By Karen Stokes
Black voters could play an important role in determining the outcome of key 2022 midterm races in the United States in November.
A large part of that outcome will hinge on the ability for candidates to aggressively turn out Black voters, a key Democratic constituency.
Black voter turnout across the state of Wisconsin has declined in recent electoral cycles, according to nbcnews.com.
Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes is someone who is deeply embedded in the Black community and working to turn Black voters out this election cycle.
As a candidate, the Black community can identify with Barnes through his beliefs, values and shared experiences.
Mandela Barnes was born and raised in Milwaukee. His mother was a public school teacher, his father worked 3rd shift at an auto factory.
He has done the work as a community organizer in the city, as a local state representative, and as Lt. Governor to connect and build trust with voters in the city. He has continued to prioritize outreach efforts to the Black community. As Lt. Governor, he helped deliver historic investments in Black-owned small businesses.
Barnes maintains a very solid presence here in this city, talking about the issues that matter.
“When people talk about issues and challenges we have with school and issues and challenges we have in the community, most of the time this is from people that have no idea what’s going on and right now we have a chance to elect people who actually understand our values,” said Barnes.
Throughout his campaign Barnes has hosted periodic special meetings, interviews, and briefings with Milwaukee’s network of Black media. Regular attendees include Essence, Carv’d N Stone, 101.7 The Truth, WNOV, the Milwaukee Courier, and others in the Milwaukee Black media landscape.
On the national level, Barnes does regular interviews with prominent Black reporters and anchors that are trusted and entrenched in the Black community, including Roland Martin, Tavis Smiley, Brakkton Booker, Rev. Al Sharpton, Tiffany Cross, Zerlina Maxwell, and Symone Sanders.
When meeting with local Black leaders in Milwaukee, Barnes focused on calling for more household-supporting union jobs for families, going after inflation and protecting voting rights.
Former President Barack Obama served as Democrats’ high-water mark when it came to Black voter enthusiasm. Barnes gives the best shot at achieving this level of enthusiasm again.
Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes would be the first Black senator to represent Wisconsin.
Early Voting starts in Milwaukee, Tuesday, October 25. Election Day is November 8th.