Iowa Condition of the State Address
Governor Terry Branstad used his 2014 Condition of the State Address to show that "Iowa Is Working."
He told a joint session of the Iowa Legislature that he is "honored to be serving as your Governor, humbled by the opportunity and eager to meet the challenges we face."
Branstad says people across the state have come together as families, as communities, as Iowans. He says they have put their differences aside to move Iowa forward.
He used the roughly 35-minute speech to highlight the accomplishments of the Legislature's 2013 session.
"Because of our hard work last legislative session, Iowa's economy, educational system, and health are moving forward."
He specifically talked about health care and education reform, legislation to reduce commercial property taxes, and even a successful effort to save Olympic Wrestling.
"Together, we kept wrestling in the Olympics and the Olympic dreams for Iowa wrestlers alive."
The Governor also looked ahead to 2014.
"Today, I call on the General Assembly, as its first order of business, in bipartisan fashion, to pass a resolution in support of maintaining a robust Renewable Fuels Standard."
Branstad also proposed legislation to expand the reach of high speed internet, freeze tuition at Regent Universities for the second year in a row, and pass the Home Base Iowa Act.
"Join me in telling veterans that we will no longer tax their pensions," says Branstad, "(and) let's increase support for the Military Homeownership Assistance Program, which provides up to $5,000 in down payment or closing cost assistance."
The Governor concluded his speech by saying going back to the theme of "Iowa is Working," while adding that there is more work to be done to realize the Iowa Dream.
The Governor's speech gained mixed reviews from local lawmakers.
State Representative Dave Heaton (R-Mt. Pleasant) says the Governor laid out a plan that should gain bi-partisan support during an election year.
"It looks like we have an opportunity to move forward, together, this year," says Heaton, "rather than in a divisive manner when it comes to the Governor's vision that he put forth."
State Senator Rich Taylor (D-Mt. Pleasant) says while he supports programs such as expanded high-speed internet and anti-bullying programs, the speech left him wanting more.
He says the Governor should have focused less on the accomplishments in 2013 and more on what is ahead in 2014.
"I wish he would have brought up what we are going to do on the minimum wage," says Taylor. "I wish he would have taken a leadership role on the gasoline tax."
A highlight for both men was when Lee County was praised during the speech for its declining unemployment rate.