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

Emily Woodbury / Iowa Public Radio

Nationally the turnover rate for correctional officers is over 15%. Working in a prison is a stressful and dangerous job, but it can also be rewarding.  Today, Clay Masters speaks with a correctional officer from the Mitchellville Correctional Institute for Women joins the program to discuss what its like to work at a prison.

Also, the union AFSCME claims that the Department of Corrections has insufficient staff numbers running the state’s prison and as a result correctional officers are at risk.  Clay Masters looks into the validity of these claims

Sarah McCammon / IPR

  This week Clay and Sarah discuss the state's unemployment rate which is largely unchanged for June. They also discuss an issue Sarah is reporting on regarding the Keystone XL Pipeline and its impact on the country if its built or not. 

IPR would like to know what business issues are important to you, join our IPR Insight Network and lend your expertise and experience to our reporting.  

Sarah McCammon / IPR

This week Clay and Sarah discuss big news in agribusiness and how the industry is reacting. The U.S. House passed a farm bill that strips the nutrition portion out of the legislation, breaking up the rural/urban coalition of lawmakers. Also, a deadly pig virus is causing pork producers to be even more cautious with how they operate their business. And a deadly train accident in Quebec has people in the United States looking at how the country transports oil. 

IPR's Clay Masters speaks with Talk of Iowa Host Charity Nebbe about her show and River to River's summer series examining the state's correctional system. 

Sarah McCammon / IPR

 IPR's Clay Masters talks with Sarah McCammon who's on assignment covering business news for Marketplace. 

IPR would like to know what business issues are important to you, join our IPR Insight Network and lend your expertise and experience to our reporting.  

Phil Thomson

Over the weekend, at least 30,000 people were estimated to be at the sixth annual 80/35 music festival in downtown Des Moines. That’s according to festival organizers. 

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

Lawmakers from both political parties are calling the 2013 legislative session successful. They were able to find compromise on three big issues: education reform, commercial property tax relief, and expanding health insurance coverage. Host Clay Masters talks about the deals with Republican House Speaker Kraig Paulsen and Democratic Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal. Then, Statehouse reporters discuss how unusual political compromise is in the current climate.

John Pemble / IPR

 Iowa’s 2013 legislative session ended Thursday morning. Democratic and Republican leaders called the session historic as bipartisan compromises on insuring low-income Iowans, reforming the state’s education system and property taxes were passed. Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports. 

John Pemble / IPR

Lawmakers at the Statehouse have received their final payments, pages and interns have left for summer, but the legislative session continues into May. It’s legislative day today on River to River.

Host Clay Masters discusses two bills still up for discussion: a state online sales tax bill and a bill requiring DNA testing for certain convictions. Masters also takes a look at the day-to-day in the capitol, by talking with statehouse employees that work alongside Iowa’s representatives.

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Iowa’s biggest economic development deal was announced Wednesday. As Governor Terry Branstad puts it… it’s all about wind energy. Mid-American Energy will in invest 1-point-9 billion dollars in Iowa to add up to 1,050 megawatts of wind generation. That’s about 656 new wind turbines IN IOWA by 2016. Branstad says Iowa’s wind energy industry is a good selling point for high-tech companies like Facebook which just announced it would build a data center in Altoona, just outside of Des Moines.

John Pemble / IPR

At least one state senator is calling for the person in charge of the Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown to step down so a more thorough investigation can be conducted. This follows repeated complaints over management of the Veterans home. The Senate Veterans Affairs committee held a meeting Monday  to hear testimony. Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports.

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

Under an agreement with the EPA, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources will have to inspect 1,600 livestock facilities each year, for the next five years.  Debate at the Iowa Statehouse is centering around how many inspectors are needed to do the job.  Then, Iowa was one of the first states to approve a graduated driver's license system for teens. Since then, the state has dropped to 49th in rankings of teen driving safety.  A new Iowa law puts more restrictions on the youngest and most inexperienced drivers.

John Pemble / IPR

All this week, IPR’s Clay Masters has been talking with Iowans who receive Medicaid services to get their input on the debate between Governor Branstad and the Democratic-controlled state Senate over expanding Medicaid.

River to River wraps up the series with host Ben Kieffer sitting down with Clay and several Medicaid recipients, as well as the Governor’s healthcare policy advisor Michael Bousselot and Democratic state senator Pam Jochum.

Clay Masters / IPR

There’s a showdown of sorts between Iowa Republican Governor Terry Branstad and the Democratic-controlled Senate over expanding Medicaid. Under federal law all states have to decide whether or not they’ll extend enrollment in the joint state and federal healthcare program for the poor. The legislature’s 110-day session is set to end  Friday, but the dispute over Medicaid is one of the issues that’s likely to keep lawmakers from going home.

There’s one issue that will likely help keep state lawmakers from adjourning at the end of the week; that’s healthcare. Thousands of low-income Iowans will be kicked off a healthcare program that expires at the end of the year and there’s disagreement over how to cover them. Republican Governor Terry Branstad is at odds with Democratic-controlled Senate who want to expand Medicaid. The governor doesn’t want to rely on the feds… so he’s introduced his own plan.

Clay Masters / IPR

    

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

Crumbling roads and bridges are fueling renewed debate over raising the gas tax in Iowa.  That’s despite polling that shows a majority of Iowans do not support an increase.  Hear the pros and cons and why some who would pay the most are the ones pushing for the increase.

Iowans on Medicaid

Apr 29, 2013
Clay Masters / IPR

Right now, under federal law states have to figure out how to insure the poor. They can either expand the joint federal/state healthcare program for low-income people called Medicaid… or they can get waivers and devise their own plans. Democrats who control the Iowa Senate are at odds with Republican Governor Terry Branstad has introduced his own plan. IPR Statehouse correspondent Clay Masters wanted to get away from the politics and talk to Iowans who receive these services. 

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

Social media is influencing debate in Iowa's capital.

John Pemble / IPR

The Democratic-controlled Iowa Senate wants to expand Medicaid in the state. Republican Governor Terry Branstad does NOT and has introduced his own plan. Medicaid is the joint federal-state healthcare program for low-income people. As Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports the Republican-controlled House held a public hearing on the Senate’s expansion bill Tuesday night.

John Pemble / IPR

The Iowa sex offender registry includes people within a wide range of offenses, and some lobbyists here at the capitol are asking the question: Should all sex offenders be put under lifetime parole sentences?

John Pemble / IPR

Bills awaiting approval during the 2013 legislative session faced another funnel deadline last week.  Host Clay Masters talks with Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal and House Speaker Kraig Paulsen about the proposals still standing.  And, a plan to require schools to test for, and mitigate against, radon exposure stalled in a House subcommittee last week despite overwhelming support in the Iowa Senate.  We hear from Des Moines Senator Matt McCoy, Gail Orcutt a radon-induced lung cancer survivor and Gaylen Howsare from the Iowa Association of School Boards about the possibility of comprom

Clay Masters / IPR

Republican and Democratic Senators clashed over a bill that would expand Medicaid in the Iowa. That’s the joint federal-state program that provides healthcare for low-income people. Last year the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that under the Affordable Care Act… sometimes called Obamacare... it’s optional for states to expand Medicaid. As Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports, the senate passed the bill along party lines.

John Pemble

There were some fireworks last week at the State Capitol as two of Governor Terry Branstad’s nominees to serve on the Iowa Board of Regents came before the Senate Education Committee.  Host Clay Masters talks with Senator Herman Quirmbach, Chair of the Senate Education Committee about lawmakers’ concerns.  And a discussion of whether the time students spend in school should be counted in days or hours.  A proposal making its way through the legislature would count instructional time in hours.

John Pemble / IPR

Every Iowan should be able to get quality healthcare and find a job, but getting there is the battle. Today on River to River, Governor Branstad and the Democratic controlled Iowa Senate are sparring over how best to insure Iowans. We talk with the Governor’s top healthcare policy advisor about the governor’s recently unveiled Healthy Iowa plan. In the second half we talk with an economist about job creation in Iowa and hear from a Republican and Democratic lawmaker on bills that could create more jobs.

Clay Masters / IPR

Democrats in the Iowa senate say they’re extending an olive branch to Republican Governor Terry Branstad regarding their proposal to expand Medicaid in the state. The governor is opposed to expanding the joint federal state healthcare program for the poor mainly because he doesn’t believe the feds can continue to pay for it. Democrats are offering an opt-out provision in case federal funding levels would change.

Juvenile Sentencing

Mar 11, 2013
Paul "710928003" / flickr

Bills making their way through the legislative process would set sentencing options for juveniles convicted of first-degree murder.  The debate comes after a U.S. Supreme Court decision ruled juvenile offenders can not be sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.  But, how much time is enough?  40, 50 or even 60 years?  Today on River to River, we talk about the legislation and how the courts have ruled on the treatment of juvenile offenders.

Denise Krebs / flickr

Many of Iowa's rivers and lakes are unable to support recreation and fishing and are in need of restoration. Governor Branstad's proposed budget cuts funding for restoration projects. Today on River to River, we talk with the Director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, as well as people in communities impacted by the cuts.

Wikimedia Commons

  Juveniles in Iowa who've committed first degree murder could be eligible for parole after serving 45 years in prison. That’s according to a bill discussed at the statehouse Thursday. As Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports, it’s in reaction with a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision.

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