The Democratic National Convention, which takes place July 13-16, 2020, marks the first major political party convention in Milwaukee’s history. More than 50,000 people are expected to travel to Milwaukee for the convention, including delegates, media, volunteers and tourists.

UWM experts can provide insight and context on a range of topics connected to Milwaukee, southeastern Wisconsin and the rest of the state. More information is available on UWM’s DNC 2020 website.


Joel Rast, Milwaukee and socialism
Milwaukee had three Socialist Party mayors in the 20th century, the last being Frank Zeidler, whose 12-year tenure ended in 1960. An associate professor of political science, Rast can discuss parallels between Milwaukee socialism and the kinds of ideas promoted by presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who says he supports democratic socialism. Rast can talk about the rise and decline of the political influence of Socialists in Milwaukee. He can also speak about some of the lasting legacies of the Socialist administrations including the city’s accessible lakefront and extensive park system

Thomas Holbrook, presidential campaigns and the political impact of conventions
A distinguished professor of political science, Holbrook can talk about the impact that a political convention can have on voters locally, regionally, statewide and nationally in a presidential race. Holbrook, who has studied campaigns for three decades, can provide context about Wisconsin’s status as a swing state as the 2020 race evolves, as well as voting trends by region within the state in presidential races.


Kyle Reynolds, Fiserv Forum and Milwaukee architecture
The 2020 convention will take place at the Fiserv Forum, the home of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks. Reynolds can talk about the building’s design as well as the unique characteristics of the burgeoning Deer District, the commercial and residential area surrounding the arena that opened in 2018. An associate professor of architecture, Reynolds can also speak about the history of the yellow, cream-colored bricks common in the Milwaukee area that give southeastern Wisconsin a distinctive look.


Brett Peters, state of manufacturing
Peters is the dean of UWM’s College of Engineering and Applied Science. An industrial engineer by training, Peters can talk about the present and future of manufacturing, which still represents the largest slice of the state’s economy. He can speak to why Wisconsin is among the strongest states for manufacturing and the digital transformation of manufacturing. Peters can also discuss changing industrial workforce needs, including the role of partnerships. The college recently established a Connected Systems Institute which partnered with industry and Microsoft to create “smart” factories that optimize production with data streaming on the internet of things.


Margaret Noodin, indigenous nations on Great Lakes coastline and freshwater agricultural practices
A professor of English and American Indian Studies, Noodin is also a scholar in the Center for Water Policy at the School of Freshwater Sciences. She can discuss her projects there including connecting the 48 indigenous nations on the Great Lakes coastline to one another and the center. She is also researching the revitalization of freshwater shoreline agricultural practices.


Amanda Seligman, history of Milwaukee and southeastern Wisconsin
As a lead editor of the Encyclopedia of Milwaukee, Seligman can help answer questions about Milwaukee’s past. With entries covering everything from Hall of Fame baseball player Henry (Hank) Aaron to former Mayor Frank Zeidler, the project aims to provide comprehensive coverage of the history of the city and region. Seligman is a professor of history.


Rachel Ida Buff, immigration in Wisconsin
Buff is an immigration historian who can discuss contemporary and historical immigrant populations in Wisconsin and across the United States. Her professional expertise focuses on the histories of deportation policy and immigrant rights. The history professor also writes about the intersections of mass media, public policy and international law. Her upcoming book is A is for Asylum Seeker: A Glossary of Terms for People on the Move.

Alberto Maldonado, undocumented students and related immigration issues
Maldonado is the director of UWM’s Roberto Hernández Center. He helps lead the Chancellor’s Committee for Hispanic Serving Initiatives at UWM, and has helped draft university policy for undocumented students. Also the chair of the Undocumented Student Task Force at UWM, Maldonado can speak to how the campus responds to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals issues as well as the university’s efforts to recruit and support students. He can do interviews in either English or Spanish.


Lingqian (Ivy) Hu, impact on traffic and commuting
With tens of thousands of visitors expected to come to Milwaukee for the convention, Hu can discuss ways to address traffic and transportation concerns for large-scale, one-time events. Hu is a professor and chair of urban planning. Her research also looks at how infrastructure investment decisions can affect socioeconomic groups including low-income households.