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.

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Statehouse and Politics
6:16 am
Thu February 26, 2015

Lawmakers Concerned Over Fast-tracking Medicaid Modernization

Iowa capitol
John Pemble IPR

The Iowa Department of Human Services is seeking bids to outsource parts of the more than $4 billion  Medicaid program. 

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Statehouse and Politics
8:15 am
Mon February 23, 2015

A Hike for the Gas Tax Likely, Not for Minimum Wage

Iowa capitol
John Pemble IPR

Iowa lawmakers pushed a hike to the state’s gas tax even further along last week. A bill to raise the state's gas tax by ten cents a gallon is on the fast track at the statehouse. 

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Arts and Culture
5:50 am
Wed February 18, 2015

Damien Jurado: Music From the Midwest to the West Coast via UFO

Damien Jurado performing in Des Moines at Hoyt Sherman Place on February 15, 2015.
Clay Masters IPR

Seattle musician Damien Jurado is spending a bit of time in Iowa this week playing more intimate shows.

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Statehouse and Politics
8:19 am
Mon February 16, 2015

Softer Penalties for some Marijuana Charges, Gas Tax Talks Continue

Iowa Capitol
Credit John Pemble / IPR

Talks about an increase of ten cents a gallon to the state’s gas tax have really been the dominant topic to come out the statehouse this session. 

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2016 Elections
5:41 am
Fri February 13, 2015

Biden to Make Decision About 2016 this Summer

Vice President Joe Biden speaking in Sheslow Auditorium at Drake University.
John Pemble IPR

Vice President Joe Biden says he’ll decide whether or not he’s running for president in 2016 in the coming months.

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Health
1:14 pm
Tue February 10, 2015

Healthcare Navigators Expand Help Ahead of Enrollment Deadline

Credit Wikimedia Commons

Sunday is the deadline to get insured under the Affordable Care Act on healthcare.gov and healthcare organizations are hosting navigation sites across the state. 

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Statehouse and Politics
7:54 am
Mon February 9, 2015

A Difficult Session and Playing Nice with the Gas Tax Bill

Iowa capitol after a recent snowstorm.
Credit John Pemble / IPR

Democrats who control the Iowa Senate are proposing a big push for school funding. But it could be a tough sell. It’s just one of the issues being discussed up at the statehouse. IPR's Clay Masters talks with Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell about that as well as challenges in the overall proposed state budget and continued talks about a hike in the state's gas tax to pay for the state's deficient roads and bridges. 

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Statehouse and Politics
7:47 am
Mon February 2, 2015

Gas Tax Talks Speed Along

Credit Photo by John Pemble

Lawmakers gained ground on a method to pay for the state’s deficient roads and bridges last week. It was one of the many issues likely to be an issue this week. 

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Statehouse and Politics
7:48 am
Mon January 26, 2015

Education Funding Dominates At the Statehouse

Iowa Capitol dome.
Credit John Pemble / IPR

  Debates over how much of a raise to give to the state's schools usually dominates early discussions at the capitol. Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell tells IPR's Clay Masters this year the debate is on time. The two discuss other education topics and what's ahead this week. 

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Statehouse and Politics
2:59 am
Sun January 25, 2015

'Freedom Summit' Kicks off 2016 for GOP

U.S. House of Representative member Steve King in Des Moines at the Freedom Summit, an event he organized with Citizens United to bring national conservative leaders to speak in his home state.
Photo by Clay Masters

The Iowa caucuses are still more than a year away, but last night a parade of potential 2016 presidential candidates appeared in Des Moines Saturday. 

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Health
5:45 am
Fri January 23, 2015

Grassley says Congressional Hearings Possible on Co-Opportunity

U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley during a visit in 2015 to his home state’s Capitol in Des Moines.
John Pemble IPR

Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa wants details of Co-Opportunity Health's collapse and isn't ruling out congressional hearings.

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Statehouse and Politics
7:06 am
Tue January 20, 2015

The Political Clout of Unbeatable Branstad

Iowa Governor Terry at the Capitol during an open house celebrating his 6th inauguration.
John Pemble IPR

The Republican Governor of Iowa is on track to become the longest serving Governor in the history of the United States. Terry Branstad was sworn into his sixth non-consecutive term last week.

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Statehouse and Politics
1:37 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

Branstad Sworn in for Sixth Term

Days before his 6th inauguration Governor Terry Branstad enters the Iowa House of Representatives to deliver his 2015 Condition of the State speech.
Photo by John Pemble

Governor Terry Branstad was sworn in for his sixth non-consecutive term as governor in Des Moines surrounded by many supporters including New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.  

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Condition of State
10:44 am
Wed January 14, 2015

Robust or Prudent? Branstad Lays Out His Agenda

Governor Terry Branstad delivering the 2015 Condition of the State Address to a joint session of the Iowa legislature
Photo by John Pemble IPR

Governor Branstad outlined his priorities for this year’s legislative session in a thirty minute Condition of the State speech Tuesday.

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Health
2:16 am
Wed January 14, 2015

Health Insurance Startup Collapses In Iowa

SukruGoksu iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue January 20, 2015 2:41 pm

It was a heck of a Christmas for David Fairchild and his wife, Clara Peterson. They found out they were about to lose their new health insurance.

"Clara was listening to the news on Iowa Public Radio and that's how we found out," Fairchild says. They went to their health plan's website that night. "No information. We still haven't gotten a letter about it from them."

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2015 Session
11:14 am
Tue January 13, 2015

Gas Tax and Increased Funding for Water Quality Possible

Iowa Capitol on the opening day of the 2015 legislative session.
John Pemble IPR

Legislative leaders agree a tight budget will sharpen the focus on priorities this session. Identifying those priorities may be the sticking point.

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Statehouse and Politics
5:45 am
Tue January 13, 2015

Branstad: Infrastructure a "Major Focus"

Governor Terry Branstad in his formal office at the Iowa Capitol. He will be sworn in for his sixth non-consecutive term as governor on Friday.
Credit 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. 

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Environment
8:43 am
Fri January 9, 2015

Des Moines Water Works to Sue Counties

Bill Stowe, CEO and General Manager of Des Moines Water Works, discusses why the state's largest water utility is suing counties in Iowa.
Credit 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.

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Weather
11:46 am
Mon January 5, 2015

Iowa Prepares for First Major Winter Storm

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. 

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Health
7:28 am
Wed December 31, 2014

What's Next for Troubled Iowa Insurer?

Credit LinkedIn

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

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Statehouse and Politics
12:31 pm
Tue December 30, 2014

Concerns Over Online Voter Registration in Iowa

Credit 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.

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Arts and Culture
10:10 am
Sat December 27, 2014

Pieta Brown's Father-Daughter Dance

"You guys know that road," Pieta Brown told a crowd in Des Moines earlier this month, describing how a row of Missouri warehouses selling fireworks inspired her song "I Don't Mind."
Credit 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.

Statehouse and Politics
7:15 am
Mon December 8, 2014

Harkin Reflects on His Legacy

Sen. Tom Harkin will retire from the U.S. Senate in January 2015 after 40 years in Congress.
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.

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Health
5:00 am
Tue November 18, 2014

Medicaid Expansion Helps Iowa Hospitals and Patients

Credit 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.

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2014 Elections
8:59 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Big Election Night for Iowa Republicans

Lt. Gov Kim Reynolds, who was also re-elected, watches Iowa Governor Terry Branstad give his acceptance speech in West Des Moines.
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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2014 Elections
8:30 am
Fri October 31, 2014

2014 Races: From Lopsided to Razor Thin

Creative Commons

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

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2014 Elections
1:26 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

Outside Groups Launch Ground Game in Iowa

Denise Bubeck knocks doors for Americans For Prosperity’s Iowa Chapter in a Des Moines neighborhood.
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. 

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2014 Elections
6:40 am
Tue October 28, 2014

Ernst, One Week To Go

State Senator Joni Ernst, the Republican Candidate for U.S. Senate, stumps at the Des Moines Register Soap Box at the 2014 Iowa State Fair.
John Pemble IPR

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

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2014 Elections
6:40 am
Tue October 28, 2014

Braley, One Week To Go

Congressman Bruce Braley, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, stumps at the Des Moines Register soapbox at the 2014 Iowa State Fair.
Clay Masters IPR

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

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Environment
5:44 am
Fri October 24, 2014

Park Service Construction Damaged Native American Burial Sites

Under the watch of the National Park Service, $3 million worth of illegal construction projects went on for nearly a decade at Effigy Mounds National Monument in northeast Iowa.
Clay Masters IPR

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

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