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The U.S. Senate

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

photo: Senator Daschle

Alumni, friends, and guests gathered to hear Senators Tom Daschle and Byron Dorgan discuss the fundamentals of American Government, and explore the reasons for deadlock in the legislative branch. Moderated by Associated Press' Political Editor, Liz Sidoti, the Senators carefully examined and explained how the Senate operates, and current challenges to progress including immigration and gun control. This insider's perspective of the U.S. Senate gave great context to today's current political challenges.

photo: Brademas

Video: The U.S. Senate

Guest Speakers

Senator Daschle has participated in the development and debate of almost every major public policy issue of the last three decades. In 1978, he was elected to the US House of Representatives, where he served for eight years. In 1986, he was elected to the US Senate and was chosen as Senate Democratic Leader in 1994. Senator Daschle is one of the longest serving Senate Democratic leaders in history and the only one to serve twice as both Majority and Minority Leader. During his tenure, Senator Daschle navigated the Senate through some of its most historic economic and national security challenges. In 2003, he chronicled some of these experiences in his book, Like No Other Time: The 107th Congress and the Two Years That Changed America Forever.

Since leaving the Senate, Senator Daschle has remained an active and learned voice among policy-makers. He has distinguished his experience in health care through the publication of Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis and, more recently, Getting It Done, a close-up look at the 2009 passage of health care reform legislation. Senator Daschle has also emerged as a leading thinker on climate change and renewable energy policy, provides clients with insightful analysis to financial services reform and telecommunication issues as well as international trade and tax developments.

In 2007, Senator Daschle joined with former Majority Leaders George Mitchell, Bob Dole and Howard Baker to create the Bipartisan Policy Center, an organization dedicated to finding common ground on some of the pressing public policy challenges of our time. Senator Daschle serves on the board of the Center for American Progress and the National Democratic Institute and is a member of the Council of Foreign Relations. He also is a member of the Health Policy and Management Executive Council at the Harvard School of Public Health as well as a member of the Global Policy Advisory Council for the Health Worker Migration Initiative.

Born in Aberdeen, South Dakota, Senator Daschle attended South Dakota State University, graduating in 1969. He then served for three years as an intelligence officer in the US Air Force Strategic Command. Following his military service, he spent five years as an aide to South Dakota Senator James Abourezk.

Senator Dorgan served in the US Senate leadership for 14 years, first as Assistant Democratic Floor Leader and then as Chairman of the Democratic Policy Committee. He has had a prolific career in public service at both the state and federal levels. He served as the elected State Tax Commissioner for the state of North Dakota for over 10 years. He served 12 years in the US House of Representatives and 18 years in the US Senate.

Over the course of his career in public office, Senator Dorgan consistently promoted and defended the economic needs of rural America, advocated for renewable energy and energy independence, and for sound economic policies. He was a senior senator on the Appropriations, Energy, and Commerce Committees in the Senate and chairman of key subcommittees on aviation, energy, water, and Indian issues. He served on the Ways and Means Committee in the House. He is recognized as a leader in energy, aviation, agriculture, water, economic, and Indian issues.

Senator Dorgan received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of North Dakota in 1965 and went on to earn his Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Denver.

His book "Take This Job and Ship It: How Corporate Greed and Brain-Dead Politics Are Selling Out America" was published in 2006.


Liz Sidoti is the political editor in Washington for The Associated Press. She led AP’s coverage of the historic 2008 presidential contest. In her current role, she leads a team of political reporters in Washington and guides national coverage by AP's network of journalists in every state capital. A former Ohio statehouse reporter for the AP, she’s responsible for leveraging that unique 50-state resource to ensure the AP breaks political news, conveys the electorate's changing mood and explains issues that matter to voters. Above all, she will ensure that the AP provides clarity during an election that will affect every American. She has covered national politics for the AP since 2003. She was named chief national political writer in 2009, becoming the AP's lead reporter covering national campaigns while tracking political trends in federal, state and local governments and in the country at large. She is a veteran of two presidential campaigns—in 2004 and 2008—and two midterm congressional campaigns—in 2006 and 2010. She was a White House reporter for the AP covering President Barack Obama's first six months in office, and also spent 18 months reporting from Congress on national security and foreign affairs issues. She joined the AP in Cincinnati in 1999, and spent four years covering the Ohio Statehouse and politics. Prior to AP, she did reporting stints at The Columbus Dispatch, The Repository in Canton, Ohio, and the Record-Courier in Portage County, Ohio. A native of Kent, Ohio, Sidoti has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Ohio University.

photo: Liz Sidoti
Image: The U.S. Senate

The U.S. Senate is the second book in the Fundamentals of American Government civics series, exploring the innerworkings of this important part of the legislative branch. As with Selecting a President, this book is written for all audiences, but voiced toward high school seniors and college freshmen—or any citizen interested in a concise yet authoritative exploration of this representative entity. Written by former Senator Tom Daschle, and co-written by acclaimed journalist Charles Robbins, this compelling and digestible book carefully examines and explains exactly how the Senate operates. From its electoral process to voting procedure, historic beginnings to modern day issues—there is no area of this governmental body left unrevealed. Told with an insider's perspective there is not a more defining or easily accessible compendium detailing the U.S. Senate.

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