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Daily NonpareilVander Plaats spreads message at Saturday Legislative Coffee

February 5, 2006
Copyright The Daily Nonpareil
By Tim Rohwer, Staff Writer

Staff Photo

Staff photo/Jon Leu - Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs, left, and Rep. Doug Struyk, R-Council Bluffs, talk in the community room of the Council Bluffs Public Library as Republican gubernatorial hopeful Bob Vander Plaats of Sioux City Speaks.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats told the group at Saturday's Legislative Coffee he has the right background in dealing with the state's critical issues.

Vander Plaats, of Sioux City, is running against U.S. Rep. Jim Nussle.

"His background is in Washington, D.C., and Congress, and I'm not saying that's bad; but my background is in education, health care and human services and business and industry, and those are critical issues of state government," he said during a visit to Council Bluffs Saturday.

Vander Plaats is a former high school teacher and principal who also served as a chief executive officer of a health care and human services organization. He currently is the president of MVP Leadership, which specializes in strategic vision and executive leadership for business and industry.

On education, he said putting more money into the system is not the only solution.

"We need to redesign the system," Vander Plaats said after he talked at the Legislative Coffee. "We need to set 21st century standards in math and science."

Accountability standards must also be more uniform than they currently are, he said.

Iowa must also become more competitive in attracting businesses, he added. It's hard to do that now with commercial property taxes 70 percent above the national average, he said.

To improve the competitive climate, there needs to be a more simplified income tax formula and more "friendly" regulations on business operations, Vander Plaats said.

To reduce local taxes, he supports the transfer of K-12 instruction and mental health development disability funding to the state.

Vander Plaats said a recent survey in the Wall Street Journal found that he would beat the top Democratic gubernatorial candidates, Sec. of State Chet Culver and Economic Development Director Mike Blouin, whereas Nussle would lose to either one of those.

This is his second try for governor; the first was four years ago.

"The campaign is going awesome," he said. "We have 10 times the money we had in 2002. The poll showed that we beat Chet Culver and Michael Blouin because the people want real-life leadership, experience, and results. People will choose leadership over politics."

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