Dick Durbin

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Dick Durbin

Dick Durbin is a Democratic member of the United States Senate, representing Illinois. Durbin was originally elected to his position in 1996 and was re-elected in 2002. He is the Assistant Majority Leader, or Majority Whip.

Durbin is from Springfield. He is married to Loretta Schaefer Durbin. The two have three children and one grandchild and reside in Springfield.

In 1999, Durbin was called "Legislator of the Year" by the American Public Health Association. In 2001, he received the American Medical Association's Dr. Nathan Davis Award for Outstanding Government Service.[1]

Elected to the U.S. Senate on November 5, 1996, and re-elected in 2002 and 2008, Durbin fills the seat left vacant by the retirement of his long-time friend and mentor, U.S. Senator Paul Simon.


  • Appropriations Committee
  • Chairman of the Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government
  • Agriculture, Rural Development Subcommittee
  • Defense Subcommittee
  • Legislative Branch Subcommittee
  • Transportation/HUD Subcommittee
  • Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education
  • Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations
  • Judiciary Committee
  • Chairman of the Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law
  • Subcommittee on the Constitution
  • Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Refugees
  • Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security
  • Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs
  • Rules and Administration[2]

CoC support in 1996 run

When Durbin first ran for the US Senate in 1996, he was supported by the Chicago chapter of Committees of Correspondence.

According to an undated memo from Chicago CoC co-chairs Sandy Patrinos and Mildred Williamson, on behalf of the Chicago Chapter Steering Committee;

Finally, the Steering Committee feels that the U.S. Senate race for the seat vacated by retiring Senator Paul Simon is important enough--and the difference between the candidates significant enough--to merit attention. Democrat Dick Durbin is the best hope to beat Al Salvi, a wealthy "pro-life" ultra right Republican...Polls show Durbin with a significant, but by no means secure lead...Please consider what you can do in the time remaining, to mobilize support for these quite different, but all important campaigns!

IPA endorsement

As Chicago Democratic Socialists of America's representative to Illinois Public Action, Ron Baiman drove to Peoria for the IPA's 20th annual convention, held on the weekend of December 8th and 9th, 1995. Illinois Public Action is the Illinois affiliate of Citizen Action.

The conference had to choose between endorsing two candidates for the US Senate. They heard from Dick Durbin, the Congressman from the 20th District, endorsed by Paul Simon, and a representative from Patrick Quinn's campaign. The Quinn / Durbin endorsement choice was the major issue of the board. Durbin ultimately got the endorsement despite Dr. Quentin Young's eloquent speech in favor of Quinn.[3]

Citizen Action "champion"

In 2009, Citizen Action/Illinois thanked the members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation, "in particular our champions Senator Durbin and Representative Schakowsky, for their tireless efforts in leading the health care bill in Washington D.C.

We will continue our efforts to ensure that 2010 will mark a turning point in our country’s 100 year battle to make quality and affordable health care a reality for all Americans.[4]

Opposed Iraq War

Six of the eight U.S. Senators from the four upper Midwest states voted against the resolution to authorize force against Iraq, all of them Democrats or progressive Democrats: Mark Dayton and Paul Wellstone (Minn.), Russ Feingold (Wis.), Dick Durbin (Ill.), and Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow (Mich.).

Sen. Wellstone, the only member of the Senate voting "Nay" who was facing election that fall, died in a plane crash just prior to the 2002 election; his seat was taken by Republican Norm Coleman. But Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin, a Democrat, joined the war resistance a year later by voting against the $87 billion supplemental appropriation for the Iraq War.[5]

Save Our Security Illinois Coalition

In 2005, left opposition to Social Security privatization was organized in Illinois around the Save Our Security Illinois Coalition, which included Chicago Democratic Socialists of America. The Coalition’s first action in Illinois was a 90-person picket line outside the downtown Chicago offices of the Charles Schwab brokerage, a major advocate of privatization. A town hall meeting, with an overflow crowd of 400, on February 28 at Loyola University’s Water Tower campus featured Senators Richard Durbin and Barack Obama and Representative Jan Schakowsky. There was also a major rally in April.[6]


In 2005 the DREAM Act, a narrowly tailored, bipartisan measure that Dick Durbin sponsored with Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN), would permit undocumented students to become permanent residents if they came to the US as children, are long-term U.S. residents, have good moral character, and attend college or enlist in the military for at least two years.[7]

Supporting Coalition of Immokalee Workers

Rep. John Conyers, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (speaking) and Sen. Dick Durbin, joined by AFL-CIO President John Sweeney (second from left) gathered in the shadow of the Capitol building in Washington, DC, March 13th 2008

In March 2008, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers' petition drive to end sweatshop conditions in Florida's tomato fields received a warm welcome in Washington, DC. Senator Dick Durbin joined Senator Bernie Sanders, Representatives Dennis Kucinich and John Conyers, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney and representatives from dozens of human rights, religious, labor, and student organizations joined the CIW's call to end sweatshops and slavery in the fields.

Senator Sanders decried the "desperate conditions, conditions that in some cases are so extreme that even the Bush Administration has brought slavery charges," in Florida's fields, and announced that a hearing into those conditions is scheduled for April 15th.

Senator Durbin announced that a letter had been sent to "seven companies -- Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Winn-Dixie Stores Inc., Kroger Co., Publix, Safeway Inc., US Food Service, Supervalu Inc., and Sysco Corp. -- asking them to join McDonald's and Yum Brands in the extra penny a pound program."[8]

Support for Barack Obama

Dick Durbin and Barack Obama

Durbin has a long and close relationship with Barack Obama.

Speaking alongside Obama at Labor Event

On March 3rd 2007, Barack Obama was a featured speaker at a meeting of labor unionists in the Hyatt Regency Chicago Loop Grand Ballroom[9].

Speaking in a vernacular and cadence that showed the Harvard Law School and Columbia University trained Barack Obama can connect with working class people, the third year U. S. Senator wowed and energized a mostly labor union crowd of about 1600 supporters this morning...

The event attracted some of Labor’s big hitters to join Obama on the dais and speak, including John Sweeney, President of the AFL-CIO and Gerald McEntee, President of AFSCME. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky [D-Evanston, 9th CD], an early and big-time supporter of Obama’s in the 2004 Senate Primary and Senator Dick Durbin [D-IL] also spoke...

Eight other individuals spoke at the rally, including local labor leaders and health care workers, as well as a local favorite for liberals, Dr. Quentin Young.

Cong. Jan Schakowsky [D-Evanston, 9th CD]: … Employers can intimidate, fire, threaten to move people from the day shift to the graveyard...it is a new day in our nation’s capital, it’s a new day for Resurrection workers and their friends, it’s a new day for immigrant workers, it’s a new day for all our working Americans who dream of the justice that ONLY the Union Movement can deliver. And, to the doubters I say, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Just wait until we have a Labor Department under President Barack Obama.

Of those speaking with Obama, John Sweeney and Quentin Young are confirmed Democratic Socialists of America members. Gerald McEntee is a reported member and Jan Schakowsky has been a member. Only Dick Durbin has no known DSA ties.

Sponsoring Barack Obama

From The Activist

Chicago activist Adrian Bleifuss Prados, of Democratic Socialists of America youth wing, the Young Democratic Socialists wrote on their blog The Activist January 29, 2008;

Barack has some real left-wing street cred in Chicago. He is probably the only person running for president who could identify, say, Antonio Gramsci, and that should count for something shouldn’t it?
He has often attacked for being less outspoken than the Senior Senator from Illinois, Dick Durbin, but Obama actually takes his cues from Durbin who, along with DSA-friendly Jan Schakowsky, has been his main political sponsor.

Obama for America, National Co-Chair

February 22, 2012, Obama for America, announced the selection of the campaign’s National Co-Chairs, a diverse group of leaders from around the country committed to re-electing President Obama. The co-chairs will serve as ambassadors for the President, advise the campaign on key issues, and help engage and mobilize voters in all 50 states.

Senator Dick Durbin – U.S. Senator from Illinois , was on the list.[10]

Crossroads Fund

In 2007, Dick Durbin was an honorary host for the 25th Anniversary of the Crossroads Fund.[11] The fund, founded in 1981 supports community organizations working on "issues of social and economic justice" in the Chicago area.

Delivered Greeting from Obama to Timuel Black

In December 2008, Timuel Black celebrated his 90th birthday on Chicago's south side;

The Checkerboard Lounge on Chicago's south side, was jumping last night as a couple of hundred of us celebrated Tim Black's 90th birthday. The party was organized by Tim's wife Zenobia and the Chicago Jazz Institute.

Congressman Bobby Rush hailed Timuel Black as the movement's "field marshal" and the crowd, "including politicians, community leaders and educators all joined in a rollicking version of Happy Birthday To Ya."

Chicago jazz legends, including Willie Pickens, Corey Wilkes, and Jimmy Ellis, entertained the crowd. But the high point of the evening was Sen. Dick Durbin's reading of a personal birthday greeting from the President-elect himself.

I wish I could be with you all in person today to celebrate the life of a dedicated teacher and one of the preeminent oral historians of our time, a man who keeps the soul of the South Side alive and shares his stories still, Professor Tim Black.
The Great Migration brought his family to Chicago's South Side, and the Great Depression started him down the long path of social justice. As a student at Burke Elementary School, he'd often walk across the street to hear the orators in Washington Park argue with passion for jobs that pay a fair wage, for protections to keep workers safe, for an economy that would allow families to live in dignity and dream of a brighter future.Little did they know among their greatest lasting impacts would be the achievements of the man we honor today.
Like my grandfather, he joined the army as a fresh-faced young man in World War II. And like my great uncle, he helped liberate the Buchenwald concentration camp. It was a moment that left a mark on this man; that left no doubt as to his destiny.He returned convinced by his life experiences that the greatest impact he could make on the next generation would be to teach our youth about their communities, about the world they live in, and about how to be responsible citizens of each.
For forty years, he shaped our young men and women into those citizens. And though he may have retired from the teaching profession nearly two decades ago, he never stopped being a teacher. We are all his students in a classroom that never closes.
Because of Professor Black, jazz has a place to call home in Chicago. Because of Professor Black, the rich and vibrant chronicles of Bronzeville and the greater South Side live on. Because of Professor Black, generations of youth have grown up with a better appreciation of their neighborhoods and the history they inherit.
The man we honor today grew up in the midst of Depression and war, yet considers himself part of a fortunate generation. And he's made it his life's mission to give each successive generation every possible chance in this world.
"I never lose hope," he once said. "I believe that I have responsibilities to help younger people to obtain hopes and dreams. Their present condition may be very discouraging; my aim is to help them regain a sense of hope for the future. My main interest is in building a better America, building a better world."
Tim, for your birthday, I promise you this: that will always be my mission too. Thank you for a life well-lived. I wish you all the best for the stories you've yet to tell.
Happy Birthday,
Barack Obama

Working with communist Bea Lumpkin

Durbin has a working relationship with senior Chicago Communist Party USA member Bea Lumpkin.

Cooperating on drug program

On May 3, 2004 Sen. Dick Durbin cautioned seniors against rushing to buy one of the dozens of new discount drug cards available to Medicare recipients.

"Frankly, as soon as you sign up and pay your fee, you're stuck for a year," the Springfield Democrat said during a news conference at a Chicago pharmacy with two other members of the Illinois congressional delegation. "What may look like an appealing discount for a drug right now might, in fact, disappear in the next week."

Also joining Durbin was Chicago Congressman Rahm Emanuel, a Democrat who advocates the re-importation of cheaper drugs from Canada, and Bea Lumpkin of the Illinois Alliance for Retired Americans. All agreed that Illinoisans may be better off using a new state program that offers drug discounts to people 65 and older and the disabled.[12]

Nursing home rally

Dick Durbin and author at Alliance for Retired Americans rally against privatizing Social Security, 2009

In 2008, Communist Party USA member Bea Lumpkin was elected state secretary of Illinois Alliance for Retired Americans. The ARA was leading the fight for higher standards for nursing homes and home care. In 2009 she appeared at a press conference with Senator Dick Durbin to protest cuts in federal aid to nursing homes.[13]

Supported by Council for a Livable World

The Council for a Livable World, founded in 1962 by long-time socialist activist and alleged Soviet agent, Leo Szilard, is a non-profit advocacy organization that seeks to "reduce the danger of nuclear weapons and increase national security", primarily through supporting progressive, congressional candidates who support their policies. The Council supported Dick Durbin in his successful Senate run as candidate for Illinois.[14]

2014 endorsement

The Council wrote of Durbin;

During his time in Congress, Durbin has built up impressive progressive credentials on national security issues. In 2002 and 2003, he questioned the Bush administration’s intelligence on Iraq, and was eventually was one of 23 Senators to vote against the Iraq war.
Between 2009 and 2012, Sen. Durbin accrued a perfect 100% on the Council for a Livable World’s Senate voting scorecard. He has supported the Council’s position on a number of issues related to arms control and national security. Notably, Durbin voted to ratify the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia, as well as to accelerate the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
In addition to his national security record, Durbin has been a leader on other progressive priorities. He has been active on immigration reform and is a vocal supporter of the DREAM Act. Durbin also supports stronger financial regulation, and worked with Sen. Elizabeth Warren to establish the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
In 2008, the Council endorsed Senator Durbin in his bid for reelection against Republican challenger Steve Sauerberg. Among other issues, the candidates clashed over the future of the US war in Iraq, with Sauerberg calling for an extended troop presence and Durbin espousing a “systematic, sensible withdrawal.” In the end, Sen. Durbin's long history serving Illinois in Congress propelled him to victory.
In January 2013, Sen. Durbin was named chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense. In this capacity, he is tasked with overseeing the Durbin has vowed to pursue a defense budgeting policy that “will make us safer and not cost us so much money.”

Senator Durbin has been one of the Senate’s most important proponents of a progressive agenda. We’re pleased to support this effective leader for reelection in 2014.[15]

Fair Elections Now Act

In 2010 Senator Maria Cantwell signed on as a Senate co-sponsor of the Fair Elections Now Act (FENA), S.752 - joining Senator Dick Durbin (original sponsor) and other Senate colleagues for a total of nine.

In the Senate, others were Sens. Barbara Boxer, Chris Dodd, Russ Feingold, Kirsten Gillibrand, Tom Harkin, John Kerry, and Arlen Specter. [16]

NEXT AGENDA Conference

NEXT AGENDA was held at the National Press Club, Main Ballroom, Feb. 28,2001.

At Feb. 28 Conference on NEXT AGENDA, progressive activists, Congressional leaders will unite to forge strategy for "working families" agenda -- the day after President Bush delivers his plans to joint session of Congress.
-- Calling themselves the real "democratic majority," organizers and thinkers, led by the Campaign for America's Future, to release new book outlining an agenda for changes they insist most voters endorsed in 2000 elections.
On Feb. 28, a national conference on the NEXT AGENDA, will bring together progressive activists, intellectuals and allies in the Congress for the first time since the disputed election and battles over President Bush's cabinet nominees. It will frame the next two year's debate.
Sponsored by the progressive advocacy group, the Campaign for America's Future and its sister research organization, the Institute for America's Future, the Conference on the Next Progressive Agenda has been endorsed by a who's who of prominent leaders from the labor unions, women's organizations, civil rights groups, environmentalists and individual members of the House and Senate. Their goal: to forge a progressive movement to fight for the "working family" agenda they insist was endorsed by a majority of the voters in the 2000 election.

Organizers of the conference would release a new book, THE NEXT AGENDA: Blueprint for a New Progressive Movement, edited by Robert Borosage and Roger Hickey and published by Westview Press.

MC: Cong. Barney Frank


America's Future Now!

Dick Durbin was one of the 148 speakers who addressed the 2010 America's Future Now Conference. The Conference was hosted by the Institute for Policy Studies, and Democratic Socialists of America dominated Campaign for America's Future, and held from June 7 - 9 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, 2500 Calvert Street, Washington D.C.[18][19]

Quoting IPS report


Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Senate Majority Whip, spoke about the Institute for Policy Studies Executive Excess report during a floor speech about how corporate accountability can help the U.S. overcome the current economic crisis.[20]

The 2011 Executive Excess report continues to make waves among members of the media and decision-makers in Congress. This time, Senator Durbin, a progressive democrat from Illinois, took to the Senate floor to highlight some of the findings of the report. He particularly zeroed in on General Electric, which has highlighted in the report as one of the top ten most creative tax-dodgers.

Hi IPS rating

In 2012 “Congressional Report Card for the 99 Percent" , the Institute for Policy Studies examined 40 different legislation actions in the House and Senate—votes and legislation introduced—to ascertain the real allegiances of sitting members of Congress. These include votes to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, levy a Wall Street speculation tax, invest in infrastructure, and protect workers and student financial aid.

The Report Card also graded politicians for their commitment to reducing inequality and boosting the 99 percent. The report’s “Honor Roll” gave an A-plus grade to 5 members of the U.S. Senate, including Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Al Franken (D-MN), Bernie Sanders (VT-I), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).[21]

Progressive bridge

Campaign for America's Future leader Robert Borosage boasts of close relationship with top Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Dick Durbin.

"I'd say we are the bridge," Borosage said. "We are attuned to the grassroots and in touch with the progressive leadership in Congress."[22]

Nancy Pelosi Award

The Honorable Dick Durbin, , was the Featured Speaker and recipient of the inaugural Nancy Pelosi Award for Immigration and Civil Rights Policy, at the 23rd Phillip Burton Immigration & Civil Rights Awards – , May 31, 2013, from the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, in the Bay Area.[23]


Miller owns a residence in Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C. and rents rooms to other members of the U.S. House and Senate. As of April 2010, his tenant housemates are Senators Chuck Schumer and Dick Durbin and Representative Bill Delahunt. Miller purchased the residence in 1977, and his past housemates have included former Representatives Marty Russo, Leon Panetta and Sam Gejdenson.

Radical Affiliations

Guy Molyneux

Dick Durbin has contracted Guy Molyneux who is a partner with Hart Research Associates. Molyneux has carried out survey and focus group research projects for a wide variety of nonprofit organizations, government agencies, political candidates, labor unions, and media organizations.[24]

Guy Molyneux has been heavily involved with Democratic Socialists of America, speaking at the organization's second National Convention, in Berkeley California in October 1983.[25] In 1986 he was National Executive Director and National Office Contact for the Feminist Commission of the organization.[26] By 1987 Guy Molyneux was Organizational Director of the DSA.[27]

Carol Harwell

Carol Harwell has been a political activist for over 25 years. She has worked in many campaigns including: 1st ward coordinator - Harold Washington, Mayor 83 - 87; office manager - Danny Davis alderman, commissioner and congressman; campaign manager - Sam Burrell, alderman; campaign manger - Barbara McGowan, commissioner; campaign manager - Barack Obama, state senator; deputy campaign manager - Dick Durbin, U.S. Senator; volunteer coordinator - David Orr, county clerk.[28]

Campaign Contributions

Council for a Livable World

The Council for a Livable World has supported Dick Durbin.[14]

Planned Parenthood

Durbin received $1000 in lobbying funds from Planned Parenthood in 2008.[citation needed]

George Soros

Dick Durbin has received personal campaign contributions from George Soros, founder of the Open Society Institute.[citation needed]


The following have worked as staff members for Dick Durbin:[29]

External links


  1. About Durbin
  2. Committees
  3. Rallying the Troops in Peoria: Illinois Public Action Convention, New Ground 44, January - February, 1996
  4. [Cit action annual report, 2009]
  5. [ http://milwaukee.indymedia.org/en/2005/04/203117.shtml, correction, http://watchdogmilwaukee.com, 01.04.2005 14:43], indymedia]
  6. Democratic Left • Spring 2005, pages 14,15
  7. Dick Durbin website, ,May 25, 2006, Comprehensive Immigration Reform Legislation Approved By Senate
  8. New Ground, 117, march/April 2008
  9. http://jeffberkowitz.blogspot.com/2007/03/barack-obama-watch-todays-labor-rally.html
  11. Crossroads fund 2007 Annual Report page 33
  12. Jan Schakowsky website, Durbin Cautions Seniors About Medicare Cards, by Mike Ramsey - Copley News ServiceMay 3, 2004
  13. [Joy in the Struggle, Bea Lumpkin, page 233]
  14. 14.0 14.1 CLW website: Who We've Helped Elect
  15. CLW 2014 endorsement, accessed July, 2013
  16. WashBlog, Free Speech for People moves forward in Washington State, By chadlupkes, Thu Feb 04, 2010
  17. [http://www.commondreams.org/news2001/0226-05.htm, Common Dreams, Morning After Bush's Speech, Progressive Activists to Unite Feb. 28 for Conference on 'Working Family' Agenda, WASHINGTON - February 26 - News Advisory]
  18. Our Future website: Take Back America 2010 Speakers (accessed on July 12, 2010)
  19. Our Future website: Take Back America 2010 Registration (accessed on July 12, 2010)
  20. IPS website, Sen. Durbin Floor Speech on IPS CEO Pay Report [VIDEO September 9, 2011 · By Matias Ramos]
  21. [http://www.yesmagazine.org/new-economy/a-voting-guide-for-the-99, Yes!blog, Lawmakers Get Graded on Equality Record, by Chuck Collins posted Oct 09, 2012]
  22. Meet the Left's Grover Norquist January 8, 2013
  23. Immigrant Legal Resource Center, 23rd Phillip Burton Immigration & Civil Rights Awards
  24. Hart Research bio, accessed April 8th, 2013
  25. DSA Conference delegate list Oct. 12 1983 update
  26. 1986 DSA Feminist Commission Directory
  27. DSA letterhead April 28 1987
  28. http://www.zoominfo.com/people/Harwell_Carol_526895552.aspx
  29. Legistorm: Dick Durbin (accessed on Aug. 24, 2011)