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Democrats and Republicans elect party leaders in Iowa House

State Rep. Sharon Steckman
Sharon Steckman

DES MOINES – In preparation for the 2015 legislative session which begins on January 12, Democrats and Republicans in the Iowa House of Representatives have elected their leaders, and three of them are from the North Iowa Area.

House Democrats announced Saturday that they have elected four Assistant Minority Leaders for the 2015 session.  They are: Rep. Ako Abdul-Samad of Des Moines, Rep. Mary Gaskill of Ottumwa, Rep. Todd Prichard of Charles City, and Rep. Sharon Steckman of Mason City.  There are 100 seats in the Iowa House of Representatives, and Republicans are in the majority.

State Representative Mark Smith of Marshalltown was elected to continue on as Iowa House Democratic Leader.  Smith was first elected to the post last fall and led House Democrats during the 2014 Legislative Session.

Todd Prichard
Todd Prichard

“I’m honored to be chosen by my colleagues to lead Democrats in the Iowa House again next session. With four new members and a diverse caucus, we’re ready to work together in January to improve the lives of regular people and build a strong middle class,” said Leader Smith.  Rep. Smith was just elected to his 8th term in the Iowa House last week.

The four new members of the House Democratic Caucus are Liz Bennett of Cedar Rapids, Timi Brown-Powers of Waterloo, Abby Finkenauer of Dubuque, and Charlie McConkey of Council Bluffs.

Earlier this week, Republicans also elected their leadership for the eighty-sixth General Assembly.

Rep. Kraig Paulsen (R-Hiawatha) was selected to continue in the role of the Speaker of the House. Paulsen will be serving his seventh term. He is an attorney for CRST International, Inc. in Cedar Rapids. A former member of the United States Air Force, Paulsen had previously served as the Minority Whip, the House Republican Leader and Speaker for four years.

Rep. Linda Upmeyer
Rep. Linda Upmeyer

Rep. Linda Upmeyer (R-Clear Lake) was re-elected as the House Majority Leader. Upmeyer will be serving her seventh term in the House and is a nurse practitioner. Upmeyer previously served as the House Minority Whip for two years and the Majority Leader for four years.

Rep. Matt Windschitl (R-Missouri Valley) was selected to once again serve as the Speaker Pro Tem. Windschitl will be serving his fifth term in the House. He has previously served as a House Assistant Leader for five years and was elected as the Speaker Pro Tem in April to replace outgoing Rep. Steve Olson. He is a veteran of the U.S. Marines, a trained gunsmith and works full time for the Union Pacific Railroad.

Rep. Chris Hagenow (R-Windsor Heights) was elected as the House Majority Whip. Hagenow will be serving his fourth term in the Iowa House. He has previously served as the Chairman of the House Oversight committee and was first elected Majority Whip in 2012. He is an attorney and founding partner of the Des Moines law firm, Whitaker, Hagenow & Gustoff, LLP.

Majority Assistant Leaders are: Reps. Lee Hein (R-Monticello), Walt Rogers (R-Cedar Falls), Jarad Klein (R-Keota), and Joel Fry (R-Osceola).

“House Republicans are ready to get to work on behalf of Iowa families and taxpayers. We’ll use a common sense approach to get things done while continuing to find opportunities to make Iowans’ family life more affordable, upward mobility more likely and employment easier to find,” said Speaker Paulsen.

Education, the gas tax and road repairs, a proposed pipeline and perhaps even gay marriage could be among the issues taken up this session.

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Not much new here. Let’s hope the get along and work for the people of Iowa instead of their party.

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