2016 Legislative Session Begins with 1st Female Speaker of the House

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DES MOINES, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- Iowa lawmakers clocked in Monday morning for the 2016 legislative session. Shortly after that, something special happened in the House of Representatives: the first female House speaker - Representative Linda Upmeyer - took her seat.

Linda Upmeyer was sworn is on January 11, 2016 as Iowa's first Speaker of the House.

It was an optimistic start to a session overshadowed by last year's political logjam over K-12 education funding. Lawmakers say they hope they can find compromise on what proved to be a dividing issue in 2015.

Speaker Upmeyer said she wants to use her new leadership position as a way to inspire young women and people of all different backgrounds.

She also wants to carry on her father's spirit of cooperation. Her father, Del Stromer, served as House Speaker in the early 1980's.

"Many have remarked to me over the years how good my father was at working with anyone in the building. That has always stuck with me and I know times have changed, but the value of working together has not," Upmeyer said.

Upmeyer said lawmakers should focus on a successful session, instead of what she called the media's "low expectations."

Speaker of the House Upmeyer seemed optimistic about lawmakers' abilities to work together, despite several of them telling us this session is likely to go past its deadline, like last year.