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Gov. Reynolds Extends Sympathy, Offers Prayers for Lawmaker Charged with Drunk Driving

John Pemble/IPR
Gov. Kim Reynolds

As a state lawmaker steps down from a key legislative post after a drunk driving arrest, he’s getting sympathy from the top elected official in the state, Gov. Kim Reynolds.   

Rep. Chip Baltimore (R-Boone) was arrested on Friday.  He says he plans to plead guilty to drunk driving and possessing a weapon while intoxicated.

House Speaker Linda Upmeyer Monday removed Baltimore from his post as chair of the Judiciary Committee. 

My thoughts and prayers are with Rep. Baltimore. -Gov. Kim Reynolds

“My thoughts and prayers are with Rep. Baltimore,” Gov. Reynolds said at her weekly news conference.  “It starts with admitting you’ve made a mistake.”  

The governor has been sober for 16 years after drunk driving arrests in 1999 and 2000.  She has said she hopes to be a role model for others struggling with addiction.

Speaking on Iowa Public Radio’s River to River program, Baltimore apologized to family, friends, 

Credit John Pemble/IPR
Rep. Chip Baltimore (R-Boone)

coworkers, colleagues, and constituents for his “terrible, terrible decision” to drive drunk.  

He called losing his chairmanship “an appropriate step.”

“I continue to support the committee, the caucus, and the legislature as a whole,” Baltimore said.   “I don’t want to be a distraction to that process.”

"Serving as a committee chairman is a privilege that requires a higher level of trust and responsibility," Upmeyer wrote in a statement.

Rep. Zach Nunn (R-Bondurant) will replace Baltimore as Judiciary Committee chair.

Baltimore, who is an attorney, notified the Iowa Supreme Court of the charges he faces on Friday. The justices on the court decide any discipline for violations of the Iowa Rules of Professional Conduct for lawyers.