The American Gov.
and Lieutenant Governor of Iowa, Terry Branstad, has proposed reinstating the guard system and security guards in the state.
The proposal is being championed by Iowa Republican Gov.
Kim Reynolds, a Republican, and the state’s Republican Guard Association (RGA), a political action committee that backs Branstads re-election bid.
The governor and lieutenant governor’s announcement came shortly after a bipartisan group of Iowa lawmakers sent a letter to the Iowa House and Senate expressing concern about the governor’s proposal.
Branstads office had been working on a compromise for a few months, but the governor and the RGA decided to pursue it on Monday after hearing from representatives from the Iowa National Guard Association and other groups, the governor said.
“There’s no question that we have to be very vigilant,” Branstadd said, “because we can’t allow that kind of a problem to happen again.”
Branstad said in a statement that the state needs to move past “frequent and repeated attacks” against its guards and the Guard Association, which is responsible for ensuring the safety of Iowa National Guardsmen.
He added that he supports the idea of restoring the guard systems, and he urged the governor to follow the Rga’s recommendation that the Guard and Reserve Units should be reinstalled.
Brenstads proposal comes amid rising tensions between the National Guard and the Iowa Democratic Party, which has long criticized the Iowa Guard and its officers.
Last month, two Iowa National Security Guardsmen were arrested on charges of sexual assault and battery after they allegedly grabbed a woman on a bus during a protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline, which was funded with federal taxpayer dollars.
The arrests prompted the Iowa Department of Justice to file charges against the two Guardmen, as well as the Iowa Republican Party, on the charges.
Biden also proposed reinstatement on Wednesday, calling for the Guard to “be a pillar of our state and the American way of life.”
Biden has also said that Iowa’s Guard should be able to “do its job” without federal oversight, and that the Guards “should be able” to protect people regardless of race or religion.
“I don’t believe in being politically correct,” Branstad said.
“And I don’t think it’s healthy for the guards to be political correctness police.”
Brenstad and Reynolds’ proposal would have the Guard regroup, retrain and re-train the Guard’s 2,000-plus members in Iowa.
It would also require that Guard members be fingerprinted and undergo drug tests before they can go out on missions.
The plan would also provide for more uniformed police officers for the Guards.
A spokesperson for the Iowa GOP said in an email that Branstad has made it clear that his proposal is not going to change the Guard.
“There are two sides to every issue, and if you are going to put the guard back together, then you need to come up with a plan to make sure we can protect our state,” the spokesperson said.
The Guard is a veteran service unit, which the National Governors Association says has about 7,000 members.