One of the Democrats vying for the party nomination August 14 to challenge Republican Governor Scott Walker in November toured Rhinelander Sunday.
Mahlon Mitchell of Fitchburg serves as President of the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin, being the youngest and first African American to serve in the union post. Mitchell ran for Lieutenant Governor as the Democratic nominee in the 2012 Scott Walker recall election.
In an interview with WXPR, Mitchell touched on a number of issues, but said labor unions lead to a fairer playing field...
"....Labor and unions helped build the best middle class in the world. When union wages go up, all wages go up. Unions represent people. Unfortunately the Governor has done a great job of dividing us, pitting union vs. non-union jobs, families versus each other...skilled vs. non-skilled labor.At the end of the day we're all Wisconsinites...."
Mitchell says wages that support families is key in his campaign. He says healthcare and other issues are front burner...
"...We have over 200,000 people in the state that have no healthcare whatsoever. We can do better than that. In education we need to make sure every child has the ability to get a great education. Not every child in the state is getting the same education, and we can do better in that as well..."
Besides working as a firefighter, Mitchell was a counselor at the Wisconsin Alliance for Fire Safety’s Burn Camp, which he directed for five years. This summer camp worked with burn-injured youth to help them cope with their unique situation and build a network of support. He also worked as a street outreach coordinator with Briarpatch and Youth Services of Southern Wisconsin, where he linked at-risk youth with services from their community.
Mitchell is one of eight active candidates running for the Democratic nomination.