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John Connors, 1922-2009

connors-officialState Representative John Connors served the people of Iowa for 32 years in the Iowa House of Representatives.  He passed away on Saturday, March 7th, 2009 in Des Moines.  His biography is below.

John Connors was born December 2, 1922 in Des Moines, the son of John J. and Edna Connors.

He graduated from North High School in 1942 and served in the Merchant Marine during World War II. When he returned home from World War II, he held a number of jobs, played semi-pro football and helped organize Golden Gloves boxing events. John became head of the Iowa Golden Gloves and eventually became president of the National Golden Gloves. In 1991 he brought the National Golden Gloves Tournament to Des Moines.

John joined the fire department in 1950 and served the city for 28 years. He rose to the rank of fire captain and spent twenty years as president of the firefighters union. John was the first firefighter to receive a scholarship from the International Firefighters Union to attend a Harvard University Trade Union program, which led him to a long career as a labor arbitrator.

As union president he lobbied the State Legislature on a range of firefighters’ issues (pensions, safety, working hours) until 1972, when he ran for and was elected to the Iowa House of Representatives. Rep. Connors served in the Iowa House for 32 years, until he retired in 2004.

In his first term, John achieved one of the highlights of his legislative career. He had lobbied unsuccessfully for years for the right of firefighters to bargain, but in 1974 the Legislature enacted legislation giving collective bargaining rights to all public employees in Iowa.

John has held leadership positions for much of his legislative career, including House Speaker Pro Tem. He was also elected national chair of the Council of State Governments and brought the national meeting of this state legislative organization to Des Moines in 1992.

Growing up in a musical household, John took a liking to blues and jazz and has amassed a huge music collection. For the past dozen years John has contributed to a local Saturday morning radio show featuring music from the big band era.

John was a member of the Capitol Hill Christian Church, Masonic Orders and the American Legion. He was Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Des Moines General Hospital and was past president of the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the Polk County Society for Crippled Children and Adults.

John was married to Marge Connors for over 60 years and they had three children.

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