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Herb Kohl


Incumbent
Assumed office 
January 3, 1989
Serving with Russ Feingold
Preceded by William Proxmire

Incumbent
Assumed office 
January 4, 2007
Preceded by Gordon Smith

Born February 7, 1935 (1935-02-07) (age 75)
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) single
Residence Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Alma mater University of Wisconsin–Madison, Harvard University
Occupation department store executive, Milwaukee Bucks owner
Military service
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1958-1964
Unit Army Reserve

Herbert H. "Herb" Kohl (born February 7, 1935) is an American politician, business leader and philanthropist. A Democrat, he currently serves as the senior U.S. Senator from Wisconsin and is the owner of the Milwaukee Bucks National Basketball Association (NBA) team. As of 2008 Kohl was the wealthiest Member of Congress.[1]

Contents

Early and professional life

Kohl was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and is a product of public schools (Washington High School). He earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1956 and a master's degree in business administration from Harvard University in 1958. While an undergraduate, he joined Pi Lambda Phi Fraternity. Between 1958 and 1964, Kohl was a member of the United States Army Reserve.

After graduating from college, Kohl worked as an investor in real estate and the stock market, eventually spinning off his own company, Kohl Investments, to manage these assets. He and his brother became heir to a family-owned chain that included 50 grocery stores and several department stores, pharmacies, and liquor stores. In 1970, Kohl was named President of Kohl's and he helped to oversee the merger of his corporation with BATUS Inc. in 1972. Kohl stayed on as an executive until 1979.

In 1985, Kohl purchased the Milwaukee Bucks from Jim Fitzgerald. In 2003, he considered an offer to sell the team to former NBA superstar Michael Jordan, but decided to retain ownership.

Political career

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Overview

Kohl served as Chairman of the Wisconsin Democratic Party between 1975 and 1977. He won election to the U.S. Senate in 1988 with his trademark catchphrase "Nobody's Senator But Yours".[2] He was reelected in 1994, 2000 and 2006. With an estimated net worth in 2005 of $279 million, he is one of the wealthiest U.S. Senators.[3]

Voting record

Kohl has a fairly moderate voting record. He has been described as left-of center and with some libertarian tendencies.[4] He has voted in favor of most lawsuit reform measures as well as for rules tightening personal bankruptcy. He has long supported amending the U.S. Constitution to require a balanced budget. He was one of the few Democrats to vote for the tax cut passed in 2001, and he also supported the elimination of the "marriage penalty." Despite these views, he has been seen as generally supportive of progressive taxation. Like many moderate Democrats, he voted in favor of the welfare reform measures in the mid 1990s. Although he is a strong supporter of public education and has rejected school vouchers, Kohl has voted in favor of allowing for the establishment of educational savings accounts. He is also not opposed to the creation of individual, private savings accounts to supplement Social Security.[4]

On the other hand, Kohl has voted against many free trade agreements including the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and more recently the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and voted against the Freedom to Farm Act in 1996. However, he has also supported fast tracking trade normalization with China and establishing free trade with some smaller countries of the Third World. He voted in 2002 to authorize military force in Iraq; however, he voted against authorizing the Gulf War in 1990. Kohl has voted on a number of occasions with more liberal Democrats to reduce military spending, voting against 1996 defense appropriations increases and supporting a veto of funding new military projects. Despite having been among the 98 U.S. Senators who voted for the PATRIOT Act, Kohl subsequently opposed this legislation and has voted to require warrants for wiretapping or the detention of prisoners.[4]

Kohl is strongly pro-choice and opposes the death penalty. He is highly in favor of affirmative action and supports setting aside funds for women and minorities. Although he voted in favor of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, Kohl rejected the recent proposal to ban gay marriage and has supported measures that ban discrimination based on sexual orientation. Kohl has consistently voted against the flag desecration amendment and in recent years has voted against restrictions on travel to Cuba and funding for TV Marti. In 2005 he secured a victory for one of his main causes: requiring handguns to be sold with child safety locks. The amendment was attached to the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, with every Democrat and many Republicans voting in favor of the amendment. Earlier in his career, he helped push the Gun-Free Schools Act which the U.S. Supreme Court overturned in 1995 and has submitted many amendments to that effect.[5]

Kohl has generally had a pro-environmental record and has been an outspoken proponent of American energy independence. He supports increased production of hydrogen cars, establishing a federal goal for reducing oil consumption by 40 percent, and disallowing oil speculation in protected areas. However, he has voted against CAFE standards. Kohl has been rated highly by groups that desire universal health care. He has voted in favor of expanding Medicare and SCHIP and has desired that prescription drugs be included under federal health coverage. During his most recent election campaign, Kohl advocated that HMOs be placed under more scrutiny in order to determine if they're effectively delivering care.[4]

In 2008, Kohl voted to grant retroactive immunity for telecommunication companies engaged in illegal wiretapping.[6]

2006 re-election campaign

In 2006, Kohl easily won reelection over physician Robert Lorge, who became the Republican nominee after more well-known candidates, such as former Governor Tommy Thompson and 2004 U.S. Senate candidate Tim Michels, opted not to run. In polls well before the primary, Kohl led Lorge by large margins.[7]

Sen. Kohl with Casey FitzRandolph of Verona, Wisconsin, who won a gold medal in speedskating at the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Committee assignments

Electoral history

Wisconsin U.S. Senate Election 2006
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Herb Kohl (incumbent) 1,439,214 67.31
Republican Robert Lorge 630,299 29.48
Green Rae Vogeler 42,434 1.98
Independent Ben J. Glatzel 25,096 1.17
Wisconsin U.S. Senate Election 2000
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Herb Kohl (incumbent) 1,563,238 61.54
Republican John Gillespie 940,744 37.04
Wisconsin U.S. Senate Election 1994
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Herb Kohl (incumbent) 912,662 58.29
Republican Bob Welch 636,989 40.69
Wisconsin U.S. Senate Election 1988
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Herb Kohl 1,128,625 52.08
Republican Susan Engeleiter 1,030,440 47.55
Wisconsin U.S. Senate Election 1988 - Democratic Primary
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Herb Kohl 249,226 46.78
Democratic Tony Earl 203,479 38.19
Democratic Ed Garvey 55,225 10.37
Democratic Doug La Follette 19,819 3.72

Business and philanthropy

Before his election to the Senate, Kohl helped build his family-owned business, Kohl's grocery and department stores. He served as president from 1970 until the sale of the corporation in 1979.

Kohl is recognized as a dedicated Wisconsinite and sports enthusiast. In 1985, he bought the Bucks basketball team to ensure the team remained in Milwaukee. Kohl also donated $25 million to the University of Wisconsin–Madison for construction of its new sports arena, which was named the Kohl Center. It was the largest single donation in University of Wisconsin System history.[citation needed]

He remains active in other charitable activities. In 1990 he established the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation Achievement Award Program, which provides annual grants totaling $100,000 to 100 graduating seniors, 100 teachers and 100 schools throughout Wisconsin.

References

External links

United States Senate
Preceded by
William Proxmire
United States Senator (Class 1) from Wisconsin
1989 – present
Served alongside: Bob Kasten, Russ Feingold
Incumbent
Political offices
Preceded by
Gordon Smith
Oregon
Chairman of Senate Aging Committee
2007–present
Incumbent
United States order of precedence
Preceded by
Kent Conrad
D-North Dakota
United States Senators by seniority
23rd
Succeeded by
Joseph Lieberman
I-Connecticut
Representatives to the 101st–111th United States Congresses from Wisconsin (ordered by seniority)
101st Senate: B. Kasten | H. Kohl House: R. Kastenmeier | D. Obey | L. Aspin | T. Roth | J. Sensenbrenner | T. Petri | S. Gunderson | J. Moody | J. Kleczka
102nd Senate: B. Kasten | H. Kohl House: D. Obey | L. Aspin | T. Roth | J. Sensenbrenner | T. Petri | S. Gunderson | J. Moody | J. Kleczka | S. Klug
103rd Senate: H. Kohl | R. Feingold House: D. Obey | T. Roth | J. Sensenbrenner | T. Petri | S. Gunderson | J. Kleczka | S. Klug | T. Barrett | P. Barca
104th Senate: H. Kohl | R. Feingold House: D. Obey | T. Roth | J. Sensenbrenner | T. Petri | S. Gunderson | J. Kleczka | S. Klug | T. Barrett | M. Neumann
105th Senate: H. Kohl | R. Feingold House: D. Obey | J. Sensenbrenner | T. Petri | J. Kleczka | S. Klug | T. Barrett | M. Neumann | J. W. Johnson | R. Kind
106th Senate: H. Kohl | R. Feingold House: D. Obey | J. Sensenbrenner | T. Petri | J. Kleczka | T. Barrett | R. Kind | T. Baldwin | M. Green | P. Ryan
107th Senate: H. Kohl | R. Feingold House: D. Obey | J. Sensenbrenner | T. Petri | J. Kleczka | T. Barrett | R. Kind | T. Baldwin | M. Green | P. Ryan
108th Senate: H. Kohl | R. Feingold House: D. Obey | J. Sensenbrenner | T. Petri | J. Kleczka | R. Kind | T. Baldwin | M. Green | P. Ryan
109th Senate: H. Kohl | R. Feingold House: D. Obey | J. Sensenbrenner | T. Petri | R. Kind | T. Baldwin | M. Green | P. Ryan | G. Moore
110th Senate: H. Kohl | R. Feingold House: D. Obey | J. Sensenbrenner | T. Petri | R. Kind | T. Baldwin | P. Ryan | G. Moore | S. Kagen
111th Senate: H. Kohl | R. Feingold House: D. Obey | J. Sensenbrenner | T. Petri | R. Kind | T. Baldwin | P. Ryan | G. Moore | S. Kagen

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