Clay Masters

Morning Edition Host

Clay Masters is Iowa Public Radio’s Morning Edition host and lead political reporter. He was part of a team of member station political reporters who covered the 2016 presidential race for NPR. He also covers environmental issues.

Clay joined the Iowa Public Radio newsroom as a statehouse correspondent in 2012 and started hosting 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 Lincoln, Nebraska where he worked for Nebraska’s statewide public radio and television network.

He’s also an occasional music contributor to NPR’s arts desk.

Clay’s favorite NPR program is All Things Considered.

John Pemble

Cathy Glasson has decades of experience working as a nurse in Iowa. She’s also served as president of the local chapter of the Service Employees International Union. Now, she’s running for governor of Iowa as a Democratic primary candidate.

This week, Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters spoke with Glasson about why she’s running for office, why she believes in a statewide minimum wage of $15, and her plans for Iowa’s Medicaid and Medicare systems.

Clay / Iowa Public Radio

Kyle Munson’s last day as the Iowa Columnist at the Des Moines Register is Friday. He's worked there for 24 years. He's been the Iowa Columnist for the last 8 years. Munson is leaving for a job at Principal Financial. The first person to hold the job was reporting on World War II. Munson is just the fourth columnist to hold this position.

IPR's Clay Masters spoke with Munson about the state of journalism and the role of a columnist in the changing media landscape. 

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

John Norris is no stranger to politics. He worked as chief of staff to former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack when he was governor and secretary. Norris has also served as U.S. Minister Counselor for Agriculture to the United Nations in Rome and has served on the Iowa Utilities Board and on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Now, he’s running for Governor in Iowa.

Clay Masters / IPR

The Missouri River has seen several devastating floods in the past decade. Now, a federal judge says the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for potentially hundreds of millions of dollars worth of property damage over how it handled some of these floods. The ruling has intensified a debate about how best to manage the river that runs from Montana to Missouri.

A sign on the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge over the Missouri River between Council Bluffs, Iowa and Omaha, Nebraska calls the Big Muddy “forever changed by the power of humans.”

iowa capitol
John Pemble/IPR

Republicans who control the Iowa House unveiled a more than $1 billion tax cut bill. And, Republicans who control the Senate have their own new $2 billion tax plan. Time is ticking on the Iowa legislative session because lawmakers’ expense accounts expire on Tuesday. IPR Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell breaks it down. 

John Pemble/IPR

  

The Head of the Iowa Department of Human Services is defending the state’s privatized Medicaid system, after a scathing report last week by the state ombudsman.  

The report said complaints from patients and providers jumped by 157% last year, making Medicaid one of the top targets of complaints from citizens reporting difficulties with the government.

Since April of 2016, for-profit companies have managed the program for 640,000 Iowans who are poor or disabled.

We’re headed into the last few weeks of the legislative session, and as usual for a Monday, IPR’s Clay Masters and Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell chatted about the legislature on Morning Edition.

Gov. Reynolds won’t face a primary challenge, but the possibility of a challenge hasn’t seemed to affect her work.  Russell says the governor had a limited legislative agenda this year, primarily consisting of the “Future Ready” workforce development legislation, which she has already signed. 

Clay Masters / Iowa Public Radio

Wrestling is a big deal in Iowa. If you walk into any bar in the Hawkeye State during its high school wrestling tournament, chances are the event is blaring on every TV in sight.

John Pemble/IPR

Gov. Kim Reynolds has bill on her desk that approves mid-year cuts of more than $35 million to the state’s $7.2 billion budget. IPR’s Joyce Russell previews the week ahead at the legislature including what to expect from what the legislature has handed the governor.

iowa capitol
John Pemble/IPR file photo

The Iowa Senate elected a new majority leader last week. Sen. Jack Whitver (R – Ankeny) took Bill Dix’s place after he abruptly resigned last week, following video of him appearing to kiss a female lobbyist in a bar surfaced online. While all this drama was going on, there was plenty of legislation moving forward as lawmakers worked to meet a self-imposed deadline for many priority bills. Here’s what IPR Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell says to watch.

John Pemble / IPR

State lawmakers are preparing for state agency budget cuts. On Friday, Gov. Kim Reynolds’ Revenue Estimating Conference has revised its estimate of tax receipts this year.

Latest revenue projects have a little bit of good news. The Revenue Estimating Conference meets periodically to estimate how much money in taxes will be collected. This time, members revised their estimate up compared to their estimate in December. “They have a little more money to spend this year,” Russell reports.

John Pemble / IPR file

IPR's Morning Edition Host Clay Masters checks in with Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell to talk about what's happened in the legislature and what to expect in the week ahead. 

Gov. Kim Reynolds has said a major overhaul of the Iowa tax code is important to her this legislative session. The Senate has released its plan. IPR Morning Edition Host Clay Masters talks with Joyce Russell about what to expect this week at the capitol.

Clay Masters

Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders was back in Iowa Friday, making a couple of stops he says are about the midterm election. He was in Des Moines around midday, speaking at an event for a Democratic congressional candidate Pete D’Alessandro, who hopes to challenge Republican David Young in Iowa’s 3rd District.  D’Alessandro was Sanders’ top aide in the state during his campaign for the 2016 Iowa caucuses.

Clay Masters / Iowa Public Radio

Northwest Iowa is one of the safest places for Republicans in the country.

It's represented in the U.S. Congress by hardliner Steve King, who has a long history of controversial positions and comments.

But David Johnson also represents part of northwest Iowa. And while King might look to the White House and see a kindred spirit, Johnson calls Donald Trump's rhetoric "misogynistic," "race-baiting," and "bigoted."

John Pemble/IPR file photo

Taxes are getting a lot of attention at the statehouse and there were a few controversial bills that fell by the wayside last week and some that are moving forward. IPR's Joyce Russell reports on the week at the capitol. 

iowa capitol
John Pemble/IPR file photo

The Iowa legislature seemed to get a lot of stuff done last week. There was a lot of debate over education funding and we appear to have an idea of what to expect in the coming school year. Morning Edition Host Clay Masters checks in with IPR Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell 

John Pemble / IPR

Education funding for Iowa’s public K-12 system takes center stage at the capitol this week. Lawmakers are off Monday for the Iowa mid-term caucuses. IPR Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell has her eye on some other issues.

John Pemble / IPR

The first month of the 2018 legislative session comes to a close this week. Here are a few takeaways from IPR Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell:

While lawmakers in Washington DC are negotiating to reopen. Lawmakers in Iowa are still open for business. Here are a few issues to expect in the week ahead from IPR Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell.

Clay Masters / Iowa Public Radio

Lawmakers return to the capitol Tuesday after the three-day Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. The 2018 session started last week. Here are takeaways from IPR’s Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell says going into week two.

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

Voters will be left to decide the fate of elected officials involved in sexual harassment complaints at the Iowa capitol. That’s according to former Senate President Mary Kramer who released recommendations to ensure a safe workplace at the statehouse on Friday.

“The elected official is really accountable only to the people who vote for them,” Kramer says. “The obligation of the organization will be to let the people who elected him know what went on so they can make their own judgment."

John Pemble / IPR

Republican Governor Kim Reynolds says the state is making “steps in the right direction” in curbing a culture of sexual harassment at the Iowa capitol.

Reynolds will serve in the state’s top job during her first legislative session when lawmakers come back to the capitol in January. Hanging over the session is the aftermath of a $1.75 million sexual harassment court settlement to a former Iowa Senate Republican caucus staffer.

“I don’t think it was handled appropriately but first of all let’s just say this is not a partisan issue,” Reynolds tells Iowa Public Radio.

Clay Masters / Iowa Public Radio

 

The so-called “Unity Commission” formed by the Democratic National Committee is recommending historic changes in the way Democrats conduct the Iowa Caucuses.

The state party would be required to let people who cannot attend the neighborhood meetings on Caucus Night cast their presidential preference vote.

"We've got to figure out what that process is," says Iowa Democratic Party Chair Troy Price. "Our goal is to make sure that with the changes we make to this we don't lose the spirit of our caucuses."

John Pemble / IPR

This week Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds says she’s not backing down from yet another big change to Iowa’s privatized Medicaid.

“I’ve never said it was perfect," Gov. Reynolds said on Tuesday. "I’m willing to put the time and the effort into making sure that Iowans get the care that they deserve in a managed and coordinated and more modern delivery system.”

She says she’s “not going back” on how Iowa’s Medicaid is managed.

An Evening with Tom Ashbrook

Nov 28, 2017
Madeleine King/Iowa Public Radio

Iowa Public Radio welcomed Tom Ashbrook of On Point with Tom Ashbrook to Ames, Iowa on Thursday, November 9. In a public Q & A with Iowa Public Radio's Morning Edition host Clay Masters, Ashbrook discussed growing up on a small farm in Illinois, working as a foreign correspondent, and joining NPR following the attacks of September 11. 

Ashbrook, known for his hard-hitting questions and a deep understanding of what's going on in the world, hosts two hour-long live radio shows five days a week. 

Clay Masters / Iowa Public Radio

Actor Alec Baldwin, who impersonates President Donald Trump regularly on Saturday Night Live, spoke to a large crowd of Iowa Democrats Monday night. He kicked off his remarks with an 11 minute comedy routine that included his President Trump impression, before focusing on politics.

“It’s not enough to slap a new label on our brand that says new and improved,” Baldwin told the crowd. “We’ve got to back that up.”

Baldwin spent twice as much time giving a political call-to-action.

Meredith Corp.

Des Moines, Iowa Based Meredith Corporation has agreed to purchase Time Incorporated – the publisher of magazines like Time and Sports Illustrated. The deal was made possible by a hefty investment from the conservative brothers Charles and David Koch. Meredith has agreed to buy Time for $2.8 billion. This is the third time the Iowa-based company which owns magazines like Family Circle and Betters Homes and Gardens has attempted to make the purchase.

Food Bank of Iowa

About two dozen Des Moines police officers and Iowa State Patrol troopers packaged Thanksgiving meals at the Food Bank of Iowa in Des Moines this morning in an event called “Arrest Hunger”.

It took about 20 minutes for officers to assemble the 150 meal kits that food will be distributed to families in need in all of Iowa’s 99 counties, plus a couple dozen more in Des Moines. Colonel Jeff Ritzman is the Chief of the Iowa State Patrol says it’s their way to help out.

Clay Masters / IPR

There’s a city council election in Des Moines soon, and voters have questions about the rivers where the city draws its water supply.

 

“Is (the water) safe to drink? Is it safe to consume?” candidate Michael Kiernan says he’s been asked.

 

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