484840_636826446373404_30822791_nDes Moines, IA – Tomorrow night, January 21, 2014 at 7:00p Iowa Republicans and Democrats will go to their respective caucuses.  Midterm caucuses are typically not well attended since it is missing the Presidential straw poll that Iowa is famous for with its First in the Nation status.  Mid-term caucuses focus on selecting delegates for the upcoming county conventions, selecting representatives to represent the precinct on their county party’s central committee, and submitting planks for the party platforms.

The Branstad-Reynolds campaign has poured an unusual amount of resources into encouraging more Iowa Republicans to take part in their caucus.  This is primarily to work towards a change in the Republican Party of Iowa.  In 2012, grassroots activists supportive of Ron Paul, as well as evangelicals/values voters, were able to send a majority of delagates to many county conventions, district conventions, and ultimately to the state convention where they won a majority on the Republican Party of Iowa State Central Committee who then elected former Ron Paul State Chair A.J. Spiker as chairman of the party.  Nearly the entire delegation from Iowa sent to the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, FL voted for former Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) instead of the presumptive nominee, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, a move criticized by Santorum and Romney supporters within the party.  In 2013 the State Central Committee reelected Spiker as Chair and David Fischer (another Ron Paul 2012 state co-chair) as co-chair of the party.  Notably only seven of the 18 state central committee members caucused for Ron Paul.

Since there have been some public rifts over the future of the Iowa Straw Poll, district executive committees, a gas tax hike, party staff make-up, and the  state convention date being changed.  There have also been complaints over the ability of the Republican Party of Iowa to raise money for the 2014 and 2016 elections.  With many of these issues Governor Branstad and Spiker have found themselves at odds. So Branstad and establishment Republicans would like control of the party back, and they will have to out-organize the liberty wing of the Republican Party of Iowa to do so.  Also the Branstad campaign wants to avoid any challenge to Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds nomination for the 2014 ticket.

For your average conservative attending, however, one of the greater concerns for the mid-term caucus is to ensure that the party platform embodies conservative principles and values.  To that end conservative organizations have offered language their supporters can submit at their caucus.

The Iowa Right to Life Committee offers a resolution that it’s supporters can submit:

Pro-Life Resolution for the Sanctity and Dignity of Human Life

Faithful to the “self-evident” truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children. We oppose using public revenues to promote or perform abortion or fund organizations which perform or advocate it and will not fund or subsidize health care which includes abortion coverage. We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life. We oppose the non-consensual withholding or withdrawal of care or treatment, which includes food and water, from people with disabilities, together with newborns, as well as the elderly and infirm, just as we oppose active and passive euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Iowans for Local Control and Concerned Women for America of Iowa has several planks it would like supporters to submit during their Caucuses:

Planks to Stop the Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards in Iowa (explanation is italicized):

1. The Executive Branch should break the Memorandum of Understanding signed by Governors Culver and Branstad that required Iowa to accommodate Common Core Standards and states that Iowa would change laws in order to comply with non-specified data requirements yet to be established.

Iowa is part of the Smarter Balanced Consortium (SBAC), and according to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) p. 3 section (b) notes that states will implement a plan to address State law, statutes and regulation in order to comply with agreement.  You can read the MOU here – http://iowansforlocalcontrol.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Iowa-SBAC-MOU.pdf

2a. The Iowa Legislature should pass law(s) prohibiting the collection of intrusive non-academic data collection to protect students and parents from a growingly intrusive reach into sensitive and personal information.  (Any non-academic information necessary for participation in an assistance program can be voluntarily submitted upon application by parents.)

2b. The Iowa Legislature should pass law(s) prohibiting the transfer, selling, or sharing of student level academic data with the federal government or any 3rd party outside the state’s department of education.

The goal is to restrict private and sensitive data being used or sold outside local schools and state department of education.

3. The Iowa Legislature and/or the Iowa Executive Branch should opt out of Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium immediately.

According to the MOU Iowa can’t just pull out, we have to request permission to withdraw and it could be denied further exemplifying the concern over loss of local and state control to federal agencies and non-governmental agencies. (See SBAC MOU pg. 12 & 13, exit from consortium instructions)

4. The Iowa Legislature should fully reject nationalized, top-down Next Generation Science Standards which have been found by teachers and education policy experts to have poor lesson sequence, discretion of topics, and lacking in fundamental content.

Beyond the academic shortcomings, NGSS promotes controversial unproven theories as proven fact like global warming and evolution with no counterpoint allowed.  Kansas families are suing to stop NGSS in the schools.  Seehttp://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2013/10/01/kansas-families-sue-stop-national-science-standards by Joy Pullmann) 

5. The Iowa Legislature should halt mandatory implementation and funding for Iowa Core (which includes Common Core) which will save the state millions and give control back to parents, teachers, and local school boards.

Estimated cost for implementation is in excess of $186 million, with $130 million of the expenses upfront. Starting the process earlier rather than later could save Iowans from wasting the upfront money on a system experts say will continue to cost CCSSI states more money than non-CCSSI states. Seehttp://iowansforlocalcontrol.com/2013/09/iowas-common-core-implementation-costs/

6a. We urge the legislature to once again take back the authority they relinquished in 2008 to the State School Board of Education (SF 2216) in determining academic standards as a guiding reference not a state mandate.

Citizens deserve input and accountability that comes through the legislative process.  The State School Board of Education is not elected and therefore, there is little or no recourse for the people.

6b. The Iowa Legislature shall have the capacity to set academic standards as a guiding reference or gold standard which local districts may accept or refuse in whole or in part which truly gives control back to parents, teachers, and local school boards

Our Founding Fathers knew the best form of government was that closest to the people where recourse was available. Local control gives a community accountability, transparency, the ability to correct issues, and protects property values by keeping schools strong.

You can download a copy of their resolution, along with a caucus guide, here.

The FAMiLY Leader, Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition, and Concerned Women for America of Iowa offers a joint platform that their supporters can submit.  The first statement on abortion is identical to the Iowa Right to Life resolution.  This platform also includes a statement on stem-cell research and cloning.

Abortion

Faithful to the “self-evident” truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death regardless of method of conception, gestational age, or dependency, and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Iowa and U.S. Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children. We oppose using public revenues to promote or perform abortion or fund organizations which perform or advocate it and will not fund or subsidize health care which includes abortion coverage. We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life. We oppose the non-consensual withholding or withdrawal of care or treatment, including food and water, from people with disabilities, including newborns, as well as the elderly and infirm, just as we oppose active and passive euthanasia and assisted suicide.

We support the use of non-embryonic stem cells to advance modern medical research. We oppose somatic cell nuclear transfer (human cloning), embryonic stem cell research, human fetal-tissue research from induced abortions, and the commercial use or sale of fetal parts.

Education

We support the proposition that school curriculum content of local districts in the State of Iowa should remain under the control of the local school boards, and that accreditation or funding should not be denied or withheld from districts on the basis of national goals and standards established under the Educate America Act, or as adopted by the state in compliance with the national goals and standards.

We call for the elimination of the Federal Dept. of Education.

We support the idea of choice and competition through educational vouchers and/or tuition tax exemptions to assist parents as they exercise their right of choosing government, private, alternate, or “home schooling” educational programs for children.

We oppose ratification of the “so called” United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which interferes with parental rights to direct the upbringing and education of their children.

We support presenting all the scientific evidence for intelligent design in our government funded schools.

We support parental rights legislation stating that parents have the right to direct the upbringing and education of their minor children.

Common Core

We believe that control of education should be left to the parents, teachers, and local school boards and therefore, the _(insert party affiliation here)__Party of Iowa rejects this Common Core State Standards plan.

We oppose the collection of personal student data for any non-educational purpose without the prior written consent of an adult student or a child student’s parent and that it rejects the sharing of such personal data, without the prior written consent of an adult student or a child student’s parent, with any person or entity other than schools or education agencies within the state.

We call on _(insert party affiliation here)__legislators and executives to oppose implementation of the Common Core State Standards plan, which limits the academic freedom and achievement of Iowa’s teachers, students, and schools.

Marriage and Family

We support federal and state constitutional amendments, voted on by the citizens, which define marriage as only between one natural man and one natural woman.

We believe that the traditional family is the building block to a moral, healthy, and thriving society.

We support non-familial adoption by heterosexual married couples consisting of one man and one woman, and believe that no law should infringe on faith-based adoptive service agencies that offer their services in accordance with their beliefs.

We favor improving, strengthening, and simplifying the adoption process so that more children can have a father and a mother.

We believe divorce is almost always tragic and expensive to the individuals involved and to all of society. Therefore, we support efforts to reduce the number of divorces and harmful custody battles.

We believe that obscenity is harmful to the individuals involved in the production and consumption of it and to all of society. Therefore, we call on all prosecutors to vigorously enforce all obscenity laws and call on law makers to strengthen penalties on obscenity producers.

We believe that gambling is a state sponsored vice that harms those addicted to it and all of society. Therefore, we are opposed to expansion and favor recriminalizing predatory gambling.

We decry all predatory and abusive lending practices and call for passage and vigorous enforcement of laws against it.

Foreign Policy- Israel

We support Israel in their natural and God-given right of self-governance and self-defense upon their own lands, recognizing that Israel is neither an attacking force nor an occupier of the lands of others; and that peace can be afforded the region only through a united Israel governed under one law for all people.

Religious Liberty

We strongly support the right of Iowans to speak freely and to practice religious freedoms as guaranteed to all citizens under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

We believe that every citizen has the Constitutional right to pray, read the Bible or any religious text, and discuss his or her faith in private and in public, including the public schools of this state.

We support the display of the Ten Commandments and other expressions of faith and doctrine in public places.

We support and strongly urge Congress to pass a Religious Freedom Amendment, which provides: ‘Neither the United States nor any state shall prohibit student–sponsored prayer in public schools, nor compose any official student prayer or compel joining therein.’

We urge the legislature to end censorship of discussion of religion in our founding documents, and encourage discussing those documents.

We urge change of the Internal Revenue Code to allow a religious organization to address issues without fear.

Iowans for Local Control/CWA Common Core platform offers a more comprehensive set of planks than The FAMiLY Leader/Iowa FFC so it is recommended that you submit that language instead.

Also Iowa Republican Gubernatorial candidate Tom Hoefling and State Representative Tom Shaw recently offered a “unity platform” that Republicans can submit to their precinct caucus.  You can download a copy here.  The language is below.

As Iowa Republicans we hereby declare our unity in firm support of these non-negotiable principles and purposes:

  • We’re one nation under God, and our rights come from God, not men.
  • The first sworn duty of every officer of government is to equally protect every individual person’s God-given, unalienable rights to life, liberty, and private property, from creation to natural death.
  • The God-ordained institution of one man-one woman marriage must be preserved.
  • The right of the people to Keep and Bear Arms shall not be infringed.
  • Our national sovereignty, security, and borders must be defended.
  • Our republican form of representative self-government must be upheld.
  • The sacred oath of office to support and defend our Constitution must be fulfilled.

In order to secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, we strongly urge our fellow Iowans, and all Americans, to make this platform their own, and to henceforth hold all political leaders, regardless of party, strictly accountable to it.

Be sure to go caucus!

Update: Here are planks suggested by Iowans for Tax Relief.

  • Federal Deductibility.   We support keeping the right of all Iowans to deduct all federal income tax payments on their Iowa income tax returns.  A tax on a tax is wrong.
  • People’s Right to Vote Amendment.  We support an Iowa Constitutional Amendment that will require approval by majority vote of the people for any increase of state taxes or fees that exceeds one percent of annual state general fund revenue.
  • 99% Spending Limit Amendment.  We support an Iowa Constitutional Amendment that will limit state general fund spending to no more that 99% of estimated revenue, require a 60% vote of both houses of the Legislature to spend any of the state’s reserve fund, and require the state to follow generally accepted accounting principles.

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