© 2024 Milwaukee Public Media is a service of UW-Milwaukee's College of Letters & Science
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes challenges Sen. Ron Johnson at event for seniors

Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes speaks with seniors at Vennture Brew Co. Monday. Barnes expressed his support for Social Security and Medicare.
Eddie Morales
Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes speaks with seniors at Vennture Brew Co. Monday. Barnes expressed his support for Social Security and Medicare.

The candidates for U.S. Senate continue their campaigns ahead of the midterm election. Democratic Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes spoke to seniors about Social Security and Medicare. He challenged comments Republican Senator Ron Johnson made on the campaign trial over the weekend.

Democrat Mandela Barnes held a speech Monday at Vennture Brew Co. in Milwaukee’s Washington Heights neighborhood. Barnes said the views and actions of his opponent, Republican incumbent Ron Johnson, are taking opportunities away from people like Barnes’ mother, a former teacher, and his father, a former assembly line worker. Both worked union jobs.

"We're talking about a person who's come out boldly against Social Security and Medicare," Barnes said during the speech.

The lieutenant governor’s comment came just one day after Sen. Johnson gave a speech at the annual GOP Chicken Burn picnic in Wauwatosa. At that event, Johnson said he wanted to set the record straight about his stances on federal programs.

"One of the things I try and do, is I try and help people understand," said Johnson.

Johnson said it’s about the three-word mission statement of his office: "To help people — to help people with their Social Security and Medicare benefits; with their veterans’ benefits."

Barnes’ criticism of Johnson comes from Johnson’s support for allowing Congress to use discretionary spending for mandatory programs like Medicare. Barnes said politicians like Johnson are out of touch with what voters want.

"The reality is we've been left behind," said Barnes. "But we all want good schools for our children, we want to be able to go to a doctor not worry about a surprise bill. We also want a job that puts food on the table, and it would be nice if we have retirement security."

In 2021, Oshkosh Corp. won a multibillion-dollar contract to build up to 165,000 delivery vehicles for the United States Postal Service. The firm later announced that a plant in South Carolina would take on the work. In February, Johnson said he would not attempt to persuade Oshkosh Defense to produce the postal vehicles locally, in his hometown.

Barnes blamed Johnson for supporting his donors and not the voters.

"The idea that he's fine with our jobs going out of state like in Oshkosh, where we had an opportunity to create 1,000 good-paying union jobs. He was OK with that because it's not about us; it's about lining the pockets of his wealthy donors, but that stops now," said Barnes.

On Sunday, Johnson talked up an effort with the Joseph Project that he said has been key to helping connect people to available jobs.

"I didn't do that for elections," Johnson said. "I did that because it's the right thing to do — to help people."

Johnson will speak today at the American Legion national convention in Milwaukee.

Eddie is a WUWM news reporter.
Related Content