I’ve been screwed by Obamacare and I am mad at both Democrats and Republicans!

The so-called Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare)  started with a noble idea –provide health insurance for those unable to afford it and make it more affordable for everybody. We were also told that Americans could keep their doctors.

Unfortunately, it was a lie! While Obamacare has provided subsidies to make insurance available to the poor, the cost of individual policies for the rest of us — the ones who are paying the subsidies — have skyrocketed. And,

No Virginia, you do not get to keep your doctor!

Let me share my situation as an example of why Obamacare is a disaster. For the last couple of years, like most Americans, I have purchased health insurance for my family through my employer. In September, the contract I was working on was completed and after 30 days on the bench, I was laid off. I immediately reached out to my industry contacts and started accepting IT training gigs as an independent contractor. I was getting my health insurance from my previous employer through a COBRA plan.  I applied for full-time jobs but I was getting lots of training work so I decided to be self-employed. I have been self-employed before so I knew how to do it and knew I could make a living at it.

In January, I had to shop for health insurance plans. So I went to the Obamacare exchange for Iowa. I was looking for a plan to cover myself, my wife, my college age son and two daughters in High school. Ultimately, I had to select two different plans because of different doctors we saw and medications needed by various family members.

As an independent trainer and consultant I am able to keep busy and make a good living with a comfortable 6-figure salary. Some of you reading this may be asking, “Then what do you have to complain about?”

The problem is not my income it is how much I have to pay for health insurance.

In 2017, I will pay around $25,000 in health insurance premiums and approximately $15,000 in deductibles!

When you take $40,000 off the top, that salary is not nearly as impressive. So, being self-employed I have to make $40,000 up front for medical before I can even worry about other little things like, mortgage, food, clothing, school expenses, car insurance, etc. In addition, being self-employed, I also have to pay about an extra 7% of my income in ‘self-employment’ taxes. Even though the Obamacare plans are high-deductible they do not qualify for Health Saving Accounts, so I can’t even pay the deductibles with pre-tax dollars.

Because of some chronic illnesses, between medications and doctor visits, we meet our deductibles early every year. Another problem with Obamacare is that there is no incentive for me, or anyone, to be concerned about cost. In fact income ways it is better to pay a lot and meet our deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums early since insurance covers the rest.

So, I am mad at Democrats for creating Obamacare. I am even more mad at Republicans for passing numerous repeal bills when they knew they would be vetoed, then when we have a Republican president failing to get rid of Obamacare.

Then, the two largest insurers in the Iowa Exchange, Wellmark Blue Cross & Blue Shield and Aetna announced that they will not be offering individual plans in 2018. That leaves only one small insurer who has not yet committed to offering 2018 individual plans in Iowa. I am not sure what will happen next year but if I can even buy health insurance it will likely be much more expensive.

At the end of the day, because of Obamacare, my working as an independent trainer/consultant is just not sustainable. I guess I will just have to look for a grown up job 🙁


I am a Homeschooling Father of Eight and I Oppose ‘School Choice!’

Let me start with my bonafides. I am a Christian, a deacon in a Baptist Church, a Bible teacher and sometime preacher. I do not like the label evangelical but it probably fits. I started homeschooling before it was cool. 29 years ago, in St Louis, my oldest son was getting ready to start school. Not sure what we were going to do, we visited the local public school and a nearby Christian School. We registered our son at both and waited until the last minute to make a decision. In the end we decided to homeschool. At the time homeschooling was pretty unusual. I don’t even remember if we knew any homeschoolers. I am sure that our families were wondering what we were doing to their grandson! Since then we have had seven more children and all of them have been homeschooled for some portion of their education.

I am not a conscientious objector — I am not opposed to public school!

Every year we have looked at each child and each school and have made decisions about what we felt was best at the time. Sometimes it meant homeschooling, sometimes it meant private school, and sometimes it meant public school.

With the nomination of Betsy DeVos for Education Secretary and Republicans taking control of the Iowa Statehouse there has been a lot of talk about making vouchers or tax credits a reality.

So, why am I … a Christian, conservative, Republican, homeschooler … against school choice. In reality I am not! I believe strongly in school choice. Unfortunately in today’s political lexicon, school choice has come to mean tax credits, vouchers, or both.

Let’s look at some of the arguments for so-called school choice

1. Homeschool (and private school) is too expensive

Having homeschooled eight kids I know that homeschool (or private schools) is expensive. In addition to the actual costs, there is the opportunity cost of having my wife not be employed outside of the home for all these years. Some of you might be saying,

Dave, you are an engineer with a family income in the top 10% nationally, of course you do not need financial help homeschooling.

My response would be that I know what the struggle is like. When you consider my income vs family size (per-capita) the numbers look much different 🙂  When we started homeschooling I was an assistant manager in a restaurant and I moonlighted delivering newspapers in the early morning to make ends meet.

So I agree, homeschooling is expensive and not everyone can afford to do it.

2. I already pay for public school

Yes you do. So does my neighbor who has no kids. If you get a break shouldn’t he? As long as we have taxpayer supported public schools, we should support them. Whether we should have government schools is another discussion.

3. Competition will make the public schools better

Many advocates for school choice believe that this is their most compelling argument. It certainly follows the maxim that competition improves quality.

On the other hand there is a downside. Vouchers are the government (state or federal) taking your money laundering it and returning a portion to you … for which they expect you to be thankful! Tax credits are the government giving you permission to spend your own money …. for which they expect you to be thankful!

Worse, it is naive to think that if the government education and tax bureaucracies get together to do anything that it will be successful. Wherever government money goes, government strings follow.

I know, there’s no such thing as government money. The government gives nothing that it has not first taken away

One of the things that makes private schools or home school great is that there is little or no government interference. (Someone please tell State Senator Matt McCoy!!!) As a Christian, I know that by accepting 501(c)3 status churches have voluntarily accepted government control over their ability to shape debate in the public arena.

At our GOP Conventions I am the guy who always speaks against the credit/voucher/choice plank. My speech always end with:

Keep the government out of my private school, keep the government out of my parochial school, and keep the government out of my homeschool!

Coming to grips with voting for Trump

I am going to be on the road at a client site out of state on election day. Therefore next week I am going to cast an absentee ballot for Donald J Trump for president of the United States.
Since Trump became the nominee, I have wanted on many occasions to say to the candidate and his supporters,
Could you please throw me a bone here? I am a Christian conservative and I am really trying to support you and encourage my friends to do the same, but you guys are not making it any easier
With the recent release of the ‘Access Hollywood’ video let me say to the Trump camp,
Don’t bother.  I can not in good conscience use my influence to encourage my brothers and sisters in Christ to vote for Donald Trump.

Now, I have seen a number of Trump apologists say that this was a conversation between ‘the guys’ that happened to be captured on a live mic. Well, it was a mic that Trump was wearing and given that there was a cameraman walking along with him, it is disingenuous to suggest that he didn’t know he was being recorded.

I am still casting a vote for Donald Trump for President. Why? Because regardless of what I think of them personally the next president of the United States will be either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. I am choosing to vote for the lesser of two evils — Donald Trump. But I have run out of arguments to use with my friends who plan to stay home, vote 3rd party or even vote for Hillary. Well I guess I can still argue with those who want to vote for Hillary 🙂

Some will be quick to say, “The lesser of two evils is still evil” or “Would Jesus have voted for the lesser of two evils?” My response would be that Jesus wasn’t really into republican or democratic (small ‘r’, small ‘d’) government. He seemed to favor hereditary monarchies 🙂

I do have a perfect biblical  response to this election based on Revelation 22:20,

Come quickly Lord Jesus!!!

Coming to Grips with Ted Cruz at the National Convention

I was not planning on being a delegate to the 2016 Republican National Convention. But when Ted Cruz won Wisconsin, and it looked like Donald Trump would go into the convention with less than the 1237 delegates necessary to win the nomination, I decided to run for a delegate slot. I ran hoping that there would be no decisive winner and that I could be part of a movement to elect Ted Cruz as our nominee and then president of the United States. I was not and am not a part of the #NeverTrump movement. Donald Trump is the nominee. While I would describe myself as libertarian-leaning I find the Johnson/Weld ticket to odious to consider and I am most definitely #NeverHillary.

I was on the floor of the convention when Ted Cruz gave his speech. It was a great speech, perhaps the speech of the convention. He spoke of those ideals that not just Republicans, but all Americans should share. I was up on my feet cheering so often that I finally decided to remain standing. But as he wound it down it became clear that he was not going to do the thing he had pledged to do — he was not going to endorse Donald Trump.

I Ted Cruz affirm that if I do not win the 2016 Republican nomination for president of the United States I will endorse the 2016 Republican presidential nominee regardless of who it is. I further pledge that I will not seek to run as an independent or write-in candidate nor will I seek or accept the nomination for president of any other party.

I think there could have been two good outcomes to this.

1) Ted Cruz could have challenged Donald Trump to a duel. Perhaps pistols at dawn by the lake at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Duels have certainly been fought over less. As Iowans we evidently support duels since in 2015, we repealed Article I, Section 5 of the Iowa Constitution, the stricture preventing people who participate in duels (even as seconds) from holding office in Iowa!

2) Ted Cruz could have called a press conference about his endorsement before the convention and given the speech (OK the important part is the Q&A at the end) he gave to the Texas delegation on Wednesday morning. In other words he could have explained why he could not endorse. He could have been out front and owned it regardless of the consequences.

I like Ted Cruz, I wanted to go to Cleveland to help him become the next president of the United States, I just wish he had done in this case, what he has done so many times before — taken the issue (the pledge) gotten out front, owned it, and let the chips fall where they may!

The course of action that Ted Cruz took, by not endorsing at the convention, and then having to explain it to his home state delegation afterwards almost seemed like damage control.

The Walkout That Wasn’t!

The Whips at work on Marlys Popma

One of the  nice things about being retired from the Republican State Central Committee is that I do not have to parse my words. Since I am no longer in leadership, I don’t have to worry about people thinking that I speak for the Republican Party of Iowa. I never did and I do not now.

Imagine my surprise when at the convention, several reporters came up to me and ask me about the walkout by the Iowa delegation. I opened up Facebook and saw several posts either congratulating or excoriating the Iowa delegation for this action. The problem is:

There was no walkout – I was there on the floor

Do not believe what the media is telling you. There was no walkout. Let me tell you the real story.

First a disclaimer. I voted for Ted Cruz in the Iowa Caucuses.was elected by the Republicans of the First Congressional District to be a delegate here in Cleveland.  I made no secret of the fact that if Donald Trunp did not get 1237 delegates, I was going to try and help Ted Cruz win the nomination. But I also resolved that I did not want the RNC changing the rules to bring in a white knight candidate someone like a Romney or Ryan to be the nominee. I have been consistent I  am #NeverHillary, not #NeverTrump. I believe that the Iowa delegation is bound to vote according to the bylaws of the Republican Party of Iowa and I helped craft those bylaws.

So, what happened today? I was part of a movement to call for a Roll Call vote on the Rules. Let me be clear, I do not want to unbind the delegates. But I have concerns about the rules. A lot of it is minutiae but some issues like encouraging states to hold closed primaries, continuing the tradition of making rules committee members available to their constituents, not consolidating power in the RNC or chairman. But all of these are important.

In order to make this happen supporters got signatures from a majority of delegates in 11 states including Iowa. The picture above is the Trump and RNC team whips working to get delegates to withdraw their signatures. In the vote on the rules, the chairman took a quick vote and ignored calls for a roll call and then left the stage for some time. Then the chairman came back and said that 3 states had rescinded their signatures and there were not enough states supporting the motion for it to be considered. Then the chairman did something totally inappropriate … he toke a voice vote on the motion that he had just told the convention was out of order. Then he declared that they ‘ayes’ had prevailed. Thats when thing really got crazy.

I have chaired portions of numerous state, district and county conventions and I can tell you that as a chair it is very difficult to tell the out come of a close voice vote. The problem was THE VOTE SHOULD NEVER HAVE OCCURRED IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!

Empty seats in the Iowa Delegation

As for the walk out, Wes Enos and I did indeed walk out shortly after the vote. The reason is, we’d been in the hall since the beginning and the rules vote was the only significant business of the morning session. We both went to seek out alternate delegates and trade credentials to give them a chance to get on the floor.

Now there may be pictures (like this one) of empty seats in the Iowa Delegation. Obviously there were several empty seats. But they do not tell the whole story. I actually think there were three reasons for those empty seats:

  1. Several of the most well known leaders in the party were (perhaps rightly) concerned about being on TV or in still pictures in the middle of an apparent revolt.
  2. Some of the high-ranking folks who supported the roll call were elsewhere in the hall negotiating with the Trump team.
  3. Chairman Kaufmann said in the Des Moines Register that ranking delegation members were meeting with the RNC to preserve First in the Nation.

There were empty seats but there was no walk out.

[[Note: I have been told that two delegates did walk out. I do not know who they are and they did not make a fuss about it because I was on the floor and had no idea that it happened.]]

The Iowa Civil Rights Commission and the First Amendment

I saw in my Facebook feed this week that one of my Facebook friends Pastor Michael Demastus and his church, the Fort Des Moines Church of Christ have filed a lawsuit against the commissioners of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission among others. The suit is over a church’s right to

… to stop the government from censoring the church’s teaching on biblical sexuality and from forcing the church to open its restrooms and showers to members of the opposite sex.

I should probably toss in a disclaimer here, in 2010 I applied to serve on the Iowa Civil Rights Commission. When it was made clear to me that the Democratic leadership in the Iowa Senate would fight my confirmation, I withdrew my application.  One of my friends, knowing that I am very involved in Iowa politics sent me an email about the lawsuit asking for my opinion. My friend sent me link to a Fox News article and the following quote:

Does this law apply to churches? Sometimes.  Iowa law provides that these protections do not apply to religious institutions with respect to any religion-based qualifications when such qualifications are related to bona fide religious purpose. Where qualifications are not related to a bona fide religious purpose, churches are still subject to the law’s provisions. (e.g. a child care facility operated at a church or a church service open to the public.

I have to admit that I did not read the article before responding. I had already been reading about the suit so I looked at the quote he sent. I quickly replied:

I am not sure where the examples in the e.g. came from. I have trouble believing that the Iowa Civil Rights Commission used the language ‘church service open to the public’  as an example of something other than a bona fide religious purpose.

I was certain that he was quoting someone’s opinion. The idea that a church service open to the public could be considered anything other than a bona fide religious purpose seemed absurd. It must be hyperbole on the part of Pastor Demastus or his allies. Imagine my surprise when I found  the Iowa Civil Rights Commission’s pamphlet online, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, A Public Accommodations Provider’s Guide to Iowa Law.

The text my friend had sent was a direct quote from the pamphlet! While churches in Iowa are exempt from this law with respect to any religion-based qualifications when such qualifications are related to a bona fide religious purpose the problem is that the Iowa Civil Rights Commission is the one that gets to decide what qualifies as a bona fide religious purpose. The pamphlet suggests that a church service open to the public is somehow not a bona fide religious purpose!

Public church services are core to the mission of churches of nearly every denomination. Considering this along with the definition of harassment from the pamphlet, it is very likely that my pastor in our public services and I as a Bible teacher in our adult Sunday School have both been in violation of Iowa law.

We have long been asked, “what do you have to fear from granting special rights to homosexuals?”


The State Party and the List

The Republican Party of Iowa

The Republican Party of Iowa

In my last post I called out the State Party and the SCC for choosing not to make the lists of caucus attendees available to county central committees in electronic form. I pointed out that in the official caucus handbooks, sent to all 99 counties, RPI had assured county chairs that,

The state party will return to the county a list of persons who attended each caucus in the county.

Instead the SCC voted to give paper lists of first-time caucus-goers to the counties. One SCC member told me that this was a “…a good faith attempt to address the needs and concerns of all involved …” I felt that this action was a ‘breach of promise” — violating both the letter and the spirit of what RPI told the counties it would do.

Earlier today, the SCC met in a conference call and reversed itself, deciding to make the list available to counties with some provisions to maintain the value of the list for RPI. Here is the text of the resolution passed unanimously today:

The Republican Party Iowa will make available to each county chair who makes written request the list of caucus attendees for his or her county at the 2016 caucus, in electronic form if available, and only upon execution of an agreement by those authorized to bind the county central committee that the list will be used exclusively by the county for its own purposes and not transferred to any campaign or other individual or organization for a fee or otherwise, such executed agreement to be received no later than October 1, 2016.

I appreciate the SCC’s willingness to listen to the counties and reverse themselves on this decision.

We’re from RPI and we’re here to help you!

RPI Caucus Attendee List for Linn County

I retired this year after serving four terms representing the old 2nd and new 1st Districts on the Republican Party of Iowa’s State Central Committee. It has been my privilege to serve these last eight years.  When I decided not to run for a fifth term several rumors got started. Some said I was resigning to mount another campaign for National Committeeman. Others suggested that I wanted to be RPI Chairman or Co-Chairman. Still others said that I was planning a coup and I wanted to be Linn County GOP Chairman. Well, none of those are true.

The truth is much more prosaic. Between the responsibilities of my new job, a leadership position in my church, some health issues in my family, and two kids still in high school — I realized that I did not have enough time to fulfill my responsibilities to the district. My friend Chelle Adkins sets a high bar for SCC members in the First District, she is at county meetings or events practically every day. She listens to people in the counties and is a tireless advocate for the district. After eight years it was time to give someone else a chance.

From my first campaign, I have promised,

I don’t want to be 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!

Those of you in the First District can judge whether I have kept this promise.

One advantage of being retired is that I no longer feel that I need to parse my words carefully on this blog. At this week’s SCC meeting an issue came up that, had I been there, I would have fought against vigorously! It has to do with the relationship between the counties and the state party (RPI). It has to do with the faith and trust that counties place in the RPI. It has to do with RPI keeping its promises. It has to do with RPI supporting the counties.

Now, before I get into detail I should probably note that I am from Linn County. I have been a member of the Linn County Republican Central Committee for over twenty years. And for those of you in the rest of the state, I know that my county has a reputation. We have our own internal strife and often that strife has affected our relationship with RPI.

The issue in question is the caucus lists. That is the information (name and contact information)of those who attended the caucuses. The following is from page 11 of the 2016 County Chair Caucus Manual from RPI.

Work with your RPI Regional Field Director to establish a plan for returning ALL caucus forms and materials to RPI IN PERSON within 24 hours of the precinct caucuses. NO TEMPORARY CAUCUS CHAIRS, SECRETARIES, OR POLL REPORTERS SHOULD POSSES CAUCUS FORMS OR MATERIALS AFTER THE CAUCUSES CONCLUDE ON FEBRUARY 1st.

NOTE: The state party will return to the county a list of persons who attended each caucus in the county.

Like all of our counties, Linn County worked to get the forms turned in to RPI as soon as possible after the caucuses. Some people wanted to copy the caucus ‘sign-in ‘ sheets but they were told that ‘RPI would give us the information after the caucus.’

Imagine my surprise last week when at the county central committee meeting people were complaining that we had not yet gotten the list from RPI. I said,

Don’t worry, RPI will give us the list. Ask your new SCC reps to help expedite the process!

Then I was told that RPI had reneged on their promise and was not going to give us the list! I heard that at this weekend’s meeting this issue came up and after quite a bit of discussion, the SCC agreed to give [the lists to the counties in paper form! edited DC] the counties a list of first time caucus-goers in paper form.

This may work for some smaller counties, but in Linn County we had a caucus night turnout of over 11,000! In paper form, this would be a good sized phone book. This much data, in paper format will be all but useless!!!

Now you may ask, why does Linn County need the caucus attendee list? I can give an example, for this caucus, it was my responsibility to coordinate volunteer recruitment for 11 precincts. After getting volunteers from the County Central Committee, the next best resource was the lists of past caucus attendees. I pored over the lists for my eleven precincts. I called everyone on the lists that I knew personally. I even had my kids look for parents of their classmates, teammates, friends, etc. Finally, I looked for those who had attended multiple caucuses and cold called them. Eventually I found my volunteers. I could not have done it without the caucus lists.

This is just one example of how counties can and do use the lists. This would not have been possible for the 86 precincts of Linn County if we’d had only paper lists. Yes, I understand that these lists are valuable (financially) to RPI. But they are also valuable to the counties as a tool to help get Republican elected up and down the ticket.

This action on the part of RPI is very shortsighted. One thing I have learned about this party is that RPI staffers, SCC members, and chairmen come and go. Depending on how you count it, I was the second or third longest serving SCC member, after National Committeeman Steve Scheffler (who’s first term was during the Taft administration) and Loras Schulte (Loras has served more terms but not consecutively). The counties are the backbone of this party, they are the grassroots, they are where the phone calling, door knocking, sign posting and GOTV efforts happen. And they have long memories.

I can guarantee that the next time we have a contested caucus (in eight years I hope) there will be voices in Linn County who will call for us to not return the lists to RPI until we have copied them or converted them to electronic form. Now, as a technologist, I hope the lists are all electronic by then but if not there will be issues! Since we are Linn County there will even be some voices calling for the county to not give the information to RPI at all 🙁

In previous public comments I have said that I leave the state party in good hands. The party is in excellent financial shape, the party is working closely with the RNC, there are many great things going on at RPI. But if the party is not responsive to the needs of the counties, if the party will not even keep its promises to the counties– perhaps I was hasty in choosing to leave at this time 🙁

RPI needs to keep its promise to the counties. RPI needs to support the counties. RPI needs to stop treating the counties as vassals and start treating them as partners.

RPI needs to make the lists available to counties that want it in electronic form!

I played on the girl’s soccer team in High School in 1976!

Nattaphon “Ice” Wangyot, born male competing as a female at the Alaska State High School track Championsips

I read this week about Nattaphon Wangyot, transgendered high school student born as a boy running as a girl at the Alaska State High School Track Championships. Apparently Wangyot also played on the girls volleyball and basketball. Seems the Interwebs are up in arms over this. I am not sure why. I played on my schools girls soccer team at Northern University High School in Cedar Falls back in 1976!

I should probably clarify, I am a cis-gendered male. Meaning that:

My gender self-identity conforms with the gender that corresponds to my biological sex.

It’s even difficult to write that, perhaps I really am that old guy who doesn’t understand the modern world!

In 1976, in Iowa soccer was a novelty, there were few teams and even fewer leagues neither the Iowa High School Athletic Association nor the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union recognized soccer as a varsity sport. At the time, I was playing on a local boy’s soccer team that was made up primarily of junior high students … middle school had not been invented yet!

Since we were in a university town, many of the guys on the team were the children of foreign born professors. My French friend Jean-Marc played and we had guys from Italy, Columbia, Cuba and a couple of other countries. I think our roster consisted of about 10 junior high students with 3 or 4 in elementary school and another 3-4 of us in high school. In those days it was very hard to find other teams to play. We played college teams (our coaches would play with us then), adult city teams, elementary school teams .. pretty much anybody who could put 11 bodies on the field.

Our team was pretty good. Many of my teammates had grown up playing soccer and were very good athletes. I was only an average athlete but I had played a lot of soccer. I played mid-field, defender and goal keeper.

I also practiced with the guys team from the local Christian high school. They barely had enough guys to make a team so I helped scrimmage with them.

My sophomore year, there was a notice at my high school about a soccer team. A couple of the guys from my team approached the coach and asked if boys could play. The team was really just a club and played a few other local schools. The coach was what would have been called in those days a “woman’s libber.” She said that there was nothing in the rules preventing it so we were welcome to play. I think there were three or four of us, my French friend, who was an amazing player, two other American guys who were very accomplished athletes and me. The girls welcomed us and we enjoyed practicing together.

The most important thing I learned about girls soccer is that girls are vicious! I remember an early scrimmage, I was the goal keeper for my side and I had just blocked a shot. I was lying on the ground cradling the ball under my body by my head. Meanwhile a friend of mine, a really good-natured girl, was kicking me repeatedly in the head, trying to get the ball!

The guys on the team all had played much more soccer than the girls so in practice, our roles became more like player-coaches than anything.

Finally it was time for our first game. Even though we were from a Cedar Falls (a big town for Iowa) we were a small class I-A school. Our first game was against Dunkerton High School. Their team only had girls on it. I played mid-field, one of my friends played wing and my French friend played center. In the first 10 minutes of the game Jean Marc had scored 5 goals and I and the other guy on the team had assisted directly in 4 of them.

At this point our coach wisely decided that this should probably be a girls only league. We stayed with the team as assistant coaches for the remainder of the season but never played in another game. Physically, Jean Marc was quite small, smaller than many of the girls on the team, but I am sure that he was dribbling a soccer ball as soon as he could walk. The three of us American guys on the team were a different story, while many of the girls were faster than me, soccer is a very physical game. At 5’10” 185lb I am sure that I was intimidating. As I remember it, none of the girls on the other team wanted to go up and fight with me over a header. The other two guys were both track athletes and not just fast but physically intimidating. It didn’t take long to figure out that none of us should have been out there with those girls.

Wangyot may indeed ‘self identify’ as female but the Alaska High School Athletic Association should identify him for purposes of athletic competition as male.


#NeverHillary and taking my seat on the Trump Train

Presumptive GOP Nominee Donal Trump

Presumptive GOP Nominee Donal Trump

I have been involved in the Republican Republican Party of Iowa for almost 25 years. My first taste of activism was the platform and to tell you truth, the platform is still where my heart is. As a newcomer to the party who had just returned to Iowa, I found myself drawn to the platform. That first year, I served on the county, district and state platform committees. Over the next fifteen years I went on to chair numerous county, district and state platform committees, and in 2008 I got to serve as a delegate to the national platform committee. I wanted to have a say in shaping what we as a party believed in.

About eight years ago, I made a change. I decided to get involved in the party’s rule making process. I’ve always been a ‘rules guy’ and in addition to chairing county, district and state platform committees, I ran for State Central Committee where I served four terms. On the SCC, I served all four terms on the Organization Committee, focusing on the caucus to convention process and the rules.

When I first ran for the SCC, and in every election since, I have promised that the only ‘litmus test’ I would have would be the primaries and caucus. I felt that our party in Iowa was firmly grounded in conservative values and whomever the Republicans of Iowa chose, I could feel comfortable supporting.

I should probably give a disclaimer here:

I caucused for Ted Cruz. He was one of a couple of candidates that I was strongly considering leading up to the Iowa Caucuses. I was not considering Donald Trump.

A couple of people asked me whether I chose not to run for re-election to the SCC so that I would not have to support Donald Trump. Let me put that one to rest right now, I chose not to run because of the demands of my family and my job. I felt that after eight years it was time to give someone else a chance to serve.

Am I disappointed that Trump is the nominee? Yes. I was elected as a district delegate to the National Convention in Cleveland. I made the decision after Cruz won Wisconsin, when it looked like there was still a chance that Trump would not win 1237 and we would have a contested convention. My goal was twofold, to see that the convention did not select a white knight candidate other than the two leaders, and to help Ted Cruz become the nominee on the second or third ballot.

Apparently, my evil scheme will not come to fruition 🙂 But, having been a part of this GOP and working for change and reform within its framework — I am not going to take my ball and go home. I am not going to change my registration to the Libertarian Party or the Constitution Party.

This fall, I am going to keep my promise, I am going to do what I have done in every election. I am going to go to the polls and cast a ballot for a guy who is not perfect — despite what some of his supporters say. I still have questions about Trump, maybe even reservations. But there is no question in my mind that he would be a better president than Hillary. I am going to take my seat on the Trump Train and cast my vote for Donald Trump. #NeverHillary