Iowa Official, Shared Inspirational Tupac Quote, Then Forced to Resign

Jerry Foxhoven, the Director of Iowa’s Department of Human Services sent an email to 4,300 employees celebrating the life of the late rapper Tupac Shakur last month. He was ordered to resign a few days later.

What We Know:

  • In a phone interview with The New York Times, Foxhoven said his frequent quoting of Tupac at work was intended to improve employee morale at the troubled agency. He does not believe it led to his removal. After his last Tupac email, the Governor’s Chief of Staff met with him and informed him the governor wanted to take the agency in a new direction.
  • Emails obtained by The Associated Press show that Foxhoven typically sent messages to employees full of Shakur’s lyrics even after at least one complained to lawmakers. The agency released 350 pages of emails with the words “Tupac” or “2Pac” sent to and from Foxhoven during his two-year tenure, according to The Associated Press.
  • Foxhoven, who described himself as a “66-year-old white guy”, explained that the office of Gov. Kim Reynolds scheduled the meeting with him days before he sent the office-wide email on June 14. In the email, he reminded employees that Father’s Day was approaching and that it coincided with Tupac’s birthday, June 16. He included what he called an “inspirational quote”: “Pay no mind to those who talk behind your back; it simply means that you are two steps ahead.”
  • It was no secret that Foxhoven was a huge Tupac fan. He even held “Tupac Fridays” in the office and a birthday party once featured cookies with the phrase “Thug Life.”
  • Some employees responded positively to the messages. “I love your 2pac messages … and the fact that you still send them (despite the haters) makes me appreciate them even more,” employee Lisa Bender wrote.

Two things remain a mystery today: Tupac’s killer and the reason behind Foxhoven’s resignation.