Culver Edges Blouin to Face Nussle
Written by By Thomas Beaumont, The Des Moines Register   

Iowa Secretary of State Chet Culver claimed the Democratic nomination for governor Tuesday, turning back a late challenge by former state economic development director Mike Blouin and outpacing state Rep. Ed Fallon.

Culver's narrow victory marks a turn by the state's party activists away from Gov. Tom Vilsack, the two-term Democrat who is not seeking re-election this year and for whom Blouin worked as chief economic officer.

"Thank you for making me the Democratic nominee for governor," Culver told supporters at the Hotel Fort Des Moines. "We're a stronger party as a result of the vigorous campaign."

Culver will face U.S. Rep. Jim Nussle, an eight-term Republican congressman from Manchester, in the fall general election.

Read the entire article at the Des Moines Register ...

Daschle Endorses Chet Culver for Iowa Governor
Written by Mike Glover, Associated Press   
Wednesday, 01 February
Former Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle endorsed Secretary of State Chet Culver's bid for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, pointing to his advocacy for ethanol and arguing he's best positioned to win.

"Chet is in the strongest position to be the next governor," Daschle said in a news conference Wednesday. "There is no question Chet is the strongest political candidate running for governor."

Daschle, of South Dakota, has long been a leading advocate for the development of alternative fuels such as ethanol and Culver has made that a key part of his campaign.

"Reducing America's dependence on foreign oil is one of the most pressing issues of our time, and Chet Culver has shown he has the vision to lead Iowa in fueling the world," said Daschle.

Read the entire article at the Des Moines Register ...
Why Tom Daschle Believes the Country is Ready for Comprehensive Health Reform
Written by NLA   
Tuesday, 31 January
Senator Daschle recently sat down with Robert Galvin of General Electric for Health Affairs, a journal on health-related policy. They discussed the current state of health care in America and some ideas to reign in costs and cover the uninsured.

Here are a few brief excerpts:
By 2008 there is a real prospect that, according to one forecast, health costs will exceed the profits of Fortune 500 companies. By that time, there is the real possibility that we will have crossed the fifty-million-person threshold in terms of the uninsured. We�ve already seen, in the last five years, wages go up 15 percent, while health care premiums have gone up 73 percent. So, if trends continue, cost and access issues are going to be far greater than they�ve ever been before.

At some point, you reach a point when the American people say, How are you going to fix this? They�re going to demand that Congress and presidential candidates come up with solutions beyond what you�ve seen so far.

Now, there have been times when we�ve come close. Six times in the last century we tried to do this, and on a couple of occasions we actually came closer than most people realize. So, this, in my view, is not a question of �if.� It�s really a question of �when.�


Almost 16 percent of GDP [gross domestic product] spent on health care, I think, is too much. How else could our money be spent to more effectively make our country better than it is today? Our other competitors around the world do a lot more with a lot less than we do, and they get better results. So, I don�t think we�re getting what we�re paying for today. We�re still ranked by the World Health Organization as thirty-seventh in the world with regard to overall health system performance. I would expect the American people to say, at some point, that�s unacceptable.

It�s also affecting our competitiveness. When an American company has to spend $8,200 per employee for health care, and they�re competing against a company in Canada that doesn�t have to directly spend on health care, that puts the American company at a distinct disadvantage.
The entire interview has many more insights.
High Hopes for Democrats in
Written by NLA   
Monday, 30 January
The Los Angeles Times published the results of their latest poll with what appears to be great news for Democrats in the election cycle. The poll shows growing discontent with the Republican-controlled Congress and a strong favorability toward electing Democrats this year:
Just 35% of respondents said they approved of Congress' performance; 55% disapproved. And Democrats were favored, 46% to 37%, when registered voters were asked which party they intended to support for Congress in November.
This year is a huge opportunity to make gains with the real possibility of taking back one or both chambers. Read the entire article ...

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