Each year, during the bleakest month of Iowa’s winter, elected officials, policymakers, and everyday Iowans will brave the snow and ice to begin a new legislative session at the State Capitol in Des Moines.
This year, the start of the Legislature will be sharing headlines with Iowa’s first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses, where the state’s Democrats take the first crack in choosing a nominee to challenge President Donald Trump.
While state legislators gavel in a new session Jan. 13, presidential candidates will be crisscrossing the state to gain last-minute support from Democratic activists who will attend the caucuses just three weeks later.
But once the political reporters and campaigns jump on a plane headed for New Hampshire, the Legislature will once again capture the public’s attention here in Iowa.
GOP legislative leaders have indicated the agenda for this year’s session will likely include measures to increase access to child care, upgrade the skills of Iowa’s workforce, and address water quality and natural resource funding. Income tax changes have also been a part of the pre-session discussion.
The biggest change at the State Capitol for the 2020 session is the new leadership in the House.
Republican Rep. Pat Grassley of New Hartford, grandson of U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, will take over as Speaker of the Iowa House of Representatives.
He assumes the role from retiring Speaker Linda Upmeyer, the first woman in Iowa to serve in the position. In another leadership change, Rep. Matt Windschitl of Missouri Valley serves as the new House Majority Leader.
And as they do every year, LS2group’s Government Affairs team is preparing to head to the Capitol for a 100-day session.
The team has four members – two Republicans and two Democrats. We also bring different backgrounds and experience. Two members of our team are lawyers who are familiar faces at the Capitol, and one is a former Iowa newspaper veteran who covered the state’s political scene. Our leader, Jeff Boeyink, has a long resume at the State Capitol that includes serving as chief of staff for former Governor and now U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad.
With the drop of the gavel opening the legislative session, the team will mark several decades of combined experience at the Capitol, on the campaign trail, and advocating for policies that will improve the lives of Iowans.