MILWAUKEE — Vice President Kamala Harris made her first trip to Milwaukee as second-in-command on Tuesday. The vice president's main stop was in Glendale at UW-Milwaukee's clean energy labs.
TMJ4's Charles Benson spoke with the VP one-on-one about the $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan and what it would mean for Milwaukee and the state of Wisconsin.
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There's a lot in this plan. It's the biggest non-defense investment in history. I asked her how it would specifically address long-term equity issues.
Vice President Harris says the plan will benefit all of America, but it will purposefully when it comes to equitable outcomes for communities of color.
Charles Benson: "What changes in the American Jobs Plan specifically get to the core of these issues?"
VP Harris: "It's great to be back in Milwaukee. I am familiar with the issues based on race, based on gender - historical."
The historic disparities run deep in Milwaukee in just about every category, from homeownership to minority-owned businesses.
"That means let's take into account historical issues that have resulted in the disparities," said the vice president, "and let's do what we must to make sure everyone is on an even playing field."
President Biden's plan includes $200 billion for affordable housing and $836 million to modernize schools and other targeted goals.
Benson: "What will it look like in this infrastructure plan?"
VP Harris: "We are looking at billions of dollars that are going to go into what we do to make sure America's workforce is trained to take on the jobs of the 21st century."
Another $300 billion to retool manufacturing, which accounts for about 475,000 jobs in Wisconsin.
"With a particular emphasis in making sure when we are looking at building up the skills sets, when we are looking at apprenticeships, that they're going to have equitable outcomes based on race, based on gender," Vice President Harris said.
To help pay for it all, big businesses across Wisconsin will be asked to pay a higher corporate tax rate, now at 21%, to perhaps 28%.
"Look at what's happening here in Milwaukee," said VP Harris. "Look at what's happening in investments in solar, in terms of battery and what is happening with wind turbines. That's happening right here at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee and that's the kind of work we are going to invest in."
When it comes to roads and bridges, President Biden's plan also invests $600 billion. He wants another $111 billion for clean drinking water and $100 billion to increase access and affordability for the internet.
The Chairman of the Republican Party of Wisconsin, Andrew Hitt, on Tuesday asked why the vice president was in Milwaukee and not visiting the U.S.-Mexico border.
"She's in charge of overseeing the border crisis, [and] has not been down there yet. That is a real crisis. That is a crisis that is spiraling out of control," said Hitt.