Pott County GOP Remembers Forristall at annual Lincoln / Reagan Dinner

COUNCIL BLUFFS-The Pottawattamie County GOP met on a rainy Friday evening for their 2017 Annual Lincoln / Reagan Dinner.

The high profile audience included US Senator Tom Cotton, Lt. Gov Kim Reynolds, Secretary of State Paul Pate, State Auditor Mary Mosiman and Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett along with local members of the State Legislature.

One missing lawmaker, Representative Greg Forristall who passed away recently was repeatedly mentioned for the impact he made on the state and his local community. Many speakers offered their condolences.

County Recorder, Mark Brandenburg, gave a touching tribute to the late lawmaker.

It’s not easy to sum up a man’s life in a few paragraphs, especially when that man in Greg Forristall. Greg was an adventurer, a traveler, a farmer, a gourmet cook, a woodworker, a public servant, a lifelong learner, and a man dedicated to others. He had one of the rare, truly Renaissance minds, as a scholar of science, technology, literature, language, and music.

While he was on a constant quest to enrich his mind, he also had a lighter side. Greg was a devoted Hawkeye fan, loved science fiction (especially Star Trek), put on fireworks displays that made every adult feel like a kid again, and he was a late-night internet shopper. Carol was never surprised to have anything delivered to her door-and I do mean anything: a flying drone, rare coins, antique cuff links, boxes of books, dogwood bushes, and even undershorts in bulk.

Over the decades of his life, Greg and his wife Carol, saw the world together-from northern Siberia to Machu Picchu to the Arctic Circle. Those that knew him well, enjoyed his quick wit and subtle sense of humor. And those who found themselves
In debate with him, on the Iowa House floor, found themselves engaged in a battle of the minds.

Governor Terry Branstad praised Greg and his work in the legislature. Governor Branstad said, “Greg bravely fought cancer for months, while going above and beyond to fulfill his legislative duties and serve his constituents in western Iowa.”

When the Iowa House was voting in the collective bargaining bill, which was of great importance to the Governor, and he needed his vote, Greg excused himself from the hospital and arrived during the final voting process to cast his vote.

The last time he was on the Iowa House floor, he ran an important education bill on home rule, and as usual, destroyed the opponent’s arguments in his closing statement.

Greg was a man who very much loved life. Those of us who knew him, will miss him very much, and continue to be inspired by his life-a life well lived! GOP Chairman Jeff Kaufmann summed it up this way:

“Greg was a happy warrior.-after hearing from his constituents, he’d plant his feet and stand firm for what was best for them and their families. My fond memories and my respect for Representative Forristall, will never diminish.

Auditor Mosiman discussed legislation that passed in 2013 that opened up cities to support from the State Auditor’a office.  Secretary Pate mentioned the recent changes to voter integrity and promoted his programs to Honor a Veteran and “Safe at Home” which enables victims of domestic abuse to register to vote without publicly publishing their address

When introducing Lt. Gov Reynolds, Master of ceremony, Chip Maxwell, mentioned that it could very well be the last time she was introduced with the title Lieutenant Governor.

US Senator Tom Cotton from Arkansas who was the keynote speaker joked about the upcoming vote to make Branstad Ambassador to China that will next week will make Reynolds Governor.

“On Thursday night we voted to end debate on Branstad’s appointment. On Monday night I will vote for his appointment.  I will have voted for him twice which is probably about 14 times less than most of the folks in here have voted for Branstad”

Lt. Gov Reynolds recounted coming into the motor vehicle section of the Clarke County Treasurer’s office from the private sector.

“I had so many ideas on how to make the office better. I thought we could use more automation and processes that  could make the office run more efficiently.  Every night I would come home and talk about it to Kevin. After four years the Treasurer decided not to run again which is practically unheard of in county offices. Nobody in the office wanted to run. I asked Kevin about it and he said that if I didn’t take the opportunity to implement all the ideas I’d been sharing with him for the past four years he didn’t want to hear about it again.

“I had the opportunity to serve four terms and then I moved on. I think you should make room for new ideas and new leadership. I ran for State Senate and went from representing one county to seven. And one day I got that fateful call from Governor Branstad and was asked to serve all 99.”

Many speakers mentioned how grateful they were that former State Senator Gronstal was defeated by freshman Senator Dan Dawson who introduced Cotton

Senator Cotton talked about the state of the Democratic Party and said “they just aren’t getting it.” He mentioned that Chuck Shumer had protesters outside of his house because he’s not liberal enough. He discussed the recent Mayoral race in Omaha where Bernie Sanders endorsement of the Democratic candidate was rebuked by progressives because the candidate was not pro-choice enough.

Cotton said, “Bernie Sanders is telling Democrats that they are getting too extreme. If a guy like Sanders is telling you that you may want to reassess your priorities.”

Cotton discussed his military service, graduating from Harvard a lawyer but enlisting as an infantry paratrooper because he was inspired by the attack on 9/11. He mentioned the eroding American Dream which he said Democrats are trying to pass off as “The New Normal.”  He juxtaposed the phrase several times with the phrase “Time for a New Beginning” in what could potentially become a slogan for a distant presidential bid from the young Senator.

Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett didn’t speak but it was announced that he was passing out free copies of his book “Beyond Promises.”

Corbett mentioned to patrons waiting to get their book signed that he thought primaries were good for a party. “It strengthens the candidates for the general election. It was certainly good for Joni Ernst.”

He said he wanted to wait a few weeks for Governor Reynolds to get settled before he made an announcement which he expected to do late in June.


John Thompson of Jefferson is a graduate of West Point and Harvard. He serves on the Republican Party of Iowa State Central Committee and is a candidate for State Treasurer.