Dayton, Mark, 1947-

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Mark Dayton was born in Minneapolis on January 26, 1947, attended high school in Hopkins, and graduated cum laude from Yale University with a B.A. in psychology in 1969. He was a member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity.

After graduating from Yale, Dayton spent two years teaching general science in the New York City school system (1969-1971) and four years in Boston (1971-1975) as a counselor for runaway youths and chief financial officer for a social service agency.

In 1975 Dayton became a legislative aide to Minnesota Senator Walter Mondale and worked at the Carter-Mondale national campaign headquarters in Atlanta for several months during 1976. Dayton joined the staff of Minnesota governor Rudy Perpich in December 1976 and was named acting commissioner of the Department of Economic Development in 1978. In early 1979 Dayton joined the Minnesota Project, an economic development and public policy organization.

Dayton first ran for the United States Senate in 1982. He easily defeated former senator Eugene McCarthy in the Democratic-Farmer-Labor primary, but lost the general election by six percentage points to Republican incumbent David Durenburger. Dayton served as Minnesota's Commissioner of Energy and Economic Development (1983-1986) and was elected State Auditor (1991-1995). He sought the Minnesota governership in 1998, but bowed out early in the race. In 2000 Dayton financed a $12 million campaign out of his own pocket and ran again for the United States Senate. This time he was successful, beating Republican incumbent Rod Grams by six percentage points. Once seated, Dayton donated his Senate salary to the Minnesota Senior Federation.

Throughout the 107th, 108th, and 109th Congresses, Dayton served on the same four Senate committees. These were the committees on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry; Armed Services; Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs; and Rules and Administration. Dayton's legislative records show that he opposed tax cuts, the invasion of Iraq, and the Federal Marriage Amendment, but supported increased prescription drug coverage for seniors and the use of ethanol and biodiesel fuels. Amid escalating homeland security concerns at the time of the 2004 elections, and although other members of Congress continued business as usual, Dayton closed his Washington, D.C. office stating that he was unwilling to subject his staff and visitors to an increased risk of terrorist attacks. In September 2005, a week after Dennis Kucinich introduced a House bill to create a cabinet-level department of peace, Dayton introduced similar legislation in the Senate.

In early 2005 Dayton announced he would not seek re-election acknowledging that he did not have the stomach for fund raising and that he might not be the best candidate for the seat. Amy Klobuchar replaced Dayton on the Democratic-Farmer-Labor ticket and defeated Republican Mark Kennedy in the 2006 election.

From the guide to the Mark Dayton senatorial files., 2001-2006., (Repository Unknown)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Minnesota. Dept. of Economic Development. Commissioner's Office. Correspondence and subject files, 1971-1978. Minnesota Historical Society, Division of Archives and Manuscripts
creatorOf Mark Dayton senatorial files., 2001-2006.
creatorOf Dayton, Mark, 1947-. Mark Dayton senatorial files, 2001-2006. Minnesota Historical Society Library
creatorOf Minnesota. State Auditor. Mark Dayton correspondence, 1991-1994. Minnesota Historical Society, Division of Archives and Manuscripts
Role Title Holding Repository
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
Bills, Legislative
Steel industry and trade
Social legislation
Energy conservation--Law and legislation
Legislation--United States
Steel industry and trade--Minnesota
Criminal law
Same-sex marriage--Law and legislation
Agricultural laws and legislation--United States
Economic development--Minnesota
Economic development
Educational law and legislation--United States
Agricultural laws and legislation
Educational law and legislation


Birth 1947-01-26





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SNAC ID: 42522576