This past weekend, Windham, NH was honored by the visit of a sitting President. As part of the preparation, the Secret Service required our town to provide $5,400 of local resources to enhance the security efforts of President Obama's visit. The question has been publicly raised as to who should pay. Some people believe Windham should, incorrectly citing the recent visits of GOP candidates as justification.
Last December and January, our non-partisan Southern NH 9.12 group invited all Presidential candidates to visit Windham, including President Obama. Our invitations were accepted by Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Rand Paul. While there were some police and fire officers on site, none were directly assigned to the safety of the candidates -- and the amount of police and fire support appeared to be similar to many other events that I have attended in Windham with equal sized attendance.
When the Gingrich campaign requested additional security for their event, I told them their campaign would be responsible for those arrangements and additional costs. I then put them in direct contact with our Police Department to work out any details. The Gingrich campaign ultimately decided to hire (and pay for) private security. That is how it should have been handled. And that is how it should be for the President as well.
As our Selectmen, you were not elected to spend our town's money on the candidate of your choice. On Monday, August 27th, you will be responsible for deciding if Windham will voluntarily pay for the President's security. It is my sincere hope that none of you will take it upon yourselves to use our tax dollars to force each of us to make an indirect contribution to the President's campaign via the expenditure of our tax dollars on the President's extensive security.
My position on this issue for all candidates has remained non-partisan and consistent. In this case, either the President's campaign (or the Secret Service) should be billed for the additional security expenses. The taxes in our town are through the roof, and with all due respect, I hope you take your fiduciary responsibility to our town seriously and vote to bill the President for the cost of his additional security requirement needs.