Clay Masters

Morning Edition Host

Clay Masters joined the Iowa Public Radio newsroom as a correspondent in 2012.  He covers the statehouse when the legislature is in session, and reports on a variety of topics the rest of the year. Clay is an award-winning multi-media journalist whose radio stories have been heard on various NPR and American Public Media programs. His television documentaries have aired on PBS stations across the country. He’s also a regular contributor to NPR’s arts desk, covering indie music news.

Clay is a Nebraska native and worked for Nebraska Public Radio and Television (NET) before coming to IPR. He was one of the founding reporters of Harvest Public Media, the CPB-funded Local Journalism project covering agriculture in the Midwest.

Clay’s favorite NPR program is All Things Considered.

Pages

River to River
2:12 pm
Wed November 21, 2012

Iowa's Reddest and Bluest Counties

Des Moines Register

We talk about blue and red states during elections… but what about blue and red counties?  Chris Larimer of the University of Northern Iowa analyzed some of Iowa’s most democratic and republican counties, and tells us what might influence those voting patterns. Wayne Moyer from Grinnell College and Bruce Nesmith from Coe College join in our conversation about the political news of the day.

Read more
Environment
4:32 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

Branstad Unveils Water Pollution Strategy

The darker regions show watersheds with high levels of nitrogen pollution. The squiggly grey lines represent the 818 watersheds that flow into the Gulf of Mexico.
Credit USGS

  A strategy on how Iowa will cut back farm and sewage treatment pollution released today by Governor Branstad’s office is being criticized for being too friendly to farmers. As Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports, its intent is to shrink a dead zone in the nation’s top commercial fishery in the Gulf of Mexico.

Read more
Statehouse
2:01 pm
Tue November 13, 2012

Health Insurance Exchange in Iowa Unclear

Credit Office of Governor Branstad / Facebook

The Affordable Care Act calls on states to let federal officials know by Friday if they plan to launch their own healthcare exchanges. As Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports, Governor Branstad’s office says meeting the deadline will be challenging.

Read more
Science/Technology
4:11 pm
Wed November 7, 2012

Bonobo Dies at Great Ape Trust

Panbanisha at the Great Ape Trust in Des Moines.
Credit Great Ape Trust

vA bonobo considered one of the best at communicating with humans has died at an ape sanctuary in Des Moines.  As Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports, the death comes at a time when the Great Ape Sanctuary is struggling to sustain funding.

Read more
Politics
4:05 pm
Tue November 6, 2012

Photos: The Iowa Campaign Trail

President Barack Obama makes a campaign stop in Dubuque on November, 3 2012.

Iowa's importance in the 2012 election was arguably more important than ever. IPR's news staff traveled the state and reported on the candidates' messages long before the Iowa caucuses. Here are some of the photos IPR reporters took along the campaign trail. 

Read more
Politics
1:06 am
Mon November 5, 2012

Citizens United Impact on Down Ticket Races

Credit Photo Illustration/Clay Masters

After all the winners and losers of Election Day are decided many campaigns and strategists will look at what they did right or wrong. This year there’s a whole new factor thrown into the election, the landmark Supreme Court ruling called Citizens United has changed the game for down ticket races.

Read more
Politics
12:13 am
Sun November 4, 2012

Obama, Romney Descend on Dubuque

Sen. Chuck Grassley and NASCAR legend Richard Petty appear with Ann and Mitt Romney at a rally at the Dubuque Airport
Clay Masters IPR

Both President Obama and Mitt Romney descended on Dubuque Saturday in the final days of their campaigns. Both candidates were promoting their own brand of change.

GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney flew into the Dubuque airport and greeted a crowd of more than 2,000 people in a hangar behind a sign that read “REAL CHANGE ON DAY ONE”.

Appearing with Romney was his wife Ann and NASCAR legend Richard Petty… who offered a race car driver’s perspective on the economy.

Read more
Politics
1:10 am
Fri November 2, 2012

Praise of Bipartisanship Fades from Campaign Stumps in Iowa

Vice President Joe Biden campaigns at the Opera House in Fort Dodge on Thursday, November 1st, 2012. 4th District Democratic Congressional Candidate Christie Vilsack stood behind Biden the entire speech.
Credit Clay Masters / IPR

It’s the last full week of presidential campaigning and here in Iowa, we expected to see the presidential candidates a bit more. But Hurricane Sandy changed things. For the most part we got wives and vice-presidential candidates. Paul Ryan will be in Waterloo today and Vice President Joe Biden made stops in Muscatine and Fort Dodge Thursday. 

Read more
Politics
1:18 am
Fri October 26, 2012

King, Vilsack Tackle Social Issues in Carroll Debate

Republican Incumbent Steve King and Christie Vilsack listen to debate moderator Dean Borg.
Credit Clay Masters / IPR

Republican incumbent Steve King and his democratic challenger, Christie Vilsack squared off in a debate last night in Carroll for the newly drawn 4th congressional district. Polls show King with a slight lead over Vilsack. As Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports, the two drew sharp contrasts. 

Read more
Politics
1:03 am
Tue October 23, 2012

Presidential Campaigns Focus on Iowa Suburbs

Ali and Caleb Harrelson canvass a neighborhood in the Des Moines suburb Clive in support of reelecting President Obama.
Clay Masters IPR

Both President Obama and Governor Mitt Romney will make campaign stops Wednesday in eastern Iowa. Recent polls show the race is still up in the air. Romney has a solid hold on rural counties here. But in a state that’s population is shifting from rural to urban, the candidates will have to take the suburbs to win. Iowa Public Radio's Clay Masters reports.

Politics
1:23 am
Fri October 19, 2012

Fact Check Friday: Obama on Campus

Clay Masters IPR

Last week in our Friday Fact Check, we reviewed some of the statements Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney made while he was campaigning in Iowa. This week, President Barack Obama was here on the heels of the second presidential debate. Morning Edition Host Sarah McCammon caught up with IPR Reporter Clay Masters who covered the president's campaign stop at Cornell College in Mount Vernon on Wednesday. 

Politics
6:14 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

Obama Reflects on 2nd Debate

President Obama made his first stop after Tuesday night's debate in Mount Vernon, Iowa on the campus of Cornell.
Clay Masters IPR

President Barack Obama made his first campaign stop after Tuesday's presidential debate. It was here in Iowa on the campus of Cornell in Mount Vernon. As Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports, the president took the opportunity to continue his fiery critique of his opponent Mitt Romney.

Politics
11:42 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

Fact Check Friday: Romney On the Farm

Romney supporters gathered at a farm near Van Meter, Iowa on Tuesday to hear the GOP Presidential candidate.
Clay Masters IPR

With the presidential election campaign wrapping up in less than a month, Iowa continues to get lots of attention. IPR's Morning Edition Host Sarah McCammon talks with IPR Correspondent Clay Masters about Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's  visit to Van Meter, Iowa on Tuesday. 

Education
3:15 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

Iowa Educators Could See Pay Increase

Iowa Department of Education

Iowa teachers would see their base pay bump if new recommendations from an education task force are put into place. Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports.

Politics
11:21 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Romney Focuses on Farm Policy in Van Meter

GOP Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney focused on agriculture policy at his Tuesday campaign visit to Van Meter, Iowa but he also told some personal stories.
Clay Masters IPR

Still riding high off as many saw it, his first presidential debate win, Governor Mitt Romney focused on agriculture policy in a campaign stop at a farm near Van Meter Tuesday. While Romney focused primarily on farm policy, Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports the Republican presidential candidate also got a little personal.

Flanked by a John Deere tractor sporting the Romney/Ryan campaign’s trademark red, white and blue “R,” Mitt Romney addressed 1200 people on a corn field in windy northern Madison County. 

Read more
Agriculture/Harvest Public Media
5:23 am
Tue October 9, 2012

New Amish Settlement Competes for Land in Delaware County

Members that started the Delhi Amish settlement moved to Delaware County, Iowa last year. Now, signs that read "Share the Road" are posted along rural county roads.
Clay Masters IPR

A new Amish settlement has sprung up in Delaware County, Iowa near Delhi. Members of the Amish community near Edgewood left the settlement because of economic differences they had with the Bishop  about how much time they could work off the farm. In the capital intensive agriculture industry it’s hard for anyone to work the land without a second income. As the Amish are forced to become more progressive it’s pitting them against the eroding Midsize American farms.

Read more
Environment
4:45 pm
Thu October 4, 2012

Drought's Impact on Iowa Trout Streams Could Intensify

Manchester Fish Hatchery Manager Dave Marolf holds a net with Brook and Rainbow trout. The DNR has released 15,000 trout into northeast Iowa's streams because of low stream levels.
Clay Masters IPR

The attention often centers on agriculture when a drought hits. But new Iowa Department of Natural Resources numbers show the state’s stream flows are well below normal and groundwater levels are reaching historic lows. There's a ripple effect in how the drought will affect the state’s fish.

Read more
Education
10:14 am
Thu September 20, 2012

Iowa Educators Need More Time to Create New Teacher Evaluations

Iowa Department of Education

During the last Iowa legislative session, lawmakers failed to agree on how beef up teacher evaluations. Instead they commissioned a task force to make recommendations for next year. The task force met in Des Moines on Wednesday. 

Politics
3:28 am
Tue September 18, 2012

King, Vilsack Square off in Hampton Debate Over Voter ID Laws

The Windsor Theater hosted the Vilsack/King debate.
Clay Masters IPR

Republican Steve King and Democratic challenger Christie Vilsack met in Hampton Monday night for another debate. It was the first time the incumbent met his opponent on ground that wasn’t part of his old district.  The two differed on just about every issue including controversial Iowa voter ID laws.

Read more
Statehouse
10:48 pm
Tue September 11, 2012

Some Iowa Voters Could Be Intimidated by New Voting Laws

Controversial voter ID laws across the country are getting a lot of attention. Here in Iowa, voter rules approved by Republican Secretary of State Matt Schultz are also falling under scrutiny. The new rules could keep some of Iowa’s Latinos home on Election Day. That concern was brought up before a state rulemaking panel at the capitol Tuesday. 

Politics
11:40 pm
Fri September 7, 2012

Obama, Romney Push Job Numbers in Iowa

President Obama addresses a crowd of 8,000 on the University of Iowa Campus on September, 7 2012.
Clay Masters IPR

Both the Republican and Democratic national conventions are over. And both presidential candidates were in Iowa yesterday.  Both President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney were using new jobs numbers to sway voters.

More than 8,000 people crowded outside Jessup Hall at the University of Iowa. A late afternoon rain soaked the crowd… many dressed in Hawkeye yellow and black as well as ponchos.  But the sky cleared up for Vice President Joe Biden to introduce the president.

Read more
Politics
8:36 pm
Mon August 27, 2012

Romney, Obama Differ on Wind Tax Credit in Iowa

Workers at Acciona Wind Power in West Branch, Iowa assemble a casing around the nacelle of a wind turbine.
Clay Masters IPR

President Barack Obama will be in Ames Tuesday. He’s likely to bring up the wind energy tax credit. That federal tax credit is set to expire at the end of this year. And the president’s opponent Mitt Romney opposes extending that credit. It's put Iowa’s top Republicans at odds with Governor Romney.

Iowa’s top Republicans--from Senator Chuck Grassley to Governor Terry Branstad-- want Romney to reconsider and give the tax credit a little more time.

Read more
Election 2012
5:31 am
Sat August 18, 2012

King, Vilsack Take House Battle To The Fairground

Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa (right) flips pork chops at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines while Terry Aupperle of Wiota watches. Aupperle lives in Cass County. He can't vote for King anymore because of redistricting.
Clay Masters Iowa Public Radio

Originally published on Sat August 18, 2012 1:14 pm

One of the country's toughest congressional races is in Iowa between Republican Rep. Steve King and the state's former first lady, Christie Vilsack.

Iowa is losing a seat in the House after the election, due to redistricting. Now ultra-conservative King is facing a more moderate electorate as he runs in the newly redrawn 4th Congressional District against a political newcomer.

Read more
Politics
7:51 pm
Fri August 17, 2012

At State Fair, Candidates Fight for 4th District

Republican Iowa Congressman Steve King (right) flips pork chops at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines while Terry Aupperle of Wiota watches. Aupperle lives in Cass County, he can’t vote for King anymore because of redistricting.
Clay Masters IPR

One of the country’s toughest congressional races is here in Iowa. It’s between Steve King, a Republican incumbent and the state’s former First Lady Christie Vilsack - a political newcomer. Iowa’s losing a seat in the House after the election due to redistricting. Now ultra-conservative King is facing a more moderate electorate as he runs in the newly drawn 4th district. 

Read more
Agriculture/Harvest Public Media
1:32 am
Mon August 13, 2012

The Fumbles of the Farm Bill

Ed Greiman, a cattle producer and president-elect of the Iowa Cattlemen, climbs onto the front of a truck hauling silage on his ranch near Garner, IA.
Clay Masters IPR

While Iowa’s congressional candidates are campaigning at the state fair, piles of unresolved legislation wait for them back in Washington. Including the farm bill – that large piece of legislation from food stamps to crop insurance. But with 13 days left in the session, passage is looking pretty bleak.  Could there really be no farm bill this year?

Roy Pralle is an 85-year-old retired farmer from Latimer, Iowa. He spends most afternoons playing cribbage with other retired farmers at Dudley's Corner. A diner attached to a gas station in north central Iowa. 

Read more
Statehouse
5:05 am
Wed August 1, 2012

Public and Private Sector Wage Gap Back in Spotlight

Gov. Terry Branstad (with Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, right) is asking state workers to help pay for their health insurance premiums.
Office of Governor Branstad Facebook

Starting Wednesday, Governor Terry Branstad starts paying 20 percent of his healthcare premium costs. He signed an executive order last month allowing other state workers to do the same. It has pushing the difference between private and public sector compensation back into the spotlight.

Right now Iowa is among only a handful of states where public workers don’t pay any of those costs.

Read more
Around the Nation
7:01 am
Thu July 19, 2012

Drought Hits Farmers And Residential Landscapers

The drought is beginning to really sink its teeth into the Midwest. More than three-quarters of the nation's corn acres are in a drought zone. In Iowa, Illinois and Indiana, corn crops are burning up and its causing commodity prices to shoot up. Suburban residents are paying to water their lawns, but it isn't doing much good.

Business/Economy
5:54 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Drought sinks teeth into Iowa cities

A sign warning of a blue-green algae bloom is posted on Sandpiper beach on Saylorville Lake. The Des Moines Water Works could tap this lake for its water supply if water levels along the Des Moines and Raccoon rivers continue to decrease.
Clay Masters IPR

With drought conditions now gripping more than half the country, many farmers in Iowa are waiting to see if they’ll even have much of a crop to harvest. While farm country feels the brunt of the drought, those in the city are also being hit. Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports.

Politics
12:00 am
Wed July 11, 2012

Obama focuses on economy in Cedar Rapids

President Barack Obama campaigns at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids on July 10, 2012.
Clay Masters IPR

President Barack Obama made a campaign stop in Cedar Rapids Tuesday. He spent a lot of time discussing his call this week to extend the Bush-era tax cuts to the middle class. He also addressed the economy… something his presumptive GOP opponent, Mitt Romney has attacked him on. And as Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports, how he addresses the lagging economy could be what makes or breaks his reelection.  

Agriculture/Harvest Public Media
1:10 am
Thu July 5, 2012

Farmers question farm bill restrictions

Marc Benson stands in one of his corn fields near Winfield, Iowa.
Clay Masters IPR

Next week the farm bill makes its way to the House. That’s the big piece of legislation that sets food and agriculture policy for the next 5 years. How does this impact the average Iowan that isn’t on the farm?  Iowa State Agriculture economist Bruce Babcock says for the most part it doesn’t… except for one thing. 

"Are the taxpayer dollars being well spent subsidizing really well managed farms, very smart farmers and very wealthy farmers?" he said.

Pages