Ronald James "Ron" Kind (born March 16, 1963) is the U.S. Representative for Wisconsin's 3rd congressional district, serving since 1997. He is a member of the Democratic Party. His district is located in the western portion of the state and is anchored by La Crosse and Eau Claire and Platteville.
Early life, education and career
Kind was born and raised in La Crosse. He is the third of five children born to Greta and Elroy Kind, and the fifth generation of his family to live in the area. Kind's mother formerly worked as the assistant director of personnel in the La Crosse School District.
His father had a 35-year career as a telephone repairman and union leader at the La Crosse Telephone Company.
Kind attended the public schools in La Crosse and became a standout student athlete at Logan High School in both football and basketball. He accepted a scholarship to Harvard College where he graduated with honors in 1985. While attending Harvard, Kind played quarterback on the football team and worked during the summer with Wisconsin Senator William Proxmire in Washington. In Proxmire's office he helped investigate waste, which provided the basis for some of the senator's famous Golden Fleece Awards.
Kind went on to receive a master's degree from the London School of Economics and a Law Degree from the University of Minnesota Law School. He practiced law for two years at the law firm of Quarles and Brady in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Kind returned to his hometown of La Crosse to become a county prosecutor.
He later served as a special prosecutor in numerous counties throughout western Wisconsin.
U.S. House of Representatives
- Committee on Ways and Means
- Subcommittee on Oversight
- Subcommittee on Health
- Subcommittee on Social Security
- Congressional Wildlife Refuge Caucus
- International Conservation Caucus
- Sportsmen's Caucus
- Upper Mississippi River Congressional Caucus
- Congressional Arts Caucus
Kind's other (non-committee) titles are the Democratic Chief Deputy Whip, co-founder of both the Upper Mississippi River Congressional Caucus and the Congressional Wildlife Refuge Caucus, and co-vice-chair of the New Democrat Coalition.
He is the House sponsor of the FIT Kids Act, federal legislation that would require school districts to report on students' physical activity and to give youngsters health and nutritional information.
Kind has focused most of his time and effort on the Subcommittee of Health on health care issues within small business. As a member of the Natural Resources Committee, he has worked on a very important issue to his district which is the restoration of the Mississippi River; especially fighting off invasive species that could threaten the future of the river. He also concentrates on the problem of agriculture reform, for which he has received national recognition for his work in 2007.
In interest group ratings from his time in office, Kind has supported women’s issues, poverty reform, veterans issues, social security, environmental issues, education, and civil rights.
Kind was first elected in Wisconsin's 3rd congressional district in November 1996. In September 1995, he had announced his intention to run for the 3rd Congressional District seat being vacated by 16-year incumbent Steve Gunderson.
He later won a five-person race for the Democratic nomination and went on to defeat his Republican opponent, James Harsdorf 52 percent to 48 percent, becoming only the second Democrat to represent this district in the 20th century. Kind didn't face another contest nearly that close until 2010.
In 2004 he won with 57 percent of the vote and won with 65 percent of the vote in 2006 against Paul R. Nelson.
In 2008 he won with 63 percent of the vote.
In 2010 he won with 50 percent of the vote against former State Senator Dan Kapanke, who was subsequently recalled and removed from office for voting against the collective bargaining rights of public-sector unions. Many political pundits attributed Kind's slim victory to his positive regional campaign tactics (such as using campaign funds for community volunteer projects), in contrast to Kapanke's use of negative attacks ads from such groups as Americans For Prosperity.
Kind and his wife, Tawni, live in his hometown of La Crosse. She is an official court reporter for the County Court system.
They have two sons, Johnny (born in August 1996) and Matthew (born in May 1998). They are members of Immanuel Lutheran Church (Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod).
Kind is a member of the La Crosse Optimists Club, a leader in the Boys and Girls Club, and the La Crosse YMCA. He is also on the board of directors for Coulee Council on Alcohol or Other Drug Abuse. His wife organizes the annual Congressional Art Competition for high school artists in western Wisconsin.
March 19, 2012