John Thune is a Senator from South Dakota. Born in Pierre, SD, in 1961, he earned his B.S. from Biola University in 1983 and his M.B.A. from the University of South Dakota in 1984. He was executive director, South Dakota state municipal league; and served on the board of directors, National League of Cities. He was a staff member for United States Senator James Abdnor of South Dakota from 1985-1986 and the South Dakota state Republican party executive director from 1989-1991. He also served as director of the South Dakota state railroad division from 1991-1993 and the director of the South Dakota state municipal league from 1993-1996. He was elected to the 105th and to the two succeeding Congresses (January 3, 1997-January 3, 2003). In 2002, he ran unsuccessfully for the United States Senate. In 2004, he was elected to the U.S. Senate. He vice-chaired the Republican Conference (2009), chaired the Republican Policy Committee (2009-2012), chaired the Republican Conference (2012-), and chaired the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation (114th Congress).