Community Organizations Garner Another 1200 Supporters for Basing The F-35s at Eielson
FAIRBANKS, AK—Community organizations – the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce, the Fairbanks North Star Borough, Fairbanks Economic Development Corporation and North Pole Economic Development Corporation – registered another 1,200 supporters this weekend to further efforts to have the F-35s based at Eielson Air Force Base. These organizations have joined together to communicate Fairbanks and North Pole’s strengths and their competitive advantages to the Air Force and other federal agencies in the hopes of becoming a preferred alternative site for two squadrons (48 planes) of the next generation fighter plane. Eielson Air Force Base is already a candidate base along with Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson and three foreign bases; the Air Force is expected to announce its preferred alternatives early this summer.
“We’ve set a goal of getting 10,000 people in the community to register their support for basing the F35s in Alaska,” FNSB Mayor Luke Hopkins said. Demonstrating strong community support is an important component of the process, especially through the Environmental Impact Statement process which will likely begin mid-to-late late summer of this year. “Our community has never been shy about expressing opinions. In the past, it was opposing moving the F-16s, but now we can support something positive – bringing the F-35s to Alaska”.
The community organizations supporting the F-35 basing at Eielson have developed a website, www.AlaskaF35s.com. People can register their support, find information about the F-35s or information on the economic development impacts to the community. Businesses, individuals and community organizations can visit the website to find out how they can support the community efforts as well.
Eielson is in a unique position to provide a strategic location on U.S. soil, with world-class training grounds and with a cost advantage over foreign basing. Locally, the F-35s will bring 3,000 to 4,000 new jobs and millions of dollars in new revenue to our region. Recently, the community successfully fought Air Force efforts to remove the F-16s from Eielson. “We went from defending Eielson to advocating for an enhanced mission for the base in a very short period of time. We were successful in the past because members of our community stepped up and were heard. We need to do that now for the F-35s,” said Lisa Herbert, Executive Director for the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce.
For more information about Alaska F-35’s please visit: AlaskaF35s.com.