TAYLOR COUNTY, IOWA; Congressional Record Vol. 160, No. 74
(Senate - May 15, 2014)

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[Pages S3068-S3069]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                          TAYLOR COUNTY, IOWA

 Mr. HARKIN. Madam President, the strength of my State of Iowa 
lies in its vibrant local communities, where citizens come together to 
foster economic development, make smart investments to expand 
opportunity, and take the initiative to improve the health and well-
being of residents. Over the decades, I have witnessed the growth and 
revitalization of so many communities across my State, and it has been 
deeply gratifying to see how my work in Congress has supported these 
local efforts.
  I have always believed in accountability for public officials, and 
this, my final year in the Senate, is an appropriate time to give an 
accounting of my work across four decades representing Iowa in 
Congress. I take pride in accomplishments that have been national in 
scope--for instance, passing the Americans with Disabilities Act and 
spearheading successful farm bills. But I take a very special pride in 
projects that have made a big difference in local communities across my 
  Today, I would like to give an accounting of my work with leaders and 
residents of Taylor County to build a legacy of a stronger local 
economy, better schools and educational opportunities, and a healthier, 
safer community.
  Between 2001 and 2013, the creative leadership in your community has 
worked with me to successfully acquire financial assistance from 
programs I have fought hard to support, which have provided more than 
$3.8 million to the local economy.
  Of course my favorite memory of working together has to be their many 
successes in taking advantage of farm bill and Housing and Urban 
Development funding for a variety of projects, including the 
construction of the new Cox Manufacturing Company facility, to purchase 
new machinery and equipment for the city, and to help create affordable 
housing for area residents.
  Among the highlights:
  Main Street Iowa: One of the greatest challenges we face--in Iowa and 
all across America--is preserving the character and vitality of our 
small towns and rural communities. This isn't just about economics. It 
is also about maintaining our identity as Iowans.
  Main Street Iowa helps preserve Iowa's heart and soul by providing 
funds to revitalize downtown business districts. This program has 
allowed towns like Bedford to use that money to leverage other 
investments to jumpstart change and renewal. I am so pleased that 
Taylor County has earned $40,000 through this program. These grants 
build much more than buildings. They build up the spirit and morale of 
people in our small towns and local communities.
  School grants: Every child in Iowa deserves to be educated in a 
classroom that is safe, accessible, and modern. That is why, for the 
past decade and a half, I have secured funding for the innovative Iowa 
Demonstration Construction Grant Program--better known among educators 
in Iowa as Harkin grants for public schools construction and 
renovation. Across 15 years, Harkin grants worth more than $132 million 
have helped school districts to fund a range of renovation and repair 
efforts--everything from updating fire safety systems to building new 
schools. In many cases, these Federal dollars have served as the needed 
incentive to leverage local public and private dollars, so it often has 
a tremendous multiplier effect within a school district. Over the 
years, Taylor County has received $368,950 in Harkin grants. Similarly, 
schools in Taylor County have received funds that I designated for Iowa 
Star Schools for technology totaling $25,000.
  Agricultural and rural development: Because I grew up in a small town 
in rural Iowa, I have always been a loyal friend and fierce advocate 
for family farmers and rural communities. I have been a member of the 
House or Senate Agriculture Committee for 40 years--including more than 
10 years as chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Across the 
decades, I have championed farm policies for Iowans that include 
effective farm income protection and commodity programs; strong, 
progressive conservation assistance for agricultural producers; 
renewable energy opportunities; and robust economic development in our 
rural communities. Since 1991, through various programs authorized 
through the farm bill, Taylor County has received more than $2.3 
million from a variety of farm bill programs.
  Wellness and health care: Improving the health and wellness of all 
Americans has been something I have been passionate about for decades. 
That is why I fought to dramatically increase funding for disease 
prevention, innovative medical research, and a whole range of 
initiatives to improve the health of individuals and families not only 
at the doctor's office but also in our communities, schools, and 
workplaces. I am so proud that Americans have better access to clinical 
preventive services, nutritious food, smoke-free environments, safe 
places to engage in physical activity, and information to make healthy 
decisions for themselves and their families. These efforts not only 
save lives, they will also save money for generations to come thanks to 
the prevention of costly chronic diseases, which account for a whopping 
75 percent of annual health care costs. I am pleased that Taylor County 
has recognized this important issue by securing $63,000 for community 
wellness improvements.
  Disability Rights: Growing up, I loved and admired my brother Frank, 
who was deaf, but I was deeply disturbed by the discrimination and 
obstacles he faced every day. That is why I have always been a 
passionate advocate for full equality for people with disabilities. As 
the primary author of

[[Page S3069]]

the Americans with Disabilities Act, ADA, and the ADA Amendments Act, I 
have had four guiding goals for our fellow citizens with disabilities: 
equal opportunity, full participation, independent living and economic 
self-sufficiency. Nearly one quarter century since passage of the ADA, 
I see remarkable changes in communities everywhere I go in Iowa--not 
just in curb cuts or closed-captioned television, but in the full 
participation of people with disabilities in our society and economy, 
folks who at long last have the opportunity to contribute their talents 
and to be fully included. These changes have increased economic 
opportunities for all citizens of Taylor County, both those with and 
without disabilities, and they make us proud to be a part of a 
community and country that respects the worth and civil rights of all 
of our citizens.
  This is at least a partial accounting of my work on behalf of Iowa, 
and specifically Taylor County, during my time in Congress. In every 
case, this work has been about partnerships, cooperation, and 
empowering folks at the State and local level, including in Taylor 
County, to fulfill their own dreams and initiatives. And, of course, 
this work is never complete. Even after I retire from the Senate, I 
have no intention of retiring from the fight for a better, fairer, 
richer Iowa. I will always be profoundly grateful for the opportunity 
to serve the people of Iowa as their Senator.