The Delegate Slate

rnclogoThe 2016 GOP State Convention will come to order at 10 am, Saturday May 21 at the State Fairgrounds Varied Industries building. At our district conventions we elected 12 National Delegates and 12 Alternate National Delegates. One of the big tasks for the State Convention will be the election of 15 At-Large National Delegates and 15 At-Large Alternate Delegates.

Each congressional district elected 2 representatives to the State Convention Nominating Committee. The committee met in Des Moines and produced a slate of delegates and alternates to be voted on at the state. I haven’t seen this formally published anywhere (it will be published in the convention tabloid) so I asked the chairman of the committee and he gave me permission to publish the slate here.

At-Large National Delegate
Name County District
State Senator Bill Anderson Woodbury 4
Governor Terry Branstad Polk 3
Robert Cramer Polk 3
Bryan English Polk 3
State Senator Randy Feenstra Sioux 4
Carol Hanson Black Hawk 1
RPI Co Chair Cody Hoefert Lyon 4
Representative Steve King Sac 4
Marlys Popma Jasper 2
Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds Clarke 2
Richard Rogers Polk 3
Loras Schulte Benton 1
Cecil Stinemetz Polk 3
IA House Speaker Linda Upmeyer Cerro Gordo 4
Bob Vander Plaats Polk 3
At-Large Alternate National Delegate
Name County District
SCC Member Chelle Adkins Black Hawk 1
Shellie Bockenstedt Delaware 1
Pastor Joseph Brown Washington 2
Mary Dorin Polk 3
State Senator Dennis Guth Hancock 4
Rose Jaeger Scott 2
Jeff King Sac 4
Maurice McWhirter Tama 1
David Oman Polk 3
Kay Quirk Buena Vista 4
Donna Robinson Iowa 1
SCC Member Jennifer Smith Dubuque 1
SCC Member (elect) Heather Stancil Madison 3
Linda Stickle Jones 1
SCC Member Craig Williams Carroll 4

2016 GOP State Convention Rules

calmI will once again be serving as chairman of the State Convention Rules Committee. We have a great team on rules consisting of me and Chelle Adkins from CD1, Jason Purcell and Caleb Bell from CD2, Joel Kurtinitis and Jeremy Holt from CD3, and Katherine Asjes and Becky Hansen from CD4.

We met Saturday and produced the proposed rules presented here. We had a robust discussion but were able to come to a consensus on every major point in this document.

The only downside is that for the first time ever, rules was the last committee to finish deliberations on Saturday :( Even platform and nominations finished before we did. Of course we did take and hour and fifteen minutes for a committee lunch at Krunkwich Ramen House :)

Here are the rules:


 

Proposed Rules: 2016 Iowa Republican State Convention

  1. General Rules
    1. The 2016 Iowa Republican State Convention (hereafter the Convention) shall be governed by Roberts Rules of Order Newly Revised 11th Edition except as hereunder provided or as specified in the Constitution and By-Laws of the party.
    2. Any motion from the floor, other than a nomination, shall require a second from fifty (50) or more Delegates.
    3. These rules may be suspended by a two-thirds (2/3) vote.
    4. The ruling of the Convention Chairman (hereafter the Chairman) shall be considered final, unless upon appeal, such ruling is overturned by a majority vote.
    5. The agenda, as adopted, shall be regarded as a part of these rules.
    6. Republican dignitaries, at the discretion of the Chairman, may be introduced as they arrive throughout the day and allowed to address the Convention for up to five (5) minutes each.
    7. Any registered Republican, residing in the State of Iowa, shall be eligible for nomination. Only seated Delegates shall be allowed to make nominations.
    8. All nominations must be seconded. No nominating speeches shall be allowed.
    9. Candidates running for National Delegate, National Alternate Delegate, National Committeeman, National Committeewoman, and Presidential Elector may distribute materials on the chairs in the Convention hall. Any other individual or organization must receive approval of the Organization Committee.
    10. Access to the Convention floor will be granted to Officers of the Convention, Delegates, Alternate Delegates who have replaced absent Delegates, designated Junior Delegates, and the Republican State Central Committee. The Republican State Chairman may also designate special guests and staff to have access to the Convention floor. Others shall be seated in designated locations.
    11. Delegates who address the Convention shall, after being recognized by the Chairman, identify themselves by name and county.
    12. In debate on any subject the number of speakers shall be limited to three (3) Delegates in favor and three (3) Delegates opposed. Each speaker shall be limited to one (1) minute. The lead sponsor shall be given the opportunity to speak first. No Delegate shall speak more than once on a given issue. No speaker shall be allowed to yield time to another speaker.
    13. The motions to lay on the table, postpone indefinitely, previous question (call the question), reconsider, and limit or extend debate shall be out of order.
    14. The Junior Delegates will be allowed to caucus and be recognized to speak about their Convention for up to five (5) minutes.
    15. A motion to adjourn shall only be in order if the agenda items are complete, or a quorum no longer exists.
  2. Delegates
    1. A quorum shall be 35% of the Delegates listed in the initially adopted report of the Credentials Committee. Quorum calls shall be limited to no more than one per hour.
    2. If a Delegate arrives after credentialing has closed, the Delegate shall report to the Sergeant at Arms and the Sergeant at Arms shall escort the Delegate to his County Chairman or County Chairman Designee (hereafter the Designee). The Delegate shall be seated and his County Chairman or Designee shall inform the Credentials Committee. Delegates shall always have priority over alternates.
    3. Any Delegate who leaves the Convention prior to adjournment shall advise his County Chairman or Designee before leaving. The County Chairman or Designee shall contact the next eligible Alternate Delegate, if any are available; deliver to the Alternate Delegate the credentials of the departing Delegate; and notify the Credentials Committee.
  1. Voting Rules
    1. Electronic voting devices, provided by the Republican Party of Iowa, shall be utilized for balloting and division counts. They shall be issued to Delegates with their credentials and returned after adjournment. Delegates failing to return their voting devices will be assessed a $50 fee.
    2. In the event that the electronic voting devices fail, or if more than ten (10) nominations are made for a given election, paper ballots shall be utilized for that election. Paper ballots shall be distributed, collected, and counted by County Chairmen or Designees and reported to the Secretary of the Convention.
    3. When electronic voting occurs, voting machines shall be open for one (1) minute.
    4. Voting by proxy will not be permitted. Only seated Delegates shall be allowed to cast a vote.
    5. A call for division, after any voice vote, shall require a second from 50 or more Delegates, consisting of at least ten (10) from each of the four districts, and shall move to a counted vote by electronic voting.
    6. In the event of a second ballot, and with each subsequent ballot, the candidate receiving the least number of votes on the previous ballot shall be eliminated.
  2. The Committee on Nominations
    1. The report of the Committee on Nominations shall consist of fifteen (15) Delegates at Large and fifteen (15) Alternate Delegates at Large to the 2016 Republican National Convention.
    2. Amendments to the report of the Committee on Nominations shall be considered out of order. Approval of the report shall be by majority of those voting, and shall constitute election of the nominated Delegates and Alternate Delegates.
    3. In the event the report of the Nominating Committee fails, nominations shall be taken from the floor. Nominees may speak to the Convention for up to two (2) minutes each. Voting shall be by ballot, and nominees shall be elected by a plurality.
  3. National Committeeman, National Committeewoman, and Presidential Electors
    1. Delegates may make nominations from the floor for National Committeeman, National Committeewoman, and Presidential Electors.
    2. Each candidate for National Committeeman and National Committeewoman may speak to the Convention for up to five (5) minutes.
    3. Each candidate for Presidential Electors may speak to the Convention for up to two (2) minutes.
  4. Platform–Amendments and Debate
    1. An amendment to the report of the Platform Committee must be in writing and signed with original signatures only (no photo-copied signatures) by no fewer than fifty (50) Delegates representing all four districts. Each amendment must be typed or printed legibly on a separate 8 ½ X 11 sheet of paper. Each amendment must clearly indicate the section of the Platform to be amended. Amendments must indicate the lead sponsors’ and Delegates’ printed names, districts, and signatures.
    2. Amendments to the report of the Platform Committee must be submitted to the Convention Secretary by 12:00 noon.
    3. All properly submitted amendments (see Section 6a) shall be brought before the Convention for approval during the appropriate section of the platform debate.
    4. There shall be no debate on any individual plank, or section, or the entire report of the platform, unless an amendment has been properly filed.
    5. Secondary amendments shall not be allowed during debate on the Platform.
    6. If a quorum is lost, or a motion to adjourn is carried, before the conclusion of the consideration of the amendments filed, the platform as amended shall be considered adopted.
    7. The Platform Committee Chairman shall proof the newly adopted platform. He may clarify, correct spelling or grammar, rearrange the order of planks, but shall not change the substance or intent of any plank.

 

On being a Christian Leader in the Iowa GOP

When I went to college at UNI I majored (or at least it seemed that I did) in Frisbee. Whenever I saw people throwing a Frisbee I would ask to join in. I became convicted, I realized that I spent more time teaching strangers how to do Frisbee tricks than spreading the gospel. I decided to do something about it. Since I carried a Frisbee in my book bag everywhere I went. On the inside rim of my Frisbee, I wrote in permanent marker:

F I A N A O T G O C

When I would start throwing my Frisbee people would see the writing on the rim and ask what it meant. I told them that it stood for the first letters of the words of Romans 1:16:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ …

It gave me opportunities and forced me to engage with people I met about my faith and in many cases share the gospel with them.

Now, as I ‘retire’ from a leadership position within the Republican Party of Iowa, I want to take the opportunity once more to share my faith. I don’t just want to fight for Christian principles … I have been called to make disciples.

I have posted this before but as I retire I want to take one last opportunity.

Over the years I have observed a number of Christian Leaders within our party and I guess people have also observed me. What I have observed is a focus on social issues like abortion and public sanction of homosexual unions. Many who share my faith have exhibited a righteous zeal when it comes to issues — a zeal that I often share. What I have not seen enough of is faith. So I want to do something in this post that I have not seen many other Christian Leaders in our party do — I want to share my faith.

My politics are shaped by my faith. In fact I believe that everyone’s politics are shaped by their faith. Perhaps not a traditional religious faith but by those core beliefs that they hold dear. But more important than my politics, my life should be shaped by my faith. As a follower of Jesus Christ, I believe that I have a responsibility to share my faith with others. I would be remiss in my duty if I fought only for social issues and did not take opportunity to share my testimony of how Jesus Christ changed my life. So if any of you are still reading …

I was raised knowing the stories and characters from the Bible like Noah, Jonah, David, Joshua, Daniel, etc. I knew that I was a sinner as the Bible says:

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; — Romans 3:23

I knew that sin caused separation and death, and I knew that the ultimate result of sin was Hell. In fact when Paul describes death as the wages of sin he is saying that death (like wages) is something we have earned!

For the wages of sin is death — Romans 6:23a

But I thought that the way to be reconciled to God was by my works. That if I did more good things than bad, God would weigh the good against the bad and if the balance came out in my favor, I would be allowed into heaven. I figured that while I was not as good as say, Mother Teresa, I was also not as bad as say, Hitler. In the end since I did more good than bad I figured that I would be OK.

But one day, everything changed. A dear friend of mine started arguing with me, she said that there was nothing I could do that could measure up to what Jesus Christ did for me. He came to Earth and offered himself up a perfect sinless sacrifice. He suffered and died for me. She showed me from the Bible that God was offering salvation to all as a free gift, that to try and earn it was an insult to God. And one day, it clicked, the Holy Spirit reached out to me heart and convinced me that I could not earn salvation, that it was a free gift.

… but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. — Romans 6:23b

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. — Romans 5:8

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. — Romans 10:9

It was 1975 and I repented of my sin, and did confess with my mouth and believe in my heart, I accepted the free gift of salvation that God purchased for me through His Son, and anyone reading this post can do the same. I will continue to post on this site about topics that are politically interesting or important to me, but as a  have chosen not to run for re-election to the RPI State Central Committee, I felt that I had to post on the topic that is most important to me. I would challenge other Christian Leaders in our party to share not just their political convictions, but to join me in sharing their faith.

David Chung for National Delegate

dave-loresI am old enough to remember typing classes. In my school there was a room full of IBM Selectric typewriters. One of the exercises was to type the sentence:

Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the party.

I was not planning on running for a delegate spot at Cleveland. I was going to try to do something uncharacteristic for me, I was planning on staying out of the fight. But I can keep still no longer. Now is indeed the time for all good men to come to the aid of the party.

I am a born-again Christian, a homeschooling husband and father of eight. A deacon in a Baptist church, a Sunday School teacher and sometime preacher. I have been a small businessman. I am the father of a disabled veteran. I am the child of (legal) immigrants. I am a believer in the Constitution and limited government. I AM A CONSERVATIVE therefore I AM A REPUBLICAN!!!!

I am not a Republican because I believe my party is perfect — I am a Republican because I believe that the GOP offers the best opportunity to advance the principles I hold dear and turn this nation around. To secure the blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity.

I am concerned that if no one gets 1237 votes, the Convention rules committee will change the rules at the last second to pave the way for someone who did not even run for president to be our nominee. I am concerned that we could have a third-party run. I am concerned that we might have faithless electors and the election could be decided by the House of Representatives.

Even so, my real concern is that in fall, Republicans will stay home. I hear both Cruz and Trump supporters say that if their guy doesn’t get the nomination, they will leave the party. If this schism in our party continues we could wake up on Wednesday morning November 9th and find:

  • President Hillary Clinton
  • A Democrat controlled Congress
  • Senator Patty Judge
  • Representative Monica Vernon
  • Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal
  • House Speaker Mark Smith

This dystopian nightmare could become reality if we cannot come together after Cleveland. As Ben Franklin said,

We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.

I am a rules expert and a fighter. If I have the opportunity to go to Cleveland. I will fight to ensure that the rules are not changed at the eleventh hour and that the will of the people is not thwarted.

Full disclosure, I caucused for Ted Cruz, but I will respect the will of the grassroots as expressed though the delegates. I pledge to support the Republican ticket this fall from the Courthouse to the White House and I would appreciate your vote this Saturday.

The 2016 State Central Committee Elections

SCC Member David Chung (HawkeyeGOP)

The author – SCC Member David Chung (HawkeyeGOP)

To my Republican friends in the First Congressional District. I have had the honor of representing you on the Republican Party of Iowa State Central Committee now for 8  years. There have certainly been challenges during those years, but I have also had a number of tangible accomplishments on the committee that I would like to enumerate for you.

Transparency

They say you should never respond to a situation in the heat of the moment, in anger. But that’s why I got elected to the State Central Committee in the first place. Before I joined the committee, elections for chairman were done in secret. Those of us watching from the cheap seats, those who were not on the committee didn’t even know who was running for chair. The SCC voted by secret ballot and even members did not know the outcome of the vote! The last time this was done, the Vauditor, state auditor David Vaudt, counted the ballots and declared the winner without sharing the actual count with the committee. The committee, then voted to make the results unanimous! Out in the counties no one even knew who was running much less the vote totals.

So, when the SCC re-elected Ray Hofmann as chairman after a disastrous election cycle I was so mad that I couldn’t even speak to my friends on the committee. I ran for a seat and vowed to bring transparency to the process. (I still favor a secret ballot.) But in the next election, we had an open process with candidates actually campaigning and meeting with activists across the state. We had an open candidate forum in Des Moines and as soon as the vote was completed, Republicans across the state were able to  see the results on social media. I kept my promise to bring the process out of the smoky back rooms and into the light. I supported transparency before it was cool.

Neutrality

From my very first election I promised that as an SCC member I would not publicly endorse nor accept any money from any candidate or any organization trying to influence the Republican Party of Iowa. Some of you may read this and think that this is no big deal … that’s what we expect from our SCC members. I agree, but that has not always been the case. In the 2012 caucuses, the SCC included three of the top Iowa campaign officials for a single candidate as well as at least one other paid presidential campaign staffer and one or two other members who had publicly endorsed presidential candidates. Also, during my tenure a party chairman was on the salary of a PAC trying to gain influence in Iowa.

I did not run for SCC as a crusader for neutrality, rather I promised to be personally neutral and have always done so. Every cycle, Iowa’s First-in-the-Nation caucuses are under attack and the impression that the deck is stacked at the state party doesn’t help that. To remain first in the nation, Iowa must remain welcoming to all candidates.

The current SCC is the first one to pledge that all employees, officers and members would remain neutral in caucuses and primaries. I was neutral before it was cool.

The Districts

In one of my campaign speeches for SCC I said:

I don’t want to that guy from Des Moines who comes to your county and tells you what the State Party wants you to do … I want to be that guy from the First Congressional District who goes to Des Moines and tells the State Party what the counties in the First Congressional District want them to do!

For nearly two decades, long before I was on the SCC, I have been fighting to do away with the Saturday night nominating conventions for District Delegate to the National Convention. Many of you will remember that every four years the District Convention reconvenes in Des Moines the night before the state convention to elect delegates and alternates to the National Convention. I have long argued, that the proper place to do district business is in the district at the district convention.

You may ask, why did we have these Friday night conventions in the first place? Wasn’t the attendance always significantly lower than at the District Conventions? That is precisely the point. Because many people would have had to take a day off of work and get a hotel room in Des Moines, Friday night attendance was always low. This situation allowed a small highly organized (unnamed here) group to get their supporters out and year after year they have controlled who gets to go to the National Convention.

I was the first and most consistent voice on the SCC to call for an end to this charade and finally, after eight years, as chairman of the SCC Organization Committee, I have convinced enough members and there will no more Friday night nominating convention!!!! Each congressional district gets to elect three delegates and three alternates to the national convention and those elections will happen at our district convention in Cedar Falls. I supported the districts before it was cool.

[Now, before you get too excited, adding those two elections and an election for District Elector (our representative to the Electoral College) to the convention has the potential to dramatically complicate the district convention, so I am open to suggestions o how to handle this. We are currently considering supporting the districts with some type of electronic voting or reporting system for convention. –DC]

National Delegates

Historically every State Convention committee, rules, platform …, has met in Des Moines the week after the district conventions. Each committee’s report is then published in the State Convention tabloid and mailed to every delegate the week before convention. That is each committee but one … the nominating committee. The nominating committee is the one that puts together a slate of at-large delegates and alternates to the National Convention. With a few notable exceptions, this slate has been approved by the State Convention without modification.

So how does the nominating committee work? Well, they meet the night before the State Convention, after the Districts do their nominations. Their members are elected that night by the districts and they meet in secret to come up with a slate of candidates. Then the slate is posted in the convention hall and approved the next day.

But let me tell you how it really works — I know because before I was on the SCC the powers that be recruited me to chair this committee and I did so at one of our state conventions.

What really happens is that there is an insiders cabal that recruits national delegates and alternates. Because the nominating committee is elected at the Friday night conventions with much smaller turnouts, the cabal is able to organize and control who is on the nominating committee. the year I chaired it, we met, after midnight, in  a smoky back room and the cabal made their slate. The rules required that it be posted in the convention hall, and it was … on two 8 1/2 by 11 pages in the back of the hall for 2000 convention goers to read. I read the names from the podium and no one really had an opportunity to figure out who these people were or vet them.

This year the nominating committee will meet be elected at the District Conventions. They will meet in Des Moines with the other committees and publish their results in the tabloid before State Convention. Every one will have a chance to see who has been nominated before the vote.

I have been fighting this since the year I was part of the cabal. I was for an open process before it was cool.

[The election of national delegates has been the most contentious part of every quadrennial State Convention. I am pretty sure that this year will be no different. I still have not come up with the right way to do this … but I will always prefer doing things in the light of day than in the dark of night. –DC ]

Support for our Candidates

I get asked a lot about litmus tests for candidates. When I ran for SCC, I promised you that the only candidate litmus test I would have was you … the Republicans of the district that elected me. The litmus test is the primary, I vowed to support every candidate that you (we) nominate thought he primary process. I do not know how one could claim to be a leader in the party and not support the choices made by the party’s grassroots.

Before re-districting, when I was in the old Second District, I and others felt that one of our previous National Committeewomen had precipitated un unprovoked attack on our congressional candidate. I announced publicly that I would bring a motion of censure to the SCC. This was difficult because I had personally campaigned for this person at the previous state convention. This turned into a pretty big issue, the blogs and even radio talk shows were abuzz with what was going to happen. There was a raucous crowd at the SCC meeting in Des Moines. Many people wanted this to be a roll call vote and were urging me to call for one. They wanted to use it as a way to put pressure on other members to support my call for censure. I am generally a pretty persuasive guy, had I called for a roll call with the gallery watching I am sure I would have prevailed. But I did not want to pressure other members to take a public stand. I felt compelled to do so personally but I wanted others to be free to vote their conscience. In the end the censure motion passed. The important part of that motion was not even the individual involved, rather it was a statement that the leaders of the party must support, or at the very least not attack those people that the party nominates. Failing to do so is to break faith with the grassroots. I was for supporting our candidates before it was cool.

Party Leadership

Leadership matters. As I wrote in the beginning of this post, I ran for SCC because I was frustrated with the leadership choices made by the then seated committee. In 2012 I was one of only a couple of SCC members not to be swept out of office by a slate of people that took our state party by storm. They managed to stack our national convention delegates and control out state’s vote at the National Convention in Tampa and they affected a near total takeover of the state party. They elected their own officers and hired their own staff.

For two years I was part of the loyal opposition. Finally, I was the first SCC member to publicly, on WHO Radio’s Simon Conway Show, call for our party chairman to resign. Imagine my surprise when he actually did resign! He did not resign as a result of my calling for him to, it occurred some time later :)

After this group was swept out of office at the 2014 District Conventions, the lame duck SCC elected a chairman that they knew would be unacceptable to the incoming SCC. They essentially dared us to remove them.

As one of the few incumbent members, I helped organize the coup to remove the chair and co-chair. I volunteered to approach them privately and give them the opportunity to write their own exit narratives. Something like,

I was elected to maintain the party during this difficult transition and I am going to step aside and allow the new committee to elect a chairman. I am ready to spend more time with my family … it has been a pleasure to serve.

When in our first meeting the chairman proactively stated that he would not resign, it fell to me to publicly announce that we had the votes and he would be removed.

The current party leadership has far exceeded its fundraising goals, helped repair relationships with the counties and the national party and our electoral success speaks for itself. I was for a change in leadership before it was cool.

Caucus

To be honest with you, the 2012 caucus was successful … right up until the time that we reported the results on caucus night. The results really were too close to call and we should have waited until a canvass of the official forms before declaring a winner. As it was we later had to declare a different winner.

After 2012, I served on the Caucus Review Committee. In particular, I chaired the technology subcommittee. If we are going to remain first-in-the-nation the 2016 caucuses had to be successful. Given the scrutiny we were under, good enough was not going to be good enough.

Almost all of the recommendations of the committee at large and the technology subcommittee were enacted and enabled us to have a hugely successful caucus even with a 50% increase statewide in participation. I was for technology in the caucuses before it was cool.

2016

I am sharing this with you to let you know the results of eight years of your putting your trust in me to represent you in Des Moines. If I have any regrets it is that with the demands of my job, my family, my serving as a deacon and teacher in my church, I have not been able to visit the counties in the district as much as I would have liked to.

With the 2016 Convention season upon us, several people have asked whether I am planning on running for re-election. At eight years, I am the longest serving member of the SCC. I have accomplished much of what I set out to do on the committee. I have always run for SCC as a family values guy — it is time for me to exercise those family values and spend more time with my family. [See, I get to write my own exit narrative :)] Therefore, I have decided not to run for re-election to the State Central Committee.

Thank you so much for placing your faith and trust in me for these eight years, it has been my honor and pleasure to serve.

 

What if Teachers were paid like Athletes?

We’ve all seen the memes about athletes making millions of dollars while teachers struggle to get by. It may surprise my conservative friends to learn that I believe teachers are underpaid. On the other hand I believe it’s their own fault!

In my life I have had some extraordinary teachers. Jim Becker instilled in me a love of French and I have become a lifelong francophile and I have traveled to French speaking countries more than a dozen times. Ken Butzier taught me to be a confident public speaker which has served me well professionally and in politics. Ferd Riechman, instilled in me a love of history and I am constantly reading history books. Marge Vargas gave me the freedom in school to pursue photography and I travel almost everywhere with a camera to this day. Don Wiederanders recognized my love of mathematics, logic and introduced me to geometry and proof resulting in me pursuing a degree in mathematics. Lynn Schwandt saw that I was interested in computer programming and gave me access to the school’s computers whenever I wanted and I have turned this into a very satisfying career. Anyone who knows me well can see the influence these teachers had in my life.

Old joke:

Q: What’s the difference between a high school music teacher and a large pizza?

A: A large pizza can feed a family of four!

We’ve all seen the meme, “What if teachers were paid like athletes?”

The problem with teacher pay is that teachers, collectively, through their union have chosen a compensation model guaranteed to keep their pay mediocre. Teachers and the districts that employ them have settled for a system that provides for excellent job security, solid benefits including some that are unheard of in private industry like defined benefit retirement plans and no cost health coverage. Kudos to the NEA, these are all great benefits. The downside is that such a system tends to keep salaries low.

I will not argue with anyone who says that teaching is a critical profession. So why do athletes like LeBron James, Roger Federer, and Payton Manning make hundreds of times more than the average teacher? Professional athletes are the elites in their sports and they have the numbers to prove it.

Take football as an example. There are approximately 1,000,000 high school football players in the US. Of these about 6.5% or 65,000 will play in college. Of these 65,000 about 1.6% or about 1000 will play in the NFL.

At every step in their development, from peewee touch to the pros, football players are evaluated based on their performance against their peers. The best are given playing time, and moved on to the next level. The rest eventually disappear and end up not playing. It’s a brutal system, even a promising player who gets injured, does not qualify academically or even has a slump may be benched and disappear into obscurity.

It’s a capricious system, evaluations are subjective and may not fairly reflect a player’s ability. As an example I have a son who played High School football. He was a leading defenseman on both freshman and sophomore teams. His junior year he sat on the bench and got only 3 minutes playing time on a team with a horrible losing season. Senior year, he was a starting defensive end and awarded all-conference honors. If it were not for a late season injury, he would have gone on and played college ball at some level. (In the end he was a college swimmer earning DIII All-American honors) Now, I am not a football expert and as a parent I try very hard not to second guess my kids coaches, but he didn’t suddenly turn into superman his senior year. He could have played but for whatever reason he didn’t get the chance until he was a senior.

A high school football player has a 0.1% (1 in 1000) chance of making it into the NFL. Anywhere along the way he can be judged, fairly or not, as not up to par or be injured and be cut to never play again.

While I don’t think that there is a workable system whereby teachers can be paid like pro athletes, I do think that teachers could be paid more like engineers or other professionals. But to do so, they will have to give up the economic system under which they currently work. Teachers are always decrying the fact that they are not paid like other professionals, yet they are unwilling to accept some form of merit pay.

I am a software engineer and I am paid considerably more than the average teacher. But teachers, at least in my home state of Iowa, have many benefits that I do not. With tenure, it is difficult for a teacher to be fired, engineers don’t get fired either — we get laid off or downsized sometimes by the tens of thousands.

One of the arguments that teachers use against merit pay is that it is impossible to fairly evaluate what they do. They say that metrics like test scores are not fair because they do not take into account the native ability of students and may be culturally biased. Yet in my profession we have the same thing. I have often been evaluated on the outcome of projects that either succeeded or failed due to factors beyond my control. It is one of the risks in my, and most other professions. The canard that teachers cannot be fairly evaluated is just that. The truth of the matter is that if you ask students, parents, or even other teachers — they will all tell you who are the best teachers and worst teachers.

If teachers want to be paid like other professionals, like engineers, accountants, and lawyers they need to give up the economic model that they have negotiated for themselves and allow themselves to be treated like other professionals. Until they do they should not expect to be paid (or respected) like other professionals.

The Caucus and Delegates to the National Convention

Iowa casting 22 of 28 votes for Ron Paul at the 2012 GOP National Convention
Iowa casting 22 of 28 votes for Ron Paul at the 2012 GOP National Convention

Last June I posted an article about a proposed amendment to the RPI bylaws defining how Iowa would bind delegates at the 2016 Republican National Convention. Unfortunately the article is out of date and is not an accurate description of the process. Let me explain:

Ron Paul’s 2012 candidacy for president put the Republican National Committee in full panic mode. At the 2012 Republican National Convention, the RNC changed the rules midstream to prevent Ron Paul from being officially nominated and earning a prime time speaking spot alongside with the eventual nominee, Mitt Romney. To prevent a possible repeat of the situation that gave Paul, the third place finisher on caucus night, a super majority of Iowa’s delegates the RNC ruled that every state must bind their National Convention delegates based on the results of their primary or caucus. As a result, the Republican Party of Iowa amended its bylaws to be in compliance with the RNC Rule 16(a)1 (relevant portion shown here)

Any statewide presidential preference vote that permits a choice among candidates for the Republican nomination for President of the United States in a primary, caucuses, or a state convention must be used to allocate and bind the state’s delegation to the national convention in either a proportional or winner-take-all manner, …

Therefore, for the first time ever, we in Iowa are required to bind our delegates. This was not our choice, but in my role as Chairman of the party’s Organization Committee, I oversaw our committee’s effort to come up with a binding method that in compliance with Rule 16. Our original proposal was to bind the delegation on the first ballot based on the Caucus night vote and the candidates who are formally nominated at the convention. After extended back and forth discussions with the RNC legal staff we were told to make modifications to our proposal.

Now, I know that some of you reading this are thinking,

Why didn’t you stand up to the RNC Rules Committee? Why did you let them push you around like that?

The answer is simple,

We Iowans cherish our First-in-the-Nation caucuses!

The RNC passed a rule that required us to bind our delegates but also guaranteed us firs-in-the-nation for 2016. When I ran, unsuccessfully, for National Committeeman in 2012 I quickly learned something: Job #1 is retaining First-in-the-Nation! In my role on the State Central Committee, I am not going to do anything to push back against the very rule that gives us this privilege. There are already enough states working to take FITN away, the last thing I want to do is give them ammunition.

So, this is the rule that we negotiated with RNC legal and adopted into our state party bylaws:

ARTICLE VIII – BINDING OF NATIONAL CONVENTION DELEGATES
1. The Iowa delegation to the Republican National Convention shall be bound on the first ballot to vote proportionally in accordance with the outcome of the Iowa Caucuses. The proportional delegate allocation shall be rounded to the nearest whole delegate. In the event that a delegate is unallocated due to mathematical rounding, the unallocated delegate vote shall be cast in favor of the candidate closest to the rounding threshold. In the event that delegates are over-allocated due to mathematical rounding, the over-allocated delegate shall be removed from a candidate based on the rounding threshold. Delegates shall be bound to the candidates in direct proportion to the candidates’ respective vote shares in the Iowa Caucuses regardless of whether any such candidate has withdrawn from the race or otherwise does not have his or her name placed in nomination at the Republican National Convention.

2. Notwithstanding paragraph 1 of this article, if only one candidate’s name is placed in nomination at the Republican National Convention, all delegates shall be bound to vote for such candidate on the first ballot provided that the candidate received votes in the Iowa Caucuses.

3. The Chairman of the Iowa delegation, or his or her designee, shall announce the vote of the delegation in accordance with this Article.

So what does this mean? It means that individual Iowa delegates will not vote on the first ballot at the convention. The chairman of the delegation will simply do the math and announce Iowa’s vote based on this rule.

So, if only one candidate meets the threshold to be officially placed into nomination, they will receive all of Iowa’s votes.

If more than one candidate is officially placed into nomination, then Iowa’s votes will be recorded in proportion to the caucus night totals. In other words, Iowa will cast  some votes for candidates who have suspended their campaigns and are no longer running. There will be no recalculation, there is no opportunity for a candidate to release or pledge his votes for another.

The rules about what it takes for a candidate to have their name officially placed in nomination are equally byzantine and may have very serious consequences … the topic of a future blog post!

On Islam

Martin and Gracia Burnham

Martin and Gracia Burnham

I have been touched by Radical Islamic Terrorism albeit indirectly. I don’t just mean in the way that all Americans were affected by 9/11, to me it’s more personal. During the dark days of Afghanistan and Iraq, before the surge, my two oldest sons both enlisted in the military. One served in Afgahnistan with the storied 82nd Airborne (hooah!) and the other, an Arabic linguist was never stationed abroad but served in places he may never be able to speak about. More recently, I was in Paris one week after the recent terror attacks. I arrived the day of the shootout in the suburb of St. Denis where the terrorists blew themselves up after a an hours long siege with police. From Paris I travelled to Brussels in the heart of a complete lockdown. Before the trip I took out a $1 million life insurance policy, that covered acts of terrorism, to reassure my wife — unfortunately I think it made her more nervous. Finally, the picture above is of my friends Martin and Gracia Burnham. The Burnhams were missionaries (Martin was a pilot) in Papua New Guinea. They were kidnapped, along with 18 others while on vacation in the Philippines by the Muslim terrorist group Abu Sayyaf. After more than a year in captivity, Martin was killed in a rescue attempt. Gracia was wounded but survived the ordeal.

Therefore, I find it absurd that America tolerates a group of people in their midst who hold the strictures of their religion higher than the US Constitution. People who choose to follow their backwards superstitions rather than assimilate into American society. People who believe that infidels are cursed and bound for damnation. People who protest, complain and even go to court when their religious symbols are desecrated. People who describe themselves as warriors or soldiers in their God’s army. People who hold archaic views on the roles of men and women. People who use social media and send proselytizers to convert American youth to their cause. People who look forward to and work towards the day that a theocratic government will be established under their king.

Of course those of you who know me have also figured out that I am talking about Christians. For those of you who don’t know me I should probably share my bona-fides:

I am a born-again Christian, a homeschooling father of eight, a deacon in a Baptist church, a Sunday School teacher, a sometime preacher and I believe so strongly in traditional marriage that I am trying to arrange marriages for my four daughters!

Of course my description of Christians was deliberately inflammatory, but everything I said is rooted in truth. In regards to Donald Trump’s statement that he would place a moratorium on Muslims entering the country, I see many of my friends citing Sec. 313. [8 U.S.C. 1424] as legal justification for such an action. The aforementioned section prohibits naturalization of persons:

(4) who advocates or teaches or who is a member of or affiliated with any organization that advocates or teaches (A) the overthrow by force or violence or other unconstitutional means of the Government of the United States or of all forms of law; or (B) the duty, necessity, or propriety of the unlawful assaulting or killing of any officer or officers (either of specific individuals or of officers generally) of the Government of the United States or of any other organized government because of his o r their official character; or (C) the unlawful damage, injury, or destruction of property; or (D) sabotage; or
(5) who writes or publishes or causes to be written or published, or who knowingly circulates, distributes, prints, or displays, or knowingly causes to be circulated, distributed, printed, published, or displayed or who knowingly has in his possession for the purpose of circulation, publication, distribution, or display, any written or printed matter, advocating or teaching opposition to all organized government, or advocating (A) the overthrow by force, violence, or other unconstitutional means of the Government of the United States or of all forms of law; or (B) the duty, necessity, or propriety of the unlawful assaulting or killing of any officer or officers (either of specific individuals or of officers generally) of the Government of the United States or of any other organized government, because of his or their official character; or (C) the unlawful damage, injury, or destruction of property; or (D) sabotage; …

They claim (or imply) that all Muslims fall into these categories. They point out that if Muslims really followed the teachings of the Koran they would be like ISIS or Al Qaeda. The fallacy is similar to suggesting that all Christians are “pro-life” or “pro-gay marriage”. The truth is that many people self-identify as Christians whose beliefs differ greatly on these and many other issues, in that regard Muslims are no different.

If painting with such a broad brush could result in legal consequences for all Muslims based on the action of a few means that in different times, the same broad brush could result in legal consequences for all Christians as well. Some of my friends have been gleefully sharing this article on social media as an exemplar for the United States. The headline reads,

While we fight over Trump, France closes 3 mosques, finds hundreds of weapons

I am a Francophile. I love French food, French art, French literature, and French history — notice French food came first :) I speak prefect second year French and I have made dozens of trips to France, Belgium, and French Canada.

Even so, I do not want the US to be France. France was able to close 3 mosques and find hundreds of weapons (not all in mosques) because they are almost in a state of martial law. I speak French well enough that when I was over there a few weeks ago, I heard commentators speak about the extraordinary emergency powers the French government had taken after the Paris attacks. For the first time since WWII, municipal leaders could unilaterally order curfews. The national government placed limitations on speech and movement. The police could now perform warrantless searches, hold people without charges, and with France’s strict gun-control laws — mere possession of a firearm is a serious criminal offense.

In WWII, similar thinking led to the internment of the Nisei. Nisei comes from the Japanese word for two, ni. The Nisei were second generation US citizens born on US soil and Roosevelt (Franklin) used Executive Order #9066 to summarily deny them of their constitutional rights.

In this climate, some are using terrorism to call for limiting the civil liberties of Muslim US citizens. Is it so far-fetched to believe that there could be a climate where gun violence leads to calls to limit the rights of gun owners? Where anti-abortion violence leads to calls to limit the rights of pro-lifers?

Oh, wait we are already there!

I was awarded a scholarship and went to the Air Force Academy – Just like Ben Carson!

Air Force Academy Chapel

Air Force Academy Chapel

It’s a good thing that I am not running for president. If I were, the Politico  would have researched my past and reported that I fabricated this story. While I am the proud father of two veterans, those who know me know that I never served in the Air Force or any other branch of the military. Unlike Ben Carson, I was never even in High School ROTC. So before readers start accusing me of lying or Stolen Valor, let me explain my story. In truth, my experience and the way I convey it to people some decades later causes me to believe that this particular attack on Ben Carson is unfounded and without merit.

The year was 1977, I was a high school junior thinking about the Air Force Academy. Physically, I was in decent shape, I raced bicycles and cross country skied. Of course these sports did nothing to help my my position on the totem pole in the pecking order in high school! (Oops, I was almost racist there!!!) I had good but not great grades. Teachers always complained (and rightfully so) that I was not performing up to my potential. On the other hand, I had excellent ACT and SAT scores. As for leadership skills, I was beginning to come out of my shell and take on positions of leadership in a number of organizations. Looking back I was probably not the best candidate for an Academy appointment but not totally outside the zone either.

Like Ben Carson, I never formally applied to the Academy. I may have contacted my congressman, but my memory on that is a bit hazy after these decades. Somehow I did get in touch with the local Air Force Academy liaison, a retired Colonel and Academy graduate. He took time to answer my questions about the Academy and Air Force life. I was interested and he encouraged me. He told me about an opportunity for high school students in their junior year interested in going to the academy. The academy had then, and still has, a camp for high schoolers called Summer Scientific Seminar (s-cubed). In those days, it was a science camp, not just for prospective cadets but for high achieving high schoolers in STEM (the phrase was invented much later) fields. My grades may not have been the best, but there was no question that I was my one of my schools resident math and computer geeks. The camp may have been two weeks long and it took place on the Air Force Academy ground in the summer. In addition to academics, it was also an introduction to Air Force and Academy life.

I signed up, and as a minority I was awarded a full scholarship to attend. The camp was one of the highlights of my high school career. I had been to other gatherings of high school students at state, regional and national events, like the National Junior Achievement Convention, but this was by far the most intelligent group of high school students I had ever been with. Every one a leader, every one an academic high achiever, ever one an athlete. I felt privileged to be counted in their number.

During the seminar, we signed up for courses in various academic disciplines. They were all hands-on and for a geek like me they were a blast. I got to play with a jet engine on a test stand, participate in a multi-day political simulation game, work with a wind tunnel, and visit NORAD under nearby Cheyenne Mountain. We got to sleep in the Academy dorms and and eat in the cafeteria. It was an awesome experience!

In the end, like Ben Carson, I decided not to pursue an Academy appointment. While I was interested in serving in the Air Force, I really wanted to be an electrical engineer and do R&D on computers. A traditional college seemed the best route for what I wanted to do.

So, I was in fact awarded a scholarship to the Air Force Academy (Summer Scientific Seminar), I was never appointed, nor did I formally apply for appointment to the Air Force Academy. Good thing I am not running for president or the Politico would have a field day!

The SCC Passed a Resolution Today Calling for the De-funding of Planned Parenthood

__interestingI really hate Internet memes most of them are just plain silly and frankly annoying. But in this case I couldn’t help myself :)

Today I proposed a resolution calling on Governor Branstad and the Republican caucuses in the Iowa House and Senate to end state (and state-controlled) funding of Planned Parenthood.

So, why this issue and why now? In eight years on the SCC, I have never authored an issue resolution.

The Republican Party is the pro-life party. Every year it is the first issue in our platform. Our elected GOP leaders have fought for years for pro-life issues in the Iowa. This issue resonates with Republican voters. Thanks to the recent videos showing that Planned Parenthood may be violating federal law in the sale of aborted baby parts, people are talking about this issue. It is never the wrong time to do the right thing — but given the circumstances — now is the perfect time. This issue resonates across and beyond the pro-life spectrum. In this resolution we call on our legislators and Governor Branstad to act and we want to let them know that we have their backs.

Before the meeting, a couple of other SCC members and I worked on some wording changes. At the meeting today, we still had a vigorous debate over wording. But everyone on this SCC is pro-life and believes that no state money should go to Planned Parenthood for any purpose.

Here is the wording of the resolution:

Whereas, the Platform of the Republican Party of Iowa has consistently recognized the sanctity of human life and the personhood of the unborn, and

Whereas, recent information has indicated that Planned Parenthood may be illegally profiting from the sale of baby parts,

We, the Republican Party of Iowa, acknowledge and applaud the past and ongoing efforts of Governor Branstad and the Republican caucuses in the Iowa House and Iowa Senate to advance the cause of life, stand with them in their efforts, and now encourage them to remove all state and state-controlled funding from Planned Parenthood as soon as possible using all means and methods at their disposal, including all funding for non-abortion related services.

Between you and me, the real reason I want to de-fund Planned Parenthood is because Planned Parenthood kills babies.

I am the most interesting SCC member in the world!