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Iowa Press #2905
October 5, 2001

Borg: FALLING REVENUES FORCE SHARP AND PAINFUL CUTS IN IOWA'S STATE GOVERNMENT BUDGET. WE'LL DISCUSS THE DEPTH, DIMENSION, AND CONSEQUENCES IN THE BUDGET CRISIS WITH OUR TEAM OF IOWA STATEHOUSE REPORTERS ON THIS EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS."

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

STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION IS CELEBRATING THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF "IOWA PRESS," NOW SERVING THE STATE AS IOWA'S LONGEST RUNNING PUBLIC AFFAIRS PROGRAM. WITH THIS WEEK'S EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS," HERE IS DEAN BORG.

Borg: ACROSS IOWA GOVERNMENT, STATE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES ARE LINING-OUT BUDGET COMMITMENTS. THE BUDGET TRIMMING ACTUALLY BEGAN LAST SPRING, WHILE THE LEGISLATURE WAS STILL IN SESSION. AT THAT TIME A PROJECTED $300-MILLION REVENUE SHORTFALL BROUGHT CUTS IN STATE GOVERNMENT. NOW WE KNOW REVENUE IS DOWN EVEN MORE THAN ANTICIPATED A FEW MONTHS AGO. AND BUDGET EXPERTS IN BOTH THE VILSACK ADMINISTRATION AND THE LEGISLATURE SEE FURTHER BUDGET CUTS AS INEVITABLE. GOVERNOR VILSACK HAS PROPOSED TARGETED BUDGET REDUCTIONS IN ORDER TO PROTECT PRIORITIES. OTHERS SAY THE CUTS SHOULD BE ACROSS-THE-BOARD SO THAT ALL CAN SHARE THE PAIN. AND SEPTEMBER 11 BROUGHT ADDITIONAL FACTORS TO CONSIDER: HOW SEVERELY WILL THE ADDED SHOCK TO THE ECONOMY AFFECT IOWA? WELL, WE'VE GATHERED OUR TEAM OF IOWA STATEHOUSE REPORTERS FOR AN OVERVIEW OF THE NEWS OF THE DAY. JOINING US: DAVID YEPSEN OF "THE DES MOINES REGISTER"; KAY HENDERSON OF "RADIO IOWA"; MIKE GLOVER, "ASSOCIATED PRESS"; KATHIE OBRADOVICH, "THE LEE NEWSPAPERS." KATHIE, IT SEEMS THAT, AS I'VE SAID, EVERYTHING SEEMS TO BE FRAMED IN TERMS OF SEPTEMBER 11. HOW HAS IOWA OVERALL REACTED?

Obradovich: WELL, I THINK THAT IN THE SHORT-TERM AFTERMATH, IOWA REACTED MUCH IN THE WAY EVERYBODY ELSE IN THE COUNTRY DID. THERE WAS A FEAR FACTOR. THERE WAS CONCERN FOR FRIENDS AND FAMILY. AND IOWA, IN PARTICULAR, IMMEDIATELY MOVED TO TRY AND HELP AS WELL. PEOPLE GAVE MONEY TO CHARITIES. WE PROVIDED TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE, THAT KIND OF THING. IN THE LONGER TERM, I THINK THINGS THAT WERE PROBLEMS IN IOWA MAY HAVE BECOME WORSE. THE ECONOMY, WHICH WAS ALREADY GASPING FOR BREATH, IS NOW ON LIFE SUPPORT. AND SOME OF THE PROBLEMS WE WERE HAVING WITH OUR TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM IN IOWA WERE EXACERBATED BY THIS AS WELL.

Borg: KAY?

Glover: IN ONE SENSE, DEAN, THINGS DIDN'T HIT AS HARD HERE AS THEY COULD HAVE. IOWA IS NOT A BIG TOURIST DESTINATION. WE DON'T HAVE A DISNEYWORLD THAT'S GOING TO DRY UP BECAUSE PEOPLE DON'T WANT TO FLY. WE DON'T HAVE MILES AND MILES OF BEACHES THAT PEOPLE ARE NOT GOING TO WANT TO GO TO. SO IN THAT WAY IT'S BEEN EXACERBATED A LITTLE BIT, BUT IOWANS BY NATURE ARE A CONSERVATIVE LOT AND THEY'VE WITHDRAWN. AND CONSUMER CONFIDENCE IS DOWN, EVEN MORESO MAYBE HERE THAN MOST PLACES.

Borg: KAY, IS THAT THE WAY YOU READ IT?

Henderson: I THINK WHAT'S INTERESTING TO ME IS SORT OF THE PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECT. I THINK THAT IOWANS FELT SOME SORT OF INVULNERABILITY BECAUSE WE'RE SORT IN FLYOVER COUNTRY, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NATION. SO DISCUSSION ABOUT THINGS LIKE BIOTERRORISM AND, TO SOME EXTENT, EVEN FOOT-AND-MOUTH DISEASE, BEFORE THIS HAPPENED, REALLY HAD AN AIR OF UNREALITY ABOUT IT FOR IOWANS. BUT NOW THAT THIS HAS HAPPENED, I THINK THAT PEOPLE ARE REALLY COME TO GRIPS WITH THE FACT THAT EVEN THOUGH WE ARE IN THE BREADBASKET, EVEN THOUGH WE ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE COUNTRY, WE ARE VULNERABLE TO ATTACK.

Borg: BECAUSE OF KEY INDUSTRIES.

Henderson: BECAUSE OF KEY INDUSTRIES.

Yepsen: I SORT OF THINK THAT PEOPLE IN OKLAHOMA CITY DIDN'T FEEL THEY WERE VULNERABLE, AND IT TURNS OUT THEY WERE. AND CERTAINLY, WE COULD BE TOO. AND I THINK IMMEDIATELY THIS WHOLE DISCUSSION OF CROP DUSTING PLANES AND GROUNDING THEM BROUGHT THIS THING HOME IN A WAY THAT -- THESE ISSUES REALLY USED TO NEVER COME HOME TO IOWA. AND I THINK IOWANS ARE REACTING; THEY WANT SOMETHING DONE. IF YOU LOOK AT OUR POLL, THEY'RE READY TO SEE SOME ROCKETS' RED GLARE. THEY'RE NOT TOO CONCERNED ABOUT WORRYING ABOUT SOMEBODY'S CIVIL LIBERTIES AT THIS POINT, AND THEY WANT TO SEE SOME ACTION.

Glover: I WONDER -- I WONDER -- ALONG THAT VEIN, I AGREE THAT RIGHT NOW THE POLLS ARE SHOWING THAT PEOPLE WANT SOME ACTION AND WANT SOMETHING DONE. I WONDER, LONG TERM, WHAT THE COMMITMENT TO THIS IS. I WONDER HOW MUCH PAIN AND SACRIFICE PEOPLE ARE WILLING TO GO THROUGH TO DO THIS. ARE PEOPLE WILLING TO LOSE JOBS? ARE PEOPLE WILLING TO GIVE UP ECONOMICS? ARE PEOPLE WILLING TO SUFFER BECAUSE OF THIS? I'M NOT SURE YET.

Yepsen: AND WHAT HAPPENS WHEN AMERICAN BODY BAGS START COMING BACK? WE KNOW AMERICANS AND IOWANS ARE PRETTY PATRIOTIC, BUT WHEN THE PRICE STARTS TO COME HOME, THEN SOME OF THAT MAY -- WE MAY START ASKING: "IS THIS REALLY NECESSARY; WHY ARE WE DOING THIS?" THE SAME QUESTIONS THAT CAME UP IN VIETNAM. AT THE START OF EVERY WAR IN AMERICA, THERE'S INTENSE PATRIOTISM, BUT AS IT DRAGS ON, THERE'S LESS AND LESS SUPPORT FOR IT. YOU GO BACK TO 1864, ABRAHAM LINCOLN ALMOST DIDN'T GET REELECTED BECAUSE THEY WERE SICK OF THE WAR. AMERICANS DON'T HAVE A LONG TOLERANCE FOR WAR.

Glover: THE VIETNAM WAR WAS A VERY POPULAR WAR AS LONG AS IT WAS BEING FOUGHT BY BLACK INNER CITY KIDS. WHEN WHITE SUBURBAN KIDS STARTED COMING HOME IN BODY BAGS, THE WAR BECAME VERY UNPOPULAR VERY QUICKLY.

Obradovich: IOWANS HISTORICALLY, THOUGH, HAVE GIVEN FREELY TO WAR EFFORTS THROUGHOUT OUR HISTORY. LOOK AT HOW MANY IOWANS DIED IN THE CIVIL WAR COMPARED TO OTHER STATES. PEOPLE HISTORICALLY HAVE BEEN VERY PATRIOTIC HERE AND VERY WILLING TO MAKE SACRIFICES. AND YOU'VE SEEN IT ALREADY IN PEOPLE WANTING TO GO TO NEW YORK AND HELP AND THAT KIND OF THING. I THINK A LOT OF THAT SPIRIT WILL CARRY THROUGH.

Yepsen: I AGREE WITH ONE CAVEAT, AND THAT IS, I DON'T KNOW HOW LONG THAT WILL LAST. CALLING UP NATIONAL GUARD UNITS RIGHT NOW AND ARMY RESERVE AND AIR FORCE RESERVE, IT'S VERY PATRIOTIC. PEOPLE WANT TO SERVE. BUT IF AFTER A YEAR, SOLDIERS FROM IOWA ARE STILL GUARDING AIRPORTS IN FLORIDA SOMEWHERE, I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE GOING TO BE ASKING: "WHAT'S THIS DOING TO OUR COMMUNITY? OUR LOVED ONES HAVE GONE AWAY. IS THIS REALLY WORTH IT"?

Henderson: AND I DON'T THINK WE'RE TALKING A YEAR HERE EITHER. THE PRESIDENT HAS EVEN SUGGESTED A DECADE OF A WAR ON TERRORISM. WE REALLY DON'T HAVE OUR BRAINS AROUND THAT KIND OF CONCEPT YET.

Borg: KAY, NOW THAT YOU'VE BROUGHT UP THE PRESIDENT, THERE ARE SEVERAL POLLS THAT HAVE BEEN MADE ON HOW IS PRESIDENT BUSH DOING. BUT DO THE SAME FOR IOWA'S POLITICAL LEADERS AND CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION.

Henderson: WELL, I CAN THINK OF ONE INCIDENT HERE IN IOWA. IOWANS HEARD RUMORS THAT GASOLINE WAS SELLING FOR EXORBITANT PRICES. THAT WAS REALLY NOT THE CASE STATEWIDE. IT WAS THE CASE AT A FEW STATIONS. SO THERE WERE HUGE LINES AT GASOLINE STATIONS ON THE AFTERNOON OF SEPTEMBER 11. GOVERNOR VILSACK HAD A NEWS CONFERENCE AT ABOUT 6:00, AND BY 7:00 THERE WERE NO LINES BECAUSE PEOPLE WERE MONITORING THEIR NEWS RADIO AND THEIR TELEVISION STATIONS AND THEY HEARD THE NEWS THAT THERE HAD BEEN NO REFINERY ATTACKS OR SHUTDOWNS AND THERE WAS PLENTY OF GAS AND THAT THERE REALLY WASN'T THIS EXORBITANT JUMP IN PRICES. SO I THINK IN THAT PARTICULAR INSTANCE, YOU CAN POINT TO A POLITICIAN WHO DID SOMETHING IN THE FACE OF A RUMOR MILL AND IT WAS VERY EFFECTIVE.

Glover: ONE OF THE THINGS THAT HAPPENS IN A POLITICAL CULTURE, POLITICAL LEADERS, AT MOMENTS, ARE CALLED TO SERVE AS A UNIFYING, CALMING FORCE. AND THE GOVERNOR OF THE STATE IN A SITUATION LIKE THIS IS PUT IN THAT SITUATION. I THINK BY AND LARGE GOVERNOR VILSACK HAS DONE A REASONABLY GOOD JOB OF FULFILLING THAT ROLE AND WILL, NOT COINCIDENTALLY, REAP SOME POLITICAL BENEFITS FROM THAT. I THINK THAT HOLDS TRUE UP AND DOWN THE BALLOTS FOR ALL INCUMBENTS. I THINK ALL INCUMBENTS THAT I KNOW OF IN MAJOR POLITICAL POSTS IN THIS STATE HAVE SEEN THIS AS AN OCCASION WHERE THEY'RE BEING CALLED UPON TO SERVE AS A RALLYING AND UNIFYING FORCE, AND I THINK MOST OF THEM HAVE RESPONDED PRETTY WELL AND HAVE DONE A PRETTY GOOD JOB OF IT. I THINK THE POLITICAL LEADERSHIP OF THE STATE HAS RISEN TO THE TASK BY AND LARGE.

Obradovich: I HAVEN'T SEEN ANYBODY PANIC. NOBODY HAS. I THINK THE MESSAGE HAS BEEN TO STAY CALM. AND JUST ABOUT EVERYBODY THAT I CAN THINK OF WHO HAS HAD A ROLE -- LEONARD BOSWELL TAKING PHONE CALLS FROM RADIO STATIONS IN THE OFFICE BUILDING AFTER STAFF HAD BEEN EVACUATED, THAT'S THE KIND OF THING WHERE PEOPLE HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO SHOW WHAT THEY'RE MADE OF, AND I THINK MOST OF THE INCUMBENTS WILL BENEFIT FROM THAT.

Yepsen: WE KICK OUR POLITICIANS AROUND A LOT IN THIS BUSINESS AND ON THIS SHOW, BUT I DO THINK IN THIS CASE THEY DID AN OUTSTANDING JOB OF RALLYING IOWANS, CALMING IOWANS, AND SO THEY WILL REAP SOME POLITICAL BENEFIT. THEY'LL ALSO REAP SOME POLITICAL BENEFIT BECAUSE THIS SHUTS DOWN THEIR CHALLENGERS. IF YOU'RE TRYING TO KNOCK OFF AN INCUMBENT RIGHT NOW, IT GETS REAL HARD TO PUNCH A MESSAGE THROUGH. IT'S UNSEEMLY TO BE DOING THAT AT A TIME LIKE THIS. WE DON'T KNOW HOW LONG IT'S GOING TO BE UNSEEMLY TO BE TOO PARTISAN ON THE CAMPAIGN SENSE. AND ALSO THE ISSUES, THE OLD ISSUES ARE TRIVIAL. THE OLD DEBATES OVER DOVE HUNTING IN IOWA SEEM TO BE RATHER TRIVIAL WHEN COMPARED TO ISSUES OF OUR SOLDIERS GOING OFF TO WAR. SO IT CHANGES THE ISSUE DEBATE IN SUCH A WAY THAT IT WORKS TO THE ADVANTAGE OF INCUMBENTS.

Glover: I WOULD NOT LIKE TO BE A POLITICIAN ON THE BALLOT RUNNING AGAINST AN INCUMBENT RIGHT NOW. IT WOULD BE A VERY UNENVIABLE PLACE TO BE.

Henderson: AS THEY SAID IN THE MOVIE "WAG THE DOG," YOU DON'T CHANGE THE HORSE IN MIDSTREAM.

Glover: AND IT'S NOT FAIR BUT LIFE AIN'T FAIR EITHER.

Borg: BUT WE DO HAVE MAJOR CAMPAIGNS COMING UP, KATHIE. HOW LONG CAN BIPARTISANSHIP IN THE NAME OF PATRIOTISM LAST, BECAUSE THERE IS A ROLE FOR DISSENT ALSO IN DEMOCRACY?

Obradovich: WELL, I THINK THAT WE'RE ALREADY SEEING SOME CRACKS IN IT BOTH AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL AND EVEN, TO SOME EXTENT, AT THE STATE. I THINK THAT THERE WAS A TWO-WEEK PERIOD THERE WHERE THE FLAGS WERE AT HALF STAFF WHERE EVERYTHING JUST CAME TO A DEAD STOP. NOBODY WAS RAISING MONEY. NOBODY WAS OUT ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL. AND CERTAINLY NOBODY WAS SAYING ANYTHING BAD ABOUT THEIR OPPONENTS. WELL, THAT STARTED TO COME BACK. PEOPLE ARE BACK OUT ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL. THEY'RE BACK OUT RAISING MONEY. THEY'RE STILL NOT SAYING ANYTHING BAD ABOUT THEIR OPPONENTS, BUT THEY ARE STARTING TO TALK ABOUT THE IMPACT ON THE STATE ECONOMY AND, AT LEAST AT THIS LEVEL, WHAT LEVEL THE STATE SHOULD BE GOING WITH ITS BUDGET.

Borg: DAVE, BUILDING ON WHAT WE WERE JUST SAYING, WHAT ROLE, IN EFFECT, WILL THIS HAVE ON THE CAUCUSES?

Yepsen: I THINK IT POSTPONES A LITTLE BIT OF THE CAUCUS CAMPAIGNING. CERTAINLY, THE CAUCUSES ARE RELEVANT THIS TIME ON THE DEMOCRATIC SIDE. AND I THINK ANYBODY WHO WANTS TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT IS SORT OF COOLING IT RIGHT NOW. WE SAW AL GORE COME OUT HERE. HE DID WELL. AND I THINK THAT IT SORT SENT A SIGNAL TO EVERY OTHER DEMOCRAT THAT HE'S IN THIS THING. FRANKLY, HE IS PROBABLY ONE OF THEIR MOST EXPERIENCED CONTENDERS. IT'S HARD TO THINK OF ANOTHER DEMOCRAT WHO HAS AS MUCH EXPERIENCE AS AL GORE DOES. SO IN A SENSE, THIS MAY HELP HIM IN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY AS DEMOCRATS TURN TO FIND AN ALTERNATIVE CANDIDATE. I THINK WITHOUT QUESTION, THIS SHUTS DOWN SERIOUS OPPOSITION TO GEORGE W. BUSH INSIDE THE REPUBLICAN PARTY. HE WAS ALREADY DOING A GOOD JOB TRYING TO, YOU KNOW, TONE THAT DOWN. AND I DON'T SEE, AT THIS POINT, A SCENARIO WHERE AN ALTERNATIVE INSIDE THE REPUBLICAN PARTY WOULD EMERGE TO GEORGE W. BUSH.

Glover: I THINK ONE THING THAT THIS HAS ALL DONE IS I THINK IF YOU'RE GOING TO RUN AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO GEORGE W. BUSH, YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO BRING A SERIOUS BRIEF TO THE TABLE. IN OTHER WORDS, YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO BRING SOME HEFT TO THE TABLE WITH YOU, SOME EXPERIENCE, SOME BACKGROUND, SOMETHING TO POINT TO AND SAY, "I UNDERSTAND, I'M CAPABLE OF DEALING WITH THESE KINDS OF ISSUES." AN OUTSIDER RIGHT NOW JUST DOESN'T SEEM TO ME TO HAVE MUCH OF A CHANCE AT ALL.

Borg: DO YOU SEE, KAY, A MORATORIUM ON CANDIDATES AND CAMPAIGNING FOR A WHILE?

Henderson: NOT FOR VERY MUCH LONGER. I THINK THEY'LL START PEOPLE COMING AROUND. I THINK WHAT GORE SAID IN IOWA A WEEKEND AGO WAS INTERESTING IN REGARDS TO THE IDEA OF DISSENT. HE HAD A SPECIFIC PART OF HIS SPEECH IN WHICH HE TALKED ABOUT THE IDEA THAT GEORGE BUSH IS GOING TO MAKE SOME DIFFICULT DECISIONS. AND THOSE DECISIONS ARE GOING TO BE CRITICIZED BY PEOPLE, BUT IN THE END WE HAVE TO BE CALM ABOUT THE KIND OF CRITICISM WE MAKE AND WE HAVE TO BE MEASURED. SO I THOUGHT THAT WAS A VERY INTERESTING PART ABOUT THE SPEECH, ABOUT THE IDEA THAT, YES, INDEED WE CAN CRITICIZE HIM BUT WE HAVE TO REMEMBER THE TONE OF THAT CRITICISM.

Glover: I THINK WE NEED TO STEP BACK AND REMEMBER -- AS AMERICANS DON'T HAVE A LOT OF PATIENCE, WE ALSO DON'T HAVE A LOT THE OF MEMORY. THIS PRESIDENT'S FATHER WAS INVOLVED IN A MUCH LESS CONTROVERSIAL WAR WITH APPROVAL RATINGS EVEN HIGHER THAN HIS SON A YEAR BEFORE HE WAS DEFEATED FOR REELECTION. I THINK ANYBODY -- I WAS TALKING TO A CONSULTANT A COUPLE WEEKS AGO ABOUT ALL THIS, AND HE SAID, "ANYONE WHO TELLS YOU HOW THIS IS GOING TO PLAY OUT IS EITHER STUPID OR LYING." AND I THINK THAT'S RIGHT. I THINK WE DON'T KNOW A YEAR FROM NOW WHAT THE POLITICAL CLIMATE WILL BE, BECAUSE WE DON'T KNOW HOW THE EVENTS ARE GOING TO UNFOLD.

Obradovich: ONE THING WE'RE SEEING ALREADY, THOUGH, IS AN EFFORT TO TRY AND BLEED SEPTEMBER 11 OVER INTO OTHER ISSUES AND TO ENHANCE OTHER ISSUES WITH THE SAME PATRIOTISM PEOPLE ARE FEELING. FOR EXAMPLE, GOVERNOR VILSACK, WITHOUT SAYING THAT HE WANTS -- ONE OF THE REASONS NOW THAT HE WANTS TO AVOID CUTTING SPENDING TO SCHOOLS IS BECAUSE THE CHILDREN ARE SCARED, SO WE WANT TO PROVIDE STABILITY. SO I THINK WE'RE GOING TO SEE THIS SORT OF ATTEMPT TO CAST OUR OWN PATRIOTISM OVER ALL KINDS OF ISSUES THAT REALLY HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH DEFENSE.

Yepsen: I DO THINK THAT IF GORE IS GOING TO BEAT GEORGE W. BUSH, AGAIN, THE BEARD HAS TO GO. THE BEARD DID NOT LOOK GOOD.

Glover: IT LOOKS BETTER IN PERSON THAN ON TV, BUT IT LOOKS REALLY BAD ON TV. IN OUR BUSINESS, WE SOMETIMES SLUG STORIES "ATTACKS - SOMETHING." SO ANYTIME YOU CAN MAKE "ATTACKS - WHATEVER" -- I HAVE A FRIEND WHO WORKS IN THE TOBACCO CESSATION BUSINESS, AND I SAID, "WHAT YOU NEED TO DO IS FIND SOME WAY TO TIE ANTITOBACCO EFFORTS INTO THE ATTACKS. ARGUE THAT PEOPLE ARE UNDER PRESSURE BECAUSE OF TERRORIST ATTACKS AND ARE LIKELY TO GO BACK TO SMOKING, AND YOU'LL GET $2 MILLION RIGHT AWAY FOR AN ANTISMOKING PROGRAM."

Borg: WELL, LET'S BUILD ON THAT AND SAY WHAT EFFECT IS IT LIKELY TO HAVE ON WHAT IOWANS ARE LOOKING TOWARD, AT LEAST THOSE IN THE AGRICULTURAL ECONOMY, AND THAT IS THE FARM BILL THAT NEEDS TO BE REWRITTEN.

Glover: IT'S GOING TO CAUSE A BIG PROBLEM FOR THE FARM BILL BECAUSE ONE THING THAT -- HOWEVER THIS PLAYS OUT, IT'S GOING TO BE EXPENSIVE. GEORGE W. BUSH ASKED FOR $20 BILLION FOR AN ANTI -- FOR A REACTION TO THIS TERRORIST ATTACK, AND HE GOT 40. WELL, THAT EXTRA $20 BILLION CAME FROM SOMEWHERE, AND A LOT OF EXTRA MONEY IS GOING TO COME FROM SOMEWHERE. AND ONE OF THE PLACES IT'S GOING TO COME FROM IS THE FARM BILL. I THINK WE'RE IN FOR A PERIOD, AT LEAST FOR THE NEXT SEVERAL YEARS, OF DEFICIT SPENDING, BUT I THINK IT'S GOING TO PUT PRESSURE ON PROGRAMS LIKE FARM PROGRAMS, WHICH ARE GOING TO BE COMPETING FOR MONEY AGAINST MUCH MORE POPULAR PROGRAMS LIKE NATIONAL SECURITY.

Henderson: WELL, AND A SIGNIFICANT THING HAPPENED THIS WEEK. PRESIDENT BUSH AND HIS WHITE HOUSE ISSUED A STATEMENT REBUKING REPUBLICANS IN THE U.S. HOUSE FOR THE BILL THAT THEY HAD DRAFTED AND TOLD THEM TO ESSENTIALLY DROP THE FARM BILL, QUIT WORKING ON IT, AND WORK ON OTHER THINGS FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE YEAR. NOW, FARM INTERESTS, INCLUDING IOWA SENATOR TOM HARKIN WHO IS CHAIRMAN OF THE SENATE AG COMMITTEE, ARE TRYING DESPERATELY TO GET SOME SORT OF A FARM BILL THROUGH YET THIS YEAR. THAT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN IF PRESIDENT BUSH IS PUTTING THE CLAMPS ON.

Borg: AS IOWA'S ROLE IN FOOD PRODUCTION AND WHAT HAPPENED ON SEPTEMBER 11 AND THE FEAR THAT SOMETHING MORE IS GOING TO HAPPEN SPILLS OVER INTO BIOTERRORISM, IS THERE LIKELY TO BE AN EFFECT ON IOWA WITH FEDERAL MONEY MOVING IN HERE TO PROTECT THE FOOD SUPPLY?

Glover: AS I MENTIONED EARLIER, IF YOU CAN PUT "ATTACKS - SOMETHING,"ATTACKS -FOOD SAFETY," IF PEOPLE CAN SAY THE NEXT LOGICAL ROUND OF TERRORIST ATTACKS WILL BE SOMETHING IN THE FOOD PRODUCTION SYSTEM WHICH, SADLY, IS A LOGICAL PLACE FOR IT TO GO, YEAH, I THINK THERE WILL BE SOME MONEY FOR THAT. I THINK A TERRORIST, RATHER THAN FLYING ANOTHER AIRPLANE INTO ANOTHER BIG BUILDING, COULD WREAK HAVOC INTO THE FARM ECONOMY IF HE WALKED INTO A FEEDLOT IN NEBRASKA WITH A VIAL OF FOOT-AND-MOUTH FUNGUS.

Obradovich: IT WOULD BE DIFFICULT, THOUGH, FOR FARMERS TO BENEFIT FROM THAT. THE FEDERAL MONEY THAT THEY'RE COUNTING ON FOR THE FARM BILLS IS GOING RIGHT INTO THE FARMERS' POCKETS, WHEREAS, FEDERAL MONEY FOR FOOD SAFETY WILL PROBABLY GO INTO ADM AND PLACES WHERE YOU'VE GOT BIG STOCKPILES OF GRAIN, AND FARMERS MAY NOT BENEFIT FROM THAT.

Henderson: IT WAS A BIT DISCONCERTING THIS PAST WEEK. PATTY QUINLISK, WHO IS THE MEDICAL DIRECTOR FOR THE IOWA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH, TESTIFIED IN WASHINGTON D.C. ABOUT THIS VERY SUBJECT AND SAID THAT HER AGENCY HAS ONLY ONE PERSON WORKING WITH HOSPITALS AND WITH OTHERS IN DEALING WITH THE POTENTIAL OF A BIOTERRORIST ATTACK. AND SHE SUGGESTED THAT THE STATE OF IOWA NEEDED $11.5 MILLION TO HIRE ABOUT 25 MORE PEOPLE, EXPERTS IN THIS PARTICULAR AREA. SO IT REALLY SHOWS YOU THAT OUR FLANKS, IF YOU WILL, ARE UNPROTECTED.

Borg: DAVE, AS I INTRODUCED THIS PROGRAM, I WAS TALKING ABOUT THE IOWA BUDGET, THE POSSIBLE EFFECT ON THE ALREADY SHAKY IOWA BUDGET OF SEPTEMBER 11. DO YOU HAVE ANY THOUGHTS ON THAT?

Yepsen: THE CONDITION OF THE STATE'S FINANCES WAS PRETTY BAD BEFORE SEPTEMBER 11, AND IT'S BEEN MADE WORSE BY SEPTEMBER 11. THE ECONOMISTS ARE SAYING THAT IOWA'S ECONOMY NEVER ENJOYS THE HIGHS OF OTHER ECONOMIES AROUND THE COUNTRY. WE NEVER ENJOY THE LOWS. WE JUST DON'T FLUCTUATE THAT MUCH. SO IT'S BAD. I THINK IT HAS THE POTENTIAL TO GET WORSE IF THIS PSYCHOLOGY CONTINUES AROUND THE COUNTRY, THIS HUNKERED-DOWN PSYCHOLOGY THAT WE'VE TALKED ABOUT: PEOPLE DON'T SPEND MONEY; THEY DON'T BUY THINGS. WE JUST MAY BE IN A PERIOD WHERE WE CONTRACT THE NATIONAL ECONOMY A BIT, AND IOWA WILL SUFFER. THE STATEHOUSE POLITICIANS HAVE NO IDEA AT THIS POINT EXACTLY HOW BAD IT'S GOING TO BE. THEY'RE FLOUNDERING AROUND TRYING TO FIND IDEAS FOR STOPPING SPENDING, FOR RAISING SOME REVENUES. THERE'S NO CONSENSUS THAT'S EMERGED. GOVERNOR VILSACK HAS A PARTIAL PLAN OUT THERE FOR DEALING WITH THIS, BUT THERE ARE OTHER PIECES OF HIS PLAN THAT ARE YET TO FALL. SO THIS IS GOING TO BE A STORY THAT WILL BE WITH US FOR SEVERAL MORE MONTHS.

Borg: THAT VILSACK PLAN EARLIER, WAS IT MORE OF A TRIAL BALLOON, AS YOU EVALUATE IT, TO SEE WHAT THE REACTIONS MIGHT BE AND TO MODIFY IT LATER?

Yepsen: NO, I THINK HIS PLAN IS WHAT HE REALLY BELIEVES. IT'S A FAIRLY SIMPLE PLAN. HE'S GOING TO CUT THE STATE BUDGET, EXCEPT K THROUGH 12 EDUCATION, HEALTH CARE FOR THE POOR, LAW ENFORCEMENT. PRETTY SOON YOU'RE NOT CUTTING ALL THE STATE BUDGET ANYMORE; YOU'RE CUTTING, ESSENTIALLY, THE BOARD OF REGENTS INSTITUTIONS BIG TIME, COMMUNITY COLLEGES. AND, NATURALLY, THAT'S WHERE THE SQUAWKING IS STARTING TO COME FROM.

Borg: MIKE?

Glover: WELL, I THINK THAT WHAT WE'RE LOOKING AT HERE IS A SITUATION WHERE IF YOU STEP BACK AND LOOK AT THE BIG-TIME PICTURE, THE BIG PICTURE, YOU'VE GOT A SITUATION WHERE THE STATE'S INCOME IS STARTING TO SLOW RATHER DRAMATICALLY. AND WHILE ITS OUTLAYS ARE INCREASING RATHER SIGNIFICANTLY, BEYOND THE RATE OF INFLATION, EVERYBODY HAS TAKEN OFF THE TABLE, INCREASING THE AMOUNT OF MONEY COMING IN. THERE WON'T BE A TAX INCREASE THIS TIME, WHICH IS SIGNIFICANT BECAUSE EVERY TIME WE'VE BEEN IN THIS BUDGET SITUATION, A TAX INCREASE HAS SOLVED IT. SO IT'S GOING TO BE SOLVED BY SPENDING CUTS. AND THE QUESTION IS WHERE DO THOSE SPENDING CUTS COME. VILSACK SAYS HE WANTS ABOUT A THIRD OF THE BUDGET CUT SIGNIFICANTLY. REPUBLICANS SAY THEY WANT THE WHOLE BUDGET CUT A LITTLE BIT LESS. THAT'S THE DEBATE WE'RE GOING TO HAVE OVER THE NEXT SIX MONTHS, AND I DON'T KNOW WHERE IT'S GOING TO END UP.

Borg: KAY, HE'S TALKING ABOUT SPENDING CUTS, BUT ANOTHER WAY IS TO SPEND IN ORDER TO REVIVE THE ECONOMY. DO YOU SEE THAT AS A POSSIBLE OPTION?

Henderson: YOU KNOW, THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT AN ECONOMIC STIMULUS PACKAGE AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL. I THINK THERE WILL BE TALK OF ONE IN IOWA. BUT THE PROBLEM IS GOVERNOR TOM VILSACK'S IDEA OF A STIMULUS IS NOT PARTICULARLY REPRESENTATIVE JAMIE VAN FOSSEN AND OTHER REPUBLICANS IN THE LEGISLATURE. THEIR IDEAS ABOUT WHAT STIMULATES THE ECONOMY ARE ABOUT 180 DEGREES OPPOSITE OF ONE ANOTHER, SO I DON'T THINK THERE WILL EVER BE AN AGREEMENT IN REGARDS TO SPECIFIC TAX CUTS THAT MIGHT, IN SOME QUARTERS, BE ARGUED TO STIMULATE THE ECONOMY.

Glover: I HAD A CONSERVATION WITH A GUY THE OTHER DAY ALONG THE ECONOMIC STIMULUS LINE. HE SAID, "THE STATE'S OUT OF MONEY, RIGHT? SO THE WAY THEY'RE GOING TO SOLVE THAT PROBLEM IS TO CUT THEIR INCOME, RIGHT?

Henderson: UM-HMM.

Glover: WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE? [ LAUGHTER ]

Yepsen: WELL, EXCEPT THAT IF YOU'RE A CONSERVATIVE, YOU BELIEVE IN SUPPLY-SIDE ECONOMICS, THAT CUTTING BUDGETS AND CUTTING TAXES STIMULATES THINGS. I THINK THERE'S A SCENARIO WHERE THEY DO SOME OF THAT; IT'S CALLED LOGROLLING. THE GOVERNOR HAS PROPOSED, FOR EXAMPLE, A TAX CREDIT FOR STUDENTS WHO STAY IN IOWA, TO HELP THEM PAY FOR THEIR EDUCATION. THE REPUBLICANS WANT TO CUT INTO CAPITAL GAINS. AND ALL OF A SUDDEN I CAN SEE A SCENARIO WHERE, "OKAY, GOVERNOR, YOU DO OURS AND WE'LL PASS YOURS." THAT'S CALLED LOGROLLING, AND THAT MAY BE A SCENARIO THAT COULD HAPPEN.

Glover: EXCEPT THEY'RE SO TIGHT ON REVENUES THAT I CAN'T -- I CAN SEE -- I CAN SEE A SYMBOLIC TAX PACKAGE WITH A LITTLE BIT OF THAT COMING IN. I CAN'T SEE MUCH SIGNIFICANT JUST BECAUSE MONEY IS SO TIGHT THAT I CAN'T GIVE IT AWAY.

Borg: MIKE.

Yepsen: YOU KNOW, WE'VE GOT AN $80-BILLION STATE ECONOMY HERE. THE STATE BUDGET IS $5 BILLION. THE IDEA OF STATE GOVERNMENT DOING ANY STIMULUS PACKAGE TO MOVE THE ECONOMY IS PRETTY SMALL.

Glove: IT'S ALL SYMBOLISM.

Borg: KATHIE, IS THIS LIKELY AT ALL, THIS BUDGET CONSTRAINT, TO ACCELERATE CONSOLIDATION IN THIS STATE IN STREAMLINING OF STATE GOVERNMENT?

Obradovich: WELL, I THINK THERE'S A POSSIBILITY OF THAT, AND GOVERNOR VILSACK HAS SAID THAT HE INTENDS FOR THIS BUDGET CRISIS TO BE AN OPPORTUNITY FOR HIM TO RESTRUCTURE STATE GOVERNMENT IN ORDER TO BETTER SUPPORT PRIORITIES THAT HE HAS AND ALSO TO TRY AND FIND MORE EFFICIENT WAYS TO WORK. CERTAINLY, WHEN YOU'RE LOOKING FOR EFFICIENCY, SOME CONSOLIDATION, SCHOOLS, FOR EXAMPLE -- AND THERE ARE OTHER THINGS TOO -- I THINK THAT DOWN THE LINE WE MAY SEE MORE STATE GOVERNMENT CONSOLIDATION WITH OTHER LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT.

Glover: TELL ME, WHAT ARE WE GOING TO HAVE FEWER OF? ARE WE GOING TO HAVE FEWER COUNTIES? NO. ARE WE GOING TO HAVE FEWER CITIES? NO. ARE WE GOING TO HAVE FEWER SCHOOL DISTRICTS? MAYBE A FEW BUT ONLY AS NATURAL DEMOGRAPHIC CHANGES TAKE PLACE. ARE WE GOING TO HAVE FEWER STATE PROGRAMS? NO. I DON'T SEE THIS RISING TO THE LEVEL OF ACTUALLY FORCING SOME MAJOR SYSTEMIC CONSOLIDATION.

Borg: ALL RIGHT, LET ME THROW OUT THE QUESTION, THEN. IS THERE GOING TO BE A MAJOR HEADLINE AS A RESULT OF THIS? WHAT IS THE FIRST MAJOR THING TO HAPPEN THAT MIGHT EVEN BE UNTHINKABLE AT THIS TIME?

Glover: I DON'T THINK THERE IS ONE, DEAN. THAT'S MY POINT. I THINK WHAT WE'RE GOING TO HAVE IS WE'RE GOING TO HAVE, LET'S SAY, A 7-PERCENT CUT IN STATE SPENDING. AND WE ASKED THE GOVERNOR THIS ALL THE TIME AT NEWS CONFERENCES; "GOVERNOR, TELL US HOW THE AVERAGE IOWAN IS GOING TO NOTICE THIS." AND HE HEMS AND HAWS AND BEATS AROUND THE BUSH, AND THE ANSWER IS THE AVERAGE IOWAN WON'T KNOW. THERE WILL BE ABOUT A 7-PERCENT CUT IN SPENDING. PROGRAMS GO DOWN, SOME STATE EMPLOYEES WILL LOSE THEIR JOBS, AND THE STATE WILL ROLL ON AS ALWAYS.

Yepsen: IT MAY TAKE LONGER FOR THE PHONE TO GET ANSWERED. I DO THINK THAT IF THIS HAPPENS, IF VILSACK GETS HIS WAY ON THIS BUDGET, THAT YOU WILL SEE CHANGES IN IOWA CITY AND AMES. NOW, THAT DOESN'T MEAN THE AVERAGE IOWAN IS SEEING THOSE CHANGES, BUT PEOPLE IN THOSE COMMUNITIES WILL IN FACT SEE SOME CHANGE. THEY'RE GOING TO BE GETTING FAR LESS MONEY, ABOUT $47 MILLION LESS IN IOWA'S COLLEGE FUNDS.

Glover: I HAVE TO TELL YOU THAT IF YOU'RE A PARENT OF A STUDENT GOING TO A PUBLIC COLLEGE IN IOWA, YOU'RE GOING TO BE PAYING MORE, AND SIGNIFICANTLY MORE, A FEW HUNDRED DOLLARS A YEAR MORE.

Obradovich: PLUS, AT THE WAY THE CURRENT BUDGET CUTS -- PROPOSALS ARE SHAKING OUT, COMMUNITY COLLEGES SAY, "WELL, WE MAY NOT RAISE TUITION BECAUSE THE STUDENTS JUST WON'T BE HERE. WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO CLOSE PROGRAMS." SOME STUDENTS ARE MIDSTREAM IN SOME OF THESE PROGRAMS, BUT THEY CAN'T AFFORD IT. IOWA'S COMMUNITY COLLEGE TUITIONS ARE ALREADY AMONG SOME OF THE HIGHEST IN THE STATE, SO I THINK THAT THERE WILL BE JUST SOME PEOPLE WHO ARE SORT OF LEFT HIGH AND DRY WITH A PROGRAM THEY'RE IN THE MIDDLE OF THAT WON'T BE THERE ANYMORE.

Borg: BUT, KAY, ISN'T THE FACT THAT REGENTS AND COMMUNITY COLLEGES TAKING A MAJOR HIT, ISN'T THAT JUST A REFLECTION OF THE PHILOSOPHY THAT THERE IS A WAY THAT INCOME CAN BE RAISED THERE, BY RAISING FEES AND TUITIONS AND THINGS LIKE THAT, AND YOU HAVE ANOTHER OPTION OTHER STATE AGENCIES DON'T.

Henderson: PLUS, GO MINE THE ALUMNI. IOWA STATE AND THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA AND UNI HAVE HAD BIG PRIVATE FUND-RAISING CAMPAIGNS FOR SCHOLARSHIPS FOR STUDENTS AND FELLOWSHIPS AND THE ENDOWED CHAIR. LEGISLATORS LOOK AT THAT AND THEY SEE THE BEUCOP BUCKS THAT THESE UNIVERSITIES HAVE RAISED PRIVATELY, AND THEY SAY, "WHY DO WE NEED TO KEEP PLOWING MONEY IN THERE WHEN THEY CAN GO ELSEWHERE AND GET DOLLARS?"

Yepsen: THERE'S NO POLITICAL BENEFIT TO THE AVERAGE IOWA LEGISLATOR TO DUMP A LOT OF MONEY INTO IOWA CITY OR AMES. IF YOU'RE SUGGESTING AN ACROSS-THE-BOARD CUT IN ALL STATE SPENDING, THAT MEANS YOU'RE CUTTING YOUR LOCAL K-12 SCHOOLS IN ORDER TO ACCOMPLISH THAT, SO I DON'T SEE THAT HAPPENING. I DON'T THINK THERE'S A WHOLE LOT OF SUPPORT FOR INCREASING SPENDING AT THE STATE UNIVERSITIES. I DO THINK KATHIE IS RIGHT THAT THE COMMUNITY COLLEGES ARE HURTING. AND THAT'S A CONSTITUENCY THAT IS MORE LOCAL, THAT REPUBLICANS LIKE, THAT HELPS CREATE JOBS AND BOLSTERS THE ECONOMY. GOVERNOR VILSACK LIKES IT. THOSE ARE HIS DEMOCRATS WHO ARE GOING TO THOSE COLLEGES. SO THEY MAY TRY TO FIND A WAY IN ALL OF THIS TO KEEP THE COMMUNITY COLLEGES FROM TAKING SUCH A -- AS BIG A HIT.

Henderson: AND K-12 IS NOT EXEMPT FROM THIS. REPUBLICANS ARE ALREADY TALKING ABOUT SPECIFIC AREAS OF K-12. WELL, STATE-PER-STUDENT AID TO SCHOOLS MAY NOT CHANGE. LEGISLATORS MAY WITHDRAW MONEY THAT THEY HAD ADVANCED TO SCHOOLS FOR EQUIPMENT PURCHASES, COMPUTERS, THOSE SORTS OF THINGS.

Glover: YOU LOOK AT THE BIG PICTURE AND YOU MAY AGREE OR YOU MAY DISAGREE, BUT THERE'S A POLITICAL AGENDA ON THE TABLE RIGHT NOW. VILSACK HAS A POLITICAL AGENDA ON THE TABLE. HE SAID, HERE ARE MY PRIORITIES: "I FAVOR K-12 EDUCATION AT THE EXPENSE OF THE REGENTS; THAT'S MY CHOICE." NOW, IF I'M A REPUBLICAN OR IF I'M AN OPPONENT, MY RESPONSIBILITY NOW IS TO STEP UP TO THE TABLE AND SAY, "OKAY, I DISAGREE WITH THAT POLICY CHOICE. MY CHOICE IS THIS; I FAVOR CUTTING EVERYBODY." I DON'T SEE THE POLITICS OF THAT.

Borg: KATHIE, ARE LEGISLATORS WATCHING THIS PROGRAM LIKELY TO TAKE WHAT YOU'RE SAYING HERE INTO A SPECIAL SESSION?

Obradovich: I THINK THAT SOME REPUBLICANS ARE TALKING ABOUT IT. I DON'T SEE GOVERNOR VILSACK HAVING ANY INTEREST IN DOING THAT. THE REPUBLICANS -- THEIR PHILOSOPHY IS THAT WE NEED TO MAKE THESE BUDGET CUTS SOONER RATHER THAN LATER, BECAUSE IT WILL BE EASIER FOR STATE AGENCIES TO HANDLE IT. BUT GOVERNOR VILSACK HAS SAID, "WE WANT TO MAKE THE CUTS NOW AND WE'LL HAVE THE MONEY AT THE END OF THE YEAR AND THEN YOU CAN CUT US." SO I THINK THAT PROBABLY THE EXPENSE OF A SPECIAL SESSION WON'T BE WORTH IT UNLESS THEY HAVE AN AGREEMENT.

Glover: THE CHOICES THEY'RE GOING TO HAVE TO MAKE ARE GOING TO HURT, THEY'RE GOING TO BE PAINFUL, AND THEY'RE NOT GOING TO BE POLITICALLY HELPFUL. I DON'T SEE LEGISLATORS REALLY WANTING TO WALK IN AND DO THAT.

Borg: SO WE'RE GOING TO WAIT UNTIL JANUARY. THANKS FOR YOUR INSIGHT. WE'RE OUT OF TIME. AS NOTED PREVIOUSLY, "IOWA PRESS," NOW IN ITS 31ST BROADCAST SEASON, HAS NEW AIRTIMES. YOU CAN NOW SEE OUR WEEKLY EDITION ON BOTH FRIDAY AND SUNDAY: FRIDAY AT 6:30 IN THE EVENING, SUNDAY AT NOON. AND CELEBRATING OUR 30-YEAR HISTORY, WE CLOSE WITH A SNAPSHOT FROM OUR "IOWA PRESS" PAST. TODAY, YOU'LL SEE CONGRESSMAN TOM HARKIN. AT THAT TIME HE WAS SEEKING TO MOVE FROM THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES TO THE U.S. SENATE. WHAT YOU'LL SEE IS HIM RESPONDING TO CHARGES FROM INCUMBENT SENATOR ROGER JEPSEN THAT HARKIN IS TOO LIBERAL TO REPRESENT IOWANS. I'M DEAN BORG. THANKS FOR JOINING US TODAY.

Harkin: QUITE FRANKLY, I HAVE REPRESENTED, BY ALMOST ANY YARDSTICK OF MEASUREMENT, THE MOST REPUBLICAN AND CONSERVATIVE DISTRICT IN THE STATE OF IOWA FOR TEN YEARS. AND I'VE BEEN REELECTED BY THOSE PEOPLE WITH OVER 60 PERCENT OF THE VOTE. NOW, YOU DON'T EXPLAIN THAT BY JUST SAYING THAT I'M TOO LIBERAL FOR IOWA. THE FACT IS, I'VE TRAVELED AROUND IOWA EXTENSIVELY. I THINK I'VE DONE A BETTER JOB OF LISTENING TO THE PEOPLE OF IOWA AND THEIR CONCERNS OVER THOSE YEARS. I'VE BEEN TRAVELING AROUND IOWA FOR THE LAST YEAR ALL OVER THE STATE AND LISTENING TO THE PEOPLE OF IOWA. WHAT THEY'RE TELLING ME: THE FARM ECONOMY IS IN BAD SHAPE; THEY'RE TELLING ME DEFICITS ARE TOO HIGH; THAT INTEREST RATES ARE TOO HIGH. NOW, I VOTED IN 1982 FOR A BUDGET FREEZE THAT LONG AGO, FOR A PAY-AS-YOU-GO BUDGET. IS THAT CONSERVATIVE OR IS THAT LIBERAL? I HAVE VOTED FOR TAX INDEXING. IS THAT CONSERVATIVE OR LIBERAL? THE NATIONAL TAXPAYERS UNION, WHICH IS A WELL-KNOWN CONSERVATIVE GROUP SUPPORTS MY EFFORTS TO LOWER UTILITY RATES IN THIS COUNTRY. IS THAT CONSERVATIVE OR IS THAT LIBERAL? BASICALLY, WHAT I'M DOING IS I'M LISTENING TO THE PEOPLE OF IOWA AND I'M RESPONDING BY PRODUCING THAT KIND OF EFFECTIVE LEGISLATION THAT WILL ANSWER THE PROBLEMS THAT CONFRONT IOWANS.

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