Photo: Andy Fredericks

Byron Dorgan

Former U.S. Senator

Byron Dorgan began his career in the public sector in 1969 as the Tax Commissioner of North Dakota, a position he held until 1980.  He was then elected to the House of Representatives for the first of six terms, and in 1992 he was elected to the U.S. Senate where he would serve until 2011.

During his time in Congress he became known as a strong progressive voice, defending the economic needs of rural Americans, pushing for energy independence and promoting sound economic policies. Dorgan served as a senior member of the Senate Appropriations, Energy and Commerce Committees and Chairman of key subcommittees on Aviation, Energy and Water and Indian issues.

In 1999, he was one of only eight Senators to vote against the Financial Services Modernization Act (also known as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act), which repealed parts of a Depression-era law that had kept commercial banks from engaging in speculative investment activity. On the Senate floor, Dorgan gave an impassioned speech warning that the legislation would lead to greater risks being taken on Wall Street, and to huge conglomerates that would become “too big to fail.” After the financial meltdown of 2008, archival video of Dorgan’s nine-year-old speech went viral on the Internet, and he was cited by many as having “predicted” the banking crisis.

Following his retirement from public life in 2011, Dorgan joined the law and lobbying firm Arent Fox as a Senior Policy Advisor. He serves as co-chair of the firm’s Government Relations division.

Senator Dorgan is the author of two books, Reckless! How Debt, Deregulation and Dark Money Nearly Bankrupted America and Take This Job and Ship It: How Corporate Greed and Brain-Dead Politics Are Selling Out America.