'All Systems Go' As GOP Convention Marks 100 Days Out Convention staff, local leaders ready to make Minneapolis-Saint Paul 'center of the politicaluniverse'
(SAINT PAUL, Minn.) - Observing an important milestone, 2008 Republican National Convention President and CEO Maria Cino today marked the 100-day-out threshold, saying the convention and the host cities of Minneapolis-Saint Paul will be ready to make history when the gavel drops at the Xcel Energy Center on Sept. 1, 2008.
"With 100 days remaining until the gavel drops at the Xcel Energy Center, I am pleased to report our planning remains on track and that we will be ready for all systems go," Cino said. "In September, the world will see a successful convention and that is due to the commitment and professionalism of not only our convention staff, but the local community leaders who have been great partners in this effort."
As convention planning moves into its final 100 days, convention staff, the MSP 2008 Host Committee, and local leaders continue to finalize plans which will place Minneapolis-Saint Paul on the world stage.
"In 100 days, the eyes of the nation and the world will focus on Minneapolis-Saint Paul as Sen. John McCain is formally nominated as our party's candidate for president," Cino said. "It is the pinnacle moment in a process that began nearly two years ago, and will result in the most exciting and energetic convention in Republican Party history."
Xcel Energy Center
The design of the podium continues under the auspices of Executive Producer David J. Nash. Nash, a veteran of Broadway and television award shows, is back for his fifth-consecutive Republican National Convention.
Build-out plans for the Xcel Energy Center, the Saint Paul RiverCentre and the Roy Wilkins Auditorium are being finalized by Freeman Company, a worldwide leader in convention-related services. Freeman, with offices in 41 cities across America, is the lead contractor for the Republican National Convention for the fifth time. Implementation begins on July 21, 2008.
The convention's media operations division is allocating more than 450,000 square feet of working space for the anticipated 15,000 members of the media who will cover the 2008 Republican National Convention - ranking it just behind the Olympics in terms of media interest. The space to be allocated is the equivalent of nearly eight National Football League (NFL) playing fields.
Earlier this week, the convention hosted media representatives from across the nation to brief them on the media operations planning for the convention. The briefing included a tour of the media positions and workspace that will be available to journalists from around the world.
The 2008 Republican National Convention has identified and announced the host hotels for the 56 Republican delegations that will nominate Sen. McCain as the GOP's candidate for President of the United States, as well as the host hotel for the Republican National Committee: the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis. All told, the convention has secured more than 16,000 rooms in 101 area hotels.
The convention is working with Transportation Management Services (TMS) to develop a comprehensive transportation plan for the 45,000 convention guests expected in Minneapolis-Saint Paul. TMS is working its third Republican convention.
TMS and the convention transportation staff are developing the GOP Express, a system of more than 300 buses that will transport credentialed guests and media to and from official hotels and the Xcel Energy Center.
The Republican National Convention has also partnered with Northwest Airlines. NWA is the Official Airline and will bring thousands of delegates, alternate delegates, Republican Party leaders, members of the media, and convention guests to Minneapolis-Saint Paul.
The convention and host committee enjoy close working relationships with a bipartisan group of local, state, and federal government leaders, including Gov. Tim Pawlenty; Sens. Norm Coleman and Amy Klobuchar; and Mayors R.T. Rybak (Minneapolis), Chris Coleman (Saint Paul), and Gene Winstead (Bloomington).
The MSP 2008 Host Committee has also notched several successes leading up to the 100-day-out mark. In an effort to welcome the 45,000 expected visitors and increase traffic to Minnesota businesses, the host committee launched the More to Minnesota GOParty Card which will offer up to 20 percent discounts and special deals from participating Minnesota businesses from August 23 until September 7 as an additional incentive to come early and stay longer.
CivicFest: A Very Minnesota Celebration, a one-of-a-kind event celebrating Minnesota and American history, democracy and the U.S. Presidency, is being organized by the host committee. The event, produced by high-profile event veteran Gerard McTernan, will be held Aug. 29 - Sept. 4, 2008, at the Minneapolis Convention Center. More than 150,000 people are expected to attend CivicFest, which will be open to the general public.
To gather the 8,000 volunteers needed to help put on the convention, MSP 2008 is partnering with Monster.com to create and power the official online recruitment section of the official host committee website: www.MSP2008.com.
Community Service: American Neighbor
Since arriving in Minneapolis-Saint Paul, the 2008 Republican National Convention has made community involvement a key program in convention preparations.
In Sept. 2007, the convention established the American Neighbor Volunteer Program, a service initiative aimed at giving back to the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area and inspiring Republicans across the nation to take action in their own communities. In keeping with Sen. McCain's call to "serving a cause greater than one's own self-interest," convention staff have totaled more than 375 volunteer hours benefitting the host cities.
More information on the American Neighbor Volunteer Program can be found at: GOPConvention2008.com/news/Read.aspx?ID=477.
The 2008 Republican National Convention has maintained its commitment to being the most environmentally-friendly convention in party history by undertaking several initiatives to reduce waste. Reflecting Sen. McCain's record of "common sense stewardship," convention staff work in an energy efficient office which has been outfitted with recycled furnishings and most live within walking distance of their workplace.
Through its Official Vehicle Provider, General Motors, the convention will more than 300 alternative fuel/hybrid vehicles to transport staff, members of the Republican National Committee, and government leaders.
The convention staff and host committee have reduced the amount of paper by adopting electronic systems for communication, volunteer recruitment, and hotel booking.
As part of its volunteer initiative, the convention took part in the annual Earth Day cleanup of the Minneapolis watershed. More on the convention's green efforts can be found at: GOPConvention2008.com/features/greenfactsheetpdf.
Technologically Savvy Convention
As part of its commitment to hold the most technologically savvy convention in GOP history, the convention established www.GOPConvention2008.com to provide more information and greater interactive capabilities, including video features, user-generated content, and a convention blog.
In addition, the convention has partnered with Google Inc. to propel it to the forefront of the digital age. As Official Innovation Provider, Google is enhancing the GOP's online presence with new applications, search tools, and interactive video. In addition, Google is helping generate buzz and excitement in advance of the convention through its proven online marketing techniques.
The convention's YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/gopconvention2008) is enabling visitors to upload, view, and share online videos. These innovative technologies are helping the GOP streamline convention organization and expand its online reach.
Americans will have a front-row seat to the convention through the Official Live Video Streaming Provider, Ustream.TV. In addition to live gavel-to-gavel coverage of the convention, the Ustream.TV broadcasting platform will feature live video chats and online interviews of convention and other Republican officials.
Click here for actuality from Maria Cino
About the Republican National Convention The 2008 Republican National Convention will be held at Saint Paul's Xcel Energy Center from September 1-4, 2008. Approximately 45,000 delegates, alternate delegates, volunteers, members of the media and other guests are expected to attend the convention. Minneapolis-Saint Paul is expected to receive an estimated $150-$160 million positive economic boost from the four-day event. For more information about the 2008 Republican National Convention, please visit our website at www.GOPConvention2008.com.