Urge Congress to support F-35
As many of us in Arizona are aware, Marine Corps Air Station Yuma received its first F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter recently.
While this is excellent news for Yuma County and for all of Arizona, the debate in Washington about cuts to defense spending, including critical programs like the F-35, is leaving uncertainty for over 133,000 Americans whose livelihood depends on the F-35 program either directly or indirectly.
We must continually remind our elected officials both at home and in Washington how important the F-35 program is to Arizona, our economy and our national security.
In the state of Arizona alone, the F-35 program has an economic impact of over $91 million, sustaining roughly 1,178 direct and indirect jobs for Arizonans. With unemployment in our state at 8.2 percent, we must commit to programs like the F-35 and the jobs the program maintains.
The program injects $380 billion dollars into our national economy, and includes 1,350 suppliers in 45 states. The immense economic benefits of the F-35 to our state and our country are clear.
Many pilots will be coming to Arizona to participate in F-35 pilot training programs here at MCAS Yuma and Luke Air Force Base. With Congress looking for ways to cut the deficit, we must make sure they know just how crucial the F-35 program is to our community and across our state.
The F-35 is the world’s only advanced stealth, multi-role fighter and it is critical to maintaining our technological edge abroad. Here in Yuma, the aging AV-8B Harrier fleet will be replaced by the F-35B Short Takeoff and Vertical Landing (STOVL) variant, which combines stealth with vertical landing capabilities. The F-35B will be able to be wherever the Marines need to be — whether it’s on land, in the air, or on the sea.
The F-35 will provide much needed global security not only for the United States, but also for our allies. As it currently stands, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Australia, Denmark, and Norway have all invested and contributed to the design, development and manufacture of the F-35. Our allies have expressed confidence in the United States and our capabilities, and we must fully commit to the F-35 program.
While I understand the need to ensure the fiscal health of our country, I urge my fellow Arizonans to contact their elected officials and stress the benefits the F-35 program provides not only for our national security, but for our economy as well.
We owe it to ourselves, to the state of Arizona, and to our country to do all that we can to preserve this program for the benefit of our economy and national security.
Board of Supervisor