Kim Reynolds Can’t Just Shrug Off Senate Sex Harassment Scandal

Republicans love to use the term “leading from behind” when criticizing Democrats. Great leaders demonstrate their skills by boldly offering solutions following the revelations of problems.  They don’t stick their finger in the air to test the wind direction.

The verdict this week awarding $2.2 million to a former Iowa Senate Republican caucus staffer in a sexual harassment case is the latest failure by Governor Reynolds to execute that leadership. So far, she’s leading from behind; apparently waiting to see if the Republican sex scandal will just go away.

Kirsten Anderson, the former communications director for Senate Republicans, won the decision after she proved to a jury that her male supervisors were operating a “good old boys’ club” at the Statehouse that condoned rampant sexual harassment.

Governor Reynolds spent the last seven years fastened at the hip of former Governor Branstad. She was next to him at every press conference, every public event and every bill signing. She served four terms as a county treasurer, two years in the state Senate and six years as Lt. Governor.  Reynolds should be totally prepared and up to speed on confronting sexual misconduct by state employees.  She should understand the consequences of inappropriate sexual behavior in any branch of state government.

Why is Reynolds afraid to offer any meaningful response to this embarrassing and unacceptable sexual behavior by the leaders of her own Party? Why is she claiming she can’t act because it’s not her responsibility? Why is she blaming others rather than assuming her leadership responsibilities as the Governor of Iowa?

The latest sexual harassment lawsuit will cost Iowans an extra $2.2 million at a time when Iowa’s budget is in shambles thanks to Republican mismanagement. How did the Senate Republican leadership have time to operate a good old boys’ network that harassed women staffers rather than fix the budget, clean up Iowa water or fund education?

Why isn’t Reynolds, the first Iowa female Governor, outraged that her former male colleagues in the Senate treated women as sex objects? Why isn’t she calling for an investigation to immediately put an end to this reprehensible behavior? Why isn’t she taking the lead in defending all women in state government from sexual harassment? In her press conference this week Reynolds, said she has “no control” over legislative employees.

“They’re going to have to make the decisions on what they have to do from a legislative perspective,” Reynolds said. “I don’t control them.”

Reynolds is the Governor. She is the face and voice of state government. She is Iowa’s Chief Executive and is responsible to the citizens of Iowa to insure this type of sexual misconduct is rooted out in any part of state government.

Kirsten Anderson, the Republicans’ former communications director that endured this sexual harassment certainly thinks Governor Reynolds has some control and responsibility. Anderson, a fellow Republican thinks Reynolds should lead by eliminating this outrageous sexual behavior by other Republicans in leadership.

“Maybe she never did experience what I experienced, but she’s in a position to make some inquiries and call upon some people and I hope she uses her office to do that and get to the bottom of things to appropriately enact some change,” Anderson said.

Reynolds’ refusal to investigate, condemn and guarantee the elimination of this reprehensible sexual harassment by her Republican colleagues is unacceptable. If she can’t or won’t lead Iowa government by demanding the highest standards of behavior she should step down.  Iowans deserve a Governor that is willing to boldly defend the moral values that are the foundation of Iowa good government.


by Rick Smith
Posted 7/21/17

6 Comments on "Kim Reynolds Can’t Just Shrug Off Senate Sex Harassment Scandal"

  • A verdict this week awarding $2.2 million to a former Iowa Senate Republican caucus staffer in a sexual harassment case is an example where I have to ask; Why are you so willing to accept this behavior? You should be totally prepared and up to speed on confronting sexual misconduct by state employees. You should understand the consequences of inappropriate sexual behavior in any branch of state. You are a woman and I’m positive you yourself have ran into this demeaning behavior. Time to step up to the plate and fight for the women in Iowa and defend them. We will be watching and seeing what you do and if any other cases come to light, be sure we will want to know what you intend to do.

  • In today’s world, Gov. Reynolds has the power of communications, and the authority as her party’s leader to root out those who harass and exploit and have them removed from their public positions. Also they should be terminated and exposed from the party’s staff.

  • She sure as heck has the “authority”! It’s an outright abdication of her duties and responsibilities as Governor to quash this misogynistic and illegal practice. Leading from behind? At least there is some “leading” there. Where’s hers?

  • This is exactly what I find so infuriating about the whole situation. Governor Reynolds seems to think that the simple societal demand to keep your hands to your self and your cowardly comments to yourself is something the legislature will work out. How damn old are these paragons of virtue? This state has real challenges to meet like many others and the least to be expected from tax supported citizens is that they deal with their “problems” on their own time. How many programs could use 2 1/2 million right now?

  • I am not only appalled at Governor Reynolds not condemning such illegal behavior, but every Iowa Department Head along with majority and minority leaders at the State house should promptly condemn such behavior when it occurs. I question why the wrong dower has not been disqualified from holding an office of trust, why is the wrongdoer not held personally responsible for such illegal behavior and paying the fine instead of the Iowa taxpayers.

  • Kim would alienate much of the misogynistic base of Trump supporters she will need to get elected in 2018. Hatred of women, minorities, and the poor are part and parcel of the very core of the GOP electorate. Vitriolic comments from the far right have created a hostile environment for women in our society, as well as within the Republican Party, as demonstrated by the negativity directed to Senators Collins, Murkowsky, and the other women of the GOP Senate caucus.

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