Last week, Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes released a policy plan to expand opportunity for the middle class by supporting Wisconsin’s Main Streets and family farms. La Crosse small business owner Beth Hartung sent a letter to the La Crosse Tribune editor endorsing Mandela’s plan and his candidacy for the U.S. Senate.

La Crosse Tribune: Beth Hartung: Mandela Barnes is in Senate race for us

When I first met Mandela Barnes in 2018, I could tell from his sincerity and dedication he wasn’t another run-of-the-mill politician.

That’s why, when he asked if I would host a small business owners roundtable in La Crosse earlier this month, I was thrilled to offer up Pearl Street Books. To me, his commitment to showing up was even further proof that Mandela Barnes is in this race for us – not for whichever corporations or wealthy donors he can get to write him the biggest checks.

During our roundtable discussion, we each told Mandela Barnes what we needed – things like a pathway to Medicare for All and leveling the playing field for small businesses to compete. It’s clear from his new policy plan to uplift small businesses and family farms that he listened.

Mandela’s policy plan puts Main Street first. It will expand opportunities for middle class workers and families across our state and truly put us on a path to an equitable recovery. Just like Mandela, this plan is exactly what Wisconsin needs right now.

At the end of our discussion, Mandela asked us one final question: “what’s one dream for your business you would achieve right now if you had unlimited resources?”

Mandela’s last question is the reason I know that he’ll make a phenomenal next U.S. senator. Beyond hearing us out and taking our advice, Mandela inspires hope in all of us. I, for one, look forward to saying I have a Wisconsin senator’s ear.

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