DNC leadership has heavy Davidson influence
by Staff Writer
DAVIDSON – Anthony Foxx and Dr. Dan Murrey have more in common than their mutual goal of making the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte a success.
Foxx, the mayor of Charlotte, and Murrey, executive director of the Charlotte in 2012 committee, are Davidson College graduates.
Murrey graduated in 1987 with a degree in religion. Foxx followed in 1993 with a degree in history.
Making history is tops on the 41-year-old mayor’s priorities list as the DNC approaches.
“(The DNC) is a great thing to happen to Charlotte, and I hope it establishes a new floor for us,” Foxx said.
The event takes place Sept. 3-5 at Time Warner Cable Arena, and Sept. 6 at Bank of America Stadium, when President Barack Obama is expected to deliver his acceptance speech.
Bringing the convention to the Carolinas
Charlotte’s ability to host the convention started with an idea. The late Susan Burgess, former mayor pro-tem of Charlotte, first thought of hosting the event, Foxx said.
“We worked on it together until her passing (in 2010),” Foxx said.
He mentioned John Belk, Ken Harris, Eddie Knox, Harvey Gantt, Sue Myrick and Richard Vinroot as people who also “helped put the infrastructure in place to host this event.”
Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers teamed with Foxx to chair the city’s efforts in securing the DNC.
It became a reality on Feb. 1, 2011, when the Democratic National Committee announced Charlotte would host the party’s biggest event. It’s the first presidential nomination event in North Carolina’s history.
Attracting big names and big money
Charlotte’s economic benefits are difficult to predict until the event occurs, Foxx said.
The economic impact on Denver, Colo., the 2008 host city, was between $150-200 million, Murrey said. The DNC website estimates attendance will be 30,000-35,000 people including 15,000 credentialed media from around the world.
More than 6,000 delegates and alternates are expected to attend from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories – American Samoa, Guam, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
The committee is also taking advantage of social media opportunities by creating a free smartphone app – DNC 2012 – for Android and iPhones. The app provides a virtual tour and information about the city and DNC events.
“We believe the real benefit will come in the long-term, as hosting this convention positions Charlotte as a destination for even larger conferences and events in the future,” Murrey said.
Taking Davidson with them
The 47-year-old Murrey knows the city well.
A one-term Mecklenburg County commissioner, Murrey is also a Charlotte-based spine surgeon. He learned that craft after he left Davidson. But Murrey said he learned a lesson about Davidson alumni once he started working for the DNC: they’re everywhere.
“(Convention interim executive director) Will Miller worked with Mayor Foxx in the bidding process, we have a host of Davidson interns… even our media party is being catered by a company owned by a Davidson alum, Jill Marcus,” Murrey said. “I believe this is a testament to Davidson’s commitment to service in the community.”
“Charlotte and Davidson are both integral to my life,” Foxx said. “I am excited to show the world these wonderful places and particularly to share the character of these places, which makes them more special to me than anything else.”
As for why the area is a good fit for the DNC, Foxx said: “We all know why: we have a great quality of life, good infrastructure that is getting better, good schools and a community committed to attacking any problem that comes our way.”
The city plans to capitalize on what promises to be one of its biggest moments.
“Over the long term, there is no question that this event puts our region and our state in a different stratosphere,” Foxx said. “We will be a known quantity now throughout the world.”
2012 Democratic National
Convention notable speakers
Sept. 4, at Time Warner Cable Arena:
• Former President Jimmy Carter (by video)
• First Lady Michelle Obama
• San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro (keynote speaker)
Sept. 5, at Time Warner Cable Arena:
• Former President Bill Clinton
• Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren
Sept. 6, at Bank of America Stadium:
• President Barack Obama
• Vice President Joe Biden