By Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes
Democratc candidate for U.S. Senate.
As a young kid growing up in Milwaukee, I rarely saw elected leaders who looked like me or who understood the struggles of families like mine. Being raised in the heart of Milwaukee, I was no stranger to politicians leaving communities like mine behind.
But in 2004, I heard Barack Obama speak at the Democratic National Convention. Back then, hearing a state senator from Illinois with a funny name and a story like mine talking about the hope he had for this country made me feel inspired to make a difference too.
Years later, I became an organizer in my hometown, the place that made me who I am, working to bring good-paying jobs to Milwaukee. That journey eventually brought me to run for office too, first as a state lawmaker and then as Wisconsin’s Lieutenant Governor, so that I could continue fighting for families like mine and yours.
Like the vast majority of Wisconsinites, I don’t come from a wealthy or well-connected family. My parents’ union jobs gave us a ticket to the middle class. But under the out-of-touch policies of politicians like Ron Johnson, far too many Wisconsinites can’t get ahead no matter how hard they work.
That’s why I decided to run for the Senate—so that working people in Wisconsin have two senators looking out for them instead of just one.
For 12 long years, Ron Johnson has turned his back on working-class Wisconsinites and ignored the issues impacting the communities he was meant to serve. You don’t have to dig deep into Johnson’s record to see that he is all too willing to sell out Wisconsin workers, families, and Main Street businesses—so long as it helped him or his donors get ahead.
Johnson has repeatedly voted to cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans, including himself and his wealthy donors—including massive tax deductions for buying private planes.
He’s even voted to cut taxes for corporations that ship Wisconsin jobs out of state or overseas, refusing
to fight to keep 1,000 good-paying union jobs in his hometown.
Johnson has also made it clear he doesn’t trust women to make their own health care decisions. He joined Republican colleagues in pushing a nationwide abortion ban, and he’s backed legislation that would outlaw abortion without exceptions for rape, incest, or the life of the mother. He even co-sponsored a bill that would have prosecuted the doctors who provide abortion.
And when he’s not telling people that they can leave Wisconsin if they can’t access health care or handing his donors millions in tax breaks, Johnson is advocating to put Social Security and Medicare on the chopping block, voting to raise the retirement age to 70, and suggesting that we “coax” seniors out of retirement altogether instead of letting them retire in security.
Time and again, Ron Johnson has shown us exactly who he is and who he’s fighting for—and it’s not us.
But Wisconsinites are ready to be represented by someone who shares our Wisconsin values, who understands our experiences, and who knows our struggles.
As your next senator, I’ll always put people before politics.
I’ll side with working people over big corporations. I’ll continue fighting to create more opportunity in every community, from good-paying union jobs to good schools.
I’ll defend our seniors’ hard-earned benefits, restore women’s bodily autonomy, and keep politicians out of the doctor’s office.
I’ll work with Senator Baldwin and Congresswoman Moore to lower costs for working Wisconsin families while ensuring that the wealthy pay their fair share.
See, this fight isn’t about Red or Blue, or Left or Right—it’s about who’s at the top and who’s consistently left at the bottom and left behind.
I know that Wisconsin is ready to change who we send to Washington—but I need your help.
Like every election in our state, this one is going to be close. If you haven’t voted yet, Tuesday is your last chance to make your voice heard and your last chance to help send a working-class champion to the U.S. Senate in 2023.
With your support, I know we can win the fight for freedom, for fairness, and for our future. So let’s make history and move this state forward, together.