51 Comments
Sep 14, 2023Liked by Robert Leonard

Your piece is so on point and so truthful. I have moderated forums where Ken’s snide, smirking, disrespectful responses to constituents were standard fare. If there is a bully in the room, it’s Ken. Thank you for calling him out and for being honest enough to say that he has been given a pass for far too long. IF he were able to view himself with any objectivity he might see that the god he so freely invokes has apparently not been a role model Ken chooses to emulate. And I find it incredulous that out of all the citizens of Iowa, Ken is the only one chosen for personal conversations with God. And only Ken sees and speaks the truth. What privilege! This has been so long coming and thank you for having the guts to say it.

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Thanks, Mary. And thanks for your work.

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These are the sort of people who hate having the bright light of truth shined on them.

Keep fighting the good fight, Bob!

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founding
Sep 14, 2023Liked by Robert Leonard

Apparently, Ken Rozenboom never got the memo that when you enter public life you're going to take a few slings and arrows. Perhaps he's more upset because his White Peoples Party has captured virtually every lever of power in Iowa, so he's come to expect that the party's agenda will be adopted in a virtually uncontested manner and that he needn't bother with gnats like an independent press. But perhaps what bothers him and his fellow authoritarians is that their grip on power will be fleeting. Sure, Kim is luring right-leaning retirees to Iowa with no taxes and pensions, but those folks eventually will die. As will the rural Iowa landscape that the WPP assists in dismantling. It may take years, but sanity eventually will reassert itself, even in Iowa.

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I share your optimism.

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Sep 14, 2023Liked by Robert Leonard

Thank you so much for writing this. I was at an open meeting and when people questioned him, he turned ugly very fast and the meeting ended. Ken does not realize that he is suppose to be working for the tax payers. As I was reading your piece and then compared to his email, you definitely out classed him all the way. I appreciate your integrity.

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Thank you!

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Bravo. More Iowa journalists need to patiently deconstruct the absolute ridiculous actions of these entitled politicians who metaphorically spit in the faces of their constituents and make Iowa a lesser place every day.

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Sep 14, 2023Liked by Robert Leonard

Great piece that reveals nearly every single terrible character trait of this new brand of Republican. Just blows my mind that Iowans continue to vote for these greedy, pompous jerks.

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Sep 14, 2023Liked by Robert Leonard

Thanks for sharing this. Ken has consistently opposed public education for years. That's bad enough but his arrogant and condescending attitude about his positions makes it even worse. I graduated from Central College so I know how conservative the area is, but I would hope someone better to runs against him.

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Many thoughtful people have run against him and been defeated. Ken loses his temper in public forums regularly. I recall a forum where a constituent read aloud a letter from Ken with much the same tone as the one Bob has shared. Ken lost his temper upon hearing his own words as I remember. I can only surmise that his tactics and temper have the approval of his constituents, which says far too much about his district. The employers who are having a workforce crisis need to look in the mirror about the kind of community they have helped shape. I ,too, went to Central College and am from Pella. There was a time when the mayor was a Democrat and the town was fairly progressive.

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Sep 14, 2023Liked by Robert Leonard

As an old public schoolteacher (which means I teach whoever my city sends my way) I love how you correctly frame the school voucher position as fundamentally undemocratic and unconstitutional—like stealing from public coffers to pay for somebody's private road.

I also appreciate how you lay out the bullying rhetorical methods of MAGA Republicans. (Abbreviated in the cult/abuse world as DARVO: Deflect, Attack, Reverse Victim and Oppressor.) The aggressive method is designed to go right to peoples' fear center, the "I can shoot someone on 5th Ave.," common to all practitioners of political violence (fascists).

Your footage of the Oscaloosa/Smoky Row massacre is seminal; how did Kelly-Anne Conway forget to mention the Oscaloosa massacre? Did people die? Was it Antifa? Millions of questions...

My biggest question, however, comes with your saying, "But I kept my job because I did reporting that didn’t hold you accountable." That is not the watchdog journalism implied by the "fourth estate" mentioned in our Constitution. I said when you interviewed me, "The fly in the ointment of the fourth estate is profit." Is it only retired journalists (a la retired Republicans) that we can trust? Should retired journalists band together and do the journalism they regret not doing?

I have for a long time wondered how the marching orders come down to reporters--from all major news organizations--not to report legitimate and impactful stories. Did you not report on the Oscaloosa and other events because you were directly ordered not to by a superior? Was it a general caution regarding the "slant" of your previous reporting, that kept you from this? Did you write the story, only to have an editor kill it? What's the mechanism?--I've always wondered.

As an example, media sources still will not investigate what Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein was doing dining with Putin and Mike Flynn in Moscow in December, 2015. Stein won the margin in swing states that would have elected Hillary Clinton President. Stein was the ballgame, yet still no one has run this story down. Maybe retired journalists could do the job that paycheck journalists aren't being allowed to.

Thanks for your reporting and your honesty. What a valuable service! – Diana

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Thank you, Diana. Other Republicans were ok with tough questions, but lots of it is self-censoring knowing the community and the politics of ownership/management. Occasionally I was told to dial it back when I asked tough questions. Once I was told not to go so all "big-city" on Chuck Grassley, whatever that means. The big problem is follow up questions. Push too hard, and people think you are rude. Few in the media do good follow up questions. It breaks normal conversational norms, and people are reluctant to do it. Plus, the threat of lack of access is a big deal. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has seriously restricted the media she will talk to, and will rarely hold press conferences. Democrats have no problem with tough questions. I think larger city media are mostly safe in their jobs, but it is a real issue here.

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Sep 14, 2023·edited Sep 14, 2023Liked by Robert Leonard

What's rude (to me) is when someone in power pretends to ignore, or otherwise blows past, a legit question--that, right there, ought to be regarded as the breach of a norm--forcing the reporter to either follow-up (risking being the one to appear rude, and losing "access"), or else allow the source to run roughshod over them (which is typical today, and terrible journalism). But I would ask: When "access" is only according to their ground rules, is it access or complicity?

As for Grassley, we have yet to get reporting on why he said to a gaggle of Iowa journalists on Jan. 5, that he expected to be Pres. pro tem of the Senate on Jan. 6 (which means: Pence wouldn't be there). I was disappointed the J6 commission never investigated that, but it's right there for reporters. Sure looks like Grassley was in on the coup plot. If I were an Iowa reporter, I'd spend my access--and go "big-city"--on that.

https://iowacapitaldispatch.com/2021/01/05/grassley-suggests-he-may-preside-over-senate-debate-on-electoral-college-votes/

(Grassley: "…we don’t expect [the Vice President] to be there, I will be presiding over the Senate.”)

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Yes. We should dig in. Back when I had access, I asked him about it, and he denied it.

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Sep 15, 2023Liked by Robert Leonard

this was so good , I can't put it into words how well you reamed him with the truth.

Thanks! I asked a question about CAFOS at a forum in Albia and he was rude and denied he had part at least ownership in one. Said he did not have influence as his nephew ran it. but I said , you and your brother own it so you are in control. he is full of denial. Susan Beary

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THANK YOU, Mr. Leonard,

Thank you very much. It is outrageous how Iowans allow someone like Rozenboom to represent them. We, the voters, deserve more respect.

This idea that WE -- THE VOTERS put up with the rudeness, the lies, and the total ignorance of men like Rozenboom,] and his role model -- Trump, who refuse to take active looks at the problems, breaks my heart.

Yes, Iowa has a water problem, so FOR ROZENBOOM'S INFORMATION, let's add a little more worry. The water problem related to runoff of soil, fertilizer and manure from agricultural land is even bigger just saying six words: "runoff of soil, fertilizer and manure.

-- Ever heard of Parkinson's -- the disease that begins with people's hands shaking? Ever hear of the herbicide Paraquat?

'-- And what about Monsanto? It's not just Round-Up. Do you ever wonder why farmers are being urged to take another run around the field and plant cover crops? Have you learned to spell R E G E N E R A T I VE A G R I C U L T U R E P R A C T I C E S?? MAYBE if I wrote it syllable by syllable, it would ring a bell: re-gen-er-a-tive. There, did that help?

So let's not get all hung up on bird poop. It would be good, if ol' Ken could get down off his high horse, and start looking for solutions.

While he's at it, may I recommend he ask himself why he thinks taking money away from public education will help build Iowa's achievement in the education world. US News and World Report, one of the most well-known organizations for education rankings, lists Iowa at no. 24.

Once upon a time, Iowa's public education system was ranked in the top two percent. This was when Governors like Bob Ray, Harold Hughes, and Tom Vilsack led bi-partisan efforts to support pubic education, not to starve it like Kim Reynolds, her "pals" Trump and DeSantis, and legislators like our dear Mr. Rozenboom do.

I have to confess, that every time someone asks me where I am from or where I vote, my first response is to be embarrassed about how the Iowa I used to be so proud of has dissolved into this sad state of affairs, a state that men and women like Rozenboom are busy tearing down.

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Thank you for resisting!

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What an insightful piece. Thank you. My representative Tom Moore, uses similar tactics. When called out he uses the standard republican response with words like woke to disparage those who disagree agree with him. These privileged white, middle aged men think a lot about themselves without thinking about how privileged they are.

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Sep 17, 2023Liked by Robert Leonard

The part about soft peddling questions because you and other employees are or were concerned for your jobs; or that asking tough questions would cut access to the legislators, struck a chord. It says we/they can’t handle the truth. That’s a scary thought.

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Sep 16, 2023Liked by Robert Leonard

You are a national treasure, Dr. Bob! This is spot on!!! I’ve received nothing but snarky replies from him. Thank you for saying (writing ; ) out loud what so many of us are thinking!

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Thanks Julie!

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Sep 14, 2023Liked by Robert Leonard

Well done! Especially liked the part of why small town papers and radio stations pull their punches because of Republican ownership; clearly I can see wanting to stay working and have access. Now that you have "retired" from those confining situations, I expect even more scrutiny of both Republican and Democrat alike. I personally lean toward "liberal" and obviously that makes me "Woke". That isn't to say I don't expect government to be so tied to business that legislators are so invisible as public servants. When you can't tell a legislator from a lobbist any better than the old forests from the trees" senerio, it is time for some adjustment!

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I would add, the colleges and the local companies are to blame. For example: a college in his district kept Deidre DeJear from meeting with faculty. Now I see a LinkedIn blurb about Miller-Meeks getting a private meeting with faculty. Where is the leadership and freedom of inquiry?

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Yep. There will be more scrutiny. Thanks!

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His arrogance here is astonishing. And yes, playing the victim. What a whiner.

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I worked as a clerk in the Iowa Legislature for 10 years from 2013 through 2022. Got to see and hear plenty from Ken on the floor on the Senate during debates. Ken was not the sharpest pencil in the box. When challenged during debate, his responses became increasingly confrontational. His talent was following the party line and boisterously promoting it. I am sure the letter you received was not written by him but handed off to a staffer. He has does not posses the intellect nor patience to spend that much time on something like that. He’s too important to belittle himself with such mundane things as personally writing a response.

Yeah - I took the disparaging route but as has been said, “When someone show you who they are, believe them.” Ken continually shows his arrogant and entitled inner self constantly. You need to believe that he is.

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Well put. Thanks.

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