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

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.  IPR's Clay Masters speaks with Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell about the gas tax and other issues being discussed at the statehouse. 

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.Biden made a trip to Iowa Thursday, known for its first in the nation caucuses where many presidential campaigns start.

  The Vice President flew to Des Moines to talk to students at Drake University about the administration’s education policies. He also visited Ankeny-based Des Moines Area Community College to talk about the president’s plan for free tuition. He says the trip is not about testing the 2016 waters.

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

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. 

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. 

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. 

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. The all-day event was hosted by Citizens United and Iowa’s Republican Congressman Steve King who opened up the event at Hoyt Sherman Place - a small theater in Des Moines.

"Do you believe that the next president of the United States is going to be speaking to you from this stage today?” King asks to applause. "As do I!"

John Pemble / IPR

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

UPDATE 1/23 12:25  

The Iowa Insurance Commissioner, as the court appointed rehabilitator for CoOportunity Health, has determined that rehabilitation of CoOportunity Health is not possible and will ask the court for an order of liquidation. 

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.

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.  

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.

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."

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.

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. 


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.