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After Nearly 25 Years of Service, Ron Kind Won’t Seek Re-Election

August 10, 2021 by Dan McCue
Rep. Ron Kind

WASHINGTON — Rep. Ron Kind, who took office in 1997 and is easily Wisconsin’s longest-serving member of Congress, stunned reporters Tuesday by announcing he won’t seek reelection in 2022.

“The truth is, I’ve run out of gas,” the Democrat said.

Kind’s departure from the scene has the potential to create a wide-open race to keep the heavily rural district in the Democratic column.

Republican Derrick Van Orden, who narrowly lost to Kind in 2020, is already seeking the Republican nomination in 2022.

Kind, a leader of the moderate faction of House Democrats, announced his plans just as the U.S. Census Bureau is preparing to release data that will allow Wisconsin officials to redraw the  borders of the state’s eight congressional districts.

His pending retirement also comes as his district is recently trending Republican. Though former President Barack Obama won the district by 11 points in 2012, former President Donald Trump took it by more than 4 points in 2016 and 2020.

Kind won his race last year with 51.3% of the vote. He had nearly 60% of the vote in 2018 and did not face a Republican opponent in 2016, when Trump narrowly won the state. 

House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., described Kind as a “close friend” and “fierce ally” on the Ways and Means Committee.

“His decision to not seek re-election is a loss for our committee, our caucus, and the Congress,” Neal said. “For nearly 25 years, he has been an honorable, humble public servant, who is committed to bipartisanship wherever possible. From fighting for farmers and small business owners on the Trade Subcommittee to reshaping our health care system through his contributions to the Affordable Care Act, Ron has distinguished himself as a trusted voice for Wisconsin, and rural America-at-large.”

Upon learning of Kind’s decision, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “For 26 years, the people of western Wisconsin have had a committed and effective champion in Congressman Ron Kind.

 “As a longtime Member of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, Congressman Kind has dedicated himself to ensuring that the Congress invests in our values as a nation,” the speaker continued. “On the Health and Trade Subcommittees, he has worked to lift up small businesses, create good-paying jobs and protect families’ financial security. Congressman Kind was a major force in improving the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement for the security of America’s workers and for the safety of our environment.

“Congressman Kind has been committed to protecting the environment in our hemisphere and at home. His environmental leadership, serving fifteen years on the Natural Resources Committee, has left a strong legacy of progress for Wisconsin, including through his work to preserve and protect the Mississippi River and Wisconsin’s natural heritage,” Pelosi said.

“When Congressman Kind retires at the end of this term, Wisconsin and America will be losing a public servant in Congress who has dedicated decades to delivering results For The People. His colleagues wish him, his wife Tawni, their children Johnny and Matt, all the best as they begin the next chapter of their journey,” she concluded.

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