I grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin's 53206 ZIP code, one of our nation's most impoverished and incarcerated areas. It remains a community starved of resources but brimming with hardworking, brilliant people. These are friends, families, classmates, educators, business owners and community leaders who try over and over to get ahead in life but remain furthest from the relief of opportunity.
People from where I'm from aren't expected to make it to the State Capitol—if they're expected to make it at all.
Throughout my life, I have learned of the many policies and practices established in this country designed to systematically leave people behind—specifically Black people and our Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian American brothers and sisters. Despite the challenges, my upbringing has motivated me to dismantle those very systems.
To do that, we must encourage widespread engagement and participation in our democracy. All of our voices need to be heard and our votes need to count. We must make our environment safer and cleaner by combating the effects of climate change. And we must do all of this with equity in mind so the communities most affected by our societal inequities are a part of the solution.
From my experience as a community organizer, throughout my time as a state representative and now, as lieutenant governor, I will remain active, vigilant, and vocal in my leadership because opportunity should exist in every part of Wisconsin for every resident. There is a lot of work to do to build a democracy that includes and reflects the voices of all people in our state, but I'm eager to fight for a Wisconsin where everyone, regardless of ZIP code, has the opportunity to thrive.
I believe we can do it together. My hope is that you will join me.
Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes