President Obama spoke to an enthusiastic crowd of 3,500 at North Division High School in Milwaukee on Tuesday, supporting Mary Burke in the gubernatorial election, and urging voters to turn out in high number on November 4.
The President is on a five-city blitz campaign tour in a larger effort to boost Democratic voter turnout within a state that has consistently been bad for Democrats during mid terms.
“Your vote will decide the course that Wisconsin takes. So don’t let anybody tell you your vote doesn’t matter,” Obama said. “It’s an excuse and it’s just not true.”
On Friday, October 24, former Gov. of Arkansas and 42nd President of United States, Bill Clinton also campaigned in Milwaukee to support Mary Burke and push for high voter turnout.
The crowd grew rowdier as President Obama highlighted some of Gov. Walker’s achievements. The focus was recent comments made by Gov. Walker where he said raising the minimum wage served no purpose.
“Folks who are working hard every day cleaning out bedpans, cleaning out office buildings, making folks’ beds, taking care of some of our seniors, shouldn’t be raising their families in poverty,” Obama said.
Between the intense cheering and chanting, a woman in the crowd upset about the broken immigration system heckled the President to which he slammed opposition in Congress stonewalling any comprehensive immigration reform; asking the lady to protest Republicans in Congress instead.
The focus of this campaigning effort, and the evening was Mary Burke who was greeted with repeated chants of her name. Burke made the usual rhetorical statements and asked voters to urgently assess the political climate in the state.
“We’re all on the same team,” said Burke. “Governor Walker? He just doesn’t get it.”
Burke laid out her campaign speech pointing to a sluggish economy, lack of affordable healthcare and a failing public school system in the state. However, her primary focus was also on raising the state minimum wage to $10.10.
A Georgetown and Harvard alumni, former commerce secretary, and a member of the Madison School Board, Burke is tied at 47 percent in a heated gubernatorial battle. A loss for incumbent Gov. Walker would significantly tarnish his chances of seeking the Republic ticket for President in 2016.
Crowds gathered outside North Division High School hours ahead of time mostly to watch the President of the United States even as the temperatures dropped and cold winds picked up. Milwaukee resident, Tracy Christopher was elated to see the President. She believes a current President and a former President of the United States campaigning for Burke would greatly boost voter turnout in favor of Democrats.
“It’s been rocky with Gov. Scott Walker and it’s time for a change,” said Christopher. “I hope Mary Burke in office can switch things up a bit.”
Milwaukee residents Jane McCormick and Karen Swartzberg, who are ardent supporters of Obama, and now Burke, were excited to see the President in person, but had another reason to attend this event.
“I brought my 18-year-old son, who is just about to vote, for him to see the process and get excited about what’s about to happen next week,” said McCormick.
The event included appearances from several members of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin in an effort to rally the base. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, County Executive Chris Abele, Rep. Gwen More and Democratic Party candidate for Attorney General Susan Happ spoke to a home crowd where more than 99 percent of residents cast ballots for President Obama.
Rep. Gwen Moore, a graduate of North Division high school, shared a personal anecdote of fighting for a new school building during her time as President of the student council.
“Who knew the President of the student council would host the President of the United States,” said Moore.
Early voting has already begun. Last day to vote is November 4.