Tempers flared a bit in the Iowa Senate yesterday, and one senator tossed an unflattering label into the mix. Senator Mike Connolly, a democrat from Dubuque, got things rolling by questioning why the Republican Senate Co-Leader, Stewart Iverson, would not allow a vote on a pro-ethanol bill. Iverson shot back, asking why Connolly wouldn’t allow a vote on an education bill. Then Senator Matt McCoy, a democrat from Des Moines, said bills weren’t moving in the Senate because Senate leaders were “gutless wonders.” During an interview afterwards with Radio Iowa, McCoy said some people told him he’s absolutely right because there are many issues Iowans care about that the legislature is not tackling. Others objected to his use of the phrase gutless wonders. “I used the term because I was simply trying to state to people that, you know, it takes guts to do what we need to do to make this a better state,” McCoy said. McCoy said leaders are too worried about their political futures to tackle controversial issues. McCoy said there are groups of legislators who aren’t afraid to take “tough votes” that will put the state on a different path. “Part of the problem is a lot of the people are thinking about their next election and I think if you’re going to change Iowa…you’re going to have to rock the boat, and nobody seems willing to rock the boat,” McCoy said. Later Senate Co-Leader Mike Gronstal, a democrat from Council Bluffs, said a verbal dust-up was to be expected in a Senate evenly divided between republicans and democrats. “Let’s face it, both parties still have their strong beliefs. There’s perhaps a little bit of frustration,” Gronstal said.Gronstal attributed it to “pent-up partisan energy” that hasn’t been used up debating bills, since the Senate hasn’t debated that many bills this year. “That’s normal and healthy,” Gronstal said.
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