Romanchuk, Ruhl Applaud House Passage Of HCR 4
Resolution Strives to Save 800 Jobs in Richland County
February 20, 2013
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State Representatives Mark Romanchuk (R-Ontario) and Margaret Ann Ruhl (R-Mount Vernon) today announced that the Ohio House of Representatives unanimously passed House Concurrent Resolution 4, which urges Congress to maintain operation of the 179th Airlift Wing at the Mansfield-Lahm Regional Airport.

The United States Air Force 179th Airlift Wing is a military organization assigned to the Ohio Air National Guard and stationed at the regional airport in Mansfield. The Secretary of the Air Force recently called for the retirement of more than 300 aircraft nationwide, including the C-27J Spartan aircraft from the 179th Unit. As a result, the base is at risk of being closed, which would cause the loss of approximately 800 jobs.

“This resolution really is about three things—national security, disaster readiness, and jobs,” said Rep. Romanchuk. “With an economic impact of around $69 million, closing the base would have devastating consequences for north-central Ohio and my district, Richland County. House Concurrent Resolution 4 simply urges Congress to fully fund a new mission for the 179th at Mansfield. Doing so will retain 800 jobs and maintain our ability to quickly respond to natural disasters and emergencies in Ohio and around the United States.”

“The removal of this aircraft with no replacement mission would result in the closure of the Air Force base and the loss of nearly 800 jobs,” said Rep. Ruhl. “Additionally, as Brigadier Mark Stephens testified, this decision will also adversely impact key homeland security capabilities and the ability to respond efficiently to domestic emergencies. With Knox County, my home district, to the immediate south of Richland County, the closure of the 179th Airlift Wing will have a direct impact on my constituents.”

Reps. Romanchuk and Ruhl proposed H.C.R. 4 to assert that closing the Air National Guard Station in Mansfield, relocating its personnel, and diverting or retiring its C-27J Spartan aircraft would weaken national defense and homeland disaster readiness, as well as have devastating consequences for north-central Ohio.

“The members of the House are committed to protecting Ohio jobs and fighting for the families who would be affected by a potential closure of the National Guard Station in Mansfield,” said Speaker of the Ohio House William G. Batchelder (R-Medina). “Representative Romanchuk, who currently represents Richland County, and Representative Ruhl, who represented portions of the county during previous general assemblies, have worked tirelessly on this effort to save these 800 local jobs. It is my sincere hope that the United States Air Force and members of Congress will recognize the importance of the Mansfield station and its central location in the Midwest and Great Lakes region.”

Originally organized in Mansfield in 1948, the 179th Airlift Wing has received many awards, decorations and recognitions, including the U.S. Air Force’s “Outstanding Unit Award.” In addition to operating efficiently and cost-effectively, the 179th’s location make it the ideal unit for responding to natural disasters and emergencies in Ohio and surrounding states.

Senators Larry Obhof (R-Medina) and Kris Jordan (R-Ostrander) have introduced a similar resolution, S.C.R. 5, in the Ohio Senate.

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