The Sioux City Journal has an article this morning on the change ahead in 2015 for the tri-state senatorial representation. The three senators, Tom Harkin, a Democrat from Iowa, Tim Johnson, a Democrat from South Dakota, and Mike Johanns, a Republican from Nebraska, have all decided to retire and not stand for re-election in 2014.
It's a highly unusual circumstance for three senators from Siouxland to all depart at once. The Journal article reviews the impact of the loss of clout, since Harkin, Johanns and Johnson will leave with a combined 54 years in the Senate,.
University of Iowa Political Science Professor Tim Hagle said the impact will be distinct because the 100-member Senate works in great part based on tenure, particularly in how powerful committee chairman positions are decided. That means Siouxlanders will be attempting to push key projects with senators who won't have the experience and clout of the departed lawmakers.
January 1943 was the last time new senators began representing all three states. The three Republicans were Harlan Bushfield, of South Dakota, Kenneth Wherry, of Nebraska and George Wilson, of Iowa.
It is notable that the trio had short careers in the Senate. Bushfield died in office in 1948, while Wilson lost his re-election bid in 1948 and Wherry died in 1951 during his second term.
The growing crop of 2014 senatorial candidates no doubt envision longer careers in D.C.
Wherry had the rarest of backgrounds for the Senate, at least by today's standards -- prior to entering politics, he was a licensed undertaker. He also sold cars and pianos.
While that may be unusual, his political philosophy summarized in Senate archives show Wherry would fit well in Republican politics today.
"Wherry disliked high taxes, intrusive regulations and attempts to control prices, even during wartime. He also opposed federal programs that he regarded as social engineering and called on Congress 'to stop the biggest giveaway show on earth,' " the bio relates.
A native of Atlantic, Iowa, Bushfield was South Dakota governor before winning a Senate seat in 1942. Wilson was a Grinnell College and University of Iowa graduate, attorney and governor before joining the Senate.