Columbus Site Visit: August 6-7, 2014

photos: Experience Columbus
Mayor Michael B. Coleman speaks at the welcoming rally.

  The DNC team rode in pedi-cabs from the Greater Columbus Convention Center to the rally.
Carrie Twigg, associate director of Public Engagement at the White House, and Congresswoman Joyce Beatty at reception.
After the Host Committee reception and dinner, members of the technical advisory committee viewed a fireworks display over the Scioto Mile downtown, produced by Phantom Fireworks of Youngstown, Ohio.  The Columbus 2016 logo is projected on Miranova.
Meeting with police and law enforcement officials.                                                photo: Columbus Police Dept.

Experience Columbus president and CEO Brian Ross speaks at the closing press conference at the Experience Columbus Visitor Center.

Blue Carpet Treatment
Columbus welcomed members of the DNC's technical advisory committee with blue carpet treatment, highlighting the city's hospitality, civic pride, walkable urban neighborhoods, culinary and arts scene, and ongoing developments which contribute to their convention package and which civic leaders believe will provide a tremendous delegate experience in 2016.  Pedicabs transported members of the DNC group to Nationwide Arena where a welcome rally drew hundreds of people.  Following a tour of the arena and lunch, the group went on a driving tour around the city.  In the evening there was a reception and dinner at M restaurant, where former Sen. John Glenn was among the special guests, followed by fireworks.

- Phoenix Rising Printmaking Cooperative – Phoenix Rising note cards produced by the Cooperative, compliments of the Greater Columbus Arts Council.
- North Market Spices – Dion’s Dill Seasoning and Southern BBQ Rub.  The North Market is Columbus' only public market and home to dozens of unique, independent merchants and farmers.
- Krema Nut Company – Country Club Mix. Krema Nut Company has been a Columbus staple for more than 100 years.
- Autographed John Glenn: A Life of Service DVD – produced by local National Public Television station, WOSU.
- Brownie Points – Buckeye chocolate. The Ohio state tree and beloved Ohio State University mascot, this chocolate and peanut butter treat is hard to resist.
- Sugardaddy’s Sumptuous Sweeties – Brownie Truffles made in Columbus in over 20 sumptuous flavors. Natural, premium, hand-made and oven-fresh.
- Café Brioso Coffee – Local, artisan roaster specializing in high-quality gourmet coffees.
- iPad Mini with a Columbus 2016 app that we created, preloaded.
- Zoom cube (portable device charger).
- Football signed by 2-time Heisman Trophy winner, Archie Griffin.
Note: "The iPads were a gift and an effort at greening the visit. Instead of hundreds of pages of paper, we put all the information they needed for the visit and their deliberations afterward on the iPad minis."

News Release Tyneisha Harden Megumi Robinson
August 6, 2014 City of Columbus Experience Columbus

Columbus Provides Perfect Platform for 2016 Democratic National Convention

Collaborative Capital is Among Five Cities Being Considered to Host 2016 Event

COLUMBUS – When the technical advisory group for the 2016 Democratic National Convention visits Columbus today and tomorrow (Aug. 6-7) it will find a city that thrived during economic hard times due to the power of partnership and collaboration that leads to innovative solutions to complex problems and provides political empowerment to the region's diverse population.

“Columbus is the collaborative capital of Ohio, a diverse, creative and innovative city that succeeds where others fail because of our willingness to rise above our differences in the interest of the common good,” said Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman. “For that reason and many more, it is the perfect stage for the Democratic Party to showcase its commitment to serving all Americans in ways that foster practical, sound solutions to our nation’s challenges.”

Columbus is recognized as a critical city politically in what traditionally has been a pivotal state in presidential elections. In 2012, the major party candidates visited Columbus 77 times, second only to New York City nationally. The same attributes that make it one of the country’s most popular test markets—demographics that track with national trends and a politically independent population—make Columbus a reliable bellwether for presidential elections and an attractive site for the DNC.

As one of the largest state capitals in the U.S., politics is the lifeblood of the city and delegates will find a vibrant, engaging city and a community that welcomes the debates and discussions that, in Columbus, have led to government that works.

“It's a highly educated populace with pragmatic leadership that includes the political, business and educational community,” said Herb Asher, professor emeritus at The Ohio State University and a leading political analyst in Ohio. “There is a lot of collaboration that extends to all parties and other major institutions, such as Battelle and Ohio State. It's a very 'can-do' atmosphere and that makes it easier for different interests to work together. The Democrats can come here and see the benefits of cooperation in this community. There are so many visible signs of progress. Success breeds success and if the message they want to take forward is one of optimism and the power of cooperation there is no better place to do that than Columbus.”

The collaborative spirit in Columbus is evident in the work of the Columbus Partnership and Columbus 2020, the region's economic development group that brings together business, community and political leaders to drive economic growth. Columbus is among the 20 strongest economies coming out of the recession and is the second-fastest growing economy among large Midwest cities.

“We are confident that the members of the site selection committee will see that Columbus is a tremendous place to live, work and play,” said Alex Fischer, president and CEO of the Partnership. “A key element to our success has been the spirit of collaboration, something that we believe the DNC will find very compelling. The selection committee will meet a team of community leaders dedicated to assisting them in creating a memorable experience for all delegates and attendees.”

The Columbus region is home to 62 college and university campuses with a total enrollment of 140,000 students and it also hosts more than 100 Japanese-owned companies and more than 450 internationally-owned businesses.

“Columbus represents the best that Ohio and America have to offer,” said U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio. “Culturally and economically diverse, with a world-class public university and a thriving private sector, it is no surprise that Columbus is one of the country’s fastest growing cities. The Democratic Party would be wise to host its convention in the capital of this always important bellwether state.”

Marilyn Brown, president of the Franklin County Board of Commissioners, said delegates will find that “Central Ohio offers something for everyone. As the heart of the great state of Ohio, we’re home to some of the nation’s leading corporations, universities, performing art venues, museums and sporting arenas.” And, she added, “It's our unique ability to collaborate with respect for all ideals that is our greatest asset and what sets us apart.”

“From our world-class venues, hotels and shopping areas, to our walkable neighborhoods and nationally recognized culinary and arts scenes, we know we can work together to provide the absolute best delegate experience. As we see with professional meeting planners and visitors in general, once they come and experience our destination, they come back and they bring their meetings here," said Brian Ross, President and CEO of Experience Columbus.

The site visit is part of an evaluation process that includes trips to each of the five cities still under consideration. Columbus is the second such visit, after Birmingham, Alabama. The site selection team will travel to Brooklyn and Philadelphia later this month before making its final visit to Phoenix in October. The DNC expects to choose a host city for the convention late this year or early in 2015.