David Durenberger

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
David Durenberger
United States Senator
from Minnesota
In office
November 8, 1978 – January 3, 1995
Preceded by Muriel Humphrey
Succeeded by Rod Grams
Personal details
Born David Ferdinand Durenberger
(1934-08-19) August 19, 1934 (age 81)
St. Cloud, Minnesota
Political party Independent
(Republican while in office)
Spouse(s) Judy Durenberger, deceased
Susan B. Foote
Alma mater Saint John's University
University of Minnesota Law School
Military service
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1956–1963

David Ferdinand Durenberger (born August 19, 1934) is an American politician and a former Republican member of the U.S. Senate from Minnesota.

Early life[edit]

Durenberger was born in St. Cloud, Minnesota, the son of Isabelle Marie (Cebulla) and George Gephard Durenberger.[1] He is of German and Polish descent.[2] Durenberger graduated first from Saint John's University and then from the University of Minnesota Law School, receiving his J.D. in 1959.[3] He served in the United States Army Reserve from 1956 to 1963.

U.S. Senate[edit]

On November 7, 1978, Durenberger was elected in a special election to complete the unexpired term of Senator Hubert Humphrey, whose position had temporarily been filled by Humphrey's wife Muriel. He was reelected in 1982 and again in 1988, serving from November 8, 1978, to January 3, 1995, in the 96th, 97th, 98th, 99th, 100th, 101st, 102nd and 103rd Congresses. He served as the chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence during the 99th Congress.

Senator Durenberger served as the senior U.S. Senator from Minnesota from 1978 to 1995, becoming the only Republican U.S. Senator from Minnesota to be elected to three terms. During his time in the Senate, Senator Durenberger served as chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence and chairman of the Health Subcommittee of the Senate Finance Committee, and was catapulted into leadership role in national health reform.

In addition, Senator Durenberger chaired the Intergovernmental Relations Subcommittee, led President Reagan’s New Federalism effort in 1982, and was a 14-year member of the Advisory Committee on Intergovernmental Relations. He was a member of the Senate Environment Committee; Government Affairs Committee; and the committee now known as the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee; and served as vice chair of the Pepper Commission in 1989-1990.

Senator Durenberger was Senate sponsor of the Medicare Catastrophic act, AHCPR (now AHRQ) voting rights for handicapped, Americans with Disabilities Act, President Bush’s 1000 Points of Light and President Clinton’s National and Community Service Act, National Service Learning, Consumer Choice Education act (charter schools authority, Safe Drinking Water Act, higher education Direct Lending Act, and Women’s Economic Equity Act.

Senator Durenberger chairs the National Institute of Health Policy (NIHP), and is a Senior Health Policy Fellow at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, MN. He serves on the board of National Coalition on HealthCare (www.nchc.org). He has also served on various national health commissions and boards, including the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission and Board of the National Commission on Quality Assurance (NCQA), Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured.


He did not run for reelection in 1994 and was succeeded by Rod Grams. In 1995 he pleaded guilty to charges of misuse of public funds while in office, and was sentenced to one year of probation.[4]

Post-Senate life[edit]

Durenberger gave an interview in 2005 on the Inside Minnesota Politics Podcast, stating that he is no longer a supporter of the Republican Party but is not a supporter of the Democratic Party either. He said in an interview with Peter Idusogie that Democrats are better equipped to handle health care and that President George W. Bush was wrong about the Iraq War.[5] In 2010, Durenberger endorsed his former chief of staff, Independence Party member Tom Horner, for governor.[6]

Durenberger currently sits on the Advisory Board for the Energy Literacy Advocates.

Personal papers[edit]

A collection of Durenberger's senatorial files documents Durenberger's three terms in the United States Senate, and is strongest in its documentation of the final term (1989–1995). The papers are perhaps most significant for the information they contain about his interest in, and legislative activities regarding, health policy and health care reform issues. [7]

Electoral history[edit]

  • 1978 race for U.S. Senate (special election)
    • David Durenberger (R), 62%
    • Bob Short (DFL), 35%
  • 1982 race for U.S. Senate
    • David Durenberger (R) (inc.), 53%
    • Mark Dayton (DFL), 47%
  • 1988 race for U.S. Senate


External links[edit]

United States Senate
Preceded by
Muriel Humphrey
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Minnesota
Served alongside: Wendell Anderson, Rudy Boschwitz, Paul Wellstone
Succeeded by
Rod Grams
Political offices
Preceded by
Barry Goldwater
Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee
Succeeded by
David L. Boren