Wisconsin Public TelevisionWisconsin Public Radio

Mark Pocan

Candidate For U.S. Representative District 2

Mark Pocan

Candidate Background


Mark Pocan for Congress
PO Box 327
Madison, WI 53701-0327

Phone Number: 
(608) 807-0598
Email Address: 

Candidate Biography

From candidate Website

Mark Pocan has spent the last 14 years in the Wisconsin State Assembly representing one of the strongest progressive districts in the state. Yet his political roots took hold in blue-collar Kenosha, Wisconsin where he got his start at age eight delivering campaign lit door-to-door for his father, a long-time city alderman.

This divergent background made its mark on Pocan’s politics and his leadership style. His reputation is strong, even among his opponents as an official who fights hard, but fair, and can bridge political divides and set aside politics to achieve progressive victories for the people he represents. This unusual combination earned him top ranking as “best legislator” from peers and observers on both sides of the political aisle in Milwaukee Magazine the last time rankings were compiled in 2009.

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 succeed his long-time friend and ally Tammy Baldwin as the state representative from the 78th District, when she left for Congress.

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 Dems went from five seats down to successfully retaking the majority for Democrats 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.

Pocan’s tenacity and work as a fighter has not hindered his deep involvement in community groups, including his ongoing role with Big Brothers, Big Sisters, where he served for many years as a big brother. An avid adventure traveler, he has also been active in international affairs with his travel and involvement in Dane County’s sister community in Apartado, Colombia.

Pocan and his partner, Phil married in Canada in 2006. They live on Madison’s downtown Isthmus, with their dog, just two miles from the state Capitol.


In his first six terms in the State Assembly, Pocan earned numerous legislative awards for his work. These awards include 2009 SEIU Legislator of the year for his efforts to create the Wisconsin Quality Home Care Commission. In 2009 he was also awarded the Planned Parenthood Rebecca Young Leadership Award for his successful efforts to pass the Compassionate Care for Rape Victims Act. The same year, he was also awarded the Fair Wisconsin Statewide Leader award for his role in creating a Domestic Partner Registry and to provide domestic partners with 43 legal protections currently afforded to married couples.

Other awards Pocan has received include the Professional Firefighters of Wisconsin Legislator of the Year (2008), Wisconsin Library Association’s Public Policy Award (2008), Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault Voices of Courage Public Policy Award (2008), Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters Honor Roll (2008), 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) and the Wisconsin Federation of Teachers State Employees Council Representative of the Year (2003 & 2002).