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Iowa Politics Roundup: Census Numbers Confirm That Iowa Will Lose Congressional Seat PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics
Written by Lynn Campbell   
Friday, 24 December 2010 05:21

It’s confirmed: New U.S. Census Bureau numbers show that Iowa will go from having five congressional seats to four.

Iowa is one of 10 states that will see a loss of congressional seats. Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania will also lose one seat apiece. Two states – New York and Ohio – will each lose two seats.

The big winner was Texas, which will gain four seats. Florida will gain two seats, while Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Utah, Washington, and South Carolina will all gain one.

The changes will take effect for the 2012 election, and the reapportioned Congress will convene in January 2013. Beginning in February and wrapping up by March 31, the Census Bureau will release demographic data to the states on a rolling basis so state governments can start the redistricting process.

According to the Census, Iowa’s population broke 3 million in the past decade. The state had 3,046,355 residents as of April 1, up 120,031 or 4.1 percent from the April 1, 2000, population. The state ranked 36th in its numeric growth of population and 40th based on its percentage change.

Meanwhile, the U.S. population grew 9.7 percent in the past decade, to 308,745,538.

Branstad’s Inauguration Expected to Double Attendance

Governor-elect Terry Branstad’s January 14 inauguration and ball will continue with the tradition of his previous ones, but they are expected to be much more highly attended, his inaugural director said.

The event is expected to draw thousands of Iowans and many big-name Republicans – including potential 2012 presidential candidates, although none has officially confirmed plans to attend. Between 2,000 and 3,000 individuals are expected to attend the inaugural ball; more than 1,000 attended in the past. Invitations to the inaugural ball will be sent out Monday, December 27.

“It will be the same [as previous inaugurations], but I think it’ll be more largely attended because of the recent election and all of the excitement,” said Margaret Hough, Branstad’s inaugural director who also served as his inaugural director in 1991 and 1995. “Again, this is a governor who has been out of office and going back in. There are the new supporters and those who have been involved a long time.”

Tickets to the inaugural ball are $75, but the total cost of the event has not been finalized because items are still being purchased and money is still being raised, Hough said. The inaugural committee pays for the event. Hough said other details for the inauguration and ball also are being finalized, such as the performers for the ball.

The event will be a two-day celebration that will start with a non-ecumenical “service of dedication” on January 13 at St. Ambrose Cathedral in Des Moines.

The inauguration will be January 14 at Hy-Vee Hall in downtown Des Moines. The day’s events include:

• The commissioning ceremony at 8 a.m. The Iowa National Guard and Iowa colonels will preside over the meeting in which about 30 longtime friends, neighbors, and others will receive a special pin for their service and a certificate that deems them honorary colonels. Those individuals “have gone above and beyond the call of duty,” Hough said. “This has been a big year, and he’s had a terrible schedule, and these people have always been willing to help.”

• A joint session of the Iowa Senate and House of Representatives immediately following the ceremony. Then, Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady will give the oath of office to Branstad and Lieutenant Governor-elect Kim Reynolds, a Republican from Osceola. The Heartland Youth Choir will sing. Linda Juckette, a longtime friend of the Branstads, will sing the National Anthem.

• An open house at Terrace Hill from noon to 2 p.m. Branstad and Reynolds will not be present. There will be no admission to the governor’s mansion. “It’s just a chance for people who are in town who have never been there to walk through,” Hough said.

• An open house at the Iowa Capitol from 2 to 4 p.m. Several musical groups will perform, including the fifth- and sixth-grade choirs from Lake Mills, Branstad’s hometown. Some state offices will be open for tours. Branstad and wife, Chris, will attend at 3:30 p.m.

• A salute to the Iowa National Guard at 4 p.m. in the Capitol rotunda. Branstad will give a special message to families of deployed service members and thank soldiers for their service.

• The inaugural ball from 7:30 p.m. to midnight at Hy-Vee Hall. The event is open to the public with the purchase of a $75 ticket. The Iowa State Patrol will provide security at the event.

Branstad and Reynolds have formed the Branstad-Reynolds Inaugural Scholarship Committee, and a portion of ticket sales for the inaugural ball will go toward the scholarship. The annual scholarships will be awarded in three areas: for agriculture, for medical and health-related fields, and for the children of service members who have died on active duty since September 11, 2001.

Culver Makes Plans for Life After Governor’s Office

Governor Chet Culver says he hopes to continue to live in Iowa and work in the renewable-energy field after he leaves office January 14.

“I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to find a full-time position in the renewable-energy sector,” Culver said. “That’s really my top preference. I also prefer being a CEO. I really have enjoyed running a large, $6-billion entity.”

Culver said he’s had a number of discussions with individuals in the renewable-energy sector, and he’s excited about pursuing his other dreams outside of being an elected official. He also said he didn’t know if he’ll ever return to politics.

“We’ll see what the future holds,” he said. “Number one, I want to be the best father in America. I have two incredible kids. Family is first, and everything else beyond that will take care of itself.”

Culver said he wants to be remembered for his work on renewable energy during his time in office, noting that over the past four years Iowa has gone from generating 5 percent to 20 percent of its energy from wind.