With debate spotlight on Milwaukee, candidates aren't the only ones pushing to be heard

NOW: With debate spotlight on Milwaukee, candidates aren’t the only ones pushing to be heard

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- With the eyes and ears of the political world on Southeast Wisconsin, a variety of groups advocating for various causes hope Wednesday's Republican presidential debate will provide a chance to be seen and heard.

That includes Grace Lutheran Church in Kenosha, whose congregation is planning to cause disruptions outside of Fiserv Forum Wednesday afternoon.

Pastor Jonathan Barker said the group is hopeful that civil disobedience will draw attention to their call for presidential candidates to prioritize climate policies that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

"We believe that climate action should've happened yesterday, because we believe each of these leaders who claim Christian faith should be willing to act on this climate emergency," Barker said.

Barker said the church hoped candidates would embrace the push for the U.S. to do its fair share to limit future global temperature increases to 1.5°C. A report endorsed by a number of environmental groups suggested a "fair share" for the U.S. would be cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

"We believe that when good meaning Christian folks who might vote Republican hear this message, and when candidates who claim Christian faith hear this, we're hoping they repent," Barker said.

Greg Brock, a senior advisor for the Washington, D.C.-based Invest in Education Coalition, hoped Republican voters took away a different message.

The coalition launched a television ad in the Milwaukee market ahead of Wednesday's debate.

"We're trying to appeal directly to Republican presidential candidates," Brock said. "And the constituency that will end up voting for them here in Wisconsin."

Brock said the group was asking for Republican candidates to endorse the Educational Choice for Children Act. The legislation would provide a federal tax credit to those who donate to scholarships that are used to fund private school tuition or tutoring.

"[The tax credit would] be accessible to individuals and corporations who donate to private scholarship funds," Brock said. "Enabling parents and students to access that, to take those scholarships to a private school of their choice.

Grace Lutheran's climate protest isn't the only demonstration expected to happen outside Fiserv Forum Wednesday.

The Service Employees Internation Union (SEIU) will join other labor rights groups, as well as Congresswoman Gwen Moore and former Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, in a march to the arena.

While former President Donald Trump, the current GOP frontrunner, won't participate in the debate, his supporters are still making sure the campaign has a presence.

Trump spokesman Jason Miller and Kari Lake, who unsuccessfully ran for Arizona governor while pushing unfounded conspiracy theories about both the 2020 presidential and 2022 gubernatorial elections, were in Milwaukee Tuesday doing media interviews.

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