Mandela Barnes endorsed by leftist environmental group that popularized Green New Deal

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Wisconsin Democratic Senate nominee Mandela Barnes received the endorsement of a climate group that promotes the Green New Deal and has taken aim at President Biden and members of the Democratic Party over their refusal to rapidly pass legislation that would be providing funding for the environment without GOP input.

The Sunrise Movement, a youth climate organization with a self-described mission to “stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process,” offered its endorsement of Barnes last week, concluding that he is a candidate who will “fight like hell” for Wisconsin residents.

“Each year it is more clear just how broken our political system is, and how much we need committed members of the community like Mandela Barnes leading the way to rebuild a system that works for all of us,” the group said in its endorsement of Barnes. “As a community organizer, a proven climate advocate, and the son of a union family, Mandela knows the struggles that young and working people are facing, and will fight like hell for us.”

“Meanwhile Senator Ron Johnson opposes same-sex marriage and aided the January 6th insurrection,” the group added. “The stakes are too high to sit this out. We are calling on young people everywhere to fight for Mandela Barnes, a climate and anti-corruption leader.”

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Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes who is running to become the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate greets guests during a campaign event at The Wicked Hop on Aug. 07, 2022 in Milwaukee.

Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes who is running to become the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate greets guests during a campaign event at The Wicked Hop on Aug. 07, 2022 in Milwaukee. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Founded in 2017, the Sunrise Movement has positioned itself as one of the most aggressive climate organizations by laying the foundation for the Green New Deal and taking aim at candidates and politicians who were not vocal enough about climate and environmental initiatives.

The group has promoted a green agenda and endorsed the Green New Deal, arranging multiple protests and sit-ins to spread its message, including one that was attended by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., in Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s office in 2018.

A February report from The New Yorker stated that Waleed Shahid, a political consultant for Ocasio-Cortez, advised Sunrise Movement leaders to craft a slogan for the Green New Deal prior to the sit-in in Pelosi’s office.

Capitol Police move press and protesters back as protesters with the Sunrise Movement protest in House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's office in the Cannon House Office Building demanding a climate deal from Democrats on Dec. 10, 2018.

Capitol Police move press and protesters back as protesters with the Sunrise Movement protest in House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s office in the Cannon House Office Building demanding a climate deal from Democrats on Dec. 10, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Last fall, the group distanced itself from bipartisan infrastructure legislation to provide millions in funding for renewable energy, safer climate practices and environmental cleanup, claiming the measure did not go far enough.

“Trying to pass the Exxon Plan at the 11th Hour? Nah,” the group wrote on Twitter in response to a statement from the Progressive Caucus’ call for a vote on both the Build Back Better Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

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In addition to its relentless work in spotlighting Republicans who are not prioritizing climate change, the group has also taken aim at members of the Democratic Party, which has largely championed efforts to implement legislation regarding the environment.

Protesters seen holding placards during the Sunrise Movement protest inside the office of Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to advocate that Democrats support the Green New Deal, at the Capitol in Washington, DC.

Protesters seen holding placards during the Sunrise Movement protest inside the office of Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to advocate that Democrats support the Green New Deal, at the Capitol in Washington, DC. (Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

In June 2021, the group issued a list of “White House demands” to President Biden, one of which called for him to “set up a meeting with Varshini Prakash, Executive Director of Sunrise Movement, and other movement leaders to hear our demands on infrastructure and negotiate with us.”

The group has targeted two moderate Democratic senators — Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia — over their refusal to fall in line with the majority of their party to quickly pass climate legislation without GOP input. Last fall, the group traveled to the Boston Marathon to heckle Sinema and later demonstrated outside of where Manchin docks his houseboat in Southwest D.C.

The Sunrise Movement has also been heavily funded by several left-wing organizations, including George Soros’s Open Society Policy Center. The group was awarded at least $1.5 million in grants from 2019 to 2020, according to records from Open Society Foundations.

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Barnes, the current lieutenant governor of Wisconsin, is slated to face off against incumbent GOP Sen. Ron Johnson in the Nov. 8 general election.

Fox News Digital did not receive an immediate response from the Barnes campaign about the Sunrise Movement’s endorsement.