The legislative grades have arrived

Dylan Boyle

After closing its session on April 26, the grades are in for Iowa’s 82nd General Assembly. From Governor Chet Culver on down, several members graded the legislative session and its outcome. The grade point average discrepancy between the parties is – to say the least – notable.

Governor Chet Culver

Grade: A

Democratic G.P.A. – 3.25

Republican G.P.A. – 0.6

Cumulative G.P.A. – 2.11

“The people of Iowa should be proud of the condition of the state and what we have accomplished. Here in Iowa, we have worked hard to create the best quality of life in the nation, and the results speak for themselves.”

Mike Gronstal

State senator, District 50, Democratic Majority Leader

Grade: B+

“I thought the session went very well. We got a lot of things funded last year, so this year we maintained commitments. We passed health care expansion and extended the local option sales tax that will generate $150 million for school infrastructure.”

Polly Bukta

State representative, District 26

Speaker Pro Tempore

Grade: B+

“I was satisfied with the bills we got passed, specifically, SILO, the smoking ban and education funding. We insured more kids and made sure teacher pay went from 42 in the nation to where it should be at – 25. So I give it a B+ or A- because you never get everything you want, but we came close.”

Bruce Hunter

State representative, District 62

Grade: B

“We kept a lot of our promises. We kept our promise to make teacher pay 25th in the nation and we took care of the big health care problem and insured more children. I give it a B, though, because we still have some programs for working men and women that we hope to get passed next year.”

Frank Wood

State senator, District 42

Grade: B

“There are always improvements to be made, and we can always do better. From my standpoint, we didn’t address mental health issues; in the health care bill, we left behind mental health. On education, we did very well, specifically with work-study because, when we fully fund these areas, students don’t need loans.”

Herman Quirmbach

State senator, District 23

Grade: A

“I’m not an easy grader, but I would give us an A or A-. We boosted work-study funding up to $1 million and were able to keep tuition increase at 3.2 percent. We got the smoking ban passed, which will help all college students who wind up working in food service and bars to pay tuition.”

Paul McKinley

State senator, District 36

Grade: F

“The initiatives of the majority party were successful and the indications of what they want to pass in the future will have a chilling effect on economy. The Iowa state motto is ‘Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain,’ so if we go by that, I think we got an F.”

Kraig Paulsen

State representative, District 35

Grade: D

“Gronstal used to give Republicans a D, so I guess I’ll give the Democrats a D. I was pleased with the health care bill, but disappointed we didn’t address property taxes. In general, there was too much spending.”

Linda Upmeyer

State representative, District 12

Grade: D

“The spending done is unsustainable and the smoking ban enters into the private sector. Chapter 20 was a problem, and we didn’t do statewide standards for education along with raising teacher pay, which is a problem because we spent a huge amount of money without guarantee that students will be ready for work after high school.”

Brad Zaun

State senator, District 32

Grade: D

“This has been a terrible legislative session. This was a very successful year for special interests; it was a very unsuccessful year for the taxpayer.”

Mark Zieman

State senator, District 8; Minority Whip

Grade: F

“We got an F for two reasons – the state increased in spending and the deterioration of our rights. We did some good, but it was outweighed by the massive spending.”