October 24, 2006

Nussle Endorsment

The Dubuque Telegraph Herald is the first major Iowa Newspaper to endorse Jim Nussle for Governor. They emphasise the experience gap between Nussle and Democrat Chet Culver.

Congressman's record and leadership are preferred over Culver's promises.
Since 1991, Jim Nussle has served well as Iowa's 1st District representative in the U.S. House, and he would serve the entire state well as governor.
In the view of the Telegraph Herald Editorial Board, Nussle is the better choice to succeed Gov. Tom Vilsack.
As Nussle gained experience, and as he and his fellow Republicans attained majority status in Congress, Nussle accepted greater responsibility in federal government. As chair of the House Budget Committee, he had to make countless decisions - difficult and controversial decisions that provide ample ammunition for political adversaries.
On the campaign trail, Nussle's Democratic opponent, Secretary of State Chet Culver, criticizes not only Nussle's votes and positions with which he disagrees but virtually any and all "sins" by President Bush or the entire Congress. Such is the nature of campaigns.
But it is convenient for Culver to take those shots because Culver does not have much record to defend. His current job is largely administrative, and he has not had to make the many tough decisions demanded of a congressman, a governor or a legislator during some of our nation's most trying times.
Voters will agree or disagree with Nussle on various issues. Even this editorial board does not see eye-to-eye with Nussle on everything. (For example, he opposes raising the cigarette tax, even though the current tax does not begin to cover the state's Medicaid costs for smoking-related diseases.)
Those debates are fair game. However, like it or not, compromise is how things get done in Washington. Jim Nussle, as one of 535 federal lawmakers, cannot be personally responsible for every decision made by Congress or the White House. He has had a hand in many things, certainly, but voters must decide how much credit or blame he bears. If, for example, Nussle is to blame for U.S. involvement in Iraq, he also should receive credit for the economic rebound the country has experienced since 9/11.
Meanwhile, Culver, with a short list of achievements and a long list of promises and programs, speaks enthusiastically of great things ahead for Iowa in a Culver administration. The editorial board endorses his positive outlook for the state, but it seems that too many of his initiatives come with hefty price tags. His agenda features little in the way of belt-tightening. The message seems to be, there is nothing Iowa can't accomplish - if we spend enough.
On the issue of higher education, for example, Nussle's plan would allow parents and students to budget for college by holding the line on tuition increases. Tuition hikes would be limited to the Higher Education Guaranteed Price Index, which has increased an average of 4 percent over the past five years.
Culver's plan to reduce costs would involve spending $25 million.
Nussle would also offer loans that would be forgiven at a rate of 15 percent for every year students remain in Iowa after graduation. That addresses two problems - education costs and young people leaving the state.
Culver suggests that students save a year of college tuition by taking college courses during their senior year of high school. That idea raises some concerns. Today's students must "grow up" too soon already. Do we really want to push them out of their high-school experiences ahead of time?
Nussle has strong leadership experience as House Budget Committee chairman. He is an effective communicator and has stayed in touch with the 1st District. Bringing his leadership home to Iowa would be the best choice for the state.
Editorials reflect the consensus of the Telegraph Herald Editorial Board: Jim Normandin (publisher), Brian Cooper, Ken Brown, Monty Gilles, Amy Gilligan and Sharon Welborn.

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