For three decades and counting, Nancy Mitchell has been Russ Feingold's right-hand woman. Now it's her turn to take the podium.
LAST FALL, Nancy Mitchell began her thirtieth year of working with U.S. Senator Russ Feingold. They first met at Foley & Lardner here in Madison in 1979. Mitchell was an intern from MATC and Feingold was still at Harvard. Shortly afterward, both went to work for the law firm. Nineteen-year-old Mitchell was shocked when attorney Russ Feingold—known around the office as the “man with the golden resume”—picked her to be his legal secretary. It was an even bigger shock in 1982 when Feingold announced he intended to run for the state senate. It made no sense to her at all. Nobody knew who Feingold was, and she knew nothing about politics. Despite her reservations, she took a leave of absence from Foley & Lardner and became candidate Feingold’s chief campaign worker. After he won, she joined him in his State Capitol office. Almost a decade later when he decided to run for the U.S. Senate, Mitchell had no reservations about this campaign. She knew he would win.