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Charlotte City Councilor Says More Public Input Was Needed For RNC Bid

Charlotte City Councilors Tariq Bokhari and Braxton Winston in Charlotte Talks' Spirit Square studio.
Erin Keever
Charlotte City Councilors Tariq Bokhari and Braxton Winston in Charlotte Talks' Spirit Square studio.

Charlotte's city councilors are continuing to weigh whether to support the city's bid to host the 2020 Republican National Convention.

Charlotte and Las Vegas are the two contenders, and Charlotte is reportedly the favorite. Five city council members and Mayor Vi Lyles have shown support for the city’s bid, citing the economic windfall and a chance for bipartisanship, though six council members remain undecided or opposed to the idea.

Councilor Braxton Winston, a Democrat who is undecided, says he has heard mixed feedback from Charlotte residents.

"I’ve had conservative Republicans say that they don’t want this here," Winston said. "I’ve had liberal Democrats that say bring it — bring it here for us — some for a bipartisanship basis, some on the money and the tax benefits and the wages that it will bring. Some people just want to face this, this administration face to face."

Winston, who was speaking on WFAE's Charlotte Talks with fellow councilor Tariq Bokhari Thursday morning, said that he would have liked more public input earlier in the process. The city council could vote on entering into negotiations with the federal government and the Republican Party as early as Monday.

Bokhari, a Republican who is supportive of the bid, said the city is well equipped to manage the event.

"Our police chief has looked us all in the eye and says he can handle it, and I believe he can," Bokhari said. "We are going to show the world, one, how you make this — the most dangerous of potential events — safe, and, two, [how] you balance free speech."

Winston also had some choice words for President Trump.

“Right now, it’s not necessarily just about the Republican Party, this is about Donald Trump," Winston said, speaking to the apprehension of the largely Democratic city. "He is a xenophobe. He is a racist. He is a hateful person that is tossing this whole world order upside down.”

Winston would not say how he would vote on the matter.

“I don’t really want it here, but this is an opportunity to potentially bring jobs to Charlotte, and it would be irresponsible of me to say no to those jobs for people like myself.”