image Well the suspense of today’s announcement was ruined by yesterday’s leak, that State Senator Kim Reynolds (R-Osceola) was going to be former Governor Terry Branstad’s running mate.  Obviously I’m a little disappointed that the guy I’ve been pushing for the last ten days, State Representative Rod Roberts, didn’t get the nod.

But I’ve said before that this was Governor Branstad’s choice and there were a number of excellent possible candidates.  So congratulations to Senator Reynolds for getting the nod.

Senator Reynolds is a freshman State Senator in Iowa Senate District 48 this was former State Senator Jeff Anglo’s seat.  Prior to being elected to the Iowa Senate in 2008 (not many Republicans won that year) she served four terms as the Clarke County Treasurer.  She had also served on the Iowa Public Employees Retirement System board after being appointed by Governor Branstad.  She is married and has three adult children.

Why is she a good choice?

Her conservative track record in the Iowa State Senate – I’m not going to spend time on this as our new contributor, Kim Lehman, gave an excellent breakdown of bills that she sponsored.  She is a fiscal and social conservative.  She is prolife and believes that marriage should be between a man and a woman.  The fact that some on the left isn’t happy is obviously anecdotal evidence, but still a good sign.

She provides balance on the ticket and I believe is matched up well with Lt. Governor Patty Judge who is now painting her as a rookie and a moderate.  Her voting record doesn’t indicate that, and as far as being a rookie… 16 years in county government is not something that should be dismissed.

She is young, a fresh face, is energetic.  Linn County Supervisor Brent Oleson described his experience with her:

During late 2007 and early 2008 I did a lot of recruiting for State Senate candidates. The first person I went after for retiring Senator Jeff Angelo’s seat was Kim Reynolds. A Clarke County Treasurer, she was well-liked, an effective manager, young, intelligent, and had the "Iowa work-ethic" down pat. Everything she has done is with plain hard work and determination.

I campaigned with Kim in her primary and spent a few long car rides with her during the general election. I think she will be a great running mate for Branstad, bringing a fresh outsider perspective to the ticket, she is everyday Iowan who knows how to overcome professional and personal obstacles and persevere with focus, determination and pure hard work. She is so modest and it took a long time to persuade her to run for the Senate. She is like so many Iowans, who put others first and shy away from self-congratulation or promoting one’s self. That’s what I love about her. It’s about those she serves and not about herself or her political career.

You can’t fake that.

I have seen people say that with a minority in the Iowa Senate we can’t afford to lose her seat.  I want to reiterate, she won her seat in 2008… 2008.  That seat was held by a Republican for years.  The senate district is largely Republican.  I don’t think this is a valid concern.  Those bringing it up, to be consistent, should be concerned about Brad Zaun running for Congress as well.

I initially had a couple of questions about her, not necessarily concerns, but questions I would like to have answers to.  The first question was related to her OWI arrests back in 1999 and 2000.  I obviously believe people can change and it was a long time ago, but I wanted to know how she responded after that.  An article in The Des Moines Register answered my question:

Discussion of Reynolds’ 1999 and 2000 drunken-driving convictions resurfaced when her name emerged in recent weeks as a top contender for Branstad’s No. 2.

She said in a 2008 Des Moines Register interview that she was concerned at the time about their political impact. But she went on to win election twice more to county office, and once to the Legislature, representing five southern Iowa counties.

"I sought help and I’m a stronger person for it today," she said in the Register interview. "What I learned is that you don’t give up. You don’t lose faith. You hold your head high and move on."

I read in the print edition that at that same interview Reynolds said that she had been sober for eight years.  If this was something that happened last year, I’d be concerned.  But it looks like she has had victory in this area of her life.

Another question I had was her position on personal property rights.  She didn’t get involved in a imminent domain issue in her county where other state legislators were.  I’ve contacted the Branstad campaign about this and have not received a response yet.  There is nothing in her voting record that would indicate she’s against personal property rights.  I also don’t know the specifics of the case as well.  If I get a statement from the Branstad campaign on that or get a chance to ask her myself I’ll update you.

That said, it isn’t enough to disqualify her in my opinion.  Probably the biggest challenge for her is a general lack of name recognition, but I believe, based on what I’ve heard about her so far, it is something that she can overcome.  I believe she’ll be an asset to Branstad’s campaign, not a liability.

If you didn’t get a chance to listen to the initial press conference you can watch the video below:

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