Dems, GOP grade session quite differently

BY SHAWN GUDE | APRIL 27, 2009 7:28 AM

Iowa Legislature Republican and Democratic leaders’ assessments of the session’s efficacy diverged greatly.

Democrats, who control both chambers and the governorship, predictably painted the session as a success.

“Despite these difficult times, we chose to be bold,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, D-Des Moines, said in a statement. “I’m proud of our effort this year to help put Iowans back to work. We took bold action to modernize our economy, create good-paying jobs, and help unemployed Iowans get the skills they need to succeed in today’s global economy.”

In contrast, Republicans painted Democrats as out-of-touch, tax-and-spend politicians.

“Iowa families and employers are making tough decisions every day, and yet they witness state government continue to tax and spend and borrow and spend while all this spending is not the solution needed to grow Iowa and bring about prosperity and opportunity,” Senate Minority Leader Paul McKinley, R-Chariton, said in his closing remarks before the Senate.

Locally, legislators gave the session favorable marks. Rep. Dave Jacoby, D-Coralville, positively assessed the session with a “B” grade, contending legislators effectively funded education in the state, made meaningful changes to the current sex offender law, and helped flood-stricken Iowans.
Sen. Joe Bolkcom, D-Iowa City, agreed.

“I think we had a good session,” Bolkcom said, highlighting the education budget, disaster recovery allocations, and an expansion of health-care coverage for children as successes. “We did that all while balancing the budget in a time of very tight revenue.”

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