President Joe Biden will announce new investments for Black-owned businesses during Milwaukee visit

Biden's visit is his third to Wisconsin this year

President Biden gestures as he speaks from behind a podium.
President Joe Biden speaks Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2023, at Ingeteam Inc. in Milwaukee, Wis. Angela Major/WPR

President Joe Biden will make an announcement about new investments to support Black-owned businesses across the nation during a trip to Milwaukee Wednesday.

It’s Biden’s seventh visit to Wisconsin as president and his third this year ahead of the 2024 election. The trip is yet another reminder of the importance the swing state will play in the election, as Vice President Kamala Harris also announced this week she’ll be visiting Wisconsin in January to discuss abortion rights.

In an interview with WPR, Tom Perez, a senior advisor and assistant to the president, said Biden plans to visit the Wisconsin Black Chamber of Commerce. There, he will announce that the Grow Milwaukee Coalition is one of 22 finalists to receive a grant from the federal Recompete Program. Perez said there were over 500 applications across the country and that the Milwaukee organization will receive a $500,000 grant to continue their work.

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“Their proposal is to really help revitalize the 30th Street Industrial Corridor and to create jobs and to connect the community to economic opportunity that exists really across the city and across the region,” Perez said.

Perez said the Recompete Program, announced earlier this year, is designed to create jobs and spur economic growth. He also said Biden has been looking to invest in underserved communities across the nation during his time as president.

“The president has been all about expanding opportunity, and that’s what today is all about,” Perez said.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden will use the visit to Milwaukee to highlight how his agenda is driving a boom in Black-owned small businesses.

“He’s going to announce new investments to support small Black businesses, specifically in Milwaukee,” Jean-Pierre said.

Jean-Pierre said Black business ownership across the nation is growing at its fastest pace in 30 years.

“This is what the president is all about, investing in America, making sure cities like Milwaukee benefit from the work that he’s doing … these legislation that have been signed into law and seeing the actual benefit,” she said.

The visit comes as Biden’s approval rating in November was 40 percent, according to a Marquette University Law School Poll. That poll also found former president Donald Trump was leading Biden among registered voters in the 2024 race for president.

Wisconsin has been a crucial swing state in recent national races. Biden flipped Wisconsin blue in 2020 after Trump won the 2016 presidential election. Milwaukee will also play host to the 2024 Republican National Convention, a move by Republicans to try and take back Wisconsin after Biden narrowly defeated Trump in 2020.

Democrats have historically performed very well in Milwaukee County. In 2020, Biden won nearly 70 percent of the popular vote in the county. But Republicans have been increasingly dominant in smaller and more rural communities across the state.

In August, Biden toured Ingeteam Inc., — a clean energy manufacturing company — one day before the one-year anniversary of the signing of the Inflation Reduction Act. Vice President Harris was also in Wisconsin over the summer, as she praised new plans from Nokia to manufacture broadband network electronics in Kenosha County.