Houston, recognized for its record of successfully hosting mega-events, today submitted an official bid to host the 2020 Democratic National Convention.
The bid document of about 600 pages shows how Houston’s convention infrastructure and its people put the city in a superior position to host the presidential nominating convention.
The downtown Toyota Center indoor arena and the close-by, expanded George R. Brown Convention Center in the Avenida Houston convention campus would provide the main gathering spaces for the July 13-16, 2020 convention. A Metro light rail system crisscrosses downtown nearby. Delegates and other participants traveling by air would arrive at Houston’s two international airports. Both have a 4-star rating from Skytrax, making Houston the only U.S. city with two.
About 24,000 hotel rooms would be available within 14 miles of the convention sites, placing the city well ahead of other cities on hospitality logistics. A record-high 20 million visitors traveled to Houston in 2016.
Houston’s specialty in hosting major events shone through with the 2017 Super Bowl, the 2016 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament finals and the continuing annual Offshore Technology Conference, Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, Comicpalooza and others.
The city hosted the Republican National Convention in 1992 and the Democratic National Convention in 1928. Houston has since become the fourth most populous U.S. city and its most diverse, attracting new residents from across the nation and the globe. The city is praised as a pluralistic society that lives as one. (“Nothing less than the story of the American city of the future,” – Los Angeles Times, 5/9/2017)
Houston is strong and resilient. The city showed exceptional mettle, bravery and neighborliness in the aftermath of the floods caused by Harvey. “Houston has bounced back from Harvey faster than anyone predicted, inspiring the Twitter hashtag #HoustonStrong,” The New York Times said on 11/23/2017.
“I am confident that we are the right city and this is the right time to bring the convention to Houston,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said in letter to DNC Chairman Tom Perez that introduces the bid package.
“Houston is a proven event town and has excelled in hosting high profile national events,” the mayor said in the letter. “Whether celebratory, such as the Super Bowl or somber, such as the recent memorial events for former First Lady Barbara Bush, we meet the producer’s goals while exceeding expectations with seamless execution and constant attention to public safety.”
Video of a colorful discussion about the convention with the mayor and members of the City Council on June 6 is at https://youtu.be/871Lo9tSp3E. Included are Council Members Dave Martin, Martha Castex-Taum, Michael Kubosh, Steve Le, Karla Cisneros, Dwight Boykins and Ellen Cohen, respectively, and Susan Christian, director of the Mayor’s Office of Special Events.
"The inclusion of Houston in this (bidder) group of elite destinations is a recognition of the outstanding job that our community does in hosting major events," said David Mincberg, board chairman of Houston First, which promotes the city and manages its premier entertainment venues. "It is Houston’s diversity, robust economy and newly transformed convention campus, Avenida Houston, that will set us apart and leave a lasting impression as we strive to secure the 2020 Democratic National Convention.”
"Houston will be the perfect host for the 2020 Democratic National Convention," said Tilman Fertitta, chief executive officer of Landry's, Inc., and owner of the Houston Rockets. "I can personally guarantee the DNC and its constituents will experience a level of hospitality from our Toyota Center staff and City personnel that will be unmatched anywhere in the United States. Nobody delivers world class events like the people of Houston, Texas!"
The bid is backed by a diverse host committee being assembled by Mayor Turner, including Mincberg, Fertitta and:
President & CEO
James (Jim) Robert Crane
Chairman and XCEO, Crane Capital Group,
Crane Worldwide Logistics and
Crane Freight & Shipping;
Owner and Chairman, Houston Astros
CEO & President
Dr. Laura Murillo
President & CEO
Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Lester and Sue Smith
Founder, Smith Energy Company
John Thrash, MD
Co-Founder eCORP International
Becca Cason Thrash
Co-founder Paper City
John Eddie Williams, Jr.
Williams Kherkher Hart Boundas Law Firm
The total contents of Houston’s bid document are confidential while the DNC considers proposals from the competition.