- Associated Press - Monday, February 2, 2015

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Des Moines lawyer has been appointed to head a division of state government that oversees worker’s compensation disputes in Iowa.

Joe Cortese, a contributor to the Republican Party and its candidates including Gov. Terry Branstad, will begin work as Workers’ Compensation Commissioner on Feb. 16.

Branstad says in the announcement of the appointment Monday he’s confident Cortese will be independent and fair.

The appointment is subject to Senate confirmation.

Cortese fills the position once occupied by Chris Godfrey, who left in August to take a job as chief judge of a federal employee compensation appeals board.

Godfrey is suing Branstad and several staff members alleging they violated his constitutional rights by cutting his salary and by trying to push him out of his job because he is gay.

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