Home

Iowa Press Transcripts

Iowa Press Links

Representative Dick Myers
(#3038)

May 9, 2003

IOWA PRESS #3038 >>

Borg: DEMOCRATS IN IOWA'S HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ARE CONTEMPLATING NEW LEADERSHIP. REPRESENTATIVE RICHARD MYERS IS RESIGNING AS THE HOUSE MINORITY LEADER, AND WE'LL TALK WITH HIM ON THIS EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS."

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY "FRIENDS," THE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION FOUNDATION... GENERATIONS OF FAMILIES AND FRIENDS WHO FEEL PASSIONATE ABOUT THE PROGRAMS THEY WATCH ON IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION.

AND BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS; AND BY THE ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS OF IOWA... THE PUBLIC'S PARTNER IN BUILDING IOWA'S HIGHWAY, BRIDGE, AND MUNICIPAL UTILITY INFRASTRUCTURE.

ON STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION, THIS IS THE FRIDAY, MAY 9 EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS." HERE IS DEAN BORG.

Borg: IOWA LEGISLATIVE LEADERS ARE CURRENTLY NEGOTIATING WITH GOVERNOR TOM VILSACK, TRYING FOR PRELIMINARY AGREEMENTS BEFORE THE GOVERNOR CONVENES A SPECIAL SESSION OF THE IOWA GENERAL ASSEMBLY. THIS PAST WEEK THE GOVERNOR TRAVELED AROUND THE STATE TRYING TO RALLY IOWANS TO APPLY GRASS-ROOT PRESSURE ON THEIR STATE SENATORS TO PASS AN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PACKAGE CALLED THE IOWA VALUES FUND. JUST BEFORE ENDING THE REGULAR LEGISLATIVE SESSION ABOUT A WEEK AGO, THE HOUSE APPROVED THAT VALUES FUND, BUT THE SENATORS WENT HOME WITHOUT TAKING ACTION. THE GOVERNOR WANTS A SPECIAL SESSION TO COMPLETE ACTION ON THAT AND SOME OTHER KEY LEGISLATION. IF AND WHEN THERE IS A SPECIAL SESSION, REPRESENTATIVE DICK MYERS OF IOWA CITY WILL BE LEADING THE HOUSE DEMOCRATS, BUT PERHAPS FOR THE LAST TIME. JUST AS THE REGULAR SESSION WAS ENDING LAST WEEK, REPRESENTATIVE MYERS SURPRISED MOST EVERYONE BY SAYING HE WON'T BE BACK FOR ANOTHER SPECIAL -- HE WON'T BE BACK FOR ANOTHER SESSION. MYERS INDICATED THAT HE'LL GO INTO RETIREMENT ON JULY 1, AND A SPECIAL ELECTION WILL BE HELD TO FILL HIS IOWA HOUSE SEAT. HE'S NOW IN HIS FIFTH TWO-YEAR TERM AT THE IOWA HOUSE, SERVING NOW AS THE HOUSE DEMOCRAT'S MINORITY LEADER, AND BEFORE THAT HE SERVED SEVEN YEARS ON THE CORALVILLE CITY COUNCIL, INCLUDING TWO YEARS AS MAYOR, AND THEN TEN YEARS AS A JOHNSON COUNTY SUPERVISOR. AT THE IOWA STATEHOUSE, MYERS IS KNOWN FOR HIS FORTHRIGHT STYLE. YOU'LL SEE SOME OF THAT TODAY, CALLING A SPADE A SPADE. HE HAS SERVED AS ASSISTANT MINORITY LEADER, AS DEMOCRATIC WHIP, AND HE'S CURRENTLY IN HIS THIRD TERM AS MINORITY LEADER. WELCOME BACK TO "IOWA PRESS."

Myers: THANK YOU, DEAN.

Borg: NICE TO HAVE YOU HERE, DICK MYERS.

Myers: THANK YOU. GLAD TO BE HERE.

Borg: AND ACROSS THE "IOWA PRESS" TABLE: DAVID YEPSEN, POLITICAL COLUMNIST WITH "THE DES MOINES REGISTER," AND MIKE GLOVER, LEGISLATIVE AND POLITICAL REPORTER WITH THE "ASSOCIATED PRESS."

Glover: REPRESENTATIVE MYERS, AS DEAN MENTIONED, THERE'S A LOT OF NEGOTIATING GOING ON AT THE STATEHOUSE RIGHT NOW OVER TAX PLANS, THE IOWA VALUES FUND. GIVE US A STATUS REPORT. WHERE ARE THINGS?

Myers: WELL, RIGHT NOW, AS FAR AS THE DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS IS CONCERNED, WE HAVE A PLAN. I MENTIONED THE LAST TIME I WAS ON THIS PROGRAM THAT WE WANTED TO PASS A HOUSE PLAN, NOT A DEMOCRATIC PLAN, NOT A REPUBLICAN PLAN. BUT WE DID THAT; WE PASSED A HOUSE PLAN. SO WE'RE WAITING TO SEE HOW THOSE NEGOTIATIONS COME OUT. I'VE SPOKEN SEVERAL TIMES WITH THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE, CHRISTOPHER RANTS, AND WITH THE GOVERNOR'S STAFF. OUR POSITION IS THE SAME. AND I WOULD NOTE THAT DEMOCRATIC SUPPORT IS IMPORTANT TO THE PASSAGE OF THE IOWA VALUES PLAN BECAUSE, AFTER ALL, WE PROVIDED 40 VOTES FOR THE PASSAGE -- ON THE FINAL PASSAGE OF THAT BILL.

Glover: IS THERE ANY INDICATION THAT YOU'RE GETTING THAT PROGRESS IS BEING MADE TOWARD PUTTING THE FINAL PIECE OF THAT PUZZLE INTO PLACE AND GETTING THE SENATE TO GO ALONG?

Myers: I HAD NOT HEARD OF ANY CONCRETE PROPOSALS YET THAT SEEM TO BE GOING ANYWHERE. I REALLY BELIEVE THAT THE SENATE IS IN SORT OF A DISARRAY. I NOTE THAT SENATOR LARSON WAS TRASHING THAT PLAN YESTERDAY IN THE NEWSPAPER AND TO SEVERAL OF HIS CONSTITUENTS AND SO ON. IT DOESN'T SEEM LIKE MR. LARSON IS FOR ANYTHING EXCEPT TO CLIMB A POLITICAL CAREER LADDER OF SOME SORT. AND I THINK IT'S TIME FOR THE SENATE TO GET ITS ACT TOGETHER AND THE LEADERS OVER THERE TO MAKE UP THEIR MIND HOW WE CAN SOLVE THESE PROBLEMS AND LET IOWA GROW.

Glover: ONE OF THE THINGS THAT SEEMS TO BE MOST PRECARIOUS OF THE MANY PIECES OF THIS PUZZLE IS THE SOLUTION TO THE GAMBLING TAX QUESTION. THERE SEEMS TO BE A GROWING SENTIMENT THAT: LET'S JUST WAIT; WE THINK THE STATE IS GOING TO WIN THIS COURT CASE; WE CAN ALWAYS COME BACK AND SOLVE THAT LATER IF WE DON'T. IS THAT THE SENSE?

Myers: WELL, THAT MAY BE THE SENSE IN THE SENATE. BUT I NOTE, WITH SOME AMAZEMENT, AFTER GAMBLING HAS BEEN SUCH A CONTENTIOUS ISSUE -- OF ALL THE TIME THAT I'VE BEEN IN THE LEGISLATURE, IT'S ALWAYS DIFFICULT TO DISCUSS IT OR TO PASS A BILL THAT DEALS WITH IT. OUR BILL TO SOLVE THIS QUESTION IN THE COURT SUIT PASSED 97 TO 3, WITH A BIPARTISAN GROUP OF PEOPLE THAT GOT TOGETHER AND FIGURED OUT HOW TO SOLVE IT SO THAT THE STATE WOULD NOT LOSE REVENUE AND WE WOULD NOT TAX THE INDUSTRY OUT OF BUSINESS. I BELIEVE THAT WAS THE RIGHT WAY TO GO. EVIDENTLY THE SENATE DOESN'T AT THE PRESENT TIME.

Yepsen: MR. MYERS, SPECIFICALLY WHAT IS THE HANGUP IN THE SENATE? WHAT ARE THEY CAUGHT ON HERE?

Myers: YOU KNOW, NOT SITTING IN THEIR CAUCUSES, I'M NOT ALL THAT SURE. BUT IT SEEMS TO ME THAT THERE'S MORE THAN ONE CAMP IN THAT SENATE -- IN THAT SENATE CAUCUS OVER THERE ON THE REPUBLICAN SIDE. I NOTE THAT WHEN WE PASSED THE IOWA VALUES IN THE HOUSE, WE GOT TOGETHER AND WORKED FOR WEEKS AND WEEKS TO COME UP WITH A SOLUTION THAT WE COULD LIVE WITH, BOTH DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS. I'M NOT SURE THAT HAS TAKEN PLACE IN THE SENATE. MAYBE IT HAS BUT AT THIS TIME IT DOESN'T SEEM TO ME THAT THE LEADERSHIP HAS BEEN EFFECTIVE IN GETTING THINGS TOGETHER. I HOPE THEY DO.

Yepsen: SO ARE YOU OPTIMISTIC OR PESSIMISTIC ABOUT THE PROSPECTS FOR A SPECIAL SESSION?

Myers: WELL, I'LL PUT IT THIS WAY: WE SHOULD NOT GO INTO A SPECIAL SESSION UNLESS WE HAVE AN AGREEMENT. THERE'S NO QUESTION ABOUT THAT. WE DON'T WANT TO GO UP THERE AND JUST WASTE OUR TIME AND DRAW A DAY'S PAY FOR DOING NOTHING. I WANT TO BE SURE WE HAVE AN AGREEMENT. I'M ALWAYS OPTIMISTIC ABOUT IT, HOWEVER. I BELIEVE THAT THE IOWA VALUES FUND IS GOOD FOR THE GROWTH OF THIS STATE. I BELIEVE THAT YOU NEED TO INVEST IN YOURSELF WHEN TIMES ARE TOUGH, AND THAT'S WHAT WE'RE DOING NOW WITH THIS IOWA VALUES PLAN. WE NEED TO GET IT PASSED.

Yepsen: BUT, MR. MYERS, IN ADDITION TO THE VALUES FUND, IN ORDER TO GET REPUBLICAN VOTES, YOU'VE GOT TO DO SOMETHING ON INCOME TAX, PROPERTY TAX, AND REGULATORY REFORM. CAN THOSE PIECES FALL INTO PLACE TOO?

Myers: THAT I CAN'T ANSWER. I NOTE THAT WE DID NOT MAKE THOSE KIND OF DEALS IN THE HOUSE. WE VOTED FOR A CLEAN IOWA VALUES FUND. WE ALSO VOTED ON SOME OTHER THINGS THAT I VOTED NO, AND SO DID MY CAUCUS. BUT I DID NOT FEEL THAT THEY WERE NECESSARILY RELATED, EVEN THOUGH I KNOW THE REPUBLICANS WANT TO DO IT THAT WAY REGARDLESS. THOSE PIECES STOOD ON THEIR OWN MERIT, AND THAT'S THE WAY IT SHOULD BE.

Yepsen: BUT HOUSE REPUBLICANS DID PASS THEM --

Myers: THEY PASSED THEM. THAT'S THEIR BUSINESS. THEY PASSED THEM IN THEIR CAUCUS. WE VOTED NO. WE VOTED NO ON THAT REGULATORY REFORM AND THE REINVENTION STUFF, AS WELL AS THE BUSINESS ABOUT THIS $689 MILLION TAX DECREASE.

Glover: WELL, MR. MYERS, IT'S DIFFICULT FOR ME TO SEE HOW YOU CAN EXPRESS OPTIMISM THAT THIS THING IS GOING TO BE SOLVED IF YOU'VE GOT A SENATE THAT'S FILLED WITH CAMPS THAT DON'T WANT IT TO BE SOLVED. LIKE ANY LEGISLATIVE BODY, THAT BODY IS INHERENTLY CONSERVATIVE, MEANING INACTION IS ALWAYS EASIER THAN ACTION.

Myers: SURE.

Glover: WHY WON'T THAT WORK THIS YEAR?

Myers: WELL, AGAIN, I THINK THAT'S A LEADERSHIP PROBLEM OVER THERE. I'M OPTIMISTIC BECAUSE, FRANKLY, I SIT IN A DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES WORKING WITH REPUBLICANS OVER THERE TO SOLVE A PROBLEM. AND AS LONG AS THAT CONDITION EXISTS, AS LONG AS WE GO THERE TO GOVERN, I'M OPTIMISTIC.

Yepsen: MR. MYERS, HOW HAS GOVERNOR VILSACK PERFORMED DURING THIS SESSION? I HEAR A LOT OF DEMOCRATS PRIVATELY ARE VERY CRITICAL OF THE GOVERNOR, THAT HE WILL GIVE AWAY THE STORE IN ORDER TO GET THAT VALUES FUND. THEY DIDN'T LIKE -- DEMOCRATS DON'T LIKE REINVENTION. THEY DON'T LIKE THE CUTS IN WELFARE. THEY DON'T LIKE THIS REGULATORY REFORM. WHAT'S YOUR ASSESSMENT OF HOW TOM VILSACK HAS PERFORMED?

Myers: WELL, THERE'S NO QUESTION ABOUT THE FACT THAT THE GOVERNOR HAS TO GET -- HAS TO GOVERN FROM THE CENTER. HE REALLY DOES IN ORDER TO GET THINGS DONE. AFTER ALL, HE HAS A REPUBLICAN CONTROLLED LEGISLATURE. BUT, YOU KNOW, OUR COMPLAINTS ABOUT THE REINVENT PIECE AND THE REGULATORY REFORM IS NOT PHILOSOPHICAL. IT'S THE FACT THAT THEY WON'T WORK. THEY WON'T ACCOMPLISH THE TASKS THEY SET OUT TO DO. THIS REINVENTION THING IS AN EXAMPLE OF THAT. THAT'S WHY WE'RE CRITICAL OF THAT PIECE, NOT THE IDEA OF DOING IT. I'M NOT CRITICAL OF GOVERNOR VILSACK PUTTING FORTH THE IDEA. WE NEED TO PUT A LOT OF IDEAS ON THE TABLE, AND WE SAID WE WERE GOING TO. BUT I DON'T LIKE THE WAY THIS THING CAME OUT. WE VOTED NO.

Yepsen: DID THE GOVERNOR MAKE A MISTAKE EARLY IN HIS POLITICAL CAREER AS GOVERNOR WHEN HE SAID HE WOULD NOT SEEK A THIRD TERM? HAS HE BECOME A LAME DUCK WHO DOESN'T HAVE ENOUGH CLOUT TO GET THINGS SHOVED THROUGH THE LEGISLATURE?

Myers: THAT MAY BE. FRANKLY, I WISH HE HAD NOT SAID THAT BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, IT MAKES -- IT MAKES IT DIFFICULT SOMETIMES TO GOVERN. BUT ON THE OTHER HAND, TOO, HE CAN REALLY PLAY WHAT I WOULD CALL THE GOOD GOVERNMENT CARD. HE REALLY IS NOT ACTING AS SOMEONE WHO'S TRYING TO MOVE UP TO THE NEXT STEP, SO TO SPEAK, WHICH ALWAYS COLORS ANY POLITICAL ARGUMENT. THE GOVERNOR IS REALLY TRYING TO GOVERN, I THINK. AND ALTHOUGH IT MAY WEAKEN YOUR POSITION BEING A LAME DUCK; I FRANKLY HAVEN'T SEEN IT BOTHER HIM VERY MUCH.

Glover: BUT HASN'T THAT ALREADY STARTED TO WORK TO HIS DETRIMENT? ISN'T A LOT OF WHAT'S GOING ON NOW PEOPLE POSITIONING THEMSELVES TO RUN IN FOUR YEARS FOR GOVERNOR? ISN'T A LOT OF POLITICS WHAT'S HAPPENING HERE?

Myers: ONE OF THE HAZARDS OF THE LEGISLATURE IS PEOPLE ARE ALWAYS POSITIONING THEMSELVES TO RUN FOR SOMETHING, AND I DON'T PUT A LOT OF STOCK IN THAT. I DO GET TIRED OF IT, NOT BECAUSE THEY SHOULD DO THAT, NECESSARILY, BUT BECAUSE I THINK IT INTERFERES WITH THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WE HAVEN'T DONE IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES IN THIS SESSION IS PUT UP WITH THAT CAREERISM. WE'VE TRIED TO WORK TO SOLVE PROBLEMS.

Glover: AND I HEAR A LOT OF COMPLAINTS FROM DEMOCRATS THAT THE GOVERNOR IS NEGOTIATING WITH REPUBLICAN LEGISLATIVE LEADERS. I GUESS MY QUESTION WOULD BE, WHY WOULDN'T HE? THEY ARE RUNNING THE LEGISLATURE.

Myers: WELL, AT THE SAME TIME, I WOULD REMIND THE GOVERNOR AND ANYONE ELSE THAT CARES TO LISTEN THAT THE HOUSE DEMOCRATS HELPED TO PASS THE IOWA VALUES FUND, HELPED TO CONSTRUCT IT AS IT PASSED. WE WORKED TOGETHER AND SO OUR INPUT IS IMPORTANT. AND I WANT EVERYONE TO REMEMBER THAT.

Yepsen: WELL, MR. MYERS, I ASKED THE GOVERNOR JUST LAST WEEK, I SAID, "ARE YOU GOING TO RUN FOR THE U.S. SENATE AGAINST CHUCK GRASSLEY?" "NO." "ARE YOU GOING TO RUN FOR A THIRD TERM?" "NO." AND HE SAID, "AND YOU CAN TAKE IT TO THE BANK." HE'S TRYING TO TELL REPUBLICANS HE'S NOT RUNNING AGAIN. SHOULD HE NOT SWITCH THAT AROUND AND SAY, "IF YOU DON'T PASS THIS VALUES FUND, I AM GOING TO RUN"?

Myers: I THINK -- I WOULDN'T CARE TO COMMENT ON THAT NECESSARILY. I'LL JUST SAY THIS MUCH: THE GOVERNOR HAS AN AGENDA TO GET DONE, AND HE DOESN'T WANT ANY OF THIS OTHER STUFF TO COLOR INTO IT. WHY MUST SOMEBODY ALWAYS BE RUNNING FOR SOMETHING, FOR HEAVEN'S SAKES? WHY CAN'T WE GO IN THERE AND HOPE TO ACCOMPLISH THE TASK THAT WE SET OUT TO DO IN THE FIRST PLACE?

Borg: I'D LIKE TO TURN THE CONVERSATION FROM GOVERNOR VILSACK, THEN, TO YOU BECAUSE IN EFFECT -- AND YOU STRATEGICALLY PLAYED IT RIGHT. YOU WAITED UNTIL THE FINAL HOURS OF THE LEGISLATURE AND THEN SAID, "I'M GOING TO RESIGN." THERE WASN'T ALL THIS JOCKEYING FOR WHO'S GOING TO BE THE NEXT MINORITY LEADER. BUT NOW COMING BACK INTO SPECIAL SESSION AND WITH A LOT OF KEY LEGISLATION STILL PENDING, WHAT'S GOING TO BE YOUR ROLE? ARE YOU GOING TO BE -- ARE PEOPLE GOING TO BE JOCKEYING AND PUSHING DICK MYERS ASIDE HERE, OR ARE YOU GOING TO EXERT LEADERSHIP IN A SPECIAL SESSION?

Myers: I'M GOING ON WORK MY JOB RIGHT UP TO THE LAST MINUTE. I SAID I WOULD RESIGN AS OF JULY 1, AND I MEANT IT. AND I DON'T REALLY THINK ANYONE IS GOING TO PUSH ME ASIDE. I DON'T THINK THERE'S ANY URGENT THOUGHT ABOUT THAT IN THE CAUCUS AT ALL. I'M GOING TO WORK UP TO THE LAST MINUTE. I SAID I'D STAY TILL JULY 1, AND I MEANT THAT.

Yepsen: WHO WILL SUCCEED YOU AS DEMOCRATIC LEADER?

Myers: I DON'T KNOW YET. I KNOW THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE INTERESTED, I'VE HEARD. I AM NOT CAMPAIGNING FOR ANYONE. I AM NOT ABOUT TO TRY TO ASSERT MY -- I DON'T KNOW, CLOUT OR WHATEVER YOU'D CAUGHT CALL IT, IF THERE'S ANY LEFT.

Glover: GIVE US SOME NAMES.

Myers: I'LL LET THEM MAKE THAT DECISION FOR YOU, OKAY? I'M NOT HERE TO BALLYHOO ANYBODY.

Glover: OKAY. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT YOU HAVE HAD SOME EXPERIENCE IN IS LOCAL GOVERNMENT. YOU WERE A COUNTY SUPERVISOR. YOU WERE A MAYOR. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT THIS LEGISLATURE DID ACCOMPLISH WAS THAT IT PASSED A BUDGET THAT INCLUDED A PRETTY SERIOUS WHACK AT LOCAL GOVERNMENT.

Myers: THAT'S CORRECT.

Glover: YOU WERE SENDING A SIGNAL TO LOCAL GOVERNMENTS THAT THINGS NEED TO BE DIFFERENT, RIGHT?

Myers: THAT'S RIGHT.

Glover: DO THEY GET IT?

Myers: NO. I THINK WHAT WE DID WAS PASSED A BILL THAT IS GOING TO INCREASE PROPERTY TAXES DRAMATICALLY. I'LL TELL YOU SOMETHING ELSE. I'VE READ THE COLUMNS ABOUT MAYBE WE OUGHT TO MAKE SOME CUTS HERE AND THERE AND, FRANKLY, I DIDN'T DISAGREE WITH THE IDEA THAT SOME BUDGETS OUGHT TO BE CUT. I DID NOT AT ALL. BUT I DO NOT WANT TO CUT $70 MILLION OUT OF CITIES AND COUNTIES AND IMPACT PUBLIC SAFETY. AND I ALSO HEARD THAT, WELL, THEY JUST -- I BELIEVE MR. YEPSEN WROTE THAT THEY JUST BROUGHT THE PUBLIC SAFETY THING OUT THERE AS SORT OF A TROJAN HORSE. AS A PRACTICAL MATTER, ALL DEPARTMENTS -- IN IOWA CITY THEY'RE CUTTING A MILLION DOLLARS OUT OF THEIR BUDGET. FIVE OF THOSE GENTLEMEN ARE POLICE OFFICERS. FOUR ARE FIREFIGHTERS. THOSE ARE REAL CUTS. PUBLIC SAFETY IS OUR NUMBER ONE ISSUE, AS FAR AS I'M CONCERNED, IN OFFICE. AND BY GOLLY, WE SHOULD NOT BE DOING THAT. AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, WE DID NOT HAVE TO.

Glover: WASN'T THE LEGISLATURE, THOUGH, IN FACT, WHETHER YOU AGREE WITH IT OR NOT, SENDING A SIGNAL TO LOCAL GOVERNMENTS, WE WANT YOU TO DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY.

Myers: I THINK WHAT WE DID WAS WE PASSED THE BUCK. WE PUT THAT $128 MILLION REINVENTION GOVERNMENT ON THEM -- ON THE TABLE THERE AND PASSED IT WITHOUT REALLY KNOWING HOW IT'S GOING TO WORK. AND IT ISN'T JUST PHILOSOPHICAL. I MENTIONED A MINUTE AGO THAT IT DOESN'T WORK. THOSE CUTS -- THOSE SAVINGS ARE NOT GOING TO MATERIALIZE. YOU KNOW, FOR EXAMPLE, I'LL JUST GIVE YOU ONE EASY EXAMPLE. THERE'S A $10-MILLION PIECE IN THERE FOR PAPERWORK REDUCTION. AND BY THE WAY, I HAD MY MEMBERS OBJECTIVELY STUDY EACH ONE OF THESE PIECES. AND I WANT TO GO BACK TO THIS $10 MILLION FOR PAPERWORK. THAT'S ALREADY BEING DONE. YOU'RE NOT GOING TO SAVE ANY MONEY THERE. THAT'S $10 MILLION. THAT'S FLUFF. IT'S AIR. IT'S NOT THERE.

Yepsen: I WANT YOU TO WRITE A PRESCRIPTION, THOUGH, FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT. WHAT SHOULD THEY DO DIFFERENTLY?

Myers: WELL, JUST REMEMBER SOMETHING; MOST OF WHAT LOCAL GOVERNMENT DOES IS A DIRECT REFLECTION OF WHAT THE STATE AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FORCES UPON THEM TIME AFTER TIME AFTER TIME. AND IT ISN'T NEW. IT'S BEEN GOING ON FOR MORE THAN THIRTY YEARS. EVER SINCE I'VE BEEN INVOLVED IN GOVERNMENT, SINCE 1969, THERE ARE BOOKS THAT COME OUT ALL THE TIME THAT SAY, FROM THE FEDERAL AND STATE GOVERNMENT, YOU WILL DO THUS AND SO. NOW, WE USED TO PROVIDE SOME MONEY FOR THAT. WE DON'T DO THAT ANYMORE. SO THOSE RULES ARE STILL THERE, THOSE LAWS ARE STILL THERE, THOSE TASKS HAVE TO BE DONE, BUT THE LOCAL PROPERTY TAXPAYER HAS TO PICK IT UP.

Yepsen: ISN'T IT TRUE, THOUGH, A LOT OF LOCAL GOVERNMENTS PLAY THAT FIREMAN FIRST GAME: "OH, IF YOU CUT OUR BUDGET, THE FIRST THING WE'LL LAY OFF ARE THE COPS AND THE FIREFIGHTERS"? HERE IN DES MOINES, FOR EXAMPLE, THEY SAY, WELL, WE'LL HAVE TO CUT POLICE OFFICERS, AND YET THEY HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO FUND A BOTANICAL CENTER AND A ZOO AND OTHER THINGS LIKE THAT. DOES GOVERNMENT HAVE A ROLE TO PROVIDE ZOOS?

Myers: YES. I THINK CULTURE IS IMPORTANT TO OUR SOCIETY.

Yepsen: MORE IMPORTANT THAN PUBLIC SAFETY?

Myers: NO, BUT NEITHER IS --

Yepsen: THEN WHY AREN'T LOCAL GOVERNMENTS CLOSING ZOOS AND --

Myers: I THINK YOU'RE GOING TO SEE SOME OF THAT.

Yepsen: -- AND BOTANICAL CENTERS TO FUND THE POLICE OFFICERS?

Myers: I THINK YOU'RE SEEING SOME OF THAT NOW. IT ISN'T JUST POLICE OFFICERS AND FIREFIGHTERS THAT ARE BEING REDUCED. GO TALK TO THESE MAYORS. GO TALK TO THESE CITY COUNCILS. LOOK AT THE RESULTS OF WHAT'S GOING ON. SO IT ISN'T JUST THAT. BUT AS A PRACTICAL MATTER, WE COULD HAVE CHANGED THAT $70-MILLION CUT TO LOCAL GOVERNMENTS. WE COULD HAVE SOFTENED THAT QUITE A BIT. WE DECIDED NOT TO.

Glover: LET'S STEP BACK A SECOND. MAKE A VALUES JUDGMENT. IS THERE TOO MUCH GOVERNMENT IN IOWA -- TOO MUCH LOCAL GOVERNMENT?

Myers: WELL, CERTAINLY, YOU KNOW, THERE'S A STATISTIC OUT THAT SAYS WE HAVE, WHAT, 6 PERCENT OF THE NATION'S -- GOVERNMENTAL SUBDIVISIONS AND 1 PERCENT OF THE NATION'S POPULATION. SO YOU COULD MAKE A CASE, YES, THERE IS. MOST OF THIS HAPPENS BECAUSE OF ECONOMIC PRESSURE. I NOTE THAT THERE'S A BILL OUT THERE ON CITY AND COUNTY CONSOLIDATION. YOU COULD DO THAT RIGHT NOW WITH CHAPTER 28E OF THE IOWA CODE. YOU DON'T NEED ANOTHER LAW TO DO THAT. BUT I ALWAYS NOTE THAT IT'S BEEN FORCED BECAUSE OF ECONOMIC CONSIDERATIONS. IT'S ALWAYS OPPOSED BECAUSE OF POLITICAL CONSIDERATIONS. WHERE IT'S BEEN DONE EFFECTIVELY IS BECAUSE SOMEBODY WENT BROKE. WE MAY BE HEADING IN THAT DIRECTION. I'M NOT SURE. I'D LIKE TO SEE US, INSTEAD OF TRYING TO TAKE POLITICS OUT OF THE ISSUE, KEEP POLITICS IN IT, BUT CONTINUE TO WORK ON WHAT I WOULD CALL COUNTY/CITY CONSOLIDATION, NOT CITY/COUNTY.

Yepsen: WELL, IS THAT -- THEN ARE THE STATE'S BUDGET CUTS NOT A GOOD THING? I MEAN IF IT'S FORCING LOCAL GOVERNMENTS TO MERGE, WOULDN'T IT BE A GOOD THING TO HAVE THE LEGISLATURE CUT LOCAL GOVERNMENT'S BUDGETS IN ORDER TO GET RID OF 950 CITIES OR 99 COUNTIES OR 371 SCHOOLS?

Myers: LET'S NOT TRY TO MISLEAD ANYBODY ABOUT WHAT THIS PARTICULAR THING DID. IT SAID IT WAS GOING TO PROVIDE MEANS FOR CITIES AND COUNTIES TO RAISE FUNDS, LIKE $5 PARKING TICKETS. LET'S GET REALISTIC ABOUT WHAT WE'RE DOING, AND LET'S HAVE A LITTLE BALANCE. FOR HEAVEN'S SAKES, YOU KNOW ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I'VE BEEN STRIVING FOR IN GOVERNMENT ALL MY LIFE IS TO HAVE SOME BALANCE ABOUT HOW WE APPROACH THINGS INSTEAD OF A MEAT AX APPROACH. THERE IS NO STATISTICAL EVIDENCE, IN MY JUDGMENT, IN READING THAT REPORT THAT REALLY BACKS UP $71 MILLION TO LOCAL GOVERNMENTS.

Yepsen: I WANT TO SWITCH GEARS WITH YOU, MR. MYERS. TALK TO US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHY YOU DECIDED TO RETIRE. MOST POLITICIANS LIKE YOU, WHO ARE AT THE TOP OF THEIR GAME, TEND TO STICK AROUND FOR A WHILE. WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO SAY, "I'M HANGING IT UP"?

Myers: WELL, FIRST OF ALL, I'LL SPEAK A MINUTE ABOUT THE TIMING OF IT. I DON'T BELIEVE THAT YOU CAN DO THE JOB THAT I HAVE AS A LAME DUCK. I DECIDED IN MARCH, BECAUSE OF A NUMBER OF THINGS, THAT I WAS NOT GOING TO RUN FOR REELECTION. AND BY THE WAY, I'VE BEEN IN PUBLIC OFFICE SINCE 1969 DOING ALL KINDS OF THINGS. MAYBE IT'S TIME FOR ME TO DO SOMETHING ELSE. THERE'S A LOT OF OTHER THINGS TO DO IN THIS WORLD BESIDES SERVE IN PUBLIC OFFICE IN WHICH YOU CAN HELP YOUR COMMUNITIES, SO I WANT TO LOOK AT THAT. BUT I DID NOT WANT TO BE A LAME DUCK IN SESSION BECAUSE I THINK THAT HURTS THE CAUCUS GETTING READY FOR THE ELECTION. I DECIDED TO RESIGN AT THE END OF THIS PARTICULAR SESSION SO THAT A NEW PERSON COULD BE TRAINED GOING INTO THE SESSION, BE READY TO TAKE OVER, AND RUN THE CAUCUS DURING THE ELECTION. I WANTED TO TIME IT THAT WAY SO PEOPLE WOULD HAVE TIME, AND I WANT TO HELP WITH THE TRANSITION.

Yepsen: SO YOU HAVE NO PLANS TO RUN FOR ANYTHING ELSE --

Myers: NO, I DO NOT.

Glover: LET'S TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND AND THE DIRECTION OF THE IOWA DEMOCRATIC PARTY, REPRESENTATIVE MYERS. YOU'RE A FORMER REPUBLICAN.

Myers: TEN MONTHS. EVERYBODY HAS THEIR CROSS TO BEAR, YOU KNOW. [ LAUGHTER ]

Glover: AND WE'LL MAKE YOU BEAR IT FOR A LITTLE WHILE LONGER. YOU'RE A FORMER MAYOR. YOU'RE A FORMER COUNTY SUPERVISOR. YOU'RE A BUSINESS OWNER. YOU OWN A BUSINESS. ARE YOU HAPPY WITH THE DIRECTION THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY IN THIS STATE IS GOING, AND WHAT'S YOUR PRESCRIPTION FOR WHERE IT OUGHT TO GO?

Myers: WELL, YES, I AM HAPPY WITH THE WAY IT'S GOING. I THINK DEMOCRATS ARE TALKING MORE ABOUT ECONOMIC GROWTH THAN THEY HAVE IN THE PAST. ALONG WITH THAT, HOWEVER, I HOPE THAT REPUBLICANS WILL START TALKING ABOUT WAGE GROWTH BECAUSE I DON'T SEE THE TWO THINGS BEING BALANCED. WE HAVEN'T DONE ANYTHING ABOUT WAGES IN THE LAST SESSION, BUT WE'VE DONE AN AWFUL LOT ABOUT TAX CREDITS AND STUFF LIKE THAT, WHICH I THINK WE NEED TO DO. WE NEED TO RAISE WAGES IN THIS STATE. THE DEMOCRATS HAVE BEEN ACTIVE IN HELPING WITH THAT. AND IF YOU LOOK AT THE SOME OF THE VOTES THAT WE'VE HAD IN THE LAST SESSION, WE WERE MOVING IN THAT DIRECTION. SO I'M NOT DISSATISFIED WITH THAT AT ALL. I THINK THE DEMOCRATIC TENT IS A BIG TENT. I THINK IT'S INTERESTED IN PEOPLE'S RIGHTS, AND IT'S INTERESTED IN THE ENVIRONMENT AND INTERESTED IN ECONOMIC GROWTH FOR GOOD-PAYING JOBS.

Glover: THERE'S SOME SUGGESTION THAT THE PARTY'S DIRECTION, AT LEAST IN THE HOUSE, IS LIKELY TO CHANGE AFTER YOU. YOU'RE A FORMER REPUBLICAN FOR TEN MONTHS. YOU'RE A BUSINESS OWNER. YOU'VE BALANCED THE BOOKS. YOU'VE MADE THE BUSINESS WORK. AND MOST OF THE PEOPLE I HEAR, NAMED AS POTENTIAL REPLACEMENTS, ARE TO THE LEFT OF YOU. IS THE CAUCUS GOING TO MOVE LEFT AFTER YOU?

Myers: YOU KNOW, I DON'T REALLY THINK SO. I'VE OFTEN SAID THIS; IF WE HAD WON CONTROL OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, MANY OF THE PIECES OF LEGISLATION THAT PASSED WOULD HAVE STILL BEEN PASSED UNDER DEMOCRATS. WE MIGHT NOT HAVE DONE IT THE SAME EXACT WAY, BUT THE SUBJECTS NEEDED TO BE ADDRESSED. AFTER ALL, WE REPRESENT THE ENTIRE STATE, NOT JUST, SAY, LEFT -- OR LIBERAL PARTS OF THE STATE. WE NEED TO REMEMBER THAT. THERE HAS TO BE SOME BALANCE IN WHAT WE DO. I DO THINK THAT WE WOULD HAVE PUT MORE OF AN EMPHASIS ON PEOPLE'S WAGES AND HEALTH CARE AND MEDICAID AND THINGS OF THAT NATURE THAN WHAT THE REPUBLICANS DID. THERE'S NO DOUBT IN MY MIND ABOUT THAT.

Borg: WHAT ROLE WILL YOU PLAY IN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY AFTER YOU RETIRE FROM THE LEGISLATURE? ARE YOU GOING TO GO OUT AND RECRUIT CANDIDATES LIKE YOU HAVE IN THE PAST?

Myers: I'LL BE GLAD TO HELP ANYWHERE THEY WANT ME TO. I'M NOT GOING TO DRIVE -- YOU KNOW, WHEN YOU RETIRE FROM POLITICS, THERE'S A COUPLE OF THINGS THAT HAPPEN TO YOU RIGHT AWAY. FIRST OF ALL, PEOPLE ACT LIKE YOU'RE DEAD. I'M NOT. [ LAUGHTER ] AND THE SECOND THING, THE LOBBYIST STOPS CALLING YOU SIR. I NOTICED THAT ONE RIGHT OFF THE BAT. AND WHEN YOU CALL UP SOMEBODY ON THE PHONE, THEY TAKE YOUR CALL BECAUSE THEY KNOW YOU'RE NOT ASKING FOR CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS. [ LAUGHTER ] THERE'S A LOT OF THINGS THAT COULD WORK WITH IT. BUT, YOU KNOW, I'M GOING TO CONTINUE TO WORK AND BE PART OF MY COMMUNITY THE SAME WAY I HAVE ALL MY LIFE.

Yepsen: MR. MYERS, HOW DID YOU ACCOMPLISH THE BALANCING ACT DURING YOUR CAREER? I MEAN MIKE MENTIONED YOU COME OUT OF JOHNSON COUNTY. IT'S ARGUABLY THE MOST LIBERAL COUNTY IN THE STATE, AND THEN YOU'RE A BUSINESS OWNER AND PRO GROWTH. HOW DO YOU BALANCE THE TWO?

Myers: WELL, FIRST OF ALL, THE QUESTION SEEMS TO IMPLY THAT DEMOCRATS ARE NOT PRO GROWTH. I DISPUTE THAT. IT ALSO SEEMS TO IMPLY THAT DEMOCRATS DON'T HAVE ANY SENSE ABOUT MONEY. WELL, I DO NOTE THAT WE'VE HAD TWO REPUBLICANS PRESIDENTS THAT HAVE RUN THE BIGGEST DEFICIT IN THE HISTORY OF THIS COUNTRY, AND YET DEMOCRATS SEEM TO BALANCE THE BUDGET. I'M NOT GOING TO GET INTO ANY OF THAT. I WILL SAY THIS MUCH AS FAR AS MY CAREER IS CONCERNED; I'D ASK YOU TO LOOK AT SOME VOTES THAT MIGHT BE LIBERAL OR CONSERVATIVE IN THE PUBLIC'S CONNOTATION, OR THE PUBLIC'S EYE. I VOTED AGAINST AND WORKED HARD AGAINST THE DEATH PENALTY. THAT'S ONE OF THE THINGS I'M PROUD OF. THAT'S A PRETTY LIBERAL STANDING, AS A MATTER OF FACT. I'VE ALWAYS SUPPORTED GAY RIGHTS. I'VE SUPPORTED A LOT OF THINGS THAT LIBERALS HAVE TRADITIONALLY SUPPORTED. I'VE SUPPORTED INCREASING WORKERS' RIGHTS. IF THAT CAN BE CONSIDERED LIBERAL OR CONSERVATIVE, I DON'T CARE. WHAT I WANTED TO DO WAS IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF LIFE IN THIS STATE FOR PEOPLE. I WANTED TO SEE TO IT THAT WE WERE AS WELL EDUCATED AS POSSIBLE. THOSE THINGS ARE IMPORTANT TO ME, AND I WANT WAGES RAISED.

Yepsen: BUT AS I RECALL, YOU DID NOT WANT TO REPEAL THE RIGHT TO WORK LAW.

Myers: THE RIGHT TO WORK LAW WAS REPEALED REALLY, IN EFFECT, IN THE 1989 COURT DECISION, WHICH SAYS CAN'T FORCE SOMEONE TO JOIN THE UNION ANYWAY. I THINK IT WAS SOMETHING THAT WAS NOT GOING TO BE ON THE TABLE. FIRST, I FRANKLY WOULD LIKE TO SEE US PASS SOME FAIR SHARE LEGISLATION, WHICH PEOPLE PAID FOR THE COST OF COLLECTIVE BARGAINING.

Glover: REPRESENTATIVE MYERS, IF WE'RE TALKING ABOUT THE DIRECTION OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY, I OVERHEARD A REPUBLICAN RECENTLY WHO SAID, "I JUST DON'T GET IT." WE HAVE A DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR WHO WANTS TO GIVE $500 MILLION TO BUSINESSES, AND REPUBLICANS ARE STOPPING HIM. IS THAT THE RIGHT DIRECTION FOR THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY?

Myers: WELL, IT'S $350 MILLION.

Glover: WELL, OKAY.

Myers: THERE'S AN AWFUL LOT OF DIFFERENT THINGS IN THAT BILL BESIDES JUST THOSE PROMOTION PROGRAMS, THE LIFE SCIENCES INITIATIVES. THERE'S AN AWFUL LOT TO IT.

Glover: WELL, SO IS A GOOD OLD JOHNSON COUNTY LIBERAL LIKE YOURSELF COMFORTABLE WITH THAT?

Myers: YES, I AM.

Glover: WELL, HOW ARE YOUR LIBERAL FRIENDS IN JOHNSON COUNTY HANDLING THAT?

Myers: WELL, WE KNOW DARN WELL, IF WE'RE THINKING AT ALL, WE NEED TO INCREASE WAGES IN THIS STATE. WE CANNOT CONTINUE -- AS THE GOVERNOR SAID AT THE FIRST OF THIS SESSION, WE CANNOT CONTINUE TO HAVE OUR STATE'S ECONOMY DEPEND ON HIGH-VOLUME, LOW-MARGIN PRODUCTS. YOU NEED TO MAKE A PROFIT, OKAY? AND YOU NEED TO HAVE BUSINESS IN HERE THAT CAN DO THAT. YOU KNOW, WE TALK A LOT -- I HEARD REPRESENTATIVE GIPP SAY, WELL, WORKERS NEED COMPANIES FOR THEIR JOBS. WELL, THE OTHER THING THAT'S TRUE IS, WELL, YOU KNOW, COMPANIES NEED WORKERS FOR JOBS. AND I'VE BEEN A BUSINESS PERSON ALL MY LIFE, AS YOU MENTIONED. YOU KNOW WHAT I NEED MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE? I NEED CUSTOMERS WITH MONEY IN THEIR POCKETS.

Yepsen: MR. MYERS, I WANT YOU TO BACK UP AND LOOK OVER YOUR LONG POLITICAL CAREER IN PUBLIC LIFE. AS YOU MENTIONED, YOU'VE HELD OFFICE OF SOME SORT OR ANOTHER SINCE 1969. WHAT'S YOUR BIGGEST ACCOMPLISHMENT? WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?

Myers: I DON'T KNOW WHETHER I CAN REALLY SAY THAT. I'M INCREDIBLY HUMBLED BY THE FACT THAT SOMEBODY ASKED ME TO REPRESENT THEM. I JUST THINK THAT IS AN AWESOME RESPONSIBILITY. I'M A LITTLE BIT STUNNED THAT I FIND MYSELF IN THIS POSITION AFTER -- AFTER 68, ALMOST 69 YEARS ON THIS PLANET. THE FACT THAT I HAD TRUST, PEOPLE SEEMED TO TRUST ME TO REPRESENT THEM. NOT EVERYBODY. THAT'S GOOD TOO; YOU NEED OPPOSITION. THAT'S ALWAYS AMAZED ME, TO SOME DEGREE THAT -- YOU KNOW, THE RESPONSIBILITIES YOU HAVE OF PUBLIC OFFICE. I'VE BEEN ALL OVER THE WORLD. I'VE STUDIED ALL KINDS OF GOVERNMENTS. WE'VE GOT A PRETTY GOOD DEAL HERE, A PRETTY GOOD SYSTEM, AND I'M VERY PROUD TO HAVE BEEN PART OF IT.

Yepsen: AND I WANT TO FLIP THAT QUESTION AROUND. WHAT'S YOUR BIGGEST MISTAKE? AS YOU LOOK BACK OVER YOUR PUBLIC CAREER, TO WHAT ARE YOU SAYING, "GOSH, I WISH I'D DONE THAT DIFFERENTLY"? IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE --

Myers: I DON'T BELIEVE WE HAVE ENOUGH TIME IN THIS PROGRAM FOR ME TO TALK ABOUT MY MISTAKES. [ LAUGHTER ] I'D HAVE TO HAVE MY OWN PROGRAM OR SOMETHING. ACTUALLY, WHAT I THOUGHT I WOULD DO, I THOUGHT I WOULD WRITE -- I'D LIKE TO WRITE A BOOK. I'M NOT SURE IF I HAVE THE DISCIPLINE TO DO IT, BUT I REALLY WOULD LIKE TO PUT DOWN A SORT OF PRIMER ON POLITICS AS I SEE IT. AND IT'S NOT STUFF YOU LEARN IN A CIVICS BOOK; IT'S WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS.

Yepsen: WELL, IF YOU TELL US THE TRUTH, GLOVER AND I WILL HELP YOU WRITE. [ LAUGHTER ]

Glover: WELL, LET'S PUT ON THAT POLITICAL HAT HERE FOR A SECOND AND LOOK AT SOME DEMOCRATIC PROSPECTS IN THE UPCOMING ELECTION. THE DEMOCRATS -- AND YOU'VE SEEN THE FIELD RUNNING AROUND IOWA.

Myers: ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT THE PRESIDENTIAL FOLKS?

Glover: THOSE ARE THE ONES.

Myers: YEAH.

Glover: DO YOU HAVE A CHANCE OF DEFEATING PRESIDENT BUSH NEXT YEAR?

Myers: OH, I BELIEVE SO, YES. I THINK THE DEBATE -- WHILE IT WILL HAVE A FOREIGN POLICY CONNOTATION -- YOU KNOW, NORMALLY WE ELECT PRESIDENTS BASED ON DOMESTIC POLICY, WHAT KIND OF SHAPE THE JOBS ARE IN AND SO ON. PEOPLE ARE REALLY CONCERNED ABOUT ECONOMIC SECURITY. THEY'RE CONCERNED ABOUT WHETHER THEIR HEALTH INSURANCE IS GOING TO BE THERE, AND IF IT IS THERE, IF IT'S AFFORDABLE. THEY'RE CONCERNED ABOUT WHETHER THEIR PENSIONS ARE GOING TO BE THERE. YOU KNOW, THIS -- TO ME, IT GETS PUT IN A PHILOSOPHICAL TERM, BUT IT'S MORE ABOUT MANAGING RESOURCES. I DO NOT BELIEVE THE REPUBLICANS ARE DOING A VERY GOOD JOB OF MANAGING RESOURCES.

Glover: LET'S LOOK AT ANOTHER RESOURCE. THERE'S A UNITED STATES SENATE SEAT OPEN IN IOWA NEXT YEAR, THE ONE HELD CURRENTLY BY CHUCK GRASSLEY.

Myers: YES.

Glover: HAVE YOU GOT A DEMOCRAT THAT'S GOING TO BEAT HIM?

Myers: THAT I CAN'T SAY. I DO NOT KNOW. I KNOW THAT SENATOR GRASSLEY IS HELD IN HIGH REGARD BY IOWANS. I NOTE THAT HE IS COMPILING A RECORD THAT IS DEBATABLE. HE'S SHOWING A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF INDEPENDENCE IN THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. I HOPE HE MAINTAINS THAT. IN FACT, I'D LIKE TO SEE HIM GO A LITTLE FURTHER. BUT REGARDLESS, I'M SURE THERE ARE MANY DEMOCRATS THAT ARE THINKING ABOUT IT. AND I KNOW DARN WELL -- WHAT?

Glover: NOW THAT YOU'RE FREE OF THE LEGISLATURE, WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Myers: NO.

Yepsen: WHAT ABOUT CONGRESS? FIVE SEATS UP. DO DEMOCRATS HAVE ANY CHANCE OF TAKING ONE OF THOSE CONGRESSIONAL SEATS FROM THE REPUBLICANS?

Myers: WELL, I THINK THAT THE ANSWER TO THAT QUESTION AGAIN WILL DEPEND A LITTLE BIT ON THE STATE OF THE ECONOMY AS WE APPROACH THE ELECTION. I'D LIKE TO ANSWER THAT QUESTION MORE IN JANUARY AND FEBRUARY, BECAUSE THAT'S WHEN I THINK PEOPLE WILL REALLY BE THINKING ABOUT IT.

Glover: ONE OF THE THINGS YOU HAVE BEEN VERY INVOLVED IN AND I PRESUME WILL CONTINUE TO BE VERY INVOLVED IN IS LEGISLATIVE ELECTIONS.

Myers: THAT'S RIGHT.

Glover: THE COMMON WISDOM IS THAT THE BEST CHANCE YOU HAVE FOR GETTING THE LEGISLATURE IS RIGHT AFTER REDISTRICTING, WHICH IS THE LAST ELECTION.

Myers: THAT'S RIGHT.

Glover: HAVE YOU GOT A REALISTIC SHOT NEXT SOMETIME? AND IF SO, MAKE THE ARGUMENT FOR IT.

Myers: ALL RIGHT. FIRST OF ALL, IN THE LAST ELECTION, THE CONDITIONS WITH IRAQ AND ALL THAT STUFF, WELL, IT HAD SOME EFFECT ON IT. I WOULD SAY THIS MUCH, WE ONLY HAD 30 INCUMBENTS. IN ORDER TO REALLY TAKE CONTROL OF THINGS, WE HAD TO TARGET AS MANY AS 25 TO 30 SEATS. THAT REALLY STRETCHES YOUR RESOURCES PRETTY THIN AND YOUR ABILITY TO MANAGE THAT. THAT WON'T BE THE CASE IN THIS NEXT ELECTION. WE HAVE 46 INCUMBENTS. MORE THAN LIKELY, THEY'LL PROBABLY -- MAYBE FOUR OR FIVE PEOPLE HAVE DECIDED TO RETIRE. IF THAT'S -- IF THERE WOULD BE THAT MANY, I'D BE SOMEWHAT SURPRISED. BUT REGARDLESS, THAT MEANS THAT YOUR TARGETING WILL BE SOMEWHERE BETWEEN 15 AND 20 AT THE OUTSIDE. SO IT'S A LOT EASIER TO MANAGE THAT NUMBER OF PEOPLE, INCUMBENTS BEING RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR OWN REELECTION, BY THE WAY. SO NEVERTHELESS, IT SHOULD BE EASIER TO MANAGE. IT SHOULDN'T STRETCH RESOURCES SO FAR. AND BY THE WAY, WE HAVE SOME VERY GOOD DISTRICTS THAT WE CAN WORK ON.

Glover: AS SOME OF THE SUGGESTIONS -- YOU'VE HAD A PROBLEM GETTING LEGISLATION THROUGH THE SENATE THIS YEAR, AND ONE REASON THAT'S BEEN SUGGESTED TO ME THAT YOU'RE HAVING A PROBLEM IS THAT THE REPUBLICANS WHO ARE RUNNING THE SENATE DON'T THINK THEY CAN LOSE. THEY THINK THEY'VE GOT A LOCK IN THE SENATE. MAKE THE CASE IF THEY CAN.

Myers: ARROGANCE IS THE BANE OF POLITICIANS. YOU SHOULD NOT BE ARROGANT. YOU SHOULD BE A LITTLE HUMBLE IN THIS TASK AND REMEMBER THAT YOU'RE THERE TO SERVE PEOPLE AND YOU SHOULD BE WORKING TOGETHER. AND IF THEY ARE NOT AND THE PUBLIC SEES THAT, THEY'LL DEAL WITH THAT.

Glover: IS THAT AN ACCURATE ASSESSMENT?

Myers: WELL, I HONESTLY BELIEVE THAT THERE'S A LACK OF COHESIVENESS OR AN ABILITY TO WORK TOGETHER IN THE SENATE THAT DOES NOT EXIST IN THE HOUSE. AND SO THEY'LL HAVE TO DEAL WITH THAT THEMSELVES.

Yepsen: MR. MYERS, WE'VE GOT JUST A FEW SECONDS LEFT. GIVE ME YOUR ASSESSMENT OF YOUR PARTY'S PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES THAT ARE CRISSCROSSING THE STATE. WHO'S GOING TO WIN IOWA IN THE CAUCUSES?

Myers: WELL, THE CONVENTIONAL WISDOM SAYS THAT MR. GEPHARDT IS AHEAD RIGHT NOW, I GUESS THE POLLS SHOW. BUT I THINK THERE ARE -- YOU KNOW, MR. GEPHARDT, MR. KERRY, SENATOR LIEBERMAN, MAYBE -- AND GOVERNOR DEAN IS CLEARLY THE DARK HORSE IN THIS WHOLE THING, I BELIEVE. BUT I THINK THOSE FOUR ARE PROBABLY THE TOP TIER. THOSE FOUR HAVE SOME PRESENCE HERE IN THE STATE. SENATOR EDWARDS DOES TOO, AS A MATTER OF FACT. BUT I REALLY BELIEVE THAT GEPHARDT HAS GOT TO DO WELL HERE. AND IF HE DOESN'T, WHY, HE PROBABLY WILL NOT SURVIVE.

Yepsen: WHO FINISHES SECOND?

Myers: WHO FINISHES SECOND? WELL, I THINK THAT'S -- THAT COULD BE UP BETWEEN KERRY AND LIEBERMAN. MAYBE DEAN WILL SLIP IN THERE. YOU KNOW, IT'S ALL GOING TO COME DOWN TO GRASS-ROOTS ORGANIZATIONS. IT'S LIKE RUNNING FOR COUNTY SHERIFF. WELL, WE HAVEN'T BEEN PAYING MUCH ATTENTION TO THAT BECAUSE OF ALL THE TURMOIL OVER THE PAST ELECTION. THE WAR HAS BEEN DOMINATING THE NEWS AND ALL THAT STUFF. FOLKS HAVE GOT TO GET TRACTION. YOU'RE GOING TO START SEEING THAT PRETTY SOON.

Glover: WHERE ARE YOU?

Myers: WHAT?

Glover: WHERE ARE YOU?

Myers: I'M BEEN UNCOMMITTED.

Glover: ARE YOU GOING TO BE UNCOMMITTED? ARE YOU GOING TO PICK A HORSE?

Myers: I'LL DECIDE THAT AFTER JULY 1. RIGHT NOW I WANT TO GET THE JOB DONE THAT I'VE BEEN ELECTED TO DO.

Yepsen: VERY QUICKLY, WHICH OF THOSE -- OF THE DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES IS THE BEST CANDIDATE TO CARRY IOWA IN '04 AGAINST GEORGE BUSH?

Myers: CARRY IOWA? I WOULD SAY IT WOULD BE EITHER KERRY OR GEPHARDT; I WOULD.

Borg: WITH THAT I HAVE TO CLOSE.

Myers: OKAY.

Borg: THANKS FOR COMING BACK AND VISITING WITH US TODAY.

Myers: I DON'T KNOW WHY I EVEN SAID THAT, DAVE. [ LAUGHTER ]

Borg: WE'LL TAKE THAT AS THE LAST WORD. THAT'S IT FOR THIS WEEKEND'S EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS." WE WILL BE BACK NEXT WEEKEND, 6:30 FRIDAY, SUNDAY AT NOON. UNTIL THEN, I'M DEAN BORG. THANKS FOR JOINING US TODAY.

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY "FRIENDS," THE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION FOUNDATION... GENERATIONS OF FAMILIES AND FRIENDS WHO FEEL PASSIONATE ABOUT THE PROGRAMS THEY WATCH ON IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION;

AND BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS; AND BY THE ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS OF IOWA... THE PUBLIC'S PARTNER IN BUILDING IOWA'S HIGHWAY, BRIDGE, AND MUNICIPAL UTILITY INFRASTRUCTURE.