Issue One mourns the loss of former Senator David Durenberger (R-MN), an active member of Issue One’s ReFormers Caucus, a bipartisan coalition of more than 200 former members of Congress, governors, and Cabinet secretaries united to fix America’s broken political system.
Senator Durenberger passed away on January 31 at his home. He was 88 years old.
After graduating from St. John’s University in central Minnesota in 1955, Durenberger worked as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Army, and he continued to serve as a captain in the Army Reserve until 1963. He began his career as a lawyer in 1959, after obtaining a law degree from the University of Minnesota. With the election of one of the firm’s partners as governor in 1966, Durenberger became the governor’s chief of staff.
Durenberger was elected to the U.S. Senate in a special election in 1978 and continued representing Minnesota in the Senate until 1995.
Durenberger was known as a political moderate with expertise in health care, foreign affairs, and environmental issues. One of the bills that he championed was the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. He also helped draft legislation to reduce acid rain and implement health care reforms. He also served as the chair of the Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence for two years in the mid-1980s. He viewed bipartisanship as key to legislative successes in the Senate and worked to build relationships with senators both to his left and his right.
Following his Senate career, he founded the Institute of Health Policy at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. In 2016, Durenberger received the Hubert H. Humphrey Public Leadership Award to honor his bipartisan efforts in solving challenging public policy issues.
Issue One thanks Senator Durenberger for his commitment to cross partisan bridge-building and his service to the country and to the ReFormers Caucus. He will be greatly missed.