Thomas Andrew Daschle (born December 9, 1947) is the current Senate Minority Leader in the United States Senate.
He was born in Aberdeen, South Dakota, where he grew up in a working family as the eldest of four brothers. He became the first person in his family to graduate from college when he earned a political science degree from South Dakota State University in 1969.
After serving three years as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Air Force Strategic Air Command, he spent five years as an aide to South Dakota Senator James Abourezk.
Tom Daschle is married to Linda Hall Daschle and is the father of three children: Kelly, Nathan and Lindsay.
In 1978, Daschle was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served four terms and quickly became a part of the Democratic leadership.
In 1986, Daschle was elected to the Senate in a close victory over incumbent Republican James Abdnor. In his first year, he was appointed to the powerful Senate Finance Committee, an unusual honor for a freshman. In 1988, then-Senate Democratic Leader George Mitchell named Daschle the first-ever co-chair of the Democratic Policy Committee, making him the first South Dakotan ever to hold a Senate leadership position.
To enhance his state's economy, Daschle also became the first U.S. Senator to hire a full-time economic development director, a staff position he maintains today. He was also one of the first members of Congress to establish a toll-free telephone line that connects South Dakotans to his Washington, DC office.
In 1992 and 1998, South Dakotans re-elected Daschle to the Senate by overwhelming margins. In 1994, he was chosen by his colleagues to succeed the retiring Senator George Mitchell as Democratic Leader. In the history of the Senate, only Lyndon Johnson had served fewer years before being elected to lead his party. In addition to the Leader's post, Daschle also serves as a member of the Agriculture Committee. In past Congresses, he has served on the Veterans, Indian Affairs, Finance and Ethics Committees.
In October, 2001 Daschle's office received a letter containing anthrax. See 2001 anthrax attack.