Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today delivered remarks at the unveiling of a statue honoring Norman Borlaug at the U.S. Capitol.
“When I think of Dr. Borlaug’s achievements, I am reminded of those famous words in the Book of Proverbs: “Where there is no vision, the people perish,” Harkin told the crowd. “More than a half century ago, Dr. Borlaug surveyed a world where starvation and malnourishment were rampant. And he had a vision – a vision of a Green Revolution.”
Below is the full text of Harkin’s remarks, as prepared for delivery.
“Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader Reid, Leader Pelosi, Leader McConnell, Governor Branstad, Secretary Vilsack and distinguished guests. I also want to congratulate Ambassador Kenneth Quinn, who is the Chair of the Dr. Norman E. Borlaug Statue Committee, as well as all of the other members of that Committee.
“Iowans are a humble people. But we are very, very proud of the long line of Iowans who have been extraordinary leaders in bringing food to a hungry world – people like Herbert Hoover, Henry C. Wallace, Henry A. Wallace, and, first and foremost, Dr. Norman Borlaug.
“When I think of Dr. Borlaug’s achievements, I am reminded of those famous words in the Book of Proverbs: “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” More than a half century ago, Dr. Borlaug surveyed a world where starvation and malnourishment were rampant. And he had a vision – a vision of a Green Revolution.
“Because of that vision….because of Dr. Borlaug’s tireless commitment to that vision….the people did not perish. Upwards of one billion lives have been saved across the world. His work was at the forefront of a 50-year period that has been described as the single greatest period of food production and hunger reduction in all of human history.
“Not bad for a farm boy from Cresco, Iowa! Not bad for a kid who began his education in a one-room rural schoolhouse!
“We see Dr. Norman Borlaug as a great scientist, a great agronomist and plant breeder, and one of our nation’s greatest international humanitarians. He is all of those. More important, I see a great persuader – a man who, time and again, overcame political and cultural challenges in order to spread his revolution across Latin America, Asia, the Middle East and now in Africa.
“For Dr. Norman Borlaug, a great American and a true son of Iowa – this honor of a statue in Statuary Hall could not be more fitting and deserved. We here thank you, and the world thanks you.”