Friday, April 20, 2018

Irish Senate honors rural Pulitzer and Gish Award winner after Iowa Senate, upset by his editorials, declines to do so

After the Iowa Senate refused to honor a rural Iowa journalist who won last year's Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing, another Senate from farther afield stepped in: the one in Ireland.

Art Cullen, editor of the twice-weekly Storm Lake Times, won the prize for his editorials on water quality and agricultural issues, and his family won the 2017 Tom and Pat Gish Award for courage, integrity and tenacity in rural journalism, given by the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, which publishes The Rural Blog. But Republicans in the GOP-controlled Iowa Senate have stalled a resolution to honor him since Feb. 14. "Republicans in Iowa indicated that the journalist’s reporting had rubbed some lawmakers the wrong way, which is why Senate Resolution 108 has been stalled for months," Morgan Gstalter reports for The Hill, a Washington, D.C., publication that mainly covers Congress.

A member of the Senate in Ireland, from whence the Cullens' ancestors immigrated five generations ago, stepped in. The Irish Senate passed a resolution honoring Cullen yesterday. The motion was introduced by Irish Sen. Mark Daly, parliamentary spokesman for foreign affairs.

"Iowa Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver told reporters on Thursday that they’re 'not really taking the lead from the Irish Senate' on considering the resolution," Gstalter reports.

Cullen wrote in a column Wednesday that he "would not want the support of a den of philanderers and oafs" and "I honestly do not care if I am ever honored by the Iowa Senate, the U.S. Congress or any other institution of dysfunction and cynicism. We did not get into this business to win awards or receive resolutions."

It remains to be seen whether the Iowa Senate will honor this year's Pulitzer winner for Editorial Writing: Andie Dominick of the Des Moines Register, who won for her columns on how privatizing the state's administration of Medicaid hurt the poorest Iowans.

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