New jobs for former lawmakers and another term for Regent Craig Lang

Governor Terry Branstad announced a long list of appointees to state boards and commissions today. I’ve posted the full press release after the jump, along with background on some of the most newsworthy nominations. The governor tapped several former state lawmakers or candidates for the legislature, as well as his younger son, Marcus Branstad.

Branstad appointed three people to the nine-member Board of Regents today. That board’s main responsibility is to oversee the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, and the University of Northern Iowa. The governor appointed Craig Lang to serve another term on that board. Lang was the longtime president of the Iowa Farm Bureau until late 2011. Originally appointed to the Board of Regents by Governor Chet Culver (one of his worst choices in my opinion), Lang became president of that board not long after Branstad took office in 2011.

The two new members of the Board of Regents are Dr. Subhash Sahai and Robert Cramer. Dr. Sahai is the president of Webster City Medical Clinic. He received his medical degree from the University of Iowa. I could only find a record of three contributions from him to Iowa candidates for state office: two $5,000 donations to Democrat Mike Blouin’s gubernatorial campaign in 2005 and 2006, and one $35 donation to Culver’s gubernatorial campaign in 2007. No more than five Regents can be from the same political party.

Robert Cramer has a long list of campaign contributions in the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board database, almost all to Republican candidates or party committees. He gave Branstad’s campaign a total of $625 in September 2010, but I was much more interested to see that he gave a total of $20,000 to GOP rival Bob Vander Plaats during the gubernatorial primary campaign. He has donated to some conservative heroes in the Iowa legislature, such as State Senator Kent Sorenson, as well as some far-right candidates who did not win their elections, like Jeff Mullen, Jane Jech, and Al Ringgenberg.

UPDATE: Both outgoing Regents, David Miles and Jack Evans, told Diane Heldt of the Cedar Rapids Gazette that they did not seek reappointment to the board.

The governor reappointed former State Representative Libby Jacobs to the Iowa Utilities Board and named former State Representative Nick Wagner to the same board. Jacobs, a Republican, retired from the Iowa House in 2008, and Branstad first appointed her to the Iowa Utilities Board in 2011. My understanding is that the Iowa Senate confirmed her to a six-year term on that board, but her term as board chair expires at the end of this April. According to Branstad’s communications director Tim Albrecht, the governor is naming Jacobs to another two-year term as chair of the board.

Wagner served two terms in the Iowa House before losing his 2012 re-election bid to Democrat Daniel Lundby. On the Iowa Utilities Board, he will replace another Republican, Darrell Hanson, a fantastic choice of Culver’s. Assuming the Iowa Senate confirms Wagner, which should be routine all three members of the Iowa Utilities Board will be former legislators. The third is former Democratic State Senator Swati Dandekar, whom Branstad appointed in 2011. Note: Wagner represented Dandekar’s old House district in the Cedar Rapids suburbs. She left that seat open in 2008 to run for the Iowa Senate.

I am relieved that no new coal-fired power plants have been proposed in Iowa lately, because the Iowa Utilities Board according to Branstad is not nearly as consumer-friendly as the one that prompted an Alliant Energy subsidiary to abandon plans for a coal plant in Marshalltown in 2009.

Branstad chose former State Representative Rich Arnold to serve on the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission. A Republican, Arnold retired in 2012 after serving 18 years in the Iowa House.

Former State Senator Tom Rielly is one of two Branstad appointees to serve on the State Transportation Commission. A Democrat, he chaired the Iowa Senate Transportation Committee before retiring in 2012. He just lost a close special election for Mahaska County supervisor. Branstad also reappointed Loree Miles to the transportation commission; Culver appointed her in 2009.

Former State Senator James Seymour, a Republican, was one of two Branstad appointees to the Board of Nursing. Seymour retired in 2012 after the redistricting plan put him in the same district as fellow GOP Senator Nancy Boettger.

UPDATE: Forgot to mention that former State Senator Maggie Tinsman is one of Branstad’s appointees to the Prevention of Disabilities Policy Council. Tinsman represented the Bettendorf area before losing the 2006 Republican primary to a challenger from the right, David Hartsuch.

Branstad picked Timothy Gartin to serve on the Iowa Comprehensive Petroleum Underground Storage Tank Fund Board. Gartin was the Republican challenger to State Senator Herman Quirmbach in 2010.

Rich Clewell is one of four Branstad appointees to the Early Childhood Iowa State Board. Clewell was a Democratic candidate for Iowa Senate in 2010, but he lost the election to Republican Roby Smith.

Branstad appointed his younger son, Marcus Branstad, to the Natural Resources Commission. An avid hunter, he will presumably help make sure that commission never again tries to ban lead ammunition for any kind of hunting. Last year, Governor Branstad overturned an administrative rule that the Natural Resources Commission unanimously adopted in 2011, requiring non-toxic shot for hunting mourning doves.

UPDATE: Perry Beeman reported for the Des Moines Register that Marcus Branstad and the governor’s other appointee to the Natural Resources Commission, Phyllis Reimer,

would replace two commission veterans, Greg Drees of Arnolds Park and Janelle Rettig of Iowa City. Both are Democrats whose terms expire in April.

Drees was involved in many issues, including a controversy over hunters using lead shot;  ensuring full law enforcement projection at the Iowa Great Lakes; and addressing rowdiness at Gull Point State Park’s beach. Rettig was vocal on a number of issues, particularly pushing for transparency and improved management at financially struggling Honey Creek Resort State Park.

UPDATE: Branstad’s appointees to the Environmental Protection Commission continue his pattern of stacking that body with people tied to large agribusiness. Under Iowa law, three of the nine Environmental Protection Commission members must be “actively engaged in livestock and grain farming,” one member must be “actively engaged in the business of finance or commerce,” and one must be “actively engaged in the management of a manufacturing company.” Governors Tom Vilsack and Chet Culver named several people known to be strong advocates for clean air and water to this commission. Branstad has yet to appoint anyone with ties to the sustainable agriculture or environmental communities. His five latest appointments to the Environmental Protection Commission are:

Cynthia Greiman, a beef producer who has been a district sales manager for Monsanto for two decades in addition to helping run a feedlot and cow-calf operation;

Alan Koch, a board member at Master Builders of Iowa and CEO at Henning Construction, which builds large-scale animal confinements, among other types of facilities;

Robert Sinclair, general manager for Sigourney Tractor & Implement;

Joanne Stockdale, a past chair of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry who is president of Northern Iowa Die Casting, and serves on the Iowa Innovation Council;

Eugene Ver Steeg, a past president of the Iowa Pork Producers Association who opposed many environmental regulations as one of Culver appointees to this body. Branstad tried to reappoint Ver Steeg in 2011 but had to withdraw the nomination after the Sierra Club Iowa chapter pointed out that the governor had placed too many Republicans on the commission.

LATE UPDATE: The Quad-City Times editorial board wasn’t happy about the small number of appointees from their neck of the woods.

Gov. Branstad’s list of 209 appointments is extremely thin on Quad-Citians. Des Moines dominated with 19 of the appointees. No. 2 Cedar Rapids had 13. Iowans from the state’s third largest city – Davenport – won just three appointments.

These 209 appointments are just the most recent among thousands already serving. But again and again, we find ourselves looking deep on these lists to find Quad-Citians.

Congratulations to Quad-Citians listed below who stepped up for state service.

Clearly, state boards have room for many more from our area.

Press release from Governor Terry Branstad’s office, March 1:

Gov. Branstad today announced appointments to fill Iowa’s boards and commissions.

The following appointees’ term begins on May 1, 2013, unless otherwise noted.

Iowa Banking Division

James Schipper, Superintendent, Osceola

Iowa Board of Parole

Jim Felker, Hiawatha

Shelia Wilson, West Des Moines

Iowa Board of Regents

Robert Cramer, Grimes

Dr. Subhash Sahai, Webster City

Craig Lang, Brooklyn

Iowa Lottery Authority

Terry Rich, Chief Executive Officer, Urbandale

Iowa National Guard

Major General Timothy Orr, Adjutant General, Johnston

Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission

Richard Arnold, Russell

Iowa Utilities Board

Libby Jacobs, West Des Moines

Nick Wagner, Marion

Transportation Commission

Loree Miles, Dallas Center

Tom Rielly, Oskaloosa

Accountancy Examining Board

David Loy, Cedar Falls

Ying Sa, Des Moines

Laura Walker, Newhall

Commission on the Status of African Americans

Rita Davenport, Boone

Commission on Aging

Quentin Hart, Waterloo

G. Willard Jenkins, Waterloo

Neil Wubbena, Osage

Alcoholic Beverages Commission

Jason Wilson, Johnston

Architectural Examining Board

Kolby DeWitt, Sioux City

Emily Forquer, Afton

Commission of Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs

Steve Hou, Des Moines (term begins March 1st)

Athletic Training Board

Shaun McCarthy, Iowa City

Christopher Wiedmann, Des Moines

Iowa Autism Council

Alyson Beytien, Dubuque

James Curry, Des Moines

Steve Johnson, West Des Moines

Matthew O’Brien, Davenport

Board of Barbering

Charles Wubbena, Waterloo

Board of Behavioral Science

Erik Oostenink, Des Moines

Jill Struyk, Des Moines

Sarah Thomas, Nevada

Commission for the Blind

Joseph Van Lent, Des Moines

Iowa Boiler and Pressure Vessel Board

Robert Brecke, Cedar Rapids

Timothy Fehr, Iowa City

Amy Iles, Hastings

Iowa Capital Investment Board

Natalie Lischer, Des Moines

Child Advocacy Board

Elaine Sanders, Sioux City

Wayne Schellhammer, Urbandale

Jeanne Sorenson, Lake View

Shannon Unternahrer, Washington

Board of Chiropractic

Jason Wall, Dyersville

Iowa State Civil Rights Commission

Tom Conley, Urbandale

Lawrence Cunningham, Urbandale

Lily Lijun Hou, Urbandale

Douglas Oelschlaeger, Cedar Rapids

Commission of Community Action Agencies

John Johnson, Marshalltown

Brian Lauterbach, Alden

Robyn Ormsby, Ankeny

Board of Corrections

Richard LaMere Jr., Anamosa

Rebecca Williams, Cedar Rapids

Cosmetology Arts and Sciences Board

Richard Sheriff, Des Moines

County Finance Committee

Janine Sulzner, Anamosa

Patricia Wright, Mason City

Credit Union Review Board

Jeffrey Hayes, Cherokee

Tahira Hira, Ames

Scott Zahnle, Ames

Commission of Deaf Services

Mark Hersch, Dallas Center

Robert Vizzini, Cedar Rapids

Board of Dentistry

Steven Bradley, Cascade

Thomas Jeneary, LeMars

Kaaren Vargas, North Liberty

Board of Dietetics

Janet Johnson, Cedar Rapids

Drug Policy Advisory Council

Jennifer Miller, Marshalltown

Early Childhood Iowa State Board

David Arens, Windsor Heights (term begins March 1st)

Alice Atkinson, Iowa City

Richard Clewell, Davenport

Tracy Erlandson, Onawa

Economic Development Authority

Theodore Crosbie, Earlham

Larry Den Herder, Sioux Center

Delia Meier, Eldridge

Board of Educational Examiners

Dan Dutcher, Waukee (term begins March 1st)

Ann Lebo, Grundy Center

Mary Overholtzer, Tingley

Andrew Pattee, Charles City

Jay Prescott, Urbandale

Anne Sullivan, Cedar Falls

Richard Wortmann, Bloomfield

Electrical Examining Board

Kyle Barnhart, Atalissa

Theodore Meiners, Cedar Rapids

Kathryn Kunert, Des Moines

Lisa Petersen, Oto

Elevator Safety Board

Siobhan Harman, Des Moines

Kristine Kesterson, Williamsburg

Wayne Sims, Des Moines

Iowa Emergency Response Commission

Christopher Enyeart, DeWitt

Engineering and Land Surveying Examining Board

Bryan Myers, West Des Moines

Howard Stewart, Marshalltown

Environmental Protection Commission

Cynthia Greiman, Garner

Alan Koch, Johnston

Robert Sinclair, Williamsburg

Joanne Stockdale, Okoboji

Eugene Ver Steeg, Inwood

Iowa Finance Authority

Jeffrey Heil, Haverhill

Joan Johnson, West Des Moines

Shaner Magalhaes, Coralville

Flood Mitigation Board

Lorraine Glover, Waterloo

Arnold Honkamp, Dubuque

Amy Kaleita, Ames

John Torbert, West Des Moines

Iowa Grain Indemnity Fund Board

Duane Madoerin, Webster City

Curtis Sindergard, Rolfe

Iowa Great Places Advisory Board

Barbara Determann, Early

Greg Fisher, West Des Moines

Emily Meyer, Cedar Rapids

Linda Washburn, Hastings

Health Facilities Council

Roberta Chambers, Corydon

Connie Schmett, Clive

Healthy and Well Kids in Iowa (HAWK-I) Board

Ruth Evans, Muscatine

Bob Skow, Dallas Center

Board of Hearing Aid Dispensers

Jaime Secory, Urbandale

Jerry Smith, Boone

Higher Education Loan Authority

Edward Rogalski, Davenport (term begins March 1st)

Council on Human Services

Arnold Honkamp, Dubuque

Guy Richardson, Jefferson (term begins March 1st)

Kim Spading, Coralville

Interior Design Examining Board

Kevin Clark, Des Moines

Julie Ann Quebe, Cedar Rapids

Investment Board of the IPERS

Wayne Walter, Decorah

Dennis Young, Waukee

Commission on Judicial Qualifications

Sandra Blodgett, Clear Lake

Landscape Architectural Examining Board

Erica Andersen, West Des Moines

Christopher Seeger, Boone

Law Enforcement Academy Council

Brian Gardner, Cedar Rapids

Randy Krukow, Spencer

Melinda Ruopp, Marshalltown

Megan Weiss, Des Moines

Massage Therapy Board

Christina Michael, Earlham

Rhonda Reif, Burlington

Board of Medicine

Dr. Robert Bender, Clive

Dr. Julie Carmody, Clive

Ann Gales, Bode

Dr. Allison Schoenfelder, Akron

Mental Health and Disability Services Commission

Richard Crouch, Malvern

Betty King, Cedar Rapids

Sharon Lambert, Buffalo

Gary Lippe, Dubuque

Brett McLain, Ames

Rebecca Peterson, Clive

Marilyn Seemann, Woodward

Mental Health Risk Pool Board

Eugene Meiners, Templeton

Marjorie Pitts, Spencer

Board of Mortuary Science

Kimberly Doehrmann, Williamsburg

Barbara Teahen, Cedar Rapids

Commission of Native American Affairs

D. Suzanne Buffalo, Tama

Joe Coulter, Iowa City

Larry Lasley, Tama

Karen Mackey, Sioux City

Kelly Montijo Fink, Hiawatha (term begins March 1st)

Dirk Whitebreast, Tama

Natural Resources Commission

Marcus Branstad, West Des Moines

Phyllis Reimer, Crescent

Board of Nursing Home Administrators

Karol Dammann, Manning

Patricia Hoffman-Simanek, Cedar Rapids (term begins March 1st)

Michael “Jay” Jenison, Ankeny (term begins March 1st)

Lanny Ward, Indianola

Board of Nursing

Nancy Kramer, Independence

James Seymour, Woodbine

Chad Ware, Walker

Board of Optometry

Thomas Hayden, Newton

Tamie Stahl, Cedar Falls

Commission of Persons with Disabilities

Matt Connolly, Des Moines (term begins March 1st)

Iowa Comprehensive Petroleum Underground Storage Tank Fund Board

Timothy Gartin, Ames

Board of Pharmacy

Sharon Meyer, Urbandale

Judith Trumpy, Ames

Board of Physical and Occupational Therapy

Denise Behrends, West Des Moines

Todd Bradley, Oelwein

Erin Hytrek, Moville

Board of Physician Assistants

Melissa Gentry, Ollie

Keith Guess, Keokuk

Susan Koehler, Des Moines

Joseph Molnar, Charles City

Plumbing and Mechanical Systems Examining Board

Michele Chalfant, Webster City

Board of Podiatry

Tara Decker-Brock, Dubuque

Gregory Lantz, Cedar Falls

Denise Mandi, Winterset

Prevention of Disabilities Policy Council

Craig Cretsinger, Spencer (term beings March 1st)

Scott Lindgren, Solon

Maggie Tinsman, Bettendorf

Steven Wolfe, Coralville

Board of Psychology

Melinda Green, Solon

Joan Skogstrom, Urbandale

Real Estate Appraisal Examining Board

Vernon “Fred” Greder Jr., Mason City

Greg Harms, Grundy Center

Real Estate Commission

Dennis Stolk, Riverdale

Board of Respiratory Care

Lawrence Lilla, Ames

School Budget Review Committee

Gina Primmer, Council Bluffs

Leland Tack, Johnston

Board of Sign Language Interpreters and Transliterators

Bill Ainsley, Des Moines

Susan Tyrrell, Hiawatha

Board of Social Work

Amy Courneya, Ames

Valerie Huntley, Saint Charles

Jody Weigel, Cedar Rapids

State Soil Conservation Committee

Paula Ellis, Donnellson

Susan Vance Hjelm, Lake Park

Board of Speech Pathology and Audiology

Diana Hanson, Johnston

Kent Weaver, Clive

State Board of Tax Review

Jill Sanchez, LeClaire

Technology Advisory Council

Timothy Peterson, Des Moines

Iowa Telecommunications and Technology Commission

Richard Bruner, Ventura

Title Guaranty Division Board

Patricia Schneider, Des Moines

Daniel Seufferlein, North Liberty

Commission on Tobacco Use Prevention and Control

Robbyn Graves, Dyersville

David Vander Horst, Pella

Board of Veterinary Medicine

Dewayne Rahe, Dyersville

Vision Iowa Board

James Davidson, Burlington

Mark Murphy, Cherokee

Carrie Tedore, Dubuque

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  • Losing Greg Drees

    Greg Drees was a real leader on natural resources/conservation issues in NE Iowa and a champion of Iowa’s Water & Land Legacy.  Sad to see him go

  • Shame about Darrell Hanson

    I wasn’t sure what to expect out of him — a rural area Republican — when he was first appointed to the Utilities Board.  But he has really done a very nice job there, and he is just a genuinely nice guy.  I knew it wouldn’t happen, but I was hoping he’d get reappointed.  

    • without him

      Iowa would probably have coal-fired power plants in Waterloo and Marshalltown by now, with the associated increase in asthma, strokes, heart attacks, and cancer for the next 50 years. Hanson was solid when John Norris let us down.

      I saw on Facebook that Hanson released a statement announcing his departure and thanking former IUB member Mark Lambert “for suggesting that I seek appointment to the Board and encouraging me to go through with the process.” Lambert was one of Governor Tom Vilsack’s appointees.  

      • Strokes

        You’re either for asthma, strokes, etc. or against them.  LOL.  There’s a good place to start a civil discussion.  

        • John Norris was wrong

          He thought we’d need new coal-fired plants to meet our baseload needs. Not accurate. A hundred or so permanent jobs in Waterloo or Marshalltown are not worth the enormous health and environmental costs of a coal plant.

  • Natural Resources Commission

    Branstad appointed his son who works for the American Chemistry Council, an ALEC-affiliated group that lobbies against environmental regulations. Marcus may be an avid hunter, but he’s unlikely to be an environmentalist.

    • Branstad hasn't appointed

      an environmentalist yet to any board, nor will he ever do so. He’s been stacking the Environmental Protection Commission with factory farm advocates.