Mark Pocan Committee Assignments Texas

Mark Pocan, entered Congress with the 2012 elections, as a (Wisconsin Democrat, District 2). Pocan is a Victory Fund candidate.[1]

He was a State Representative from Wisconsin.

He is married to Phil Frank.


Mark Pocan's political roots took hold in blue-collar Kenosha, Wisconsin where he got his start at age eight delivering campaign literature door-to-door for his father, a long-time city alderman.

Pocan came to Madison to attend college and shortly after earning a degree in journalism in 1986 opened up his own small business – a 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. In 1998 he was elected to succeeded his long-time friend and ally Tammy Baldwin as the state representative from the 78th District, when she left for Congress.[2]

State Assembly

In his six terms as a member of the Wisconsin State Assembly, Pocan has earned numerous awards for both his legislative victories and his community service. He helped create the Wisconsin Quality Home Care Commission, authored the American Jobs Act and the Compassionate Care for Rape Victims Act and was deeply involved in many progressive initiatives focused on collective bargaining rights, public financing of clean elections, domestic partner protections and corrections reform.

For six years Pocan sat on the state's powerful budget writing Joint Finance Committee, including a term as co-chair last session. He has also taken on a leading role among Assembly Democrats, running caucus campaign efforts in 2008 when Democrats went from five seats to successfully retaking the majority for the first time in 14 years.

During recent turmoil in Wisconsin in the fight for workers' rights against an attack from Gov. Scott Walker, Pocan took a visible, leading role, fighting hard for what he believes in, as a legislator and a union member of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades.

He has also been active in international affairs with his travel and involvement in Dane County's sister community in Apartado, Colombia.[3]


Pocan identifies as a progressive Democrat, and is a member of a number of organizations, including Wisconsin Citizen Action, the American Civil Liberties Union, Fair Wisconsin, Midwest Progressive Elected Officials Network, Clean Wisconsin, International Union of Painters & Allied Trades , Sierra Club, Southern Poverty Law Center, Colombia Support Network/Apartado Sister City Organization, and the Human Rights Campaign. [4]


In the early 2000s, Mark Pocan spoke several times at RadFest, an annual Madison Wisconsin gather of communists, socialists, and progressive activists.

Radfest 2002

RadFest 2002 was held May 31-June 2 at Aurora University's George Williams Lake Geneva Campus.

RadFest was sponsored by the A.E. Havens Center for the Study of Social Structures and Social Change. Its director, Patrick Barrett, said that “the central goal of the conference is to provide an opportunity for progressive activists, organizers and intellectuals to come together to discuss issues of mutual interest and concern, strengthen networks and devise strategies for progressive social, economic and political change.”[5]

The program included


RadFest 2003 - Midwest Social Forum was held at Aurora University, George Williams - Lake Geneva Campus, Williams Bay, WI. May 30-June 1, 2003.

Mark Pocan's future Wisconsin State Senate colleague Mark Miller participated in a forum “Wisconsin’s Future with Healthcare Security for All” (with Gene Farley, Linda Farley, Darcy Haber, Jim McGhee, and Joanne Ricca.

Pocan participated in the “Moving toward Tax Fairness in Wisconsin” with Laura Dresser, and John Peck.[7]

DSA connection

Mark Pocan has ties to Democratic Socialists of America.

DSA/RadFest connection

Madison Area Democratic Socialists of America sponsored a workshop on equitable taxation at RadFest 2002, an annual event for community activists and progressive academics in late May, 2002.

Its workshop on Tax Literacy for Progressives included a preliminary tax quiz and a panel with Mike Prokosch (United for a Fair Economy), Mark Pocan (progressive legislator from Wisconsin), Jon Peacock (state budget analyst from the Wisconsin Commission on Children and Families), and moderator Frank Emspak from the University of Wisconsin School for Workers. [8]

"Coalition for Wisconsin Health" health care bill

In the Summer of 2005, State Senator Mark Miller reintroduced Wisconsin organization Coalition for Wisconsin Health's Wisconsin Universal Health Program legislation. Originally known as LRB-2576, the Bill would get a new number when introduced.

Coalition for Wisconsin Health worked to help Miller recruit new cosponsors for the bill.

Other cosponsors of the WUHP in the 2003- 2004 legislative session who had returned in 2005 were Representatives Leon Young, Mark Pocan, and Terese Berceau, and Senators Tim Carpenter, Spencer Coggs, and Fred Risser.

Newly elected Rep. Chuck Benedict, a physician who took part in Coalition for Wisconsin Health's Beloit forum also agreed to sponsor the bill.

Coalition for Wisconsin Health treasurer at the time was George Robson, Wisconsin United Methodist Federation for Social Action, and Madison Democratic Socialists of America, while Vice Chair was Linda Farley, MD, from the DSA front Physicians for a National Health Program..[9]

Center for Policy Alternatives

In 2006 State Representative Pocan was active with the Center for Policy Alternatives, which had been "helping progressive politicians hone their skills, network, and draft legislation for the last thirty years. The group put out an annual “progressive agenda for the states” that covered a wide array of topics and offers model bills on what the group considers the most important issues of the day. At its annual conference, CPA brings together large numbers of progressive legislators—to combat their isolation and help train them to be more effective communicators and lawmakers, and to build a network of likeminded people in all the states".[10]

Supported Progressive Health Care Reform

In late 2009, Mark Pocan was one of more than 1,000 state legislators to sign a letter entitled "State Legislators for Progressive Health Care Reform". The letter was a project of the Progressive States Network and was developed in consultation with national health care reform advocates, including the AFL-CIO, AFSCME, Community Catalyst, Families USA, Herndon Alliance, National Women's Law Center, Northeast Action, SEIU, and Universal Health Care Action Network. The letter reads in part,[11]

"Failure to pass national comprehensive health reform now will further jeopardize state and local budgets, undermining public services like education, public safety, and transportation infrastructure... We, the undersigned, call on President Obama and the Congress to enact bold and comprehensive health care reform this year – based on these principles and a strong federal-state collaboration – and pledge our support as state legislators and allies in pursuit of guaranteed, high quality, affordable health care for all."

"United States of ALEC"

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is "a scheme to remake America one statehouse at a time," says narrator Bill Moyers. "United States of ALEC" is a documentary collaboration between Okapi Productions, LLC and the Schumann Media Center. This film is the extended version of the report which first aired on public broadcasting stations nationwide featuring the investigative work of the Center for Media and Democracy and Wisconsin activists Lisa Graves, Mark Pocan, John Nichols, Mary Bottari, Joel Rogers, Julie Underwood and more.[12]

Progressive Democrats of America

Mark Pocan is very close to the Democratic Socialists of America/Institute for Policy Studies dominated Progressive Democrats of America, and its National Director Tim Carpenter, a former leader of Orange County Democratic Socialists of America.

Progressive Democrats of America, National Nurses United and allies held three events in Wisconsin in early Novemeber 2012.

PDA across Wisconsin

Friday, November 2nd they hosted a guided discussion at the the Wisconsin Federation of Nurses & Health Professionals offices in Milwaukee, moderated by John Nichols (The Nation , MSNBC Contributor). Guest speakers included: PDA's National Director Tim Carpenter, NNU's Director of Public Policy Michael Lighty, Communist Party USA member Judith LeBlanc from Peace Action, and Dr. Robert Kraig from Citizen Action of Wisconsin.

Lighty and Carpenter joined with author/commentator Jim Hightower at the UAW Local 95 Hall in Janesville Saturday November 3rd, 11 am to 1 pm. Rob Zerban--who was challenging Paul Ryan in Wisconsin's 1st District--and John Nichols also appeared. Then, from 2:30 to 3:30 pm. Carpenter and Lighty appeared in Madison, WI, with Mark Pocan, Congressional Candidate in Wisconsin's 2nd District, one of the leaders of the Wisconsin walkout. All three Wisconsin events also sought to help Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, win her close race for the U.S. Senate.[13]

Progressive Democrats of America endorsement

In 2012, Mark Pocan was one of 14 leftist Congressional and Senate candidates endorsed by Progressive Democrats of America, an organization dominated by members or affiliates of Democratic Socialists of America and the Institute for Policy Studies.

PDA "hit its stride", phonebanking

In 2012, PDA hit its stride electorally as well helping its National Board Members Congress members John Conyers (D-MI.), Donna Edwards (D-MD.), Keith Ellison (D-MN.), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ.), James McGovern (D-MA.) and Barbara Lee (D-CA.) sweep to victory.

Other PDA-endorsed winners included Congress members Mark Pocan (D-WI.), Alan Grayson (D-FL.), and Senator Elizabeth Warren, (D-MA.). PDA generated 1000s of Get Out the Vote calls for the above candidates, as well as for newly-elected Ami Bera (D-CA.)[14]

Hosting PDA

According to a New Year 2013 press release from Progressive Democrats of America;

Progressive Democrats of America accomplished a lot in 2012--thanks to your help and support. Together, we helped defeat Tea Party extremists and helped elect strong progressives to Congress. We educated members of Congress every month in our home districts, and in the halls of Congress in Washington, DC. Now, PDA is starting 2013 in a big way!
In just a few days, on January 3rd, our team will be on Capitol Hill as special guests of our newly elected and re-elected progressive candidates including our board members our friends Representatives Alan Grayson, Dr. Ami Bera, and Mark Pocan; as well as newly-elected Senators Tammy Baldwin and Elizabeth Warren. If you're going to be in the DC-area, join us for these exciting swearing in ceremonies, and help us pass out leaflets for our exciting January 19th events![15]

The Peoples' Inauguration

Progressive Central The Peoples' Inauguration was held Saturday, January 19, 2013, at the UDC David A. Clarke School of Law 5th Floor Moot Court Room, 4340 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC.

The event was sponsored by Progressive Democrats of America, The Nation, National Nurses United, and Busboys and Poets. The event was advertised and promoted by the Institute for Policy Studies.

The 1:00 pm-­‐2:10 pm session "Organizing the Progressive Movement Inside and Outside the Democratic Party" was moderated by John Nichols, and featured Rep. Raul Grijalva -­‐ Rep. Mark Pocan -­‐ Thom Hartmann, PDA National Board/Radio/TV Host and Author -­‐ Lori Wallach , Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch .[16]

PDA contact

In 2013 Progressive Democrats of America assigned activists to deliver their material to almost every US Congressman and several Senators. Dr. Michela Wolkomir, was assigned as contact for Rep. Pocan. In June it was Richard Leskinen.[17][18]

In 2014 it was Jay Gold.[19]

"House Champions"

Just after the 2014 elections, Progressive Democrats of America stated;[20]

It was a great day for our endorsed candidates and a worse than expected day for Democrats overall. All of our Board Members: Representatives Ellison, Grijalva, Conyers, Lee, and McGovern won! Our House Champions: Representatives Grayson, Schakowsky, Pocan and Nolan won! Future Progressive Champions:Ted Lieu and Bonnie Watson Coleman won!

PDA 2016 endorsements

In 2016 Progressive Democrats of America endorsed;

Progressive values

In his victory speech, Pocan emphasized the deep progressive roots of the 2nd Congressional District. "This is the district of Fighting Bob La Follette. This is the seat of Bob Kastenmeier. And this is the seat of Tammy Baldwin.

"This is the seat where we expect our representatives to work hard for progressive values and the middle class and lower-income families of Wisconsin, and I will do that."[22]

Congressional Progressive Caucus

In January 2013, Mark Pocan was listed as a new member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.[23]

In January 2015, Mark Pocan was listed as First Vice Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.[24]

Anti-Fracking legislation endorser

On March 14, 2013, Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) and Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA) have introduced the Bringing Reductions to Energy’s Airborne Toxic Health Effect (BREATHE) Act, and the Focused Reduction of Effluence and Stormwater runoff through Hydraulic Environmental Regulation (FRESHER) Act, in order to ensure that the hydraulic fracking industry follows the same rules that other industries do in preserving our natural resources. This legislation is focused on ensuring the safety and the health of the communities where the hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, process is already taking place.

The BREATHE Act would ensure that we close the oil and gas industry’s loophole to the Clean Air Act’s aggregation provision, in addition to adding hydrogen sulfide—a chemical associated with nausea, vomiting, headaches, and irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat—to the Clean Air Act’s federal list of hazardous air pollutants.

The BREATHE Act has the following original co-sponsors including: Reps. Rush Holt, Jr., Raul Grijalva, John Sarbanes, James Moran, Michael Quigley, Earl Blumenauer, Gerry Connolly, Zoe Lofgren, Michael Honda, Paul Tonko, Barbara Lee, David Price, Carolyn Maloney, Michael Capuano, Mark Pocan, Jim McDermott, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Alcee Hastings, Keith Ellison, Niki Tsongas, William Keating, Adam Smith, Jim Langevin, Chellie Pingree, Judy Chu, Louise Slaughter, Jerrold Nadler, Grace Meng, Jan Schakowsky, Nita Lowey, Jared Huffman, Gary Peters and Alan Lowenthal.

The following organizations have endorsed this legislation and are actively working to garner support within Congress and throughout the country: Physicians for Social Responsibility, Natural Resources Defense Council, Earthjustice, Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, Sierra Club, Earthworks, Breast Cancer Action, Clean Water Action, Environment America, Greenpeace, Nature Abounds, Oil Change International, Citizens for a Healthy Community, Citizens for Huerfano County, Clean Water Action Colorado, Erie Rising, Grassroots Energy Activist Network, Holy Terror Farm, San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council, SOS Foundation, Western Colorado Congress of Mesa County, Western Slope Conservation Center and Wilderness Workshop.[25]

Colombian connection

The Chinita Six

In a 1994 Colombia Support Network delegation to Colombia that included Jack Laun, Mark Pocan and Laun met with the Chinita Six, a group of Patriotic Union of Uraba activists detained by the government.

Their names were Jose Antonio Lopez Bula, Edgar Genes Capillo, Nahum Orrego Sossa, Nelson Campo Nunez, Albeiro Bustamante Sanchez, Gustavo Arcia.

Arpato connection

Mark Pocan has traveled to El Salvador and worked with Dane County’s sister community in Apartado, Colombia.[26]

Colombia Support Network

On November 7, 2012, the Madison Wisconsin Colombia Support Network, issued this statement.[27]

Colombia Support Network (CSN) celebrates the election last night of two great friends: Tammy Baldwin, elected to the United States Senate, and Mark Pocan, elected to the United States House of Representatives. Tammy, with the assistance of Mark, drafted our sister community resolution for Dane County and Apartadó. Both Tammy and Mark went to Colombia on a CSN delegation in 1993 and visited San José de Apartadó, 4 years before San José declared itself a Peace Community. Mark has returned since, meeting with Senator Manuel Cepeda - Vargas and 3 other leaders of the Patriotic Union movement days before Senator Cepeda was murdered. He is a former CSN Board Member and is currently on our Advisory Board.
Tammy and Mark have provided great support to our human rights and sister community work on Colombia. We look forward to their solidarity from their new positions as Senator and Representative in Washington D.C. We congratulate them on their election and on their commitment to good government and support for a sensible U. S. foreign policy toward Colombia.

According to Communist Party USA member W. T. Whitney , writing in Marxism-Leninism Today;[28]

In 1985, Colombia’s Communist Party, elements of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and other leftists formed the Patriotic Union, an electoral coalition competing for local, regional, and national political offices. Under the peace initiative launched by the Belisario Betancur government and the FARC, armed insurgents joined regular political processes.

Lobbying Feingold on behalf of the CSN

Not long after Russ Feingold was elected to the United States Senate for his first term, (circa 1993) several members of the Colombia Support Network Board went to meet him at his office, accompanied by future Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin and future Wisconsin State Representative Mark Pocan, at the time both members of the Dane County Board.

Senator Feingold listened carefully to our concerns about the dramatic situation in our sister community of Apartado, even though he had no particular reason to be interested in Colombia, South America.[29]

Letter to Presidents Clinton and Samper

In 1994 a letter was sent to US President Bill Clinton, and Colombian President Samper, apparently from the Colombian Support Network.

It called on the US to "cut off all aid to Colombia until the violence has ended", and called for the appointment of a UN Rapporteur on human rights in Colombia.


  • Richard Phelps, Dane County executive
  • Tammy Baldwin, Wisconsin State Rep.
  • Noam Chomsky
  • Roy Bourgeois, School of the Americas Watch
  • Blase Bonpane, Office of the Americas
  • Larry Birns, Council on Hemispheric Affairs
  • Martin Sheen
  • Jean Gore, WILPF
  • Marie Dennis, Maryknoll Society
  • Fred Rosen, NACLA
  • Mark Pocan, Dane County Supervisor
  • Haskell Wexler
  • David Newby, President Wisconsin AFL-CIO
  • Rev. Tim Kehl, Colombia Support Network

CSN Advisory Board

In the Spring of 1995 Colombia Support Network developed an Advisory Board.

Initial members were;

Election observers

With the October (1997) national elections in Colombia, violence was threatened (and acted upon) by several players in that country. Guerrillas, paramilitaries and others threatened to disrupt the electoral processin various regions. Of particular concern to Colombia Support Network was Apartado, Dane County Wisconsin's sister community.

At the request of Apartado Mayor Gloria Cuartas, CSN-Madison agreed to send an election observer, Board Member Mark Pocan, to that violence torn community to observe local elections for Mayor and City Council.

Pocan is a former member of the Dane County Board of Supervisors and has visited Apartado twice before. However, when he tried to join up with the Organization of American States (OAS) election observers, Pocan was unsuccessful.

This was the first time that the Colombian govermment has allowed election observers. The OAS was chosen as the "official" credentialing agency. They were sending approximately thirty five observers to Colombia,but only six or seven to the entire state of Antioquia of which Apartado is a remote part. When CSN approached the OAS they said that they were not allowing United States citizens to go for fear of kidnapping and violence.

CSN and Pocan persisted,however. They solicited the support of both Wisconsin United States Senators Russ Feingold and Herb Kohl. Additionally, the office of Ambassador Harriet Babbitt , the United States representative with the OAS, lobbied the OAS to allow Pocan to be credentialed. Senator Feingold took special interest and wrote a letter to the OAS and Ambassador Babbitt to help secure credentials for Pocan or at minimum to send election observers to the Apartado area.

Thanks to the hard work and persistence of CSN, Senators Feingold and Kohl, Pocan and Ambassador Harriet Babbitt's office,the OAS agreed to send two of their non-United States citizen observers to Apartado, to help ensure fair and free elections. [30]

School of Americas resolution

While in the Wisconsin Legislature Pocan introduced a resolution to urge Congress to close the School of Americas.

This institution is one of the bigger wastes of taxpayer dollars at the federal level. It is responsible for the training of foreign military officers associated with high profile massacres, killings, kidnappings and tortures in Central and South America.
I have seen firsthand the effects of the bloodshed caused by those trained by the School of Americas in both El Salvador and Colombia on Sister City visits. The cost in human and financial terms is significant. Many religious and human rights organizations support its closure.
The Committee on Veteran's Affairs held a hearing on this issue in mid-September. Over 30 people spoke and or registered in favor of the resolution. No one opposed it. I have sent a request to the Chair of the Committee asking for a vote on the resolution. I hope the resolution will be voted on and move to the Assembly floor soon.[31]

CSN press conference

In July 2000 Mark Pocan, Jack Laun of the Colombia Support Network and two representatives of Colombia's indigenous U'wa tribe spoke at a press conference at the State capitol in on the 1.3 Billion military aid package to Colombia passed by the US Congress in June.

Colombia Support Network

As of 2008, the Colombia Support Network Advisory Board consisted of ;[32].

CSN national meeting

The Board of Directors of the Colombia Support Network invited all CSN members and interested persons to their annual CSN National Meeting, which took place at Edgewood College in Madison on Friday and Saturday, June 5th and 6th, 2015.

This meeting is our annual opportunity to discuss our chapter activities and sister community developments in the context of events in Colombia. We will also discuss the position of the United States government with respect to developments in Colombia.
We have invited Carmenza Tez, the extraordinary Kamentsa indigenous leader, to join us to discuss the struggle of the Kamentsa and Inga indigenous communities of the Sibundoy Valley in Putumayo Department to protect their lands and traditions from threats of multinational mining corporations and the highway being constructed by the Colombian government through a forest reserve where their sacred lands and burial places are located. We expect to have Buddy Bell of Voices for Creative Nonviolence tell us about his visit to the Peace Community of San Jose de Apartado with Dr. Hakim, an Afghan physician who hopes to develop a peace community in his homeland modeled on the community in San Josecito which is the sister community to Dane County, Wisconsin. We also have invited David Newby, former President of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO and current President of the Wisconsin Fair Trade Council who will bring us up to date on the effort to defeat the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership. And we have invited Congressman Mark Pocan to discuss with us the work on a Congressional subcommittee of which he is a member which is reviewing the Labor Action Plan of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement as an example of how protections for workers are not being implemented in the international trade agreements to which the U.S. is a signatory. We will also consider the disastrous consequences of Colombia’s National Development Plan for environmental protection in Colombia, and hope Professor Al Gedicks will join us to discuss the threats to the environment and especially to indigenous communities presented by the Colombian government’s development model. We will also of course discuss the prospects for peace through the FARC-Colombian Government dialogue in Havana and how these talks may affect our sister communities. We expect to have additional invited guests at our Conference and will keep you posted as to additional attendees.
We have two excellent interns from the University of Wisconsin helping us in office administration and translations, as well as with several outreach activities, and we hope to sponsor another student’s plan to make a documentary film on the Carol Chomsky Forest project, which seeks to protect an environmentally sensitive area in Cauca Department and campesino farming and homes through a registered “campesino reserve zone”.
Jack Laun
President, CSN[33]

Funding for Colombia

March 28, 2016 Washington, D.C. Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL), and 14 of their House colleagues sent a letter to key House Appropriations Committee members asking them to fully fund President Barack Obama’s budget request for aid to Colombia.

Last month, President Obama announced a new aid package totaling $450 million for FY 2017 to assist the Colombian government in implementing a potential peace deal with the FARC guerillas after more than fifty years of violent conflict in the country. The funding would also support Colombia’s efforts to address security challenges including the threat of violent drug cartels.

“Now, just as the peace process is beginning to bear fruit, is not the time to reduce our financial assistance to our ally and partner,” the group wrote in a letter to Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX), chair of the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs, and Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), who serves as the subcommittee’s ranking member. “After decades of equipping Colombia to fight, we have a vested interest in helping the Colombian people to rebuild. We must continue the robust, bipartisan support which, at long last, has brought Colombia to the precipice of peace.”

Signers include, Rep. James McGovern, Rep. Sam Farr, Rep. Hank Johnson, Rep. John Lewis, Rep. Linda Sanchez, Rep. Charles B. Rangel, Rep. Jim Himes, Rep. Eric Swalwell, Rep. Filemon Vela, Rep. Tony Cardenas, Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, Rep. Mark DeSaulnier, Rep. Keith Ellison, and Rep. Mark Pocan.[34]

Mark Pocan’s Letter to the DHS on Colombian Paramilitaries

January 18, 2017 To Jeh Johnson DHS;

Representatives Mark Pocan, James McGovern, Barbara Lee, and Hank Johnson urge Congress members to consider actions that will allow Colombian Paramilitary leaders to be held accountable for their role in the Colombian Conflict and take on their role in the Colombian Peace Process. This letter urges for the removal of protectional classification of Colombian paramilitary leaders who have been detained in the US only for drug charges and instead urges for their return to Colombia. In Colombia, these paramilitary leaders are subject to serve charges of grave crimes including forced disappearances and murder in Colombia.[35]

"Raise Up America"

On June 21 at the Netroots Nation premiere of the Congressional Progressive Caucus campaign to "Raise Up America." At the Parque de los Pobladores event in San Jose , Rasheen Aldridge opened by saying you "can't survive on $7.35," eliciting a call-and-response from the crowd. Rasheen was there with another worker, Darius Chambers, both supported by Reps. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., Mark Takano, D-Calif., and Mark Pocan, D-Wis., to announce the new three-point campaign to help low-wage workers proposed by the Progressive Caucus.

  • Raise the national minimum wage
  • Make it easier for low wage workers to unionize
  • Require living wages for workers hired by federal contractors.

Rep. Pocan related his recent experience participating in the Food Stamp Challenge, feeling keenly the lack of food and resources that the small allotment provides to a family. Pocan underscored the experience of low wage workers with an observation on the rising wealth disparity in the United States: "One inch of increase to the 99 pecent" is equivalent to "five miles of increase to the one percent." Pocan concluded. "The growing income inequality gap is bad for job growth, it's bad for our deficits, it's bad for the most vulnerable in our society."[36]

Voting rights for all

In May 2913, Mark Pocan and Keith Ellison unveiled a proposal to explicitly guarantee the right to vote in the Constitution.

“The right to vote is too important to be left unprotected,” explained Pocan, who announced the initiative at the state capitol in Madison, Wisconsin, where the Republican state assembly speaker recently announced plans to enact restrictive “voter ID” legislation before the 2014 election. “At a time when there are far too many efforts to disenfranchise Americans, a voting rights amendment would positively affirm our founding principle that our country is at its strongest when everyone participates. As the world’s leading democracy, we must demand of ourselves what we demand of others—a guaranteed right to vote for all.”

Without that clear guarantee, argues Ellison, politicians continue to propose and enact legislation that impedes voting rights. Noting recent wrangling over voter identification laws, burdensome registration requirements and reduced early voting opportunities in various states, as well as a challenge to the Voting Rights Act that is now under consideration by the US Supreme Court, the Minnesota Democrat, who co-chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus, says, “Even though the right to vote is the most-mentioned right in the Constitution, legislatures across the country have been trying to deny that right to millions of Americans, including in my home state of Minnesota. It’s time we made it clear once and for all: every citizen in the United States has a fundamental right to vote.”[37]

No cuts rally

Scores of seniors came to the U.S. Capitol October 2013, joined hands with Members of Congress, and formed a human chain in opposition to the Chained CPI formula and all benefit cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. The Congressional Progressive Caucus hosted the demonstration, as Alliance for Retired Americans members joined with Social Security Works and other allies. The event was emceed by Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Keith Ellison (D-MN). Other Members of Congress at the event included Reps. Cheri Bustos (IL); David Cicilline (RI); Yvette Clarke (NY); John Conyers (MI); Elijah Cummings (MD); Rosa DeLauro (CT); Alan Grayson (FL); Mike Honda (CA); Steven Horsford (NV); Barbara Lee (CA); Sheila Jackson Lee (TX); Alan Lowenthal (CA); Dan Maffei (NY); Carolyn Maloney (NY); Jerrold Nadler (NY); Mark Pocan (WI); Jan Schakowsky (IL); Mark Takano (CA); and Paul Tonko (NY).[38]

Lifting travel ban on Cuba

A May 03, 2013 Press release from the radical controlled and Institute for Policy Studies affiliated Latin America Working Group's Cuba Team stated:

Due to your action/emails/phone calls we have 59 signatures from House representatives urging President Obama to support travel to Cuba by granting general licenses for ALL current categories of travel.
By eliminating the laborious license application process, especially for people-to-people groups, that is managed by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the majority of the bureaucratic red tape that holds up licensable travel to Cuba would disappear and actually facilitate what the President wanted to see in 2011, liberalized travel regulations.

Signatories included Rep. Mark Pocan.[39]

Congressional Letter for Neutrality, 2014 Salvadoran Elections

On Monday December 16, 2014 Reps. Juan Vargas (D-CA), Mike Honda (D-CA) and Mark Pocan (D-WI) sent a letter to Sec. of State John Kerry – signed by 51 Members of Congress – calling for a public statement of neutrality by the State Department before the first round of El Salvador’s presidential elections on February 2, 2014.

The letter, , highlighted several “important steps” that the current government has taken to “strengthen its democratic system and expand the right to vote to all citizens,” including those living outside of the country, who will be voting by absentee ballot for the first time in February. Since the election of Mauricio Funes, the first President from the Marxist Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) party, the government has increased the number of polling places four-fold to increase accessibility, especially in rural areas.

“We’re glad to see so many Members of Congress expressing respect for the right of the Salvadoran people to determine their own future. That’s an attitude that’s sorely lacking in much of the US’ policy in Central America, especially with regard to economic policy,” said Alexis Stoumbelis, Executive Director for the pro-communist Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES), in Washington, DC, which has observed every post-war election in El Salvador, starting in 1994.[40].

JStreet endorsement

The socialist infiltrated, anti-Israel "two state solution" JStreet PAC endorsed Mark Pocan in his 2014 Congressional race. [41]

JStreet endorsed her again in 2016.

He has traveled to Israel and the Palestinian Territory and is a strong advocate for US leadership towards two states.[42]

ARA endorsement, 2012

The Alliance for Retired Americans endorsed Mark Pocan in 2012.[43]

ARA PAF endorsement, 2014

The Alliance for Retired Americans Political Action Fund endorsed Mark Pocan in 2014.[44]

Senior Power Lunch

2015 Senior Power Lunch.

H.R. 1534, The Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures Act

The 2015 Bill H.R. 1534 would reduce the number of nuclear-armed submarines operated by the Navy, to prohibit the development of a new long-range penetrating bomber aircraft, to prohibit the procurement of new intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Sponsor: Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-3rd district). Co-sponsors were Reps James McGovern, Mark Pocan, Peter DeFazio, John Conyers, Raul Grijalva, Michael Quigley, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Sam Farr, Jackie Speier, Barbara Lee, Donna Edwards, John Lewis, Jared Polis, Louise Slaughter.[45]

"Progressive Agenda"

Signers of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's May 12, 2015 launched The Progressive Agenda to Combat Income Inequality included US Rep. Mark Pocan.[46]

Condemning Criticism of Islam legislation

On December 17, 2015, Rep. Don Beyer, Jr. introduced legislation condemning "violence, bigotry, and hateful rhetoric towards Muslims in the United States." The legislation is based on unsourced claims that there is a "rise of hateful and anti-Muslim speech, violence, and cultural ignorance," and a "disproportionate targeting" of "Muslim women who wear hijabs, headscarves, or other religious articles of clothing...because of their religious clothing, articles, or observances." The resolution, H.Res.569 - Condemning violence, bigotry, and hateful rhetoric towards Muslims in the United States [47]

The legislation was cosponsored by Rep. Michael Honda, Rep. Keith Ellison, Rep. Joseph Crowley, Rep. Andre Carson, Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Rep. Betty McCollum, Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Rep. Dan Kildee, Rep. Loretta Sanchez, Rep. Charles Rangel, Rep. Scott Peters, Rep. Brad Ashford, Rep. Alan Grayson, Rep. Mark Takai, Rep. Brian Higgins, Rep. William Keating, Rep. Raul Grijalva, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Rep. G.K. Butterfield, Rep. Gerry Connolly, Rep. Ruben Gallego, Rep. Cheri Bustos, Rep. John Delaney, Rep. Kathy Castor, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, Rep. Michael Quigley, Rep. Elizabeth Esty, Rep. Joseph Kennedy III, Rep. Robin Kelly, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, Rep. Gregory Meeks, Rep. Grace Meng, Rep. Al Green, Rep. Katherine Clark, Rep. Adam Schiff, Rep. Alcee Hastings, Rep. Sam Farr, Rep. Frank Pallone, Rep. Jim McDermott, Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. Donna Edwards, Rep. Robert Brady, Rep. Frederica Wilson, Rep. Michael Doyle, Rep. Albio Sires, Rep. Suzan DelBene, Rep. Judy Chu, Rep. Jared Polis, Rep. David Loebsack, Rep. Bill Pascrell, Rep. Debbie Dingell, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Rep. Steve Cohen, Rep. Ruben Hinojosa, Rep. John Yarmuth, Rep. Niki Tsongas, Rep. Jim Langevin, Rep. Mark Pocan, Rep. John Conyers, Jr., Rep. Mark Takano, Rep. Tim Ryan, Rep. Jose Serrano, Rep. Hank Johnson, Rep. Paul Tonko, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Rep. Lois Capps, Rep. David Price, Rep. Doris Matsui, Rep. Gwen Moore, Rep. Denny Heck, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Rep. John Carney, Rep. Xavier Becerra, Rep. Eric Swalwell, Rep. John B. Larson, Rep. Dina Titus, Rep. Peter Welch, Rep. Lloyd Doggett, Rep. Jim Himes, Rep. Matt Cartwright.


The council’s work across the nation is critical to building a more equitable and democratic society.”

Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) (October 2017).

Democratic Left, Winter 2002, page 15
Mark Pocan, Tim Carpenter
Action on Colombia, Summer 1994, page 4
Action on Colombia, Summer 1994

Mark William Pocan (born August 14, 1964) is an American politician and businessman who has served in the United States House of Representatives, representing Wisconsin's 2nd congressional district, since 2013. The district is based in the state capital, Madison. A member of the Democratic Party, he previously served as a member of the Wisconsin State Assembly from 1999 to 2013, representing the 78th district.[1] He represented much of downtown Madison, including the Wisconsin State Capitol. In November 2012, Pocan won the general election to replace Tammy Baldwin, a fellow Democrat and longtime friend who was elected to the U.S. Senate, as the next member of Congress from the district. He had also succeeded Baldwin in the State Assembly.[2]

Early life, education, and early career[edit]

Pocan was born and raised in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He graduated from Harvey Elementary School, Washington Junior High School, and Mary D. Bradford High School in 1982. He attended the University of Wisconsin–Madison, earning a bachelor's degree in journalism in 1986.

Shortly after graduating, Pocan opened up his own small business, a printing company named Budget Signs & Specialties, which he continues to own and run as of 2012. He is a member of the AFL-CIO, which he joined as a small business owner.[3] 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 left the board in 1996.

Wisconsin Assembly[edit]


In 1998, Pocan's longtime friend and ally, Tammy Baldwin, gave up her seat in the Wisconsin State Assembly to make a successful run for Congress. Pocan ran to succeed her in the state legislature and won a three-way Democratic primary with 54% of the vote. He faced no Republican opponent in the general election and won with 93% of the vote against an independent. He won re-election in 2000 with 81%--the only time he faced a Republican challenger. He was unopposed for reelection from 2002 to 2010.[4]

After a redistricting by the Republican-controlled legislature, the 78th Assembly District boundaries were changed. Pocan was succeeded in the Assembly by Democrat Brett Hulsey, who had previously represented the 77th District. (As in the 2010 race, the only serious challenge to the Democratic candidate was a Green candidate, Jonathan Dedering; the Republicans did not even field a candidate.)[5]


Pocan identifies as a progressive Democrat, and is a member of a number of organizations, including Wisconsin Citizens Action, the American Civil Liberties Union, Fair Wisconsin[6] and Midwest Progressive Elected Officials Network. He has been an active participant in the ongoing debate regarding same-sex marriage in Wisconsin, though the state has approved a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Pocan is also one of the few progressive Democrats to have joined the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a conservative-leaning organization that produces model legislative proposals. Pocan used his membership to investigate the organization's agenda and sponsors and wrote a series of articles on his experiences with ALEC for the Madison-based magazine The Progressive.[7][when?] On the September 29, 2012 edition of Moyers and Company, Pocan said "ALEC is a corporate dating service for lonely legislators and corporate special interests that eventually the relationship culminates with some special interest legislation and hopefully that lives happily ever after as the ALEC model. Unfortunately what’s excluded from that equation is the public."[8]

During his time as a state legislator, Pocan earned a reputation for moving the Wisconsin political debate to the left. One of the most outspoken progressive members of the state assembly, Pocan focused on difficult issues including corrections reform, the state budget, education funding, and fighting privatization schemes.[citation needed]

For six years Pocan sat on the state’s powerful budget writing Joint Finance Committee, including a term as co-chair. He also took on a leading role among Assembly Democrats, running caucus campaign efforts in 2008 when Democrats went from five seats down to successfully retaking the majority for the party for the first time in 14 years.

Committee assignments[edit]

  • Committee on Urban and Local Affairs
  • Committee on Colleges and Universities
  • Joint Survey Committee on Retirement Systems
  • Joint Finance Committee

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]



Main article: United States House of Representatives elections in Wisconsin, 2012 § District 2

In 2012, Baldwin gave up her congressional seat in order to run for the U.S. Senate. Pocan decided to run in the open 2nd congressional district. He won a four candidate Democratic primary with 72% of the vote. He won all 7 counties in the district, including the heavily populated Dane County with 74% of the vote.[9] The 2nd is so heavily Democratic that Pocan's victory in the primary was widely regarded as tantamount to election.[10] On November 6, 2012, Pocan won the general election, defeating Republican Chad Lee 68%-32%.[11][12]

Committee assignments[edit]


Congressional TRIO Caucus

Personal life[edit]

Pocan is openly gay. He credits his political activism in part to an incident soon after he graduated from college and opened his printing business. Pocan reports that he was followed by two men after he left a gay bar, and was beaten with a baseball bat while they called him "faggot" and other slurs. This gaybashing incident spurred him to become active in the Madison LGBT community.[15] Pocan is notable for having been the only openly gay member of the state Assembly after Tammy Baldwin's election to Congress, and was one of three LGBT members of the 100th Wisconsin Legislature,[3] alongside Sen. Tim Carpenter (D–Milwaukee) and bisexual Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa (D–Milwaukee).

On November 24, 2006, Pocan and his long-term partner, Philip Frank, were legally married in Toronto, Ontario.[16]

Mark Pocan's brother William Pocan serves as a circuit court judge in Milwaukee County.[17]


Pocan has received the following recognitions while in office:

  • Fair Wisconsin Statewide Leader Award (2009)
  • Planned Parenthood Rebecca Young Leadership Award (2009)
  • Professional Firefighters of Wisconsin Legislator of the Year (2008)[18]
  • Wisconsin Library Association’s Public Policy Award (2008)
  • Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault Voices of Courage Public Policy Award (2008)[19]
  • Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters Honor Roll (2008)[20]
  • Wisconsin Aids Fund award (2007)
  • Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters Conservation Champion (2006)
  • Wisconsin Counties Association Outstanding Legislator Award (2006 & 2008)
  • Clean Wisconsin Clean 16 Award (2004, 2002 & 2000)
  • ACLU Special Recognition Award (2001)
  • Wisconsin Federation of Teachers State Employees Council Representative of the Year (2003 & 2002)
  • Outreach Man of the Year (1999)[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^'Wisconsin Blue Book 2011-2012,' Biographical Sketch of Mark Pocan, pg. 71
  2. ^"Mark Pocan wins Madison-area US House race, keeping Baldwin's vacated seat with Democrats". Retrieved 9 November 2012. 
  3. ^ abWeier, Anita (October 28, 2004), "UW Student Challenges Rep. Pocan", The Capital Times, retrieved 2008-03-12 
  4. ^"Our Campaigns - Candidate - Mark Pocan". Retrieved 28 July 2016. 
  5. ^"2012 PRESIDENTIAL AND GENERAL ELECTION: G.A.B. Reporting System: County by County Report: Assembly - 78" Wisconsin Governmental Accountability Board; Report Generated - 11/21/2012 1:57:46 PM; p. 78
  6. ^"Fair Wisconsin – Advancing, achieving and protecting equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Wisconsinites". Retrieved 28 July 2016. 
  7. ^""Inside ALEC" - The Progressive". Retrieved 28 July 2016. 
  8. ^"United States of ALEC - Moyers & Company -". Retrieved 28 July 2016. 
  9. ^"Our Campaigns - WI - District 02 - D Primary Race - Aug 14, 2012". Retrieved 28 July 2016. 
  10. ^Weisberg, Louis. "Pocan wins Democratic Primary, on track to become next out member of Congress" Wisconsin Gazette August 14, 2012
  11. ^"Our Campaigns - WI - District 02 Race - Nov 06, 2012". Retrieved 28 July 2016. 
  12. ^Zinck, Shaun. "Pocan inherits Baldwin's seat". Beloit Daily News. Retrieved 9 November 2012. 
  13. ^"Caucus Members". Congressional Progressive Caucus. Retrieved 30 January 2018. 
  14. ^"Membership". Congressional Arts Caucus. Retrieved 13 March 2018. 
  15. ^Pocan, Mark. "A Seat at the Table" Our Lives March/April 2012; p. 23
  16. ^Conklin, Melanie (December 13, 2006), "Gay Legislator's Marriage Is About Being A Couple", Wisconsin State Journal, retrieved 2008-03-12 
  17. ^'Wisconsin Blue Book 2011-2012,' Wisconsin Circuit Court Judges, pg. 573
  18. ^"Professional Fire Fighters"(PDF). Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin, Inc. Summer 2008. p. 14. Retrieved 2 June 2017. 
  19. ^"Events: Voices of Courage Awards - WCASA". Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault. Retrieved 2 June 2017. 
  20. ^"Conservation Scorecard Reports Historic Conservation Wins"(PDF). Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters. July 16, 2008. Retrieved 2 June 2017. 
  21. ^"Past OutReach Awards Recipients". OutReach. Retrieved 2 June 2017. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mark Pocan.
Pocan at the 2012 Gay Straight Alliance for Safe Schools banquet
Pocan's freshman portrait


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