Memory of Al Henderson links governor, widow

Emotional element added to political rally

- Messenger photo by Bill Shea
Gov. Kim Reynolds, left, embraces Christine Henderson, of Fort Dodge, after Henderson introduced her during a Tuesday evening fundraiser for state Sen. Tim Kraayenbrink, R-Fort Dodge. In her introduction, Henderson recalled how Reynolds called her to console her after the murder of her husband, the Rev. Al Henderson.

The event for state Sen. Tim Kraayenbrink Tuesday evening had all the trappings of a political rally – candidates visiting with the crowd, food and live musicians.

Then came the unexpected dose of raw emotion.

Kraayenbrink, R-Fort Dodge, had asked Christine Henderson of Fort Dodge, to introduce Gov. Kim Reynolds. Kraayenbrink and Henderson go to the same church, St. Paul Lutheran Church.

Henderson’s husband, the Rev. Al Henderson, was the senior pastor there until he was murdered on the church grounds on Oct. 2, 2019.

Christine Henderson recalled how after her husband’s death, Kraayenbrink came to her house and placed his phone on a foot stool in the living room so that Reynolds could speak to her and her family.

- Messenger photo by Bill Shea
State Sen. Tim Kraayenbrink, R-Fort Dodge, speaks to about 200 people Tuesday evening during a campaign fundraiser at his home. Kraayenbrink is unopposed for re-election this year, but because of legislative redistricting following the 2020 census, he will have to run again in 2024.

She also recalled how Reynolds signed a proclamation declaring a Pay It Forward day in Al Henderson’s memory.

After the introduction, Reynolds and Christine Henderson embraced. When Reynolds then took the microphone, her eyes were red and she at first spoke haltingly. She pledged to sign a Pay It Forward proclamation every year she is governor.

Reynolds then praised Kraayenbrink, telling the senator “we love you to pieces,” and soon turned to touting Republican principles.

“We are showing the country and Iowans what conservative leadership is and we’re getting things done,” she said.

“In Iowa, America still works,” she added.

- Messenger photo by Bill Shea
A man contemplates a work of art by Mary Muller in the Blanden Memorial Art Museum. - Messenger photo by Bill Shea Guthrie County Attorney Brenna Bird, who is the Republican candidate for state attorney general, speaks Tuesday evening during a fundraiser for state Sen. Tim Kraayenbrink, R-Fort Dodge.

She reminded the audience of some 200 people on the front lawn of Kraayenbrink’s National Avenue home that she signed a tax cut bill that will reduce the personal income tax rate to 3.9 percent and eliminate any tax on retirement income.

She added that under Republican leadership, Iowa has reduced the amount of time that people can collect unemployment.

Reynolds also said the state will “protect girls sports for girls” with a law that prohibits transgender athletes.

She said her major goal for 2023 is to implement school choice.

“It is critical, critical, that we have a robust , strong public school system,’ she said. “But it’s also important that we give parents a choice in their child’s education.”

The governor was not the only Republican official on hand.

Secretary of State Paul Pate said voter participation and election integrity are not incompatible.

“We’ve got it right here,” he said.

State Sen. Roby Smith, R-Davenport, the party’s candidate for state treasurer, touted his 12 years in the Senate and his work for US Bank as his qualifications.

Guthrie County Attorney Brenna Bird said if she is elected the state’s attorney general she will support law enforcement and take the administration of President Joe Biden to court when she thinks it oversteps its authority. She described the Biden administration as “target rich environment for lawsuits.”

Kraayenbrink is unopposed for re-election this year. As a result of legislative redistricting, he will have to run again in 2024.


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