Upmeyer now Speaker-select, Hagenow to lead House Republicans

Linda UpmeyerBy Bob Eschliman


This morning, the Iowa House of Representatives Republican Caucus voted for a new leadership team during its summer caucus meeting. The vote was taken after outgoing Speaker Kraig Paulsen announced last month he would not seek re-election and would relinquish the chair prior to start of the 2016 legislative session.

Today, House Republicans made history by selecting Rep. Linda Upmeyer (R-Clear Lake) to succeed Paulsen. The first woman to ever be selected Speaker of the Iowa House, she was first elected in 2002, and is currently serving her seventh term. She previously served as the House Minority Whip for two years and most recently the House Majority Leader for the last five years.

“It is an honor to be selected as the next Speaker of the Iowa House and lead my caucus going into 2016,” Upmeyer said.  “House Republicans are united and ready to return to Des Moines next January to continue crafting a budget that lives within our means and spends less than the state collects, just like Iowans do every day.  House Republicans will also continue working to create a friendly business climate, strengthen Iowa families, and finding ways to make government smaller and more efficient.”

Rep. Chris Hagenow (R-Windsor Heights) was selected to replace Upmeyer as the House Majority Leader.  First elected in 2008, he is now serving his fourth term. He was previously Chairman of the House Oversight Committee and had served as House Majority Whip since 2012.

“I am humbled to be chosen by House Republicans as their new Majority Leader,” Hagenow said.  “I look forward to the 2016 session where House Republicans will continue to make Iowa a great place to live, work, play, and raise a family.”

Rep. Joel Fry (R-Osceola) was selected to replace Hagenow as House Majority Whip.  First elected in 2010, he is currently serving his third term. He previously served as an Assistant Leader. Rep. Zach Nunn (R-Bondurant), a freshman in the House, was selected to replace Fry as an Assistant Leader.

Rep. Matt Windschitl (R-Missouri Valley) will remain as Speaker Pro Tempore and Reps. Lee Hein (R-Monticello), Jarad Klein (R-Keota), and Walt Rogers (R-Cedar Falls) will all continue their current roles as Assistant Leaders.

Gov. Terry Branstad was the first to congratulate the new Republican leadership team. He also noted the historical significance of the vote, and the growing influence women have gained in state government.

“Today is a historic day as Republican Linda Upmeyer will become the first female speaker of the Iowa House of Representatives. I congratulate Speaker-select Upmeyer and am eager to work with her, Majority Leader Chris Hagenow, Majority Whip Joel Fry and Assistant Majority Leader Zach Nunn to continue building Iowa for the future,” he said. “In Iowa, women are leading in key positions throughout state government – Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds, State Auditor Mary Mosiman, Senate President Pam Jochum, the most female department directors in Iowa history, and soon the Speaker of the Iowa House of Representatives.”

Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds also weighed in on the leadership vote results:

“As the co-chair of Right Women Right Now, I’m proud to see Speaker-select Upmeyer being a trailblazer and role model right here in Iowa. Speaker-select Upmeyer, Majority Leader Hagenow, Majority Whip Fry and Assistant Majority Leader Nunn are dedicated public servants and will be strong leaders for the Iowa House Republican caucus as they continue to partner with us to bring high-quality careers to Iowa, focus on student-centered education that raises achievement in our schools, increases family incomes and makes government more efficient and effective.

“I look forward to continuing to work with Iowa House Republicans and leaders in the Senate to continue moving Iowa forward.”

Senate Minority Leader Bill Dix (R-Shell Rock) also congratulated the newly elected Iowa House Republican leadership team in a statement sent out to statewide media.

“Congratulations to all those elected to the Iowa House Republican leadership team,” he said. “The Senate Republicans and I look forward to continuing our strong working relationship with the House Republicans, Speaker Upmeyer and Majority Leader Hagenow. It is imperative that collaboration begins today as our state faces numerous challenges such as strengthening our economy, creating a more inviting tax environment and encouraging job creators to invest in our state to establish new career opportunities.”