Gov. Tony Evers opens third night of DNC in Milwaukee

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Gov. Tony Evers kicks off the third night of the DNC in Milwaukee. Screenshot from DNC livestream.

Gov. Tony Evers, who spoke on the third night of the Democratic National Convention, called for a return to “kindness, respect, empathy and civility” to the White House, underscoring the significance of togetherness amidst adversity. 

“What unites us is far, far greater than what divides us,” Evers said, opening the DNC for its third night.

Milwaukee, the city originally chosen to host the convention, expected to draw 50,000 visitors before the coronavirus pandemic forced the event to go mostly virtual.  

“We were really looking forward to having you here in America’s dairy-land,” Evers said. “Unfortunately, the pandemic means we can’t do that this year.” 

Although in-person events for the convention have been drastically downscaled, Evers said voters can unite under the shared purpose of electing Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

“They know, especially during challenging times like these, the problems we face can only be solved by all of us together,” Evers said.

Evers, the 46th governor of Wisconsin, spent the first four decades of his professional career in the education system. Formerly a schoolteacher, he climbed ranks to assume the positions of school administrator, principal and later state superintendent. 

Evers defeated then-incumbent Gov. Scott Walker in 2018. The appreciably close election — Evers won 49.5% of the vote while Walker won 48.4% — now draws retrospective comparisons to the 2020 presidential election. In both elections, Democrats issued an amiable, moderate challenger to unseat a disputatious Republican incumbent.

As governor, Evers defended his decision to allow individual schools to choose their fall reopening plans, despite teacher’s unions in the state’s five largest school districts urging him and other leaders to start the school year remotely.

The City of Milwaukee Health Department announced colleges would be able to proceed with in-person education provided the institutions implement strong safety plans. While Milwaukee Public Schools chose to begin the year virtually, Wisconsin’s suburban schools and private colleges are mostly opting for a hybrid modality. 

Marquette is moving forward with plans to reopen this fall with a mixture of in-person, hybrid, and online course options. 

Evers concluded his speech with a hearty Midwestern truism: “Holy mackerel folks, let’s get to work.”

This story was written by Lelah Byron. She can be reached at lelah.byron@marquette.edu.