UPDATE: Sen. Herb Kohl bids farewell - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UPDATE: U.S. Senator Herb Kohl bids farewell

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MADISON (WKOW) -- One of the most familiar faces in Wisconsin politics said goodbye Thursday.

Senator Herb Kohl (D-Wisconsin) bid farewell on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

There were no tears or words of self-congratulation, but many thanks handed out by the 24-year incumbent.

"Please know that we have listened to you carefully and fought for you always.  Every Wisconsinite who wanted it, Democrat or Republican, rich or poor, farmer or city dweller, got full consideration in my office," said Sen. Kohl.

Kohl first won election to the Senate when he defeated Susan Engeleiter in a close race.

He would won re-election by landslide three more times.

"Thank you for trusting me with your problems and concerns, your hopes and dreams," said Sen. Kohl.

At times criticized by liberals for not being strong enough on certain issues or for not having any signature achievements, Sen. Kohl's colleagues say its because he never toots his own horn.

"Senator Kohl has been a leading advocate on children's issues," said Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa).  "For instance, he authored legislation to expand the school breakfast program, has been a strong supporter of child nutrition programs.  He also authored legislation requiring that handguns be sold with separate child safety locks."

Republicans say Kohl was easy to work with, but was never really as bi-partisan as he was sometimes perceived.

"You know, he certainly had the appearance of a moderate but he really didn't jump and give the Republicans any votes most of the time he was there, so, he benefited from kind of having a moderate profile, but a not so moderate voting record," said Brian Schimming, Vice-Chair of the Republican Party of Wisconsin.

Sen. Kohl chaired the Senate Special Committee on Aging and specialized in helping retirees during his last term.

Now, he will join them.

"I thank you all, one last time.  And I yield the floor," said Sen. Kohl as he closed his remarks.

Kohl will be succeeded by Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-Madison), who takes the oath of office in January.

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Democratic Senator Herb Kohl will make his farewell remarks to the U.S. Senate on Thursday.

As Kohl plans his farewell, Tammy Baldwin prepares for be sworn in on January 3, 2013.

Kohl has represented Wisconsin in the U.S. Senate since 1988. After more than two decades of service, he decided did not seek re-election this year after serving four six-year terms.

Kohl served on several committees, including the Special Committee on Aging. He was a strong advocate for children's issues, working to expand the school breakfast program. He was also a strong supporter for child nutrition programs.

Kohl also focused on anti-crime legislation, especially crimes related to children.

On his web site, Kohl says, "The greatest honor and the greatest responsibility of my life has been to serve as Wisconsin's United States Senator.  But I have never believed this was my Senate seat.  It belongs to the people of Wisconsin.  So even though I continue to love this job, the time has come to give someone else the opportunity to serve."

Tammy Baldwin will take Kohl's seat. Baldwin will serve on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, the Budget Committee, and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. She will also serve on the Senate Special Committee on Aging.

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