Why I'm Running

I grew up on Carol Lynn Drive in a small town called Little Chute. We weren’t poor – but we weren’t rich, either. My dad, a Lutheran pastor, wore a white collar. So many others on our block wore the blue collar and were able to make a decent living at the nearby paper factories and mills.

As America shipped jobs overseas thanks to free trade agreements like NAFTA, and political leaders put corporations and Wall Street in the driver’s seat of our economy, I saw these same families struggle and their dreams dim. I learned two lessons growing up. The importance of serving your neighbor and the importance of working families and how they need an advocate; someone to stand up for them against the big moneyed interests. We saw it in mega-corporations like International Paper that busted unions and profited handsomely from the sweat and tears of my neighbors.

But their hardships were no accident: The U.S. Senate is now made up of two-thirds millionaires like Ron Johnson who totally ignore workers and instead answer to the command of corporate special interests and billionaire donors.

I’m running for the U.S. Senate so that the families like those I grew up with on Carol Lynn Drive in Little Chute have a real voice in this rigged economy – and a senator who will listen to them. As your U.S. Senator, I’ll relentlessly fight a corrupt system to promote Main Street solutions for workers, farmers, small businesses and confront the existential threat of climate change.

unionAs my book One Day Stronger laid out, I was able to take on the big banks who wanted to shut down a century-old paper mill, but we were able to save over 300 union jobs. We need to revive the American labor movement, bring manufacturing jobs back, save our family farms and make sure we are investing in small businesses – not Foxconn-like scams. We need economic security for working families which means breaking up corporations through strong antitrust enforcement, a $15 minimum wage, and passing the PRO Act so all workers have the right to organize and repealing the bad trade deals that have shipped Wisconsin jobs overseas.

Tom speaking at Milwaukee medicare for all rally.

I’m running to advance Medicare for All and ensure that every Wisconsinite – not just those who can afford it – has quality healthcare.

In February of 2019, my wife and mother of my two young children was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was terrifying, but we have good health insurance and she was able to recover.

Both in my time in the state Assembly – where I fought to save SeniorCare and expand Obamacare – and as Outagamie County Executive, I’ve heard too many stories of friends, neighbors and constituents not as lucky as we were whose lack of healthcare and affordable prescription drugs has led to heartbreak.

Tom talking with young climate activists
Tom pushing his daughter Mary on a swing

I’m running to place climate change at the top of the agenda and help forge a Blue-Green New Deal to make sure we create and protect jobs while we’re protecting our common home.

Record rainfalls, dangerous heat and cold, lengthy droughts – our Dairyland has experienced more extreme weather events than ever in ways that threaten our economy and our very existence

Just as with COVID-19, Ron Johnson wants to deny the science of climate change and embrace quack theories, all with the goal of doing nothing (except protect the bottom line of fossil fuel corporations and other special interests).

And finally, Wisconsin has stood for good government and expanded democracy since we first became a state. But in Ron Johnson, we have a senator who is betraying our legacy, giving cover to the violent January 6th attack on our Capitol and advancing mistruths about the 2020 election as a smokescreen to silence the voices of those who might disagree with him.

I’m running to restore Wisconsin’s commitment to American democracy and a politics where working men and women are the focus: the families on Carol Lynn Drive, dairy farmers in western Wisconsin and small businesses on Main Street, not the interests of Wall Street and the billionaire class.