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April 26th, 2011

Senate and Governor Urge Board of Regents to Hold Off on Harkin Institute

On Monday, Governor Terry Branstad urged the Board of Regents to hold off on voting on a proposal that would create a Harkin Institute of Public Policy at Iowa State University.  Branstad told reported that he had just learned about the proposal over the weekend.

Today, Republicans in the State Senate issued the following letter urging the Board of Regents to postpone voting on the proposal.

DES MOINES – All 24 members of the Iowa Senate Republican Caucus today signed a letter to the members of the Board of Regents in support of the concerns raised by Senator Sandra Greiner (R-Keota) regarding the proposed Harkin Institute for Public Policy at Iowa State University.

Senate Republicans wrote, “We agree with Senator Greiner’s points that the inclusion of this proposed institute raises serious concerns about transparency within the Regents system and also prompts very concerning legal and ethical challenges.”

They concluded by noting, “At this time, we respectfully request the Board of Regents to postpone any consideration of the Harkin Institute for Public Policy until there is further discussion about this proposal and the general propriety of a state institution naming an institute after a current elected official serving the people of Iowa.”

This action item is on the agenda for the upcoming Board of Regents meeting to be held on Wednesday and Thursday of this week.

Highlights about the proposal from the Regent’s website:

“This proposal was reviewed by the Board Office and the Council of Provosts and is recommended for approval.”

“The proposed Institute will initially focus its work on key areas that reflect Senator Harkin’s policy priorities.”

“There is no other center or institute at ISU with such a focus.”

“The proposed institute would enhance the opportunities available to students who are interested in public policy.”

“The proposed institute will also become the repository for Senator Harkin’s papers.

“The institute will maintain the cataloged Tom Harkin Collection, which may include memorabilia, print, and digital materials.”

“The proposed institute will serve as a ready source of information and training programs on public policy issues for the state of Iowa and beyond.”

On Agriculture: “This research focus would also encourage faculty to address environmental issues associated with rural life.”

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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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