Chuck Norris to Visit Davenport, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines and Council Bluffs for Vander Plaats

March 29, 2010

DES MOINES – Internationally known actor and martial arts champion Chuck Norris will appear at events in Davenport, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines and Council Bluffs for Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats during the final days of the primary election.

Vander Plaats’ campaign announced today that Norris, who writes a nationally syndicated column and is active in conservative and pro-family causes, will be in Iowa on June 4 and 5.

Chuck and Gena Norris received a wildly enthusiastic response from Iowans when they visited the state on behalf of Mike Huckabee’s 2008 presidential campaign,” said Vander Plaats, who was Huckabee’s Iowa chair. “They had a crowd of more than 2,500 Iowans at the Val Air Ballroom in West Des Moines on relatively short notice the night before precinct caucuses. I know they’re going to generate a great deal of excitement as this year’s primary election comes down to the wire.”

Vander Plaats said logistical details of the events will be announced at a later date but he expects to appear with Norris for a mid-day rally in Davenport on Friday, June 4, and an early evening event in Cedar Rapids. They will hold a mid-day rally in Des Moines on Saturday, June 5, and an event in the Council Bluffs/Omaha area later that same day.

Norris began his martial arts training while serving in the U.S. Air Force in South Korea. He held the Professional Middleweight Karate champion title for six consecutive years. He has appeared in a number of popular films over the past 30 years, beginning with “Enter the Dragon” with Bruce Lee in 1972. He broadened his fan base with younger audiences, too, when he starred in the television series “Walker, Texas Ranger” from 1993 to 2001.

A devout Christian and political conservative, Norris writes a column for the website WorldNetDaily and is the author of several Christian-themed books, including the new, expanded version of Black Belt Patriot just published in paperback by Fidelis Books. He also authored The Official Chuck Norris Fact Book, which offers 101 facts and favorites stories of his life and was released by Tyndale House Publishers.

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Republican Miller-Meeks: Obama Visit Shows Big-Spender Loebsack is Vulnerable

March 25, 2010

OTTUMWA, Iowa – It’s no coincidence that President Obama’s national health-care campaign tour begins in Iowa City, Republican congressional candidate Mariannette Miller-Meeks said today.

“David Loebsack is vulnerable this fall and now he’s trying to run for political cover by having the President stump for him right here in his backyard,” Miller-Meeks said of the two-term Democrat congressman from Mount Vernon.

Miller-Meeks, a U.S. Army veteran and an eye doctor who is a former president of the Iowa Medical Society, said Obama’s stop is “on its surface designed to promote the budget-busting, massive health care bill signed into law this week.”

“Below the surface, just like every other political calculation in this ‘reform’ effort, the president is really hoping to shore up support for vulnerable Democrat incumbents across the country, including Dave Loebsack. Iowa City is not-so-accidentally a key area within Iowa’s Second Congressional District,” Miller-Meeks said. But, Dave Loebsack can’t run from his failed record over the last three years of record spending, record borrowing and Wall Street bailouts. Just days ago, he voted to cut Medicare for seniors and make it a crime not to have government-approved health insurance. He can hide all he wants behind the President’s shadow, but come election time he will have to answer to Iowa voters who are fed up with his big-spending in Washington and failure to improve our job situation here at home.”

The main focus of the president’s visit will be the recently passed health care bill. Although supporters’ claim that adding 32 million people to government insurance will somehow save $1 trillion after 20 years – they ignore the fact that the President’s FY-2011 budget will add nearly $10 trillion to the national debt over the next 10 years, Miller-Meeks noted. They also ignore the fact that the more than $200 billion “doc fix,” the reform that Speaker Nancy Pelosi says will be addressed later this year, is absent from the new law, despite it being included in earlier versions. Keeping this out of the health care bill hides the true costs of reform.

Last week, the world’s largest construction equipment manufacturer said this bill would raise employee health care costs by 20 percent in the first year alone. In today’s Wall Street Journal, Verizon has reportedly informed its employees that the bill will raise its health care costs. The bill will also likely result in moving up to 5 million retirees, who currently receive prescription drug coverage as a retirement benefit from their former employer, onto Medicare Part D because their former employer will now have to pay a 35-percent tax on those drug benefits.

Other bad components included in the bill Loebsack voted for include a special deal for union members that exempts them from the 40-percent tax on “Cadillac health-care plans”; a new 3.8 percent real estate tax on home sales, regardless of income levels; the addition of 17,000 Internal Revenue Service agents to ensure Americans have government-approved health plans; unfair tax penalties for married couples; a punitive increase in the tax deductibility cap from 7.5 percent to 10 percent in 2012 for those suffering catastrophic illness; $2.5 billion in taxes on drug makers that will stifle research and development; a 2.3 percent tax on medical device manufacturers that will kill jobs; $8 billion annual insurance taxes that will be passed on in the form of higher costs to customers; and 2.5 percent income tax penalties for individuals who choose not to purchase insurance.

“As a doctor myself, I know that this massive health care bill will do nothing to get costs under control which is key to health care affordability. Everyone knows we need to reform health care in the United States, but not this way. We need to repeal the job-killing tax hikes, government mandated insurance provisions and the Medicare cuts to seniors contained in this bill, and instead work toward patient-centered solutions that reduce costs – like tort reform, inter-state insurance competition and enhancing individual health savings accounts. It’s about preserving quality of care, not having a government bureaucrat standing between you and your doctor,” said Miller-Meeks. “Simply put, as someone who grew up poor and went on to become a doctor dealing with the uninsured every day, I know I can be the most effective voice in Congress for all Iowa taxpayers. That’s one of the main reasons I’m running for Congress.”

Miller-Meeks, like most Republicans, supports common-sense provisions included in the bill like fair treatment of those with pre-existing conditions, guaranteed renew-ability which prohibits insurance companies from dropping policies when individuals become ill, and raising the age of when dependents would be dropped from their parent’s policies.

“However, as a whole, this current legislation is a disaster,” she said.

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Miller-Meeks Issues Statement on Loebsack Vote for Government-Run Health Care System

March 21, 2010

OTTUMWA, Iowa – Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, a Republican candidate for Congress in Iowa’s Second Congressional District, released the following statement today on Democrat Dave Loebsack’s vote in favor of a trillion-dollar health care bill that will kill jobs, cut Medicare, raise taxes, and hand a number of special deals to swing-state Democrats to buy their support for the bill:

“Dave Loebsack hasn’t yet found a spending bill he could turn down. After voting for Wall Street bailouts, a trillion dollar stimulus bill that did nothing to curb unemployment, voting to raise our national debt by two trillion dollars, and voting for a budget that spends more money than any time in our nation’s history, Dave Loebsack today voted for a trillion dollar health bill that will kill jobs, cut Medicare and raise taxes. That’s a shame and Iowa deserves better.

“As a doctor and small businesswoman, I know that the only way we will achieve affordable, quality health care is by focusing on patient-centered, cost-cutting reforms such as tort reform, individual ownership of insurance plans and interstate purchasing of insurance plans. A new costly entitlement program that expands government by creating nearly 160 new bureaucracies, agencies and departments is not the way to go. Already, one of America’s largest manufacturers, Caterpillar, is saying this bill will increase its employee health care costs by 20 percent in the first year alone. Last week, 130 economists agreed this bill will kill jobs and cut wages – a terrible burden on an already struggling economy.

“While Democrats claim this bill will cut the deficit by over $1 trillion, they ignore the fact that the FY-2011 budget is projected to add $1 trillion every year over the next 10 years to our national debt. Their health reform cost estimate also leaves out a critical $371 billion fix to protect hospitals and health care providers from seeing a significant cut in Medicare reimbursement rates. Although this reimbursement fix was in the original House bill, and Speaker Pelosi has said they will pass it later this year, it has been removed temporarily to masquerade the true cost of the Democrats’ health bill. Add that onto the number of special deals for specific swing-state Democrats to sweeten the bill, and you have a corrupt process jamming through a bill America doesn’t want.

“As eastern Iowa’s next member of Congress, I would always fight for taxpayers, families and seniors and put an end to the reckless taxing, spending and borrowing that liberal Dave Loebsack has supported and that’s putting America on a dangerous fiscal path towards bankruptcy in the years to come.”

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Vander Plaats: If ObamaCare Passes, I’ll Invoke 10th Amendment, Defend Iowans from Socialized Health Care

March 18, 2010

DES MOINES – With congressional Democrats pushing closer to passage of a government-run health care system, Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats said today that he would invoke the Constitution’s 10th Amendment to protect Iowans from new federal mandates.

Speaking to young professionals at a campaign at Smokey Row coffeehouse in the Sherman Hill neighborhood, Vander Plaats said Iowa “needs a governor willing to stand against runaway federalism.”

“I talk to so many Iowans who are fed up with the federal government trying to grab more and more power over their lives and take more and more of their money. There’s no clearer example of that power grab than the Democrats’ plan to take over our health care system lock, stock and barrel,” said Vander Plaats, noting that Iowa consistently ranks high in health care delivery and very low in federal reimbursement. “Frankly, there’s no reason for us to just sit here and let the federal government run roughshod over the public’s will. If that legislation passes, I’ll show the federal government that the states still have a say in things.”

Vander Plaats continued, “A Virginia House delegate named Christopher Peace summed it up best last week when he wrote in the Richmond Post-Dispatch that “the American people have ignored an enormous consolidation of power and authority in our federal government over the past year and, some could argue, the past 20 years. … But the nation is now experiencing a turning away from big government — and this ebb may well revive the intended constitutional government.”

Vander Plaats noted that “much like the Second Amendment is designed to protect the citizen from the encroachments of the government, so stands the 10th Amendment in defense of the states (and their citizens).”

“In other words, powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. I would argue that a federal take-over of our health care system is not a power delegated to the United States,” he said. “I’ll be a governor who reminds Congress and the President that there’s a reason the constitution has a 10th amendment.”

As governor, Vander Plaats’ legislative agenda would include a measure modeled after a Virginia proposal that states, “No law shall restrict a person’s natural right and power of contract to secure the blessings of liberty to choose private health care systems or private plans. No law shall interfere with the right of a person or entity to pay for lawful medical services to preserve life or health, nor shall any law impose a penalty, tax, fee, or fine, of any type, to decline or to contract for health care coverage or to participate in any particular health care system or plan, except as required by a court where an individual or entity is a named party in a judicial dispute. Nothing herein shall be construed to expand, limit or otherwise modify any determination of law regarding what constitutes lawful medical services within the Commonwealth.”

Vander Plaats said he would support legislation that firearms, firearms accessories and ammunition made and retained in Iowa are “not subject to federal law or regulation under the authority of Congress to regulate interstate commerce.” He also would urge Iowans to launch the process to amend the federal constitution to include a balanced budget amendment.

“Virginia has the great names in America’s revolution against an oppressive government – names like Patrick Henry, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and Edmund Randolph. Today’s Iowans are no less patriotic and just as willing to stand up for their personal freedoms. We do not have to let the federal government walk all over us if we elect a governor who will stand against the modern-day tyranny of crushing federal debt brought on a federal government that takes our money and spends it to control our lives.”

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Loebsack, Former Political Science Professor, Silent as Pelosi Prepares to Ram Through Unconstitutional Health Care Bill Without a Vote

March 18, 2010

OTTUMWA, Iowa – Rep. David Loebsack, a political science professor with years of graduate level studies about the American political system and government, “should have the guts to stand up to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and demand an up-or-down vote on legislation creating a government-run health-care system,” Republican congressional candidate Mariannette Miller-Meeks said today.

“David Loebsack earned his PhD in political science after years of graduate level studies learning about government and the American political system. He was a professor who taught political science at Cornell College. Given his background, we can reasonably assume Dr. Loebsack became well aware of how a bill becomes law, as written over 200 years ago in the United States Constitution,” Miller-Meeks said. “This week, as sneaky, last-ditch procedural efforts by Nancy Pelosi are put forward to avoid an up-or-down vote on a government-run health system, one would expect Dave Loebsack, PhD, would speak up and tell Democrat leaders they are wrong. Instead, Loebsack has remained silent.”

Miller-Meeks added, “You don’t need to be a college professor to understand that Congress is required to pass a bill before it becomes law. If Loebsack wants to stick taxpayers with a trillion dollar health system that raises insurance premiums and creates massive new bureaucracies, he should have the guts to demand Pelosi hold an up-or-down vote on the bill, and then stand by his record. It’s astounding that he won’t publicly say a word to Speaker Pelosi to stop this unprecedented, blatantly obvious unconstitutional move, particularly given his extensive education on the topic. He refuses to stand up to his own party leaders even when he knows something is totally wrong. That’s probably why he’s voted with Nancy Pelosi over 97% of the time.”

Pelosi is struggling to get the 216 votes needed to pass the treasury-busting government take-over of the U.S. health care system. The so-called “Slaughter Rule” has been put forward as a means of “deeming” the Senate health care bill as passed in the House, without an actual vote by members of Congress. The move, one numerous experts agree violates the Constitution and will put the law up to extensive legal challenges, is nothing more than a political ploy to protect vulnerable Democrat incumbents from actually casting a vote on a health care bill most Americans – and, right now, most members of Congress – don’t want.

“Iowans deserve a representative in Washington who will not only give you straight talk, but be part of the solution for reducing health costs, increasing accessibility and protecting the high quality of care we have come to expect and deserve,” said Miller-Meeks. “I pledge to be that fair, honest and commonsense voice for eastern Iowa in Washington that will put Iowa taxpayers first.”

Miller-Meeks, the 2008 GOP nominee in the Second District, announced her candidacy for the 2010 nomination in December. Growing up poor, she worked her way through college, became an Army nurse and soon after graduated medical school. She is a retired lieutenant colonel in the US Army Reserve, a former president of the Iowa Medical Society, and recently owned and operated a small business (an ophthalmology practice) up until last year when she gave it up to run full-time for Congress. She and her family live in Ottumwa.

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Rada’s Men’s Wear, a Chippewa Falls Retail Fixture for 43 Years, Announces Quitting Business Sale

March 12, 2010

CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. – Rada’s Men’s Wear, a family-run, local retail landmark since 1967, will hold a quitting business sale beginning this week, owner Rick Rada said today.

“This business has been a family affair since day one. My mom is going on 85 and she still comes down here half a day each week,” Rada said. “I’m going at this as a celebration of 43 years of being in business in this city. I don’t want it to be a sorrowful thing. I want to make sure we thank all our customers and friends who have supported us over the years – and I consider all of them to be friends.”

Rada noted that the public sale begins on Thursday. The store will extend its business hours from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on weekdays, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 4:00 p.m. Sundays.

Rada’s father, Bob, had worked at the Boston Store from the late 1940s into the mid-1960s. When the owner of another clothing store, Bill Stumm, passed away in 1967, his wife put the business up for sale.

“Dad had a mortgage on a house and seven kids. He went to the bank and said, ‘This is what I want to do.’ The banker said, ‘We know you and trust you, Bob. How much money do you need?” Rada recalled. “That’s how it got started.”

Rada was two weeks shy of his 13th birthday when he started working at the store in the spring of 1967 and has worked there ever since. He and one of his brother purchased the store from their father in 1990. Rick assumed sole ownership when his younger brother opted for a different career path.

One unusual moment he recalled during the store’s long history was when former Gov. Tommy Thompson stopped in to purchase a shirt and make a quick wardrobe change after he’d had chocolate milk spilled on his white shirt while visiting Chippewa Falls.

Rada said changing consumer trends have contributed to the demise of many men’s stores in recent years.

“Next week will be a rough one,” he acknowledged as he discussed the sale. “But we’ve had 43 years, most of them very good because of the great customers we’ve served over all that time. That’s what I’m focused on and that’s what I’m going to remember most.”

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Vander Plaats Opposes Culver, Legislative Attempts to Expand Gambling; “We Don’t Need to Increase State Budget’s Addiction”

March 4, 2010

BURLINGTON, Iowa – Gov. Chet Culver’s call today for the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission to approve casino licenses for four more communities is fueled by “his desperation to win another term and his own compulsion to grow state government,” Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats said today.

Speaking at a campaign stop in this southeastern Iowa community, Vander Plaats also criticized legislative efforts to make Iowa the first state in the nation to legalize in-state internet gambling.

“Taking more money from people hooked on gambling by our state officials isn’t leadership, it’s just plain irresponsible. We don’t need to increase the number of individuals or communities dependent on gambling and we sure don’t need to increase the state budget’s addiction to it, either,” he said. “These moves to allow internet gambling and open casinos in four more places are just two more steps along the path that Terry Branstad set us on in the 1980s when he joined with Democratic legislators to create the state lottery, open casinos and destroy the lives of many Iowans for the sake of generating more revenue for state government to spend.”

Vander Plaats added, “As governor, I would do many things in office different than Chet Culver does. I guarantee you one of them is that I would not go to the Racing and Gaming Commission and beg them to open four more casinos. Our communities need innovative companies that create income for Iowans instead of places that are going to take money from people’s pockets. Chet Culver said today that more gambling is economic development. That just proves again that we need a governor who can really open Iowa for business instead of doing what the past three governors have done, which is invite more and more gambling.”

Vander Plaats cited projections that legalized in-state internet gambling would bring in $11.5 million to the state.

“Are our state officials really so desperate for money and short-sighted that they couldn’t find $11.5 million in savings in a $6 billion annual budget? This is the problem we face with Chet Culver and some legislators. They think the answer is to take more money from Iowans. I think the answer is to cut state spending,” he said. “One way to do it is to draw a line in the sand and say, ‘No more new gambling licenses.’ That’s what I’ll do as governor.”

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