Former congressman Jim Leach to take U. Iowa job

IOWA CITY – Highly-regarded former Iowa congressman Jim Leach will join the University of Iowa faculty after stepping down as chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the school said Wednesday.

Iowa beat out Leach’s alma mater of Princeton and other prestigious schools such as Harvard who were vying to land Leach after he resigned from his federal job last month, University President Sally Mason said.

Leach, a Davenport native who represented Iowa in Congress for 30 years, will become a visiting professor of law and hold an endowed chair of public affairs. He will work with the university’s center on human rights, give special lectures on foreign policy and other issues and teach courses on the American government and legislative process to law and undergraduate students.

Leach will earn an annual salary of $240,000 through a mix of state and private sources, and hold a three-year appointment that is renewable, Mason said. He will start work in August.

Leach represented eastern Iowa in Congress for 30 years until he was defeated for re-election in 2006 by Democrat Dave Loebsack, in an anti-Republican wave year. He had chaired the House committees on banking and international relations.

Leach, a moderate, crossed the political aisle to endorse President Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008.