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.


Where’s the parental choice for fully masked classrooms?

By: - August 16, 2021

Gov. Kim Reynolds likes to talk about respecting Iowans’ choices, especially when it comes to schools. The concept was the driving force behind much of her education agenda this year. She did provide more choices for parents this year, including measures to force all districts to offer 100% in-person classes, create new paths to open […]


The Reynolds administration is the least transparent in 30 years

By: - August 9, 2021

A journalist is arrested and put on trial for doing her job. The governor’s office and state agencies defy the law without consequence by ignoring or refusing requests for public records. A veteran state employee claims she was fired for complying with the law and providing a public record to a reporter. It sounds like […]


GOP officials urge vaccinations but is Iowa prepared for delta variant?

By: - July 26, 2021

 U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley took to Twitter last week to encourage all eligible Iowans and Americans to get vaccinated against COVID-19. “The Delta variant scares me so I hope those that haven’t been vaccinated will reconsider,” he wrote. Ive said this to several Iowa reporters again this wk but I’ll amplify it here: I encourage […]


Experts sidelined so Reynolds gets ‘credit’ for mental health program

By: - July 19, 2021

If a gaffe is when a politician tells the truth, as journalist Michael Kinsley famously wrote, what do you call it when a bureaucrat blurts out the real story about a politician? That may be what happened last week, when an official from the Iowa Department of Education was apparently trying to mollify members of […]


Green water is costing Iowans millions of greenbacks

By: - July 12, 2021

When I think of Iowa, I think green. Driving across the state a few weeks ago, I was struck all over again by how, even as drought threatened, the landscape rushing by the car windows was a sea of verdant crops, grassy hills, prairie plants and leafy pockets of forest. What’s not as apparent from […]


Judge calls out lawmakers on ‘tricks’ and ‘mischiefs’ in legislative process

By: - June 28, 2021

Last week’s district court ruling that struck down a 2020 Iowa law was notable not only as the latest skirmish in the war over abortion rights but also for the way the judge took Iowa lawmakers to task for the shortcuts they have been taking with the legislative process. District Judge Mitchell Turner dispensed fairly […]


Reynolds turns her back on criminal justice reform

By: - June 21, 2021

Gov. Kim Reynolds turned her back on criminal justice reform last week. What brought it home wasn’t just her decision to sign a knee-jerk “Back the Blue” bill that overreacts to last summer’s racial justice protests and makes it even more difficult to hold bad cops accountable by granting qualified immunity from lawsuits. We knew […]


If the game is pandemic politics, Reynolds wins the first round

By: - June 7, 2021

The story played like the opening bell of the campaign for 2022 gubernatorial election: State Auditor Rob Sand, potential Democratic challenger to Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds, accused her of improperly using federal coronavirus aid dollars for “self-promotion.” Reynolds denied the claim and defended the spending nearly $150,000 on a public awareness advertising campaign related to […]


2021 legislative session: The good, the bad and the ugly

By: - May 24, 2021

Iowa Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver cast the work of the 2021 Iowa Legislature as “generational,” and maybe even “historic.” “And the work that we’ve done this session, I think will have lasting impact for many years to come,” Whitver told reporters Thursday after lawmakers adjourned for the year late Wednesday. Whitver’s right about the […]


Cutting unemployment benefits won’t solve Iowa’s worker shortage

By: - May 17, 2021

I’ve worked almost my entire life, from collecting dimes as a small child for household chores like making my bed, to babysitting as a junior high student and summer farm work for my grandparents before I was old enough to get a “real job.” Sometimes, there were things I’d rather be doing. In high school, […]


Yes, governor, mixed messages contribute to vaccine hesitancy. So stop sending them.

By: - May 10, 2021

Gov. Kim Reynolds recently blamed “mixed messages” for the fact that demand for the COVID-19 vaccine has dropped to the point that most Iowa counties are refusing all or part of new shipments. “I think, honestly, a lot of it is just the mixed messaging that’s happening,” Reynolds said during her news conference May 5. […]


Dead bills are haunting the Capitol. Here’s one worth reviving.

By: - May 3, 2021

The final days of the legislative session are like Halloween without the candy: The ghosts of dead bills start haunting the Capitol. In the past week or so, we’ve seen lawmakers try to resurrect a reduction in unemployment benefits, for example, that missed last month’s committee deadline. A ban on employers requiring COVID-19 vaccination for […]