Rio Rancho residents, vendors prepare for presidential visit

New Mexico

RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) – The city of Rio Rancho is preparing for President Donald Trump’s campaign rally Monday night and officials say their top concern is keeping people safe.

The Santa Ana Star Center does not open its doors until 4 p.m., but people and vendors in Rio Rancho have been getting ready for the president’s visit for days. “I think it is amazing,” Rio Rancho resident Marcy Blunier said. “Any time a president comes here, it is wonderful for our city and our state.”

People are weighing in about what they are expecting at President Trump’s campaign rally. “I am sure there is going to be protesters, and we expect that,” Blunier said.

Blunier said she is attending the 7 p.m. rally and bought gear at a pop-up shop near Southern and Western Hills Sunday afternoon. “I believe in his politics,” Blunier said. “I believe in the economy.”

Vendors are taking advantage. KRQE News 13 spotted at least six different tents Sunday selling Trump merchandise.

Dawn Wilcoxson from Clearwater, Florida said about 1,000 people swung by her tent Saturday. “We have had a really good response,” Wilcoxson. “They are excited here and excited to have Trump come, but we have had a lot of fingers, cuss words and people honking too.”

Other locals are not happy about Trump’s visit. “I think overall, he is not presidential material,” Rio Rancho resident Ramon Gonzales said.

Sandoval County resident Audianna Garcia said she is concerned for public safety.”There is a lot of negativity,” Garcia said. “People hate him and dislike him. “It is all up in the air right now as to what could happen with him coming.”

It was three years ago during Trump’s campaign rally in downtown Albuquerque when things turned violent. People threw rocks, tossed barriers and even lit t-shirts on fire.

Sunday without giving specifics, Rio Rancho Mayor Gregg Hull said that the city is ready for any situation. “We have law enforcement ready that will be there with a heavy presence,” Mayor Hull said. “They will try to control how things flow in and out of the area to keep it as peaceful as possible.”

The city is encouraging people to carpool or Uber to the arena because there are only 3,000 parking spaces. Hull expects the worst times for traffic to be around 6 a.m. when the lot opens and around 10 p.m. when the event is expected to end.

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