A long-time statehouse leader bid his colleagues an emotional goodbye Friday. In June, after legislators had adjourned their regular session, Senator Stewart Iverson of Dows announced he would not be running for re-election. In yesterday’s (Friday’s) special session Iverson was given a forum to speak to his fellow senators about his decision.

Iverson was perhaps the Yogi Berra of the Iowa Legislature, injecting one-liners to liven up debate or a news conference, and he began his speech in that vein.
“In this business, you’ve got to keep it in perspective,” Iverson said. “Your friends come and go and your enemies just mount up…I am a firm believer in living each day to the fullest and doing the best that you can and you move on.”

Iverson said he’d arrived at the statehouse with a thick skin after getting lots of guff while he served on his local school board, but Iverson choked up when he offered his colleagues some parting advice. “When we talk to our constituents and people, whether they’re in the lobby or just out and about, be up front with folks,” Iverson said. “Our constituents don’t always ask us to agree with them. What they ask us is to be honest with them.”

Iverson paused for several moments to compose himself. “That’s one of the things I’ve always taken very seriously: honesty and integrity,” Iverson said. “I think that’s what this country needs. It’s not always telling people what they want to hear. It’s telling them the truth and I think that’s where we separate politicians from statesmen.”

Iverson said he’s bothered because he sees too many U.S. politicians “who put me ahead of us.” Iverson’s last verbal shot: “It’s the team that matters.” Iverson was the longest-serving floor leader in Senate history until he was ousted in an internal Republican coup this past spring. Insiders say 13 of the 25 Senate Republicans voted to install Senator Mary Lundby of Marion as their floor leader.