Visions of harmony offered as state legislature convenes

Representative Jarad Klein (R-Keota) signs his oath of office in the well of the house on Monday, January 14. 

Senator Kevin Kinney (D-Iowa City) takes his oath of office next to Senator Bill Dotzler (left) on Monday, January 14.

Des Moines, Iowa- Much pomp and circumstance greeted the packed Senate and House chambers, as the 88thIowa General Assembly convened on Monday, January 14. The first day of the general assembly saw the third straight year of a Republican “trifecta”, that is a Republican hold on both houses of the Iowa Legislature, as well as the Governor’s office. House Republicans entered the session with a reduced majority, holding 54 of the 100 seats, while Senate Republicans entered with an expanded majority- 32 of 50 seats.

While house leadership offered a similar idea on where the state should go, a competing vision of how to get there was clear among competing parties. However, leaders in the house agreed on one thing: both parties must work together.

“After the election, no matter who is in charge, Iowans expect us to move beyond the partisan gamesmanship and govern,” said House Speaker Linda Upmeyer (R- Clear Lake), who was elected to her second term as speaker on Monday.

House Majority Leader Chris Hagenow (R- Urbandale) echoed that sentiment.

“Last General Assembly, over 88% of the bills we passed were bipartisan.  I am hopeful we can move that number even higher,” Hagenow said.

Minority Leader Todd Pritchard (D- Charles City) in his opening remarks to the House also reiterated the need to work together.

“If we take one lesson from the recent campaigns, it is that the public is weary of hyper partisan politics. We are here to fulfill a higher purpose and have an awesome responsibility: to be servants of the people of Iowa,” Pritchard said.

For more on this story and others, catch the January 16 edition of the News-Review.