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Business, community leaders split on impact RNC will have in Milwaukee

Posted at 7:44 AM, Jul 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-16 15:30:18-04

MILWAUKEE  — After the GOP site committee recommended Milwaukee to host the 2024 Republican National Convention, business and community leaders expressed mixed opinions about the potential impact the RNC will have on the city.

Omar Shaikh, the owner of 3rd Street Market Hall, said he was beyond excited to hear the news.

"This is a massive win for our community," Shaikh said. "Put our politics aside, this is going to fee a lot of, or all, of our employees, their families. This is going to show that Milwaukee is world class and we're going to get a lot more business because of this."

Paul Bartolotta of the Bartollota Restaurant Group echoed Shaikh's excitement for the economic impact on the city.

"Milwaukee is America's city. We love our food, we love our hospitality, we love our country," Bartolotta said. "I think it's a big boost for all the businesses, but I think it also makes a statement about the kind of city Milwaukee is."

However, some in the community don't think the economic impact will be felt widely across the city.

"I think it's very disingenuous to say well you know the money will come into our community," said Rachel Ida Buff with Never Again Action Wisconsin. "There will be an economic impact, the rich will get richer. There will not be an economic impact that's discernible to the majority who live here."

Never Again Action Wisconsin along with Voces de la Frontera and other local organizations urged the Milwaukee Common Council earlier this year not to move forward with the RNC bid.

Buff said the organizations are also concerned about safety in the city.

"The cost will be a danger to the public safety of our many, many people who live here. It will attract more policing, more surveillance of the people that live here... many of the people who come here will have absolutely no problem with far-right extremists causing havoc in our community," Buff said.

The RNC news comes just about two years after the city was supposed to host the democratic national convention, but the city missed out on much of that after it was scaled back because of the pandemic.

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