RNC in San Antonio ‘a bad idea,’ says Bexar County Judge
SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – The President and CEO of Visit San Antonio recently sent a letter to the city manager inquiring about possible interest in making a pitch for the Republican National Convention. In the letter, Cassandra Matej explained that she had been approached by local business leaders about the possibility of trying to get the RNC here in August.
Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said the County has been asked about the possibility of using the AT&T Center.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea, said Wolff. “In fact, I think it’s a bad idea.”
He cites two reasons.
“One is, the President doesn’t really want to comply with health regulations. We’ve seen that in North Carolina,” said Wolff.
The second reason he cited is the number of downtown businesses that were damaged during the recent riots and looting
“I mean, we could have a serious problem with rioting,” said Wolff.
Matej says the convention scheduled in August is expected to attract about 20,000 people and generate more than $50 million for the host city.
It could be a moot point. Media reports indicate Jacksonville, Florida will be announced soon as the RNC host city.
Here’s a copy of the letter that Matej sent to city manager Erik Walsh:
In the wake of the recent announcement that the Republican National Convention will be moved out of Charlotte, N.C., Visit San Antonio has been approached by local business leaders regarding our destination’s capability and willingness to host the event.
The convention, scheduled for Aug. 24-27, is projected to attract approximately 20,000 people and generate more than $50 million for the host community. It’s expected that The Republican National Committee will hold a portion of the program, such as rules and platform committee meetings, in Charlotte and move the more public and well-attended schedule, including nominations and speeches, to another site.
A decision likely will be made quickly by the GOP. Visit San Antonio, responding to local partners including hotels, restaurants and attractions – all decimated financially this year by the coronavirus pandemic – has begun the process of researching availability to accommodate the convention.
This includes gauging the city’s interest in the opportunity.
The Alamodome and our downtown hotels are open on those dates, but Visit San Antonio is also investigating other sites. Officials tell us that federally allocated dollars for security and other needs are dedicated to the host community, and the local and state GOP would tackle other financial needs through fundraising. The event would require the cooperation of the City of San Antonio through commitment of law enforcement and permitting, among other requirements.
With Texas increasingly reopening its doors after months of immobility due to COVID-19, Visit San Antonio is being as proactive as possible in seeking financial recovery for the city’s economy. The tourism and hospitality sector, San Antonio’s third-largest industry, has been particularly ravaged, including nearly 31,000 unemployment claims in March and April in hotel and restaurant positions.
But this is a new day and a new environment. Pursuing significant meeting opportunities like this will play a large role in that revitalization.
We look forward to hearing from you.