Over the past four years, I’ve had the great pleasure of serving the people of southcentral Wisconsin in Congress. I first ran for Congress to bring a strong progressive voice to Washington and make sure that everyone had a seat at the table. I’ve fought for higher wages and against bad trade deals. I’ve worked tirelessly for better public education funding and helped pass legislation to make college more affordable for low-income students. Throughout my second term in Congress, I’ve also been an advocate for numerous progressive issues you and I care about, from preventing gun violence in our communities to combating climate change.

We still have more work to do in Congress and I want to make sure you continue to have a seat at that table. As Paul Wellstone said, “We all do better, when we all do better.” Unfortunately, this is not said enough in Congress these days. We need to ask ourselves how government can make people's lives better. It begins with getting back to the basic ideals of creating good-paying jobs that can support a family and helping to lift people who work hard and play by the rules out of poverty. That is why I am running for Congress again this fall.

What’s clear from my experiences in Washington is that our progressive message is resonating with most Americans — those in the middle class and those aspiring to be in the middle class. We’ve seen progressive-led issues like graduating college without debt and universal child care resonate within the national discourse. We’ve also fought against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which major party presidential candidates now don’t support.

But I want to continue to strive toward the middle-class principles our country believes in. Unfortunately, today too many of us ask ourselves how can we work full time but not afford the mortgage and groceries? How are we able to pay for child care or college? These are the conversations that people have at dinner tables across America. These are the issues that I want Congress to address in the next session. We need to keep fighting for the collective values that make our country better, and I want to continue to lead that charge.

I’m running for Congress to help people get good, family supporting jobs that pay enough to support their families. That begins with investing in higher education so that no one is denied an opportunity. That’s why I introduced legislation this year to ensure you can leave a public university in this country with no debt, and instead invest in your future.

For too long workers have been burdened by stagnated wages, while corporate profits and CEO pay have skyrocketed. Our country has dug its way out of the Great Recession, but we’ve left behind too many hard-working Americans. To raise wages we must do everything we can to make it easier to form a union and halt things that cost us jobs, like the TPP. It’s time Congress raised the minimum wage to $15 and expanded Social Security to lift millions out of poverty.

The facts are simple. When America had its highest rates of union membership, we had our greatest prosperity for the middle class and some of the lowest levels of income inequality. But under the unmitigated disaster that has been Scott Walker’s governorship, unions have come under attack. It has hurt our paychecks and the health of our state’s economy. We need to grow our economy from the middle class out and strengthen labor unions.

While gridlock and partisanship dominate congressional headlines, there are good people working together to find shared values. I believe if we come together around the collective principle of doing right by hardworking Americans, our best days are ahead of us. I am asking for your vote so I can keep fighting for you and with you.

Mark Pocan is the Democratic candidate in Wisconsin's Congressional District 2.

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