Wisconsin 4th District
Milwaukee is America’s most German city, with an ethnic heritage noticeable not just in the names of its beers and its old German restaurants but in the solidness of its houses and the orderliness of its streets. Until World War I made this German character seem un-American, German was spoken on the streets and read in city newspapers, German beer was produced in dozens of breweries, and German cultural traditions lived on in churches, union halls and parlors. The world’s largest four-sided clock, nearly twice the size of London’s Big Ben, rises above the Allen-Bradley factory, looking out over the industrial city. It is an apt symbol, a piece of precision engineering in this high-skill manufacturing town, with its skyline of smokestacks and church steeples—the closest thing in America to the German factory cities Milwaukee’s early immigrants once knew well. The city has led the nation in beer brewing, industrial control equipment, mining gear, cranes and independent foundries. Harley-Davidson began manufacturing on the West Side a century ago. The city had large and efficiently run factories that paid good wages to highly-skilled and well-disciplined workers.
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But like other Rust Belt cities, Milwaukee has lost its share of plants over the past three decades. It hemorrhaged population in the 1990s, though it has finally stopped shrinking, thanks in part to a rapidly expanding Hispanic population, which grew to more than 85,000 in 2007. For the most part, the city has embraced its Latinos. A chorizo sausage now competes against the bratwurst, Polish sausage and Italian sausage mascots during the famous Sausage Race at Milwaukee Brewers baseball games, and plush chorizo dolls outsell the other mascots at stadium stores. Many Latinos have settled in the old immigrant neighborhoods of the city’s south side. The west side and north side are home to many of the city’s African-American neighborhoods, such as Sherman Park and Bronzeville, home to America’s Black Holocaust Museum. Though some neighborhoods are beset by crime and drug use, most of Milwaukee is solid, and parts of it are making a comeback, with redevelopment projects near Marquette University, in the historic Third Ward, and along Lake Michigan and the Milwaukee River.
The 4th Congressional District of Wisconsin covers the entire city of Milwaukee and a few of its working-class suburbs—St. Francis, Cudahy and South Milwaukee on Lake Michigan, West Milwaukee, and part of West Allis.