Published Thu, Mar 22, 2012 11:38 am Dateline
U.S. Senators Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown have met with Air Force Secretary Michael Donley to express concern over proposed cuts to Ohio Air National Guard facilities.
The meeting was Wednesday and Brown and Portman proposed that the Air Force rethink a proposal to eliminate the C-27J program.
The C-27 is a cargo plane that flies out of the Air National Guard Base in Mansfield.
"This is important for national security reasons, budget reasons and obviously for North Central Ohio," said Senator Brown. "There are 600 to 700 jobs here, 250 fulltime, and the guardsmen and women from the area that drive in here when they're in their regular assignments."
At the meeting yesterday and at a media event Monday at Mansfield, Senator Brown - a Democrat - made clear his support for the plane and the base.
And so did Republican Southeast Congressman Bob Gibbs, who also attended the media event.
"Having the guard man these make make sense because, as the general said, the guard personnel cost is only about 15 percent of ative air force cost," said Gibbs. "So let's not cut the most efficient part of the military."
Because of budget cuts, the Air Force is planning to stop flying the C-27s, a move that could lead to the loss of roughly 800 jobs at the Mansfield base.
Senator Portman says he is not reassured by the Air Force that "they've analyzed this problem thoroughly enough."
He says he will "continue to fight for the Ohio communities affected by the Air Force's proposal and evaluate the best course of action moving forward on the Armed Services Committee."