Terry Branstad elected governor

Terry Branstad, Source: The Iowa independent

Governor Terry Branstad won a close race in night’s general election and will be beginning his fifth term as Iowa Governor next January. Culver called Branstad to concede shortly before 11 pm.

“Tonight I feel like the luckiest guy on the face of the earth. I can’t tell you what an honor it is to be asked by Iowans to serve as their governor again,” says Branstad. “I’m more excited about the job ahead than I was the first time I stood here on election night. It’s a privilege to serve Iowans…I aim to prove you right… I will always do my best. I will always act with your best interest in heart.””

Branstad is an Iowa native who was born in Leland Iowa, and attended the University of Iowa and Drake University Law School. He began his political career at the Iowa House of Representatives and later as lieutenant governor under Governor Robert Ray.

He was elected governor in 1983, and at the age of 36, was the youngest governor of Iowa ever elected. He served four consecutive terms until he was beaten by Tom Vilsack (D) who served from 1999 to 2007. Vilsack was succeeded by Chet Culver (D) who was defeated in Tuesday’s polls.

The Governor elect has plans to hit the ground running with plans to re-staff his department and begin implementing his five year plan that includes provisions for economic development, better veteran compensation, education, and to drastically improve agricultural output.

“He’s going to start by putting effective managers in place and surround himself with good people,” says Branstad’s Communications Director, Tim Albrecht. “He will pick talented, able people to surround himself with who know what they’re doing, regardless of their party or their politics. He’s going to pick the best people for those positions.”

According to his website, Branstad has plans to reboot Iowa’s current job market by keeping jobs within the state. His aggressive five-step program will implement his policies by assembling teams to work alongside Iowa companies and farmers to increase Iowa’s exports.

“It takes somebody to go out and sell our and be an ambassador for Iowa,” says Albrecht. “He’s going to be Iowa’s ambassador to the state, country and the world.”

He promises to double Iowa crop production by promoting better crop regulation that includes reforming the regulating process to expedite business and remove unnecessary environmental litigation. Branstad will also be promoting “sustainable entrepreneurship” to create jobs and raise income for farmers and their families.

Branstad also plans to provide more assistance to veterans by increasing employment through a veteran job bank. He will be expanding veteran benefits to include exemption from state income tax and will protect and improve the Iowa Veteran’s Trust Fund.

Branstad did not specifically address education and student debt on his website, but his Communications Director, Tim Albrecht says that education is a high priority and the Branstad administration will work hard to alleviate student debt.

“Double digit tuition increases never occurred under Branstad. What we have to do is get this budget under control, says Albrecht. “Double digit tuition increases are unacceptable and never happened when he was governor before. He’s going to work to prevent those.”


Attorney General faces newcomer in gen. elections

Source: TheIowaRepublican.com

Newcomer, Brenna Findley (R), is challenging the incumbent, Tom Miller (D), for Iowa Attorney General in this year’s general election.

The Iowa Attorney General is an elected office of four-year terms that are decided by popular election. Iowa Code defines the Attorney General as “provides legal counsel and direction to the state by participation in cases before the courts where the state has an interest and by formulating written opinions to state officers and county attorneys on questions of state law of public importance.”

An attorney general is the chief legal adviser to the state and chief law enforcement officer. The attorney general also represents the state and its officers in criminal and juvenile court, along with representing consumers in utility rate cases. The Incumbent, Tom Miller, has been Iowa Attorney General since 1978, excluding between 1991 and 1994, when he had unsuccessfully run for governor. In his period out of office, he briefly returned to private practice and was succeeded by Bonnie Campbell (D).

Miller is an Iowa native who, after graduating from Harvard Law School, worked for the nonprofit law firm, Baltimore Legal Aid, and taught part-time at Maryland School of Law. He later returned to Iowa to become city attorney for Marquette and McGregor, and soon was elected to Iowa Attorney General .

Miller is an fierce advocate against crime and works for victim compensation and improvement in the juvenile justice system. He also established the Nation’s first Farm Division in an attorney general’s office in order to protect farms against large agribusinesses and insulate them from crop and seed failure.

He will be campaigning for the remaining days until the election, and is expecting favorable results for next week’s polls.

“I feel good about the election. I think we’ve run a good campaign. I feel like the office has served Iowans well,” said Miller. However, he still has plans to continue his work to investigate the recent foreclosures, protect consumers and to prevent crimes and fraud against the elderly.

“In my view, it’s just a huge unfinished agenda for me and my office,” he says. “I think we can do for Iowans… things we’ve never done before. There’s an awful lot to be done and I hope to get the chance do it.”

Miller’s strongest criticism against his opponent was against her minimal experience as a practicing attorney and extensive involvement in partisan politics. He is proud of his time in office and emphasized the importance of non-partisanship and honesty he worked to promote.

Challenger Brenna Findley is also an Iowa native with Midwestern values. She graduated from Drake University, and later the University of Chicago Law School where she worked with aspiring entrepreneurs and volunteered at the Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship.

She is currently working in private practice and has previously served as Chief of Staff under congressman Steve King (R).

Findley did not respond to calls or emails.

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