El Mirage News

Posted on: November 15, 2016

West Valley Partners OpEd November 2016

Luke Air Force Base is a Vital Part of the Regional Economy
by The West Valley Partners
Luke Air Force Base (AFB) is a critical economic engine and one of the largest employers in the west valley region and the State of Arizona. As the Joint Strike Fighter mission continues to grow at Luke, our communities benefit from these jobs and the funds the Federal Government spends in this region to support the operations of the base.
As elected officials in the region, we greatly appreciate the Air Force personnel and their families for being such an important part of our region and economy. Not only is the base one of the largest employers in the region, but those who work at the base are responsible for a tremendous amount of spending in the state which has been one of the reasons for our economic growth in recent years. The economic presence of the base goes far beyond the simple jobs located there.
Luke AFB is one of the largest employers in Arizona and has over 5,500 employees and an overall economic impact of $2.17 billion a year. Clearly, this is an enormous driver for the west valley and Arizona economy that we must continue to protect. We have worked diligently to sustain growth at the base as well as in the local economy without conflict between these two interests -- a mutually beneficial relationship we must keep intact.
Our region and state have always taken a great deal of pride in our relationship with the Air Force in order to ensure they remain a strong presence at Luke AFB. We continue to work with the Air Force and Department of Defense in order to identify new missions that can help increase the already large economic footprint. In a time where other installations are seeing reduced missions, the Air Force has put a great deal of faith in Luke AFB. When other regions engage with the Air Force regarding new missions, they are often referred to our community and state as a template of how to best accomplish their goals.
For example, through work with our state leaders, the Legislature passed statutes that protect the base from encroachment and accommodate the noise that comes with basing the F-35 at the base. Through efforts like these, we will continue to support the Air Force and Luke AFB as one of the largest employers in our region.
We take a great deal of pride and appreciation for the investments that the Air Force has made in Luke AFB, the region and the State of Arizona. As elected leaders, we will continue to work closely with decision makers at all levels of federal and state government to ensure that the base remains a strong economic leader here for decades to come.

Mayor Lana Mook: City of El Mirage
Supervisor Clint Hickman: Maricopa County
Mayor Sharon Wolcott: City of Surprise
Mayor John Cook: Town of Wickenburg
Mayor Michael LeVault: Town of Youngtown

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