columnist, The Des Moines Register
David Yepsen, 58, spent twenty years as the chief political reporter for *the Des Moines Register*, 33 years as the host of Iowa's top television chat show, and the past six years as its chief political columnist. For a period of three months -- November, December and January -- Yepsen was the first reporter called by presidential candidates. Yepsen is leaving the Register to become the director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University. Yepsen's influence never really waned. His recapitulation of presidential candidate debates often drove the national coverage. Yepsen had several hobbyhorses. He was a moderate-to-conservative Midwesterner, fiercely protective of the state's seniors and an advocate for economic growth that never seemed to come. As a reporter, he mentored a generation of young scribblers, including *the New York Times*' Jeff Zeleny.