Kathie Obradovich

Kathie Obradovich

Editor Kathie Obradovich has been covering Iowa government and politics for more than 30 years, most recently as political columnist and opinion editor for the Des Moines Register. She previously covered the Iowa Statehouse for 10 years for newspapers in Davenport, Waterloo, Sioux City, Mason City and Muscatine. She is a leading voice on Iowa politics and makes regular appearances on state, national and international news programs. She has led national-award-winning coverage of the Iowa Caucuses and the Register’s Iowa Poll.

Reynolds celebrates ‘getting back to normal’ with traditional turkey pardoning

By: - November 23, 2021

Squash and Stuffing, two turkeys raised near Ellsworth, will not be on the menu for Thanksgiving Day. Gov. Kim Reynolds “pardoned” the two birds Tuesday as part of an annual tradition that also recognizes Iowa’s role as a major turkey producer. Iowa ranks seventh in U.S. turkey production with about 12 million birds raised a […]

Reynolds ‘confident’ U.S. Treasury will approve her use of COVID-19 aid for staff salaries

By: - November 23, 2021

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said Tuesday she is “very, very confident” her use of nearly $450,000 in federal coronavirus relief funds for staff salaries will be approved by the U.S. Treasury. A state audit released Nov. 15 found that the governor’s office had not provided documentation necessary to show the employees were “substantially dedicated” to […]


Dispute over Reynolds’ use of COVID cash highlights budget shell game

By: - November 22, 2021

Republicans work hard to sell the idea their party is the one that stands for fiscal responsibility. They are leaning heavily on that message on the federal level as Democrats approach a vote on the second of two multitrillion-dollar spending bills. Here in Iowa, Republicans in the Legislature have for decades espoused the principle of […]

Clark Kauffman honored as a press freedom champion

By: - November 12, 2021

Iowa Capital Dispatch Deputy Editor Clark Kauffman has been named the 2021 Stephen Berry Press Freedom Champion by the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism. The award was announced Friday at virtual storytelling event sponsored by the center, which publishes the website The Berry award is named for the center’s co-founder, a Pulitzer Prize-winning […]


High turnout does not mean there’s no voter suppression

By: - November 8, 2021

Iowans turned out in better-than-usual numbers for last week’s city and school board elections. It’s always encouraging to see improvements in voter participation. Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate, a Republican, attributed the higher turnout to increased voter engagement in local issues. “People are much more engaged and I don’t know if that’s just COVID […]


GOP says unemployment benefits hurt Iowa, except when they’re for the unvaccinated

By: - November 1, 2021

Remember way back in June, when unemployment benefits were killing Iowa’s economy? Gov. Kim Reynolds couldn’t wait until extended federal benefits expired in September, so she ended them three months early. She blamed unemployment benefits for the fact that employers were having trouble filling open positions. “Federal pandemic-related unemployment benefit programs initially provided displaced Iowans […]


Senator barked up the wrong tree in defending kennel owner

By: - October 25, 2021

State Sen. Roby Smith’s conduct in bullying Iowa Department of Agriculture staff on behalf of a constituent and raising the possibility of gun violence was beyond disturbing. If you missed Clark Kauffman’s story in Iowa Capital Dispatch, you can read it here. The constituent, Davenport kennel owner Robert Burns, couldn’t have been more pleased that […]


Vaccine passports and the freedom to travel

By: - October 18, 2021

I have traveled internationally numerous times in my adult life, and I always experience something new. My husband and I just got back from 12 days in Italy and Poland, with a wealth of “first times.” We attended a friend’s ordination in St. Peter’s Basilica, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Although we have visited the Vatican and […]


Iowa is failing our vulnerable elderly. Who will keep them safe?

By: - September 27, 2021

When a beloved, elderly relative suffering from a degenerative brain disease had to move into a nursing home a few years ago, we were grateful she was able to secure a room in one of the best facilities in her town. It’s a lovely place, clean and comfortable, with kind and attentive staff. Even so, […]


Will Iowa keep its proud tradition of fair, nonpartisan redistricting?

By: - September 20, 2021

Iowa’s nonpartisan redistricting process has long been held up as a model for the country, even though most other states have shown little interest in adopting it. This year, Iowa’s much-heralded but little-emulated process is proceeding under two sets of unusual circumstances. The first, as has been widely reported, is the late arrival of census […]

Regents vote to ask lawmakers for $15M increase for state universities

By: - September 16, 2021

The Iowa Board of Regents on Thursday approved a request to increase state aid by $15 million for the three state universities. The proposal would provide a $7 million increase for general education to Iowa State University and $4 million each to University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa. The proposal would take […]


What the hail: It’s time to pay attention to climate policy

By: - August 30, 2021

At my house, 2021 has been the summer of the insurance claim. An ice dam on the roof that leaked into a spare bedroom started the ball rolling in February. We ended up replacing the roof, which was finished less than a week before a July storm pelted us with golf-ball-sized hail. The new roof […]