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March 4th, 2009

Republican Linn County Supervisor Quizzes a State Legislator on Prevailing Wage

Just over a week ago, Democrats failed to find the necessary votes to pass prevailing wage legislation in the Iowa House of Representatives. Speaker of the House Patrick Murphy (D-Dubuque) kept the voting machine open throughout the entire weekend in hopes that one more vote could be found.

Murphy and Governor Chet Culver were unsuccessful in finding an additional vote, but both vowed that the issue was not dead. On Monday, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy switched his “yes” vote to a “no,” which allowed House Leadership to make a motion to reconsider the bill at a later date.

Yesterday, The Iowa Republican learned that newly elected Linn County Supervisor Brent Oleson, a Republican, has made calls to Republican House members to inquire if any Republicans might change their vote on prevailing wage. State Representative Dawn Pettengill (R- Mount Auburn) confirmed to The Iowa Republican that Oleson had contacted her.

“Yes, I was contacted by Brent to see if any Republicans might change their vote on prevailing wage. He said he had a union friend that was wondering if [the GOP opposition to the prevailing wage bill] was PAC related or policy. I told him Republicans don’t make decisions based on PAC donations. We were fundamentally opposed. And the answer was no, there weren’t any who might change their vote,” Pettengill said.

Oleson, the former Senior Counsel to Republican Leader Sen. Mary Lundby and Sen. Ron Wieck, told The Iowa Republican that he called Rep. Pettengill only to inquire for a friend who wanted to know whether or not the vote against prevailing wage was done for philosophical reasons or because of influence by a special interest group. For the past three years, Republicans in the House and Senate have consistently opposed labor-backed bills on a party-line vote.

Oleson is was elected to the Linn County Board of Supervisors last November with 57.87% of the vote. Previously, he spent several years as a top legislative aide and confidant to State Senator Mary Lundby. He served in the same capacity for Sen. Ron Wieck. Records from the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board show that the Plumbers and Pipe Fitters Local 125 contributed $1000 to Oleson’s campaign.

About the Author

Craig Robinson

Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country.

Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses.

A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states.

Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site,

Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing.

Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.

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