Next governor should appreciate Milwaukee

    This past weekend, Sharon from Michigan and her daughter made another of their frequent trips to Milwaukee.

    They come in every season and enjoy everything the Milwaukee area offers, especially the Milwaukee County Zoo. They enjoy repeat visits to museums and restaurants in downtown Milwaukee, as well as Cedarburg, Brookfield and Waukesha.

    They come here because they don’t like Detroit. And they enjoy Chicago best when they drive through it quickly and are on the way to Milwaukee. They simply can’t get enough of their favorite metropolitan area across the lake.

    As owners of Milwaukee’s only monthly visitor guide and visitor website, we believe there are many more Sharons in Michigan and Illinois. Again this year, we will reach out to Western Michigan with our May issue of Key Milwaukee through our partnership with the Lake Express high-speed ferry.

    Visit Milwaukee continues to lead the effort to bring both business and leisure travelers to our great city. Private enterprises that serve the needs of visitors, like Key and the Lake Express, need to assist them in this important endeavor.

    Unfortunately, our state’s tourism establishment in Madison traditionally is not as excited about the Milwaukee area as we are, let alone our friends from Muskegon. But that situation should change in nine months when a new governor is elected.

    Both Democrat Tom Barrett and Republican Scott Walker are the leading candidates to succeed Gov. Jim Doyle. Barrett currently is mayor of Milwaukee and Walker is Milwaukee County Executive. While the two may differ in the ways they would lead the state, both of them should give metro Milwaukee the attention it deserves as the state’s leading visitor destination.

    It will be a refreshing change in a state that has spent a year cutting back on its tourism program.

    Faced with the same financial challenges, other states did the opposite, expanding their programs in an effort to attract visitors and produce much-needed tax dollars.

    When a new Secretary of Tourism is appointed by Gov. Walker or Gov. Barrett, he or she would be wise to spend time talking to our two friends from Muskegon.


    Roger Stafford is the managing editor of the Key Milwaukee traveler’s guide (

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