In a twist of irony, a Republican lawmaker who has pushed for legislation to keep drunk drivers off the roads was arrested early Friday in Ames for driving while intoxicated and possession of a firearm while under the influence.
State Rep. Francis “Chip” Baltimore, who chairs the Iowa House Judiciary Committee, was arrested early Friday on DUI and weapons charges, the Des Moines Register reports.
The GOP official was arrested after being pulled over on Interstate 35 shortly before 4 AM. A Smith & Wesson handgun recovered was recovered under the driver’s seat, according to the report.
“Drunk driving is unacceptable behavior for anyone, let alone a state legislator,” Iowa House Speaker Linda Upmeyer, a fellow Republican, said in a statement. “We will work through this issue and take appropriate action quickly, We will also work with Rep. Baltimore to get him the help and support that he needs at this time.”
“We will have no further comment at this time,” a spokesman for House Republicans told The Register.
Rep. Baltimore has previously pushed legislation to crack down on drunk drivers.
KCCI reporter Tommie Clark was in the courtroom, where Rep. Baltimore had an initial hearing. She interviewed him after he was released from the Story County Jail.
“Why were you intoxicated around six in the morning,” Clark asked.
“I was picked up earlier than that, so…” Baltimore replied, then trailed off.
“Do you think you should still be the chair of the Judiciary Committee,” Clark asked.
“That’s not my determination to make,” Baltimore said.
“Obviously it’s not my proudest moment,” Rep. Baltimore said, according to the Register.