The big lights of the Iowa Capitol aren’t for everyone, and each session one or two young clerks or pages invariably find a way to publicly embarrass themselves or get fired for something ridiculous. One Iowa House clerk made their exit from the state’s august debating chamber in style today, being forcibly removed from the Statehouse by four state troopers after showing up drunk – at 9:00 in the morning. But the 21-year-old female clerk didn’t leave without a fight.
Multiple sources who witnessed all or part of the wild incident tell Starting Line that the clerk started the day off on the wrong foot by embracing Representative Zach Nunn with a long hug, during which it was apparently obvious that she was drunk. Both she and Nunn are from Altoona (I’ll omit her name here just so she doesn’t have further Google problems in the future – you can find it if you really want on the Polk County Jail arrest list). She clerked for Republican Representative Tom Moore of Cass County, though her name has since been scrubbed from the Legislature’s website list of assigned clerks.
Nunn reportedly talked to the Chief Clerk about the incident, who attempted to get the young woman to leave. When she didn’t, one or more state troopers confronted the clerk to get her to exit the grounds. Some disagreement occurred, and when troopers tried to put her in handcuffs, the clerk became agitated and resisted. Many lobbyists, elected officials and visiting activists saw the clerk then getting forcibly led out of the Capitol through the ground level cafeteria by four state troopers at around 9:45 a.m.
Her problems apparently did not end there – several people report that the clerk allegedly kicked out the window of the state trooper’s car she was put into.
The young woman was booked at the Polk County Jail at 11:22 a.m., according to public information. She was charged with “consumption/intoxication,” disorderly conduct and failure to wear a seat belt. Most at the Statehouse speculated that the seat belt charge resulted from her resistance in the trooper’s car.
The now-former clerk attends Des Moines Area Community College and clerked at the Statehouse last session.
This is certainly not the first time that a young person serving in the Legislature has done something foolish to get themselves fired, though this is definitely on the extreme end of such situations. It’s an unfortunate double-edged sword of having so many young Iowans working as clerks and pages. It’s a great way for young people to get first-hand experience in state government and public service. However, 21-year-olds occasionally do stupid things. And when they’re working in a high-profile place like the Iowa Capitol building, the consequences of those stupid things can be far more public and damaging than if it happened on a college campus.
by Pat Rynard