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Politics

Democratic Groups Speak Out Against Charlotte's RNC Bid

Mayor Vi Lyles addresses the crowd after a ribbon cutting Friday at the new 9th Street Station.
David Boraks
/
WFAE

The leaders of several local groups aligned with the Democratic Party are speaking out against the city's bid to host the 2020 Republican National Convention.  They're planning a press conference at Charlotte Mecklenburg Government Center Monday afternoon just before the City Council considers whether to support the bid.

Scheduled to speak are leaders from the Democratic Women of Mecklenburg County, New South Progressives and Mecklenburg County Young Democrats. They and other RNC opponents are organizing on social media using the hashtags #NoRNC202 and #NoRNCinCLT.

Organizer Naomi Brezi says city leaders are putting the potential economic impact of the convention ahead of other considerations.  

"I think they're being very shortsighted and just looking at this big revenue number and really not looking at the long-term repercussions and damages that it's going to bring to the city overall," Brezi said.

She thinks protests and riots are possible, which would be a black eye for a city that worries about its reputation.

And, Brezi said, "The RNC, the current president, occupier of our White House, he does not line up align with the values and morals of this city."

On Wednesday, Mayor Vi Lyles defended her push to recruit the RNC at a meeting of the Democratic Women of Mecklenburg County. She cited the economic benefits for local businesses. After her speech, the group voted against supporting the RNC bid.

In a press release Friday, the group's president, Connie Green-Johnson, said: "Four days of so-called economic prosperity isn't sustainable for our citizenry."

The press conference is scheduled at 1 p.m. Monday, an hour before a special city council meeting called to discuss the bid.

Council members will hold a public hearing at 2 p.m. followed by a possible vote. The city would have to approve contracts with the Republican Party and local host committee and with the federal government, the latter of which would spell out terms of a $50 million grant of federal funds for convention security.

If the council approves, any vote would be contingent on whether the city is picked to host the convention. The Republican National Committee is expected to announce its choice at its 2018 summer meeting next Wednesday to Saturday in Austin, Texas.

Only Charlotte and Las Vegas are bidding for the 2020 convention.