U.S. Senator (D-Iowa)
Tom Harkin is one of the best-known U.S. Senators, a fourth-generation Iowan who, throughout his distinguished career in Congress, has retained close ties to his family and neighbors, and has never forgotten his small-town origins. He earned his degree in Government and Economics at Iowa State University, and is a Navy veteran. His Senatorial career began in 1984. He has advocated for improved educational opportunities and health care, and for citizens who have been too often overlooked: small-business owners, farmers, working families, children, women, the elderly, the disabled, and—of course—deaf people. His brother Frank was early-deafened, and Tom saw how discrimination curtailed his opportunities—and was determined to do something about it. He authored the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990—for Frank and the rest of us.