Iowa Attorney General Says Reynolds Cannot Pick Next Lieutenant Governor

Monday Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds should not be allowed to pick her own Lieutenant Governor after she takes over for Governor Terry Branstad when he becomes the U-S Ambassador to China.  The ruling by Miller comes after a review of the Iowa Constitution.  Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey was rumored to be Reynolds selection to take her post.

Branstad and Reynolds both responded to Miller saying that the Iowa Attorney General informed them back in December Reynolds would be allowed to appoint a Lieutenant Governor.  The ruling by Miller essentially means there would be no Lieutenant Governor when Reynolds becomes Governor.

In statements given Monday, current Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate and former Secretary’s of State Michael Mauro & Matt Schultz also concur with Lieutenant Governor Reynolds in her right to be allowed to appoint the new Lieutenant Governor.

Gov. Terry Branstad

“Tom Miller was crystal clear last December when he said Lt. Governor Reynolds could act upon existing law and appoint a Lt. Governor when she becomes Governor upon my resignation.

‘Our office has researched the law and consulted with the Governor’s office.  We concur with the Governor’s conclusion that, upon resignation of Governor Branstad, Lt. Governor Reynolds will become Governor and will have the authority to appoint a new Lt. Governor.’ – Tom Miller’s Office, December 13, 2016.

No new facts or laws have changed since December 13, 2016.  Tom Miller has allowed politics to cloud his judgment and is ignoring Iowa law.  This politically motivated opinion defies common sense. Iowans expect a Governor and Lt. Governor working on their behalf. This is disappointing.”

Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds

“In December, Attorney General Tom Miller researched the law and concurred with the Secretary of State and our office that, upon Gov. Branstad’s resignation, I become Governor and have the authority to appoint a new Lt. Governor.  Since then, I’ve been moving forward with that understanding.  Now, five months later, just one day before Governor Branstad testifies before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the Attorney General has reversed himself, but the law hasn’t changed.  The law still states that as Governor, I vacate my role as Lt. Governor and am able to appoint a new Lt. Governor.  With the law on our side we will move forward with his first conclusion as we examine our options in light of Tom Miller’s reversal.”

Ben Hammes, Communications Director

“The power of a Governor to appoint a new Lt. Governor was put into the law in 2009 by the democrats.  That law says: ‘An appointment by the governor to fill a vacancy in the office of lieutenant governor shall be for the balance of the unexpired term.’  This bill passed unanimously by both parties and signed into law by a democrat Governor.  Now, just because the democrats do not control the Governor’s office, Attorney General Miller wants to pretend like this law does not exist, and issue a non-binding opinion.  Quite frankly, this is what Iowans are sick and tired of.  The Attorney General should be upholding the law, not ignoring it.”


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