Contact: Kelli Packer
MADISON – Steven Olikara, a Brookfield, Wisconsin native, entrepreneur and nonprofit leader, announced today a U.S. Senate exploratory committee and the launch of a statewide tour to listen to people who are left out of the system and marginalized by politicians who don’t see their humanity.
“While the politicians have the food fight at the top, the people at the bottom are stuck,” Olikara said. “That’s why I’m calling on all Wisconsinites to join us in a movement to elevate a more inclusive, compassionate and honest form of politics.”
Olikara will travel across Wisconsin for a “Dignity Tour” that convenes Wisconsinites from all walks of life: groups of farmers, small business owners, factory workers, veterans, Indigenous communities, and people with disabilities. The tour will guide an agenda for a more inclusive and compassionate form of politics that rejects the current system that pits people against each other. The first stop is Friday 1:00 PM CT at MobCraft, a local Milwaukee brewery where Olikara will meet with entrepreneurs.
“We have too many politicians who are more than willing to traffic in this style of politics and it leaves too many of us out of the process,” Olikara said. “It does nothing to help farmers on the verge of bankruptcy and small business owners being forced to close their doors. It doesn’t lift up impoverished communities who don’t have a real shot at dignified work.”
Olikara has devoted his life and career to bringing together people from opposite sides of the political divide. A decade ago he founded the Millennial Action Project, a multi-million dollar national nonprofit that trains elected officials to build coalitions that pass innovative laws to promote greater economic mobility, a cleaner environment and a healthier democracy.
For two years, Olikara hosted “Red & Blue Dialogues” across Wisconsin with political leaders and constituents from across the ideological spectrum, conversations that focused on issues including the future of work, higher education, and the environment. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel named it one of “10 big ideas to help fix Wisconsin’s problems.”
“We have to model the leadership we want to see,” Olikara said. “Our democracy needs us. If we have the courage to stand up, organize and wake up from this dark moment in our politics, we will change the future of our state and our country.