Pence, Harris campaign in battleground state of Wisconsin
MILWAUKEE, Wis. (WBAY/AP) - Democratic candidate Joe Biden is collecting a trio of Labor Day endorsements from organized labor while running mate Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence are set to campaign in Wisconsin as the 2020 presidential race, disrupted for months by the pandemic, enters its final phase.
Biden was heading Monday to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, for an AFL-CIO virtual town hall with union President Richard Trumka. President Donald Trump planned an afternoon news conference from the White House.
Both campaigns see Wisconsin as a prize that could be pivotal.
This marks Harris’ first solo foray out on the campaign trail for in-person events since she was announced as Biden’s running mate nearly a month ago. Senator Harris toured an International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Training Facility, and according to the campaign, spoke with members and Wisconsin labor leadership about Biden’s commitment to workers and organized labor.
IBEW issued the following statement regarding Harris’ visit on Monday:
“The Milwaukee Electrical JATC was honored to welcome 2020 Vice President candidate Kamala Harris to our training facility,” said Business Manager Dean Warsh. “Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have been longtime proponents of organized labor. Kamala saw firsthand how the state-of-the-art training center provides a no-cost education to the region’s men and women who want to become electrical workers. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have a long record of standing up for union members, and we believe it’s in the best interest of IBEW members to elect Joe president. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are the best choice for the IBEW, because they have taken the time to listen to what our members have to say about the biggest challenges facing our country. Under the Biden-Harris ticket, IBEW members will always have a seat at the table in a Biden administration.”
Campaign officials say after visiting the facility, Harris is expected to attend a “Build Black Better” roundtable with Black Milwaukee business owners, and discuss how the administration, if elected, would advance racial equity. The roundtable started around 4 p.m.
Harris started her trip to Milwaukee visiting with the family of Jacob Blake, 29, who was shot in the back by a Kenosha police officer and apparently paralyzed. The pool reporter says the visit included Blake’s father, sisters and attorneys with Blake and his mother joining by phone. Attorneys say the visit lasted one hour.
“They’re an incredible family,” Harris said after the meeting, “and what they’ve endured and they do it with such dignity and grace. And you know, they’re carrying the weight of a lot of voices on their shoulders.”
Presidential candidate Joe Biden also met with Jacob Blake’s family at General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee when he came to tour Kenosha last week. Biden spoke with Blake by phone from the hospital. Before Thursday’s visit, Biden hadn’t been to Wisconsin in nearly two years, despite the Democratic National Convention being held in Milwaukee. Neither Biden nor Harris traveled to the city for the DNC, and opted to deliver their nomination speeches virtually due to the pandemic.
On Tuesday, Dr. Jill Biden will be holding a listening session with Wisconsin State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski and mothers from the Green Bay area at 1:30 p.m. to discuss how families are juggling back to school, work and parenting during the pandemic.
Anyone who would like to join in on the event can RSVP by clicking here.
Pence flew aboard Air Force Two to visit Dairyland Power Cooperative in La Crosse. He was greeted on the tarmac by U.S. Senator Ron Johnson. Pence talked about jobs, the economy and efforts to manufacture a safe vaccine for the coronavirus. He also spoke about protests that have been happening in Kenosha, after a police officer shot Jacob Blake, leaving him paralyzed.
Pence did not mention Blake by name. He said police use of excessive force would be investigated, but there is no excuse for rioting. “There is no excuse for rioting and looting in Kenosha and in cities across the country, and this violence against civilians, against property and against law enforcement must stop and it must stop now,” the vice president said.
He added that a Trump administration would never defund police departments.
Pence also spoke about the race to create an effective vaccine for the coronavirus. He said that while Biden has said there is no miracle, America is “in the miracle business” and he said there would be a safe, effective vaccine for COVID-19 before the end of the year.
You can watch Pence’s full speech by clicking here.
President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have made regular visits to the Badger State, with Trump having visited Kenosha last Tuesday to meet with law enforcement who responded during three nights of violence following the shooting of Jacob Blake.
Recent polls have Biden with a lead over the president in Wisconsin.
Action 2 News will continue to provide updates regarding the visits by Pence and Harris on-air, online and on our First Alert app.
Copyright 2020 WBAY. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.