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LULAC to bring estimated 20,000 people, $2.5 million to Milwaukee

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The League of United Latin American Citizens says 20,000 visitors will pour cash into the Milwaukee economy during the LULAC conference this week.

“LULAC attendees are using the hotel rooms, they’re dining at the restaurants, they’re flying into General Mitchell, and so it has a huge economic benefit for the city,” Visit Milwaukee Convention Sales Manager Gus Martinez said.

LULAC has worked to advance Hispanic civil rights for 90 years, but CEO Sindy Benavides says everyone is welcome to attend events.

“These are issues that impact all Americans," Benavides said. "Whether it’s the issue of healthcare access, or education or immigration.”

The conference has drawn several presidential candidates like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Beto O’Rourke as speakers in a presidential town hall.

Wisconsin Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa, D-Milwaukee, says it’s a good test for next years DNC.

“I really see this as almost a dry run for DNC 2020," Zamarripa said. "It says a lot that these national conventions are choosing Milwaukee. It shows that we’re on the cutting edge. We’re a fast-growing city.”

The DNC will be much larger and bring in more money, at about $200 million compared to the $2.5 million for LULAC.

Martinez says LULAC is a good "springboard" on the way to the DNC.

“It’s just going to be a good run for us to see how we can do it," Martinez said. "Keep people safe. How can we make sure we’re doing a good experience. A pleasant experience for attendees. So it’s going to be in that sense, good for us.”

Events will run from Wednesday to Saturday. The presidential town hall will be on Friday but is already full. Most events are free to attend.

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