WINTERSET — Gov. Kim Reynolds said she is “disappointed” that state Sen. Nate Boulton has chosen to remain in the Iowa Senate despite allegations of psat sexual misconduct.
Reynolds said Wednesday she expects Senate leaders, including Democrats, to take action now that they know Boulton plans to return to the Senate.
In May, Boulton ended his campaign for governor after multiple women accused him of sexual misconduct. The women detailed the allegations — which Boulton did not deny — in an interview with the Des Moines Register.
Boulton on Monday announced his intention to return to the Senate, where he represents a portion of Des Moines. His term runs through 2020.
“The responsibilities I have to my constituents and as a dedicated advocate for working families across this state have not ended,” Boulton, a Democrat, said in a statement.
He also apologized for his actions and attributed them to binge drinking that he has since curtailed.
During Reynolds’ weekly meeting with Iowa reporters, the Republican governor said she agrees with the multiple Democratic state senators who said Boulton should resign.
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“I’m disappointed that he didn’t follow through (and resign from the Senate),” Reynolds said. “As I said, we need to lead by example.”
Reynolds also said those senators “have an obligation to act,” noting many of them were critical of how Reynolds’ administration handled allegations of sexual harassment by the former Iowa Finance Authority director.
“They were pretty adamant in what they thought should take place when they were talking about other issues last session with harassment,” Reynolds said. “So I think they have an obligation to act.”
Sen. Janet Petersen of Des Moines, leader of the Iowa Senate Democrats, had called for Boulton to resign and said this week she is disappointed in Boulton’s decision to return.
Petersen also alluded to a potential investigation.
“When I called on Sen. Boulton to resign nearly two months ago, I did it because, like many Iowans, I believe that sexual harassment and misconduct should not be tolerated by anyone, anywhere,” Petersen said in a statement. “Sen. Boulton will now need to answer to voters in his district, to a potential independent investigation, and to other Iowans involved in the national conversation on this important issue.”
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