Kim Reynolds

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Kim Reynolds
Kim Reynolds by Gage Skidmore (cropped).jpg
43rd Governor of Iowa
Assumed office
May 24, 2017
LieutenantAdam Gregg
Preceded byTerry Branstad
46th Lieutenant Governor of Iowa
In office
January 14, 2011 – May 24, 2017
GovernorTerry Branstad
Preceded byPatty Judge
Succeeded byAdam Gregg
Member of the Iowa Senate
from the 48th district
In office
January 11, 2009 – November 12, 2010
Preceded byJeff Angelo
Succeeded byJoni Ernst
Personal details
Kimberly Kay Strawn

(1959-08-04) August 4, 1959 (age 61)
St. Charles, Iowa, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Kevin Reynolds
(m. 1982)
ResidenceTerrace Hill

Kimberly Kay Reynolds (née Strawn, born August 4, 1959) is an American politician serving as the 43rd and current Governor of Iowa since 2017. A member of the Republican Party, she is the first female Governor of Iowa.

Reynolds previously served as the 46th Lieutenant Governor of Iowa from 2011 to 2017. Before she was elected Lieutenant Governor, Reynolds served as Clarke County Treasurer for four terms and then served in the Iowa Senate from 2009 to 2010. Reynolds became Governor of Iowa in May 2017 when her predecessor, Terry Branstad, stepped down to become United States Ambassador to China. She won a full term as governor in the 2018 gubernatorial election.

Early life, education and family[edit]

Reynolds with husband Kevin Reynolds in 2010

Reynolds was born Kimberly Kay Strawn in St. Charles, Iowa. She attended high school at the Interstate 35 Community School District and graduated in 1977.[1]

Strawn attended Northwest Missouri State University, for one semester (Fall 1977) where she took classes in business, consumer sciences and clothing sales and design. She dropped out of college after one semester. She later took classes at Southeastern Community College in the late 1980s, and then took accounting classes at Southwestern Community College between 1992 and 1995. She left both of these institutions.[2] Reynolds began partially online[3] classes at Iowa State University in 2012, and received a Bachelor of Liberal Studies degree in December 2016.[4]

Reynolds was twice charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, first in 1999 and again in 2000.[5] The 2000 case was originally charged as a Second Offense OWI, but eventually reduced to First Offense OWI. Reynolds was sentenced to pay a $1,500 fine and serve 12 months of informal probation. A related open container charge was dropped entirely.[6] In 2017, Reynolds stated that she sought inpatient treatment for alcoholism following her second arrest and that she had been sober for nearly 17 years.[7]

Reynolds married Kevin Reynolds in 1982. As of 2018, the Reynoldses have three daughters (Jennifer, Nicole and Jessica)[8] and nine grandchildren.[9]

Iowa Senate[edit]

Reynolds during her time in the Iowa Senate

Reynolds served four terms as the Clarke County Treasurer before being elected on November 4, 2008 to represent the 48th district in the Iowa Senate, defeating Ruth Smith (D) and Rodney Schmidt (I).[10] In the Senate, she was a member of five committees: Economic Growth, Environment & Energy Independence, Local Government (ranking member), Rebuild Iowa, Transportation, and Appropriations Subcommittee (Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee). In 2010, Reynolds endorsed a ban on same-sex marriage in Iowa.[11]

Lieutenant Governor of Iowa[edit]

On June 25, 2010, Republican gubernatorial nominee Terry Branstad publicly proposed Reynolds for Lieutenant Governor. The next day, she received the Republican nomination from the 2010 Republican State Convention. On November 2, 2010, the Branstad/Reynolds ticket won the general election.[12][13] Reynolds resigned from her Senate seat on November 12, 2010 to "focus solely on assisting Gov. (Terry) Branstad’s transition team."[14]

Reynolds was the Lieutenant Governor of Iowa from 2011 until 2017.[15] Unlike Lieutenant Governors in many other states, Reynolds had specific roles, including co-chairing the Governor's Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Advisory Council, co-chairing the Iowa Partnership for Economic Progress board, co-chairing the Military Children Education Coalition and serving as Gov. Branstad's representative on the board of the Iowa State Fair.[16]

Reynolds was elected Chair of the National Lieutenant Governors Association (NLGA) in July 2015.[17]

Branstad and Reynolds after the Cedar River floods of 2016

Governor of Iowa[edit]


On May 24, 2017, Reynolds became governor of Iowa upon the resignation of Governor Terry Branstad, who stepped down to become the new United States Ambassador to China. Reynolds is the first female governor of Iowa.[18]

Reynolds's elevation to the governorship created a vacancy in the office of the lieutenant governor, and reports indicated that her selection of a lieutenant governor could be challenged in the Iowa Supreme Court.[19] An opinion from the Iowa attorney general indicated that "an individual promoted from lieutenant governor to governor, as was Reynolds, [did] not have the authority to appoint a new lieutenant governor."[20] On May 25, 2017, Reynolds announced that Iowa Public Defender Adam Gregg would serve as acting lieutenant governor; to avoid litigation, the Reynolds administration stated that Gregg "[would] not hold the official position of lieutenant governor" and would not succeed Reynolds in the event of her inability to serve as governor.[21]

In 2018, following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), Reynolds described same-sex marriage as a "settled" issue and said that she did not consider herself obligated to follow the Iowa Republican Party platform provision against same-sex marriage.[22][23]

Reynolds acknowledged that Trump's trade and tariff policies were hurting farmers, but said she believed that farmers would benefit from them in the end.[24][25][26]

In May 2018, Reynolds signed a bill to revamp Iowa's energy efficiency policies.[27] Also in May 2018, Reynolds signed a fetal heartbeat bill that the Des Moines Register referred to as "the most restrictive abortion ban in the nation".[28] In January 2019, the law was struck down by an Iowa state judge, who said it was unconstitutional.[29]

Reynolds began her first full term on January 18, 2019.

On March 27, 2019, Reynolds signed a bill into law requiring public universities to protect the "fullest degree of intellectual freedom and free expression".[30][31]

Through her judicial appointments, Reynolds shifted the Iowa Supreme Court in a conservative direction.[32]

On June 30, 2020, there was media coverage when an Iowa State Patrol vehicle carrying Reynolds hit a Black Lives Matter protester, whom officials say intentionally stepped in front of the vehicle's path.[33]

In August 2020, Reynolds signed an executive order permitting felons to vote in Iowa elections upon completing their sentence. Iowa was the final state to get rid of a lifetime ban on voting from felons.[34][35]

Coronavirus pandemic[edit]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Reynolds defied public health guidance and scientific recommendations in dealing with the virus.[36] Reynolds signed a Proclamation of Disaster Emergency on March 9, 2020.[37] That same month she ordered the closure of some recreational businesses and school closure.[38][39] She ordered a halt to what she described as "non-essential" surgeries, which included surgical abortions.[40] During the pandemic, Reynolds did not implement a stay-at-home order and did not issue a face mask mandate.[38] She did not follow the advice of Iowa health officials.[41] In June, recreational businesses such as bars and restaurants were fully reopened, leading to surges in coronavirus case numbers.[38] In July 2020, she argued that face mask mandates implemented by localities in Iowa were "not appropriate" and not lawful,[36] and blocked them. She said that the science on the effectiveness of face masks in halting the coronavirus pandemic was not settled; the World Health Organization, the Center for Disease Control, and Iowa's own department of health all recommended that people wear face masks in public to halt the spread of the virus.[42]

In April 2020, following a tip from Ashton Kutcher, Reynolds, signed a contract with Utah startup Nomi Health to develop a COVID-19 testing program called TestIowa.[43][44][45]

In July 2020, Reynolds said she would invalidate plans implemented by some districts to limit in-person classes to one day a week for most students, with online learning on other days, overriding local school districts and requiring students to spend at least half of their schooling in classrooms.[46] This action prompted public school teachers from Iowa to begin sending their obituaries to Reynolds.[47]

In July 2020, Reynolds had the lowest COVID-19 approval rating of any governor in the nation at 28%.[48]

In September 2020, the Reynolds administration broke with the CDC's quarantine guidelines, as the administration issued guidelines no longer requiring individuals who had been close to someone who had been diagnosed with the coronavirus to undergo quarantine.[49] In October 2020, she appeared at an indoor fundraiser for the Republican Party, and a large rally in an airport hangar for President Donald Trump; individuals did not wear masks or socially distance at the events.[36]

Electoral history[edit]

Iowa Senate history[edit]

2008 primary[edit]

Iowa State Senate District 48 Republican primary election, 2008
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Kim Reynolds 2,487 61.77
Republican Jim Parker 1,539 38.23

2008 general election[edit]

Iowa State Senate District 48 general election, 2008
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Kim Reynolds 14,274 52.97
Democratic Ruth Smith 11,653 43.24
Independent Rodney Schmidt 1,021 3.79

Gubernatorial elections[edit]


2010 Iowa gubernatorial election[12]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Terry Branstad / Kim Reynolds 592,494 52.8% +8.2
Democratic Chet Culver (incumbent) / Patty Judge (incumbent) 484,798 43.2% -10.8
Iowa Party[50] Jonathan Narcisse / Richard Marlar 20,859 1.9% n/a
Libertarian Eric Cooper / Nick Weltha 14,398 1.3% +0.7
Independent[51] Gregory Hughes / Robin Prior-Calef 3,884 0.4% n/a
Socialist Workers David Rosenfeld / Helen Meyers[52] 2,757 0.3% +.05
Write-in n/a 2,823 0.3% n/a
Majority 108,238
Turnout 1,133,430
Republican gain from Democratic Swing


2014 Iowa gubernatorial election[53]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Terry Branstad (incumbent) / Kim Reynolds (incumbent) 666,032 58.99% +6.18%
Democratic Jack Hatch / Monica Vernon 420,787 37.27% -5.94%
Libertarian Lee Deakins Hieb / Tim Watson 20,321 1.80% +0.52%
Independent Jim Hennager / Mary Margaret Krieg 10,582 0.94% N/A
Iowa Jonathan R. Narcisse / Michael L. Richards 10,240 0.91% -0.95%
n/a Write-ins 1,095 0.09% -0.16%
Total votes '1,129,057' '100.0%' N/A
Republican hold


In June 2017, Reynolds stated that she would seek a full term as Governor of Iowa in the 2018 election.[54]

Reynolds' decision to have Rep. Steve King co-chair her campaign stirred controversy, as King has a history of remarks that have been described as racist.[55] The Des Moines Register editorial board wrote, "Gov. Kim Reynolds has kept him on as her campaign co-chairman, while muttering increasingly thin-lipped denials that she agrees with his ideological extremism."[56] Reynolds had previously praised King, saying he was "a strong defender of freedom and our conservative values".[57] After Election Day, Reynolds criticized King and said that he needed to change his approach.[58]

Reynolds won the Republican nomination for Governor and defeated Democrat Fred Hubbell and Libertarian Jake Porter in the general election on November 6, 2018.[59] Reynolds made history as the first woman elected Governor of Iowa.[60] While polls showed that she was trailing Hubbell,[61] she defeated him, 50.3%–47.5%. She won primarily by sweeping nearly the entire state west of Des Moines.[62] In particular, she dominated the state's 4th congressional district, which she carried with almost 61 percent of the vote.[63]

Iowa gubernatorial election, 2018[64]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Kim Reynolds (incumbent) / Adam Gregg 667,275 50.26% -8.73%
Democratic Fred Hubbell / Rita R. Hart 630,986 47.53% +10.26%
Libertarian Jake Porter / Lynne Gentry 21,426 1.61% -0.19%
Independent Gary Siegwarth / Natalia Blaskovich 7,463 0.56% N/A
n/a Write-ins 488 0.04% -0.05%
Total votes '1,327,638' '100.0%' N/A
Republican hold

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Noble, Jason (January 12, 2017). "How Kim Reynolds ascended to Iowa's governorship". Des Moines Register. Retrieved April 25, 2019.
  2. ^ "Kim Reynolds high school graduate looking for work - Daily Times Herald". Retrieved June 29, 2017.
  3. ^ writer, Robynn Tysver / World-Herald staff. "Kim Reynolds' path to the Iowa Governor's Office was anything but typical".
  4. ^ Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds graduates from Iowa State, Des Moines Register, Molly Longman, December 17, 2016. Retrieved March 31, 2018.
  5. ^ Young, Aaron (January 12, 2017). "Incoming governor wants to be an example for those with alcohol addiction". Des Moines Register. Retrieved June 29, 2017.
  6. ^ Iowa Criminal Case Number 05911 OWOM016618 (WARREN). Accessed May 20, 2017.
  7. ^ Alberta, Tim (June 29, 2017). "The Governor of Trump's America". Retrieved March 29, 2018.
  8. ^ Leu, Jon (December 8, 2016). "Reynolds set to become Iowa's first female governor". The Daily Nonpareil. Retrieved March 29, 2018.
  9. ^ "About the First Gentleman". Retrieved March 29, 2018.
  10. ^ "Election Results & Statistics". Retrieved June 29, 2017.
  11. ^ Josh Nelson (August 7, 2018). "Lt. governor candidate Kim Reynolds endorses gay marriage ban in Waterloo speech". Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier.
  12. ^ a b "2010 Iowa gubernatorial election results" (PDF). Retrieved November 24, 2019.
  13. ^ Bureau, ROD BOSHART, Lee-Gazette Des Moines. "Terry Branstad 'ready to lead the charge' as Iowa's governor". Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier.
  14. ^ Wilson, Kyle (November 15, 2010). "Reynolds resigns, Culver to set special election". Creston News Advertiser. Shaw Media. Retrieved November 16, 2010.
  15. ^ "About the Lt. Governor". Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Iowa. June 6, 2013. Retrieved May 23, 2017.
  16. ^ "How Successful Are Lieutenant Governors Seeking the Governorship?". Retrieved June 29, 2017.
  17. ^ "Reynolds named chair of NLGA". The Iowa Statesman. July 10, 2015. Retrieved August 23, 2018.
  18. ^ Rodriguez, Barbara; Beaumont, Thomas (May 24, 2017). "Kim Reynolds sworn in as Iowa's 1st female governor". Seattle Times. Retrieved August 23, 2018.
  19. ^ "Sources Confirm Adam Gregg Set to Become Governor Reynolds' New Lt. Governor". May 25, 2017. Retrieved May 25, 2017.
  20. ^ Murphy, Erin. "Reynolds to make Gregg 'acting' lieutenant governor". Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier. Retrieved May 25, 2017.
  21. ^ Murphy, Erin. "Reynolds to make Gregg 'acting' lieutenant governor". Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier. Retrieved May 25, 2017.
  22. ^ William Petroski (June 12, 2018). "Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds says same-sex marriage issue settled; doesn't have to abide by GOP platform". Des Moines Register.
  23. ^ Russell, Joyce. "Reynolds on Cutting Energy Efficiency: 'It's a Balance'". Retrieved November 3, 2018.
  24. ^ "Reynolds, Hubbell spar over tariffs, sexual harassment". Retrieved November 3, 2018.
  25. ^ "Reynolds says Trump may help Iowa farmers hurt by trade tariffs". Des Moines Register. Retrieved November 3, 2018.
  26. ^ "Iowa farmers' angst grows as tariffs mount. But many still back Trump and his allies ... for now". Des Moines Register. Retrieved November 3, 2018.
  27. ^ Press, The Associated. "Reynolds signs bill overhauling energy efficiency policies".
  28. ^ "The nation's strictest abortion ban is now law. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signs 'fetal heartbeat' bill". Des Moines Register. Retrieved November 3, 2018.
  29. ^ Eric Levenson and Marlena Baldacci. "Iowa's 'fetal heartbeat' abortion restriction declared unconstitutional". CNN. Retrieved February 4, 2019.
  30. ^ Gruber-Miller, Stephen; Breaux, Aimee (March 27, 2019). "Kim Reynolds signs bill requiring Iowa universities to respect 'free speech' on campus". The Des Moines Register. Retrieved March 28, 2019.
  31. ^ "Iowa governor signs campus free speech legislation". Associated Press. March 28, 2019. Retrieved March 28, 2019.
  32. ^ Pitt, David (July 3, 2019). "Iowa Supreme Court takes a right turn under Gov. Reynolds". Associated Press. Retrieved July 3, 2019.
  33. ^ Coleman, Justine (July 1, 2020). "Vehicle carrying Iowa governor hits Black Lives Matter protester". TheHill. Retrieved July 1, 2020.
  34. ^ "Iowa no longer lone state with lifetime ban barring felons from voting".
  35. ^ CNN, Veronica Stracqualursi. "Iowa governor signs executive order restoring some ex-felons' voting rights". CNN.
  36. ^ a b c Gabriel, Trip; Herndon, Astead W. (October 23, 2020). "As Governor Resists Mask Mandate, Iowans Sour on the G.O.P." The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 25, 2020.
  37. ^ "Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds provides update on COVID-19 cases". KETV Omaha. March 10, 2020.
  38. ^ a b c Pitt, David. "Muscatine face mask mandate not valid, Gov. Kim Reynolds says". Des Moines Register. Retrieved August 20, 2020.
  39. ^ Rodriguez, Barbara (March 18, 2020). "Gov. Kim Reynolds prohibits gatherings of more than 10 people, limits restaurants, closes theaters, casinos, bars". Des Moines Register.
  40. ^ Rodriguez, Barbara. "Governor's office says order suspending 'non-essential' surgery includes halting surgical abortions". Des Moines Register. Retrieved March 28, 2020.
  41. ^ Radio, Michael McAuliff, Julio Ochoa, WUSF, Jackie Fortiér, KPCC, Blake Farmer, Nashville Public (October 2, 2020). "Wear a Mask. If Only It Were That Simple". Kaiser Health News. Retrieved October 3, 2020.
  42. ^ Murphy, Erin. "Gov. Kim Reynolds defends lack of face mask mandate". The Gazette. Retrieved August 20, 2020.
  43. ^ Foley, Ryan J. (April 23, 2020). "Iowa governor: Tip from Ashton Kutcher led to testing deal." Associated Press. Retrieved April 24, 2020.
  44. ^ Henderson, O. Kay (April 23, 2020). "Ashton Kutcher linked Iowa’s governor to Utah COVID-19 testing program." Radio Iowa. Retrieved April 24, 2020.
  45. ^ Leys, Tony (April 23, 2020). "How a tip from actor Ashton Kutcher led Gov. Kim Reynolds to hire firm for testing program." The Hawk Eye. Retrieved April 24, 2020.
  46. ^ archive:
  47. ^ Muzinga, Tisia (July 20, 2020). "Teachers send obituaries to Gov. Reynolds following 'Return to Learn' proclamation". KCCI.
  48. ^
  49. ^ "Iowa Relaxes COVID-19 Quarantine Rules, Breaking With CDC Recommendation". Iowa Public Radio. September 30, 2020. Retrieved October 3, 2020.
  50. ^ "Fifth candidate files for Iowa governor's race | Elections |".
  51. ^ "Polls open Tuesday for 2010 midterm general election - Mount Vernon - Lisbon Sun -".
  52. ^, ROD BOSHART. "Socialist party seeks state office". Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier.
  53. ^ "Canvass summary" (PDF). 2014. Retrieved October 23, 2020.
  54. ^ "Kim Reynolds acknowledges plan to seek full term in 2018".
  55. ^ "Iowa Gov. Reynolds will keep Steve King as campaign co-chair". Des Moines Register. Retrieved November 3, 2018.
  56. ^ "GOP can't keep shrugging as Rep. Steve King, President Trump pander to white nationalists". Des Moines Register. Retrieved November 3, 2018.
  57. ^ Bureau, Rod Boshart Times. "Reynolds rebuts Hubbell's call to reproach U.S. Rep. Steve King". The Quad-City Times. Retrieved November 3, 2018.
  58. ^ "Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds bluntly tells Steve King to decide future amid racism allegations". Des Moines Register. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  59. ^ "Reynolds Prevails Against Hubbell in Tight Gubernatorial Race". November 7, 2018.
  60. ^ Kirkpatrick, Alex (November 7, 2018). "Iowa voters officially elect first female governor". KCCI.
  61. ^ "In Danger Of Losing, Iowa Governor Enlists Republican Heavy Hitters Ahead Of Midterms".
  62. ^ "Iowa Governor Election Results 2018: Live Midterm Map by County & Analysis".
  63. ^ J. Miles Coleman (July 30, 2020). "House Primaries: A Little More Action This Year Than Usual". UVA Center For Politics. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  64. ^ "Canvass summary" (PDF). 2018. Retrieved October 23, 2020.

External links[edit]

Iowa Senate
Preceded by
Jeff Angelo
Member of the Iowa Senate
from the 48th district

Succeeded by
Joni Ernst
Party political offices
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Bob Vander Plaats
Republican nominee for Lieutenant Governor of Iowa
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Adam Gregg
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Terry Branstad
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Patty Judge
Lieutenant Governor of Iowa
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