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Senator Tom Harkin awarded National Public Elected Official of the Year

NASW Recognizes The Senator’s Contributions To Health Care And Education

WASHINGTON, D.C.— The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) has announced former Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) is the recipient of its 2014 National Public Elected Official of the Year award for pushing education, health care and other legislation to improve the quality of life for all Americans.

Harkin, who was chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, is the author of The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and helped push passage of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Of particular importance to social workers, Harkin championed the 2008 Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, which ensures that those who receive mental health coverage through group health insurance policies receive benefits for mental health treatment that are equitable to treatment for general medical issues.

"Senator Harkin’s commitment to quality health care and social services, for the most vulnerable in our society, is impressive," NASW CEO Angelo McClain, Ph.D., LICSW, said. "For decades, he has demonstrated his skill and diplomacy to move legislation forward, where others have failed. We are a better country as a result of his service."

Harkin served in the U.S. House from 1975 to 1985, when he won a seat in the Senate. He served in the Senate until Jan. 3, 2015 when he retired.

The NASW National Public Elected Official of the Year award recognizes outstanding service and contributions of an elected official who has shown leadership in the formulation of public policy, particularly policies that affect social justice, health care, education, civil and human rights, and social work practice.


The National Association of Social Workers (NASW), in Washington, DC, is the largest membership organization of professional social workers with 130,000 members. It promotes, develops, and protects the practice of social work and social workers. NASW also seeks to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and communities through its advocacy.