Who Is Tammy Baldwin?

Baldwin Hovde

By Pat Kreitlow

April 17, 2024

Getting to know the contenders for this November’s US Senate election.

[Editor’s Note: Part of a series that profiles the candidates and issues in the race for US Senate. There is also a profile of Republican challenger Eric Hovde. Another story compares their positions on some of the issues likely to come up during the campaign.]

It all started for young Tammy Baldwin in a single course at Madison West High School.

“In my senior year, I took a class on political science. Partly, that class made me think about the potential of maybe someday serving in elective office, and that was a very significant class for me.”

Baldwin would go on to attain her law degree at the University of Wisconsin, and then won elections for the Dane County Board (at age 24), the Wisconsin Assembly, the US House of Representatives, and (since 2012) the United States Senate.

In pursuing a third term this November, Baldwin points to a broad range of accomplishments and priorities.

“I think of so many recent accomplishments that make me very, very proud,” Baldwin said during a one-on-one interview with UpNorthNews. “Working to lower prescription drug costs and passing the bill that makes the greatest investment in clean energy, renewable energy and combating climate change that has ever happened anywhere in the world. I’m proud of the PACT Act, which is finally recognizing that our recent veterans were exposed to a lot of toxins and they were never compensated for the illnesses that result.”

“Going back a few years, one of my proudest accomplishments was being the author of the [Affordable Care Act] amendment that allows young people to stay on their parents health insurance until they turn 26. That one provision gave millions upon millions of young people coverage who didn’t have it before.”

Looking back at a resume of service made up of several elected bodies, Baldwin gives credit to her very first one as crucial to the style she has today as a senator.

“Everything I needed to know about legislative politics, I actually learned on the Dane County Board,” Baldwin said. “I learned things like, remember to count your votes. I learned things like, just because you are identified as a conservative or liberal doesn’t mean you can’t find common ground. I always tried to and I loved those days.”

While a county board supervisor meets constituents door to door, a senator has to cover ground across an entire state. Baldwin’s interview with UpNorthNews took place just prior to her starting a 1,400-mile, 19-county tour of the state, reaffirming her appreciation of the reasons why Wisconsin remains a key swing state in presidential elections and how she believes they’ll embrace her record so far.

“There is not a road to the White House or to the majority in the Senate that doesn’t go right through Wisconsin,” Baldwin said. “It makes you really think about what you can accomplish when you listen to your voters and then get to work.”

Expect to see more road work by Baldwin as she fends off a challenge, which at the moment appears to be coming from Republican Eric Hovde.

Author

  • Pat Kreitlow

    The Founding Editor of UpNorthNews, Pat was a familiar presence on radio and TV stations in western Wisconsin before serving in the state Legislature. After a brief stint living in the Caribbean, Pat and wife returned to Chippewa Falls to be closer to their growing group of grandchildren. He now serves as UNN's chief political correspondent and host of UpNorthNews Radio, airing weekday mornings 6 a.m.-8 a.m on the Civic Media radio network and the UpNorthNews Facebook page.

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