Mike Gronstal, from Council Bluffs, has been the Senate Democratic Leader since 1997. First elected to office in 1982, Gronstal served one term in the Iowa House (1983-85), and is currently in his seventh term in the Senate. He is the State Democratic Leader in the Iowa Senate and has been a lifelong advocate for public education and smart politics.


We are fortunate to have Mike Gronstal represent us, our students, our schools and our profession. In the current political climate it is vital that you understand that we need YOU. Your time, your talent, and--eventually--your treasure will be needed to make sure that we reverse the trend of legislators who are willing to sell out our children for corporate tax cuts.

Help for small businesses seeking to export Iowa products

Exports by Iowa’s small businesses will grow thanks to a new grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration. The State Trade & Export Promotion (STEP) initiative will expand Iowa's economy and create jobs by helping companies compete in the global marketplace.

Here’s how the Iowa Economic Development Authority offers assistance to help eligible companies develop or expand export operations:


Helping students succeed takes center stage

from the desk of Senator Gronstal
Strong local schools prepare Iowa students to succeed and help our economy grow.

That’s why new ideas to help Iowa students succeed are always welcome. After all, our students are competing with young people from around the world for jobs and other opportunities in today’s global economy.

In the Senate, I’ve built on Iowa’s tradition of educational excellence by making sure kids start school ready to learn, helping keep the best teachers in our classrooms, raising standards to make a high school diploma more meaningful, and providing workers with training for in-demand jobs.


Senator Harkin asks that WE STAND TOGETHER with Senator Gronstal


At a banquet this spring, state GOP Chairman Matt Strawn told his Iowa Republican audience: "We are 582 days away from telling Mike Gronstal his services are no longer needed."

Well, as someone who has been the #1 target of statewide Iowa Republican campaigns a time or two myself, I can tell you that I am personally sure that Mike has done plenty to deserve that honor this year. In fact, he’s done all the right things to deserve that honor.


Facts rebut Governor’s claim of fiscal crisis

 Governor Branstad continues to claim that Iowa is facing a fiscal crisis in an effort to justify cuts to local schools, community college and university students, workforce offices and job creation efforts. But the facts—from the Iowa Department of Revenue, the non-partisan Legislative Services Bureau and the nation’s top credit rating agencies—prove the Governor wrong.

State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald recently told Iowans that the state of Iowa is recovering even better than expected from the national recession. We have $600 million in our reserve funds—that’s 10 percent of the entire state budget. And we’ll add another $400 million in savings when the fiscal year comes to a close on June 30.

This good news was bolstered by reports in recent days of more positive trends in Iowa’s recovery from the national recession.

With these improvements in our state’s economy, now is not the time for deep budget cuts that will hurt Iowa students, workers, small businesses and communities. Instead, we must invest in student achievement and create new jobs, put more Iowans back to work and grow our state’s future.

Voices of Iowans move us toward common sense deal

Iowans are speaking out against deep cuts to schools, job creation initiatives and other state services. In the Senate, Senator Gronstal and pro-education legilsators are listening.
Senate Democrats have organized daily budget hearings at the Capitol and have hosted close to 40 listening posts and community meetings around the state. Senate Democrats are learning first-hand from Iowans about how Republican cuts will hurt Iowa families, students, communities and schools.

The Iowa House has taken a completely different approach, rushing through a super-sized spending bill loaded with special interest amendments.


Senator Gronstal Attends Bill Signing for Renewable Fuels

Senator Gronstal recently attended the bill signing for legislation creating new incentives for the sale of renewable fuels. The Senator is a strong supporter of growing Iowa's clean energy economy by encouraging the use of ethanol, biodiesel, wind energy, and other renewable fuels.

Senator Gronstal Meets GSA Troup 40505

Girl Scout Troop 40505 did a lot of hard work sandbagging at the Mid-American Center in Council Bluffs on June 11. They got a good taste of what community teamwork is all about, as they pitched in to help with the Missouri River flood efforts.

from the Desk of Senator Gronstal on 100 Million More Reasons

I’ve repeatedly said that the state of Iowa will have $600 million in our reserve funds and $300 million in our ending balance when the fiscal year comes to a close on June 30.

I argued that with so much money on hand—far more than most other states—there is no need to deeply cut our local schools, community colleges and universities.

That statement was partially in error, and I want to issue a correction.

It turns out Iowa’s economy is recovering even better than expected. Michael Fitzgerald, Iowa’s State Treasurer, reported this week that we’ll have an additional $100 million in our ending balance when this fiscal year comes to a close on June 30.

These additional dollars can help protect Iowa’s local schools and create new jobs. There are now 100 million more reasons why the compromises needed to end the session should be easier to find

Preschool Graduate Visits the Senate

One of the best moments Senator Gronstal had recenty was talking with Waukee resident Kennedy Haag, who visited the Iowa Senate during a pause in debate on May 26. Kennedy was very excited and proud because it was also her preschool graduation day. She had just finished up her preschool education at one of Iowa’s quality programs for four-year-olds. Public opposition to education cuts recently convinced Governor Branstad to abandon deep cuts to early education. Disagreement over education funding continues to prevent the Legislature and the Governor from agreeing on next year’s state budget, which is to begin on July 1.

Gronstal on Higher Education

Senator Gronstal had a good meeting with Dr. Dan Kinney, president of Iowa Western Community College, on May 24. We discussed education funding in general and community college funding in particular. The governor’s proposal would drop state aid to 2007-2008 funding levels, even as enrollment continues to go up.
Our community colleges serve traditional college transfer students and those who go directly into the workforce. They offer certificate programs, one- or two-year degrees, and respond quickly to the needs of employers and area businesses. Governor Branstad wants to create 200,000 new jobs in Iowa. Our community colleges can deliver skilled workers for these jobs.


from the Desk of Senator Gronstal on Memorial Day

Dear Friends,

Iowa is currently experiencing its largest deployment since World War II, with about 2,800 Iowa soldiers in Afghanistan alone. It’s a powerful reminder this Memorial Day that freedom comes at a cost.

Here in Iowa, we’ve become a national leader when in supporting our veterans, soldiers and their families. The Iowa Veterans Council called a recent legislative session the best for Iowa veterans and service members since the 1950s. And last year, Iowa became the first state to approve 10 measures that the U.S. Department of Defense says would do most to improve the quality-of-life for our military (


CB businesses get boost for economic growth

Iowa’s Economic Development Board has made awards to two Council Bluffs businesses. Tyson Prepared Foods has received a $400,000 forgivable loan through the Grow Iowa Values Fund, plus $2,882,106 in tax benefits for locating in an Enterprise Zone.
In addition, Plumrose USA was awarded a $260,000 forgivable loan through the Grow Iowa Values Fund, plus tax benefits worth $4,257,523 through the High Quality Job Program and job training funds worth $620,000 through Iowa Western Community College.

Hot Jobs in Iowa

What are the most in-demand jobs in Iowa?

Wondering what field to go into? Considering a change in career? You’ll want to check out Iowa’s “Hot 50 Jobs.”

That’s a list of the top 50 high-demand, high-wage jobs in the state, courtesy of Iowa Workforce Development. The “Hot 50 Jobs” include doctors, lawyers, dental hygienists, engineers, computer systems managers, postsecondary teachers, financial advisers and many more.

The list of jobs is based on the annual growth rate from Iowa’s 2008-2018 occupational projections and the mean annual salary from 2010 Iowa Wage Survey. For the complete Hot 50 Jobs for Iowa, go to

World Food Prize opportunity for teachers, students

High schools across Iowa are invited to send one teacher and one student to the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute. The event takes place October 13-15 and provides a chance to meet with world-renowned scientists, business people and global leaders.
Students must write an essay on this year‘s theme, The Millennium Goals: Agriculture to Trade. Participating students are also eligible to apply for an eight-week, all-expense-paid international summer internship.

Registration is open on a first-come-first-served basis through September 1. Details are available at

Help Break the Stalemate

Over the last three weeks, things have come to a virtual standstill at the Statehouse. We're asking for your help. It’s up to you—and your friends, neighbors and family members—to help break the stalemate over the state budget among the House, the Senate and the Governor. We must fight unnecessary cuts to education and job creation, especially when our state’s reserve funds are full at $600 million, and another $300 million will be added by the end of the fiscal year. Call Governor Branstad at 515-281-5211 and let him know that you don’t want unnecessary cuts, especially when the state has the money to invest in Iowa’s future. Delivering this message at a Statehouse news conference on May 17 are (from left) Senator Bob Dvorsky of Coralville, chair of the Senate Budget Committee, I, and Senate President Jack Kibbie of Emmetsburg.