Tom Harkin

Iowa congressmen

The tom harkin beging.

Tom Harkin was born in Cumming Iowa on November 19 1939 the son of a Iowa coal miner Father and a sloven ianmmigrant mother. To this day he lives in the same house in Cumming where he was born.


Tom went to washington in 1969 to joing fo iowa congressmen.He indpendntley investigated and phoitograthed the infamous tiger cage.After graduating from Dowling High School in Des Moines, he attended Iowa State University on a Navy ROTC scholarship, earning a degree in government and economics.As a young senator, Tom was tapped by Senator Ted Kennedy to craft legislation to protect the civil rights of millions of Americans with physical and mental disabilities.


The ADA has become known as the "Emancipation Proclamation for people with disabilities.Tom has also worked to advance collaborative research in paralysis and to improve quality of life for those living with paralysis, including by creating a Clinical Trials Network to measure the effectiveness of rehabilitation therapies.



Tom has long believed that in America, we have a "sick care" system, not a health care system. Rather than treating people once they get sick, he believes that we should remove the barriers to a healthy lifestyle, reduce chronic disease and rein in the high cost of health care, creating a "wellness society" in America

He has done this in two ways — first as chairman of the Senate panel that funds medical research, he led the effort between 1998 and 2003 (in tandem with Sen. Arlen Specter) to double funding for research into cardiovascular disease, cancer, Alzheimer's and other diseases. Second, as a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, he crafted the prevention and wellness title of the health reform bill, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.


In September 2009, following the death of Senator Ted Kennedy, Tom became chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. Tom believes that to serve in this capacity is to carry on the legacy of Senator Kennedy, who dedicated his life to ensuring that our economy works for all Americans, guaranteeing every child the opportunity to pursue a quality education and, of course, the cause of Kennedy's life: access to quality, affordable health care for all Americans



Tom and Ruth have two daughters, Amy and Jenny, and three grandchildren. Ruth Harkin currently serves on the Iowa Board of Regents, responsible for leading Iowa's public universities

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