Rep. Sullivan Expects Changes In Wake Of Arizona Shootings

Sunday, January 9th 2011, 3:44 pm
By: News On 6

Lacie Lowry, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Lawmakers everywhere are considering changing their security policies after the deadly shootings in Arizona Saturday.

01/08/2010 Related Story: Arizona Congresswoman Wounded, 6 Killed In Tucson Shooting

Sunday, more than 800 people were on a massive conference call, including members of Congress, their spouses and staff, discussing how to revamp congressional security.

Think back to the town hall meetings over health care reform in 2009 and Members of Congress will tell you; those meetings prove that face-to-face democracy still matters.

But Saturday's shooting will affect how those future grassroots encounters play out.

"I think we can be safe, but one thing I want to make sure I get across here is that I'm not going to stop doing my job and meeting with constituents. I'm still going to do that," said Republican Rep. John Sullivan, Oklahoma.

Sullivan says access is everything. He pledges the bloodshed will not keep him from mingling with the public in Washington, D.C. or in his district.

"When we come home, we're a little more vulnerable. This is where everyone is and this where people are talking about the issues of the day," Sullivan said.

The Oklahoma Republican says extra precaution is the answer and plans to coordinate with law enforcement on public events and have an officer at future meetings.

"I think having a sheriff's office employee there with a car is going to help a lot. I think someone will think twice if they saw law enforcement, but many times, we are there just alone and anyone could do this. I'm surprised it hasn't happened more," Sullivan said.

An aide to Representative Gabrielle Giffords says she had no security force on duty at the time of the event, which was not unusual.

"We are going to share our schedule with local law enforcement and they will know where we are going to be. We are going to coordinate them at public events and anywhere we are going to be with a lot of people they will be there," Sullivan said.

Sullivan says everyone in Congress has had threats, but the 'Congress on your corner' events, town hall meetings and public forums must go on.

Members of Congress will hold a committee meeting on Wednesday to discuss security precautions.