“Alright. I’ll be there in a few minutes,” Rep. Landon said as he drove back from yet another doctor’s appointment.
This last session was not ordinary for anyone. With virtual committee meetings, a lack of press in the chamber, and masks covering everyone’s faces, this last year in the Iowa House of Representatives was unlike any other. However, what was arguably the most striking change for us had nothing to do with the pandemic but with the health of Rep. John Landon. At the beginning of Rep. Landon’s term, we learned that he was fighting a battle outside of Iowa politics. A much more personal struggle. A fight with cancer.
Rep. Landon would have to leave for his doctor appointments, so we communicated with him whenever voting was supposed to occur on the floor. On multiple occasions, Rep. Landon would drive straight to the House chamber from his appointments. He knew that he had an obligation to vote and to serve his constituents, so that is precisely what he did. He never complained; he never mentioned the struggle it must have been physically, mentally, and emotionally to fight this battle and still show up for the people he was elected to represent. The appointments and treatments became more time-consuming throughout the session, but Rep. Landon never stopped his duty of public service. He was determined to complete every task necessary to serve the constituents of his district well, even if that meant voting from an isolated room above the House chamber because his immune system was too compromised to join his colleagues on the House floor.
As the Chair of the Administration and Regulation Appropriations Subcommittee, Rep. Landon was in charge of running committee meetings. No matter the circumstance, you could count on him to show up 15 minutes early to set up the committee room or tune into the meeting first via webcam. It didn’t matter if it was COVID or cancer; Rep. Landon never lost sight of his responsibilities as a legislator, and he continued to serve amid a fight for his life.
The spirit we saw in John Landon during these past months with cancer is the same spirit we saw in him as he campaigned from door to door to speak with constituents throughout his district. It is the same spirit we saw in him as he served previous terms. It is the same spirit we witnessed in him in every other aspect of life, whether during a time of adversity or a time of rejoicing. He was always determined, always strong; always optimistic; always devoted; always humble; always kind.
Rep. Landon taught us a lot about politics, but he also taught us a great deal about life. During long nights of debate, he would share stories of his family, and he lit up with joy whenever his grandkids came to check on him. Every conversation with him was a lesson learned. God gifted him with the ability to communicate and connect with people. Everything he experienced in life, he could turn into a message to teach. Rep. Landon was a selfless man who always put others above himself. Throughout this struggle, he never wanted attention. Everything Rep. Landon did was to serve others and to put them first. He was a man rooted in faith with a servant’s heart. While we worked for him as Rep. John Landon, we will always know and remember him as our close friend and mentor.
He set an example in faith, family, friendship, and service. Although Rep. Landon will be dearly missed, he has left a legacy and impact in many of our lives, which will continue for years to come.
Forever grateful for you, dear friend John Landon.
Alyssa Brouillet- Former Campaign Manager for John Landon
Matt Deike- Former Legislative Clerk to John Landon