Local woman learning legislative life

Diane Lake doesn’t live the life of a busy state legislator – she just makes sure that busy legislator stays on track.

The Marshalltown woman started serving as a clerk for Rep. Dean Fisher, R-Garwin, this month in the Iowa House. She is by his side in the statehouse helping him keep on schedule, keeping him in contact with constituents, taking attendance during committee meetings and completing a wide range of duties that pop up during the day.

“It’s pretty hectic and there’s a lot of detail and organization,” Lake said.

She said her fellow staffers in the Iowa House have helped her learn the ropes and have been “phenomenal” to work with. There is a wide age range of clerks in the Legislature – from high school students on up to adults.

“It’s a very nice atmosphere,” Lake said.

Being in the trenches of how the state’s laws are made has been pretty enjoyable for Lake in her first few weeks on the job.

“I think it’s fun,” she said. “I’m getting a real education about how this works.”

Lake, who grew up in Marshalltown, is a former teacher and worker in the banking industry. Fisher said she has adjusted to the busy legislative calendar well.

“She’s very easy going and puts up with my frenzied schedule,” Fisher said. “She’s doing an excellent job. She’s very good at staying focused and keeping me on task.”

Fisher knew Lake as a friend from his church and someone with political experience from working on the campaign for Jane Jech. Legislators can hire their own clerks, who are paid for a 32-hour work week.

As if spending the day together isn’t enough, the pair also commute each day to and from Des Moines.

“So far, it’s been working real well,” Lake said.