DES MOINES, Iowa - Monday marked the first day of the 88th Iowa General Assembly, with lawmakers getting back to work at the Capitol. But one longtime North Iowa lawmaker and legislative leader is saying farewell.
After 18 years as a representative of House District 54, 5 years as Majority Leader, and 4 as Speaker, Linda Upmeyer recently announced that she will not run for re-election, and would also step down as Speaker, but would remain a representative for the remainder of her term. District 50 Representative Pat Grassley was elected as the new Speaker, and was sworn in during a ceremony Monday morning.
But before she steps back to spend more time with family, she's looking back at the strides made for Iowans, such as adopting a more responsible fiscal policy, putting more money in taxpayers' pockets, and limiting the scope of government.
"We've created a culture that is more responsive to Iowans, that is more respectful of their dollars and money they pay for government. I'm really proud of that culture."
One thing she will miss the most? People.
"People coming from all over Iowa every day to advocate some issue that they care about. I'll miss that."
The timing of her decision is a good one for all parties.
"I think it is a really good opportunity for a new Speaker to guide the legislative process for this year before we go into the elections. It gives them a lot of ownership for that."
So what's her advice for the incoming Speaker?
"Work hard, listen, serve."
Upmeyer was first elected to the House in 2002, and became the first female in Iowa to hold the title of Speaker of the House in 2015. Her father, the late Del Stromer, served as a House Representative from the late 1960s through the early 1990s, and also served as a Speaker in the early 1980s.