By now you have probably felt that sense of relief - the elections are over and the political ads that have been keeping you from enjoying your favorite TV shows are gone. News shows can actually report on other things happening in the world (we landed a space probe on an asteroid!). So we get it if you are tired of all this election talk and just want to move on. But moving on means understanding how things changed, and how things stayed the same.
So we wanted to give you a quick review of the election results, and then we want to spend the rest of this issue looking forward to the future. Who are these new people that will be making decisions that will affect us all? What makes them tick? How do I get to know them? Those are all things we wanted to talk about in this issue of infoNET.
THIS WAS A HISTORY-MAKING ELECTION.
Iowa elected its first woman to the United States Congress. State Senator Joni Ernst will now become US Senator Joni Ernst, making Mississippi the only state that has not elected a woman to the US Congress.
Governor Branstad was re-elected to a record sixth term, setting him up to become the longest serving Governor in the history of the United States. In just about a year, Governor Branstad will take that title from one of our country's founding fathers, who served as Governor of New York for 7,641 days. Governor Branstad will have served 7,642 on December 14, 2015.
THERE ARE BIG CHANGES IN OUR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT (CONGRESS).
Before this election, Congress was like Iowa, where the Democrats controlled the Senate and the Republicans controlled the House. But that is about to change in Washington DC. Republicans will now control the US Congress - with the majority in both the House and Senate.
In addition to electing Joni Ernst to the US Senate, Iowans also elected Republican businessman Rod Blum and former Grassley staffer David Young to the US House of Representatives, and re-elected US Representative Steve King and US Representative Dave Loebsack. Iowa's six-member delegation to Washington DC went from three Republicans and three Democrats, to five Republicans and one Democrat.
IT'S BUSINESS AS USUAL AT THE IOWA CAPITOL.
While big change happened at the federal level, the makeup of Iowa's Legislature will stay pretty much the same. Senate Democrats kept control of the Iowa Senate, 26 to 24. Senate Democrats lost one seat, but Senate Republicans also lost one seat (so the Republican-Democrat split in the Senate stayed the same). Sen. Darryl Beall of Fort Dodge was the only current Senator to lose his race. One race is yet to be decided - the Governor will need to call a special election soon to replace Joni Ernst, who will give up her State Senate seat after being elected to the US Senate. That seat includes Fremont, Mills, Montgomery, Page, Ringgold and Taylor Counties.
In the Iowa House, Republicans added four seats to their majority, now at 57 to 43. Four current Representatives lost their jobs on Election night (all Democrats): Rep. Daniel Lundby of Marion, Rep. Dan Muhlbauer of Manilla, Rep. Joe Riding of Altoona, and Rep. Frank Wood of Eldridge. Democrats took one Republican seat, but Republicans were able to flip five Democratic seats (thus the four vote increase).
THE BOTTOM LINE
Half of Iowa's six Congressional delegates are new. They are busy hiring staff, preparing to move to Washington DC, and figuring out how things will work when they go to work in January. They won't have websites, emails, and staff until then, but remember you are still represented by your current US Senator and US Representative until the new group is sworn in on January 3, 2015. You can contact them now using our Grassroots Action Center.
There will be 21 new faces in the Iowa Legislature this year - 6 in the Senate, 15 in the House. They will begin work when the Iowa Legislature starts back up on Monday, January 12, 2015. Take some time to read about these new legislators. When you read their bios, you might notice things you have in common, or see things that you think will make them a good legislator.