February 9, 2018

Episode 28: Republican Employee Fired for Op-Ed Supportive of Kim Reynolds

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This week for the Caffeinated Thoughts Podcast, our host, Shane Vander Hart, spoke with Anna Bergman, a Waukee City Councilwoman, who was fired as an attorney for the Iowa Association of School Boards (IASB) for an op-ed she wrote in The Des Moines Register supporting Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds.

Bergman who has served on Waukee's City Council since 2016 is also a Central Committee member of the Dallas County Republican Party.

She decided to write an op-ed in response to a guest submission from Claire Celsi, a Democrat activist running in Iowa Senate District 21 to replace State Senator Matt McCoy (D-Des Moines) who is not seeking re-election in order to run for the Polk County Board of Supervisors.

Celsi stated in her op-ed in The Des Moines Register that Governor Reynolds and the GOP are "running Iowa into the ground."

She listed several ways she believes Reynolds and Republicans in the Iowa Legislature are doing that.

Bergman, in a rebuttal piece, said: "Iowa Democrats need to cut out the hyperbole, because Iowans are not buying it."

She then gave several ways she believes Republicans have helped the state. Her bio identified her as an attorney with IASB, but also included a disclaimer, "Her views do not necessarily reflect those of the IASB."

Bergman this week was terminated from her position because of her op/ed. Below is a statement that IASB Executive Director Lisa Bartusek sent WHO TV's Dave Price in response to breaking this story yesterday.

The Iowa Association of School Boards has an unwavering commitment to represent the views of its members in a nonpartisan way that is respectful of both political parties, and does not engage in endorsements of candidates in either party.

I determined that there was a conflict in the organization’s need to work in an absolutely nonpartisan manner, and very public statements, made without authorization while identifying herself as an IASB employee, conflicted with the organization’s objectives. I informed Ms. Bergman yesterday that I felt it served the organization best that we sever employment.

Ms. Bergman has the absolute right to publicly express her partisan political views, and I respect her passion and commitment to her political party. I wish her well in her future endeavors.

Bergman is reflecting on what is next. She is considering running in Iowa House District 44 after State Representative Rob Taylor (R-West Des Moines) announced he will not run for re-election

Shane then discusses his thoughts about this story, and how he started Caffeinated Thoughts, while working for a non-partisan, Christian-based youth-serving organization called Serve Our Youth Network (that closed in 2013).

 

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