The Ottumwa Courier

AP Iowa

November 25, 2013

Harkin not slowing down as term draws to end

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — When Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin completes his last year in office, the longstanding lawmaker may take a certain brand of liberal Midwestern populism with him.

A so-called "prairie populist," Harkin was raised amid the social programs of the depression, witnessed the horrors of the war in Vietnam and charged into politics vowing to fight for the working classes, minorities and those with disabilities. Many of his like-minded Midwestern peers are no longer in government.

But until he walks out the door in January 2015, the 74-year-old Harkin shows no signs of slowing down his fight for the progressive causes he has championed throughout his nearly 40-year career. In recent months he has been advocating for President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, pushing for higher federal minimum wages and promoting anti-discrimination legislation.

While deciding to retire, "I wanted to get some things done," said Harkin, adding that he hopes others will carry on his fight. "I sure hope that there are going to be more prairie populists coming along. I see populism as a positive force, not a negative force."

An Iowa native, Harkin was first elected to the Senate in 1984, after 10 years in the House of Representatives. He ranks seventh in seniority, and fourth among Democrats. He is chairman of the health, education, labor and pensions committee, as well as the appropriations subcommittee on labor, health and human services, education and related agencies. He is also a senior member of the agriculture committee.

Harkin considers winning bipartisan support for the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act his key legislative achievement. Harkin sought the bill because of his brother, who was deaf, and he used sign language to speak about the legislation on the Senate floor.

"I just saw how he was deaf, he was discriminated against," Harkin said. "His choices, his options were limited. He wouldn't accept that. It was always a struggle."

Text Only
AP Iowa
  • State urges action to avoid West Nile virus DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Department of Public Health says there have already been three reported cases of West Nile virus in the state, even though the disease usually is seen in early autumn. The agency says cases have been reported in Clay,

    July 31, 2014

  • Iowa official: Goat grazing plan is working STRAWBERRY POINT, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa government official says the state's plan to use goats to clear away vegetation is an initial success. Iowa Department of Natural Resources supervisor Mike Steuck tells KCRG-TV (http://bit.ly/1qqKGaY ) the 60 goa

    July 31, 2014

  • Commission wants former Iowa prosecutor punished WINTERSET, Iowa (AP) — A commission has recommended to the Iowa Supreme Court that a former prosecutor who beat a client that he'd had a sexual relationship with should be barred from practicing law for at least four years. The Des Moines Register sa

    July 31, 2014

  • New attractions planned for Hoover library in Iowa WEST BRANCH, Iowa (AP) — The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum is getting a temporary $600,000 exhibit that will include a simulation of a World War I trench. The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports (http://icp-c.com/1knYdSU ) the exhibit wi

    July 31, 2014

  • Hot air balloon brushes power line at Iowa event INDIANOLA, Iowa (AP) — A hot air balloon brushed a power line and caused an outage at the National Balloon Classic near Indianola. An event official, Bill Clemons, says the balloon was on the ground Tuesday night when it touched the wire and then dra

    July 30, 2014

  • Wilson Island State Recreation Area set to reopen COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — A state recreation area near Council Bluffs is scheduled to reopen soon. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says the Wilson Island State Recreation Area will open its gates Monday. Workers are currently adding fire r

    July 30, 2014

  • Iowa parents speak out against school changes DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Students at Des Moines middle schools no longer have the option to take advanced English and science classes. The Des Moines Register reports (http://dmreg.co/WMKKcT ) Tuesday that some parents are concerned that top performer

    July 30, 2014

  • Iowa's first startup accelerator set to begin CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — Cedar Rapids is joining the expanding pool of U.S. cities that want to kick-start fledgling businesses. The Des Moines Register reports (http://dmreg.co/1nSV5z7 ) that the Iowa Startup Accelerator begins Monday and is the fi

    July 30, 2014

  • Cedar Rapids murder case now in judge's hands CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — A Linn County judge is considering the fate of a 20-year-old man accused of killing a former women's basketball standout from Cedar Rapids. Cedar Rapids television station KGAN says (http://bit.ly/1oKi8eC ) closing arguments

    July 30, 2014

  • Inspector had cited lauded Iowa nursing home WAVERLY, Iowa (AP) — A northeast Iowa nursing home was cited for unsanitary conditions in its kitchen seven weeks before it was lauded by the governor's office as among the best such facilities in the state, The Des Moines Register (http://dmreg.co/U

    July 29, 2014

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National