Name and location of repository
Level of description
Thomas A. Daschle U.S. Senate Papers
- 1964-2006 (Creation)
660 linear feet [660 record boxes]
Name of creator
Senator Daschle is one of the longest serving Senate Democratic Leaders in history, and the only one 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.
Tom Daschle was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1978, winning by fewer than 200 votes. He was reelected three times before running successfully for the U.S. Senate in 1986. He was re-elected twice to the Senate before being defeated in 2004. Daschle is considered a populist politician, which helped the Democratic Party win elections in a predominately Republican state. Senator Daschle quickly rose to leadership roles within Congress, becoming the Senate Democratic leader in 1994 and serving in that position until his defeat in 2004, thus becoming the second longest serving Senate leader in party history. He was a member of many committees during his tenure in the U.S. Congress, including the Senate Finance Committee, the Democratic Policy Committee, the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry, the Veterans and Indian Affairs Committees, and the Finance and Ethics Committee.
Thomas Andrew Daschle was born on December 9, 1947 in Aberdeen, South Dakota. He was the oldest of four sons born to Sebastian C. and Elizabeth Meier Daschle. He attended public and private schools in Aberdeen and was active in Scouts as a youngster. He played basketball, served as president of the student council, and was elected senior class president at Aberdeen Central High School. His growing interest in politics was nurtured by attending American Legion Boys State. Former Senator George McGovern made an impression on Daschle when he spoke at Tom's high school graduation ceremony.
aschle became the first person in his family to graduate from college, earning a political science degree from South Dakota State University in 1969. While in college he was a member of the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps and the Political Science Club. He ran for sophomore class president in 1965, but lost.
Senator Daschle is married to Linda Hall Daschle and has three children, Kelly, Nathan and Lindsay.
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In the 1986 election, Daschle became South Dakota's junior senator by winning 52 percent of the vote in a tight race with Republican Senator James Abdnor. Senator Daschle was appointed to the Finance Committee during his first year in the Senate, an unusual honor for a freshman. In 1988, he became the first South Dakotan ever to hold a Senate Leadership position when he was named the first ever co-chair of the Democratic Policy Committee by then Senate Majority Leader George J. Mitchell.
When Senator Mitchell retired in 1994, Daschle ran for the post of Democratic Minority Leader and won, 24-23, over Senator Christopher Dodd. Only Lyndon B. Johnson had served fewer years in the Senate before being elected to the Leader position.
Senator Daschle served as Minority Leader from 1994 to 2001, when the Senate became deadlocked with 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans for the first time in the Senate's history. Daschle became Majority Leader for 17 days, from January 3 to January 20, because the new congress took office before a new presidential administration. Vice-President Al Gore acted as ex officio President of the Senate to give the Democrats a majority.
Daschle and Trent Lott, the Republican Leader, negotiated for five weeks to invent new rules to share power in an evenly-divided Congress and finally came up with an agreement that was passed unanimously by the Senate. In May of 2001, Republican Senator Jim Jeffords became an Independent, which gave the Democrats a majority in the chamber to make Senator Daschle Majority Leader once again, from June 6, 2001-January 3, 2003. After the 2002 election, Daschle again became Minority Leader for the 108th Congress until his defeat in the 2004 election.
Tom Daschle lost the 2004 election to John Thune by 4,534 votes, a 49%-51% margin. He had been the Democratic Leader for ten years, two years longer than Lyndon B. Johnson, and was the first party leader in a half-century to be voted out of office.
The U.S. Senate papers series of the Daschle Papers is composed of records created by Tom Daschle and his staff during his tenure in the U.S. Senate. Included are trip schedules, speeches, sponsored and cosponsored legislation, and administrative files including financial disclosures, appointments and schedules. This series does not contain much material related to Daschle's campaigns for voting records during this time.
The trip schedules and files regarding his frequent trips back to South Dakota, including quite a few of Daschle's "Trip Notes" which are Daschle's notes to his staff regarding his impressions of the details of the trip and issues and concerns encountered on the trips that he wanted his staff to address.
Also included are files on the Whitewater issue during the Clinton administration, veterans issues, Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota Water Projects, the accident of South Dakota Governor Mickelson, and aviation issues."
System of arrangement
Due to the size and scope of the Daschle collection this collection was minimally processed. This means that material was placed in acid-free folders and containers, but processing at the item level was keep to a minimum. Only folders that had little or no description were looked into with more depth. Artifacts, such as plaques, framed items, textiles, art, and other three-dimensional items, were separated and placed in appropriate storage. Photographs were also separated and placed in proper storage containers. Dates for each folder were chosen on what could be quickly ascertained. The dates are meant to give researchers a general idea of the dates of the material that is in each folder. These dates were selected on what could be quickly ascertained. If there was a range of dates covering material, then the earliest date was chosen.
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Conditions governing access
Open. Items in this collection do not circulate and may be used in-house only. Researchers conducting extensive research are asked to make an advance appointment to access archival material. Please call or e-mail prior to visiting the collection and indicate as much detail as possible about a particular topic and intended use.
Conditions governing reproduction
South Dakota State University supports access to the materials, published and unpublished, in its collections. Nonetheless, access to some items may be restricted as a result of their fragile condition or by contractual agreements with donors.
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Description control element
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Name access points
- Daschle, Thomas (Subject)