Senator Dick Durbin has been elected by his fellow Democratic senators every two years since 2006 to the post of Assistant Majority Leader, also known as Majority Whip. It is the Senate’s second highest ranking position. In 2004, Durbin was elected as Minority Whip. Durbin's election to leadership marked only the fifth time in history that an Illinois senator has served as a Senate leader.
Durbin, a Democrat from Springfield, is the 47th U.S. Senator from the State of Illinois and the first Illinois senator to serve on the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee in more than a quarter of a century. He is the state’s senior senator and convenor of the bipartisan Illinois delegation. 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.
Durbin currently serves as the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee’s Human Rights subcommittee. In 2007, Durbin helped establish the subcommittee to deal with better enforcement and implementation of human rights laws. This marked the first time in history that the Senate created a subcommittee to deal exclusively with human rights issues. Durbin also chairs the Appropriations Committee’s Financial Services and General Government subcommittee. He is a founding member of the Senate Global AIDS Caucus.
Senator Durbin makes approximately 50 round trips a year between Washington and Illinois. He is married to Loretta Schaefer Durbin. They have three children and one grandchild. The Durbins reside in Springfield.