Who's who in the Iowa Senate for 2021

The Iowa Senate convened for its 2021 session on January 11 with 31 Republicans, eighteen Democrats, and one vacancy in the district formerly represented by Mariannette Miller-Meeks. A record twelve senators are women (seven Democrats and five Republicans), up from eleven women in the chamber last year and double the six who served prior to 2018.

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.

All current state senators are white. 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 chamber, and Iowa’s only Asian-American senator was Swati Dandekar, who resigned in 2011.

Some non-political trivia: the 50 Iowa senators include two Smiths, a Democrat and a Republican. As for first names, there are three Jeffs, three Zachs, and two men each named Craig, Mark, Dan, Jim, and Tim.

UPDATE: Republican Adrian Dickey won the January 26 special election to represent Senate district 41, giving the GOP a 32-18 majority. After he’s sworn in, I’ll note his committee assignments below.

Four of the last six general elections in Iowa were GOP waves, as you can see from the large number of Republican senators with relatively little seniority.

Senate Republicans

First elected in 2004: Brad Zaun

First elected in 2010: Roby Smith

First elected in a 2011 special election: Jack Whitver

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

First elected in a 2013 special election: Julian Garrett (following 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, 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, Zach Nunn, Zach Whiting

First elected in 2020: Dawn Driscoll, Craig Williams, Mike Klimesh, Jeff Reichman, Jeff Taylor, Tim Goodwin, Jesse Green

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)

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

First elected in 2020: Sarah Trone Garriott

Iowa Senate Republican leadership team

Jack Whitver remains majority leader, having served in that role since March 2018, when his predecessor Bill Dix resigned in disgrace. He represents Senate district 19, covering Ankeny and other parts of northern Polk County.

Jake Chapman is the new Senate president, the second-ranking position in the majority caucus. He was elected in 2020 to a third 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. Charles Schneider was Senate president for the previous two years, but he did not seek re-election in 2020.

Brad Zaun is the longest-serving member of the GOP Senate caucus and the new president pro tempore. He was just elected to a fifth term in Senate district 20, representing some of the suburbs northwest of Des Moines in Polk County. The previous Senate president pro-tem, Jerry Behn, retired in 2020.

Amy Sinclair returns as majority whip. She was just elected to her third term in Senate district 14, covering Clarke, Decatur, Lucas, and Wayne counties, along with most of Marion County and part of Jasper County. Following the 2016 election, Sinclair was the only woman in the 29-member Republican caucus, but she has four female colleagues now.

All four assistant majority leaders are new to that role.

Chris Cournoyer was elected for the first time in 2018 and represents Senate district 49, covering Clinton County and part of Scott County.

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.

Mark Lofgren won a second term in 2020 and represents Senate district 46, covering parts of Muscatine and Scott Counties. He previously served four years in the Iowa House.

Zach Whiting was elected for the first time in 2018 in Senate district 1, covering Lyon, Osceola, Dickinson, Clay, and Palo Alto counties.

Iowa Senate Democratic leadership team

Zach Wahls is the new minority leader, chosen in November after Janet Petersen declined to continue in that role. He was elected for the first time in 2018 and represents Senate district 37, covering parts of Johnson County, all of Cedar County, and the city of Wilton in Muscatine County.

Amanda Ragan remains minority whip. She 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.

Three of the five assistant minority leaders served in that role last year.

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.

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

They are joined by two new assistant minority leaders:

Nate Boulton was elected to a second term in 2020 and represents Senate district 16, covering much of eastern Des Moines in Polk County.

Jackie Smith was elected to her first term in 2018 and represents Senate district 7, covering much of Sioux City in Woodbury County.

Iowa Senate Standing Commitees

Agriculture

Chair: Dan Zumbach represents Senate district 48, covering Delaware County and parts of Jones, Linn, and Buchanan counties.

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), Dawn Driscoll (R), Jesse Green (R), Mark Costello (R), Amanda Ragan (D), Zach Wahls (D), Liz Mathis (D), Jackie Smith (D)

Appropriations

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. Michael Breitbach led this committee last year, but he retired.

Vice Chair: Mark Lofgren (see above) Tim Kraayenbrink chaired this committee last year.

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

Other members: Carrie Koelker (R), Julian Garrett (R), Dennis Guth (R), Jeff Edler (R), Ken Rozenboom (R), Mike Klimesh (R), Mark Costello (R), Jeff Reichman (R), Craig Williams (R), Craig Johnson (R), Amy Sinclair (R), Claire Celsi (D), Janet Petersen (D), Bill Dotzler (D), Todd Taylor (D), Liz Mathis (D), Jackie Smith (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)

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: Tim Goodwin (R), Eric Giddens (D)

Agriculture/Natural Resources

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 Tom Shipley led this subcommittee.

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. Last year Rozenboom was vice chair.

Ranking member: Liz Mathis was first elected in a 2011 special election and just won her third full term in Senate district 34, covering some surburban areas in Linn County.

Other members: Craig Williams (R), Kevin Kinney (D)

Economic Development

Chair: Mark Lofgren (see above)

Vice Chair: Carrie Koelker (see above) Last year Tom Greene was vice chair, but he retired.

Ranking member: Bill Dotzler (see above)

Other members: Jeff Reichman (R), Rob Hogg (D)

Education

Chair: Chris Cournoyer (see above) Last year Tim Kraayenbrink led this committee.

Vice Chair: Jesse Green was elected in 2020 for the first time in Senate district 24, covering all of Boone, Hamilton, and Greene counties and part of Webster.

Ranking member: Jackie Smith (see above) Last year Zach Wahls was ranking member on this panel.

Other members: Annette Sweeney (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: Mike Klimesh (R), Sarah Trone Garriott (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: 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.

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. Last year Rob Hogg was ranking member.

Other members: Jeff Taylor (R), Nate Boulton (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: Zach Whiting (see above) Last year Roby Smith was vice chair.

Ranking member: Janet Petersen was 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. Last year Jim Lykam was ranking member.

Other members: Dawn Driscoll (R), Jim Lykam (D)

Commerce

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. Last year Dan Dawson 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 gave up a seat in the Iowa House in late 2016 to run for Senate district 45, covering part of Scott County.

Other members: Tim Goodwin (R), Jake Chapman (R), Amy Sinclair (R), Craig Johnson (R), Mike Klimesh (R), Zach Whiting (R), Waylon Brown (R), Craig Williams (R), Roby Smith (R), Janet Petersen (D), Tony Bisignano (D), Janet Petersen (D), Liz Mathis (D), Herman Quirmbach (D), Zach Wahls (D)

Education

Chair: Amy Sinclair (see above)

Vice Chair: Jeff Taylor was elected for the first time in 2020 in Senate district 2, covering Sioux, O’Brien, and Cherokee counties. Last year Chris Cournoyer was vice chair.

Ranking member: Herman Quirmbach (see above)

Other members: Jim Carlin (R), Tim Kraayenbrink (R), Tim Goodwin (R), Annette Sweeney (R), Ken Rozenboom (R), Chris Cournoyer (R), Craig Johnson (R), Brad Zaun (R), Claire Celsi (D), Eric Giddens (D), Jackie Smith (D), Sarah Trone Garriott (D)

Ethics

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

Chair: Carrie Koelker (see above) Last year Mark Costello was chair.

Vice Chair: Jim Carlin (see above) Last year Jerry Behn was vice chair.

Ranking member: Pam Jochum (see above)

Other members: Mark Costello (R), Rob Hogg (D), Kevin Kinney (D)

Government Oversight

Chair: Jason Schultz (see above) Last year Amy Sinclair was chair.

Vice Chair: Craig Williams was elected for the first time in 2020 and represents Senate district 6, covering Buena Vista, Sac, Carroll, and Audubon counties, plus part of Crawford County. Last year Mark Lofgren 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 and West Des Moines in Polk County and the city of Cumming in Warren County. Last year Tony Bisignano was ranking member.

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

Human Resources

Chair: Jeff Edler (see above) Last year Annette Sweeney led this committee.

Vice Chair: Mark Costello (see above) Last year Mark Segebart was vice chair.

Ranking member: Liz Mathis (see above)

Other members: Julian Garrett (R), Jim Carlin (R), Jesse Green (R), Craig Johnson (R), Mark Lofgren (R), Annette Sweeney (R), Joe Bolkcom (D), Pam Jochum (D), Sarah Trone Garriott (D), Amanda Ragan (D)

Judiciary

Chair: Brad Zaun (see above)

Vice Chair: Julian Garrett (see above)

Ranking member: Kevin Kinney (see above)

Other members: Dan Dawson (R), Tom Shipley (R), Amy Sinclair (R), Craig Johnson (R), Jason Schultz (R), Amy Sinclair (R), Jeff Taylor (R), Zach Whiting (R), Tony Bisignano (D), Joe Bolkcom (D), Janet Petersen (D), Nate Boulton (D)

Labor and Business Relations

Chair: Zach Whiting was first elected in 2018 and represents Senate district 1, covering Lyon, Osceola, Dickinson, Clay, and Palo Alto counties. Last year Jason Schultz led this panel.

Vice Chair: Jesse Green (see above) Last year Zach Whiting was vice chair.

Ranking member: Nate Boulton (see above) Last year Todd Taylor was ranking member.

Other members: Dawn Driscoll (R), Waylon Brown (R), Dennis Guth (R), Dennis Guth (R), Jason Schultz (R), Bill Dotzler (D), Todd Taylor (D), Pam Jochum (D)

Local Government

Chair: Tom Shipley (see above) Last year Jeff Edler was chair.

Vice Chair: Mike Klimesh was elected for the first time in 2020 and represents Senate district 28, covering all of Allamakee and Clayton counties, most of Winneshiek County, and about half of Fayette County. Last year Thomas Greene was vice chair.

Ranking member: Jackie Smith (see above)

Other members: Dawn Driscoll (R), Julian Garrett (R), Dennis Guth (R), Mark Lofgren (R), Craig Williams (R), Herman Quirmbach (D), Todd Taylor (D), Rob Hogg (D)

Natural Resources and Environment

Chair: Annette Sweeney (see above) Last year Ken Rozenboom was chair.

Vice Chair: Dawn Driscoll was elected for the first time in 2020 and represents Senate district 38, covering Benton, Iowa and Poweshiek counties. Last year Tom Shipley was vice chair.

Ranking member: Sarah Trone Garriott was elected for the first time in 2020 in Senate district 22, covering Windsor Heights, Clive, and part of West Des Moines in Polk County and Waukee in Dallas County. Last year Rob Hogg was ranking member.

Other members: Chris Cournoyer (R), Jesse Green (R), Tom Shipley (R), Jeff Taylor (R), Ken Rozenboom (R), Dan Zumbach (R), Claire Celsi (D), Nate Boulton (D), Jim Lykam (D), Rob Hogg (D)

Rules and Administration

Chair: Jack Whitver (see above)

Vice Chair: Jake Chapman (see above) Last year Charles Schneider was vice chair.

Ranking member: Zach Wahls (see above) Last year Janet Petersen was ranking member.

Other members: Dan Zumbach (R), Zach Whiting (R), Roby Smith (R), Brad Zaun (R), Amy Sinclair (R), Joe Bolkcom (D), Amanda Ragan (D), Pam Jochum (D)

State Government

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

Vice Chair: Chris Cournoyer (see above) Last year Craig Johnson 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.

Other members: Dan Dawson (R), Tim Goodwin (R), Dennis Guth (R), Jason Schultz (R), Carrie Koelker (R), Jeff Reichman (R), Zach Whiting (R), Craig Johnson (R), Claire Celsi (D), Eric Giddens (D), Nate Boulton (D), Pam Jochum (D)

Transportation

Chair: Waylon Brown was first elected in 2016 and represents Senate district 26, covering Worth, Howard, Mitchell, Chickasaw, and Floyd counties, plus small areas in Winneshiek and Cerro Gordo. Last year Tim Kapucian was chair, but he retired.

Vice Chair: Tom Shipley (see above) Last year Waylon Brown was the co-chair.

Ranking member: Eric Giddens was first elected in a 2019 special election and re-elected in 2020 in Senate district 30, covering Cedar Falls and part of Waterloo in Black Hawk County.

Other members: Dan Zumbach (R), Dawn Driscoll (R), Mike Klimesh (R), Ken Rozenboom (R), Tim Kraayenbrink (R), Carrie Koelker (R), Tony Bisignano (D), Jackie Smith (D), Todd Taylor (D), Jim Lykam (D)

Veterans Affairs

Chair: Jim Carlin (see above)

Vice Chair: Jeff Reichman was just elected in 2020 to represent Senate district 42, covering Lee and Henry Counties and parts of Jefferson and Washington counties. Last year Mariannette Miller-Meeks was vice chair, but she resigned from the Iowa Senate to serve in Congress.

Ranking member: Eric Giddens (see above) Last year Rich Taylor was ranking member, but he lost his re-election bid.

Other members: Dan Dawson (R), Mark Lofgren (R), Jeff Edler (R), Jesse Green (R), Mark Costello (R), Liz Mathis (D), Bill Dotzler (D), Amanda Ragan (D)

Ways & Means

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: Tim Goodwin was just elected for the first time in 2020 and represents Senate district 44, covering Des Moines and Louisa counties and much of Muscatine County outside the city of Muscatine. Last year Dan Dawson was vice chair.

Ranking member: Pam Jochum (see above)

Other members: Waylon Brown (R), Jesse Green (R), Jim Carlin (R), Dawn Driscoll (R), Jason Schultz (R), Roby Smith (R), Amy Sinclair (R), Annette Sweeney (R), Zach Whiting (R), Bill Dotzler (D), Joe Bolkcom (D), Janet Petersen (D), Todd Taylor (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 Zach Whiting (R, vice chair), Jesse Green (R), Waylon Brown (R), Rob Hogg (D), Pam Jochum (D, ranking member)

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