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Republicans vow support for Scott AFB

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Stephen Rickerl / The Southern From left: Republican nominee for Illinois' 12th Congressional District Jason Plummer and U.S. Reps. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, and Adam Kinzinger, R- Channahon pledge their support for Scott Air Force Base and the coal industry in Southern Illinois Thursday during a news conference in Mount Vernon.

 MOUNT VERNON — Two Republican congressman and a GOP candidate for Congress met in Jefferson County in support of two of Southern Illinois’ economic engines.

U.S. Reps. John Shimkus, R- Collinsville, and Adam Kinzinger, R-Channahon, joined Jason Plummer, Republican nominee in the 12th Congressional District, Thursday at Mount Vernon Outland Airport to pledge their support for Scott Air Force Base in the face of looming sequestration (across-the-board) cuts, and a national energy policy that incorporates Southern Illinois coal.

Some $500 billion could be cut from the Department of Defense budget on Jan. 2, unless Congress can agree to $1 trillion in budget cuts in the next decade.

Plummer, 30, of Fairview Heights, an officer in the Naval Reserves, said indiscriminate cuts at Scott Air Force Base would be devastating to the economy.

Scott AFB is the largest employer in Southern Illinois and has an annual economic impact of $3 billion.

“I’m not in a position where I just want to play defense and keep Scott Air Force base, I want to grow Scott Air Force Base,” said Plummer. “It provides a phenomenal service to our country; it’s very important to our national defense structure and very important to our local economy in Southern Illinois.”

Kinzinger, a major in the Air National Guard who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, said sequestration threatens national security and would basically hollow-out the military. The cuts, he said, were intended to be so egregious no one would agree to them, but they could still happen.

“These cuts are an equivalent of a retreat in a time when America needs to continue to be on guard,” Kinzinger said. “I have had many discussions with folks all throughout the military and their concerns are clear… sequester would make America vulnerable.”



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