MS Congressmen React To Military Closure List - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

05/13/05

MS Congressmen React To Military Closure List

The Pentagon's list to BRAC had nine Mississippi installations on it. Congressman Gene Taylor said one stuck out like a sore thumb.

"Well, obviously, Pascagoula," he said, while reading the just released list.

Despite millions of dollars and land donated by Pascagoula, Jackson County and the state to build Naval Station Pascagoula, its diminished role in the Navy made it an obvious target for closure. Still, its appearance on the shutdown list didn't sit well with the congressman.

"It is a disappointment that the Navy would choose to take one of its newest facilities, brand new housing, brand new dining facilities, family housing that hasn't even been moved into yet, and close it," Taylor said.

Sen. Trent Lott was almost defiant in his statement. He pointed out that the Pentagon simply released a recommendation. Because of that, Lott believes Mississippi can still protect its installations.

"We expect to succeed," the senator wrote. "Our bases are modern installations with irrefutable physical and technical attributes."

As for Senator Thad Cochran, he was encouraged by what the Pentagon's list kept open.

"But in Mississippi there are very few changes recommended. And I think we're quite lucky," Cochran said.

According to Rep. Taylor, "When you consider impact of Keesler Air Force Base, when you consider the impact of the Air Guard, the Seabees, Camp Shelby, Stennis Space Center, the truth of the matter is, overall, we dodged a bullet."

Mississippi's total loss based on the recommendation is 995 military jobs, 425 civilian jobs, and 258 contractor jobs.

by Brad Kessie

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