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Gov. Reynolds on Kavanaugh confirmation: 'They just need to get it done'

Governor decries sexual harassment in 'Change the Culture' proclamation

A group of Iowans gather with Gov. Kim Reynolds in her formal office at the Iowa State Capitol to witness her signing a “Change the Culture” proclamation that decried sexual harassment as “a destructive force in the workplace and in all facets of life.” (Rod Boshart/The Gazette)
A group of Iowans gather with Gov. Kim Reynolds in her formal office at the Iowa State Capitol to witness her signing a “Change the Culture” proclamation that decried sexual harassment as “a destructive force in the workplace and in all facets of life.” (Rod Boshart/The Gazette)

DES MOINES — Gov. Kim Reynolds’ message to the U.S. Senate is make a decision on Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation as an associate justice to the U.S. Supreme Court and move on.

“They just need to get it done,” Reynolds said Thursday. “I think we need to end this process and move on.”

The GOP governor said she is locked into a hectic 2018 election campaign and has not been able to closely follow the developments in the Senate’s deliberations about Kavanaugh’s confirmation, but what she’s been able to observe she described as an “unconscionable” and disruptive process.

“I think the whole process has been a circus,” she told reporters.

Reynolds said it was important that both Kavanaugh and his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee a week ago. She also noted it was appropriate that the FBI conducted a limited investigation in claims of sexual misconduct and alcohol consumption leveled at Kavanaugh during his high school and college years, but she added “there’s a lot of victims throughout this whole process.”

“Now they’ve made their recommendations,” Reynolds said of the FBI probe. “The senators on the committee have heard both testimonies, and now they just need to make their decision based upon what they’ve heard and the corroborating evidence. I didn’t hear it. I didn’t listen to it. They just need to get it done. I think we need to end this process and move on.”

Reynolds noted that Ford had asked that her allegations remain confidential. She told reporters that confidentiality is a key part of the process for state employees who file complaints about the conduct of state agency directors. A section of the state employee handbook is being redrafted after a recent independent review found it was not clear.

“That’s really imperative and paramount in giving individuals the confidence that if they do report, and they want it to remain confidential, that it will be,” Reynolds said.

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The governor fired Iowa Finance Authority director David Jamison in March after two of his employees complained to the governor’s office and an independent review released last month concluded Jamison had sexually harassed three women in the agency.

Reynolds said it is important for the state to have a clear policy regarding sexual harassment in the workplace.

“If the policy is violated, action will be taken, and I don’t care who you are, it doesn’t make any difference,” she said. “Here’s the expectation, everybody knows what it is, and if you violate that and were made aware of it, action will be taken.”

Reynolds made her comments after signing a proclamation in her formal Statehouse office declaring October as “Change the Culture” month in Iowa.

“Throughout history, sexual harassment has been a stain on our culture,” Reynolds said, reading the proclamation text. “It is a destructive force in the workplace and in all facets of life.”

l Comments: (515) 243-7220; rod.boshart@thegazette.com

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