Reynolds speaks at GOP event

Iowa governor keynote at Hamilton County fundraiser

—Daily Freeman-Journal photo by Teresa Wood Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks to Carole Wilkerson, John Hemingway, Doug Sowle and Virginia Sowle during the Hamilton County Republican Dinner Saturday night at the Webster City Middle School.

“I am blessed to go to job everyday that I love,” proclaimed Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds at the annual Hamilton County GOP Fundraiser Saturday night in Webster City.

Hamilton County Republican Co-Chair Rick Young introduced Reynolds, explaining his favorite musical was “The Music Man” which identifies several positive character traits and Reynolds possesses all of them – Iowa Nice, Iowa Stubborn and Iowa Strong.

A standing ovation from the crowd of 75 ushered Reynolds to the podium. Reynolds admitted she began her career as a rural girl from Osceola. Those humble beginnings have inspired her to dedicate her administration to providing the same opportunities for success to every Iowan.

Reynolds began her career as a pharmacist assistant and eventually went to work in the Clark County Department of Motor Vehicles office. When the incumbent retired, Reynolds was nudged by her husband to seek the office.

Reynolds served as Clark County Treasurer from 1998 to 2006 and in 2009, she ran for the District 48 seat in the Iowa Senate. She served in the Senate from 2009 to 2010 when she was handpicked by sixth time gubernatorial candidate Terry Branstad to run as his Lieutenant Governor in 2010. Reynolds served as Branstad’s second from 2011 to 2017. When President Donald Trump chose Branstad to serve as the US Ambassador to China, Reynolds ascended to the role of Iowa governor in May of 2017.

Like her predecessor, Reynolds is groundbreaking. When she became the 43rd Governor of Iowa, she also became the first woman to hold the office.

“That is so reflective of the opportunities within our state,” said Reynolds of her rise to Iowa’s highest office.

Reynolds told the assembly that elections do matter and victory doesn’t happen without the hard work at the grass roots level. It was that hard work that won the Republican Party the Trifecta in 2016 – the US House of Representatives, the US Senate and the White House, she said. In addition, the election impacted the judicial branch of the government with the recent appointment of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch as well as future district judges that will be selected by a Conservative president.

Building a Better Iowa is her priority, Reynolds said. She is dedicating her administration to creating a competitive business environment, seeking tax reform, establishing a connected Iowa through technology, developing an innovative energy policy, keeping education a priority and building a skilled work force.

While both the Branstad and Reynolds’ administrations have been criticized for not supporting education, Reynolds noted that the state’s education budget has increased annually and will increase again next year by $3.1 million.

Her goal with Future Iowa Ready is to provide 70 percent of Iowa’s work force with education or training beyond the high school level by 2025.

“Iowa has a great story to tell with a product second to none,” said Reynolds, inviting everyone to work together. “Come and be part of our team to build a better Iowa.”

Reynolds was preceded by speaker Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg.

“It is the honor of my life to serve you in this role,” Gregg told the crowd. “And it is an honor to serve beside Governor Reynolds.”

In introducing Reynolds, Gregg highlighted her qualifications.

“She is here on her merits, skills and abilities,” said Gregg. “No one was more prepared for the role.”

Also preceding the governor were several regional elected officials. State Representative – District 48 Rob Bacon announced he would seek re-election in 2018. He reported that by passing the Voter Integrity Bill, the Iowa Legislature insured that Iowa’s election process would remain one of the most honest in the nation.

Hamilton County Republican Co-Chair Rick Young thanked the legislature for passing the bill on medical cannabis oil and for approving the establishment of third party savings accounts for children. Young is active in developing the Hamilton County “I Have a Dream Foundation” which seeks to fund a $100 savings account for each kindergarten student in Iowa.

Iowa Senator – District 24 Jerry Behn reported that the Iowa Senate was able to accomplish reform on collective bargaining, workman’s compensation, malpractice reform and the voter ID law.

Behn pledged that next year, the Senate hopes to develop comprehensive tax reform in order to bring new businesses to Iowa.

Behn spoke of Abraham Lincoln, who warned against a populace dependent on the government.

“I want everyone to be independent,” said Behn. “If we are dependent on anyone else (besides oneself), we are at risk.”

Kevin Hall, communications director for Secretary of State Paul Pate, reported that the new Iowa voter ID law will make it easier to vote and harder to cheat. The soft roll-out of the law goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2018 and requires a photo ID or state ID card. With 95 percent of the state population possessing a drivers’ license, only five percent of the population will need to be issued a non-photo state ID card, said Hall. The law will go into full effect in 2019 and it will require all Iowa voters to have either a photo ID, state voter card or a PIN for absentee ballots.

“It is an honor to serve you and the hospitality in Hamilton County is second to none,” said Iowa Auditor Mary Moisman.

As the state auditor, her focus is to ensure that state government practices fiscal responsibility. She explained that in issuing hundreds of audit reports, the auditor’s office works to verify that all tax money is being used wisely. So far in 2017 her office has uncovered 23 cases of fraud, totaling $2.7 million, she said.

“Most folks find it boring. We find it engaging,” said Moisman who noted that a new initiative will provide basic information to new elected officials on oversight and accountability in order to educate them in proper spending.

Moisman closed with the motto of her office – “In God we trust. Everybody else, we audit.”

“Are you sick of winning yet?” asked Cody Hoeffert of the Iowa Republican Party Central Committee.

Hoeffert noted that elections matter and in electing Sen. Joni Ernst – the 51st and majority vote – a conservative was appointed to the US Supreme Court. He also said that President Trump is doing exactly what he said he’d do as are Ernst, Grassley, Behn, Bacon and Reynolds.

Iowa National Committee member Steve Scheffler reported that he and fellow committee member Tamara Scott are fighting to keep Iowa first in the presidential caucus process.

Scott said that it is a great time for Republicans and a great time to talk to friends and neighbors who are disillusioned Democrats.

“Even when their leaders cheat, they still couldn’t win,” she said, advocating that Republicans talk policy and issues.

In regards to Trump, Scott recognized his character flaws.

“He’s bold, he’s brash and sometimes ill behaved,” she said. “But he’s getting things done.”

Scott referred to his use of social media and then asked what law would ever change racism in a person’s heart, referring to the recent debate of honoring the US Flag and the national anthem at NFL games.

“Not one,” she said. “We have to do that within ourselves.”

In closing, she said that there is a groundswell of lightness in the country – a sense of hope and people are realizing that its okay to like America, again.

Other dignitaries attending the dinner were: former Iowa State Senate Majority Leader Stewart Iverson, Hamilton County Board of Supervisors David Young and Dan Campidilli, Kim Schaa, Hamilton County Auditor, Kim Anderson, Hamilton County Recorder, and Webster City Mayor John Hawkins.