Senator (Class 3)
ends in 2017
John Randolph Thune (born January 7, 1961) is the junior United States Senator from South Dakota and a member of the Republican Party. He previously served as a United States Representative for South Dakota’s at-large congressional district.
As a U.S. Senator, Thune also took a leading role in formulating energy policy. He pushed for the final passage of a comprehensive energy bill, which finally overcame a series of Democratic filibusters and passed the Senate in 2005. Thune helped pass another energy bill in late 2007. Thune is a particular advocate developing alternative sources of energy such as ethanol and wind energy, which are linked to South Dakota’s high levels of corn production and its windy prairies. Thune’s hometown of Murdo is considered one of the windiest towns in the nation.
Thune also became a strong advocate of conservative causes such as gun rights. Thune’s emergence as a conservative voice in the US Senate led to a lengthy profile in conservative magazine The Weekly Standard. The American Conservative Union gave Senator Thune a rating of 100 in 2006, and again in 2010; as of 2010, Thune’s lifetime ACU rating was 88.97.
On December 6, 2006, Thune was chosen by Senate Republican Whip Trent Lott to be the GOP’s Chief Deputy Whip. After briefly serving as Republican Conference Vice-Chairman, Thune became chairman of the Republican Policy Committee in June 2009, which is the fourth-ranking position in the Senate. He was then elected Republican Conference Chairman in 2011, taking office in January 2012. The Conference Chairman is the third-ranking position in the US Senate. In late 2011, the Mitchell Daily Republic reported that “Thune’s elevation to the No. 3 spot makes him the highest-ranking Republican senator in South Dakota history. Thune has served as chairman of the Republican Policy Committee from 2009 until the present time and was vice chairman of the Republican Conference from 2008 to 2009 and the Republican chief deputy whip from 2006 to 2008.”