Capital Clicks

Governor’s office announces staffing changes

By: - May 30, 2023 3:05 pm

The departures come a month after lawmakers approved a budget increase of nearly $500,000 for the governor's office. (Photo by Robin Opsahl/Iowa Capital Dispatch)

Several staff members in Gov. Kim Reynolds’ office have departed or moved positions, the governor’s office has announced.

The departures come a month after the state Legislature voted to give the governor’s office a $494,000 increase in funding for the upcoming fiscal year. 

During this year’s legislative session, Republican lawmakers leading debate on the budget increase said they were not sure what specifically the money would be used for. Staff from the governor’s office cited staffing expenses to help with recruitment and retention as a need for the nearly half-million dollar increase.

Two members of the office staff departed and one outside hire was made, leaving 22 staffers listed.

Stephanie Groen, the governor’s deputy chief of staff since 2021 is leaving Reynolds’ staff to become the policy director for the Republican Governors Public Policy Committee.

The move for Groen comes less than a year after Reynolds was elected to chair the Republican Governors Association. Reynolds was unanimously elected to serve as chair for the 2023 cycle in November 2022.

Molly Severn will fill Groen’s role as deputy chief of staff while still serving as the legislative liaison for the governor’s office. 

Eric Baker will now serve as the director of federal-state relations and will keep his role as director of strategic operations. 

Michael Boal is leaving the role of senior legal counsel to return to private legal practice, according to the governor’s office. Boal joined the office as deputy legal counsel in 2018 before becoming senior legal counsel for the governor in 2020. 

Boal will be replaced by Steve Blankinship. Blankinship served the people of New Mexico as a district court judge since 2017 and before that he worked in the office of New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez.

“I appreciate Michael’s dedication to the state of Iowa and common-sense philosophy towards the law and public policy,” Reynolds said in a news release. “I am confident Michael will continue to make an impact on the state of Iowa and I look forward to welcoming Steve to our team.” 

The office also announced that Lillie Brady will join the governor’s office June 9 as the agriculture and energy policy adviser. Brady has worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and has most recently worked for Cornerstone Government Affairs. 

Severn served as the agriculture policy adviser since Jake Swanson’s departure from the position in December 2022. 

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Jay Waagmeester
Jay Waagmeester

Jay is a former Iowa Capital Dispatch intern. Jay is based in Ames and is currently a senior majoring in journalism and marketing at Iowa State University. He has interned at New Century Press and contributed to the Iowa State Daily.