Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx and former Mayor Harvey Gantt said it will be important to make sure that minority businesses aren’t overlooked when the Democratic National Convention comes to Charlotte in 2012.
“This convention is about showcasing our city but also about showing we understand the ideas and principles of the Democrat party,” Gantt said at a press conference today. “Leveraging opportunities for those minority businesses is one way to do that.”
Foxx and Gantt shared those views on minority businesses at the Bechtler Museum, where Foxx announced that former County Commissioner Dan Murrey will be the executive director for the host committee of the 2012 DNC.
Gantt was on hand to announce the results of a “best practices” study he did with host cities of two previous DNC conventions: Denver 2008 and Boston 2004.
Both mayors said reaching out to small businesses owned by women and minorities is an important part of running a successful DNC.
“We want to show off the diversity of our community,” Foxx said. “Right now we’re reaching out to those minority businesses and helping to form a directory of what is available in our city.”
Gantt said the olive branch to those businesses wasn’t just about helping spur economic recovery.
In his research, Gantt said he had interviewed about 40 people from past DNC conventions and drew on his own experiences, having attended “every convention since 1984.”
Gantt refused to elaborate on the estimated economic impact the convention might have on the city.
“I shan’t name a number today, but I will say I expect Charlotte to surpass the number of those other host cities,” he said.
Denver.org estimates the 2008 convention had an economic impact of $160 million on that city, while Boston’s numbers in 2004 were about $156 million, according to a study by the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University.
Murrey and the committee will begin raising funds to meet a goal of $37 million by convention time in 2012.