Des Moines Register Story Updates Ryan Hargens Case

June 23, 2009

Des Moines Register staff writer Grant Schulte writes in today’s edition about former Johnston resident Ryan Hargens, whose 2005 murder in Sioux Falls, S.D, was first ruled a suicide as a result of hasty, incomplete work by authorities.

Schulte writes, “The death investigation of a former Iowan who was shot in the head raises numerous questions that might have been answered if not for a series of mistakes, according to an investigator hired by the man’s family.” To read the full Register story, click here.


Healthcare: Obama’s Waterloo?

June 18, 2009

Political strategist Dick Morris observes in a commentary featured on the Rasmussen Report site: “To quote the esteemed Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the chickens that were hatched in the stimulus package are coming home to roost in the healthcare proposal. The budget deficit Obama racked up paying for the massive federal spending passed in January is now having a real economic and political impact, which is forcing the president and his congressional allies into hard choices as they face his healthcare legislation.” To see the Morris commentary in its entirety, click “Healthcare: Obama’s Waterloo?”

Vander Plaats: Unlike Other Candidates, I’ll Stand Up for Separation of Constitutional Powers

June 17, 2009

DES MOINES – Sioux City businessman Bob Vander Plaats said today his willingness to take a strong stand to protect the separation of powers and hold activist courts in check distinguishes him from at least one of his primary election opponents, former House Speaker Christopher Rants.

Vander Plaats said during the Jan Mickelson program on WHO Radio with guest host Bill Salier that he would sign an executive order banning same-sex marriages as part of an effort to give Iowans the right to vote on the issue. Rants, who has said he does not believe the governor has the authority to sign an order, would limit his attempts to using the bully pulpit of the office.

“With all due respect to Representative Rants, I believe that’s the kind of leadership that’s brought us from being the majority in the state to being the minority in the state,” said Vander Plaats, who defeated Rants by more than a two-to-one margin in a poll conducted last week by ““When you give complete power over to the Supreme Court, you’ll have tyranny not liberty.”

Noting that Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was an executive order that defied a Supreme Court decision, Vander Plaats added, “Executives need to lead. This is not about winning the office it’s about leading. That’s what separates me from anyone else out there.”

Vander Plaats expressed confidence that he can win “any primary that presents itself,” but added, “This is not about winning a primary. This is about winning the leadership of Iowa. That means you have to defeat Chet Culver and cast a vision for Iowa. You don’t get to lead unless you win. You don’t get to govern unless you win.”

Vander Plaats said he has more education degrees and experience than Gov. Chet Culver, a former high school teacher. He also has more front-line human services experience. Education and human services comprise more than three-fourths of the state budget.

“Culver’s going to be about growing a bureaucracy and growing government. I’m going to be about growing people’s potential. We need to be able to get into his base … that’s how we win with Chet Culver,” Vander Plaats said. “Everyone knows Culver doesn’t want to run on his own record. That means he’s going to run on someone else’s record. In my vision, we’re going to open up Iowa for business … with a competitive tax structure and regulation structure. When you have a vibrant business economy the ripple effect is dynamic.”

Vander Plaats said he would move the state toward a flat tax. He noted that a simplified, competitive tax structure would help businesses of all sizes and help draw young entrepreneurs, including former Iowans, back to the state. “I know we can’t get there overnight but I don’t think the founders of this state thought we should have to jump through all these hoops and hire people to figure out our taxes,” he said.

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Is Michael Moore Poised for his “Jump the Shark” Moment?

June 17, 2009

In a Newsweek web exclusive, documentary filmmaker James Scurlock questions whether his populist-posturing peer Michael Moore has bitten off more than he can chew in his upcoming project about “the wealthy.” To read Scurlock’s insightful piece, “Moore in Less”, click here.

Vander Plaats Comes Out on Top in GOP Primary Poll, Wins Nod from Chuck Norris

June 12, 2009

DES MOINES – Sioux City businessman Bob Vander Plaats topped former House Speaker Christopher Rants by more than a two-to-one margin and outdistanced two other potential GOP gubernatorial candidates by even larger margins in a poll conducted by Meanwhile, actor and martial arts legend Chuck Norris has announced his backing for a Vander Plaats candidacy, drawing more national attention and a broader fund-raising base to the campaign.

Vander Plaats received 52.4 percent of the 559 votes in the poll, followed by Rants with 25.6 percent, Senate Minority Leader Paul McKinley with 18 percent and former state Sen. Jeff Lamberti at 4 percent.

“This is only one poll and it’s early in the campaign cycle but is a respected and unbiased information source and the results of this poll are very encouraging. Christopher Rants is well known across the state, especially in Republican circles, for his years in the legislative spotlight. For Bob Vander Plaats to have such an impressive showing against him and two other respected leaders is a reflection of the deep and broad support he has within our party,” said Vander Plaats spokesman Eric Woolson. “That said, the Vander Plaats organization is going to continuing working very hard every day to build the grassroots organization necessary to win the primary next June and defeat Chet Culver next November.”

Announcing his support for Vander Plaats, former Rep. John Kasich of Ohio and Judge Roy Moore of Alabama, Norris wrote in his national syndicated column, “I encourage you to spread the word about these gentlemen and patriots, learn about their platforms, support their campaigns, and see to it that they are elected in their gubernatorial races. Theirs is leadership we can trust. I’m convinced that if we are to win back America, it’s going to start in the heartland and spread out from there because of the influence of leaders like them.”

He continued, “Don’t like what you see in government? Tired of incumbent lethargy and inactiveness? Does a political issue grind on you like fingernails on a chalkboard? It comes down to this: Either you will change our country or your opponents will, and if you let them change it, you might not like the outcome.” (To see the complete column, click here.)

Norris has taken an increasingly higher profile on issues of national importance since his prominent role in former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s 2008 presidential campaign.

Vander Plaats, who served as Huckabee’s Iowa chairman said, “I had an opportunity to get to know Chuck Norris during the 2008 campaign and we’ve remained in touch because we share the same values and public policy goals. He’s committed to defending Americans’ constitutional rights and the principles that made this country so great. I’m honored to have the support of Chuck and Gena Norris. They are great friends and they’re going to play an important role in our winning campaign.”

For more information about Bob Vander Plaats, click here.

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