Dix responds to Paulsen announcement, Upmeyer says she wants chair

Court -- GavelBy Bob Eschliman


Not long after Iowa Speaker of the House of Representatives Kraig Paulsen (R-Hiawatha) announced he would be vacating the chair prior to the start of the 2016 legislative session, Senate Minority Leader Bill Dix (R-Shell Rock) and House Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer (R-Clear Lake) issued statements in response.

Dix thanked Paulsen for his dedication and service to the state of Iowa during his tenure as a state representative and as a House leader.

“Speaker Paulsen has been a great leader for the House Republican caucus and our state. He has been a champion for responsible budgeting practices, easing the burdens on the Iowa taxpayer and promoting policies that strengthen and grow Iowa’s economy. It has been an honor to work side-by side with the Speaker as the Senate Republican leader and during my tenure in the Iowa House.”

Upmeyer, who is second-in-command of the House GOP caucus, said the Iowa House and Iowans, in general, “benefitted greatly” from Paulsen’s leadership over the past five years.

“It has been a pleasure and an honor to work with Kraig since we were both elected in 2002,” she said. “The state is in a stronger position because of his efforts and I wish he and his family the best in their future endeavors.”

As the No. 2 Republican in the House, Upmeyer stands to make history in January. If she is able to gain the support of the rest of the caucus, she could become the first woman to serve as the Speaker of the Iowa House. She said Wednesday she intends to try.

“I love this caucus, I have fought for it and I am proud of what we have accomplished together,” she said. “I would be honored to continue to work on their behalf as Speaker towards our shared goal of making Iowa a better place to grow a business and raise a family.”

House Republicans usually hold a late-summer caucus to discuss legislation for the upcoming session. Although Paulsen has said he will remain speaker until January, a leadership vote could be held at the summer caucus. A formal leadership vote is usually held just prior to the start of each legislature with the outcome already predetermined by the majority party.