Who's who in the Iowa Senate for 2019

The Iowa Senate convened for its 2019 session on January 14 with 32 Republicans and 18 Democrats. A record eleven senators are women (six Democrats and five Republicans), up from six women in the chamber at the start of the last legislature’s work.

I enclose below details on the majority and minority leadership teams, along with all chairs, vice chairs, and members of standing Iowa Senate committees. Where relevant, I’ve mentioned changes since last year’s legislative session. Note that Democratic Senator Nate Boulton will serve on committees after all. Minority Leader Janet Petersen had declined to assign him to any committees last month.

A few words about demographics: all current state 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. No Asian American has served in the Iowa Senate since Swati Dandekar resigned in 2011.

Some non-political trivia: the 50 Iowa senators include two Smiths (a Democrat and a Republican) and two Taylors (both Democrats). As for first names, there are three Marks, three Zachs, and two men each named Dan, Jim, Tim, Tom, and Jeff.

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: Roby Smith

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, Michael 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

First elected in a 2017 special election: Jim Carlin

First elected in a 2018 special election: Annette Sweeney
First elected in the 2018 general election: Chris Cournoyer, Carrie Koelker, Mariannette Miller-Meeks, Zach Nunn, Zach Whiting

Senate Democrats

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 a 2011 special election: Liz Mathis

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

First elected in 2014: Tony Bisignano (six years in Iowa House and four in Iowa Senate during 1980s and 1990s), Kevin Kinney
First elected in 2016: Nate Boulton
First elected in a 2016 special election: Jim Lykam (fourteen years in Iowa House)
First elected in 2018: Claire Celsi, Jackie Smith, Todd Taylor, Zach Wahls

Iowa Senate Republican leadership team

Majority Leader Jack Whitver took on that role in March 2018, after his predecessor Bill Dix resigned unexpectedly after Iowa Starting Line exposed his apparent romantic relationship with a lobbyist. He represents Senate district 19, covering Ankeny and other parts of northern Polk County.

Senate President Charles Schneider moved up from majority whip last March. Since 2013, he has represented Senate district 22, covering Windsor Heights, Clive, Waukee, and parts of West Des Moines in Polk and Dallas counties.

Senate President Pro-Tem Jerry Behn preceded Dix as minority leader and returned to the GOP leadership team after the 2016 election. He represents Senate district 24, covering all of Boone, Hamilton, and Greene counties and part of Webster.

Majority whip Amy Sinclair was the only woman in the 29-member Senate GOP caucus after the 2016 election. She represents Senate district 14, covering Clarke, Decatur, Lucas, and Wayne counties, along with most of Marion County and part of Jasper County.

Three of the four assistant majority leaders also held that position last year.

Waylon Brown is new to the leadership team. He is serving his first term in Senate district 26, covering Worth, Floyd, Chickasaw, Mitchell, and Howard counties, and parts of Cerro Gordo and Winneshiek counties.

Jake Chapman is serving his second term Senate district 10, covering most of Dallas County, a little bit of Polk and Cass counties, and all of Adair and Guthrie Counties.

Randy Feenstra is serving his third term and represents Senate district 2, covering Sioux, O’Brien, and Cherokee counties. He announced last week that he will challenge U.S. Representative Steve King in the fourth Congressional district in 2020.

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

Iowa Senate Democratic leadership team

Minority Leader Janet Petersen replaced Rob Hogg in that role in October 2017. First elected to the Senate in 2012 after serving six terms in the Iowa House, she represents Senate district 18, covering parts of northern and eastern Des Moines in Polk County.

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.

Four of the six assistant minority leaders served in the same role last year; the other two replace colleagues who did not seek re-election in 2018.

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

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

Pam Jochum returns to leadership, having been Senate president when Democrats were last in the majority. She is serving her third term and represents Senate district 50, covering Dubuque.

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.

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

Rich Taylor is new to the leadership team. He is serving his second term and represents Senate district 42, covering Lee and Henry Counties and parts of Jefferson and Washington.

Iowa Senate Standing Commitees

Agriculture

Chair: Dan Zumbach (see above)

Vice Chair: Annette Sweeney represents Senate district 25, covering Hardin and Grundy counties and parts of Story and Butler counties. Last year Waylon Brown was vice chair of this committee.

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), Waylon Brown (R), Mark Costello (R), Amanda Ragan (D), Zach Wahls (D), Rich Taylor (D), Liz Mathis (D)

Appropriations

Chair: Michael Breitbach was first elected in 2012 in Senate district 28, covering all of Allamakee and Clayton counties, most of Winneshiek County, and about half of Fayette County. Last year Charles Schneider chaired this committee.

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)

Other members: Charles Schneider (R), Julian Garrett (R), Dennis Guth (R), Mark Lofgren (R), Ken Rozenboom (R), Tom Shipley (R), Mark Costello (R), Marriannette Miller-Meeks (R), Thomas Greene (R), Craig Johnson (R), Mark Chelgren (R), Claire Celsi (D), Jim Lykam (D), Bill Dotzler (D), Todd Taylor (D), Liz Mathis (D), Zach Wahls (D), Amanda Ragan (D)

Appropriations Subcommittees

Administration and Regulation

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

Vice Chair: Dan Zumbach (see above) Last year Jake Chapman was vice chair.

Ranking member: Claire Celsi was just elected for the first time in 2018 and represents Senate district 21, covering parts of Des Moines, West Des Moines, and Cumming in Polk and Warren counties. Last year Liz Mathis was ranking member of this subcommittee.

Other members: Zach Whiting (R), Rich Taylor (D)

Agriculture/Natural Resources

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.

Vice 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. Last year Waylon Brown was vice chair of this subcommittee.

Ranking member: Liz Mathis (see above) Last year Rita Hart was ranking member, but she ran for lieutenant governor instead of for re-election to the Senate.

Other members: Annette Sweeney (R), Kevin Kinney (D)

Economic Development

Chair: Mark Lofgren was first elected in 2016 in Senate district 46, covering parts of Muscatine and Scott Counties.

Vice Chair: Thomas Greene was first elected in 2016 in Senate district 44, covering Des Moines and Louisa counties and part of Muscatine County. Last year Mike Breitbach was vice chair of this subcommittee.

Ranking member: Bill Dotzler (see above)

Other members: Chris Cournoyer (R), Jackie Smith (D)

Education

Chair: Tim Kraayenbrink (see above)

Vice Chair: Amy Sinclair (see above) Last year Jim Carlin was ranking member on this subcommittee.

Ranking member: Zach Wahls was just elected for the first time in 2018 in Senate district 37, covering Cedar County and part of Johnson County. Last year Jeff Danielson was ranking member on this subcommittee.

Other members: Carrie Koelker (R), Herman Quirmbach (D)

Health and Human Services

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.

Vice Chair: Jeff Edler was first elected in 2016 and represents Senate district 36, covering Marshall and Tama counties and a small area in Black Hawk County. Last year Mark Segebart was vice chair of this subcommittee.

Ranking member: Amanda Ragan (see above)

Other members: Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R), Joe Bolkcom (D)

Justice Systems

Chair: Julian Garrett was first elected in 2013 and represents Senate district 13, covering Madison County and most of Warren County. Last year Mark Chelgren chaired this subcommittee, but he retired.

Vice Chair: Zach Nunn gave up a leadership position in the Iowa House last year to run for Senate district 15, covering most of Jasper County and eastern areas of Polk County. Last year Dan Dawson was vice chair of this subcommittee.

Ranking member: Rob Hogg was first elected in 2006 and represents Senate district 33, covering part of Cedar Rapids in Linn County. Last year Bob Dvorsky was ranking member of this subcommittee, but he retired.

Other members: Jim Carlin (R), Todd Taylor (D)

Transportation, Infrastructure, and Capitals

Chair: Craig Johnson was first elected in 2016 in Senate district 32, covering Bremer County and parts of Fayette, Buchanan and Black Hawk.

Vice Chair: Roby Smith is serving his third term in Senate district 47, covering parts of Scott County. Last year Tim Kapucian was vice chair of this subcommittee.

Ranking member: Jim Lykam gave up a seat in the Iowa House in late 2016 to run for Senate district 45, covering part of Scott County. Last year Matt McCoy was ranking member of this subcommittee, but he retired.

Other members: Dan Dawson (R), Nate Boulton (D)

Commerce

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.

Vice Chair: Carrie Koelker was just elected for the first time in 2018 in Senate district 29, covering Jackson County and Dubuque County outside the city of Dubuque. Last year Michael Breitbach was vice chair of this committee.

Ranking member: Jim Lykam (see above) Last year Chaz Allen was ranking member of this committee, but he retired.

Other members: Michael Breitbach (R), Dan Dawson (R), Amy Sinclair (R), Craig Johnson (R), Randy Feenstra (R), Zach Nunn (R), Waylon Brown (R), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R), Roby Smith (R), Janet Petersen (D), Tony Bisignano (D), Joe Bolkcom (D), Liz Mathis (D), Herman Quirmbach (D)

Education

Chair: Amy Sinclair (see above)

Vice Chair: Chris Cournoyer was just elected for the first time in 2018 and represents Senate district 49, covering Clinton County and part of Scott County. Last year Jeff Edler was vice chair of this committee.

Ranking member: Herman Quirmbach (see above)

Other members: Jerry Behn (R), Tim Kraayenbrink (R), Jeff Edler (R), Annette Sweeney (R), Ken Rozenboom (R), Mark Lofgren (R), Craig Johnson (R), Brad Zaun (R), Claire Celsi (D), Jeff Danielson (D), Jackie Smith (D), Zach Wahls (D)

Ethics

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

Chair: Mark Costello (see above) Last year Jerry Behn chaired this committee.

Vice Chair: Jerry Behn (see above) Last year Dennis Guth was vice chair of this committee.

Ranking member: Pam Jochum (see above) Last year Wally Horn was ranking member, but he retired.

Other members: Annette Sweeney (R), Liz Mathis (D), Kevin Kinney (D)

Government Oversight

Chair: Amy Sinclair (see above) Last year Michael Breitbach chaired this committee.

Vice Chair: Mark Lofgren (see above) Last year Amy Sinclair was vice chair.

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. Last year Matt McCoy was ranking member, but he retired.

Other members: Zach Whiting (R), Claire Celsi (D)

Human Resources

Chair: Mariannette Miller-Meeks was just elected for the first time in 2018 and represents Senate district 41, covering much of Wapello County and all of Davis and Van Buren counties. She previously made three attempts to defeat U.S. Representative Dave Loebsack. Last year Mark Segebart chaired this committee.

Vice 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. Last year Mark Costello was vice chair of this committee.

Ranking member: Liz Mathis (see above)

Other members: Julian Garrett (R), Jim Carlin (R), Thomas Greene (R), Craig Johnson (R), Mark Costello (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 first elected in 2016 in Senate district 8, covering Council Bluffs and Carter Lake in Pottawattamie County.

Ranking member: Kevin Kinney was first elected in 2014 and represents Senate district 39, covering Keokuk County, most of Washington County, and part of Johnson County. Last year Rich Taylor was ranking member on this committee.

Other members: Julian Garrett (R), Tom Shipley (R), Amy Sinclair (R), Zach Nunn (R), Jason Schultz (R), Amy Sinclair (R), Annette Sweeney (R), Zach Whiting (R), Tony Bisignano (D), Rob Hogg (D), Janet Petersen (D), Rich Taylor (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 the only state lawmaker who has called me a traitor.

Vice Chair: Zach Whiting was just elected for the first time in 2018 and represents Senate district 1, covering Lyon, Osceola, Dickinson, Clay, and Palo Alto counties. Last year Brad Zaun was vice chair of this committee.

Ranking member: Todd Taylor served for more than 20 years in the Iowa House and was just elected in 2018 to represent Senate district 35, covering part of Cedar Rapids in Linn County. Last year Nate Boulton was ranking member on this committee.

Other members: Jim Carlin (R), Waylon Brown (R), Mark Costello (R), Dennis Guth (R), Carrie Koelker (R), Zach Nunn, Bill Dotzler (D), Rich Taylor (D), Tony Bisignano (D)

Local Government

Chair: Jeff Edler (see above) Last year Julian Garrett chaired this committee.

Vice Chair: Thomas Greene (see above) Last year Mark Lofgren was vice chair.

Ranking member: Jackie Smith was just elected for the first time in 2018 and represents Senate district 7, covering most of Sioux City in Woodbury County. Last year Rob Hogg was ranking member on this committee.

Other members: Tim Kraayenbrink (R), Julian Garrett (R), Dennis Guth (R), Mark Lofgren (R), Mark Segebart (R), Herman Quirmbach (D), Nate Boulton (D), Rob Hogg (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: Rob Hogg (see above) Last year Bob Dvorsky was ranking member, but he retired.

Other members: Chris Cournoyer (R), Jerry Behn (R), Tim Kapucian (R), Mark Segebart (R), Annette Sweeney (R), Dan Zumbach (R), Claire Celsi (D), Nate Boulton (D), Jim Lykam (D), Jackie Smith (D)

Rules and Administration

Chair: Jack Whitver (see above)

Vice Chair: Charles Schneider (see above)

Ranking member: Janet Petersen (see above)

Other members: Jerry Behn (R), Jake Chapman (R), Roby Smith (R), Randy Feenstra (R), Amy Sinclair (R), Joe Bolkcom (D), Amanda Ragan (D), Pam Jochum (D)

State Government

Chair: Roby Smith (see above)

Vice Chair: Craig Johnson (see above) Last year Jake Chapman was vice chair of this committee.

Ranking member: Tony Bisignano (see above)

Other members: Jake Chapman (R), Brad Zaun (R), Randy Feenstra (R), Jason Schultz (R), Dan Dawson (R), Chris Cournoyer (R), Zach Whiting (R), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R), Claire Celsi (D), Jeff Danielson (D), Todd Taylor (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: Waylon Brown (see above) Last year Michael Breitbach was vice chair.

Ranking member: Last year Tod Bowman was ranking member, but he lost his re-election bid.

Other members: Dan Zumbach (R), Michael Breitbach (R), Chris Cournoyer (R), Tom Shipley (R), Zach Whiting (R), Carrie Koelker (R), Kevin Kinney (D), Jackie Smith (D), Todd Taylor (D), Jim Lykam (D)

Veterans Affairs

Chair: Dan Dawson was first elected in 2016 and represents Senate district 8, covering Council Bluffs in Pottawattamie County. Last year Mark Costello chaired this committee.

Vice Chair: Mariannette Miller-Meeks (see above) Last year Ken Rozenboom was vice chair.

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. Last year Wally Horn was ranking member, but he retired.

Other members: Jim Carlin (R), Mark Lofgren (R), Jeff Edler (R), Carrie Koelker (R), Mark Costello (R), Jeff Danielson (D), Bill Dotzler (D), Amanda Ragan (D)

Ways & Means

Chair: Randy Feenstra (see above)

Vice Chair: Dan Dawson (see above) Last year Jerry Behn was vice chair.

Ranking member: Pam Jochum (see above)

Other members: Waylon Brown (R), Jerry Behn (R), Jim Carlin (R), Jake Chapman (R), Jason Schultz (R), Roby Smith (R), Jeff Edler (R), Annette Sweeney (R), Zach Nunn (R), Bill Dotzler (D), Joe Bolkcom (D), Jeff Danielson (D), Zach Wahls (D), Herman Quirmbach (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 Waylon Brown (R, chair), Mark Costello (R), Zach Whiting (R), Rob Hogg (D), Pam Jochum (D)

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