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.


Iowa’s tax cut: Who will play now and who will pay later?

By: - March 7, 2022

“There are two paths people can take. They can either play now and pay later, or pay now and play later. Regardless of the choice, one thing is certain. Life will demand a payment.” — John C. Maxwell  Play now, pay later. That sums up Iowa’s “historic” income-tax cut, which Gov. Kim Reynolds signed into law […]


Parents’ rights? Not this time, GOP says

By: - February 28, 2022

When I was in high school, I agreed to teach a Sunday school class for 3-year-olds at my church with another high-school classmate. The class was only 45 minutes long, and mostly consisted of coloring, simple crafts and reading Bible stories to the children. No big deal – except there were at least 10 kids […]


GOP works to pile on more absentee ballot rules

By: - February 21, 2022

The Republican majority in the Iowa Legislature has approved more than 50 pages of new election laws since the beginning of 2020, with the result of making it more complicated to obtain and return an absentee ballot. They have made changes over the past few years to nearly every aspect of the absentee voting process: […]

Senate panel increases proposed criminal penalties for ‘obscene’ school books

By: - February 16, 2022

A state Senate committee has toughened proposed criminal penalties for educators in legislation aimed at “obscene” material and “hard-core pornography” in classrooms and school libraries. Senate File 2198 was approved Wednesday by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The move means the bill will meet this week’s committee deadline for policy bills. The bill would create a […]


Silly school litter box rumors front a darker agenda

By: - February 14, 2022

A recent story out of small-town Iowa was getting lots of twitters and titters: The Carroll school superintendent sent out an email to parents to knock down a false rumor that there were litter boxes in school bathrooms to accommodate students who “identify” as cats. Some people laughed at how absurd it is that school […]

Senate panel endorses criminal penalties for educators who distribute ‘hard-core porn’ to students

By: - February 10, 2022

A panel of state senators heard more than an hour of public comment Thursday before advancing a bill that would impose criminal penalties on educators for providing “obscene material” or “hard-core pornography” to students in a classroom or school library. Senate File 2198 would create a criminal penalty for teachers or school officials who provide […]


Will Iowans fight against racism and discrimination?

By: - February 7, 2022

State Rep. Ross Wilburn’s great-great-grandfather fought for the Union Army in the Civil War. He’s justifiably proud of that fact, as he told fellow lawmakers during some brief remarks last week to celebrate Black History Month. Wilburn’s relative, Harrison Tilford Gash, escaped enslavement in Missouri and enlisted on Sept. 23, 1863 in Illinois. He was […]

Lawmaker eyes Texas-based program that funds abortion alternatives

By: - January 31, 2022

An Iowa state senator said Monday he is working on legislation to create a system similar to a Texas-based pregnancy assistance program that funnels state money through a network of social service agencies that provide alternatives to abortion. Sen. Mark Costello, R-Imogene, is chairman of the Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee. The panel heard […]


Lawmaker flips the bird at the Capitol. I’m all out of (you know what).

By: - January 31, 2022

A fellow journalist, whom I greatly respect and admire, urged me last week to respond to a crass display by a state lawmaker in the Capitol rotunda. I sighed and wondered if I had any effs left to give. For those of you who have wisely stuck to your New Year’s resolution to stay off […]

House, Senate advance bills requiring hands-free phones for drivers

By: - January 26, 2022

Iowa lawmakers and public safety advocates who have been working for years to ban the use of handheld phones and other devices behind the wheel expressed hope Wednesday that this is the year to get a bill to the governor’s desk. Both the Iowa House and Senate are working on bills that would prohibit any […]

A woman holds a baby while working at a laptop.

Senators renew effort to create state protections for pregnant workers

By: - January 25, 2022

A panel of Iowa senators unanimously advanced a bill Tuesday requiring employers to offer “reasonable accommodation” for workers who are pregnant or have recently given birth. Senate File 485 would require employers to provide “reasonable accommodation” related to pregnancy or recent childbirth for workers who ask for them with the recommendation of their health care […]


Do crime victims’ rights belong in Iowa’s constitution? The answer isn’t so simple

By: - January 24, 2022

When someone says we need stronger rights for crime victims, it sounds like a no-brainer. It’s hard to find anyone who would say they lack sympathy for people who have been harmed by criminals. But when it comes to whether to include a statement of victims’ rights in the state constitution, as legislation now being […]