Thomas Harkin 2004
B.S. 1962 Government
Sen. Tom Harkin's contributions to society stretch far beyond the borders of Iowa. His long-time public service has contributed to the welfare of every citizen of the United States. He has earned a reputation for giving a voice to those too often overlooked in Washington. In Congress, Harkin is a recognized leader on agriculture, education, health care, and disability issues.
Harkin authored the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, the landmark legislation that protects the civil rights of more than 54 million Americans with physical and mental disabilities. He has also led the fight to improve educational opportunities for children with disabilities. In addition to successfully pushing legislation to bring health professionals to small towns and rural areas, Harkin also helped lead the effort to double medical research funding to speed up cures for cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer's.
As the ranking Democrat of the Senate Education Funding Subcommittee, Harkin has led efforts to improve education by reducing class size, giving students better computer and Internet access and improving teacher training.
As then-chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, Harkin helped shepherd the 2002 farm bill all the way to becoming law. That bill established an innovative new conservation initiative known as the Conservation Security Program.
A 10-year Congressman from Iowa's Fifth Congressional District, Harkin was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1984 and has won re-election three times. He is the recipient of a 1974 ISU Alumni Association Outstanding Young Alumni Award.