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Former Sen. Tom Harkin Endorses Hillary Clinton, Says She's a "Champion" For Kids

Former Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, the longtime education champion who retired last year, endorsed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for president Friday in an op-ed in the Des Moines Register.

"Today, too many talented children face limits on their futures," he continued. "They need a champion in the White House. I know Hillary Clinton will be that champion."

Among other things, Harkin's endorsement touted Clinton's vision for universal pre-kindergarten—something he tried unsuccessfully to push while chairman of the Senate education committee.

"We believe everyone should be able to find well-paying jobs, that every child should receive the best education possible, that the elderly should be able to retire with dignity and security, and that everyone should have access to quality and affordable healthcare," he said in the op-ed, speaking for him and his wife. "From ensuring universal access to pre-kindergarten to building a clean-energy economy, a common thread runs through all of these plans—the idea of expanding opportunity."

During his nearly five decades in Congress, as a member of both the House and the Senate, Harkin consistently pushed to ensure rights and equal opportunities for students with disabilities. 

The cause was personal for Harkin. His late brother was deaf, and he witnessed first-hand the opportunities that were not available to him. 

"Our country has come a long way since that time, but inequality is still lived by kids all across the country, from our inner cities to the small towns of Iowa," Harkin wrote. "Hillary has devoted her career to championing the needs of children."

The op-ed comes as Democratic presidential nominee contender Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., continues to draw tens of thousands of supporters to speeches across the country and is rising in the polls.  

Sanders is slated to appear at the Iowa State Fair, which is currently underway in Des Moines. Presidential candidates typically descend to the state, which is considered a bellwether of sorts for the presidential election. 

Harkin's op-ed also comes on the heels of the FBI seizing Clinton's email server amid an investigation into whether she sent or received classified information on her personal server—an issue that's been overshadowing her campaign.

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