The Associated Press reports that Denver, Colorado has been selected as the setting of the Democratic Convention for 2008. In a statement by Howard Dean, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee said, “There is no question the West is important to the future of the Democratic Party.”
The win by Denver did not come easily. The Mile High City had some bumps along the way. Some labor issues involving the non-union Pepsi Center were resolved by compromise. Some issues on hotel accommodations were worked out in order for Denver to host the 08 convention. Denver’s Host Committee director, Debbie Willhite credits ” (a) tremendous team effort by everybody in Denver.
In November, 2005 the Democratic National Committee invited 35 cities to apply for the host city of the 08 convention. Recently, New York withdrew their application because Mayor Bloomberg did not want to underwrite the convention. The host city is required to raise 55 million to administer the convention. Apparently, the desire of the Democratic Party to cement relations with Denver and the West cinched the deal. Recognizing the wins in key spots in the mid-term elections in West makes it essential for any presidential hopeful in the upcoming 08 elections.
Since 2002, the Democratic Party has turned Republican strong holds in the West back to shades of blue. Colorado’s governor Bill Ritter is a Democrat and during the mid-term election Democrats picked up one congressional House seat. Other shifts to blue include Montana, Arizona and a modifying stance by Oregon’s very lonely moderate Republican Senator Gordon Smith.
Newly elected Governor Bill Ritter stated in his recent State of the State, “Coloradoans are optimistic.” “They want us to solve problems,” said Governor Ritter as reported by the Coloradoan. He went on to say in typical western fashion, “They want health care, better schools and good jobs.” Plain and to the point in keeping with the code of the West which will be significantly helpful to an often diffuse message of the National Committees.
Denver has a history of being a can do state. From the early days of the state its pioneers created culture, finance and a transportation system that rocked the West. Situated in the most rugged terrain on various corners of the city, Denver chiseled its way to becoming a cultural center in the early 1900s compared only to the West’s other gem San Francisco. Home to Adolph Coors, Denver has a rich history of transforming itself from impossible to the vision of one of Denver’s first mayors, Robert W. Speer’s, “Paris on the Plains.”
Today, Denver has a population of nearly 556,000 residents and hosts livestock to telecommunication shows. It is a convention city that prides itself on the culture it has created and western hospitality unsurpassed in the Western Rockies region. A plus for Denver’s economy, let’s hope so. A smart move by the Democratic Party, definitely.