IOWA LEGISLATURE

No regrets yet as Linda Upmeyer steps down as Iowa House speaker

State Sen. President Charles Schneider talks with House Speaker Linda Upmeyer Jan. 15, 2019, before the Condition of the
State Sen. President Charles Schneider talks with House Speaker Linda Upmeyer Jan. 15, 2019, before the Condition of the State address in the House Chamber at the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines. Upmeyer stepped down Monday as House speaker. (Gazette photo)

DES MOINES — After spending the past nine years in leadership, including four as speaker of the Iowa House House, Linda Upmeyer thought stepping down might be bittersweet.

“I’m like not feeling it,” she said Monday moments before the 2020 session of the Iowa Legislature got underway. “I thought I might feel regretful. Not yet.”

Upmeyer announced in September that she would step down as speaker and not seek a 10th term this year. She formally resigned Monday, making way for the election of New Hartford Republican Pat Grassley as speaker for the remainder of the session.

She called her three sessions as speaker a “tremendous honor” and expressed pride in what the GOP-controlled House has accomplished.

Upmeyer still has some ideas she would like to see become law and pledged her support to Grassley and new House Majority Leader Matt Windschitl, R-Missouri Valley.

“I’ll try very hard not to give unwanted advice, but be available if they need anything,” she said. “If they ever need help counting 51, I’m here.”

Although she has enjoyed her time as speaker, Upmeyer said she is looking forward to some relief from the time commitments it involved.

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“It feels nice not to be figuring out how to schedule all the things that you need to be attending,” she said. “Now, in the morning, the first thing I’ll do is decide where to have lunch.”

Always a conservative, Upmeyer plans to continue to use her “Madam Speaker” note cards “because they are too expensive to throw away.”

Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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