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Recent editorials published in Iowa newspapers

November 12, 2018

Des Moines Register. November 7, 2018

Reynolds should work to be the governor of all Iowans

Iowa has elected its first female governor. That is certainly historic, and we congratulate Gov. Kim Reynolds on her accomplishment.

Reynolds, a Republican who previously held the job by appointment, was chosen to lead this state by a slim majority of voters.

Reynolds should remember that slim majority going forward. Nearly half of Iowa voters supported her challenger, Democrat Fred Hubbell. And in two congressional districts, Iowans turned out to remove from office two Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Reynolds should not ignore the deep political divisions in this state. She must work to be the governor for all Iowans. That means reaching across the aisle. It means listening to dissenters. It means borrowing good ideas from Democrats. It means abandoning a radical agenda on abortion, workers’ rights and tax cuts.

And it means finally outlining her own vision for the future, something she didn’t do during the campaign.

Since taking over as governor, Reynolds has not become her own woman separate from her predecessor, former Gov. Terry Branstad. During her campaign, she failed to outline a comprehensive agenda. Now that she has become the governor in her own right, she needs to begin governing in her own right.

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Fort Dodge Messenger. November 10, 2018.

Take the campaign signs down now

They have served their purpose, but now are just clutter

In the weeks leading up to the Nov. 6 General Election signs and posters touting various candidates and causes began to appear in yards and vacant lots, on lampposts and in just about any spot where they might catch the eye of passers-by. While the clutter could be viewed as offensive from a strictly aesthetic standpoint, there’s another perspective. The multitude of advocacy statements reflects the vibrancy of our political system and thus was a thing of beauty to anyone who treasures our democracy.

That was then.

The election is over.

It’s understandable that signs might stay up briefly post-election constituting something of a victory lap for the winners and a defiant statement of resolve to persevere and prevail on some future election day by those who came up short. The time is now at hand, however, for those politically engaged people who put up the signs to show respect for their fellow citizens by removing them. What were initially a testament to democracy will soon be out-of-place eyesores.

Good citizenship now requires that the signs come down within the next few days.

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Quad-City Times. November 8, 2018

Iowa has record night

Four years ago Iowa shared the embarrassing distinction, with Mississippi and Vermont, of never having sent a woman to Congress.

Nor had we ever elected a woman governor.

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, broke the congressional barrier in 2014. And Tuesday night, Gov. Kim Reynolds became the first woman elected by Iowa voters to be the state’s chief executive.

Reynolds who became governor after Terry Branstad left to join the Trump administration, defeated Democrat Fred Hubbell on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Cindy Axne and state Rep. Abby Finkenauer, both Democrats, swept into office with solid victories over U.S. Reps. David Young and Rod Blum.

Axne and Finkenauer will become the first women from Iowa ever to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives.

With their wins, now half of Iowa’s congressional delegation will be made up of women. And with Reynolds’ victory, women will continue to occupy some of the top spots in state government.

Speaker Linda Upmeyer presides over the House while Sen. Janet Peterson is the leader of Democrats in the Senate.

Taken together, this is a remarkable turnaround for a state that went 168 years without sending a woman to Washington, D.C.

Make no mistake, there is still a good-old-boy network in state government. The shameful harassment of Kirsten Anderson is proof of that. Not to mention the actions by former Iowa Finance Authority Director Dave Jamison. And we have yet to see how Democrats will handle the return of Sen. Nate Boulton, the Des Moines Democrat who dropped out of his party’s gubernatorial primary last year after allegations of sexual misconduct prior to his election surfaced.

Petersen pledged a full investigation if Boulton didn’t resign from the Senate, and he refused to do so.

Still, Tuesday night seems to have been a turning point for Iowa, and not just in the high profile races we mentioned.

The Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics at Iowa State University reported Wednesday that 45 women will serve in the state legislature next year, a record. Women will now make up 30 percent of the legislature, the center says.

Among the new lawmakers will be Chris Cournoyer, a Republican who won in Senate District 49, which includes Clinton County and part of Scott County. Re-elected Tuesday, without opposition, also were area state Reps. Cindy Winckler, Monica Kurth and Phyllis Thede, all Democrats.

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Dubuque Telegraph Herald. November 7, 2018

Attorney general right to open probe

Three months after his counterpart in Pennsylvania released a chilling grand-jury report exposing cover-ups concerning 300 “predator priests” in that state, and after saying he lacked the authority to do likewise, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller has come around.

Miller last week announced that his office is gathering information about clergy abuse in Iowa and “examining our options.” Miller, a Dubuque native and product of Catholic schools, said in a statement he is “appalled by the cases of abuse and cover-up uncovered by the Pennsylvania investigation, as well as cases in Iowa that have gone unreported.”

He’s not alone.

Despite years of revelations, millions of dollars in settlements, victims’ incalculable anguish and promises of transparency and accountability — this, after decades of scandalous cover-ups — the Catholic Church still isn’t quite getting it.

Ryan J. Foley, of The Associated Press, recently inquired of officials of the diocese of Sioux City about sexual abuse committed by a now-retired parish priest. They only then conceded that, yes, they had concealed the fact that the Rev. Jerome Coyle, now 85, years ago admitted sexually abusing some 50 children over a 20-year period.

Apparently, the Church’s longstanding, outrageous response to sexual assault and abuse within its ranks — denial, coverup and reassignment of perpetrators — is not entirely a thing of the past.

By the way, the Sioux City diocese recently helped place Coyle in a Fort Dodge retirement home, a facility across the street from — you guessed it — a school. It should surprise no one that the diocese didn’t mention Coyle’s presence to administrators at the school, which happens to be a Catholic institution. (The AP story published, and Coyle was swiftly relocated.)

Unlike other dioceses, including the Archdiocese of Dubuque, which itself has paid nearly $14 million in settlements with victims, the Sioux City diocese has never listed priests who have been credibly accused of abuse. Still waiting for transparency over there.

It’s positive that Miller says he will do what he can — even if it might not result in prosecutions due to the statute of limitations and limitations on his authority. For example, he does not have the power to launch a statewide investigative grand jury such as the one in Pennsylvania.

However, Miller has put the Church on notice — that he expects all church officials “to comply with the U.S. Department of Justice’s request to preserve documents related to abuse and personnel.” He has met with Bishop Richard Pates, of the Diocese of Des Moines, and said he plans to meet with the other bishops and the archbishop in Iowa. Meanwhile, his staff has met with some abuse survivors.

In this space two months ago, we stated, “If the Catholic Church is to get past this, it must impel all those complicit in any cover-up to step down.” (bit.ly/2yUgZfz)

Maybe we were getting ahead of ourselves. Before getting to that point, all Church officials, coast to coast and around the world, need to come clean about this abhorrent pattern of abuse. The Sioux City diocese is an appropriate place to start.

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