DES MOINES – There’s been a changing of the guard among Republicans in the Iowa Senate.
The 23-member GOP caucus on Wednesday elected Sen. Bill Dix, R-Shell Rock, to serve as the Senate’s minority leader for the next two years.
Dix is a third-generation farmer who started his political career in the Iowa House, where he served five terms. He was elected to the Iowa Senate in 2010 and recently served on the Senate Appropriations, Judiciary and State Government Committee and the Senate Education Budget Subcommittee.
“I look forward to the upcoming legislative session and the opportunity to find solutions to some of our continued problems: reducing the size of government, creating jobs, and putting Iowans back to work,” Dix said in a statement.
He replaces Sen. Jerry Behn, R-Boone, who did not seek re-election as the GOP caucus leader heading into the 85th General Assembly which convenes on Jan. 14. Behn said he looks forward to spending more time with his family and farming business in Boone County.
On the Iowa House side, majority Republicans on Wednesday selected Rep. Kraig Paulsen, R-Hiawatha, to continue as speaker of the House for the next two years.
Paulsen, a six-term representative, is an attorney for CRST International, Inc. in Cedar Rapids. A former member of the United States Air Force, Paulsen had previously served as the minority whip and the House Republican Leader.
Rep. Linda Upmeyer, R-Clear Lake, was re-elected as the House majority leader; Rep. Steve Olson, R-DeWitt, was selected to serve as the speaker pro tem; Rep. Chris Hagenow, R-Windsor Heights, will serve as the House majority whip; and Reps. Matt Windschitl, R-Missouri Valley, Walt Rogers, R-Cedar Falls, Jeff Smith, R-Okoboji, and Joel Fry, R-Osceola, were named as assistant majority leaders.
“I’m honored that House Republicans have once again selected me to serve as their Speaker,” Paulsen said in a statement. “House Republicans look forward to continuing to work on behalf of Iowans and move forward with ways to make Iowa stronger.”
Minority Senate Republicans selected Sen. Rick Bertrand of Sioux City to serve as the GOP whip, while Sens Roby Smith of Davenport, Joni Ernst of Red Oak, Tim Kapucian of Keystone, David Johnson of Ocheyedan, and Randy Feenstra of Hull were elected as GOP assistant minority leaders.
Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, D-Council Bluffs, congratulated Dix on his election to be the new minority leader of the Iowa Senate and pledged to “work cooperatively on the issues that Republicans and Democrats can agree upon, to find common ground whenever possible, and to make sure our differences on some issues do not prevent us from doing what is best for Iowa.”