Ongoing Coverage:

Joyce Russell


Joyce Russell is a correspondent based at the Iowa Statehouse. Joyce has been covering the Iowa Statehouse since shortly after joining the news staff at WOI Radio in 1988. Her earlier broadcasting experience included news reporting at commercial stations in Oklahoma City and Fort Wayne, Indiana. Joyce’s reports can be heard on National Public Radio and American Public Media programs including All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and Marketplace.  She covered the last six Iowa caucus campaigns and interviewed numerous candidates for president, including some who went on to attain the highest office in the land.   

Joyce  has a bachelor’s degree in English from Saint Louis University and  a master’s degree in English from the University of Oklahoma.   

Joyce’s favorite public radio program is Fresh Air.


Pilot Project
6:53 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Student Teachers Buckle Down

Joanne Johnson/flickr

A pilot program to beef up Iowa teacher preparation is underway.

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Arts and Culture
3:44 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

IPTV: Friends Dollars Falling Short

Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds and Governor Terry Branstad during budget hearings this week.
John Pemble/IPR

Officials with Iowa Public Television are asking for more than a quarter of a million dollars from the state.

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2016 Elections
2:22 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Branstad to Bush: Welcome to Iowa

Governor Terry Branstad talking to national media about a Jeb Bush candidacy.
Jimmy Centers Office of Governor Terry Branstad

Governor Branstad is surprised that Florida Governor Jeb Bush has announced his potential candidacy for President so early.   

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Statehouse and Politics
9:50 am
Mon December 15, 2014

Candidate Schools Planned Ahead of 2015 Elections


The state board that oversees campaign finance laws plans to take its show on the road.

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Statehouse and Politics
12:21 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

Iowa Gets an F for Campaign Disclosure

Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board director Megan Tooker hopes to improve Iowa's laws regarding campaign donation disclosures.
John Pemble/IPR

Iowa has received a failing grade for its laws governing campaign finance reporting for state offices.   

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Crime, Justice and Public Safety
5:26 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Iowa Driver's License Goes Virtual

Iowa Department of Transportation director Paul Trombino explains the state's new digital driver's licesnes, which will be available next year.
Joyce Russell/IPR

Iowa motorists will soon be able to show identification by pulling out a cellphone.

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Statehouse and Politics
1:55 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Lawmakers: We'll Follow School Funding Law

Iowa Statehouse
John Pemble/IPR

Lawmakers of both major parties predict that next year schools will get early word about state funding .

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2015 Legislative Session
3:59 pm
Fri December 5, 2014

Lawmakers: Promises to Cities Not Cast in Stone

Iowa Taxpayers Association panelists
Joyce Russell/IPR

At a forum today, Democratic and Republican lawmakers differed sharply on whether the legislature can honor its commitments to local governments.

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Hash Oil Arrives
11:43 am
Thu December 4, 2014

Illegal Hash Oil Smoked in E-Cigarettes

Steve Lukan
Joyce Russell/IPR

Iowa’s top drug enforcement official says a new marijuana derivative is showing up in Iowa.

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Tax Credits Scrutinized
11:17 am
Thu December 4, 2014

Google, Facebook Tax Breaks Challenged

Facebook Grand Opening in Altoona
John Pemble/IPR

State assistance to attract Google, Microsoft, and Facebook to Iowa is under scrutiny by a statehouse committee.

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Business and Economy
7:03 am
Tue December 2, 2014

Landowners Question Bakken Pipeline

Fort Madison Landowners
Joyce Russell/IPR

It was standing room only when roughly 350 people turned out at a meeting yesterday in Fort Madison.     

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Hearings Underway
5:39 am
Mon December 1, 2014

Landowners to Ask Questions about Bakken Pipeline

North Dakota Oil Fields

Informational meetings begin this week  for landowners  in 18 Iowa counties.

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Recidivism Down
6:30 pm
Fri November 28, 2014

Fewer Blacks Return to Prison

Anamosa State Prison
J. Stephen Conn/Flickr

Recidivism is down in Iowa prisons because fewer African-Americans are returning to incarceration.

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Supreme Court Case
3:50 pm
Tue November 25, 2014

Juvenile Life Sentence Challenged

Iowa Judicial Building
Photo by John Pemble

Attorneys are keeping an eye on a juvenile sentencing case before the Iowa Supreme Court.  

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Special Election Needed
5:22 pm
Mon November 24, 2014

Ernst Resignation Pending in Iowa Senate

U.S. Senate Electee Joni Ernst
John Pemble/IPR

Iowa’s first woman elected to the U.S. Senate will be vacating her Iowa Senate seat. 

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Statehouse and Politics
8:01 am
Fri November 14, 2014

Iowans' Health Insurance Threatened

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller
Joyce Russell/IPR

Obamacare critics have gone to court to eliminate federal tax credits in most states.

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Grassley on Judiciary
3:10 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Grassley to Oversee Obama Judgeships

Senator Chuck Grassley
Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley says the new Republican majority will carefully vet President Obama’s judicial appointments.

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Statehouse and Politics
5:00 am
Thu November 6, 2014

Union Sues the Prison System

photo by Kate Ter Haar/flickr

The state’s largest public employees union is suing the Iowa prison system over the right to wear anti-Branstad pins at work. 

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2014 Elections
2:27 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

Not Quite a Record for Voter Turnout

photo by John Pemble / IPR

Voter turnout Tuesday was not as high as the historic turnout in the 2010 midterm election, but the Secretary of State's office says it came close. 

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2014 Elections
12:44 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Ernst Wins, Becomes First Iowa Woman in Congress

State Senator Joni Ernst has been elected to the United States Senate, the first woman to represent Iowa in Washington.
John Pemble/IPR

Republican State Senator and National Guard officer Joni Ernst will be the first woman to represent Iowa in the United States Congress. She defeated Democrat Bruce Braley to replace Tom Harkin in the U.S. Senate. 

It was a roller coaster race throughout the campaign. But late polls showed Ernst surging. She declared her victory to a packed room at the West Des Moines Marriott. Ernst said it’s a long way from Red Oak, Iowa, to the United States Senate.

“Thanks to all of you, we are heading to Washington and we’re going to make them squeal,” she said.

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2014 Elections
12:25 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Branstad Cruises to Victory

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad easily won re-election.
John Pemble/IPR

As predicted, Governor Terry Branstad cruised to victory to win his sixth term as the state’s chief executive, easily defeating his Democratic opponent Jack Hatch. 

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2014 Elections
6:32 am
Mon November 3, 2014

Republicans Challenge Democrats for Iowa Senate Control

Crystal Bruntz, the Republican running for the open Senate District 15 seat, talked to the crowd of the Des Moines Conservative Breakfast Club.
Clay Masters IPR

Candidates for the Iowa House and Senate have filed their final campaign finance reports before tomorrow’s election.    

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Clinton for the Braley Campaign
5:08 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Hillary Clinton Back in Iowa

Hillary Clinton in Cedar Rapids
Joyce Russell IPR

Former Secretary of State  and potential 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was at a union hall in Cedar Rapids today.

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Election 2014
12:00 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

Branstad Helping GOP Take Iowa Senate

Branstad and Reynolds in Boone
Photo by Joyce Russell/IPR

Governor Branstad’s campaign schedule this week includes helping Republican candidates for the Iowa Senate.   

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Tuition Freeze Prospects
11:45 am
Mon October 27, 2014

Branstad: Tuition Freeze Possible

Governor Terry Branstad at his weekly news conference, October 27, 2014.
Joyce Russell/IPR

Governor Branstad says he has not ruled out funding a tuition freeze for students at Iowa’s Regents universities for next year.

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2014 Elections
5:00 am
Fri October 24, 2014

Home Stretch for the Governor

Branstad and Reynolds in Carroll
Photo by Joyce Russell/IPR

Republican Governor Terry Branstad is leaving nothing to chance as the November election draws near.

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Hatch on the Trail
6:00 am
Thu October 23, 2014

Statewide Blitz for Challenger Hatch

Jack Hatch in Albia
photo by Ryan Sharpstene/Hatch Campaign

With less than two weeks before the election, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jack Hatch is introducing himself to voters across the state.  

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2014 Elections
4:01 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

Mowrer to King: Pay Up for the Government Shutdown

Jim Mowrer outside Steve King's Ames office
Photo by Joyce Russell/IPR

Iowa Fourth District Democratic congressional candidate Jim Mowrer is calling out incumbent Republican Steve King for his role in the federal government shutdown last year.   

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2014 Elections
9:29 am
Wed October 15, 2014

Tax Talk in Last Governor's Debate

The gubernatorial candidates met for a final debate in Sioux City.
Brendan C/Flickr

Governor  Branstad and his Democratic challenger, state senator Jack Hatch, staked out sharply different tax policies in a debate last night in Sioux City.  

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Hoglot Inspections
4:42 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

Critics: Hoglot Inspections Fall Short

Photo by Joyce Russell

Controversial new rules for  large animal confinement operations got another airing  at the statehouse Tuesday.   

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