Kate Payne


Kate Payne is an Iowa City-based reporter and a co-host of Iowa Public Radio's podcast Caucus Land. Kate has won Regional Edward R. Murrow awards for her feature reporting and her sound editing. Her political reporting has been featured on Morning Edition, All Things Considered and The NPR Politics Podcast. She's been a guest on MSNBC, CBS, KQED, WGBH, WYPR and New Hampshire Public Radio.

She is a proud North Florida native and a dyed-in-the-wool hand talker.

Send tips, recipes and road trip ideas to kpayne@iowapublicradio.org.

Kate's favorite public radio program is Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!

Thomas Hawk via flickr creative commons / https://www.flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/14471621099/

Democratic presidential candidates debated for the fourth time Tuesday night, this time in suburban Columbus, Ohio. The debate comes at a time when Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., is ascending in Iowa and national polls. But for some Iowans, Warren’s new status as a frontrunner is refreshing some underlining concerns, particularly when it comes to healthcare policy.

John Pemble / IPR

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker is running for the Democratic presidential nomination and regularly points out on the trail that he still lives in inner city Newark where he was once mayor. Sen. Booker talks about how that perspective would influence his presidency with IPR Caucus Land co-hosts Clay Masters and Kate Payne on his RV as he traveled between campaign stops in Boone and West Des Moines. He also discusses healthcare and gun policy.

Kate Payne/IPR

Sixteen-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg took her weekly climate strike to Iowa City Friday, and was welcomed by local elected officials and several thousand supporters.

Iowa farmers are finding themselves caught between the White House and China in the president's disputes over trade and agriculture policy. Some say their support for him is wearing thin. On the ninth episode of Caucus Land, we'll look at how Democratic presidential candidates are trying to win them over.

Kate Payne / IPR

The idea is pretty simple: prescribe fresh produce for conditions that are diet-related. 

John Pemble / IPR

Some of the presidential candidates who have been organizing for months in Iowa are starting to see their work pay off in the latest Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Poll that came out Saturday. Especially Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.

The cost of college and student debt are all-consuming for some families, and they're driving political conversations this cycle. On the eighth episode of Caucus Land, we'll break down what the candidates are promising and hear what higher ed experts make of their plans.

Kate Payne/IPR

Severe heat waves due to climate change are expected to pose an increasing threat to Iowa workers and residents. According to this year’s Iowa Climate Statement, a recent analysis released Wednesday, the state is slated to see dangerously hot weather in the coming decades.

Katie Peikes / IPR file

A state board has signed off on $15 million to buy out damaged homes and to build and repair levees in western Iowa. But some flood recovery projects are being left on the table.

Kate Payne / IPR

The U.S. Geological Survey is expanding its network of water quality sensors to include a first-of-its-kind mobile sensor – that will cruise the Mississippi River attached to a steamboat.

Kate Payne/IPR

Iowa’s elected conservationists want to stop farmers from planting up to the edges of creeks and rivers. A statewide association is pushing for mandatory 30 foot stream buffers along the state’s waterways, to slow erosion and nutrient loss.

Foad Hersi/Flickr / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

National gun control advocates are calling on retailers, including Hy-Vee, to prohibit customers from openly carrying firearms in their stores. The push comes after last month’s deadly shooting at a Walmart in El Paso.

Reid Rosenberg / Flickr

Several states are reportedly ditching their Republican primary next year, paving the way for the president’s re-nomination. But Iowa Republicans will still caucus this February.

Kate Payne/IPR

Iowa is seeing certain impacts of climate change impacts more clearly than much of the rest of the country, according to a new analysis for the Iowa Policy Project. The findings predict the trend of increasingly hot, wet weather in the Upper Midwest will likely continue and worsen if greenhouse gas emissions go unchecked.

While most of the attention around the 2020 election is focused on Democrats, Republicans will hold a caucus too. President Donald Trump does face multiple primary challengers, but on the seventh episode of Caucus Land we'll explain why he likely has nothing to worry about in Iowa.

MissLLJ/Flickr / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

Iowa City is moving forward with its first-ever bike share. On Tuesday, the council authorized the city to contract with a company called Gotcha to roll out a program city leaders say will help meet the needs of low income residents and cut greenhouse gas emissions.

John Pemble/IPR

New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has dropped out of the 2020 Democratic presidential race after failing to qualify for the third round of debates.

Gillibrand struggled to boost her polling and fundraising numbers despite her experience in the U.S. House and Senate.

Kate Payne/IPR

Much of Iowa's slow but steady growth can be attributed to international immigration. While many native-born Iowans are leaving the state, some refugee communities are seeking it out. In many cases, they're deciding on a life in Iowa after initially settling in another state.  

John Pemble/IPR

Massachusetts Congressman Seth Moulton is calling off his campaign for the presidency. He’s the second major presidential candidate to drop out this week, after Washington Governor Jay Inslee, who bowed out Wednesday night.

The Iowa State Fair has become a must-stop for presidential campaigns ahead of the Caucuses. Candidates eat fried food on a stick and try to chat with voters through the swarm of cameras. We’ll take you through the crowds to see what the fair actually does for wannabe presidents.

Roey Ahram via flickr creative commons / https://www.flickr.com/photos/roeyahram/

Healthcare workers have filed suit against the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, alleging they aren’t being paid on time for extra work. The plaintiffs hope to have the case recognized as a class action, and say there are thousands of potential members who also not being paid in a timely fashion.

Courtesy of CDC

An analysis by University of Iowa researchers has found a state-funded program for testing private wells suffers from “severe underutilization." The Grants To Counties program allocates funds each year for counties to test residents’ wells for certain kinds of contaminants. But in recent years counties have left unspent as much as 55 percent of the total funding.

Kate Payne/IPR

An artistic couple who are largely running and biking their way along the length of the Mississippi River passed through LeClaire Friday. The trek from the river’s headwaters in Minnesota all the way to the Gulf of Mexico is part of a storytelling project that spans 10 states.

John Pemble/IPR file

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has dropped out of the race for the White House. Hickenlooper had been struggling to break through in the crowded field of some two dozen contenders and was unlikely to qualify for the upcoming third round of debates. He ended his campaign amid calls for him to instead run for the U.S. Senate.

Kate Payne/IPR

President Donald Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy is keeping some Johnson County families apart. Some of those affected by the administration’s actions took their cases to Congressman Dave Loebsack’s office Tuesday, supported by advocates who demanded an in-person meeting with him.

Fellowship of the Rich/flickr / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

Law enforcement agencies, first responders and local hospitals across Johnson County will participate in an active shooter drill Tuesday at the University of Iowa’s Campus Recreation and Wellness Center in downtown Iowa City. A local official says recent mass shootings across the country underline the need for the training.

John Pemble/IPR

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper touted his executive experience at a speech at the Iowa State Fair Saturday. Hickenlooper, who also served as mayor of Denver, told an audience of fair attendees and potential Iowa caucus-goers that he has a proven list of accomplishments that other competitors in the crowded field can’t claim.

John Pemble/IPR

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren drew a big crowd to hear her signature message of structural economic reform at the Iowa State Fair Saturday. The attendance at Warren’s stop at the Des Moines Register’s Political Soapbox surpassed that of the race’s frontrunner, former Vice President Joe Biden.

John Pemble/IPR

Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard touted her foreign policy experience and military service during a visit to the Iowa State Fair on Friday. Speaking to potential caucus-goers and reporters, Gabbard called for an end to the country’s “wasteful wars” which she says are hamstringing federal funding for other policy priorities.

John Pemble/IPR

Self-help author Marianne Williamson is addressing criticisms that she is “crazy” and unqualified to be president. Speaking to reporters and potential caucus-goers at the Iowa State Fair, the Democratic presidential candidate instead argued the critiques of her are “an intentional strategized smear."