05/09/05 — Officials ready if Seymour Johnson on list

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Officials ready if Seymour Johnson on list

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on May 9, 2005 1:48 PM

Mental health officials voiced concern to legislators this morning about potential emotional problems for citizens if Seymour Johnson Air Force Base is on the list for realignment or closure.

The topic came up during a question-and-answer session at a mental health legislative breakfast held at Wilber's Restaurant.

Bobby Jones, chairman of the Wayne County Mental Health Association, said he was a little worried about all the talk about the base closing.

"I'm concerned if anyone is preparing for the impact around here when, and if, it takes place," Jones said.

Jones said people were experiencing a lot of stress, just thinking about it.

Representative Stephen LaRoque said he didn't think there was anything to worry about, in regards to the base closing.

"I don't think the base is closing," LaRoque said. "The press has made a lot of hoop la about it, but I would be the most surprised person in America if the base closed."

Senator John Kerr, said that both parties had worked hard to show support for the military bases in North Carolina and had done everything that could be done.

Kerr said he didn't think the base would be closed, but said there could be a realignment.

No matter what, Kerr said, proper steps would be taken by the state to make sure that the transitions would be smooth.

Representative Louis Pate said there was no need to even think about the base closing, because he didn't think it was a possibility.

If there were any changes, Pate said, he was sure the state would do whatever was necessary.