Preparations continue as DNC approaches

by: Blair Miller Updated:


CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Organizers are using every bit of time before the DNC to get the city and its venues ready.

The convention is just four weeks away, and Eyewitness News anchor Blair Miller spent time with the man who's in charge of the convention to see what's left to be done.

On the 13th floor of one of Charlotte's high rises, the countdown is on to the DNC. Watching that clock closer than most is Steve Kerrigan.

Miller first met Kerrigan in June 2011, when he moved to Charlotte to run the convention. He's tasked with making sure the event runs smoothly.

“With 30-some days left until the president takes that stage, what is your biggest focus right now?” Miller asked.

“The biggest focus right now maintains that the arena is ready, the stadium is ready, that the city is ready and volunteers are trained,” Kerrigan said.

He said this convention will mean more to everyday citizens.

He's quick to compare the DNC to the Republican convention in Tampa.

“What you'll see -- and I have great respect for my counterparts in Tampa -- what you'll see down there is no opportunity for the public to be involved.  No events for the public to go to,” Kerrigan said.

His staff continues to get questions about the fundraising and the $37 million to be raised by the host committee. All along officials have said they're right on track, despite critics who have questioned that.

“Has that been a frustrating part of this?” Miller asked.  

“The many questions?” Kerrigan said.   

“Yes,” Miller replied.   

“No, when you take a job like this, you're supposed to answer as many questions as you can,” Kerrigan said.

He also said, “We've made historic changes to our funding. This is the first convention in history to be funded without corporate cash.”

And from meeting to meeting, working on very detailed parts of the convention, Kerrigan said without a doubt, Charlotte is ready.

“What I say to everyone is Charlotte was the right choice and it remains the right place,” Kerrigan said.

As for that countdown -- the clock's not set for the start of the convention, but for the moment the president takes the stage at Bank of America stadium.

“I count down to that moment because that's the moment I know I can take a deep breath and sit back and watch the president and know we're pretty close to the home stretch and almost done,” Kerrigan said.