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Newsmaker: Sen. Tom Daschle

Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle is a liberal Democrat who knows how to win in his traditionally Republican home state of South Dakota. The Republican Party is earmarking money to try to defeat Daschle in the 2004 election.

Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle is a liberal Democrat who knows how to win in his traditionally Republican home state of South Dakota. The Republican Party is earmarking money to try to defeat Daschle in the 2004 election.

Early years: Tom Daschle was born Dec. 9, 1947, in Aberdeen, S.D. He earned a political science degree from South Dakota State University in 1969.

Career: After serving three years as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Air Force Strategic Air Command, Daschle spent five years as an aide to South Dakota Sen. James Abourezk.

Daschle returned to South Dakota to run for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1978.

He was elected and served until 1986 when he ran for the U.S. Senate. After a close race, Daschle became the junior senator from South Dakota. Today, he serves as senior senator and Democratic Leader.

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Well versed in rural challenges, Daschle has developed a keen interest in the economic options that Internet access can provide his state.

Each year, he takes a tour across South Dakota in his car, with no staff and no schedule. Daschle stops at cattle auctions, clinics, fire stations, cafes or anywhere people gather, to hear what is on people's minds. Daschle takes what he learns back to Washington.

Family: Tom Daschle is married to Linda Hall Daschle. They have three children.

In his words: "Rural communities need the economic and social benefits that high-speed Internet access provides. For some of them, it's a matter of basic economic survival."

Web link: daschle.senate.gov/bio_career.html

Compiled by Carol Bradley Bursack

Sources: Associated Press, Daschle.senate.gov

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