Organizers of the upcoming Democratic National Convention in Charlotte want your time, your money and maybe your business.
Tracy Russ, senior adviser for communications and marketing of the Charlotte in 2012 host committee, said the timing is right for York County businesses or individuals to become involved with the convention.
The host committee is "building an organization" and "building connections" with groups in the counties surrounding Charlotte, Russ said.
"It's not too late; we are on track as to where we should be," Russ said Wednesday in Rock Hill. He spoke before about 80 members and guests of the York County Regional Chamber of Commerce.
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To be involved, Russ said, go to charlottein2012.com where people can:
Sign up for the vendors list. More than 13,000 businesses have already signed up, he said. "No need is too small."
Offer to volunteer. Specific volunteer opportunities will be listed early next year. The committee encourages people to sign up now.
Contribute money or buy convention merchandise. The host committee, by contract with the Democratic Party, has to raise $36.65 million for the convention. He did not say now much as been raised so far. The per-person contribution limit is $100,000.
Russ said it was a regional approach that helped Charlotte win the convention and that it will take a regional approach to make the convention memorable.
"What do you want to lift up about York County?" he asked. "You need to be ready to tell that story. We can help you with that."
The chamber and the York County Convention and Visitors Bureau have formed SC2012 to lead local convention efforts. Mary Frances Morton has been selected to chair the local efforts.
The local group, which has bipartisan support, is working on its marketing plan, as well as how local businesses can solicit convention business.
So far, most of the local conversation has been about hotels. About 16 hotels in York County have been working with the convention to provide rooms.
Who will fill the rooms has not been determined yet. The convention's 1,500 delegates will get their room space by a lottery conducted by the Democratic Party. An estimated 15,000 members of the media, as well as support staff and others, will attend the convention, Russ said.
"Many don't know what to expect," Russ said. "It's a blank slate, in my mind, to tell what this area is about. We need to tell the story and tell it well."