June 2, 2011

George W. Bush to speak in Wichita

Former president George W. Bush will be following his father to Wichita.

Former president George W. Bush will be following his father to Wichita.

Bush will be the speaker for the Wichita Area Chamber of Commerce's annual meeting Nov. 3 at Century II.

"We had some history with his father, so it would be great to have him here, too," said Suzie Ahlstrand, interim president and CEO of the chamber.

George H.W. Bush spoke at the chamber's annual meeting in 2005 and drew the biggest audience for the event to date with 4,000 people.

Other former speakers for the chamber event include former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Bush's speech will be taken from material in his book, "Decision Points," according to a news release from the chamber.

It said Bush will talk about the day of Sept. 11, 2001, his position on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and "his decision to become sober."

Wednesday's announcement took place in the chamber board room, decorated to look like a press briefing room. Two men dressed like Secret Service agents, in black suits and sunglasses, stood by the platform. They escorted Ahlstrand and chamber board chair Lynn Nichols out of the news conference and into the lobby, where cookies with "W" awaited business guests.

Ticket prices range from $25 to $125 and can be ordered through wichitachamber.org.

Because of security for the former president, tickets will need to be ordered in the same name that is on the holder's government-issued identification.

"It's like when you're buying an airline ticket, and your name needs to match your ID," Ahlstrand said.

Tickets are non-transferable. No refunds will be given after Sept. 28 and no tickets will be sold after Oct. 14.

No one will be admitted after the doors close.

Dinner begins at 6:25 p.m., with the program scheduled to start at 7:35 p.m. Doors will close at 6 p.m. for dinner and 7:20 for the speech.

Eight local businesses have contributed to cover Bush's speakers fee, which according to published reports ranges from $100,000 to $150,000.

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