COUNCIL BLUFFS – Sioux City businessman Bob Vander Plaats, who formally announced his candidacy for the 2010 Republican gubernatorial nomination on Monday, toured Taylor Plastics in Pottawattamie County on Tuesday as part of a statewide tour of small- and medium-sized companies to learn more about how state government can help them grow and thrive.
Mike Taylor, who has been in business since 1991, gave Vander Plaats a tour of his rural Council Bluffs firm that specializes in plastic welding techniques. One of the company’s products is the Taylor Fountain, a maintenance-free, handicapped-accessible drinking fountain for parks and other recreational areas.
“I was very impressed with his innovation, creativity, and technology,” Vander Plaats said. “Here’s a person like many other business owners across the state; they just want to succeed and they’re not afraid to work hard to do it. They want an environment, climate and structure that allow them to compete. As governor, I hope to come alongside not only Mike Taylor but a lot of other business owners and entrepreneurs across the entire state of Iowa and do what needs to be done at the state level so they can be even more successful.”
He added, “Iowa and America are built on the back of small business. That’s why I’m committed to marketing our state as a right-to-work state, having a competitive tax structure and a friendly regulatory structure, as well as reining in state government so it doesn’t continue to grow at the expense of the private sector.”
Reiterating his commitment to “open Iowa for business,” Vander Plaats said, “I want to make sure Iowa will be a bridge to anywhere – a place where the top companies in the world, large or small – want to locate, grow and thrive. We cannot afford to have hit-and-miss cell phone coverage across parts of the state and internet service that’s 10 years behind the times. Just as we need our roads and airports to be up to standard, we need a reliable 21st century communications infrastructure. ”
Vander Plaats launched his campaign in his hometown of Sheldon on Labor Day by pledging to pay down the enormous debt generated by Governor Chet Culver, improve Iowa’s tax and regulatory climate to draw new companies to Iowa, create a 21st Century communications infrastructure and take action to allow a statewide vote on the definition of marriage. He set a goal of repaying by the end of his first term the long-term borrowing Governor Chet Culver and legislative Democrats approved to create the short-term I-Jobs program. The $750 million they borrowed will require the state to pay $1.8 billion in principal, interest and fees if the state takes the entire length of time scheduled to repay the debt.
Vander Plaats vowed to reassert the governor’s authority and a proper balance between the judicial, executive and legislative branches in the wake of the Iowa Supreme court’s opinion earlier this year to same-sex marriages are legal. He pledged to sign an executive order on his first day in office to stay future same-sex marriages until Iowans have an opportunity to vote in a statewide referendum on the definition of marriage.
“I will be a governor who stands up for true conservative principles. I will work to reduce the tax burden on Iowans instead of increasing it. I will oppose the drumbeat of expanded gambling. And I will be a governor who supports a culture of life from conception to natural death, and I’ll appoint a lieutenant governor who is as passionate about that foundation of society as I am,” he said in Sheldon.
Vander Plaats’ administration will remove the public school system’s “model core curriculum” and aggressively reform education through the setting of international standards, simplified funding, accountability and transparency.
“I want Iowa to lead the United States and the world and the only way to do that is to have high standards in math, science, communication, technology and authentic American and world history. To reestablish Iowa as an educational leader, we need less federal interference and we must get rid of Chet Culver’s one-size-fits-all approach,” he said. “I will create an environment where resources are directed towards student achievement, where districts learn from the successes of others, where all districts are held accountable for results and where they report those results in the most transparent and accessible manner.”
Vander Plaats said his campaign is “about leadership and freedom” and he is not running to be a governor who defends the status quo or tinkers at the margins.
“I’m in this race to be a transformational governor who limits the size of government, reforms our tax structure to make Iowa far more competitive, sets our education system on course to be the international standard and demands excellence from every dollar we spend on public services,” he said.
Vander Plaats, 46, is a former high school teacher and principal, former president and chief executive officer of a nonprofit rehabilitation facility for people with brain injuries and the Republican Party’s 2006 nominee for lieutenant governor. He is the president of MVP Leadership, a consulting firm that helps business executives hone their leadership and strategic skills. Vander Plaats and his wife, Darla, live in Sioux City. They have four sons. Their third son, Lucas, was born with a severe brain condition. He inspired Vander Plaats to write the book “Light from Lucas,” published by Focus on the Family.
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