Where Are They Now: Recent Iowa Political Hires Round-Up

In the world of Iowa politics, people move around from job to job a lot. This is especially so in the months after an election, as former campaign staffers figure out their next move. It hasn’t been an easy transition for many Democratic operatives, as when all your candidates lose in an election, there’s not that many landing spots in government to go to.

But plenty of talented, experienced political staffers and former candidates find new opportunities all the time. Here’s an update on some Iowa politicos that you might know, and where they’ve moved to in the last month or so:

Matt Paul and Jimmy Centers will be opening a Des Moines office for the bi-partisan Cornerstone Government Affairs consulting firm, a national organization that does government relations and lobbying work. Paul is named as the group’s Senior Vice President for Public Affairs and Centers as their Vice President for Strategic Communications. Paul worked for Tom Vilsack for many years, following him to D.C. to be his chief of staff at USDA. He held the same role for Tim Kaine on Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Centers headed up the conservative Priorities for Iowa organization, was a communications director for the Branstad/Reynolds administration and worked on Steve King’s campaign.

The ACLU of Iowa has a new executive director. Mark Stringer will be joining the prominent rights group in May. He’s the senior minister at Des Moines’ First Unitarian Church.

Heather Matson, who ran an impressive campaign for Iowa House in Ankeny last year, was recently hired as the new Development Director of the Des Moines Social Club. It was a highly sought-after position, and Matson’s considerable connections in the political world should help the downtown organization grow. Matson is a former Vice Chair of the IDP and worked for Leonard Boswell, John Kerry and a few other Iowa campaigns.

The Harkin Institute at Drake University has hired Brenda Kole as their new Assistant Director for Operations. Kole is a longtime Iowa operative who’s worked for both Hillary Clinton campaigns in 2008 and 2016, as well as Planned Parenthood.

Julianne Klampe, who worked for the Iowa Democratic Party this past cycle and for Staci Appel in 2014, is running Mike Sherzan’s congressional campaign in the 3rd District.

Tessa Lengeling, who served as NextGen Climate’s communications director in Iowa, has joined RiffCity Strategies, a media strategy and advocacy group. The firm brought on Jordan Oster as well.

After the dissolution of Derek Eadon’s Bluprint Consulting following his election as IDP chair, some of the firm’s employees have continued on elsewhere. Kevin Geiken now serves as Eadon’s executive director at the IDP, while digital strategist Trent Schacht was picked up by GPS Consulting. Zack Davis recently joined the Iowa Center for Economic Success, working on expanding their micro-finance program.

Jake Ketzner has returned to the Governor’s office. He was recently selected to head up the transition from Terry Branstad to Kim Reynolds. Ketzner was a policy adviser in the Branstad administration, served as campaign manager for Steve King in 2012, Branstad/Reynolds in 2014, and was a vice president for LS2.

Well-known Iowa Republican activist Jamie Johnson has a new gig at the Department of Homeland Security. He will be the Director of the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

Eric Baker is Representative David Young’s new district director. He was Young’s deputy campaign manager in 2016 and worked for Jeb Bush during the Iowa Caucus.

And Alex Latchum, who was the political director for the Republican Party of Iowa and Donald Trump’s Iowa campaign, is now the Midwest Political Director for the White House.


by Pat Rynard
Posted 3/30/17

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