U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) today released the following statement applauding the formation of the new U.S. Conference of Mayors Task Force on Defense Transition in U.S. Cities, to be chaired by Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. The new Task Force will help establish an open line of communication between cities across the country and officials in Washington, D.C., about funding levels for Pentagon programs. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, recently appointed Mayor Stanton as Task Force Chairman.
"This Task Force can be very effective in working to prevent the additional $500 billion in indiscriminate, across-the-board defense budget cuts that are currently scheduled to go into effect under sequestration, which the Secretary of Defense has called "devastating' to our national security," said Senator John McCain. "The Task Force can further help prepare Arizona companies and their employees to transition their workforces and technologies to commercial applications and products if any defense cuts do impact our state. I applaud Mayor Stanton for taking on this critical issue, and look forward to working with him to protect the jobs of the more than 150,000 defense-related workers in Arizona from these dangerous defense budget cuts."
"We must never lose focus on how important it is to attract high-wage jobs to Phoenix, while fiercely protecting the jobs we have," said Mayor Stanton. "As chair of this Task Force, I will work hard with mayors across the country to ensure that if cuts to the Defense budget are made, they are done so in a thoughtful manner that protects jobs and our nation's security."
The Task Force's first meeting is expected to take place in June 2012 at the U.S. Conference of Mayors' annual meeting in Orlando, Florida.