I appreciate the opportunity to personally articulate my long-standing position that a Navy aircraft training field should not be imposed on any community against their will.
I live 180 feet from the house that I grew up in. It’s not just my house - it’s my home. It’s the place where I raised my children, and the place where my parents raised their children. Many individuals in the rural heart of Virginia’s Fourth District feel the same way about their homes. Many of them own land that has been in their families for generations, and many have chosen to live in the area for a particular way of life that they enjoy and want to pass along to their children. These opinions do not make them unpatriotic or unreasonable. These individuals are passionate about preserving this way of life.
In April of 2008, in the midst of significant turmoil regarding the potential placement of a Navy training outlying landing field (OLF) in Southampton and Sussex counties, I articulated my position that an OLF should not be imposed on localities against their will. While a Navy E-2/C-2 Field Carrier Landing Practice (FCLP) field is significantly different than an OLF, my position remains identical to what it was four years ago. Attached is an opinion piece that I wrote in the Hampton Roads Daily Press in November of 2009 on this issue. I hope you will read it. I think it further portrays my position on this issue both then and now.
My role in the decision regarding the use of the Emporia-Greensville Regional Airport for a FCLP training field is somewhat limited as the issue itself wilI not come before the U.S. House for a decision or for the appropriation of funds. Nevertheless; I intend to be a resource for all constituents and localities who may be impacted to help them seek out accurate factual information, to help them understand the ways in which they can make their views known to the Navy and to local decision makers, and to ensure that as a community consensus about this decision is formed, this consensus is heard by Navy decision makers.
To that end, I would encourage the Emporia-Greensville Airport Commission to hold a public hearing where citizens could voice their concerns and questions directly to commission members as well as to their elected officials. In addition, I would look to local Boards of Supervisors and City Councils to likewise articulate their positions and concerns via official resolutions that could be shared with all decision makers.
My door is open to you to voice concerns or ask questions regarding this issue. My District Military Representative, Mr. Ron White, is handling this issue on my behalf. Mr. White works out of our Chesterfield congressional office and is available to speak with any constituent who would like to voice their concerns or position on this topic or seek factual information that we may be able to provide. His phone number is (804) 318-1363.
Yours in service,
Member of Congress