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Senate Democrats Take Down Reynolds Nominee Over LGBT Views

John Pemble/IPR file photo
Iowa Senate Chamber

Gov. Reynolds’ nominee for a position on the Iowa Board of Medicine went down to defeat in a  confirmation vote in  the Iowa Senate today.  

Nevada resident Katherine Asjes is the wife of a NATO flight officer with a background in public relations who has lived all over the world, but settled in Iowa in 2005.     

The Senate voted 30 to 18 for confirmation, short of the two-thirds majority required.

There were some statements made that caused concern. -Sen. Janet Petersen

Senate Democrats objected to a post on a Catholic blog in which Asjes agreed with negative views about the LGBT community.    

“Our caucus is interested in making sure that anyone appointed to the Board of Medicine will protect the health of all Iowans,” said Senate Minority Leader Janet Petersen.   “After doing some research there were some concerns, red flags, caused pause in moving that confirmation forward.”

An entry on The Catholic World Report criticized a movement in the Catholic Church to accept gays and lesbians.  The entry goes on to say that when the Church began to focus on the unitive rather than procreative aspects of sex, that led to the acceptance of homosexuality.     

“I completely agree with all you have said here,” Katherine Asjes wrote on the blog.

Senate Democrats voted down a well-qualified nominee. -Gov. Aide Brenna Smith

Urbandale Republican Brad Zaun called Asjes more than qualified for a position on the Board of Medicine.  He called it “disgusting” that Asjes was opposed  for one comment on a blog.

“So we bring her down, her whole family down,” Zaun said. “Freedom of speech only works on this side of the aisle.” 

Petersen said she advised Gov. Reynolds that the confirmation was in  trouble, but the governor did not take Asjes out of consideration.  

In a statement, the governor’s spokeswoman Brenna Smith called the vote disappointing.

She made a comment on a blog. One comment. -Sen. Brad Zaun

“Senate Democrats voted down a well-qualified nominee who wanted to give her time and talents to the State of Iowa,” Smith said.   

Last year,  Senate Democrats defeated Gov. Branstad’s nominees Diane Clark and Hamid Tewfik for additional terms on the Board of Medicine because of their votes against telemed abortions.     

“This is the Board of Medicine,” Peterson said last year.  “This is not Gov. Branstad and Kim Reynolds' board that they politically stack with people who won't back a woman's constitutional right for a legal medical procedure.”