Please find us a new candidate in Iowa House district 21. State Representative Kerry Burt should not run for re-election and probably should not even serve out his term. It would be hard enough to salvage a political career in light of a state auditor's report and criminal investigation over Burt giving a false address to evade tuition fees for his children. But this report is just as disturbing:
Rep. Kerry Burt, D-Waterloo, told Ankeny police in February that he could not be arrested because of his position as a state representative, according to the police report.
Burt also told police that it was not a question of how much he had to drink but "who he was drinking with." Burt then whispered, "the governor," according to police reports.
Burt apparently also mentioned that he was a firefighter and asked for some "professional courtesy" instead of arrest. His attorney says his comments are being taken out of context. I don't know what the criminal investigation regarding the tuition fees will conclude, and I don't know whether Burt will be convicted of the drunk driving charge, but it looks to me like his political career is over.
Governor Culver doesn't want anything to do with defending Burt, and who can blame him?
"Obviously this is a very serious legal matter and it's very troubling to see how dangerous this situation really was," Culver said, later adding that he was only with Burt that night for about 30 minutes at a dinner attended by roughly 15 people.
"I have no idea what he did after I left that dinner at 8:55. I was home at 9 o'clock. He was arrested at 2 a.m. I have no idea really what he did between 9 and 2."
Culver declined to say if he believed Burt should resign. That decision, Culver said, is for Burt to make.
The Iowa House Ethics Committee won't take up this matter until other investigations conclude. It would be better for Burt to resign or at least announce that he doesn't plan to run for re-election next year.
We have a lot of good Democrats in the Waterloo area. Please post a comment if you have any suggestions about good candidates for this House district in 2010, or sooner if a special election is needed.