Rep. Fisher criticized for Facebook comments

Rep. Dean Fisher signed his oath of office during the first day of the 2021 legislative session. Fisher begins his seventh term as the representative of House District 72. Photo provided

The Iowa House of Representatives 89th General Assembly opened with a swearing in ceremony Monday.

A day that is normally a cordial affair of bi-partisan cooperation looked different this year in large part due to the insurrection that occurred at the U.S. Capitol Wednesday.

House Minority Leader Todd Prichard (D-Charles City) spent a portion of his opening speech condemning the attempted coup.

“Like many of you, I am disturbed by the riots at our nation’s Capitol and around the country,” he said. “I spent a tour in Iraq and I know an insurgency when I see one.”

Prichard asked if violence against America’s democracy cannot be condemned by people, what would they condemn.

He also criticized Rep. Dean Fisher (R-Montour) for comments recently made on Facebook which appear to have been deleted.

“I believe (that) truth and justice are the pillars of a successful democracy,” Prichard said. “As leaders in this great state and nation I also believe in a fundamental responsibility to strengthen and not weaken those pillars. But the insurrection has exposed deep cracks in those pillars that can’t be fixed without change from us as leaders. When the Q-Anon conspiracy is held out as truth and leaders claim that COVID-19 is simply an internet hoax, truth is a victim and Iowans die. When the governor defends those that question the legitimacy of our elections, a crack develops in the pillar of truth. When a member of this chamber pedals election fraud conspiracy theories and has written that Republicans will prevail because, in his words, ‘our side has the guns,’ there’s another crack in the pillar of truth. This behavior threatens our democracy and our society. Its time must end.”

The Facebook comment made by Fisher was an exchange between Fisher and an unknown Facebook friend. Fisher responded to a comment which stated “well there goes the nation” by saying “we will survive. Remember, our side has the guns, the other side doesn’t know which bathroom to use.”

The News Chronicle reached out to Fisher late Monday afternoon via phone and email for comment.

Fisher responded by email, “It’s a phony claim, I will not give it credence.”

He was sworn in to the Iowa House of Representatives Monday morning for his seventh term as the District 72 representative after defeating Democrat challenger Christina Blackcloud in November.

Fisher took to Facebook last week to express his displeasure for the Democratic party following the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

“The events unfolding today at the US Capitol are a result of widespread mistrust of our election processes, and that mistrust is laid solely at the feet of the Democratic party,” he wrote.

Fisher went on to say the Republicans in Iowa did their job by passing a law that ensured fair elections.

“Shady practices, outright cheating, and the inability to simply count the votes in a timely fashion (within a few hours of the polls closing), are all the result of Democratic led states and cities practices that are earning that mistrust,” he wrote.

Rep. Matt Windschitl (R-Missouri Valley), a Marshalltown native, immediately addressed Rep. Prichard’s comments a few moments later in his opening remarks as the House Republican Leader.

“Leader Prichard, violence and anarchy of any kind is unacceptable,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what the political ideology is and let me, as the majority leader of the Iowa House, stand here today and say: ‘I denounce it,’ whether it was what happened in D.C. or the riots that happened over the summer,’ so you’ve got a leader standing here saying: ‘It’s not ok.'”

Following the oath of office proceedings the Iowa House members spent much of the rest of their first day back in session determining the seating chart for the upcoming legislative session. The rest of the week in the Iowa House will feature committee meetings as well as the governor’s Condition of the State address on Wednesday evening.

Fisher was named the chair of the House Environmental Protection Committee which will have its first meeting of the session on Jan. 13.