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Former state Rep. Mandela Barnes entered the race for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor with a statement that signaled he knows exactly what the 2018 election in Wisconsin is about.

This is a state where historically the gap between rich and poor was narrow, but Gov. Scott Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and their Republican allies have put state government of the side of wealthy and powerful elites rather than working Wisconsinites.

As a result, Barnes noted the great majority of Wisconsinites “have been ignored and taken for granted. Quality of life has declined for people in urban and rural communities alike.”

Wisconsin's progress has become uneven as economic and regional inequality has grown under Walker and Kleefisch. Barnes points to a way back toward fairness when he promises to “work to ensure that every city, town, and village has the essentials of opportunity so that Wisconsin can regain its lost status as one of the best states in the country for people to live, work, and thrive.” 

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John Nichols is associate editor of The Capital Times. and @NicholsUprising. Nichols is the co-author, along with Dave Zweifel, of the new book "The Capital Times: A Proudly Radical Newspaper's Century Long Fight for Justice and Peace," published by the Wisconsin Historical Society Press. It's available on the Historical Society website, and at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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Associate Editor of the Cap Times