Letter to the editor: Republican decorum is at an all-time low

Rep. Jeff Shipley, photographed with Gov. Kim Reynolds, has spearheaded efforts to eliminate COVID-19 protections and vaccine mandates, remove certain books from Iowa schools, and ban margarine. — @JeffShipley77 on Twitter (cropped)

By Abigail Grothe

Since I became of voting age, I’ve been involved in politics and have contacted my legislators when I feel bills are against the good of the people in Iowa. I have encountered a lack of decorum by many of these legislators and I’m finally done with it and want to let reporters know.

I’m in southeast Iowa, and previously my legislator was David Kerr. We had an exchange at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020 when he was incredibly rude. I had started gathering signatures to run for his seat but due to family problems and the pandemic, it was unsafe for me to continue. When I contacted Kerr later about the lack of protections for Iowans during the COVID pandemic and about reproductive rights, he decided to attack me rather than address my concerns. He attacked the fact that I dropped out of running for his seat, saying, “If you want change, you should have continued running,” and that he’s not there to address his left-leaning constituents.

Previously this month, at a townhall in Kalona, Heather Hora and Dawn Driscoll egged on a constituent that began verbally attacking another constituent. The attacked constituent was commenting on how harmful these anti-LGBTQ bills are to children and will harm children’s mental health. The verbal attacker started calling her evil, got in her face, and was threatening. Hora and Driscoll started clapping and yelled “parent’s choice.” Cheering on a person verbally attacking another constituent isn’t actually hearing out constituents during a public townhall.

Now, I was addressing with Jeff Shipley this latest bill banning margarine in schools on top of other education subcommittee bills, and was just commenting on the number of mandates that legislators like Shipley are doing while claiming small government. Shipley also responded to me in a rude manner, saying, “You must really like margarine, huh.” While this bill is a small deal, it will cost schools so much and feels like it is not the place of the state government to be mandating. The research doesn’t say that one [butter or margarine] is better than the other, and real issues are present in this state, such as the number of unhoused kids in Des Moines. The government is ignoring real issues, and when constituents exercise their rights to reach out, we are met with rude comments from our legislators.

I don’t know if you have heard this from other Iowans, but I’m absolutely stunned by the lack of decorum and the willingness to attack. We are not being allowed to discuss the issues that matter to us without being attacked or being cheered on while being attacked. We are still a democracy and this kind of treatment by this party cannot stand. I feel like it needs to be brought into the light, so Iowans know what they are voting for.

Thank you,

Abigail Grothe
M.S., Biology, University of Nebraska at Kearney
B.S., Human Physiology/Pre-med, University of Iowa