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Milwaukee, Fiserv Forum to host 2020 Democratic National Convention

Watch: Milwaukee to host 2020 DNC

Watch: Mayor Barrett and Milwaukee Common Council sign official agreement for the 2020 Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee.

More: Interviews about the DNC in Milwaukee from Steve Scaffidi Show with the Milwaukee Business Journal's Mark Kass and Tracy Johnson, CEO and President of CARW.

For one week next summer, Milwaukee will have the world stage, perhaps more than it ever has at any point in its history.

The Democratic National Committee has chosen Milwaukee and Fiserv Forum, home of the Milwaukee Bucks, as its site for the 2020 Democratic National Convention. It will be held on July 13-16.

Watch: Wisconsin Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin's message about the Milwaukee 2020 announcement.

"Now that we have that convention, the eyes of the world will be on Milwaukee," said Bucks Vice President Alex Lasry, who co-led the effort to bring the event to the Brew City.

"Over 50,000 people will be coming here, seeing what Milwaukee has to offer. This is our chance to reintroduce ourselves."

Few events have brought larger numbers of travelers to Milwaukee. Some of them include Harley-Davidson anniversaries held every five years, or the American Legion convention in 1941.

But none will have the world's attention like the event where the expected challenger for President Donald Trump will be chosen, leading to perhaps the most watched election in world history, one in which the convention will be the committee's best platform - and the best for Milwaukee in its history.

"I think they see what this would mean to the city. They see that by coming here, they're going to be THE game in town. This isn't just another convention for Milwaukee. This is THE convention for Milwaukee."

Lasry says the work began in 2018 with Mayor Tom Barrett and Congresswoman Gwen Moore to lay the foundation for a successful bid, one which has been discerned for Milwaukee in the past.

"We really just wanted to figure out a way to put Milwaukee on the map in a way it just hadn't been," explained Lasry.

With the Democrats losing Wisconsin in 2016, we figured Milwaukee is a really interesting political city, and Wisconsin is a really interesting state. We talked about how in past year, we didn't get the convention because we didn't have the proper facilities. With the opening of the Fiserv Forum and this new downtown boom going on, we looked at this as the best opportunity to get this convention and promote Milwaukee in a way it just hasn't been before."

Lasry also credits the business community, with support coming from those who align themselves on both sides of the aisle.

"You've got Democrats and Republicans, people on both sides of the aisle who see the benefit of what a convention like this would do for the city," said Lasry.

"Everyone's on board with this. An effort like this couldn't happen without the backing of the business community, because we need a lot of their help in terms of being able to raise money and make sure we are able to have the resources available."

Southeastern Wisconsin is reaching the spotlight in other ways. Milwaukee is a candidate to host the 2023 NBA All-Star Game at Fiserv Forum. Also in 2020, Sheboygan will host the 2020 Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits, an hour north of Milwaukee.

All that plus the Democratic convention in Milwaukee plays into a master plan for the region to reach the world's eyes on a greater scale than ever, according to Lasry.

"What we want to do with this convention is not to have a bunch of Democrats running around the city. That's irrelevant to our thinking. What we really wanted to do was put Milwaukee on the map in a way that it hasn't been, and have Milwaukee in the conversation of Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Denver, Austin. We should be in that conversation."


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