Mr. Neal Smith

March 26, 2020
Iowan of the Week

Madam Speaker, I rise today to ask the House of Representatives to join me in recognizing Neal Edward Smith of Des Moines, Iowa – in recognition of his 100th birthday – as our Iowan of the Week.

Neal served our state as ‘the gentleman from Iowa’ in the United States House of Representatives from 1959 to 1995 – the longest that any Iowan has ever served in the House. As the current representative of Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District, which spans much of the same area Mr. Smith represented here in Washington, I was glad to have the example he set to look to when taking office last year.

As a fifth-generation Iowan, I’ve grown up with Mr. Smith’s legacy across our state. Whether it’s families using the Neal Smith Trail, employees working in the Neal Smith Federal Building, folks visiting the Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge, or even students studying to be a part of next generation of leaders at the Neal Smith Law Center at Drake University – all of us feel the presence of this Iowa legend and newly minted centenarian.

Mr. Smith honored our country by serving in the United States Army Air Forces during World War II as a bomber pilot. After his plane was shot down, Mr. Smith received a Purple Heart, Air Medal, four oak leaf clusters and nine battle stars for his bravery and heroism.

After exiting military service, Neal graduated both college and law school before entering public service, serving as the assistant county attorney for Polk County. In 1958, he was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, and he was reelected 17 more times after that. 

It is an honor to commemorate the Neal’s commitment to public service for his 100th birthday, and applaud this ‘gentleman from Iowa’ for his hundred years of hard work and dedication to making Iowa better for everyone. Happy birthday, Neal!