President Barack Obama may be coming to North Wilkesboro Monday as part of a three-bus tour of North Carolina and Virginia, according to news story in the Asheville Citizen-Times.
The plan is for Obama to fly into Asheville and make bus tour stops in Hickory and North Wilkesboro, according to the story.
At press time, a White House spokesman said the president's stops have yet to be confirmed. Obama's schedule for the bus tour will be confirmed later this week, the spokesman indicated.
White House officials have confirmed to the media that Obama will be using this tour to talk about jobs and the economy. In a vote last night, the Senate blocked the president's $447 billion bill to create jobs in the country.
First Sgt. Brian Sharpe, top supervisor for the N.C. Highway Patrol in Troop F, District II (Wilkes, Ashe and Alleghany counties) said he is going to troop headquarters in Newton today to receive his assignment. Troopers from Wilkes and other areas of North Carolina will be combining efforts with city and county officers to assist U.S. Secret Service agents in providing security for the president.
The Highway Patrol's primary focus will be to block off roads and driveways and keep motorists off highways while the presidential motorcade travels through.
Secret Service agents met with law enforcement officials Tuesday in Hickory in anticipation of the president's bus tour. Agents have also been in Wilkes County, sources said.
Wilkes Sheriff Chris Shew said that if White House officials confirm the president's visit here, he and his deputies "will work to provide, with the Secret Service, whatever it is (federal officials) need from us and help with any security issues."
North Wilkesboro Police Chief Joe Rankin, who also has been contacted by the Secret Service, said he and his officers will "work with the sheriff's department and state and federal agencies to ensure the safety of the president and ensure a smooth transition in Wilkes."
Shew and Rankin both emphasized that a presidential visit to North Wilkesboro has not yet been confirmed.
The last similar visit here was by former President Bill Clinton in April 2008. He spoke at a rally at a home in North Wilkesboro on behalf of his wife, current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was opposing Obama in the Democratic presidential primary.