Clay Masters

Morning Edition Host

Clay Masters joined the Iowa Public Radio newsroom as a correspondent in 2012.  He covers the statehouse when the legislature is in session, and reports on a variety of topics the rest of the year. Clay is an award-winning multi-media journalist whose radio stories have been heard on various NPR and American Public Media programs. His television documentaries have aired on PBS stations across the country. He’s also a regular contributor to NPR’s arts desk, covering indie music news.

Clay is a Nebraska native and worked for Nebraska Public Radio and Television (NET) before coming to IPR. He was one of the founding reporters of Harvest Public Media, the CPB-funded Local Journalism project covering agriculture in the Midwest.

Clay’s favorite NPR program is All Things Considered.

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Education
2:32 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

In Wake of Shootings, Iowa Schools Put Safety Plans in Place

Two portable classrooms sit outside Studebaker Elementary School in southeast Des Moines, readied to be sold. The Des Moines Public School District is getting rid of its portables because students had to walk between buildings regularly.
Credit 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.

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River to River
1:59 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

Campaign Finance

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. 

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River to River
1:10 pm
Mon February 4, 2013

Education Reform from Teachers & Administrators

Iowa's Capitol
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.


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Education
8:01 am
Wed January 23, 2013

Branstad's Education Proposals Get an Early Hearing

Gov. Branstad speaks to a state bullying summit in November. His education reform bill does not address school bullying.
Credit 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.

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Crime, Justice and Public Safety
6:12 am
Thu January 17, 2013

Iowa's Chief Justice Calls for More Funding, Staffing for Courts

Credit 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.

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River to River
1:16 pm
Mon January 14, 2013

The Start Of Iowa's 2013 Legislative Session

Iowa's Capitol
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.

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Business
3:46 am
Wed January 9, 2013

Mississippi River Level Disrupts Supply Chain

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 5:26 am

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.

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Business/Economy
9:13 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

Shipping Woes Along the Mississippi River

A grain elevator owned by Cargill sits along the Mississippi River in Muscatine, Iowa.
Credit 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.  

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Business/Economy
1:44 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Curbside Bus Services Increase in Iowa, United States

A Double Decker Megabus idles in Omaha. It makes stops in Des Moines and Iowa City before reaching its final destination of Chicago.
Credit 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.

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Crime, Justice and Public Safety
5:50 pm
Mon December 17, 2012

Parents of Murdered Children Push Death Penalty

Heather and Drew Collins, the parents of slain Evansdale girl Elizabeth Collins, met with Governor Branstad Monday to talk about getting the death penalty reinstated in Iowa.
Credit 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.

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Education
11:23 pm
Sun December 16, 2012

Combating Bullying of Gay Youth in Iowa

Newton High School Senior Ella Daft stands outside Newton High School.
Credit 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. 

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Crime, Justice and Public Safety
7:12 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

Birth Certificate Debate Heads to Iowa Supreme Court

Melissa and Heather Gartner with their daughter.
Credit / 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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Crime, Justice and Public Safety
7:26 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

Police Confident Bodies are Missing Cousins

Credit Facebook

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. 

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Education
5:15 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

Bullying Prevention Summit Focuses on Community Solutions

Parenting and Bullying Expert Rosalind Wiseman talks to a crowd of more than 1100 at the Hy-Vee Hall in downtown Des Moines
Credit 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.

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Politics
4:18 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

Branstad: Presidential Candidates will Determine Straw Poll's Fate

Credit 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.

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River to River
2:12 pm
Wed November 21, 2012

Iowa's Reddest and Bluest Counties

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.

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Environment
4:32 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

Branstad Unveils Water Pollution Strategy

The darker regions show watersheds with high levels of nitrogen pollution. The squiggly grey lines represent the 818 watersheds that flow into the Gulf of Mexico.
Credit 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.

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Statehouse
2:01 pm
Tue November 13, 2012

Health Insurance Exchange in Iowa Unclear

Credit 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.

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Science/Technology
4:11 pm
Wed November 7, 2012

Bonobo Dies at Great Ape Trust

Panbanisha at the Great Ape Trust in Des Moines.
Credit 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.

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Politics
4:05 pm
Tue November 6, 2012

Photos: The Iowa Campaign Trail

President Barack Obama makes a campaign stop in Dubuque on November, 3 2012.

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. 

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Politics
1:06 am
Mon November 5, 2012

Citizens United Impact on Down Ticket Races

Credit 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.

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Politics
12:13 am
Sun November 4, 2012

Obama, Romney Descend on Dubuque

Sen. Chuck Grassley and NASCAR legend Richard Petty appear with Ann and Mitt Romney at a rally at the Dubuque Airport
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.

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Politics
1:10 am
Fri November 2, 2012

Praise of Bipartisanship Fades from Campaign Stumps in Iowa

Vice President Joe Biden campaigns at the Opera House in Fort Dodge on Thursday, November 1st, 2012. 4th District Democratic Congressional Candidate Christie Vilsack stood behind Biden the entire speech.
Credit 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. 

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Politics
1:18 am
Fri October 26, 2012

King, Vilsack Tackle Social Issues in Carroll Debate

Republican Incumbent Steve King and Christie Vilsack listen to debate moderator Dean Borg.
Credit 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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Politics
1:03 am
Tue October 23, 2012

Presidential Campaigns Focus on Iowa Suburbs

Ali and Caleb Harrelson canvass a neighborhood in the Des Moines suburb Clive in support of reelecting President Obama.
Clay Masters IPR

Both President Obama and Governor Mitt Romney will make campaign stops Wednesday in eastern Iowa. Recent polls show the race is still up in the air. Romney has a solid hold on rural counties here. But in a state that’s population is shifting from rural to urban, the candidates will have to take the suburbs to win. Iowa Public Radio's Clay Masters reports.

Politics
1:23 am
Fri October 19, 2012

Fact Check Friday: Obama on Campus

Clay Masters IPR

Last week in our Friday Fact Check, we reviewed some of the statements Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney made while he was campaigning in Iowa. This week, President Barack Obama was here on the heels of the second presidential debate. Morning Edition Host Sarah McCammon caught up with IPR Reporter Clay Masters who covered the president's campaign stop at Cornell College in Mount Vernon on Wednesday. 

Politics
6:14 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

Obama Reflects on 2nd Debate

President Obama made his first stop after Tuesday night's debate in Mount Vernon, Iowa on the campus of Cornell.
Clay Masters IPR

President Barack Obama made his first campaign stop after Tuesday's presidential debate. It was here in Iowa on the campus of Cornell in Mount Vernon. As Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports, the president took the opportunity to continue his fiery critique of his opponent Mitt Romney.

Politics
11:42 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

Fact Check Friday: Romney On the Farm

Romney supporters gathered at a farm near Van Meter, Iowa on Tuesday to hear the GOP Presidential candidate.
Clay Masters IPR

With the presidential election campaign wrapping up in less than a month, Iowa continues to get lots of attention. IPR's Morning Edition Host Sarah McCammon talks with IPR Correspondent Clay Masters about Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's  visit to Van Meter, Iowa on Tuesday. 

Education
3:15 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

Iowa Educators Could See Pay Increase

Iowa Department of Education

Iowa teachers would see their base pay bump if new recommendations from an education task force are put into place. Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports.

Politics
11:21 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Romney Focuses on Farm Policy in Van Meter

GOP Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney focused on agriculture policy at his Tuesday campaign visit to Van Meter, Iowa but he also told some personal stories.
Clay Masters IPR

Still riding high off as many saw it, his first presidential debate win, Governor Mitt Romney focused on agriculture policy in a campaign stop at a farm near Van Meter Tuesday. While Romney focused primarily on farm policy, Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports the Republican presidential candidate also got a little personal.

Flanked by a John Deere tractor sporting the Romney/Ryan campaign’s trademark red, white and blue “R,” Mitt Romney addressed 1200 people on a corn field in windy northern Madison County. 

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