At the end of this term, Senator Harkin will have represented Iowa in Congress for 40 years.
The senator says he finally settled on the decision to retire just a few days ago.
“Obviously I have mixed emotions about this. I mean, I have a lot of seniority, I’m 7th in the entire United States Senate, I’m 4th among 55 Democrats, I have a key position, I chair a very wonderful powerful committee, I chair the second largest appropriations committee, to tell you that it`s easy to walk away from that kind of position and power, that would be a lie. It`s not easy.”
Over his nearly 4 decades in the House and Senate, Senator Harkin has had several notable achievements; passing the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act being one example.
He also helped to implement the President’s Affordable Care Act.
Harkin says as much as he loves his job, there are some things he and his wife want to do, that his lifestyle now doesn’t allow.
Even though he is in good health at age 73, Harkin says he came to the realization that life is short.
But there’s another reason he is stepping down. In his words, “it’s someone else’s turn.”
“There`s a lot of young people out there that have good ideas and energy and what you`ve been reading is true. By my stepping aside this kind of cascades down, and provides a lot of opportunities for a lot of younger people to come up and get into positions of authority and responsibility.”
Harkin’s term expires in 2014.