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Senator Tom Harkin Talks Retirement

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) - Senator Tom Harkin has been an institution in Iowa politics for four decades. While he is set to retire in 2015, he doesn't plan to stop fighting for Iowans and the issues that affect them most any time soon.

I'll never be bored. I got a lot of things I want to do, Senator Harkin said.

He plans to spend time at his family home in Cumming, Iowa and at the Harkin Institute for Public Policy and Citizen Engagement at Drake University.

I hope to be able to do some things maybe with that institute in an advisory capacity or just doing something with the institute, Senator Harkin said.

Senator Harkin has been a longtime advocate for the disabled, and he said what has inspired him while in office will continue to fuel his work outside of it. He plans to work on issues affecting those with disabilities in Iowa, the US and possibly the world in his retirement.

The one piece of legislation that has given me the most satisfaction and feeling of making significant changes has been the Americans With Disabilities Act, Harkin said.

He attributes his success in passing legislation over the years to his time as chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Labor, Education and Pensions. That's where he said he's had to learn to work with very diverse political viewpoints.

On the committee we probably have a wider divergence of philosophy than any other committee, Harkin explained.
Yet, that hasnt stopped him.
That committee that I chair, in the past two years, I think were now on the 14th bill that weve passed, signed into law by the President of the United States. You get together, and you just keep at it and at it until you get an agreement, Senator Harkin said.
And in his downtime, Senator Harkin also has a plan.

My wife is a big bicyclist and I like to bicycle, and I'd like to now start going around and doing some of the bike paths in Iowa, he said. 

Also on Senator Harkin's agenda, climbing some 14er's.He said the first 14er he ever climbed was somewhat appropriately named, "Mount Democrat."

Great exercise, and I'm not that old! Senator Harkin who is 74 years young added.


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