A Presidential visit for Milwaukee: Laborfest volunteers make last-minute preparations

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- A Presidential visit in Milwaukee on Labor Day! Preparations were underway Sunday at Maier Festival Park -- with volunteers preparing to welcome President Barack Obama to Milwaukee's Laborfest celebration on Monday, September 1st.

The exact details of President Obama's schedule aren't being disclosed, but he is expected to land in Milwaukee on Monday afternoon. He will be greeted by Governor Scott Walker, Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. Then, he'll head to Maier Festival Park -- where he's expected to speak during Milwaukee's Laborfest celebration.

There was a flurry of activity on Sunday at the gate to Maier Festival Park, as Laborfest volunteers, organizers and vendors worked to get things ready.

"Back in the 90s, we had President Clinton. This isn't our first rodeo, so we've done this a few times," Laborfest organizer Sheila Cochran said.

Cochran says this will be President Obama's third visit to Laborfest. He came as a senator in 2008, and again in 2010.

"We're a good union town. We've got a good workforce and a lot of people that really like him and give him a lot of love when he shows up," Cochran said.

Much has changed for organized labor in Wisconsin since President Obama's last visit to Laborfest -- as the state became the epicenter of the debate over worker's rights.

"There are those people who figure labor is dead. Well I've got news for them -- we're not," Cochran said.

A new Marquette University Law School Poll shows an even split of opinion on Act 10 -- the legislation that largely eliminated collective bargaining for public sector workers. The same poll shows Republican Governor Walker and Democratic challenger for governor Mary Burke in a dead heat.

"The last thing Mark Burke wants to do is associate with someone whose domestic policies have not worked for the middle class when she needs the middle class," Rep. Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield) said.

With the General Election coming up in November, President Obama's visit could serve to re-energize the labor base.

"I think the President is doing what he's most comfortable doing -- and that's campaigning," Rep. Kooyenga said.

"I think we are still loud and proud, may have been a little bit, we got maybe a wing bent, but that heals," Cochran said.

Those attending Laborfest should expect security similar to what you would find at the airport.

President Obama's speech is a ticketed event. Only those who have tickets will be allowed on the grounds during his speech.

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