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Biography Russ Feingold

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Russ Feingold Russ Feingold
Russ Feingold
Was the junior Senator from Wisconsin serving from 1993 until 2011.


Russ Feingold Biography



Russell Dana "Russ" Feingold (born March 2, 1953) is an American politician from the U.S. state of Wisconsin. He served as a Democratic party member of the U.S. Senate from 1993 to 2011. From 1983 to 1993, Feingold was a Wisconsin State Senator representing the 27th District. He is a recipient of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award, and cosponsored the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (McCain–Feingold Act), a major piece of campaign finance reform legislation. He was the only Senator to vote against the USA PATRIOT Act during the first vote on the legislation.  Feingold had been mentioned as a possible candidate in the 2008 Presidential election, but following the November midterm elections of 2006 he chose not to run. In 2010, Feingold lost his campaign for re-election to the US Senate to Republican Ron Johnson. On February 17, 2011, Feingold announced he had formed a grassroots Political Action Committee Progressives United, a movement intended, among other things, to fight the controversial United States Supreme Court decision Citizens United v. FEC.


Early life

Russell Feingold was born in Janesville, Wisconsin to a Jewish family that had settled in the area in 1917. His grandparents were immigrants from Russia and Galicia. His father, Leon Feingold (1912–1980), was an attorney, and his mother, Sylvia Feingold (née Binstock; 1918–2005), worked at a title company. Feingold was one of four children. He has publicly noted that his older brother, David, along with his father, were the major influences in his political development as a youth. He was also involved with the B'nai B'rith Youth Organization and Aleph Zadik Aleph as a boy. In 1972, Feingold volunteered for the presidential campaign of New York City mayor John Lindsay. Later he supported the presidential campaigns of Mo Udall and Ted Kennedy. After graduating from Joseph A. Craig High School, Feingold attended the University of Wisconsin–Madison and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in 1975, a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. He went to Magdalen College at the University of Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship in 1977, where he earned another Bachelor of Arts degree. Upon returning to the U.S., he attended Harvard Law School, receiving his J.D. with honors in 1979. Feingold worked as an attorney at the private law firms of Foley & Lardner and La Follette & Sinykin from 1979 until 1985.


Political career


Wisconsin Senate

In 1982, he was elected to the Wisconsin Senate, where he served for ten years until his election to the United States Senate. In 1987, he joined the "Bowtie Brigade," a coalition of grassroots activists and local-level politicians who backed the presidential candidacy of bowtie-clad Senator Paul Simon of Illinois. After he was elected to the United States Senate, Feingold was succeeded in the State Senate by Joseph Wineke.


2008 possible Presidential bid

In late January 2005, Feingold told the Tiger Bay Club of Volusia County, Florida that he intended to travel around the country before deciding whether or not to run in 2008. Although Feingold usually received support in the single digits in opinion polls featuring various potential Democratic presidential candidates, he was highly popular among Democratic grassroots activists. Following Democratic victories in the November 2006 mid-term elections, Feingold announced that he would not run for president in 2008. 


2010 Senate election loss

Russ Feingold was defeated for re-election on November 2, 2010 by Oshkosh businessman Ron Johnson by a margin of 52% - 47%.


After Senate

Following his defeat, Feingold announced that he "will teach an elective course called Current Legal Issues: The U.S. Senate . . . to upper-level law students" at Marquette University Law School in Milwaukee, and also plans to write a book and support President Barack Obama in his reelection bid in the 2012 presidential election.

Personal life

Feingold has been married twice. Russ and Sue Feingold were married from 1977 until 1986. They had two children, Jessica and Ellen. He then married Mary Speerschneider (also previously divorced) on January 20, 1991. Mary (née Erpenbach) had previously been married to Timm Speerschneider, a Madison attorney, with whom she had two children: Sam and Ted. Sen. Feingold's 2003 income tax return showed two home mortgages and ownership of an $8,000 1998 Buick. On April 11, 2005, Russ and Mary Feingold jointly announced that they would be seeking a divorce. When not in Washington, D.C., Feingold resides in Middleton, Wisconsin. He is a member of Beth Hillel Temple in Kenosha, Wisconsin.






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