Kamala Baldwin

Sen. Kamala Harris was in Madison on Saturday to speak in support of Sen. Tammy Baldwin.

California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris joined Sen. Tammy Baldwin in Madison on Saturday to encourage young professionals to rally around Baldwin as she faces a tough bid to keep her U.S. Senate seat this fall. 

A lively crowd of about 100 people attended the event at Bos Meadery on East Washington Avenue. 

Harris said she is campaigning with Baldwin across Wisconsin Saturday to ensure she is re-elected and said Baldwin's Democratic leadership in the U.S. Senate benefits the 40 million Californians she represents. 

"We need her to be re-elected and there are very powerful forces right now, very powerful forces that are trying to take her out," Harris said. "We have got to put everything we have into making sure she is re-elected.... this will matter, for six years. This election matters."

Baldwin will face either Republican state Senator Leah Vukmir or Kevin Nicholson in November. She noted that she is the number one target nationally for outside spending from conservative groups looking to defeat her. 

"I'm not afraid to stand up to them. I will always stand up for the people of this state," Baldwin said. "Washington is a mess, cable shout-fests we wake up to in the morning, we wonder what the president has tweeted in the wee hours. We see a lot of noise and dysfunction. When Washington is not working, that means it's not working for for you." 

Baldwin and Harris spoke extensively about the need for affordable and reliable health care, and the importance of restoring key provisions of the Affordable Care Act. On Friday, the Trump administration said some of its major provisions were unconstitutional and it has rolled back some aspects of the program.

Baldwin emphasized the need to keep fighting to keep the program intact and explained how some changes she thought would hurt Americans. 

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"This is an all-out battle," she said. "The president stopped a payment that keeps people's out-of-pocket costs low called the cost sharing reduction payments. That is going to cause a lot of pain but it didn't completely unravel the Affordable Care Act. Recently, they decided to do something called expanding access to 'junk plans' sold outside of the Affordable Care Act. That is my political tilt on calling them junk plans, but these are plans that don't have to abide by any of the rules of the Affordable Care Act."

Lily Johnson, 34, works in nonprofit development in Madison and attended Saturday's event. She said she is a Baldwin and Harris fan and has worked with Emerge, a group that works to recruit Democratic women to run for office, so it was great to see the two senators together. 

"It shows how important Tammy is and I like to see and support that sisterhood in person," she said. 

Baldwin also encouraged the crowd to work on behalf of state Democratic candidates and others who are organizing for progressive causes including gun control and school safety.

"Elections matter, and so part of it is working tirelessly on these elections that are coming up," Baldwin said. "I would say at the state level I want you working for me, but I also want you working and studying who else is running."


Katelyn Ferral is The Cap Times' public affairs and investigative reporter. She joined the paper in 2015 and previously covered the energy industry for the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. She's also covered state politics and government in North Carolina.