The current leader of Senate democrats says the evenly-divided Iowa Senate must “steer a careful course” in 2005. Michael Gronstal, a Council Bluffs democrat, says the voters have “spoken very clearly” because republicans can’t pass a bill without support from democrats and democrats can’t pass a bill without republicans. Why? Because voters elected 25 republicans and 25 democrats to the Senate — and it takes 26 votes to pass a bill. “I think it’s clear that the voters want us to work together, and those (who) pursue a partisan course do so at their own peril at this point in time,” Gronstal says. Republican Jeff Lamberti, the current Senate President, agrees. “Partisanship is going to mean gridlock in the Iowa Senate,” according to Lamberti, who says fighting partisan battles over controversial issues like abortion or gay rights will impede the Legislature’s ability to govern. “We’re hoping that consensus is the model that we’re all going to use,” Lamberti says. Lamberti says with a 25/25 split, both parties have a “share responsibility” to govern. Lamberti and Gronstal made their comments on Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press” program.
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