Gov. Terry Branstad is now the owner of 1,000 rubber ducks.
The liberal advocacy group Progress Iowa gave Branstad the bath toys to protest his vetoing of one-time education funding and the closing of two mental health institutions. At the same time, Branstad has worked with private donors to build a reflecting pool at Terrace Hill, the governor’s official residence.
"He has slashed funding for public schools, mental health institutes, and for our colleges and universities, all while there has been private dollars raised for a reflecting pool at the governor's mansion," says Matt Sinovic, executive director of Progress Iowa. "So these rubber duckies, whether he uses them in his pool, or where ever he wants in his mansion, they hopefully will be a reminder to him that needs to fund our public services and keep them afloat."
"I hate to take the air out of Progress Iowa's floaties at their 'pool party,'" writes Branstad spokesman Jimmy Centers in an email statement, "but the nonpartisan effort led by Gov. Branstad through private fundraising is meant to restore an Iowa treasure, Terrace Hill, for future generations of Iowans. The good news is that I'm sure that out-of-state and out-of-touch billionaires who finance Progress Iowa like liberal extremist Tom Steyer will welcome them to play with their diving rings at his sprawling estate."
Delivering toys may become a trend for protesting in Iowa. Earlier this month Sinovic and the activist collaboration Why Courts Matter delivered 600 toy, candy and corncob pipes to U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley's office.
The Iowa Republican chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee and told Sen. Chuck Schumer to, "put that in your pipe and smoke it," when the New York Democrat complained that the pace of judicial confirmations has slowed under Republican leadership.