Bice: Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes had 10 times more hours of security than his predecessor

Read the full story from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel here

If Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes is elected to the U.S. Senate, he’s in for a big change in security and transportation.

Unless they hold one of five leadership positions, senators don’t automatically get officer protection and drivers, as lieutenant governors in Wisconsin have from the State Patrol since 2011. Barnes is a Democrat running against Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson. 

In his first three years as the state’s No. 2, Barnes has averaged more than 13½ hours of security protection a day — including weekdays, weekends and holidays — at a daily cost to the state of $660 for patrol officers’ wages. That’s more than 10 times the number of hours as his predecessor.

So what accounts for the huge gap in security protection between Kleefisch and Barnes? 

It appears there are a couple of factors. 

Kleefisch officials noted that her predecessor, former Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton, had no security. The decision to provide security protection came after she and former Gov. Scott Walker began receiving threats after the passage of Act 10, a measure that sparked protests around the state by people upset that the law eliminated most collective bargaining for public employees. 

But Kleefisch made a decision that she would not be accompanied by State Patrol when doing personal activities. They said decisions about security were made jointly with the patrol officers.

The Chicago Marathon wasn’t the only race that Barnes ran while joined by the State Patrol. 

In April 2019, Barnes flew to Washington, D.C., with two members of the State Patrol to attend a climate change conference and to participate in the Credit Bureau Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run. On the day of the race, the two security officials put in 32.5 hours of work at a cost of $1,121 for their salaries that day.

Security has also accompanied Barnes for other personal activities.

Read the full story here.