Reactions mixed in Jacksonville after announcement RNC will be held in Florida

Event will bring jobs and economic recovery, city's mayor says
Reactions mixed in Jacksonville after announcement RNC will be held in Florida
Posted at 8:40 PM, Jun 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-12 20:52:08-04

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — With the Republican National Convention coming to Florida in August, Jacksonville seems mixed on whether it is a good idea amid a pandemic.

On Friday, the city's mayor called the RNC nab a "tremendous opportunity" for the community, which has seen unemployment skyrocket to more than 11 percent due to virus protections.

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Mayor Lenny Curry said Jacksonville is ready to capitalize on an expected $100 million economic impact.

"Clearly, the RNC wants a large event with a lot of people. I want that too," said Curry. "I want to get people back to work in this city. This is a major event that will bring jobs and economic recovery to a whole lot of people in this city."

The city said COVID-19 protections will be in use, but it was light on the details.

Officials did say they will put people's safety first and base measures on current conditions.

The virus cost Jacksonville resident Paul Cody his job.

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Although he isn't a fan of the GOP's politics, he believes the event could be what the city needs.

"They got to have it somewhere. They might as well have it here. That's a smart move because we need the money— the restaurants need the money. We want to get back to normal," said Cody.

Duval County Democrats call the move reckless. Chair Daniel Henry labeled it a case of politics over people.

Henry said he believes President Trump wants to capitalize on the swing community and state.

"There are obviously political considerations that came into having this convention in Jacksonville, and the president's reelection is probably at the forefront," said Henry.

National Republicans picked Jacksonville after state officials for the convention's original location, North Carolina, had reservations over large gatherings.

The event is scheduled to take place the Aug. 24-27.