Local News

N.C. Delegates Not Concerned About Security At RNC

Posted August 27, 2004 4:37 a.m. EDT

— Since the GOP convention is considered a potential target for terrorists, North Carolina delegates clearly have more than just politics on their minds.

"I've had friends and relatives have concerns for my safety being there," North Carolina Republican delegate Joseph Avery said.

"I don't anticipate any problems. I'm excited about being there. I just encourage my family to pray for me and I think everything will be fine," North Carolina Republican delegate Kathryn Atkinson said.

North Carolina Republicans who converge on New York City will find unprecedented convention security. About 10,000 police officers will patrol in and around Madison Square Garden.

"We are prepared," said Tom Ridge, Secretary of the Homeland Security Department.

"We've got to be prepared. I'm sure we are and we're not going to change our schedule because of terrorists," Avery said.

The New York police officers are not just concerned about terrorists. They are preparing for more disruptive protestors than their counterparts faced at the Democratic Convention in Boston. Still, North Carolina delegates do not plan to be diverted from supporting their party.

"When you're in New York, you need to always be aware of what's around you. It's not like in Smithfield," Avery said.

"I anticipate it will be a fantastic experience," Atkinson said.

North Carolina will be represented by 67 delegates in New York joining more than 2,000 from across the country. With alternate delegates, guests, and media, an estimated 50,000 visitors will head to New York City next week.