These 6 Local Leaders Represented Wisconsin During the DNC

Here’s what they said to all of America.

THOUGH MILWAUKEE LOST its chance to be the physical host of this year’s DNC, its voice was still heard nationwide through the six Wisconsin speakers at the virtual convention. Here are the highlights of each DNC speaker from our state.


1. Gwen Moore

Rep. Moore kicked off the first night of the convention with a bang, enamoring all of America with the midwestern charm we all know and love and singing Milwaukee’s praises. “This is a city where blood was shed for labor rights, where a fugitive slave was freed from prison, where women’s right to vote was first ratified,” Moore said. “Today, we gather virtually. However, we gather unified in spirit, unified in our values and purpose to heal divisions and together move the nation confidently into a prosperous, inclusive future.”

Congresswoman Gwen Moore of Wisconsin on stage during Monday night of the Democratic National Convention. Photo by Alex Hanel/DNCC
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2. Tom Barrett

Milwaukee’s long-standing mayor gaveled in the second night of the DNC. More than any other Wisconsin speaker, he addressed all of our city’s discontents with the loss of the convention while still managing to stay on the bright side. “As much as we would have loved to host you in person, I am proud that the Democratic Party and the city of Milwaukee have made the health of our residents our number one priority,” Barrett said. “I look forward to the day when you are all able to come experience our beautiful lakefront, our historic neighborhoods and, above all, our diverse, hardworking and friendly residents.”

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett on stage during the Democratic National Convention. Photo courtesy of DNCC

3. Jason Rae

Rae didn’t have a speech per se, but he did have an important job of reading the names of the 57 states and territories featured in the convention’s roll call across America. It was great to see and hear the youngest person ever elected to the DNC representing Milwaukee on a national stage. My favorite quote of his from the night? “Wisconsin.”

Secretary of the Democratic National Committee and Milwaukee native Jason Rae moderated the Tuesday night roll call live from Milwaukee. Photo by Alex Hanel/DNCC

4. Mandela Barnes

Barnes, our current lieutenant governor, represented Wisconsin during the roll call. Before nominating Vice President Joe Biden for president, he made sure to recognize his Milwaukee roots. “It’s the place where I was born and raised, right in the heart of the 53206 ZIP code,” Barnes said. “This is a community that’s been faced with some significant challenges due to historical injustice, but what many don’t see is the joy, the resilience and opportunity that lies within this community and so many others across America just like it.”

Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes speaks on behalf of Wisconsin during the Tuesday night roll call. Photo by Alex Hanel/DNCC

5. Tony Evers

Evers took his short speech to reassure Wisconsin and America that even while separated by the pandemic, unity has never been more important. “Especially during challenging times like these, the problems we face can only be solved by all of us together,” Evers said. “Holy mackerel, folks. Let’s get to work.”

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers introduces another night of convention programming on Wednesday. Photo by Alex Hanel/DNCC

6. Tammy Baldwin

Sen. Baldwin’s speech included stories from her childhood highlighting America’s flawed health insurance (“I got better, but the insurance companies sure didn’t,”) and from her career working with Biden and President Barack Obama to guarantee insurance for dependents up to age 25 (“We got that done, and yes, it was a big effing deal,”). Ultimately, she asked America what kind of country it wanted to be. “I think we know the answer to that fundamental question, because most of us want the same things: good schools in our neighborhoods, racial justice, the freedom to love who we want, dignity in our work and an economy where small businesses and working families thrive,” Baldwin said. “And over the past months we’ve added another to that list: a nation free from COVID” 

Senator Tammy Baldwin speaks form the convention stage in Milwaukee on Thursday night. Photo by Alex Hanel/DNCC

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Jude is an editorial intern at Milwaukee Magazine. He is a rising sophomore at Northwestern University studying journalism, gender and sexuality studies and theatre.