Radio Address - September 16, 2003
Gov. Rick Perry
Date: September 16, 2003
Topic: Base Realignment Process
My fellow Texans, in August I had the opportunity to visit with U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Secretary Rumsfeld was in San Antonio for a Defense Department town hall meeting at Lackland Air Force Base.
During his time there, he got a firsthand look at the pride San Antonians have in that base as well as all the men and women who proudly serve our country. And I suspect if Secretary Rumsfeld had gotten the opportunity to stop at all military installations across our state, he would have seen the same Texas pride and support from every one of our military communities.
That message of support was an important signal to send as the Defense Department begins the latest round of base realignment. As part of this process, it's expected that 25 percent of the existing military bases will be either closed or realigned by the federal government.
That should catch all of our attention since Texas is home to 17 defense installations affecting 42 defense communities and carrying an economic impact of more than $43 billion. It's for that reason we've already begun our work.
In preparing Texas for the base realignment process, we've made the Military Planning Commission a part of the Governor's Office. That move alone improves the commission's ability to voice the importance of each and every military installation in Texas while also pointing out a willingness to take on new missions and responsibilities.
In addition, the commission will be responsible for administering the $250 million in general obligation bonds that Texas voters approved on September 13th. The bonds will be used to provide loans to some of our defense-related communities for projects that will enhance the value of our military installations.
And you can count on my commitment to working closely with our senators and representatives in Washington to present a strong case for all our bases.
In the coming months, everyone in Washington involved in the base realignment process - from Secretary Rumsfeld on down - will be getting a very good idea of the importance we place on all our military bases.