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.


Iowa legislators must support state universities, not just student scholarships

By: - January 9, 2023

When I started my freshman year in college, I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I graduated. I knew I was a writer, but I had no clear job goal in mind. For the first two years at Iowa State University, I registered for courses that would fit into either an English or […]


Reynolds tries to dodge responsibility by arguing she lacks authority

By: - November 21, 2022

Former President Harry S. Truman famously displayed a sign on his desk in the White House that proclaimed: “The buck stops here.” The sign was a notice that Truman was responsible for the decisions made in his administration – he wasn’t “passing the buck” to someone else. The buck is a hot potato in Gov. […]


Iowa’s new absentee voting restrictions worked perfectly — for Republicans

By: - November 14, 2022

My mom was in the hospital most of the week before Election Day. It wasn’t planned, so she had not voted early or requested an absentee ballot before she was admitted. I knew she wanted to vote, so last weekend I called her county auditor’s office to ask about voting from the hospital. Iowa’s law […]

Republicans win all but one Iowa statewide executive office.

By: and - November 9, 2022

Republicans have won all but one of Iowa’s statewide executive offices, but the state auditor’s race remains too close to call. Here’s where the races stood early Wednesday: Attorney general Republican Brenna Bird defeated longtime incumbent Attorney General Tom Miller by a narrow margin early Wednesday. Miller, a Democrat, told reporters he called Bird to […]

Donald Trump points to his head, wearing a red hat, and standing in front of an American flag.

We have to raise our expectations for election losers

By: - November 7, 2022

In an election, all the attention is on the winners. That’s normal. Our expectations are focused on what candidates will do if they win. But this year, maybe for the first time, we need to be clear about our expectations for the candidates who fall short on Election Day. These would-be public servants have a […]

Iowa officials urge voters to trust in the state’s election security

By: - November 3, 2022

Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate urged voters Thursday to avoid being duped by misinformation, disinformation and scams they may encounter on or before Election Day. “My office and your local election officials are the best sources for reliable election information. Do not fall for misinformation or disinformation,” he said. Pate joined a half-dozen officials […]


Will Trump’s Iowa visit help or hurt Chuck Grassley? Do you think Trump cares?

By: - October 31, 2022

The news that former President Donald Trump will hold a rally in Iowa amid a list of battleground states in the week before the midterm elections inspired puzzled concern from some and glee from others. The gleeful weren’t all Republicans, and those expressing anxiety weren’t all Democrats. There have been a lot of questions: Trump […]


Candidates are trying to scare you. Don’t fall for it.

By: - October 24, 2022

It’s the spooky season. We love to be scared. Halloween decorations dot lawns across Des Moines. Over the weekend, I spotted a giant, inflatable baby on a north-side lawn with a mouth full of blood-smeared fangs. Magazines are full of directions for making cheese-cloth ghosts and punch-bowl ice in the shape of severed hands. Horror […]


Putting polls in perspective: They offer insight, not predictions

By: - October 17, 2022

Polls are not predictions. Say it with me:  Polls are not predictions. I’m sure you’ve heard that before, but whenever there’s a significant poll with a surprising result, I feel like it needs to be said again. If we say it enough, maybe RAYGUN will print it on a T-shirt. The Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa […]


Gov. Kim Reynolds is campaigning — against Joe Biden

By: - October 3, 2022

One of Gov. Kim Reynolds’ biggest applause lines at her Harvest fundraiser over the weekend was her announcement that she’s suing the Biden administration over its decision to forgive student loan debt for more than 408,000 Iowans. There was a time when it would have been considered political malpractice to gloat about actively working to […]


Five years after Sergei’s suicide, the mental health services he needed most are still not available in Iowa

By: - September 12, 2022

Some of us in the front row gasped at the documentary’s opening image: A handsome, sandy-haired teenager, eyes closed, tightly hugging his brightly grinning mom at the top of the State Capitol, the city skyline in the distance. We gasped, tears already starting, because five years ago this month, that young man, Sergei Neubauer, died […]


Iowa’s chief justice on family, diversity, and the price of public opinion

By: - August 29, 2022

Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Susan Christensen has a “boy robe” and a “girl robe,” which she wears on the bench as the mood strikes her. The “boy robe” belonged to her father, former Iowa Supreme Court Justice Jerry Larson, and it has his initials inside. He served from 1978 to 2008, and is the […]