People excited for GOP debate in Cleveland

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WANE) – As thousands of people descend on Cleveland for the first primetime debate of the GOP presidential candidates, local folks are excited to see their city showcased on the national stage.

Mike Ettorree grew up in Cleveland and is a democrat, but wanted to come down to Quicken Loans Arena Thursday afternoon to see the spectacle surrounding the debate.

“We always seem to have such a downer mentality, but to have such a spotlight on the city I think is really cool and it deserves it. There’s a lot of good things going on in this city that aren’t always highlighted,” Ettorree said.

Most of the people around the area during the day Thursday were media, but at one point there was a caravan of cars assembled in Ohio with signs reading “Democrats saved our jobs” on the sides driving around the arena. The members of the UAW who were driving the cars said it was, in part, a message to all the republicans in town.

 “It’s to tell them that we really appreciate the loan that General Motors got and most of them voted against it,” Dave Cimperman with the UAW Local 1005 said. “We have our jobs because of Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur and the other democrats who voted for it.”
Rep. Tim Ryan (D-13th District, Ohio) was also with the group and said the debate is a good thing for Cleveland.
“It’s been a real transformation here. We still have a lot of issues, but the city’s come a long way. It’s really come back. It’s not just LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavalers, and to showcase that to the world is really exciting,” Ryan said.
It’s also a good preview for the 2016 GOP Convention next summer, said Jackie Spencer with Destination Cleveland, the visitors’ and convention bureau for Cleveland.
“It helps us change the narrative a little. It’s great to have a convention of this magnitude come to Cleveland where we really haven’t had that before. Whether it’s hotels or restaurants and bars and other attractions, it’s nice to have that national spotlight right here in our hometown,” Spencer said.
Ohio governor John Kasich being in the debate also helps bring attention to Ohio and Cleveland.
“It’s great to have someone from Ohio cheer on the city of Cleveland and I know he’s a big supporter of welcoming everyone to the city,” Spencer said.
Ryan agreed that Kasich will bring more attention to Ohio.
“I think in that instance, that’s a good thing. I don’t agree with his policies, but having someone from Ohio on the stage is good for the image of the area or at least drawing people in,” he said.
Tim Carson works in downtown Cleveland and said it’s great that Kasich is in the debate.
“He’s from Ohio and has a lot of experience not only in Congress, but running the state,” Carson said. “Watching him, I think his speech is not polished, so if he can work on that, but that’s not what we elect people for, how well they speak. We elect people for what they do and I think he’s got the right ideas. And the balanced budget is one of the big things I’m interested in.”

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