Who is Mandela Barnes?
- Mandela Barnes is running in the Democratic primary for US Senate Wisconsin
- In 2012, Barnes was elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly, where he served two terms
- Barnes was appointed Chair of the Governor's Task Force on Climate change in October 2019
Mandela Barnes has served as the 45th Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin since 2019 and is running in the Democratic primary for US Senate Wisconsin. He previously served as the Wisconsin State Representative for the 11th district from 2013 to 2017.
Barnes was born December 1, 1986, in Milwaukee to a public school teacher and a United Auto Workers member. He was born Jesse, which is his father's name, and his middle name, Mandela, is a tribute to the South African anti-apartheid activist and first black president, Nelson Mandela.
Barnes says he has gone by his middle name since birth. His legal name is J. Mandela Barnes.
He attended the private Holy Redeemer school in Milwaukee, as well as Milwaukee Public Schools, including John Marshall High School; and Alabama A&M University.
The 35-year-old worked for various political campaigns and in the office of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. Barnes served as the Deputy Director of Strategic Engagement for State Innovation Exchange, a national progressive public policy organization based in Madison.
In 2012, at the age of 25, Barnes was elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly, where he served two terms. "His tenure in the State Assembly included serving as Chair of the Legislature’s Black and Latino Caucus and becoming a recognized leader on progressive economic policies and gun violence prevention legislation," according to the official website for Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers.
"Within his current role, Lt. Gov. Barnes uses a platform of sustainability and equity to fight for solutions that invest in opportunities and fairness for every child, person, and family in Wisconsin, regardless of ZIP code."
Barnes was appointed Chair of the Governor's Task Force on Climate change in October 2019. Last year, Barnes announced his candidacy for United States Senate in the 2022 election, contesting the seat held by incumbent Ron Johnson.