At a Glance
- Career History: Wisconsin Representative (1989-1996); Farmer (1971- 1989)
- Birthday: March 16, 1963
- Hometown: La Crosse, Wis.
- Alma Mater: Harvard University, B.A. 1985
- Spouse: Tawni
- Religion: Lutheran
- Committees: Ways and Means, Natural Resources
- DC Office: 1406 Longworth House Office Building Phone: 1-202-225-5506
- District Offices: La Crosse205 Fifth Avenue S., Suite 400 La Crosse, WI 54601Phone 1-608-782-2558 Eau Claire131 S. Barstow St.Suite 301Eau Claire, WI 54701Phone:1-715-831-9214
- Web site
Path to Power
Kind grew up in a large working-class family in the small city of La Crosse on Wisconsin's western border; his father was a telephone repairman, and his mother worked as a secretary in the local schools. After graduating from La Crosse Logan High School where he excelled at both academics and football, Kind won a scholarship to Harvard where he played quarterback. He graduated with a B.A. in 1985.
Kind went on to earn a masters degree from the London School of Economics and a law degree from the University of Minnesota. After graduating from law school, he worked for a big firm in Milwaukee for several years before returning to La Crosse in 1992 to work as an assistant prosecutor.
In his 12 years in the House, Kind has compiled a moderate voting record. He champions "pay as you go" budget rules that require spending cuts or tax increases for every new spending authority and other fiscally-conservative policies. But he has also pushed for affordable health insurance for small business owners and family farms. As a congressman from a rural district, Kind supports the agriculture industry, but also legislation that protects the environment. He co-founded the Upper Mississippi River Congressional Task Force and worked with other House members to establish a water-quality monitoring network in the Upper Mississippi River Basin.
Kind was criticized by liberals in his district for his 2002 vote in support of the Iraq war, but in October 2003 he worked (unsuccessfully) to pass an amendment that would dramatically cut U.S. funding for Iraqi reconstruction and instead call for more international contributions. He now supports redeploying American troops from Iraq to Afghanistan. Kind has voted 94.5 percent of the time with his Democratic colleagues in the 111th Congress.Washington Post Congress Votes Database, Rep. Ron Kind
A large part of Kind's network of political allies consists of fellow members of the New Democrats, a centrist group chaired by Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.) (who is nominated for a post at the State Department). In March 2009, the group met with President Barack Obama, who said he also considers himself a New Democrat because of the group's centrist stances and appreciation for bipartisanship.
Kind clearly admires Obama's centrist approach, and has praised the president for being "intellectually curious" and "a good listener." "If he thinks it's a good idea, he's going to embrace it, regardless of its source," Kind said. In December 2008 Kind met with Obama's agriculture advisers, and his name was floated as a potential pick for Agriculture secretary.