DES MOINES -- Few politicians are known simply by their first names.
But talk about Kitty at the Iowa Statehouse, and everyone knows you're talking about Kitty Rehberg, the Republican state senator from Buchanan County.
Senate Majority Leader Stewart Iverson, R-Dows, said one of the first things he remembers about Rehberg is seeing her campaign bumper stickers that simply said "Kitty."
But after two terms in the Iowa Legislature, Rehberg, 65, will return to her Rowley farm this year to spend more time with her family.
During her eight years in the Iowa Senate, she's risen to the position of chairwoman of the Senate Economic Growth Committee and has used that post to insist economic growth efforts are also directed toward small-town Iowa.
"Our rural communities have so much to offer," Rehberg said.
Rehberg is convinced rural Iowa will see a revitalization, as small communities focus on bringing in a variety of smaller employers instead of depending on one large firm to provide jobs.
Her views on economic development have sometimes put her at odds with others in her party. She's not convinced the $503 million Iowa Values Fund developed last year will create jobs and believes more of a focus should be placed on improving the business climate for entrepreneurs and businesses already in Iowa.
She is proud she and others in her 1997 freshman class worked to eliminate parts of the inheritance tax and cut income taxes by 10 percent.
"What we all came on is we thought government was too intrusive into our lives and was taking too much of our money -- our hard-earned money," Rehberg said.
But other measures Rehberg believes would have improved the state's business climate have been left undone.
Republican lawmakers' attempts to remove what they say were burdensome business regulations and further reduce income taxes were vetoed last year.
Rehberg also believes state government should be setting more long-term spending priorities rather than looking at tax hikes when enough money isn't available.
"Our problem is not on the revenue side, it's on the spending side as we continue to add and add more programs," Rehberg said.
During her time at the Statehouse, Rehberg earned a reputation as a tireless worker and often was working at her desk in the Senate chamber long after other lawmakers had gone home.
"I don't know of any one person who has a better work ethic, cares more about her constituents and works diligently to make sure their concerns are taken care of," Sen. Mark Zieman, R-Postville, said.