1. News & Issues
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Profile of Sen Dick Durbin of Illinois

By

Profile of Sen Dick Durbin of Illinois
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Sen Dick Durbin of Illinois:

Democrat Dick Durbin was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1996, and reelected in 2002 and 2008. Since 2006, Sen. Durbin has served as Senate Majority Whip, the second highest majority-party position in the Senate. Dick Durbin is the second most powerful Senate Democrat, behind only Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

A graduate of Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, Sen. Durbin has a particular expertise in foreign relations. He's an unabashed supporter of Israel.

Dick Durbin is a close political confidante of President Obama, and was of his earliest supporters and endorsers.

Senate Committees in the 112th Congress, 2011-2012:

In the 112th Congress, Sen. Durbin is part of the Senate's most powerful committees including:
  • Foreign Relations Committee
  • Foreign Relations Subcommittee on European Affairs
  • Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs
  • Appropriations Committee
  • Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services, Government (Chair)
  • Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations
  • Judiciary Committee
  • Judiciary Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law (Chair)
  • Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees, Border Security
See U.S. Senate Committee Chairs in 112th Congress for a complete listing.

Personal Data:

  • Birth - November 21, 1944 in East St. Louis, Illinois to William Durbin and his Lithuanian-born wife Anna.
  • Education - Assumption High School, 1962. B.A. in foreign service and economics, 1966, Georgetown University. J.D. in 1969, Georgetown University Law School
  • Family - Married to Loretta Schaefer. Two adult children, Paul and Jennifer. Oldest child, Christine, died at age 40 in 2008. Three grandchildren, Alex, Ona and Floyd
  • Faith - Roman Catholic
Loretta Durbin is Vice President of Government Affairs Specialists, a public affairs consulting firm. She also worked for 13 years in bodies related to the Illinois Senate.

Sen Dick Durbin om the Issues:

On The Reach of U.S. Foreign Policy

"Our nation's foreign policies... must extend beyond diplomatic and military initiatives to include humanitarian and development assistance. Helping other nations in the global fight against HIV/AIDS or to provide clean water, for example, are important moral choices that also strengthen our nation's standing abroad as a global leader."

On Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process

"My support for Israel is strong, as is my commitment to peace in the Middle East. Israel remains an important U.S. ally in the Middle East and the only stable multi-party democracy in the region. The strong and steady friendship between our two countries is built on a solid foundation of shared values, mutual support, and trust, and is in the fundamental interest of both nations.

"My actions in support of Israel and peace in the region include cosponsoring several pieces of legislation aimed and halting Iran's nuclear program and a resolution reaffirming Israel's right of self-defense and its right to take appropriate action to deter aggression by terrorist groups and their state sponsors.

"At the same time, I have remained sympathetic to the need to address the concerns of the Palestinian people. I have also cosponsored a resolution in support of the Israel-Palestinian peace process."

On Climate Change and the Clean Air Act

"One of the most significant environmental crises we face is climate change. We are already witnessing some effects of a changing climate—melting glaciers, rising sea levels, extreme weather events, chronic floods and droughts, and accelerated erosion. Scientists predict that these events will occur more frequently in the future with negative repercussions for our economy and national security, in addition to our environment.

I support updating the Clean Air Act to strengthen standards for air pollutants, such as mercury, smog, and carbon dioxide. Such standards protect public health and drive investment in the development of affordable, clean energy. I also am a strong advocate of mandatory fuel efficiency standards for vehicles, which can lessen our dependence on fossil fuels."

  1. About.com
  2. News & Issues
  3. Liberal Politics
  4. Liberal Leaders
  5. Senators Elected in 2008
  6. Profile of Sen Dick Durbin of Illinois - Sen Dick Durbin Biography

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.