Despite the fact Senate Republicans are on the short end of a 26-24 split, Sen. Bill Dix says Iowans can count on spirited opposition from the minority caucus.
Dix, a melon, squash and pumpkin farmer from Shell Rock, was selected by fellow GOP senators to lead their caucus for the 2013 session that begins Jan. 14.
His leadership says Dix, who served five terms in the House before being elected to the Senate in 2010, will be a reflection of a caucus that includes 19 members with four or fewer years in the Senate.
“So I’m sure we’ll stub our toes a time or two,” says Dix, 50. “We’ll learn from that and not lose sight of why we are there.
“I believe that we are going to be enthusiastically pursuing our objectives, we’ll be energetic and won’t take ‘No’ for an answer,” Dix says.
Although Dix and many Republicans fully expected to be in control after the 2012 election, he argues it would be a mistake to believe the outcome was a “negative reflection on what we stood for.”
“Every one of the 24 of us won on the values that are very, very simple,” he says. Republicans ran on lowering government spending, streamlining government and making rules and regulations less onerous. “So we owe it to our constituents to stand up and fight for that.”
One indication of the style of leadership the soft-spoken Dix will bring to the caucus is the addition of Ed Failor Jr. to his staff. As president of Iowans for Tax Relief, Failor earned a reputation for aggressive grass roots organizing and lobbying.
Among Failor’s credits was his defense of federal deductibility in 2009. He accused then House Speaker Pat Murphy, D-Dubuque, of acting like a “jack-booted Nazi” for having state troopers remove the audience from a public hearing on the issue.
Dix says he’s been in the Senate long enough to understand it’s unlikely Majority Leader Mike Gronstal will bring any bill to the floor without at least 26 Democratic votes.
That won’t lessen the commitment of the GOP caucus members who “see themselves as a group committed to getting this done, to creating a new legacy of what Iowa will look like in the future,” Dix says.
“My advice to the caucus is never give up, to go to work building relationships along common interests, put yourself in a position to influence others,” Dix says.