GOP governor reacts to walk-out

House Democrats have walked out of the statehouse today, in a dispute over gun-related legislation.  Governor Terry Branstad, a Republican, was in the House over the noon-hour to sign a proclamation honoring African Americans.  The Black History Month celebration planned to go along with the proclamation signing didn’t happen. The five members of the Iowa House who are African Americans are all Democrats and they joined their colleagues in walking out of the capitol earlier today.

Branstad responded to reporters’ questions as he walked out of the House.  Read the Q&A below:

What do you think of the walk-out?

Branstad: “I think it’s kind of unusual.”

Is this a legitimate way for a minority party to delay bad legislation?

Branstad: “Well, I don’t think it’s a wise thing to do. It’s always been my position that you state your position, that, you know, I’ve been in the majority, I’ve been in the minority in the legislature and I’ve always felt that the best thing to do is to not be afraid to state your position and then the people of Iowa get a chance to see what your position is and what the other people’s position is and then make a decision.”

Do you think the Wisconsin situation has given legislators in other states this idea?

Branstad: “I don’t know, I think it’s very unfortunate when you have people that decide to, really, abandon their responsibility of being there and representing their constituents and I know that’s been done, you know, in Wisconsin and Indiana and some other states and it’s not been successful and I just think that most people think we are elected to serve, that you should be there when duty calls.”

Do you recall a situation like this previously in Iowa?

Branstad: “No, I don’t remember anything like this.”

Do you anticipate getting involved in bringing Democrats back?

Branstad: “No, no, I think this is really a legislative issue.”

Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal was asked by reporters a few moments later for his reaction to the walk-out of his fellow Democrats.   “We’re focused on passing bills & putting Iowans back to work,” he said.  When asked again, Gronstal said: “The Senate’s focused on passing bills & putting Iowans back to work.”

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.