Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, an ally for Americans with disabilities, plans to retire next year.
Last week, Harkin, 73, announced that he will not seek a sixth term in the U.S. Senate next year.
“When the current Congress is over, I will have served in the United States House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate for a total of 40 years. After 40 years, I just feel it’s somebody else’s turn,” Harkin said in a statement.
Disabilities advocates have expressed concerns over who will replace Harkin’s leadership.
“Harkin has been a huge champion in the disability community,” said Mark Perriello, president and CEO of the American Association of People with Disabilities to the website Disability Scoop. “Moving forward, I hope that we can find someone who can step into his very large shoes and it’s going to be difficult.”
Harkin often spoke of his late brother Frank, who was deaf, when he fought for rights for the disabled.
“Every piece of legislation that comes before [Harkin] asks, ‘what does this mean for people with disabilities?’ His dedication to our population is really second to none,” said Katy Neas, a former campaign staffer according to Disability Scoop.
Politics aside, media reports suggest that Harkin was an advocate for the disabled and a staunch supporter of Social Security Disability benefits. We wish him luck going forward. Many American’s with disabilities will never be able to work—lawmakers must advocate on their behalf.
If you have questions about applying or qualifying for disability benefits, contact a Tulsa Social Security Disability attorney for more information about your rights. We offer free consultations; you may reach us by phone at (918) 265-1404.
Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security Disability attorneys