Illinois Senate supports state military bases

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[APRIL 22, 2005]  SPRINGFIELD -- In response to a presidential edict calling for the realignment and closure of U.S. military bases and a Department of Defense statement expressing its intent to reduce almost 25 percent of its infrastructure, the Illinois Senate approved a bipartisan resolution supporting four Illinois military bases that are at risk for closure.

According to state Sen. Larry Bomke, R-Springfield, the Senate chamber unanimously supported Senate Joint Resolution 18, a proclamation that reinforces the economic and social importance of the Peoria Air National Guard Base, the Rock Island Arsenal, Scott Air Force Base and Springfield National Guard Base.

"Senate Joint Resolution 18 was drafted to convey how serious the ramifications of closing these military bases would be," said Bomke, a co-sponsor of the resolution. "Closing these bases would affect the lives and livelihoods of tens of thousands of Illinois residents and have a noticeable impact on the economy of these regions."

Combined, these Air Force bases provide over 20,000 jobs to Illinois citizens and an economic impact of over $3 billion. Each of the bases is a vital component in the success of the surrounding communities, often acting as the economic engine of the region.

Bomke explained that each of these military bases plays an instrumental role in supporting military initiatives at home and abroad.

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"Each military institution contributes in some way to the success and the safety of American armed forces," he said. "The Peoria Air Base remains mobilized in support of our troops in the Middle East, while the Rock Island Arsenal plays a key role in developing and producing weapons and other munitions.

"The Scott Air Force Base is the largest employer in southwest Illinois, and its daily operations are fundamental to the execution of National Security Policy. Finally, the Springfield Air National Guard is a key facility for the specialized training of Air Force pilots."

Senate Joint Resolution 18 will proceed to the Illinois House of Representatives for final consent. If the resolution is adopted, copies will be forwarded to the Department of Defense, the Base Realignment and Closure Commission, and to each member of the Illinois congressional delegation for review.

[News release from Illinois Senate Republicans]

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