GOP Lawmakers Make Bold Open



The 87th General Assembly of the Iowa legislature commenced on Monday. It was an eventful day packed full of breakfasts, luncheons, and receptions as lawmakers in the House of Representatives and Senate were sworn into office.

The morning began with the Republican Party of Iowa breakfast at the Embassy Suites in downtown Des Moines. Speakers included Governor Branstad, Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds, state chairman Jeff Kaufmann, Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix, Senate President Jack Whitver, Speaker of the House Linda Upmeyer, and House Majority Leader Chris Hagenow.

The room was packed, with more than 250 people in attendance. ┬áThe mood was upbeat and hopeful as Majority Leader Bill Dix promised not to let Iowans down and President Jack Whitver said that he is “more optimistic this year because all of those big steps and big dreams are closer to reality”.

Whitver stressed that the Republican victories this year were a result of direct voter contact that came by knocking on thousands of doors statewide. While he said that many voters in Iowa expect Republicans to be divisive, it is still time for GOP legislators to “think big and be bold” and that when we look back on 2017, it will be remembered as the year that “changed the course of our state forever”.

Chris Hagenow expressed similar sentiments when he said that “We (Republicans) are going to be courageous and ambitious with legislation”. He continued, saying “I came into the Iowa House in 2008 during a Democratic trifecta. Faces were not as happy then as they are today. Tomorrow, Governor Branstad will deliver his last condition of the state address. As a caucus leader last year, I sat next to Mike Gronstal, who led the other chamber. Tomorrow, I will be sitting with Bill Dix. It’s like reading a great book, and I can’t wait to get to the end”.
The conservative agenda for this session was also discussed. Speaker Upmeyer said that things have “changed bigly” and that when she looks at the legislators, “They are excited. I’ve already had lots of phone calls and know that they are ready to go to work”.

She hopes that after this session, we will have a “smarter and smaller government”, that taxes will be less complicated and more fair, that there will be more choices in how Iowans educate their children, and that our Constitutional rights will be protected.

Chairman Kaufmann concluded by saying that the Iowa Republican Party did “meaningful outreach to those who were new to the GOP”, including those who had never been politically active and Democrats who have grown disillusioned by the failed liberal agenda pushed by their party. He spoke of visiting the birthplace of former Iowan President Herbert Hoover “never forget where you came from”, reminding legislators that they are at the Capitol not for the party, but for the people back home in their districts who made their voices heard in November.

Following the breakfast, both chambers were called to order at 10:00 AM and all elected officials took the oath of office. This marks the first time in decades that the Governor’s office, House, and Senate have been in Republican control.

Following the day’s ceremonies, there were many legislative receptions, including the Greater Des Moines Partnership reception at Grandview University, where Des Moines professionals visited with elected officals while Chambers of Commerce and businesses from all over the Des Moines Metro served food and beverages. The Republican Party of Iowa also hosted a welcome back get-together at the Iowa Tap Room in the East Village. The evening ended with Republicans from all over the state feeling energized and ready to serve the people of Iowa.

By: MacKenzie S. Dreeszen