Friday, September 18, 2009

Senator Harkin Named Chair of the Senate Education Committee

Last week Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa was named to succeed Senator Ted Kennedy as Chairman of the all-important Senate Committee on Health, education Labor & Pensions. The Help Committee has jurisdiction over IDEA, the special education law, and other federal education issues. For our readers, the question is how will his chairmanship affect special education law. Many of us openly admired his predecessor. It is too early to predict how Chairman Harkin will affect education, but, here is some information on Senator Harkin, who also chairs the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee that covers education:

Sen. Tom Harkin speaks at a rally held by the ...Image via Wikipedia

Senator Harkin is widely regarded as a friend of people with disabilities and one of the principal architects of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This blog article makes that case.

Here is Senator Harkin's official website. This website provides some information on his voting record. This site contains additional biographical information beyond that on the link of the first mention of his name above. This is his Facebook page.

We do know that Senator Harkin was recently a cosponsor of a bill to fully (40% of excess costs) fund special education. Here is a report on that bill. This development is very encouraging.


  1. I did not know that Senator Ted Kennedy's successor was named. I guess I haven't been watching much T.V. lately. Thanks for the information.

  2. Hi Emma,

    thanks for your comment. Sen. Harkin replaces Se. Kennedy only as committee chair for the important HELP Committee. There will also still be a replacement for the Massachusetts seat yet to be determined.

    Thanks for reading the blog!


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