10 Things You Didn't Know About Dick Durbin

He is the second-highest-ranking member of the Senate.

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1. Richard Joseph Durbin was born Nov. 21, 1944, in East St. Louis, Ill., to William, a railroad night watchman, and Ann Kutkin Durbin, a Lithuanian immigrant who also worked on the railroad. His father died of lung cancer when Durbin was 14.

2. Durbin graduated from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service in 1966 and from Georgetown's law school in 1969.

3. After law school, he served from 1969 through 1972 as legal counsel for Illinois's then Lt. Gov. Paul Simon. He was counsel for the state Senate Judiciary Committee until his election to the U.S. House in 1982.

4. Durbin won his Senate seat in 1996, replacing longtime mentor, Simon, who was retiring.

5. Durbin became the Senate's minority whip in 2004 and its majority whip in 2006 when Democrats took control of Congress.

6. He apologized in 2005 for remarks he made on the Senate floor comparing American interrogators in Guantánamo Bay to the Nazis, the Soviets, and the Khmer Rouge.

7. In 2006, Time magazine named him one of America's 10 "best" senators and dubbed him The Debater, for his tough questioning style.

8. He and his wife, Loretta Schaefer Durbin, had three children. Their oldest daughter died in 2008 at age 40.

9. In 2009, Durbin encouraged Illinois Sen. Roland Burris to resign amid allegations about the circumstances that led to his appointment by Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

10. While in Washington, Durbin rooms with fellow Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer and Reps. George Miller and Bill Delahunt in Miller's Capitol Hill row house.