1300 North Campus Drive
Hilton M. Briggs Library Room 241
University Station Box 2115
Brookings, South Dakota 57007
The South Dakota State University Archives acquired the papers of former Congressman and Senator Thomas A. Daschle in 2005. Senator Daschle graduated from SDSU in 1969 with a degree in political science. This growing collection includes photographs and documents from his distinguished twenty-six year public career in the U.S. House and Senate.
Senator Daschle is the only Senator to serve twice as both Majority and Minority Leader. As the Democratic Party Leader, he co-managed the impeachment trial of President William Jefferson Clinton, only the second impeachment trial in United States history. Daschle also led the Senate in response to the attacks of September 11th, 2001 and the anthrax attack on his office on October 15, 2001.
During his legislative career, Tom Daschle was a strong advocate for veterans, leading a lengthy fight to win compensation for veterans who were victims of cancer related to Agent Orange exposure. He also was instrumental in passage of the Veterans’ Benefits Improvement Act of 1994, which authorized payment of disability compensation to Gulf War veterans suffering from undiagnosed war-related illnesses.
Daschle’s agricultural legislative accomplishments include writing the 1985 Emergency Farm Credit Act to aid farmers during the farm crisis, and also writing major provisions of the Disaster Relief Acts of 1988, 1989 and 1993 to help farmers recover from devastating natural disasters. He also authored key provisions of the Omnibus Trade Act to increase overseas markets for agricultural products.
In addition to acting as coordinator of the failed effort to pass President Clinton’s comprehensive health-care bill in 1994, Senator Daschle authored and passed legislation to expand rural health services and regulate of the sale and marketing of Medigap insurance plans to prevent fraud. He also helped lead the fight against fetal alcohol syndrome.
Senator Daschle’s other major legislative accomplishments include being the principal author of the reformulated gasoline provision of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, and writing successful legislation to authorize housing and expand education and health facilities on American Indian reservations.
Daschle was known for his “prairie populist” ideals as a legislator, exemplified by his annual unscheduled driving tour when he traveled across his home state of South Dakota with no staff and no schedule. He made a point of visiting every one of South Dakota’s counties, visiting local establishments like cattle auctions, schools and cafes to talk to people about their concerns. He was also one of the first members of Congress to establish a toll-free telephone line connecting his South Dakota constituents with his Washington, D.C. office.
Thomas A. Daschle Papers