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Peace Billboard In Milwaukee Brings Together Biden, Sanders Supporters

Chuck Quirmbach
This billboard near the Wisconsin Center (site of the Democratic National Convention) in downtown Milwaukee is part of a peace group's call for a cut in military spending.

Some supporters of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and expected Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden are trying to find common ground on the issue of cutting the U.S. military budget.

The two sides held a news conference in downtown Milwaukee on Sunday, near a billboard that says 3% of military spending in this country could end starvation on Earth. 

Laura Valderrama founded Wisconsin for Bernie and is a Sanders delegate at this week's Democratic National Convention.  She says there's a history of bipartisan overspending on the armed forces.

"U.S. militarism and imperialism are not exclusive to the Republican Party. Those Republicans and Democrats have approved a bloated military budget and perpetuated more wars all over the world,” Valderrama said, adding that Biden and his choice for vice president, Sen. Kamala Harris, need to accept a more principled, peaceful foreign policy.

Credit Chuck Quirmbach
Biden and Sanders delegates pose for a group photo at the end of Sunday's news conference.

Biden delegate Sachin Chheda is Chairman Emeritus of the Democratic Party of Milwaukee County. He says not going to war and reducing military spending is a mainstream view in the U.S. Chheda says he supported Harris early in the Democratic primaries but now sees the expected Democratic ticket as a vehicle.

"It's not that we expect them to lead us out of the wilderness. It's we expect the people to lead, and for those politicians, whether they're in the White House, or U.S. Senate, or U.S. House, or here in the Madison state capitol, we expect them to follow the people,” Chheda said.

Chheda says politicians are like buses that don't drop you off right at your destination. But he hopes Democrats and independents will unite against the increased military spending under President Donald Trump. 

Trump has said the extra money is needed to update the readiness of the U.S. armed forces. Trump is scheduled to speak in Oshkosh on Monday afternoon.

Chuck Quirmbach joined WUWM in August 2018. He focuses his longform stories on health, innovation, science, technology, transportation, utilities and business.
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