June 20th, 2017 Posted In: News

Gov. Reynolds Hits Turbulence: First an Ethics Mess, Now A Primary


Republican Ron Corbett Expected to Announce Candidacy for Governor; GOP Not Unified Behind Reynolds


Today, the Iowa Democratic Party released the following statement on Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett’s anticipated announcement on running for governor:


“Iowa Republicans’ path in 2018 just got much harder,” said IDP Chairman Derek Eadon. “Kim Reynolds’ ethics stumbles in her first month have already provoked a serious primary challenger. Now, Kim Reynolds and Ron Corbett will be stuck in a divisive race-to-the-right primary that is far outside of the mainstream of Iowa voters. The fact is both candidates are mired in ethics scandals, oppose women’s reproductive rights and endorsed the far-right anti-worker laws in the 2017 legislative session that would hurt Iowa’s education system. Either way, this primary will leave the Republican nominee out-of-touch and weakened in 2018.”




Reynolds and Corbett: Two Far-Right Peas in a Pod




REYNOLDS: Her First Week as Governor, Reynolds Flew Around the State on a Private Plane Owned by a Casino Tycoon Lobbying the State For A Casino Contract. Reynolds’ conflict of interest earned her negative coverage across Iowa. According to the Associated Press, “For her first trip across Iowa as governor, Republican Kim Reynolds sought and accepted the free use of a jet owned by a wealthy businessman who is lobbying for state approval to build a lucrative casino.” [Associated Press, 6/2/17]


CORBETT: As Mayor, Corbett Created a Nonprofit Group That Hides Its Donors But Pays Corbett $93,750 A Year, Creating A Cloud of Ethics Controversy Over Who Is Funding His Salary.  According to the Cedar Rapids Gazette, “The material is paid for through Engage Iowa, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, which allows Corbett to promote his policy ideas but not a run for office. […] Corbett is the highest paid employee, earning $93,750 a year from the think tank. […] Engage Iowa raised $448,275 in donations, according to the form, but from whom is a mystery. No requirement exists to disclose the donors, and Corbett said he doesn’t plan to — even though disclosure could remove any doubt he’s receiving money from people or companies with business before the city of Cedar Rapids.” [Cedar Rapids Gazette, 12/26/16]




REYNOLDS: In March 2017, Reynolds Said “This is the Most Pro-Life Administration in the History of the State.” According to the Des Moines Register, “On abortion, she encouraged advocates of stalled legislation declaring that life begins at conception to work on their legislators. ‘I will tell you from the administration’s perspective, this is the most pro-life administration in the history of the state,’ she said. She touted the Senate passing a bill eliminating state women’s health dollars from providers who offer abortion and noted the 20-week abortion ban is still pending. ” [Des Moines Register, 3/9/17]


CORBETT: In His 2017 Book, Beyond Promises, Corbett Notes His Support for Abortion Restrictions. According to the Cedar Rapids Gazette, “To those who might argue he’s some squishy moderate or RINO, he makes multiple references to his support of home schooling, abortion restrictions and the state’s Defense of Marriage Act. If his stance on marriage has changed, he’s not sharing.” [Cedar Rapids Gazette, 5/7/17]




REYNOLDS: In February 2017, Reynolds Said the New Collective Bargaining Bill Gives School Districts the “Opportunity to Reward Good Employees and Good Teachers.” According to the Des Moines Register, “While the exact impact is not clear, almost everyone agrees that the implications of the collective bargaining legislation being fast-tracked in the Statehouse are far-reaching. ‘These changes are necessary,’ Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds said this week. ‘It gives them (school districts) the opportunity to reward good employees – and good teachers – and, most importantly, make employment decisions based on merit, and not simply time served.’” [Des Moines Register, 2/11/17]


CORBETT: Corbett’s Engage Iowa Education Policy Paper Called the New Collective Bargaining Law “An Opportunity to Improve Iowa Public Schools.” According to the Engage Iowa Education Research Policy Paper on the 2017 collective bargaining law, “This new law, if acted upon reasonably, provides an opportunity to improve Iowa public schools.” [Engage Iowa Education Research Policy Paper, accessed 6/19/17]

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