Progress Iowa presents annual awards to US Rep. Axne, UAW Rep. Curtis Templeman


Two Iowans who have made an impact in their communities were recognized today by Progress Iowa, the statewide progressive advocacy group. 

Progress Iowa is proud to announce that Congresswoman Cindy Axne is the 2021 recipient of the Harkin Hero award for her dedication and advocacy for all Iowans. 

In her acceptance of the award, Axne said;

“Every Iowan wants to take care of their neighbor, and be a part of this community we have in our state. That’s why I’m proud to fight for better and more affordable child care, health care, good paying jobs, and every one of us to have the opportunity to thrive. As we work toward those goals, I’m truly grateful for advocacy organizations like Progress Iowa. They do incredible work educating the public, and encouraging people to speak out and engage in our democracy. I’m honored to receive this year‘s Harkin Hero award, named after two remarkable Iowans who have always fought for what’s right.” 

The Harkin Hero award, named after Ruth and Tom Harkin, is presented by Progress Iowa each year to an elected official who follows in the footsteps of the Harkins. Their lifelong work to improve the lives of Iowa families is the standard by which every elected official in Iowa should be measured. Last year, the Harkin Hero award was presented to each member of Iowa’s legislative black caucus: Representatives Ako Abdul-Samad, Ruth Ann Gaines, Ras Smith, Ross Wilburn, and Phyllis Thede. In 2019, Ruth and Tom Harkin accepted the first award named on their behalf.

Progress Iowa Executive Director Matt Sinovic said of Axne;

“Congresswoman Cindy Axne is a true champion for Iowa families. From her votes on the Build Back Better, infrastructure, and social spending bills to decrease the cost of childcare and healthcare, to expanding telehealth services in Iowa and around the country during a global pandemic, Axne has consistently put Iowans first and delivered results. We are proud to have her voice representing Iowa.”

Progress Iowa is also proud to posthumously honor the late UAW 450 Union Representative Curtis Templeman with the Marcia Nichols Progressive Advocate of the Year award. Curtis was a tremendous advocate for working Iowans, and a leading voice during contract negotiations during the UAW – John Deere strike earlier this year. Vice President Chuck Browning and Region 4 Director Ron McInroy described Curtis as a tireless advocate who earned great respect for his character and dedication to better labor conditions for all.

The Marcia Nichols Progressive Advocate of the Year, is given each year to an Iowan who goes above and beyond in promoting progressive values. Past recipients include Marcia Nichols, a founding board member of Progress Iowa and former political director for AFSCME Council 61; Sara Ann Willette, who took it upon herself to track COVID-19 data in Iowa when Gov. Reynolds’ administration failed to do so; Robin Stone, a progressive activist and health care advocate who stood up to Senator Chuck Grassley and reached a national audience; Danny Homan, former President of AFSCME Council 61 and Tammy Wawro, former President of the Iowa State Education Association; and the eleven student leaders who worked alongside Progress Iowa to organize the March for Our Lives rally at Iowa’s state capitol in 2018: Olivia Boulting, Tristin Delaney, Andrew Dunn, Jaime Izaguirre, Lucy Karlin, Kyle Kopf, Robert Nishimwe, Isabella O’Connor, Addison Parrish, Olivia Van Hook, and Melissa Zapata. 

Progress Iowa Executive Director Matt Sinovic said of Curtis Templeman,

He was a relentless voice and leader for the labor community in Iowa, and instrumental in securing a better deal for John Deere workers this year. We are so proud to be able to honor Curtis for his contributions to the UAW, our state, and workers across the country. He will be dearly missed by many.”

Photo obtained from Cindy Axne’s Twitter account.