Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) will receive the Eighth Annual Waterways Council, Inc. Leadership Service Award on Wednesday, February 25, 2009, at 6 p.m. at the Willard Hotel, Washington, DC. Senator Harkin will be honored for his steadfast commitment to the improvement of the Nation’s ports and commercial inland waterways system over his many years in Congress.
Harkin worked to broaden the support for locks and dam improvements crafting a measure with Senator Kit Bond (R-MO) that made improvements to environmental programs on the Upper Mississippi River. That resulted in a broadening of the coalition in support of moving forward with both improved locks and environmental mitigation. The measure was passed as a part of the 2007 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA).
He has worked to maintain navigation on the Missouri River and successfully fought against an effort to excessively raise fuel taxes on barges in the early 1990s. Senator Harkin was elected to Congress in 1974 from Iowa's Fifth Congressional District to the House of Representatives for 10 years, and was elected in 1984 to the Senate. Iowans returned him to the Senate in 1990, 1996 and again in 2002, making him the first Iowa Democrat ever to earn a fourth Senate term.
Senator Harkin chairs the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, and is a leading advocate for America's family farms, as well as inland waterways’ infrastructure so critical to the economical shipment of farm products.
He was an outspoken, steadfast supporter of WRDA in 2000, 2007 and continues to urge passage of the next WRDA bill. Senator Harkin is also a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Past recipients of the award include Representative James Oberstar (2008); Senator Robert C. Byrd (2007); Representative David Hobson (2006); Representative Jerry Costello and Representative John Duncan, Jr. (2005); Senator Kit Bond (2004); Senator John Breaux (2003), and Representative Sonny Callahan (2002).
Waterways Council, Inc. is the national public policy organization advocating a modern and well-maintained national system of ports and inland waterways. The group is supported by waterways carriers, shippers, port authorities, shipping associations and waterways advocacy groups from all regions of the country.