Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes was chosen by voters as the 2022 Man of Excellence in the Wisconsin Leadership Community Choice Awards.
Barnes serves as Wisconsin’s 45th Lieutenant Governor, elected on November 8, 2018. 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 manufacturing assembly line worker—both union members to whom he credits with shaping his worldview. He graduated from John Marshall High School in 2003.
Barnes is a graduate of Alabama A&M University. After college, he worked for various political campaigns and in the city of Milwaukee mayor’s office, and then as an organizer for Milwaukee Inner-City Congregations Allied for Hope, a Milwaukee-based interfaith coalition that advocates for social justice.
In 2012, at the age of 25, Barnes was elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly, where he served two terms. His time 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.
Barnes serves as the Chair of the Governor’s Task Force on Climate Change and also serves on the Governor’s Health Equity Council, Wisconsin Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, Wisconsin Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Task Force, Governor’s Council on Financial Literacy and Capability, and the statewide 2020 Census Complete Count Committee.
Barnes is the Democratic nominee for United States Senate in 2022, challenging incumbent Republican Ron Johnson.
Barnes will receive his Community Choice Award at a ceremony at the Wisconsin Leadership Summit on Tuesday, October 11.