The news today that Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wisc.) plans to retire after four terms creates the opportunity for Rep. Tammy Baldwin to run to succeed him.
She would become the nation’s first openly LGBT senator. Emphasis on “openly,” of course, given the fairly long list of rumored-to-be-gay and closeted senators, including Barbara Mikulski, Larry Craig, Lindsey Graham and Harris Wofford, among others.
Baldwin has been a leading advocate for LGBT rights while serving in Congress and would be a welcome addition to the Senate. Given the small number of openly LGBT members of Congress — and lack of any out LGBT figures in the Cabinet — Baldwin’s move to the upper chamber would mark historic progress and a new first for the country.
Aside from being openly lesbian, Baldwin is a good lawmaker; she’s smart and respected on the Hill and by constituents. She’s been in elective office since 1986 and served in Congress since 1999.
There’s no more reliable or visible LGBT ally in Congress. Baldwin should take the plunge and run for Senate.