Tom Harkin was born in Cumming, Iowa on November 19, 1939. He is the son of an Iowan coal miner and slovenian immagrant mother. Tom has five siblings and they come from a very modesst family. Tom and his five siblings learned the importance of hard work and responsibility early in life. Tom served in the navy as a jet pilot on active duty from 1962 to 1967. In 1968 Tom Harkin married Ruth Raduenz. Tom Harkin went to Washington to join the staff of Iowa congressmen, Smith. In 1972 Tom and his wife graduated in the same class at Catholic University of American Law School in Washington. Then they returned to Iowa and stayed in Ames. Tom Harkin was elected from Iowa's fifth congressional district in 1974. Then in 1984, after serving ten years in the U.S. house of Representives, Tom Harkin challenged an incumbent senator and won. After that Iowa returned him to returned him to the senate in 1990, 1996, and again in 2002. In November in 2008, Tom Harkin made history by becoming the first Iowa democrat to win a fifth term in the U.S. Senate. As a young senator, Tom Harkin was tapped by senator Ted Kennedy to craft legislation to protect the civil rights of millions of Americans with ( physical and mental) disabilities. Tom's late brother, Frank, was deaf from an early age. Tom had also led the fight to lift former President Bush's restrictions on embryonic stem cell research. Which shows great promise gor new treatments of conditions like Parkinson's, spinal cord injuries and juvenile diabetes. On the 9th of March, 2009, President Barack Obama signed an excutive order by lifting those restrictions. In September 2009, after the death of Senator Ted Kennedy, Tom Harkin became chairman of the Senate Health, Education,Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Commitee. Now Tom and Ruth have two daghters, Amy and Jenny, and three grandchildren. To this day Tom Harkin and his wife still live in the house that Tom Harkin was born in.