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January 8th, 2010

Sorenson’s Endorsment of Bob Vander Plaats

kentsorenssonDear Iowans who care about the future,

Happy New Year!

My name is Kent Sorenson, and I represent District 74 in the Iowa Statehouse. This year I am running for State Senate in District 37, hoping to replace one of the biggest spending, most radical liberals in Iowa government.

My opponent is a freshmen incumbent that is well-funded by groups with an agenda in direct opposition to your Iowa values. Pundits and “political experts” keep telling me this race is a long-shot, but those are the same voices that told me I couldn’t beat an entrenched incumbent two years ago. I invite those naysayers to come visit me during the legislative session as I again represent my district.

The Republican Party of Iowa spent over $200,000 in 2006 to lose the seat I now hold, yet in 2008 I won, despite almost no help from the party establishment and spent less than $50,000 in a district that Barack Hussein Obama carried in the presidential election.

How did I do it? How did an unassuming, small town Iowan with a troubled past like me manage to pull it off? The answer is simple—I didn’t do it at all.

People in my district did it, people just like you. It was people like you that volunteered your time, and voted for me on Election Day. People who said they were tired of politics as usual, and people who wanted to elect someone they trusted to tell them the truth, whether they agreed with them on every single issue or not.

Without the continuing passion of people like you, Iowans that care about the future, no one outside of my friends and my family would even know who I am. Because of the support I enjoy from real Iowans like you, the radicals that support my opponent are already nervous about next November.

For the past year I’ve been traveling the state discussing issues that impact all of us like the right to keep and bear arms, the budget, traditional marriage, and judges that think they get to make law. What I’ve found is both frustrating and encouraging.

On one hand, it’s frustrating to hear directly from so many of you about just how disillusioned you’ve become with your government because you don’t believe anyone in elective office really cares what you think. The sad truth is that after having seen the system from the inside, I can tell you that in too many instances your frustrations are valid. I can personally attest to the fact that too many of them have their own agendas, like raising money and getting or keeping power. All too often they either aren’t aware of or just flat out don’t care what you think. That’s exactly why I ran for office in the first place, because my representatives weren’t listening to me, either.

Yet, meeting so many of you over the last year or so has also been encouraging because contrary to what the media or career politicians may tell us, there are more of us that care about the future of this state than there are of those who just want to use it to advance their un-American agenda. Let me promise those of you that want to make a difference that you are not alone.

That’s why I am writing you this letter.

As someone with a high school education, that’s been lucky enough to own and operate small businesses that sometimes struggled to make it, and as someone blessed with a beautiful and large family, I have experienced many of the struggles so many of you are having. I share the same fears for the future of my children and grandchildren that many of you have for yours.

There is a sense that time is running short, and that the Iowa we once knew or heard about from our grandparents is slipping away. Tough realities like irresponsible government spending, the most unemployment claims in over 20 years, unchecked illegal immigration, the disappearing family farm, failing schools, and judges unconstitutionally attempting to redefine marriage have many of us wondering what happened to the Iowa we used to know? Can we salvage what was once a special place to raise a family for future generations?

The answer is we can, but we can’t do it alone.

Those of us who believe our rights come from God, and not the government, need to work together by combining our time, talent, and treasures now more than ever before. Those who would like to see the America we love and the Iowa we once knew become just another socialist state where liberty is but a memory are organized and well-funded. They have infiltrated both political parties.

It used to be that if you believed in traditional values like hard work, thrifty budgeting, and Judeo-Christian morals people just assumed you were a Republican. Yet time and again we have been let down by Republicrats, and sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between the Republicans and Democrats. Many of you are suspicious of both sides, which is why there are currently more registered independents in Iowa than either registered Democrats or Republicans.

I ran for office as a Republican because I am proud of the Republican Party of Iowa’s platform. However, like you I grow weary of Republicans who compromise with the enemy rather than working to defeat them. Like you I have no interest in career politicians, and certainly have no desire to become one. Frankly, I’d rather spend more time with my family than more time at the statehouse. Like you I am not interested in partisan party politics but in seeing the right thing done, and I don’t care who gets the credit for it. When I campaign in my district I am amazed by how many folks tell me they agree with me on most of the issues despite the fact they’re Democrats.

That’s why I am not writing this letter to Republicans, Democrats, or even conservatives. Instead, I am writing this to my fellow Iowans who care about the future. The old labels don’t mean anything anymore. Too often in recent years those conservatives didn’t turn out to be all that conservative when it came to our money, and those Democrats betrayed democracy as evidenced by their refusal to let us vote on a marriage amendment.

We can no longer trust them, so now we must replace them. The 2010 elections give us a chance to do exactly that.

That’s why I’m asking you to join the rest of your fellow Iowans who care about the future and resolve to help us elect everyday Iowans to public office. We must also resolve to never cast one more vote for career politicians who stay in power so long it’s hard to tell which party they belong to.

The first step to doing that is on June 8th, which is the primary election day in Iowa. In the past too many of us have waited until the fall to get involved in elections, and then realize that we’re not really satisfied with either Party’s option. That’s why primaries are so important. If everyday Iowans don’t take part in primaries, the elites and establishment in both political parties get to choose for us, and then we’re really left with no choice at all in the fall.

I encourage you to look for candidates that share our values. We need to know more than just their positions on the issues. We need to know why they have those positions and how they intend to act on their convictions.

For instance, I am proud to tell you that I am endorsing Bob Vander Plaats in the Republican gubernatorial primary this June. I believe Bob shares my convictions, and he’s not a career politician. In fact, he’s worked as a local high school principal and he ran a non-profit business that took care of people with disabilities. He’s from Main Street, Iowa. He’s not beholden to those who write big checks to both political parties hoping for a seat at the table no matter who wins, and he’s Chuck Norris approved!

What impresses me the most about Bob, and why I chose to endorse him, is that he is the candidate most willing to take on the system and stand up for our rights. There are other fine candidates in the field. I have great admiration and respect for Rod Roberts as a gentleman and a leader, and Christopher Rants is one of the smartest people I know and I respect him greatly. I call both men friends and it is hard for me to openly endorse anyone because of this. Both would definitely be upgrades over our current governor, and I encourage them to challenge Bob and give primary voters a vigorous contest of ideas.

However, as a legislator I was elected by my district to be a lawmaker and not to serve the whims of unelected judges. Like Bob Vander Plaats I have had enough of renegade courts defining for us what is right and wrong, and overturning our laws on fundamental issues like traditional marriage. Bob has vowed to fight them with a boldness not seen since Abraham Lincoln stood up against slavery and the Dred Scott opinion. That’s why Bob has also earned the endorsement of constitutional scholars like Michael Farris of Patrick Henry College and David Barton of Wall Builders.

Candidates like Bob will need our help, because the establishments in both parties will be out to stop somebody that is willing to take power away from the elites and return it back to you where it belongs. For instance, some of you may have heard that the establishment in my own party has brought Terry Branstad out of retirement to run for a 5th term as governor!

Terry Branstad has always been kind to me, and is a respected figure in our party. Yet I have probably traveled this state more recently than he has, and I’ve heard from so many of you that are tired of career politicians. To a lot of you out there in the grassroots nothing smacks of elitism more than thinking anybody ought to be governor for 20 years. I fear that by nominating someone viewed by many as a career politician who hasn’t run a race in 15 years, the Republican Party may end up snatching defeat from the jaws of victory next November.

Many of you want fresh faces and news ideas, and I was still trading baseball cards and hoping for a new bicycle for Christmas when Branstad first ran for office. I agree with “The Iowa Boy” Chuck Offenburger, it’s time for a new generation of leadership. As the radicals become more aggressive in steering our state hard left, it’s going to take bolder action to stand up to them. Voters do not want politicians that win to lead, they want politicians that lead to win. It’s obvious based on Branstad’s recent complaints about a “confrontational right” that his campaign is based on country club nostalgia for a bygone era. I take great offense at the idea that we should just roll over and play nice while Mike Gronstal denies us the right to vote on a marriage amendment, local sheriffs try to deny our second amendment rights, and illegal immigrants drive down wages while driving up the cost of the welfare state. You’re darn right we’re confrontational when our freedoms, traditions, and liberties are being taken from us. We need a governor that understands that and will fight the good fight with us!

I wasn’t old enough to understand the political climate during Branstad’s previous four terms as governor. However, many of the things I have learned from Rep. Rants have me very concerned.

Branstad’s signature is on the highest tax increase in Iowa’s history, something our current incompetent governor, Chet Culver, hasn’t even managed to do. Branstad grew government while Iowa’s population remained the same, just like Culver. Branstad was endorsed by liberals who turn public schools into a bully pulpit to teach your kids un-American values, just like Culver. Branstad had a Lt. Governor who was for abortion-on-demand, just like Culver. Branstad appointed judges to the courts that take away our freedoms, just like Culver. Branstad, by his unwillingness to stand up to the courts like Bob Vander Plaats has promised to, is willing to let the courts make law and have the final say and not we the people, just like Culver. It’s really no surprise that David Yepsen once called Branstad “one of the best liberal governors this state has ever had.”

If Branstad’s record is the party establishment’s idea of what being a 21st century Republican is then it’s obvious they haven’t learned anything from their losses in recent elections. If we want to beat Chet Culver, we have to offer voters something different than Chet Culver.

That’s why I want to share with you what I’ve already told several of my statehouse colleagues in private: under no conditions will I vote for Terry Branstad or Chet Culver for governor. When I took office I swore an oath to uphold and defend our constitution, not a political party. I ran for office to represent the interests of my district, not a political party. It should not be the requirement of voters to compromise what we believe to belong to a political party, but instead it should be the requirement of the political party to represent what we believe.

I wished these things about Branstad weren’t true, because my life would be much easier if they weren’t. I will make no friends in my own party’s establishment by taking a stand. I’ll probably lose out on campaign donations from them as a result. They’d prefer I just kept quiet until after the primary and supported the Republican candidate no matter who they are and what they stand for, but I would be betraying my principles by doing that. Not to mention the fact I would be betraying many of the Iowans I have met the past two years.

Telling the truth comes with a cost, but there isn’t a price tag on my integrity. I’m not going home at night to tell my sons that I set aside my principles for the good of a political party, so if that’s what you’re looking for I’m not your man. What good does it do a man to win an election if he loses his own soul in the process? I think we should deal with the truth now and trust the grassroots’ wisdom. The strategy of lying to ourselves about our candidates during the primary and then letting the liberals expose the truth during the general election has been a loser every time.

Plus, I can’t ask those of you reading this to take a bold stance I’m not willing to take, so how could I ask you to get involved in the primaries if I’m not willing to jump in? Now that I’ve done it, I’m calling on my friends at The Iowa Christian Alliance, Iowa Right to Life, Iowa Gun Owners, and the Iowa Family Policy Center to join me, Michael Farris, David Barton, and longtime Democratic Party activist Rev. Keith Ratliff in helping us get a man who truly believes in restoring all the political power in Iowa to the people of Iowa – as our constitution declares it should be – elected as the next governor of Iowa.

Iowans like us, who care about the future, need a governor like Bob Vander Plaats. I also promise you this, we will hold Bob accountable, too. I offer unconditional support to my wife and children, not my fellow politicians. Should Bob stray from the courageous path he is now on, the first person he will hear from is me.

Between now and June 8th, I’m going to be working hard not just on my own campaign, but also on getting the word out about Bob Vander Plaats and others that care about the future just like we do. I invite you to stay connected to these efforts via our website at If you want to email me about candidates in your area, or have questions for me about my campaign and events going on with the 2010 legislative session, please feel free to email me at [email protected]

Folks, this new year let’s resolve to stop waiting around for politicians to lead us. Let’s instead take our cue from the Tea Party movement and become the very leaders we have been waiting for. As a famous movie filmed in Iowa once said, “If you build it they will come.”

If we desire principled politicians we can be proud of, a state that understands the rule of law and where our rights come from, and want to secure a free and prosperous future for our children and grandchildren, we must build it. Together we can build this. If we build it, not only will our children and grandchildren come but they’ll stay.

I beg your pardon for the length of this letter, but given the seriousness of the subject matter I wanted to make sure you knew exactly where I stood and why. May God bless you and your family abundantly in 2010.

Kent Sorenson

Photo by Dave Davidson

About the Author

The Iowa Republican

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