Now in his third bid for the state's highest office, Republican Bob Vander Plaats is planning a dramatic move if he wins the governorship.
He said Thursday that he'll immediately issue an executive order putting same sex marriages on hold until the Legislature and, ultimately the voters, pass judgment on it.
During a Thursday afternoon visit to Fort Dodge, the Sioux City businessman said he would also work for tax and regulatory reforms that he thinks will make the state more inviting to businesses.
''I believe Republicans need to move beyond just saying no and we need to say here's the solution,'' Vander Plaats said.
He first ran for govenor in 2002, losing the Republican nomination to Doug Gross. He ran again in 2006, and eventually became the running mate for the nominee, U.S. Rep. Jim Nussle, R-Manchester. They were defeated by Gov. Chet Culver and Lt. Gov. Patty Judge.
So far, his opponents for the 2010 Republican nomination include Cedar Rapids businessman Christian Fong and state Rep. Chris Rants, R-Sioux City. Vander Plaats said he's the only Republican candidate who has firsthand experience in business, education and human services.
About Bob Vander Plaats
Family: Wife Darla, four sons.
Education: Bachelor's degree from Northwestern College, Orange City; master's degree from Drake University in Des Moines.
Occupation: President and chief executive officer of MVP Leadership Inc.
Previous professional experience: President and chief executive officer of Opportunities Unlimited, principal at Sheldon High School, principal of Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn High School, high school teacher in Jefferson and Boone.
Political experience: State chairman of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's presidential campaign in 2007-2008, candidate for lieutenant governor in 2006, candidate for the Republican nomination for governor in 2002.
When the Iowa Supreme Court legalized same sex marriage earlier this year, Vander Plaats asked Culver to issue an executive order to ''put a stay on the court's opinion until the Legislature acts.''
Culver's advisers said the governor has no power to do that. Vander Plaats disagrees.
''I've got constitutional lawyers that back me up,'' he said.
When asked to identify them, he named former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia and Herb Titus, a Virginia attorney. He did not name any Iowans.
''My belief is that marriage is clearly reserved for one man and one woman,'' he said. ''I believe government grew out of marriage. Marriage didn't grow out of government.''
Vander Plaats said the issue extends beyond limiting marriage to one man and one woman. He said the Supreme Court exceeded its powers with the ruling.
''In this 69-page opinion, you had a Supreme Court that clearly legislated from the bench, clearly executed from the bench and clearly amended the constitution from the bench, all three things that are not within their right to do,'' he said.
On the economic front, Vander Plaats said he wants to implement a ''fair, family friendly, much flatter and predictable income tax for individuals.''
He added that he wants to reduce or eliminate the corporate income tax.
The candidate said he wants to cut local property taxes by having the state government assume the responsibility of paying for all mental health services.
He is also proposing the elimination of instructional support levies that are added to school district property tax bills. He is recommending that the state pay for all the programs now funded with those levies.
Those two moves, he said, should cut property taxes and help fuel development.
Vander Plaats established his campaign committee on Jan. 26. He expects to formally announce his candidacy in late summer or early fall.
Contact Bill Shea at (515) 573-2141 or firstname.lastname@example.org