Lieutenant governor visits campus to encourage students to vote


Lt. Gov. Patty Judge visits Iowa State as part of a tour around Iowa campaigning for Gov. Chet Culver on Tuesday, Sept. 21 in the Memorial Union.

Paige Godden

Iowa Lt. Gov. Patty Judge visited Iowa State, 40 days before the election, to encourage local Democrats to get out and vote.

“It is really crucial here on the campus that we need to get the students voted,” Judge said.

It is important to maintain the Democratic majority in the legislature, Judge said.

“I have had the privilege of serving parts of Iowa as a senator … one lesson I’ve learned from that experience is unless you have a majority in that legislature, you can want all the things you want, but it’s not going to happen,” Judge said. “You are very fortunate to have the slate of legislatures you have, and we need every one of them back.”

She said the Democrats have to keep moving forward with the agenda they have set.

Gov. Chet Culver set some goals four years ago, and some of them “were critically important to the state; his emphasis was put on education and health care,” Judge said.

She said if Iowa doesn’t have a well-educated and healthy state, not much else matters.

It is important to start early with education and make certain every child at the age of 4 has availability to a preschool, Judge said.

“We know Mr. [Terry] Branstad does not agree with the emphasis on preschool. He has said many times … if people want preschool they should pay for it,” Judge said.

She said that is a basic difference in candidates, the difference in supporting education of children.

“We believe whole-heartedly we have to spend the money in childhood education,” Judge said. “We’re not backing off that. We are going to continue to make sure all the children in the state have access to education.”

Judge said she and Culver were able to expand both Medicaid and Hawk-I Insurance, but “elections are never about what you did yesterday and what you are doing today, they need to be about your vision and looking down the road.”

She said by supporting a well-educated, healthy work place it brings another goal, to provide high-quality jobs to the work force.

Judge said by bringing in the green jobs and high-tech jobs young adults are going to want to choose, it will help keep Iowans in Iowa.

“This is another clear contrast between our candidates. Terry has said that he would dismantle the Department of Economic Development,” Judge said.

She said Branstad is planning to replace the department with “some sort of scheme that would put private businesses in control of recruiting with tax payer dollars.”

She said she sees some real flaws in that “something about turning over taxpayer dollars to private businesses really troubles me.”

Judge said IBM, Google and Microsoft have come to Iowa within the last year and there is no other state that can make that kind of claim.

“Let’s not dismantle something that is working,” Judge said.

Forbes Magazine is saying Iowa is the place to go to do business, and the Culver campaign has chosen the right path, Judge said.

“Assertions that the state is busted and bankrupt and is billions of dollars in debt and that the sky has fallen on top of us,” Judge said, aren’t true. “The budget is balanced. It has been balanced every day since Chet Culver has been governor. I know that. I’ve been there every day.”

She said despite the national recession, Iowa has remained with the eighth-lowest unemployment rates in the country.

“I’ll take that,” Judge said. “Yes, the rate is higher than we would like it, higher than on average in the state, but in the midst of this economic meltdown we have made the right decisions.”

Judge isn’t proud of the fact students graduating from Iowa’s universities are carrying the highest debt load in the country.

“There are a lot of factors that go in this, but this is something we need to work toward changing,” Judge said.

She said she wants to make certain that when young adults graduate from Iowa State they are able to assume their place in the workforce without being crippled with debt.

Judge said the cuts being proposed by Branstad would cut the state budget by 15 percent.

“That would mean a $33 million cut to Iowa State University, about a $6,000 increase in tuition for a four-year degree,” Judge said.

Judge said she was at the opening of the new Biorenewables Research Center at Iowa State last week.

“What an exciting thing that is,” Judge said.

She said Iowa is on the cutting edge of renewable energy.

Judge said wind energy alone experienced a phenomenal growth during Culver’s administration.

“When you think about biomass, no one grows things better than we do,” Judge said.

She said Iowa has taken itself from being an importer of energy to soon being an exporter.

“Soon we will be gaining more energy than we can use. It is so exciting to think about those possibilities,” Judge said.

She also mentioned the support Culver has given to cities and towns affected by flooding.

“We have the numbers. We have the voter registration advantage … If we can get the Democrats to the polls, we can win this thing,” Judge said.