Former Governor Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) kicked off  The FAMiLY Leader’s Presidential Lecture Series to a crowd of approximately 150 people gathered at Pella Christian High School in Pella, IA today.  Governor Pawlenty in a press conference before the event explained that he was delighted to be participate in this series to share his views about the continuing importance of families in our society.

Pawlenty Press Conference in Pella, IA

I had the opportunity to ask Governor Pawlenty what he had to say to those who say the focus should be on jobs and the economy and not on social issues.  He said that “our country needs to be prosperous and good if we are going to continue to be great.  So if you are going to be a leader at the local level, state level or national level you need to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time.  This is not only a question of saying we can only do one thing at a time.  Obviously the economy and providing economic opportunity for jobs to our citizens is vitally important, we do need to be focused on that, but there are also other important things we need to remain to be focused on.  Including our commitment to the important issues of the social agenda which includes life issues and marriage issues and others.”

The answer I was hoping to hear.  He also said that we don’t have the luxury or even the option to focus on just economic issues over social ones.

During his address (made without notes or a teleprompter) which took place after a private meeting described earlier as a roundtable with community leaders which was closed to the press (unless your name is Steve Deace) he stated that “all issues affect the family.”

Pawlenty Speech in Pella, IA

He also proclaimed that the United States was “founded under God,” and that wasn’t just a statement proclaimed by politicians, but it is a belief “embedded in the founding documents of this nation.”  He cited examples of the Declaration of Independence, the Iowa Constitution and Minnesota Constitution.  He noted that 49 of 50 state constitutions make reference to God.  He encouraged people of faith to influence our culture saying again that “we can’t be a great country unless we are a good country.”  He said the starting point for this is that our nation needs to acknowledge God and/or return back to God.  He said laws and court decisions will never changed unless “we change hearts and minds.”

He spoke extensively on his prolife beliefs and positions and listed laws he helped pass as a state legislator and signed as Governor.  He also was the co-author of Minnesota’s Defense of Marriage Act.  Regarding education he said that education needs “to be reflective that parents are in charge.”  He noted that there shouldn’t be a “governmental educational monopoly.”  He also that families are helped through tax policy and a stance toward small businesses that helps to provide economic opportunity that promotes job creation.  He said, “can’t be pro job and anti-business.”  He said that is akin to “being pro-egg and anti-chicken.”

He closed his speech with thoughts about how 2 Chronicles 7:14 applies today and encouraged those in attendance to be humble, engaged and prayerful.

After his speech, Bob Vander Plaats, CEO of The FAMiLY Leader posed questions of his own and from the audience.  Pawlenty highlighted the

Pawlenty in Pella, IA Q&A Session

executive order he signed against the implementation of Obamacare and that his administration was a plaintiff in the Florida lawsuit that found the health care reform law unconstitutional.  He said that he thought the growing number of children in distress was our nation’s greatest threat, and said that a two parent (father and mother) household is ideal and our polices should encourage and reflect that.

He also touted his experience as Governor when he was the first Governor to force a government shutdown in Minnesota, and that the set the state record for number of vetoes.  He said those actions reflects “a fortitude” needed in leadership that there is a line that shouldn’t be crossed.  He touted his appointment of four justices which provides a strict constructionalist majority for the Minnesota Supreme Court, and that he, if President, would look for strict construtionalists through interviewing and looking at records.  He also favors a flatter tax and said that the “fair tax” was a good direction, but also expressed reservations that it could become a VAT tax if income tax was not repealed.

He concluded by encouraging those in attendance to look the records and experience of candidates to ask “does the life underneath reflect their words?”

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