Governor Responds to Lawmaker’s OWI Arrest, Official’s Misuse of Public Money, and Prison Inmate Attack

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  Incidents that involved the public's safety, misuse of taxpayer money, and a state worker's long-term well-being brought responses from Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds on Monday during her weekly news conference.

Incident 1: State Representative Chip Baltimore, a Boone Republican, got arrested early Friday morning on suspicion on driving under the influence, while carrying a weapon in his vehicle. Monday morning, House Speaker Linda Upmeyer announced she had stripped Baltimore of his position as the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

Governor Reynolds' response: "My thoughts and prayers are with Representative Baltimore. It starts with admitting that you made a mistake. He has done that. It starts with taking responsibility. And he's done that."

Incident 2: Richard Lumbard got fired as executive director of the Iowa Communications Network after a state audit found that he misspent nearly $380,000 and inappropriately gave pay raises to certain employees.

Governor Reynolds response: "I think they took proper action. The individual is no longer there and they're moving forward."

Incident 3: A prison guard at the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison who got stabbed with a homemade shank by an inmate last October still hasn't been able to return to work and doesn't know when, or if, he can. He questioned whether the prison had adequate staffing and said radios that staff use to communicate don't always work inside the prison, according to Radio Iowa. 

Governor Reynolds' response: "I do have complete confidence in him (Department of Corrections Director Jerry Bartruff) to manage the resources and manage the agency. And they're continually looking at ways that they can provide service. If it's an operational or if it's functional, then he'll have to address that, of course."

Reynolds' staff later added that the governor feels the prison staffing is adequate.