Loretta Schaefer is the long-time wife of Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin –the second-ranking Democrat in the Senate.
Her husband was born Richard Joseph Durbin on Nov. 21, 1944, in East St. Louis, Ill., to William, a railroad night watchman, and Ann Kutkin Durbin, a Lithuanian immigrant who also worked on the railroad. His father died of lung cancer when Durbin was 14.
Durbin graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in 1966 and from Georgetown’s law school in 1969. After law school, he served from 1969 through 1972 as legal counsel for Illinois’s then Lt. Gov. Paul Simon. He was counsel for the state Senate Judiciary Committee until his election to the U.S. House in 1982.
He went onto win his Senate seat in 1996. Durbin became the Senate’s minority whip in 2004 and its majority whip in 2006 when Democrats took control of Congress. Also in 2006, Time magazine named him one of America’s 10 “best” senators and dubbed him The Debater, for his tough questioning style.
He and his wife, Loretta, an Illinois lobbyist have been married for decades.
Loretta Schaefer and Dick Durbin became husband and wife on June 24, 1967. Together they welcomed three children, daughter Christine born in 1968, son Paul born in 1969 and another daughter, Jennifer born in 1971. Their oldest daughter died in 2008 at age 40.
According to her husband’s senate bio, the couple are also the proud grandparents to Alex, Ona and Floyd.
With Loretta working as a lobbyist, things tend to get complicated however, the couple have long talked about taking pains to separate their work and avoid conflicts of interest. She has built a reputation of her own since she began lobbying in the late 90’s.
In 2012 she formed Government Affairs Consulting, LLC and was previously a partner in the lobbying firm of Government Affairs Specialists, Inc. (GASI). She retired in 2014 aged 68.