(Des Moines, IA) Today Iowa House Speaker Kraig Paulsen (R-Hiawatha) released the following statement on his decision to not seek re-election in 2016 and announced his intention to step down as Speaker of the House at the start of the 2016 legislative session in January:
“After much thoughtful deliberation, I have decided not to seek re-election to the Iowa House in 2016. I will continue to serve as Speaker and perform the duties of the position until the House convenes in January. However, it is my intention to step down as Speaker of the House in January at the start of the 2016 legislative session.”
Paulsen will serve out the remainder of his two-year legislative term.
Previously, Speaker Paulsen served the country in the United States Air Force where he served as an Operations Group Senior Weapons Instructor, Maintenance Flight Commander and Squadron Director of Operations. Paulsen was first elected to office in 2002 and has served in the Iowa House for 13 years. He has spent the last 7 years as the leader of the House Republicans serving as Minority Leader from 2008 to 2010 and then as Speaker of the House from 2011 to the present. Additionally, he served as vice chair of the Judiciary committee, chair of the Judiciary committee, and as the House Minority Whip.
“I have had the distinct honor of serving the people of Linn County and the state of Iowa for the past 13 years. Many instances in my life have afforded me the opportunity to serve. I count my tenure in the House as the best of my time in public service. But, now is the right time for me to step aside as leader and allow someone else to lead the caucus,” said Paulsen.
Paulsen oversaw the Republican takeover of the House in the 2010 election, which saw Republicans move from being in a 44-56 minority to picking up 16 seats and a 60-40 majority. Republicans currently hold a 57-43 majority in the Iowa House.
“My successor will lead a unified and strong caucus of 57 House Republicans this upcoming session. We are extremely well-positioned headed into an election cycle that will afford us an opportunity to further grow that majority. I am confident of the future of the caucus and I know there are bright days ahead for the state of Iowa.”
“Representative Kraig Paulsen has been one of the most effective legislative leaders I have had the privilege of working with at the state capitol. Even before he was Speaker, Representative Paulsen worked across party lines in the minority to prevent the passage of ill-advised, job-killing legislation. With the partnership of Iowa House Republicans under his tenure as Speaker, we balanced the state’s budget, restored financial stability in state government, passed the largest tax cut in the state’s history and passed student-focused education policies to raise pupil achievement, among many other things,” Iowa Governor Terry Branstad said. “As one of the longest-serving House Republican leaders in state history, I can understand Representative Paulsen’s decision. I’ve appreciated his friendship, leadership, and his partnership as we’ve work to build Iowa for the future.”
“As a former legislator who served during the period of reckless budgeting and across-the-board budget cuts, I’ve valued the commitment of Representative Paulsen to ensure government lives within its means just as the hard-working taxpayers of Iowa do each day,” Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds stated. “Together with Iowa House Republicans, we’ve worked to make state government more effective, efficient and innovative. We’ll miss Representative Paulsen’s leadership during the legislative session, but we’re confident he’ll continue to honorably represent his constituents and work to protect the interest of the hard-working taxpayers of Iowa.”
Iowa House Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer (R-Clear Lake) today thanked Speaker Kraig Paulsen (R-Hiawatha) for his service to Iowans.
“The Iowa House of Representatives and the state of Iowa have benefitted greatly from the leadership of Speaker Paulsen over the last five years. It has been a pleasure and an honor to work with Kraig since we were both elected in 2002,” Upmeyer said. “The state is in a stronger position because of his efforts and I wish he and his family the best in their future endeavors.
Upmeyer confirmed that she would seek the support of her caucus to become the first woman to serve as the Speaker of the Iowa House of Representatives.
“I love this caucus, I have fought for it and I am proud of what we have accomplished together. I would be honored to continue to work on their behalf as Speaker towards our shared goal of making Iowa a better place to grow a business and raise a family,” said Upmeyer.
Upmeyer indicated a caucus and election would be scheduled in the near future. House Republicans traditionally hold a caucus in the late summer to discuss priorities for the upcoming legislative session.