By Sen. Will Kraus
Cultivating a military-friendly environment through legislation, both on a federal and state level, stimulates Missouri’s economy. Because of this, it is good news for Missouri that Congress passed a funding bill last week containing appropriations to expand and enhance Missouri military facilities.
A major victory for our state contained in this bill is the commission of a $29.5 million Consolidated Stealth and Nuclear Alert Facility at Whiteman Air Force Base, near Knob Knoster, Missouri. Successfully securing funding for this project is the product of ten years hard work by Missouri’s federal lawmakers. This facility will significantly increase the base’s stealth bomber capability and strengthen Air Force deterrence capabilities at home and abroad. This is positive for national security and the future of the Air Force base in Missouri.
Immediate economic benefits of constructing the 79,000 square-foot facility are the creation dozens of jobs in the area and hundreds of thousands of dollars pumped into the local economy during the duration of the construction project.
The long-term benefits of the commissioning of this new facility are even greater. Investing in a $29.5 million dollar facility at Whiteman AFB solidifies Missouri as the base of operations for the Air Force’s B-2 bomber missions. In the midst of concerns about downsizing military spending, this investment is an assurance that Whiteman will continue to be an important presence in Missouri’s economy. Military members and their families will be stationed in Missouri, and they will continue to contribute to all parts of Missouri’s economy. The long-term positive effects of this investment are significant for our state.
Sen. Roy Blunt, who serves on the Senate Subcommittee for Defense Appropriations, worked for the inclusion of the Whiteman facility in the bill, as well several other provisions utilizing Missouri resources and operations bases. I thank him and other members of the Missouri Congressional delegation who continuously work to make this state friendly for economy-boosting military projects, as well as provide services for military members and their families. This policy work truly makes a difference for Missouri.
As our state Legislature moves into the 2016 session, I will support efforts by the General Assembly to make Missouri more military-friendly on the state level. I am truly appreciative for my colleagues in the Legislature introducing and supporting legislation to that end. Military-friendly legislation is forward-looking, complements accomplishments on the federal level and invests in Missouri’s economy.
PHOTO/Senior Airman Bryan Crane