Evers kicks off third night of virtual DNC as sole Wisconsin speaker

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Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers opened the third night of the virtual 2020 Democratic National Convention Wednesday as the only state elected official to appear during the two-hour primetime program.

Evers spoke for just over one minute, live from the Wisconsin Center in downtown Milwaukee, which is where the DNC was originally set to take place.

“We were really looking forward to having you here in America’s Dairyland. Unfortunately, the pandemic means we can’t do that this year, but what unites us is far, far great than what divides us,” he said.

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He used his air time largely to back the party’s push to get former Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Senator Kamala Harris elected as president and vice president of the United States, saying it’s time to restore “kindness, respect, empathy and civility” to the White House.

Evers sparked a reaction on Twitter when he closed his remarks with a true-to-form call to action: “Holy mackerel, folks. Let’s get to work.”

Several state and local Democrats have made brief appearances throughout the virtual convention. U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore spoke Monday, followed by Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, DNC secretary and Milwaukee native Jason Rae and Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes on Tuesday. Most have made mention of the missed opportunity to welcome 50,000 visitors to Milwaukee this week.

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U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin is scheduled to speak Thursday, the fourth and final night of the DNC.

Thursday night’s program will culminate with Biden officially accepting the Democratic Party’s nomination for president. Biden will give his acceptance speech from his home state of Delaware, instead of in Milwaukee as originally planned. Earlier this month, convention organizers announced that Biden and other top Democrats would not travel to the host city to deliver their speeches, in the interest of public health.

Thank to the COVID-19 pandemic, the DNC was reduced to an all-virtual affair, with convention proceedings, committee meetings, voting, and keynote speeches all taking place remotely.

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The Wisconsin Center in downtown Milwaukee remains the technical hub for the four-day convention. It houses a video control center taking in hundreds of live video feeds from across the country for the event’s nightly programming.

A full-scale convention was expected to bring 50,000 visitors to town and generate $200 million in economic impact to the area. VISIT Milwaukee estimates that what’s left of in-person DNC activity will have a $3 million economic impact on the city, and convention-related visitors will use about 4,000 hotel room nights this week.

The DNC is bringing about 250 people each day to the Wisconsin Center, according to Marty Brooks, president and CEO of the Wisconsin Center District.

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