DeWine, Voinovich want Homeland Security regional office in Cleveland

By MALIA RULON, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) - Ohio's two U.S. senators say Cleveland is the perfect place for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to open a regional office.
Sens. Mike DeWine and George Voinovich, both Republicans, sent a letter asking Eduardo Aguirre, acting director of the Bureau of Citizenship & Immigration Services, to consider Cleveland.
The senators said the bureau has a small office in Cleveland, so it would be logical to expand it.
The letter also said the city is an ideal location for a regional office because of its proximity to a large airport and several interstate highways, the number of nearby colleges and universities, and low costs for office space and furniture.
It's not known how many cities were being considered for the regional office.
"We are still in the process of assessing what types of regional offices will be needed and potential locations," said department spokeswoman Rachael Sunbarger.
She said a decision on regional offices was expected to be made in a few months.
Rep. Candice Miller, R-Mich., also is lobbying for the regional office.
Miller said the office should be located at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, about 27 miles northeast of Detroit, during a meeting at the base with Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge on Thursday. Ridge planned to speak Friday at the Cleveland City Club.
Miller, a Republican whose district includes Selfridge, said Ridge was noncommittal.
"He's a ways off from making any decision," she said.
Funds for the regional office were included in President Bush's 2004 federal budget.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)