• WisPolitics


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

 1:04 PM 

Wisconsin delegation responds to Obey announcement

Wisconsin members of Congress are congratulating the dean of their delegation, Wausau Democrat Dave Obey, after he announced today that he'll retire after more than four decades in the House.

U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, called Obey a "cherished friend and mentor," and said he lived up to the standard of Wisconsin political giants and former U.S. Sens. Gaylord Nelson and Robert La Follette.

"Dave Obey holds a place of honor in the pantheon of great progressive voices, both in Wisconsin and in the U.S. House of Representatives," Baldwin said.

U.S. Rep. Steve Kagen, D-Appleton, added, "Both our nation and our great State of Wisconsin owe a great debt of gratitude to Chairman Dave Obey," while U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, said, "He has stood on the right side of history. He has tirelessly fought for the little guy. His work has helped our families, our children and our workers. And Wisconsin and our nation are better off because of his service."

U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, the Menomonee Falls Republican who will take over as Wisconsin's longest-serving congressman, said despite his frequent disagreements with the House Appropriations Chairman, "I have always found Dave Obey to be a passionate public servant who has worked tirelessly for the State of Wisconsin and the country throughout his 48-year career in public service."

The state's U.S. Senators also acknowledged Obey's service. U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold commended Obey as "a strong defender of Wisconsin seniors and families, a tireless advocate for Wisconsin farmers and a staunch ally of Wisconsin veterans." U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl simply said, "We will feel his absence more than I can describe."

UPDATE: U.S. Reps. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, and Tom Petri, R-Fond du Lac, also issued statements. Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hailed Obey as "a visionary for a better life for the American people and a legislative genius."

"(H)e has an ability to see around corners, anticipate challenges and opportunities, and sustain a fight on behalf of what is right," Pelosi said. "For nearly a half century, he's been an indefatigable reformer."

And President Obama lauded Obey as "a true giant of the House of Representatives, where his wealth of knowledge and his unflinching dedication to middle class Americans will be sorely missed."

See more reaction here.


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