Buttigieg at UD

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg speaks to attendees during a campaign stop at University of Dubuque on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Dubuque Mayor Roy Buol attended the event. Other updates also have been made to the first portion of the story. 

Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg referenced time spent with Dubuque Mayor Roy Buol during a presidential campaign stop this week in Dubuque.

Buol was not present at the event on Wednesday, as he was representing the city at the eighth annual winter meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors in Washington, D.C. It was at these gatherings that he and Buttigieg had met in the past.

Buttigieg said the two have known each other for years through their shared work guiding their two Midwestern cities.

“At these national mayors conferences, if you think about it, Buol gets sat right next to Buttigieg when they organize it alphabetically,” Buttigieg told the crowd at his event.

When talking to the Telegraph Herald on Monday, Buol confirmed having gotten to know Buttigieg over the years.

"I've talked to him and liked the guy," Buol said. "I think he's got a good chance."

But Buol reiterated that he has not endorsed Buttigieg. Buol said he has never endorsed a presidential candidate during his long tenure as a Dubuque City Council member and mayor. 

"I didn’t think it was the right thing to do because of the nonpartisan nature of my position," he said.

Sean Manning, deputy press secretary for Buttigieg’s campaign in Iowa, said Buttigieg makes a point to talk with Buol every time that he is in town. But Buol on Monday said he has been out of town during most of Buttigieg's visits and has not met with him during this primary race.

After Buttigieg’s campaign stop, two members of the Dubuque City Council -- Danny Sprank and Laura Roussell -- endorsed Buttigieg.

The only other member of the council to have endorsed a presidential candidate still in the race is Ric Jones, who backed former Vice President Joe Biden early on and welcomed Biden to his most recent town hall in Dubuque.

Council Member Brad Cavanagh had endorsed U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, about a month before the former candidate dropped out of the race. Cavanagh said Monday that he has not made a decision between remaining candidates.

Council Member Brett Shaw said Monday that he did not plan to endorse a candidate.

David Resnick, the remaining council member, has not publicly announced endorsements. Attempts to reach him to provide comment for this story were unsuccessful.

Iowa tax revenues up again

The Iowa Legislative Services Agency announced this week that tax revenue in December 2019 eclipsed the December 2018 total by $44 million. That’s a 6.6% increase.

Area lawmakers said that could be thanks to a host of reasons.

“It could have been the tax reform or a growing, successful economy,” said Iowa Sen. Carrie Koelker, R-Dyersville.

However, others urged caution before getting too caught up in a seemingly positive development.

“My understanding is the big picture economic indicators are going well,” said Iowa Rep. Lindsay James, D-Dubuque. “But this is not as simple as it sounds.”

James said every time she sees a Facebook post from a teacher in Dubuque announcing a GoFundMe drive for money for school supplies, she is further convinced that the economic upturn isn’t helping those who most need it.

The question will be, where does that money go?

“The surplus is also happening because Iowa has starved education and other services,” James said. “We need to use that surplus in a way that will actually help our families thrive, not just (provide) big tax breaks for companies.”

Koelker urged caution, however.

“We have to be conservative because obviously we’re not always going to have that money,” she said. “Sometimes you can throw money at things, but it doesn’t fix them. Everybody is going to be vying for that money. I go back to mental health. That’s an area we’re obviously going to invest this year. But we need to get to the base of that. We’ll continue to look at that, rather than just toss money at that.”

Keys left with Grassley

Coinciding trips out of the country by President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi last week meant Iowa’s own U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, a Republican, became the highest-ranking official on U.S. soil.

As president pro-tem of the U.S. Senate, Grassley is now the fourth in line should the other three be incapacitated in some way. Times like these, when each of the three top officials are overseas at once, are rare.

Grassley wasn’t able to enjoy much of his brief and nominal power, as he was presiding over the Senate during its impeachment trial of Trump.

Pocan to stump for Sanders in Iowa

U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wis., will cross the river into Iowa this week to support U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Pocan, whose district includes some of southwest Wisconsin, endorsed Sanders in mid-December. He will help the Sanders campaign with its canvass launch in Dubuque today.

Hein hosts visitors for veterans

Iowa Rep. Lee Hein, R-Monticello, welcomed some friendly faces from home to the Iowa State Capitol this week.

Members of the Clayton, Delaware and Sac county veterans affairs commissions visited the capitol to advocate for several upcoming resolutions, according to a release. Those included members Peggy Petlon, of Manchester, and Raylynn Lee, of Elkader.

Endorsements

Dubuque County Supervisor Dave Baker endorsed Buttigieg for Democratic presidential nomination.