United States Sen. John Thune (’83) of South Dakota became the Senate Republican Whip in November of 2018, the number two position in Senate Republican Leadership, ranking just behind Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Thune, 58, has long been considered one of the Senate GOP conference’s brightest stars, according to The Hill. He sent shockwaves through the political world in 2004 when he narrowly edged out Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle to win a seat in the Senate, the first time in more than 50 years a sitting Senate leader lost an election. Thune served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1997 to 2003 before he took his seat in the Senate in 2005. He is now serving his third term. He and his wife, Kimberley (’83), live in Sioux Falls, S.D., and have two grown daughters and three grandchildren. He served as honorary co-chair for Biola’s most recent fundraising campaign, which concluded in 2016, raising $214 million for affordability, buildings and other university initiatives.