Candidates re-commit to Congresswoman Scanlon with plan
May 2nd, 2019
Dear Congresswoman Scanlon:
We recently wrote to recommend a series of positive, proactive steps that your office could take to help reverse the Pentagon’s proposal to delay the modernization program for the Army’s aging Chinook helicopter fleet. While we appreciate your providing us with the courtesy of a response, we were disappointed to receive what appeared to be a basic form letter that did not address any implementation of our proposed initiatives.
The impact of this proposal will extend far beyond the Boeing workforce and the approximately 1,000 skilled jobs that will be lost. The reverberations of these cuts will be felt throughout the county, impacting regional suppliers and contractors that provide materials and services to Boeing, local small businesses that plant workers support, and homeowners who will see decreases in their property values.
Whenever Boeing jobs have been threatened in the past, the entire Delaware County community has united in a bipartisan fashion to utilize our combined strengths and expertise to preserve this important economic driver. The recommendations we shared were carefully thought out based on discussions with UAW Local 1069 leadership and former Congressional staff members regarding previous efforts to combat proposed funding cuts to the V-22 Osprey program and obtain funding for the Chinook modernization program. Individuals we spoke with were also involved in the community wide effort to convince Boeing not to move its operations in Ridley to Arizona. Those efforts were successful in large part because of the way the community rallied behind preserving these jobs at Boeing.
As Boeing proponents have learned in the past, we can leave no stone unturned in our community-wide effort to protect and preserve these jobs. We believe the initiatives we laid out previously are absolutely essential to achieving a positive outcome on this issue. As such, we ask that you please let us know if you have made any progress in implementing any of these initiatives, which included:
- Establishing internal mechanisms within your office to monitor news articles and proposals that would negatively impact funding of federal programs that are important to the economy of Delaware County. Forbes first reported on the proposed cuts to the Chinook modernization program on February 6th. It does not appear your office was aware of or took action on this issue until six weeks later when it was first reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer on March 20th. Had your staff made you aware of this issue when it was first reported, action could have been taken to reverse the recommendations before the formal announcement. Setting up a comprehensive system within your office to monitor federal actions that impact programs important to Delaware County is vital going forward.
- We had urged you to coordinate with Senators Pat Toomey and Bob Casey to convene a bi-cameral, bipartisan meeting of U.S. Senators and members of the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware at the Ridley Boeing facility that includes a tour, a briefing on the economic impact of the cuts to the tri-state region, and a strategy session to identify opportunities with Members and their staff to coordinate efforts and restore the proposed funding cuts. Based on what we have heard, your office has not yet been in touch with Senator Toomey to discuss working together on this important issues. While we understand that you and Senator Toomey are from different political parties, we would hope you could set aside your differences and work together on this issue. We would be happy serve as intermediaries in at least setting up an initial meeting to discuss how you can coordinate your efforts.
- Inviting the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee’s Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee, Congressman Donald Norcross (D-NJ), to hold a field hearing at Boeing’s Ridley facility. We believe Congressman Norcross would be receptive to this, particularly given the proximity of his district. He likely has constituents who either work directly at Boeing or Boeing suppliers who will be adversely impacted by these cuts. His hearing could examine the impact of the delay on our military readiness, the safety of our military personnel, and the nation’s defense industrial base.
- Inviting Congressman Pete Visclosky (D-IN), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee’s Defense Subcommittee, to travel to the 5th Congressional District for a personal tour of Boeing’s Ridley facility. While sending letters to the Appropriations Committee can certainly be a part of your education effort, nothing substitutes for one-on-one discussions and the ability for key decision makers like Congressman Visclosky to see the work being done first-hand. Because of the deference given to this subcommittee on funding of our military needs, a tour by Congressman Visclosky has enormous potential
We would appreciate it if you or your staff could provide us with an update on your efforts to implement these recommendations. As we have stated previously, this is not and should not be a partisan issue. Please let us know what we can do to support your efforts.