Mandela Barnes, a Milwaukee native, was born in the city’s poorest and the nation’s most incarcerated zip code. The difference for him was opportunity. He was raised in a middle class union household and learned the value of hard work early in life. Having attended both public and private schools, education has always been important to him, and making sure that every child in our state has a fair shot remains a top priority.

At age 25, Mandela was elected to the State Assembly where he emerged as a champion on issues of the economy, criminal justice reform, and healthcare. He became the chair of the legislature’s Black and Latino Caucus in his first term, became a national leader on gun violence prevention, and was recognized as one of the top pro-growth progressive leaders in the country.

Mandela has spent the last year traveling across the country, working with state legislators and advocacy groups to score progressive victories and beat back regressive attacks based on the ALEC agenda in the deep South, and back home to the Midwest. Not surprisingly, when we lead with a vision, we win. It’s time for us to get back on the winning side of things, and not just elections, actually delivering for everyday people.

With income inequality in Wisconsin at its highest point since the Great Depression, and a poverty rate of 12% (statewide), we are in urgent need of new leadership. We need meaningful reforms to get the state back on track, and to provide opportunity across all 72 counties. We deserve living wage jobs, access to quality and affordable healthcare, and great schools for our children. We have a long way to go, and that’s why Mandela is running for Lieutenant Governor. We will deliver a brand new deal to make Wisconsin work for working people once again.