Obama might visit Park City in June
April 3, 2009
President Barack Obama may visit Park City in June, interim Summit County Manager Brian Bellamy said.
"We’re getting word that he may come here," Bellamy told Summit County councilpersons in March.
The Denver-based Western Governors’ Association, made up of leaders from Western and Midwestern states, and American territories, plans to hold its annual meeting June 14-16 at Stein Eriksen Lodge.
Between eight and 12 governors typically attend the conference, according to someone organizing the event.
Politicos speculate that Obama may travel to Park City to address governors at the event.
The Summit County Sheriff’s Office spent approximately $50,000 during President Bush’s fund-raising trip to Park City last May, according to Sheriff Dave Edmunds.
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"With President Obama, I would guess that would be an absolute minimum, and I personally believe it would be more that that," Edmunds said in a telephone interview Thursday. "President Obama’s security contingent is very large and we’re living in an increasingly hostile world."
Local police and sheriff’s deputies complemented the Secret Service and state troopers during the Bush trip.
Edmunds could not confirm that Obama plans to visit the governors’ conference.
"I don’t think anyone will know until a few weeks beforehand. Typically, presidential itineraries are not set until very, very close to arrival," Edmunds said.
Overtime pay for deputies jumps significantly during presidential visits. President Bush moved in a large, heavily protected motorcade between the presidential helicopter’s landing zone outside the schools complex off Kearns Boulevard, Stein Ericksen Lodge, which is where he stayed, and Mitt Romney’s Park City vacation house.
"Local law enforcement always has a role to play with blocking off streets, or helping assist with the outer perimeter," Edmunds said. "Typically, local law enforcement doesn’t get that close to the executive, but there are always ancillary duties that they have to perform."
Edmunds, a Republican, pledges Obama would be protected well should he visit Park City.
"If the commander in chief comes, he gets whatever he needs," Edmunds said.
But conference organizers have made no security requests for the June event, he added.
"I know that [requests] are coming in the future, and they will be substantial," Edmunds said. "If you’ve got 15 governors here, and particularly some of those high-profile people, there needs to be a significant security contingency to make sure they are safe."
Conferences attendees could include Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
"There are going to be a lot of governors in one location, and all governors have security details assigned to them," Edmunds said. "And I don’t know who else is on the guest list. Are senators on the guest list? This thing could turn into something massive from a security standpoint."
The security team that guarded Bush was more powerful than the ones that protected Bill Clinton on his two ski vacations to Park City in the 1990s.
"We always have to set aside money for these kinds of things," Edmunds said. "There are reasons why high-profile political people come to Summit County and we have to plan on them coming."
Presidents do not typically attend meetings of the Western Governors’ Association. Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman is chairman of the organization.