2016 ISSUE #11

Issue 11, 11/17/2016

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Election night was a big one for Republicans - they won the Presidency (Donald Trump), now control 239 of the 435 seats in the US House of Representatives, and have a slim majority (51 of the 100 seats) in the US Senate.  All of Iowa’s current Congressional delegation was re-elected: US Senator Charles Grassley; US Representative Rod Blum; US Representative Steve King; US Representative Dave Loebsack; and US Representative David Young.

Voters wanted change, and we have no further to look than inside our own State Capitol.  Republicans took control of the Iowa Senate, and continue to have control of the Iowa House and the Governor's office.  Some are calling this the "trifecta" - a gambling term the Urban Dictionary defines as "a perfect group of three."   Here is a quick recap of the elections in Iowa: 

STATE SENATE.  There will be seven new faces in the Iowa Senate – one Democrat (Nate Boulton, who replaces retiring Des Moines Senator Dick Dearden) and six Republicans:

  1. Former State Rep. Mark Lofgren beat first-term Sen. Chris Brase (Muscatine).
  2. Pharmacist Tom Greene defeated Sen. Tom Courtney (Burlington).
  3. Law enforcement officer Dan Dawson beat Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal (Council Bluffs).
  4. Event center/museum director Craig Johnson (Independence) beat Sen. Brian Schoenjahn (Arlington).
  5. Family farmer and electric coop leader Jeff Edler defeated Sen. Steve Sodders (State Center).
  6. Family farmer Waylon Brown (St. Ansgar) beat Sen. Mary Jo Wilhelm (Cresco).

Before this election, Democrats narrowly controlled the Iowa Senate (26 Democrats; 23 Republicans; 1 Independent).  Sen. David Johnson changed his party affiliation to Independent this summer, in protest over the things said by Donald Trump during the campaign.  It is not yet known whether Sen. David Johnson will rejoin the Republican Party, or stay an Independent.  Republicans will now have control of the Iowa Senate with 29 seats (29 Republicans -19 Democrats - 1 Independent - 1 vacant seat). 

Senate Democrats will have one more seat to defend this year (the vacant seat).  A special election will be held on December 27, 2016 to fill Sen. Joe Seng’s seat. Sen. Seng (Davenport) was not up for re-election this year, and died of cancer in late September.  Republicans have nominated Mike Gonzales, a Le Claire police officer.  Democrats will pick their nominee in a few days; both Rep. Jim Lykam and Rep. Cindy Winckler are rumored to want it.  If either of them is elected, that will trigger another special election to fill their seat.  This seat is expected to remain in Democratic control, but if this election has taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected.

New leadership means new committee chairs and a new leadership team.  Republicans met this weekend to elect new leaders:

  • Senate Majority Leader: Sen. Bill Dix  (Shell Rock)
  • President of the Senate: Sen. Jack Whitver (Ankeny)
  • President Pro Temp: Sen. Jerry Behn (Boone)
  • Majority Whip: Sen. Charles Schneider (West Des Moines)
  • Assistant Majority Leaders:  Sen. Michael Breitbach (Strawberry Point), Sen. Randy Feenstra (Hull), Sen. Amy Sinclair (Allerton), Sen. Dan Zumbach (Ryan)

Democrats will also need to pick a new leader, since Sen. Gronstal was defeated after serving 34 years in the Iowa Senate.  No word on who might step into the role of Minority Leader, but we have heard several names passed around (Bolkcom, Hogg, Jochum, Mathis, McCoy, Petersen).  They will meet on November 19 to select their (much smaller) leadership team.  

STATE HOUSE.  While big changes are ahead in the Iowa Senate, not a lot changed in the Iowa House.  Republicans increased their majority by picking up two Democratic seats, so they will return in January with 59 seats after defeating one incumbent and picking up one open Democratic seat.   So the new House makeup will be 59 Republicans and 41 Democrats.

There will be 15 new faces (11 Republicans and 4 Democrats) when the Legislature reconvenes on January 9, 2017:

New Republicans (11):

  • Michael Bergan (Waukon) replaces retiring Rep. Darrel Branhagen.
  • Jane Bloomingdale (Northwood) replaces retiring Rep. Josh Byrnes.
  • Jim Carlin (Sioux City) replaces retiring Rep. Ron Jorgensen.
  • Kristi Hager (Waukon) beat Democratic Rep. Patti Ruff.
  • Ashley Hinson (Marion) replaces retiring Rep. Kraig Paulsen.
  • David Kerr (Morning Sun) replaces retiring Rep. Tom Sands.
  • Shannon Lundgren (Peosta) replaces retiring Democratic Rep. Nancy Dunkel.
  • Andy McKean (Anamosa) replaces retiring Rep. Brian Moore; McKean is a former legislator.
  • Gary Mohr (Bettendorf) replaces retiring Rep. Linda Miller.
  • Skyler Wheeler (Orange City) replaces retiring Rep. John Kooiker.
  • Louie Zumbach (Coggon) replaces retiring Rep. Quentin Stanerson.

New Democrats (4):

  • Wes Breckenridge (Newton) defeated Rep. Dan Kelley in the June primary.
  • Tim Kacena (Sioux City) replaces retiring Rep. Dave Dawson.
  • Amy Nielsen (North Liberty) replaces retiring Rep. Sally Stutsman.
  • Ras Smith (Waterloo) replaces retiring Rep. Deborah Berry.

There was not much change in the Republican leadership team; Rep. Linda Upmeyer (Speaker of the House), Rep. Chris Hagenow (House Majority Leader) and Matt Windschitl (Speaker Pro Tem) were re-elected to these positions on November 16.  Rep. Zach Nunn moved up from Assistant Majority Leader to Majority Whip.  Rep. Megan Jones and Rep. Mike Sexton were newly elected to Assistant Majority Leader, joining Rep. John Wills and Rep. Jarad Klein. 

Democrats decided to stick with their Minority Leader, Rep. Mark Smith (Marshalltown), but chose an all new group of Assistant Minority Leaders:  Rep. Bruce Bearinger (Oelwein), Rep. Liz Bennett (Cedar Rapids), Brian Meyer (Des Moines), Rep. Helen Miller (Fort Dodge).  They will replace Reps. Ako Abdul-Samad, Mary Gaskill, Todd Prichard, and Sharon Steckman (who continue to be legislators, but not on the leadership team).

Committee assignments will be made prior to session, but don’t expect to see the entire line up until late December.  Make sure you watch our website (www.infonetiowa.org) and Facebook (@infonetiowa) for developments, committee assignments, and leadership announcements.

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ID Action & infoNET will team up again to distribute the "2017/2018 Guide to the Iowa Legislature" once all special elections are held and committee assignments are finalized.  Since this may be after session begins, we plan to post early electronic "draft" versions of this popular resource on our website (www.infonetiowa.org) - so check back!   Anyone receiving infoNET directly will receive a free copy of this Guide mailed to them, so let others know and have them sign up for infoNET here. In the meantime, here is some information about the 22 new legislators coming to the State Capitol in 2017:

Senator-Elect Dan Dawson (R-SD8) is from Council Bluffs and is a special investigator for the Division of Criminal Investigations.  He is a former Army reservist who served four tours of duty overseas, is a former police officer, and has two children.  He has said that he wants less government control, and wants to "bring a voice back to Iowans."  Contact: 712-309-6371; 213 Upland Drive, Council Blufffs 51503; dawson4senate@gmail.com; www.dawsonforsenate.com.

Senator-Elect Nate Boulton (D-SD16) is a worker's rights attorney from Des Moines. He is a Simpson College graduate and is an adjunct professor at Drake University Law School, Simpson College, and William Penn University.  He is on the boards of the John Culver Public Policy Center, Simpson College Trustees, and Drake Athletics, and serves as President of the Iowa Workers Compensation Advisory Committee. HIs wife is trails coordinator for the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, and he loves sports (marathons, hockey, curling, soccer). Contact: 515-265-1389; 2670 Wisconsin Ave, Des Moines 50317; info@boultonforsenate.com.

Senator-Elect Waylon Brown (R-SD26is from St. Ansgar, where he is a member of the Planning & Zoning Commission, owns a small business, and farms.  He has two children and volunteers at his local church.  He campaigned on creating jobs and growing Iowa's economy, cutting government sepnding, and helping Iowa's hardworking families. Contact: 641-590-0610; 109 South Summer Street, Saint Ansgar 50472; brown4d26@reagan.com.

Senator-Elect Jeff Edler (R-SD36) is from State Center and is a family farmer and President of Consumers Energy, a local energy cooperative.  He has five kids, is a former volunteer firefighter, and wants to listen to Iowans, buget more effectively, and support quality education. Contact: 641-751-5902; 1554 200th Street, State Center 50247; edlerforsenate@gmail.com.

Senator-Elect Craig Johnson (R-SD32): Senator-Elect Johnson is from Independence, where he is the Executive Director of Heartland Acres, an agricultural education center, museum, and event center.  He is a member of various agricultural groups and wants to create jobs, use tax dollars effectively, and give hardworking Iowans a voice. Contact: 319-327-4713; 413 13th Ave. NE, Independence 50644; johnsonforiowa@outlook.com.

Senator-Elect Tom Greene (R-SD44) has been a community pharmacist for 40 years, is a former Burlington School Board President, and was President of his local chamber of commerce.  He wants to "improve Iowa's economy and healthcare outcomes for Iowans and their families." Contact: 319-754-5539; 5763 Hartman Road, Burlington 52601; tgr5763@gmail.com.

Senator-Elect Mark Lofgren (R-SD46) is a former two-term Representative from Muscatine who also ran unsuccessfully for US Congress.  He has started successful real estate and financial services companies, and coaches various youth sports.  His wife is an elementary school librarian in Eldridge.  His priorities are quality jobs and financial responsibility. Contact: 563-272-8683; 3025 Provence Lane, Muscatine 52761; teamlofgren@machlink.com.

Representative-Elect Skyler Wheeler (R-HD4) grew up in Olympia, Washington, and came to Iowa to attend Northwestern College in Orange City, where he now lives with his wife.  He works in Sheldon, volunteers at Cornerstone Baptist Church, and was most recently county co-chair for Ted Cruz's presidential campaign. Contact: 712-441-7444; 602 2nd Street SE Apt. #4, Orange City 51041; wheelers7018@gmail.com; www.wheeler4iowa.com.

Representative-Elect Jim Carlin (R-HD6) has been an attorney in Sioux City for 23 years, is a US Army veteran, volunteers at local nursing homes, and has been a youth basketball coach for Upward Sports and assistant football coach for Morningside College.  He has three kids and three grandchildren. Contact: 712-253-4270; 5728 Sunnybrook Drive, Sioux City 51106; jim@carlinlawoffice.com; www.carlinforiowahouse.com.

Representative-Elect Tim Kacena (D-HD14is a retired (33 years) Sioux City firefighter and US Army veteran. He currently serves as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer and helped bring the Make a Wish Foundation to Iowa.  He heped found the St. Florian Fire and Burn Foundation, which works to reduce burn injuries and assist burn survivors. Contact: 712-251-0375; 121 S. Dorman St., Sioux City 51103; thk2221@aol.com.

Representative-Elect Wes Breckenridge (D-HD29) is a Newton Police Lieutenant, and has served as a school resource officer, DARE instructor, drug task force officer, and traffic safety officer.  He has been involved in the Kiwanis, SYNC (Supporting Youth Through Nurturing Communities), and works with local groups to raise awareness on human trafficking.  He has three kids. Contact: 641-521-6714; PO Box 851, Newton 50208; electbreckenridge@gmail.com.

Representative-Elect Jane Bloomingdale (R-HD51) has lived in Northwood her entire life, where she has been Mayor, substitute teacher, coach, farmer, and small business owner (accounting firm).  Contact: 641-390-0837; 501 2nd Avenue N, Northwood 50459; votebloomingdale@gmail.com; www.votebloomingdale.com.

Representative-Elect Michael Bergan (R-HD55) has lived in Winneshiek County his entire life and served on the county board of supervisors for eight years.  He lives in Dorchester and worked as an income tax preparer and accountant for a local law office, before taking the position of Direcotr of HAWC Partnerships for Children, working to implement state funding in a four-county area to to address prevention and early intervention focused on children.  He has served on the MH/DS Commission, Iowa Empowerment Board, and Iowa Council for Early ACCESS, and has been active in the Northland Area Agency on Aging and The Spectrum Network.  Contact: 563-380-3974; 1204 N. Bear Road, Dorchester 52140; berganforiowahouse@gmail.com.

Representative-Elect Kristi Hager (R-HD56) owns Upper Iowa Resort and Rental, a campground and canoe outfitter, and opened Living Stone, a non-profit faith-based re-entry home for people coming out jail/prison, homeless, and others needing a "hand up."  She is also a nurse, and her husband Bob served one term in the Iowa Legislature (2011-13). Contact: 563-568-1084; 2026 Lycurgus Road, Waukon 52172; khager1084@gmail.com.

Representative-Elect Shannon Lundgren (R-HD57) is a tourism professional who has worked for the local casino industry, and has managed a small boutique inn and large-scale events for a local resort, and ran the Dubuque County Fair Association.  She currently owns the Trackside Bar & Grill in Peosta, where she lives.  She has served on the Sunny Crest Manor Board of Directors and local events to raise money for Special Olympics.   Contact: 563-451-6200; 918 Heather Drive, Peosta 52068; votelundgren@gmail.com; www.lundgrenforhouse.com. 

Representative-Elect Andy McKean (R-HD58) served in the Iowa House (1978-1992) and Iowa Senate (1992-2002), representing his hometown of Anamosa, where he is now a retired attorney.  He has served on the Iowa Public Information Board, and previously owned a bed-and-breakfast. Contact: 319-462-5432; 509 S. Oak Street, Anamosa 52205; mckeanfamily@msn.com.

Representative-Elect Ras Smith (D-HD62) is a Waterloo native who is currently site coordinator for the non-profit Communities in School, where he provides school-based services for at-risk youth. As a volunteer, he mentors youth, coaches high school football, ad helps at the NE Iowa Food Bank.  He has one daughter. Contact: 319-830-9028; 324 Madison St., Waterloo 50703; rassmith7@gmail.com.

Representative-Elect Ashley Hinson (R-HD67) grew up in Des Moines, attended school in southern California, and has spent the last decade as a news anchor, reporter, and producer at KCRG-TV9 in Cedar Rapids.  She is involved in the March of Dimes, Young Parents Network, National Council on Youth Leadership, and Junio Achievement. She has two young sons. Contact: 319-431-6556; 1637 Hunters Field Lane, Marion 52302; hinsonforhouse@gmail.com; www.hinsonforhouse.com.

Representative-Elect Amy Nielsen (D-HD77) has been the Mayor of North Liberty for the past 2 years, where she worked to expand public services, including public transit services. She has worked on programming for seniors and translation services for non-English speakers, served on a local food pantry board of directors, and volunteers with the Iowa City Blue Zones Project and local school equity advisory committee. Contact: 319-541-8019; 168 Lockmoor Circle, North Liberty 52317; amynielsen77@gmail.com.

Representative-Elect David Kerr (R-HD89) is a lifelong resident of Louisa County, and currently farms in Morning Sun. For 44 years, he worked at Kinder Morgan in Columbus Junction (most recently in the Damage Prevention Unit).  He wants to address water quality, help create a competitive tax climate, and strengthen our schools.  Contact: 319-868-4159; 19798 90th St, Morning Sun 52640; davidkerrstatehouse@gmail.com.

Representative-Elect Gary Mohr (R-HD94) lives in Bettendorf and has spent his entire career in education, and has held various posts in community colleges (adjunct faculty member, Dean of Community Education, Vicd Chancellor of Community Development). He has been on the board of directors for the local Riverboat Development Authority, Davneport Chamber of Commerce, and Council for Advancement and Suppot of Education.  He served on the Iowa Public Information Board for four years, and has four children, and six grandchildren. Contact: 563-336-3322; 4755 School House Road, Bettendorf 52722; garymohr1951@gmail.com.

Representative-Elect Louie Zumbach (R-HD95) is a fourth generation farmer and owns an auction company in Coggan. He has served as President of his county ISU Extension Office, Linn County Fair Association, and county planning and zoning commission. Contact: 319-350-9760; 558 Monticello Road, Coggon 52218; louie@zumbachforiowahouse.com; www.zumbachforiowahouse.com.


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Iowa Medicaid Enterprise has hosted several public comment sessions around the state this year, with the final meeting to be held in Des Moines on Wednesday, December 7 (3-5 pm) at the Downtown Central Library Meeting Room (1000 Grand).  This is an opportunity for Medicaid members and providers to talk about what's going well, what's not going well, and things that can be done to improve the system.  

Legislators will also be taking another look at how things are going with Medicaid managed care when the Health Policy Oversight Committee gets back together on Monday, December 13 at the State Capitol (Room 103).  The time has not yet been set, but you can find the agenda when it is posted, along with all other committee materials here.  While there will be time for public comment at this meeting, time is limited and typically not all that come are able to speak.  If you have ideas on ways to make managed care work better, or thoughts on changes that legislators might want to consider when they go back into sesssion in January, contact one or more members of the committee directly.  They are:

  • Sen. Amanda Ragan, Co-Chair (D-Mason City) - amanda.ragan@legis.iowa.gov; 641-424-0874
  • Sen. Joe Bolkcom (D-Iowa City) - joe.bolkcom@legis.iowa.gov; 319-337-6280
  • Sen. Mark Costello (R-Imogene) - mark.costello@legis.iowa.gov; 712-520-0303
  • Sen. Liz Mathis (D-Cedar Rapids) - liz.mathis@legis.iowa.gov; 319-361-1725
  • Sen. Mark Segebart (R-Vail) - mark.segebart@legis.iowa.gov; 712-269-4519
  • Rep. Dave Heaton, Co-Chair (R-Mt. Pleasant) - dave.heaton@legis.iowa.gov; 319-385-9342
  • Rep. John Forbes (D-Urbandale) - john.forbes@legis.iowa.gov; 515-778-7699
  • Rep. Joel Fry (R-Osceola) - joel.fry@legis.iowa.gov; 641-342-1017
  • Rep. Lisa Heddens (D-Ames) - lisa.heddens@legis.iowa.gov; 515-450-2957
  • Rep. Linda Miller (R-Bettendorf) - linda.miller@legis.iowa.gov; 563-650-9539

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The Health/Human Services Budget passed in the 2016 legislative session directed the Department of Human Services (DHS) to submit a report on the current status of the Regional Mental Health and Disability Services System.  That report is now avaiable online here.  We will review this report in our next issue, but it does make several recommendations:

  • Regions should have a minimum number of county residents in each region, pool county funding, and maintain continuity in their leadership (i.e. not rotate leadership annually among counties).
  • Regions and Medicaid Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) should identify funding for all core and additional core services to individuals with a mental illness or an intellectual disability.
  • Regions should continue building the community service system by planning for the provision of critical, non-clinical social services, such as, but not limited to, housing and transportation.
  • MH/DS Regions’ responsibility and authority to effectively and efficiently serve individuals that are the most difficult to serve should be clarified.  To do this, DHS suggests immediately convening a workgroup of MH/DS regions, MCOs, and other key stakeholders to identify effective services for individuals with severe multiple complex needs and report recommendations for hte provision of the identified services.

Again, we will provide more information about this report and reactions to it in our next issue.


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