Grassley Delivers Heartfelt Tribute to Harkin

Nov 19, 2014

U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley delivered an emotional tribute to his fellow Iowa senator Tom Harkin, who turned 75 today and is retiring at the end of January. 

Sen. Grassley (left) and Sen. Harkin check their messages while inspecting flood in Iowa City
Credit Mauro Heck Photography

While addressing the Senate chamber, Grassley—a Republican—recalled a positive working relationship with his Democratic colleague.

"Although our voting records may reflect night and day positions on some public policy, you wouldn’t see the light of day between us when we worked together on matters that are of most important to Iowans," said Grassley. 

The senator got hoarse and somewhat teary at the end of his eight-minute speech, in which he recalled his colleague’s numerous legislative achievements. 

"Although Tom is retiring from public office, I’m confident he’s not retiring from serving the public interest," said Grassley. "From one constituent to another, I thank you for your lifetime of public service, and I wish you good luck and Godspeed." 

Harkin is finishing his fifth term in the Senate. Prior to his three decades at a senator, he served 10 years in the U.S. House of Representatives. 

Senator-elect Joni Ernst will replace Harkin, becoming the first woman to represent Iowa in Congress.