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It has been tough - impossible really - to keep our Guide to the Iowa Legislature updated this year! In the last 10 months, there have been four special elections, following the deaths of three legislators.  None of these elections changed the makeup of the Iowa House of Representatives or Iowa Senate.

Here's a quick recap:

  • Sen. Jim Lykam (D) replaced Joe Seng (D) - special election held 12/27/16
  • Rep. Monica Kurth (D) replaced Jim Lykam (who became Senator) - special election held 1/31/17
  • Rep. Jon Jacobsen (R) replaced Greg Forristall (R) - special election 6/27/17
  • Rep. Phil Miller (D) replaced Curt Hanson (D) - special election 8/8/17

We introduced our readers to Monica Kurth and Jim Lykam earlier this year, but we wanted to give you a chance to get to know our two newest legislators who were elected this summer.  

Rep. Jon Jacobsen is a Republican and represents House District 22, which includes most of rural Pottawattamie County and some of the eastern part of Council Bluffs.  Rep. Jacobsen lives in Treynor and is a Senior Trust Officer and Vice President at Security National Bank in Council Bluffs.  Before that, we worked at Treynor State Bank (as Senior Vice President).  He has a law degree from the University of Iowa and co-hosted the weekly radio program, You Ain’t Heard Nothing (Saturday mornings on KMA radio).  For that work, he received 11 awards from the Iowa Broadcast News Association.

Jacobsen has a long history of community involvement, and has served as a member of the Council Bluffs Mercy Hospital Charitable Council, Treynor Optimists, President of the Cathedral Arts Project (a program to bring free access to fine arts to the public), Iowa Right to Life Committee, St. Albert’s liaison to the Catholic Schools Educational Board, Co-Chair of Boy Scouts of America Capital Campaign, Troop Committeeman for local Troop #729, President of the Council Bluffs Estate Planning Council, and member of the Grist Mill Theatre in Macedonia.

He has also been a long-time active member of the Pottawattamie County Republican Central Committee, served as moderator for Senate and Congressional debates, and as chair, delegate, and parliamentarian for Pottawattamie County Republican conventions.  Jacobsen and his wife Debra have three grown children, and are members of St. Cecilia’s Cathedral Church.  You can reach Rep. Jon Jacobsen by email (, by phone (402.452.3757), or by mail (103 Ehrig Avenue, Treynor, Iowa 51575). 


Rep. Phil Miller is a Democrat who represents House District 82, which includes all of Davis and Van Buren Counties as well as the western part of Jefferson County (including Fairfield).  Rep. Miller lives in Fairfield and is a Doctor in Veterinary Medicine.  He works at The Veterinary Clinic, a large and small animal veterinary practice in Fairfield.  

Rep. Miller grew up on a family farm, was active in 4-H, received his degrees at Iowa State University, and continues to be active in the community.  He served as President of the Fairfield Community School District Board of Directors, is an active member of the First United Methodist Church, and served on the Jefferson County Board of Health.

Phil and his wife Connie (a school secretary at Washington Elementary School in Fairfield) have four adult children. IIn his free time, he enjoys reading, doing yard work, following Cyclone sports, and most of all, spending time with his grandchildren.  You can reach Rep. Phil Miller by email (, by phone (641.472.2511), or by mail (902 S. Suncrest Drive, Fairfield, Iowa 52556).


So, you are probably thinking (hoping) the special elections are over for the year.  Think again. Iowa's elected Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey has been nominated for a top USDA job in Washington DC, and if confirmed by the Senate, will resign from his post with a little more than a year left in his term.  The Governor will appoint a replacement, and several on the rumored short list are legislators (Rep. Pat Grassley of New Hartford; Rep. Lee Hein of Monticello; Sen. Dan Zumbach of Ryan; Sen. Tim Kapucian of Keystone; former State Representative Annette Sweeney of Alden; Iowa Farm Bureau President Craig Hill; and Deputy Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig).  

Committee appointments will be updated later this year, and there will be some shuffling to accommodate the newly elected legislators this summer.  However, leaders may hold off on these assignments until they know if their will be more new faces joining them in 2018.  Stay tuned!