Meet our GREAT Democratic Candidates and understand your ballot referendums!

Mandela Barnes
Candidate, U.S. Senate

Mandela’s story is a Wisconsin story.

Mandela doesn’t come from a wealthy or well-connected family. But he does come from a proud union family. He was born in Milwaukee in one of the most impoverished and incarcerated Zip codes in the state. His dad worked 3rd shift at the GM factory and his mom was a Milwaukee school teacher for 30 years. Mandela’s parents taught him the values of hard work, perseverance, and the importance of a good education. Their union jobs were his family’s ticket into the middle class.

That’s a ticket too many people can’t get anymore, no matter how hard they work. Life is getting more expensive and it’s getting harder to get ahead.

A spark was lit in Mandela when he heard Barack Obama speak at the 2004 Democratic convention, and he realized the problems he saw around him were things he could try to fix.

After college, Mandela became a community organizer in his hometown where he fought to bring good jobs to the community.

Frustrated by a lack of action from the lawmakers on the issues affecting working people and the middle class, Mandela decided to run for office. He became a Wisconsin State Representative at 27 and stood up to Scott Walker’s anti-union agenda. In 2018, Mandela helped Tony Evers kick Scott Walker out of office and, at 31, became Wisconsin’s first Black Lt. Governor — and only the second Black elected official statewide.

As Lt. Governor Mandela has worked closely with Governor Evers to help Wisconsin recover from the pandemic. Mandela has been central to the campaign to encourage communities across the state to get vaccinated, traveling to urban and rural areas to energize Wisconsin’s recovery.

Governor Evers recognized Mandela’s expertise and years of work on environmental issues by appointing him as chair of the Governor’s Task Force on Climate Change. The Task Force brought together a diverse coalition of farmers, environmental advocates, Indigenous leaders, and business executives to produce 55 concrete strategies for how Wisconsin can begin to address the climate crisis.

Just like when Mandela first ran for office, right now Wisconsinites deserve better than what they are getting. Wisconsin family farmers are being squeezed out by big corporations. The manufacturing jobs that sustained Mandela’s family are getting shipped overseas — the factory where his dad worked is a strip mall now. And China has been more than happy to pick up the slack.

Sadly, politicians like Senator Ron Johnson are standing in the way of progress. Johnson has turned his back on Wisconsin, delivering for his wealthy donors and peddling wild conspiracy theories and cynical attacks that divide us for political gain. Ron Johnson wants to pit Wisconsinites against each other. But Mandela knows that in every corner of the state, there is more that unites us than divides us.

Hard working families like Mandela’s don’t want handouts. They just want a fair shot.

Mandela understands the struggles of working people because they are his struggles too. He is running for Senate to rebuild the middle class and give everyone a fair shot at the American dream.

In the Senate, Mandela will bring a new perspective to Washington, to fight for opportunity for every child, person, and family in Wisconsin, regardless of their ZIP code. He will put middle class families first and stand up to the lobbyists and big corporations that have all the power in Washington. He will fight to create opportunity in every corner of Wisconsin, bring manufacturing back, create jobs by tackling climate change, and stand up for Wisconsin’s family farmers.

Prior to serving as Lt. Governor, Mandela was elected to the State Assembly where he emerged as a champion on issues of the environment, economy, education, racial justice, and health care. He became the chair of the legislature’s Black and Latino Caucus in his first term, became a national leader on gun violence prevention, and was recognized as one of the top pro-growth progressive leaders in the country. He also worked as a community organizer in Milwaukee and served as Deputy Director of Strategic Engagement for the State Innovation Exchange, sharing progressive best practices with state legislatures across the country.

Mandela 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.

Ann Roe
Candidate, 1st Congressional District

"I believe in the people of Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District. I want this district to be a destination for small businesses, families, and new talent." - Ann Roe

A small business owner, former educator, working mom, and the proud daughter of a Korean War veteran, Ann Roe is a problem solver who knows how to get things done. She’s a Wisconsinite who has spent her entire career making an honest living and putting her community first. From restructuring a board of directors to uncovering purchasing and accounting errors at a Fortune 500 company to helping students get into their dream schools, Ann has spent her career creating real solutions to the big problems our community faces every day.

Ann is a fixer and has worked with everybody in the public and private sectors. She has worked with a variety of corporations, small businesses, nonprofits, and educational systems – all with the common goal of making things better. Most recently, she took her passion for removing obstacles to our children's future even further by starting a small business dedicated to guiding students through the often complicated and confusing college admissions process.

Ann is also a fixer in her community. She led the recent effort to secure funding to repair and revitalize the historic Woman’s Club Building in downtown Janesville, winning an $80,000 grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and beating out 120 other national applicants. For the last four years, Ann has served on Downtown Janesville’s board, including as President for the last year. There she has worked to develop new marketing initiatives to promote local businesses and community services. She is a proven thought leader who has never forgotten her roots or where she came from.

When her son Charley was born with a rare bleeding disorder, Ann had to fight tooth and nail to get him the care that he needed to survive – even when the broken system would not listen. Because Ann refused to let anything hold him back, Charley is now a healthy college junior with an eye toward pre-med.

As a business and community leader, Ann knows firsthand that the path to success for our community is inextricably linked to our access to quality education, health care, childcare, and good-paying jobs. But when it comes to enacting policies that will help us thrive, too many of our leaders in Washington are long on talk and political games but short on solutions. We need a fighter in the House of Representatives. We need a Representative who will solve the problems facing Wisconsin today.

Ann is ready to bring her no-nonsense approach to Congress to make sure our community has a seat at the table and fight for our small businesses, more jobs and better wages for our workers, quality health care, and education that our children deserve and need to succeed in the future.

Ann has lived in Janesville for over 25 years with her husband Jonathan, a Wisconsin native and pediatrician. Their daughter, Catherine, graduated from Lawrence University in June of 2021 and started law school in the fall of 2021. Their son, Charley, is a college junior at Macalester College.

Governor Tony Evers
Incumbent

Doing the Right Thing for Wisconsin

From his time as a science teacher to today, Governor Tony Evers has worked to bring people together. Rather than focus on what divides us, Governor Evers will work to address rising costs, help small businesses, and give our kids the education they need to thrive.

From his days as a public school science teacher to now as Governor, Tony Evers has worked to bring people together, instead of driving them apart. He cut income taxes by fifteen percent for most families-one of the biggest tax cuts in state history. Evers directed almost a billion dollars to tens of thousands of small businesses and nearly half of eligible farms to prevent layoffs and create new jobs. Rather than focus on hot-button political issues meant to divide us, Evers will keep working to address the cost of living, get people back to work, and give our kids the education they need to thrive. Governor Tony Evers is doing the right thing for Wisconsin.

From Tony:

Being Governor of Wisconsin has been my great honor. I’m a lifelong Wisconsinite. I root for the Badgers, and the Brewers, and the Packers. And I’m proud of the work we’ve already done to move Wisconsin forward and bring people together.

Whether that’s through the middle-class tax cut I signed, the thousands of small businesses we’ve helped grow, or work we’ve done to improve the quality of our public schools, Wisconsin is better and stronger today.

I’m running for re-election because there’s even more work to do. With your help, we’ll continue doing the right thing to make Wisconsin an even better place to live, work, and raise a family.

I hope you’ll stand with me in the fight for Wisconsin’s future.

-Tony Evers

Sara Rodriguez
Candidate, Lt. Governor

Sara Russell Rodriguez has dedicated her career to solving problems. She is a nurse, community leader, public health professional, entrepreneur, proud mom, and candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin. 

Sara currently serves as an elected member of the State Assembly representing Waukesha County and the western suburbs of Milwaukee. She was one of very few Democrats in the country to flip a Republican-held district. 

Sara has a lifetime of experience working in public health and healthcare. A registered nurse, Sara saved lives and has protected our most vulnerable citizens. She is a small business owner, served as a vice president at a Fortune 100 company, and worked as an executive with a large local health care system.

Her approach to addressing problems is rooted in fact-based practices, science, and connecting with communities across Wisconsin. Sara was one of only 70 individuals chosen annually to be an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where she led national and international outbreak investigations, and she worked to address chronic disease for a state healthcare agency. 

Sara and her husband, who is originally from Mexico, have two children, a middle-schooler and a high-schooler, who attend public school in Waukesha County. Sara’s roots in Wisconsin run deep. Her grandparents owned a dairy farm in Richland County, and Sara was born in Milwaukee and raised in Brookfield. She holds degrees from Illinois Wesleyan University and Johns Hopkins University. After college, Sara served in the Peace Corps in Samoa, and she’s currently a proud Girl Scout troop leader.

Doug La Follette
Incumbent, Wisconsin Secretary of State

Doug made his first run for office in 1970 in the Democratic primary bid seeking to represent Wisconsin in Congress. He served a term as a state senator from 1972—1974 for Kenosha, during which time he authored legislation which provided family planning care to women for the first time in Wisconsin’s history. He was then elected Secretary of State and has served in that office for 44 years.

Throughout his years of public service he has fought against the corrupting influence of big money on politics. He has rejected high-spending campaign tactics and has followed the path of the great Wisconsin Senator Bill Proxmire, who depended on his relationship with the people to get elected.

Doug has deep environmental roots in this state. He started Wisconsin's Environmental Decade, now Clean Wisconsin, and has been fighting for local, renewable energy since the 1970's. He helped the late Gaylord Nelson organize the first Earth Day in 1970 and was appointed by President Jimmy Carter as the Assistant Director to the Mid-American Solar Energy Complex.

Doug La Follette earned his Ph.D in organic chemistry from Columbia University and went on to teach as an Assistant Professor of chemistry and ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. 

Josh Kaul
Incumbent, Attorney General

Josh Kaul took office as Attorney General in January 2019. His administration has fought crime, protected our natural resources, and defended our rights, taking on tough issues and getting results. He has consistently fought for the best interests of Wisconsinites, with a track record that shows that he’ll work with anyone and stand up to anyone.

Much of Josh’s career before he was elected Attorney General was spent working to keep families safe and to protect the right to vote.

Josh served as a federal prosecutor in Baltimore, one of America’s most violent cities. There, Josh worked closely with law enforcement on complex investigations and saw the impact that crime can have. He prosecuted murderers, gang members, and drug traffickers, taking dangerous criminals off the street and making communities more secure.

When Josh came home to Wisconsin to raise a family, he took on a new challenge: protecting our right to vote. He went to court to fight back against laws that restrict access to the ballot box.

Josh grew up in Oshkosh and Fond du Lac, where he attended public schools. He played fullback on his high school football team and first base on the baseball team. Josh’s mom, Peg Lautenschlager, spent much of her career working as a prosecutor, and his step-dad, Bill Rippl, was a police officer.

Josh went to college at Yale, where he met his wife, Lindsey. He majored in history and economics and graduated with honors. He then attended Stanford Law School, where he served as President of the Stanford Law Review.

Josh began his legal career as a law clerk to Judge Michael Boudin, who was then the Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. After his clerkship, Josh worked for Jenner & Block in Washington, D.C.

Josh and Lindsey are the proud parents of two boys, Simon (age 8) and Henry (age 5).

Aaron Richardson
Candidate, Wisconsin Treasurer

My Background

I am the 5th generation of my family to live in Fitchburg, WI. I love this state and look forward to making it even better as the next Treasurer for the state of Wisconsin.

I am currently the Mayor of Fitchburg. I was previously on the city council and on the Fitchburg Parks and Recreation Committee before that. I have had the opportunity to do many great things for Fitchburg. We are one of the most diverse communities in the state and one of the fastest growing as well. I am currently pushing to make Fitchburg a Gold Medal Bike Friendly Community.

I am a very proud graduate of UW-Green Bay and also have my MBA from UW-Whitewater. I worked for 16 years in marketing at various companies. I currently work for the Oregon School District in the tech department, helping students and teachers navigate technology.

One of my favorite things to do is coach my nephew's basketball team. This past winter was my 6th year coaching youth basketball. In my free time I am out on the many bike trails in the state, golfing, playing board games, paddleboarding, beekeeping and much more!

My Involvement

- Currently Fitchburg Mayor

- Fitchburg Council Member

- Parks and Recreation Committee

- Chair of Fitchburg Housing Committee

- Supporter of Boys & Girls Club of Dane County

- Fitchburg Lions Club

Max Winkels
Candidate, Assembly District 61

Why I'm Running:

I hate the politics of fear and distortion of truth. Scare tactics and disinformation make good decisions impossible. They mask the common needs and goals we all share, like livable wages, a clean environment and, above all, healthy, well-educated children. In order to meet our needs, we need a thoughtful, rational and reliable process to work out differences, identify resources and put our plans into action.

I’d like to say a bit about why I am running for Assembly. I am going to avoid a lot of biography, other than to say I have a strong background for the Assembly seat and that I have a beautiful family, with a wife of 41 years and two wonderful daughters.

Instead, I want to speak from the heart about some basic concepts, which are more fundamental than the typical political scrimmages over recurring issues. Right now our ability to have those scrimmages is under attack. Our rights as citizens and the democratic institutions we have created to resolve our disagreements are under assault and there is a real chance that our rights will be restricted further.

I hate the politics of fear and distortion of truth. Scare tactics and disinformation make good decisions impossible. They mask the common needs and goals we all share, like livable wages, a clean environment and, above all, healthy, well-educated children. In order to meet our needs, we need a thoughtful, rational and reliable process to work out differences, identify resources and put our plans into action.

Are there things I feel passionately about? Hell, yes! I believe that a society as wealthy and capable as ours has a moral obligation to care for all its citizens. There are no morally justifiable reasons to not provide world-class medical care, education and equitable government to everyone.

As someone once said, “To whom much is given, much is required….”(1) Somebody else said, “The bottom line is the bottom line.”(2) Much of the divisiveness and disinformation we experience today plays directly into the hands of people who can make money from our problems. It’s all about the money.

Take the education system as an example: as Moms for Liberty and other extreme groups assault our schools, the state legislature cut local school funding and diverted funds away. The money goes into the hands of wealthy private interests, educational performance declines, extreme groups disrupt the school because performance has declined, state government cuts public schools further, private interests get more money…and the cycle continues.

Someone else said, “Follow the money.”(3) In our school districts the money is going from those who need it the most, and are paying for it locally, to wealthy people who don’t need it. That’s not right.

Here are two more things I feel strongly about:

  • Some things are more important than money. Healthcare and education are two of them.
  • Even with the best information and the most thoughtful process, addressing community needs is very difficult. The problems are complicated, there are legitimate competing interests and there is no guarantee of success. Failure, however, can be guaranteed: just promote some bad information, make people upset and add folks who put making a buck ahead of everything. Poor outcomes will occur.

This is why I am running for Assembly now. If you have ever had a thought to become more involved in your community, do it now. If you haven’t had that thought, please start considering it now. Inaction is an opportunity for the opponents of our shared principles to demolish them for their own gain. We cannot, and must not, let that happen.

Tip McGuire
Incumbent, Assembly District 64

Since I was elected to the Assembly, my top priority has been to build a strong pathway to economic security for working families, while keeping our neighborhoods safe and healthy so our families and businesses can succeed.

I was born and raised right here in Somers, alongside my four siblings. With my parents both being educators, Kenosha was the perfect place for our family to grow and prosper. 

After graduating High School, I attended Marquette University. After graduation, I was proud to serve my home community as a legislative aide to my predecessor, then-Rep. Peter Barca, for five years, where I prioritized constituent services and ensuring access to the resources that help our community. 

After attending the University of Wisconsin Law School, I became a Special Prosecutor in the Kenosha County District Attorney’s office and then an Assistant District Attorney for Milwaukee County where I was able to gain first hand experience in our justice system and public safety. I was honored to serve as the President of the Kenosha Public Library Foundation Board and was proud to serve locally on the board of the National Alliance for Mental Illness – Kenosha.

After first being elected to represent the 64th Assembly District in 2019, I have focused on creating a path to economic stability for the working families and small businesses that drive our economy. To help achieve this, I was able to reach across the aisle this past session to pass key provisions of my Main Street Recovery package, which provided necessary relief to small business and working families. In addition, I continued to work to advance Buy American legislation to invest in American companies and American workers.

Ensuring that working people in our community can raise their families in safe and healthy neighborhoods has also been a priority of mine. That is why this past session I worked with Attorney General Josh Kaul to introduce the Safer Wisconsin Plan, which is a $115 million bill package aimed at giving law enforcement and communities the resources they need to combat violence and crime in our community.

Having lived here my whole life, it has been a privilege to watch our community continue to grow and prosper and I am committed to continuing this growth and ensuring the greater Kenosha  and Racine area remains Wisconsin’s top region.

Tod Ohnstad
Incumbent, 65th Assembly District

I’m Tod Ohnstad and I am currently serving as the 65th Assembly District member here in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

We are at a crucial moment in time right now.

Governor Evers needs partners in the legislature willing to stand up to the GOP and work to deliver for the people of Wisconsin. That means: expanding broadband, fixing our roads, keeping our communities safe, and fully funding our schools. Please join me and help us continue the fight for Wisconsin.

This November the state of Wisconsin must re-elect Governor Evers and protect his veto in the State Assembly. He needs partners in the legislature willing to stand up to the GOP. I have been honored to serve as your State Assembly representative for over ten years. I am excited to keep fighting for workers’ rights, women’s rights, and keeping our communities safe - all while making sure Wisconsin's economy works for working families.

I have represented working families for most of my adult life. For over 25 years I represented workers at AMC/Chrysler for the UAW. I was then elected for three consecutive terms to the Kenosha City Council and was part of the team that kept Kenosha moving forward during the last major downturn of our economy.

Now I have served Kenosha in Madison for the last five terms. During my time in the Assembly, I have fought for accessibility and the expansion of healthcare, tax fairness, worker and union rights, environmental policies, and other policies that would benefit the community and the state. Once again, I ask for your support. I believe I have been elected and re-elected because I have proven to be responsive and responsible to those I represent.

Healthcare, education and tax fairness are critical issues I will continue to fight for. When you have a state-related problem, you can count on me to take it seriously and work to get it resolved. I hope you continue to check my website for updates and I ask for your vote.

James Simmons
Candidate, Kenosha County Sheriff

Running for office is something new to me--doing my part to achieve positive change is not. 

Let’s work together to build a better relationship between law enforcement and our community for the current and future generations of Kenosha County residents. Change can only begin when our community has a common goal.

In running for this position I am not looking for authority--I am looking for a positive change.

Rebecca Matoska Mentink
Incumbent, Clerk of Courts

Trusted Experience.
Community Advocate.

For 16 years, Rebecca Matoska-Mentink has been a trusted, proven, and experienced leader in our community. As your Clerk of Circuit Court, Rebecca is saving taxpayer dollars, increasing access to our courts, and ensuring that our justice system is effective and efficient.

On November 8, 2022, vote for our trusted choice for Kenosha County: Rebecca Matoska-Mentink.

Advisory referendum to measure public opinion on making Wisconsin a Second Amendment sanctuary state
Advisory Referendum for Kenosha County Residents

If you live in Kenosha County, the question on your ballot will read:

'Should the Wisconsin State Legislature Declare Wisconsin a 2nd Amendment Sanctuary State?'

_____Yes _____ No

Rationale:

2nd Amendment sanctuary supporters believe there should be no infringement on the right to keep and bear arms. That means they do not want any gun safety legislation applied in our state, such as background checks, licenses, restrictions for age or number or type of weapons.

They do not believe tax dollars should be used to enforce gun safety regulations.

They want to own an unlimited number of guns and carry them without limitations.

We advise vote NO on this referendum.

Advisory referendums are non-binding, meaning even if this passes, it will not become law.

Advisory referendum to measure public opinion on allowing adults 21 and older to engage in the personal use of marijuana, while also regulating commercial marijuana-related activities and imposing a tax on the sale of the drug.
City of Kenosha Residents

If you live in the city of Kenosha, the question on your ballot will read:

“Should marijuana be legalized for adult use, taxed, and regulated like alcohol?”

Rationale:

Kenosha is failing to benefit from marijuana-related small business opportunities and sales tax that neighboring communities in Illinois are increasingly capitalizing on.

Legalization would undercut the illicit market, and ensure that marijuana use and sale are regulated and safe.

We advise vote YES on this referendum.

Advisory referendums are non-binding, meaning even if this passes, it will not become law.

Democratic candidates are voting to protect your freedoms
VOTE FOR DEMOCRATS

On November 8th, voters will take part in the 2022 Statewide election.

Are you registered to vote? Have you signed up to vote absentee?

You can check your voter status, request an absentee ballot, find your polling location for in-person voting and see a sample ballot at the MyVote.wi.gov.

For voting resources, visit Let's Vote!