|Member of the Iowa Senate
from the 34th (previously 18th) district
November 21, 2011
|Preceded by||Swati Dandekar|
|Born||Elizabeth Ann Rumann
1958 (age 58–59)
|Spouse(s)||Mark Mathis III|
|Residence||near Robins, Iowa, United States|
|Alma mater||University of Iowa|
|Occupation||Nonprofit executive, former news anchor, television producer, college professor|
Liz Mathis (born Elizabeth Ann Rumann, 1958) is an American state legislator and nonprofit executive from Iowa, as well as a former news anchor, television producer, and college professor. She won a November 2011 special election to the Iowa Senate representing the 18th district in suburban Linn County, and was re-elected to the redrawn 34th district the following year.
A member of the Democratic Party, Mathis co-chairs the Administration and Regulation Appropriations Subcommittee and serves on Education, Commerce, Economic Growth, Human Resources and full Appropriations committees. She is also the legislative liaison to the Iowa Department of Public Health. Mathis also is the CCO, chief community officer, for a child welfare and juvenile justice agency, Four Oaks.
Early life and career
Mathis was born on a farm in rural DeWitt, Iowa in 1958. Her mother, Mary Eleanor Rumann, was a schoolteacher and nurse who served in World War II. Her father, James Edward Rumann, was a farmer and school board member who also served in the war. Mathis received her bachelor's degree in 1980 from the University of Iowa, where she double-majored in broadcasting and film and in journalism. To put herself through college, she worked weekends as a production assistant at WMT-TV (now KGAN).
After graduating, she joined KWWL as a reporter and anchor, doing "a little bit of everything" from their newly opened Cedar Rapids bureau. Soon after joining the station, she moved to Waterloo to become an evening co-anchor alongside Ron Steele at the age of 23. Taking a break from broadcasting, in August 1996 she joined the faculty of Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, where she taught electronic media. In 1998 she became a news anchor, reporter and producer at KCRG-TV, where she remained for nine years. In July 2007, she retired from broadcasting to become vice president for community relations for Horizons—A Family Service Alliance, a non-profit counseling and assistance agency in Cedar Rapids. She later became chief community officer for Four Oaks.
Mathis was nominated in September 2011 by the Iowa Democratic Party to run for the state senate seat vacated by Democrat Swati Dandekar. Mathis faced Republican candidate Cindy Golding in a special election held on November 8, 2011. The election was politically significant for the state, as the Republican Party controlled the Iowa governorship and General Assembly, and the Democrats stood to lose their one-seat majority in the state Senate. The most nationally prominent issue of the race was same-sex marriage, although Mathis preferred to focus on economic issues in the campaign. Mathis won the election by 56 to 44 percent and was sworn in on November 21, 2011. She sat on the Commerce, Economic Growth, Human Resources, and Ways and Means committees.
She was challenged for re-election in November 2012 by Ryan Flood, a libertarian SuperPAC director and financial services representative. She ran in the newly drawn 34th district, and largely agreed with her challenger on lowering Iowa's property taxes and opposing a gas tax increase. Neither candidate took a stance on a proposed casino in nearby Cedar Rapids. Mathis was elected with around 60 percent of the vote.
She is married to Mark Mathis III, who owns the advertising agency ME&V. They live outside the city of Robins, and have two children, Mark IV and Mary Fran. Mathis has also taught part-time at the University of Iowa's School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and remains a member of the Wartburg Board of Regents.
- Background and family information:
- "Six Are Named Alumni Fellows" (PDF). Arts and Sciences. University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Fall 2008. p. 36.
- Chacey, Beth (November 21, 1998). "Liz Mathis back in the spotlight". The Gazette.
- Lynch, James Q. (September 29, 2011). "Linn County Democrats hope voters tune in on Mathis". The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier.
- Lynch, James Q. (September 29, 2011). "Former TV anchorwoman Liz Mathis picked to run for open Iowa Senate seat". The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier.
- Sulzberger, A.G. (November 2, 2011). "Special Election in Iowa Will, G.O.P. Hopes, Cement Grip on Power". The New York Times.
- Clayworth, Jason (November 8, 2011). "Special election winner: Democrat Liz Mathis". Des Moines Register.
- Deeth, John (2011-11-21). "Beret Bets Bob Backs...". John Deeth Blog. Retrieved 2011-11-21.
- "Iowa Legislator – Senator Liz Mathis (84th General Assembly)". The Iowa Legislature.
- Lynch, James Q. (October 26, 2012). "Iowa Senate 34 candidates 'don't care' whether Cedar Rapids get casino license". The Gazette. Cedar Rapids, IA.
- Rasdal, Dave (November 6, 2012). "3 incumbents fall in Linn legislative races". The Gazette. Cedar Rapids, IA.
- Rasdal, Dave (February 25, 2001). "Former competitors on same team". The Gazette.
- Mathis for State Senate (official site)
- Iowa Legislator page (see also: 85th Assembly)
- "Liz Mathis: Former Broadcaster Braves New Horizons", from the University of Iowa Journalist (2007)