Iowa Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix (R-Shell Rock) resigned from his leadership role and his Senate seat effective Monday afternoon. His resignation occurred just two hours after Iowa Starting Line, a liberal blog, posted a video that showed Dix kissing a woman, identified only as a lobbyist, at the Waveland Tap, a bar located on University Avenue on the west side of Des Moines.
The 55-year-old State Senator served Iowa Senate District 25 that consists of Butler, Grundy, Hardin, and western Story Counties. Dix is married and has three children. He served as the Iowa Senate Republican Leader since 2013 and became the majority leader when Republicans took over control of the Iowa Senate in 2016. Dix was first elected to the Iowa Senate in 2011 after serving two terms in the Iowa House of Representatives.
His tenure over the last year has been rocky. Over the summer, Iowa Senate Republicans lost a harassment lawsuit filed against them by former communications director Kirsten Anderson to the tune of $2.2 Million. In September they settled for $1.75 million.
Anderson, fired in 2013, alleged the reason for her termination was a complaint she filed about sexual harassment she said created a toxic workplace. Several hours after filing that complaint she was fired. Dix claimed it was due to poor work performance.
Shortly after, Dix drew criticism for backtracking from a joint announcement with the Iowa House Republicans that both chambers would hire a human resources director who would as, part of the position’s duties, handle sexual harassment complaints.
Dix appointed former Ambassador Mary Kramer to consult on steps that needed to take place in the Iowa Senate, and later released an internal review that found that sexual harassment prevention training is inadequate. It noted a couple of incidents of sexual harassment in 2012 and 2013. Also, Senate Republican Caucus staffers shared that “there is an environment on the Senate Floor with Senators making sexually suggestive comments or about sexual preferences” with one alleged instance happening during the 2017 session.
“I believe he made the right decision for himself and for his district, but most importantly, I believe he made the decision in the best interest of his family,” Iowa Senate President Jack Whitver (R-Ankeny) said in a released statement after receiving Dix’s resignation letter. “Senate Republicans will continue to move the policies Iowans elected us to pursue.”
Whitver said Iowa Senate Republicans would hold an election for Iowa Senate Majority Leader on Wednesday, March 14.
Update: Since the Iowa Legislature is currently in session the 40-day notice for a special election is waived. According to Iowa Code 69.14, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds only has to give an 18-day notice to fill Dix’s seat. It also has to be held on a Tuesday.