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