Let’s Get to Know The Second Highest Ranking Senator
Dick, Richard Joseph Durbin, has been a Senator since 1977. What do you know about this long-serving Senator’s early life and what led him into politics? Are you familiar with his broader family including his parents? You may even be familiar with some of the political controversies that plagued the senator during his career. Spend long enough in politics and even Snow White would attract some controveries.
Senator Richard J. Durbin isn’t just one of the most powerful—and down-to-earth–political leaders in the United States, he is the 47th Senator for the State of Illinois. Even though the Senator’s Lithuanian roots are not common knowledge, he is our #1 claim to fame as Springfield Lithuanian-Americans, and one of Lithuania’s best friends in Washington.
Senator Durbin’s Early Life
Dick was born on 21st November, 1944 in Springfield Illinois, thus making him 77 years of age as of writing in 2021. His parents are an Irish-American father, William Durbin, and mother Anna Durbin (Ona Kutkait) who was born in Jurbarkas, Lithuania in 1909.
His parents worked on the railroad in St. Louis, his father as a night watchman enabling them to send their son to Assumption Catholic High School.
The Senator’s maternal grandmother together with his mother immigrated to East St. Louis when Anna was 2 years of age to join his grandfather Kutin, and they were accompanied by her Aunt and Uncle.
Dick Durbin was just 14 years old when his father died of lung cancer, so sadly would never see his son become the most powerful politicians but also the Democratic Party Whip.
Where does the expression “Whip” originate from? Interestingly both parties in the Senate elect whips. This unusual term comes from fox-hunting the expression meaning “whipper-in”. Whipper-in referred to member of a hunting team who were responsible for the dogs, their job was to keep them from straying during a chase.
Early 20th century saw the development of party whips and this coincided with the evolution of party leaders in the Senate. Nowadays whips are mainly responsible for counting heads and rounding up party members for votes and quorum calls. Traditionally serving as assistant and occasionally stand in forthe majority or minority leaders in their absence.
Dick Durbin went on to graduate from Assumption High School, East St. Louis, Illinos in 1962. Assumption High School proudly know as “The Home of Pioneers”.
His further education saw him attend Georgetown University and to receive both B.S., 1966 and J.D., in 1969.
Later the Senator received Honorary Degrees from various institutions.
These Honorary Degrees included Millikin University, 1994, Lincoln College, 1997 and in 2003 Illinois Institute of Technology.
Dick Durbin’s Marriage & Family
Dick Durbin is married to Loretta Schaefer Durbin. They married on the 24th June 1967 and as at June 2021 have been married for 54 years.
Loretta Schaeffer Durbin
Dick Durbin’s wife for Loretta Schaeffer was assistant for two Democratic lawmakers from 1985 to 1994 where she worked for the Illinois Commission on Intergovernmental Co-operation. This position included tracking federal funds and legislation.
Loretta was also involved in starting the Illinois Women’s Institute for Leadership around the early 20th Century.
Loretta began lobbying in 1998 however she retired 16 years later in 2014 at the age of 68.
Loretta formed the Government Affairs Consulting, LLC in 2012.
She was a partner in Government Affairs Specialists, Inc. (GASI) being a bi-artisan lobbying firm that lobbied the legislature for 10 years in Illinois.
Even though the Dick and Loretta Durbin faced accusations of conflict during her time as a lobbyist, the couple maintains that they always avoided conflicts of interest.
Loretta went on to say “We were never asked to do any federal lobbying, and we never did”.
Christine Ann Durbin
Chris Durbin the eldest child of Dick and Loretta Durbin died of congenital heart condition at age 40 on the 1st November 1968. Chris had fought a life long battle with heart disease wand she was taken by complications associated with this.
Chris was married to Marty Johnson and she also leaves behind Alex their son.
A successful lady she worked for 16 years for the Department of Agriculture’s emerging markets division based in Washington.
Jennifer was born in 1969.
Not a lot out there on Jennifer, she is the second born of Loretta and Dick Durbin.
Dick and Loretta Youngest child Paul was born in 1971 and works for Miller Canfield in Chicago, as a lawyer.
Dick and Loretta are grandchildren to Alex, Ona and Floyd.
Dick Durbin Bio
Date of Birth November 21st, 1944, making the Senator 77 years of age in November 2021.
1.77cm or 5 ‘ 10 ”
Dick’s net worth has been reported as $3mil with an annual salary of $135,000,
The Senator Dick Durbin is Roman Catholic belonging to the congregation of Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. Dick was once barred from receiving communion as he voted against the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act
He no longer attends the Springfield church as be does not want a scene, and continues to practice his faith attending Old Saint Patrick’s church in Chicago.
Richard (Dick ) Joseph Durbin is a Lawyer, Author, Politician.
Dick first practiced law in his hometown of Springfield Illinois in the position of legal counsel for Lt. Gov. Paul Simon.
He also taught at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.
Dick Durbin firstly ran for office in 1976 and lost and also lost a bid for the Illinois Senate.
He ran for Lieutenant governor in 1978 and also lost.
Won a seat in the House of Representatives in 1982.
In 1994 he became the Senate’s Minority Whip and the Majority Whip in 2006 when the Democrats took control of Congress in 2006.
Dick became Democratic nominee in 1996.
He Chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee and also the Senate Majority Whip and is the first person to hold both positions at the same time.
Richard Joseph Durbin holds the office until 2027.
Dick once joked that Abraham Lincoln was Jewish by saying “his name was Abraham and he was shot in the temple”. This was an old gag which received a laugh when the Jewish federal Judge Abraham Lincoln Marowitz happened to tell it, however was not received well when Dick told it at the 2005 dedication of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield.
He commented by saying that Lincoln had a sense of humor and he absolutely did not in anyway mean any disrespect to Judge Marowitz.
As stated by Dick Durbin “I did nothing in terms of securing the money,” The time he insisted he had no hand in securing federal funding received by 10 clients of the lobbying business of his wife, Loretta, even though his office announced the grants.
Dick and Loretta have said they had always taken great pains to keep the interests apart.
“a very poor choice of words” a statement he made in answer to his comment about Guantanamo Bay and US treatment of prisoners.
Then there is the time Dick Durbin changed his mind on abortion. Being and opponent of abortion rights at the time he was elected to U.S. House back in 1982 and then in 1989 he changed his mind.
Dick said after he met a victim of incest and a woman who became pregnant in a gang rape and this experience. With this change of thinking and evolving position he became a more electable candidate statewide.
Following Video of Senator Dick Durbin
After the gun violence in America, Senator Dick Durbin stated “What are we doing other than praying”
Durbin Photo Gallery
Springfield, Illinois, U.S. Richard Joseph Durbin (born November 21, 1944) is an American attorney and politician serving as the senior United States senator from Illinois, a seat he was first elected to in 1996.
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