DES MOINES, Iowa -- Politicians across the state are mourning the death of former democratic U.S. Senator John Culver. Culver passed away on Wednesday.
Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller worked on Senator Culver's campaigns and in his D.C. office.
“Senator Culver was a giant of a man. He was my mentor. He was a man of just incredible integrity; there was never a thought of doing anything that was not what you should do. Also, he had high standards he expected of himself and of those who worked for him to perform for the public at a very high level” said Miller.
Miller says his legacy is something every politician can look up to.
“[He was] a person who always did what he believed in, was not pressured into doing something he didn't think was right either morally or politically,” said Miller.
Culver was raised in Cedar Rapids and attended college at Harvard where he would graduate with honors. He served 39 months in the Marine Corps before returning to Harvard to get a law degree. Governor Reynolds released a statement reading in part:
"John Culver will be remembered for his many years of public service to our state as a U.S. Senator and Congressman and to our country as a U.S. Marine. He was a principled leader who stood fast in his beliefs and firm in his duty to serve Iowans."
In 1964, Culver was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives where he would serve 10 years. One of his signature votes was in 1967, where he was one of only 15 congressman who voted against a bill that would make burning a U.S. flag a federal crime. Culver had decided that while he didn’t agree with the demonstration, he believed it was considered free speech.
Culver would go on to serve one term as a U.S. senator in 1974 before being defeated by Senator Chuck Grassley. Grassley also released a statement reading in part:
"Senator Culver was a tough competitor. He was proud of his record and defended it, not sacrificing his stands for political expediency, and that deserves to be recognized. Personally, I`ll never forget his grace and good wishes after the election of 1980 and when we would cross paths over time afterward."
In 2010, Culver helped found the Culver Public Policy Center at Simpson College.
He will be buried in McGregor, Iowa, where he owned a home.
Culver was 86 years old.