Branstad touts experience in MP stop
Terry Branstad has been here before.
At a campaign stop Monday afternoon in Mt. Pleasant, the former four-term governor emphasized that history — from his stepmother, Amelia Wing, who owned a home in Mt. Pleasant, to his work with Ernie Hayes in the 1980s bringing the Walmart Supercenter into town, and the cold January last year when he last visited the city. And he promised that he would come back.
Branstad, who is seeking the Republican Party’s nomination to challenge Gov. Chet Culver, spent about an hour at de Brito Baking Bistro Monday afternoon, catching up with local residents and elected officials.
During his remarks, and a question-and-answer session that followed, Branstad rarely mentioned the June 8 primary election he must win first, and never mentioned the two other Republicans — state Rep. Rod Roberts and businessman Bob Vander Plaats — who are also running.
When asked about them, Branstad said his experience sets him apart. “I have a proven record of accomplishment,” he said, “compared with the disaster we have today under Culver. The other candidates are nice people, but they don’t have that.”
For the rest of the afternoon, he focused on the Democrat. “We have an inexperienced governor who has mismanaged the state’s finances, and now we have the highest unemployment we’ve had in 24 years,” he said. Iowa’s unemployment rate was at 6.8 percent in March; unemployment in Henry County was at 10.3 percent. He also faulted Culver for the state’s budget shortfall, which he predicted would be between $750,000,000 and $1 billion next year.
For more, see our May 18 print edition.