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JANET PETERSEN COMMITTEES

SENATE DEMOCRATIC LEADER


Eighteenth District Rules & Administration; Ranking Member
Statehouse: (515) 281-3901 Commerce
janet.petersen@legis.iowa.gov Judiciary

The Senate
State of Iowa
Eighty-seventh General Assembly
STATEHOUSE
Des Moines, IA 50319

December 7, 2017

The Honorable Mary E. Kramer


13598 Village Ct
Clive, IA 50325

Dear Ambassador Kramer:

Thank you for volunteering to serve in the new role of Advisor to the Senate and to lead the
effort to improve the workplace culture in the Iowa Senate. I appreciate you sharing your
expertise in human resources and experience as a public servant to commit to making sure the
Iowa Senate will become a safe and healthy environment.
Because of the ongoing national conversation about sexual harassment in the workplace,
I believe Iowans are counting on us to address this issue in a bipartisan manner. The entire Iowa
Senate received a black eye because of the Kirsten Anderson case, the findings of the “internal
review” and related media coverage.
I am offering my cooperation to you because we all have a legal, moral and business imperative
to address this serious problem. Otherwise, we are doing a disservice to Iowans, including our
staff and our constituents.
The findings of the “internal review document” provide a road map for the initial part of your
efforts. Specifically, I hope you will dig deeper into the troubling findings about ongoing
harassment and discrimination, continuing fear of retaliation, and “sexually suggestive” and
homophobic comments in the Senate.

A second area where I pledge to cooperate is improving Senate policies, including personnel
guidelines and the Code of Ethics. After reviewing the Senate’s policies and after talking with
Senators, staff and others, I am specifically interested in reforms that will ensure that:

 Victims of harassment will have a clear path to file complaints and have them
investigated in a fair, impartial and confidential manner. This includes victims of sexual
harassment and other forms of unlawful harassment (e.g., race, ethnicity, age,
disability, gender identify, sexual orientation, etc.). Current Senate policies in this area
are inadequate, unclear and need to be improved.
 Victims who step forward to file a complaint about harassment will be protected from
retaliation or discrimination by anyone. The same protections must also be available for
witnesses and others involved in any investigation. Current Senate policies in this area
are inadequate or non-existent.
 There will be a clear process for punishing any Senator, employee or anyone else who
takes retaliatory action against someone who has filed a complaint. The same process
also needs to protect witnesses and others involved in any investigation. Current
Senate policies are inadequate or non-existent in this area.
 There will be a clear process for disciplining any Senator, lobbyist, media employee or
vendor who violates the anti-harassment policies. Current Senate policies are
inadequate or non-existent in this area.
 All Senators, staff, lobbyists and media will be required to attend training at least once
every General Assembly regarding the Senate’s anti-harassment policies and complaint
procedures. Training currently provided to Senators and staff is viewed by most as
inadequate or ineffective.
 The Senate Majority Leader, Senate President, Senate Minority Leader, Secretary of the
Senate and other staff supervisors will be trained at least once every General Assembly
on how to properly receive, investigate and, if warranted, to take corrective action.
There is currently no requirement for this kind of training.
 All Senators, staff and others in the Capitol will have a clear understanding of the role
that the new Director of Human Services will have in improving the workplace culture
at the Capitol and enforcing anti-harassment policies.

There are several sources that would assist your efforts to improve the Senate’s policies and
procedures, including the Council of State Governments, the Society for Human Resource
Management and private sector employers.

Finally, I invite you to update Senate Democratic leaders and our staff on a regular basis on the
progress you are making and how we can assist your efforts.

Thanks again for your service.

Sincerely,

Janet Petersen
Senate Democratic Leader

cc: All Senators


All Senate staff