News

Twin Cities in Spotlight for Republican National Convention

The last time the Republican National Convention came to the northern state of Minnesota was in 1892. Benjamin Harrison was the Republican nominee for President of the United States. More than a century later on 1 September 2008, Minnesota is once again hosting the Republican nominating convention in what are known as the 'Twin Cities' - Minneapolis and St. Paul. As VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports, even though the convention itself takes place in the state capitol of St. Paul, the city is sharing security responsibilities and economic benefits with its neighboring cities and states.

When Republicans looked at possible locations to host their National Convention this year, Host Committee President Cyndi Lescher admits St. Paul's Xcel Energy Center was the biggest selling point to win the honor. "Obviously the facility with the adjacency of the RiverCentre," she said. "The infrastructure to make it happen, hotel and venues, and the spirit of the host committee."

Putting on a convention is an economic windfall for a host city, which sees an influx of cash and people like Joanne Burgos, Press Secretary for the Republican National Convention. She says she started planning this year's big event in 2006.

"Some of us have been living here for 18 months," Burgos said. "We really have become a part of the community and a big emphasis for us was to boost the local economy. During the four days of the convention, we expect to pump in $160 million."

That is in addition to the $50 million federal grant awarded to the city of St. Paul to help pay for extra security needed in and around the convention site. The Federal Election Fund also contributed $17 million towards convention spending.

But the money benefits more than just the city of St. Paul.

Across the river 16 kilometers away stands Minneapolis, a city that also stands to gain as much from the convention as St. Paul. Travis Bunch is with the Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce. "When we learned that the region was going to get the RNC [Republican National Convention], even though most people associate it with St. Paul, we knew that it was really going to be the Twin Cities, the Minneapolis St. Paul and Bloomington area," Bunch said.

Most hotels in the downtown Minneapolis St. Paul area, are already booked for the convention, and restaurant reservations are filling up quick.

While the short-term benefit is an infusion of hundreds of millions of dollars of cash into the local economy, Travis Bunch is focused on the long-term benefits. "I think hopefully what we'll see as the real benefit from this is the opportunity to promote the region and try to get workers to come relocate here, try to get more visitors to come and be a tourist here, and try to get businesses to maybe look at MSP [Minneapolis-St. Paul] as a potential opportunity to expand their business and relocate their business too," he said.

While the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul are engaging in a friendly competition to take in cash spread around during convention time, the national spotlight is also on another city in another state. Denver, Colorado takes the political stage first by hosting the Democratic National Convention a week before the Republican gathering.

That doesn't bother Cyndi Lesher, who insists there is no rivalry or competition between the convention cities, "Only the media seem to care about that," Lesher said. "We're just focused on putting on a great convention in Minneapolis St. Paul and that's what were all about."

One roadblock that could stand in the way of Lescher's hopes for a great convention is the large number of protestors expected.

Minneapolis is sending about 550 policemen to join 500 St. Paul police personnel to help maintain security at the convention. Police from other towns and even some other states will be assigned, for a total of 3,500.

 

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs