Government

Iowa Gov. Reynolds: Kavanaugh accuser should be heard

But governor still backs his appointment to Supreme Court

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Supreme Court nominee judge Brett Kavanaugh arrives with Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) for the second day of his confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 5, 2018. REUTERS/Chris Wattie
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Supreme Court nominee judge Brett Kavanaugh arrives with Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) for the second day of his confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 5, 2018. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said Tuesday the woman who has accused U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her needs to be heard, but that she’s comfortable with him being on the high court.

“I think she needs to be heard,” she said during a campaign stop in the Quad Cities. “It looks like they’re trying to make that available. Then, I think both of them need to be heard. I think Judge Kavanaugh needs to be heard as well.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee, which is chaired by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, is scheduled to take testimony Thursday from Christine Blasey Ford, a professor at Palo Alto University in California, as well as from Kavanaugh in what has become a highly anticipated hearing.

Blasey Ford and another woman have made separate accusations of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh from the early 1980s. Kavanaugh has vigorously denied both allegations.

The governor said she is not closely following the matter but that she’s comfortable with Kavanaugh, an appellate court judge, being on the Supreme Court.

“I am. But I would like to hear from the doctor. I think that she needs to be given the opportunity. We need to hear from her, as well. And then I need to hear from him,” she said. “But right now I think ... he would be a great judge.”

Some critics of the process say the hearing, if it is to get to the truth, should include others who Blasey Ford has identified in connection with a party she said occurred when she and Kavanaugh were in high school. There also have been calls for the FBI to investigate her claims.

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So far, there have been no hearings scheduled to hear about the second allegation. And the Judiciary Committee announced late Tuesday it would vote Friday on Kavanaugh’s nomination.

As the state’s chief executive, Reynolds has faced her own challenges related to sexual misconduct in state government. In March, she fired the leader of the Iowa Finance Authority Director, Dave Jamison, after allegations surfaced that he’d sexually harassed employees.

She’s faced criticism over the incident, but Reynolds has said she has provided leadership at the state level by saying such behavior won’t be tolerated. She also noted Tuesday she swore in Justice Susan Christensen, whom she appointed, to the Iowa Supreme Court last week. Christensen is the only woman on the court.

“I think it’s important to make sure that we have diversity and that’s part of changing the culture, making sure we have more women in leadership positions,” Reynolds said.

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