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Branstad, counsel release official statements in response to Godfrey lawsuit

(DES MOINES) – The administration of Gov. Terry E. Branstad has released a statement regarding the lawsuit filed today in Polk County by Mr. Christopher Godfrey.

Mr. Godfrey was asked to step down by Gov. Branstad due to his performance as the Workers’ Comp Commissioner, where he oversaw an increase in workers’ comp insurance, forcing additional costs onto Iowa businesses.

Tim Albrecht, Gov. Terry Branstad’s communications director stated the following:

“Governor Branstad does not discriminate against anyone on the basis of race, age, religion, gender or sexual orientation. He did not discriminate against Christopher Godfrey. He did not know that Christopher Godfrey was gay until Mr. Godfrey stated so in his claim. Governor Branstad’s record over the last 30 years, both as Governor and as the President of Des Moines University, has shown Iowans that he believes a person’s sexual orientation does not affect his or her ability to do a good job.

“Governor Branstad was elected on the promise of helping Iowa businesses create jobs. After thorough research, and after speaking with Iowa businesspeople on the campaign trail, Governor Branstad concluded that a different Commissioner would be better able to keep insurance premiums low for Iowa employers. Governor Branstad’s appointments and reappointments were done with an eye toward improving Iowa’s economy.”

George LaMarca, the attorney who will be retained by the administration in the case, stated the following:

“The Governor was acting well within the law in lowering Mr. Godfrey’s salary. Iowa law allows the Governor to increase or decrease the Commissioner’s pay. Governor Branstad utilized this law to send him a message that he was not satisfied with the direction the Commissioner was moving this department. Governor Branstad’s record is one of respect for the legal rights of everyone. That respect is well-known by all who have worked with him, regardless of their politics.

“The Governor was aware that Mr. Godfrey’s policies raised the concern of Iowa employers. The Governor shares their concern and decided that he had to exercise his executive privilege in seeking a Commissioner aligned with the Governor’s campaign message of job creation and economic development in Iowa. My firm looks forward to bringing out all of the facts which led to Governor Branstad’s decision to exercise this right under Iowa law to decrease Commissioner Godfrey’s pay.”

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