Grant Gerlock


Grant Gerlock started covering Des Moines and central Iowa for IPR in March 2019. Before that he covered food, agriculture and rural life for Harvest Public Media at NET in Lincoln, Nebraska, where his work was recognized with a Regional Murrow Award and awards from the Midwest Broadcast Journalists Association.

Grant has a master’s degree in mass communication from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and graduated from Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa. He grew up on a farm outside of Cumberland in southwest Iowa where he listened to public radio in the tractor.

Grant’s favorite public radio program is Fresh Air.

Ways to Connect

John Pemble / IPR

The head of the Iowa Democratic Party says the party is manually verifying the results of Monday night’s first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses. 

iowa capitol
John Pemble/IPR file

A bill advancing in the Iowa legislature (SSB 3080) would encourage schools to set aside space for students who threaten violence toward teachers and classmates.

Schools will sometimes clear out a classroom when a student has a dangerous outburst. Under the bill advanced by a Senate subcommittee Thursday, those students could be placed in “therapeutic classrooms” to address behavioral problems.

John Pemble / IPR file photo

Under a proposal moving ahead in the Iowa Senate, the Department of Human Services would take extra steps to confirm the eligibility of people receiving Medicaid and other forms of public assistance. The bill (SSB 3068) requires the agency to adopt a computer system to search state and federal databases for unreported income and other assets.

Sen. Jim Carlin, R-Sioux City, listens to testimony at a subcommittee considering a constitutional amendment raising the threshold for passing an income tax increase.
John Pemble / IPR

A proposal advancing in the Iowa Legislature would amend the state constitution to make it more difficult for lawmakers to raise income taxes. The amendment would require any income tax increase to be approved by a two-thirds majority in the House and Senate.

John Pemble / IPR file

A bill that would allow county attorneys and assistant county attorneys to apply for professional weapon permits is taking a step forward in the Iowa Legislature. With a professional permit they would have the same authority as security guards and private investigators to carry a gun in most places where firearms are banned.

John Pemble / IPR file

A proposal that would further protect the identities of children who are sexually assaulted or exploited is moving ahead in the Iowa Legislature.

Under the bill (SF 2005) from Sen. Dan Dawson, R-Council Bluffs, assault victims who are kept anonymous during criminal trials could also have their privacy protected during related civil lawsuits. Also, a person who was abused as a minor would be able to hide their identity from the public if they report the incident to law enforcement as an adult.

Maj. Gen. Benjamin Corell addresses lawmakers in the Iowa House Chamber.
John Pemble / IPR

The adjutant general of the Iowa National Guard says he is focused on keeping up recruiting and training as the state prepares to deploy more soldiers overseas.

Currently, about 100 soldiers and airmen are mobilized with U.S. forces. Speaking before Gov. Kim Reynolds and state lawmakers Thursday, Iowa Guard Maj. Gen. Benjamin Corell said he expects around 2,000 more to deploy in 2020 with units supporting command centers in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Lawmakers gather in the House of Representatives chamber at the Iowa State Capitol.
John Pemble / IPR file

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds is proposing to raise the state sales tax by one cent as one of her legislative priorities for 2020, but she wants it to be offset by a cut in income taxes.

Grant Gerlock / IPR file

The State Auditor’s office says it cannot determine whether home health care claims are being paid properly under Iowa’s privatized Medicaid system because data provided by the Department of Human Services is inaccurate and inconsistent.

Clay Masters / IPR file

With the 2020 census coming up, local groups are reaching out to populations that may have been underrepresented in the 2010 count. Dozens of Iowa cities, towns and nonprofits have set up Complete Count Committees to tell residents about the census, how to fill out the form and how it could impact funding from federal programs.

Grant Gerlock / IPR file

The former director of operations at the Metro Waste Authority in Des Moines is being accused of making at least $1.8 million in improper payments, including nearly $1.2 million to a shell company he created.

Bakken oil fields in the winter.
Geof Wilson / Flickr

Dakota Access wants to nearly double the amount of oil flowing through its pipeline across Iowa, but first the Iowa Utilities Board must approve an amendment to the company’s pipeline permit.

Clay Masters / IPR file

The U.S. EPA is increasing the amount of renewable fuel that must be used by oil refiners in 2020, but Corn Belt lawmakers and farm industry groups said the agency is violating an agreement they reached with President Donald Trump aimed at making up for refinery waivers that undercut demand for ethanol and biodiesel.

Doug Neumann (right), executive director of the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, explains the legislative priorities for the Iowa Chamber Alliance which includes the 16 largest chambers of commerce in the state.
Grant Gerlock / IPR

A group representing Iowa’s largest chambers of commerce is urging lawmakers to take steps to grow the state’s workforce and restructure the tax system in the next legislative session.

Iowa has one of the nation’s lowest unemployment rates, and businesses often struggle to find qualified workers. According to Dustin Miller, executive director of the Iowa Chamber Alliance, many people stop looking for work because they can’t find, or afford, childcare. He hopes to see a push to focus economic development programs on improving childcare access and quality.

Phil Roeder / Flickr

Democrats running for president in Iowa are working to get teachers in their corners on caucus night. Teachers are a coveted voting bloc because they show up in numbers and are well-organized.

Iowa has around 40,000 elementary, middle and high school teachers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Mack Shelley, a political science professor at Iowa State University, said teachers’ unions across the country have been flexing their political strength.

Grant Gerlock / IPR file

Physicians from the University of Iowa will go to the Glenwood Resource Center to review residents’ health and their treatment charts, according to Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds.

The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating allegations of mistreatment at the center operated by the Department of Human Services, which cares for Iowans with intellectual disabilities. A Des Moines Register investigation revealed that state employees repeatedly raised concerns over an increase in injuries and deaths there.

Former U.S. Housing Secretary Julian Castro speaks at a town hall questioning Iowa and New Hampshire's place as the first states in the presidential nomination process.
Grant Gerlock / IPR

Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro said that Iowa’s lack of diversity makes it harder for candidates of color to break through the presidential field and that a state with more black and Latino voters would better represent the party.

Frank Cownie thanks supporters after winning a record fifth term as mayor of Des Moines.
Grant Gerlock / IPR

Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie has narrowly won reelection after defeating former state Sen. Jack Hatch in Tuesday’s runoff election. Unofficial results show Cownie received 51 percent of the vote and won by only 289 votes over Hatch.

By winning a fifth term, Cownie extends his tenure as the longest-serving mayor of Iowa’s largest city.

Brett Levin / Flickr

The State Board of Education is reconsidering changes to the way schools use seclusion rooms to isolate students acting in a threatening way. The latest revisions come after several meetings were held across the state taking additional input on how to limit the use of the small rooms while allowing teachers discretion in managing their classrooms.

John Pemble / IPR file

The organizers of Iowa’s Ride, a week-long bike ride across the state, announced on Facebook Friday that the route and direction of the event will change so it won’t directly compete with RAGBRAI. By moving the event, they are hoping to satisfy cycling clubs split on choosing which ride to support.

Defense attorney Jennifer Frese holds up a card that reads the Miranda Warning, a list of rights criminal suspects are told about when they face questioning.
Brian Powers / Des Moines Register pool photo

Investigators in the death of University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts were questioned in Poweshiek County court Wednesday as defense attorneys pushed to suppress evidence that led to murder charges against Christhian Bahena Rivera.

Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina speaks to Iowa Republicans at the 2019 Lincoln Reagan Dinner in downtown Des Moines.
Grant Gerlock / IPR

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, was in Des Moines Friday night to push conservatives in Iowa to get behind President Donald Trump’s reelection.

John Pemble / IPR file photo

A group of attorneys and Democratic lawmakers are hoping to revive a lawsuit challenging how Iowa Supreme Court justices are chosen. A law passed in the final moments of the legislative session gave the governor more influence over the process.

City Hall in downtown Des Moines
Grant Gerlock / IPR

Des Moines voters will go back to the polls next month to decide who will serve as mayor of the state’s largest city. Since no one earned a majority in Tuesday’s election, there will be a runoff vote on December 3 between the top two candidates: incumbent Mayor Frank Cownie and former state Sen. Jack Hatch.

John Pemble / IPR file

A legislative committee assigned to review Iowa tax credits received an overview of current programs from the Department of Revenue Wednesday, but some Democrats on the panel said they were hoping for more.

John Pemble / IPR file

Gov. Kim Reynolds will not pursue an executive order to ban vaping in Iowa. Instead, state health and education officials will focus on educational programs and a social media campaign warning minors of the health risks associated with e-cigarettes.

John Pemble/IPR file photo

Iowa’s voter identification law is creating confusion for some Des Moines college students who have out-of-state IDs. Registered voters without an Iowa ID are supposed to receive a voting card in the mail automatically, but some Drake University students say they have waited weeks without getting theirs.

John Pemble/IPR file

Gov. Kim Reynolds is standing by a deal reached with President Donald Trump to address farm state lawmakers’ concerns over ethanol policy.

Earlier this month the Trump administration agreed to increase the ethanol mandate to make up for exemptions granted to small oil refineries. The EPA’s subsequent proposal was panned by industry groups who said it fails to account for the total amount of ethanol exempted by the agency.

Clay Masters / IPR file

Iowa biofuels groups are calling on President Donald Trump to resolve a dispute with the Environmental Protection Agency that one farmer called “disgusting and disappointing.”

Vice President Mike Pence and Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds greet the crowd at a rally on a farm near the Des Moines suburb of Waukee promoting the U.S. Mexico Canada trade agreement.
Grant Gerlock / IPR

Vice President Mike Pence says Congress should act quickly to ratify a new trade agreement with Mexico and Canada by the end of the year. Pence travelled to Iowa Wednesday to pressure Democratic lawmakers to hurry the trade deal through the House.