Iowa Public Radio / Sarah Boden

Iowa clergy submitted a letter to Governor Terry Branstad’s office Monday afternoon, condemning what they call discrimination against Syrian refugees “on the basis of religion," and to "reject fear and cruelty" by welcoming them to the state.

Iowa Public Radio / Sarah Boden

Gov. Terry Branstad is now the owner of 1,000 rubber ducks.

The liberal advocacy group Progress Iowa gave Branstad the bath toys to protest his vetoing of one-time education funding and the closing of two mental health institutions. At the same time, Branstad has worked with private donors to build a reflecting pool at Terrace Hill, the governor’s official residence.

John Pemble/IPR

A Republican lawmaker who negotiated an agreement with the Governor to delay the closings of the mental health institutes in Mount Pleasant and Clarinda is defending the plan against Democratic critics.

Representative David Heaton of Mount Pleasant says without the compromise, the Governor would have used his veto power to force the closings on June 30th

Under the compromise, the facilities will stay open through December 15th, and then later reopen as private facilities.   

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.

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 Joyce Russell/IPR

Governor Branstad’s campaign schedule this week includes helping Republican candidates for the Iowa Senate.   

Photo by Joyce Russell/IPR

Republican Governor Terry Branstad is leaving nothing to chance as the November election draws near.

Brendan C/Flickr

Governor  Branstad and his Democratic challenger, state senator Jack Hatch, staked out sharply different tax policies in a debate last night in Sioux City.  

Some top Republicans are getting involved in the party’s early voting campaign as the GOP strives to compete with Democrats on absentee ballots.   

Senior citizens grilled Iowa’s two major party candidates for governor, pressing them on issues ranging from nursing home inspections to taxes on pensions.    

The head of an  Iowa Senate committee  looking into the hiring and firing practices of the Branstad  administration is warning that the governor’s department heads may   face tough prospects for reappointment in the Iowa Senate.    

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jack Hatch has suspended  television advertising in two major Iowa  media markets,  Sioux City and the Quad Cities, at least for now.   The campaign says they’re rethinking their media buys based on how many voters have requested absentee ballots.  

A debate between Governor Branstad and his Democratic challenger Jack Hatch in Burlington was  billed  as a  discussion about job creation.   But Hatch made sure he got in other  licks. 

 It was a local affair moderated by the Burlington Hawkeye, and KWQC-TV’s  Gary Metevier. 

Iowa’s major party candidates for governor  traded barbs over Democrat Jack Hatch’s career as a property developer in Des Moines.   

Iowa’s two major party candidates for governor staked out sharply different priorities  in a debate Thursday at the Iowa State Fair.   Democrat Jack Hatch had his first chance  to go before a statewide audience with incumbent Governor Terry  Branstad. And Branstad’s long record in office  gave his challenger plenty to take potshots at.     

Photo by John Pemble


Almost every day last week we were getting updates on these so-called confidential settlements made by  the Branstad administration. More than 400,000 dollars has been paid out to laid off staffers.   IPR's Clay Masters gets the latest on it and other ongoing legislative issues from statehouse correspondent Joyce Russell.

Democrats in the Iowa Senate  heard from four former state employees who lost their jobs in what the Branstad  administration terms  a reorganization of state government.   Democrats object to what they call mass layoffs of so-called merit employees who were hired for their expertise, not their political connections.     One worker  told of receiving money for keeping her settlement private,  a practice which  Governor Branstad has now banned.   

Statehouse Democrats say the legislature's oversight committee will be very busy in the coming weeks, as they look into recent allegations against  the Terry Branstad  administration.    They say the panel will first look into reports of secret settlements to fired state workers.  

Students, teachers, and other school personnel turned out in Des Moines Monday for Governor Branstad’s second Bullying Prevention Summit.    The  governor  vowed to strengthen state law to combat  bullying online.    But  not everyone  agrees.   



On this News Buzz version of River to River, host Ben Kieffer cycles through stories about Iowa's relationship with China, an Arizona company's apparent phone scam targeting Iowans, an investigation into traffic stops, a harvest summary, the nutritional benefits of eating soup, and a new film about Iowa's 2012 caucuses.

Today on River To River, host Ben Kieffer sits down with Iowans to discuss the news items of the week. He talks with teacher and administrator at Grundy Center Community Schools, Ann Lebo, about the education reform signed by Governor Branstad.

Iowa American Civil Liberties Union Executive Director, Ben Stone, joins the conversation to talk about the NSA phone record collection, the drone ban by Iowa City Council Members, and a recent ACLU report on racial disparity in marijuana arrests.


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

Friday is the last day lawmakers are scheduled to be at the Iowa Statehouse, but adjournment seems unlikely.  Host Ben Kieffer talks about the issues and the sticking points dragging out the 2013 session with Chris Larimer, University of Northern Iowa and Tim Hagle, University of Iowa.  They also discuss the President's renewed push to close the detainment facility at Guantanamo Bay and the likely Republican candidates for U.S. Senator Tom Harkin's seat.

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.

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.

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.

John Pemble

Education reform is front and center at the statehouse. Iowa Public Radio's statehouse correspondent, Joyce Russell, talks with Governor Terry Branstad's Special Assistant on Education, Linda Fandel, in the first half of this session of River to River about the governor's plans for Iowa's schools this year.

John Pemble / IPR

Iowa lawmakers have completed the first week of the 2013 legislative session. They’ll return for the second week beginning Tuesday. IPR Morning Edition Host Sarah McCammon spoke with Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell about how the session is shaping up so far.

John Pemble

Governor Terry Branstad gives his condition of the state address which is analyzed by IPR's Joyce Russell, live from the law library at the capitol in Des Moines, and Iowa State University's David Peterson, who is also the head of the Harkin Institute of Public Policy and professor of political science.