Who's who in the Iowa Senate for 2020

The Iowa Senate convened for its 2020 session on January 13 with 32 Republicans and 18 Democrats. Eleven senators are women (six Democrats and five Republicans), up from six women in the chamber before the 2018 elections.

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. A few committees have new Republican leaders. On the Democratic side, Eric Giddens now represents the Senate district where Jeff Danielson resigned last year.

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, and Tom.

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 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
First elected in a 2019 special election: Eric Giddens

Iowa Senate Republican leadership team

Majority Leader Jack Whitver took on that role in March 2018, when 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 represents 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 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 in 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 has said he will not seek re-election to the legislature this year and has been campaigning for the GOP nomination in the fourth Congressional district.

Dan Zumbach represents 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.

The six assistant minority leaders have not changed since last year.

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 was 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 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.

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.

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: Carrie Koelker (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), Amy Sinclair (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 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.

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)

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.

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)

Ranking member: Zach Wahls was elected for the first time in 2018 in Senate district 37, covering Cedar County and part of Johnson County.

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.

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.

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.

Ranking member: Rob Hogg was first elected in 2006 and represents Senate district 33, covering part of Cedar Rapids in Linn County.

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.

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.

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

Commerce

Chair: Dan Dawson was first elected in 2016 in Senate district 8, covering Council Bluffs and Carter Lake in Pottawattamie County. Last year Jake Chapman chaired this committee.

Vice Chair: Carrie Koelker was elected for the first time in 2018 in Senate district 29, covering Jackson County and Dubuque County outside the city of Dubuque.

Ranking member: Jim Lykam (see above)

Other members: Michael Breitbach (R), Jake Chapman (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 elected for the first time in 2018 and represents Senate district 49, covering Clinton County and part of Scott County.

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), Eric Giddens (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)

Vice Chair: Jerry Behn (see above)

Ranking member: Pam Jochum (see above)

Other members: Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R), Liz Mathis (D), Kevin Kinney (D)

Government Oversight

Chair: Amy Sinclair (see above)

Vice Chair: Mark Lofgren (see above)

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

Human Resources

Chair: Last year Mariannette Miller-Meeks chaired this committee, but she relinquished that role to focus on her campaign for the open seat in Iowa’s second Congressional district.

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.

Ranking member: Liz Mathis (see above)

Other members: Julian Garrett (R), Jim Carlin (R), Thomas Greene (R), Craig Johnson (R), Mark Costello (R), Jeff Edler (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: Julian Garrett (see above) Last year Dan Dawson was vice chair.

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.

Other members: Dan Dawson (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.

Ranking member: Todd Taylor served for more than 20 years in the Iowa House and was first elected in 2018 to represent Senate district 35, covering part of Cedar Rapids in Linn County.

Other members: Jim Carlin (R), Waylon Brown (R), Dennis Guth (R), Carrie Koelker (R), Zach Nunn (R), Bill Dotzler (D), Rich Taylor (D), Nate Boulton (D)

Local Government

Chair: Jeff Edler (see above)

Vice Chair: Thomas Greene (see above)

Ranking member: Jackie Smith was elected for the first time in 2018 and represents Senate district 7, covering most of Sioux City in Woodbury County.

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.

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)

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)

Ranking member: Tony Bisignano (see above)

Other members: Jake Chapman (R), Brad Zaun (R), Randy Feenstra (R), Jason Schultz (R), Ken Rozenboom (R), Chris Cournoyer (R), Zach Whiting (R), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R), Claire Celsi (D), Eric Giddens (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)

Ranking member: Eric Giddens was first elected in a 2019 special election and represents Senate district 30, covering Cedar Falls and part of Waterloo in Black Hawk County. Last year Jeff Danielson was ranking member.

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: Jim Carlin was first elected in a 2017 special election and represents Senate district 3, covering most of Plymouth County and part of Woodbury County, including the south side of Sioux City. Last year Dan Dawson chaired this committee.

Vice Chair: Mariannette Miller-Meeks was first elected in 2018 and represents Senate district 41, covering much of Wapello County and all of Davis and Van Buren counties.

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: Dan Dawson (R), Mark Lofgren (R), Jeff Edler (R), Carrie Koelker (R), Mark Costello (R), Eric Giddens (D), Bill Dotzler (D), Amanda Ragan (D)

Ways & Means

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. Last year Randy Feenstra chaired this committee, but he gave up that role to focus on his Congressional campaign.

Vice Chair: Dan Dawson (see above)

Ranking member: Pam Jochum (see above)

Other members: Waylon Brown (R), Jerry Behn (R), Jim Carlin (R), Randy Feenstra (R), Jason Schultz (R), Roby Smith (R), Jeff Edler (R), Annette Sweeney (R), Zach Nunn (R), Bill Dotzler (D), Joe Bolkcom (D), Eric Giddens (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)

Top photo of rotunda at the Iowa capitol by Amanda Rex-Johnson published with permission.

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