Dick Durbin

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Dick Durbin

Dick Durbin is a Democratic member of the United States Senate, representing Illinois. Durbin was originally elected to his position in 1996 and was re-elected in 2002. He is the Assistant Majority Leader, or Majority Whip.

He is married to Loretta Schaefer Durbin. The two have three children and one grandchild and reside in Springfield.

Born in November 1944 in East St. Louis, Dick Durbin was raised in southern Illinois by parents who were active trade unionists. William Durbin, and a Lithuanian-born mother, Anna Durbin. He graduated from Assumption High School in East St. Louis in 1962. During his high school years he worked at a meatpacking plant. He earned a B.S. from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in 1966. He was an intern in the office of Senator Paul Douglas of Illinois 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.

After graduating from law school, Durbin started a law practice in Springfield. He was legal counsel to Lieutenant Governor Paul Simon from 1969 to 1972, and then legal counsel to the Illinois State Senate Judiciary Committee from 1972 to 1982. Durbin was an unsuccessful Democratic candidate for a seat in the Illinois State Senate in 1976.[2] He ran for Lieutenant Governor in 1978 as the running mate of State Superintendent of Schools Michael Bakalis. They were defeated by Republican incumbents Jim Thompson and Dave O'Neal. Durbin then worked as an adjunct professor at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine for five years while maintaining his law practice. He has been a Democratic U.S. Senator representing Illinois since 1996.

In 1999, Durbin was called "Legislator of the Year" by the American Public Health Association. In 2001, he received the American Medical Association's Dr. Nathan Davis Award for Outstanding Government Service.[1]

Elected to the U.S. Senate on November 5, 1996, and re-elected in 2002 and 2008, Durbin fills the seat left vacant by the retirement of his long-time friend and mentor, U.S. Senator Paul Simon.


  • Appropriations Committee
  • Chairman of the Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government
  • Agriculture, Rural Development Subcommittee
  • Defense Subcommittee
  • Legislative Branch Subcommittee
  • Transportation/HUD Subcommittee
  • Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education
  • Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations
  • Judiciary Committee
  • Chairman of the Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law
  • Subcommittee on the Constitution
  • Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Refugees
  • Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security
  • Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs
  • Rules and Administration[2]

CoC support in 1996 run

When Durbin first ran for the US Senate in 1996, he was supported by the Chicago chapter of Committees of Correspondence.

According to an undated memo from Chicago CoC co-chairs Sandy Patrinos and Mildred Williamson, on behalf of the Chicago Chapter Steering Committee;

Finally, the Steering Committee feels that the U.S. Senate race for the seat vacated by retiring Senator Paul Simon is important enough--and the difference between the candidates significant enough--to merit attention. Democrat Dick Durbin is the best hope to beat Al Salvi, a wealthy "pro-life" ultra right Republican...Polls show Durbin with a significant, but by no means secure lead...Please consider what you can do in the time remaining, to mobilize support for these quite different, but all important campaigns!

Tim Black's 90th birthday

In December 2008, Timuel Black celebrated his 90th birthday on Chicago's south side;

The Checkerboard Lounge on Chicago's south side, was jumping last night as a couple of hundred of us celebrated Tim Black's 90th birthday. The party was organized by Tim's wife Zenobia and the Chicago Jazz Institute.

Congressman Bobby Rush hailed Timuel Black as the movement's "field marshal" and the crowd, "including politicians, community leaders and educators all joined in a rollicking version of Happy Birthday To Ya."

Chicago jazz legends, including Willie Pickens, Corey Wilkes, and Jimmy Ellis, entertained the crowd. But the high point of the evening was Sen. Dick Durbin's reading of a personal birthday greeting from the President-elect himself.

Tribute to the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

January 18, 2013, City of Chicago Pays Tribute to the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dick Durbin, Timuel Black, Rahm Emmanuel

27th Annual Interfaith Breakfast Honors Chicagoan Timuel D. Black and Congressman John Lewis for their Lifetime of Service to Civil Rights

This morning, Mayor Rahm Emanuel was joined by Governor Pat Quinn and Senator Dick Durbin at the 27th Annual Interfaith Breakfast to honor and celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“There is much to celebrate on this Martin Luther King Day, but we cannot be satisfied with past successes, but must remember our own obligation to carry Dr. King’s mission forward,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Whether we are fighting for strong schools or safer streets, we must begin, as Dr. King began, with the belief ‘that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.’”

Dr. King’s life work represented a steadfast commitment to ensuring and advancing equality for all and the City of Chicago is honoring these ideals by recognizing Timuel D. Black, Jr. as the inaugural recipient of the City of Chicago Champion of Freedom Award for his work as an educator, activist and community leader in the Civil Rights movement.

Civil Rights hero and Congressman John Lewis of Georgia served as keynote speaker, reflecting upon his time as young man marching alongside Dr. King and the need to continue to champion the struggle of human rights in the United States, whether in Congress or in our communities.[3]

Tribute to Timuel D. Black, Jr.

by Senator Richard J. Durbin. Posted on 2017-10-03


DURBIN. Mr. President, sometimes, when I am asked to describe my politics, I say, ``I believe in the Gospel of Saints Paul--Paul the Apostle, Paul Douglas, Paul Simon, and Paul Wellstone.

Paul the Apostle was, of course, one of the most important figures in the history of the early Christian Church. Paul Douglas, Paul Simon, and Paul Wellstone were Members of this Senate and champions of human rights and human dignity.
This Friday, another champion of human rights and human dignity--Dr. Timuel Black--will honored by Citizen Action Illinois with its ninth annual Pauls Award, named for Paul Simon and Paul Wellstone.
I am lucky enough to have been friends with both Pauls--Simon and Wellstone. I am sure that they would have approved heartily of the decision to honor Dr. Black with an award bearing their names.

Dr. Timuel Black is a decorated World War II veteran, an educator, author, labor leader, civil rights activist, and historian--and a bender of the moral arc of the universe. He is a visionary and--for me and so many others--a personal hero.
Timuel Black was born in 1918, in Birmingham, AL--the son of a sharecropper and the grandson of slaves.
He was 8 months old when his family moved to Chicago--the first wave of the great migration of African Americans from the Deep South to the North. They settled in a part of town called the Black Belt, now known as Bronzeville.

He attended DuSable High School, a legendary all-Black public high school, where his classmates included Nat King Cole and John Johnson, who would go on to found Jet and Ebony magazines.

On his 23rd birthday, Japan bombed U.S. Navy ships at Pearl Harbor.
He served 2 years in a segregated U.S. Army. He participated in the Battle of the Bulge, the invasion of Normandy and the liberation of Paris, and he earned four battle stars.
He thought he had seen the worst of World War II--then he witnessed what had happened at Buchenwald, the Nazi concentration camp.
The horrors that he witnessed at that death camp changed his life.
For a time, he was filled with despair. Then he resolved to spend the rest of his life doing whatever he could to advance the causes of human rights and human dignity.

He returned to Chicago and earned an undergraduate degree from Roosevelt University and a master's degree from the University of Chicago.
He helped establish the Congress of Racial Equality. He also helped found a labor union that helped me work my way through college: the United Packinghouse Workers of America.
He began his professional career as a social worker, but he quickly discovered that his real love was ``teaching young men and women about the world they live in and how to be responsible citizens of that world. He spent more than 40 years as a teacher, including positions at DuSable and other Chicago public schools, as well as Roosevelt University, Columbia College Chicago and schools in the City Colleges of Chicago system.
Timuel Black was watching television in December 1955 when he saw ``this good-looking man in Montgomery, Alabama. He was so moved that he boarded a plane to meet him.

A year later, Tim Black convinced that young man to come to Chicago-- the first time Dr. Martin Luther King would speak in the city.
In 1963, Dr. Black helped organize the Freedom Trains that carried thousands of Chicagoans to hear Dr. King and others speak at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. He was there when Dr. King delivered his immortal ``I Have a Dream speech.
He was with Dr. King in 1966 when an angry mob jeered him in Chicago's Marquette Park neighborhood.

In 1983, Tim Black provided influential support to help elect another of his DuSable High School classmates, Harold Washington, the first African-American mayor of Chicago.
Some years later, a young community organizer who had just returned to Chicago with a Harvard law degree asked Professor Black to teach him about organizing people so they could create a better life for themselves and their children.
Over the years, Professor Black and that young organizer became good friends.
On January 20, 2009, it was my privilege to invite Professor Black and his incredible wife, Zenobia Johnson-Black, to be my guests as that community organizer swore an oath to become President of the United States of America--Barack Obama.
My friend, Paul Wellstone, had a beautiful definition of politics. He used to say: In the last analysis, politics is not predictions and politics is not observations. Politics is what we do. Politics is what we do, politics is what we create, by what we work for, by what we hope for and what we dare to imagine.
Dr. Timuel Black has witnessed injustice and inhumanity, but he has never stopped working to believe in a better world, and he has never stopped working to make that world a reality. He is a true inspiration, a Chicago treasure, and an American hero.[4]

IPA endorsement

As Chicago Democratic Socialists of America's representative to Illinois Public Action, Ron Baiman drove to Peoria for the IPA's 20th annual convention, held on the weekend of December 8th and 9th, 1995. Illinois Public Action is the Illinois affiliate of Citizen Action.

The conference had to choose between endorsing two candidates for the US Senate. They heard from Dick Durbin, the Congressman from the 20th District, endorsed by Paul Simon, and a representative from Patrick Quinn's campaign. The Quinn / Durbin endorsement choice was the major issue of the board. Durbin ultimately got the endorsement despite Dr. Quentin Young's eloquent speech in favor of Quinn.[5]

Midwest Academy


In 2009 Dick Durbin attended the Midwest Academy awards with Jan Schakowsky.

Citizen Action "champion"

In 2009, Citizen Action/Illinois thanked the members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation, "in particular our champions Senator Durbin and Representative Schakowsky, for their tireless efforts in leading the health care bill in Washington D.C.

We will continue our efforts to ensure that 2010 will mark a turning point in our country’s 100 year battle to make quality and affordable health care a reality for all Americans.[6]

Opposed Iraq War

Six of the eight U.S. Senators from the four upper Midwest states voted against the resolution to authorize force against Iraq, all of them Democrats or progressive Democrats: Mark Dayton and Paul Wellstone (Minn.), Russ Feingold (Wis.), Dick Durbin (Ill.), and Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow (Mich.).

Sen. Wellstone, the only member of the Senate voting "Nay" who was facing election that fall, died in a plane crash just prior to the 2002 election; his seat was taken by Republican Norm Coleman. But Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin, a Democrat, joined the war resistance a year later by voting against the $87 billion supplemental appropriation for the Iraq War.[7]

Save Our Security Illinois Coalition

In 2005, left opposition to Social Security privatization was organized in Illinois around the Save Our Security Illinois Coalition, which included Chicago Democratic Socialists of America. The Coalition’s first action in Illinois was a 90-person picket line outside the downtown Chicago offices of the Charles Schwab brokerage, a major advocate of privatization. A town hall meeting, with an overflow crowd of 400, on February 28 at Loyola University’s Water Tower campus featured Senators Richard Durbin and Barack Obama and Representative Jan Schakowsky. There was also a major rally in April.[8]


In 2005 the DREAM Act, a narrowly tailored, bipartisan measure that Dick Durbin sponsored with Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN), would permit undocumented students to become permanent residents if they came to the US as children, are long-term U.S. residents, have good moral character, and attend college or enlist in the military for at least two years.[9]

Supporting Coalition of Immokalee Workers

Rep. John Conyers, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (speaking) and Sen. Dick Durbin, joined by AFL-CIO President John Sweeney (second from left) gathered in the shadow of the Capitol building in Washington, DC, March 13th 2008


In March 2008, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers' petition drive to end sweatshop conditions in Florida's tomato fields received a warm welcome in Washington, DC. Senator Dick Durbin joined Senator Bernie Sanders, Representatives Dennis Kucinich and John Conyers, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney and representatives from dozens of human rights, religious, labor, and student organizations joined the CIW's call to end sweatshops and slavery in the fields.

Senator Sanders decried the "desperate conditions, conditions that in some cases are so extreme that even the Bush Administration has brought slavery charges," in Florida's fields, and announced that a hearing into those conditions is scheduled for April 15th.

Senator Durbin announced that a letter had been sent to "seven companies -- Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Winn-Dixie Stores Inc., Kroger Co., Publix, Safeway Inc., US Food Service, Supervalu Inc., and Sysco Corp. -- asking them to join McDonald's and Yum Brands in the extra penny a pound program."[10]

Support for Barack Obama

Durbin has a long and close relationship with Barack Obama.

Speaking alongside Obama at Labor Event

On March 3rd 2007, Barack Obama was a featured speaker at a meeting of labor unionists in the Hyatt Regency Chicago Loop Grand Ballroom[11].

Speaking in a vernacular and cadence that showed the Harvard Law School and Columbia University trained Barack Obama can connect with working class people, the third year U. S. Senator wowed and energized a mostly labor union crowd of about 1600 supporters this morning...

The event attracted some of Labor’s big hitters to join Obama on the dais and speak, including John Sweeney, President of the AFL-CIO and Gerald McEntee, President of AFSCME. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky [D-Evanston, 9th CD], an early and big-time supporter of Obama’s in the 2004 Senate Primary and Senator Dick Durbin [D-IL] also spoke...

Eight other individuals spoke at the rally, including local labor leaders and health care workers, as well as a local favorite for liberals, Dr. Quentin Young.

Cong. Jan Schakowsky [D-Evanston, 9th CD]: … Employers can intimidate, fire, threaten to move people from the day shift to the graveyard...it is a new day in our nation’s capital, it’s a new day for Resurrection workers and their friends, it’s a new day for immigrant workers, it’s a new day for all our working Americans who dream of the justice that ONLY the Union Movement can deliver. And, to the doubters I say, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Just wait until we have a Labor Department under President Barack Obama.

Of those speaking with Obama, John Sweeney and Quentin Young are confirmed Democratic Socialists of America members. Gerald McEntee is a reported member and Jan Schakowsky has been a member. Only Dick Durbin has no known DSA ties.

Sponsoring Barack Obama

From The Activist

Chicago activist Adrian Bleifuss Prados, of Democratic Socialists of America youth wing, the Young Democratic Socialists wrote on their blog The Activist January 29, 2008;

Barack has some real left-wing street cred in Chicago. He is probably the only person running for president who could identify, say, Antonio Gramsci, and that should count for something shouldn’t it?
He has often attacked for being less outspoken than the Senior Senator from Illinois, Dick Durbin, but Obama actually takes his cues from Durbin who, along with DSA-friendly Jan Schakowsky, has been his main political sponsor.

Obama for America, National Co-Chair

February 22, 2012, Obama for America, announced the selection of the campaign’s National Co-Chairs, a diverse group of leaders from around the country committed to re-electing President Obama. The co-chairs will serve as ambassadors for the President, advise the campaign on key issues, and help engage and mobilize voters in all 50 states.

Senator Dick Durbin – U.S. Senator from Illinois , was on the list.[12]

Crossroads Fund

In 2007, Dick Durbin was an honorary host for the 25th Anniversary of the Crossroads Fund.[13] The fund, founded in 1981 supports community organizations working on "issues of social and economic justice" in the Chicago area.

Delivered Greeting from Obama to Timuel Black

In December 2008, Timuel Black celebrated his 90th birthday on Chicago's south side;

The Checkerboard Lounge on Chicago's south side, was jumping last night as a couple of hundred of us celebrated Tim Black's 90th birthday. The party was organized by Tim's wife Zenobia and the Chicago Jazz Institute.

Congressman Bobby Rush hailed Timuel Black as the movement's "field marshal" and the crowd, "including politicians, community leaders and educators all joined in a rollicking version of Happy Birthday To Ya."

Chicago jazz legends, including Willie Pickens, Corey Wilkes, and Jimmy Ellis, entertained the crowd. But the high point of the evening was Sen. Dick Durbin's reading of a personal birthday greeting from the President-elect himself.

I wish I could be with you all in person today to celebrate the life of a dedicated teacher and one of the preeminent oral historians of our time, a man who keeps the soul of the South Side alive and shares his stories still, Professor Tim Black.
The Great Migration brought his family to Chicago's South Side, and the Great Depression started him down the long path of social justice. As a student at Burke Elementary School, he'd often walk across the street to hear the orators in Washington Park argue with passion for jobs that pay a fair wage, for protections to keep workers safe, for an economy that would allow families to live in dignity and dream of a brighter future.Little did they know among their greatest lasting impacts would be the achievements of the man we honor today.
Like my grandfather, he joined the army as a fresh-faced young man in World War II. And like my great uncle, he helped liberate the Buchenwald concentration camp. It was a moment that left a mark on this man; that left no doubt as to his destiny.He returned convinced by his life experiences that the greatest impact he could make on the next generation would be to teach our youth about their communities, about the world they live in, and about how to be responsible citizens of each.
For forty years, he shaped our young men and women into those citizens. And though he may have retired from the teaching profession nearly two decades ago, he never stopped being a teacher. We are all his students in a classroom that never closes.
Because of Professor Black, jazz has a place to call home in Chicago. Because of Professor Black, the rich and vibrant chronicles of Bronzeville and the greater South Side live on. Because of Professor Black, generations of youth have grown up with a better appreciation of their neighborhoods and the history they inherit.
The man we honor today grew up in the midst of Depression and war, yet considers himself part of a fortunate generation. And he's made it his life's mission to give each successive generation every possible chance in this world.
"I never lose hope," he once said. "I believe that I have responsibilities to help younger people to obtain hopes and dreams. Their present condition may be very discouraging; my aim is to help them regain a sense of hope for the future. My main interest is in building a better America, building a better world."
Tim, for your birthday, I promise you this: that will always be my mission too. Thank you for a life well-lived. I wish you all the best for the stories you've yet to tell.
Happy Birthday,
Barack Obama

Timuel Black support for Durbin

Timuel Black has recorded a voiceover for a Durbin campaign commercial, and in 1996 was involved in hosting a fundraiser for Durbin's first Senate race.[14]

Quentin Young

HMPRG event

On March 7 2008 Health & Medicine Policy Research Group organized an 85th birthday tribute dinner for Quentin Young in Chicago-themed "Rebel without a pause".

Guests included Illinois Senator Dick Durbin and the state's Governor, Pat Quinn, Danny Davis and Jan Schakowsky.

MLK event

To commemorate Dr. King’s birthday, the Day in Remembrance of the Accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (DREAM) Committee of Northwestern University School of Law and Feinberg School of Medicine planned a series of events that started on Monday January 11th, 2010. The breadth of the program was impressive, and began with a week of daily panel discussions on issues of social justice. Panel events included a panel discussion comprised of Dr. Omar B. Lateef, Dr. Quentin Young, Dr. Luis Munoz, Professor Dorothy Roberts, Esq., and Senator Dick Durbin.[15]

Working with communists

Durbin has a working relationship with senior Chicago Communist Party USA member Bea Lumpkin and other comrades.

Cooperating on drug program

On May 3, 2004 Sen. Dick Durbin cautioned seniors against rushing to buy one of the dozens of new discount drug cards available to Medicare recipients.

"Frankly, as soon as you sign up and pay your fee, you're stuck for a year," the Springfield Democrat said during a news conference at a Chicago pharmacy with two other members of the Illinois congressional delegation. "What may look like an appealing discount for a drug right now might, in fact, disappear in the next week."

Also joining Durbin was Chicago Congressman Rahm Emanuel, a Democrat who advocates the re-importation of cheaper drugs from Canada, and Bea Lumpkin of the Illinois Alliance for Retired Americans. All agreed that Illinoisans may be better off using a new state program that offers drug discounts to people 65 and older and the disabled.[16]

Nursing home rally

Dick Durbin and author at Alliance for Retired Americans rally against privatizing Social Security, 2009

In 2008, Communist Party USA member Bea Lumpkin was elected state secretary of Illinois Alliance for Retired Americans. The ARA was leading the fight for higher standards for nursing homes and home care. In 2009 she appeared at a press conference with Senator Dick Durbin to protest cuts in federal aid to nursing homes.[17]

John Bachtell connection

John Bachtell January 18 2020.


With U.S. Senator Dick Durbin. — in Chicago, Illinois.

Supported by Council for a Livable World

The Council for a Livable World, founded in 1962 by long-time socialist activist and alleged Soviet agent, Leo Szilard, is a non-profit advocacy organization that seeks to "reduce the danger of nuclear weapons and increase national security", primarily through supporting progressive, congressional candidates who support their policies. The Council supported Dick Durbin in his successful Senate run as candidate for Illinois.[18]

2014 endorsement

The Council wrote of Durbin;

During his time in Congress, Durbin has built up impressive progressive credentials on national security issues. In 2002 and 2003, he questioned the Bush administration’s intelligence on Iraq, and was eventually was one of 23 Senators to vote against the Iraq war.
Between 2009 and 2012, Sen. Durbin accrued a perfect 100% on the Council for a Livable World’s Senate voting scorecard. He has supported the Council’s position on a number of issues related to arms control and national security. Notably, Durbin voted to ratify the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia, as well as to accelerate the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
In addition to his national security record, Durbin has been a leader on other progressive priorities. He has been active on immigration reform and is a vocal supporter of the DREAM Act. Durbin also supports stronger financial regulation, and worked with Sen. Elizabeth Warren to establish the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
In 2008, the Council endorsed Senator Durbin in his bid for reelection against Republican challenger Steve Sauerberg. Among other issues, the candidates clashed over the future of the US war in Iraq, with Sauerberg calling for an extended troop presence and Durbin espousing a “systematic, sensible withdrawal.” In the end, Sen. Durbin's long history serving Illinois in Congress propelled him to victory.
In January 2013, Sen. Durbin was named chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense. In this capacity, he is tasked with overseeing the Durbin has vowed to pursue a defense budgeting policy that “will make us safer and not cost us so much money.”

Senator Durbin has been one of the Senate’s most important proponents of a progressive agenda. We’re pleased to support this effective leader for reelection in 2014.[19]

Fair Elections Now Act

In 2010 Senator Maria Cantwell signed on as a Senate co-sponsor of the Fair Elections Now Act (FENA), S.752 - joining Senator Dick Durbin (original sponsor) and other Senate colleagues for a total of nine.

In the Senate, others were Sens. Barbara Boxer, Chris Dodd, Russ Feingold, Kirsten Gillibrand, Tom Harkin, John Kerry, and Arlen Specter. [20]

NEXT AGENDA Conference

NEXT AGENDA was held at the National Press Club, Main Ballroom, Feb. 28,2001.

At Feb. 28 Conference on NEXT AGENDA, progressive activists, Congressional leaders will unite to forge strategy for "working families" agenda -- the day after President Bush delivers his plans to joint session of Congress.
-- Calling themselves the real "democratic majority," organizers and thinkers, led by the Campaign for America's Future, to release new book outlining an agenda for changes they insist most voters endorsed in 2000 elections.
On Feb. 28, a national conference on the NEXT AGENDA, will bring together progressive activists, intellectuals and allies in the Congress for the first time since the disputed election and battles over President Bush's cabinet nominees. It will frame the next two year's debate.
Sponsored by the progressive advocacy group, the Campaign for America's Future and its sister research organization, the Institute for America's Future, the Conference on the Next Progressive Agenda has been endorsed by a who's who of prominent leaders from the labor unions, women's organizations, civil rights groups, environmentalists and individual members of the House and Senate. Their goal: to forge a progressive movement to fight for the "working family" agenda they insist was endorsed by a majority of the voters in the 2000 election.

Organizers of the conference would release a new book, THE NEXT AGENDA: Blueprint for a New Progressive Movement, edited by Robert Borosage and Roger Hickey and published by Westview Press.

MC: Cong. Barney Frank


America's Future Now!

Dick Durbin was one of the 148 speakers who addressed the 2010 America's Future Now Conference. The Conference was hosted by the Institute for Policy Studies, and Democratic Socialists of America dominated Campaign for America's Future, and held from June 7 - 9 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, 2500 Calvert Street, Washington D.C.[22][23]

Quoting IPS report


Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Senate Majority Whip, spoke about the Institute for Policy Studies Executive Excess report during a floor speech about how corporate accountability can help the U.S. overcome the current economic crisis.[24]

The 2011 Executive Excess report continues to make waves among members of the media and decision-makers in Congress. This time, Senator Durbin, a progressive democrat from Illinois, took to the Senate floor to highlight some of the findings of the report. He particularly zeroed in on General Electric, which has highlighted in the report as one of the top ten most creative tax-dodgers.

Hi IPS rating

In 2012 “Congressional Report Card for the 99 Percent" , the Institute for Policy Studies examined 40 different legislation actions in the House and Senate—votes and legislation introduced—to ascertain the real allegiances of sitting members of Congress. These include votes to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, levy a Wall Street speculation tax, invest in infrastructure, and protect workers and student financial aid.

The Report Card also graded politicians for their commitment to reducing inequality and boosting the 99 percent. The report’s “Honor Roll” gave an A-plus grade to 5 members of the U.S. Senate, including Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Al Franken (D-MN), Bernie Sanders (VT-I), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).[25]

Progressive bridge

Campaign for America's Future leader Robert Borosage boasts of close relationship with top Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Dick Durbin.

"I'd say we are the bridge," Borosage said. "We are attuned to the grassroots and in touch with the progressive leadership in Congress."[26]

Cuba connections

Ending sanctions on Cuba

"On February 4th 2021, Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced the U.S.-Cuba Trade Act of 2021 to repeal outdated sanctions on Cuba and establish normal trade relations with the island nation. Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) cosponsored the bill as well.[27]

Cuba 2015

Embassy of Cuba in New Zealand January 20, 2015:



Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla, received Senators Patrick Leahy (Vermont), Dick Durbin (Illinois), Sheldon Whitehouse (Rhode Island) and Debbie Stabenow (Michigan), and Representatives Chris Van Hollen (Maryland) and Peter Welch (Vermont), all members of the Democratic Party.

Topics of mutual interest were discussed during the meeting, with the participation of Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Relations’ director general for the United States, Josefina Vidal, and the country’s chief diplomat at the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, Jose Ramon Cabanas.

Cuba's removal from terrorism list

Sen. Dick Durbin: Cuba’s Removal “Is A Welcome Move Regarding The Relations Between The US And Cuba.” “After careful review by the State Department, the removal of Cuba from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list is a welcome move regarding the relations between the US and Cuba. That Cuba is no longer involved in such activities is a positive step forward in normalizing relations between our two nations and giving the Cuban people greater opportunities to join the global community. While no fan of the Castro regime, I continue to believe that opening up the island to American ideas, vibrancy, and trade is the most effective way to see a more open and tolerant Cuba.” [Durbin Press Release, “Durbin Statement On Removal Of Cuba From State Sponsors Of Terrorism,” 4/14/15]

Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015

S 299, the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015, principal sponsors are Sens. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.[28]

By May 20, it had accumulated 33 co-sponsors, including 26 Democrats - Sheldon Whitehouse, Tom Udall, Dick Durbin, Thomas Carper, Amy Klobuchar, Barbara Boxer, Jack Reed, Debbie Stabenow, Jeff Merkley, Chris Murphy, Benjamin Cardin, Chris Coons, Dianne Feinstein, Jeanne Shaheen, Sherrod Brown, Mazie Hirono, Brian Schatz, Tammy Baldwin, Ed Markey, Heidi Heitkamp, Jon Tester, Claire McCaskill, Ron Wyden, Tim Kaine, Al Franken, Elizabeth Warren, Michael Bennet, Martin Heinrich . [29]

Trip to Cuba and Haiti

Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) was in Havana, Cuba, January 2012, where he held two days of high-level meetings with Cuban officials.

The trip focused on changes in Cuba - including Cuba’s substantial offshore drilling proposal - as well as discussions on improved relations between the US and the island nation. Durbin also pressed the Cuban government to release Alan Gross, a USAID contract worker who has been jailed since 2009.

Durbin, the second-highest ranking member of the Senate and a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, met Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, President of the National Assembly Ricardo Alarcon de Quesada, Archbishop Jamie Ortega, Members of the International Diplomatic Community, the staff of the US Interests Section and Cuban reformers.

Following his meetings in Cuba, Senator Durbin traveled to Haiti where he met with Haitian officials, aid workers and locals, to monitor US and international efforts to rebuild after the country was devastated by an earthquake.[30]

Nancy Pelosi Award

The Honorable Dick Durbin, , was the Featured Speaker and recipient of the inaugural Nancy Pelosi Award for Immigration and Civil Rights Policy, at the 23rd Phillip Burton Immigration & Civil Rights Awards – , May 31, 2013, from the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, in the Bay Area.[31]


Miller owns a residence in Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C. and rents rooms to other members of the U.S. House and Senate. As of April 2010, his tenant housemates are Senators Chuck Schumer and Dick Durbin and Representative Bill Delahunt. Miller purchased the residence in 1977, and his past housemates have included former Representatives Marty Russo, Leon Panetta and Sam Gejdenson.

DACA meeting

The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights assisted DREAMers in the application process. On hand to talk about Deferred Action were Senator Dick Durbin, Representative Luis Gutierrez and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. August 15th 2012:Navy Pier’s Grand Ballroom, Chicago, IL. Contact Monica Trevino.[32]

Radical Affiliations

Guy Molyneux

Dick Durbin has contracted Guy Molyneux who is a partner with Hart Research Associates. Molyneux has carried out survey and focus group research projects for a wide variety of nonprofit organizations, government agencies, political candidates, labor unions, and media organizations.[33]

Guy Molyneux has been heavily involved with Democratic Socialists of America, speaking at the organization's second National Convention, in Berkeley California in October 1983.[34] In 1986 he was National Executive Director and National Office Contact for the Feminist Commission of the organization.[35] By 1987 Guy Molyneux was Organizational Director of the DSA.[36]

Carol Harwell

Carol Harwell has been a political activist for over 25 years. She has worked in many campaigns including: 1st ward coordinator - Harold Washington, Mayor 83 - 87; office manager - Danny Davis alderman, commissioner and congressman; campaign manager - Sam Burrell, alderman; campaign manger - Barbara McGowan, commissioner; campaign manager - Barack Obama, state senator; deputy campaign manager - Dick Durbin, U.S. Senator; volunteer coordinator - David Orr, county clerk.[37]

PDA contact

In 2013 Progressive Democrats of America assigned activists to deliver their material to almost every US Congressman and several Senators, Debra Schrishuhn, was assigned as contact for Sen. Durbin. In June it was Jeanne Duray.[38][39]

China visit

A bipartisan delegation of 10 United States Senators returned home late April following a week’s worth of meetings with high-level Chinese government officials, business leaders, U.S. Foreign Service officers and Peace Corps volunteers.

The historic delegation, led by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, represented more than a third of the U.S. population and included some of the most senior members of the Senate. The delegation included Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.).

Some of the Chinese officials the Senators met with include:

  • Xi Jinping, China’s Vice President, who is widely expected to succeed Hu Jintao next year as China’s next President
  • Wang Qishan, Vice Premier
  • Yang Jiechi, Foreign Minister
  • Wu Bangguo, Chairman of the National People’s Congress, China’s legislature.
  • Lu Yongxiang, Vice Chairman of the National People’s Congress
  • Zhou Xiaochuan, President of the People’s Bank of China
  • Donald Tsang, Chief Executive of Hong Kong
  • Florinda Chan, Acting Chief Executive and Secretary for Administration and Justice of Macau
  • Ge Honglin, Mayor of Chengdu, a city with a population of 14 million that is a leader in China’s renewable energy industry.[40]

Chinese consulate


JStreet endorsement

The socialist infiltrated, anti-Israel "two state solution" JStreet PAC endorsed Dick Durbin in his 2014 Senate run from Illinois. [41]

JStreet endorsed him again 2016.

. Outside of Congress, Durbin is a Board Member of the United State Holocaust Museum. Durbin has earned a reputation as a tactful coalition builder with strong progressive principles.[42]

ARA endorsement, 2014

The Alliance for Retired Americans Political Action Fund endorsed Dick Durbin in 2014.[43]

Honduras letter

On Thursday, May 23, 2013, U.S. Senator Cardin (D-MD) circulated a Senate sign-on "Dear Colleague" letter to Secretary of State John Kerry addressing deepening concerns about Human Rights and the Rule of Law in Honduras.

The letter states that violence and impunity for state security forces in Honduras has reached intolerable levels and cites concerns related to extrajudicial killings, linkages to death squads, and increasing militarization of civilian law enforcement. The letter also raises the concern that State Department certifications intended to ensure that U.S. foreign aid supports the rule of law in Honduras may contradict the reality on the ground.

The letter asks State Department to:

  • provide Congress with a detailed assessment of the efficacy of current Honduran government efforts to address this issue as mandated by FY12 Appropriations language;
  • conduct a detailed review of specific State Department actions to help ensure that no U.S. funds are being used to support police implicated in human rights violations; and
  • make every reasonable effort to help ensure that Honduras' upcoming November 2013 elections are free, fair and peaceful.[44]

In addition to Cardin, the letter was cosigned by Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Mark Udall (D-CO), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-PA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Michael F. Bennet (D-CO), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Chris Coons (D-DE), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Al Franken (D-MN) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH).[45]

Muslim Left connections

Dick Durbin is supportive of radical Muslim groups and causes.

"Muslim rights" hearing

Senator Dick Durbin’s “Muslim Rights” hearing held on March 29 2011, by the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Human Rights was heavily influenced by a Durbin staffer.

The key staffer, Reema Dodin, is in regular contact with the Council on American Islamic Relations. She is a Palestinian rights activist who organized anti-Israel rallies at the University of California at Berkeley as a student. Dodin was also a member of the Muslim Student Association.

Dodin was cited in the book "Muslim Mafia" as one of the moles who had cultivated contacts inside the offices of key Democrat leaders. In fact, CAIR has her listed as a reliable source in their rolodex. Her boss, Sen. Durbin has been a long-time supporter of CAIR – and has helped raise funds for this terrorist-linked group.

It was Dodin who recommended the top witness for the March 29 hearing – fellow San Francisco-area activist Farhana Khera. He is founder of Muslim Advocates, an organization that has sued the Department of Justice to force it to disclose the FBI’s undercover operations to disrupt terrorist activities inside radical mosques. Muslim Advocates also advises Muslim witnesses or suspects to not talk to the FBI.[46]

“Hate Crimes and Domestic Extremism”

September 19, 2012, CAIR - Chicago hosted a public viewing of a Senate hearing entitled “Hate Crimes and the Threat of Domestic Extremism” – chaired by Illinois Senator Dick Durbin. The event was co-sponsored by the Asian American Institute, the Indian American Bar Association and the Muslim Bar Association.

A packed room of approximately 40 people attended the event, including:

Clarisol Duque – Chicago Director of Senator Durbin’s office Alderman Ameya Pawar of the 47th ward Ami Gandhi – Executive Director of the South Asian American Policy Research Institute (SAAPRI) Andy Kang – Senior Staff Attorney with the Asian American Institute Arnold J. Romeo – Director of the Advisory Council on EQUITY at the Chicago Commission on Human Relations Betsy Shuman-Moore – Project Director of the Fair Housing Project and Project to Combat Bias Violence at Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Inc. (CLCCUL) Reema Ahmad from the Asian American Institute Charna Epstein – Deputy Alderman and Chief-of-Staff for Ald. Pawar of the 47th ward Rishi Agrawal – President of the Indian American Bar Association of Chicago

The Senate hearing was held to examine the upswing in hate crimes and the growing number of hate groups in the United States. The Sikh Coalition led the effort in proposing the hearing at the request of over 150 civil rights and advocacy organizations. The hearing included witness testimony from the Justice Department, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), among others.

Many of the statements made referenced recent attacks on the Muslim, Sikh, Latino, and African-American communities, including the shootings of Sikh men and women at a Gurdwara in Wisconsin, and the string of attacks on the Chicago Muslim community during the last week of Ramadan this past year.

One of the more revealing statements made during the hearing was that the majority of terrorist attacks in the U.S. came from right-wing extremists, according to expert testimonials.

CAIR - Chicago Executive Director, Ahmed Rehab, and fellow staff live-tweeted during the event – noting these findings and expressing their hopes for a future without bigotry and racism.[47]

Reema Dodin influence

Reema Dodin serves as Floor Director to the Assistant Democratic Leader, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), where she runs the whip operation for the Senate Democratic leadership team. Prior to her current role, Reema served as Senator Durbin's Floor Counsel, Research Director and as an aide to his Judiciary Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law. On her own time, Reema has volunteered with several campaigns including for Joe Donnelly, Joe Sestak, and Obama for America. She is a Munich Young Leader, a Truman National Security Project Fellow, a New Leaders Council Fellow, a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a member of the Jenkins Hill Society (a consortium of women in politics supporting female politicians) . Reema attended the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is a member of the California Bar.[48]

Refugee rally


Rev. Gradye Parsons, stated clerk for Presbyterian Church U.S.A., spoke during a news conference with senators and national religious leaders to respond to attempts at vilifying refugees and to call on lawmakers to engage in policymaking and not 'fear-mongering' at the U.S. Capitol December 8, 2015 in Washington, DC. Following last week's mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calinfornia, leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump called on Monday for the United States to bar all Muslims from entering the country.

Also speaking were Senators Tim Kaine, Patrick Leahy, Dick Durbin, and Theodore McCarrick, Rabbi Jack Moline, Bishop Sally Dyck, Rev. Richard Graham, Imam Talib Shareef.

MC Rev, Dr. Sharon Stanley-Rea.

Q&A Jen Smyers Church World Service.

The "Jihad" Caucus

In May 2015, a group of 14 U.S. senators, led by Illinois Senator Dick Durbin and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, wrote a letter to President Obama urging him to allow 65,000 Syrians into the United States as refugees. This would require a dramatic expansion of the refugee program, and virtually guarantee that a sizable number of ISIS fighters would slip in among them. Frank Gaffney's Center for Security Policy called these Senators the "Jihad Caucus" because practically speaking, Jihad is what this request will bring.

The 14 senators demanding this massive influx of Syrians were: Dick Durbin, Amy Klobuchar, Al Franken, Patrick Leahy, Dianne Feinstein, Patty Murray, Robert Menendez, Sheldon Whitehouse, Jeanne Shaheen, Chris Coons, Tim Kaine, Ed Markey, Sherrod Brown, and Mazie Hirono.

These same 14 had sent another letter in April Demanding action on the Syrians.[49]

Jamal Said/Mosque Foundation connection

Jamal Said left, Dick Durbin, right

Senator Durbin has visited a Chicago-area mosque whose leaders have been cited in Federal court records as part of support front groups for Hamas, the U.S.-designated Islamic terrorist group that leads the government in Gaza.

Evidence has implicated officials at the Mosque Foundation. Among them, Holy Land Foundation fundraiser Kifah Mustapha serves as a mosque imam and associate director. Like CAIR, Mustapha, mosque director Jamal Said was identified as an unindicted co-conspirator in the HLF case and was included on the Palestine Committee telephone list. A federal judge refused a request by CAIR and other groups to be purged from that list. Such a list never should have been made public, ruled U.S. District Judge Jorge Solis, but prosecutors provided "ample evidence to establish the associations of CAIR, ISNA, NAIT, with NAIT, the Islamic Association for Palestine, and with Hamas."

Said also spoke at conferences for another Palestine Committee entity, the Islamic Association for Palestine.

In 2004, the Chicago Tribune profiled the Mosque Foundation, detailing the "bitter fight in Bridgeview that saw religious fundamentalists prevail over moderates."

Yet Senator Dick Durbin visited the mosque March 2011, smiling broadly among several mosque leaders with a history of radical statements and connections, including Imam Jamal Said, Kifah Mustapha and Oussama Jammal.
Both Said and Mustapha were listed as unindicted co-conspirators in the HLF trial. Jammal defended Hamas operative Mohammed Salah, who was once a mosque regular.

Like Awad and Ahmed, prosecutors placed Said, in the Palestine Committee and his contact information is No. 20 on the committee's telephone list. He also spoke at Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP) conferences. The IAP, now defunct, was a Palestine Committee entity, court records show.[50]

IMAN connection


On Friday, February 21, 2014, Senator Dick Durbin, spent two hours with Inner-City Muslim Action Network, directly engaging its leaders and projects. Key IMAN allies and leaders from the Multifaith Housing Reclamation Campaign that IMAN led with the Jewish Council of Urban Affairs and the Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP) were also present for a brief lunch with the Senator before he took a tour of IMAN’s various projects. Senator Durbin "was moved by the way leaders, residents and clergy from different faith traditions in the area have successfully mobilized to build power and demand change".

The Senator showed great interest in the current work being done on the second Green ReEntry home, and, in particular, discussed and shared ideas for how to take Green ReEntry to scale, and how this unique approach to tackling lack of decent housing, job skills, public safety, and effective reentry programs is needed in communities across the country. The Senator was also presented with plans for the future IMAN Health and Wellness campus, which IMAN hopes to have completed by its 20th Anniversary in 2017. The Senator showed particular interest in the planned Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) building, which will grow out of IMAN’s current Health Clinic and which will anchor the Health and Wellness campus centered. He was very impressed to learn of the larger Muslim community’s support for the work of the Clinic over the years and to discover how organizations such as Islamic Relief USA, the Mosque Foundation and Muslim families across Illinois and the country have been the primary funders of an effort that has touched thousands of uninsured and under-insured residents over the years.
Senator Durbin also took time during his visit to address congregants gathered that day for a special Jum’ah service led by Usama Canon. We hope that these visits from and contacts with the Senator and his office will continue, and that this cooperation will translate into a broadening of IMAN’s model of service and change in inner-cities.[51]

Anti-Muslim Bigotry Has No Place In America

After attending an interfaith peace vigil December 2015, at the Islamic Society of Springfield, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) spoke on the Senate Floor December 14 to commend Springfield’s faith and community leaders for joining together to speak out against inflammatory rhetoric directed at refugees and Muslims. In his remarks, Durbin also condemned a recent increase in hate crimes and other anti-Muslim bigotry and praised his Senate colleague, U.S. Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) for sharing a similar message of tolerance in his home state over the weekend.[52]

CAIR concerns

During a 2003 hearing, Senator Durbin expressed serious concerns about CAIR, "which apparently from what I have read is unusual in its extreme rhetoric and its association with groups that are suspect, there are many mainstream groups of Muslim Americans who fully support this war against terrorism and I would hope that they would be invited to speak to their heartfelt beliefs about this effort so that our characterization is fair across the board."[53]

CAIR letter


April 2010, Senator Durbin wrote a letter to coincide with CAIR - Chicago's annual fundraising banquet. "CAIR-Chicago's efforts to ensure justice and equality demonstrate that working for greater civil liberties of one community advances the civil liberties of all communities," Durban wrote. "Your organization promotes a greater understanding of the Muslim culture and serves as an essential threat in the multicultural fabric of our nation."

2011 CAIR endorsement

“CAIR-Chicago advances a greater understanding of the Muslim culture and serves as an essential thread in the multicultural fabric of our nation. Your efforts to advocate for tolerance promote the civil liberties of all communities.” - Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) (April 2011).[54][55]

DREAM Act meeting

On Friday, February 14 2014 CAIR - Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab joined U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and U.S. Representative Luis Gutierrez for an update on the effort to enact comprehensive immigration reform legislation in Congress at Casa Michoacan in Pilsen. Senator Durbin is the author of the DREAM Act and a member of the bipartisan group which negotiated and passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the Senate last year. Representative Gutierrez is a lead negotiator in the House of Representative’s ongoing discussions surrounding immigration reform. Rep Gutierrez was also a speaker at CAIR - Chicago’s 8th annual banquet in 2012.

Community leaders in attendance at the meeting included Joshua Hoyt of National Partnership for New Americans, ICIRR CEO Lawrence Benito, Sylvia Puente of Latino Policy Forum and Chicago restaurateur Billy Lawless, Sr. and many more.

CAIR - Chicago has long identified immigration reform as one of its key advocacy issues for which we seek to bring a Muslim voice to the table as an integral part of our social justice agenda.[56]

Endorsed CAIR, 2016


NIAC connection

NIAC April 14, 2015:

Last week, Iranian American supporters of diplomacy with Iran met with Senator Dick Durbin to express their gratitude for his support, and staying off the deal-killing Corker-Menendez bill (which is being voted on today).


Tell your Senators today to support diplomacy like Senator Durbin.

"Standing with the Iranian people"

NIAC Action Executive Director Jamal Abdi issued the following statement after the U.S. Senate voted to proceed to a dangerous Iran sanctions bill hours after ISIS claimed responsibility for attacks that killed at least 12 and injured 42 at Iran's parliament and the Imam Khomeini shrine:

"It is a shameful day for the U.S. Congress to choose to advance a new Iran sanctions bill mere hours after Iran's citizens were terrorized by ISIS. The U.S. Congress, along with the Trump administration, appear hell bent on throwing away the tremendous asset of the Iranian people's goodwill toward the United States. Few lawmakers even took the time to condemn the attack, and only seven Senators voted against proceeding to this dangerous bill at the worst conceivable time. Senators Tom Carper, Dick Durbin, Kirsten Gillibrand, Jeff Merkley, Rand Paul, Bernie Sanders and Tom Udall deserve credit for standing with the Iranian people and voting against the motion to proceed.

"This response diverges both from the empathetic reactions seen from our European allies, and from the show of support that Iran offered the United States following the attacks of September 11, 2001. The Senate's actions today do not reflect the values of the American people, who condemn hatred and terrorism, understand firsthand the pain and fear the Iranian people are experiencing, and stand in solidarity rather than against the Iranian people at this time."[57]

2016 Cuba visit

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and 16 other House Democrats will join President Barack Obama on his historic trip to Cuba March 20-22.

Obama will be the first president to visit Cuba in 88 years, and the trip is a symbolic next chapter in his attempts to normalize relations with the country.

The House members will attend along with several senators who previously announced they will make the trip.

The House delegation includes Reps. Karen Bass, Cheri Bustos, Sam Farr, Rosa DeLauro, Barbara Lee, Charles Rangel, Kathy Castor, David Cicilline, Steve Cohen, Jan Schakowsky, Peter Welch, Alan Lowenthal, Jim McGovern and Lucille Roybal-Allard. House Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra of California will also travel to Cuba along with Eliot Engel, the top Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee.

Democratic Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Dick Durbin of Illinois, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, and Tom Udall of New Mexico are slated to join the trip. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who has been a leading advocate for normalizing relations with Cuba, will also attend. Additional House Republicans may also join.

Pelosi previously led the first official House delegation trip to the country after Obama announced the change in U.S. policy toward Cuba in 2014.[58]

Korean connection

Dick Durbin is close to the Korean "progressive movement".

NAKASEC support

NAKASEC and its affiliates, the Korean American Resource and Cultural Center and the Korean Resource Center, applauded Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) for their letter to Department of Homeland Security asking for deferred action of DREAM Act-eligible students facing deportation. The DREAM Act is a bipartisan legislation that is part of comprehensive immigration reform and would allow eligible undocumented students pathway to citizenship. It was introduced by Senator Durbin and Senator Lugar on March 26, 2009.

EunSook Lee, executive director of NAKASEC said, “The current system is unbearable and unacceptable. We welcome this letter from Senators Durbin and Lugar which shows that bipartisanship is possible. As we work towards urgent reforms that will change our immigration laws, we urge the DHS to take decisive action immediately to stop the deportation of DREAM-eligible students.”

Judy Kim, a college student from Chicago, stated on behalf of NAKASEC affiliate youth group members: “I hear about the deportation of students like Rigo Padilla, Laura Perez and Herta Llusho and I wonder when it will happen to me. I am a full-time college student in Chicago and was brought to the U.S. when I was 9 years old. I am also a DREAM student. The letter by Senator Durbin and Senator Lugar really gives me hope that there are people out there, including our elected officials, that see that we need to fix our broken immigration system and do something so that students, who grew up here and want to give back, are not deported. I truly hope DHS responds to their letter and grants deferred action to DREAM students. This will bring comfort to thousands of families who came here for their children, including my family.”[59]

Meeting Simon Cho


On April 27, 2010, Simon Cho, US Olympian for short track speed skating and the winner of a bronze medal for 5000m men’s relay spoke about his immigration experience. During a press conference organized by the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC), in a packed room, Simon talked about his memories of crossing the border with his mother at the age of four as undocumented immigrants. Ali Noorani, and EunSook Lee also participated. .Following the press conference, Simon and staff of NAKASEC held face to face meetings with Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) to convey the need for immigration reform in 2010.

NAKASEC praise

According to Sik Son, Dae Joong Yoon, and Olivia Park, May 11 2011, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) re-introduced the DREAM Act in the 112th Congress with the co-sponsorship of 32 members of the U.S. Senate, including California Senators, Senator Barbara Boxer and Senator Dianne Feinstein, as well as Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI), member of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC).

NAKASEC and its affiliates, the Korean American Resource and Cultural Center in Chicago and the Korean Resource Center in Los Angeles thank Senator Durbin for his continued leadership on the DREAM Act and take this opportunity to continue to organize and strengthen our communities for reform while highlighting the need for immediate relief of immigrant youth.

“The DREAM Act holds the change that so many undocumented students have been waiting for and it is a start to reforming America’s nonsensical immigration policies,” says Chris Nguyen, member of Fighting Youth Shouting Out for Humanity (FYSH), which is the youth leadership council of KRCC. “Youth have been disheartened at the stalled progress of the DREAM Act, but recognize the bill’s great potential.”.

Sik Son, executive director of KRCC stated, “The people of this movement have endured many obstacles, but have built a spirit that is strong. We remain true to our hearts and yet again commit to tapping the potential and aspirations of our youth.”

“The re-introduction of the DREAM Act will allow us to continue the conversation on the need for reform,” said Dae Joong Yoon, executive director of KRC. “But we also know that while we recommit ourselves to this struggle, we need to ensure that our youth are safe and not feel the threat of deportation. We can do this with President Obama’s executive authority to grant deferred action.”[60]

"Luke's story"

The first week of December 2016, Sen. Dick Durbin shared the story of Luke Hwang, a "gifted student and community leader who is currently a PhD candidate in chemistry at the University of Chicago" on the floor of the US Senate.


According to a letter Luke wrote to Sen. Durbin, “DACA did much more than shielding me from deportation and changing my immediate circumstances; it gave me a new faith, and brought out a new me to reject fear and continue worthwhile pursuits.”

“DACA has been tremendously empowering. Wherever I find myself in the future I hope to mentor, encourage, and ultimately empower others.”


From Senator Durbin's speech;

In 2002, when Luke Hwang was 11-years old, his family brought him to the United States from South Korea. Luke grew up in Palisades Park, New Jersey. Luke said the following about growing up in Palisades Park: “It didn’t take long for me to adjust and assimilate because my elementary school offered bilingual classes in Korean and English. This is the kind of America I have known and experienced— not just mundanely accepting diversity but going above and beyond to serve the unique needs of a diverse community.”
From an early age, Luke had a passion for science. He was accepted into a math and sciences magnet high school called Bergen County Academies which was ranked by Newsweek as one of the top five public high schools in the country. At Bergen County Academies, Luke won several awards at regional science fairs. He also volunteered as an Emergency Medical Technician in the local ambulance corps. Because of his academic accomplishments, Luke was accepted as a University Scholar in the Macaulay Honors College at the City College of New York. In 2013, Luke graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor’s of Science in Chemistry and received an award for the highest grade point average of any chemistry major.

This brilliant young man is currently a PhD candidate in chemistry at the University of Chicago. He also works as a researcher at the university. In his spare time, he volunteers with the Chicago Korean American Resource and Cultural Center, an organization that provides services to disadvantaged members of the community.

Thanks to DACA, Luke is on the road towards making his childhood passion into a promising career as a scientist. In a letter to Senator Durbin, Luke wrote: “DACA did much more than shielding me from deportation and changing my immediate circumstances; it gave me a new faith, and brought out a new me to reject fear and continue worthwhile pursuits. DACA has been tremendously empowering. Wherever I find myself in the future I hope to mentor, encourage, and ultimately empower others.

HANA Center discussion


June 9, 2017 Senator Dick Durbin held a discussion at HANA Center with the members of the Chicago-area Korean community regarding his recent visit to South Korea.

Senator Durbin traveled to South Korea last week where he became the first member of Congress to meet with newly-elected President Moon Jae-in and other key officials. They discussed regional issues and the relationship between the United States and South Korea.[61]

A main topic covered was THAAD.[62]

"Closed strategy meeting"


HANA Center July 24, 2017 Chicago, IL;

HANA Center joined a closed stragedy meeting and press conference with Senator Dick Durbin about Dream Act which was re-introduced by bi-partisan support. #FightforDACA, #DreamAct.

Defending DACA in Chicago!

August 18, 2017;

Calling to protect DACA in Chicago, HANA Center DACAmented leader Luke Hwang spoke at a press conference with Senator Richard Durbin and business leaders this morning. He said, “Thanks to DACA I felt a sense of hope and empowerment…it is a source of strength for the years ahead.”

Social call


HANA Center, 16 Nov 2017

@SenatorDurbin surprised us by stopping by to talk to our youth, leaders, and seniors – at United States Capitol Building

HANA Center September 16, 2017

Celebrating Citizenship Day

21751308 1402569416530063 3850866578463223468 n.jpg

Thank you Senator Dick Durbin, State Representative Liz Hernandez, Harris Greg State Representative, Senator Billy Lawless, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Erie Neighborhood House, Arab American Family Services (AAFS), SEIU Local 1, Logan Square Neighborhood Association, Access Living, AFIRE Chicago and all of our amazing civic and community leaders for celebrating Citizenship Day together with us today, reminding us all of the need for an immediate, permanent legislative solution for 800,000 DACA recipients - including 42,000 IL residents - and funding that advances a path to citizenship and human rights, access, and equity for our immigrant communities!

AAPI Mobilization for a CLEAN DREAM ACT

South Asian Americans Leading Together November 27, 2017.

On Nov 15 and 16, SAALT along with NCAPA, AAJC, APALA, NAKASEC and other national partners rallied on Capitol Hill to press for the passage of a clean, bicameral Dream Act and Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Over 120 Asian American and Pacific Islander undocumented youth and allies, including two young South Asian DREAMers brought in by SAALT, hosted a press conference, rally, and individual meetings with House and Senate leadership. This included Representative Judy Chu, Representative Luis Gutierrez Representative Ro Khanna, Senator Dick Durbin, and Senator Dianne Feinstein, among many others. The young leaders demanded a clean DREAM Act that doesn’t compromise the future of other immigrants or negatively impact our immigration system.

Attending the rally were Al Green, Tulsi Gabbard, Judy Chu, Pramila Jayapal, and Raja Krishnamoorthi. [63]

NAKASEC thanks

NAKASEC posted January 9 2018;[64]

October highlights
We continue to meet with elected officials to urge Congress to support a clean DREAM Act for 3.3 million young people, their families and communities. Thank you to Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth and Congress(wo)men Luis Gutierrez, Jan Schakowsky, Mike Quigley, Brad Schneider, and Raja Krishnamoorthi for supporting a clean DREAM Act!

Inhe Choi connection


Senator Durbin, Inhe Choi, June 9, 2017.

NAKASEC sympathy

December 2017 NAKASEC and affiliates visited the offices of Senator Dianne Feinstein (CA), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (NY), Senator Tim Kaine (VA), Senator Mark Warner (VA), and Senator Dick Durbin (IL). Moved by the efforts of members of NAKASEC and HANA Center from Chicago, Senator Durbin confirmed publicly that he will vote “no” on the upcoming CR if the DREAM Act is not attached.[65]

Hard lobbying


In November 2021, HANA Center participated in direct actions alongside our NAKASEC (National Korean American Service & Education Consortium) & ICIRR (Illinois Coalition for Immigrant & Refugee Rights) coalition partners to call on Congress, particularly IL Senator & Chair of the Senate Judiciary Dick Durbin, to act now to deliver a pathway to citizenship this year.

On November 4th, we shut down Ida B. Wells Drive outside the ICE field office during morning rush hour for 1.5 hours with our ICIRR partners. HANA Center community members and organizers were among 29 arrested before a crowd of 100 in a civil disobedience demonstration to call on Senator Durbin and Congress to live up to their promises to immigrants, wearing shirts that read: “Durbin: Deliver Citizenship.”

On November 23rd, we gathered with our ICIRR partners outside Senator Durbin’s condo in Chicago to demand his immediate action to deliver a pathway to citizenship in the Senate version of BBB. Inside the building lobby, immigrant leaders & allies chanted “DURBIN DO YOUR JOB” while folks outside marched in a picket line. With BBB moving to the Senate, we will NOT stop organizing until Senator Durbin listens to the immigrant community, his Illinois constituents, and delivers citizenship this year.[66]

Resolution on Civil Rights Hero Fred Korematsu

February 6, 2017, Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley introduced a resolution honoring Fred Korematsu, who challenged the internment of Japanese Americans.

Wyden and Merkley said the resolution honoring Korematsu’s work and advocacy of the civil rights and liberties of all people is timely, given the president’s executive order establishing a Muslim ban.

"Fred Korematsu’s brave advocacy for the civil rights of 120,000 Japanese Americans remains a timeless example of courage that resonates today and every day,“ Wyden said. “I am committed to fighting for the continued advance of civil rights he spent his life defending, and against those who would betray both the law and our history to impose an unconstitutional religious test on immigrants."

"Heroes like Fred Korematsu demonstrate the importance of fighting fiercely for our core American values, even when it is hard,” said Merkley. “His story reminds us that the time is always right to stand up for what is right. We must keep fighting for the freedom and equality that define our nation, and ensure that the Statue of Liberty continues to stand as a beacon of hope around the world."

The resolution is cosponsored by Senators Mazie Hirono, Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Brian Schatz, Sherrod Brown, Sheldon Whitehouse, Maria Cantwell, Elizabeth Warren, Richard Blumenthal, Tim Kaine , Patty Murray, Chris Coons, and Dick Durbin.

A broad coalition of advocacy organizations support the resolution, including the Fred T. Korematsu Institute, the Bill of Rights Defense Committee & Defending Dissent Foundation, Demand Progress, Free Press Action Fund, Restore the Fourth, The Yemen Peace Project, and Fight for the Future.[67]

Ahmal Jbara connection


Senators denounce West Bank annexation plan

(June 7, 2019 / JNS) Six Democratic senators introduced a non-binding resolution on Thursday denouncing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s campaign promise to annex parts of Judea and Samaria.

Two of them, Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), are running for the Democratic nomination for president next year.

“Unilateral annexation of portions of the West Bank would jeopardize prospects for a two-state solution, harm Israel’s relationship with its Arab neighbors, threaten Israel’s Jewish and democratic identity, and undermine Israel’s security,” stated the resolution.

It mentioned that “the policy of the United States should be to preserve conditions conducive to a negotiated two state solution.”

The other senators who introduced the measure were Jeff Merkley (D-Wash.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).[68]

"Be HEARD" Act

April 9 2019, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), top Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, was joined by Congresswoman Katherine Clark (D-MA-5), Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, and Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (D-MA-7), to introduce the Bringing an End to Harassment by Enhancing Accountability and Rejecting Discrimination (Be HEARD) in the Workplace Act, legislation which takes critical steps to ensure businesses have more resources to prevent harassment and workers have more support when they seek accountability and justice, and sends a clear message to those who think they can get away with assault or harassment on the job: time is up.

Senator Murray announced the introduction at a news conference with survivors and advocates who shared their personal stories about workplace assault and harassment, including Adriana Cazorla, a Washington state domestic worker and advocate with National Domestic Workers Alliance, and Maria del Carmen Ruelas, farm worker with Justice for Migrant Women Advocates who also resides in Washington state. Additionally, leaders from the National Women's Law Center (NWLC), The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) participated and highlighted the urgent need to pass the legislation.

“No matter who you are or where you work—whether you are the only woman on the board, or a janitor, or farm worker, you should be treated fairly, respectfully, and with dignity. This should be true no matter your gender or race, your religion or sexual orientation or age—and regardless of whether you have a disability or are a veteran.” said Senator Murray. “For far too long and for far too many people in our country this hasn’t been true. So today, I’m proud to be standing up to fight for change and make clear that time is up.”

In addition to Senator Murray, the Senate bill is co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Bob Casey (D-PA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL). The House bill is being introduced by Congresswoman Katherine Clark (D-MA-5), Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (D-MA-7), Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin (D-MI-8), and Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-FL-26).[69]

Campaign Contributions

Council for a Livable World

The Council for a Livable World has supported Dick Durbin.[18]

Planned Parenthood

Durbin received $1000 in lobbying funds from Planned Parenthood in 2008.Template:Cite

George Soros

Dick Durbin has received personal campaign contributions from George Soros, founder of the Open Society Institute.Template:Cite


The following have worked as staff members for Dick Durbin:[70]

External links



  1. About Durbin
  2. Committees
  3. [https://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/mayor/press_room/press_releases/2013/january_2013/city_of_chicago_paystributetothelifeofdrmartinlutherkingjr.html Office of the Mayor, January 18, 2013 City of Chicago Pays Tribute to the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr]
  4. to Timuel D. Black, Jr. by Senator Richard J. Durbin Posted on 2017-10-03
  5. Rallying the Troops in Peoria: Illinois Public Action Convention, New Ground 44, January - February, 1996
  6. [Cit action annual report, 2009]
  7. [ http://milwaukee.indymedia.org/en/2005/04/203117.shtml, correction, http://watchdogmilwaukee.com, 01.04.2005 14:43], indymedia]
  8. Democratic Left • Spring 2005, pages 14,15
  9. Dick Durbin website, ,May 25, 2006, Comprehensive Immigration Reform Legislation Approved By Senate
  10. New Ground, 117, march/April 2008
  11. http://jeffberkowitz.blogspot.com/2007/03/barack-obama-watch-todays-labor-rally.html
  13. Crossroads fund 2007 Annual Report page 33
  14. [http://old.chipublib.org/dir_documents/black_papers.pdfTimuel D. Black, Jr. Papers Predominant dates, 1960-2000 ]
  15. NW University, Spring 2010 Newsletter
  16. Jan Schakowsky website, Durbin Cautions Seniors About Medicare Cards, by Mike Ramsey - Copley News ServiceMay 3, 2004
  17. [Joy in the Struggle, Bea Lumpkin, page 233]
  18. 18.0 18.1 CLW website: Who We've Helped Elect
  19. CLW 2014 endorsement, accessed July, 2013
  20. WashBlog, Free Speech for People moves forward in Washington State, By chadlupkes, Thu Feb 04, 2010
  21. [http://www.commondreams.org/news2001/0226-05.htm, Common Dreams, Morning After Bush's Speech, Progressive Activists to Unite Feb. 28 for Conference on 'Working Family' Agenda, WASHINGTON - February 26 - News Advisory]
  22. Our Future website: Take Back America 2010 Speakers (accessed on July 12, 2010)
  23. Our Future website: Take Back America 2010 Registration (accessed on July 12, 2010)
  24. IPS website, Sen. Durbin Floor Speech on IPS CEO Pay Report [VIDEO September 9, 2011 · By Matias Ramos]
  25. [http://www.yesmagazine.org/new-economy/a-voting-guide-for-the-99, Yes!blog, Lawmakers Get Graded on Equality Record, by Chuck Collins posted Oct 09, 2012]
  26. Meet the Left's Grover Norquist January 8, 2013
  27. [1]
  28. [ http://peoplesworld.org/cuba-travel-bill-advances-in-the-senate/PW, Cuba travel bill advances in the Senate by: Emile Schepers May 20 2015]
  29. [%22S+299%22}, Congress.Gov. S.299 - Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015114th Congress (2015-2016) | G]
  31. Immigrant Legal Resource Center, 23rd Phillip Burton Immigration & Civil Rights Awards
  32. Deferred Action for Dreamers
  33. Hart Research bio, accessed April 8th, 2013
  34. DSA Conference delegate list Oct. 12 1983 update
  35. 1986 DSA Feminist Commission Directory
  36. DSA letterhead April 28 1987
  37. http://www.zoominfo.com/people/Harwell_Carol_526895552.aspx
  38. PDA May 2013 Educate Congress Digest Letter drops (191 in total – 105 in April )
  39. PDA June 2013 Educate Congress Digest
  40. Harry Reid website, Bipartisan US Senate Delegation Returns from China April 26, 2011 | Press Releases
  41. J Street The political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans
  42. JStreetPAC 2016 Endorsees
  43. PAF
  44. SOAWatch, Ask your Senator to sign onto the Cardin Letter about Honduras
  45. Cardin Press release, Cardin Leads Senate Call For Accountability In Honduras For Human Rights Violations Tuesday, June 18, 2013
  46. Religious Freedom Calition, Sen. Durbin’s Palestinian Aide Helped Craft ‘Muslim Rights’ Hearing Mar 31st, 2011 | By wjmurray
  48. [2]
  49. Jihad Caucus, Exminer.com, Jim Simpson, The Jihad Caucus, May 26, 2015
  50. [https://www.investigativeproject.org/2719/durbin-flawed-hearing IPT Durbin's Flawed Hearing IPT News March 28, 2011]
  51. [3]
  52. Durbin Press Release 12.14.15Durbin: Anti-Muslim Bigotry Has No Place In America
  53. [4]
  54. [https://www.cair.com/images/pdf/What-They-Say-About-CAIR.pdf What They Say About CAIR (October 2014)
  55. [5]
  57. [6]
  58. Politico, Pelosi, 16 House Democrats to join Obama trip to Cuba By Lauren French,| 03/14/16
  59. NAKASEC Press release: NAKASEC Applauds Senator Durbin and Senator Lugar for their Leadership to Stop the Deportation of Undocumented Students APRIL 21, 2010
  60. [http://nakasec.org/2522DREAM Act Re-introduced in 112th Congress MAY 11, 2011NAKASEC May 11, 2011]
  61. [ https://www.hanacenter.org/news-events/2017/6/09/hana-center-hosts-senator-dick-durbins-briefing-following-his-visit-to-south-korea HANA Center, June 9, 2017 Hana Center Hosts Senator Dick Durbin's Briefing Following His Visit to South Korea]
  62. [7]
  63. SAALT Facebook, um AAPI Mobilization to demand a CLEAN DREAM ACTSouth Asian Americans Leading Together added 19 new photos to the album: AAPI Mobilization to demand a CLEAN DREAM ACT — with Raja Krishnamoorthi - Congressman, IL-8 and 3 others at United States Capitol. November 27, 2017
  64. [https://www.hanacenter.org/news-events/ NAKASEC OCTOBER HIGHLIGHTS SUPPORT FOR A CLEAN DREAM ACT]
  65. Students and educators flood Congress for a clean DREAM Act by 12/22 DECEMBER 20, 2017
  66. [8]
  67. [9]
  68. [10]
  69. [https://www.murray.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/newsroom?ID=6C5EC3C3-5270-4A49-ACAD-DC9907F6AC21 Patty Murray press release VIDEO: Senator Murray Introduces Sweeping Legislation to Address Harassment in the Workplace Apr 09 2019]
  70. Legistorm: Dick Durbin (accessed on Aug. 24, 2011)