Capital Clicks

Reynolds announces new chief of staff

By: - November 15, 2022 1:57 pm

Gov. Kim Reynolds talks to reporters April 28, 2021 in the Iowa Capitol. (Photo by Kathie Obradovich/Iowa Capital Dispatch)

Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Tuesday that Taryn Frideres, her current chief operating officer, will take over as chief of staff starting Dec. 1.

The change in leadership comes as current Chief of Staff Sara Craig Gongol leaves to become the Republican Governors Association’s executive director.

Taryn Frideres has been appointed as Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds’ chief of staff. (Photo courtesy of George Mason University)

Frideres has served in multiple policy adviser roles, including as general counsel to Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst and deputy to the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations before she joined the governor’s office in January 2021.

“Taryn has played a central role in my administration over the last two years as chief operating officer, and I’m thrilled for her to become my chief of staff,” Reynolds said in a news release. “Her experience at the federal level and her proven leadership skills will be a great asset as I begin my second full term.”

Frideres said in a statement she was honored to take the position helping “implement the Governor’s bold vision for the state.”

Gongol has served as Reynolds’ chief of staff since 2018, when Ryan Koopmans left the position. She worked as a general consultant on Reynolds’ 2018 reelection campaign against Democrat Fred Hubbell and as general counsel to Reynolds’ position as RGA vice chair. As executive director, she will serve a four-year term overseeing policy and political organization, according to an RGA news release. Her term begins in January 2023.

Reynolds thanked Gongol for her work, applauding her leadership in navigating the difficulties Iowa faced.

“The chief of staff position is incredibly demanding in normal times, but when you add a worldwide pandemic, a derecho, floods, and more on top of it, it is all consuming,” Reynolds said. “Sara devoted herself to this state and helped me usher in a bold agenda that will pay dividends for years to come.”

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Robin Opsahl
Robin Opsahl

Robin Opsahl is an Iowa Capital Dispatch reporter covering the state Legislature and politics. Robin has experience covering government, elections and more at media organizations including Roll Call, the Sacramento Bee and the Wausau Daily Herald, in addition to working on multimedia projects, newsletters and visualizations. They were a political reporter for the Des Moines Register covering the Iowa caucuses leading up to the 2020 presidential election, assisting with the Register's Iowa Poll, and reporting on Iowa's 4th District elections.