WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Leonard Boswell of Iowa got a special tribute Thursday from his colleagues on the House floor — led by the man who defeated him in the November election.
Redistricting resulted in an incumbent-versus-incumbent battle between Boswell, a Democrat, and Rep. Tom Latham, a Republican.
The campaign took a few tough turns for two men who had been friends over the years, but the talk on Thursday was all congenial.
Latham organized the tribute, which lasted about 40 minutes.
He praised Boswell, 78, in particular for his decorated military service and his efforts in Congress to support veterans and their families. Boswell was an Army helicopter pilot in the Vietnam War.
“Leonard's relationships with his fellow members have enabled him to work with colleagues of all political stripes,” Latham said. “His work on behalf of his constituents has exemplified what Iowans expect (from) their representatives in Congress — someone who is approachable, thoughtful and hardworking.”
Latham read some of the letters he received from Iowans saluting Boswell, including other Republicans such as Gov. Terry Branstad and U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley.
The other House members from Iowa also took their turns praising the defeated congressman and wishing him well.
“It's been a stellar career,” Rep. Steve King said.
Boswell said someone suggested he refuse to participate in the tribute, seeing as it was organized by his recent opponent. But he said that isn't how things are done in Iowa. And he had kind words for Latham.
“Tom, I wish you continued success and I know that you'll give your heart, what you believe in, for our state,” Boswell said. “We both kind of come from the soil, really, and that's probably a good thing.”
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