Retiring Senator Tom Harkin wants the new “Harkin Institute” at Drake University to help lead the conversation about the future of Iowa’s Caucuses.
“Making that center a center of information and expertise on the Iowa Caucus system,” Harkin says.
A long-time Drake University political science professor has been awarded the Harkin Institute’s first academic fellowship and his job will be to explain how the Iowa Caucuses work and examine how the media covers the event. Dennis Goldford has been at Drake for nearly 30 years and Harkin touts Goldford as a “nonpartisan authority on presidential politics.” Harkin has his own list of goals for the enterprise.
“Looking at the Caucuses, both Democrat and Republican,” Harkin says. “How did they evolve? What do they do? Why are they good and how do we continue to keep the Iowa Caucus system and keep it viable?”
The full name of the center is the Harkin Institute on Public Policy and Citizen Engagement.
“I want that institute to begin reaching out and getting more and more people to think about how they’re involved civically — school boards, boards of supervisors, even volunteering,” Harkin says. “We’ve got to get back to having more people involved locally in their local government.”
The documents Harkin amassed over 40 years of service in congress will be transferred to Drake at the end of this month. The letters, notes and other documents are being converted to a digital format and will be posted online for researchers.
Harkin endorsed Howard Dean before the 2004 Iowa Caucuses, but did not endorse a candidate prior to the 2008 Caucuses. Harkin has recently said he’s being pressured to revive his annual “Harkin Steak Fry” fundraiser where Democratic candidates of the past and future have been showcased for potential Iowa Caucus-goers and the national media.