Legislators may be talking about weighty issues, but there’s also a big buzz at the statehouse over a missing mustache. Fifty-five-year-old Senate Co-Leader Mike Gronstal showed up at the statehouse on Monday without his mustache. “A freak shaving accident,” is how Gronstal jokingly describes his new look. No one at the statehouse had ever seen Gronstal without a mustache.
“I haven’t seen my upper lip since 1969,” Gronstal says. Gronstal, a Democrat from Council Bluffs, has said he may run for governor, but he says shaving his mustache isn’t a signal, one way or the other. “I’ve already indicated publicly that is something I’m going to consider after the (legislative) session is over although I would tell you that I always thought one of Terry Branstad’s legacies…is that he made Iowa safe for politicians with mustaches.”
Senate Co-President Jeff Lamberti, another Senator who aspires to higher office, shaved off his own mustache last fall, and he’s joining in the ribbing of Gronstal. “Mike told me he’s had a mustache since 1969. I was seven years old in 1969,” Lamberti says. “I wasn’t that attached to having a mustache ’cause I’d had it earlier and then I didn’t…so it was never that big a deal to me.”
The clean-shaven Lamberti admits, though, that his wife prefers him with a mustache.