HELP Committee Chair Harkin announces retirement

Cumming, IA – Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) announced Jan. 26 he would not run for re-election in 2014, after serving 40 years in Congress.

The son of a coal miner, Harkin has been chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee since the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy in 2009. In this capacity, Harkin has presided over hearings investigating OSHA’s standards-setting process, how to strengthen enforcement in dangerous workplaces and how to improve mine safety.

Harkin’s decision to step down follows similar announcements from occupational safety proponents, including mine safety advocate Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) – who also plans to step down in 2014 – and former House Workforce Protections Subcommittee Chair Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), who retired in January.

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