Iowa official resigns after sending agency-wide email about Tupac

Jerry Foxhoven, 66, also held an in-office birthday party that included cookies adorned with the words “Thug Life.”

July 17, 2019
Iowa official resigns after sending agency-wide email about Tupac L: via YouTube R: Lt. Gov. of Iowa press release  

The director of the Iowa Department of Human Services resigned last month at the request of the state's Governor, Kim Reynolds. It was presumed at the time that 66-year-old Jerry Foxhoven's departure was the result of a tricky two years in which he'd failed, as the Associated Press put it, "to help fix a difficult transition from state-run Medicaid to a program run by private insurance companies."

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According to emails recently obtained by the AP, however, his resignation may have been brought about at least in part by something less practical — his undying love for the music and philosophy of the late Tupac Shakur.

Foxhoven was, according to the AP, not afraid to share his Tupac appreciation with his subordinates at the Department of Human Services. He routinely held "Tupac Fridays" to play Shakur's music to employees; he sent around love-themed Tupac lyrics for Valentine's Day; and he held a Tupac-themed 65th birthday party in the office, which included cookies adorned with the words "Thug Life."

"While some employees praised Foxhoven for using Shakur to inject levity and inspiration into a stressful workplace," Ryan J. Foley writes in his report for the AP, "at least one complained to lawmakers about it last year[...] And when Gov. Kim Reynolds told Foxhoven to resign on June 17, it was his first work day after he sent an agency-wide email telling employees to mark Shakur’s birthday over the weekend by listening to one of his songs."

A spokesman for the Governor's office would neither confirm nor deny whether Foxhoven's love of Tupac played a role in the call for him to resign. “As the governor has said, a lot of factors contributed to the resignation of Jerry Foxhoven and now Gov. Reynolds is looking forward to taking DHS in a new direction,” Pat Garrett told the AP.

Foxhoven said that he doubts his affinity for Tupac played a role in the dismissal.

Read the piece in full at the AP.

Iowa official resigns after sending agency-wide email about Tupac