Who's who in the Iowa Senate for 2017

The Iowa legislature’s 2017 session begins today with minor adjustments to business in the state House but massive changes in the Senate. After ten years of Democratic control, the last six with a one-seat majority, the upper chamber now contains 29 Republicans, 20 Democrats, and one independent (former Republican David Johnson).

I enclose below details on the Iowa Senate majority and minority leadership teams, along with all chairs, vice chairs, and members of standing Senate committees. Click here to find the same information from the 2016 legislative session.

Just six senators are women (five Democrats and a Republican), down from ten women serving in the chamber in 2013 and 2014 and seven during the past two years. All current senators are white. To my knowledge, the only African-American ever to serve in the Iowa Senate was Tom Mann, elected to two terms during the 1980s. No Latino has ever served in the Iowa legislature; in 2014, Nathan Blake fell 18 votes short of becoming the first to join the Senate. No Asian-American has served in the state Senate since Swati Dandekar resigned in 2011.

As a group, the members of the new majority caucus have much less legislative experience than do their Democratic counterparts. As detailed below, only three of the 29 Senate Republicans have served ten or more years in the Iowa legislature, compared to thirteen of the 20 Democrats.

Some non-political trivia: the 50 Iowa senators include two with the surname Johnson, four Marks, three Bills, and two men each named Richard (Rich and Rick), Robert (a Rob and a Bob), Dan, Tim, Tom, Jeff, and Charles (one goes by Chaz).

Senate Republicans

First elected in 1996: Jerry Behn

First elected in 2004: Brad Zaun

First elected in 2008: Randy Feenstra, Tim Kapucian

First elected in 2010: Bill Dix (ten years previous service in Iowa House), Rick Bertrand, Roby Smith, Bill Anderson, Mark Chelgren

First elected in a 2011 special election: Jack Whitver

First elected in 2012: Dennis Guth, Mark Segebart, Jake Chapman, Amy Sinclair, Ken Rozenboom, Dan Zumbach, Mike Breitbach

First elected in a 2012 special election: Charles Schneider

First elected in a 2013 special election: Julian Garrett (three years service in the Iowa House)

First elected in 2014: Tom Shipley, Jason Schultz (six years in Iowa House), Tim Kraayenbrink

First elected in a 2014 special election: Mark Costello

First elected in 2016: Waylon Brown, Dan Dawson, Jeff Edler, Tom Greene, Craig Johnson, Mark Lofgren

Senate Democrats

First elected in 1982: Wally Horn (10 years previous service in Iowa House)

First elected in a 1994 special election: Bob Dvorsky (eight years in Iowa House)

First elected in 1996: Matt McCoy (four years in Iowa House)

First elected in 1998: Joe Bolkcom

First elected in a 2002 special election: Amanda Ragan

First elected in 2002: Bill Dotzler (six years in Iowa House), Herman Quirmbach

First elected in 2004: Jeff Danielson

First elected in 2006: Rob Hogg (four years in Iowa House)

First elected in 2008: Pam Jochum (sixteen years in Iowa House)

First elected in 2010: Tod Bowman

First elected in a 2011 special election: Liz Mathis

First elected in 2012: Janet Petersen (twelve years in Iowa House), Rita Hart, Rich Taylor

First elected in 2014: Tony Bisignano (six years in Iowa House and four in Iowa Senate during 1980s and 1990s), Kevin Kinney, Chaz Allen

First elected in 2016: Nate Boulton

First elected in a 2016 special election: Jim Lykam (fourteen years in Iowa House)

Iowa Senate Republican leadership team

Majority Leader Bill Dix served ten years in the Iowa House, ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2006, then defeated a Democratic Senate incumbent in 2010. After a failed attempt to become minority leader the following year, Dix was chosen for the position shortly after the 2012 general election. He represents Senate district 25, covering Hardin and Grundy counties and parts of Story and Butler counties.

Senate President Jack Whitver represents Senate district 19, covering Ankeny and other parts of northern Polk County. He served as minority whip last year.

Senate President Pro-Tem Jerry Behn preceded Dix as minority leader but hasn’t been in leadership since 2012. He represents Senate district 24, covering all of Boone, Hamilton, and Greene counties and part of Webster.

Majority Whip Charles Schneider was an assistant minority leader during the last legislative session. He has since 2013 represented Senate district 22, covering Windsor Heights, Clive, Waukee, and parts of West Des Moines in Polk and Dallas counties.

Two of the four assistant majority leaders were assistant minority leaders last year:

Randy Feenstra is serving his third term and represents Senate district 2, covering Sioux, O’Brien, and Cherokee counties.

Dan Zumbach has since 2013 represented Senate district 48, covering Delaware County and parts of Jones, Linn, and Buchanan counties.

The other two assistant majority leaders are new to leadership:

Michael Breitbach has since 2013 represented Senate district 28, covering all of Allamakee and Clayton counties, most of Winneshiek County, and about half of Fayette County.

Amy Sinclair, the only woman in the GOP Senate caucus, has since 2013 represented Senate district 14, covering Clarke, Decatur, Lucas and Wayne counties, most of Marion County, and a small portion of Jasper County.

Iowa Senate Democratic leadership team

After 20 years as either majority or minority leader of his caucus, Mike Gronstal lost his 2016 re-election bid.

Minority Leader Rob Hogg represents Senate district 33, covering part of Cedar Rapids in Linn County. He is serving his third term in the upper chamber and unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in 2016.

Minority Whip Amanda Ragan is serving her fourth term and represents Senate district 27, which includes Mason City and most of Cerro Gordo County as well as Franklin County and most of Butler County.

Assistant minority leaders:

Joe Bolkcom is serving his fifth term and represents Senate district 43, covering most of Iowa City in Johnson County.

Bill Dotzler is serving his fourth term and represents Senate district 31, covering a large area in Waterloo in Black Hawk County.

Rita Hart has since 2013 represented Senate district 49, covering Clinton County and part of Scott County.

Liz Mathis helped Democrats retain control of the chamber by winning a 2011 special election and has since been re-elected twice in Senate district 34, covering some surburban areas in Linn County.

Matt McCoy was first elected to the Iowa Senate in 1996 and represents Senate district 21, covering much of the south side of Des Moines and part of West Des Moines in Polk County.

Herman Quirmbach is serving his fourth term and represents Senate district 23, covering Ames and some rural areas in Story County.

Iowa Senate Standing Commitees

Agriculture

Chair: Dan Zumbach (see above)

Vice Chair: Waylon Brown was just elected for the first time in Senate district 26, covering Worth, Floyd, Chickasaw, Mitchell, and Howard counties, and parts of Cerro Gordo and Winneshiek counties.

Ranking member: Kevin Kinney was first elected in 2014 and represents Senate district 39, covering Washington and Keokuk counties and a large area in Johnson County.

Other members: Ken Rozenboom (R), Jeff Edler (R), Tom Shipley (R), Tim Kapucian (R), Mark Segebart (R), Mark Costello (R), Amanda Ragan (D), Tod Bowman (D), Rich Taylor (D), Rita Hart (D)

Appropriations

Chair: Charles Schneider (see above)

Vice Chair: Tim Kraayenbrink was first elected in 2014 and represents Senate district 5, covering Calhoun, Humboldt, and Pocahontas counties, as well as most of Webster County.

Ranking member: Joe Bolkcom (see above) He chaired the Ways & Means Committee when Democrats controlled the chamber.

Other members: Dan Zumbach (R), Julian Garrett (R), Dennis Guth (R), Mark Lofgren (R), Ken Rozenboom (R), Tom Shipley (R), Mark Costello (R), Rick Bertrand (R), Tom Greene (R), Craig Johnson (R), Mark Chelgren (R), Nate Boulton (D), Jeff Danielson (D), Bill Dotzler (D), Rita Hart (D), Rob Hogg (D), Liz Mathis (D), Matt McCoy (D), Amanda Ragan (D)

Commerce

Chair: Bill Anderson was first elected in 2010 and represents Senate district 3, covering much of Woodbury County (including southern neighborhoods in Sioux City) and most of Plymouth County. He was ranking member of this committee for the past two years.

Vice Chair: Mike Breitbach (see above)

Ranking member: Janet Petersen chaired this committee during the previous legislature. First elected to the Senate in 2012 after serving for 12 years in the Iowa House, she represents Senate district 18, covering parts of northern and eastern Des Moines in Polk County.

Other members: Rick Bertrand (R), Dan Zumbach (R), Amy Sinclair (R), Craig Johnson (R), Randy Feenstra (R), Brad Zaun (R), Dennis Guth (R), Chaz Allen (D), Nate Boulton (D), Jim Lykam (D), Liz Mathis (D), Matt McCoy (D)

Economic Growth

Senate Republican leaders chose to eliminate this committee, for reasons I haven’t seen anyone explain in public. My impression has been that lawmakers like talking about their work in this area. The committee continues in the GOP-controlled Iowa House.

In a December press release, Minority Leader Hogg slammed the “decision to gut legislative oversight of Iowa’s job creation efforts,” saying, “The Senate Economic Growth Committee has helped Iowans create jobs with innovative programs in infrastructure, community development, and emerging technologies. The committee’s job is to improve these efforts and provide a safeguard against crony capitalism.”

Education

Chair: Amy Sinclair (see above) She was ranking member on this committee during the previous legislature.

Vice Chair: Jeff Edler was just elected for the first time in Senate district 36, covering Marshall and Tama counties and part of Black Hawk County.

Ranking member: Herman Quirmbach (see above) He chaired this committee in recent years.

Other members: Jerry Behn (R), Tim Kraayenbrink (R), Tom Greene (R), Mark Chelgren (R), Ken Rozenboom (R), Mark Lofgren (R), Craig Johnson (R), Tod Bowman (D), Bob Dvorsky (D), Rita Hart (D), Liz Mathis (D), Jeff Danielson (D)

Ethics

This committee has three members from each party in accordance with Iowa law.

Chair: Jerry Behn (see above)

Vice Chair: Dennis Guth was first elected in 2012 and represents Senate district 4, covering Emmet, Kossuth, Winnebago, Hancock, and Wright counties.

Ranking member: Wally Horn was first elected to the Iowa Senate in 1982 and represents Senate district 35, covering a large area of Cedar Rapids in Linn County.

Other members: Mark Costello (R), Pam Jochum (D), Kevin Kinney (D)

Government Oversight

Chair: Mike Breitbach (see above)

Vice Chair: Amy Sinclair (see above)

Ranking member: Matt McCoy (see above)

Other members: Mark Lofgren (R), Janet Petersen (D)

Human Resources

Chair: Mark Segebart was first elected in 2012 and represents Senate district 6, covering Buena Vista, Sac, Carroll, and Audubon counties, plus part of Crawford County.

Vice Chair: Mark Costello was first elected in a 2014 special election to replace Joni Ernst and represents Senate district 12, covering Mills, Montgomery, Fremont, Page, Taylor, and Ringgold counties.

Ranking member: Liz Mathis (see above)

Other members: Julian Garrett (R), Mark Chelgren (R), Tom Greene (R), Craig Johnson (R), Jake Chapman (R), Tom Shipley (R), Joe Bolkcom (D), Pam Jochum (D), Herman Quirmbach (D), Amanda Ragan (D)

Judiciary

Chair: Brad Zaun was first elected in 2004 and represents Senate district 20, covering Urbandale, Johnston, Grimes, and other areas in northwest Polk County.

Vice Chair: Dan Dawson was just elected for the first time in Senate district 8, covering Council Bluffs and Carter Lake in Pottawattamie County.

Ranking member: Rich Taylor was first elected in 2012 and represents Senate district 42, covering Lee and Henry Counties and parts of Jefferson and Washington.

Other members: Julian Garrett (R), Tom Shipley (R), Amy Sinclair (R), Charles Schneider (R), Jason Schultz (R), Jeff Edler (R), Tony Bisignano (D), Nate Boulton (D), Janet Petersen (D), Kevin Kinney (D)

Labor and Business Relations

Chair: Jason Schultz was first elected in 2014 and represent Senate district 9, covering Ida, Monona, Harrison, and Shelby counties, along with parts of Crawford and Woodbury counties. He is known to some Bleeding Heartland readers as the only state lawmaker who has called me a traitor.

Vice Chair: Brad Zaun (see above)

Ranking member: Nate Boulton was just elected for the first time in Senate district 16, covering much of the east side of Des Moines and Pleasant Hill in Polk County.

Other members: Jake Chapman (R), Waylon Brown (R), Mark Costello (R), Dennis Guth (R), Mike Breitbach (R), Bill Dotzler (D), Rich Taylor (D), Tony Bisignano (D)

Local Government

Chair: Julian Garrett was first elected in a 2013 special election and represents Senate district 13, covering Madison County and most of Warren County.

Vice Chair: Mark Lofgren was just elected for the first time in Senate district 46, covering parts of Muscatine and Scott Counties.

Ranking member: Chaz Allen was first elected in 2014 and represents Senate district 15, covering most of Jasper County and eastern areas in Polk County.

Other members: Tim Kraayenbrink (R), Tom Greene (R), Dennis Guth (R), Mark Segebart (R), Mark Chelgren (R), Herman Quirmbach (D), Bob Dvorsky (D), Matt McCoy (D)

Natural Resources and Environment

Chair: Ken Rozenboom was first elected in 2012 and represents Senate district 40, covering Mahaska, Monroe, and Appanoose Counties, and parts of Marion and Wapello Counties. He was previously ranking member on this committee.

Vice Chair: Tom Shipley was first elected in 2014 and represents Senate district 11, covering Adams and Union counties, most of Cass County, and most of Pottawattamie County outside the Council Bluffs city limits.

Ranking member: Bob Dvorsky was first elected in 1994 and represents Senate district 37, covering Coralville and a large area in Johnson County as well as Cedar County.

Other members: Mike Breitbach (R), Jerry Behn (R), Tom Shipley (R), Waylon Brown (R), Bill Anderson (R), Tim Kapucian (R), Rick Bertrand (R), Joe Bolkcom (D), Kevin Kinney (D), Rita Hart (D), Jim Lykam (D), David Johnson (independent) Senate Democrats gave Johnson one of their slots on this committee.

Rules and Administration

Chair: Bill Dix (see above)

Vice Chair: Jack Whitver (see above)

Ranking member: Rob Hogg (see above)

Other members: Jerry Behn (R), Charles Schneider (R), Roby Smith (R), Randy Feenstra (R), Amy Sinclair (R), Bob Dvorsky (D), Amanda Ragan (D), Pam Jochum (D)

State Government

Chair: Roby Smith was first elected in 2010 and represents Senate district 47, covering Bettendorf and parts of Davenport in Scott County.

Vice Chair: Jake Chapman was first elected in 2012 and represents Senate district 10, covering most of Dallas County, a little bit of Polk and Cass counties, and all of Adair and Guthrie Counties.

Ranking member: Tony Bisignano was elected in 2014 and represents Senate district 17, covering parts of downtown Des Moines and the south side. He previously served six years in the state House and four years in the Senate during the 1980s and 1990s.

Other members: Bill Anderson (R), Brad Zaun (R), Randy Feenstra (R), Jason Schultz (R), Dan Dawson (R), Waylon Brown (R), Charles Schneider (R), Tod Bowman (D), Jeff Danielson (D), Janet Petersen (D), Wally Horn (D), Pam Jochum (D)

Transportation

Chair: Tim Kapucian was first elected in 2008 and represents Senate district 38, covering Benton, Iowa and Poweshiek counties.

Vice Chair: Mike Breitbach (see above)

Ranking member: Tod Bowman was first elected to the Senate in 2010 and represents Senate district 29, covering Jackson, most of Dubuque County (but not the city of Dubuque) and a large area in Jones County. He chaired this committee in the previous legislature.

Other members: Dan Zumbach (R), Bill Anderson (R), Rick Bertrand (R), Tim Kraaeynbrink (R), Tom Greene (R), Roby Smith (R), Jeff Danielson (D), Tony Bisignano (D), Wally Horn (D), Jim Lykam (D)

Veterans Affairs

Chair: Mark Costello (see above)

Vice Chair: Ken Rozenboom (see above)

Ranking member: Wally Horn (see above)

Other members: Rick Bertrand (R), Mark Lofgren (R), Jeff Edler (R), Mark Segebart (R), Dan Dawson (R), Chaz Allen (D), Tod Bowman (D), Amanda Ragan (D)

Ways & Means

Chair: Randy Feenstra (see above)

Vice Chair: Jerry Behn (see above)

Ranking member: Former Senate President Pam Jochum was first elected to the chamber in 2008, having previously served 16 years in the Iowa House. She represents Senate district 50, covering Dubuque.

Other members: Waylon Brown (R), Dan Dawson (R), Bill Anderson (R), Mike Breitbach (R), Jason Schultz (R), Roby Smith (R), Jeff Edler (R), Bill Dotzler (D), Joe Bolkcom (D), Janet Petersen (D), Matt McCoy (D), Herman Quirmbach (D)

Appropriations Subcommittees

Administration and Regulation

Chair: Dennis Guth (see above)

Vice Chair: Jake Chapman (see above)

Ranking member: Liz Mathis (see above)

Other members: Dan Zumbach (R), Jim Lykam (D)

Agriculture/Natural Resources

Chair: Tom Shipley (see above)

Vice Chair: Waylon Brown (see above)

Ranking member: Rita Hart (see above)

Other members: Ken Rozenboom (R), Kevin Kinney (D)

Economic Development

Chair: Mark Lofgren (see above)

Vice Chair: Mike Breitbach (see above)

Ranking member: Bill Dotzler (see above)

Other members: Tom Greene (R), Chaz Allen (D)

Education

Chair: Tim Kraayenbrink (see above)

Vice Chair: Craig Johnson was just elected for the first time in Senate district 32, covering Bremer County and parts of Fayette, Buchanan and Black Hawk.

Ranking member: Jeff Danielson was first elected in 2004 and represents Senate district 30, covering Cedar Falls, part of Waterloo and some rural areas in Black Hawk County.

Other members: Jason Schultz (R), Herman Quirmbach (D)

Health and Human Services

Chair: Mark Costello (see above)

Vice Chair: Mark Segebart (see above)

Ranking member: Amanda Ragan (see above)

Other members: Jeff Edler (R), Joe Bolkcom (D)

Justice Systems

Chair: Mark Chelgren was first elected in 2010 and represents Senate district 41, covering much of Wapello County and all of Davis and Van Buren counties.

Vice Chair: Dan Dawson (see above)

Ranking member: Bob Dvorsky (see above)

Other members: Julian Garrett (R), Nate Boulton (D)

Transportation, Infrastructure, and Capitals

Chair: Rick Bertrand was first elected in 2010 and represents Senate district 7, covering most of Sioux City in Woodbury County.

Vice Chair: Tim Kapucian (see above)

Ranking member: Matt McCoy (see above)

Other members: Bill Anderson (R), Tod Bowman (D)

Administrative Rules Review Committee

Five Iowa House and five Iowa Senate members serve on this committee. The Senate’s five representatives on this committee are Mark Chelgren (R, chair), Mark Costello (R), Jack Whitver (R), Rich Taylor (D), Pam Jochum (D)

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