Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Richard Joseph Durbin (born November 21, 1944) is a Democratic American politician. He currently is the senior U.S. Senator from Illinois and is now Democratic Whip, the second highest position in the party leadership in the Senate.
Durbin graduated from Assumption High School in East St. Louis in 1962. He earned a B.S. from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in 1966. He served as an intern in the office of Illinois Senator Paul Douglas during his senior year in college. Durbin earned his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 1969 and was admitted to the Illinois bar later that year.
Durbin was chairman of the Illinois delegation in 1996. Also in 1996, he became the Democratic candidate for the Senate to replace the retiring Democratic incumbent, Paul Simon — the man that Durbin has called his mentor. The two men had been associated before; while Simon was Lieutenant Governor of Illinois, Durbin was his legal counsel. Durbin won the election and was easily elected to a second term in 2002.
Durbin has a relatively liberal voting record on most issues. Among his legislative causes are asbestos regulation and environmental protection, particularly the protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
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