The minute Chet Culver was declared the winner of this past Tuesday’s election, a state trooper was at his side to provide “executive protection.” On Tuesday night, the State Patrol actually had two troopers at the ready — one in the Hotel Fort Des Moines where Culver and his supporters were camped out, and one in the Savery Hotel where Culver’s rival, Jim Nussle, was. Lieutenant Mark Stewart is one of the troopers assigned to guard the state’s governor, and he oversaw the process of ensuring the Governor-elect got immediate protection Tuesday night.

“We start our protection right then,” Stewart says. Having a trooper nearby will be a fact of life now for Culver until he is no longer governor. The troopers assigned to the governor’s security detail provide security 24 hours a day, and Stewart says that means when the governor goes somewhere, so does his security team.

“I enjoy doing this for, which this may sound kind of strange, but the travel, the different type of folks that you get to meet,” Stewart says. “It’s something different every day.” Stewart has been part of the governor’s security detail for the past 12 years, which means he’s not only been at outgoing Governor Tom Vilsack’s side, but he was one of former Governor Terry Branstad’s security men as well.