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.
Sinclair closed the evening with her speech. She thanked Supervisor Candidate Mark Raymie for emceeing the event, as well as Behn, Branstad and other dignitaries at the event before opening her speech.
“I'm running a bit scared,” Sinclair said. “I fear for the continuation of the American dream.”
She said she is scared of what is happening to businesses and education in the state and in the country. While the business of government ultimately comes down to compromise, Sinclair said she would not compromise on her principles.
“My opponent has recently said he's willing to compromise on anything,” Sinclair said.
Her opponent, Dick Schrad, clarified that his comments were intended to show that, if elected, he would do what he felt would be best for the district, even if he does not fully agree.
“I won't let my personal convictions get in the way of what's best for the district,” Schrad said on Thursday.
Sinclair said her principles, regarding government, were that it should uphold law, ensure peace and treat people equally. Once that happens, government should “get out of the way.”
She also wants politicians to realize that for every dollar he or she agrees to spend, it is a dollar that has been taken from someone he or she represents. Abuse of the system should end.
“There's a big difference between a safety net and a hammock,” Sinclair said. She closed her speech by thanking everyone for coming and their continued support. The evening went well, she added.
Branstad criticizes Obama
Much of Branstad's speech focused on making Iowa more competitive, and expressed concern for America's future. He believes if Barack Obama is reelected, and spending in Washington is not addressed, the United States will face the same financial crisis as Greece and the Eurozone within four years.
“Iowa is a key battleground state,” Branstad said. “(Obama) knows he's in trouble here.”
He added that the President has been “passing the buck and blaming others” when things have gone wrong during his administration. No Democrats have supported any of Obama's budget proposals, because, Branstad believes, they know they won't work.
As for Iowa, Branstad pointed out differences between this state and the corruption of Illinois, evidenced by having two past Illinois governors in prison. Branstad is confident that Iowa can also regain the top spot among education rankings.