Ramon Orozco, owner of Tres Hermanos restaurant, Sylvia Ortiz Velez, State Representative district 8, County Supervisor, district 12, Christine Sinicki, State Representative district 20 (Photo by Karen Stokes)

Wisconsin State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski officially launched her bid for U.S. Senate Monday, meeting with Milwaukee small business owners and community leaders on the issues they are facing due to the pandemic.

Godlewski is joining a crowded field of Democrats vying to take on Republican Senator Ron Johnson’s seat in 2022.

Her Democratic opponents for the nomination so far are Milwaukee Bucks Executive Alex Lasry and Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson.

The first stop on her campaign tour was held at Jewels Caribbean Bar, Restaurant, & Lounge, 2230 N Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Dr. “This past year was really hard because we’ve seen millions of Wisconsinites struggle through no fault of their own,” said Godlewski. “We’ve seen small businesses and everything they do to keep their doors open, making cuts, laying off people and we have a Senator in Washington right now who is saying that people aren’t struggling. He couldn’t be more disconnected from Wisconsin and reality. We deserve better.”

Dr. Jennifer Potts, director of the Center Street BID said, “A lot of businesses on Center Street have boot strapped their business. They weren’t under funded, they were never funded. We have an issue in our city.”

Godlewski said that there is a need for more minority owned banks because people tend to to lend to people who look like them.

Sarah Godlewski launching her campaign tour in Milwaukee having discussions with small business owners (Photo by Karen Stokes)

“I always hear about programs for tax breaks for large corporations. I hear of programs for people who are extremely poor, when it comes to the middle class, it’s disappearing,” said Lennora Jules, co owner of Jewels Caribbean Bar. “The big manufacturing jobs are gone and they are not coming back.”

“People need jobs,” said Lucile Jules, matriarch of the Jules family and co-owner of Jewels Caribbean Bar, Restaurant & Lounge. “We need to create jobs in the community. People aren’t lazy, they’re not begging. The people want to work. They don’t want your charity.”

Natasha Jules, Lennora’s sister and co owner of Jewels Caribbean Bar added, “We were all happy for the stimulus but it’s short lived.”

Godlewski expressed her support for the Biden administration’s infrastructure bill and voting rights legislation. She believes congress needs to pass the H.R 1 bill to expand voting rights.

“It makes it easier to vote,” said Godlewski. “Right now we are not consistent from state to state.”

Another concern for Godlewski was common sense gun reform.

In speaking about the recent shootings in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Godlewski said, “My heart breaks, it just continues to break because of what happened in Kenosha. We have a gun violence problem in this country, our first step in common sense gun laws.”

Candidate for U. S. Senate, Sarah Godlewski (Photo by Karen Stokes)

“What I look forward to is building trust with all of you and listen,” said Godlewski. “When I became an elected official my mom said, ‘Now that you’re a fancy politician I got some advice, God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason, more listening and less talking.”

She continued, “I’m really looking forward to listening and learning, this is going to be an all hands on deck campaign and I know I can’t do it without you.”

The statewide tour will continue later this week with events across Wisconsin, including Brown Deer, Eau Claire, La Crosse, Ashland, Wausau, Rhinelander, Superior, Green Bay, Appleton, and more as part of Sarah’s effort to build the largest Wisconsin grassroots campaign ever.

Co owners of Jewels Caribbean Bar and Restaurant, sisters Natasha and Lennora Jules discuss issues business are dealing with due to the pandemic. (Photo by Karen Stokes)