All the major players in the 1976 presidential race who were still in the running for the Wisconsin primary got to the La Crosse area in March or April of that year. President Gerald Ford held a Saturday night rally at the Sawyer Auditorium…the same week that Ronald Reagan spoke there, during a Ducks Unlimited dinner.
Jimmy Carter was leading the Democratic field when he spoke at Cartwright Center on the UW-L campus. Carter was little known in La Crosse the last time he visited the university, seven months earlier. Mo Udall made it to the area, along with his college-age daughter, Bambi. George Wallace and Henry ‘Scoop’ Jackson put in appearances, too.
La Crosse radio stations, including WIZM, helped mark the Bicentennial in 1976 with a series of live town meetings one Sunday a month. The series was called the ‘La Crosse American Issues Radio Forum.’ The March program was about working in La Crosse, and included remote broadcasts from the Labor Temple downtown, Schuh Homes near Lang Drive, and the senior citizen center on Denton Street…in 1976, yesterday in La Crosse.