# Highway 20

King can't face the truth about Highway 20 funding

Representative Steve King has so little to show for his six years in Congress that he used his first television commercial to take credit for a Highway 20 widening project, even though the funding for that project came from the state (not a federal appropriation).

Apparently King just can’t let go of this fairy tale:

FOR RELEASE:                                                                            

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Rep. Steve King continues to mislead voters about state funding for Highway 20 project

       During an interview with KMEG-TV yesterday, Rep. Steve King continued to mislead his constituents about the funding of the forthcoming improvements to Highway 20.  While he acknowledged the appropriation of state funds–which King had nothing to do with, contradicting the claims he is making in his radio and television ads-King still can’t admit that the state had to step in pay for the project rather than wait for King to obtain the federal funding needed to widen the highway.

       For six years, King failed to do his job in Congress to obtain four-lane federal construction funding for his top priority – improving Highway 20.  As State Senator Steve Warnstadt has stated, the Iowa legislature worked in a bipartisan manner to provide state funding for critical projects like four-laning Highway 20.  

       When the state announced that it was stepping forward with funding three weeks before the election, King shamelessly tried to take credit for the project when he clearly had nothing to do with the granting of state funds.

       Steve King is right about one thing.  He told KMEG that people should be offended when a politician “intentionally and willfully misinforms the public for their political gain.”   He should talk to the mirror about that.  He has misinformed the public to get re-elected, by claiming credit for the $48 million in funding that was recently announced by the Iowa Department of Transportation.

       That is separate and unrelated to any federal funds that may have gone toward the highway in the distant past, and not part of some “pool,” as he now claims.  And if such a pool did exist, King has done nothing to contribute to it.  

       If I’m elected to Congress, I will follow the example Rep. Leonard Boswell has set with the widening of Highway 34 in southern Iowa, obtaining funding for at least 10 miles every year.  Had Steve King done that, we would have had at least 60 miles completed for Highway 20.


Iowa DOT Press Release:                  


Steve King Quote:            


If you can afford to do so, please make one last donation to Hubler’s campaign. He’s up on television now with three ads you can view here (scroll down past the text of the Des Moines Register’s endorsement).

UPDATE: Got this e-mail last night from Hubler:

Dear [desmoinesdem],

Have you seen the ads? Heard the radio spots? Or seen the thousands of barn signs, bumper stickers and yard signs out? Travelling the district this week I have been amazed at all the green and white I see popping up amongst the changing leaves of fall.

The seasons are changing and so is the 5th district.

Everywhere I go there are signs that things are moving here on the ground and the whispers in D.C. have turned into rumbles as they talk about the campaign that is going to kick out Steve King.  Check out this blog posted today:


The latest polling shows we’re coming up behind him but this is still a tight race. We can win. And we will win. But we still need your help.

In less than 48 hours the polls will close but before that happens we need your help to get out the vote. Call your local office, email John (our field director), or call us at our headquarters 712-352-2077. But I am asking you to do everything you can between now and 9 PM on Tuesday; to get people to go out and vote in all the great democrats we have on the ticket this year from top to bottom.

Talk to people in the line of your local grocer, bug your neighbors, your relatives, and your friends and make sure they do their part.

After the polls close, come on over and watch the results roll in with me.


2200 River Road

Council Bluffs, IA 51501

Or contact your local county party to find a results party closer to you.

Peace and Justice,


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Hubler pledges not to accept pay raises if elected

I love how Rob Hubler ties together several things in this release:

-Steve King’s embarrassingly thin legislative record (the only bill he got through the House was about recognizing the importance of Christmas).

-King’s misleading tv ad about the Highway 20 widening project.

-King’s repeated votes against raising the minimum wage.

-King’s repeated votes to raise his own pay.

FOR RELEASE: Friday, October 24, 2008                          

Rob Hubler pledges to take no pay increases if elected to the House of Representatives

King has voted to raise pay six times and cost taxpayers more than $8.5 million since he was elected in 2002

       COUNCIL BLUFFS – Rob Hubler, Democratic candidate for Congress in Iowa’s 5th district, has pledged to not accept any increases in salary if he is elected to the House of Representatives, pointing out that incumbent Rep. Steve King has voted to increase his pay all six years that he has been in Congress.

       During a telephone news conference this morning, Hubler said that “taxpayers haven’t gotten their money’s worth in the past six years that King has been in Congress.”  Charging that King has not produced results for his western Iowa district during his three terms, Hubler pointed out that it has cost taxpayers more than $8.5 million to maintain his office, excluding travel expenses.  “That’s a lot of money to pay someone to remind us that we ought to celebrate Christmas,” said Hubler, referring to the only resolution or bill authored by King that has become law.

       “Obviously, we haven’t gotten much of a return on the our investment since King was elected in 2002,” said Hubler.  “The reason I’m running for Congress is that I think the fifth district deserves better than this.  While voting six times to increase his own pay by $15,000, the income of average Iowans has gone down over $2,000.  King has repeatedly voted against increases in the minimum wage while charging taxpayers over $8.5 million to run his office,” he said.

       “If Congress, over my objection, increases salaries for members of the House of Representatives while I’m in Congress, I will donate the amount of the increase to charities and non-profit organizations that are doing good work in our district,” Hubler promised.

       Commenting on King’s opposition to increases in the minimum wage for low income workers, Hubler said that he will “support efforts to see that the minimum wage keeps pace with inflation so that those at the bottom of the economic ladder don’t fall further behind.”

       Hubler chided King for misleading voters with his television ad in which the incumbent congressman takes credit for a recent appropriation the Iowa Department of Transportation to improve Highway 20. No federal funds are included in the appropriation.  “Since he hasn’t been able to accomplish anything in six years to improve the lives of his constituents, I guess King thought he’d better fabricate something before election day,” said Hubler.  “If I’m elected to Congress, I’ll work hard to produce results for the people who sent me there.

       Hubler, a Navy veteran and retired Presbyterian minister from Council Bluffs, recently was placed on the “Emerging Races” list by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, signifying that his campaign to unseat King is viewed as competitive by the national committee.  Hubler has been campaigning for Iowa’s Fifth District seat in the House of Representatives for nearly 20 months, travelling more than 220,000 miles throughout the 32-county district.

Please donate to or volunteer for Hubler’s campaign during the next ten days.

WHO-TV in Des Moines ran a feature on Hubler last night. I don’t have video, but here is the text.

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Help Rob Hubler get his message out

Steve King keeps adding to the multitude of reasons to elect Rob Hubler to represent Iowa’s fifth district in Congress. He is running a misleading television ad in the Sioux City market:

Friday, October 17, 2008                  

         COUNCIL BLUFFS – Rob Hubler, Democratic candidate for Congress in Iowa’s 5th district, today called on Rep. Steve King to pull his new television ad in which he falsely claims credit for “working with others” to widen Highway 20 from two lanes to four lanes.

         Following an announcement by the Iowa Department of Transportation on Tuesday that $48 million had been allocated for 11.7 miles of four-laning Highway 20, King began running a television commercial claiming credit for the funding.  All of the funding is from a special fund recently approved by the Iowa legislature and none of the funding is from federal sources.

         “Steve King taking credit for funding Highway 20 improvements would be like me taking credit for the sun coming up this morning,” said Hubler.  “Our state legislators and the Iowa Department of Transportation deserve credit for allocating the funding for Highway 20, which is long overdue,” he said.  “King had nothing to do with approving money for highway improvements but, three weeks before an election, he is desperate to show some accomplishments in Congress, by taking credit where it is not due.”

         State Sen. Steve Warnstadt of Sioux City, who has fought for funding in the Iowa legislature, said today that the legislature, “rather than wait for the promises of federal politicians to be fulfilled, worked in a bipartisan manner to not only create the funding for TIME-21, but ensured that projects like four-laning Highway 20 would be top priority for new funding.”

         “I’m pleased that the Iowa Transportation Commission did not wait for federal funds, and is using the resources provided to them by the legislature for critical projects like Highway 20,” said Sen. Warnstadt.

         In his television ad, that began running this week, King says:  “Six years ago I made a commitment to you that I would pull out all the stops to build four-lane Highway 20.  Today with the commission’s announcement, I can tell you that 46 more miles will be built within five years.  My number one transportation priority was a promise, now it’s a plan, soon it will be a reality.  We work together and we get things done.”

         In a press release issued the same day, King again took credit for the Highway 20 improvement project.  “Steve King had absolutely nothing to do with any of that funding and is shamelessly trying to take credit for it,” said Hubler.  “I suppose this is what you do when you’ve spent six years in Congress and have only a resolution encouraging people to celebrate Christmas to show for it,” he added.

         Hubler pointed out that King is unable to get anything done to help his district because he is not respected by other members of Congress, even those in his own party.  “By contrast, Rep. Leonard Boswell of Iowa has a program for Highway 34 in which he gets 20 miles paved every year,” he said.

         Hubler said that he will work with the rest of the Iowa delegation to make sure Iowa gets help with maintaining our highways and bridges.  “I will sponsor and fight for legislation to fund at least ten miles of Highway 20 widening each year until it is completed,” he said.  “If Steve King had done this, we would have 60 miles completed during his three terms in Congress.”

This press release from the Iowa Department of Transportation confirms the above comments by Hubler and State Senator Steve Warnstadt. This project is funded by the state, not by any federal appropriation.

Iowa Guy calls out the television ad as one of King’s “lies.” Here is a rough transcript that someone in the fifth district sent to me (if anyone has an official script, please send me a copy). Judge for yourself:

King: I’m Steve King. I approve this message. Six years ago I made a commitment to you that I would pull out all of the stops to build 4 lane Highway 20. Today with the commission’s announcement, I can tell you that 46 more miles will be built within five years. My number one transportation priority was a promise, now it’s a plan, soon it will be a reality. We work together and we get things done.

Voice Over: “Steve King for Congress”

King’s ad creates a false impression. Note how he refers to “the commission” without making clear that he’s talking about the Iowa Transportation Commission’s announcement regarding Highway 20. He talks about how his “promise” is now a “plan” that will soon be a “reality,” without specifying what he did to make that plan a reality (because he played no role).

I read in one of my parenting books that lying can be a form of wish fulfillment. If I had achieved as little for constituents as King has, I’d probably wish I could take credit for a popular highway project too.

Speaking of King’s record, you may recall this article the Sioux City Journal published over the summer, asking “How effective is Steve King?” (Answer: not very.) In the article, King described a “key moment” for him:

King said the extended 2007 funding debate for reauthorization of the federal State Children’s Health Insurance Program was a key moment. The measure was initially written for an increase of $35 billion, but was scaled back before being signed by President Bush in December.

King took to the House floor last fall with a sign that said the SCHIP acronym should instead stand for “Socialized Clinton-style Hillarycare for Illegals and their Parents.”

“I do believe if you took me out of the equation, there would have been a different (funding) result,” King said.

I have a close friend (self-employed) whose family was getting health coverage through her husband’s job. He was just laid off this month. Fortunately, their kids are eligible to be added to HAWK-I (that’s the Iowa version of SCHIP) as of November 1.

Plenty of children would be going without health insurance if not for HAWK-I, and in this economy, demand for the program will probably rise significantly.

Isn’t it great that King fought to scale back the funding?

Another recent “achievement” for King was his proposal to create a commission to study the current financial crisis. Hubler had some choice words about that idea, and I’ve put his full statement after the jump. Some excerpts:

       “For six years, Steve King has supported an administration that has refused to accept responsibility or to hold anyone accountable for policies that have devastated the middle class, provided tax breaks to big oil companies, mismanaged an unnecessary war, and now caused the worst financial meltdown since the Great Depression,” said Hubler.  “We don’t need to spend millions of dollars on a commission that will take months to find out what we already know; when there are no rules, and no regulators, markets do not regulate themselves.”

       “King opposed common-sense regulations designed to protect investors and consumers as his Republican-led Congress gave the Bush administration the authority to dismantle rules, allowing greedy Wall Street speculators and unscrupulous lenders free rein to engage in subprime lending with no oversight from Congress,” Hubler continued.  “Yet, instead of accepting responsibility for his part in creating this mess, King has tried to blame middle class borrowers for the collapse of the housing market,” said Hubler, referring to comments King made Saturday at a town hall meeting in Onawa.

Hubler is a strong Democrat as well as a strong candidate, which is why Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold’s Progressive Patriots Fund is supporting him.

Hubler can win this race if he is able to get his message to voters. He’s already been up on the radio with at least one ad, featuring former Congressman Berkley Bedell. The Hubler campaign has also produced this voter guide (pdf file) to mail district-wide. To reach more voters through direct mail and broadcast media, the campaign needs your help. Please donate today.

We have a great opportunity to take advantage of the coming Democratic wave. This post at Swing State Project notes that seats once thought safe for Republicans are becoming competitive across the country. The author names IA-05 (as well as IA-04) among the “Republican seats at severe risk of being lost or swept away in the ensuing tide.”

The Republican Party is now spending money on behalf of incumbents in some districts comparable to western Iowa in terms of partisan makeup. This recent story from Politico notes:

GOP Reps. John B. Shadegg of Arizona, Lee Terry of Nebraska, Henry Brown Jr. of South Carolina and Dan Lungren of California are all fighting for their political lives, a reversal of fortunes that has caught even the most astute campaign observers by surprise.

Markos commented on the Politico piece,

Shadegg’s AZ-03 is R+5.9.

Terry’s NE-02 is R+9.0.

Brown’s SC-01 is R+9.6

Lungren’s CA-03 is R+6.7.

Iowa’s fifth district has a partisan voting index of R+8. As I’ve written before, ten House Democrats already represent districts at least as Republican. This election will increase that number. Let’s make IA-05 one of them.

King’s third-quarter FEC filing showed a financial advantage over Hubler, but hardly an intimidating war chest. His cash on hand may not even be sufficient to run television ads across the district for the remainder of the campaign. He certainly won’t have a turnout operation to rival what Barack Obama’s campaign and the Iowa Democratic Party have going in western Iowa.

It only takes a minute to donate to Hubler’s campaign, giving him the resources to spread his message in the final weeks. Please take the time to help send a good man to Congress.

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