Chet Culver news roundup

Governor Chet Culver hired John Frew as chief of staff yesterday to replace Charlie Krogmeier, whom Culver appointed head of the Department of Human Services in May. Frew goes way back in Iowa politics, having worked for Senator John Culver (the governor’s father) and managed Tom Harkin’s first Senate campaign in 1984. Frew will begin as chief of staff in late September. Until then, Culver has named his general counsel Jim Larew as acting chief of staff. After the jump I’ve posted a news release from the governor’s office with more background on Frew and Larew.

Also on Thursday, the Culver/Judge re-election campaign announced that

A long-time and respected political strategist is returning to Iowa to help Governor Chet Culver’s campaign committee prepare for 2010. Teresa Vilmain will serve as a senior advisor to the Chet Culver Committee.

“Teresa Vilmain is not only synonymous with well-run, well-organized political campaigns around the nation, but she knows and loves Iowa,” said Governor Culver. “As we start to look ahead to 2010, Teresa will play a leading role in helping us prepare our effort to reach out to Iowans about the important issues we are working on in our state.”

I’ve posted the full text of that news release, containing more background on Vilmain, after the jump. Some highlights: she was deputy manager of Harkin’s 1984 campaign and general consultant to both of Tom Vilsack’s winning gubernatorial campaigns. Vilsack had to come from behind to beat Jim Ross Lightfoot in 1998 and faced re-election in 2002, which was a challenging national environment for Democrats.

First Lady Mari Culver was in Mason City on Thursday

to talk about state grant funding for shelters for domestic abuse, emergencies and the homeless and the need to apply for it soon.

Available through the $10 million Public Service Shelter Grant Program, a part of the Iowa Jobs Program (IJobs), the funding is for construction, expansion or upgrades. […]

Funding can be used for deferred maintenance issues, additional security measures and expansion, said Culver […]

I recommend reading the whole article in the Mason City Globe-Gazette for more on the pressing needs of Iowa’s crisis shelters. Click here to listen to the first lady’s comments about this program in an interview with KGLO radio. Applications for this portion of the I-JOBS money are due next Wednesday, July 15. Click the link for the Iowa Finance Authority’s contact information. Republicans can criticize the I-JOBS borrowing all they want, but this is another example of how I-JOBS will improve services that Iowans need.

Finally, I want to call your attention to a new poll that The Iowa Republican blog has been highlighting this week. I will have more to say about the poll in a future post, but for now, here are some important facts:

This statewide poll conducted by Voter/Consumer Research found that 53 percent of Iowans approve of the job Culver is doing as governor, while 41 percent disapprove. Furthermore, 48 percent of respondents had a favorable impression of Culver, while 41 percent had an unfavorable impression.

Of course, The Iowa Republican blog is putting a Republican spin on these results. Criag Robinson headlined one post “53 percent of Iowans want a new governor,” based on a question suggesting that 36 percent said Culver deserves re-election, while 53 percent said it’s time to give someone else the chance. He also touted the findings on some issue-based questions that had ridiculously biased wording.

The bottom line is this: in a Republican-commissioned poll, Culver has a 53 percent approval rating and a 48 percent favorability rating. Also, the statewide survey sample contains “35% Republicans, 37% Democrats, 25% Independent or declined to state, and 2% other/don’t know.” I’m looking into how that compares with the proportion of Democrats and Republicans who have cast ballots in recent Iowa general elections.

I’ll write more about this poll when The Iowa Republican releases more of the findings.

LATE UPDATE: Forgot to mention this story:

Gov. Chet Culver on Thursday directed state revenue officials to delay any enforcement against taxpayers who claimed disaster-related credits on their state tax returns that later were not validated by Iowa lawmakers.[…]

The federal changes approved for 2008 offered income-tax deductions, exemptions and other advantages for such items as disaster-related expenses, business equipment depreciation, education-related expenses, tuition and fees and certain sales tax charges. The state, however, did not retroactively adopt those deductions as part of the state tax code.

On Wednesday, Culver asked the state Department of Revenue to provide him “any and all options” to address the issue, and one day later he sent a letter to agency director Mark Schuling directing him to “hold off specific enforcement” for taxpayers who may have claimed federal disaster relief provisions on their state returns.

“I am aware that changes must be made by the Iowa Legislature in order for these same disaster relief provisions to be available for Iowa tax purposes,” Culver said in the letter. “This will require legislation in 2010 to couple with the federal law changes that will benefit those individuals and businesses directly impacted by the 2008 disasters.”

From the office of Governor Chet Culver:

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Governor Culver Names John Frew As Chief of Staff

Iowa Native Returns in September to Lead Governor’s Staff; Jim Larew to Serve as Acting Chief of Staff

DES MOINES – Governor Chet Culver today named John Frew as Chief of Staff in the Office of the Governor.

“John not only brings a great combination of experience in both the public and private sector to this position, but a career that has been committed to improving the quality of life everyplace he goes,” said Governor Culver. “I’m not only glad to have John back home in Iowa, but to have someone with his skill and stature working with the Culver/Judge Administration as we move our state forward.”

“I appreciate the confidence Governor Culver and Lieutenant Governor Judge have in me, and am honored to be a part of their team,” said Frew.

Frew was raised in Des Moines. He is a graduate of Dowling High School, and received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Iowa. He is also a graduate of the Creighton University School of Law.

Frew’s first experience in politics and government was working in 1979 and 1980 for Governor Culver’s father, U.S. Senator John Culver. He has played key roles in several state-wide campaigns around the nation, including managing two back-to-back winning U.S. Senate campaigns – Tom Harkin in Iowa, in 1984, and Tim Wirth in Colorado, in 1986. Frew also served as Chief of Staff to U.S Senator Wirth.

In addition to having practiced law in Denver, Frew has worked on a number of major sporting venues, events and attractions. His work includes counsel to the authority that developed a major league baseball stadium in Denver, president of a trade group representing ski resorts in Colorado, creator of the Grand Prix of Denver, and developer of minor league sports facilities in both Colorado and Texas.

Frew and his wife, Marcia, have two daughters and will be relocating to Des Moines.

Frew will begin as Chief of Staff on September 28th.

In the interim, the Governor’s general counsel and senior advisor, Jim Larew, will serve as Acting Chief of Staff.

Prior to joining the Governor’s office, [Larew] was an attorney in private practice in Iowa City. A graduate of Harvard University and the University of Iowa College of Law, his general law practice focused on employment, civil rights and railroad law. He has appeared in State and Federal District Courts in Iowa and in Illinois and before the 7th and 8th Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal. He is married to Mary Spalding Larew, a pediatrician and member of the faculty of the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. They have two children.

From the Chet Culver campaign committee:


July 9, 2009

VILMAIN JOINS CULVER CAMPAIGN AS SENIOR ADVISOR

DES MOINES – A long-time and respected political strategist is returning to Iowa to help Governor Chet Culver’s campaign committee prepare for 2010. Teresa Vilmain will serve as a senior advisor to the Chet Culver Committee.

“Teresa Vilmain is not only synonymous with well-run, well-organized political campaigns around the nation, but she knows and loves Iowa,” said Governor Culver. “As we start to look ahead to 2010, Teresa will play a leading role in helping us prepare our effort to reach out to Iowans about the important issues we are working on in our state.”

“Iowa is home, and so I care very deeply about who wins and who loses the elections that impact people across the state,” said Vilmain. “I am excited to have this opportunity to work for Governor Culver and Lieutenant Governor Judge, and do everything I can to help them continue their work on behalf of Iowa.”

Vilmain was born and raised in Cedar Falls, where she graduated from Northern University High School.

Vilmain’s political work began in Iowa on the Culver for U.S. Senate campaign. She also served as deputy campaign manager on Tom Harkin’s first U.S. Senate race in 1984 and Iowa Director for the Dukakis presidential campaign in the 1988 caucuses. She was a general consultant to Governor Tom Vilsack’s campaign in 1998 and 2002, as well as the Vilsack for President campaign, and then served as the Iowa State Director of Hillary Clinton for President.

Her success and experience in Iowa has taken her to campaigns around the nation. In Wisconsin, Vilmain was a consultant to Jim Doyle’s successful gubernatorial campaign in 2002 as well as to U.S. Senator Herb Kohl’s winning campaigns in 1988 and 1994. She has also managed campaigns in Pennsylvania, New York and California, and was a consultant to both the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Most recently, Vilmain was a Fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

  • Iowa Republican Poll

    I don’t want to say too much about their poll if you’re going to have an entire article on it later, but I will say that you’re absolutely right. The questions are incredibly biased, to the point of nearing a push poll.

    And the worst part is, no one on that website seems to understand that!

    • the more the merrier

      Feel free to write your own diary about their poll if you like.

      I think they understand and are deliberately avoiding the subject.

      • Poll

        No, I mean I’ll wait to really comment on it until it has it’s own article. It seems like the focus of conversation here is on Culver and Vilmain.

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