Mississippi combats military cuts - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Mississippi combats military cuts

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Mississippi is working to combat cuts to our first line of defense.

"If these bases are threatened. And sequestration occurs with consolidation of military missions occur, we see real jobs that could be lost here in Mississippi. We're going to do all we can to prevent that," explained Governor Phil Bryant.

Military installations have a $2.6 billion impact on the state each year.

"Maybe someone is saying I don't have anybody that's in the military. But you do in some form or fashion because it could be someone that works for an industry that supports the military," said U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper.

Thirty-seven-thousand Mississippians are employed by the military, and the Military Communities Council isn't standing at ease.

"The point of today is to be prepared, be ready for the challenges of today and be ready for potential BRAC in the future," said Major General Bill Freeman, who serves as Chairman of the Mississippi Military Communities Council.

President Obama's 2014 budget proposes new base closures. The council and congressional leaders are preparing for the worst.

"We have been successful for the most part in resisting proposed base closures and realignments because we've been ready for it on a day to day basis," explained U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker.

One thing the state couldn't avoid were the effects of sequestration. It's forced technicians and mechanics to begin once a week mandated furloughs.

"It is serious enough in the southeastern states those that are prone now, just now in hurricane season to go directly to the White House," said Governor Bryant.

Governor Bryant, along with the governors of Florida and Louisiana, sent the letter to the president last month asking that furloughs be lifted. They've been changed from 11 to 6 days but not canceled.

"What we're doing is making sure we have the pieces to where if our nation is at war, they'll be calling on Mississippi to come and provide defense for our country," said Mississippi Adjutant General, Major General Augustus Leon Collins.

Governor Bryant re-established the Military Communities Council with his first executive order in 2012.

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