President Obama to make his first visit to La Crosse on Thursday to talk overtime rules

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LA CROSSE -- President Barack Obama will be in Wisconsin on Thursday, July 2nd -- speaking at UW-La Crosse about the economy. It is believed President Obama will propose changes to rules concerning salaried employees who work overtime.

Preparations were already underway on Wednesday inside the Recreational Eagle Center to welcome President Obama to the UW-La Crosse campus on Thursday.

Recreational Eagle Center UW-La Crosse

Recreational Eagle Center UW-La Crosse

"Everyone is enthusiastic and looking forward to it," J.D. Wine, La Crosse County Democratic chairman said.

Wine says hundreds are expected to attend Thursday's event. This will be President Obama's first visit to La Crosse since he was elected in 2008.

"It gives a boost to the local party members. In fact -- to everyone in the community," Wine said.

President Obama's speech is expected to focus on overtime rules. Currently, the threshold for salaried workers to qualify for overtime pay is capped at nearly $24,000. President Obama is expected to propose raising that to just above $50,000.

"It`s not enough to make an announcement from the Rose Garden or have your press secretary say it. You`ve got to get out to real America," UW-Milwaukee Professor Mordecai Lee said.

UW-La Crosse

UW-La Crosse

Lee says La Crosse represents a wide spectrum of voters -- making it an ideal venue to propose such changes.

"La Crosse is the perfect place to talk with open-minded Americans. That`s where so many swing voters of Wisconsin live," Lee said.

Critics argue the overtime rule could lead to employers cutting hours, or even an increase in hiring of part-timers.

The Republican Party of Wisconsin released a statement reading:

Republican Party of Wisconsin statement on President Obama visit

Republican Party of Wisconsin statement on President Obama visit

Meanwhile, Governor Scott Walker has issued this statement on President Obama's visit to Wisconsin:

"The president's effort is a political pitch but the reality is this will lead to lower base pay and benefits and will cut workers' hours and flexibility in the workplace.

Even Vice President Biden's former chief economist said, 'The costs of increased coverage would ultimately be borne by workers.'

Rather than empty political rhetoric, Americans want solutions. We should be looking at ways to raise wages by ensuring people have the skills and education they need to move ahead in their careers."

Supporters say the visit caps off a strong month for Democrats.

"The Affordable Care Act decision, marriage equality decision -- now we get the frosting on a very nice cake," Wine said.

While this will be President Obama's first visit to La Crosse, it has been about a decade since the last presidential visit to the area.

President George W. Bush made two campaign stops in La Crosse in 2004.

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama

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