Iowa’s Republican governor says he wants no role in resolving the partisan stand-off in the Iowa House.

The 40 Democrats in the Iowa House accuse Republicans of a “double-cross” over plans to debate two gun-related proposals today and all 40 walked out of the statehouse this morning in protest. Last year Democrats in Wisconsin went to Illinois to try to prevent labor-related bills from becoming law. 

“I think that’s very unfortunate when you have people that decide to, really, abandon their responsibility of being there and representing their constituents,” says Republican Governor Terry Branstad.

Branstad is in his fifth term as governor, but he served in the Iowa House during the 1970s and he considers today’s walk-out unprecedented.

“I’ve always felt that the best thing to do is to not be afraid to state your position and then the people of Iowa get a chance to see what your position is and what the other people’s position is and then make the decision,” Branstad says.

Democrats suggest Republican leaders in the House were about to abuse their power today by bringing up for debate two gun-related proposals. Democrats say yesterday, they were led to believe those bills would not be considered today. Iowa’s Republican governor says the Democrats’ walk-out is not wise.

“I know that’s been done in Wisconsin and Indiana and some other states and it’s not been successful,” Branstad says. “I just think most people think that when you are elected to serve, you should be there when duty calls.”

Branstad talked briefly with reporters over the noon-hour after speaking at what was to be an hour-long Black History Month celebration in the Iowa House. The five African Americans who are currently serving in the House are all Democrats, so all were absent. The only member of the planning committee for the event who was present was told the celebration had been moved to a local restaurant.

Two huge cakes delivered to the statehouse that were to be served after the hour-long event of singing, dancing and drama that didn’t happen remain uneaten.