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Newscast 11.11.22: Statehouse Representative Steve Hansen reflects on civility and politics as he leaves his seat

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Two Sioux City Democratic incumbent state lawmakers lost their seats on Tuesday. And both of them have had significant experience in government office. Democratic State Senator Jackie Smith and Democratic State Representative Steve Hansen lost, respectively, to Woodbury County Supervisor Rocky DeWitt and former school board member and retired teacher Bob Henderson.
Smith and Hansen, who is the director of the Sioux City Public Museum, had previously served in the legislature
Hansen says over the years the political climate has become more toxic and more partisan.

And that’s not going to change, you know after you saw this election cycle with hundreds of thousands of dollars being spent on statehouse races, which is just instance. But the tenor of those commercials, and the accusations, and this goes with both parties, just adds to the divisiveness of it. So when people get down there they are angry already.

Hansen says there are people at the statehouse who try to bring a level of moderation to the political atmosphere.

We do have a lot of people that want to work and do work with each other, people who are so ideologically dug in before they even get down there and that carries over, so I am not sure how that is going to be corrected but it definitely devolved over time. I call it the nationalization of state politics. You started seeing that 18-20 years ago where it was creeping down.

Hansen’s opponent who won his house seat, Bob Henderson of Sioux City, failed to show for a League of Women Voters event this year, citing a scheduling conflict. Hansen says those events should be part of the job.

And you are not going to please anybody, you know the old adage at any given time 50% of the people are upset with you, sometimes it is more than that, sometimes less. I think part of the job is to go to those forums. And you are not always going to have a friendly audience, that’s just not the way it is.

Hansen has no regrets about serving two more years at the statehouse, and adds that he is very happy to be back in Sioux City, as the director of the Sioux City Public Museum.