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Mon Jul 12, 2021, 09:45 AM

Iowa amusement park became a political force before accident

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa amusement park where a ride accident killed one boy and critically injured another has become increasingly influential in Iowa politics as the state has trended Republican.

Adventureland Park CEO Michael Krantz has donated $175,000 to county, state and federal Republican candidates since 2014. That made him one of Iowa’s largest GOP donors before a crisis that could devastate his family-owned park’s reputation and finances.

The park also has increased its lobbying at the Iowa Legislature, including for a recent law change allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to operate its rides. The park’s political impact has overlapped with several incidents in which workers or guests were injured, leading to regulatory fines and lawsuits.

Krantz has given $80,000 to Gov. Kim Reynolds, who has been silent publicly about Saturday’s accident on the Raging River ride that killed 11-year-old Michael Jaramillo and left his 16-year-old brother on life support. A worker was killed on the same ride in 2016 due to an operator’s errors.

Reynolds spokesman Pat Garrett said the governor is “heartbroken after hearing what happened and grieves for the family.” He said Reynolds was briefed this week by Iowa Labor Commissioner Rod Roberts, who is overseeing the investigation into what caused a boat carrying six family members to flip on a ride that moves circular rafts through a man-made river.

more...https://www.siouxlandproud.com/news/iowa-news/iowa-amusement-park-became-a-political-force-before-accident/

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