|NEWS RELEASE: For Immediate Release|
|Contact: Megan Hill
|Supplemental Funding Approved to Support F-35 Mission at Gowen Field|
|Legislature’s appropriation will be used for public outreach, education and promotion|
|BOISE, Idaho–Tuesday, February 28, 2017–Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter signed legislation today providing $100,000 to the Idaho Department of Commerce to pay for public outreach, education, and promotion in support of landing an F-35 Joint Strike Fighter flying mission for the Idaho Air National Guard at Boise’s Gowen Field.
The Secretary of the Air Force announced in December that Gowen Field is among five candidates for the basing of an F-35 squadron. Gowen Field is the only potential location west of the Mississippi River.
“Idaho has a history of strong support for fulfilling our responsibilities to the national defense. Maintaining a flying mission for Gowen Field with the upcoming loss of our A-10 ‘Warthog’ detachment of close-support aircraft will continue that proud tradition,” Governor Otter said. “We have the facilities, the personnel, the air space, the training ranges and most importantly the community backing to host the F-35s, and this funding will help us secure that opportunity.”
The Idaho Air National Guard at Gowen Field is a substantial contributor to Idaho’s economy. It employs 1,388 full-time and part-time employees. Those jobs lead to an additional 1,413 indirect and induced jobs for a total of over 2,800 jobs impacted by the Guard’s presence at Gowen Field. That brings over $136 million in personal income and over $155 million in total economic output to the area each year.
“The men and women of the Idaho Air National Guard make an immeasurable impact on the fabric of Idaho,” said Megan Ronk, director of the Idaho Department of Commerce. “These citizen airmen not only serve our nation selflessly, they are our neighbors, friends and family employed in businesses and communities across the state.”
The Air Force will conduct site visits to each of the five candidate locations in the coming months with plans to select two preferred and two reasonable alternative locations. Those four bases will undergo a complete environmental analysis before the Secretary of the Air Force issues a final decision. If successful, F-35 aircraft could begin arriving in Boise sometime in 2021 or 2022.
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