Senator Tom Harkin’s wife, Ruth, is now a member of the Board of Regents, the group that governs Iowa, Iowa State and U-N-I. Ruth Harkin’s nomination to the board got 34 “yes” votes in the state Senate Tuesday afternoon, the bare minimum necessary to get the job. Fifteen senators voted against her nomination, including Paul McKinley, a Republican from Chariton. “Somebody (who) lives a thousand miles from the meetings is a little far and with 2.9 million Iowans, I think we could have found somebody a little closer,” McKinley says. Harkin says she will not bill the state for her travel back to Iowa from her home in Washington, D.C. Senator Nancy Boettger, a Republican from Harlan, says that’s not good enough. “Because she doesn’t really live here,” Boettger says. “I wouldn’t vote for Barbara Grassley (the wife of Iowa’s Republican U.S. Senator) either even though I love her dearly.” All 15 of the “no” votes on Harkin’s nomination came from Republicans, but Senate Co-Leader Stewart Iverson, a Republican from Dows, says that was not because she is the wife of the Democratic U.S. Senator from Iowa. “Ruth Harkin does not live in Iowa…95 percent of the time she’s in Washington, D.C.,” Iverson says. “We’ve got almost three million Iowans here. I think we could have found somebody else.” Senate Co-Leader Mike Gronstal, a Democrat from Council Bluffs, says Harkin is committed to transforming the universities in Ames, Cedar Falls and Iowa City. “Ruth Harkin will do a great job on the Board of Regents,” Gronstal says. “I think we need strong people on there to move the regents forward.” The Senate has confirmed four other new members for the nine-member Board of Regents. Senators endorsed the nominations of Tom Bedell , son of former Congressman Berkley Bedell; Michael Gartner, owner of the I-Cubs; and Teresa Wahlert, a West Des Moines businesswoman, yesterday. Earlier, the Senate had confirmed Rose Vasquez of Des Moines to another term on the board.
You are here: / / Ruth Harkin confirmed for Regent seat on close vote