Reaction to Sen. Kohl's decision - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Reaction to Sen. Kohl's decision

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WASHINGTON (WKOW) -- Senator Herb Kohl announces he will not seek another term in 2012.

Here's the statement released by his office.

U.S. Senator Herb Kohl today announced that he will not seek another term in 2012.  Kohl is currently serving his fourth term in the U.S. Senate, which will expire at the end of the 112th Congress on January 3, 2013.  He delivered the following remarks from his Milwaukee Senate office this morning:

"On a day much like this one, in May, 1988, I announced my intention to run for the United States Senate.

"I promised then that if the people of Wisconsin sent me to the Senate, I would work my heart out every day.  And I would be nobody's Senator but yours.

"Every day since then I have done my best to keep that promise to the people of the state I love.

"The greatest honor and the greatest responsibility of my life has been to serve as Wisconsin's United States Senator.  But I have never believed this was my Senate seat.  I always knew and understood that it belongs to the people of Wisconsin.  At the end of this term, I will have served in this office for 24 years.

"So even though I continue to love this job, I have decided that the time has come to give someone else the opportunity to serve.  Therefore, I am announcing today that I will not seek another term as your Senator.  Rather, I will devote all my energy and time in the next 19 months to continuing to serve the people of our state.

"As you know, I spent much of my life in business.  At Kohl's, as well as at the Bucks, we had the best employees to be found anywhere.  They always put the customer first. 

"As a Senator, I have had the finest staff anyone could ever have.  And they have always put the people of Wisconsin first on every issue, large and small.

"I've always believed that it's better to leave a job a little too early than a little too late.  And that's how I feel today.  The interest and energy I have for this job will find a new home at the conclusion of this term.

"Finally, I cannot sufficiently express my gratitude to all the fine people I've met along the way.  From one end of Wisconsin to the other – from Milwaukee to Superior, Kenosha to Eau Claire, LaCrosse to Green Bay, Madison to Wausau, and all points in between – the people of Wisconsin have been enormously kind and generous to me and I have attempted to return their friendship and trust with an unremitting effort to improve the quality of life for everyone in our state.  They have enriched my life in so many ways and it has been an honor and a privilege to serve you and each and every person throughout Wisconsin."

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Gov. Walker issued the following statement on Sen. Kohl's announcement:

"On behalf of all of us in Wisconsin, I want to thank Senator Kohl for his service in the United States Senate," said Walker. "He has been a tremendous advocate for Wisconsin—as well as a great supporter of our state in both his public and private live. We thank him for more than two decades of service."

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Former Senator Russ Feingold on the retirement of Sen. Kohl:

"Senator Kohl has served the state with honor.  He will be remembered for his advocacy for our state's dairy farmers, his work on behalf of children and his keen understanding of our state's business community.  I sincerely wish him all the best."

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WI Senator Ron Johnson on Sen. Kohl:

"I personally want to thank Herb Kohl for his service to the nation and our great state of Wisconsin.  I wish him well in his future endeavors."

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U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan had this to say in regards to Kohl's news.

"In over two decades of service in the Senate, Herb Kohl has done much to help the great state of Wisconsin and the lives of its residents. While Senator Kohl and I have had our policy disagreements in the past, he has always had my respect. It has been a privilege to work with him over the years, and I wish him the best in his future endeavors.  I was surprised by Senator Kohl's announcement and want to take some time over the next few days to discuss this news with my family and supporters before making any decision about how I'm best able to serve my employers in the First Congressional District, our state  and nation."

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U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) made the following statement in response to the news of Senator Herb Kohl's retirement.

"Senator Kohl is the epitome of public service. The State of Wisconsin and the entire nation are at a great loss today with the news of his retirement.  Senator Kohl has always put the interests of Wisconsin families, businesses, and farmers first. His dedication to providing access to affordable health care, especially for our seniors, is something our state and our country will value indefinitely. Senator Kohl has stood up for what is fair and right in politics. He was a good friend that I enjoyed working with and he will be greatly missed."

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Today Governor Scott Walker issued the following statement on Senator Kohl's announcement that he would retire from the United States Senate and not run for re-election:

 "On behalf of all of us in Wisconsin, I want to thank Senator Kohl for his service in the United States Senate," said Walker. "He has been a tremendous advocate for Wisconsin—as well as a great supporter of our state in both his public and private live. We thank him for more than two decades of service."

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National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) Communications Director Brian Walsh issued the following statement in response to reports that U.S. Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI) has decided not to seek re-election in 2012.

"Senator Kohl's retirement, just like his Democrat colleagues who stepped aside before him, immediately presents another key opportunity for Senate Republicans next year.  It also further dilutes the ability of national Democrats to go on offense, while they fight to maintain their dwindling Senate majority." 

"As Russ Feingold discovered last year, whomever the Democrats eventually nominate, he or she will have a very tough time selling Wisconsinites on the Washington Democrats' agenda of reckless deficit spending, massive debt, and job-killing tax hikes. Wisconsin continues to be a prime pickup opportunity for Senate Republicans in 2012."

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Former U.S. Congressman Mark Neumann:

"When I first became a member of the U.S. House of Representatives in January 1995, the country was in dire financial straits. The budget was completely out of balance. Spending was wildly out of control. The economy was struggling. I went to Washington to do what I could to help fix the crisis.

 "When I left Washington four years later, we could declare victory on behalf of the American people. The budget was balanced, spending was in check and the economy was surging.

 "Unfortunately, 2011 feels like 1995 all over again. We are mortgaging our children and grandchildren's future under a President who is running up a record deficit while our economy remains mired in high unemployment and diminished hope.

 "It is no secret that I have been seriously considering entering the race for U.S. Senate. It is a decision I will not take lightly. The future of our state and our nation is at stake.

 "My phones have been ringing off the hook today with calls of encouragement. I deeply appreciate this outpouring of support from folks urging me to run. There is a real opportunity for Republicans to take back the US Senate next year.

 "In the meantime, I continue to listen to the people of Wisconsin who recognize that now is the time to make fundamental changes. Working together with folks across this great state, I want to do my part, whether in Washington or some other capacity, to help create a brighter future for our kids and our grandkids."

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State Superintendent Tony Evers issued the following statement on Herb Kohl's announcement that he will not seek re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2012:

 "For nearly a quarter century, United States Senator Herb Kohl has been a champion for the children and families of Wisconsin and their public schools. He has advocated for and expanded programs that improved child nutrition and school breakfast. He also authored one of the landmark pieces of legislation for school safety. Senator Kohl understands that investments in public education are critical to Wisconsin's economic development and long-term prosperity.

"Senator Kohl also has been our state's leading supporter in recognizing public, private, and home-school student excellence and initiative as well as great teaching. The Herb Kohl Educational Foundation annually awards scholarships and fellowships to 200 Wisconsin students, 100 teachers, and 100 schools. Senator Kohl is the major sponsor of the Wisconsin Teacher of the Year program, annually awarding grants to four outstanding teachers. Through these programs, Senator Kohl has awarded almost $8 million to students, educators, and schools throughout the state. Senator Kohl deserves all our gratitude for personally making this tremendous commitment, which has given thousands of students the extra help they need to further their education, and thousands of outstanding Wisconsin teachers and schools recognition for excellence in the classroom.

"I thank Senator Herb Kohl for his truly dedicated service to the people and communities of Wisconsin. I wish him well as he moves forward into the next chapter of his life and continues to be an advocate for all Wisconsin's citizens and our great state."

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Statement from President Barack Obama:

Today, I called Senator Herb Kohl to thank him for his remarkable career in public service.

During his 23 years in the United States Senate, Herb's invaluable perspective as the long-time head of a family-owned business made him an unwavering voice for working families, small business owners, and seniors.

America's children will grow up in a better place thanks to his advocacy on behalf of childhood nutrition programs, a strengthened food safety system,  access to affordable health care and childcare, and juvenile crime prevention.

Herb's dedication to American families and businesses remains evident today in the robust farming and manufacturing sector he helped foster in his home state of Wisconsin. And he has been a constant advocate to ensure that seniors in Wisconsin and across the country have access to affordable prescription drugs.  

Michelle and I extend our thanks to Senator Kohl for his years of service to our nation and offer our best wishes for the future to him and his family.

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