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Campaign 2020 Exclusive: Lt. Gov. Barnes officially endorses Joe Biden

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MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) – In an exclusive interview with CBS 58, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes endorsed presumptive democratic nominee Joe Biden, with just a little over a month before the Democratic National Convention is set to begin in Milwaukee.

“We see these times it’s more important than ever to unite,” Barnes told CBS 58. “I am happy to step up and endorse Vice President Joe Biden for president of the United States.”

The lieutenant governor said there is a lack of leadership from the current Trump administration, pointing to issues like the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and the handling of race issues in the wake of national demonstrations.

Barnes is the state’s first African-American lieutenant governor and only the second African-American to hold statewide office and noted that there is enthusiasm for Biden within the Black community which will be critical to flipping the state back to blue for democrats after President Trump won the state by fewer than 23,000 votes in 2016.

“Joe Biden is showing his commitment to being a uniter, being someone who understands what it takes to move us forward” Barnes said. “He strikes me as a person, even through our own conversations that we’ve had a couple of times, as someone who wants to grow, wants to be better and someone who has a true desire to lead.”

When asked about who he would like to see join Biden on the ticket as his running mate, Barnes did not give an endorsement of any one person, but mentioned Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren as someone who embodied what he believes should be on the ticket.

“I’m looking for someone who brings vision to the ticket,” Barnes said. “Elizabeth Warren is somebody who I think has a real vision and she’s not the only one. But I do see an opportunity to really be bold,”

Biden committed to picking a woman as his running mate. Barnes pointed to Warren’s platform during the democratic primary as a reason for being an appealing choice.

“If we’re going to get the opportunity to take back the White House we better be sure to do something with it,” Barnes said “And I know the biggest piece of Elizabeth Warren’s campaign is that she has a plan for that and we do need a plan to restart America.”

CBS 58 reached out to Trump Victory for reaction and in a statement, spokesperson Anna Kelly said, “It’s no wonder that Mandela Barnes doesn’t care about Joe Biden’s proposed $4 trillion tax hike. He doesn’t pay his taxes.” Kelly was referring to Barnes being delinquent on property taxes that were owed to the City of Milwaukee in 2018. Those taxes have been paid.

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