September 12, 2019

City of Rio Rancho offices, city’s schools shutting down on day of Trump rally

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Gage Skidmore

President of the United States Donald Trump speaking at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland.Flickr/cc

The City of Rio Rancho and Rio Rancho Public Schools will shut down Monday in anticipation of President Donald Trump’s campaign rally in the Albuquerque suburb.

City officials announced Monday that while all public safety services will remain available, City of Rio Rancho offices, which are near the Santa Ana Star Center where Trump will appear, will be closed.

The city says the rally “could attract several thousand people” to the area in northwest Rio Rancho.

And the city’s schools will also be closed that day. Rio Rancho Public Schools Superintendent Sue V. Cleveland said the decision was not taken lightly.

“We truly have no way to know the level of impact this could have on our schools or transportation,” she said. “However, as we consider the potential of students being stuck at school or unable to get home, we believe this is the safest decision we can make based on the information we have.”

Since school buses in the district transport elementary, middle school and high school students, any disruption throughout the day could cause a domino effect, Cleveland explained.

While doors to the rally open at 4 p.m. and the rally isn’t scheduled to begin until 7:00 p.m., the city could face traffic issues throughout the day as attendees seek to get in line.

In addition to Rio Rancho police, the New Mexico State Police and Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office will help with the U.S. Secret Service event.

Protests are expected.

The Democratic Party of New Mexico will be holding an event in Albuquerque at Tiguex Park during the Trump rally.

Trump’s campaign rally comes ten months before the state’s primary elections and over a year before the general election. While Trump lost the state in 2016 by over 8 percentage points, his campaign feels the state is in play because of the over 9 percent of New Mexicans who voted for Libertarian Gary Johnson. Johnson is a former governor of New Mexico.

Democrats also made gains in other races in 2016, including retaking the state House of Representatives by flipping five seats and expanding their majority in the state Senate.