Rod Boshart, CR Gazette –
DES MOINES — Iowa Senate Democrats retooled some of their leadership team Sunday by naming Dubuque Sen. Pam Jochum to be the chamber’s next president.
“Now the hard work begins. We have to govern and that’s what we need to be focused on,” said Jochum, 58.
Jochum became the first woman since Sen. Mary Kramer, R-West Des Moines, to be selected as the Senate’s presiding officer. She will succeed retiring Sen. Jack Kibbie, D-Emmetsburg.
Jochum is a 20-year veteran at the Statehouse, having served 16 years in the Iowa House before moving to the Senate. She was elected to a second term earlier this month with 68 percent of the vote in Senate District 50.
“It is truly an honor to be able to preside over the Senate and maintain the civility of the chamber,” Jochum told a Statehouse news conference.
The 26 Democrats who make up the Iowa Senate’s incoming majority re-elected Sen. Mike Gronstal, 62, of Council Bluffs, to serve as their caucus’ majority leader. They also named Sens. Steve Sodders of State Center to serve as Senate president pro tempore, Joe Bolkcom of Iowa City as majority whip, and Matt McCoy of Des Moines, Wally Horn of Cedar Rapids, Bill Dotzler of Waterloo and Amanda Ragan of Mason City as assistant majority leaders.
“We’re excited that we’re still in the majority and we’ve got a great team,” Gronstal said. He noted that majority Democrats’ main focus during the 85th General Assembly which convenes its 2013 session on Jan. 14, will be to create jobs and grow the Iowa economy.
Gronstal and Jochum will be filling committee assignments in the coming weeks and majority Democrats plan to reconvene Dec. 17 to discuss policy priorities.