Tom Harkin served in the U.S. Congress representing Iowa for 40 years, including 30 years as a U.S. Senator where he co-authored the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that was signed into law in 1990. The ADA, known as the “Emancipation Proclamation for people with disabilities,” changed the landscape of America by requiring buildings and transportation to be wheelchair accessible, and to provide workplace accommodations for people with disabilities.
Senator Harkin knew firsthand about the challenges facing people with disabilities from his brother, Frank, who was deaf from an early age. After retiring from the Senate in 2015, Senator Harkin founded The Harkin Institute for Public Policy & Citizen Engagement, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of people with disabilities. The annual Harkin Summit on Global Disability Employment spotlights fresh ideas and collaborative approaches for improving employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
In 2015, Senator Harkin was the grand marshal in New York City’s first Disability Pride Parade. The Senator holds a bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University and a Juris Doctor (JD) degree from The Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law.