Rest in peace, Gene Maddox

Former Iowa legislator Gene Maddox passed away on June 2 at the age of 76. He left a lasting mark on the city of Clive, where he served as mayor from 1977 to 1992. At the beginning of that period, Clive felt like more of a small town, complete with some gravel roads, than a thriving suburb of Des Moines. Now Clive has the third-highest per capita income among Iowa municipalities. The part of the city west of I-35, which was annexed during Maddox’s tenure, is the wealthiest precinct in Iowa.

Maddox was first elected in 1996 and re-elected in 2000 in an Iowa Senate district covering some suburban and rural areas west of Des Moines. Redistricting prompted him to run for an Iowa House seat in 2002. He represented Clive, Windsor Heights, and parts in West Des Moines in the lower chamber for two terms before retiring in 2006. Maddox was one of the last pro-choice Republicans to serve in the Iowa legislature. Not coincidentally, he was also one of the few Republicans for whom I have voted. Whenever I contacted him about an issue (as a constituent only–his legislative career predated my blogging), he was responsive and respectful, even when explaining why he had voted differently from how I would have hoped.  

I didn’t know Maddox well, but everyone I know who did has spoken highly of his character. He was a Republican but not a highly partisan one; he could work with Democratic colleagues. A friend who attended the memorial service yesterday said Maddox’s former legislative clerk told wonderful stories about her old boss. Apparently he interviewed her twice at length before finally asking her over the phone whether she was a Republican.  

Excerpts from Maddox’s obituary are after the jump. If you knew him through his political work or his volunteer service for non-profits including the Polk County March of Dimes, Polk County Cancer Society, and American Diabetes Association, feel free to share any memories or anecdotes in this thread.

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