A long-time legislator from Newton died last night. State Representative Paul Bell is a former Newton Policeman who began serving in the Iowa House of Representatives in 1993. Bell was diagnosed with cancer last year and had his stomach removed. The cancer spread and he was hospitalized on May 21st.

Democratic leaders in the Iowa House issued a statement last night, saying as a police officer and a legislator, their fellow Democrat “spent his life keeping his community safe and making Iowa a better place to live.”

The Republican leader in the Iowa House issued a statement, too, calling Bell a “respected legislator who gave his time and energy serving others.” Bell is survived by his wife and two children. Bell was 59 years old.