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Voters share 'mixed emotions' ahead of Biden's primetime speech

President Biden is set to deliver a speech on Thursday at 7:00 C.T.
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Posted at 5:32 PM, Sep 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-01 19:33:04-04

MILWAUKEE — President Biden is set to deliver a speech on Thursday at 7:00 C.T.

TMJ4 News spoke with voters in several communities throughout Southeast Wisconsin ahead of the speech. Some say they're "fired up" ahead of the midterm elections. Others say they're feeling overwhelmed and discouraged, leading to hesitation when staying politically involved.

"I wish things were kind of in a better spot, where people weren't so divisive," said Michael Petrella, a voter in Milwaukee. "We could come across and resolve issues more together."

He was one of many people who said they're prepared to vote, but feel that this election cycle has been too divisive up to this point.

"I don't know if I'm more geared up than I have been in the past, but I just feel like something has to change and hopefully by going to vote there will be some changes," said Cheryl Stefanski, a voter in Oak Cree.

Several voters sharing mixed feelings ahead of the President's speech Thursday, which the White House says will lay out a message indicating America's democracy is at stake.

"For a long time, we’ve reassured ourselves that American democracy is guaranteed. But it is not. We have to defend it. Protect it. Stand up for it. Each and every one of us," the White House says the President is expected to say.

For 20-year-old Milwaukee native Jack Kaminsky, this election cycle has felt daunting.

"It can be kind of overbearing seeing that so much, and maybe it deters me from wanting to go out and do something," he said when asked about negativity and divisiveness in political ads and conversations.

20-year-old Reuben Fendt of Milwaukee said something similar about feeling discouraged by the divisiveness.

"It's really easy for us to be really discouraged," said Fendt. "Like why is this stuff even being argued over."

Still, Fendt says he's ready to vote.

"We have to have hope. The voting is the only way to get stuff done," he said.

Other voters, like Lynne Dixon-Speller, say this election cycle has been encouraging.

"I'm feeling very fired up, I mean so many strong issues are on the ballot dealing with women, children, schools and education," said Dixon-Speller.

Biden's speech will be watched closely in Wisconsin - a battleground state with two very different political figures vying for office.

Republican businessman Tim Michels wasn't available to meet for an interview or provide a statement by deadline on Thursday, but has been outspoken on his campaign website regarding his plan to address voter integrity - a key issue in the Badger state.

"On day one, I will call a special session of the Wisconsin legislature and ensure the integrity of every single ballot," he said.

Michels' plan includes, in part, a ban on unmanned ballot drop boxes and a plan to repeal WEC Election Guidance.

Meanwhile, TMJ4's Ryan Jenkins was there as Gov. Tony Evers toured a school in Racine today. He too mentioned voter integrity ahead of the President's speech, but he had a different take.

"We have a democracy that things are 'iffy' now because there are still people that claim this last election right here in Wisconsin didn't turn out it should have, and that's all malarkey," said Evers.

Politics aside, voters say while they may be divided on issues, they're all hoping for more unity in the community in the months ahead.

"We are divisive and I'd like to see us become more of a joined country where things are working well in our favor," said Dixon-Speller.

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