Opinion: Cleveland welcomes Republican National Convention

Ray Paoletta is a junior political science major and a columnist for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].

Ray Paoletta

Every four years Ohio becomes the center of politics. Radio and television commercial breaks become flooded with political advertisements. People become annoyed with the constant stream of political mailings, doorknockers and commercials by the time Election Day finally rolls around. If Northeast Ohioans thought 2012 brought an extreme amount of campaign craziness, buckle up because the 2016 election will bring one of the biggest events of the election cycle to our backyard, the 2016 Republican National Convention. However, even those who wish candidates would just leave Ohio alone will admit that this convention will bring a major economic success to the Cleveland area. 

It is estimated that around 50,000 people attended the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. Even the Tampa Bay host committee reported that the convention brought in more than $200 million to the Tampa and Florida conventions. For a city that many believe is on the comeback, the economic impacts of the convention will be a shot in the arm for the Cleveland area; the local and state leaders of both parties agree.

When speaking about the effort from civic leaders, political leaders and businesses bringing the convention to Cleveland, Cuyahoga County Republican Party Chairman Rob Frost said, “Those are efforts other cities didn’t have behind them, and it all started with Mayor Jackson,” speaking about Democratic Mayor of Cleveland Frank Jackson. In addition, Cuyahoga County Executive Ed Fitzgerald, also a Democrat, supported a Cleveland Convention and acknowledged that the convention was “great news for northeast Ohio.” Although this convention only nominates the Republican candidate, leaders put aside their partisanship for a cause that they know will strengthen the Cleveland and Northeast Ohio area. 

Taking in around 50,000 visitors in one week will allow Cleveland to show the rest of the country what it has to offer. In the short term, the convention brings business to local hotels, restaurants, and shops. In the long term, being the host city for the RNC will mean Cleveland will need to get to work. Many infrastructure projects, including roadwork on highways and city streets, will need to be completed before the convention and that improvement will benefit Clevelanders even after the convention adjourns. Furthermore, as visitors leave they will likely share their experiences, possibly encouraging others to visit Cleveland to see what the city and area offers. Bringing the RNC to Cleveland took a bipartisan, community effort that will indeed put Cleveland in the national spotlight and on the map again. It is an exciting time for Cleveland and the rest of Northeast Ohio.