Daughter of Iowa state senator dies

State Sen. Pam Jochum
State Sen. Pam Jochum

The daughter of Pam Jochum, Democratic state senator from Dubuque, died Thursday after a fall.

Sarah Jochum, 41, died from a brain injury caused by an accidental fall in her home, Pam Jochum told the Des Moines Register Friday.

“As we mourn Sarah’s passing, our family is also celebrating the impact that Sarah had for 41 years on our lives and the lives of so many Iowans,” Jochum wrote in a statement Friday. “Sarah taught all of us about unconditional love.”

Sarah’s father is former state Rep. Tom Jochum.

The senator’s daughter was well known at the Iowa Capitol and throughout the public.

Born with an intellectual disability, Sarah Jochum became the symbol of Pam Jochum’s health care advocacy and policy building.

“Because Sarah had a parent in the Legislature her entire life, she made an impact on Iowans in other ways. She helped us bring an advocacy and a passion to the Capitol that continues today,” Pam Jochum wrote in a statement.

A vocal critic of Iowa’s privatized Medicaid system, Sen. Jochum frequently shared her family’s often-frustrating experience navigating the system to obtain appropriate care for Sarah Jochum.

The Medicaid program moved under the oversight of three private, for-profit insurance companies 2016. Health care providers and Medicaid enrollees have criticized the program since, claiming they are not being paid in a timely manner or their services were being limited.

According to the statement, Sarah Jochum’s organs will be donated.

“Even in death, Sarah is creating new, life-changing stories,” the statement said.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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