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Government

Former House speaker Kraig Paulsen to head Iowa Department of Revenue

Iowa Speaker of the House Kraig Paulsen applauds during Gov. Terry Branstad’s Condition of the State address on Jan. 13, 2015, at the Statehouse in Des Moines. Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Friday that Paulsen will head the Iowa Department of Revenue. (The Gazette)
Iowa Speaker of the House Kraig Paulsen applauds during Gov. Terry Branstad’s Condition of the State address on Jan. 13, 2015, at the Statehouse in Des Moines. Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Friday that Paulsen will head the Iowa Department of Revenue. (The Gazette)
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Kraig Paulsen, former speaker of the Iowa House who represented Hiawatha in the House for 14 years, has been named director of the Iowa Department of Revenue.

Gov. Kim Reynolds announced the appointment Friday. Paulsen starts his new job Monday.

Paulsen will leave his post at Iowa State University, where he was director of both supply chain and business analytics initiatives in the Ivy College of Business.

In his new job, Paulsen will oversee about $10 billion in state revenues and will be responsible for allocating funding across state and local government.

“In my new role, I look forward to working with the high-quality professionals within the department to ensure the highest levels of accountability and transparency to Iowa taxpayers,” Paulsen said in a statement released by the governor’s office.

He replaces Adam Humes, who was named interim director last month after director Courtney Kay-Decker resigned in December following seven controversy-filled years. Humes is leaving to pursue other opportunities, Reynolds’ office said.

Paulsen, 54, served in the Iowa Legislature from 2002 through 2016 and was the Republican speaker of the House from 2011 through 2015, when he stepped down and announced he would not run for re-election in 2016. Rep. Ashley Hinson, a Republican, now represents the district.

Paulsen, an Air Force veteran, also worked as corporate counsel to CRST International in Cedar Rapids.

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A former commissioner at the Iowa Department of Transportation, he holds a bachelor’s degree and law degree from the University of Iowa and a master’s in business administration from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

His hiring at Iowa State in 2015, at a salary of $135,000, sparked controversy when he was hired without the job being advertised,

During his years as speaker, Paulsen was credited by both Republican and Democratic legislators as steady, even-handed and able to get things done, such as the 10-cent increase in the state fuel tax that pays for road updates.

“I have always had a deep respect for Kraig Paulsen,” Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, D-Council Bluffs, said at the time Paulsen resigned as speaker. “While we have had our partisan differences, we have done our level best to work those out with each other.”

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