Today, Governor Chet Culver spoke publicly for the first time about separate incidents involving the family of Supreme Court Chief Justice Marsha Ternus and Waterloo Democratic Representative Kerry Burt. Polk County deputies say they found an underage drinking party at the home of Justice Ternus and her husband, Dennis Drake, July 12th at their home in rural Grimes. Authorities later cited Drake for "interference with official acts" and the seven 19-year-olds with underage possession of alcohol. The report does not say whether Ternus was in the home. She was not cited in the incident.
For Representative Burt, this is the second incident involving the law since he began his first term at the Iowa Statehouse in January. An audit by Iowa Auditor David Vaudt alleges that Burt used a false address to get his children a tuition discount worth about $37,000 at the Price Laboratory on the University of Northern Iowa campus. Burt is already facing a drunk driving charge for an unrelated incident during the legislative session.
Today, the governor said the incident at the Chief Justice's home is a "local issue". He said he wasn't familiar with the case. He did say he was "troubled" by the Burt situation, although, he would not say Burt should resign. What do you think? Should Burt resign his position as a state lawmaker as Republican State Chairman Matt Strawn demanded? Should he keep his job until the legal matters are settled? What about the allegations of the underage drinking party at the Chief Justice's home? Should she be disciplined at all? The report, by the way, doesn't say she was home during the incident. Is this even a story at all?