Iowa State Senator Pat Ward Dead at 55



Senator WardIowa State Senator Pat Ward (R-Clive) passed away after battling with Breast Cancer.  She was 55.  State Senator Ward is survived by her husband John and two adult children.  She was running for re-election in the newly drawn Iowa State Senate District 22 against Desmund Adams (D-Clive).

State Senator Ward won her Senate seat after a special election in 2004 replacing the outgoing State Senator Mary Kramar who was appointed by President George W. Bush to be the Ambassador to Barbados.  She was an Assistant Senate Minority Leader and served on the Commerce, Economic Growth/Rebuild Iowa, and Judiciary committees.  She was also the ranking member on the Labor and Business Relations committee.

State Senator Ward was born and raised in Missouri and received her Bachelors Degree from Central Missouri State University.  She is a former director of public and government relations for an electric utility company in Illinois as well as the former Director of the Senate Republican Caucus staff.

She served on various boards within the community and is was a sustaining member of Junior League, volunteered at local schools, and was an active member of Lutheran Church of Hope in West Des Moines, IA.

“This is truly a sad day for Iowa. Senator Pat Ward was a courageous fighter not just for the hard working Iowans she represented tirelessly every day in the Iowa Senate but also a courageous fighter in her battle against cancer,” said Iowa Senate Minority Leader Jerry Behn (R-Boone).   “My thoughts and prayers are with her husband John and her entire family and friends. The Iowa Senate Republicans lost a terrific colleague and incredible friend and we mourn her loss deeply.”

“I was with shock and sadness that learned of my friend Pat Ward’s passing. She had a wonderful career in public service, and was such a caring and passionate person.” Iowa Governor Terry Branstad said,  “As a senator, she was a champion for her district, took the time to get to know the issues, and worked in a bipartisan manner to enact meaningful legislation on behalf of her constituents. She always had a positive outlook on life, even in illness, and her smile would brighten each room she entered. The thoughts and prayers of Chris and I are extended to her large network of family, friends and constituents.”

“Having served with Pat in the Senate, I witnessed firsthand her dedication to the state of Iowa, and her incredible work every day on behalf of her constituents. Pat Ward was a dear friend, and the news of her passing is incredibly difficult and painful to hear,”  Iowa Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds stated.  “I hope all Iowans will look at her example, the way she cared for others and worked to make the world a better place, and remember her significant life and achievements. Our administration will miss her as a policy maker, and we all will personally miss her as a friend.”

Republican Party of Iowa Chair A.J. Spiker said, “I am saddened to learn of the passing of Iowa State Senator Pat Ward. Public service and dedication to the people of Iowa were hallmarks of her career. On behalf of all Iowa Republicans, I would like to express our gratitude for Pat’s service to the people of Iowa. Our thoughts and prayers are with Pat’s friends and family during this difficult time.”

No information about funeral arrangements have been released.  Iowa Senate Republicans are also consulting the Iowa Code to know how to proceed with the general election.

Update: Ward’s name will remain on the ballot for the November 6th election, but the election results will not be counted for either candidate then.  A special election will be held on December 11th, and the Republicans will need to nominate somebody to run by November 13th.

2nd Update: Additional statements from Iowa Democrats.

Iowa Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal (D-Council Bluffs) said “Senator Pat Ward was a legislator who stood up for what she believed in and worked across party lines on behalf of her constituents. Pat will be missed.”

Sue Dvorsky, Chair of the Iowa Democratic Party said in a statement, “We are very sad to learn of Senator Pat Ward’s passing. This is a loss for the whole Iowa Senate family. Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with Senator Ward’s family and friends, as well as the many constituents and community members she served in both her public and private life.”

3rd Update: Additional statements…

“Pat was a leader who led by example when it came to her sole focus of working on behalf of Iowans. She knew that great results could be achieved by putting progress before partisanship, said Congressman Tom Latham (R-IA).  “Her brave and very public battle with breast cancer helped continue to raise the awareness of this horrific disease.  I will truly miss Pat’s friendship and council. Kathy and I offer our thoughts and prayers to John and her family during this difficult time.”

Mitt Romney in a released statement said, ““Ann and I were deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Senator Pat Ward. Pat was a dedicated public servant who always put her constituents first, and she fought tirelessly on behalf of the community and the state she loved. Her commitment, her passion, and her legacy will endure. Pat’s family and friends are in our thoughts and prayers.”

4th Update Funeral arrangements have been made. Visitation is scheduled for 4 to 7 p.m. on Thursday at Dunn’s Funeral Home at 2121 Grand Ave. in Des Moines. The funeral service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday at Plymouth Congregational Church at 4126 Ingersoll Ave. in Des Moines. The burial will be private.

The family has asked that donations be made to the John Stoddard Cancer Center in Des Moines.

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  • Jeff Mullen

    Senator Ward’s strong commitment to public service was illustrated by her decade of leadership in the Senate and tireless night and day campaigning this past Spring even while she was clearly battling serious health issues. My thoughts and prayers go out to her husband John and their family on this sad day.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=762605011 Kedron Bardwell

    Jeff, this is a quite the reversal.
    You said in your campaign ads that Pat Ward would “compromise
    with those out to destroy our values and pick our pockets.”

    You then insinuated — with no more evidence
    than a tweet thanking citizen who voted for her — that she led a
    conspiracy to win an election by actively recruiting Democrats.

    You tried to smear her using the guilt
    by association fallacy, stating publicly that the “real” Pat
    Ward “hobnobs with radical pro-abortion and
    pro-gay marriage activists.”

    You lambasted her as a
    “liberal” for a 6-year old vote preserving Medicaid funding for rare-case abortions, yet proudly displayed the endorsement (it’s
    still on your web site) of a state senator who voted the
    exact same way.

    http://coolice.legis.iowa.gov/Cool-ICE/default.asp?Category=billinfo&Service=Billbook&ga=81&hbill=HF2734

    Now all the sudden you are the FIRST to publicly laud her service and leadership on web sites frequented by your
    potential base, should you decide to run for the seat? Call me a cynic, but I’m suspicious of the timing.

    http://blogs.desmoinesregister.com/dmr/index.php/2012/06/04/clive-gop-candidate-publishes-newspaper-style-ad-against-republican-incumbent

    I hope this is a sincere effort by you to make amends for half-truths and insinuations that ran her good name through the mud in the primary. Politics will make people do and say crazy things they later regret; Christian leaders are not immune from this. I wish Mr. Mullen’s tone had been just as irenic and thoughtful during the campaign.

    • http://shanevanderhart.com/ Shane Vander Hart

      Kedron, I’m going to call you on the tone of your comment which in my opinion is just as vitriolic as what you accuse Jeff of. Perhaps he’s just trying to show decorum and respect and put politics aside at a time like this.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=762605011 Kedron Bardwell

        I don’t agree with “vitriolic” but I am pushing buttons. The sentiment in his post is dignified and not what saddens me, but the fact that he did not give her that same high respect when she was still here to be bruised by his attacks, all the while fighting cancer. Even conservatives leaning to Mullen were disgusted by his flyer, and it is one reason he lost. I hope we don’t chalk this all up to “that’s just politics” (end justifies the means). I admit I’m very sensitive to this tactic by candidates who say they’re the “true Christian” running. A great leader in our area, Ruth Randleman, was slimed in the same way by a last-minute ad full of unsubstantiated insinuations. She had no time to rebut them, and she lost.

        I apologize if it seemed vitriolic or was over the line, but I strongly believe all Christians (and pastors!) need to practice the ethics we preach when running for office. I see no “political exception” in scripture when it comes to behavior.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=762605011 Kedron Bardwell

        By the way, thanks for the correction and I appreciate the dialogue.