kohl_portraitHerb Kohl was elected to the Senate in 1988 and re-elected to a fourth six-year term in 2006. 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 master's 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 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, and he is recognized as an avid sportsman.

Kohl serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee, Judiciary Committee, Banking Committee, and the Special Committee on Aging, of which he is Chairman. Kohl is the Chairman of 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 Chairman of the Judiciary's Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, looking out for consumers to make sure that a competitive free-market results in the best products for the best prices.

During his time in office, Kohl has been recognized as a strong advocate for children's issues. Kohl was the author of legislation to expand the school breakfast program and a strong supporter of child nutrition programs. In 2003, he received the "Distinguished Service Award" from the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), a leading organization that works to eradicate domestic hunger. He sponsored legislation to increase child support enforcement, a bill based on Wisconsin's system to ensure that more child support payments go to the families they are designed to help. Kohl also sponsored the "Child Care Infrastructure Act," a law to encourage private companies and institutions to build on- or near-site day care centers to meet the rapidly growing demand for child care. The bill has been featured in "Working Mother" and "Parents" magazines. Kohl was recently awarded the 2010 Best of Congress Award from Working Mother Magazine and Corporate Voices for Working Families.  

Additionally, Kohl has received acclaim as a strong defender of Wisconsin's farming tradition. Kohl led the effort to extend the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program, which has provided millions of dollars in funding to Wisconsin dairy farmers struggling with plummeting milk prices. Kohl helped establish the MILC program as part of the 2002 Farm Bill to end regional fighting over milk pricing policies. The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation awarded Kohl with the Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award - the highest individual honor given by the Bureau Federation -- for his continued representation of Wisconsin farmers. The Council on Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching (CARET), a national organization of agricultural colleges and extension programs, has also recognized Kohl for leadership in support of U.S. agriculture and research programs. Kohl continues his work on behalf of agriculture initiatives and was awarded the "Congressional Workhorse Award" from the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities for his support of agricultural research and education as well as the "Golden Triangle Award" from the National Farmers Union for his work on behalf of family farms and rural communities. 

Kohl has been recognized as a leader for his work to help America's manufacturers.  Kohl has championed the Manufacturing Extension Partnership program (MEP), a public-private partnership that utilizes federal, state, and private dollars to provide technical support and services to small and medium-sized manufacturers.  Kohl and his colleagues saved the MEP program when President Bush proposed eliminating the program, and since then, he has helped secure record funding levels for our nation's small-and-medium-sized manufacturers.  Kohl's work earned him the Legislator of the Year Award from American Small Manufacturers Coalition in 2006.  

Kohl also has focused on anti-crime legislation, especially crimes related to kids. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, he has helped fund an array of juvenile crime prevention and after-school programs, including Boys & Girls Clubs and the Families and Schools Together (FAST) program. He has secured $7.9 million in funding for the Wisconsin Methamphetamine Law Enforcement Initiative, a statewide project addressing the increase of methamphetamine and clandestine laboratories in Wisconsin, as well as the creation and expansion of the Wisconsin High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) to coordinate law enforcement responses to fight the drug trade and related crimes. Kohl helped reauthorize juvenile justice programs and continues to push for the most effective and innovative programs to help prevent crime, strengthen communities and rehabilitate young people. The Senate also passed Kohl's bill to require that handguns be sold with separate child safety locks. The legislation is designed to protect children from some of the thousands of shootings each year that involve children and teenagers.

Kohl is the Chairman of the Special Committee on Aging, the Senate's principal committee charged with examining the many issues affecting older Americans, including health care, retirement issues, and protection from fraud and abuse. Kohl has led efforts to reduce the cost of prescription drugs and increase access to affordable generics. As Chairman, Kohl passed a law to improve the quality of care in America's 16,000 nursing homes, and created a nationwide grant program for the creation of a comprehensive system of background checks to ensure that people with abusive and criminal histories are not hired to work closely with elderly patients in long-term care settings.  He has also worked to increase retirement security for older Americans by improving our nation's 401(k) and pension systems, strengthening Social Security, and expanding opportunities for older Americans to work longer if they so choose.

Kohl has made lowering health care costs a top priority. Noting how prescription drug costs are a drain on seniors, families, and businesses, he has authored two important bills to expand access to affordable generic drugs. His "Preserve Access to Affordable Generics Act" stops brand-name drug manufacturers from using pay-off agreements to keep cheaper generic equivalents off pharmacy shelves and his "Citizen Petition Fairness and Accuracy Act" prohibits brand name drug companies from abusing the Food and Drug Administration's "citizen petition" review process to delay generic drugs from reaching the market.

Kohl remains active in Wisconsin charitable activities. In 1990 he established the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation Achievement Award Program, which provides annual grants totaling$400,000 to 200 graduating high school seniors, 100 Wisconsin teachers, and 100 schools throughout Wisconsin.  In 1995, Kohl donated $25 million to the University of Wisconsin for a new sports arena.