Secretary of State Michael Mauro has been one of the big winners at the statehouse this year. Lawmakers approved a series of election law changes that Mauro sought and provided millions to help Iowa counties buy new voting equipment.
Representative Mary Mascher, a Democrat from Iowa City, says Mauro didn’t let the trappings of office prevent him from meeting often with legislators to work through election-related issues that had stalled in previous years. “I think Michael Mauro has really put himself on the line, spent a lot of time with us in working through those bills and trying to get people on board,” Mascher says.
Mascher has been chairwoman of the House State Government Committee which dealt with election-related matters. “It was a good year for the secretary of state and I believe for the people of Iowa,” Mascher says. “I think the people of Iowa were the ones who won.”
Mauro was Polk County Auditor and ran elections in Iowa’s largest county before he was elected secretary of state in 2006. Senator Mike Connolly, a Democrat from Dubuque, is chairman of the Senate State Government Committee which also handled voting-related legislation. “I think Michael Mauro has done a fantastic job and I think Iowans are fortunate to have somebody in that position who brings to it the experience he has,” Connolly says.
You’d expect his fellow Democrats to say nice things, but Mauro gets high marks from Republicans, too. Senator Mark Zieman, a Republican from Postville, says he’s always had a good working relationship with Mauro. “It’s been a pleasure to work with Mike because if there’s a problem, you can talk to him,” Zieman says. “It was a lot easier than the former secretary of state.”
Chet Culver served eight years as secretary of state before becoming governor in 2007. Culver and the two previous secretaries of state had well-known aspirations for higher office and that made relations with legislators difficult.