Russ Feingold

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Russ Feingold
U.S. Junior Senator, Wisconsin
image:RussFeingold.jpg
Party Democratic
Assumed office (class 3)

January 14, 1975
Serving with Herb Kohl

Preceded by Bob Kasten
Committees
Born March 2, 1953
Spouse Mary Feingold (divorced)
Religion Jewish


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Russ Feingold is the Junior U.S. Senator from Wisconsin. First elected to the U.S. Senate in 1992, Feingold has shown more courage in standing up to the second Bush administration than most of his colleagues.

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Biography

Russ was born in Janesville, Wisconsin on March 2, 1953. Russ was a successful lawyer before running for District 27 of the Wisconsin state senate. At age 29, he defeated a longtime incumbent. Russ was reelected in 1986 and ran unopposed in 1990. In 1992, Feingold ran a positive campaign for the U.S. Senate. In a competitive three-candidate primary, he ultimately won 70% of the vote; in the general election he unseated a two-term incumbent. In 1998 Feingold eked out a victory against Mark Neumann, despite his promise to refuse soft money and limit campaign spending. In November 2004 Russ defeated Tim Michels 56-44%, his highest total ever in his Senate career. In spite of their huge differences in ideology and manner, Russ and George W. Bush won many of the same counties. Perhaps as a result of his success he was named one of four deputy Senate Democratic whips (along with Byron Dorgan, Barbara Boxer and Thomas Carper) in December of that same year.

After his 2004 victory some speculated he would begin a run for the White House. Feingold began to tour with a national version of his "listening sessions". In June 2005 Feingold launched his own PAC, Progressive Patriots. Feingold decided not to run for the 2008 Presidential Elections [1].

Feingold was married to Sue Feingold for nine years, and to Mary Feingold from 1991 to 2005. Some pundits speculated a twice-divorced politician had little to no chance at winning a Presidential campaign. He has two children by his first marriage (Jessica and Ellen) and was stepfather to two of Mary's children, Sam and Ted.

Analysis

Russ is derided as a "liberal", a label he has no problem with. Yet, one of the most popular and respected Republicans in Wisconsin, Tommy Thompson, refused to run against him. Even one of Russ' potential opponents for the 2004 general election, Russ Darrow, had once given money to Feingold's campaign. Republican senators John McCain and John Warner have defended the constant attacks against his patriotism. These are only small examples of the fact that Russ cannot be categorized. He votes based on what his principles tell him, and on what he feels is best for the people of Wisconsin and their rights. In each of his 12 years as a senator, he has routinely held listening sessions in every single Wisconsin county, and over and over again he's responded to their concerns no matter how big or small.

Russ' most well-known accomplishment is the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, a bipartisan effort which was intended to curb the constant flow of special interest money and soft money in the political atmosphere. However, Russ has cast a number of controversial votes, some remarkably perceptive, others murky. He voted against NAFTA, the war in Iraq, Defense of Marriage Act, No Child Left Behind, the Medicare "reform" bill, Bush's tax cuts, and the recent attempt to renew the assault weapons ban. He cast one of the votes confirming John Ashcroft as Attorney General for the Bush administration. His most hotly debated, and many would say bravest, vote was against the Patriot Act. Russ was the only member of the Senate to vote against this draconian bill. At the time, some predicted that vote would end his career. His opponents continue to use that vote to claim he's "un-American" or "cowardly". Yet, countless police officers have thanked him for that vote. Legislatures in states as reliably Republican in Alaska have passed resolutions to repeal the Act. A slew of Republicans and Democrats in Congress have pledged to make serious alterations to the act in December, 2005. Once again Russ Feingold took a strong stand, regardless of the consequences, and once again he was proven right.

He does the people of Wisconsin proud.

He does the people of America proud.

Censuring President George W. Bush

On Monday March 13, Feingold instroduced a 5 page resolution that would censure President George W. Bush for misleading America about his domestic-eavesdropping program. "The president has broken the law and, in some way, he must be held accountable," he said the day before. Source: Douglass K. Daniel. "Senator Proposing Censure of President." The Seattle Times. March 13, 2006.

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