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Former U.S. Congressman Neal Smith Reflects on His Childhood, Military Service, and Career

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Photo by John Pemble
Neal Smith is the longest serving Iowan from the U.S. House of Representatives from 1959-1995. The 94 year old congressman is in an Iowa Public Radio studio sharing highlights of his long career in politics. 3/12/2015

Having served from 1959-1995, 95-year-old Neal Smith is the longest serving Iowan in the United States House of Representatives.

He was born in his grandparents' home near Hedrick, Keokuk County, Iowa. He served in the United States Army Air Forces during the Second World War as a bomber pilot. His plane was shot down and he received a Purple Heart, nine Battle stars, and the Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters. He is now of counsel with the Davis Brown Law Firm in Des Moines. Due to his commitment to nature and Iowa's parks, the Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge in Prairie City is named after the former congressman.

In this River to River interview, host Ben Kieffer talks with Smith about growing up during the Great Depression, serving in World War II, and his legacy after 36 years serving in Washington D.C.

Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River