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.


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 […]


Why is the GOP demonizing teachers as ‘sinister’ and pushing pedophilia?

By: - January 17, 2022

Gov. Kim Reynolds took time in her Condition of the State message to accuse Iowa teachers and school administrators of “pushing their world view” on students by allowing certain books in the school library or classroom. The address came a day after Senate President Jake Chapman, an Adel Republican, accused both teachers and journalists of […]


Senate Republicans’ ejection of media from chamber hurts all Iowans

By: - January 10, 2022

The 2022 session of the Iowa Legislature will begin today, much as lawmakers have convened for most of the past 175 years: with speeches and ceremony, the reuniting of friends and the renewal of partisan enmity. One significant difference: The Iowa Senate will exclude the Statehouse media from access to the floor of the chamber. […]


Here’s why I’m still hopeful about Iowa’s future

By: - January 3, 2022

A friend sent me an email recently, remarking on a recent column, and said he wasn’t sensing “defeatism” from my view of recent events in Iowa. He said that was “laudable” — but he wasn’t feeling optimistic, to say the least. He said he was thinking about leaving the state before it turns into “Arkansas […]


Here’s why Iowa Capital Dispatch is suing the governor

By: - December 20, 2021

Iowa Capital Dispatch and our deputy editor, Clark Kauffman, joined other media organizations in a lawsuit filed last week by ACLU of Iowa seeking enforcement of the Iowa Open Meetings and Records Act. The lawsuit names Gov. Kim Reynolds, her office, a staff attorney and the office’s current and former communications directors as plaintiffs. As […]