Difference between revisions of "Tom Harkin"

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|office2002=[[United States Senate|U.S. Senate]] (Iowa)
|office2002=[[United States Senate|U.S. Senate]] (Iowa)
===Annual Steak-Fry Fundraiser===
Harkin held his annual steak-fry fundraiser in September 2013.<ref name="steak">[http://blogs.desmoinesregister.com/dmr/index.php/2013/09/12/video-what-you-need-to-know-about-the-harkin-steak-fry/article ''Des Monies Register,'' "Video: What you need to know about the Harkin Steak Fry," accessed October 9, 2013]</ref> Those in attendance included Vice president [[Joe Biden]], San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro, [[U.S. House|Rep.]] [[Joaquín Castro]] and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.<ref name="steak"/>

Revision as of 09:51, 9 October 2013

Tom Harkin
Tom Harkin.jpg
U.S. Senate, Iowa
In office
Term ends
January 3, 2015
Years in position 30
PredecessorRoger W. Jepsen (R)
Base salary$174,000/year
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 4, 2008
First electedNovember 5, 1984
Next general November 4, 2014
Campaign $$17,864,005
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
U.S. House of Representatives
High schoolDowling Catholic High School
Bachelor'sIowa State University
J.D.Catholic University of America
Military service
Service/branchU.S. Navy
Years of service1962-1967
Service branchU.S. Naval Reserve
Years of service1968-74
Date of birthNovember 19, 1939
Place of birthCumming, Iowa
Net worth$16,012,060
ReligionRoman Catholic
Office website
Campaign website
Thomas Richard "Tom" Harkin (b. November 19, 1939, in Cumming, Iowa) is a Democratic member of the U.S. Senate from the state of Iowa. Harkin was first elected to the Senate in 1984.[1]

On January 26, 2013, Harkin announced that he would not seek re-election once his current term expires. Upon his retirement, he will have served in the U.S. Senate for 30 years. Prior to this, he served in the U.S. House for ten years. He told USA Today, "I have mixed feelings. You know what, it's somebody else's turn. To walk away from this position and this power is not an easy thing. But I think it's the right thing."[2]

Harkin served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1975 to 1985.[1]

Based on analysis of multiple outside rankings, Harkin is an average Democratic member of Congress, meaning he will vote with the Democratic Party on the majority of bills.


Harkin was born in 1939 in Cumming, Iowa. He earned his B.A. from Iowa State University in in 1962 and his J.D. from Catholic University of America in 1972.


Below is an abbreviated outline of Harkin's career:

Harkin had a legal practice in Des Moines, served in United States Navy and Naval reserves, worked an attorney for Polk County, Iowa, Legal Aid Society in 1973 and was a member on the board of directors for the Iowa Consumers League.[3]

Committee assignments

U.S. Senate


Harkin serves on the following Senate committees[4]:

  • Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman
  • Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee
    • Subcommittee on Nutrition, Specialty Crops, Food and Agricultural Research
    • Subcommittee on Conservation, Forestry and Natural Resources
    • Subcommittee on Commodities, Markets, Trade and Risk Management
  • Appropriations Committee
    • Subcommittee on Transportation and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies
    • Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
    • Subcommittee on Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies
    • Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development
    • Subcommittee on Department of Defense
    • Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies
  • Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee
  • Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
    • Subcommittee on Children and Families Ex Officio
    • Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging Ex Officio
    • Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety Ex Officio


Harkin served on the following Senate committees[5]:


State of American politics

On the floor of the Senate on September 27, 2013, Harkin gave a speech describing how American politics have reached the level at which "a small group of willful men and women who have a certain ideology." Hark's comment came after the 21 hour long speech by Ted Cruz in the Senate on September 24-25, 2013.[6]

"Since they can't get their way," Harkin said, "they're going to create this confusion and discourse and hope that the public will be so mixed up in who is to blame for this, that they'll blame both sides."[6]

"It's dangerous. It's very dangerous. I believe, Mr. President, we are at one of the most dangerous points in our history right now. Every bit as dangerous as the break-up of the Union before the Civil War," Harkin added.[6]

American response in Syria

See also: United States involvement in Syria

The United States should not take military action in Syria without “broad international support” and stronger evidence that chemical weapons have been used on Syria’s civilian population, Harkin said in a statement released after a September 1, 2013, briefing of congressional leaders. Harkin cautioned that U.S. military intervention would not solve the Syrian crisis alone.[7]

“I have just attended a classified Congressional briefing on Syria that quite frankly raised more questions than it answered. I found the evidence presented by Administration officials to be circumstantial. The atrocious use of chemical weapons against civilian is an affront to human values and a violation of international law. It should be condemned by the international community as a whole. The coming debate in Congress will hopefully shine the light on outstanding questions. As will the results of the U.N. inspection team. We must wait for these results before any action is taken. What I hear from Iowans is that the Middle East has a complex history and the conflicts there will not be solved by U.S. military action alone. We should not rush into what may become a new open-ended war without broad international backing or a full understanding of the ramifications.”[7]

Fiscal Cliff

Voted "No" Harkin voted against the fiscal cliff compromise bill, which made permanent most of the Bush tax cuts originally passed in 2001 and 2003 while also raising tax rates on the highest income levels. He was one of three Democrats that voted against the bill. The bill was passed in the Senate by a 89 - 8 vote on January 1, 2013.[8]



See also: United States Senate elections in Iowa, 2014

On January 26, 2013, Harkin announced that he will not seek re-election in 2014.[9]

The FiscalTimes compiled a list of the seven most vulnerable Senate seats up for election in 2014. The seven included in the list are: Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Dakota, and West Virginia. Going into the 2014 election, all seven seats are held by Democrats.[10]

Harkin's decision to retire after five terms in the Senate provides a great opportunity for Republicans.[10] Rep. Bruce Braley (D) is reportedly the likeliest Democratic nominee.[10] On the Republican side, early polling indicates that conservative Rep. Steve King leads the early primary field, but Rep. Tom Latham does better in general election matchups. While there are other Republican possibilities, it seems likely that one of these two would be the front-runner for the nomination.[10]

Full history

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Harkin is available dating back to 2002. Based on available campaign finance records, Harkin raised a total of $17,864,005 during that time period. This information was last updated on April 3, 2013.[13]

Tom Harkin's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2008 U.S. Senate (Iowa) Won $9,179,122
2002 U.S. Senate (Iowa) Won $8,684,883
Grand Total Raised $17,864,005

Annual Steak-Fry Fundraiser

Harkin held his annual steak-fry fundraiser in September 2013.[14] Those in attendance included Vice president Joe Biden, San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro, Rep. Joaquín Castro and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.[14]


Ideology and leadership

See also: GovTrack's Political Spectrum & Legislative Leadership ranking

Based on an analysis of bill sponsorship by GovTrack, Harkin is a "moderate Democratic leader," as of June 21, 2013.[15]

Like-minded colleagues

The website OpenCongress tracks the voting records of each member to determine with whom he or she votes most and least often. The results include a member from each party.[16]

Harkin most often votes with:

Harkin least often votes with:

Lifetime voting record

See also: Lifetime voting records of United States Senators and Representatives

According to the website GovTrack, Harkin missed 373 of 9,536 roll call votes from Jan 1985 to Mar 2013. This amounts to 3.9%, which is worse than the median of 1.7% among currently serving senators as of March 2013.[17]

Congressional staff salaries

See also: Staff salaries of United States Senators and Representatives

The website Legistorm compiles staff salary information for members of Congress. Harkin paid his congressional staff a total of $2,814,112 in 2011. He ranks 18th on the list of the highest paid Democratic senatorial staff salaries and ranks 21st overall of the highest paid senatorial staff salaries in 2011. Overall, Iowa ranks 26th in average salary for senatorial staff. The average U.S. Senate congressional staff was paid $2,529,141.70 in fiscal year 2011.[18]

Net worth

See also: Net Worth of United States Senators and Representatives


Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by OpenSecrets.org, Harkin's net worth as of 2011 was estimated between $10,006,120 and $22,018,001. That averages to $16,012,060, which is lower than the average net worth of Democratic senators in 2011 of $20,795,450. His average net worth decreased by 3.52% from 2010.[19]


Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by OpenSecrets.org, Harkin's net worth as of 2010 was estimated between $10,276,123 and $22,918,001. That averages to $16,597,062, which is lower than the average net worth of Democratic senators in 2010 of $19,383,524.[20]

National Journal vote ratings

See also: National Journal vote ratings


Each year National Journal publishes an analysis of how liberally or conservatively each member of Congress voted in the previous year. Harkin ranked 15th in the liberal rankings in 2012.[21]


Each year National Journal publishes an analysis of how liberally or conservatively each member of Congress voted in the previous year. Harkin ranked 5th in the liberal rankings among U.S. senators.[22]

Voting with party


Tom Harkin voted with the Democratic Party 96.1% of the time, which ranked 18th among the 52 Senate Democratic members as of June 2013.[23]


Harkin has been married to his wife Ruth (nee Raduenz) since 1968. They have two daughters and three grandchildren.[24]

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a google news search for the term Tom + Harkin + Iowa + Senate

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

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External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 Bioguide "Tom Harkin" Accessed June 21, 2013
  2. USA Today "Iowa Sen. Harkin will not seek re-election," January 26, 2013
  3. Biographical Guide to Members of Congress "Thomas Richard Harkin," Accessed October 18, 2011
  4. Congressional Quarterly "Senate Committee List" Accessed January 18, 2013
  5. Official Senate website "Committees page," Accessed October 18, 2011
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 National Journal, "Senator Says Politics Have Reached Civil War Levels," accessed October 9, 2013
  7. 7.0 7.1 Des Moines Register, "Harkin urges caution on Syria military action," accessed September 2, 2013
  8. U.S. Senate "Roll Call Vote on the Fiscal Cliff" Accessed January 4, 2013.
  9. AP "Harkin won't seek 6th senate term"
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Fiscal Times " 7 Senate Seats Most at Risk—Hint: They’re All Blue" Accessed February 15, 2013
  11. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 5, 2002," accessed March 28, 2013
  12. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 5, 1996," accessed March 28, 2013
  13. Open Secrets "Tom Harkin" Accessed April 3, 2013
  14. 14.0 14.1 Des Monies Register, "Video: What you need to know about the Harkin Steak Fry," accessed October 9, 2013
  15. Gov Track "Tom Harkin," Accessed June 21, 2013
  16. OpenCongress, "Rep. Tom Harkin," Accessed August 2, 2013
  17. GovTrack, "Tom Harkin," Accessed March 29, 2013
  18. LegiStorm "Tom Harkin"
  19. OpenSecrets.org, "Tom Harkin, (D-Iowa), 2011"
  20. OpenSecrets.org, "Harkin, (D-IA), 2010"
  21. National Journal, "2012 Congressional Vote Ratings," February 28, 2013
  22. National Journal, "Searchable Vote Ratings Tables: Senate," February 23, 2012
  23. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
  24. Official Senate website "Biography," Accessed October 18, 2011
Political offices
Preceded by
Roger Jepsen
U.S. Senate - Iowa
Succeeded by