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About Senator Russ Feingold
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Senator Feingold

“Feingold won big after voting against the Iraq war and Bush’s tax cuts, and having cast the lone vote in the Senate against the Patriot Act”
-Chicago Tribune

Russ Feingold is a respected and independent voice in the United States Senate - best known as an effective legislator who works across party lines.  When he first ran for the U.S. Senate in 1992, Senator Feingold pledged to hold Listening Sessions in each one of Wisconsin's 72 counties every year.  To date he has held over 1,000 of these open, town hall style meetings.  Listening Sessions provide the people of Wisconsin an opportunity to discuss issues directly with Senator Feingold without an appointment, without making a political contribution, and without having to go to Washington, D.C.  These meetings have been the foundation and driving force behind Feingold's legislative agenda, and in the last few years he has brought his signature Listening Sessions outside of Wisconsin to seven states including: Alabama, Pennsylvania, Vermont, New Hampshire, Iowa, Texas and Colorado.

A National Leader in Domestic and Foreign Policy

Senator Feingold has a long record of accomplishment on reform issues including his key leadership role in the successful efforts to pass the landmark McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform legislation, the congressional gift ban and lobbying disclosure legislation, as well as work on many other reform initiatives.

Feingold has been a tireless leader in bipartisan efforts to restore fiscal discipline, cut wasteful spending, and reduce the nation's growing deficit.  A ten-time winner of the Concord Coalition's 'Deficit Hawk Award,' he has authored legislation to reinstitute the tough, common sense Pay-As-You-Go budget rules that were instrumental in helping Congress balance the federal books during the 1990's.  As a member of the Senate Budget Committee, he has worked with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to reform budget rules and restore fiscal sanity to the congressional budgeting process.

As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Chairman of the Constitution Subcommittee, Feingold has brought much needed attention to the need to combat terrorism without undermining the rights and freedoms of law-abiding Americans.  Senator Feingold cast the lone vote in the Senate against the USA PATRIOT Act in 2001 and has continued to be a leader in the bipartisan effort to protect our rights and freedoms and fix the flawed provisions of the Act.  He has also been an outspoken critic of the Bush Administration's illegal domestic wiretapping of U.S. citizens without a court order.

As a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, and the Chairman of the Africa Subcommittee, Feingold brings a critical focus to the fight against terrorism.  Since the beginning, Feingold opposed the war with Iraq because he understood that it would direct resources away from the fight against the forces that attacked us September 11, 2001, and their allies. In August 2005, Senator Feingold became the first U.S. Senator to propose a timetable to safely redeploy our troops from Iraq and complete the military mission there. He believes that our seemingly indefinite military presence in Iraq is fueling the insurgency and is not creating the conditions needed for a smooth transfer of authority to the new Iraqi government.  As conditions in Iraq have deteriorated, the strain on our military has increased and threats to our national security in other parts of the world have worsened.  That is why Senator Feingold believes Congress must use its main constitutional power—the power of the purse—to put an end to the Iraq war.  He supports blocking funding for this misguided war, thereby safely redeploying U.S. troops and ending our country's ill-advised involvement in Iraq.

Since 2006, Senator Feingold has served on the Senate Intelligence Committee.  There he continues his work to help strengthen our country's national security and build a more effective approach to the fight against terrorism, while also working to ensure that there is adequate oversight of intelligence matters in the executive branch by Congress.


In 1917, Feingold's family settled in Janesville, Wisconsin, where he was born to parents Leon and Sylvia on March 2, 1953. Feingold graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1975, received a law degree from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar in 1977, and then went on to Harvard Law School, where he earned his American law degree in 1979.

In 1982, in his first try for elective office, Feingold defeated a longtime incumbent and was elected to the Wisconsin State Senate for the 27th District. Feingold was re-elected in 1986 and 1990. When Feingold first ran for the U.S. Senate in 1992, he won a tough three-way primary, and went on to defeat a two-term incumbent. Feingold was reelected to the Senate in 1998 and 2004.

Senator Feingold has two daughters, Jessica and Ellen. Feingold is a member of Beth Hillel Temple in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He lives in Middleton, Wisconsin.

Russ Feingold

Senate Committees

Russ serves on the following committees:

  • Committee on the Judiciary
    • Constitution Subcommittee, Chairman
  • Committee on Foreign Relations
    • Africa Subcommittee, Chairman
  • Committee on the Budget
  • Committee on Intelligence

Russ' Background

  • Elected to the Wisconsin State Senate in 1982; Re-elected 1986 and 1990
  • Practicing Attorney, Madison, Wisconsin, 1979 to 1985, at Foley & Lardner and La Follette & Sinykin

Russ' Education

  • Harvard University Law School, Juris Doctor with Honors, 1979 
  • Rhodes Scholar, Final Honours School of Jurisprudence, Magdalen College, Oxford University, Bachelor of Arts with Honours, 1977
  • University of Wisconsin - Madison, Phi Beta Kappa, Bachelor of Arts with Honors, 1975 
  • Janesville Craig High School, Janesville, Wisconsin, 1971



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