Blake, Caucus Appointees Herald Anniversary of Commission Fighting Military Installation Closings

HARRISBURG, Sept. 17, 2013 – State Sen. John Blake and the caucus leaders who have led a group dedicated to sustaining the value, the workforce and the economic impact of Pennsylvania’s military installations today marked the one-year anniversary of the panel’s creation.

The Pennsylvania Military Community Protection Commission, which came to being one year ago after Gov. Tom Corbett signed an executive order, met today at Ft. Indiantown Gap in Lebanon County.

Sen. Rich Alloway (R-Adams), Rep. Harry Readshaw (D-Allegheny) and Rep. Garth Everett (R-Lycoming) make up the committee’s members with Blake (D-Lackawanna) and commission chairman Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley.

“Each of us came to this committee with a deeply sincere pledge to do what it takes to make sure Pennsylvania’s military installations continue serving the United States of America in its ongoing commitment to defending freedom and liberty,” said Blake, who also co-chairs the bi-partisan, bi-cameral Legislative Military Installation and Base Development Caucus. “Not only do Pennsylvania’s military bases efficiently and effectively serve all of our military servicemen and women in all branches of the Department of Defense, they deliver enormous economic benefits in jobs and investments in our commonwealth. We, in Harrisburg, need to maintain a very strong liaison with our Congressional delegation to protect Pennsylvania workers.”

“Pennsylvania’s military installations are critical not only for the success of our armed services at home and abroad but also to the commonwealth’s economy. Our workforce is the best in the country and we as elected leaders need to do what we can to ensure that these jobs stay right here in Pennsylvania,” said Alloway.

“Having spent over 20 years in the military and living in many communities in the United States and abroad, I have seen firsthand the impact that military installations have on the economy and makeup of the communities in which they are located. We owe it to our commonwealth communities to see that any actions taken do not alter their economic well-being or viability,” said Everett.

“The greatest lesson we have learned is to honor our military and to maintain their presence and economic influence within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania while enduring cuts in the federal budget,” Readshaw said. “We must be successful in realizing our goal.”

While the commission is conducting its first meeting, members have been working behind the scenes to better understand the vital contributions each military base makes in the Pennsylvania communities they serve.

The commission is designed to help the governor by providing recommendations and input to enhance the military value of all installations, organizations and defense-related regions of the commonwealth. It is also working to establish stronger relationships with Pennsylvania’s Congressional delegation, and to provide quarterly reports on its activities to the governor.

The commission is also working to expand economic development opportunities for defense industry businesses that maintain a presence in Pennsylvania.