"This is a great day for the city of Milwaukee and for the state of Wisconsin,” said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in a statement. “Milwaukee is a first-class city, and we are ready to showcase Milwaukee on one of the largest stages in the world.”
The Associated Press and The Wall Street Journal on Monday began reporting that Milwaukee landed the convention immediately after Barrett's State of the City address, held at Fiserv Forum.
Asked about the reports, Barrett drew from a line in his address, saying Milwaukee is "fighting back" in the decade following the economic crisis and housing market collapse.
"...My view is this is a city that fights back. And I think hosting the first ever political convention for a major party in this city’s history is monumental.”
Barrett pointed to Milwaukee's strategic location in the Midwest as a big selling point for the convention.
"Certainly I think the fact that we are part of the country that is important to them (the Democrats)," he said. "I think that's true for both parties. I think that was a major factor. I think we established for their purposes that we can do this."The four-day convention will mainly take place at Fiserv Forum in downtown Milwaukee, but there will be approximately 1,500 related events being held at venues throughout the city, impacting Milwaukee’s corporate, nonprofit, and small business communities, the local bid committee said.
"The goal is to make sure that Milwaukee serves as a great showcase for the trophy of the 2020 convention," said Tim Sheehy, president of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce.Sheehy said the convention, as the largest and most important event taking place in 2020, will put Milwaukee in the national and global spotlight. With the convention falling in between Summerfest and Festa Italiana, he said local business owners and leaders can look forward to the summer of 2020 being busier than usual. Preparations for the convention on a city, county and statewide level have already begun, according to the bid committee. Those efforts include fundraising and enlisting "thousands" of volunteers who will help execute the event. The bid committee late last year launched the Supplier Diversity Initiative, which is an effort to recruit local, diverse businesses– meaning minority-, women-, LGBT-, service disabled-, or veteran-owned– to contract products or services with the convention and its committee. Milwaukee area hotels are also preparing to provide the approximate 15,000 rooms that are used nightly during the convention. Weeks before Milwaukee was selected as host city, The Pfister and Potawatomi Hotel & Casino had already reserved all rooms and accommodations for the convention's use, according to a report from WISN 12, a media partner of BizTimes Milwaukee. Due to the scale of the event, hotels in other areas of the the state have made similar arrangements. Last week, The Edgewater hotel in Madison confirmed it is holding rooms for the convention, though the amount was not disclosed. In addition, Destination Kohler, which operates five-star hotel The American Club and other hospitality concepts, said it has the convention "on the calendar and is planning accordingly." Milwaukee's hotel accommodations were reportedly a major concern for the DNC throughout its deliberation process, but according to Visit Milwaukee, the area is equipped with the necessary number of hotel rooms.