Baldwin defeated her Republican opponent, former Wisconsin governor Tommy Thompson, in the 2012 U.S. Senate election. She is the first woman elected to represent Wisconsin in the Senate and the first openly gay U.S. Senator in history. As of 2012, Baldwin's voting record makes her one of the most liberal members of Congress.
Baldwin was born and grew up in Madison, Wisconsin, the daughter of Pamela (née Green) and Joseph Edward Baldwin. She was raised by her mother and her maternal grandparents. Her maternal grandfather was Jewish (the son of immigrants from Russia and Germany), and her maternal grandmother, who was Anglican, was English-born. 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 practiced law from 1989 to 1992.
Baldwin was first elected to political office in 1986 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.
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."
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.
The senator was featured in Time's November 19 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.
For fifteen years, Baldwin's domestic partner was Lauren Azar; in 2009, the couple registered as domestic partners in Wisconsin. They separated in 2010.
Obama and the Gays: A Political Marriage by Tracy Baim
Paperback: 576 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1st edition (September 12, 2010)
Amazon: Obama and the Gays: A Political Marriage
An in-depth look at the career of President Barack Obama and his views about gay-related issues, starting when he ran for Illinois senate in 1996 and ending mid-way through his term as president. Written by Tracy Baim, publisher of Windy City Times, the book also includes articles and essays by some of the most respected journalists, bloggers and activists in gay media. This book, with 570 pages and 140 images/photos, has extensive coverage, in words and images, of Obama's record on gay and AIDS issues, including detailed quotes from his speeches, photos at gay events, and answers to surveys early in his career. Essayists and writers in the book include Lisa Keen, Kerry Eleveld, Michelangelo Signorile, Phill Wilson, Chuck Colbert, Pam Spaulding, Wayne Besen, and many more.
More LGBT History at my website: www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Persistent Voices
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