Byron Leslie Dorgan (born May 14 1942) is the junior United States Senator from North Dakota. He is a member of the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party, the North Dakota affiliate of the Democratic Party. In the Senate, he is Chairman of the Democratic Policy Committee and Chairman of the Committee on Indian Affairs.
Dorgan worked in management for a Denver aerospace firm, eventually earning a position training others for high ranking company positions.
Senator Dorgan’s public service career began at age 26, when he was appointed to the office of State Tax Commissioner in North Dakota. He was the youngest constitutional officer in North Dakota’s history. He was re–elected to that office by large margins in 1972 and 1976, and was chosen one of “Ten Outstanding State Officials” in the United States by the Washington Monthly magazine. Dorgan served as tax commissioner of North Dakota from 1969 until 1980. His future Senate colleague Kent Conrad worked in the same office before succeeding Dorgan at this post. Dorgan ran unsuccessfully for a seat in Congress in 1974. He was elected to the United States House of Representatives in his second bid in 1980. He was a member from 1981 until 1992 (being re-elected every two years).
As chairman of the Democratic Policy Committee, Dorgan is one of the most powerful Democrats in the Senate. In recent years he has been increasingly sought by the national media for comment on political issues. He is a strong opponent of U.S. policy toward Cuba. He has introduced, with varying levels of success, several amendments to end the U.S. prohibition on travel to Cuba, and to terminate funds for anti-Castro broadcasting. Dorgan has also opposed most bills "liberalizing" trade policies between the USA and other countries. He has a mixed record on civil lawsuit issues, voting against the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act and the Class Action Lawsuit Fairness Act of 2005, but voting in favor of the failed Common Sense Product Liability and Legal Reform Act and legislation to shield gun manufacturers and distributors from lawsuits.
In 2006 he was a major supporter of Net Neutrality legislation in the Senate. He sees this as essential to keeping the Internet open and democratic
In 2007, he was a major opponent of the McCain-Kennedy Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 (S. 1639) saying that the legislation would continue the downward push of illegal aliens on the wages of American workers.
His book Take This Job and Ship It: How Corporate Greed and Brain-Dead Politics Are Selling Out America, about the impact of outsourcing on the economy of the United States, was published in 2006. On October 4th, 2006, he appeared on The Colbert Report on Comedy Central to discuss his book, and his views on American labor. On February 27, 2008 he announced he would be endorsing Barack Obama for President of the United States, becoming the 10th senator to officially endorse the Illinois senator's bid for the Democratic nomination.
On September 26th 2008, against a backdrop of growing economic turmoil caused by the Credit Crunch, an article written by David Leonhardt of The New York Times singled out a quotation made by Dorgan during the US Senate's repealment of the Glass-Steagall act. "I think we will look back in 10 years’ time and say we should not have done this, but we did because we forgot the lessons of the past, and that that which is true in the 1930s is true in 2010."
Dorgan is married to the former Kimberly Olson. Together they have two children, Brendon and Haley, and from his first marriage Dorgan has a son Scott and a daughter Shelly, who is deceased.
In a statement released on November 28 2005, Dorgan responded by asserting that he has never personally met Jack Abramoff, nor has he ever received money from Abramoff. Dorgan did acknowledge receiving money from Abramoff's clients, but the donations began prior to their involvement with Abramoff. Dorgan's statement went on to say that he has supported the programs that benefited Abramoff's clients years prior to the contribution.
Dorgan's statement pointed out other errors in the news reports, such as correcting who made a call to the Department of the Interior and for what purpose. The news reports claimed that one of Dorgan's staff members made the call in order to express support for the program that benefited Abramoff's clients, whereas in reality it was a staff member for the Chairman of the Interior Subcommittee who made the call, and the call was made in opposition to the program.
|1998||Byron L. Dorgan||134,747||63%||75,013||35%||Harley McLain||Reform||3,598||2%|
|2004||Byron L. Dorgan||212,143||68%||98,553||32%|
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