(Des Moines, IA) Iowa Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix (R-Shell Rock) announced that he appointed former Ambassador Mary Kramer as an advisor to the Iowa Senate in order assist in Senate Republicans’ efforts improve the workplace culture. Iowa Senate Republicans over the summer lost a harassment lawsuit filed against them by former communications director Kirsten Anderson to the tune of $2.2 Million. They later settled for $1.75 million.
Kramer, 82, a Republican who served as an Iowa State Senator from 1990 to 2003 representing Clive, part of Des Moines, and West Des Moines. She was elected as President of the Iowa Senate in 1997. In 2004, Kramer was appointed by President George W. Bush as U.S. Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Carribean. She served in that role until October of 2006.
Dix appointed Kramer as an advisor after initially announcing a joint Director of Human Resources with the Iowa House of Representatives and then backing away from that decision.
Kramer will serve in a voluntary capacity.
“I was proud to serve in the Iowa Senate and to help lead Senate Republicans for many years. It was with much dismay I have watched the current situation unfold and have concluded there is serious need for culture reform in the Iowa Senate. I have accepted Senator Dix’s invitation to serve as an Advisor because, as a result of my conversations with him, I am convinced he is sincerely committed to ensuring that employees of the Iowa Senate work in a safe and healthy environment,” she said in a released statement.
“I want to thank Ambassador Kramer for accepting this appointment as an Advisor to the Senate. Mary spent her career as a human resources professional and is known as a tireless advocate for women in the workforce and for ensuring our workplaces are free of harassment and discrimination of any kind. She has graciously agreed to assist the Senate as we work to make important improvements to the employment culture,” Dix stated.
“As this process has unfolded, it has become clear to me that we are in need of change and our employees deserve better. Sexual harassment is a serious issue in the American workplace and Senate Republicans are going to use this regrettable incident to show Iowans and Americans how it is appropriately addressed,” Dix added.
Dix announced after appointing Kramer he would re-engage with Iowa House Speaker Linda Upmeyer (R-Clear Lake) to identify and hire a human resources director for the Iowa Legislature. He also said he would release the internal review document compiled in response to the Anderson verdict by the end of the week.
Senate President Jack Whitver (R-Ankeny) expressed his commitment to improving the Iowa Senate’s work environment.
“I absolutely condemn harassment of any type. During my time as Senate President, I have been and will continue to be committed to ensuring the Iowa Senate is a harassment-free environment for all employees and the taxpayers of this great state. Harassment should not and will not be tolerated in the Iowa Senate,” Whitver said.