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.

Ways to Connect

John Pemble

Prescription drug abuse is one of the fastest growing substance abuse problems in the state. What are preventive measures doctors can take to keep these drugs from getting into the wrong hands? A bill that would mandate physicians check a database before prescribing certain medication to their patients is being discussed at the statehouse. Today on River to River, we talk about ways this could possibly help or get in the way of the patient/doctor relationship.

Clay Masters / IPR

A plan to add 150,000 Iowans to Medicaid, the joint federal-state healthcare program for the poor is advanced today in the Democratic-controlled Senate. That comes the day before Republican Governor Terry Branstad meets with President Obama’s Secretary of Health and Human Services to talk about healthcare options. Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports.

Reining in the Regents

Feb 20, 2013
John Pemble / IPR

A bill intended to rein in the power of members of the Iowa Board of Regents drew various degrees of support from Iowans Wednesday at the statehouse. The proposal follows controversy over Regent Bruce Rastetter. Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports.

Medicaid Expansion

Feb 18, 2013
John Pemble

Putting more Iowans on Medicaid is the center of much conversation between the governor and key legislators right now.  But is it the best option?

Today on “River to River” we’ll discuss the state’s Medicaid system and explore the virtues and future of IowaCares—a limited Medicaid benefit program that’s set to expire this year.  We’ll also hear about a bill the will expand the state’s Medicaid program.

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An Iowa Senate committee has dismissed an ethics complaint for now against State Sen. Kent Sorenson (R-Milo), who was accused of taking money from Rep. Michele Bachmann's (R-Minn.) presidential campaign.

Sorenson was the state chairman of Bachmann’s campaign in Iowa.  State Sen. Sandra Greiner (R-Washington) says the committee needs more information. 

“We cannot cite anybody for an ethics violation unless we have clear cut proof. So it’s on the complainant’s shoulders to provide us with the proof," Greiner says. "Sen. Sorenson is innocent until proven guilty.”

Flickr Creative Commons

The names of Iowans who obtain permits to carry a weapon would not be public record under a proposal introduced to a committee in the Iowa House.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Matt Windschitl (R - Missouri Valley), is a leading gun rights advocate. He sees keeping private the names of Iowans who get permits to carry or acquire weapons as a matter of public safety.

Clay Masters / IPR

As President Obama’s gun control proposals make their slow way through Congress, Iowa, and every state in the nation, is asking the same question. How do we protect our children from gun violence? Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters talked to some of the voices in this debate and visited a school in Des Moines.

At Studebaker elementary school in southeast Des Moines, students practice a fire drill.  They exit the building in single file.

Campaign Finance

Feb 11, 2013
John Pemble

Remember those television ads that you just couldn’t escape during the last year’s election?  The majority of them were paid for by outside spending. Now here in Iowa some lawmakers are calling for independent groups to disclose their top donors. 

John Pemble / IPR

Governor Branstad has laid out his plan for paying and promoting the state’s teachers. Last week we heard the Branstad administration’s pitch for the plan. This week, we’ll talk with school administrators and teacher representatives for their view. Our conversation legislative show is live from the state Capitol Law Library.

Clay Masters / IPR

Governor Branstad’s education reform proposal received high praise from those that helped inform its creation at a House committee hearing Tuesday. But some say it doesn’t confront major problems that face Iowa’s students.

The package includes raising beginning teacher salaries from $28,000 to $32,000. There’s tuition forgiveness for teachers that stay in Iowa. It creates pathways for veteran teachers to mentor new teachers so there’s incentive for them to stick with teaching.

SalFalko / Flickr

Iowa Chief Justice Mark Cady delivered his State of the Judiciary speech to a joint session of the Iowa Legislature Wednesday. He's calling for increased staffing in the court system, which has taken a hit in budget cuts in recent years.

Cady wants court offices around the state to stay open all week. Right now they close in the afternoons twice a week. He also tells lawmakers the state doesn’t have enough juvenile officers to reach all of Iowa’s children in need.

John Pemble

It’s opening day for the 2013 legislative session as all of the state’s law makers assemble at the capitol. Clay Masters speaks with House Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer and Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, live at the Statehouse. They discuss gun laws, the state's surplus, and other issues that may unfold during the upcoming session.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne. Good morning.

Clay Masters / IPR

With lingering drought keeping the crucial Mississippi River waterway at historically low levels, some projected that barge traffic on the river would come to a scraping halt in early January. It hasn’t proved to be quite as bad – the Army Corps of Engineers now says the river will likely stay open for transportation at least through the month – but many grain and energy industries that rely on sending products up and down the river aren’t yet breathing a sigh of relief.  

Clay Masters / IPR

More than 93 million people are expected to be jumping in their cars and traveling this holiday season according to Triple-A. But there’s a new trend emerging that is rivaling the car and even some airlines. Curbside buses are extending routes. Even through the unlikely sparsely populated Midwest and Great Plains.

Clay Masters / IPR

In the wake of the discovery the bodies of two northeastern Iowa girls earlier this month, the talk of reinstating the death penalty is back at the state capitol. But proponents of capital punishment know they face a tough fight.

Iowa parents who have lost children due to kidnapping and murder met with Governor Branstad Monday morning to talk about reinstating the death penalty. Afterwards at a press conference, the parents told their stories.

Clay Masters / IPR

Same sex marriage is legal in Iowa and it appears to be gaining acceptance. A Supreme Court justice who was part of the ruling that paved the way for same-sex marriage was retained in a heated campaign this year. But advocates for gay teens say bullying is still a problem in schools. 

/ Courtesy of Des Moines Register

The Iowa Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday in a lawsuit over whether a same-sex Des Moines married couple should BOTH stay on their daughter’s birth certificate. The Polk county district court already ruled in favor of the couple.

Representing the Iowa Department of Health was Deputy Attorney General Julie Pottorff. She argued opposite-sex couples and same-sex couples remain different in one immutable way. Only opposite sex couples can conceive a child.

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12/6/12  4:30 PM UPDATE: 

The Black Hawk County Sheriff's Department says they're confident that two bodies discovered Wednesday by hunters in a Bremer County wildlife area are those of Elizabeth Collins and her cousin Lyric Cook-Morrissey. 

"We have no one else that’s missing in this area, we have two bodies that were found, smaller in stature, so we have nothing to think other than that at this time," Sheriff’s Captain Rick Abben said. 

Clay Masters / IPR

More than 1100 Iowa educators, students and community members from across the state came to Des Moines Tuesday for Governor Branstad’s first Bullying Prevention Summit. As Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports the message was not just about how to respond to bullying, but how to prevent it.

Office of Governor Branstad / Facebook

Governor Branstad continues to say the Iowa Straw poll is losing its importance in the presidential race. Branstad says the candidates will ultimately decide whether or not it stays.

Des Moines Register

We talk about blue and red states during elections… but what about blue and red counties?  Chris Larimer of the University of Northern Iowa analyzed some of Iowa’s most democratic and republican counties, and tells us what might influence those voting patterns. Wayne Moyer from Grinnell College and Bruce Nesmith from Coe College join in our conversation about the political news of the day.

USGS

  A strategy on how Iowa will cut back farm and sewage treatment pollution released today by Governor Branstad’s office is being criticized for being too friendly to farmers. As Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports, its intent is to shrink a dead zone in the nation’s top commercial fishery in the Gulf of Mexico.

Office of Governor Branstad / Facebook

The Affordable Care Act calls on states to let federal officials know by Friday if they plan to launch their own healthcare exchanges. As Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports, Governor Branstad’s office says meeting the deadline will be challenging.

Great Ape Trust

vA bonobo considered one of the best at communicating with humans has died at an ape sanctuary in Des Moines.  As Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports, the death comes at a time when the Great Ape Sanctuary is struggling to sustain funding.

Iowa's importance in the 2012 election was arguably more important than ever. IPR's news staff traveled the state and reported on the candidates' messages long before the Iowa caucuses. Here are some of the photos IPR reporters took along the campaign trail. 

Photo Illustration/Clay Masters

After all the winners and losers of Election Day are decided many campaigns and strategists will look at what they did right or wrong. This year there’s a whole new factor thrown into the election, the landmark Supreme Court ruling called Citizens United has changed the game for down ticket races.

Clay Masters / IPR

Both President Obama and Mitt Romney descended on Dubuque Saturday in the final days of their campaigns. Both candidates were promoting their own brand of change.

GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney flew into the Dubuque airport and greeted a crowd of more than 2,000 people in a hangar behind a sign that read “REAL CHANGE ON DAY ONE”.

Appearing with Romney was his wife Ann and NASCAR legend Richard Petty… who offered a race car driver’s perspective on the economy.

Clay Masters / IPR

It’s the last full week of presidential campaigning and here in Iowa, we expected to see the presidential candidates a bit more. But Hurricane Sandy changed things. For the most part we got wives and vice-presidential candidates. Paul Ryan will be in Waterloo today and Vice President Joe Biden made stops in Muscatine and Fort Dodge Thursday. 

Clay Masters / IPR

Republican incumbent Steve King and his democratic challenger, Christie Vilsack squared off in a debate last night in Carroll for the newly drawn 4th congressional district. Polls show King with a slight lead over Vilsack. As Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports, the two drew sharp contrasts. 

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