By Martice Scales
I’ve lived in Milwaukee for the past decade, working as the manager on our family-owned farm. Alongside my wife and two children, we grow all-natural produce at an affordable price to provide my community with nutritious, locally-grown food.
Farmers like me have long been the backbone of Wisconsin—bolstering our state’s economy, creating thousands upon thousands of jobs, and providing farm-fresh products to communities in every corner of the state. But in recent years, we’ve lost family farms at a shocking rate, especially here in Wisconsin.
That’s in no small part because self-serving politicians and huge corporations with highly-paid lobbyists have worked together to stack the deck against small farms—including Ron Johnson.
Despite what he might claim, Ron Johnson has spent the last twelve years working against small scale farmers, choosing to side with the large agricultural companies driving us out of business.
In 2018, Johnson voted against the Farm Bill, which was a lifeline for so many small farms in Wisconsin-this bill helped get many of the tools and support I need to maintain our businesses successfully.
In the years since, Johnson has repeatedly voted against lowering costs for working families like mine in favor of enriching himself and his donors. In the last two years alone, Johnson voted against sending out stimulus checks to put money directly into our pockets, he voted against relief for small businesses struggling to keep their doors open during the pandemic, he opposed legislation that expanded access to affordable high-speed internet, and he even blocked efforts to cap the cost of insulin at $35 each month.
Yet, during his time as Wisconsin’s senator, Johnson voted for legislation that handed massive tax breaks to him and his wealthiest donors, and he even cut taxes for corporations that ship Wisconsin jobs out of state or overseas.
Wisconsinites deserve better than an out-of-touch, self-serving politician like Ron Johnson selling out small businesses and workers to help the rich get richer.
That’s why it’s so important that the next U.S. senator that Wisconsin sends to Washington, DC will fight against special interests, large corporations, and the politicians that have left us behind for far too long—someone who will fight to give small and medium-sized farms a fair shot.
That someone is Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes.
Unlike Johnson, Mandela understands how important our local farms and agricultural workers are to Wisconsin. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he and Gov. Tony Evers invested $100 million in funds to help farmers navigate the unique challenges that impacted farms during the pandemic. Those funds were a lifeline to so many.
Mandela has also taken the time, whether as a state legislator or as Lt. Governor, to meet with farmers across the state. In the past, we’ve seen politicians who falsely claim they support Wisconsin farmers, but never took the time to meet us where we were. That’s not Mandela—as he’s traveled to every county in the state, it’s clear that he not only wants to engage with us directly on the issue, but is prepared to fight for us in the Senate.
Mandela has pledged to crack down on the Big Ag corporations that have put farms like mine at a disadvantage and help lower the cost of doing business. He’s also said he’ll fight to cut taxes for middle-class families, lower the cost of health care and prescription drugs, and make sure every household and business in the state has access to high-speed internet.
That’s the kind of leader we need in Washington, and that’s why I’m voting for Mandela for U.S. Senate.
Martice Scales is a Milwaukee resident and Co-Founder of Full Circle Healing, a family-run, community focused farm.