05/25/04 — Jones says North Carolina bases are in strong position

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Jones says North Carolina bases are in strong position

By Sam Atkins
Published in News on May 25, 2004 2:03 PM

KINSTON -- U.S. Rep. Walter Jones had encouraging words Monday on the future of the military bases in eastern North Carolina.

"They are in a very strong position," said Jones.

That was good news to those attending a symposium at the N.C. Global TransPark's Education and Training Center. Many in the group of economic development leaders are trying to make sure no North Carolina bases are on a list of those to be closed.

A round of base closures and realignments has been scheduled for 2005 by the U.S. Defense Department, but the U.S. House has voted for a two-year delay.

Jones, a Republican whose district includes Wayne County, voted for the delay. He said it would give the Department of Defense and Congress more time to do a better job and analyze the national security needs.

He told those in attendance to contact Sens. Elizabeth Dole and John Edwards to encourage them to support that measure in the Senate. The Senate is debating its version of the defense bill, but delayed a final vote until after Memorial Day.

He said many retired military personnel are CEOs at companies and are looking to relocate their industry to counties in eastern North Carolina near military bases. He said that is one reason why having strong community support around the bases is important.