Living in Society

Fire in the District: Misleading by Omission

Fire in the House District 73

It’s no secret Rep. Bobby Kaufmann follows the Republican Party line on most major votes.

He voted like an automaton for one egregious bill after another during the 87th Iowa General Assembly. Once Republicans held majorities in the Iowa House and Senate, in addition to the Governor’s office, they had their way with legislative output. Kaufmann was right there in the gang. He is and has been a partisan Republican since being first elected.

In 2013, as soon as Kaufmann joined the legislature, he co-sponsored HJR 1, a bill to amend the Iowa Constitution to incorporate existing right to work law.

Right to work is part of who we are as Iowans. Even Governor Chet Culver couldn’t reverse right to work when he had Democratic majorities in both chambers of the legislature. We don’t need a constitutional amendment for right to work to exist in Iowa. Kaufmann and the gang went one further in the bill, prohibiting collection of union dues or deduction of union dues from a person’s pay as a prerequisite for employment. HJR 1 didn’t pass. It continued a divide between Iowa Democrats and Republicans, one that prevents bipartisanship and continues today.

Over the years, Kaufmann has seen few Republican bills he didn’t like. He voted with Republicans on radical Chapter 20 revisions regarding collective bargaining, for the embryonic heartbeat bill, and more.

This year he’s running for a fourth term. Kaufmann downplays his extremism in newspaper articles and community forums by omitting his conformance with the Republican playbook.

Last winter Kaufmann held a town hall-style meeting in Solon, Iowa. His mislead by omission approach became evident.

At the meeting he was surprisingly focused on the House, not Republicans in general. For example, a Republican asked a question about Senate passage of the embryonic heartbeat bill. It was news to Kaufmann. His take was the heartbeat bill was unlikely to get 50 votes in the House because Republican members believe when it is struck down by the courts it will be done in a way that makes it difficult to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, which was their endgame. As we now know, through the sausage-making process of legislating, House Republicans were able to get 51 votes including Kaufmann’s.

Kaufmann meets with city councils, boards of supervisors, and a host of community organizations each year, such talks enabled by incumbency. He appears on the fund raising circuit with the two Republican U.S. Senators. No doubt he learned these tricks from his father, Jeff Kaufmann, the 45th president’s most devout Iowa believer.

Faced with increased Democratic activism, Kaufmann is shoring up support in precincts that went for Trump in 2016. For example, Big Grove Precinct went for Trump by four points (46 votes). A significant issue there is the ban on Lake Macbride of boat motors over 10 horse power during the summer boating season. During the 2018 session Kaufmann was able to kill the perennial bill to lift the ban. In late June, the Lake Macbride Conservancy announced Rep. Kaufmann will be touring the lake with members. It’s partly for information and experience, but also to develop relationships with key influencers in the group.

As the campaign continues through summer it is important to remind friends and neighbors Bobby Kaufmann is a Republican. Period.

~ First published in the Summer 2018 edition of The Prairie Progressive