Barrett: DNC is both challenge, opportunity for hosting G7 in Milwaukee

Expected to bring hundreds of media and thousands of international government officials

Last updated on March 17th, 2020 at 01:37 pm

The 2020 Democratic National Convention could be Milwaukee’s ticket to hosting the Group of Seven summit of world leaders one month prior, or it could stand as a roadblock for the city’s efforts to attract it.

Mayor Tom Barrett last week announced he had written to President Donald Trump last week to recommend Milwaukee as a potential host city for the event, set to take place June 10 to 12, 2020. Touting recent economic growth, Barrett said Milwaukee could help highlight “impacts from world forces on the U.S. economy.”

Barrett on Thursday held a press conference to update the media on his efforts to attract the G7. He was joined by Marty Brooks, CEO of the Wisconsin Center District, and Peggy Williams-Smith, the new CEO of VISIT Milwaukee, who discussed Milwaukee’s unique position as a potential host city.

With the G7 summit and the DNC only a month apart, Barrett said Milwaukee would already have necessary security infrastructure in place to support another high-profile political event.

However, there are potential concerns with where the G7 would be held as the DNC’s national host committee is set to take over the Wisconsin Center by June 8.

“Where we sit here today, there is certainly an opportunity to reach out to the DNC about our plans for that first week when the G7 would be,” said Brooks.

In addition, enough hotel rooms would need to be secured to accommodate G7 attendees, said Williams-Smith, who called the event a “natural fit” for the city. Officials expect the event to bring “hundreds of media and thousands of finance/diplomatic/trade/security staff people from the various countries.”

She said if the DNC gets in the way of hosting the G7 in Milwaukee, there are other areas of the state that could handle the endeavor.

Barrett suggested Lake Geneva or Waukesha County as possible host sites, and said the next step is generating regional interest.

“I want us to work together to reach other municipalities in southeastern Wisconsin particularly to see who would have the capacity to host an event like this, to put some meat on the bones,” Barrett said.

The G7 would add to the region’s ongoing momentum around hosting large scale events such as the DNC and the 2020 Ryder Cup in Sheboygan County. It would be the first time the summit would take place in the Midwest.

“If this were to come to fruition, I’d view it as a win for the entire state,” Barrett said. “This is the type of even that captures people’s attention and I want people to see Wisconsin.”

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Maredithe Meyer covers restaurants, retail, tourism, and sports and entertainment. She joined BizTimes in 2015, previously as an intern reporter. She earned a degree in journalism from Marquette University in 2017. When she's not on the job, Maredithe coaches field hockey and loves exploring her favorite city on earth, Milwaukee.

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