Former Iowa House Speaker Don Avenson Dies at 72

DES MOINES, Iowa  —  Don Avenson, a former Iowa House Speaker, has passed away, according to the Des Moines Register.

The Register reports Avenson died in a Nebraska hospital on Friday night after suffering a heart attack.

Avenson served as Speaker of the Iowa House for eight years, which is nearly twice as long as any other in the state’s history. He had over 40 years of legislative experience, and was a Democratic candidate for governor against Terry Branstad in 1990.

Avenson was 72 years old.

On Saturday, Governor Branstad released a statement regarding Avenson’s death:

“I was sorry to hear of Don Avenson’s passing last night.  Don was a strong and effective legislator and Speaker of the Iowa House who cared deeply about his constituents and the people of Iowa.  Even though we sometimes disagreed on policies, I knew that I could always rely on his word.  Together we were able to accomplish many things.  The Avenson family is in Chris and I’s thoughts and prayers.”