Senator Pat Ward

A 55-year-old state senator who was running for re-election this fall has died of cancer. 

In 2009, Republican State Senator Pat Ward of West Des Moines was diagnosed with breast cancer. According to a statement from the Senate Republican leader, she died this morning.

Ward was first elected to the Iowa Senate in 2004. She won a competitive Republican primary this past June. This past April, Ward and her husband were injured in an accident at their home in West Des Moines.

The two were cleaning up storm damage when John Ward fell off a ladder onto his wife. A few days later she was back in the senate, wearing a back brace because of a compression fracture in her lower back.

Governor Branstad issued a written statement, praising Ward’s “positive attitude” and ability to work in a “bipartisan manner.” Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds served with Ward in the senate and called her a “dear friend” who “worked to make the world a better place.” Reynolds said news of Ward’s death “is incredibly difficult and painful to hear.”

Ward had moved to Clive, to seek reelection in a newly-configured district. Her name will be on November’s ballot.

In September of 2006, State Representative Mary Lou Freeman of Alta died before Election Day. Freeman did not have an opponent on the General Election ballot that year. A special election was held that December to fill that vacancy and, by state law, a special election will be held to fill the senate seat Ward had hoped to win in November.

Below are written statements of condolence issued today:

BOONE – Senate Republican Leader Jerry Behn (R-Boone) released the following statement on the passing of Senator Pat Ward (Clive) this morning:

“This is truly a sad day for Iowa. Senator Pat Ward was a courageous fighter not just for the hard working Iowans she represented tirelessly every day in the Iowa Senate but also a courageous fighter in her battle against cancer. My thoughts and prayers are with her husband John and her entire family and friends. The Iowa Senate Republicans lost a terrific colleague and incredible friend and we mourn her loss deeply.”

DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds issued the following statements today upon learning of the passing of state Sen. Pat Ward:

“It was with shock and sadness that learned of my friend Pat Ward’s passing. She had a wonderful career in public service, and was such a caring and passionate person. As a senator, she was a champion for her district, took the time to get to know the issues, and worked in a bipartisan manner to enact meaningful legislation on behalf of her constituents. She always had a positive outlook on life, even in illness, and her smile would brighten each room she entered. The thoughts and prayers of Chris and I are extended to her large network of family, friends and constituents,” – Gov. Terry E. Branstad

“Having served with Pat in the Senate, I witnessed firsthand her dedication to the state of Iowa, and her incredible work every day on behalf of her constituents. Pat Ward was a dear friend, and the news of her passing is incredibly difficult and painful to hear. I hope all Iowans will look at her example, the way she cared for others and worked to make the world a better place, and remember her significant life and achievements. Our administration will miss her as a policy maker, and we all will personally miss her as a friend.” – Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds

COUNCIL BLUFFS — Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal released this statement on the passing of Senator Pat Ward this morning:

“Senator Pat Ward was a legislator who stood up for what she believed in and worked  across party lines on behalf of her constituents. Pat will be missed.”

DES MOINES, Iowa– The Republican Party of Iowa released the following statement from Iowa GOP Chairman A.J. Spiker on the passing of Iowa Senator Pat Ward:

“I am saddened to learn of the passing of Iowa State Senator Pat Ward. Public service and dedication to the people of Iowa were hallmarks of her career. On behalf of all Iowa Republicans, I would like to express our gratitude for Pat’s service to the people of Iowa. Our thoughts and prayers are with Pat’s friends and family during this difficult time.”

Boston, MA – Mitt Romney today made the following statement on the death of Iowa State Senator Pat Ward:

“Ann and I were deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Senator Pat Ward. Pat was a dedicated public servant who always put her constituents first, and she fought tirelessly on behalf of the community and the state she loved. Her commitment, her passion, and her legacy will endure. Pat’s family and friends are in our thoughts and prayers.”

DES MOINES — Iowa Congressman Tom Latham released the following statement today after learning that Iowa State Senator Pat Ward had passed away:

“Pat was a leader who led by example when it came to her sole focus of working on behalf of Iowans. She knew that great results could be achieved by putting progress before partisanship.

“Her brave and very public battle with breast cancer helped continue to raise the awareness of this horrific disease.

“I will truly miss Pat’s friendship and council. Kathy and I offer our thoughts and prayers to John and her family during this difficult time.”

(DES MOINES) – Speaker of the House Kraig Paulsen (R-Hiawatha) issued the following statement on the passing of Sen. Pat Ward:

“Iowa Republicans have lost a very valuable legislator today.  Sen. Ward was not only a dedicated leader who worked on behalf of Iowans; she was an admirable woman who showed her fighting spirit time and time again.  It is with heavy hearts that we wish her family well during this difficult time.”