Constituents expect their representatives to be quick studies and certainly understand that this may entail reading while conducting the people’s business , but a state lawmaker really pushed the envelope with his choice of reading material during a recent debate on the Iowa House floor.
State Rep. Ross Paustian is taking lots of heat after Des Moines Register reporter Brianne Pfannenstiel snapped a photo of him reading “Sex After Sixty” in the legislative chamber.
Pfannenstiel did the Republican no favors when she posted the photo on Twitter for all to see:
Rep. Paustian clearly engaged in this debate. #ialegis pic.twitter.com/qdMyFEasop
— Brianne Pfannenstiel (@brianneDMR) March 17, 2015
Paustian, 59, certainly made no effort to hide his actions. As one social media user asked: “Bravado or oblivious?”
The lawmaker later explained that a colleague who had just turned 60 received the book as a gag gift and handed it to him to look at — Paustian certainly seems to be engrossed by the content.
“I knew what was going on. I knew how we were going to vote on amendments,” he told local ABC affiliate KCRG. “So it wasn’t like I wasn’t paying attention to what was going on.”
“If any of my constituents were offended, I apologize,” he said. “I certainly wasn’t trying to offend anybody. I’m doing my job here for my constituents.”
As for the reaction to the photo, as you might expect, social media users had a field day.
Here is a sampling of responses as seen on Twitter:
@brianneDMR perhaps the greatest photo ever. Pulitzer worthy.
— Michael (@palmer4Cy) March 17, 2015
@brianneDMR @ProgressIowa – Ok, come on, that’s photoshopped right?
— Mary Wolfe (@RepMaryWolfe) March 17, 2015
@brianneDMR apparently somethings are more important than worker rights
— Ken Sagar (@KenSagarIFL) March 17, 2015
Priceless!! RT @brianneDMR: Rep. Paustian clearly engaged in this debate. #ialegis pic.twitter.com/i9YIyFUEgj
— Corey Bauters (@coreybauters) March 17, 2015
@brianneDMR This debate may go on for a while. What should he read next?
— James Lynch (@jamesqlynch) March 17, 2015
.@jamesqlynch @brianneDMR The answer obviously is “50 shades of Grey” right?
— Christian Ucles (@daakardior) March 17, 2015
Bravado or oblivious? Priceless either way. “@brianneDMR: Rep. Paustian clearly engaged in this debate. #ialegis pic.twitter.com/QI5a7HFqxj”
— Timothy Meinch (@timeinch) March 17, 2015
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