09/23/11 — Governor coming to area to discuss base's future

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Governor coming to area to discuss base's future

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on September 23, 2011 1:46 PM

The final installment of a four-part summit created by the governor to strengthen her relationship with the communities that house North Carolina's military bases -- and to ensure the state's installations are protected -- is scheduled to unfold Monday at Walnut Creek Country Club.

And when Gov. Bev Perdue leaves Wayne County, she will return to Raleigh knowing just how important Seymour Johnson Air Force Base really is to the cities and towns that surround it.

The half-day "strategy and innovation session," designed to help the governor and her team "assemble an action plan for reinforcing and strengthening the military's and defense community's impact on the economic development, growth and quality of life of the region," will bring together leaders from the base, Military Affairs Committee and local governments, who are expected to discuss everything from airspace issues to the state of the school system.

County Manager Lee Smith and his Goldsboro counterpart, Scott Stevens, are among those scheduled to address Perdue and her staff -- representatives from the 4th Fighter Wing and 916th Air Refueling Wing also will be given an opportunity to speak -- before the governor entertains questions from those stakeholders in attendance.

But the governor is no stranger to Seymour Johnson.

Early last year, she told the News-Argus just how important the base was to the eastern North Carolina economy.

"You don't have to talk to me about how important Seymour Johnson is to Goldsboro because it's equally important to the whole eastern region," she said then. "I believe, finally, the state has come to understand that (the military) is a core part of our successful economic development platform."

For complete coverage of the governor's visit, follow the News-Argus in print and online.