With his daughter, Kendra, in his arms, Matt Schultz was sworn in as Iowa’s 31st Secretary of State yesterday. Schultz is the first Republican to hold the office since Paul Pate. Pate was Iowa’s Secretary of State from 1995 to 1999.
Schultz’s victory in November continues an incremental approach by Republicans to win control of the state’s five constitutional offices. Schultz’s victory continues the Republican streak that began with Dave Vaudt being elected State Auditor in 2002, followed by Bill Northey being elected Secretary of Agriculture in 2006.
Schultz did something that neither Vaudt nor Northey had to do to win their seats – beat an incumbent. While most will point to the favorable political environment as the reason why Schultz was able to win, the real reason for his victory is the same thing that helped Vaudt and Northey win their first campaigns – a focus on specific issues.
It’s the issues that Schultz campaigned on – photo ID and a voter fraud hotline – which endeared him to Republican activists and Tea Party activists across the state. While Schultz’s family surrounded him as he was sworn in yesterday, a number of these activists made their way to Des Moines to witness the occasion, too.
The new Republican Secretary of State has also assembled an outstanding staff to help him make those campaign promises a reality. Former Story County Auditor, Mary Mosiman, will head up the elections division. Sarah Reisetter, who served as Mauro’s Deputy of Elections, will aid Mosiman. Keeping Reisetter will provide some consistency in the most important function in the office.
Doug Struyk, his legal counsel and legislative liaison, will also serve Schultz well. As a former legislator, Struyk has existing relationships with many legislators, as well as the leadership teams in the House and Senate. Since Schultz campaigned on requiring a photo ID vote, he now needs the legislature to take up the issue. Struyk will be invaluable in accomplishing that goal.
The final piece of Schultz’s team is Jim Gibbons, his Chief Deputy and Director of Business Services. As a former financial advisor, Gibbons brings knowledge of how real businesses operate to his new position. He will also help Schultz unify his office as a cohesive team. As a coach, Gibbons knows better than most how to get people to work together to accomplish a common goal.
With a Republican governor and a Republican majority in the House, Schultz should be able to make the changes that he promised on the campaign trail. But, like everything, it will take hard work and dedication, two things Schultz proved he had while on the campaign trail.
Photo by Dave Davidson
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