Political establishment’s reaction to Harkin announcement

A variety of written statements have been issued in the hours since Senator Tom Harkin announced he will not seek reelection in 2014.  Below are the ones which have been emailed to Radio Iowa.

The following statement was issued Sunday, January 27, 2013:

WATERLOO, IA — Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) released the following statement today:

“Over the past 24 hours, I’ve been overwhelmed by the outpouring of encouragement and support from Iowans in every corner of the state urging me to consider a campaign for the U.S. Senate in 2014. Iowans deserve a Senator who will continue Tom Harkin’s legacy of strengthening the middle class and standing up for Iowans who don’t have a voice. While Senator Harkin’s shoes are impossible to fill, over the coming days my family and I will carefully weigh a possible candidacy for Senate.”  

The following statements were issued Saturday, January 26, 2013:

Statement by the President on Senator Harkin:

“By the time Senator Harkin finishes his fifth term, he will have represented the people of Iowa in the United States Congress for an incredible 40 years. He has served in the U.S. Senate longer than any Democrat in Iowa’s history. During his tenure, he has fought passionately to improve quality of life for Americans with disabilities and their families, to reform our education system and ensure that every American has access to affordable health care. Senator Harkin will be missed, and Michelle and I join Iowans in thanking him for his long-standing service and wish him and his wife, Ruth, all the best in the future.”

Statement by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack:

“Senator Harkin has been and will continue to be a terrific advocate for all those in life who have needed a helping hand from struggling family farmers and working families to those meeting the challenge of a physical or mental disability. Senator Harkin has been and will continue to be a passionate supporter of all those seeking to preserve and conserve our precious natural resources. Senator Harkin has been and will continue to be a visionary in the area of alternative approaches to treating sickness and disease. During his career he has received extraordinary support from his wife, Ruth Harkin an accomplished public servant of her own. Iowans know him as a fighter and have always been proud to call him their Senator.

“Now is not the time to reflect on anyone else but on the still evolving career and contribution of the Senator.”

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) released the following statement in response to news that U. S. Senator Tom Harkin will not seek another term in 2014:

“Senator Harkin’s retirement is a huge loss for the people of Iowa. For over 30 years, Tom Harkin has been a progressive force in Washington. He’s dedicated his life to strengthening the middle class and standing up for people without a voice, and his life’s work, particularly with the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Affordable Care Act, leaves a legacy that few will ever match.

“I’m proud to call Tom Harkin a friend and a mentor. His tireless work ethic and unceasing concern for everyday Iowans will be missed in Congress. Carolyn and I wish Tom and Ruth the best as they embark on their next challenge together.”

Statement from Congressman Steve King (R-Kiron):

“Senator Harkin’s retirement comes as a surprise. I congratulate him on a long and successful career in Congress. Iowans now have a real opportunity to elect a true Constitutional conservative to help lead us out of our crisis of debt and deficit.”

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack released the following statement after Sen. Tom Harkin announced he would not seek reelection in 2014.

“Senator Harkin’s tireless work has improved the well-being of Iowans for more than a generation. Senator Harkin has had a direct impact on the everyday lives of people all across the nation and the globe, not just in Iowa.  From his advocacy to improving the lives of people with disabilities, to rewriting the way farmers conserve and protect their land to standing up for human rights, he has been a true leader and statesman.  He has truly given a voice to those who are often not heard, rather than serving as a mouthpiece for the powerful and connected.

“His knowledge, compassion and fight cannot be replaced.  He has long been my political hero and I have been honored to serve with him these past six years.  Terry and I wish Tom and Ruth health, happiness and success in all their future endeavors.”

Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid released the following statement today after Senator Tom Harkin announced his decision not to seek re-election:

“Senator Tom Harkin is a pillar of the Senate, and our nation has been shaped in countless ways by his work in this institution.

“Senator Harkin has been a champion for improving Americans’ access to affordable health care throughout his entire career, and Americans will continue to benefit from his commitment to preventive care. Senator Harkin’s work on behalf of people with disabilities has changed millions of lives and advanced the cause of equality for which he has fought tirelessly for decades. And his work combating child labor and human rights abuses will endure for years to come.

“Tom is a passionate progressive, whose deeply-held principles have provided a guiding light to Democrats for decades. The state of Iowa and the nation are better off because of his service. Tom’s work in the Senate is not done yet, but I will miss him when he leaves. I wish him, Ruth and his family all the best.”

Senator Michael Bennet, Chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, issued the following statement this morning on Senator Tom Harkin’s announcement and the Iowa US Senate race:

“In my short time in the Senate and as a member of the HELP Committee, I have seen firsthand Tom Harkin’s strong commitment to the people of Iowa. He is a great legislator and his accomplishments in health care, education, and on behalf of people with disabilities will be remembered long after he leaves. I appreciate that Senator Harkin has made this decision so early in the cycle, giving us ample time to recruit a strong Democratic candidate for this seat. Iowa has a strong record of electing great Democrats, and I’m confident that we will elect a new Democratic senator next November.”

A fundraising email from Iowa Republican Party chairman A.J. Spiker:

Have you heard the breaking news today?

Democratic U.S. Senator from Iowa, Tom Harkin just announced he will not be seeking re-election 2014.

The story is already a national headline with Iowa once again jumping onto the front page of the national news. I’ve spent the day talking with dozens of media, who all want to know, “Can the Republican Party actually win this seat?” There’s been no hesitation on my part. “Yes, the Republican Party can, and with enough hard-work, I’m confident we will!”

But we need your help.

That’s why I’m calling on dedicated Republicans across Iowa to help the Iowa GOP kick off this race.

With this issue so hot in the media right now, will you help us kick off our efforts with a contribution of $50, $35, or $25? Or will you donate just $20.14 to help our 2014 efforts?

So many in the mainstream media had written off Iowa, claiming it was a “Safe Democrat Seat.”

But that only shows they’ve underestimated the dedication and hard-work of Iowa Republicans.

The mistake of the political establishment will be to the gain of grassroots Republicans all across our state.

That’s why I’m calling on Republicans all across Iowa for an immediate fundraising push to start planning to win the U.S. Senate in 2014.
Will you help the Republican Party win this U.S. Senate seat with a contribution of $50, $35, $25 or even $20.14?

With 20 of the 33 U.S. Senate seats up in 2014 held by Democrats, there is a great opportunity for the GOP to take back the Senate

Let’s do our part in Iowa.

Help us begin an immediate push to turn Iowa red with a contribution today.

AJ Spiker

P.S. The retirement of Senator Tom Harkin just reinforces our belief that a grassroots Republican comeback can take place in 2014. Let’s have it start in Iowa. Please chip-in even $20 or $10 so we can get a Constitutional conservative in the Senate.

DES MOINES – State Sen. Jack Hatch (D-Des Moines) released the following statement on the announcement by Sen. Tom Harkin that he will retire from the U.S. Senate rather than seek re-election in 2014:
“It’s a moment for sadness but also a great deal of pride for Iowans as Sen. Tom Harkin announces his retirement.  For 40 years, Tom Harkin has been a stalwart and inspirational example for all those who work on behalf of people with health care needs and disabilities.  He’s a true champion of the underdog and a fighter for fairness and justice in all its forms.
“I was proud to work as state director of his office from 1993 to 1995, and humbled that he’s continued be a friend and mentor, offering his advice on Iowa’s health care reform process on many occasions.  His giant influence on policy and politics will be missed by Iowans and all Americans.”

 Statement from Iowa Secretary of State candidate Brad Anderson (D-Des Moines):

“For decades Tom Harkin has been an inspiration to anyone who cares about educating a child, providing opportunities for the disabled, or making America a stronger, healthier country.  He has taught us all we can fight real hard for what we believe in and at the same time find a way to work together to pass meaningful, historic legislation.  I will miss him in the Senate, but I am confident he will remain a passionate voice any struggling American who needs one.” 

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About O.Kay Henderson

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