Harkin to Retire

Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin, a longtime representative of one of America’s most important agricultural states, recently announced that he would not seek a sixth term in the Senate in 2014.

Harkin has been a force in Iowa politics since the 1970s, ascending to the Senate in 1985. Harkin, along with fellow Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, is one of the senior most Senators from any state in the country and is the senior most junior Senator in Congress.

In his nearly 30 years in the Senate, Harkin has compiled an impressive voting record, often backing liberal Democratic measures in the Senate. During his tenure in office, he helped draft the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990 and spearheaded Barack Obama’s Patient Affordable Care Act.

In addition, Harkin has been intimately involved in American agricultural policy, having served as the chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee and helping to create two farm bills.

Harkin’s announcement came as a surprise to many voters. He has a war chest of about $2.5 million, more than many other Senators going into reelection in 2014. Harkin cited his age; he would be 81 at the end of his sixth term. At his press release, Harkin stated, “I just think it’s time for me to step aside.”

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer