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Phoenix could try for 2016 Republican convention

PHOENIX -- One Valley publicist believes Phoenix has a good chance of landing the 2016 Republican National Convention.

Gordon James, owner of a public relations firm, spearheaded Phoenix's efforts to land the 2012 convention that was held last week in Tampa. Phoenix and Salt Lake City were among the finalists.

"I think Tampa won out because they had attempted to get this three different times," he said. "The third time was the charm."

James said Phoenix should shoot to host the 2016 convention.

"We've been very encouraged by those Arizonans who attended the convention in Tampa," he said. "We've had several people who have called us and said 'Shoot, Phoenix has everything that Tampa had and then some.' I certainly hope that we can put a strong team together and, when the time's appropriate, start working on this and put our oar in the water."

James said the city will have to start working on its effort in the next 12 months.

"The Republican Selection Committee probably won't get organized for about 24 to 30 months from now," he said. "But we will want to let the Republican National Committee know that we are interested about a year from now."

But there could be a hurdle: Phoenix may have to overcome the controversy over SB 1070.

"To be honest with you, I don't think it helped the last time around," James said. "I'm hoping that the political atmosphere here is welcoming, and there won't be any issues like SB 1070 that we will have to overcome next time around."

The Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitor's Bureau said landing a convention could pump $40 million into the local economy.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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