Mahlon Mitchell Running for
All Hands Working
Mahlon Mitchell, the president of the Professional Fire
Fighters of Wisconsin and a Madison fire fighter, ran
for lieutenant governor in the 2012 recall election
garnering 1,156,520 votes.
need it. Keep my $28 and build business incubators for people who have positive ideas and want to start businesses. Let them work and
flourish in that kind of environment. Keep my $28 and actually do good with it. We are a civilized society. We’re going to pay some taxes. Just
use the tax dollars appropriately.”
Mitchell is critical of the Foxconn deal in which the state may pay up to $4.6 billion in incentives to Foxconn while skirting environmental
protects and adding additional costs to local government budgets. And yet there are no guarantees that the maximum number of jobs will be
created or go to Wisconsinites who will be footing the bill.
“Foxconn is a bad deal,” Mitchell emphasized. “We have a crumbling infrastructure in our state and our education system has been
inadequately funded. There have been cuts to education and cuts to the UW System. There has been a 30 percent cut in tech colleges. Planned
Parenthood was defunded. When we didn’t take the Medicaid expansion because of what the cost may be over time, we also gave back $810
million in federal tax dollars for infrastructure in regards to the high speed rail project. The current administration took $1.6 billion out of
education in 2011-2012 and now they are putting back $638 million and they are calling it progress because they are running for office. It’s
foolish. And it is misleading voters. It’s like a man once said, ‘If you take a knife, stick it eight inches in my back and then pulling it out four
inches, am I supposed to say than you?’ You’re still hurting. Health care, we didn’t take the Medicaid expansion. There are about 300,000
Wisconsinites right now who don’t have health care whatsoever. That Medicaid expansion would have put 84,000 of them into affordable
healthcare. So there are a lot of things that we need to do in our state.”
While state government needs to support thriving business and agricultural sectors, those investments need to be done wisely.
“There are a lot of companies that will look at the Foxconn deal and say, ‘Where’s mine,’” Mitchell said. “That’s a bad precedence we are
setting. I don’t think government should be in the business of picking winners and losers. Look at the small businesses that are trying to
thrive. Look at farmers who are struggling. When I came on the job in 1997 in the firehouse, we had over 22,000 dairy farms. And now we are
down to under 10,000. And we are America’s Dairyland sort of to speak. There are a lot of people who are struggling right now. We need to
make sure that we take care of the people here in our state. We need life-sustaining and generational jobs here. Government should play a role
in making sure that everyone who wants a job has one. But how you go about doing that is probably the biggest difference between me and the
Mitchell is concerned about the level of borrowing that the state is doing, a system of the funding of state government that shifts the payment
burden onto future generations.
“That’s all they do is borrow,” Mitchell said. “It’s a deficit. We have to pay for central services. We live in a society. It costs money to run the
schools. What is the role of government? Abraham Lincoln said it best. ‘The role of government is to do for those who cannot do for
themselves.’ You and I for the most part, aren’t going to build our own schools. We aren’t going to pave our own roads. We’re not going to have
our own hospitals. We’re not going to be able to take care of our own infrastructure. It’s going to cost a lot of money. But that is what it is living
in a civilized society. We are not a Third World country. We have to pay taxes. We have to make sure that we are taking care of people.”
When he is elected, Mitchell will want to work with all of Wisconsin’s elected state officials to enact what Wisconsin’s citizens want.
“The first thing you have to do when you get into office is whoever is in the legislative body, in the Assembly and Senate, whether they are
Republicans or Democrats, you are going to have to call a meeting of leadership,” Mitchell said. “And you are going to have to try to find a
common ground where you can work together. There are going to have to be times where we are able to have creative compromises as
opposed to constant conflict. And that’s the way that government is supposed to be and that is the way that it is supposed to work.”
Mitchell intends to get government working for Wisconsin citizens.
Part 2 of 2
By Jonathan Gramling
On many levels, Mahlon Mitchell is an All-Wisconsin Kid. Mitchell — who is a
candidate for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination — was born in Milwaukee,
but his family moved to Delevan, a city of 8,463 people located in the southern part of
the state, not far from Lake Geneva. After graduating from college at Mt. Senario
College, Mitchell headed to Madison and eventually became a Madison fire fighter, a
position he has held for the past 20 years.
As a firefighter, one of the mantras that Mitchell lives by is leave no one behind. And
that philosophy seems to drive Mitchell’s governmental philosophy, sacrifice to
ensure the health and self-sufficiency of others.
“Paying taxes is a way of life,” Mitchell said. “We’re a civilized society. We’re going
to pay taxes. No one loves to do it. When I get my bill at the end of the year, I’m not
like, ‘Yeah, I can’t wait to pay this.’ But I do feel a sense of pride that I am able to pay
the taxes that I pay and that I am giving back to society. It’s not about the tax dollars
that we pay necessarily. It’s about what government does with those tax dollars
when you send them to them. The current administration will say, ‘We’re going to cut
taxes and cut taxes and you all get a $28 reprieve on your property taxes next year.’
Well keep my $28 and put it towards public schools. Keep my $28 and put it towards
the roads. Keep my $28 and put it towards jobs skills training for those who actually