Mayor Tom Barrett

Would it continue or would it be canceled? Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, those were the questions on Milwaukeeans minds regarding the Democratic National Convention. Earlier this week, Milwaukee got a response.

On Wednesday, June 24, the Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC) announced its current plan for the convention. The convention will continue to take place in Milwaukee and will be held from Monday, Aug. 17 to Thursday, Aug. 20. However, the event will be a little more virtual than planned and include live broadcasting.

State delegates are being asked to not travel to Milwaukee and instead voting will take place virtually. Extra events such as welcome night for the press and for delegates and a volunteer party are canceled. The convention is also being moved from the Fiserv Forum to the Wisconsin Center.

Mayor Tom Barrett held a press conference in response to the DNCC’s decision. A national event will still be staged here in the City of Milwaukee, even if it won’t be as planned, he said.

He noted that the decision to change the format of the convention was made with public health in mind. Health experts on all levels were consulted to determine the best course of action, he said.

“It won’t be a convention like we’ve seen in past years for obvious reasons,” Barrett said. “[But] at the end of the day public health concerns are paramount.”

Aside from putting the national spotlight on Milwaukee, the convention was also expected to impact the local economy. Barrett said that the initial hope was an estimate of $200 million infusion of spending. While that is no longer the case for the majority of vendors, hotels will still see some of an impact.

Joe Solmonese, the CEO of the DNC, said that the committee is finding creative ways to organize, mobilize and unite the Democratic party around its shared values and ensure a win for president hopeful Joe Biden.

“Everything is on the line this November,” he said.

Jen O’Malley Dillon, the campaign manager for Biden For President, said that Biden plans to accept his party’s nomination in Milwaukee.

“This will be a convention for all Americans who wish to join our mission to win the battle for the soul of this nation and build a fairer, more united country for us all,” O’Malley Dillon said.

“Democrats are committed to the health and safety of the American people,” said Tom Perez, DNC chair.

Adding, “I couldn’t be prouder of the way our team has organized and mobilized to get out the vote and ensure a successful convention anchored in Wisconsin, and I’m grateful for the extraordinary leadership of our partners in the city of Milwaukee.”

While additional updates are expected to come, the DNC remains committed to hosting the convention in Milwaukee.

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