Senator Jack Kibbie

Senate President Jack Kibbie, a tank commander during the Korean War, is not seeking reelection in November. Kibbie, who turned 82 last summer, served for the last time as the presiding officer at a joint session of the Iowa House and Senate on Wednesday.

It was Kibbie’s job to introduce the adjutant general of the Iowa National Guard to the crowd. “General, I’m going to turn the podium over to you. As veterans, we used to say in Korea: ‘Here comes the man,'” Kibbie said.

Governor Branstad was standing nearby, and he laughed at Kibbie’s remark. The general smiled and said, “Thank you” to Kibbie before beginning his speech to legislators. After the general’s speech, House Speaker Kraig Paulsen made a special presentation to Kibbie.

Paulsen made a ceremonial gavel for Kibbie out of a piece of wood that had been removed from the statehouse during restoration work. Paulsen, who does woodworking projects as a hobby, is also a military veteran.