DNC Chair Jaime Harrison in Chicago as city begins to plan for 2024 convention

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Tuesday, June 6, 2023
DNC chair visits Chicago after violent weekends
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DNC Chair Jaime Harrison was in Chicago to deliver the keynote address the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce annual meeting.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The head of the Democratic National Committee was in Chicago Tuesday talking about the importance of youth and spreading around the economic benefits of the 2024 convention that will be held here.

DNC Chair Jaime Harrison and Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson are also hoping to overcome some of the negative perceptions of the city due to violent crime.

Harrison was in town to keynote the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce annual meeting. His visit came on the heels of a pair of violent weekends.

Harrison talked about partnering with businesses, a partnership Mayor Johnson sees as one important way to tackle crime.

Chicago will get to showcase all it has to offer to the world when it hosts the 2024 Democratic National Convention next summer. The economic impact for hotels, restaurants and the tourist industry is projected to be $150 million or more.

"I hope the hallmark of this convention in 2024 is not just a physical, but the human infrastructure in his city, making sure that there's a long lasting impact for the businesses, but also for the people who live in these communities," Harrison said.

Harrison also wants to get youth involved in the convention and the venues. As a 12-year-old, he watched his first convention in 1988 with his grandfather.

But with Chicago making headlines for the past two violent weekends and for large youth gatherings causing chaos downtown before Johnson was sworn in as mayor, he doubled down on his jab at critics.

"We're not going to allow the press of the media to dictate who our young people are, in fact I'll say it again: If you don't live in Chicago and you're not offering up solutions, stop talking about us," Johnson said.

The youth factor is not just important for the convention, but for the business community as well. Leaders are partnering with the city to employ more young people as part of an effort to reduce crime.

"When business labor, government and community organizations work together, great things happen and the business community is focused on jobs and public safety and part of that is employing our youth," said Jack Levin, president and CEO of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce.

The DNC chair is confident Chicago is the right choice for 2024.