Tight security expected for first lady visit

By Ryan Lengerich

It’s not the president visiting Clovis today, but local Republicans say security at the event may be just as tight.
First lady Laura Bush makes a stop in Clovis today, the first major Republican Party figure to grace eastern New Mexico this election year.
Bush is scheduled to speak at 1:30 p.m. at the Kevin Roberts Show Arena at the Curry County Fairgrounds.
Originally the event was to take place outdoors at Greene Acres Park, but Jeff Naggs, co-chairman of the Curry County Bush/Cheney re-election campaign, said recent rains pushed the event to an indoor facility.
Admission will begin at 11 a.m. and close at 12:30 p.m.
Those attending must have the ticket with their name on the back and a photo identification, said Rube Render, member of the Curry County Republicans central committee.
Render encouraged early arrival and said he expects security checks to slow down admission and create backups. Tickets have been distributed in recent days and Render said he does not expect tickets to be available today.
About 1,500 are expected to turn out for the appearance.
Despite about a 30 percent chance of rain, secret security forces will not allow umbrellas. Chairs, coolers and large bags are also not permitted.
“I think the best analogy would be boarding an airplane,” Naggs said. “If you are not going to bring it on an airplane you are not going to bring it to the event.”
Render said local Republican party members are only given limited information about the event for security reasons. He said he is unsure how long the first lady will address the audience.
Parking should not be an issue, Render said, with more people attending the annual county fair than tickets issued for the Bush event.
Naggs said an outdoor public venue is preferred for the appearance. The only covered venue, he said, was at the fairgrounds, where a muddy parking lot and entrance could be a problem.
“This is as good of a reason as any to have some type of an events center in Clovis,” Naggs said.
Following her address, Bush will travel to Albuquerque for two more speaking engagements.