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Ron Kind

Ron Kind
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wisconsin's 3rd district
Assumed office
January 3, 1997
Preceded by Steve Gunderson
Personal details
Born Ronald James Kind
(1963-03-16) March 16, 1963
La Crosse, Wisconsin
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Tawni Kind
Children Johnny Kind
Matthew Kind
Residence La Crosse, Wisconsin
Alma mater Harvard College
London School of Economics
University of Minnesota
Occupation Attorney
Religion Lutheran - WELS

Ronald James "Ron" Kind (born March 16, 1963) is an American lawyer from La Crosse, Wisconsin. Since 1997 he has served as the U.S. Representative for Wisconsin's 3rd congressional district. 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, Eau Claire, Platteville, Stevens Point, Wisconsin Rapids and River Falls.


  • Early life, education and career 1
  • U.S. House of Representatives 2
    • Committee assignments 2.1
    • Caucus memberships 2.2
    • Tenure 2.3
    • Childhood obesity 2.4
  • Agricultural issues 3
  • Political campaigns 4
    • 1996 4.1
    • 2004, 2006 4.2
    • 2008 4.3
    • 2010 4.4
    • 2012 4.5
  • Personal life 5
  • References 6
  • Further reading 7
  • External links 8

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 belongs to the fifth generation of his family to live in the area.[1] 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.[1]

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. While working for Proxmire he helped with investigations that helped determine the "winners" of the famous Golden Fleece Awards, presented by the senator to those responsible for government waste.[1]

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.[1]

U.S. House of Representatives

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships


Serving as co-vice chair, Kind is seen as a leader of the centrist New Democratic Coalition. Kind is the Democratic Chief Deputy Whip, and 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 voted with his party 87% of the time in the 112th congress and 94% of the time in the 111th congress.[2] Kind's work on the Subcommittee of Health has been focused primarily on health care issues within small business. As a member of the Natural Resources Committee, he has worked on an issue of importance to his district, namely the restoration of the Mississippi River; and he has been especially concerned about invasive species that could pose a threat to the river's ecosystem. He also concentrates on the problem of agriculture reform.[3]

On October 10, 2002, Kind voted in favor of authorizing the invasion of Iraq. [4]

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.[5]

Kind was the lone Wisconsin Democrat to support free trade with China, despite pressure from unions that claimed trade with China is costing jobs.[6][7]

After the failed effort to recall Governor Scott Walker in an April 2012 vote, Kind said that Democrats should be proud of forcing recall elections despite the outcome. He said that his conversations with voters had convinced him that the only reason that Democrats lost was because people didn’t think it was a proper use of the recall process.[8]

Kind has been mentioned as a potential candidate for governor or Senator.[9]

Childhood obesity

Kind wrote the Health Kids Outdoors Act of 2010. This legislation was criticized by conservatives, who expressed concern with the fact that it would track children’s BMI’s and that it would tell parents how to raise their children.[10]

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.[11]

In 2011, Kind wrote a piece about “the childhood obesity epidemic,” in which he promoted both the FIT Kids Act and the Healthy Kids Outdoors Act. He said that healthy bodies lead to healthy minds, and that his FIT Kids Act would push parents and the public by requiring the states and school districts to report on the children’s physical activity. As for the Healthy Kids Outdoors Act, it “provides state-level incentives to develop five-year state strategies to connect children, youth and families with nature and promote outdoor recreation in communities.”[12]

Agricultural issues

Kind has been actively involved in agricultural policy; he was even considered a possible candidate for U.S. Secretary of Agriculture in 2008. While he represents some of the country's most productive dairy farms, he opposes agricultural subsidies.[13] Kind co-sponsored a bill that would have eliminated subsidies for those earning over $250,000 while increasing funding for conservation and rural development. Nancy Pelosi, who had worked to make the original bill accommodating for Democratic interests, was upset with the bill. Agricultural Committee Chairman Collin Peterson said Kind was “a lone ranger on this, and he’s dividing the caucus, and I don’t appreciate it.” [14]

Political campaigns


Kind was first elected to represent 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. Kind later won a five-way 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.

2004, 2006

In 2004 he won re-election with 57 percent of the vote; in 2006 he defeated Paul R. Nelson and won with 65 percent of the vote.


In 2008 he won with 63 percent of the vote.


He defeated former State Senator Dan Kapanke with 50 percent of the vote.


There was talk that Kind might run for the U.S. Senate in 2012 to replace the retiring Herb Kohl, but he decided not to mount a primary challenge to Tammy Baldwin, who had already announced a senate run.[15] There was also a push to draft Kind to run for governor in 2012 against Scott Walker.[16]

Kind ultimately decided to run for reelection in the 3rd district. He faced retired U.S. Army Col. Ray Boland in the November election and won.[17]

Personal life

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).[18]

Kind is a member of the La Crosse Optimists Club, a leader in the

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Steve Gunderson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wisconsin's 3rd congressional district

United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Rubén Hinojosa
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Jim McGovern
  • Congressman Ron Kind official U.S. House website
  • Ron Kind for Congress
  • Ron Kind at DMOZ

External links

Further reading

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