As the Iowa Senate convenes Monday, it will do so without one of its longest-serving stalwarts.
Jack Kibbie, who represented north central Iowa in the Senate continuously since 1988, chose to retire in the wake of redistricting in 2012. Most recently, Kibbie represented what was until this year Senate District 4, which included Emmet, Kossuth, Palo Alto, Pocahontas and Humboldt counties, as well as the townships of Jackson, Deer Creek and Johnson in Webster County. Prior to his retirement, Kibbie, the longest-serving member of the chamber, served as president of the Senate, co-chair of the Ethics Committee, vice chair of the Rules and Administration Committee and vice chair of the State Government Committee. He also served on the Agriculture and Veterans Affairs committees and the Government Oversight Committee.
Though Kibbie had been a constant presence in Iowa's upper house for more than two decades, his service to the state spanned a much longer time span.
Kibbie served in the Iowa House of Representatives from 1960 to 1964, and served an earlier term in the Senate from 1964 to 1968.
It was during this initial term that Kibbie helped create Iowa's community college system, a vital component of education in the state. Kibbie sponsored legislation to establish the system in 1965, actions which have lead many of his colleagues to refer to him as the "father" of Iowa community colleges. The legislation created 15 community college districts across Iowa, governed by local boards of trustees. The former junior colleges in each of those districts became a part of the newly created community college districts.
During his senate tenure, Kibbie has continuously been a strong advocate for community colleges, to the benefit of these institutions and the communities they serve. In 2011, Kibbie was the inaugural recipient of his namesake John P. (Jack) Kibbie Champion of Community College Award, created in his name by the Iowa State Education Association Higher Education Committee.
Kibbie's actions toward this goal leave a legacy of state-spanning educational excellence of which he - and Iowa - may be very proud indeed. The Messenger salutes Kibbie's service to the state and wishes him all the best in retirement.