NEW WEBSITE: Gov. Terry Branstad’s election committee went live with a new website Wednesday. The site, which can be found at, was announced on Twitter and Facebook. Branstad has not officially announced his intention to seek a sixth term in 2014, but he has opened a campaign office in Urbandale and hired full-time campaign staff.

TASK FORCE APPOINTED: Iowa Department of Education Director Brad Buck announced the members of a task force that will make recommendations on a new state test. The 18-member task force is expected to make its recommendation to the Iowa Legislature by Jan. 1, 2015.

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Members of the Assessment Task Force are: Ruth Allison, administrative consultant, Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services, Des Moines; Catherine Blando, educator, Iowa City; Shelly Bosovich, executive director, Des Moines Public Schools; Kathy Brenny, consultant, Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency, Storm Lake; Martha Bruckner, superintendent, Council Bluffs Community School District; Lowell Ernst, director of K-12 Instruction, Pella Community School District; Harry Heiligenthal, leadership development director, Iowa Association of School Boards, Des Moines; Tina Hoffman, regional administrator, Grant Wood Area Education Agency, Cedar Rapids; Mark Lane, principal, Jensen Elementary, Urbandale; Jo Ellen Latham, director of curriculum and instruction, Southeast Polk Community School District, Pleasant Hill; Jane Lindaman, associate superintendent for educational services, Waterloo Community School District; Jon McKenzie, director of assessment and comprehensive improvement, Area Education Agency 267, Cedar Falls; Angela Olson, associate principal, Xavier High School, Cedar Rapids; Elliott Smith, executive director, Iowa Business Council, Des Moines; David Tilly, deputy director, Iowa Department of Education, Des Moines; Tammy Wawro, president, Iowa State Education Association, Des Moines; Melanie Wirtz, teacher, Union High School, La Porte City; and Karen Woltman, parent, Swisher

SOLD OUT: Republican Party of Iowa officials say all the tickets for Friday’s Ronald Reagan Dinner featuring Ted Cruz have been sold. "The response the Republican Party of Iowa received for this dinner with Senator Cruz was extraordinary," Iowa GOP Chairman A.J. Spiker said in a news release sent Wednesday. "The house is going to be packed as we get a chance to listen to a great conservative Senator willing to stand up for his values. Senator Cruz and our other VIP's enabled us to raise a significant amount of money for the Republican Party of Iowa's party building efforts." More than 600 people are expected to show up for the dinner, with the program scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Cable station C-SPAN will broadcast the event live, according to party officials.