By Mahlon Mitchell
In less than a week, Wisconsinites of all walks of life will nominate Scott Walker’s opponent. August 14 will determine the vision for our state that will prevail over almost 8 years of ‘divide and conquer’ politics in order to create a Wisconsin that works for everyone. The choice this time couldn’t be clearer: either we send Walker back to Madison to continue his failed policies or we open the door to the change our state deserves.
A Wisconsin that works for everyone means solving our state’s most pressing issues by taking into consideration the opinions and ideas of all Wisconsinites. It means ensuring a seat at the table and a voice at the table. If you chose me on August 14, I will fight like never before to make that a reality because that’s what I’ve done my entire career.
This is also a defining moment in history. While Scott Walker sent our National Guard to the border in support of the President’s immoral plan to separate immigrant families and continues to ally with Trump’s plans to slash legal immigration, I know that rebuilding Wisconsin requires embracing our diversity and merit the contributions made by our immigrant population. America is better than this, Wisconsin is better than this.
The Chicago Council on Global Affairs reported that, in Wisconsin, the foreign-born labor force grew to about 175,000, up 16% from 2009 to 2016. According to census statistics over that same period Wisconsin’s civilian labor force would have declined slightly if not for an influx of immigrants. This trend will only continue in the years to come and ‘building a wall’ won’t change that. We need to welcome them and help them enter Wisconsin’s workforce.
Furthermore, undocumented immigrants paid over $71 million in state and local taxes in Wisconsin in 2014 alone, If they were able to obtain legal status their contributions could have reach nearly $100 million. And despite what many people think, undocumented immigrants are not eligible to receive social welfare benefits, regardless of paying taxes.
Wisconsin’s stagnant, low-wage economy is fueled by Scott Walker’s archaic policies that limit workers rights in favor of trickle-down economics that defy logic and history. That’s why we need to be proactive about our economy not reactive to what the future holds for our state.
We can’t deny the role of our state government when it comes to economic development in Milwaukee and across Wisconsin. Immigrants are nearly twice as likely to start businesses as people born in the U.S., according to the Kauffman Foundation, and as they create jobs for Wisconsinites, our state should do what we can to ensure their success.
But beyond any economic contribution our immigrant population is essential to the cultural fabric of our state and our nation because our diversity is one of our biggest strengths.
Mexican Fiesta brings the sound, culture, and taste of México to Milwaukee’s lakefront. Voces de la Frontera never lets the fight for immigrant rights be placed on the backburner and seeks to influence our future by giving our youth a bullhorn to speak truth to power. Our Afro-Hispanic brothers and sisters know the intersectionality and depth of two cultures that have transformed generations.
Together We Rise is more than just a mantra it is an operating principle.
My race isn’t just about winning in August and November. What’s on the ballot is not just our names but our priorities and our vision. It’s about the freedom to thrive and who will make that happen for everyone.
My campaign is about uniting Wisconsinites and securing a better future for our kids. A future that celebrates our differences and uses them to move our state Forward. I’m a fighter and if you give me the opportunity to fight for you and your family I won’t let you down. Adelante!