MILWAUKEE (SPECTRUM NEWS) — At least seven presidential candidates will come face-to-face with more than 10,000 prospective voters in Milwaukee this week for the annual League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) National Conference.
What is LULAC?
The organization is the largest and oldest advocacy group aimed at tackling Hispanic American issues.
“Annually, LULAC engages its network of 135,000 community volunteers, 1,000 local councils, 60 community technology centers and 14 LULAC National Educational Service Centers to empower Hispanic families through direct service programs and advocacy in 35 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico,” according to the group’s mission statement.
LULAC holds a national convention every year to engage its membership politically and raise awareness for national topics impacting immigrants and Latin people.
“We start activating our civic engagement, one of the goals we have as LULAC, even though we're nonpartisan, is to make sure people register to vote, get out and vote and make sure people make a difference in their neighborhoods and communities,” said Domingo Garcia, LULAC president.
This year, the group is celebrating its 90th anniversary in Milwaukee at the Wisconsin Center.
Wisconsin played a key role in handing Donald Trump an electoral college victory in 2016.
He narrowly beat Hillary Clinton by fewer than 23,000 votes or less than 1 point.
Spectrum News spoke with a few local political party leaders in Wisconsin for the special report Battleground 2020: The Midwest and they believe his win came down to his consistent presence in the state and and Clinton’s apparent lack of engagement with this part of the country after the primary.
“We feel like we’ve been left out of the process,” said Tammy Woods, chair of the Sauk County, Wisconsin’s Democratic Party. “[Trump] was able to tap into that subset, you know ‘Im going to drain the swamp, I’m going to change all that stuff, it’s going to be about you and we didn’t get that from Hillary.”
Midwestern voters said his message resonated well with them, which is part of the reason why he was able to win other “Blue states” in the upper Midwest like Michigan and West Pennsylvania.
“One of the things that happened in 2016 is that there were more people that were coming up to me as someone who’s known as a conservative in the community and kind of muttering under their breath that they were a Trump supporter or just that they were tired of the Washington inside politics and something spoke to them and I think it’s something that a lot of people just felt like they were a part of the forgotten group,” said Scott Frostman, the vice chair of Sauk County’s Republican Party.
Democrats are now looking to rebuild the “Blue Wall” that Trump was able to pierce.
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) announced in March it would hold it’s convention in Milwaukee.
“If we’re going to take back the White House, restore the guard rails of our democracy, and make government work for American families, we need to earn it,” said DNC chair Tom Perez.
Seven presidential hopefuls are scheduled to make an appearance at this year’s LULAC Conference.
Former U.S. Rep. John Delaney will speak at the opening banquet on Wednesday.
Author and activist Marianne Williamson is a featured speaker during LULAC’s Women’s Hall of Fame Luncheon on Friday.
Sen. Corey Booker will be speaking at the organization’s Presidential Awards Banquet on Friday.
Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke and former U.S. Secretary of HUD Julián Castro will address the event’s attendees in a more formal setting during a presidential town hall on Thursday.
The forum will air on Spectrum News 1 Wisconsin from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. CT.
Each participant will individually address the audience and answer questions about their campaigns.
LULAC leadership say Pres. Donald Trump and members of his administration were invited to attend the event but declined.
Follow along with live updates from the presidential town hall tomorrow night here:
Editor's Note: Charter Communications is a sponsor of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) National Conference.