Staff Columnist

Look past Steve King's rhetoric, see a do-nothing politician

If Rep. King's words don't bother you, how about his terrible legislative record?

U.S. Rep. Steve King takes a piece of steak during a reception by the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce in the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, May. 3, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
U.S. Rep. Steve King takes a piece of steak during a reception by the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce in the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, May. 3, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

To my fellow Iowa Republicans, we need to talk about Rep. Steve King.

Maybe you are fed up with political correctness and liberal media bias. Maybe you can dismiss King’s most controversial comments and social media posts. Maybe you even think there is some truth in King’s vision of preserving Western culture.

Even if you look past Steve King being Steve King, what you’re left with is a do-nothing career politician. King has been more interested in raising his own profile than governing, and it’s his constituents who suffer.

Iowa representatives' effectiveness

Terms in officeBills passed
Rep. Rod Blum, 1st District22
Rep. Dave Loebsack, 2nd District62
Rep. David Young, 3rd District23
Rep. Steve King, 4th District81
Source: GovTrack.us

King has the longest tenure in the U.S. House among his current colleagues from Iowa, yet somehow has passed fewer bills than each of the others. During nearly 16 years in Congress, only one of King’s bills has become law - a resolution to rename a post office, passed during King’s first year.

King has spent his current term introducing a slew of new bills that will never become laws. Even when his proposals focus on key conservative policy points - like bills to repeal the income tax, sunset bureaucratic regulations or empower employers in union negotiations - they seldom attract more than a few co-sponsors or advance from committee. After more than two decades as a state and federal legislator, King simply has not developed the skills necessary to be an effective champion for his district.

I am deeply troubled by King’s remarks about immigrants and diversity, but even if you’re not, his paltry legislative record alone is reason enough to withhold support.

Facing renewed scrutiny this week, King has been dismissive. He wrote in a statement posted online this week, “These attacks are orchestrated by nasty, desperate, and dishonest fake news. Their ultimate goal is to flip the House and impeach Trump.”

In reality, not all of King’s critics are working toward a Democratic majority. Slowly but surely, respected conservatives are coming out against him, not an easy shift in our partisan political atmosphere.

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The Sioux City Journal this year endorsed King’s opponent, contrary to the paper’s usual habit of endorsing Republicans for federal and state offices. In publishing a Democratic endorsement, the staff acknowledged, “Those were not easy words for us to write.”

Jacy Gomez, a Republican from Iowa and a former staffer for Sen. Chuck Grassley, published a commentary this week for CNN calling King a “blemish on an otherwise admirable state.” Nick Ryan, a prominent Iowa Republican strategist, called him a “racist pig.” GOP U.S. Reps. Steve Stivers and Carlos Curbelo have publicly condemned King as well.

Fourth District voters have other choices. Democrat J.D. Scholten is running a credible campaign, even if his outings with U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders are out of line with the northwest Iowa’s values. Libertarian Charles Aldrich is another solid choice. Voters could opt to write in Cyndi Hanson, King’s Republican primary challenger from earlier this year, or another respectable conservative.

The record is clear: King is a worthless lawmaker. A quarter of Iowans are left without their due representation in the U.S. House.

• Comments: (319) 339-3156; adam.sullivan@thegazette.com

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