Again in this election, "For better or worse, the electorate did not say, 'OK, one party, we're going to take your philosophy on everything and ignoring the other,'" said David Roederer, a veteran Branstad adviser and Iowa's budget director.
The parties took a more partisan tack in the last legislative session, with the result that, other than passing some pressing budget control measures, little else was accomplished. Gronstal says 2013 provides a ripe opportunity for compromise before the approaching 2014 elections heighten partisan tensions. Branstad, who was governor in the 1980s and 1990s before running again in 2010, is expected to stand for re-election.
Except for lawmakers in Kentucky and New Hampshire — the other two states with divided legislative control — those elsewhere can barely imagine what Iowa expects to experience. In Oklahoma, where Republicans hold every statewide elected office and supermajorities in the House and the Senate, Democrats weren't invited to the budget talks with the governor's office. In Minnesota, where Democrats won both chambers this year and hold the governor's office, Republicans are expecting a parade of Democratic policy initiatives.
"There isn't really anything we can participate in unless asked," said outgoing Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Zellers, a Republican.
Associated Press writers Brian Bakst in St. Paul, Minn., and Sean Murphy in Oklahoma City contributed to this report.
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