Wisconsin Congressman Ron Kind gave fellow Democrats plenty of time to gear up for a potential campaign. The longtime 3rd Congressional District representative announced Tuesday, Aug. 10, that he will not run for reelection.
“Representing the people at home has been the honor of my life -- but I never intended it to be the honor of my entire life. For 26 years, I’ve flown to and from Washington, D.C., and traveled the 18 counties of the most beautiful congressional district in the nation almost every week. But 26 years is enough. It’s time for me to step back. My wife, Tawni, and I are looking forward to entering the next chapter of our lives,” he said.
Kind, the son of a telephone-repair person in what he called a low-income family, marvels to this day that someone of his background rose to hold national office. If someone had told him as a child this would happen, he would have laughed.
“I thought then that a place like Congress was for people with political connections or wealth, The Kennedys or The Rockefellers. But I’m living proof that you can come from humble beginnings and still have remarkable opportunities,” he said in stepping down.
Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Ben Wikler praised Kind, whose district extends from La Crosse to Pierce County and points east.
“His bipartisan, pragmatic approach has consistently delivered for his constituents. The Democratic Party of Wisconsin is grateful for Representative Kind’s extraordinary service and commitment to improving the lives of Wisconsinites, and for his family’s support of his distinguished and tireless public service,” Wikler said in an email.
Last fall, Kind faced his toughest race. Although he carried 51% of the vote in a district that strongly backed Donald Trump, Kind was used to a margin of 10% rather than 2%. He handily won his hometown of La Crosse, the largest community in the district, to defeat Derrick Van Orden, who won every other county by aligning step by step with Trump. Van Orden already is campaigning for the Republican endorsement a second time around.
Kind was one of a handful of Democratic incumbents who carried districts that went for the former president.
“Thanks in large measure to Representative Kind’s constant engagement with grassroots organizing, the Democratic Party has tremendous local strength throughout the 3rd Congressional District, and we are eager to support the next Democratic candidate to ensure that this critical area continues to be well-represented in Congress,” Wilker said.
Kind is focusing his attention on concluding his term. He serves on the House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over tax measures, the management of public debt, trade and tariff laws, Social Security and Medicare.
“I look forward to serving out these remaining 16 months and working hard for the people of Wisconsin’s Third Congressional District. We still have a virus to defeat, an economy to recover, a country to rebuild with good paying jobs, climate change to combat, and voters’ rights to protect. I look forward to carrying out those duties with the help of the people here in Wisconsin.”