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Internal Review of Iowa Senate Sexual Harassment Complaints Will Be Released

Joyce Russell/IPR
Sen. Majority Leader Bill Dix (R-Shell Rock)

The top Republican in the Iowa Senate today announced new steps to address workplace culture.     

It’s the latest development following a $1.75 million sexual harassment settlement for former Senate staffer Kirsten Anderson, who described overt sexual comments in the GOP caucus.

"That's a step in the right direction." -Gov. Reynolds

In a news release, Majority Leader Bill Dix announced former Ambassador and former Republican Senate President Mary Kramer has agreed to serve as a volunteer advisor to the Iowa Senate to improve the workplace culture.

Kramer once led the human resources department for the state’s largest insurance company.

“It was with much dismay I have watched the current situation unfold and have concluded there is serious need for culture reform in the Iowa Senate,” Kramer wrote in the release. 

At the same time, Dix reversed course on two other facets of the sexual harassment issue.

Last week, he backed off a plan to hire a human resources professional and was harshly criticized for refusing to release details of an internal investigation of workplace complaints. 

Now both of those positions are being reversed.

"This is another partisan response." -Sen. Min. Leader Janet Petersen

Dix says he will immediately “reengage in joint efforts with the House of Representatives to identify and procure human resources assistance for the Iowa General Assembly.”

Further, he will release the internal review document by the end of the week.

The top Senate Democrat was quick to criticize.

“Senator Dix, Senator Whitver and other Senate Republicans still have not apologized to Kirsten Anderson for the sexual harassment she experienced and they refuse to acknowledge that she was fired for being a whistleblower,” wrote Senate Minority Leader Janet Peterson (D-Des Moines).  “This is another partisan response to the serious problem of sexual harassment in the Iowa Capitol.”

Governor Reynolds praised Senator Dix for his decision to release details of the internal investigation.

"That's a step in the right direction," Reynolds said.

Kramer expressed confidence in Dix’s resolve.

“I have accepted Sen. Dix’s invitation to serve as an adviser because, as a result of my conversations with him, I am convinced he is sincerely committed to ensuring that employees of the Iowa Senate work in a safe and healthy environment,” Kramer said.