A Message From Mandela Barnes:

from our email inbox:

Wisconsin, I cannot thank you enough.

I want to thank my parents, who have been my biggest supporters. I wouldn’t be here today without their hard work, which gave me the opportunity to become Lt. Governor and run this campaign.

And I want to thank the volunteers who have knocked on doors, made phone calls, sent those texts, and given everything they had. Thank you for your refusal to settle for the status quo and your commitment to fighting for better.

I got into this race in July of last year because I believe that the American Dream – the one that gave me the opportunity to stand before you – is worth protecting. I believe that our workers and our family farmers and our children’s futures are worth fighting for.

I got into this race because I believe in the Wisconsin promise of a fair shot at success. Whether you’re a dairy farmer in Monroe or a thrift store owner in Superior or a kid born on the corner of 26th and Locust in the heart of Milwaukee.

And I believe in that promise today more than I ever have before.

I’ve had a chance to talk to Senator Johnson to congratulate him on his win. And I told him the same thing that I’ve been saying since the start of this campaign.

I reminded him that this isn’t about red or blue, or left or right. This is about ensuring that every Wisconsinite, from every ZIP code, from every background has the chance to achieve their dreams – big or small.

Whether that dream is being able to send your kid to a quality public school knowing they’ll come home safely at the end of the day.

Or having the funds to start that small business that you’ve been thinking about for years now.

Or passing your family farm down to your children knowing they won’t be saddled with debt or left to pick up the pieces after another extreme weather event.

And I also told Ron Johnson I’d continue working to help make our state into what I know it can be.

Because while things may not have gone the way we had hoped last night, I still believe that better is possible, and I am in this for Wisconsin. I am in this for every person in this room and for the community that raised me into the person I am today.

I am in this for people like my grandparents – a union steelworker and a school cafeteria worker – who worked their whole lives to lay a foundation for me. My story should never be the exception, it should be the rule.

I am in this for the auto workers in Racine who have been on strike for the last 6 months, standing shoulder to shoulder to fight for fair pay, benefits, and health care.

I am in this for my friends John and Lauren, and so many others like them who have worked their entire lives to earn Social Security.

And I am in this for our kids who should know that opportunity is within reach, and that they can do anything they set their minds to.

We have so much more to do, and I am ready to work with Senator Johnson and Senator Baldwin and Governor Evers and our representatives at every level of government to rebuild our middle class and bring opportunity back to this state.

I know you’re disappointed. I am, too. But more than that, I am determined.

Now is not the time for us to tune out. Now is the time for us to double down. To show up like we’ve never shown up before, and make sure that Ron Johnson and every political leader knows they answer to every person in Wisconsin – not just the people who voted for them.

I am so grateful to have had this opportunity. Over the past year and a half, I’ve had the chance to travel to every part of this state. It’s been a real privilege to hear your stories and have the important conversations about how we can improve the quality of life for everyone across Wisconsin.

And whether or not we always saw eye to eye, I can’t tell you what it means to me that you gave me a chance.

Because I do believe that there is so much more that unites us than divides us – and all it takes is us reaching out and talking to each other to bridge that divide.

We knew this fight wasn’t going to be easy – hardly anything worth fighting for is easy. But I’m standing here today ready to jump back in. I’m ready to keep going. Because I know that we’re still in this together – and that’s all I’ve ever needed.

In these tough fights, I’m often reminded of a Bible verse I’ve carried with me throughout this campaign:

“Consider it pure joy, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”

And together, we’re going to continue to persevere.

We’re going to organize for better, we’re going to fight for better, and one day soon, we’re going to achieve better.

Thank you so much for this opportunity.

Let’s move forward together, Wisconsin.



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