CEDAR FALLS — When the Republican Women of Black Hawk County began their June meeting, they paused to marvel at how far they’d come since they met two months ago.

Iowa has a woman — and a Republican one — as governor for the first time.

They had another reason to be in good spirits. The meeting was a chance to look back on a state legislative session they felt made gains toward a more conservative future.

 State Rep. Walt Rogers, R-Cedar Falls, talked about legislative accomplishments, the 2018 session ahead, working with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and the 2018 election with Reynolds and her likely running mate Adam Gregg topping the ticket.

“I’m excited for Gov. Reynolds. It’s neat to say that, isn’t it? Gov. Reynolds,” Rogers said. “I look forward to working with her.”

He said the two have been friends going back to a campaign school they both attended in 2008. They have worked closely with each other on education issues during the past legislative session, particularly with her role in the STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — advisory council.

“I look forward to working closely with her and her team to make education the best it can be in Iowa,” Rogers said. “There are some things we can do to make it more efficient but more … effective.”

Rogers said Reynolds has regularly sat in on meetings as lieutenant governor so she is ready to step into the lead role now that former Gov. Terry Branstad has been named ambassador to China.

Rogers expects her to follow Branstad’s path during the next legislative session and then branch out on her own if elected in her own right.

While one audience member expressed excitement for Reynolds, Rogers cautioned she could face a potentially tough campaign.

“I tend to believe that our economy, we’re starting to see some good things happening, signs of coming back,” Rogers said. “President Trump seems to have done some things that we as electors wanted him to do, and so I think those will be positives, so I’m hoping that economy-wise we’re in at least a growing state. If that’s happening by a year from this fall, I think Republicans will be in good shape.”

He noted Branstad has always been a strong campaigner, but he sees in Reynolds someone likely to bring “even more energy to the process,” and he looks forward to see what her passions are.

Rogers said Reynolds picked a good lieutenant governor in Gregg, but not the best one. He told the Republican women he was a contender and in talks with Reynolds, so he had a different preference. But he said Gregg will bring youth, a good political mind, energy and experience in the internal workings of the executive office.

Describing his feelings about not being selected, Rogers said, “I don’t know if it’s disappointed. The way I look at my political career is whatever doors open I’m going to look at them and potentially go through them. I was honored to be on the list.”

He plans to be a part of the GOP slate in 2018.

“All I know is I’m the education chair, and that’s a big job that I want to try to do the best job I can for Iowa in that role,” Rogers said. “I’ll plan on running again in 2018 … and beyond that, I don’t have any other ideas.”

Source: WCF Courier – Staff Writer – Political reporter at the Courier