The longest serving member of the Iowa legislature has won the Herbert Hoover “Uncommon Public Service” Award for 2015. Eighty-one-year-old Wally Horn of Cedar Rapids was first elected to the House in 1972. He’s been a senator since 1983.
“An award like this makes you very humble,” Horn said. “It really does.”
Horn, who is a native of Bloomfield, served in the U.S. Army and was a teacher and coach in the Cedar Rapids School District for over 30 years. During his 43-year career as a legislator, Horn served as majority leader for his fellow Democrats in the senate for four years in the early 1990s.
Horn told his senate colleagues this morning that he wouldn’t have won the Hoover award without their support. “I just hope you understand that probably one of the reasons is because you are the people that got me there,” Horn said.
No other legislator in Iowa history has a longer record of continuous service than Horn.
Each year a member of the Senate and a member of the House receive the Hoover Award, named for the Iowa native who served one term as president and is credited with saving millions of Europeans from starvation after World War I.
Representative Helen Miller of Fort Dodge is this year’s Hoover Award winner in the House. Miller was first elected to the House 13 years ago.
“I am kind of a woman of few words,” Miller said, “and to say that I am stunned this morning is truly an understatement.”
Miller, who is a Democrat, was inducted into the Iowa African American Hall of Fame in 2012 for her work in leading a non-profit group that promotes the arts as well as her work in the Iowa House.
“I think I work pretty hard and I love everybody in this building,” Miller said. “I don’t care if you are a D or an R — and I do genuinely try to show that.”
Miller, an attorney, is a native of Newark, New Jersey. She and her late husband, Dr. Edward Miller, settled in Fort Dodge in 1999 after her husband retired from a career in the military.