Panetta Visits Niagara Falls Air Base At Invitation Of Hochul

Aug 9, 2012 Issues: Jobs and Economy, Local Issues

Secretary Of Defense Commits to Keep Air Base Open

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. – Today, Representative Kathy Hochul (NY-26) welcomed Department of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to Western New York and the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station (NFARS). Rep. Hochul, along with United States Senator Charles Schumer (NY), Representative Brian Higgins (NY-27), and New York State Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy, discussed new missions with the Secretary, and he is committed to working with Western New York’s congressional delegation in pursuing a new mission.

“After listening to our presentation, I was delighted to hear the Secretary's commitment to maintaining the base. Secretary Panetta’s visit to the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station gave him the opportunity to see the base and its value firsthand and to understand the vital role the base plays in protecting our regional and national security,” Rep. Hochul said. “I look forward to continuing to work with the Secretary and my colleagues, as well as the leadership of the base, to preserve the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station.”

Rep. Hochul, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, personally invited Secretary Panetta to visit the base at a meeting at the Pentagon in March.

Rep. Hochul has led the fight in the House to push back on severe cuts proposed by the Department of Defense. She has met regularly with senior military leadership, including Secretary Panetta, and has worked closely with the Western New York Congressional delegation to ensure the 107th Air Wing maintains a strong presence at NFARS.  Additionally, Hochul co-sponsored an amendment included in the National Defense Authorization Act that protects installations like the 107th Airlift Wing at the Niagara Falls Air Base. This provision was adopted by the House of Representatives.

Also  in attendance for today’s meeting with Secretary Panetta were Major General Patrick Murphy, Adjutant General, New York State; Major General Verle Johnston, Commander, New York Air National Guard (ANG); Brigadier General Anthony German, Chief of Staff, New York ANG; Colonel Jim McCready, 107th Airlift Wing Commander; Colonel Allan Schwartzmiller, Installation Commander / 914th Airlift Wing Commander; Merrell Lane, Chairman of Niagara Military Affairs Council (NIMAC); John Cooper, Co-Chairman of NIMAC; and Howard Zemsky, Chairman of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority