Every year for the last eight years, the Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce has gone to Washington, D.C., to advocate for our region. Two things about this trip have probably not be adequately communicated: The importance of why we visit Washington every year and that members who participate spend their own money and take their valuable time to be part of the group that travels across the country.
In the lead story for this edition of the Bottom Line, we discuss Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) as part of our recent visit to Washington. It appears that as part of the military drawdown a BRAC, or something like it, will happen in 2017, if not sooner.
While it seems White Sands Missile Range, with its unique set of capabilities, will not face closure, it is still important the powers that be at the Pentagon know how much our community supports our military asset, which has an economic impact to our area is $2.3 million per day. In my four trips with the group, one message from the folks at the Department of Defense has been consistent; they recognize which communities support their local bases and which ones do not. I think that there is no doubt which group we fall into.
I cannot thank the people who took the time to join us, enough. Everyone on the trip realizes their efforts are in the best interest of the community and they don’t expect to benefit individually from their participation. I also believe the people who we visit at the Pentagon understand the commitment made by our group.
As an example, one comment made during this year’s trip was, “I was amazed when we walked into that conference room to see our names on tent cards. That type of recognition is usually held for senior level military people.”
Anyone interested in more information on these trips or seeing the list of people who we meet with, contact me at 524-1968.
Bill Allen, President/CEO Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce