Iowa Gets Nation’s Youngest Lieutenant Governor

By John Celock

Iowa’s new governor has appointed a 34-year-old attorney as the state’s new lieutenant governor, the youngest person to hold the office in the nation.

Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) announced late last week that she was tapping state Public Defender Adam Gregg (R) to succeed her as lieutenant governor. Reynolds became governor last Wednesday following former Gov. Terry Branstad’s (R) resignation to become the new ambassador to China. Under a constitutional quirk, Gregg will serve as lieutenant governor but will not be the first in line to succeed Reynolds.

“I have worked closely with Adam since he became our office’s legislative liaison and policy advisor in 2013, and have been consistently impressed with his energy, work ethic and demeanor as he worked through a number of legislative priorities for us,” Reynolds said in a statement. “Adam is someone who understands the responsibilities of the executive branch, someone who has worked closely with the Legislature and someone who has a strong relationship with our courts system. There is nobody better equipped with the skills, knowledge, experience and relationships than Adam to serve Iowans in this important role.”

Gregg has served under Branstad and Reynolds as legislative liaison and policy advisor from 2013 to 2014, and unsuccessfully sought the state attorney general’s office in 2014. He was appointed state public defender in 2014, a post he held until being tapped for lieutenant governor.

Gregg will not claim the right to succeed Reynolds should she vacate the governorship before the end of her term in January 2019, due to legal questions raised about the wording of the state constitution. Under the terms of the constitution, Reynolds has not officially vacated the lieutenant governorship after succeeding Branstad. Reynolds’ announcement of Gregg’s appointment indicated that he would fulfill the duties of the lieutenant governor and serve in an acting capacity. Reynolds’ office and the state website refer to Gregg as lieutenant governor.

State Senate President Jack Whitver (R), 36, stands first in line to succeed Reynolds through January 2019.

“I am honored and humbled by the trust that Governor Reynolds has put in me,” Gregg said. “Over the last six years, she has revolutionized and rejuvenated the role of lieutenant governor. To follow her in that role, and to serve alongside her as she now leads this state, is the honor of a lifetime. Every day, I will serve Iowans as we connect them to better jobs, better skills training, better schools and continue balancing our state’s budget every step of the way.”

Gregg becomes the second lieutenant governor in the nation to take office due to President Trump’s election. South Carolina Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant (R), succeeded to his post after Gov. Henry McMaster (R) took over for former Gov. Nikki Haley (R), who became U.N. ambassador in the Trump Administration.

Gregg also becomes the nation’s youngest lieutenant governor, taking the title from Washington Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib (D), 35. Gregg is the second young statewide official to be appointed to office this year, following Kansas Treasurer Jake LaTurner (R), 29, who was appointed to office last month. Both Gregg and LaTurner face election in 2018 to retain their offices.

LaTurner is the youngest statewide official in the nation, while Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles (R), 33, is the youngest statewide elected official in the nation.

Statewide Officeholders Under 40

Kansas Treasurer Jake LaTurner (R), 29, (Appointed to Fill Vacancy)
Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles (R), 33
North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson (R), 33
North Dakota Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger (R), 33
Rhode Island Treasurer Seth Magaziner (D), 33
Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway (D), 34, (Appointed to Fill Vacancy)
Iowa Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg (R), 34, (Appointed to Fill Vacancy)
North Dakota Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfried (R), 34
West Virginia Auditor J.B. McCluskey (R), 34
Kentucky Treasurer Allison Ball (R), 35
Washington Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib (D), 35
Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley (R), 36
North Dakota Auditor Josh Gallion (R), 37
Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel (R), 39