Roberts stumps in Estherville
Rod Roberts, one of the three Republican governor candidates for the June 8 primary election, made a brief stop in Estherville on Monday to make his appeal to voters.
Roberts, Sioux City businessman Bob Vander Plaats and former governor Terry Branstad, are vying for the chance to challenge incumbent Chet Culver in November’s general election.
While he trails his challengers in state polls, Roberts said he is receiving grassroots reports.
He said most people like that fact he is knowledgeable on the issues and has ideas.
“I try to have a leadership style that rises above the bickering-I don’t get involved in some of the interplay (between Branstad and Vander Plaats),” he said. “It’s in keeping with the temperament of who I am.”
Roberts is currently a state representative from Carroll representing House District 51. He is in his 10th year in the Iowa House.
He says Ronald Reagan exemplifies what a leader should be
“He’s civil and principled while being friendly and respectful,” said Roberts of the nation’s 40th president.
Roberts said people are restless and angry with government.
“They’re concerned leaders are disconnected with their citizens,” he said. “In 2010, I think they’ll make a change in who’s serving.”
Economy and Education
Roberts points out there are 115,000 Iowans out of work. Hee considers a fairly high number for Iowa.
“Under Culver, his approach doesn’t seem to deal with the recession. He focused on IJ-OBS. I think a better approach is to cut taxes and have a friendlier regulatory environment,” Roberts said, adding that government doesn’t create jobs, businesses create jobs.
Roberts also said he will fight to maintain Iowa’s right-to-work status.
The Iowans he meets are concerned about the inability of government to control spending.
“The public wants to make sure public safety is funded and local schools matter to us,” he said.
While Culver worked to increase teacher salaries, the economy wasn’t able to sustain it.
“Schools have a lot of other needs,” Roberts said, adding that the 10 percent pay cut last fall was “a big hit that created difficulty for all schools.”
“One and half years ago, we knew the revenue trend was negative and yet Culver kept spending like it wasn’t a problem,” said Roberts.
Continuing with education, Roberts said government shouldn’t mandate out of Des Moines.
Instead of forcing a statewide core curriculum, which would take $11 million to implement, the state should put the model out there for school districts to use, but allow the districts to make local decisions.
Roberts said the people of Iowa want the right to vote on the question of gay marriage.
“They want the opportunity to take issue whether to amend the constitution to define marriage,” he said.
Roberts said the agriculture will always be a prime factor in Iowa and it has been what’s kept Iowa somewhat buffered from the recession.
“Relatively speaking prices for commodities, especially grain, have been better than in recent years,” he said.
Roberts said ethanol and livestock go together in that the byproducts of ethanol can be used as livestock feed.
He said because of renewable energy, including the growing wind industry, several businesses have located to Iowa.
“The transmission grid is the single greatest next investment for the utilities,” he said.
Roberts concluded by saying people are open to new leadership.
“I think we’re picking up momentum,” he said noting that he has experience that is current compared to Vander Plaats, who has no experience in state government and Branstad, who last served 12 years ago.