On Monday afternoon, Iowa State Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix resigned from the Senate. The Shell Rock Republican stepped down after the political news site Iowa Starting Line published photos and a video of Dix kissing a female lobbyist in a Des Moines bar.
Dix is married and has campaigned in the past on “family values.” He had been in the Senate since 2011, and was elected as Republican leader in 2013.
According to Iowa Starting Line’s Pat Rynard, the photos and video were taken at the Waveland Tap in Des Moines on March 1.
The people who captured the moment on their camera phone say they recognized Dix from media reports, including those surrounding the Senate Republican’s sexual harassment trial and settlement. They observed Dix flirting with and occasionally kissing a younger woman at the bar in the evening. They are not affiliated with a campaign or party organization, but were members of the general public who happened to see the scene while at the neighborhood bar.
Dix had already been widely criticized by members of his own party for his handling of the sexual harassment problem in the Senate Republican caucus uncovered by a lawsuit brought by a former staffer.
Dix flip-flopped on whether the Senate would seek outside help handling the hostile workplace environment that led to a jury awarding that former staffer $2.2 million in damages last July. In Nov., he held a rambling press conference in which he claimed that a report prepared by the Senate staff showed that harassment was no longer a problem in the Republican caucus. After being pressed by reporters, Dix admitted he had not read the report and was not even sure if it had even been written yet.
In a statement issued following the announcement of Dix’s resignation, Senate President Jack Whitver said he believed his fellow Republican “made the right decision for himself and for his district, but most importantly, I believe he made the decision in the best interest of his family.”
Senate Democratic Leader Janet Petersen issued a statement raising the possibility that state policy had been affected by Dix’s relationship with the lobbyist.
The video posted on Iowa Starting Line is a serious matter for Senate Republican Leader Bill Dix to discuss with his family, his fellow Senate Republicans and Governor Reynolds.
Because this involves Senator Dix and a lobbyist, there will be questions about the impact of this relationship on legislation.
The Senate Republic Caucus will meet on Wednesday to elect a new leader.