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House Journal: Page 1121: Wednesday, April 7, 1999

	-  And "it isn't really tea that Jimmy Briles has in his cup on the last night of the 

-  "Watch the IPERS bill to see if there's still someone in Boone County who Jack 
Nystrom hasn't got covered."
-  "In 20 years, you'll figure out what really went on."  Which is why I'm looking 
forward today to finding out what deals really were cut in that usury debate of twenty 
years ago.
-  Or, debate will always be long-winded when it's a bill everyone understands and 
short when they don't understand it. So we all know we're in for a long afternoon when 
there's a bill about dove hunting, fences or farm pickup trucks.
-  Or don't go out with Ed Jones at night if you have to be functional the next day.
1978 was an important election in the country and in Iowa.  It was a harbinger 
election that foretold the sweeping change coming in the 1980 election.  In Iowa, 
Democratic U.S. Senator Dick Clark was upset by Roger Jepsen.  It was a stunning 
upset, caused as many Catholic and evangelical voters left the Democratic party over 
the abortion issue.  For the most part, they have not returned and the shape of politics 
has been different ever since.  The change in politics was affirmed in 1980 by the 
Reagan landslide, an election that fundamentally changed the nation's philosophy 
toward government.
The change rippled through legislative politics, too.  Democrats who had won the 
Legislature during the Watergate era lost it to the Republicans in 1978.  The GOP 
control would be short-lived, thanks to the farm crisis of the 1980s that made 
Democrats out of many rural voters.
The only good news for Democrats that year was the election of Tom Miller as 
Iowa's new attorney general.  He defeated the eminently quotable Richard Turner, who 
was always a reporter's best friend on a slow news day.
Bob Ray won yet another term as governor, defeating Jerry Fitzgerald.  Lieutenant 
Governor Art Neu retired from that job, having grown tired of waiting around for Ray 
to leave his job.  That enabled an unknown state representative named Terry Branstad 
to win the Lieutenant Governorship and we just all knew that little guy was going 
nowhere in Iowa politics.
A new generation of leaders emerged that year.  Lowell Junkins became minority 
leader in the Iowa Senate.  Cal Hultman became majority leader.  Those two have 
proven that there really is life after the Legislature and it's often quite profitable, too.
What the election of 1978 illustrated was something that is still true today.  Iowa 
has a healthy, vigorous two-party system.  The two parties in Iowa compete hard with 
one another for the support of Iowans.  When that competition turns nasty we're all 
losers.  But when that competition turns positive as each side tries to outdo the other 
by offering the best candidates and best ideas they can find, then all of us in Iowa are 
the winners.

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