NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Following the decision Friday for the 2024 Republican National Convention to take place in Milwaukee over Nashville, Mayor John Cooper says there were a lot of concerns that weren't completely addressed.
"It's easy to get the facts of the matter a little wrong. we already had conventions in Nashville," he said Monday. "You would've had to displace them to have it. You would've required a huge amount of overtime by our police department and...security and branding is important to Nashville, so yeah, there were a whole lot of concerns that weren't completely addressed."
Cooper said Nashville has conventions that are fully booked for the future. He explained that hotel occupancy and employment are up by tens of thousands, so it's not depending on the RNC for a successful future.
"I think Milwaukee is a swing state and very important in the partisan politics of 2024 so I'm sure that's a good choice for the RNC," he said.
Mayor Cooper said they hope for a great relationship with the state going forward.
"Vouchers make it challenging, things like Roe v. Wade I suppose make it challenging for our Metro Council also, but for us to look at our police force and say we're going to require a huge amount of overtime for this one event," Mayor Cooper said. "Going forward I personally had trouble with them...because we're already expecting a whole lot out of them right now."
The mayor explained that they just added 62 new officers and have eight recruiting classes that are booked for the year ahead, so they're able to build up the police response, but 2024 is a "little quick" for where they are in terms of expecting that much overtime out of officers.
"I myself view it was more risk than reward for Nashville with that event, so I certainly agree with the Metro Council's decision to go slow on that decision," Cooper said.