Capitol Notebook: Bipartisan politicians urge Iowa Democrats to fight for first place in the nation

Former Iowa Democratic Party State Chairman Dave Nagle speaks along with David Oman and Mike Mahaffey during a news conference at the Iowa Capitol in Des Moines on Wednesday, January 25, 2023. Photo by Tom Barton.

DES MOINES — Two former Iowa state party leaders — a Democrat and a Republican — are urging Iowa Democrats to continue their fight for the first Iowa caucuses.

Former Democratic Iowa Chairman and former three-year U.S. Rep. David Nagle of Cedar Falls met with former Iowa Republican Party Co-Chairman David Oman and former Republican Party Chairman Mike Mahaffey at a press conference on Wednesday Iowa the Iowa Capitol “to build an even broader base of support for the caucuses in Iowa.”

The Democratic National Committee will vote early next month on a new calendar for its presidential nomination process that would strip Iowa of its first-in-the-nation status and shift it entirely in favor of a more diverse battlefield from the early states.

Republicans have already agreed to hold Iowa’s first election conventions for GOP candidates — and several Republicans have already been in state to weigh the possibility of presidential candidates.

Leading the way in presidential elections since 1972, the Iowa caucuses have garnered media attention and raked in millions of campaign dollars from presidential hopefuls.

“Iowa will be at a crossroads very quickly,” Nagle said. “And that’s to determine whether the Democratic Party will fight to keep Iowa first in the nation, or Washington, DC, will allow us to tell us what to do, when to do it, and how to do it.” be able.

“Both Iowa Democrats and Republicans agree that this is an important function of the Iowa Democratic Party to represent rural America and the Republican Party to do the same in the nomination process.”

Oman and Mahaffey echoed his comments.

“The caucuses in this state have worked beautifully for a couple of generations, and they can continue to work well,” said Oman, a Des Moines businessman and former chief of staff to former Iowa Republican governors. Robert Ray and Terry Branstad.

Nagle said should the DNC approve the new calendar, Iowa Democrats should still come first, regardless of likely national party sanctions and the loss of delegates to the national convention. He said the Iowa Democrats held an unsanctioned caucus in 1984.

“We don’t need their approval, their permission and we don’t have to kneel before them. We just stand still,” said Nagle.

However, the DNC has said it would strip presidential candidates campaigning in unsanctioned states of delegates and access to debates.

“What’s important from our standpoint is that if they want to be here, we’re here,” Nagle said. “They have to make that choice, whether to run against the Biden administration or to acquiesce. Our goal is to give people who are not necessarily financially strong or well-known the opportunity to run for president.”

school administration costs

Iowa school districts would be limited to spending 5 percent of approved administrative expenses under a proposed bill in the Iowa Senate.

Senate File 12, proposed by Urbandale Sen. Brad Zaun, would limit administrative costs and allow the state Department of Education to define administrative costs.

The bill was passed by a Senate subcommittee. Zaun and Republican Senator Chris Cournoyer of LeClaire recommended passage, while Democratic Senator Eric Giddens of Cedar Falls did not.

Zaun said growth in students and teachers has lagged far behind growth in administrative costs in Iowa schools in recent years, and he hopes the bill will limit administrative spending.

But lobbyists said the bill was redundant because Iowa law already mandates a cap on administrative expenses at 5 percent of the school’s general expenses. Existing law defines administrative expenditure as “expenditure for executive administration” rather than allowing the Department of Education to define it.

Margaret Buckton, a lobbyist for the Urban Education Network and Iowa’s Rural Education Advocates, said further caps on administrative costs would limit the ability of smaller districts to be flexible in their governance and said state-mandated programs are driving up administrative costs .

Zaun said he would prefer the legislature to set administrative costs rather than the Department of Education.

Employee verification requirements

Senate Republicans have again pushed legislation that would add an additional step to the process of verifying a worker’s residency through the federal E-Verify program for businesses.

According to the draft law, anyone can file a complaint with the State Employment Service, and if that department determines that there has been a violation, the department must take legal action, and these actions must be expedited by the court.

“I’ve always believed it was grossly unfair to honest, law-abiding employers who obey the law and hire people who are legally in the country… it’s grossly unfair to them to have to compete with people who are… Hiring people here is illegal and will work for below average wages,” said Sen. Jason Schultz, R-Schleswig.

Sen. Tony Bisignano, D-Des Moines, said business leaders say the E-Verify program can be slow and inaccurate, noting that companies and business groups oppose the bill.

Its passage will allow Senate Act 108 for debate across the Senate. The Republican-led Senate has passed similar legislation in recent years, but the proposal never passed both houses of the Iowa Legislature.