, THE FIRST THREE YEARS OF FREEDOM FARM IT WORKED. PEOPLE REMEMBER THE LAST TWO YEARS BECAUSE PRICES HAVE BEEN LOUSY, TERRIBLE, WORSE THAN THAT. BUT THE FIRST THREE YEARS IT WORKED. WHY WAS IT WORKING? BECAUSE MARKETS OVERSEAS WERE WORKING. WE WERE ABLE TO ENTER INTO A NUMBER OF MARKETS. THEN CAME THE CURRENCY COLLAPSE IN THE FAR EAST. THAT TOTALLY DEPRESSED THE WORLD PRICE. SO THAT'S THE FIRST THING IS OPENING UP MARKETS. I SUPPORT THE TRADE WITH CHINA. I SUPPORT IMPROVING NAFTA. I SUPPORT OUR CURRENT PROBLEM WE HAVE RIGHT NOW WITH EUROPE, WHICH IS TANTAMOUNT TO A TRADE WAR. ALTHOUGH NO ONE HAS USED THOSE WORDS YET, WE'RE IN A TRADE WAR RIGHT NOW WITH EUROPE THAT WE HAVE GOT TO BE MORE AGGRESSIVE ON. THOSE ARE THE FIRST THREE THINGS. MY OPPONENT DOESN'T SUPPORT THAT. THE SECOND IS THAT I WOULD GET RID OF THE BASE ACREAGE AND I WOULD MOVE MORE TO A SUITABILITY STANDARD WHERE -- AND YOU TALK ABOUT CONSERVATION; THIS WILL GO LIGHT YEARS TOWARD CONSERVATION SAYING "IS THIS GROUND SUITABLE FOR CORN OR FOR BEANS," INSTEAD OF SAYING "BECAUSE WE'VE ALWAYS DONE IT THAT WAY AND THE GOVERNMENT SAID IT WAS OKAY, LET'S STICK TO THAT." I BELIEVE MOVING TO A SUITABILITY STANDARD WOULD BE A FAR BETTER WAY TO DETERMINE FUTURE SUITABILITY AND BASE ACREAGE THAN OUR CURRENT STANDARD. THOSE ARE SOME THINGS THAT I WOULD IMMEDIATELY WORK UP.

Borg: KAY?

Henderson: IOWA POLICYMAKERS ARE HAVING A DEBATE RIGHT NOW ABOUT IMMIGRATION AND WELCOMING PEOPLE FROM OTHER STATES AND INDEED OTHER COUNTRIES TO IOWA. AS A FEDERAL POLICYMAKER, HOW WOULD YOU ENACT IMMIGRATION IN IOWA?

Smith: I WOULD LOOK AT THIS CONGRESS, THIS CURRENT REPUBLICAN CONGRESS EXPANDING THE 1B VISA TO BRING MORE FOREIGN WORKERS IN TO TAKE THE HIGH PAYING, HIGH-TECH JOBS ON THE PREMISE THAT OUR YOUNG PEOPLE DO NOT HAVE THE SKILL AND CAPACITY TO FILL THOSE JOBS. THAT'S AN OUTRAGE THAT WE WOULD NOT BE ABLE, WITH THE EDUCATION SYSTEM THAT WE HAVE AND THE YOUNG POPULATION THAT WE HAVE, THAT WE WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO EMPLOY OUR CITIZENS FIRST AND HAVE TO BRING FOREIGN STUDENTS, FOREIGN WORKERS IN TO FILL THOSE HIGH PAYING JOBS. THEN IN TURN, WE'VE GOT THIS ROUND ROBIN GOING WHERE, GEE, WE CAN'T FILL SOME OF THESE LOW-WAGE JOBS SO LET'S BRING MORE IMMIGRANTS IN, PUT THEM IN THE LOW-WAGE JOBS. WHAT WE'VE GOT GOING ON HERE IS EMPLOYERS ARE ABUSING WORKERS. LOW WAGES, POOR WORKING CONDITIONS, POOR BENEFITS, AND COMMUNITIES ARE STRUGGLING WITH THE POVERTY THAT COMES WITH IT. EVERYONE IN IOWA HAS OPEN ARMS FOR IMMIGRANTS. WE'RE ALL IMMIGRANTS. BUT I DON'T THINK THERE'S A LOT OF SUPPORT TO PROP UP EMPLOYERS THAT WANT TO PAY PEOPLE WAGES AT A LEVEL WHERE THEY HAVE TO LIVE ON PUBLIC ASSISTANCE AS WELL TO SURVIVE. THAT IS GOING ON IN PARTS OF IOWA. WE CAN DO BETTER AND, YES, WE HAVE IMMIGRATION. WE'VE ALWAYS HAD IMMIGRATION AND WE'VE HAD VARIOUS QUOTAS SET UP BY THE FEDERAL LEVEL, AND WE'LL CONTINUE TO DO SO. BUT, HEY, EMPLOY OUR FAMILIES' CHILDREN FIRST.

Borg: CONGRESSMAN NUSSLE, IMMIGRATION?

Nussle: FIRST OF ALL, WE WOULD NOT HAVE A CONTROVERSY ON LEGAL IMMIGRATION IF THERE WASN'T A TERRIBLE CONTROVERSY ON ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION. PART OF THE REASON WE HAVE THIS CONTROVERSY IS BECAUSE WE HAVE SO MANY PEOPLE THAT ARE POURING THROUGH OUR BORDERS ILLEGALLY. IF WE COULD CURTAIL THAT, WHICH WE HAVE TRIED WITH INCREASES IN BORDER PATROL -- AND THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT THE CONGRESS HAS STEPPED TO THE PLATE TO DO, BUT IT'S MUCH MORE COMPLICATED THAN JUST, HERE, PUT A FEW MORE BORDER PATROL PEOPLE ON. BUT THAT'S THE FIRST THING. IF WE COULD CURTAIL ILLEGAL, THERE WOULD BE LESS OF A CONTROVERSY WITH LEGAL. THE SECOND ON HIGH PAYING, LOW PAYING. LOOK, WE DON'T NEED TO SCARE PEOPLE ABOUT WHO'S COMING. CURRENTLY, IF THERE IS AN AVAILABLE JOB AND THERE ISN'T AN IOWAN TO TAKE IT, WE OUGHT TO LOOK FOR OTHER OPPORTUNITIES. AND I THINK WHAT THE GOVERNOR HAS DONE IN SOME AREAS HAS BEEN WORTHWHILE, BUT THERE'S AN ISSUE THAT -- WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT WHAT CAN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DO BACK HERE... EDUCATION. WE CAN'T ASSUME THAT -- FOR INSTANCE, IN THE WATERLOO AREA, WE'VE HAD A NUMBER OF BOSNIANS THAT HAVE COME IN. GREAT WORKERS DOING A GREAT JOB, BUT THEY'RE KIDS AND THEY THEMSELVES ARE HAVING A PROBLEM ASSIMILATING TO THE COMMUNITY BECAUSE OF THEIR LANGUAGE BARRIER. EDUCATION IS A VERY VITAL, IMPORTANT AREA IF WE'RE GOING TO -- IT'S THE ONE THING THAT LEVELS THE PLAYING FIELD FOR EVERYBODY INVOLVED.

Yepsen: CONGRESSMAN, WAY TOO MANY ISSUES AND NOT ENOUGH TIME. WE WANT TO MOVE ON. THE FEDERAL BUDGET SURPLUS... THE NEXT CONGRESS AND PRESIDENT WILL HAVE TO DECIDE WHAT TO DO WITH WHATEVER BUDGET SURPLUS THERE IS. WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH IT?

Nussle: NUMBER ONE, PAY DOWN THE DEBT. IT'S THE MOST IMPORTANT THING WE CAN DO WITH THE BUDGET SURPLUS. THAT'S WHY I FINALLY, AFTER ABOUT NINE MONTHS OF BATTLING THIS ISSUE, HAVE CONVINCED THE LEADERSHIP AND THE REPUBLICANS IN CONGRESS THAT CAME TO MY POSITION OF 90 PERCENT OF THIS CURRENT SURPLUS AT THE END OF THIS YEAR WILL HAVE GONE TO PAYING DOWN THE NATIONAL DEBT. NOW, CAN WE FIND TAX RELIEF IN THAT TOO? YOU BET WE CAN. BUT FIRST, PAY DOWN THE NATIONAL DEBT. SECOND, LET'S PROVIDE SOME TAX RELIEF FOR ALL TAXPAYERS. NOT 1 PERCENT HERE AND 2 PERCENT THERE, TOP THIRD, ALL OF THE ARGUING THAT'S GOING ON AND ALL THIS KIND OF STUFF, WHICH IS JUST CLASS WARFARE AND I REALLY DETEST THAT, BUT GIVE IT TO ALL TAXPAYERS. FINALLY, THERE ARE SOME IMPORTANT PRIORITIES I THINK OF SPECIAL EDUCATION WHICH HAS NOT YET GOTTEN ITS FULL FUNDING, WHICH DESERVES FULL FUNDING IN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, WHICH I HAVE HELPED FIGHT FOR INCREASES, ONE BILLION LAST YEAR, ONE BILLION THIS YEAR OVER WHAT THE PRESIDENT REQUESTED. SO THERE ARE SOME SPENDING PRIORITIES WHERE GOVERNMENT HAS TO STEP IN, BUT THAT WOULD BE THE ORDER OF MY PRIORITY.

Yepsen: SUPERVISOR SMITH, THE SAME QUESTION TO YOU. WHAT DO YOU DO WITH THE BUDGET SURPLUS?

Smith: WE HAVE TO BE SURE THERE IS A SURPLUS. SOME SAY THERE IS, OTHERS THERE ISN'T. BUT NUSSLE IS HUSTLING THE VOTERS OF THE SECOND DISTRICT HERE, BECAUSE HE'S CONSISTENTLY VOTED FOR MAJOR BILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF TAX BREAKS FOR THE WEALTHY. AND IT'S NOT DONNA SMITH SAYING IT; IT'S PUBLIC VOTE, PUBLIC RECORD. NOW, THE DEBT? YES, $5.7 TRILLION. AND JIM NUSSLE HAS BEEN IN CONGRESS TEN YEARS. WHEN HE WENT IN, IN 1990, THE FEDERAL DEFICIT WAS A LITTLE OVER 3.2 TRILLION. IT'S GROWING UNDER JIMMY NUSSLE'S WATCH ON WAYS AND MEANS. THE BUDGET COMMITTEE TOOK 5.7, SO HE IS PART OF THE PROBLEM, NOT THE SOLUTION. NOW, YOU CAN'T GRANT TAX BREAKS TO THE WEALTHY WITH THE ESTATE TAX, THE DEATH TAX, AND SHIFT AROUND. AND IF CLINTON HADN'T VETOED SOME OF THOSE VOTES HE CAST TO GIVE THE TAX BREAKS TO THE WEALTHY, THERE WOULDN'T BE ANY MONEY LEFT TO SHORE UP MEDICARE, SOCIAL SECURITY, OR PAY DOWN THE DEBT. YOU BET PAY DOWN THE DEBT. IT'S A PRIORITY BECAUSE 15 PERCENT OF THAT BUDGET IS GOING TO PAY THE INTEREST. THAT MONEY CAN BE FREED UP TO HELP MEET THE NEEDS OF EDUCATION, OUR SENIOR CITIZENS AND SO ON.

Yepsen: CONGRESSMAN, YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO REPLY TO THAT.

Nussle: WELL, MY PRIORITIES ARE VERY CLEAR AND THEY HAVE BEEN, AND THAT'S THE WAY I VOTED. AS FAR AS THE DEFICIT, THE DEFICIT WE'VE ACTUALLY ELIMINATED, DONNA. IT'S THE NATIONAL DEBT THAT WENT UP DURING THAT SAME PERIOD OF TIME. BUT WHY DID IT GO UP? BECAUSE FIRST AND FOREMOST, WE WERE IN A DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS THOSE FIRST TWO YEARS AND THEN THE SECOND TWO YEARS UNDER CLINTON, AND THE DEFICITS WENT UP. AT A TIME WHEN THE PRESIDENT SAID HE WAS GOING TO REDUCE IT, THEY ACTUALLY WENT UP. IT WASN'T UNTIL THE REPUBLICANS GOT IN THAT WE NOT ONLY ELIMINATED THE DEFICIT BUT WE ARE REDUCING AND HAVE FOR THIS -- FIRST TIME, $350 BILLION REDUCED ON THE DEBT HELD BY THE PUBLIC. IT'S THE FIRST TIME THAT'S EVER HAPPENED. GUESS WHO CARRIED THE BILL ON THAT. DONNA, I CARRIED THE BILL ON THE FLOOR, ALL THREE BILLS THAT REDUCED THE NATIONAL -- I'M VERY PROUD OF THAT. SO I UNDERSTAND YOU MAY NOT LIKE THE FIRST FOUR YEARS OF THIS DECADE. I DIDN'T EITHER; THAT'S WHY I VOTED AGAINST THOSE BUDGETS, GOT ON THE BUDGET COMMITTEE, AND GOT US TO A BALANCE. AND I'M VERY PROUD OF THAT RECORD.

Borg: KAY.

Henderson: WE HAVE LITTLE TIME LEFT. LET'S TALK ABOUT PRESCRIPTION DRUG BENEFITS. HOW SHOULD PRESCRIPTION DRUG BENEFITS BE PROVIDED TO SENIORS?

Smith: PRESCRIPTION DRUG BENEFITS SHOULD BE PROVIDED NOW, NOT TWO YEARS OR THREE YEARS DOWN THE ROAD. THE SYSTEM SHOULD BE STREAMLINED IN THE MEDICARE DELIVERY SYSTEM AND NOT TAKEN OUT TO THE PRIVATE INSURANCE INDUSTRIES WHERE YOU'LL HAVE A VARIETY OF DIFFERENT PROGRAMS AND MORE ADMINISTRATIVE FEES EATING UP THE MONEY. BUT ALSO WITH THE PRESCRIPTION DRUGS, THERE HAS TO BE A WAY WITHIN THE MEDICARE SYSTEM AND THE BIG POWER THAT THAT BRINGS TO LOWER THE PRICE GOUGING THAT'S GOING ON WITH THE BIG MANUFACTURING COMPANIES. AND JIM NUSSLE IS IN THE POCKETS OF THESE SPECIAL INTERESTS, INCLUDING THE DRUG MANUFACTURERS. WELL, IT'S TRUE! LOOK AT THE RECORD ON -- [ SPEAKING AT ONCE ]

Nussle: LET'S TALK ISSUES. LET'S NOT TALK INSULTS. I MEAN, THE FIRST THING IS –

Smith: IT'S NOT AN INSULT, IT'S THE PUBLIC RECORD.

Nussle: YOU MAY NOT THINK SO; I GUESS I'M THE ONE THAT'S WEARING IT. NUMBER ONE IS THAT IT HAS TO BE VOLUNTARY. A ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL PROGRAM DOESN'T FIT FOR IOWA SENIORS. EVERY IOWA SENIOR IS DIFFERENT. IOWANS SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO CHOOSE, UNDER MEDICARE, DIFFERENT PLANS THAT WORK FOR THEM FOR PRESCRIPTION DRUGS, MANAGED BY THEMSELVES, LOCAL PHARMACISTS AND DOCTORS, AND IT HAS TO BE AVAILABLE IN EVERY CORNER OF THE SECOND DISTRICT OF IOWA.

Borg: WE CERTAINLY SEE A DIFFERENCE THAT VOTERS ARE GOING TO HAVE WHEN THEY WALK INTO THE VOTING BOOTH. THANK YOU FOR SHARING YOUR PHILOSOPHIES WITH US. I'M SORRY THAT WE'RE OUT OF TIME. ON OUR NEXT EDITION OF IOWA PRESS, WE CONTINUE WITH OUR PREVIEW TO THE CAMPAIGNS FOR THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. THE SPOTLIGHT MOVES TO THE THIRD U.S. CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT IN SOUTHEASTERN IOWA. JOINING US, THE DEMOCRATIC INCUMBENT, REPRESENTATIVE LEONARD BOSWELL OF DAVIS CITY, AND HIS REPUBLICAN CHALLENGER, JAY MARCUS OF FAIRFIELD. 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 HAS BEEN PROVIDED BY FRIENDS OF IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION; BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS; AND BY THE ASSOCIATION OF BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY, THE VOICE OF IOWA BUSINESS, REPRESENTING THE INTERESTS OF OVER 1,500 BUSINESSES EMPLOYING 300,000 IOWANS.