A native of Collegeville, Minnesota, Senator David Durenberger graduated from St. John’s Prep School in 1951and cum laude from St. John’s University in 1955. Senator Durenberger was involved in Army ROTC, becoming the program’s first cadet battalion commander and the top honor cadet. He went on to serve in the United States Army as an officer in Military Intelligence and reserve Civil Affairs and Military Government officer from 1956-1963. During this time, he also graduated from the University of Minnesota Law School. He practiced law in South St. Paul, Minn., with Harold LeVander and served as chief of staff to LeVander when he was elected governor in 1966. From 1971 to 1978 he was counsel for Legal and Community Affairs at the H.B. Fuller Company in St. Paul.
Senator Durenberger was elected to replace Hubert and Muriel Humphrey to serve 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 is currently a Senior Health Policy Fellow at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, Minn., and chairs the National Institute of Health Policy (NIHP).
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), and serves currently on the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured.
Senator Durenberger was also named by Governor Tim Pawlenty to lead the Minnesota Citizens Forum on Health Care Costs, an inside-out approach to health care reform in Minnesota. He is author of Prescription for Change and Neither Madmen Nor Messiahs, and teaches and speaks nationally on the future of health care delivery and policy.