Gov. Terry Branstad and Senate Republican Leader Jerry Behn were in Knoxville Wednesday night to ask the approximately 45 in attendance to do what they can to send Amy Sinclair to the Iowa Senate, and build what they hope to be a new majority.
Sinclair is the Republican nominee for Senate District 14, which includes most of Marion County. Branstad briefly mentioned Sinclair in his speech, which focused more on restoring a Republican majority in the Senate to move the party's agenda forward. He touted the status of the state's finances under a Republican-led house, saying the state went from a $900 million deficit to a surplus since his election.
Branstad told the Journal-Express that he does not know Sinclair very well. He is impressed by what he has learned about her, and believes her experience in agriculture, local government and business makes her a good candidate. She would be a welcome addition to the Senate.
“I just heard really good things from people,” Branstad said. Behn did not know Sinclair well, either, but during the campaign process thus far, he has learned more.
“I've just gotten to know her through those and I think she's a great candidate,” Behn said.
Behn said the goal is to build a Republican majority. Republican priorities include property tax relief, education reform, job growth and loosening regulations.
One complaint that has been made about the current Senate Majority Leader, Democrat Mike Gronstal, is that he blocked a vote in the Senate regarding the definition of marriage in the state. Behn was asked if he would ever block a vote on an issue, if one arose.
“There's always a place for those (issues) you genuinely believe are appropriate or inappropriate,” Behn said. In his speech, Behn indicated that Democrats in Iowa held a 112,000 registered voter advantage over the Republicans four years ago. Today, Republicans have a 21,000 voter advantage.