House voices support for F-35 jets

House voices support for F-35 jets

by
Dustin Hurst
February 9, 2010
Dustin Hurst
Author Image
February 9, 2010

In a 70-0 unanimous vote of support, the House voted Tuesday to encourage Congress, the congressional delegation of Idaho, and the secretary of the Air Force to bring the F-35 jet to Mountain Home Air Force Base (MHAFB) and Gowen Field in Boise.

The two bases are on a short list of bases around the country under consideration by the Air Force for the new programs, which could bring as many as $1 billion and 3,000 jobs to the economy of Idaho.   The bases are not competing with one another for the programs.  MHAFB is under consideration for a program that will bring active forces to the base, while Gowen would be a training operation only.

Rep. Pete Nielson, R-Mountain Home, said the community completely supports the base and has made it easy for the base to avoid encroachment issues through city statutes.  Nielson, who said he has property on the west boundary of MHAFB, said he enjoys the aircraft in the area and said the base is a "tremendous asset to Idaho, Elmore County, and everyone involved."

Rep. JoAn Wood, R-Rigby, in whose committee the memorial was originally considered, passed out a petition to lawmakers following the vote to allow them an additional way to voice support.

The state is making a large push to bring the jets to Idaho.  The Idaho Department of Commerce is holding a meeting with an Air Force investigative team Tuesday night, Feb. 9, to gauge the potential environmental impact of the program upon the Treasure Valley. Gov. Butch Otter got in on the act, penning an opinion in favor of the jets Monday. The department is also working with the governor in different endeavors to push for the program, including creating a website and Twitter feed for the movement.

Read IdahoReporter.com's first story on the memorial here. The memorial now moves onto the Senate for further consideration.

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