Contact Information

  • Jerry Gilliland, Governor’s Communications Office, 360-902-4136;

Gov. Gregoire announces strong campaign to save Washington military bases from closure

For Immediate Release: February 23, 2005

Gov. Christine Gregoire today announced plans for a strong offensive campaign to prevent the closure of military bases in Washington state.

“These bases are good for Washington and good for the nation,” Gov. Gregoire said at a Tacoma news conference following a McChord Air Force Base tour and prior to meeting with Pierce County community leaders. “The bases are huge economic engines for our state. They are strategically placed to enhance our national security and America’s interests throughout the Pacific Rim.”

“There are reasons to be concerned” about the latest Base Realignment and Closure Commission effort this year, she said. “We need to be realistic and aggressive to make sure that Washington’s military presence continues or expands. I am optimistic that the Defense Department and the base closure commission will look favorably on our state’s bases.”

The state plans a number of efforts to remind Department of Defense officials and closure commission members about the strategic value of Washington bases. State officials will pledge state and local support such as improving infrastructure around the bases.

  • Gov. Gregoire will meet next week, along with members of Washington state’s Congressional delegation, with the top Department of Defense official involved in the base closure process.

  • Later this Spring, the governor will lead a delegation of community leaders to Washington, D.C., to meet with base closure commission officials to further make the case for the strategic imperative of these bases and state support for the bases.

  • A letter was sent today, signed by Gov. Gregoire and Republican and Democratic leaders in the House and Senate, to Defense officials pledging the state’s commitment to support the bases. She also will present Defense officials with a copy of a memorial adopted unanimously by the 2004 Legislature supporting Washington’s military installations.

  • The state has prepared an in-depth analysis of the military importance and economic impact of the bases. “We have very clear data that explains why these installations are cost effective and essential for America’s military future,” Gregoire said.

“Key to the decision to retain these bases will be the commitment by communities to support the infrastructure needed to meet changing or growing military missions,” she said.

“To demonstrate our support, I am proposing $10 million in next biennium’s budget for possible infrastructure improvements and expansions around our bases such as roads, sewers and utilities. I am also assigning full-time staff at the Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development to work on base improvement issues.”

The Secretary of Defense will make recommendations on base closures and realignments by May 16. A nine-member commission appointed by Congressional leadership and the President makes recommendations to the President by Sept. 8, 2005. The President transmits the recommendations to Congress by Nov. 7, 2005, and Congress has 45 days to disapprove.

Nine major military bases and more than 100 smaller facilities are located in Washington state. More than 188,000 jobs depend directly or indirectly on the state’s military installations, representing an annual payroll of $7.2 billion.

In four previous base closure commission efforts, Washington lost one major base, the naval station at Sand Point in Seattle, and one smaller base, an Army training site at Camp Bonneville in Clark County.

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