This week Governor Kim Reynolds came under fire for her tepid response to the massive sexual harassment verdict roiling the statehouse and Republican Party. After $2.2 million was awarded to a former GOP staffer, Reynolds delivered a response that many in the state felt to be a true lack of leadership:
Des Moines Register columnist: Obradovich: Where’s the outrage over sexual harassment case, governor?
While the governor is right to suggest an independent investigation, I have to say I’ve been disappointed with her response to this lawsuit all along. She’s expressed none of the disgust and outrage I’ve heard from Iowans of both parties about the conduct of Senate Republican staff.
Reynolds repeats that sexual harassment is unacceptable in the same tone she might use to suggest callers leave a message after the beep. She shrugs off questions about where the state is going to find the money for this judgment, even though the state is having to borrow from reserves to balance the budget. It seems like this is all business as usual to her.
Cedar Rapids Gazette columnist: Only taxpayers are being punished for Iowa Senate harassment debacle
Reynolds has said, repeatedly, she has “no control” over the Legislative Branch. True, but she is the governor of Iowa, with clout, power and a big bully pulpit. Instead, she’s letting the bullies off the hook.
Democratic State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald: “Governor Reynolds is the highest ranking Republican in the state of Iowa. While she may not be able to enforce the legislature’s policies, she can certainly lead by setting the right tone for fairness and professionalism in all levels of state government.”
Des Moines Register letter: LTE: Gov. Reynolds should be outraged by sexual harassment in GOP Senate caucus
The verdict awarding $2.2 million to a former Iowa Senate Republican caucus staffer in a sexual harassment case is the latest failure by Gov. Kim Reynolds to demonstrate that leadership. So far, she’s leading from behind, apparently hoping the Republican sex scandal will just go away.
“Iowans agree, Reynolds’ lack of leadership in response to this scandal is very telling,” said IDP Executive Director Kevin Geiken. “She has shown us time and time again that she will put her political friends first, even in the face of harassment and scandal. Luckily Iowans can hold Reynolds and her disgraceful friends accountable next year.”