Racine Journal Times
It’s not yet a done deal, but the City of Milwaukee took a major step forward toward hosting the 2024 Republican National Convention recently when it gained the endorsement of the GOP site selection panel.
RNC Senior Advisor Richard Walters said the selection committee’s vote was “a testament to the forthright and professional behavior embraced by Milwaukee’s city leaders throughout the process.”
That came in part because the pursuit of the convention was a bipartisan one with both Republicans and Democrats laying out the welcome mat for the event. That was reflected again in the round of applause it got from local officials immediately after the vote was announced.
“Today’s news is great for our region, especially as workers and businesses continue to recover from the devastating economic impacts of the pandemic. We are ready to show the world what Milwaukee has to offer,” said Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley.
His comments were echoed by Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson who said, “I want Milwaukee to hold a prominent position as a convention city. This is about future conventions and future business, trade shows, major membership organizations, sports and entertainment activities happening right here in the city of Milwaukee.”
It’s a second chance for the city which had planned to host the 2020 Democratic National Convention until it was upended by the coronavirus that left it as a “virtual” convention. Still, that experience allowed city and state leaders to push the city as a “turnkey” site for the GOP convention since it had just gone through the massive planning needed to host such an event.
It didn’t hurt, either, that Nashville, the other top contender for the GOP nod, balked down the stretch when there was local opposition to hosting and backers withdrew a proposed agreement about how to host the event. Still a final decision has not been made, but that is expected to come from the full Republican National Committee when it meets this month.
Make no mistake, the economic impact is likely to be immense and long-lasting. The Republican host committee plans on raising $65 million for the event and it is projected to bring 50,000 convention attendees and visitors to the area in July and August. The economic impact on southeastern Wisconsin has been estimated at $200 million.
Beyond that, it will also give the city a chance to prove its bona fides as a convention host and showcase the Fiserv Forum and the Wisconsin Center, which is currently undergoing an expansion, and which are expected to be main venues for the gathering.
Yes, there will be concerns about security and—as most political conventions do—there will likely be some protests. We hope proper safeguards are in place. And, yes, there are political naysayers, in this political battleground state, who would rather not see Republicans gathering here and, perhaps, boosting their chances in the fall elections.
But it’s also a chance to showcase all the charms of Wisconsin and Milwaukee as a sparkling gem on the Great Lakes, to demonstrate our generous hospitality and put out a welcome mat for all visitors for years to come. That will endure long after the convention has come and gone.