Byron L. Dorgan

LUNCHEON KEYNOTE SPEAKER 

United States Senator Byron L. Dorgan

CGP is pleased to welcome Former Senator Byron L. Dorgan (D-North Dakota) to the National Conference on Philanthropic Planning. In 2005, Senator Dorgan introduced the original Public Good IRA Rollover Act (S.1366), telling his Senate colleagues, “As a Nation, we often look to a strong network of charities, large and small, to offer financial and other support to families and individuals who need help when government assistance is unavailable. That is why I think it's critically important for Congress to do everything we can to help encourage the work of worthy charities.” At NCPP, he brings unique perspective on the current political environment and advice on how nonprofit organizations can make their case for serving the greater good.

When he retired from the Senate In 2011, Senator Dorgan left on an upbeat note, saying “This country is an unbelievable place.…Where we have been and what we have done, all these things together ought to inspire us that we can do so much more.” He was born in a rural town of 250 residents and became the youngest-ever constitutional officer in North Dakota when he served as state tax commissioner at age 26.  He was then elected to the U.S. House, thus beginning a 30-year career in the U.S. Congress--12 in the House and 18 in the U.S. Senate.  His service provided a panoramic view of the art of the possible. During his tenure, he 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, and on the House Ways and Means Committee for 10 years, working on economic, tax, and health policy. He served with notable congressional leaders —Ted Kennedy, Tom Daschle, Bob Dole, Bob Bennett, Robert Byrd—who found ways to build consensus across the aisle. No one ever said that was easy. “This country is about, in my judgment, aggressive, open debate,” Senator Dorgan has said. “There is an old saying: When everyone is thinking the same thing, no one is thinking very much.”

In his post Senate life, he models the goal of doing so much more. He is a visiting Professor at Georgetown University, a Senior Policy Advisor at a Washington D.C. Law Firm, a Senior Fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center, and is active on several Boards of Directors. He is founder of the Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute. And he is a New York Times Bestselling author who has written two nonfiction books about economic issues and co-authored two thrillers about threats to America’s energy infrastructure. 

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