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Former House Speaker Upmeyer to become Iowa GOP co-chair

CLEAR LAKE — The former speaker of the Iowa House who did not seek re-election in 2020 will be helping the Iowa Republican Party to try to win elections statewide in 2022.

Party leaders meeting tomorrow plan to elect Linda Upmeyer of Clear Lake as the co-chair of the Republican Party of Iowa.

“I’ve been engaged in elections and recruiting candidates and doing all kinds of things over the years,” Upmeyer said during an interview with Radio Iowa. “And while I still genuinely do not want to be as busy as I was as speaker, I want more time for my family, I also thought: ‘Gee, if I can be helpful with my skills and help out Jeff Kaufmann, why wouldn’t I do that?’”

Kaufmann has been the chairman of the Iowa Republican Party since June of 2013. Upmeyer, who raised $1.5 million for legislative candidates running in 2018,  said she’s ready to ask donors for money for the party — and to recruit candidates to run for office in 2022.

“My experience in working with women, to recruit more women, and people that perhaps that haven’t thought about it before,” Upmeyer told Radio Iowa, “I think I have a decent track record doing that.:

The state party will be involved in high-profile races for governor and U.S. senator in 2022, as Republicans wrestle with what’s next after the U.S. Capitol riot in the closing days of Donald Trump’s presidency.

“What went on in Washington was outrageous and we absolutely can’t tolerate people bursting into the Capitol and creating insecure environments for our elected officials. All of that’s just terrible. We now need, in my opinion, to look forward,” Upmeyer said. “…Uniting Americans, finding areas where we can agree, really seems like something that requires attention now, not later.”

Upmeyer, who served 18 years in the legislature, was the first woman to serve as speaker of the Iowa House. Upmeyer announced in the fall of 2019 that she was stepping down from that role and wouldn’t seek re-election. In mid-November, Cody Hoefert of Rock Rapids announced he would not seek reelection as co-chair of the Iowa GOP.

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