By Ana Martinez-Ortiz
The 2018 election is some mere days away and with the fate of Wisconsin drawing nearer, former Vice-President Joe Biden decided to come by and share a few words. Biden, along with Tony Evers and Mandela Barnes, who is running for governor and lieutenant governor respectively, addressed the crowd gathered in the Laborers Building.
“We are going to win on Nov. 6,” said Barnes. “We will beat Scott Walker on Nov. 6.”
Barnes is a Milwaukee native and expressed his excitement at being back in his home city. As he spoke, he told the crowd of the plans he and Evers have for Wisconsin. Together they plan to make Wisconsin a state that leads, not one that falls behind. Barnes said they plan to expand Medicare on day one so that healthcare is available for all. He expressed his desire to make it easier for young adults to attend college, and the hope to one day have a debt-free college.
He also plans to address climate change, but first, that means replacing the elected officials who don’t believe in climate change, he said. Wisconsin should be a place everyone is proud of. It should be a state that all are welcome to call home, Barnes said. For that to happen, people need to vote, not just for themselves but for the people who can’t.
Evers, like Mandela, said that the time for change is now. People are enthused, they’re engaged and they’re excited, he said.
‘What unites us is so much bigger than what divides us,” he said.
As governor, Evers plans to address the pot-hole problem, which Wisconsinites have taken to calling “Scott-holes,” after the current governor. One of Evers’ top goals regards education. As a former science teacher and State Superintendent, he knows how important teachers are to building a brighter Wisconsin.
“When I’m governor our teachers will not be the enemy,” he exclaimed.
Jackie English, a local mom from Wisconsin, advocated for Evers during the rally. English explained, that she is living with a life-threatening kidney disease. It’s a disease that took her mother’s life and it’ll be the same disease that claims her life.
The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) had recently approved a pill that would help her kidneys. At $200 a day, she was unable to afford it once Medicaid coverage was reduced.
“My ability to live and be the mother to my children should never depend on how much money I have,” she said.
Evers is a cancer survivor which gives him a pre-existing condition, English said. He understands and that’s why he’ll do his best to ensure people with pre-existing conditions are protected, she said.
“I’m not running for president,” said Evers. “I am running for governor [because] we have a lot of issues to fix in Wisconsin.”
Biden was the last speaker of the rally. Earlier that day he had been in Madison. Although soft spoke, Biden urged the crowd to vote.
“Today more than ever we need women and men of character to vote,” Biden said.
Before anything else, “we’re Americans,” he said. “The only people with the power to destroy America is Americans.” The power lies within each American, Biden said. The power to change the tone and the way people address each other, which should be with respect.
Politics needs authenticity, but for that to happen people need to be authentic. It’s as simple as thanking someone, Biden said. It’s also about electing people who care about their citizens and their health care and their education. Barnes and Evers are those people, they’re men of character, Biden said.
“I am more optimistic of America’s chances today,” he said. “This is the United States [and] there’s not a single thing we cannot do.”
This article first appeared in the Milwaukee Courier.