116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Iowa House Democrats over the weekend reelected state Rep. Jennifer Konfrst of Windsor Heights to serve as the Iowa House minority leader.
Democrats also reelected state Rep. Lindsay James of Dubuque to serve as minority whip.
The pair first were elected to the Iowa House in 2018 and both were reelected to a third term in last week’s midterm elections.
Konfrst, an associate professor who teaches public relations and strategic political communication at Drake University, her alma mater, is the first woman to lead Iowa House Democrats. She was first elected to the position in 2021 to replace former minority leader Todd Prichard, D-Charles City, who stepped down from the leadership position for the remainder of his term and did not seek re-election in the Nov. 8 election.
“While the election results were tough this year, we understand Iowans are fed up with politics and we’re going to stay focused on the issues important to them,” Konfrst said in a statement. “We’ve got 15 new members this year who are strong community leaders bringing new perspectives and experience to the Iowa Legislature. We’re ready to get to work.”
Republicans remain in control of pulling the decision-making levers in state government, holding onto their trifecta of controlling the governor’s office and setting the agenda in the Iowa General Assembly, expanding their majorities in both the House and Senate.
Pending recounts and final confirmation of results in a couple of close elections, Republicans are poised to hold a 64-36 majority in the Iowa House and 34-16 majority in the Iowa Senate for the 2023 legislative session that starts Jan. 9. If those numbers hold, they would be the largest Senate majority for either party since 1972, and largest in the House since 1970.
Konfrst told The Gazette last week House Democrats’ will continue to push forward their four-part policy agenda of lowering costs for Iowans, investing in public schools, protecting reproductive freedom and legalizing marijuana for recreational use.
Konfrst said House Democrats will push legislation that expands access to affordable housing and child care, and lowers taxes for working families while stopping tax cuts for large businesses. Their agenda also calls for codifying a fundamental right to abortion in the Iowa Constitution, which would require Democrats to win back majorities in both the Iowa House and Senate, and hold those majorities through a second election so they could pass a proposal, which would then go to Iowa voters.
"We want Iowans to know we share their deep frustration with politics today,“ James, a Presbyterian pastor and college chaplain, said in a statement. ”They want leaders that listen, tell the truth, and will put people over politics.“
House Republicans last week reelected Rep. Pat Grassley, R-New Hartford, as House speaker and Rep. Matt Windschitl, R-Missouri Valley, as majority leader. Both have held their current posts since 2019.
Iowa Senate Democrats were expected to vote later this week on leadership positions.
Senate Republicans last week elected state Sen. Amy Sinclair of Allerton as the new president of the Iowa Senate following the defeat of current Senate President Jake Chapman in Tuesday’s elections. Iowa Senate Republicans also reelected Sen. Jack Whitver, R-Grimes, as majority leader, a position he’s held since 2018.
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