BEAVERDALE, Iowa -- Sherill Whisenand, who started the Iowa Straw Poll in 1979, has spent a lifetime in politics. Whisenand is a former Iowa GOP State Central Committee member and former Co-Chairman of the Republican Party of Polk County, and she can't wait to see the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States.
"I just can`t express my, and I use the word gratitude, to have been so active at the local, state, and federal level and suddenly get the opportunity to go to the inauguration. I am very excited to see this," said Whisenand. But don't let her enthusiasm fool you; Whisenand wasn't always on the Trump train. "Like many in Iowa, Donald Trump was definitely not my first choice, but like most of us in the Republican Party, we acquiesced around him and we`re going to go. We`re going to support him and as President Obama said earlier today, we have an obligation to make sure that we take care of the change over in power," said Whisenand.
Whisenand plans on attending lots of events and festivities during her trip to the nation's captial and despite all of the controversy surrounding Donald Trump, the opposition he faces and the protests that are planned for inauguration day, she isn't worried about her safety. “I was very lucky. I got to go see the Pope speak to Congress a year ago and that security effort was just phenomenal and I felt so comfortable," said Whisenand. "There are people who might get a little out of hand, but I really don`t think so. I understand it`s supposed to be the largest delegation of National Guard and security efforts that we`ve ever seen," she said.
Approximately 30 Soldiers and Airmen from the Iowa Army and Air National Guard will be assisting in that effort. "Myself, along with a handful of individuals from the 71st Civil Support Team are out here to assist civil authorities and provide detection and mitigation capabilities for chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear materials and substances," said 2LT Zachary T Martin of the Iowa National Guard. "Our goal here is to ensure the peaceful transition of power and that this great and historic event goes on safely and uninterrupted," he said.