2020 DNC: Milwaukee stage unveiled; Stacey Abrams among 17 ‘rising stars’ to give keynote address

Organizers on Sunday unveiled the main stage and control room for this week’s 2020 Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee.

The mostly virtual event, to be held Monday through Thursday, is anchored at the Wisconsin Center.

The stage features four American flags flanking a speaker’s podium with a photo of the Milwaukee skyline as the backdrop.

Top Wisconsin Democrats will speak from the venue. They include U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Gov. Tony Evers and U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin.

Democratic National Committee Secretary Jason Rae will oversee Tuesday’s roll call of states from the stage. Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes will participate in the roll call.

Cameras are in place and the stage is set as final preparations were taking place Sunday for the Democratic National Convention at the Wisconsin Center.

The control room, located in the convention center’s main exhibition space, is around the size of a small high school gymnasium.

Jessica Jennings, director of media logistics and production operations for the convention, said the control room provides “the technical backbone for how our convention will be seen by millions of viewers across the country.”

“We had to re-imagine a lot of what we’re doing because of the pandemic,” she said.

Work spaces are set six feet apart and there is ample use of Plexiglas around the production.

Jessica Jennings, director of media logistics and production operations, works in the control booth area as final preparations were taking place Sunday for the Democratic National Convention at the Wisconsin Center. The mostly virtual Democratic National Convention takes place Monday through Thursday in Milwaukee and across the nation.

“During the actual shoots, everyone will be in full PPE,” she said. “That’s because we’re trying to keep our host city safe and all of the people who are working on the convention safe.”

Democrats also announced “a new kind of keynote address,” featuring 17 speakers who are listed among the party’s “rising stars” and who will provide “a united call to action.”  

The group is led by Stacy Abrams, who lost a close race for governor in Georgia in 2018, and U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb of Pennsylvania.

Joe Solmonese, the convention’s chief executive, said in a statement: “The convention keynote has always been the bellwether for the future of our party and our nation, and when Americans tune in next week they’ll find the smart, steady leadership we need to meet this critical moment.”

The keynote address will take place Tuesday and features a mix of state senators, mayors, members of Congress; Jonathan Nez, president of the Navajo Nation; and Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried.

U.S. Reps. Colin Allred of Texas, Brendan Boyle of Pennsylvania, and mayors Robert Garcia of Long Beach and Randall Woodfin of Birmingham will speak.

The other speakers are state Reps. Raumesh Akbari of Tennessee, Yvanna Cancela of Nevada, Malcolm Kenyatta of Pennsylvania, Marlon Kimpson of South Carolina, Mari Manoogian of Michigan, Victoria Neave of Texas, Sam Park of Georgia, Denny Ruprecht of New Hampshire and former state Rep.Kathleen Clyde of Ohio.