Mandela Barnes serves as Wisconsin’s 45th Lieutenant Governor. He was elected on November 8, 2018 and sworn into office on January 7, 2019. He is the first African-American to serve as a Lieutenant Governor in Wisconsin, and the second African-American to ever hold statewide office.
Born and raised in Milwaukee, Barnes is the son of a public school teacher and a United Auto Workers member, to whom he credits much of his success. He grew up attending Milwaukee Public Schools and is an alumnus of Alabama A&M University. He worked for various political campaigns and in the office of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, eventually becoming an organizer for Milwaukee Inner City Congregations Allied for Hope, a Milwaukee-based interfaith coalition that advocates social justice. Barnes also worked for the State Innovation Exchange, a national progressive public policy organization.
In 2012, at the age of 25, Barnes was elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly, where he served two two-year terms. His tenure in the State Assembly included serving as Chair of the Legislature’s Black and Latino Caucus and becoming a recognized leader on progressive economic policies and gun violence prevention legislation.