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Mahlon Mitchell Garners Support Of Some 10K Health Care Workers

Gubernatorial Candidate Supports Expanding Medicaid, Raising Wages

Mahlon Mitchell
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mahlon Mitchell, center, received the SEIU Wisconsin State Council’s endorsement after he shadowed a home care worker in her Milwaukee home. Ximena Conde/WPR.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mahlon Mitchell is getting the support of some 10,000 health care workers in Wisconsin.

After interviewing nearly all the Democratic candidates, SEIU Wisconsin State Council union leaders say Mitchell, who is a firefighter and union leader himself, appeared the most in tune with low-income families.

SEIU Wisconsin State Council represents home care and other health workers.

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Mahlon Mitchell

Mitchell stressed the need to expand Medicaid and raise wages in the state during his acceptance of the endorsement Thursday in Milwaukee.

“I want to get back to a government that takes care of people,” Mitchell said. “It’s about putting people first and making sure that everyone is taken care of, not just a select few.”

In his State of the State address, Republican Gov. Scott Walker touted the state’s low unemployment rate, but union members say that doesn’t reflect those who remain underemployed.

“I understand that we have a low unemployment rate, but folks are working seven and eight clients just to make ends meet,” said SEIU Wisconsin President Dian Palmer. “I know nursing home workers who are working two and three jobs to make ends meet.”

Denise Lindsey, a member of the SEIU, provides home care services and lives in Milwaukee. She said she feels Walker is out of touch and doesn’t represent her.

“He doesn’t care about what I do, he doesn’t care about the money we make and he wants us to make lower,” Lindsey said of Walker. “He doesn’t care about our senior citizens, about their well being — he doesn’t.”

Mitchell, who supports raising wages, said he wants his campaign to represent the interests of the SEIU and all working class people.

The union wants the minimum wage to go up to $15 an hour.

In the past, Walker has said it’s better to create jobs than pay above the minimum wage.

The Wisconsin SEIU’s endorsement is the largest labor union backing Mitchell has received to date. The Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin, the union he leads, comes in second place with about 4,000 members.

Mitchell is also endorsed by the Operating Engineers Local 139, which represents heavy equipment operators, and the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 998, which represents transit safety workers.