Vander Plaats Challenges Branstad, Roberts to Series of Debates About Iowa’s Future

DES MOINES – Saying Iowa Republicans deserve to see how their gubernatorial candidates compare face-to-face on the issues that will shape the state’s future, Sioux City businessman Bob Vander Plaats today challenged former Gov. Terry Branstad and state Rep. Rod Roberts to a series of debates across the state before the June 8 primary.

“Chet Culver has brought Iowans together on one point: We need a new governor capable of leading us forward instead of dragging this state down. The outcome of a Republican primary has never been more important than it is this year. Republicans need a nominee who will step up and meet the challenges facing us,” Vander Plaats said. “I appreciate the opportunities Rod Roberts and I have had to meet in various settings and exchange ideas. Terry Branstad has been in this race quite a while now and it’s time for him to step up, join me on the same stage at the same time, and talk about the issues.”

Vander Plaats continued, “A number of people in the media are reporting this race as if Terry Branstad has won and is our party’s nominee. But he hasn’t won, he isn’t our nominee and that vocal minority in the media doesn’t get to make the decision; Republican voters do. As candidates, we have a responsibility to let GOP voters size us up side-by-side to see for themselves who has the energy, the new ideas and the focus on the future to lead us forward. I’m prepared to talk about how to open Iowa for business, fix our broken tax system, cut state spending and create a culture of innovation and results in our public schools.”

In a letter to Branstad, Vander Plaats proposed debates in Davenport, Des Moines, Sioux City and another city agreed upon by the candidates.

“I welcome a format in which we discuss an economic strategy to improve Iowa’s business climate and create more jobs, effectively reform our tax and regulatory structures, streamline and instill a standard of excellence in our state government, create a world-class education system, and address other important issues including the separation of powers. I recognize that you have issues that you wish to highlight and would be happy to do so, too,” Vander Plaats wrote. “As you and your staff know, many county GOP organizations and other groups all across Iowa have organized – or have an interest in organizing – forums for the three of us to discuss our positions and principles. I encourage you to join in as many of these events as possible through June 8.”

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