The growing issue of crime and public safety continues to strike the key battleground state of Wisconsin, as voters begin to pin their focus towards candidates who will address these crucial issues going into the midterm elections this fall.
A Marquette University poll, conducted from Sept. 6-11 with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3 percentage points, found that 88% of Wisconsin residents are either somewhat or very concerned about crime in their state. According to WISN 12 News, the medical examiner’s office in Milwaukee recently reported that four teenagers in Milwaukee have died violent deaths since the beginning of September.
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., is seeking re-election in one of the country’s most closely watched Senate races of the cycle, against Democrat Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes. On Monday, Johnson shared to Twitter the story of a 17-year-old victim of gun violence in Milwaukee, shining a light on the city’s crime problem and claiming his opponent wants to release 50% of the prison population.
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“While Mandela Barnes says it pains him to see law enforcement fully funded, the people that really suffer from his soft on crime policies like defunding police and letting criminals walk free are the friends and families who lose loved ones to violent crime,” Mike Marinella , Press Secretary for the Ron Johnson campaign, told Fox News Digital Monday, “We need to support law enforcement and restore safety to our communities, not adopt the dangerous policies of Mandela Barnes.”
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Maddy McDaniel, a spokesperson for the Barnes’ campaign, told Fox News Digital that Barnes does not want to defund the police, but ensure that “law enforcement offices have the resources they need.”
“Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes has long worked to prevent senseless gun violence,” said McDaniel over the crime surge in the state, “In the US Senate, he will make sure law enforcement officers have the resources they need to keep Wisconsin safe, and that communities have what they need to stop crime from happening in the first place — unlike Ron Johnson, who voted against $100 million of funding for public safety that the Evers-Barnes administration invested in law enforcement and violence prevention.”
In his bid for the Wisconsin Senate seat, Barnes now says that he wants to fund public safety, a revision from an interview with PBS Wisconsin in 2020 where he stated that money can be taken from police departments to fund other community efforts. “We need to invest more in neighborhood services and programming for our residents, for our communities on the front end. Where will that money come from? Well, it can come from over bloated budgets in police departments, you know?” Barnes said.
Barnes continued: “The same way the more money we invest in communities, the more opportunity we offer to residents in all parts of our state, the less money we’ll have to spend on police work. And this isn’t about, you know, beating up on police officers. This is about recognizing the moment that we’re in and recognizing the needs that exist.”
In 2012, Democrat Barnes teamed up with Wisdom, an organization created to end mass incarceration in Wisconsin, and launched the 11×15 campaign that sought to cut the state’s prison population in half.
Fox News’ Jessica Chasmar contributed to this report.
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