U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, helped open the party’s national convention Monday saying the party was gathered — virtually — to heal the nation’s divisions and lead it to a prosperous and inclusive future.

Moore was the first elected official to address the virtual national convention on its opening night.

She told viewers she wished they were in Milwaukee, a “city where blood was shed for labor rights, where a fugitive slave was freed from prison, where women’s right to vote was first ratified.”

Still, Moore said Dems had gathered virtually and in spirit to nominate “my beloved friend” Joe Biden for president and “sister” Kamala Harris for vice president.

“Tonight, we are gathered to reclaim the soul of America,” Moore said in remarks that spanned less than 90 seconds.

Moore, who spoke live from the convention in Milwaukee, was the only Wisconsin elected official to speak during the main program Monday night.

Before the main speaking program, National party Chair Tom Perez assured Wisconsin Dems that landing the convention would leave a “remarkable legacy,” even if the event isn’t what local leaders had originally envisioned.

Perez told state Dems Milwaukee was an “underdog” to land the convention in the competition against Houston and Miami. It won, he said, because of a spectacular presentation and an impression that it was incredibly prepared and hungry.

He said none of that will change with the convention switching to a virtual format rather than having thousands of delegates, activists, journalists and others descend upon Wisconsin’s largest city.

“Yes, we didn’t get to bring everybody here,” Perez said as part of a Milwaukee welcome before the main speaking lineup Monday night. “But I’ll tell you, the world knows about Milwaukee because of what you’ve done.”

Perez was one of a series of speakers to address the Wisconsin delegation virtually Monday night before the main portion of the day’s event, which included speeches from the likes of former first lady Michelle Obama.

Alex Lasry, vice president of the Milwaukee Bucks and a key figure in Milwaukee landing the event, acknowledged to delegates it was sad to walk by the Fiserv Forum knowing it was going to be empty that night rather than hosting the convention.

Still, he said no one can ever take away that Milwaukee won the opportunity to serve as host.

And he said Dems were right to move to a virtual convention.

“We should still be proud of what we accomplished,” he said.

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