Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds says the selection of Democrat State Senator Swati Dandekar of Marion to fill an opening on the Iowa Utilities Board was based solely on Dandekar’s qualifications for the board.

 If Republicans win the seat left open when Dandekar leaves the senate, it would take away the Democrat’s one vote majority. Reynolds, a Republican, says politics did not play a role in Dandekar’s selection.

Reynolds said “No,” governor Branstad is constantly looking for individuals he can put in leadership positions to run departments and agencies.

“This is another example of him tapping into a very qualified individual to serve in this position,” Reynolds said. Branstad is on a trade trip to China, and Reynolds talked about Dandekar’s selection, and the political implications during a weekly meeting with reporters.

“Regardless of what the makeup of the Senate is, this administration is gonna continue to do what we’ve done for the last year and a half, and that is to bring jobs to the State of Iowa, raise family incomes, put forth a reasonable regulatory environment so businesses in the State of Iowa have confidence to reinvest the capital they’re sitting on,” Reynolds said.

Dandekar was the chair of the commerce committee and a supporter of a bill that would allow MidAmerican Energy build new nuclear energy plants, but Reynolds says that won’t keep her from being a good member of the utilities board. Reynolds says Dandekar will be part of a three-person board that will review policy and she believes that she will have the “best interests of consumers” while putting together a low-cost energy policy.

The governor has set November 8th as the date for the special election to pick Dandekar’s replacement in the senate.