Special Election for Mike Gonzales

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and enjoyed your time with family and friends. Please forgive the intrusion of politics over the holidays, but we do have a special election tomorrow and I wanted to get this information out to you before the date of the election.

SPECIAL ELECTION FOR IA SENATE DISTRICT 45 ON TUESDAY, DEC 27.  Vote for Mike Gonzales! Polls are open from 7am- 9pm and you vote at the same polling place at which you voted for the November election. Be sure to vote if you live in one of the following precincts D11, D12, D22, D23, D24, D42, D43, D71, D72, D82, BF, D13, D14, D31, D32, D33, D34, D41, D44 and D54. You can also still vote early in person at the Auditor’s counter on Monday 12/26 from 8-4:30 600 West 4th in Davenport. If you don’t know in which precinct you live, visit the Scott County Auditor’s website and click on Precinct Finder to determine your precinct and if you are eligible to vote in this election.

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Volunteer Awards

The Republican Party of Iowa is once again presenting awards for 3 different levels of volunteer service.  Chairman Kaufmann has asked that we forward to you his statewide call for volunteer nominations for 3 different categories of volunteer achievement; that call is below. Please note that nominations are due by noon on January 16, and there is a link included for you to make a nomination.

I also want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. For those of you who are traveling, I pray for safe travels as you visit your family and friends. Thank you so much for all that you have done for the Scott County GOP.

Nominations for Iowa GOP Volunteer Awards

Dear Republican Leaders,  The Republican Party of Iowa recognizes that the success of this past election was due to the hard work and dedication of county leadership and grassroots volunteers. We would like to show our appreciation for those who have continually gone above and beyond the call of duty to make this election a success, and are seeking nominations for the Iowa GOP’s annual volunteer awards. These awards include the:

  •      John C. McDonald Service Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service
  •      Nicole Jill Jepsen Youth Volunteer Award
  •      Erma Christensen Chair/Co-Chair Award

Nominations will be reviewed by the State Central Committee and winners will be announced at the Lincoln Dinner this spring. You may submit one nomination for each award.  All nominations must be received by Noon on January 16th. Please submit your nominations here: https://goo.gl/forms/embiFqv36NWwkp4m2

Thank you for this incredible election year and for your part in electing Republicans in Iowa and the nation!


Jeff Kaufmann, Chairman
Dr. Cody Hoefert, Co-Chairman

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Iowa GOP Praises Newly Elected Speaker Upmeyer

DES MOINES – Chairman Jeff Kaufmann and State Central Committee Member Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks praised the Iowa House Republicans for electing Linda Upmeyer, R-Clear Lake, as Speaker during a meeting this morning.

Statement from Chairman Kaufmann: “Speaker Upmeyer will fight every day to cut burdensome regulations, reduce taxes, and keep power with the people of Iowa — where it belongs. Iowa has one of the strongest economies in the nation, and Speaker Upmeyer will serve as a steward for future growth and innovation. I personally had the pleasure of serving with Speaker Upmeyer for years, and I congratulate her on becoming Speaker, and thank her for her years of service.”

Statement from State Central Committee Member Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks: “Senator Joni Ernst, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, Auditor Mary Mosiman, and now Speaker Upmeyer are showing young women throughout Iowa that they can achieve their dreams and make a difference in the political arena. Speaker Upmeyer is also the first woman speaker in Iowa history and the fifth woman speaker in the entire United States. Iowa Republicans are — and will continue to be — trailblazers in this regard.”

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15 Presidential Campaigns Join #UnitedIowa Rally

DES MOINES – All 15 announced presidential campaigns will joined the Iowa GOP at #United Iowa event, a testament to their joint commitment to elect a Republican president in 2016.

Campaigns participating in Friday’s #UnitedIowa rally include:

  • Governor Bobby Jindal
  • Governor Jeb Bush
  • Donald Trump
  • Senator Lindsey Graham
  • Dr. Ben Carson
  • Governor Rick Perry
  • Governor George Pataki
  • Senator Marco Rubio
  • Governor Chris Christie
  • Senator Ted Cruz
  • Senator Rand Paul
  • Carly Fiorina
  • Senator Rick Santorum
  • Governor Mike Huckabee
  • Governor Scott Walker

“For the first time all campaigns are coming together to make it crystal clear that we are ready for 2016 and will all work together to make sure one of our candidates is elected to the White House,” Chairman Jeff Kaufmann said. “There are 481 days until the election, and we’re already laying the groundwork for success.”

Chairman Kaufmann will lead a door knock in the Cedar Rapids area following the rally. Door knocking teams will also be dispatched from the Iowa GOP’s offices in Sioux City, Des Moines, and Ottumwa.

“While tired ideas of the Democrat Party will be on full display this weekend, our Republican candidates will be represented at the Iowa GOP’s United Iowa event just a few miles away,” Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee said. “Unlike the Democrats, we have a robust field of strong, highly talented Republican candidates capable of defeating Hillary Clinton, who the American people find dishonest and untrustworthy.”

What is #UnitedIowa?

United Iowa is a coalition of Iowa Republicans who have pledged to unite and work together to elect a conservative to the White House in 2016.

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Branstad Economy Results in 5th Lowest Unemployment Rate Nationwide

DES MOINES – Iowa’s unemployment rate dropped to 3.7% last month, the 5th lowest in America, as Governor Branstad’s leadership gives businesses the confidence they need to invest in our state.

Chairman Jeff Kaufmann: “Governor Branstad has led this state and Iowa with an eye toward sustainable growth, resulting in broad based employment gains from Lyon County in the northwest corner to Lee in the southeast. Governor Branstad’s leadership stands in sharp contrast to the Democrat’s tax-and-spend ethos, which would lead to higher taxes, higher spending, and higher unemployment for Iowans.”


96 out of 99 Counties have seen a drop in unemployment since June 2014. –Source

KGAN: Iowa Unemployment Rate Drops

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) – More and more Iowans are getting to work. New numbers out from Iowa Workforce Development show Iowa’s unemployment rate dropped last month to 3.7%; down from 3.8% in May. At this time last year, 4.4% of Iowans were unemployed. “For the fourth time this year, the unemployment rate is down,” said Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend.  “As the low unemployment trend continues, encouraging gains are being seen in the retail sector; the business establishment survey added 3,000 retail jobs this month.” Iowa is also ahead of the national unemployment rate of 5.3%.

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Iowa GOP Central Committee Votes to Cancel Straw Poll

DES MOINES – The Republican Party of Iowa’s State Central Committee voted today to cancel the 2015 Iowa Straw Poll, previously planned for August 8. The final vote was unanimous to cancel the event.

Statement from Chairman Jeff Kaufmann: “I’ve said since December that we would
only hold a straw poll if the candidates wanted one, and this year that is just not the case. For that reason I called a special meeting to update the State Central Committee, which then voted unanimously this morning to cancel the event. This step, while extremely distasteful for those of us who love the Straw Poll, is necessary to strengthen our First in the Nation status and ensure our future nominee has the best chance possible to take back the White House in 2016.

Through the whole process we’ve listened to Iowa activists and our Republican candidates. We listened in January when a groundswell of support prompted the Central Committee to continue the decades-old tradition. We listened when we moved the Straw Poll location from Ames to Boone to lower costs. We listened when we passed those savings on to our candidates by getting rid of the expensive lot auction and reduced costs even further by planning to bring more outside food vendors.

Now, we’re listening again. Many candidates are still concerned about participating in an event that carries significant media-driven expectations well ahead of our First in the Nation Caucuses. While we still deeply believe that the Straw Poll offers a fantastic opportunity for candidates, we need to focus on strengthening our First in the Nation status and putting a Republican back in the White House.

Canceling the event is not a decision anyone on the State Central Committee took lightly, and I commend them for the thorough, thoughtful job they’ve done. Iowa is First in the Nation because of our strong grassroots tradition and because we believe in a process that gives equal chance to all candidates. We also believe in hosting a process that puts our candidates in the best position possible to win the White House in 2016.

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Closing the Books on the 2015 Session



Friday afternoon the Iowa House adjourned for the year, closing the books on the 2015 legislative session.

I’d like to thank all of you who took the time to send me emails, called my office and sent letters expressing your support or opposition to pieces of legislation.  I am always appreciative of your feedback and thoughts.

During the interim, please feel free to contact me at kraig.paulsen@legis.iowa.govor call my office at (515) 281-3521.  Also visit www.iowahouserepublicans.com for constant updates and articles.

Iowa Republicans

Pictured here on the last day of the 2015 session with the three House Republican legislators who were sworn in with me in 2002:  Rep. Tom Sands (Wapello), House Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer (Clear Lake), me, and Rep. Ralph Watts (Adel). 

Below is the speech I gave to close out the session:

I know this took a little bit longer than all of us wanted, but we should be proud that rather than rushing to an end, we did quality work on behalf of Iowans.

I’d like to start by quickly thanking you, the members of the eighty-sixth general assembly for your hard work and willingness to come together to do what’s best for Iowans.  It is truly an honor to serve as your speaker.

Thanks to my page Aaron, you’ve been a tremendous help in our office this year.

To the House Republicans – you have shown willingness to do what is right and responsible for Iowa taxpayers, even in the face of great pressure to expand government just to hurry the process.  It’s an honor to be a part of your caucus.

To my wife, Cathy, and our children, thank you for your constant support and understanding.

I want to thank our great leadership team that I am honored to work with – Reps. Fry, Hagenow, Hein, Klein, Rogers, and – I appreciate your leadership and dedication to the Republican caucus.   To Speaker Pro Tem Matt Windschitl, your work on behalf of this chamber is significant.

To the Majority Leader, Linda Upmeyer, thank you for your unwavering commitment to our caucus and Iowans. I value your friendship and appreciate your tireless work.

To Leader Smith and the minority party, thank you for your efforts this year.

To our leadership staff:  Louis, Terri, Josie, Angie, and Tony.  And, in my opinion, the best caucus staff in the building – the House Republican Caucus staff: Jeff, Lew, Brad, Jason, Kristi, Carrie, Colin, Amanda, Dane and Brittany – you are not thanked enough for the work that you do and the service you provide.  We are very appreciative.

Chief Clerk Boal, thank you to you and your staff, the work you all do to make this chamber operate efficiently.   And LSA for all of your hard work, much of what you do is not seen but it does not go unnoticed.

And finally, thanks to Governor Terry Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds and their team for their willingness to once again work together to move Iowa forward.

For the fifth year in a row, the Iowa Legislature has made a serious commitment to Iowans to not spend more than the state takes in.  This is an incredibly significant accomplishment.

Why do House Republicans fight so hard to maintain our budget principles?  Because Iowans work so hard to earn that money and we have a responsibility to protect the taxpayers and families who go to work, play by the rules and pay their taxes.  Those Iowans expect to be treated with respect.  That is why House Republicans will stand up and protect their money every day.  Every dollar the Legislature spends that it doesn’t have puts the financial security of those taxpayers and families in jeopardy.  Responsible budgeting ensures Iowa’s most vulnerable citizens have resources they can depend on next year and the year after.  Keeping spending aligned with revenues will be our first priority of the 2016 session.

We are nearing a tipping point in the budget process where Medicaid is consuming resources that in the past have gone to education.  The work we did this year on the cost containment measures will be vital to the ongoing stability of our state’s resources.  But the challenge does not end there.

We must continue to find other ways to effectively manage state dollars.  We’ll be back next year to continue our work on giving school districts more flexibility and also on making the case that reform to Iowa’s collective bargaining laws protects Iowans’ money and helps critical dollars actually reach our kids.

This session we took a bold stand with Iowa landowners to fiercely protect their property.

And lastly, we added some of the most substantial pro-life language to Iowa law in over a decade.

Regrettably, this General Assembly could not come together to advance second amendment rights for Iowans and our law enforcement community.  It is something we will continue to push for next session.

This is no small checklist.  We took Iowans’ priorities and turned them into realities by working together and finding common ground.  We gave them results, and we’ll be back next year to fight for them again.

Don’t forget to visit the House Republicans’ homepage for new updates.  www.iowahouserepublicans.com

You can also find us on twitter @iahousegop (https://twitter.com/iahousegop)

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Santorum Hits the Trail Again

Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum, the come-from-behind winner of the 2012 Iowa caucuses, hit the road again in Iowa.

With his first campaign stop Thursday after announcing his 2016 presidential candidacy the day before in Pennsylvania, the former U.S. senator visited the Iowa Machine Shed, where he gave a relatively brief seven-minute stump speech.

Then, he spent an hour and 10 minutes taking questions.

Then, he went outside and greeted a line of people.

Read the full story here.

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Paul: Providing Arms to Syrian Rebels Led to ISIS Growth

Rand PAul

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul said Thursday that “no one’s to blame for ISIS, other than ISIS,” but he nonetheless argued that the idea the terrorist group rose up because of the decision to pull American troops out of Iraq is false.

Paul, who announced his candidacy for president last month, was in Davenport to sign his new book and make remarks at Modern Woodmen Park.

Read the full story here.

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Straw Poll is Iowa Politics at its Finest

Judy Davidson

Judy Davidson, Scott County Republican Party Chairman

I read with concern the editorial “Let the straw poll expire” and respectfully disagree with this sentiment. I fully support the 2015 Iowa Straw Poll.

The Straw Poll is an event for political grassroots participation at its finest. It gives Iowans the opportunity to meet with and hear from the presidential candidates.

Conversely, it also provides a forum for the candidates to hear directly from Iowans. Those who attended the Iowa GOP’s Lincoln Dinner on May 16 got a glimpse of straw poll activity at the post-dinner receptions held by all of the candidates. Attendees were able to visit one-on-one with Gov. Bobby Jindal, Gov. Jeb Bush, Dr. Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Donald Trump, Gov. Scott Walker, Sen. Rick Santorum, Sen. Lindsey Graham, and Gov. Rick Perry. It was a wonderful opportunity for the candidates and the voters to meet and personally discuss issues of importance.

The 2015 Iowa Straw Poll will give Iowans this same kind of personal interaction with the candidates but on a much grander scale.

Read the full story here.

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