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January 13th, 2015

Iowa Republican Leaders Take One More Victory Lap, Then Look Forward

Kaufmann and Paulsen

DES MOINES – The mood was upbeat and optimistic as legislators and Republican officials from across the state gathered at the Embassy Suites in Des Moines for the Republican Party of Iowa’s annual Legislative Breakfast. The state party fundraiser took place just prior to the convening of the 2015 legislative session.

It was one more opportunity for Iowa Republicans to celebrate the huge gains they made in the 2014 elections. It was also time to move past those successes and look ahead to the upcoming legislative session, as well as the 2016 elections.

“One of the things in 2014 that Republicans did better than, quite frankly, any of the preceding elections that I’ve been involved with, most definitely that I’ve been involved with in House Leadership, and that is the fact that we worked as a team up and down the ticket,” House Speaker Kraig Paulsen (R-Hiawatha) said.

2014 was a very successful year for Iowa House Republicans. They picked up four more seats, extending their legislative majority to 57-43.

House Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer (R-Clear Lake) vowed to continue the sound budgeting principles they have used since gaining the majority in 2011. That includes returning money to the taxpayers.

“We’re not going to spend more than we take in. We’re not going to use one-time money for ongoing expenditures. We’re not going to underfund our obligations so we can kick the can down the road and worry about it later and we’re going to return unused tax dollars to the taxpayers, the rightful owners,” Upmeyer said to applause from the crowd.

Iowa Senate Republicans remain in minority, maintaining 24 of 50 positions in the legislature. Senate Republican Leader Bill Dix (R-Shell Rock) intends for his caucus plans to work on improving and simplifying the tax code to help make Iowa more competitive and attract new investments to the state.

“All of us as Senate Republicans are more motivated, more committed that we’ve ever been to stand up for the Iowa families. The Iowa middle class needs and really is looking forward to our leadership to provide an environment where new career opportunities can be created in the state,” Dix said.

Governor Branstad provided one of the most amusing moments of the hour-long event when he focused part of his speech on looking ahead to 2016 and the Iowa Caucuses.

“As I look forward to 2016, I think the Democrats may be making the same mistake they made for senator, for governor and for Congress in the Third District. They’re going to clear the field for Hillary Clinton, another flawed candidate. Just like Braley was a flawed candidate. Just like Hatch was flawed candidate. Just look, uh…what’s her name?” he asked, as attendees chuckled. “I’ve already forgotten it,” eliciting more laughter.

“Just like Appel was a flawed candidate,” Branstad said, finally recalling the former Democrat state senator and unsuccessful Third District challenger’s last name.

Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds and House Speaker Kraig Paulsen heaped praise on RPI Chairman Jeff Kaufmann, who took over the helm of the state party in June and steered them to resounding victories in November.

Kaufmann served as the emcee for the event. He assured the Republican officials that the state party would continue to support them this year and beyond.

“In terms of our role with you, we are not the giver and purveyor of purity tests to access whether you are doing the right thing or not. We are not a party that’s going to be out there criticizing you every step of the way. Here’s what the Republican Party of Iowa is going to be for you ladies and gentleman that we believe in: we are going to work with you,” Kaufmann said.

Chairman Kaufmann made a point to honor House Rep. Jack Drake (R-Griswold), who is the longest serving Republican in the state legislature. Drake, who represents House District 21 in southwest Iowa, was first elected in 1992.

A moment of silence was held during the breakfast for longtime Iowa House Rep. Dwayne Alons, who passed away in late November following a bout with renal cancer.

Photo courtesy of Iowa GOP

About the Author

Kevin Hall
Kevin Hall brings almost two decades of journalistic experience to TheIowaRepublican. Starting in college as a radio broadcaster, Hall eventually became a television anchor/reporter for stations in North Carolina, Missouri, and Iowa. During the 2007 caucus cycle, Hall changed careers and joined the political realm. He was the northwest Iowa field director for Fred Thompson's presidential campaign. Hall helped Terry Branstad return to the governor's office by organizing southwest Iowa for Branstad's 2010 campaign. Hall serves as a reporter/columnist for

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