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Why The RNC in Charlotte is More Than Just Good For Business

By: Anna Stallmann, Vice President of Communications, Nahigian Strategies

Long before it was known as a banking town – Charlotte was a textile and distribution town. The railroad lines of the late 1800s connected the city’s successful cotton mills to the rest of the country and initiated Charlotte’s urbanization in the center of the Carolina Piedmont textile region.

Today, Charlotte enjoys similar economic growth opportunities, not just in financial services, but also in manufacturing, technology, energy, healthcare and distribution. In fact, more than forty new residents call Charlotte home every day.

The New York Times stated this week, “Charlotte’s generally favorable weather, well-connected airport and glimmering city center have helped it build a reputation as a reliably sturdy site for major gatherings.”

But we know there’s more to Charlotte than that – and why its selection as the city to host the Republican National Convention (RNC) in 2020 is a win-win for the Republican Party and the country, alike.

Charlotte like the U.S. has a diverse spectrum of political views but the foundations of the American political system prevailed when the city council voted to host the RNC’s convention in 2020 – a city that just six years ago hosted the Democratic National Convention. One city. Two political parties.

Hosting these conventions – Republican or Democratic – is a great economic opportunity. Period. The hospitality industry is the most obvious beneficiary, but look further. Charlotte recently found an unwelcome spotlight and reputation following the state’s passing of HB-2, the anti-LGBTQ law that came in response to the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance. This resulted in an estimated loss of more than half a billion dollars and thousands of jobs for Charlotte. ­– Charlotte has an opportunity to redefine its brand as a city of inclusion that supports views from all sides and takes pride standing in the spotlight of the nation.

Will the RNC coming to Charlotte drastically accelerate its diverse economic growth? No – of course not. That requires much more than a weeklong agenda of speeches, events and parties.

However, it will signal to the rest of the country who Charlotte is and what our potential is. Proving it is open for business as a thriving and inclusive city making not only its residents, but our nation better in the process.

Democratic Mayor Vi Lyles wrote last week, “Charlotte is a place where we value diverse experiences and inclusive dialogue…and I respect that we may not agree on all topics. The common ground we share, however, is a passion for our country and for Charlotte.”

Whether a Democrat or a Republican, as American citizens, we all share a common investment in protecting our democracy. The RNC and DNC are celebrations of this democracy – and our optimism about what more we can accomplish as a democratic nation. We must celebrate Charlotte’s choice to host the RNC convention and ensure these ideals continue.

For Charlotte, this is an opportunity to shine and reflect the optimistic future ahead for all of us.

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