(Des Moines, IA) Governor Rick Perry (R-TX) spoke to a crowd of more than 450 people at the Embassy Suites for the Polk County Republicans’ annual Robb Kelly Dinner last night. He cast the vision that the answers that will solve America’s problems are found the in the states.
The dinner was opened by Polk County Republican Chair Will Rogers and emceed by Kayne Robinson, the former President of the National Rifle Association. Polk County Republican Co-Chair Sherill Whisenand presented an award to Gloria Mazza who volunteered 800 hours during the 2012 campaign averaging 60 hours a week. Mazza’s grandchildren, Cassidy and James Overbey (ages 11 and 6), led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance. Rabbi Leib Bolel of Beth El Jacob Synagogue in Des Moines gave the invocation. Italian chicken and steak were served and Bonnie Hall of Boone informed Caffeinated Thoughts that it was very delicious.
State Senator Jack Whitver (R-Ankeny) gave the Iowa Senate update. He encouraged those in attendance to work toward winning back the Iowa Senate. He reminded that the campaign to win back the Iowa Senate has already begun with State Representative Julian Garrett’s campaign to win the special election in Iowa Senate District 13 that will be held on November 19th. He also looked forward to what could be accomplished through holding a majority in the Iowa Senate. “I am passionate about and I know my Senate colleagues are passionate about is income tax reform.” Whitver said ultimately he would like to see Iowa eliminate the state income tax.
State Representative Chris Hagenow (R-Windsor Heights) gave the Iowa House update. He reminded the group of their importance as he won by the closet margin out of all of the Iowa House races. He also said he was thankful for the Republican majority in the Iowa House. “Because of the majority we haven’t had to fight tax increases, but instead were able to work toward a decrease in taxes,” Hagenow said.
Congressman Tom Latham (R-Iowa) who represents Polk County in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District projected that because of the rollout of Obamacare 2014 will be a good year for Republicans. “We are going to see the biggest implosion of big government programs than we’ve ever seen in this country…. Do you think any American doesn’t understand where Republicans stand on Obamacare?” Latham said.
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) arrived late due to his flight back to Des Moines so he didn’t give remarks, but he was recognized as he walked in by Kayne Robinson and was given a standing ovation.
Governor Terry Branstad met with Governor Perry during the day, but was unable to attend the banquet due to having prior commitments. Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds spoke and introduced Governor Perry. She echoed Perry’s theme in her remarks by pointing out what Republican Governors have accomplished in their states highlighting New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez and Texas Governor Rick Perry. She pointed out the Branstad-Reynolds administration accomplishments: property tax cut, bring the state from a deficit to a $900 million surplus, and education reform.
Governor Perry reminisced about his presidential campaign in Iowa in 2011. “I have a lot of found memories of campaigning in Iowa. The only thing I regret was taking a really big bite out of that veggie corn dog,” Perry joked.
He addressed the growing national debt, “The national debt is approximately the size of national GDP, and as far as I can tell there is no serious plan to address that,” Perry said. He noted that every child born today will inherit $54,000 of the national debt.
He also jabbed at former Iowa Governor and now Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack who said that food stamps will be a stimulus for the U.S. economy. “Food stamps are not the solution to our economic problems, they are a symptom,” Perry stated.
Perry pointed out that Washington is so busy trying to accomplish their agenda they are not listening to the American people. He took aim at President Obama Perry said, “President Obama said no one will lose their health plans except the millions of Americans who will.” Later pointing out the flawed rollout of Heathcare.gov Perry quipped, “Obama can manage to barricade a memorial during a shutdown, but can’t manage a website.”
He said ultimately the way forward for America is to look to red states. “We have to turn away from Washington to find answers. We need to look to red states that are outperforming blue states,” Perry noted. He pointed out states like Texas and Iowa that are succeeding. “My state is creating more jobs than any other state in the nation…. We cut taxes, we didn’t spend all the money, we reigned in regulations.”
He said America has a choice between two visions – the one being played out in Washington, DC and blue states like California and Illinois who are losing jobs and have growing debt or red states that have led in job creation, have friendly business environments and cut taxes.
Perry kept his remarks short speaking for approximately 13 minutes. Perry’s message was well received.
State Representative Hagenow told Caffeinated Thoughts that he thought Governor Perry message was a good one. “There was a lot of interest in what message he was bringing to Iowa this year. I always have an interest in what each of these folks (potential Presidential candidates) bring. There is always a particular message. It just starts the long process of people test driving each of these candidates. I know a lot of people who really like Rick Perry and it was a good message,” Hagenow said.
“It was invigorating and encouraging to hear from Rick Perry. He had a lot of positive things to say about Iowa and I appreciate that. He really hit on the low points of the current presidential administration… Frankly, it’s not hard to do that, but I think that he really helped to focus on the fact that where things are going is clearly not good. Today is not the end of our problems. They are just going to keep getting worse and worse. He did well.” said Art Smith of West Des Moines.
Republican activist Chuck Laudner was impressed with the evening. “It was a great dinner and a great crowd. They really do a great job here. They have obviously learned how to raise money and organize,” Laudner said. “As far as Perry’s speech it was quick and to the point. He hit the highlights everything that the base of the Republican Party has been screaming at their TVs for the last several months. He was very articulate about it.”
Laudner added, “If he decides to make another run at President you’re always better the second time around. I think he just needs to be Rick Perry.”
Bonnie Hall appreciated the brevity of the program. “It was a great program. Short and sweet.” She also appreciated Perry’s remarks. “They were also short and sweet, right to the point. I like hearing governors speak and I like when they talk about all the great things they are doing in their states. It reminds me of our governor,” she added.
Conservative lobbyist Norm Pawlewski thought Perry’s remarks were typical of somebody considering a run for President. “I thought it was good. It was a typical speech for somebody running for President, but it was good. I like Rick Perry. I think we have got a bunch of good (potential) candidates who are vying for the honor.” Pawlewski said he hopes that conservatives don’t get pushed into candidates Iowa conservatives are not excited about like 2008 and 2012.
“I was absolutely thrilled with tonight. It is a real honor to have Governor Perry join us as a keynote speaker,” Polk County Republican Chair Will Rogers told Caffeinated Thoughts. “Great attendance, a lot of friends in the room, its nice to have an event like this to go to and be able to be a part of as the chairman.”
Listen to Gov. Perry’s remarks below:
Photo credit: Dave Davidson – Prezography.com