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Russell Dana Feingold, who served as U.S. senator from Wisconsin from 1993 to 2011, was born in Janesville, Wisconsin on this date in 1953. Feingold was a left-leaning legislator, significantly more so than most Democrats, and was the only senator to vote against the USA PATRIOT Act. He worked on campaign finance reform, in opposition to NAFTA and other “free trade” agreements, in support of expanded immigration, in support of marriage equality and women’s reproductive rights, and in opposition to capital punishment. One of the only members of the Senate who was not a millionaire, Feingold nevertheless refused pay raises while in office, returning to the U.S. Treasury over $70,000 worth, as well as $3.2 million from his senate office budget. He was one of twenty-three senators to vote against the authorization of the invasion of Iraq in 2003, and in 2006 and 2007 he called for a Senate censure of President George W. Bush for his Iraq policies. Feingold was also a champion of strong advocate of single-payer healthcare. Since losing the 2010 election to a Republican, he has taught at two universities and served as a special envoy to Africa.
“I don’t want to hear again from the attorney general or anyone on this floor that this government has shown it can be trusted to use the power we give it with restraint and care.” —Russ Feingold