CHARLOTTE -- The mayor of Los Angeles and the chair of the Democratic National Convention is in Charlotte Tuesday. It's Antonio Villaraigosa's first time back in the city since being nominated as chairman.
Villaraigosa walked around the streets of uptown, visiting the convention center before heading off to Time Warner Cable Arena to continue touring facilities that are being used for the DNC in September. Joining him was Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx and DNC Convention CEO Steve Kerrigan.
Villaraigosa arrived in town Monday and has been checking out the venues and getting updates on the preps for the upcoming convention, which is in roughly 150 days. Right off the bat, Villaraigosa says he loves the city and the southern hospitality and is a big fan of the tree canopy you can see all over town. He says it's a great place for the convention to be held and he's looking forward to engaging the community and keeping the convention as open as possible.
“Just going through this city, you could sense that it’s a city that’s very comfortable with itself, and one that I think is going to show the world very well just what North Carolina’s all about,” said Villaraigosa.
When asked about working on the Latino vote, Villaraigosa says it is important but he says reaching out to every group is a priority. He says there hasn't been much drama with this convention because of the unity of his party, but he says in the end, there's likely to be some conflict that will arise.
"In the end, I think our focus is not just on our party, but our country," said Villaraigosa. "I've said that, many times over the years, I'm a Democrat with a small "d." I love our democracy, I believe it's important for us to engage in the battle of ideas, and I look forward to having the conversation with folks from the other side about the future of our country. I think that's what we're all looking forward to."
Villaraigosa is leaving later Tuesday afternoon to head back to Los Angeles, but he says he'll be back several times over the next couple of months as we get closer to September's convention.