Former Senator, Herb Kohl, Dead at 88

Former Senator, Herb Kohl, Dead at 88

( – The Herb Kohl Foundation stated on December 27 that Herb Kohl, a former Democrat U.S. senator from Wisconsin and a previous owner of the Milwaukee Bucks basketball franchise, had died after a short illness. He was 88.

For twenty-four years, Kohl, who helped develop the department store Kohl’s, served in the United States Senate. Being a die-hard basketball fan, in 1985 he famously spent $18 million to keep the Milwaukee Bucks in his city. As a philanthropist, he left millions to Wisconsin’s educational institutions and its students and faculty.

Even in the Senate, which is known for its inflated sense of self-importance, Kohl stood out. Though reserved and unassuming, he had a significant impact on state-wide matters, particularly dairy legislation. He ranked among the wealthiest senators.

Kohl was in the Army Reserve, serving from 1958 to 1964. Milwaukee was his birthplace and his bachelor’s degree was earned in 1956 from the University of Wisconsin. Kohl then earned a master’s degree from Harvard University in business administration in 1958. During the 1970s, he was president of the family firm and helped build Kohl’s department store and supermarket. In 1979, the family sold Kohl’s.

Kohl chose to seek election to the US Senate in 1988 and beat the incumbent Republican candidate, Susan Engeleiter. He was re-elected in ’94, 2000, and ’06. While serving the interests of the state, Kohl never took a salary increase while doing his job in the Senate.

Kohl had considerable influence over agricultural policy as the leading Democrat for the agriculture subcommittee in the Senate Appropriation, which manages the Department of Agriculture’s budget. Along with his position on the antitrust subcommittee for the Judiciary, he was the leading Democrat on the Senate Committee for Aging. While Democrats had the majority, Kohl presided over all three committees.

Getting little recognition for his work in the Senate was acceptable to Kohl. Kohl seemed to be stuck in a bygone age of civility as partisanship in Congress escalated.

Democrat candidate and the first female senator from Wisconsin, Tammy Baldwin, replaced him.

Copyright 2023,