WASHINGTON - Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos was in the District Thursday night as he was the featured guest at the Economic Club of Washington D.C.'s Milestone Celebration Dinner at the Washington Hilton. This comes as D.C. is one of 20 cities that are among the finalists for Amazon's second headquarters.
The new headquarters would bring 50,000 jobs to wherever Amazon decides to land. In addition to D.C., Montgomery County in Maryland and Northern Virginia also made a list of the 20 contenders that were named earlier this year.
David Rubenstein, the president of the Economic Club of Washington D.C., co-founder of the Carlyle Group and fellow billionaire, interviewed Bezos in front of the attendees at the dinner. While no big announcement was expected to be made regarding the location of the second headquarters, that didn't stop Rubenstein from slyly asking Bezos where HQ2 will be heading to.
"The answer is very simple. We will announce a decision before the end of this year," Bezos said. "We've made tremendous progress. The team is working their butts off on it and we will get there."
Bezos said his decision to select Seattle for Amazon's original home base was due to Microsoft being there and he had plenty of technical talent to pull from in city. When discussing his charity work with the homeless and schools for children, Bezos said, "All of his best decisions have been made with heart and by trusting gut and instinct as opposed to just analysis."
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan were in attendance for the event. The local leaders discussed their pitch for Amazon to come to their area.
"Not only are we very competitive to land Amazon, what we demonstrated to businesses all over the world is that we're more than government, we're more than federal jobs, we're more than the White House and the Congress," she said. "We are a place where you can grow a tech company. So I'm confident that those sites are going to develop. It will be able to attract good paying jobs."
"Luckily I'm sitting right across from him at the table so hopefully I'll get a chance to talk," said Hogan. "But we're going to make a final pitch. Maybe I'll try to see if I can get him to sign a deal tonight while I'm sitting there having dinner."