Tammy Suzanne Green Baldwin (born February 11, 1962) is an American politician serving as the junior United States Senator from Wisconsin since 2013. A member of the Democratic Party, she served three terms in the Wisconsin State Assembly, representing the 78th district, and from 1999 to 2013 represented Wisconsin's 2nd congressional district in the United States House of Representatives.
|Secretary of the Senate Democratic Conference|
|Assumed office |
January 3, 2017
|Preceded by||Patty Murray|
|United States Senator|
|Assumed office |
January 3, 2013
Serving with Ron Johnson
|Preceded by||Herb Kohl|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Wisconsin's 2nd district
January 3, 1999 – January 3, 2013
|Preceded by||Scott Klug|
|Succeeded by||Mark Pocan|
|Member of the Wisconsin State Assembly|
from the 78th district
January 3, 1993 – January 3, 1999
|Preceded by||David Clarenbach|
|Succeeded by||Mark Pocan|
Tammy Suzanne Green Baldwin
February 11, 1962
Madison, Wisconsin, U.S.
|Domestic partner||Lauren Azar (1998–2010)|
|Education||Smith College (BA)|
University of Wisconsin–Madison (JD)
As a gay woman, Baldwin has made history several times through her electoral successes. In 1998 she became the first openly gay woman and first openly LGBT non-incumbent elected to the United States Congress, as well as the first woman elected to represent Wisconsin in Congress. In 2012 Baldwin became the first openly gay person and first openly LGBT person elected to the United States Senate.
Baldwin defeated her Republican opponent, former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson, in the 2012 United States Senate election in Wisconsin. She was reelected in 2018 by a landslide, defeating Republican nominee Leah Vukmir. Her reelection made her the first openly LGBT person to win a second term in the Senate.
Early life, education and early political career
Baldwin was born and grew up in Madison, Wisconsin. Baldwin's mother, who died in 2017, was 19 and going through a divorce when Baldwin was born. Baldwin was raised by her grandparents and spent Saturdays with her mother, who suffered from mental illness and opioid addiction. Her maternal grandfather, biochemist David E. Green, was Jewish (the son of immigrants from Russia and Germany), and her maternal grandmother, who was Anglican, was English-born. Baldwin's aunt is biochemist Rowena Green Matthews; through her maternal grandfather, Baldwin is a third cousin of comedian Andy Samberg.
Baldwin graduated from Madison West High School in 1980 as the class valedictorian. She earned a B.A. degree from Smith College in 1984 and a J.D. degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1989. She was a lawyer in private practice from 1989 to 1992.
Baldwin was first elected to political office in 1986 at the age of 24 when she was elected to the Dane County Board of Supervisors, a position she held until 1994. She also served one year on the Madison City Council to fill a vacancy in the coterminous district.
Wisconsin Assembly (1993–1999)
In 1992 Baldwin ran to represent Wisconsin's 78th Assembly District. She won the Democratic primary with 43% of the vote. In the general election Baldwin defeated Mary Kay Baum (Labor and Farm Party nominee) and Patricia Hevenor (Republican Party nominee) by a vote of 59%-23%-17%. She was one of just six openly gay political candidates nationwide to win a general election in 1992.
Baldwin was the first openly lesbian member of the Wisconsin Assembly and one of a very few openly gay politicians in the country at the time. In 1993 she said she was disappointed by Democratic President Bill Clinton's support of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. In early 1994 she proposed legalizing same-sex marriage in Wisconsin. In 1995 she proposed domestic partnerships in Wisconsin.
U.S. House of Representatives (1999–2013)
In 1998 U.S. Congressman Scott Klug of the 2nd District, based in Madison, announced he would retire, prompting Baldwin to run for the seat. She won the Democratic primary with a plurality of 37% of the vote. In the general election she defeated Republican nominee Josephine Musser 53%-47%.
In 2000 Baldwin won reelection to a second term, defeating Republican John Sharpless 51%-49%, a difference of 8,902 votes. She lost eight of the district's nine counties, but carried the largest, Dane County, with 55% of the vote.
After the 2000 census the 2nd District was made significantly more Democratic in redistricting. Baldwin won reelection to a third term in the newly redrawn 2nd District with 66% of the vote against Republican Ron Greer. In 2004 she beat Dave Magnum 63%-37%. She won a 2006 rematch against Magnum, again winning 63%-37%. In 2008 she defeated Peter Theron 69%-31%, and in 2010 she won a seventh term with 62% of the vote against Chad Lee.
U.S. Senate (2013–present)
Baldwin ran as the Democratic nominee against Republican nominee Tommy Thompson, who had formerly been governor and Secretary of Health and Human Services. She announced her candidacy on September 6, 2011, in a video emailed to supporters. She ran uncontested in the primary election, and spoke at the 2012 Democratic National Convention about tax policy, campaign finance reform, and equality in the United States.
She was endorsed by Democracy for America, and she received campaign funding from EMILY's List, the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, and LPAC. Baldwin was endorsed by the editorial board of The Capital Times, who wrote that "Baldwin's fresh ideas on issues ranging from job creation to health care reform, along with her proven record of working across lines of partisanship and ideology, and her grace under pressure mark her as precisely the right choice to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl."
Thompson claimed during his campaign that her "far-left approach leaves this country in jeopardy."
The candidates had three debates, on September 28, October 18, and October 26. According to Baldwin's Federal Election Commission filings, she raised about $12 million, over $5 million more than her opponent.
On November 6, 2012, Baldwin became the first openly gay candidate to be elected to the U.S. Senate. Because of her 14 years in the House of Representatives, under Senate rules she had the highest seniority in her entering class of senators. She was succeeded in Congress by State Assemblyman Mark Pocan, who had earlier succeeded her in the state legislature.
Baldwin was featured in Time's November 19, 2012, edition, in the Verbatim section, where she was quoted as saying "I didn't run to make history" on her historic election. In a separate section, she was also mentioned as a new face to watch in the Senate.
- Committee on Appropriations
- Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies
- Subcommittee on Defense
- Subcommittee on Homeland Security
- Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies
- Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies
- Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
- Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security
- Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet
- Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard
- Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness
- Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security
- Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
In October 2012 Baldwin described herself as a progressive in the mold of Robert M. La Follette. No two U.S. Senators from the same state vote differently as often as Baldwin and Ron Johnson do.
Baldwin is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and the Afterschool Caucuses. According to a 2011 National Journal survey, she was among the most liberal members of the House. As of 2012 her voting record made her one of the most liberal members of Congress.
Economy and jobs
In a September 2015 radio interview, Baldwin said that she, the Pope, and Donald Trump all supported repeal of the carried interest tax loophole. Politifact stated that there was no record of the Pope weighing in on this particular tax break.
In October 2017 CBS News reported that the Freedom Partners, a Koch-funded group, had "launched a $1.6 million television and digital ad campaign" targeting Baldwin for her "stance on taxes." The ads charged her with having "voted for five trillion dollars in more taxes" and with having "supported higher income taxes, sales taxes—even energy taxes." One ad stated: "If Tammy Baldwin opposes tax reform, it's proof that she opposes jobs."
In October 2017 the editors of The Capital Times praised Baldwin and Bernie Sanders for their vocal opposition to a budget resolution that they believed would increase income inequality. Baldwin was described as "one of the budget's most ardent foes."
In November 2017 Baldwin expressed opposition to the Trump tax-reform bill, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, saying that it was being drafted "behind closed doors" and charging that it was being "shoved through." In its place she promoted the Stronger Way Act, a bill that she and Cory Booker (D-NJ) co-sponsored.
In February 2019 Baldwin, Roy Blunt, and Ron Wyden led nine other senators in sponsoring the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act, legislation imposing a reduction in excise taxes, compliance burdens, and regulations for brewers, cider makers, vintners, and distillers as part of an attempt to ensure the continued growth of the craft beverage industry.
In November 2013 Baldwin introduced a bill that would "bring greater government transparency, oversight and due process whenever authorities use information gathered for intelligence purposes to make domestic non-terrorism cases against Americans."
Baldwin described the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, in June 2016 as a "hate crime" and said "The question now for America is are we going to come together and stand united against hate, gun violence and terrorism?"
Baldwin voted against building a fence on the U.S.-Mexico border in 2006. In June 2013 she voted for S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, which would have enabled undocumented immigrants to acquire legal residency status and, later, citizenship. She voted against Kate's Law in 2016.
In 2017 immigration reduction advocacy group NumbersUSA gave Baldwin an overall grade of F, with a score of 11% on immigration bills. On the reduction of unnecessary worker visas, she scored a C; on the reduction of refugee and asylum fraud, and on the reduction of amnesty enticements, she scored an F-.
Opposition to Iraq War
Baldwin was a vocal critic of the Iraq War. On October 10, 2002, she was among the 133 members of the House who voted against authorizing the invasion of Iraq. She warned there would be "postwar challenges," observing that "there is no history of democratic government in Iraq," that its "economy and infrastructure are in ruins after years of war and sanctions," and that rebuilding would take "a great deal of money." In 2005 she joined the Out of Iraq Caucus.
Impeachment of Dick Cheney and Alberto Gonzales
On August 1, 2007, Baldwin cosponsored H. Res. 333, a bill proposing articles of impeachment against Vice President Dick Cheney, and H Res. 589, a bill proposing the impeachment of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. On January 20, 2008, Baldwin wrote in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that on December 14, 2007, "I joined with my colleagues on the House Judiciary Committee, Reps. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.) and Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), in urging Chairman Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) to conduct hearings on a resolution of impeachment now pending consideration in that committee." Although some constituents "say I have gone too far," others "argue I have not gone far enough" and feel "we are losing our democracy and that I should do more to hold the Bush administration accountable for its actions."
An outspoken advocate of single-payer, government-run universal health care system since her days as a state legislator, Baldwin introduced the Health Security for All Americans Act, which would have required states to provide such a system, in 2000, 2002, 2004, and 2005. The bill died each time it was introduced without a House vote.
She has said that she "believes strongly that a single-payer health system is the best way to comprehensively and fairly reform our health care system." In November 2009 Baldwin voted for the version of health-care reform that included a public option, a government-run health-care plan that would have competed with private insurers, but only the House passed that version. She ultimately voted for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, which became law in 2010. Baldwin said she hoped a public option in the ACA would lead to a single-payer system. The first version of the ACA Baldwin voted for included a public option, but the final version did not.
In 2009 Baldwin introduced the Ending LGBT Health Disparities Act (ELHDA), which sought to advance LGBT health priorities by promoting research, cultural competency, and non-discrimination policies. The bill was not passed.
In April 2017 Baldwin was one of five Democratic senators to sign a letter to President Trump warning that failure "to take immediate action to oppose the lawsuit or direct House Republicans to forgo this effort will increase instability in the insurance market, as insurers may choose not to participate in the marketplace in 2018" and that they remained concerned that his administration "has still not provided certainty to insurers and consumers that you will protect the cost-sharing subsidies provided under the law."
In April 2018 Baldwin was one of ten senators to sponsor the Choose Medicare Act, an expanded public option for health insurance that also increased Obamacare subsidies and rendered people with higher incomes eligible for its assistance.
In January 2019, during the 2018–19 United States federal government shutdown, Baldwin was one of 34 senators to sign a letter to Commissioner of Food and Drugs Scott Gottlieb recognizing the efforts of the FDA to address the shutdown's effect on public health and employees while remaining alarmed "that the continued shutdown will result in increasingly harmful effects on the agency’s employees and the safety and security of the nation’s food and medical products."
In February 2019 Baldwin was one of 11 senators to sign a letter to insulin manufactures Eli Lilly and Company, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi about their increased insulin prices depriving patients of "access to the life-saving medications they need."
In April 2019 Baldwin was one of 41 senators to sign a bipartisan letter to the housing subcommittee praising the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development's Section 4 Capacity Building program as authorizing "HUD to partner with national nonprofit community development organizations to provide education, training, and financial support to local community development corporations (CDCs) across the country" and expressing disappointment that President Trump's budget "has slated this program for elimination after decades of successful economic and community development." The senators wrote of their hope that the subcommittee would support continued funding for Section 4 in Fiscal Year 2020.
Resolution on 9/11 victims
Baldwin was one of 22 members of Congress to vote against a 2006 resolution honoring victims of the September 11 attacks on the fifth anniversary of 9/11. (The resolution passed 395-22.) She said she voted against it because it also endorsed the Patriot Act and criticized illegal immigration.
Her vote received renewed attention in the 2012 U.S. Senate campaign when Tommy Thompson's campaign released an ad about it. Thompson said in a statement, "Wisconsin voters need to know that Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin put her extreme views above honoring the men and women who were murdered by the terrorists in the Sept. 11 attacks on our nation." The Baldwin campaign responded by saying Thompson's ad was a "dishonest attack that tries to suggest Tammy Baldwin opposes honoring the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks."
2016 U.S. presidential election
Handling of Veterans Affairs report
In January 2015 USA Today obtained a copy of a report by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs inspector general about the Tomah, Wisconsin Veterans Affairs medical facility. The report said that two physicians at the Tomah VA were among the biggest prescribers of opioids in a multistate region, raising "potentially serious concerns." Baldwin's office had received the report in August 2014 but did not take action until January 2015, when Baldwin called for an investigation after the Center for Investigative Reporting published details of the report, including information about a veteran who died from an overdose at the facility. A whistleblower and former Tomah VA employee learned that Baldwin's office had a copy of the report, and he repeatedly emailed Baldwin's office asking that she take action on the issue. Baldwin's office did not explain why they waited from August 2014 to January 2015 to call for an investigation. Baldwin was the only member of Congress who had a copy of the inspection report.
In February 2015 Baldwin fired her deputy state director over her handling of the VA report. The aide was offered but declined a severance deal that included a cash payout and a confidentiality agreement that would have required her to keep quiet. The aide filed an ethics complaint with the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. The complaint was dismissed as lacking merit. Baldwin said, "we should have done a better job listening to and communicating with another constituent with whom we were working on problems at the VA", and that she had started a review of why her office had failed to act on the report. As a result of the review, Baldwin fined her chief of staff, demoted her state director, and reassigned a veterans' outreach staffer. In November 2017 Baldwin co-sponsored legislation designed to strengthen opioid safety in the Department of Veterans Affairs.
In December 2018 Baldwin was one of 21 senators to sign a letter to United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie calling it "appalling that the VA is not conducting oversight of its own outreach efforts" even though suicide prevention is the VA's highest clinical priority, and requesting that Wilkie "consult with experts with proven track records of successful public and mental health outreach campaigns with a particular emphasis on how those individuals measure success."
In December 2016 Baldwin was one of 17 senators to sign a letter to President-elect Trump asking him to fulfill a campaign pledge to bring down the cost of prescription drugs, stating their willingness "to advance measures to achieve this goal" and calling on Trump "to partner with Republicans and Democrats alike to take meaningful steps to address the high cost of prescription drugs through bold administrative and legislative actions."
In December 2017 Baldwin was one of six senators to sign a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer requesting their "help in ensuring the long-term sustainability of the 340B program", a Trump administration rule mandating that drug companies give discounts to health-care organizations presently serving large numbers of low-income patients.
In April 2019 Baldwin was one of 34 senators to sign a letter to Trump encouraging him "to listen to members of your own Administration and reverse a decision that will damage our national security and aggravate conditions inside Central America", asserting that Trump had "consistently expressed a flawed understanding of U.S. foreign assistance" since becoming president and that he was "personally undermining efforts to promote U.S. national security and economic prosperity" by preventing the use of Fiscal Year 2018 national security funding. The senators argued that foreign assistance to Central American countries created less migration to the U.S. by helping to improve conditions in those countries.
In February 2017 Baldwin was one of 11 senators to sign a letter to United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions expressing their concern "about credible allegations that the Trump campaign, transition team, and Administration has colluded with the Russian government, including most recently the events leading to the resignation of Lieutenant General Michael Flynn as National Security Adviser." The senators requested the creation of "an independent Special Counsel to investigate collusion with the Russian government by General Flynn and other Trump campaign, transition and Administrative officials" in order to maintain "the confidence, credibility and impartiality of the Department of Justice".
In December 2018, after United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the Trump administration was suspending its obligations in the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in 60 days in the event that Russia continued to violate the treaty, Baldwin was one of 26 senators to sign a letter expressing concern over the administration "now abandoning generations of bipartisan U.S. leadership around the paired goals of reducing the global role and number of nuclear weapons and ensuring strategic stability with America's nuclear-armed adversaries" and calling on Trump to continue arms negotiations.
In June 2017 Baldwin voted for a resolution by Rand Paul and Chris Murphy that would block Trump's $510 million sale of precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia that made up a portion of the $110 billion arms sale Trump announced during his visit to Saudi Arabia the previous year.
In March 2018 Baldwin voted against tabling a resolution spearheaded by Bernie Sanders, Chris Murphy, and Mike Lee that would have required Trump to withdraw American troops either in or influencing Yemen within the next 30 days unless they were combating Al-Qaeda.
In September 2016 Baldwin was one of 12 senators to sign a letter to President Obama asserting that the passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership "in its current form will perpetuate a trade policy that advantages corporations at the expense of American workers" and that there would be an "erosion of U.S. manufacturing and middle class jobs, and accelerate the corporate race to the bottom" if provisions were not fixed.
In November 2018 Baldwin was one of 25 Democratic senators to cosponsor a resolution in response to findings of the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change report and National Climate Assessment. The resolution affirmed the senators' acceptance of the findings and their support for bold action to address climate change.
In October 2018 Baldwin was one of 20 senators to sign a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urging him to reverse the rolling back of a policy that granted visas to same-sex partners of LGBTQ diplomats who had unions that were not recognized by their home countries, writing that too many places around the world have seen LGBTQ individuals "subjected to discrimination and unspeakable violence, and receive little or no protection from the law or local authorities" and that refusing to let LGBTQ diplomats bring their partners to the US would be equivalent of upholding "the discriminatory policies of many countries around the world."
In January 2016 Baldwin was one of 18 senators to sign a letter to Thad Cochran and Barbara Mikulski requesting that the Labor, Health and Education subcommittee hold a hearing on whether to allow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to fund a study of gun violence and "the annual appropriations rider that some have interpreted as preventing it" with taxpayer dollars. The senators noted their support for taking steps "to fund gun-violence research, because only the United States government is in a position to establish an integrated public-health research agenda to understand the causes of gun violence and identify the most effective strategies for prevention."
In August 2013 Baldwin was one of 23 Democratic senators to sign a letter to the Defense Department warning that some payday lenders were "offering predatory loan products to service members at exorbitant triple digit effective interest rates and loan products that do not include the additional protections envisioned by the law" and asserting that service members and their families "deserve the strongest possible protections and swift action to ensure that all forms of credit offered to members of our armed forces are safe and sound."
United States House of Representatives
|Democratic gain from Republican||Swing|
United States Senate
|Independent||Nimrod Allen, III||16,455||0.55%||N/A|
Baldwin is the granddaughter of biochemist David E. Green and the niece of another biochemist, Rowena Green Matthews. For fifteen years, Baldwin's domestic partner was Lauren Azar; in 2009, the couple registered as domestic partners in Wisconsin. They separated in 2010. Baldwin was baptized Episcopalian but considers herself "unaffiliated" with a religion.
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- Glauber, Bill (November 15, 2017). "Tammy Baldwin introduces bipartisan bill to strengthen opioid safety in VA choice program". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved February 1, 2018.
- "U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Presses VA for Answers on Misuse Of Suicide Prevention Funds". urbanmilwaukee.com. January 4, 2019.
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- "Merkley resolution urges quick climate change action". ktvz.com. November 27, 2018.
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- "Senate Dems ask DOD to protect service members from predatory lenders". The Hill. August 15, 2013.
- "Wisconsin's 2nd congressional district election, 1998" (PDF). Clerk.house.gov. Retrieved November 7, 2012.
- "Wisconsin's 2nd congressional district election, 2000" (PDF). Clerk.house.gov. Retrieved November 7, 2012.
- "Wisconsin's 2nd congressional district election, 2002" (PDF). Clerk.house.gov. Retrieved November 7, 2012.
- "Wisconsin's 2nd congressional district election, 2004" (PDF). Clerk.house.gov. Retrieved November 7, 2012.
- "Wisconsin's 2nd congressional district election, 2006" (PDF). Clerk.house.gov. Retrieved November 7, 2012.
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- "2012 County-by-County Report" (PDF).
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- 608-252-6149, DOUG ERICKSON | Wisconsin State Journal | email@example.com |. "In the Spirit: When it comes to religious affiliation, Baldwin, Pocan 'unspecified'". madison.com. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
- "Members of Congress: Religious Affiliations | Pew Research Center". Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project. January 5, 2015. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
- Senator Tammy Baldwin official U.S. Senate site
- Tammy Baldwin for Senate campaign site
- Tammy Baldwin at Curlie
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- "Federal Politics and Medical Practices", Presentation given by Baldwin at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, January 25, 2007
- "Health Care Reform in 2009? The View from Washington, DC", Presentation given by Baldwin at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, February 4, 2008
|Wisconsin State Assembly|
| Member of the Wisconsin Assembly
from the 78th district
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wisconsin's 2nd congressional district
|Party political offices|
| Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Wisconsin
| Secretary of the Senate Democratic Conference
| United States Senator (Class 1) from Wisconsin
Served alongside: Ron Johnson
|U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
| United States Senators by seniority