Clay Masters

Morning Edition Host

Clay Masters joined the Iowa Public Radio newsroom as a statehouse and political correspondent in 2012 and started hosting IPR’s 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 Nebraska where he worked for Nebraska’s statewide public radio and television network. 

Clay continues to report on a wide variety of topics including politics, health and the environment. He’s also a regular music contributor to NPR’s arts desk.

Clay’s favorite NPR program is All Things Considered.

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Statehouse and Politics
2:59 am
Sun January 25, 2015

'Freedom Summit' Kicks off 2016 for GOP

U.S. House of Representative member Steve King in Des Moines at the Freedom Summit, an event he organized with Citizens United to bring national conservative leaders to speak in his home state.
Photo by Clay Masters

The Iowa caucuses are still more than a year away, but last night a parade of potential 2016 presidential candidates appeared in Des Moines Saturday. 

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Health
5:45 am
Fri January 23, 2015

Grassley says Congressional Hearings Possible on Co-Opportunity

U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley during a visit in 2015 to his home state’s Capitol in Des Moines.
John Pemble IPR

Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa wants details of Co-Opportunity Health's collapse and isn't ruling out congressional hearings.

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Statehouse and Politics
7:06 am
Tue January 20, 2015

The Political Clout of Unbeatable Branstad

Iowa Governor Terry at the Capitol during an open house celebrating his 6th inauguration.
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.

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Statehouse and Politics
1:37 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

Branstad Sworn in for Sixth Term

Days before his 6th inauguration Governor Terry Branstad enters the Iowa House of Representatives to deliver his 2015 Condition of the State speech.
Photo by John Pemble

Governor Terry Branstad was sworn in for his sixth non-consecutive term as governor in Des Moines surrounded by many supporters including New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.  

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Condition of State
10:44 am
Wed January 14, 2015

Robust or Prudent? Branstad Lays Out His Agenda

Governor Terry Branstad delivering the 2015 Condition of the State Address to a joint session of the Iowa legislature
Photo by John Pemble

Governor Branstad outlined his priorities for this year’s legislative session in a thirty minute Condition of the State speech Tuesday.

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Health
2:16 am
Wed January 14, 2015

Health Insurance Startup Collapses In Iowa

SukruGoksu iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue January 20, 2015 2:41 pm

It was a heck of a Christmas for David Fairchild and his wife, Clara Peterson. They found out they were about to lose their new health insurance.

"Clara was listening to the news on Iowa Public Radio and that's how we found out," Fairchild says. They went to their health plan's website that night. "No information. We still haven't gotten a letter about it from them."

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2015 Session
11:14 am
Tue January 13, 2015

Gas Tax and Increased Funding for Water Quality Possible

Iowa Capitol on the opening day of the 2015 legislative session.
John Pemble IPR

Legislative leaders agree a tight budget will sharpen the focus on priorities this session. Identifying those priorities may be the sticking point.

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Statehouse and Politics
5:45 am
Tue January 13, 2015

Branstad: Infrastructure a "Major Focus"

Governor Terry Branstad in his formal office at the Iowa Capitol. He will be sworn in for his sixth non-consecutive term as governor on Friday.
Credit 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. 

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Environment
8:43 am
Fri January 9, 2015

Des Moines Water Works to Sue Counties

Bill Stowe, CEO and General Manager of Des Moines Water Works, discusses why the state's largest water utility is suing counties in Iowa.
Credit Photo by John Pemble

The board of the state's largest water utility has voted unanimously to sue three northern Iowa counties, holding them responsible for the high nitrate levels in rivers the utility uses for source water. Des Moines Water Works CEO and General Manager Bill Stowe says there have been significant peaks in nitrate levels throughout the last three years.

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Weather
11:46 am
Mon January 5, 2015

Iowa Prepares for First Major Winter Storm

UPDATE 12:35 pm Monday, January 5, 2015 - The "General" in charge of the Iowa Department of Transportation's battle plan for the approaching snow storm says they're ready to go. 

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Health
7:28 am
Wed December 31, 2014

What's Next for Troubled Iowa Insurer?

Credit LinkedIn

The state insurance commissioner is taking over a co-op that was financed by the Affordable Care Act. 

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Statehouse and Politics
12:31 pm
Tue December 30, 2014

Concerns Over Online Voter Registration in Iowa

Credit League of Women Voters of California / Flickr

Republican Secretary of State-elect Paul Pate says he hopes to have the option for Iowans to register to vote online before the 2016 primaries. But at a public hearing  Tuesday in Des Moines, voter rights groups say it’s unfair.

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Arts and Culture
10:10 am
Sat December 27, 2014

Pieta Brown's Father-Daughter Dance

"You guys know that road," Pieta Brown told a crowd in Des Moines earlier this month, describing how a row of Missouri warehouses selling fireworks inspired her song "I Don't Mind."
Credit Clay Masters / IPR

Pieta Brown's parents split up when she was 2 years old, and she spent her childhood traveling between them in the Midwest and the South.

Statehouse and Politics
7:15 am
Mon December 8, 2014

Harkin Reflects on His Legacy

Sen. Tom Harkin will retire from the U.S. Senate in January 2015 after 40 years in Congress.
Photo by John Pemble

Sen. Tom Harkin retires from the U.S. Senate in January. He discusses his congressional legacy with Morning Edition, and gives a hint to his life's next chapter. 

Clay Masters: It’s Morning Edition on Iowa Public Radio. I’m Clay Masters. U.S. Democratic Senator Tom Harkin is retiring. He’s been a member of congress for 40 years—10 years in the House, and 30 in the Senate. Sen. Harkin is with me to discuss his career, and also what’s next.  Hello, Senator.

Sen. Tom Harkin: Good Morning. Good to be with you, Clay.

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Health
5:00 am
Tue November 18, 2014

Medicaid Expansion Helps Iowa Hospitals and Patients

Credit Jennifer Morrow

Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, 110,000 Iowans have enrolled in Medicaid through the Iowa Health and Wellness Plan.  The income threshold for those eligible went from 100 percent of the poverty level, to 138 percent. 

CEO of the Iowa Hospital Association Kirk Norris talks with Morning Edition about how Medicaid expansion has affected Iowan hospitals. 

Clay Masters: It’s Morning Edition on Iowa Public Radio. Good Morning. I’m Clay Masters.

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2014 Elections
8:59 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Big Election Night for Iowa Republicans

Lt. Gov Kim Reynolds, who was also re-elected, watches Iowa Governor Terry Branstad give his acceptance speech in West Des Moines.
John Pemble IPR

Last night Governor Branstad was elected to a sixth term and Republican Joni Ernst will be the first woman to represent Iowa in the United States Congress. Democrats held on to its majority in the state senate. IPR's Clay Masters talks with Associated Press political reporter Catherine Lucey about last night's results and what it might mean for 2016.

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2014 Elections
8:30 am
Fri October 31, 2014

2014 Races: From Lopsided to Razor Thin

Creative Commons

With Election Day on Tuesday, IPR’s Clay Masters spoke with Associated Press political reporter Catherine Lucey, to discuss what to expect.

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2014 Elections
1:26 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

Outside Groups Launch Ground Game in Iowa

Denise Bubeck knocks doors for Americans For Prosperity’s Iowa Chapter in a Des Moines neighborhood.
Clay Masters IPR

Since the Supreme Court's "Citizens United" decision in 2010, there’s been more and more participation in electoral politics by groups not coordinated with campaigns or parties. 

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2014 Elections
6:40 am
Tue October 28, 2014

Ernst, One Week To Go

State Senator Joni Ernst, the Republican Candidate for U.S. Senate, stumps at the Des Moines Register Soap Box at the 2014 Iowa State Fair.
John Pemble IPR

State Senator Joni Ernst, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, talks with Morning Edition one week before the 2014 Elections. 

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2014 Elections
6:40 am
Tue October 28, 2014

Braley, One Week To Go

Congressman Bruce Braley, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, stumps at the Des Moines Register soapbox at the 2014 Iowa State Fair.
Clay Masters IPR

Congressman Bruce Braley, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, talks with Morning Edition one week before the 2014 Elections. 

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Environment
5:44 am
Fri October 24, 2014

Park Service Construction Damaged Native American Burial Sites

Under the watch of the National Park Service, $3 million worth of illegal construction projects went on for nearly a decade at Effigy Mounds National Monument in northeast Iowa.
Clay Masters IPR

Imagine being able to drive an all-terrain vehicle right up next to a sacred earthen Native American burial mound.

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2014 Elections
10:10 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Final Debate: Ernst, Braley Differ over Abortion and Social Security

Ernst/Braley Campaign Facebook Pages

Democratic Congressman Bruce Braley and Republican State Senator Joni Ernst squared off in their final debate for Iowa's open U.S. Senate seat at Morningside College in Sioux City Thursday night. 

Braley and Ernst were asked to clarify their stances on fixing social security. Social Security's trust fund is projected to run out in about two decades, potentially reducing Social Security benefits by as much as 25%.

Congressman Braley wants millionaires and billionaires to pay the same portion of earned income into social security as less wealthy Americans.

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Election Coverage
8:04 am
Mon October 13, 2014

Braley, Ernst Debate Dark Money

Ernst and Braley campaign Facebook pages.

The topic of out-of-state money flooding Iowa's airwaves featured heavily in Saturday's U.S. Senate debate.

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Politics
2:03 pm
Fri October 3, 2014

Mowrer: I Will Not Apologize

Fourth Districe Congressional Candidate Jim Mowrer
Jim Mowrer for Congress Facebook Page

Democratic congressional candidate Jim Mowrer says he will not apologize for or remove television ads his campaign is running against Republican Congressman Steve King.

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Arts and Culture
6:22 am
Mon September 29, 2014

Maximum Ames Looks to Take Label, Festival to Next Level

Nate Logsdon (left) and Christopher Ford (right) are both Iowa musicians and run the Maximum Ames music label.
Credit Clay Masters / IPR

The Maximum Ames Music Festival took place over the weekend. It featured 100 bands from the around the country and Iowa.  It’s organized by two musicians who also run a record label under the same name.  They started this event four years ago to expose the label’s Iowa based musicians to larger audiences, but now they’re changing their strategy.

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2014 Elections
5:35 am
Mon September 29, 2014

Braley, Ernst Differ in First U.S. Senate Debate

Joni Ernst, republican candidate for U.S. Senate, speaks during a debate with democratic candidate Bruce Braley.
Credit Charlie Litchfield / The Des Moines Register

The two major party candidates for Iowa’s open U.S. senate seat debated last night at Simpson College in Indianola. The debate came a day after the first Des Moines Register Iowa Poll of the general election. It shows Democratic Congressman Bruce Braley trailing his Republican opponent State Senator Joni Ernst by 6 points. Braley had the first opening statement and after a quick introduction says there are big differences between him and Ernst.

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2014 Elections
5:53 am
Wed September 24, 2014

Early Voting Begins in Iowa

Secretary of State Matt Schultz
Credit Clay Masters / IPR

Early voting for the 2014 midterm elections begins Thursday in Iowa.

A record number of absentee ballots for a midterm election have gone out to Iowa voters according to Secretary of State Matt Schultz. 2014 requests for absentee ballots are about double, compared with 2010.

"We've got about 60,000 Democrats who have asked for absentee ballots," Schultz said. "We've got more than 30,000 Republicans and about 25,000 no-party voters. So you do the math and we're getting close to 100,000."

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2014 Elections
6:33 am
Fri September 19, 2014

The Low Profile Battle for State Senate Majority

Crystal Bruntz, the Republican running for the open Senate District 15 seat, talked to the crowd of the Des Moines Conservative Breakfast Club.
Credit Clay Masters / IPR

  Most of the attention during this mid-term election season in Iowa has been on the races for U.S. Senate and Governor. However, further down the ballot, Iowa voters will determine who controls the Iowa Senate. Right now, Democrats hold a 26 to 24 majority. Democrats must hold all of their current seats, or pick up others to maintain control and are defending six seats in this mid-term election.

Democratic Senate majority leader Mike Gronstal said he’s cautiously optimistic and sees a handful of seats Democrats can pick up.

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Statehouse and Politics
5:45 am
Mon September 15, 2014

Hillary Clinton Fuels 2016 Speculation at Final Harkin Steak Fry

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Former President Bill Clinton and Senator Tom Harkin flip steaks at the final Tom Harkin Steak Fry.
Credit Clay Masters / IPR

Former Secretary of State and one-time Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton returned to Iowa Sunday for the first time since her 3rd place finish in the Iowa Caucuses in 2008.   She was the featured speaker at retiring  Democratic Senator Tom Harkin’s annual steak fry.  Even Harkin admitted she stole the show. 

Senator Harkin took the stage before some ten thousand activists and said this is a hell of a crowd:

“And to think you all came here just to see me,” Harkin joked with the crowd.  “Who am I kidding? You've had some steak now it’s time for some sizzle.”

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Election Coverage
6:34 am
Wed August 20, 2014

Campaigns Ramp Up in Iowa’s Tight U.S. Senate Race

Congressman Bruce Braley (right), the Democratic candidate to replace Senator Tom Harkin (left), listen to the owner of La Quercia meat plant in Norwalk on August 3, 2014. The two lawmakers toured the facility and spoke to reporters about raising the minimum wage.
Credit Clay Masters / IPR

Republicans have their eye on a handful of seats they need to pick up to take control of the U.S. Senate this November. One is longtime Democratic Senator Tom Harkin, who’s retiring later this year. The open seat pits Democratic Congressman Bruce Braley against Republican State Senator Joni Ernst. Polls show the race neck and neck as the candidates have just more than two months left to campaign.

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