Clay Masters

Morning Edition Host

Clay Masters joined the Iowa Public Radio newsroom as a statehouse and political correspondent in 2012 and started hosting IPR’s Morning Edition in 2014. Clay is an award-winning multi-media journalist whose radio stories have been heard on various NPR and American Public Media programs.

He was one of the founding reporters of Harvest Public Media, the regional journalism consortium covering agriculture and food production in the Midwest. He was based in Nebraska where he worked for Nebraska’s statewide public radio and television network. 

Clay continues to report on a wide variety of topics including politics, health and the environment. He’s also a regular music contributor to NPR’s arts desk.

Clay’s favorite NPR program is All Things Considered.

Ways To Connect

John Pemble / IPR

Clay Masters: It's Morning Edition on Iowa Public Radio. I'm Clay Masters. Governor Terry Branstad delivers his condition of the state speech this morning where he'll lay out his priorities in 2015. We sat down with the governor in his formal office at this capitol yesterday to get a bit of a preview. I start by asking the governor if this is the year a funding method will be approved to fix the state's deficent roads and bridges. 

Photo by John Pemble

The board of the state's largest water utility has voted unanimously to sue three northern Iowa counties, holding them responsible for the high nitrate levels in rivers the utility uses for source water. Des Moines Water Works CEO and General Manager Bill Stowe says there have been significant peaks in nitrate levels throughout the last three years.

UPDATE 12:35 pm Monday, January 5, 2015 - The "General" in charge of the Iowa Department of Transportation's battle plan for the approaching snow storm says they're ready to go. 

LinkedIn

The state insurance commissioner is taking over a co-op that was financed by the Affordable Care Act. 

League of Women Voters of California / Flickr

Republican Secretary of State-elect Paul Pate says he hopes to have the option for Iowans to register to vote online before the 2016 primaries. But at a public hearing  Tuesday in Des Moines, voter rights groups say it’s unfair.

Clay Masters / IPR

Pieta Brown's parents split up when she was 2 years old, and she spent her childhood traveling between them in the Midwest and the South.

But even when she was apart from her father — the much-loved folk singer Greg Brown — they would find ways to share the musical parts of their lives.

Photo by John Pemble

Sen. Tom Harkin retires from the U.S. Senate in January. He discusses his congressional legacy with Morning Edition, and gives a hint to his life's next chapter. 

Clay Masters: It’s Morning Edition on Iowa Public Radio. I’m Clay Masters. U.S. Democratic Senator Tom Harkin is retiring. He’s been a member of congress for 40 years—10 years in the House, and 30 in the Senate. Sen. Harkin is with me to discuss his career, and also what’s next.  Hello, Senator.

Sen. Tom Harkin: Good Morning. Good to be with you, Clay.

Jennifer Morrow

Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, 110,000 Iowans have enrolled in Medicaid through the Iowa Health and Wellness Plan.  The income threshold for those eligible went from 100 percent of the poverty level, to 138 percent. 

CEO of the Iowa Hospital Association Kirk Norris talks with Morning Edition about how Medicaid expansion has affected Iowan hospitals. 

Clay Masters: It’s Morning Edition on Iowa Public Radio. Good Morning. I’m Clay Masters.

John Pemble / IPR

Last night Governor Branstad was elected to a sixth term and Republican Joni Ernst will be the first woman to represent Iowa in the United States Congress. Democrats held on to its majority in the state senate. IPR's Clay Masters talks with Associated Press political reporter Catherine Lucey about last night's results and what it might mean for 2016.

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With Election Day on Tuesday, IPR’s Clay Masters spoke with Associated Press political reporter Catherine Lucey, to discuss what to expect.

Clay Masters / IPR

Since the Supreme Court's "Citizens United" decision in 2010, there’s been more and more participation in electoral politics by groups not coordinated with campaigns or parties. 

John Pemble / IPR

State Senator Joni Ernst, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, talks with Morning Edition one week before the 2014 Elections. 

Clay Masters / IPR

Congressman Bruce Braley, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, talks with Morning Edition one week before the 2014 Elections. 

Clay Masters / IPR

Imagine being able to drive an all-terrain vehicle right up next to a sacred earthen Native American burial mound.

Ernst/Braley Campaign Facebook Pages

Democratic Congressman Bruce Braley and Republican State Senator Joni Ernst squared off in their final debate for Iowa's open U.S. Senate seat at Morningside College in Sioux City Thursday night. 

Braley and Ernst were asked to clarify their stances on fixing social security. Social Security's trust fund is projected to run out in about two decades, potentially reducing Social Security benefits by as much as 25%.

Congressman Braley wants millionaires and billionaires to pay the same portion of earned income into social security as less wealthy Americans.

The topic of out-of-state money flooding Iowa's airwaves featured heavily in Saturday's U.S. Senate debate.

Jim Mowrer for Congress Facebook Page

Democratic congressional candidate Jim Mowrer says he will not apologize for or remove television ads his campaign is running against Republican Congressman Steve King.

Clay Masters / IPR

The Maximum Ames Music Festival took place over the weekend. It featured 100 bands from the around the country and Iowa.  It’s organized by two musicians who also run a record label under the same name.  They started this event four years ago to expose the label’s Iowa based musicians to larger audiences, but now they’re changing their strategy.

Charlie Litchfield / The Des Moines Register

The two major party candidates for Iowa’s open U.S. senate seat debated last night at Simpson College in Indianola. The debate came a day after the first Des Moines Register Iowa Poll of the general election. It shows Democratic Congressman Bruce Braley trailing his Republican opponent State Senator Joni Ernst by 6 points. Braley had the first opening statement and after a quick introduction says there are big differences between him and Ernst.

Clay Masters / IPR

Early voting for the 2014 midterm elections begins Thursday in Iowa.

A record number of absentee ballots for a midterm election have gone out to Iowa voters according to Secretary of State Matt Schultz. 2014 requests for absentee ballots are about double, compared with 2010.

"We've got about 60,000 Democrats who have asked for absentee ballots," Schultz said. "We've got more than 30,000 Republicans and about 25,000 no-party voters. So you do the math and we're getting close to 100,000."

Clay Masters / IPR

  Most of the attention during this mid-term election season in Iowa has been on the races for U.S. Senate and Governor. However, further down the ballot, Iowa voters will determine who controls the Iowa Senate. Right now, Democrats hold a 26 to 24 majority. Democrats must hold all of their current seats, or pick up others to maintain control and are defending six seats in this mid-term election.

Democratic Senate majority leader Mike Gronstal said he’s cautiously optimistic and sees a handful of seats Democrats can pick up.

Clay Masters / IPR

Former Secretary of State and one-time Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton returned to Iowa Sunday for the first time since her 3rd place finish in the Iowa Caucuses in 2008.   She was the featured speaker at retiring  Democratic Senator Tom Harkin’s annual steak fry.  Even Harkin admitted she stole the show. 

Senator Harkin took the stage before some ten thousand activists and said this is a hell of a crowd:

“And to think you all came here just to see me,” Harkin joked with the crowd.  “Who am I kidding? You've had some steak now it’s time for some sizzle.”

Clay Masters / IPR

Republicans have their eye on a handful of seats they need to pick up to take control of the U.S. Senate this November. One is longtime Democratic Senator Tom Harkin, who’s retiring later this year. The open seat pits Democratic Congressman Bruce Braley against Republican State Senator Joni Ernst. Polls show the race neck and neck as the candidates have just more than two months left to campaign.

Clay Masters / IPR

 Business is booming in North Dakota’s Bakken Shale oilfields. With that boom comes a need for infrastructure. More than half of the oil out of the Bakken leaves by train or truck.  But companies are working on pipelines.  One proposed pipeline would cut clear through the state of Iowa. 

Clay Masters / IPR

Joni Ernst, who’s running as the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, held her first campaign event after returning from active duty with the Iowa National Guard.

Clay Masters / IPR

The Okoboji area is known for its tourism industry. The most recent data from the Dickinson County Chamber of Commerce says 255 million dollars are spent annually from tourism. But for last 40 years, cyclists on the Register’s Great Bike Ride Across Iowa have never stayed overnight in the Iowa Great Lakes. The natural barrier is a winding highway that goes from four to two lanes to wind around the lakes and an amusement park. But the RAGBRAI moved through the Iowa Great Lakes with no major problems.

Carol M. Highsmith / Library of Congress

While some say this year's Supreme Court session was conservative, others have characterized it as consistent.

Clay Masters / IPR

  Torrential downpours in northwest Iowa caused rivers to swell… floodwaters damaged homes, businesses and farmland.  Federal Emergency Management Agency officials are assessing the area to see if it qualifies for federal help. State officials on Monday said public infrastructure sustained more than $15 million worth of damage in the state.

That doesn’t include homes, businesses and farmland in Rock Valley and other parts of the region that were destroyed.

“We’ve had a few (floods), but nothing remotely close to this,” said Rock Valley Mayor Kevin Van Otterloo.

Anti-records

    Singer and Songwriter Jolie Holland has been making music since the 1990s. Her new album 'Wine Dark Sea' is this week's CD of the Week on IPR's Studio One. IPR's Clay Masters spoke with Holland soon after she finished recording the album. 

Joyce Russell / IPR

Democratic and Republican Primary voters went to the polls Tuesday to select candidates for the 2014 general election, but for Third-District Republicans it's not over yet. The biggest race last night was for the U.S. Senate Republican primary nomination. State Senator Joni Ernst easily won that race. IPR's Clay Masters talks with University of Northern Iowa Political Science Professor Donna Hoffman about last night's results. 

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