Lexington residents prepare for Vice President Pence’s visit

Local News

LEXINGTON, Va. (WFXR) — Vice President Mike Pence will be making a visit to speak at VMI Thursday, and while his visit will be isolated to the campus, the City of Lexington is still buzzing as people prepare for his arrival.

One thing that’s a top priority is security. As far as the Vice President’s security goes, that will be handled by the Secret Service. WFXR News reached out to a representative of the Secret Service for more details but has not heard back.

The Rockbridge County Sheriff’s Office says they will have extra staff on hand in case they are needed for things like larger than normal crowds, protest or anything else.

“Protest are fine as long as everyone is obeying the law,” said Chief Deputy Tony McFaddin.

McFaddin says high profile guests, like the Vice President, bring in extra attention.

“With all events like this that come to town we generally expect different groups to follow them into town and larger crowds to be present. Which may lead to more calls for service,” said McFaddin.

According to McFaddin, they’ve had protests in the past, but nothing that got out of hand, so they do not anticipate any issues on Thursday, Sept. 10. However, the sheriff’s office is ready with extra staff just in case.

“I guess the only concern we ever have is in this day and time, with communication as quick as it is, what other groups may come in here and try to do something else, but that’s the reason we have extra people on hand is to handle anything like that.”

Deputies aren’t the only ones gearing up. Businesses also have signs up, and roads are already being closed to street parking.

“Nice of him to come visit VMI. I think it’s closed to the public but I know it’s also gotten local recognition here,” said Lexington resident Eliot Alford.

The owner to the Georges Boutique Hotel, Ann Parker Gottwald, says she’s hoping this visit draws in crowds, not for protesters, but for businesses, especially those that have taken a hit during the pandemic.

“I think it’s really exciting for Lexington. There’s been a lot of closures from all the COVID and it’s nice to have something uplifting and have people buzzing around town,” said Gottwald.

WFXR News will have team coverage of the Vice President’s visit to VMI on Thursday.

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