Press Releases

Barnes’ First Policy Plan is a Bold Vision to Unrig the System so it Works for the People of Wisconsin

Dec 09, 2021

End Citizens United // Let America Vote President Tiffany Muller released the following statement after Wisconsin Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes released his first policy plan of his Senate campaign:

“The first policy plan of Lt. Governor Barnes’ Senate campaign represents an ambitious agenda to crack down on mega donors and dark money groups that are buying political influence, end partisan gerrymandering, and protect the freedom to vote for every person in Wisconsin so they can make their voices heard at the ballot box.

“Unlike Senator Ron Johnson, who works for corporate special interests, Lt. Governor Barnes is a champion for working people, and this first policy proposal shows that he will fight for the people of Wisconsin and against big money and corporate special interests. We look forward to helping elect Lt. Governor Barnes and working with him in the Senate to make government accountable to the people.”

Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes releases first progressive policy plan in Senate race [The Hill]

Julia Manchester

Wisconsin Democratic Senate candidate Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes released his first policy plan on Thursday, highlighting a number progressive proposals including the passage of a new voting rights act and calling for an end to the filibuster.

“We’ve got to do more to protect our democracy in this country,” Barnes said in an interview with The Hill. “This entire year has shown just how fragile things are and how much more fragile things can be if we don’t act immediately.”

Barnes, who has been endorsed by the likes Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), bemoaned what he said was a lack of progress on a number of issues in the Senate, including with President Biden’s Build Back Better legislation, which is still being negotiated in the chamber.

The lieutenant governor laid blame on the filibuster, a parliamentary tactic that allows the minority party to block legislation that doesn’t get 60 voters, for the lack of progress.

“We should be delivering for the people of this country. It’s not happening, and the filibuster continues to serve as a roadblock,” he said.

When asked about Biden’s involvement in negotiations on passing reforms like Build Back Better, Barnes said the president’s involvement “could potentially muddy the process.”

“It feels like there’s a feeling that they’re OK bucking the president,” Barnes said. “We saw that happen over the infrastructure bill. We continue to see it in the large scale packages people are looking for. Build Back Better, we’re still debating that. These are things that theoretically we should have seen passed in the first three months [of Biden’s presidency].”

Barnes addressed the Justice Department’s move to sue Texas over its new redistricting that the department claims illegally undermines minority groups’ right to vote, saying he hopes the agency takes similar measures against other states facing similar redistricting issues.

“The gerrymandering that we’re experiencing in Wisconsin and other states just like us is undemocratic and makes people have less faith in the process because it doesn’t allow for government to effectively respond to the people,” he said.

Barnes vowed in his plan to fight for national redistricting reform in the Senate.

In the plan, Barnes also calls for stopping big corporations and special interest groups from “buying political influence.” Barnes vowed that as senator he will push for a constitutional amendment that overturns the Supreme Court’s decision on the Citizens United case, which protects the rights of corporate and labor groups to spend money promoting federal candidates.

Additionally, the plan calls for strengthened ethics rules for elected officials, as well protections against “election subversion.” Barnes hit incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) for his recent calls for state lawmakers to assume control of federal elections in the state.

Barnes is one of 12 candidates running the Democratic Senate primary and is seen as the front-runner in the intraparty contest. His campaign raised $1.1 million between July 1 and Sept. 30.

Wisconsin Treasurer Sarah Godlewski and Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry also raised more than $1 million during the time period, but each donated large sums of money to their own campaigns. Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson (D) raised around $223,000 during the same period. Eighty-eight percent of donations to Nelson’s campaign during the period were under $200, according to his campaign.