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Sunday, August 13, 2006

Count Me Officially as a Nussle Supporter Now

Last week I had the opportunity to meet our GOP nominee for Governor, Jim Nussle, at a local fundraiser. Previously, I had reviewed some of his policy stances, history in Congress, and kept up with state news about his campaign. I found nothing utterly disagreeable. I've even marched in support of our county republicans in 3 parades over the last couple of months touting Jim Leach and/or Jim Nussle paraphernalia. However, my support of Nussle thusfar has largely been based on an opposition to Chet Culver becoming my next Governor (that could be a subject of another entire blog entry). After hearing him speak and speaking with him I've now got much more than "Culver-anger" as a basis for supporting Nussle (Later in this blog I'll discuss some of what Nussle said and why I support him)

Of course, I've got the Nussle sign up in my driveway, and made a few calls in his behalf at the state GOP convention (got 2 yard signs out and someone who said they wanted to work for his campaign in just 15 minutes of calling!) Recently, I've been trying to wear my Nussle shirt out in public more. This is important not just to show support of Nussle to people who may see you, but also because of the conversations that may ensue.

Just yesterday afternoon, I wore my Nussle shirt while taking me three older boys to Kent State Park to swim and play. In just over 2 hours, three different people mentioned my shirt. One was an off-duty state trooper his wife (a social worker at UI) who said his brother works on the Nussle campaign in NW Iowa. The second was an "Independent" who nearly always votes for Democrats. We had a pleasant exchange of ideas.

The third approached me while I was reading Mitt Romney's book "Turnaround" and said, "Anyone around here who wears a Nussle shirt and is reading a Mitt Romney book must be a pretty staunch Republican." That lead to some interesting coversation about Nussle and Romney. He mentioned that David Yepsen (Des Moines Register political columnist) really seemed high on Romney. I was surprised that he knew quite a bit about Romney. Turns out he is a journalist who runs the editorial section for our local newspaper, the Iowa City Press-Citizen. He gave me his card and suggested that I write in an opinion letter sometime, stating that there don't seem to be enough articulate conservatives in our county. Personally, he leans left politically, and he feels his newspaper leans strongly in that direciton too, but said that he always encourages conservatives to voice their opinions in his section. So, before I forgot about it, I crafted up the following letter and sent if off. Let's hope it gets picked up!

Dear Editor,

I write to share my experience of hearing and meeting Jim Nussle, the Republican candidate for Governor, in Iowa City last week. He spoke of several ways to make Iowa better. Two points he addressed that particularly interested me were education and healthcare, traditionally "pet issues" of Democrats.

He stated the need to restore Iowa‘s prominence as an educational beacon nationwide. Among other ideas, he mentioned plans to retain exceptional young teachers and reward high performing students and teachers.

As a physician, I was especially interested to hear how he planned to improve healthcare in Iowa. He mentioned the need to provide more specialty/surgical care in rural regions and the need to limit exorbitant medical malpractice insurance fees. When I spoke with him privately later, he was also very receptive to the idea of allowing the self-/un-employed to use pre-tax dollars to pay healthcare premiums (a benefit currently enjoyed only by employers) similar to Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s new law.

Also, I found it encouraging that, though in a private home filled with Republican supporters, he did not make any disparaging remarks about his opponent nor the Democratic party. In this age of overly partisan politics this was unexpectedly refreshing.

Jeff Fuller, M.D.
North Liberty, IA

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