Gov. Chet Culver predicted his support of embryonic stem cell research will be a key to winning re-election over Republican challenger, former Gov. Terry Branstad, whose opposition represents an “extreme ideological view.”
The research is important to independent voters – and Iowa has about 755,000, Culver said Sept. 10 at the Carver Biomedical Research Center on the University of Iowa campus in Iowa City.
“I really believe we won the race in ’06 and we’ll win again in 2010 because we’re for helping those individuals who are suffering,” Culver said.
Culver said the state’s $30 million investment in biomedical research “is a choice: forward, backward; hope or no hope.”
The key to winning in 2010 will be job creation and improving Iowa’s economy, said Branstad spokesman Tim Albrecht. Unemployment has risen during Culver’s term despite his expensive efforts to create jobs and “this is a desperate attempt by Culver to change the subject.”
However, Culver said the majority of Iowans believe in a moral obligation to help people who are suffering, “to do everything in our power, whether it is as a state, a scientist, a doctor, to help.”
“That’s what Americans have always believed in: pushing the limits of what’s possible,” he said.
“It’s just a fact,” Culver said. “The overwhelming scientific evidence supports my position” and continuing the state’s role in funding and facilitating embryonic stem cell research is a question of “progress or not progress.”
“The overwhelming, extreme ideological view says you don’t need embryonic stem cell research,” he said.
Culver is resorting to “name-calling” to divert attention from his failed economic proposals, Albrecht said.
Branstad, he explained, doesn’t oppose embryonic stem cell research on scientific grounds. He supports other forms of stem cell research, but has an ethical opposition to embryonic stem cell research that results in the destruction of those embryos.
“An ethical boundary must be drawn and embryonic stem cell research crosses that boundary,” Albrecht said.
Branstad’s position is “based on where the real promise lies,” Albrecht said. “He’s toured adult stem cell research facilities in the Iowa City area and he believes the most promise – the most scientific progress – is in adult stem cells.”