Kim Reynolds

Joyce Russell/IPR

One difference is emerging in the workday customs of new Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and her predecessor Terry Branstad.  

Instead of working in a private office on the ground floor of the capitol, Reynolds will conduct daily business in the governor’s more public and expansive formal office upstairs.  

In recent administrations the formal office has been the setting for receptions and bill-signings, but Reynolds plans to work there every day.

Joyce Russell/IPR

On her first full day in office, Gov. Kim Reynolds today named an acting lieutenant governor to serve with her as she completes the last 20 months of Gov. Terry Branstad’s term.  

But to comply with an attorney general’s ruling, the new appointee will not officially hold the office and will not become governor if Reynolds should be unable to serve.   

John Pemble/IPR

Kimberly Kay Reynolds officially became Iowa’s 43rd governor and the state’s first female chief executive in formal ceremonies at the statehouse Wednesday. 

First, Governor Branstad had to formally resign.

“I’m pleased to present my letter of resignation as I prepare for this exciting new adventure as Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China,” Branstad said in a ceremony in his formal office.      

Then the attention shifted to the statehouse rotunda where Chief Justice Mark Cady delivered the oath of office to Reynolds before invited guests and friends.    

John Pemble/IPR

Kim Reynolds was sworn in this morning as Iowa’s 43rd governor, shortly after the resignation of Terry Branstad, the state’s – and the country’s – longest-serving governor.  Branstad this morning was sworn in as the new U.S. Ambassador to China. 

Reynolds is the first woman to hold the office of Iowa governor, but in a speech following her swearing-in at the Capitol, she said she wants to accomplish more than that while in office.  Reynolds outlined four priorities for her administration, all aimed at improving Iowa’s economy and job growth. 

Joyce Russell/IPR

Gov.Terry  Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds Tuesday held the final statehouse news conference of Branstad’s long career,  outlining plans for official swearing-in ceremonies on Wednesday.

Branstad will resign from office and be sworn in as U.S. Ambassador to China.   Then Reynolds will be sworn in as the 43rd governor of Iowa.    

At the news conference, Reynolds thanked the governor for their years of service together

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Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds says it’s too early to recommend any change in state policy, after last week’s fatal shooting of Pottawattamie County deputy Mark Burbridge, whose funeral was held in Council Bluffs today.

Deputy Burbridge was killed in the line of duty when an inmate he was escorting back to jail with another deputy took one their firearms and shot them both.    

Reynolds says the Branstad administration will stay in touch with the Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Department officials as they review the incident.

Photo by Joyce Russell/IPR

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad answered questions posed by members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this week, moving one step closer to his confirmation as the next U.S. Ambassador to China. Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds also inched closer to becoming Iowa's first female governor as Branstad's successor.

In this edition of politics day on River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Dennis Goldford of Drake University and Chris Larimer of the University of Northern Iowa about the challenges facing Branstad and Reynolds as they make these transitions.

John Pemble/IPR file photo

If Governor Terry Branstad is confirmed as the U.S. ambassador to China, that will make Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds the next governor. Attorney General Tom Miller issued an opinion this week concluding Reynolds should not appoint a new lieutenant governor when she assumes the state’s highest job. Reynolds is disappointed with the attorney general contradicting his informal opinion he made last year. Iowa Public Radio's Clay Masters sat down with Lt.

John Pemble/IPR file photo

In a surprise formal opinion issued today, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller concluded that Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds should not appoint a new lieutenant governor when she assumes the state’s highest office.   

The opinion contradicts an informal opinion from Miller last year.   

Republicans are sharply critical of the new advice.

In December, Miller’s office said it had researched Iowa law and consulted with the governor’s office.

Joyce Russell/IPR

In a heated exchange with reporters, Governor Branstad today defended GOP lawmakers for approving $150,000 in transition expenses for Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds as she assumes the governorship.      

Democrats called the appropriation extravagant in a year when budgets are being cut across state government.    

But Branstad compared the fund to past transition appropriations.

“The same Democrats when they controlled everything, gave $170,000 for [Gov. Chet] Culver's transition,” Branstad said.

His voice rising higher, Branstad implied that sexism was involved.

Joyce Russell/IPR

A last minute Republican-sponsored budget bill introduced this week at the statehouse should ensure that Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds has the resources she needs to take over as governor.  

Reynolds will assume the office when Governor  Branstad leaves to become U.S. Ambassador to China.    

At the request of the Branstad/Reynolds administration, the bill appropriates $150,000 for transition expenses.    

Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Charles Schneider (R-West Des Moines) says with so many budgets getting cut this year, the request was carefully considered:

Joyce Russell/IPR

As Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds prepares to succeed Governor Branstad in the state’s highest office, a Democratic state senator wants a say in who becomes the next lieutenant governor.   

Sen. Tony Bisignano (D-Des Moines) has filed a bill to require House and Senate confirmation for anyone becoming lieutenant governor without having been voted into office.   

The bill would require a simple majority vote, so Bisignano says Republicans could easily confirm Reynolds’s choice.

Joyce Russell/IPR

Governor Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds Monday described what they expect to be a smooth transition of power, once the governor is confirmed as U.S. Ambassador to China. 

Branstad says he will resign his current job as soon as the U.S. Senate confirms his ambassadorship. 

Once Reynolds becomes governor, she won’t have to start over filling out boards and commissions. 

Joyce Russell/IPR

Iowa’s Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds is putting to rest persistent rumors that Governor Branstad will retire before his four-year term ends, putting Reynolds into office and setting her up as the incumbent in 2018.    

The governor has long denied any such intention.    

The rumor got new life with news reports that Branstad could become ambassador to China under a new Donald Trump administration.   

Reynolds was asked at the administration’s weekly news conference if she had discussed the possibility with the governor.

Joyce Russell/IPR

Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds is speaking out against the reported behavior of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump toward women over the years. 

But she predicts that when Iowa voters go to the polls next month they will focus on other issues.      

At the Branstad administration’s weekly news conference, Reynolds was asked about reports of sexual harassment and assault against Trump.

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