State Rep. Apologizes for Distributing Controversial Article

By Shaina Humphries, KCCI-TV

DES MOINES, Iowa - An Iowa state representative is apologizing after he distributed a newspaper column that contained editorial content some found offensive.

State Rep. Vicki Lensing (D-Iowa City) showed up to the Statehouse Thursday and found a newspaper on her desk with her name written on it.

It was a small paper from Montezuma. The main story was a list of six-figure salaries at the University of Iowa.

"It didn't say who it came from," said Lensing. "So that wasn't the offensive part. What I found offensive was the editor's comments interjected throughout the article."

After the article made its way to every single member of the Iowa House, one representative brought a copy to Progress Iowa.

"'While there are Smiths and Jones, there are 11 Ahmeds to only 30 Browns,'" said Matt Sinovic with Progress Iowa. "They were very concerned, as I was too, once I looked at it. This was being passed out by a state legislator."

The article went on to say "hyphenated, unspellable and 'oriental names' may get you the big bucks."

"It's not what we're about as a state. That's just not the values that we have," said Sinovic.

Freshman Rep. David Maxwell is responsible for handing the papers out.

"I would blame my freshman inexperience and exuberance for thinking I had something good to give people," said Maxwell. "It turns out that there were some bad sides that shouldn't have hit the airwaves."

The paper's editor left a note asking him to do so.

"I did not read the editorial comments, I'm sorry I didn't at this time," said Maxwell.

The editor of the newspaper, Chuck Dunham, declined an interview with KCCI 8 News.
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