Reynolds Calls for Zero Tolerance of Sexual Harassment, Unclear on How to Hold Harassers Accountable

Dec 21, 2017

Republican Governor Kim Reynolds says the state is making “steps in the right direction” in curbing a culture of sexual harassment at the Iowa capitol.

Reynolds will serve in the state’s top job during her first legislative session when lawmakers come back to the capitol in January. Hanging over the session is the aftermath of a $1.75 million sexual harassment court settlement to a former Iowa Senate Republican caucus staffer.

“I don’t think it was handled appropriately but first of all let’s just say this is not a partisan issue,” Reynolds tells Iowa Public Radio.

Former Ambassador, Republican Senate President and IPR board chair Mary Kramer has agreed to serve as a volunteer advisor to the Iowa Senate to improve workplace culture. She once led the human resources department for the state’s largest insurance company.

Reynolds says the national spotlight on sexual harassment and assault has more people coming forward and it’s not going to be tolerated. Reynolds says the culture will change if more women run for office and are elected.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix, from Shell Rock, did not release an internal review of sexual harassment in the Iowa Senate Republican caucus until after the governor said it should be made public.

Reynolds does not think Senator Dix should have resigned because of how he handled the issue.

Bob Vander Plaats, the head of the influential Iowa Evangelical Christian Group The Family Leader, said last week on IPR’s River to River that allegations of sexual misconduct made by women against President Donald Trump should not be ignored simply because he says he’s innocent.

When asked if Reynolds agrees with Vander Plaats, she says women “need an opportunity to be heard” but would not say if she thinks there should be an investigation into the allegations made about the president.