Region 8 Republicans Ready For Inauguration

January 17, 2005 – Posted at 5:44 p.m. CST

JONESBORO -- Just days until the presidential inauguration, many Republicans in Region 8 are making their way to Washington, D.C.

"We will have several hundred people from Arkansas attending the inauguration," said Vermalene Smith, First Congressional Chairman of the Bush-Cheney campaign.

President Bush is pretty well received in the state of Arkansas. In the general election, he carried 55 of the 73 counties, more than 2/3 of the state. And for those who were lucky enough to get an invitation, it's a trip of a lifetime.

"It's always a lot of excitement. One of the best things that's happened this year is that the president has issued so many invitations, free invitations, to our military and their families, so I think that will be a very exciting day for everyone," said Smith.

Security will be on high alert, as this is the first inauguration since September 11th.

"When you have large crowds there's always a chance for something happening. However, I do think they have taken many, many measures this year to ensure everyone's safety," said Smith, "They have security from all over the United States coming in from the various states."

And as for the next four years, Republican supporters are looking forward.

"There's always some things that will be carried over consistent with the programs that he already had implemented, but I think we will see a lot of changes this time," said Smith.

Arkansans won't be lonely while they're in D.C. Four large natural state companies, Alltel, Stephens, Tyson Foods and Wal-Mart, will be hosting invitation only events.