Blaming a lawmaker for an accident is ignoring a lot


On June 14, 2022, a week after Nunn won the Republican primary to oppose the two-term Democrat, Axne’s campaign was released. a video ad it begins with reports of a fatal accident at an amusement park on July 3, 2021. Michael Jaramillo, 11, of Marion, Iowa, deceased after being trapped underwater at Adventureland Park. The park is in Altoona, Iowa.

“A tragedy that could have been avoided. But Zach Nunn took money from the CEO of Adventureland and then sponsored legislation to relax amusement park safety rules.

“A child is dead. Zach Nunn put his big donor before the safety of Iowa families.”

Unfair and inaccurate, Nunn replied. “Beyond the heinous exploitation of the tragic loss of a family, the announcement is false on several counts,” he told PolitiFact Iowa in a text. Jaramillo didn’t die because of the legislation, Nunn said.

His campaign also released a statement it says in part, “Nunn and bipartisan lawmakers passed the law to improve labor opportunities in Iowa, making Iowa one of the poorest unemployed states in the nation.” New reports show that the amusement park industry nationwide was struggling to find workers after COVID-19 in 2021.

Axne’s communications manager, Paige Godden, defended the message of the announcement. “The park had a long history of safety violations and unsafe conditions that resulted in injury to guests and workers, but when he lobbied to relax safety rules, Zach Nunn forged ahead. and sponsored this legislation,” Godden wrote in an email to PolitiFact Iowa. “Nunn took money from Adventureland executives at the time and made their offer.”

The legislation in question was House file 558, which lowered the minimum age for operators of amusement park rides from 18 to 16, subject to a carnival ride and safety training. Representatives. Ras SmithD-Waterloo; Brian LohseR-Bondurant; Megan Jones, R-Sioux Rapids; and John Wills, R-Spirit Lake, co-sponsored the bill. Nunn, Smith, Lohse, and Wills represent counties that have amusement parks, and Jones District covers the southern portion of the Lake Okoboji area which includes one.

Nunn introduced a companion bill in the Senate, but it was dropped in favor of the House bill, which Governor Kim Reynolds signed into law on April 30, 2021.

The House bill passed the Senate with a bipartisan party 29 to 15 vote after the House has approved it by a 76 to 17 vote. The House vote was also bipartisan.

Nunn, an Air Force aircrew intelligence officer, was absent when the Senate voted because he was on an active military deployment, he said. Democrats voting for the law, Nunn’s campaign accurately pointed out, included state party chairman Rep. Ross Wilburn and House Minority Leader Jennifer Konfrst.

Asked about the Democratic votes, Godden wrote, “Cindy Axne is not responsible for the votes of Senators or members of the State House, and cannot say how they voted for this legislation.”

Adventureland Park is located in the suburbs of Des Moines. State Division of Labor ride investigators found 17 security breaches on July 6, 2021, at the park’s Raging River ride, where the crash occurred. Michael Jaramillo’s brother, David Jaramillo spent time in a coma while recovering; he was 15 when the accident happened. The boys’ father, also named David Jaramillo, was also injured in the crash. The path has not reopened This year.

Former Adventureland CEO and co-owner Michael Krantz of Des Moines gave Nunn’s campaign for the Legislature two donations of $2,500 — one in 2018 and one in 2020 — for a total of $5,000. $, Iowa campaign finance disclosure records show. He gave $11,100 to Nunn’s 3rd congressional district campaign in August 2021, Federal Election Commission records show. Members of the Krantz family, who sold the amusement park in late 2021, collectively donated approximately $34,000 to Nunn’s congressional campaign, the Des Moines Register reported.

Nunn, who lives in Bondurant, outside of Des Moines, said he’s known the Krantz family since he was 14 and Krantz owned a business in his state legislative district. “Axne makes the verifiable false accusation in the attack ad that the legislation had the effect of putting donors before families and the end result of the legislation caused the death of a child – verifiably incorrect “, he wrote in his text to PolitiFact Iowa.

Operators of the Raging River ride when the July 2021 accident happened were over 18. But the ride had been the site of another death, of a 68-year-old ride operator who fell in 2016. The park shut down the Raging River ride in 2020 to replace a switchboard in an effort to prevent such an accident from happening again, said a park attorney at the Des Moines Register.

Our decision

Axne’s announcement for Congress read, “A tragedy that could have been avoided. But Zach Nunn took money from the CEO of Adventureland, then sponsored legislation to relax park safety rules. attractions. A child is dead. Zach Nunn put his major donor first, ahead of the safety of Iowa families.”

Nunn sponsored a bill in the Iowa Senate that was the counterpart to one that became law in 2021. The law lowered the minimum age to hold a ride at an amusement park in Iowa from 18 at 16 years old. Additionally, he accepted $34,000 in campaign donations collectively. of the family that owned the park at the time.

However, the announcement oversteps when it suggests that Adventureland’s death could have been avoided had the law not been passed. The operators of the ride that led to the teenager’s death were over 18.

We evaluate the statement Generally false.


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