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Branstad takes charge

By Staff | Feb 4, 2011

Terry Branstad is once again Iowa’s governor. He retakes the helm of state government at time when the Hawkeye State has a troubled economy and a government that has outgrown the resources available to pay its bills.

Fortunately, Branstad understands Iowa’s strengths well. He has carefully thought out plans to mobilize the state’s assets in ways that could make the second decade of the 21st century a remarkable success story. The vision of the future he shared on inauguration day set exactly the right tone. There is good reason for optimism about the days ahead.

“Iowa stands at the precipice of opportunity greater than at any time since our ancestors crossed the Mississippi to view an expanse of prairie as far as the eye could see,” Branstad said in his inaugural address. “With the advent of open markets, a growing world middle class and a need for sustainable solutions to the world’s problems, Iowa sits in the catbird seat of history.”

He stressed that the state’s agricultural resources are “the envy of the world” and paid particular tribute to its “hard-working, honest and caring people.” Branstad’s goal is to empower those strengths by putting a stop to government policies that inhibit economic growth and implement programs designed to encourage job creation.

The new governor sees this as a time of enormous opportunity if the state’s governmental leaders move decisively to get the governmental house in order.

“The world is hungry for our food and biomass, envious of our technology, pining for our productivity,” he said. “The economic winds, which for a century or more blew in our face, are now firmly at our back. … Iowa is exceptional and these are exceptional times. Our challenge: to seize the day.”

Branstad made clear that major changes in government at all levels are needed so Iowans can take advantage more fully of the very real potential to thrive.

“(Government) must change, lest it dampen our opportunity and squelch the individual initiative which is our engine for growth. … We must be rid of the yoke of government, which taxes us too much, spends too much and regulates us too much,” he said.

According to Branstad, that means there must be substantially less government if the state’s finances are to stay free of red ink – possibly as much as 15 percent less. He envisions the reformed structures that emerge from the budget-cutting process as featuring smarter approaches and more-efficient programs.

Iowans have traditionally prided themselves on a can-do approach to life. Branstad is appealing to that positive philosophy as he begins to move his agenda forward.

“Our problems were serious, but manageable, and, as people of good faith, we rolled up our sleeves and solved them,” he said reflecting how Iowa’s government has functioned when well-led.

With Terry Branstad in charge, there is good reason to believe common-sense government attuned to the state’s real needs is returning.

“We will get back on track with a slimmer, better-managed and sustainable government you can count on when you need it,” Branstad said as he began his fifth term as the state’s chief executive.

Welcome back, governor.

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