Leach honored by U.S. House

The bid to name a building in Davenport in honor of Davenport native Jim Leach is advancing.  Leach, a Republican, was an Iowa Congressman for 32 years before losing his reelection bid in 2006.  He's currently a professor at Princeton, his alma mater.

Two Iowa Congressmen made remarks today on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives in favor of the resolution which calls for renaming the federal courthouse in Davenport the "James A. Leach United States Courthouse."  The text of Boswell's statement is below; Boswell called Leach "a good friend."  King's office provided the video of King's remarks; King called Leach a "consummate statesman." Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Waterloo) issued the following news release:

Braley Applauds House Passage of Bill to Rename Davenport Courthouse after Former Rep. Jim Leach

Washington, DC – Today, the US House of Representatives passed a bill co-introduced by Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) to rename the Davenport federal courthouse the “James A. Leach United States Courthouse.”   Braley and Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa) introduced the bill (HR 887) earlier this year, which passed today by voice vote.  In 2007, the House passed a similar bill introduced by Braley and Loebsack to rename the courthouse after Leach, but the measure stalled in the Senate. 

Former Rep. Jim Leach, a native of Davenport, Iowa, represented the Second Congressional District of Iowa in the US House of Representatives for 30 years. 

“Today the House of Representatives honored one of its most respected members by passing this bill to rename the Davenport federal courthouse,” Braley said.  “Jim Leach had a long and distinguished career of public service representing the citizens of eastern Iowa with principle, independence, and hard work.  I can think of no more fitting tribute to this Davenport native than to name the ‘James A. Leach United States Courthouse’ in his honor.”

The bill now moves to the Senate for approval.  Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Charles Grassely (R-IA) have introduced similar legislation in the United States Senate.  


Washington, DC – Congressman Leonard Boswell today spoke on the House Floor in support of H.R. 877, a bill to designate the U.S. Courthouse in Davenport, IA to the James A. Leach Courthouse.  The bill passed the House by voice vote.

Below are Boswell’s remarks:

“I rise today in support of H. R. 887 and to honor my friend, former Congressman Jim Leach.  Jim served Iowa for three decades, winning reelection 14 times, and his strong record of principled, bipartisan leadership is a superb example to all his colleagues.”

“Jim was born in Davenport, Iowa, where he made a name for himself by winning the 1960 state wrestling championship for Davenport High School. He went on to earn an impressive set of degrees from Princeton University, Johns Hopkins University, and the London School of Economics.”

“Jim began his public service career in 1965 as a staffer to then-Congressman Donald Rumsfeld. In 1968, Jim entered the Foreign Service, where he served as a delegate to the Geneva Disarmament Conference and the U.N. General Assembly. He resigned his commission in 1973 to protest President Richard Nixon’s firing of the first Watergate special prosecutor, Archibald Cox.”

“Jim was first elected to represent Iowa’s Second District in 1976. A political moderate who was always willing to reach across the aisle, Jim chaired the Ripon Society and the Republican Mainstream Committee – two organizations formed to encourage bipartisan policymaking. In Congress, Jim distinguished himself as a steadfastly ethical and independent-minded public servant.”

“Throughout his career, Jim supported diplomacy before unilateralism, pushing for full funding of U.S. obligations to the U.N. As chairman of the Arms Control and Foreign Policy Caucus, Jim pressed for a Comprehensive Test Ban and led the House debate on a nuclear freeze. Jim was also one of only six House Republicans to vote against the 2002 Iraq War Resolution.” 

“Jim’s post-Congressional career has been no less extraordinary.  He holds eight honorary degrees, and has received decorations from two foreign governments. He is the recipient of the Wayne Morse Integrity in Politics Award, the Woodrow Wilson Award from Johns Hopkins, the Adlai Stevenson Award from the United Nations Association, the Edger Wayburn Award from the Sierra Club, and the Norman Borlaug Public Service Award.”

“Jim continues to serve the public on the boards of several public companies and nonprofit organizations, including the Century Foundation, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Social Sciences Research Council, Pro Publica, and Common Cause, which he chairs. Additionally, he is currently a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and teaches at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School as the John L. Weinberg Visiting Professor of Public and International Affairs.”

“Jim is not only a remarkable public servant, but a good friend. It was a tremendous honor to serve Iowa alongside him.”

“I urge all my colleagues to support H.R. 887.”

The resolution must pass the US Senate, too, before the building's name is the Leach building.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.