Archive for the ‘Musings’ Category

Easter Week

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

Growing up this was frankly not that important of a week or time of year for me. I did not appreciate what this week means and reminds us all of each and every year.

As a kid, Christmas was my favorite holiday. The people, the presents, the music, all the anticipation, all the build up…it was fantastic!

As I have grown older, I find myself appreciating holidays like the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving and Easter.

There are probably a myriad of reasons for that—but the biggest reason is the closeness of family and what that reminds you of.

I love these holidays because you spend them with those you love. You celebrate your country, your family, your God. I can’t think of anything more enjoyable to do than that!

As we head toward the end of this week—beginning on Thursday evening—I feel the same anticipation I did as a kid at Christmas…and it’s wonderful. For me, the lead up to the Easter Vigil Mass carries with it the same joy, anticipation and excitement that I used to feel as a kid about Christmas…except now it’s for all the right reasons.

I hope you and your family have a wonderful, blessed, and joyous Easter! #risen!

Happy Birthday, Mom

Friday, March 27th, 2015

March 27 is my Mom’s birthday. This year she turns 75 years old!

I have taken to each year now recounting that it is my Mom’s birthday and also talking about how it just isn’t the same anymore because of her struggles with Alzheimer’s disease.

Days like this you can’t help but be flooded by memories from the past…both good and bad…and you end up wishing that you could recount those with your loved one…in my case, my Mom.

Those days are gone—not just for my Mom but for millions of others that are in a similar circumstance.

Alzheimer’s is a wretched disease that not only hurts those that have it but it is a horrible thing for their families to deal with as well. We need to do all we can to deal with this disease.

Just this week in Washington, D.C. Alzheimer’s advocates from around the country descended on the city to lobby their congressman or congresswoman for increased research funding to fight this disease. I don’t want to spend the time here articulating all the reasons why this makes all kinds of sense…but we need to change the course of this disease for good.

Mom, I know you won’t read this…but if you could…I just want to say that I love you. I miss you. I miss what was and what could have been.


Behind-the-scenes at the 2015 IA Ag Summit

Monday, March 9th, 2015

A few behind-the-scenes reflections and details from the 2015 Iowa Ag Summit…

1.) Number of attendees: 1,000+

2.) Credentialed media: 271

3.) Press from 6 countries represented

4.) There is no greater advocate for Iowa and the caucuses than Gov. Branstad. He spent a lot of time backstage giving candidates advice. Most of it can be summed up this way—come to Iowa early and often!

5.) No national Democrat leaders chose to participate in the Summit which was a disappointment. However, easily the most classy and professional of all to deal with was Vice President Biden. In fact, he was the only one to send personal written regrets to Mr. Rastetter. Impressive.

6.) Firmly believe that if a Democrat had chosen to participate they would have done very well. It was a missed opportunity for a party that desperately needs help reconnecting with rural America.

7.) Eric Woolson did a wonderful job handling press for us. I heard nothing but compliments about his efforts. Friday night before the summit I talked to him around midnight. I was at home and he was at the site still doing work!

8.) Former Lt. Governor Patty Judge shined at the summit. She is a gracious person and did a very effective job.

9.) Events like this often run way over time. This event actually finished a little earlier than we planned!

10.) One of the reasons the event ran so well was Jill Latham Ryan. She flawlessly executed a very complicated event from beginning to end. Last cycle she won the Iowa caucus. This cycle she executed the best issue event I have ever seen!

11.) Ran into Gov. Christie backstage but was also happy to see my old co-worker Maria Comella back in Iowa. Great to see her again!

12.) Sen. Chuck Grassley was in his element—talking with all the guests and folks backstage. There is no greater statesman in Iowa politics than Sen. Grassley. Everyone he meets is treated the same way…impressive man.


13.) My favorite suggestion from the national press…next summit…serve tenderloins! #fairfoodisthebest

14.) Didn’t know you could be live on Twitter until @jonward11 had me on! Cool technology.

15.) Iowa State University President spent a lot of time talking ag policy with folks. Has to be the nicest college president I have ever met. Bright future for him.

16.) Biggest entourage: It’s a tie between Gov. Bush & Gov. Walker.

17.) Smallest entourage: Gov. Huckabee and Sen. Santorum. Both past winners of the Iowa caucuses were very comfortable and chatty with everyone they ran in to.

18.) Sen. Rubio contacted Mr. Rastetter and congratulated him on the successful summit. Unfortunate he was unable to make it due to family obligations…he would have done very well in this format.

19.) Sen. Lindsey Graham was a big hit with the crowd. He also worked it hard backstage and seemed to get along well with everyone. He has a good way with people.

20.) One of the secrets to Bruce Rastetter’s success? Drinking 5 Hour Energy backstage! ☺


Great Decision by Iowa Board of Regents

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

The Iowa Board of Regents deserves kudos for again moving to freeze tuition for students for the third year in a row.

The leadership provided by the Regents is good for students and families. All around the nation escalating costs of higher education make attaining education harder…and if you are able to attend…many graduate with crippling debt.

This tuition freeze is one of the many outstanding actions by the Regents to enhance Iowa higher education for students and families.

Thank you to the entire Regents and especially President Bruce Rastetter and President Pro Tem Katie Mulholland for their leadership.

A Special Prosecutor is Needed Now

Monday, July 14th, 2014

For months, the president and his administration have called the bipartisan uproar over the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative non-profits a “phony” scandal. The Attorney General has done absolutely nothing to pursue those responsible for this infringement of taxpayer rights. And now they are writing off the disappearance of emails by the lead perpetrator of this scandal as a computer glitch.

As the founder of the American Future Fund, one of the social welfare groups targeted by the IRS, few could blame me for being shocked — and yes, infuriated — by the latest revelation that potentially key emails have disappeared.

Read more at here.

It’s Time For Meaningful Tax Reform

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

I wrote an op-ed today for Politico about the need for meaningful tax reform..the time has come!

Click here to read the full op-ed:

A Time to Remember & Be Thankful

Friday, May 24th, 2013
Memorial Day
As we head into Memorial Day weekend, I can’t help but think of my Dad and his service to this nation. He is a hero to me. Holding his Purple Heart in my hand, I am awestruck by his selflessness and courage…
And on this weekend, I am reminded of all the other heroes around us. Some have already left us, some continue to protect us, and many are our friends and neighbors.
On this one weekend of the year, it is a time for all Americans to pause and remember thankful for their service…and appreciate all that common women and men do for the good of this country and its citizens.
Say a prayer for those that have fallen, for those that serve, and for those that have served and remain the quiet heroes among us.
Happy Memorial Day weekend.

Chilling Revelations About the IRS

Friday, May 17th, 2013

The past week we’ve heard disturbing revelations about how our government’s Internal Revenue Service has targeted and treated conservative interest groups. As Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley said today, there is little doubt after reading the Treasury Inspector General Report that the IRS specifically targeted conservative groups that were opposed to President Obama’s agenda.

Senator Grassley is right.

As the founder of a 501(c)4 organization myself, I know first-hand the lengths that we go to in order to comply with all applicable laws and regulations. Non-profit organizations across the spectrum go to extraordinary lengths to ensure compliance. It is perfectly acceptable for regulatory bodies to regulate— fairly — among all organizations.

This is the concern though.  Each group was not treated equally.  There was not a level playing field provided to both conservative and liberal groups. Frankly, it is clear that the IRS used keywords to discriminately target organizations that they believed would be more inclined to oppose President Obama’s agenda.

Our nation was founded on the principle of embracing a vibrant political discourse.  People of all stripes should feel welcome in the issue and political advocacy arena.  We cannot have a branch of the federal government singling out individuals and groups who may simply disagree with them – regardless of their beliefs.  A government that fears the people is liberty, but a people that fears the government is tyranny.  Right now, the people are fearing a branch of the government.

This is something conservatives and liberals, Republicans and Democrats, should all agree on.  We need to get down to the bottom of these chilling revelations.  People have the constitutional right to be heard and have their grievances redressed by their government.  It is imperative that the Congress and the Administration work openly together to find out the who, what, and when of this scandal.


Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

“Political circus.”

Those are the words of not just White House Press Secretary, but President Obama, regarding the 9/11/12 terror attacks in Benghazi.

One major problem with that statement – it is this Administration that is creating the “circus” in question.

The Obama Administration has been all over the map with what can only charitably be called a convoluted communications strategy.  From the “YouTube” video to sending UN Ambassador Susan Rice to do five Sunday Shows with watered down talking points, the Administration has done everything to cover up – or at least give the distinct impression of a cover-up – what really happened in Benghazi.

Serious questions need to be asked and answered.  An Ambassador is dead.  A U.S. outpost was attacked.  This is serious business.  The number one job of our government is to protect our national interests, and we were attacked in Benghazi.

As the Obama Administration appears to break every rule of crisis management, one thing is clear – it better get its answers straight and level with the American people.

While no one should rush to hyperbole about this situation— it is very important that a full investigation is commenced. The American people deserve the truth, and unfortunately in this situation, finding the truth appears to be a very murky proposition.

It is clear that serious problems existed on this fateful day, and the American people deserve the truth.

New Hampshire Courage

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Much is made of the relationship, and at times friendly rivalry, between my home state of Iowa and the other early primary state of New Hampshire.  While there are many differences between us, both the Hawkeye State and the Live Free or Die State have one important similarity – our commitment to supporting the Second Amendment.

As an Iowan, I was proud to see New Hampshire’s United States Senator Kelly Ayotte continue this tradition by standing tall for our universal constitutional right to bear arms this past Spring, and in opposition to the Manchin-Toomey legislation to expand background checks on gun purchases.  Senator Ayotte understands the broad implications that this can have on law abiding citizens and that it would have done nothing to stop the tragedy in Newtown.

But now liberal billionaire Michael Bloomberg is using his personal fortune to attack Senator Ayotte.  Like many conservatives before her, she is now public enemy number one of a fringe element of the liberal elite in New York City and Washington, D.C..  I do not believe that Bloomberg speaks for America, and he certainly doesn’t speak for our proud heritage.  Our Second Amendment was placed second in our Constitution to do one thing – protect the First.

My organization, the American Future Fund, is prepared to go toe-to-toe with Bloomberg and his friends.  We are thrilled to be joined by not just the National Rifle Association, but other public officials likes Senator Marco Rubio of Florida in supporting Senator Ayotte. It is critical that the millions of Americans who understand the importance of our Founding rights refuse to back down to a small group of wealthy elites who either do not understand or – worse yet – do not want to understand why those values make America great.

Learn more about what American Future Fund is doing on this important issue by visiting