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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Statehouse and Politics
12:31 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Ernst Says It's Up to Braley to Refute VA Attacks

Joni Ernst, The Republican Nominee seeking Tom Harkin's U.S. Senate Seat, greets guests at a campaign event in Urbandale, Iowa on July, 28 2014.
Credit Clay Masters / IPR

Joni Ernst, who’s running as the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, held her first campaign event after returning from active duty with the Iowa National Guard.

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Sports
8:28 am
Wed July 23, 2014

A Tourist Town Takes on RAGBRAI

RAGBRAI riders pass through Bancroft, Iowa on July 22, 2014.
Credit Clay Masters / IPR

The Okoboji area is known for its tourism industry. The most recent data from the Dickinson County Chamber of Commerce says 255 million dollars are spent annually from tourism. But for last 40 years, cyclists on the Register’s Great Bike Ride Across Iowa have never stayed overnight in the Iowa Great Lakes. The natural barrier is a winding highway that goes from four to two lanes to wind around the lakes and an amusement park. But the RAGBRAI moved through the Iowa Great Lakes with no major problems.

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U.S. Supreme Court
9:38 am
Fri July 11, 2014

Conservative or Consistent? The 2013 - 2014 U.S. Supreme Court Session

Interior of the U.S. Supreme Court, Washington, D.C.
Carol M. Highsmith Library of Congress

While some say this year's Supreme Court session was conservative, others have characterized it as consistent.

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News
6:30 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Siouxland Recovers from Floods

Dawn De Wit, of Rock Valley, stands beside a flooded farm field on the outskirts of this town of more than 3,000 residents in northwest Iowa.
Credit Clay Masters / IPR

  Torrential downpours in northwest Iowa caused rivers to swell… floodwaters damaged homes, businesses and farmland.  Federal Emergency Management Agency officials are assessing the area to see if it qualifies for federal help. State officials on Monday said public infrastructure sustained more than $15 million worth of damage in the state.

That doesn’t include homes, businesses and farmland in Rock Valley and other parts of the region that were destroyed.

“We’ve had a few (floods), but nothing remotely close to this,” said Rock Valley Mayor Kevin Van Otterloo.

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Studio One
6:32 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Jolie Holland's 'Wine Dark Sea' Influenced by Many Art Forms

Credit Anti-records

    Singer and Songwriter Jolie Holland has been making music since the 1990s. Her new album 'Wine Dark Sea' is this week's CD of the Week on IPR's Studio One. IPR's Clay Masters spoke with Holland soon after she finished recording the album. 

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Election Coverage
8:23 am
Wed June 4, 2014

Ernst Gets GOP Senate Nomination, 3rd District Republican Race Goes to Convention

Joni Ernst makes her acceptance speech for the GOP US Senate nomination on June 3, 2014 at the Des Moines Social Club.
Credit Joyce Russell / IPR

Democratic and Republican Primary voters went to the polls Tuesday to select candidates for the 2014 general election, but for Third-District Republicans it's not over yet. The biggest race last night was for the U.S. Senate Republican primary nomination. State Senator Joni Ernst easily won that race. IPR's Clay Masters talks with University of Northern Iowa Political Science Professor Donna Hoffman about last night's results. 

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Statehouse and Politics
7:40 am
Fri May 30, 2014

Hopes of Breaking up the Political Boys Club in Iowa

Appel Women for Change make phone calls on May 21, 2014.
Credit Clay Masters / IPR

Iowa will hold its primary on Tuesday, June 3. Democratic Senator Tom Harkin is retiring and that’s set off a domino effect of politicians vying for higher office and this midterm election could make history if voters send a woman to Washington. It’s just one of two states that have never done so or elected a woman as governor; the other is Mississippi.

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Science and Technology
8:33 am
Fri May 16, 2014

White House Climate Change Task Force Meets in Des Moines

Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie seated at a table at Cownie Furs, a Des Moines business he owns that's been in his family for generations.
Credit John Pemble / IPR

  National leaders, governors, mayors and tribal leaders met in Des Moines this week for a task force meeting that will make recommendations to the White House this fall. IPR's Clay Masters talked with Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie about what those recommendations might look like.   

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Statehouse and Politics
7:52 am
Fri May 16, 2014

2014 Primary Elections: U.S. Senate

Democratic Congressman Bruce Braley speaks at the Iowa Statehouse on January 13, 2013. The next week Senator Tom Harkin annoucned he was retiring and Braley quickly entered the race.
Credit Clay Masters / IPR

  Democratic Senator Tom Harkin announced last year he was retiring. It’s been decades since Iowa’s had an open senate seat. 

There are five candidates on the Republican side: State Senator Joni Ernst, Former Energy Executive Mark Jacobs, Ames businessman Scott Schaben, Morningside Economics Professor Sam Clovis and former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker.

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Statehouse and Politics
7:36 am
Thu May 15, 2014

2014 Primary Elections: The Third District

3rd District Democratic candidate Staci Appel speaks at a round table discussion of the Ryan budget with Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (IL-D) at Palmer's Deli in Des Moines.
Credit John Pemble / IPR

One of the biggest surprises this 2014 Iowa election season was Third District Republican Congressman Tom Latham’s announcement late last year he would not seek re-election. Thanks to redistricting in 2012 it was incumbent versus incumbent in the third district when Latham faced another longtime congressman, Democratic Congressman Leonard Boswell. 

In 2014, it’s a crowded group of Republicans running to face a Democrat who’s been in the race for almost a year. 

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Statehouse and Politics
6:27 am
Wed May 14, 2014

2014 Primary Elections: The First District

Candidates in the First District Primary. (Top left to right) Anesa Kajtazovic (D), Dave O'Brien (D), Gail Boliver (R), Swati Dandekar (D). (Bottom left to right) Pat Murphy (D), Steve Rathje (R), Monica Vernon (D), Rod Blum (R)
Credit Candidate facebook profile photos

More than a year ago, the 2014 mid-term election looked like a sleepy one in Iowa. But a U.S. Senate seat and two congressional districts are up for grabs without incumbents. With the primary election a little more than two weeks away, IPR's Clay Masters takes a look at the open races. Iowa's first congressional district is in northeast Iowa and includes the cities of Cedar Rapids and Waterloo. Democratic Congressman Bruce Braley is leaving his seat to run for Tom Harkin’s U.S. Senate seat.

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Archives
6:48 am
Mon May 12, 2014

Randy Brubaker and the Iowa Visual History Center

Stacks of the Des Moines Register and Evening Tribune are stored at an old dorm at Grand View University in Des Moines.
Credit Clay Masters / IPR

Randy Brubaker was a longtime journalist in Iowa. In 1983 he joined the Iowa City Press Citizen and came  to the Des Moines Register in 1988. He held many roles at the Register, most recently he was Senior News Director and oversaw the newspaper's investigative team. He died May 3 of apparent heart failure at 55, just four months after his wife died of a heart attack. In addition to two sons and legions of reporters who he mentored, his legacy includes the Iowa Visual History Center. It's an archive of newspapers and photo negatives that span from the 1940s to 1990s.

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2014 Legislative Session
4:20 pm
Mon May 5, 2014

Session Ends, Campaigning Begins

The Iowa Capitol
John Pemble IPR

The Iowa Legislature adjourned last week and even though it’s an election year, lawmakers managed to get a few big items accomplished, including a $7-billion budget and a bill that decriminalizes some forms of medical marijuana in the state. At the same time, priority bills from the governor to crack down on schoolyard bullying and expand broadband to rural parts of the state failed.

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Statehouse and Politics
7:33 am
Mon May 5, 2014

What Got Done in the 2014 Iowa Legislative Session?

Credit John Pemble / IPR

The Iowa Legislature adjourned last week. Iowa Public Radio's Clay Masters checks in with Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell to discuss what got done this legislative year. 

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2014 Legislative Session
3:06 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

Neighboring States Wrestle with Many of the Same Issues

Iowa's golden dome
John Pemble Iowa Public Radio

While there are many differences between Iowa and our neighboring states, there are also many similarities.  For example, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker recently signed a bill to allow the use of a cannabis extract for the treatment of seizures, while Minnesota's state legislature is still working on a similar proposal.  In recent weeks, an effort to decriminalize the possession of cannabis oil has gained ground in the Iowa statehouse.  In this week's legislative show, Host Clay Masters talks with statehouse reporters in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Missouri to compare notes, and see

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Statehouse and Politics
8:04 am
Mon April 28, 2014

Iowa Lawmakers Expect to Adjourn this Week

Credit John Pemble / IPR

The predictions are out there that Iowa's legislative session will wrap up early this week. On Mondays we check in with IPR Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell to make sense of everything going on up at the capitol.

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Arts and Culture
9:30 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Remembering Jason Molina, A Musician Who Refused To Look Back

Jason Molina performs in Barcelona with Magnolia Electric Co. in 2009.
Credit Jordi Vidal / Redferns

Musician Jason Molina influenced many of his peers and sold tens of thousands of records for a small independent label from Indiana. Molina died at age 39 a little more than a year ago from organ failure due to alcohol abuse. But now two new releases are paying tribute to the musician. Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters has more. 

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2014 Legislative Session
2:58 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Bill on Greyhound Racing Being Drafted at Statehouse

Greyhound racing
Alex Lapuerta Creative Commons

A bill is being drafted at the Iowa Statehouse to separate greyhound racing from the two casinos that no longer want to support it.  Host Clay Masters spoke with Senator Jeff Danielson of Cedar Falls, who says the agreement provides both a "soft landing" and a "second chance" for the greyhound industry.  That means breeders who want to quit breeding dogs for racing can receive a payout, and the Iowa Greyhound Association will get a chance to manage a track for themselves.  Currently casino revenues in Dubuque and Council Bluffs have been supplementing the purses paid at the tracks.  Daniels

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2014 Legislative Session
3:21 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Lawmakers Hold Out Hope for Texting Bill and Gas Tax

U.S. Department of Labor

The Chairs of the Iowa Senate and House Transportation Committees say they're still hopeful two key proposals can win approval in the final days of the legislative session.  A bill approved by the Iowa Senate would've made texting while driving a primary offense.  In other words, an officer could stop and ticket a driver for texting while driving, without the driver committing another moving violation.  That bill failed to win approval before a funnel deadline in the House, but Senator Tod Bowman, a Maquoketa Democrat, says the bill will likely come up again in future sessions and Represent

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News
9:30 am
Mon April 14, 2014

The Week Ahead at the Statehouse

A view of the Statehouse.
John Pemble IPR

Calls for further hearings regarding secret settlements, funding for Iowa's three Regent universities and an uncertain future for anti-bullying legislation.

Statehouse correspondent Joyce Russell speaks with IPR’s Morning Edition Host Clay Masters. 

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Statehouse and Politics
4:50 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Medical Marijuana Bill Gains Momentum in Statehouse

 

  A bill allowing Iowans to use medical marijuana in the form of cannabis oil is still alive at the statehouse. The Iowa Senate will move a medical marijuana bill before the end of the session.  

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Statehouse and Politics
6:35 am
Tue April 8, 2014

Branstad on Settlements, Medical Marijuana

Iowa Republican Governor Terry Branstad in the statehouse law library.
Credit John Pemble / IPR

Despite predictions for a speedy session in which nothing of substance was accomplished, the 2014 legislative session has had plenty of controversy.  Governor Terry Branstad was a guest on IPR’s River to River on Monday.

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2014 Legislative Session
3:53 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Iowa Children Stuck on Mental Health Waiting List

The Iowa Capitol
Photo by John Pemble

Children with serious mental health issues are waiting as long as two years to receive services in their communities.  Host Clay Masters talks with Tammy from Iowa City whose son has been diagnosed with Tourette's Syndrome, Bipolar Disorder, Asperger's Syndrome and Oppositional Defiance Disorder.  She says services like respite care are essential for families exhausted from caring for a suicidal or angry child.  But such services aren't covered by insurance.  A children's mental health waiver is designed to cover the gap between what insurance covers and what services are needed, but the wa

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News
3:35 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Branstad 'Working With Legislators' Towards Medical Marijuana Bill This Session

Governor Terry Branstad at the Statehouse.
Iowa Governor Terry Branstad Photo by John Pemble

Governor Terry Branstad said Monday he would consider signing a bill with limited allowances for medical cannabis to be prescribed in Iowa. During an appearance on Iowa Public Radio’s River to River, Branstad said he did not want to create more problems or unintended consequences by signing marijuana legislation.

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Legislative Day
3:30 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Branstad on Medical Cannabis, Juvenile Home, and Secret Settlements

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad in the Captiol's Law Library.
Photo by John Pemble

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad would support a bill with limited medical uses for cannabis if it looks similar to legislation passed in Utah.  Host Clay Masters talks with Branstad about medical marijuana, the juvenile home, secret settlements, and more on this Legislative Day edition of River to River from the Law Library at the Iowa state capitol building.

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Statehouse and Politics
8:12 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Debate over Confidential Settlements to State Workers Continues

Iowa's Capitol
Credit 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.

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Crime, Justice and Public Safety
6:00 am
Thu April 3, 2014

After the Wedding: Five Years After Varnum

Rob Gilmer and Rene Orduna stand in their restaurant Dixie Quicks from Omaha, Neb. to Council Bluffs, Iowa, so they could get married and expand their restaurant.
Clay Masters IPR

 It’s been 5 years since the Iowa Supreme Court decision of Varnum versus Brien that paved the way for same sex marriage in the state and Iowa’s public opinion is changing.

In 1996, Rob Gilmer and his husband Rene Orduna opened the restaurant Dixie Quick's in Omaha. They were running out of space in their Nebraska restaurant and after the Iowa Supreme Court decision they decided to move the restaurant to Council Bluffs.

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Statehouse and Politics
7:35 am
Wed April 2, 2014

New Iowa GOP Chairman on Uniting Party

Danny Carroll is the chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa, in Iowa Public Radio's Des Moines studio. He was elected to the position on March 29, 2014.
Credit John Pemble / IPR

The Iowa Republican party has a new chairman. Former chair A.J. Spiker announced his resignation last month, he left to join Kentucky Senator Rand Paul’s political action committee. Over the weekend the Iowa GOP Board elected former state legislator and lobbyist for social conservative organization The Family Leader, Danny Carroll. He shares his thoughts on several issues with IPR's Clay Masters.

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Legislative Day
2:48 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Shifting Views on Medical Cannabis in the Iowa Legislature

Sally Gaer is mother of a 24 year old diagnosed with Dravet Syndrome who says medical marijuana would help her daughter. She is standing in the Iowa Capitol Law Library, 3/31/2014
John Pemble

Views on medical marijuana appear to be shifting in the Iowa Senate and among the GOP.

Today on River to River - what this may mean for cannabis in Iowa moving forward.

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Statehouse and Politics
8:53 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Confidential Settlements Still Front and Center at Iowa Statehouse

Credit John Pemble / IPR

The issue of the Branstad administration's confidential settlements with laid-off state workers still seems to be front and center at the capitol. As much as $400,000  was given out to fired workers. That doesn't show up on any budgets or balance sheets. The governor for his part has outlawed such settlements. IPR's Clay Masters checks in with Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell to discuss where things stand with the settlements and other issues up for discussion in the legislature this week. 

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