West Salem community prepares stage for President Trump’s visit Tuesday
La Crosse County remains focal point for presidential candidates, West Salem teacher says it's a learning opportunity for students
WEST SALEM, Wis. (WKBT) – In the 50-year-history of the La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway, the venue has never played host to a sitting president. That history will be rewritten tomorrow with a visit from President Donald Trump.
A week from Tuesday, America will decide the nation’s next president and La Crosse County residents’ votes matter to presidential candidates.
“It’s exciting anytime a sitting president comes and visits our community,” said Ryan Nelson, a social studies teacher at West Salem High School.
Visit’s like Tuesday’s rally with President Donald Trump leave a deeper mark on these towns.
“Sometimes I think politics can seem quite distant either in Madison or in Washington D.C,” Nelson said.
Presidential visits can teach people things like Nelson’s high school students.
“To make politics and government come alive to our students,” he said. “It’s one thing for student to read about individuals, or events, laws. policies in a text book or online.”
Nelson was a student at one time with an experience of his own.
“I’m from La Crosse originally. I remember standing on the side walk in downtown La Crosse when President Clinton visited way back when I was in elementary school,” Nelson said. “That’s still in my mind. I remember seeing his motorcade go by. That’s something that I will probably always remember.”
La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway general manager Chuck Deery is learning a thing or two as well.
“The behind the scenes making sure that everything is safe, and everything’s accounted for,” Deery said.
When Deery was asked what it’s like working with the Secret Service, he didn’t reveal any of their conversations (for security reasons).
“Secret,” Deery said with a smile.
The buildup to the President’s remarks takes planning unlike anything done on race day.
“They have a monumental task especially being in an outdoor facility like this,” Deery said. “It’s been interesting to see how thorough they are on everything they do.”
Nelson said today’s politics help inspire community engagement in the next wave of community leaders.
“I’ve had numerous students say over that past two months that they registered to vote, and how excited they were,” Nelson said.
Regardless on where people stand on the issues, this town of few stoplights is proud to welcome the nation’s 45th president.
“We’re very proud to be able to host any candidate from any party to come into western Wisconsin, and see beautiful country, great people who live here, and how open minded everyone is,” Deery said.
Nelson said West Salem schools plan to release students early tomorrow prior to the president’s visit. Deery said the event can easily fit 10,000 people. The doors open at 1 p.m. President Trump is set to speak around 4:15 p.m. Tuesday.