Other Voices

This year’s party conventions are kind of a big deal

Texas delegates tip their hats during the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.
Texas delegates tip their hats during the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. MCT

It’s fair to say that this year, political conventions are getting a lot more attention than is typical at this point in a presidential race.

Talk of delegates, platforms and convention rules usually doesn’t get underway until the two parties’ conventions are a week or so away.

As the CEO for the Committee on Arrangements, the organization tasked with putting on this year’s Republican National Convention, I find it encouraging to see both the public and the press discussing these events, because they play such a unique, important role in our democracy.

Thanks to this heightened interest, Americans now have more information about the process that culminates in the selection of each party’s presidential nominee.

Throughout the primary season, millions of voters have gone to the polls to make their choice for president. In many states, delegates are being chosen to represent the voice of the voters, and those delegates will represent them at the upcoming conventions.

In July, the Republican men and women elected to their state’s delegation will travel to Cleveland, so they can carry out their responsibilities.

The national convention is where our candidate for president will lay their vision as the leader of the free world to voters across America and the world.

The party will also adopt our platform and rules for the 2016 convention and the delegate selection rules for the future.

There is no other single event that offers presidential candidates as significant an opportunity to present their vision for our country and the case for their candidacy to the American people. Simply put, there is no political event in the world with greater intensity and media coverage.

The work of the convention is not just the responsibility of a few leaders. It is taken up by thousands of Republicans.

On July 18, when the Republican convention officially begins, the population of Cleveland will have risen dramatically.

There will be 2,472 delegates and 2,304 alternate delegates from all 50 states, the five territories and Washington, D.C.

Approximately 15,000 credentialed media will be on the ground, an international press corps that is second in size only to the one that will cover the Olympics later this year.

Add to that another 8,000 volunteers and 30,000 visitors, and one starts to get a better sense of everything that goes into putting on a political convention.

An event of this size and scope requires good planning and preparation, and the Committee on Arrangements is hard at work — along with its partners, the 2016 Cleveland Host Committee and the City of Cleveland — to ensure that this year’s convention is a success.

Our committee has been working toward that goal for nearly two years. Over the next few months, we’ll be in the final stretch, preparing for the delegates to arrive and for the proceedings to begin.

The 2016 election is shaping up to be an important moment for the Republican Party and our country.

While the time for choosing our next president is in November, the conventions this summer will give Americans a clear understanding of the choice that all of us, as voters, have to make.

I hope you will tune in to hear about the Republican Party’s vision for our country, to learn about the leader we are nominating for the presidency and to be part of this important moment in our nation’s history.

Jeff Larson is CEO for the Committee on Arrangements for the 2016 Republican National Convention. Editor’s note: The Democratic National Convention is scheduled to begin July 25 in Philadelphia.

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