The former state senator who made recommendations last year for addressing sexual harassment in the Iowa Senate is weighing in on State Senator Nate Boulton’s decision to return to the capitol.
Boulton (D-Des Moines) dropped out of the race for the democratic nomination for governor after complaints of sexual improprieties. Some of his Democratic colleagues, including Minority Leader Janet Peterson (D-Des Moines), wanted Boulton to resign his Senate seat.
But former Republican Senator Mary Kramer says that wouldn’t be fair to the voters who put him in office.
“He was elected, and his constituents should have a voice in what happens."
Last year a former Senate staffer won a $1.7 million sexual harassment and wrongful termination settlement against Senate Republicans. Kramer recommended new procedures, including the appointment of a human resources manager to hear complaints from legislators, staffers, lobbyists, and the media.
Now Kramer says Boulton is in a unique position to advance the cause of culture change in the Iowa Senate.
“He could move that along,” Kramer said. “He has an opportunity to say been there, done that, let’s do it differently.”
Boulton’s return to the Senate would be in sharp contrast to the departure this year of Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix. Dix resigned from the Senate after the distribution of a video appearing to show him kissing a female lobbyist.
Kramer says Boulton is going to seize the opportunity to show that he’s “outgrown” his bad behavior.
“But it will be interesting to watch to see how we are balanced in giving him the opportunity to demonstrate that he's outgrown it and in the other case the person disappears from view politically.”
Kramer says sexual impropriety is now a “bipartisan issue.”
“This is an individual issue and it happens everywhere. The good news is when it happens now there is credibility in people sharing their stories," Kramer said.