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Iowa Press #2834 - Governor Tom Vilsack
April 29, 2001

BORG: BUDGET BATTLES CONTINUE AS THE 79TH IOWA GENERAL ASSEMBLY STRUGGLES TO CONCLUDE THE 2001 LEGISLATIVE SESSION. WE'LL GET THE ASSESSMENTS OF IOWA GOVERNOR TOM VILSACK ON THIS EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS."

FUNDING FOR "IOWA PRESS" HAS BEEN 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; 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; 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, APRIL 29 EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS." HERE IS DEAN BORG.

BORG: FRIDAY, APRIL 27, THAT WAS THE ADJOURNMENT TARGET DATE FOR THE CURRENT LEGISLATIVE SESSION. LAST FRIDAY WAS THE 110TH DAY OF THE SCHEDULED 110-DAY SESSION. IT'S ALSO WHEN LEGISLATORS' PAY ENDED FOR THIS SESSION. BUT AS OF MONDAY, APRIL 30, LEGISLATORS WILL STILL BE IN SESSION AT THE STATEHOUSE. THE DELAY, OF COURSE, IS OVER THE DEVELOPING OF A STATE BUDGET FOR FISCAL YEAR 2001. THAT ACTUALLY BEGINS JULY 1. BECAUSE THE STATE EXPECTS REVENUE TO BE SOME $300 MILLION LESS THAN PREVIOUSLY PROJECTED, THERE ARE SOME HARD DECISIONS WITH STRONG POLITICAL OVERTONES. THE BATTLE LINES HAVE THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH AGAINST THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH, REPUBLICAN AGAINST DEMOCRAT, EVEN HOUSE AGAINST THE SENATE. WELL, HERE TO HELP US SORT THROUGH THE BUDGET PRIORITIES FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH IS GOVERNOR TOM VILSACK. GOVERNOR, WELCOME BACK TO "IOWA PRESS."

VILSACK: GREAT TO BE HERE.

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

GLOVER: GOVERNOR, REPUBLICAN LEGISLATIVE LEADERS LAST WEEK TOLD US THAT WHAT THEY PLAN TO DO IS TO SEND YOU THEIR BUDGET, WHICH THEY'VE AGREED TO -- IT'S ABOUT $100 MILLION LESS THAN YOU WANT -- SHIP IT TO YOU, ASSUMING YOU'LL VETO A BUNCH OF IT AND BRING THEM BACK INTO SPECIAL SESSION. IS THAT A GOOD ASSUMPTION?

VILSACK: WELL, THERE'S REALLY NO REASON FOR US TO HAVE A SPECIAL SESSION IF WE CONTINUE TO TALK, CONTINUE TO TAKE A LOOK AT WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE IN ORDER TO BRIDGE THE GAP BETWEEN US. FROM OUR ADVANTAGE POINT WE NEED A BUDGET THAT SUPPORTS IOWA FAMILIES AND THE EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY OF CHILDREN; PROVIDES ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE AND DEALS WITH THE ABUSE INITIATIVE. FROM THEIR VANTAGE POINT, THEY WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT WE'RE NOT CREATING PROBLEMS NEXT YEAR, AND WE SHARE THAT CONCERN. IT'S A MATTER OF GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS AND GETTING DOWN AND VISITING AND SPEAKING AND TALKING AND LISTENING. WE'VE TRIED TO FACILITATE THAT THIS WEEK, AND WE'LL CONTINUE TO DO THAT.

GLOVER: YOU'VE SEEN THE BILLS THAT THEY'RE PLANNING ON SENDING DOWN TO YOU. ARE THEY ACCEPTABLE?

VILSACK: WELL, THERE ARE SEVERAL ASPECTS OF THEM THAT ARE AND SOME THAT AREN'T, AND THAT'S WHAT PART OF THE DISCUSSIONS ARE ALL ABOUT. WE'RE NOT PARTICULARLY KEEN ON UNDERFUNDING THE TEACHER COMPENSATION / STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT PLAN. WE THINK THIS IS A GREAT PLAN FOR IOWA. WE THINK IT'S A WAY OF REALLY MOVING OUR EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY FOR CHILDREN FORWARD, BUT IT HAS TO BE ADEQUATELY FUNDED.

GLOVER: AS A PRAGMATIC POLITICIAN, CAN YOU SOLVE THAT THIS WEEK?

VILSACK: I THINK WE CAN. I THINK WE CAN.

YEPSEN: GOVERNOR, WE WANT TO COME BACK TO THE BUDGET, BUT A LOT OF OUR VIEWERS IN EASTERN IOWA ARE BATTLING THE MIGHTY MISSISSIPPI, AS YOU KNOW. SHOULD DAVENPORT BUILD A FLOOD WALL? THERE'S A LOT OF CONCERN THAT EVERY TIME THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER FLOODS, THE TAXPAYERS HAVE TO GO IN AND CLEAN UP IN DAVENPORT. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT QUESTION?

VILSACK: YOU KNOW, I LEARNED A GREAT DEAL ON MY VISIT TO DAVENPORT, WITH PHIL YERINGTON, THE MAYOR, AND JOE ALBAUGH THE OTHER DAY. WHAT I LEARNED WAS THAT IN 1984, DAVENPORT DID A STUDY OF WHAT STEPS IT COULD TAKE. IT WENT TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AFTER IT DID ITS STUDY, REQUESTED RESOURCES, AND THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SAID NO. DAVENPORT THEN WENT TO THE SECOND PHASE OF THEIR PLAN WHICH WAS TO WORK WITH BUSINESS OWNERS AND PROPERTY OWNERS TO CONSTRUCT AND DESIGN

BUILDINGS SO THAT THEY WOULD BE LESS CONDUCIVE TO FLOOD DAMAGE, AND THAT'S BASICALLY WHERE THEY ARE TODAY. AND THEY REALLY HAVE MITIGATED THE DAMAGE SIGNIFICANTLY AS A RESULT OF THAT. THERE'S A LOT OF ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY THAT THE MISSISSIPPI PROVIDES THAT COMMUNITY AND ALL OF IOWA. WE DO NOT HAVE AN OCEAN OR A MOUNTAIN, BUT WHAT WE DO HAVE IS THE MIGHTY MISSISSIPPI AND WE OUGHT TO USE IT. I THINK THAT THERE ARE STRATEGIES THAT DAVENPORT CAN USE BUT THEY'RE GOING TO NEED HELP AND SUPPORT, AND I THINK IT OBVIOUSLY HAS TO BE A LOCAL DECISION.

YEPSEN: SO WILL YOU BE WILLING TO PROVIDE STATE DOLLARS EITHER TO CLEAN IT UP OR TO HELP THEM BUILD SOMETHING IN THE FUTURE?

VILSACK: WELL, WE'VE REQUESTED A FEDERAL DECLARATION, EMERGENCY DECLARATION, AND IF THE PRESIDENT APPROVES IT, THAT WOULD ALLOW THE STATE, THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT, AND THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO WORK TOGETHER TO FINANCE JOINTLY THE CLEANUP. AND I WOULD IMAGINE THAT WILL HAPPEN.

BORG: GOVERNOR, WHILE THE STATE HAS A POCKETBOOK ISSUE IN THE BUDGET, INDIVIDUAL FAMILIES ALSO HAVE ONE AND IT'S IN RISING GAS PRICES RIGHT NOW. LAST YEAR YOU PROPOSED A SOLUTION IN THE WAY OF A COUPON. DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING IN MIND AS GAS PRICES ARE NEARING TWO DOLLARS AND EXPECTED TO GO HIGHER?

VILSACK: ACTUALLY OUR ANSWER TO THE GAS PRICES AND GAS SITUATION IS ONE WORD, AND THAT'S "ETHANOL." IOWA HAS THE ABILITY TO PRODUCE MORE ETHANOL, AND IT SHOULD PRODUCE AND PROCESS MORE ETHANOL. THERE ARE TWO BILLS IN THE LEGISLATURE, WHICH I BELIEVE COULD VERY WELL FACILITATE THE PRODUCTION OF MORE ETHANOL AND RESULT IN A CHEAPER FUEL FOR THE CITIZENS OF IOWA. ONE HAS TO DO WITH ENCOURAGING COOPERATIVES TO BUILD PROCESSING FACILITIES. THERE ARE FOUR OR FIVE PLANNED FOR THE STATE. THE OTHER IS A CREDIT TO RETAILERS. ONCE THEY REACH A CERTAIN THRESHOLD LEVEL OF SALES OF ETHANOL SO THAT THERE WILL BE PROMOTIONS FOR THE USE OF ETHANOL. I THINK THAT'S ONE THING THAT THE STATE OF IOWA ITSELF CAN DO. THIS IS OBVIOUSLY A NATIONAL ISSUE, AND IT MUST BE ADDRESSED AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL. BUT WHILE IT IS, WE'RE GOING TO CONTINUE TO PROMOTE OUR FUEL, WHICH IS ETHANOL, CONTINUE TO ENCOURAGE THE PRESIDENT NOT TO GRANT THE WAIVER THAT CALIFORNIA SEEKS, WHICH WOULD BE A DAMAGING BLOW TO THE ETHANOL INDUSTRY.

GLOVER: LET'S HOP BACK TO THE BUDGET. WE'RE GOING TO DO A LITTLE HOPPING AROUND TODAY. THERE'S A LOT OF THINGS GOING ON THESE DAYS. THERE'S A BIG FIGHT AT THE STATEHOUSE OVER STATE SPENDING. IT'S PARALYZED THE STATEHOUSE FOR MUCH OF THE WINTER AND INTO THE SPRING. WILL THE AVERAGE IOWAN WATCHING THIS PROGRAM NOTICE SOMETHING DIFFERENT, DEPENDING ON THE OUTCOME OF THIS BUDGET FIGHT?

VILSACK: WELL, I THINK THEY WILL AND I THINK THEY'LL NOTICE SOME POSITIVE THINGS ONCE THIS IS RESOLVED. I THINK IT'S ALL ABOUT IOWA FAMILIES AND IOWA CHILDREN. WHEN I BECAME GOVERNOR, I PLEDGED TO WORK FOR IOWA FAMILIES AND FOR IOWA CHILDREN'S EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY. I THINK THEY'LL CONTINUE TO SEE REDUCED CLASS SIZES, AND THEY'LL CONTINUE TO SEE IMPROVED TEST SCORES. I THINK THEY'LL SEE A TEACHER COMPENSATION / STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT PLAN THAT WILL BE FIRST IN THE NATION AND THE BEST IN THE NATION, WHICH WILL REWARD TEACHERS FOR CONTINUING THEIR CAREER AND DEVELOPING THEIR CAREER. IT WILL CHALLENGE EVERY SCHOOL DISTRICT, EVERY TEACHER, AND EVERYONE INVOLVED IN THE SCHOOL SYSTEM TO ENCOURAGE BETTER, HIGHER STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT, AND I THINK WE'LL BEGIN TO SEE THE RESULTS OF THAT. I THINK DESPITE THE BUDGET ISSUES AND DIFFICULTIES, I THINK WE'LL SEE A CONTINUED EFFORT TO EXPAND HEALTH CARE FOR CHILDREN. AND I THINK YOU'LL SEE SOME EFFORTS ON THE PART OF THE STATE TO DO A BETTER JOB OF PROTECTING CHILDREN FROM ABUSE.

GLOVER: THERE SEEMS TO BE A BIT MORE OPTIMISM EMANATING FROM YOU THAN WE HEAR FROM THE LEGISLATIVE LEADERS ABOUT THE POTENTIAL FOR WORKING THIS OUT. THEY'VE ESSENTIALLY TOLD US THEY'VE GIVEN UP TRYING TO WORK IT OUT. WHAT REASON DO YOU HAVE FOR FINDING THIS OPTIMISTIC

VILSACK: AS A PRACTICAL MATTER, WE HAVE TO HAVE A BUDGET. IT HAS TO GET RESOLVED AND I'VE BEEN TRYING TO EXPLAIN TO LEGISLATIVE LEADERS, WE CAN DO IT LATER OR WE CAN DO IT SOONER. IT SEEMS TO ME THAT IT MAKES SENSE TO DO IT SOONER SO THE TAXPAYERS AREN'T PUT AT THE EXPENSE OF THE SPECIAL SESSION FOR THIS PURPOSE. IT'S A MATTER OF SITTING DOWN AND LISTENING AND LEARNING AND TRYING TO REACH A COMMON MIDDLE GROUND. WE'RE GOING TO DO THAT, AND YOU CAN DO THAT WITHOUT COMPROMISING THE EDUCATIONAL FUTURE OF CHILDREN OR ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE AND WITHOUT COMPROMISING FISCAL INTEGRITY. WE HAVE TWO RESPONSIBILITIES HERE, MIKE. WE HAVE THE RESPONSIBILITY TO BE FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE. WE ALSO HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO THE FUTURE OF THE STATE, AND THAT'S ENSURING THAT WE HAVE THE BEST EDUCATION SYSTEM IN THE COUNTRY.

YEPSEN: GOVERNOR, TAX POLICY... THE REPUBLICANS IN THE LEGISLATURE ARE GOING TO SEND YOU A PACKAGE OF BILLS CUTTING A VARIETY OF TAXES IN THE SPIRIT OF WHAT THEY HOPE IS ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. I KNOW YOU'VE EXPRESSED CONCERN IN THE PAST THAT MAYBE WE'VE CUT TOO MANY TAXES, THE CUPBOARD IS BARE. THEY SAY, YOU KNOW, WE'VE GOT TO GET SOMETHING GOING IN THIS STATE. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH THOSE BILLS WHEN THEY GET TO YOUR DESK?

VILSACK: WELL, I'VE EXPRESSED TO REPUBLICAN LEADERS AS I'VE LOOKED AT THEIR PACKAGE THAT THERE'S ONE SIGNIFICANT PIECE THAT WOULD BE MISSING, AND THAT HAS TO DO WITH ENCOURAGING VENTURE CAPITAL IN THIS STATE. EVERY ECONOMIC INDICATOR, EVERY ECONOMIC STUDY OF THE STATE SUGGESTS THAT WE ARE WOEFULLY INADEQUATE IN TERMS OF PROMOTING VENTURE CAPITAL ON ENTREPRENEURSHIP. SO IF WE'RE REALLY GOING TO BE TALKING ABOUT USING TAX POLICY AS AN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT TOOL, THEN IT OUGHT TO BE ABOUT SPURRING ENTREPRENEURSHIP. IT OUGHT TO BE ABOUT CREATING

OPPORTUNITIES FOR THAT WELL-EDUCATED IOWAN WHO GRADUATES FROM OUR UNIVERSITIES AND COLLEGES TO GO ON AND START THAT SMALL BUSINESS AND DEVELOP A MEANINGFUL AND SUCCESSFUL LIFE. SO I AM VERY INTERESTED IN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. I'M VERY INTERESTED IN TAKING A LOOK AT DIFFERENT TOOLS THAN WE'VE USED IN THE PAST. THAT'S WHY WE'VE PROPOSED THE NEW ECONOMY COUNCIL. THAT'S WHY WE HAVE PROMOTED ETHANOL PRODUCTION. THAT'S WHY WE'VE PROMOTED VENTURE CAPITAL.

YEPSEN: AS YOU KNOW, THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS THINKING ABOUT A BIG TAX CUT. BECAUSE OF THE WAY THE TAX SYSTEM IN IOWA IS CONFIGURED, THAT WILL MEAN A WINDFALL TO THE STATE TREASURY. THERE WILL BE MORE STATE TAXABLE INCOME COMING BACK TO IOWANS. SHOULD STATE GOVERNMENT KEEP THAT MONEY AND SPEND IT, OR SHOULD STATE GOVERNMENT PASS THAT MONEY BACK ALONG TO THE TAXPAYERS IN SOME FORM.

VILSACK: I THINK IN ALL CASES THE STATE SHOULD USE AND INVEST MONEY WISELY. I THINK WE SHOULD LOOK FOR WAYS TO IMPROVE OUR EDUCATION SYSTEM, EXPAND ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE FOR CHILDREN, PROTECT CHILDREN, AND ALSO STIMULATE ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY. THE EXTENT OF THE TAX CUT WILL OBVIOUSLY DEFINE THE EXTENT TO WHICH ANY OR ALL OF THOSE THINGS CAN BE DONE. THAT'S WHAT THE STATE SHOULD BE DOING WITH THE RESOURCES OF THE CITIZENS OF THE STATE PROVIDES.

YEPSEN: SPEND SOME OF IT AND RETURN SOME OF IT.

VILSACK: WELL, YOU KNOW, WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT SPENDING, IT WOULD SUGGEST THAT THAT'S ALL THAT HAPPENS. I REALLY WOULD PREFER TO TALK ABOUT INVESTING. WHEN YOU INVEST IN A CHILD'S EDUCATION, YOU'RE ESSENTIALLY SAYING TO THE PARENTS OF THAT CHILD, WE'RE PUTTING RESOURCES INTO YOUR CHILD SO THAT YOUR CHILD'S FUTURE IS MORE SECURE, BETTER ABLE TO SUCCEED. THAT'S WHAT GOVERNMENT IS ALL ABOUT. I'VE BEEN SAYING RECENTLY, IF GOVERNMENT ISN'T ABOUT EDUCATING CHILDREN, ISN'T ABOUT PROTECTING CHILDREN, WHAT IS IT ABOUT?

GLOVER: LET'S TALK ABOUT EDUCATING CHILDREN. THE LEGISLATURE IS PREPARED TO SEND YOU A BILL SPENDING $8 MILLION AS A DOWN PAYMENT ON A TEACHER PAY INCREASE, AND ANOTHER BILL CHANGING THE WAY TEACHERS ARE PAID. HOW DO YOU GET BEYOND THAT TO WHAT YOU WANT TO DO, WHICH IS $40 MILLION?

VILSACK: WE CONTINUE TO TALK AND LISTEN TO LEGISLATORS' CONCERNS, AND HOPEFULLY THEY'LL LISTEN TO OURS. YOU CANNOT UNDERFUND THIS SYSTEM. IN ORDER FOR THIS SYSTEM TO WORK, YOU HAVE TO INVEST MONEY IN MENTORING AND INDUCTION PROGRAMS, YOU HAVE TO INVEST MONEY IN REWARDING NATIONALLY BOARD-CERTIFIED TEACHERS, BUT YOU ALSO HAVE TO PROVIDE HIGHER BEGINNING SALARIES AND YOU ALSO HAVE TO PROVIDE ADDITIONAL RESOURCES TO VETERAN TEACHERS TO ENCOURAGE THEM TO GET ON THAT CAREER DEVELOPMENT PATH, TO ENCOURAGE SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO ESTABLISH CHALLENGING GOALS FOR YOUNGSTERS. THIS IS ALL ABOUT BETTER EDUCATION FOR CHILDREN. IN ORDER TO DO IT, YOU HAVE TO HAVE A MINIMAL LEVEL OF INVESTMENT. AND $40 MILLION IS THAT MINIMUM; NO QUESTION ABOUT IT. THAT IS WHAT IT WILL BE. I'M CONFIDENT WE'LL GET THERE.

GLOVER: IT WON'T WORK AT EIGHT?

VILSACK: IT CAN'T WORK AT EIGHT BECAUSE YOU DON'T HAVE THE INCENTIVE TO RECRUIT QUALITY YOUNG TEACHERS WHO ARE COMING OUT OF UNIVERSITIES AND COLLEGES AND YOU DON'T HAVE THE ABILITY TO SEND THE MESSAGE TO VETERAN TEACHERS THAT THIS SYSTEM IS ABOUT COMPENSATING YOU MORE ADEQUATELY AND ALSO DRIVING BETTER STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT.

YEPSEN: GOVERNOR, WHAT DO YOU SAY TO THE REPUBLICAN ARGUMENT THAT THE STATE IS OUT OF MONEY; THERE'S JUST NOT ENOUGH TO DO THIS; AND THE TEACHERS ARE ALREADY SOME OF THE BEST PAID PEOPLE IN SMALL TOWN IOWA; AND WE JUST CAN'T AFFORD THIS RIGHT NOW; MAYBE SOMEDAY BUT JUST NOT NOW? WHAT DO YOU SAY TO THAT THEM?

VILSACK: WELL, FIRST OF ALL, THIS IS ABOUT PRIORITIES. THE QUESTION IS WHAT IS THE FIRST DOLLAR THAT YOU WOULD SPEND; WHERE IS THE FIRST DOLLAR THAT YOU SHOULD SPEND; WHAT SHOULD IT BE SPENT UPON? I REALLY THINK IT'S IMPORTANT FOR THE STATE OF IOWA TO TELL THE PARENTS OF CHILDREN THAT WE ARE REALLY CONCERNED ABOUT THEIR FUTURE. AND WE KNOW FOR THEM TO SURVIVE, FOR THEM TO DO WELL, FOR THEM TO SUCCEED, THEY HAVE GOT TO BE WELL EDUCATED. FRANKLY, IT'S IN OUR BEST ECONOMIC INTEREST TO WELL EDUCATE CHILDREN, BECAUSE THAT'S HOW WE SELL OURSELVES FROM AN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT STANDPOINT. SO OUR FIRST DOLLAR OUGHT TO BE SPENT ON EDUCATION. FRANKLY, WE'VE ALSO SUGGESTED AND PROPOSED AN ISSUE THAT HAS NOT RECEIVED A GREAT DEAL OF DISCUSSION AND THAT HAS TO DO WITH ENDOWING AN EARLY CHILD DEVELOPMENT PROCESS. WE PUT VERY LITTLE MONEY IN EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT, EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION, CHILD CARE. AGAIN, IF WE'RE CONCERNED ABOUT IOWA'S FAMILIES, A CONCERN THAT THEY HAVE IS WHAT HAPPENS THROUGH THOSE FIRST SIX YEARS OF LIFE. SHOULD THE GOVERNMENT PROVIDE ADDITIONAL RESOURCES TO CREATE CENTERS WHERE YOUNGSTERS ARE BETTER PREPARED TO BEGIN TO LEARN, WHERE PARENTS ARE TAUGHT HOW TO BE EDUCATORS AND HOW TO BE THEIR CHILD'S FIRST AND BEST TEACHER? WE NEED THIS ENDOWMENT AND I THINK THAT WE CAN GET THERE. I'VE BEEN TELLING LEGISLATIVE LEADERS: DESPITE THE STRESSES, DESPITE THE DIFFICULTIES, DESPITE THE FIGHTS, THIS COULD BE A LANDMARK SESSION IF WE GET THE TEACHER COMPENSATION / STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT PLAN ADEQUATELY FUNDED AND WE SET UP AN ENDOWMENT FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD LEARNING, WE WILL HAVE DONE GOOD WORK.

BORG: WHILE SHE WAS STILL IN THAT EARLY STAGE OF LIFE, SHELBY DUIS DIDN'T GET A CHANCE TO GET INTO THE CLASSROOM. SHE'S THE YOUNG WOMAN, AS YOU KNOW, WHO DIED OF CHILD ABUSE UP IN NORTHWEST IOWA. AFTER THAT HAPPENED, AND AS WE OPENED THIS SESSION, YOU PROPOSED HIRING DOZENS OF NEW SOCIAL SERVICES FIELD WORKERS TO MAKE SURE THAT CASES LIKE THAT ARE INVESTIGATED PROMPTLY AND ACTION IS TAKEN. THE NEW BUDGET BEING PROPOSED RIGHT NOW WOULD CUT OUT MANY OF THOSE THINGS THAT YOU PROPOSED. WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN?

VILSACK: WELL, WE'RE VISITING AND WORKING WITH LEGISLATORS TO TRY TO IMPRESS UPON THEM THAT THIS IS SOMETHING THAT WE ALL COLLECTIVELY TALKED ABOUT LAST YEAR AND MADE A COMMITMENT TO THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE THAT WE WERE GOING TO PROTECT CHILDREN. THIS GOES BACK TO DAVID'S QUESTION IN TERMS OF PRIORITIES. AGAIN, IF GOVERNMENT ISN'T ABOUT PROTECTING CHILDREN, WHAT IS GOVERNMENT ABOUT? I THINK THE RESOURCES CAN BE REALLOCATED. I THINK NEW RESOURCES CAN BE DIRECTED TOWARDS THIS INITIATIVE. WE NEED MORE CHILD PROTECTION WORKERS. EVERYONE THAT'S LOOKED AT OUR SYSTEM HAS SUGGESTED THAT WE DO NOT HAVE ADEQUATE NUMBERS OF CHILD PROTECTION WORKERS.

BORG: CAN THERE BE REALLOCATIONS, HOWEVER, AND STILL MAKE WHAT YOU WANT WORK?

VILSACK: I THINK THAT THERE NEEDS TO BE AND THERE SHOULD BE, AND I BELIEVE THAT THERE WILL BE.

YEPSEN: SO YOU DON'T NEED ANY NEW PEOPLE? ARE YOU SAYING THAT?

VILSACK: NO, NO, NO. I THINK WE DO NEED PEOPLE.

YEPSEN: THERE ARE 5,400 PEOPLE THAT WORK AT THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES. IF YOU NEED 98 NEW BODIES WORKING IN CHILD PROTECTION, WHY DON'T YOU JUST REALLOCATE WHAT YOU'VE GOT RATHER THAN ASK THE LEGISLATURE FOR MORE NEW MONEY?

VILSACK: WELL, ESSENTIALLY THAT WOULD PRESUPPOSE THAT THE 5,400 PEOPLE IN THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES AREN'T DOING IMPORTANT WORK FOR IOWA'S FAMILIES.

YEPSEN: YOU DID SAY GOVERNMENT IS ABOUT PRIORITIES.

VILSACK: IT IS ABOUT PRIORITIES, BUT THE PRIORITIES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES IS ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT YOU TAKE SOMEONE OFF OF A PROCESS OF COLLECTING CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENTS, WHICH ARE REALLY IMPORTANT FOR THAT SINGLE MOM TO ADEQUATELY FUND HER CHILDREN'S UPBRINGING. DO YOU TAKE THEM OFF WORKING WITH WELFARE WHEN OUR DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES HAS HAD AN EXTRAORDINARY RECORD OF GETTING PEOPLE -- MOVING PEOPLE FROM WELFARE TO WORK. OVER 40,000 PEOPLE WERE ON WELFARE IN 1994 WHEN WE STARTED THIS PROCESS. TODAY WE'RE AT OUR LOWEST LEVEL OF FOLKS ON WELFARE. DO YOU WANT TO STOP THAT PROCESS? I DON'T THINK SO. DO YOU WANT TO STOP PROVIDING ACCESS TO SERVICES FOR THE MENTALLY ILL, THE MENTALLY RETARDED, SUBSTANCE ABUSE? ALL OF THESE THINGS ARE EXTREMELY IMPORTANT AND EQUALLY IMPORTANT. I DON'T THINK YOU NECESSARILY HAVE TO REALLOCATE WITHIN THE DHS BUDGET. I THINK AS WE TAKE A LOOK AT REVENUES, WE CAN FIND A WAY AND SHOULD FIND A WAY TO LEVERAGE STATE MONEY, USE FEDERAL MONEY TO HIRE THE WORKERS TO PROVIDE BETTER PROTECTION.

YEPSEN: THE STATE UNIVERSITIES, GOVERNOR, ARE COMPLAINING ABOUT THE EFFECT OF YOUR BUDGET, WHICH THEY DIDN'T PARTICULARLY LIKE, AND NOW THE LEGISLATURE'S BUDGET, WHICH THEY REALLY DON'T LIKE, ON THE QUALITY OF EDUCATION. YET AT THE SAME TIME, STUDENTS AT IOWA'S STATE UNIVERSITIES PAY TUITIONS THAT ARE BELOW THE AVERAGE FOR PEER INSTITUTIONS. IS IT TIME FOR A TUITION INCREASE?

VILSACK: WELL, I THINK THAT WE'LL SEE A TUITION INCREASE, THE EXTENT OF WHICH WILL BE DETERMINED BY THE BOARD OF REGENTS. AND I KNOW THEY ARE CONCERNED ABOUT MAINTAINING QUALITY. MAINTAINING QUALITY IN OUR UNIVERSITY SYSTEMS IS EXTRAORDINARILY IMPORTANT. WE TALKED ABOUT ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. WE TALKED ABOUT CREATING OPPORTUNITIES FOR THESE YOUNG PEOPLE AFTER THEY GRADUATE. THE UNIVERSITY SYSTEM IS AT THE CORE OF THE NEW ECONOMY. THE RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT THAT'S GOING TO TAKE PLACE, FOR EXAMPLE, THE PLANT SCIENCE INITIATIVE OF IOWA STATE, IS WHAT'S GOING TO CREATE THE NEW PRODUCTS THAT OUR FARMERS WILL GROW, OUR MANUFACTURERS WILL PRODUCE. SO WE HAVE GOT TO INVEST IN THOSE UNIVERSITIES, AND WE DO. WE'RE FIFTH OR SIXTH IN THE COUNTRY IN PER CAPITA SPENDING ON HIGHER EDUCATION. WE'VE GOT GREAT UNIVERSITIES. I THINK THE REGENTS WORKING WITH US CAN FIND WAYS TO THEMSELVES REALLOCATE, REPRIORITIZE WHAT THE UNIVERSITIES DO. TUITION INCREASES MAY HAPPEN. I THINK THEY PROBABLY WOULD HAVE HAPPENED REGARDLESS OF WHAT THE LEGISLATURE DID. IT MAY HAVE AN IMPACT ON THE SIZE OF THE TUITION INCREASE.

GLOVER: TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE POLITICS OF THIS BUDGET FIGHT. THERE ARE SOME WHO SUGGEST THAT THE REPUBLICANS ARE ENGAGED IN THIS BECAUSE CUTTING BUDGETS HELPS OUT THEM WITH THEIR POLITICAL BASE. THERE ARE SOME WHO SUGGEST THAT YOU'RE HELPING YOURSELF WITH YOUR POLITICAL BASE. WHAT'S THE POLITICS OF THIS BUDGET FIGHT?

VILSACK: MIKE, I'LL TELL YOU WHAT, I DON'T KNOW WHAT THE POLITICS ARE OF THIS BUDGET FIGHT. I'LL TELL YOU WHAT I'VE BEEN TELLING PEOPLE AS I GO ACROSS THE STATE. THEY WANT TO KNOW WHAT THIS FUSS IS ALL ABOUT. TO ME, WHAT THE FUSS IS ABOUT IS REALLY CHILDREN. I HONESTLY BELIEVE THIS. THIS IS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR THE STATE OF IOWA TO REALLY FOCUS AND CREATE A QUALITY EDUCATION SYSTEM. WE ALREADY HAVE A GREAT SYSTEM, BUT OVER TIME WE WILL BE CHALLENGED TO KEEP IT GREAT BECAUSE WE'RE FINDING IT DIFFICULT TO RECRUIT QUALITY TEACHERS. WE'RE FINDING IT DIFFICULT TO RETAIN TEACHERS. SO IF WE WANT TO MAINTAIN OUR PREEMINENCE IN EDUCATION, WE HAVE GOT TO INVEST IN IT. BUT JUST INVESTING MORE MONEY INTO IT ISN'T THE ANSWER. YOU'VE GOT TO DEVELOP A NEW SYSTEM FOR ENCOURAGING TEACHERS TO MAKE KIDS REALLY STRIVE TO BE THEIR VERY BEST. YOU NEED A CAREER DEVELOPMENT PATHWAY FOR TEACHERS. YOU NEED MORE SUPPORT FOR TEACHERS. YOU NEED MORE CONTRACT DAYS FOR TEACHERS. AND FRANKLY, YOU NEED TEACHERS TO SET HIGHER GOALS FOR OUR STUDENTS. ALL OF THAT IS ENCOMPASSED IN THIS PACKAGE THAT WE'RE PUTTING TOGETHER. IF YOU HAVE AN ENDOWMENT FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD LEARNING, THEN YOU'VE GOT YOUNGSTERS WHO, WHEN THEY GET INTO THE SCHOOL SYSTEM, ARE BETTER PREPARED. IF YOU MAINTAIN HIGH LEVELS OF UNIVERSITIES AND COLLEGES LIKE WE HAVE IN THIS STATE -- WE NOW HAVE THE PREMIERE EDUCATION SYSTEM IN THE COUNTRY. THAT IS A GREAT ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT TOOL, A GREAT RECRUITING TOOL FOR YOUNG PARENTS WHO ARE LOOKING FOR PLACES TO LOCATE, A GREAT WAY TO GET FORMER IOWANS BACK. THAT'S WHAT THIS BUDGET FIGHT IS ALL ABOUT. IT IS ALSO ABOUT FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY, AND I DON'T WANT TO UNDEREMPHASIZE THE IMPORTANCE OF THAT. I THINK WE CAN BE AND WE HAVE BEEN FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE. GOVERNING MAGAZINE HAS RATED IOWA'S STATE GOVERNMENT AS THE BEST MANAGED STATE IN THE MIDWEST. OUR RANKING ACTUALLY IMPROVED BECAUSE WE ARE FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE. YOU KNOW, THE REALITY IS WE'LL STILL HAVE SEVERAL HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS IN RESERVE. WE WILL HAVE PROVIDED TAX RELIEF TO IOWANS EVERY SINGLE YEAR FOR THE LAST FOUR OR FIVE YEARS, AND WITH THE TAX CUT THAT WAS PASSED ON THE UTILITY TAX, THEY'LL HAVE TAX RELIEF FOR THE NEXT TWO OR THREE YEARS. SO IT SEEMS TO ME THAT WE CAN BALANCE THE FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY WITH THE VERY SERIOUS RESPONSIBILITY WE HAVE TO MOVE THIS STATE FORWARD AND TO ENSURE A BETTER LIFE FOR CHILDREN.

YEPSEN: GOVERNOR, THE REPUBLICANS SAY THAT WE SPEND MORE MONEY ON EDUCATION IN THIS STATE EVERY YEAR ON LOCAL - ON K-12 SCHOOLS - AND THAT JUST THROWING MORE MONEY AT THIS PROBLEM ISN'T A CURE AND THAT WHAT THIS REALLY IS ABOUT IS YOU PROVIDING PAY RAISES TO STATE EMPLOYEES AND TO MEMBERS OF THE TEACHER UNION WHO ARE BIG POLITICAL SUPPORTERS OF YOURS. WHAT DO YOU SAY TO THAT?

VILSACK: WELL, I WOULD SAY THAT THEY WOULD BE CORRECT BUT FOR TWO THINGS. FIRST OF ALL, THE TEACHER COMPENSATION ISSUE ISN'T ABOUT PROVIDING MORE MONEY TO TEACHERS. WE COULD HAVE EASILY DONE THAT. WE COULD HAVE JUST SIMPLY PASSED AN ALLOWABLE GROWTH RATE THAT WAS MUCH HIGHER THAN WE DID. WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT IS A BRAND-NEW SYSTEM THAT'S GOING TO DRIVE BETTER, HIGHER STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT. THAT'S WHAT IT'S ABOUT. IT'S ABOUT THE CHILDREN OF THE STATE. AS FAR AS THE STATE EMPLOYEES ARE CONCERNED, IT WAS THE REPUBLICANS EARLY IN THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION THAT ANNOUNCED WHAT THE STATE'S BARGAINING POSITION WAS GOING TO BE IN HANDOUTS THAT THEY PROVIDED TO THEIR LEGISLATORS FOR THEIR WEEKLY NEWS REPORTS. THEY TALKED ABOUT $90 MILLION IN SALARIES. SO THEY ESSENTIALLY EXPOSED OUR NEGOTIATION POSITION. IT IS A NEGOTIATED SITUATION, AND I'M GLAD YOU BROUGHT IT UP BECAUSE A LOT OF IOWANS DON'T UNDERSTAND. WE HAVE A COLLECTIVE BARGAINING SYSTEM BECAUSE STATE WORKERS HAVE GIVEN UP THE RIGHT TO STRIKE THAT OTHER STATE WORKERS AND OTHER STATES HAVE RETAINED. IN GIVING THAT RIGHT UP, WHAT THEY GOT IN RETURN WAS THE REQUIREMENT THAT THE PARTIES BARGAINING, IF THEY COULD NOT REACH A DECISION, IT WOULD BE ARBITRATED SO YOU WOULD HAVE SOME LEVEL OF INCREASE. WHEN THE ARBITRATOR LOOKS AT A DECISION LIKE THIS, THEY DON'T HAVE TO TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION THE CONDITION OF THE STATE BECAUSE THE STATE HAS TAXING POWER. SO WHAT THEY DO IS THEY LOOK AT OTHER JURISDICTIONS, SIMILARLY SITUATED JURISDICTIONS. IF THEY HAD DONE THAT, WE WOULD HAVE SEEN MUCH HIGHER INCREASES THAN WE IN FACT NEGOTIATED.

YEPSEN: ARE YOU SUGGESTING WE OPEN UP CHAPTER 20 AND GIVE STATE EMPLOYEES THE RIGHT TO STRIKE?

VILSACK: NO, NOT AT ALL. I'M TRYING TO POINT OUT THE FACT THAT THIS WAS A NEGOTIATED SETTLEMENT, WHICH WAS SOMEWHAT COMPROMISED BY DISCLOSURES BY REPUBLICANS, NUMBER ONE. AND NUMBER TWO, THERE'S NO CHOICE IN THE PROCESS. YOU HAVE TO NEGOTIATE.

YEPSEN: I WANT TO MOVE TO ANOTHER ISSUE... REDISTRICTING. WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO HAVE IN THE REAPPORTIONMENT PLAN THAT COMES TO YOUR DESK? THE REPUBLICANS ARE SAYING, "WE DON'T LIKE THIS FIRST PLAN THAT CAME OUT. WE'RE PROBABLY GOING TO TURN IT DOWN." WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO HAVE IN A PLAN THAT LANDS ON YOUR DESK?

VILSACK: I HAVE TO HAVE NO POLITICAL FINGERS ON THE PLAN. I HAVE DEEP CONCERNS --

YEPSEN: YOU'RE A DEMOCRAT, GOVERNOR.

VILSACK: NO, NO, NO. I'M SERIOUS ABOUT THIS. I THINK THAT THE PLAN, IF IT'S GOING TO WORK, IF WE'RE GOING TO HAVE THE KIND OF POLITICS THAT IOWANS EXPECT US TO HAVE, WE'VE GOT TO HAVE A PLAN THAT REFLECTS WHO WE ARE. WE ARE A DIVERSE STATE. WE ARE A COMPETITIVE STATE. THERE ARE A LOT OF REPUBLICANS, THERE ARE A LOT OF DEMOCRATS, AND THERE ARE MORE INDEPENDENTS. THE DISTRICTS HAVE TO REFLECT THAT. THEY ALSO HAVE TO MAKE GEOGRAPHIC SENSE. THE FIRST PLAN DID THAT. REPUBLICANS DON'T LIKE IT FOR WHATEVER REASON. WE GO TO THE SECOND PLAN. I'M DEEPLY CONCERNED THAT THEY WON'T LIKE THE SECOND PLAN FOR THE SAME REASON THEY DIDN'T LIKE THE FIRST PLAN, BECAUSE IT DOES REFLECT THE GEOGRAPHIC -- OR THE POLITICAL DIVERSITY OF THIS STATE. AND I'M CONCERNED THAT THEY WANT TO GET TO THE THIRD PLAN WHERE THEY CAN GERRYMANDER DISTRICTS. WE ARE NOT GOING TO LET THAT HAPPEN. MY HOPE IS THAT IF THEY DON'T TAKE THE FIRST PLAN THAT THEY MAKE SURE THAT THEY TAKE THE SECOND PLAN, BECAUSE I'M NOT SURE WE'LL GET A THIRD PLAN.

GLOVER: WHAT HAPPENS IF THE FIRST PLAN GETS KNOCKED DOWN? THERE ARE SUGGESTIONS THAT IF REPUBLICANS KNOCK DOWN THE FIRST PLAN BECAUSE IT'S NOT REPUBLICAN ENOUGH, THAT THE GLOVES WOULD THEN COME OFF AND YOU'D BE FREE TO PROTECT DEMOCRATIC INTERESTS. WHAT HAPPENS?

VILSACK: THIS ISN'T ABOUT PROTECTING DEMOCRATIC INTERESTS. IT'S ABOUT PROTECTING THE PEOPLE'S INTEREST.

GLOVER: DOES THE CLIMATE CHANGE WITH IF THE FIRST PLAN GETS REJECTED?

VILSACK: NO, I THINK WE TAKE -- THE PRODUCT OF THE SECOND PLAN IS THE SAME AS THE PRODUCT OF THE FIRST PLAN. IT'S A NONPARTISAN SERVICE BUREAU-GENERATED PROGRAM. MY HOPE WOULD BE THAT THEY WOULD NOT NECESSARILY COMPROMISE THAT BASED UPON WHATEVER OBJECTIONS MAY BE RAISED TO THE FIRST PLAN THAT ARE PROVIDED IN WRITING. MY SENSE IS THEY HAVE A VERY GOOD IDEA OF WHAT THE SECOND PLAN ALREADY IS GOING TO LOOK LIKE. MY CONCERN IS NOT THE SECOND PLAN, IT IS THE THIRD PLAN. IT IS THE THIRD PLAN THAT CAN BE AMENDED. IT'S THE THIRD PLAN THAT CAN BE GERRYMANDERED. AND IT IS THE THIRD PLAN THAT WILL NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT WHAT NEEDS TO BE REFLECTED, WHICH IS THE POLITICAL DIVERSITY OF OUR STATE AND THE COMPETITIVENESS OF OUR STATE.

BORG: SO IN YOUR POLITICAL HEART-OF-HEARTS, AS YOU'VE JUST OUTLINED, DO YOU THINK THIS IS HEADED TOWARD THE SUPREME COURT?

VILSACK: I CERTAINLY HOPE NOT. IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE. I THINK THE FIRST PLAN IS FINE. THEY OUGHT TO PASS THE FIRST PLAN. BUT FOR WHATEVER REASON THEY DON'T WANT TO PASS THE FIRST PLAN, THEN THEY OUGHT TO TAKE A VERY SERIOUS LOOK AT THE SECOND PLAN, BECAUSE IT MAY BE VERY DIFFICULT TO GET THE THIRD PLAN.

GLOVER: WILL YOU SIGN ANY PLAN PREPARED BY THE SERVICE BUREAU THAT'S UNAMENDED BY THE LEGISLATURE?

VILSACK: WELL, I DON'T WANT TO SAY ANY BECAUSE I DON'T KNOW WHAT THE REPUBLICANS ARE GOING TO PROPOSE IN THE WAY OF OBJECTIONS AND SO FORTH, AND I DON'T KNOW HOW THE SERVICE BUREAU IS GOING TO RESPOND TO THAT. I WOULD HOPE THAT THE SECOND PLAN WOULD BE AS NONPARTISAN AS THE FIRST PLAN, AND IF IT IS, THEN I'M SURE THAT WE CAN WORK WITH IT.

YEPSEN: GOVERNOR, AS LONG AS WE'RE TALKING POLITICS, LET'S TALK ABOUT YOUR FUTURE. A LOT OF BUZZ IN POLITICAL CIRCLES THAT YOU'RE INTERESTED IN HIGHER OFFICE. WILL YOU RUN FOR THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION FOR PRESIDENT IN 2004?

VILSACK: I HAVE NO PLANS TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT IN 2004. I HAVE NO PLANS TO RUN FOR SENATOR GRASSLEY'S SEAT WHENEVER HE COMES UP FOR ELECTION.

YEPSEN: SO DO YOU GET SOME PLANS WITHIN THE NEXT COUPLE YEARS? IS THERE ANYWHERE ON YOUR RADAR SCREEN?

VILSACK: I HAVE NO INTENTION AT THIS POINT AND TIME OF EVEN THINKING ABOUT THIS. I AM TRYING TO DO THE JOB I WAS GIVEN FOR FOUR YEARS. I LOVE THIS JOB. THIS IS A GREAT JOB. IT IS A GREAT STATE TO BE GOVERNOR OF. FRANKLY, IF YOU WANT PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS, WE'LL HAVE PLENTY OF IT. FOLKS ARE ALREADY CALLING TO COME TO OUR FAMILY PICNIC, AND WE'RE MORE THAN HAPPY TO HAVE -- ALL THE DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES CAN COME, AS FAR AS I'M CONCERNED.

YEPSEN: ALL RIGHT, AND THEY'RE NOT GOING TO HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT TOM VILSACK RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT ON HIS OWN HOME COURT?

VILSACK: THEY'RE NOT GOING TO HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT ME AT ALL. THEY OUGHT TO BE COMING TO IOWA AND I SUSPECT -- WELL, I KNOW THEY ALREADY HAVE BEEN,. JOHN EDWARDS HAS BEEN HERE. I THINK JOHN KERRY WILL BE COMING HERE PRETTY SOON. I THINK WE'RE GOING TO SEE ALL OF THEM, AND IT'S GOING TO BE GREAT.

GLOVER: WHAT DO YOU HEAR -- LET'S FLIP ALL THE WAY OVER TO PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS. IT WOULDN'T BE AN OFFICIAL "IOWA PRESS" IF WE DIDN'T. WHAT DO YOU HEAR FROM THE POTENTIAL DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES AND WHAT WILL YOUR ROLE BE IN THIS WHOLE THING? AND WHO ARE YOU HEARING FROM?

VILSACK: WELL, I'VE HAD AN OPPORTUNITY IN THE LAST SEVERAL MONTHS TO TALK TO JOE BIDEN, TO TALK TO DICK GEPHARDT, TO TALK TO JOHN KERRY, TO TALK TO JOHN EDWARDS. AND I HAVE NOT HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO TALK WITH JOE LEIBERMAN OR THE VICE PRESIDENT. I'M TRYING TO THINK IF THERE'S ANYONE ELSE --

YEPSEN: HAVE YOU GOT A FAVORITE AMONG ALL OF THESE CANDIDATES?

VILSACK: NO. I MEAN, JIMINY CHRISTMAS, WE JUST GOT OVER THE LAST ELECTION.

YEPSEN: WILL YOU STAY NEUTRAL IN THE 2004 CAUCUS? WILL YOU ENDORSE A CANDIDATE PRIOR TO THE --

VILSACK: I HONESTLY DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M GOING TO DO. I'M NOT THINKING ABOUT THE 2004 ELECTION. I'M FRANKLY THINKING ABOUT THE 2001 STATE BUDGET DISCUSSIONS THAT WE STARTED TO TALK ABOUT.

GLOVER: YOU SAID YOU LOVE THE JOB, IT'S A GREAT STATE TO BE GOVERNOR OF. I ASSUME THAT MEANS YOU WANT A SECOND TERM.

VILSACK: WELL, I THINK IT'S APPROPRIATE FOR CHRISTIE AND I TO SIT DOWN -- AND WE WILL THIS SUMMER -- AND THINK ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT THAT'S AN APPROPRIATE THING FOR US TO DO. I DO LOVE THIS JOB. I THINK SHE'S HAVING A GREAT TIME AS THE FIRST LADY. BUT I DON'T THINK YOU JUST SIMPLY SAY YOU WILL WITHOUT THINKING ABOUT IT. I THINK YOU'VE GOT TO THINK ABOUT THESE THINGS.

YEPSEN: MOST PEOPLE ASSUME YOU'RE RUNNING AGAIN. YOU'VE GOT A MILLION DOLLARS IN YOUR CAMPAIGN WAR CHEST.

VILSACK: WELL, YOU HAVE TO BE WELL PREPARED IF THAT'S THE DECISION YOU MAKE, SURE.

YEPSEN: YOU SAID WHEN YOU -- DURING THE '98 CAMPAIGN THAT YOU WOULD ONLY SERVE TWO TERMS. ARE YOU PREPARED TO CHANGE YOUR MIND ON THAT? WOULD YOU LIKE A THIRD TERM, GOVERNOR?

VILSACK: NO, NOT AT ALL.

YEPSEN: WHY DO YOU WANT TO MAKE YOURSELF A LAME DUCK IF YOU GET YOURSELF REELECTED IN --

VILSACK: BECAUSE I THINK I HAVE -- YOU KNOW, THE FOUNDING FATHERS WERE REALLY, REALLY SHREWD FOLKS. THEY FIGURED OUT THAT WHAT THIS BUSINESS WAS NOT ABOUT PROFESSIONAL POLITICIANS; IT WAS ABOUT PEOPLE WHO CAME OUT OF THE PRIVATE SECTOR, WORKED FOR SEVERAL YEARS, AND THEN WENT BACK TO PRIVATE LIFE. THAT IS HOW THIS SYSTEM IS SUPPOSED TO WORK. WE GOT SOMEWHERE OFF THE TRACK AND WE NOW HAVE PEOPLE THAT JUST MAKE THIS SORT OF THEIR LIFETIME -- THEY'RE IN POLITICS FOR 20 OR 30 YEARS. I THINK THAT A CHIEF EXECUTIVE OUGHT TO SERVE FOR TWO TERMS, AND I THINK YOU CAN GET DONE WHAT YOU WANT TO GET DONE IN EIGHT YEARS. AND IF YOU CAN'T GET IT DONE IN EIGHT YEARS, MAYBE YOU'RE NEVER GOING TO GET IT DONE. LET ME JUST FINISH. AND I THINK IT'S ALSO IMPORTANT FOR THE SYSTEM TO HAVE CHANGE PERIODICALLY. YOU GET BUREAUCRATS, YOU GET DEPARTMENT HEADS, YOU GET PHILOSOPHIES ENTRENCHED, AND IT'S EXTREMELY DIFFICULT TO GET NEW IDEAS GENERATED.

YEPSEN: GOVERNOR, WE'VE GOT ABOUT THIRTY SECONDS LEFT. PRESIDENT BUSH IS COMING UP ON HIS FIRST HUNDRED DAYS IN OFFICE. HOW DO YOU RATE PRESIDENT BUSH'S PERFORMANCE?

VILSACK: WELL, IT DEPENDS ON HOW HE RESPONDS TO THE ECONOMIC EMERGENCY REQUEST WE HAVE FOR DAVENPORT. [ LAUGHTER ] NO, YOU KNOW, I THINK YOU SAID IT -- I SAID THIS TO CONGRESSMAN LEACH YESTERDAY --OR THE DAY BEFORE YESTERDAY. HE'S DOING A GOOD JOB OF SETTING AN APPROPRIATE TONE IN WASHINGTON, D.C. AND I THINK ALL AMERICANS ENJOY THE FACT THAT THERE'S AT LEAST A CIVIL TONE IN WASHINGTON, D.C.

BORG: GOVERNOR, THANK YOU. THANKS FOR TAKING THE TIME TO BE WITH US TODAY. AS INDICATED EARLIER, AS OF TOMORROW THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION OF 2001 IS IN OVERTIME. AND ON OUR NEXT EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS," THE FOCUS REMAINS ON THE CURRENT LEGISLATIVE SESSION. JOINING US NEXT WEEK, SPEAKER OF THE IOWA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, BRENT SIEGRIST OF COUNCIL BLUFFS. THAT'S NEXT SUNDAY AT NOON AND 7:00. I HOPE YOU'LL WATCH. THAT'S IT FOR THIS WEEK'S EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS." UNTIL THEN, I'M DEAN BORG. THANKS FOR JOINING US TODAY.

FUNDING FOR "IOWA PRESS" HAS BEEN 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; 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; AND BY THE ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS OF IOWA...THE PUBLIC'S PARTNER IN BUILDING IOWA'S HIGHWAY, BRIDGE, AND MUNICIPAL UTILITY INFRASTRUCTURE.