ENID — U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas always has been outspoken about the dangers of being in the public eye.
After the 1995 bombing of the Murrah building in Oklahoma City, he stated the death penalty was proper for the people who were behind the bombing. Lucas’ Oklahoma office was a block away from the Murrah building and lost windows and had other damage, but no one was injured.
“I’ve always been specially sensitive about security and the safety of my constituents when they are around me, my staff, family and myself,” he said.
Lucas addressed the issue in the wake of the shooting of Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot Saturday along with staff and members of the public during an appearance in Tucson. Six people were killed in the attack.
Although he has discussed the need for security with his colleagues, Lucas said he does not think members of Congress need full-time security.
Lucas said he likes the ability to go home and become a “real person” again. There have always been attacks on public people, and Lucas said that is a part of being in the public. He will continue to hold town meetings because it is one of the most important aspects of his job.
“The challenge this year is how to make 50 town meetings work with the committee hearing schedule,” he said. “Those plates will be hard to spin. Officials need to spend more time around people, not less.”
Since 1995, Lucas has been cautious when out in the public, although he has never had problems.
“It’s not just me, but the people around me, when unbalanced people come after public officials. I don’t want it to happen,” he said.
The House offers security assessments, where officials look at offices and make suggestions, and Lucas said he always follows their advice. The only problem security assessors had with Lucas is when his Enid office was in the old federal building, where there was only one way in and out.
“We have worked with the capitol police and law enforcement. That’s the world we live in, with people emotionally unstable,” Lucas said.
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