Iowa House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (D-Des Moines) announced today that he is resigning his leadership role in the Iowa House and stepping down from office. He has notified Iowa Governor Terry Branstad that August 15th will be his official last day. McCarthy will leave to assume a position with Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller.
In the Attorney General’s office, McCarthy will be made a special assistant attorney general who will direct a unit working on mental health issues present in the state justice system, oversee the elder fraud unit, and he will lead a program that will work to educate members of the military and veterans on consumer fraud.
This is a new position, and McCarthy will be make $131,000 a year.
“Mental illness is a significant factor in the incidence of crime, the burdens placed on our correctional institutions, and the rates of criminal recidivism. Kevin will bring together stakeholders in the criminal justice system and work to advance the discussion on how Iowa can best address these issues,” Attorney General Tom Miller said in a released statement. “My staff has a well-deserved reputation of leading the nation in efforts to stomp out consumer and criminal frauds of all types. Kevin will be a valuable addition to do even more in the way of consumer protection for the elderly and veterans.”
McCarthy was first elected to the Iowa House in 2003, and became the House Majority Leader in 2006 while Democrats held the majority and was retained in 2011 as the Minority Leader after Republicans in 2010 won the majority. McCarthy had previously worked for the Attorney General’s office as an executive officer working with the child support enforcement and consumer protection programs. He also served as an Assistant Attorney General responsible for tobacco enforcement.
McCarthy in his announcement said, “Our caucus, at present, is as united and strong as I have ever seen. If we were a ship at sea…we are currently sailing in smooth waters with the wind at our backs, well poised to become the majority party again next year.”
“Although I am now in as strong of a political position as I could be as a caucus leader…I feel the real desire to try something different and return to a more normal pace of life. This new opportunity, taking the lead on policy and legal issues I deeply believe in, is a chance to do just that,” McCarthy added.
In Iowa House District 33, McCarthy’s district, Democrats hold a substantial voter registration edge. The Iowa Secretary of State’s website shows there are 8142 registered Democrats, 3334 registered Republicans, and 5273 registered independents in his House District so this is considered a safe Democrat seat. After August 15th, state law requires Governor Branstad to set a special election date within five days.
Updated at 4:29p – 8/1/13