RACINE — Having announced his candidacy on Monday, Lorenzo Santos wasted no time in getting his campaign into gear with a meet and greet at Littleport Brewing Company, 214 Third Street.
Santos is challenging Congressman Bryan Steil (WI-01) in the 2024 election. Anthony Hammes, of Caledonia, has also filed to challenge Steil.
Santos said what the public has been subjected to is petty politics when policy should be about people.
In conversations with voters, Santos said people expressed concern about how they are going to pay their bills and are looking for a candidate who understands what they want: someone fighting for their interests and not the interests of corporations.
Protecting fundamental rights
Santos told the Racine County Eye he did not necessarily plan to run for Congress this year, but he felt compelled to run due to the attacks on fundamental rights, such as reproductive rights.
“The more I kept seeing the rhetoric wasn’t just rhetoric, there was actually teeth behind it in terms of policy, there was actual power being gained by the opposition, power to do all these terrible things they were saying they were going to do, that’s when it became something that I wanted to do sooner rather than later,” he said.
Santos called the loss of reproductive rights “really sobering.” He also expressed concern about voting rights and the struggle to continue voting access.
“We’ve already had these fights,” he said. “We’ve already had the blood, sweat and tears towards these issues.”
Santos added, “When that happens in your own lifetime, it really gives you a moment of pause and either you are willing to put forward the effort to ensure the legacy of so many who have earned those rights for us in the past are intact in the future, or you are just going to watch (the Republican Party) continue to gain more power and keep marching forward.”
Santos said members of the Republican Party are “obviously voting in ways that are not in step with their own electorate …they are not voting in the interest of the average American – and it shows.”
He claimed the only wall Donald Trump was building was the one “between (Republicans) and the American electorate.”
Taking care of the middle class
Santos said one of the attributes he brings to the table is an understanding that the middle class is the backbone of the economy as well as the importance of supporting the labor force.
“There are companies that do not understand that,” he said. “There are CEOs that do not understand who got their companies where they are. It’s the labor force that allows companies to thrive.”
“Essentially, that is what the Biden/Harris administration is for, ensuring we are taking care of those folks, so the economy is able to thrive,” he said.
He also praised Senator Tammy Baldwin, calling her “a champion for social issues.”
“We need to ensure she stays in that seat and ensure President Biden stays in the White House,” he said.
With Republicans, he continued, there will be more tax cuts for the well-off and more trickle-down economics.
“It does not work,” Santos said. “It leaves Americans behind.”
He said it was important to ensure that people have healthcare, which has been opposed by people in Congress even while they enjoyed the benefits provided by taxpayers.
“Watching things like that happen makes me angry, and it makes a lot of voters angry,” he said explaining people count on healthcare “to live, thrive, and enjoy the American dream.”
Dwight Mosby was one of the voters who showed up to show Santos his support.
“We can do better,” he said of the current representation in Congress. “We need stronger individuals who will speak out,” he added.
Jose Palacios was also on hand to support Santos.
“I heard him in Burlington, and I was impressed, so I came to support him,” he said.
Like Santos, Palacios is concerned about fundamental rights and the fight against voter oppression.
Santos is a veteran of the U.S. Navy and is currently an intelligence officer with the U.S. Naval Reserve and is also a member of the 2023 Truman National Security Project class.
He graduated from the Naval Academy in 2013 with a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations and earned his Master’s Degree from George Washington University – College of Professional Studies in Homeland Security in 2022.
He is a member of the Wisconsin Democratic Party and is chairman of the Young Democrats of Wisconsin.
He moved to Racine in February 2018. He described it as the first place he could call home in a very long time.
“I love being here,” he said.
For more information, visit Santos for Congress.
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