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Hundreds Visit Milwaukee For DNC Media Walkthrough

Maayan Silver
Local and national members of the media try Wisconsin cream puffs during a Democratic National Convention media walkthrough on Tuesday, Jan. 8.

Updated Thursday at 12:18 p.m. CT

The Democratic National Convention Committee invited local and national media outlets to Milwaukee for a day of logistics planning and presentations on people and politics. Hundreds attended informational breakout sessions and a city bus tour.

The day started early with a tour of the Fiserv Forum, along with speeches from Wisconsin politicians like Gov. Tony Evers, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes and convention CEO Joe Solmonese.

Then, members of the media amassed at the Wisconsin Center for informational sessions. Some talks were off the record, including presentations about security and the delegate selection process. But other sessions were on the record, including one about Wisconsin's political landscape and the Democratic Party's battleground plan.

Key Political Takeaways

Democrats say they are focused on both turnout and persuasion. They’d like to reach out to voters who don’t necessarily vote Democratic, but also mobilize people that just aren’t voting. Democrats say those two camps are important.

They say the convention is being held in Milwaukee because it’s an organizing opportunity, it will reach voters in key markets and it is a chance to tell Wisconsin stories to “highlight President Trump’s record of broken promises.”

Democrats said their party has “five fights”:

  1. Win the state Supreme Court race in the spring that will impact important issues the court will take up, like redistricting and lame duck laws.
  2. Mobilize thousands of Democratic convention volunteers.
  3. Stop Wisconsin Republicans' chance for a supermajority with elections in the state Assembly and Senate — Republicans currently fall just short of the two-thirds required for a supermajority, controlling the the Assembly 63-36 and the Senate 19-14 . If Republicans gain three seats in each chamber, they could override Democratic Evers' vetoes.
  4. Defeat President Trump.
  5. Organize for the future, like flipping Ron Johnson’s seat in 2022.

The Wisconsin Trump Victory Campaign issued a statement about the media walkthrough, criticizing Democratic policies like "Medicare for All," and eliminating border walls and fossil fuels. The statement says:

“The Democrats’ flashy media tour cannot hide that their radical policy proposals are wrong for Wisconsin. This summer’s convention will only remind Wisconsin voters why they delivered their 10 electoral votes to President Trump in 2016 and why they will do so again in November.”

Credit Maayan Silver
Visiting members of the media take note of key Milwaukee landmarks on a city bus tour.

Bus Tour Of Milwaukee

After the sessions, members of the media were encouraged to take a city bus tour that focused on Milwaukee history and progress. The tour lasted about 90 minutes. It started at the Wisconsin Center, then snaked through downtown, passing historical landmarks like the Iron Block building and City Hall. The tour also touched a bit of the south side, going down 5th street — where 17 new businesses have cropped up in the area over the past five years, according to City Development Commissioner Rocky Marcoux.

Key takeaways from the Milwaukee history and progress tour:

  • The city has undertaken aggressive redevelopment projects within the past few years, including Milwaukee Symphony's $89 million concert hall on West Wisconsin Avenue.
  • Milwaukee is made up of almost 100 different neighborhoods, attesting to the diverse fabric of the city.
  • The lakefront and three rivers are unique and valuable natural resources to the city.
  • Milwaukee has a long way to go when it comes to equal access to economic development. Marcoux cited North Avenue as an example of the economic disparity that exists in the compact city.

The Democratic National Convention runs July 13-16. The media will be invited back to Milwaukee in the spring as more information on security and logistics for the convention is released. 
Correction 1/9/20: A previous version of this story on the web and on the air said the Wisconsin Trump Victory Campaign issued a statement criticizing Democratic policies like "Medicaid for All." It is actually "Medicare for All." The story has been updated.

Angelina Mosher Salazar joined WUWM in 2018 as the Eric Von Fellow. She was then a reporter with the station until 2021.
Maayan Silver has been a reporter with WUWM’s News Team since 2018.
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