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WASHINGTON, D.C.—People’s Action and Citizen Action of Wisconsin today announced their endorsement of Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes to represent Wisconsin in the United States Senate. The groups cited Barnes as one of the top opportunities for progressive champions to win in Republican-held turf in 2022, cheering his strong positions on jobs, labor, and climate issues. Barnes is running a movement politics, people-powered campaign and will work to advance the People’s Action People’s Platform once elected.

“As the son of a teacher and a UAW worker, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes is one of us,”  People’s Action Director of Movement Politics Brooke Adams said. “He’s the candidate who will unite everyday people of every race and background–rural and urban–in Wisconsin to defeat Ron Johnson in November.”

“We do not have to guess about Mandela’s values–we have been working with him since his early days as a social justice organizer,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin.  “He was a founding member of our Southeastern Wisconsin chapter where he helped us build grassroots power and served on our Board of Directors. Most importantly, he supports our bold progressive platform, and will prioritize our two top issues: making health care a fundamental right and transforming the economy to avert runaway global warming in a way that dramatically improves economic and racial equity. If elected, Mandela would become the third former Citizen Action of Wisconsin board member in Congress, joining U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin and Congressman Mark Pocan.” 

As a result of this endorsement, Citizen Action of Wisconsin and People’s Action will mobilize their members and volunteers on Barnes’ behalf, including using their proven deep canvass strategy to reach persuadable voters across the state. These organizations will be crucial to Barnes’ victory in the general election, as they are building power in rural areas as well as urban areas. Bridging the urban/rural divide is a requirement for a winning Democratic senatorial campaign this year.


Mandela Barnes grew up in a proud union family in one of the poorest ZIP codes in Wisconsin. He’s a proven elected official, having served as lieutenant governor since 2018–the first Black lieutenant governor in Wisconsin’s history and the second Black statewide elected official. He serves as the chair of Gov. Tony Evers’ climate change task force. He also serves on the Governor’s Health Equity Council, Wisconsin Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, Wisconsin Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Task Force, the Governor’s Council on Financial Literacy and Capability, and the statewide 2020 Census Complete Count Committee.

Barnes is fighting for “jobs we can support a family on, education we can build a future on, and health care that protects our health, not the wealth of corporations.” He’s standing up for family farmers who are under pressure from corporate ag and for manufacturing workers whose jobs are being exported overseas by hedge funds and big corporations. He’ll work for everyday people of every race and background in the U.S. Senate. 

People’s Action’s Movement Politics program recruits, runs, and elects progressives into local and statewide offices across the country. Since 2016, People’s Action has helped elect over 380 movement politics candidates. The program focuses on electing women, people of color, and low-income people who are grounded in progressive movement building with our member organizations.

Contact: Derrick Crowe,, 512.516.5067


People’s Action builds the power of poor and working people in urban, rural, and suburban areas to win change through issue fights and elections. We are a national network of 38 state and local grassroots power-building organizations in 28 states–united in the work of building a bigger “we.”

Press Contact
Derrick Crowe

(512) 516-5067

About People’s Action

People’s Action is a national network of 38 state and local grassroots, power-building organizations united in fighting for justice. Our organization recently released a vision for a national Homes Guarantee that has already prompted major legislation from champions including U.S. Reps. Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Rashida Tlaib. We operate the largest progressive rural organizing project in the country. Prior to endorsing Sen. Bernie Sanders for president, we completed a national forum series that The Nation called “the most in-depth, people-powered forum” of the 2020 cycle.”