Government

Former U.S. Rep. Berkley Bedell dies

Democrat represented northwest Iowa for years

Former U.S. Reps. Jim Leach, a Republican from Iowa City, and Berkley Bedell, a Democrat from Spirit Lake, participated
Former U.S. Reps. Jim Leach, a Republican from Iowa City, and Berkley Bedell, a Democrat from Spirit Lake, participated Aug, 2, 2018, in a roundtable discussion in Des Moines on ways to fix political dysfunction in Washington. (Rod Boshart/The Gazette)

Associated Press

SIOUX CITY — Former Iowa congressman and businessman Berkley Bedell has died at age 98.

Bedell’s son, Tom Bedell, said in a post on Facebook that his father died Saturday after suffering a stroke earlier in the week.

Berkley Bedell represented northwest Iowa in the U.S. House from 1975 to 1987. He also founded Pure Fishing, a fishing tackle business based in Spirit Lake, and received a federal small-business man of the year award in 1964. Bedell also served in the military from 1942 to 1945.

Iowa Democratic Party Chair Troy Price and congressional district Chair Penny Rosfjord said in a statement that Bedell fought hard to protect farm families in times of crisis and to help the middle class.

“A true prairie populist, his value-driven policies united Iowans and inspired generations of future Democrats. Our state is a better place because of his leadership, and his dedication to community will be missed,” Price and Rosfjord said.

Bedell remained active in politics. In July, he introduced U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren at a campaign stop in Sioux City and endorsed her campaign. In 2014, he worked to boost young voter turnout to push presidential candidates to tackle climate change, money in politics, and student costs and debt.

“We feel sadness that Dad’s inspiration of unrelenting determination to make the world and humanity better will have a quieter voice,” Tom Bedell said in his Facebook post.

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