DES MOINES, Iowa -- Speaker of the Iowa House of Representatives Linda Upmeyer announced on Monday she will be stepping down from her role as speaker at the end of 2019 and will not seek reelection in 2020.
Upmeyer was first elected as an Iowa Representative in 2002.
“I can remember as a brand new legislator sitting in a room and perhaps being a little in awe of the speaker,” Upmeyer said.
Upmeyer said she never imagined she’d take on the role of being Speaker of the Iowa House of Representatives but she did, making history in 2015 as the first woman to be speaker in Iowa. In that role, she followed in her father's footsteps who was speaker in the 1980’s.
She said after almost 20 years in office, it’s time to focus on family.
“Certainly having the opportunity to travel together, spend time with our grand kids that don’t live in the state visit family members that are scattered around the country we’re going to treasure that,” Upmeyer said.
She said she’s proud of her work on healthcare legislation and making lasting changes overall.
“The biggest accomplishment that I feel proud of is that we really changed the culture here under the dome. We really look at the budget very seriously we make sure we don’t spend more than we take in,” Upmeyer said.
Her counterpart in the senate, Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver said their partnership across the chambers was a major component of recent accomplishments.
“We’ve put forward a very aggressive agenda over the last few years whether it’s tax reform, regulatory reform, tort reform, collective bargaining reform, property tax transparency, we’ve accomplished more big pieces of legislation in three years than most states do in 20 and so again that goes back to the leadership qualities that she has brought to the house that we were able to accomplish so many big pieces of legislation,” Whitver said.
Upmeyer and Whitver said they’re confident republicans will hold onto the majority, but Iowa Democrats said they see this as an opportunity to take back the Iowa House.
“Since Republicans have taken control of the house, the senate and the governor's office, what we have seen is democrats increasingly being shut out and large parts of this state not having a voice in the state house and so we are going to continue to be the party that’s fighting for every Iowan,” Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Troy Price said.
Upmeyer said she doesn’t know who will replace her but she hopes whoever does takes the role very seriously.
“Be a very good listener because as long as we are listening to Iowans as long as the speaker is listening to the members I think that we can accomplish a lot,” Upmeyer said.