Herb Kohl was first elected to the Senate in 1988, reelected to a second six-year term in 1994, and elected once again in 2000. Kohl was born and raised in Milwaukee, where he attended public school. He earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1956 and a masters degree in business administration from Harvard University in 1958. Kohl served in the Army Reserve from 1958 to 1964.
Before coming to the Senate, Kohl helped build his family-owned business, Kohl's grocery and department stores. He served as president of the business from 1970 through the sale of the corporation in 1979. In 1985 he bought the Milwaukee Bucks to ensure the basketball team remained in Milwaukee.
During his time in office, Senator Kohl has been recognized as a leader in Congress for his work in balancing the federal budget. Independent nonpartisan groups have consistently given him high marks for his votes against wasteful spending. Senator Kohl has been honored by the Concord Coalition, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Taxpayers for Common Sense and Citizens Against Government Waste for his voting record.
With Wisconsin dairy farmers facing record-low milk prices and a discriminatory federal milk pricing system, Senator Kohl has worked to fight off new dairy compacts, reform the federal milk pricing system and provide emergency assistance to dairy farmers. Along with Wisconsin Congressman Dave Obey, Senator Kohl secured $137 million in emergency assistance for Wisconsin dairy farmers in 2000 -- the largest-ever safety net package of its kind -- and continues to seek much-needed reforms in national dairy policy.
Senator Kohl also has focused on anti-crime legislation, especially crimes related to kids. He reauthorized juvenile justice programs in the federal government, and authored laws which prevent the sale of handguns to minors and prohibit handguns from being brought into a school zone. Senator Kohl is the sponsor of the Child Safety Lock Act, a bill to require the sale of safety locks with handguns to prevent accidental shootings by children.
Kohl serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee, the Judiciary Committee, and the Special Committee on Aging. Kohl is the senior Democrat on the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over the budgets of USDA, the FDA and other agencies which include many programs important to farmers and consumers. He also serves as the ranking member of the Judiciary's Subcommittee on Antitrust, Business Rights and Competition.
Senator Kohl remains active in Wisconsin charitable activities. In 1990 he established the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation Achievement Award Program, which provides annual grants totaling $100,000 to 100 graduating seniors, 100 teachers and 100 schools throughout Wisconsin. In 1995, Kohl donated $25 million to the University of Wisconsin for a new sports arena.
Source: Senator Herbert Kohl. U.S. Senate