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Senator Byron Dorgan, D-North Dakota, announced he will retire at the end of the year after 30 years in Washington.
Dorgan, who served as the chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee since 2007, has a history of working closely with Indian tribes. During his tenure, he has supported key legislation on Indian health care, law enforcement, education, housing and other important issues.
Delvin Cree, Turtle Mountain Chippewa, described Dorgan’s departure as “a surprising blow to Indian Country,” in an interview with the Grand Forks Herald. The Herald also noted the series of public hearings convened by Dorgan to bring attention to the epidemic of suicide on reservations and credits him with drawing national attention to the problem.
President Obama said of Dorgan, “He has also been a champion for our family farmers and a powerful voice for Indian Country – particularly through his recent work to improve Indian health care.” services.”
Dorgan leaves big shoes to fill.