Posted: Apr 10, 2013 4:54 PM by Simone DeAlba - MTN News
GREAT FALLS - With federal budget cuts looming and Montana's military assets hanging in limbo, two Great Falls lawmakers want to make sure the state's military missions are protected. Representative Roger Hagen and Senator Ed Buttrey are sponsoring House Bill 579 which would create a task force to advocate for Montana's military industry.
The bill has statewide support except for a handful of people from Great Falls. The Great Falls Chamber, the City and Cascade County all oppose the bill saying they already have a task force which does this.
Buttrey says this task force would lobby Congress, communicate with the public, and fight to protect bases, missions, and military installations in Montana.
"What this task force does is it collects people from all around the state, from all over the state and says let's come together. Let's fight for the missions, the veterans, the jobs, the companies, and the economic impact. This is not an old boy's crew that would be assigned to this task force. These are people who stay in Super 8s and bang on doors in Washington, D.C. until they are heard. And that's the whole purpose of this. Montana will lose if it has two different groups potentially advocating different messages. The Montana Defense Alliance is better positioned than a larger state sponsored group to advocate. The Montana Defense Alliance has engaged the governor's office to make sure it is involved, aware and speaking with one voice for the state," Buttrey said.
This bill has already cleared the House and is now waiting a vote in Senate Business and Labor.