Borlaug lauded by four Iowa congressmen

The U.S. House passed a resolution earlier this afternoon honoring the late Norman Borlaug, the father of the “Green Revolution” who is credited with saving millions of lives with his work in plant genetics.  Borlaug, a Cresco, Iowa native, died on September 12, 2009 at the age of 95.

Radio Iowa’s story of today’s House action (includes 22 min of audio) features all the comments from four of Iowa’s five congressmen, along with two members of congress from Texas.  Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinan (R-Florida) was one of the resolutions floor managers and, if you listen to her remarks in that 22-minute segment, I can tell you when she said “Noble Prize” she was referring to Borlaug’s “Nobel Peace Prize.”

Congressman Bruce Braley of Waterloo delivered brief remarks without reference to a text. Congressmen Leonard Boswell, Tom Latham and Steve King all read from prepared remarks, but offered some extemporaneous remarks as a prelude.

“Dr. Borlaug was one of the most unusual people I’ve met in my life,” Boswell said to open his remarks.  “He was so impressive in so many ways.”

King joked a bit.  “He did go to school at the University of Minnesota and, for my Minnesota friends, I can’t even imagine what it would have been like if he would have had a full Iowa education.  That’s part of the banter that goes back and forth across the state lines.  And he was also an NCAA wrestler which is something that goes along with, I can’t imagine if he’d wrestled for the Hawkeyes and what that might have been.”

Braley told a story Borlaug had related to the Iowa congressional delegation when Borlaug lunched with them on the day he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in July of 2007. Borlaug recounted his visit with Vice President Henry Wallace when Wallace drove his own car from Iowa to Mexico to represent the U.S. at the inauguration of Mexico’s president.  Wallace, founder of Pioneer Hi-Bred, met up with fellow Iowan Borlaug, who was working in Mexico.

“Together, these two brilliant Americans who happened to be born in Iowa, talked about charting a future for a plant revolution that changed the face of hunger in the world,” Braley said.

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About O.Kay Henderson

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