Opened: July 23rd
Where: Upper East Side, near the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Office space: Small storefront, 100-year-old historic building
Special guest: Wisconsin State Senator Chris Larson
What’s the office like?
Field Organizer Bobby Brady: The office itself is just one room in a building that’s over 100 years old. It has lot of character, and I like to call our office very grassroots by all accounts. Our Regional Field Director says it’s her favorite office in the state. But that’s simply because we’ve put so much time into making it completely beautiful. We have some of the best handmade signs, and what once was a very cold office is now a warm, inviting, and exciting office to be in. We transformed an old, old office built in 1883 into one of most exciting places to be in Wisconsin—maybe not in terms of space and size, but just in terms of the way it looks and the energy that’s in there.
How was the grand opening?
BB: When we started the event, it was really exciting because we’d spent all day setting up, and people started showing up half an hour early. And not just a few—we had 20 to 30 people show up early because that’s how excited they were about the fact that an office was opening in their area that they didn’t know about before. One of the most exciting things was that a lot of people who were there had shown up for the very first time. They had not been out for a canvass or phone banks before, and it gave them a great opportunity to see where we were and to meet our team leaders and team members on the East Side.
How was the vibe?
BB: Everybody was super excited to be there. The energy in that room really matched the energy that I saw in 2008. I had the opportunity to make my pitch to the whole crowd about how much one person’s actions in support of President Obama make a difference, and it sends out a ripple of hope. When one person works together with a team of people, it makes momentous change in the community. We had at least 25 people sign up for the It Takes One weekend of action just last night. The office opening was a memory that I know, just from the energy in the room, is gonna last a lifetime.
Did you talk to anyone interesting?
BB: One conversation I had with a woman in my turf—they have a lot of assisted living homes on the East Side, and this woman, Mary, was literally so excited about the event that she had called her daughter and asked her to change her schedule so she could get a ride to the office. So I was talking with her, and she was telling me that a lot of citizens in her building are having issues getting registered because they don’t have people engaging them. So Mary and I are now meeting one-on-one in her building this week, and we’re gonna talk about putting together a team in her building and across the East Side.
What happens now?
BB: This weekend kicks off the bulk of our voter contact program, and from here on out, we’ll be doing a weekly canvass and three weekly team phone banks. The great thing about the East Side of Milwaukee is that, being so close to UWM, it gives us an amazing opportunity to do high-traffic events, tons of voter registration, and collect tons of pledge cards. There’s an insane amount of festivals, so we have the chance to meet the voters where they’re at, expand our base, and really talk to voters to make sure they’re up on issues, they’re registered at their current address, and that they vote for the President. We’re gonna be very, very busy all the way ‘til November.