Statement of Governor Sonny Perdue Regarding BRAC Decisions Affecting Ft. McPherson , Ft. Gillem
|Wednesday, August 24, 2005||
Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774
ATLANTA – Governor Sonny Perdue issued the following statement today regarding decisions made by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) affecting Ft. McPherson and Ft. Gillem :
“Our state's elected leaders and representatives of our base communities pursued a strategy over the last several years to prepare our military installations for the BRAC process. In June, a bipartisan delegation of congressional leaders and elected officials defended Georgia bases before the BRAC Commissioners during the regional hearing in Atlanta . We made every effort to demonstrate the critical role that Fort Gillem and Fort McPherson play in the defense of our nation and the economic reasons that they should remain open.
“The Pentagon and the BRAC Commissioners have decided differently and we are deeply disappointed by their decision. Nevertheless, we are prepared to begin work immediately on redevelopment plans for these properties thanks to the community organizations we have had in place throughout this process.”
Pending votes this afternoon, Georgia will gain between 4,000 and 7,500 additional military personnel when the base realignment process is complete.
The state has been preparing for the BRAC Commission review for four years. Governor Perdue appointed experienced military leaders to the Georgia Military Affairs Coordinating Council (GMACC) to direct Georgia 's preparation strategy. The Georgia congressional delegation, led by Senators Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson, supported more than $600 million for military construction and mission expansion. Community action groups in cities all over the state have raised millions for quality of life studies and military value studies for their bases. Governor Perdue met twice with senior military officials at the Pentagon.
For three years Governor Perdue and the Georgia General Assembly focused on policy changes through legislation benefiting military service men, women and their families. Legislation has enacted anti-encroachment restrictions near military bases, eliminated predatory lenders in base communities, funded road and highway improvements, provided in-state tuition for military dependants, provided unemployment insurance benefits for military spouses who must leave their jobs due to a deployment, and implemented automatic extensions of licenses to actively deployed military personnel.