WAUKEE, Iowa–Anna Bergman, who had served as attorney for the Iowa Association of School Boards since October, told Channel 13 Thursday that said she got fired after writing an opinion piece in the Des Moines Register that defended Governor Kim Reynolds and other Republican leaders.
Bergman wrote her piece after reading an earlier opinion piece from Claire Celsi, a Des Moines Democratic activist who is now running for State Senator Matt McCoy’s seat. McCoy isn’t seeking re-election as he instead will run in a Democratic primary against long-time Polk County Supervisor John Mauro.
Celsi wrote in a piece published on-line on January 29th, “You’re doing your level best to run our state into the ground, I can tell. Nice job. It’s working.”
Celsi then went on to lay out how she believes Republicans are hurting the state in a variety of areas.
Bergman responded to Celsi’s criticism in a piece published on-line for the Register on January 31st. She wrote, “Iowa Democrats need to cut out the hyperbole, because Iowans are not buying it.”
She then showed how she thinks Republicans have actually helped the state in numerous ways.
Bergman’s piece appeared in the Register‘s print edition yesterday. She said later in the day, IASB Executive Director Lisa Bartusek told her that she was fired because of the political nature of Bergman’s comments and that the IASB is not a political organization.
Bergman said she wrote the piece as a private citizen, not on behalf of the IASB. The Register did disclose at the bottom of the piece that Bergman was the IASB attorney and a Waukee council member.
The IASB sent a statement from Bartusek to Channel 13 News Thursday regarding Bergman’s dismissal.
“The Iowa Association of School Boards has an unwavering commitment to represent the views of its members in a nonpartisan way that is respectful of both political parties, and does not engage in endorsements of candidates in either party.
I determined that there was a conflict in the organization’s need to work in an absolutely nonpartisan manner, and very public statements, made without authorization while identifying herself as an IASB employee, conflicted with the organization’s objectives. I informed Ms. Bergman yesterday that I felt it served the organization best that we sever employment.
Ms. Bergman has the absolute right to publicly express her partisan political views, and I respect her passion and commitment to her political party. I wish her well in her future endeavors.”
During a live interview Thursday on the Channel 13 News at Four, Bergman also confirmed that she is planning her next steps. She has talked to her attorney about any possible legal action she could take against the IASB for her firing.
Bergman also said she is now looking at running for the Iowa Statehouse. About 30 minutes before her interview on Channel 13, State Representative Rob Taylor, a Republican in Waukee, announced he would not seek re-election. Taylor said he will finish out his third term in the house before focusing his efforts on the family’s business interests.
Bergman lives in Taylor’s district.
Watch her interview on Channel 13 News here.