I'm a Catholic and have been attending various masses throughout the last two years here in the urban jungle. We don't have one church that we call home because we usually end up going to the one that has a mass at a convenient time for my wife who is coming off or going onto call and thus the reason I am up in the urban jungle. Despite not calling any church home up in the urban jungle, we still manage to frequent one more than all the others since it is fairly close to our apartment. We've been there often enough that I recognize most of the people who are there. So it was kind of shocking to be sitting in my pew preparing my thoughts for the upcoming service and see Iowa's Governor Branstad walk in and sit across the aisle from us.
Though Governor Branstad is a Catholic, I have not seen him at any church service that I have attended nor have I heard if he goes to a certain church regularly, something that we always seem to hear about our national leader. I contemplated this as he sat down and started chatting with his neighbors when I noticed that there were reserved signs on several pews including the one he was in. Not sure what this meant, it soon became clear when mass started and the priest mentioned that a baby was going to be baptized later and that the mother was the daughter of Governor Branstad. Thinking back, I have seen more U.S. Presidents in person, (the current one whom I shook hands with during his campaign) than I have Iowa governors. I guess I don't get out much politically.
Brandstad has pretty much been governor during my lifetime. As a kid growing up, I knew no other governor until I had left the state to work in the northern frozen tundra. I came back to the state at the end of his successor's term in office and lived here during the brief tenure of the last governor who recently got the boot and was replaced by none other than Governor Branstad again.
Though he has been Governor of Iowa most of my life, I know little about him politically. During my youth when I wasn't interested in politics, my only impressions of him were from my staunchly Democratic parents. Lets just say that their views on him weren't very flattering. But somehow my Democratic parents raised two sons, my brother becoming a staunch Republican and me, a conservative Independent. I helped elect Branstad with a vote last fall so I guess I am looking forward to see how he leads our state again after his previous four terms. My hope is that the size of Iowa's government is reduced to the point where our current tax levels can be maintained throughout my lifetime or perhaps even reduced. Since he is just in his infancy of this term anyway, it is too soon to say but I am at least happy that he is taking a hard look at the budget and making necessary cuts by reducing entires areas of the government instead of taking the 'yellow' route that our past governor took by just doing an across the board cut which did nothing but raise taxes and costs to us the individual citizens of the state. It is much easier to pass 10% cuts onto the consumer when you still exist as a tax supported entity.