Former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., visited his alma mater Monday to help a family move into Sellery Hall and reminisce about his days as a Badger.
As a freshman at UW-Madison 44 years ago, Feingold left his room at Sellery Hall to make way for a friend of his roommate. Instead of making the 40-mile trek back to his home of Janesville for the weekend, he and a friend decided to stay in the lounge area, with mixed results.
“We commandeered the entire lounge and barricaded ourselves in there,” Feingold laughed. “We were eventually overwhelmed by the other members of the floor but it was fun while it lasted.”
Feingold’s campaign is similarly hunkering down for a 2016 rematch against U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., hoping that this time they will be victorious in fending off the former Oshkosh businessman after losing to him in 2010.
The Feingold campaign announced Monday that U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., will join Feingold at a campaign stop in Madison next month.
Warren praised Feingold’s efforts to make college more affordable in a statement Monday. The event comes as part of Feingold’s campaign plan to visit every Wisconsin county.
Feingold led his adversary by five points in an August Marquette University Law School poll, although this gap is narrower than an April poll which gave Feingold an eight percent lead among likely voters.
Feingold talked briefly about both the 2016 senate and presidential races and discussed his time at UW-Madison while helping a family friend move into the same hall that Feingold himself lived in almost 50 years ago.
“Going here was one of the greatest thrills I’ve ever had,” Feingold said. “The University is the foundation for what makes this state great.”
He also took Gov. Scott Walker to task for instituting a $250 million cut to the UW System in the last budget and said that students need help in making college more affordable.
“It’s hard to imagine the $250 million cut because ... the UW System is one of our greatest assets,” he said, arguing the cut would further increase the price of college tuition.
Walker has said his proposals to freeze in-state tuition at UW System schools have and will continue to save students money.
While Feingold declined to endorse a presidential candidate, saying only that he would support the Democratic nominee, he did note that the 2016 election would be a critical one, especially for students.
“It’s not just about me and it’s not just about my campaign, it’s about [students’] futures,” he said. “2016 is crucial for students coming to this university ... as far as financing education. Candidates on the Democratic side are sensitive to that and frankly Hillary Clinton has a dramatic new proposal to get the federal government involved to get us to an era where we have more debt free students.”