|Iowans For A Fair Debate Drive Launched
With Narcisse In the Gubernatorial Debates, Iowans Gain An Issues Based Election
DES MOINES, IA - August 27, 2010 | Independent gubernatorial candidate Jonathan Narcisse, running on The Iowa Party ticket, has established a new drive called "Iowans For A Fair Debate." Narcisse is soliciting support from Iowans to ensure he is included in the three scheduled debates between Governors Culver and Branstad.
The drive, which consists of testimonials from community leaders across the state as well as an online and signed petition form available at www.DebateIowa.com, hopes to create a groundswell of popular support, resulting in inclusion.
Narcisse, a successful Iowa business owner for more than two decades, has published statewide papers serving Iowa's African American and Latino communities, college campuses and educators; hosted or been a weekly guest on TV and radio shows in Waterloo, Ft. Dodge and Des Moines and was a weekly guest on "Deace in the Afternoon" on WHO Radio 1040 AM from the show's inception until February 2010 when he announced he would be a formal gubernatorial candidate.
Not the establishment's proxy
"We have to include Jonathan in the conversation. He is not the proxy for the establishment Branstad/Culver is. He speaks for Iowans lacking access to our current political system because they can't afford lobbyists or make big political contributions. Jonathan will speak truth to power and hold entrenched vested interests accountable," stated longtime Democratic party activist and neighborhood leader Fran Koontz of Des Moines, chairperson for Narcisse For Iowa.
Narcisse generated much attention at the Iowa State Fair where he spent several days meeting and greeting thousands of Iowans personally. He was undefeated in capturing the State Fair Chess Championship, garnered state wide media coverage for his tax and education reform proposals during his "Soap Box" presentation, and surprised pollsters from the Iowa Family Policy Center Action coming in second with 21.3% compared to Culver's 16%.
"During the debates we will hear both Governors pander. In the end, however, both are funded by the same powerful interests such as the Kirke gambling empire. Both have ignored the abuses of bad citizens like Jack DeCoster, a deriliction of duty that could now cost Iowa its standing in the egg industry.
Both advanced the same core policies in areas of governance ranging from how they accounted for state money to their failure to reform areas like education, health and human services and the justice system. Areas of government that command more than 90% of the state's general fund appropriations according to the state's 2009 Fiscal Facts booklet," stated Koontz.
"Jonathan is a man of passion and conviction with the courage to do what's right for Iowa and Iowans. Jack DeCoster would have been held accountable by a Narcisse Administration," exclaims Koontz. "Jonathan is also very data driven and solution oriented. He's not a single issue or headline driven candidate. His inclusion in the debate will mean Iowans will hear meaningful systemic answers to how we create accountable government, restore world class education, rebuild a strong economy and promote a healthy Iowa by example," stated Koontz.
McGreevy named inclusion drive chair
The Narcisse For Iowa campaign has named key leadership for the statewide debate inclusion drive.
Todd McGreevy, who publishes the River Cities' Reader newspaper and website, is based in Davenport and is a Central Committee Member of Scott County's Iowans for Accountability agreed to chair the debate inclusion drive for varied reasons but in part because, as a property owner in Downtown Davenport he feels Narcisse is providing real leadership on the issue of income tax and property tax reform.
"If elevating the community dialog or even increasing viewership is still a goal for the mainstream media outlets who are hosting the three gubernatorial debates this fall, it behooves the organizers to sincerely and publicly respond to why Jonathan Narcisse should NOT be in the debates."
The criteria for inclusion in the debates has not been published by the debate sponsors. Recent polling since the ballot deadline of August 13th has not included Narcisse as an option and no poll that his campaign is aware of has bothered to include even a "None of the Above" option. The televised debates are being held in Sioux City (Sept 14), Cedar Rapids (Oct 7) and Johnston (Oct 21).
"Beyond being on the ballot as an independent under the Iowa Party, Narcisse is eminently qualified to challenge the two incumbent governors in a debate forum. He's served on the state's largest school board with much noteriety and press coverage for his reformist investigations," says McGreevy. "His Iowa governance survey published in 2009 is entitled An Iowa Worth Fighting For. Rarely does a candidate document such detailed analysis and innovative ideas as a pathway to solve Iowa's problems.
"Without Narcisse in the debates, Iowans will hear nothing beyond tired partisan finger pointing. Iowans will hear no articulate, specific ideas for new transformative governance in Iowa. Without Narcisse, the incumbent governors will get a pass on addressing the issues of tax reform, zero based budgeting, and education -- for the rest of the campaign. The debates will be boring and predictable and Iowans will walk away with not one new idea.
"With Narcisse in the debates, there is sure to be a massive amount of interest, throughout the state, in a race that otherwise inspires no one," stated McGreevy.
Reed named inclusion drive co-chair
Walter Reed, who served as head of the Waterloo Human Rights Commission for a decade will co-chair the debate inclusion drive. Reed was appointed to the Iowa Corrections Board in 2000 by former Gov. Tom Vilsack and served in that capacity until 2005 when Vilsack elevated him to head the Iowa Department of Human Rights. He continued in that capacity under Gov. Culver until 2009 when he was appointed to fill the vacancy of Curtis Jenkins on the Iowa Parole Board by Gov. Culver.
"As the Director of the Waterloo Human Rights Commission I became familiar with Jonathan's efforts across 99 counties documenting the state of African Americans in Iowa but also exposing the state's growing urban challenges."
In his 3,500 page report Narcisse identified solutions utilized by both state and local government officials. Even the White House developed a collaboration with Narcisee, following his statewide health and education hearings. "The initiatives enjoyed true bi-partisan support," says Reed.
"Now Iowa has become more urban than rural. The senseless violence that took place at this year's Iowa State Fair has garnered widespread media attention yet those of us that live in the heart of Waterloo, Des Moines, Davenport, Cedar Rapids, Burlington, Iowa City, know this type of mass chaos is taking place nearly every weekend in our urban centers. At times these mass incidents lead to serious gunplay," said Reed. "Yet the media and political leaders have ignored this ongoing urban crisis."
"Iowa's urban areas have real challenges beyond escalating youth and gang violence in areas like housing, unemployment, and education - every school district within Iowa's Urban Eight is officially failing, according to the Culver administration. And it is clear neither Governor Culver or Governor Branstad has solutions for these challenges if they even understand them.
"There is perhaps no Iowan that has a better grasp of the myriad challenges facing Iowa's urban centers than Jonathan Narcisse," stated Reed who cited the work done prior to the school board around the state which gained national attention for its reformist results. "As a member of the Des Moines School Board, publisher in Des Moines and host of various urban based shows on KBBG FM in Waterloo he has proven to be an effective advocate for all Iowa's urban centers. His contributions are much needed in these debates," concluded Reed.
A former rival encourages inclusion
Des Moines School Board Director Dick Murhpy, president of the board while Narcisse served, shared the following statement regarding the importance of including Narcisse in the debates:
"While I will not endorse Jon Narcisse's candidacy for governor, I will support including him in the gubernatorial debates. In fact, I think it would be good for the campaigns of the other candidates and for Iowa voters to listen to what Mr. Narcisse has to say. The two major candidates have political machines that will be busy undermining their opposition. Mr. Narcisse has no political machine. He has to rely, merely, on defining and expanding issues about the future of Iowa.
"The two major candidates have not laid out a vision for the future of our education, our taxation, nor our health. Mr. Narcisse has. While his vision is of concern for me, at least he is focusing on important issues. Including him in the debates will force the other candidates to focus on the issues and not on each other. Include him and we will all have an issues based campaign," Murphy concluded.
Kirk supports ability to bring people together
The Rev. Rogers Kirk, Pastor of the Third Missionary Baptist Church in Davenport and President of the state's African American Baptist Churches endorsed Narcisse's candidacy in March of 2010. At the announcement he stated: "Narcisse has the ability to bring people together, and he has the right ideas to fix education and the economy in Iowa. This guy has what it takes. I know his faith. He's not one who quits."
Kirk said he's known Narcisse for about 15 years, when he became concerned about how minorities were faring in the state's education system. Kirk has been active in Democratic politics. He was a member of President Obama's national ministry team and Scott County co-chairman of U.S. Sen. John Kerry's presidential campaign in 2004.
Narcisse, during the Branstad Administration, served as the youngest chair of a state commission in the history of Iowa, the Iowa Commission on the Status of African Americans. Last year he received a Pinnacle Award from the Culver Administration for his statewide contributions to Iowa.
He was also inducted, in December, as the youngest member ever in the history of the Iowa African American Hall of Fame. Over the years he's received more than 400 honors and awards including being recognized by the Bush, Clinton and Bush Administrations and by the Branstad, Vilsack and Culver Administrations.
Not a difficult decision
Considering the scope and depth of Narcisse's body of work, his familiarity with both the Branstad and Culver administrations and his broad appeal to both core democratic groups and social and fiscal conservatives, it is inexplicable to exclude The Iowa Party candidate from the debates.
"How can the sponsoring media, having reported on Jonathan in well over four hundred media reports this past decade, ignore his candidacy when it comes to the debates? Excluding Jonathan from these televised conversations would be a travesty and a disservice to all Iowans looking for an alternative to a sixth term of the Branstad/Culver administration," stated Koontz.
Narcisse, 47 years old, has two second place finishes in U.S. Chess Championships and went undefeated as a semi-pro boxer in the D.C. area with a 17-0 record. He is the father of three children Johnce, Integrity and Perseverance and has three grandchildren. Since August of 2009 Narcisse has completed one 99 county circuit in Iowa and is seven counties short of a second complete 99 county circuit.
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