Madison, Wisconsin’s capital city, has a very progressive reputation. It’s the city that Sen. Tammy Baldwin (the first out lesbian to be elected to the U.S. Senate) represented in both the Wisconsin State Assembly and the U.S. Congress. When Baldwin left the state legislature to go to Washington, fellow progressive Mark Pocan was elected to take her place. And, when Baldwin went to the Senate in 2013, Pocan again followed her and was elected to take her seat in the House.
Now, he serves as co-chair of both the Congressional Progressive Caucus and the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus. And Pocan, a native of Kenosha where his father was an alderman, is up for reelection once again.
Pocan came to Madison to attend college and, shortly after earning a degree in journalism in 1986, opened up his own small business — a union printing company he continues to own and run today. His active years at UW-Madison in College Democrats led to his election in 1991 to the Dane County Board of Supervisors where he served Madison’s downtown community for three terms.
He credits his political activism in part to an incident soon after he graduated from college, when two men followed him after he left a gay bar and beat him with a baseball bat while using anti-gay slurs. He says this incident spurred him to become active in Madison’s LGBTQ+ community.
Pocan and his husband, Philip Frank, were legally married in Toronto in 2006.
In his four terms in Congress, Mark says he has been “a strong voice for progressive values.” He sponsored key legislation to ensure access to high quality public education, invest in clean energy, raise the minimum wage, ensure the right to vote, and close tax loopholes that allow large corporations to avoid paying their taxes in the United States and ship jobs overseas.
For more information, go to his campaign page.