VP Kamala Harris to focus on jobs at roundtable in Milwaukee

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Vice President Kamala Harris will be hosting a roundtable focusing on jobs in the Milwaukee area on Tuesday, May 4. The White House released its official itinerary for Vice President Harris' visit Monday night. 

Air Force Two will be arriving at the 128th refueling station by 11:30 a.m. Her first stop is UWM's clean energy labs. 

The vice president will then participate in a roundtable on the investments in R&D in the American Jobs Plan. 

She's expected to depart just before 5 p.m.

“So for Vice President Harris to come here, it’s not just about appealing to the Milwaukee blue collar voters, the Wisconsin blue collar voters --it’s to have a backdrop that feels fitting for an audience that sort of encompasses most of America,” said Mordecai Lee, UWM Professor Emeritus. "This is an effort to say just like in Milwaukee, all of you listening, you’re gonna benefit from this legislative proposal.”

CBS 58's Brendan Cullerton on Monday, May 3, talked with both state parties. Democrats say Harris will talk about connecting people in this community with jobs. Republicans say her time would be better spent at the nation's southern border. 

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and State Representative Christine Sinicki, (D-Milwaukee), will attend the roundtable Tuesday. Sinicki says the visit will help create support for Biden's blue collar job creation and infrastructure plans 

“Anytime you have the White House, or somebody from the administration in a city, it brings a lot of attention to that goal," said Rep. Sinicki. 
“You know Milwaukee’s been a place that is still suffering from high unemployment in parts of the city so I’m hoping that she’s going to talk about things that will truly benefit Milwaukee."

Wisconsin Republican Party Chairman Andrew Hitt says Harris should focus on what he called the "crisis at the border," which he says impacts Wisconsinites. 

"Our social safety net programs are going to come under strain. Our criminal justice system could come under strain. Tens of thousands of people are crossing the border, and we don’t know who they are," said Hitt. “Hopefully she’ll talk about more than just infrastructure. Hopefully she will talk about what’s going on at the southern border. This border crisis is going to impact Wisconsin as it continues to spiral out of control.”

Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Ben Wikler says building Milwaukee's infrastructure is a goal for local Democrats. 

"Getting a federal partner who actually believes in building infrastructure and putting people to work to make our cities and our whole state a better place, that’s just exactly what the doctor ordered," Wikler said. 

Hitt says Biden's plan is too expensive, and refers to infrastructure in name only. 

"Less than 10-percent of it is going to what we typically be considered infrastructure; bridges, airports, roads, ports," said Hitt. 

The visit will be VP Harris’ first top in Milwaukee since taking office. 

After her Milwaukee stop, Vice President Harris is expected to travel to Baltimore and Cincinnati later this week.

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