By Karen Stokes
Former President Barack Obama rallies Democrats last Saturday, at Milwaukee’s North Division High School, ten days ahead of the Nov. 8 midterm elections.
This is his third time speaking at North Division.
Congresswoman Gwen Moore, one of the speakers at the rally, is a graduate of North Division and a former president of the student council.
Obama brought energy and excitement to the crowd of hundreds while stumping for Gov. Tony Evers and his running mate Sara Rodriguez, Attorney General Josh Kaul and Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, who is running for U.S. Senate. “You’ve got the chance to vote for a great and decent governor like Tony Evers,” Obama said.
“You’ve got a chance to vote for an outstanding young man who will work hard for you, Mandela Barnes.”
President Obama touched on a range of issues including women’s reproductive rights, the state of democracy and the economy. He heavily stressed the importance of voting.
Voter excitement often wanes during midterm elections. Black voter turnout across the state of Wisconsin has declined in recent electoral cycles, according to statewide polling.
“The reason I am here is simple, I am here to ask you to vote,” Obama said. “He also added that if voters didn’t vote in their best interest, their rights may be in jeopardy.
About Johnson’s view of Social Security, Obama said, “If he understands giving tax breaks for private planes more than he understands that making sure seniors who have worked all their lives are able to retire with dignity and respect, he’s not the person who is thinking about you and knows you and sees you, and he should not be your senator from Wisconsin.”
The crowd booed at mentions of Johnson and Michels, where Obama told them, “Don’t boo — vote.”
“Nobody can hear you boo outside this auditorium.
But they’ll hear your vote,” he said.
“It’s not enough to elect Democrats like Mandela Barnes and Tony Evers, you gotta elect good people up and down the ballot because if things get close, it could make all the difference,” he said.
Sen. Tammy Baldwin also spoke during the rally, and other influential Democrats including Lt. Gov. candidate Sara Rodriguez, Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson, Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley, Attorney General Josh Kaul, Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes and Governor Tony Evers.
“It’s imperative to vote because there’s a hidden agenda and we’re being distracted by a lot of rhetoric,” said Phil Hudson, who attended the rally. “We have to vote to make sure that our voice is heard. Republicans are trying to push us back and we need to move forward.”
Obama ended his speech encouraging voters to vote early and make the effort to tell others to vote as well.