- Associated Press - Thursday, August 20, 2015

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa House Republicans selected Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer on Thursday to serve as their next speaker, the first woman who will hold that top leadership role.

Upmeyer, who is from Clear Lake in northern Iowa, has served in the House since 2003 and was made majority leader in 2010. She said she hopes to live up to the example set by her late father, who served as House speaker in the 1980s.

“I’ve never felt like there was a glass ceiling I needed to break,” said Upmeyer. But she added: “It’s my hope and I know it’s true that there’s a young lady out there somewhere that’s going to say, I can do this too.”

Upmeyer, 63, who beat one other candidate for the positon, said she looks forward to leading and promises to be fiscally prudent. She will officially take over the role in January, after current Speaker Kraig Paulsen steps down.

“The priorities of the caucus haven’t changed,” Upmeyer said. “So making sure that we’re living within our means and making sure we carry forward the agenda we set from last year.”

Paulsen announced his plans to step down as speaker about two weeks ago. He plans to serve the remainder of his two-year term, which runs through 2016.

Republican Gov. Terry Branstad congratulated Upmeyer, saying in a news release that he looked forward to working with her.

House Democratic leader Mark Smith, of Marshalltown, criticized Upmeyer’s record on education, saying in a statement that House Republicans made funding decisions that will leave “kids in crowded classrooms with outdated textbooks and old technology this fall.”

Lawmakers did not approve funding for the 2016-2017 school year in the spring session, as required by law, and Democrats sought more funding for the upcoming year than Republicans.

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