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Tom Daschle

Distinguished Senior Fellow

Tom Daschle

Former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD) is the Chair of the Center for American Progress Board of Directors. He previously served as the Senate majority leader and 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 U.S. House of Representatives, where he served for eight years. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1986 and was chosen as Senate Democratic leader in 1994. Sen. Daschle was one of the longest serving Senate Democratic leaders in history and the only to serve twice as both majority and minority leader. During his tenure, Sen. Daschle navigated the Senate through some of its most historic economic and national security challenges. He chronicles his experiences and explores the inner workings of the legislative branch in his books Like No Other Time: The 107th Congress and the Two Years That Changed America Forever and The U.S. Senate: Fundamentals of American Government.

Since leaving the Senate, Sen. Daschle has remained an active and learned voice among policymakers. He has distinguished his experience in health care through the publication of Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis and Getting It Done: How Obama and Congress Finally Broke the Stalemate to Make Way for Health Care Reform. Sen. Daschle has also emerged as a leading thinker on climate change, food security, and renewable energy policy. Sen. Daschle currently serves as a senior policy advisor in DLA Piper’s government affairs practice and a senior advisor to the organization’s global board. He provides clients with strategic public policy advice on a wide range of international and economic issues.

Sen. Daschle joined with former Majority Leaders George Mitchell (D-ME), Bob Dole (R-KS), and Howard Baker (R-TN) in 2007 to create the Bipartisan Policy Center, an organization dedicated to finding common ground on some of the pressing public policy challenges of our time. Sen. Daschle serves as chair of the DuPont Advisory Committee on Agriculture Innovation and Productivity and a member of the National Democratic Institute board, the BP Tangguh Independent Advisory Panel, the Council of Foreign Relations, and the Health Policy and Management Executive Council at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Born in Aberdeen, South Dakota, Sen. Daschle graduated from South Dakota State University in 1969. He then served for three years as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Air Force Strategic Command. Following his military service, he spent five years as an aide to South Dakota Sen. James Abourezk (D-SD). After leaving the Senate in 2005, Sen. Daschle joined Alston & Bird LLP as a special policy advisor.

He is married to Linda Hall Daschle and has three children and five grandchildren.