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Cheney visit seen as boost to region

by Paul Darst

STAFF WRITER

Dick Cheney's visit to Harrison County today might do more than just rally local voters.

It also could help with economic development in the area, said one local business owner.

The GOP vice presidential candidate is scheduled to make a campaign appearance at 10 a.m. today at Precision Coil Inc., just outside of Clarksburg.

James Smith Jr., the company's chief executive officer, said Wednesday having a national candidate visit the area could attract the attention of businesses in other parts of the country.

"It could catch the attention of another company who might want to locate here," he said.

Local police officials, meanwhile, said Wednesday they do not believe Cheney's visit will disrupt life in the area.

Secret Service agents and campaign advance team personnel met again Wednesday with local firefighters, police and emergency services workers to discuss arrangements for the visit.

The Harrison County Sheriff's Department will have three deputies assigned to the Secret Service and one to the motorcade, Sheriff Wayne Godwin said Wednesday.

Although security will be tight, it is not like President Bill Clinton's visit in 1997, Godwin said.

"It's not nearly as much as when President Clinton came here," Godwin said.

During that visit, all sheriff's deputies were on duty, he said.

Police said any traffic delays should be minimal.

Cheney is scheduled to fly to Benedum Airport, drive to the event, then go back to the airport to leave, according to campaign officials.

Smith said he was contacted Monday by campaign officials asking to use his plant for the rally. Plans were finalized on Tuesday.

Cheney will address a crowd of 1,000 to 2,000 people in one of the buildings at Precision, Smith said.

Precision officials continued meeting with Secret Service agents and the campaign's advance team Wednesday, Smith said.

Having the campaign stop at his company is exciting for Smith, he said.

"I think first of all that this is very good for the area," Smith said. "As a company and as an individual, I'm very proud that somebody of this stature is coming here."

Staff writer Paul Darst can be reached at 626-1404 or by e-mail at pdarst@exponent-telegram.com.

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