Dorgan to continue his work with American Indians

Staff reports
Former Senator Byron Dorgan was honored in October by the Spirit Lake Nation for his work with Native American issues as chair of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.

In October the Spirit Lake Nation came together to honor retiring US Senator Byron Dorgan for his work with Native Americans as chair of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.

The now-retired senator closed a 40 year career in state-wide public office earlier this month and says he intends to keep a busy schedule doing interesting and productive work following his retirement from the Senate.

He released information about some of his post-Senate plans Friday, Jan. 7.

Dorgan said he will chair a new foundation at the Aspen Institute, a policy think tank, to focus on the challenges faced by Indian youth at risk where issues like suicide, substance abuse, and accidental death are epidemic. The foundation will focus, especially on teen suicide prevention and related issues.

Dorgan said he will also be doing some writing and teaching.  He has signed a contract with a publisher to write two more books. He will also do some public speaking through a speaker’s bureau, and has agreed to be a Visiting Professor doing guest lectures at both Georgetown University and the University of North Dakota.

In addition, Dorgan will be affiliated with the Bipartisan Policy Center, a think tank, working on energy programs and other critical issues.

And he will be assuming a part time role as a Senior Policy Advisor with one of Washington DC’s premier law firms.

Dorgan said that he intends to continue working to expand the concept of the Red River Research Corridor in North Dakota. Dorgan created the corridor and steered over $750 million in funding to the effort to build world class research capabilities using the two major universities as anchors for the Corridor. The initiative has helped create a high tech industry in North Dakota and thousands of good paying new jobs.

Dorgan, whose Senate term ended January 3, served 40 years in statewide public office including 10 years as State Tax Commissioner, 12 years in the U.S. House and 18 years in the U.S. Senate. "Although I have chosen to leave public service, I intend to continue to be involved in some of the major projects in our state," Dorgan said.

Dorgan said his work at the Aspen Institute will seek to identify problems affecting Indian youth and develop initiatives to solve those problems. Working to end the epidemic of youth suicides among Native Americans was also an important focus Dorgan's chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.

As a visiting professor at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, and Georgetown University in Washington, DC, he will present lectures on government, political science, public affairs, and the Congress several times a year at the two institutions.

Writing and public speaking are also on Dorgan's post-Senate agenda. The author of two previous nonfiction books, one on the New York Times Bestsellers list, Dorgan has signed a contract to write two new books – both fiction -- over the next couple of years. The first one is due out later this year.

"While I have retired from the Senate, I look forward to having a busy and interesting life." Dorgan said.

"After 40 years in public service, I am now going to do a combination of writing, teaching, advising, speaking, and think tank work. I am excited to have these opportunities."