Congressman Steven Palazzo, (MS-4), this week hosted House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy for a tour of Keesler Air Force base with a special focus on the 403rd Wing and the C-130J planes that the Air Force has proposed to move. Palazzo has worked with McCarthy, the third highest ranking member of House leadership, on the Whip team since first being elected to Congress in 2010.
“I wanted to come see these planes firsthand,” McCarthy stated. “ I can lend my voice. That’s what Steven has done. I can ask the tough questions along with Steven. Make them answer and make sure they don’t move something for the sake of moving them without making the real numbers work. If it’s working here right now, what is the rationale to move them? They’re winning awards by serving here, if the men and women are setting new records, what would the need be to move them away and why would that be a better place? Those are the questions that we want answers to.”
“I’m really glad that Congressman McCarthy came down to kick the tires and to see that this is not only the best base in the Air Force in 2013, but we’ve also got the best Airmen, and I think we’ve got the best community supporting this Air Force base,” Palazzo stated. “I’m going to continue bragging about all of our assets along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and Keesler is very special to us.”
This week marks Rep. McCarthy’s first visit to Keesler Air Force Base. Palazzo has also invited top Air Force leadership, members of the House Armed Services Committee, and other members of House leadership to South Mississippi to see Keesler’s facilities firsthand. He has also previously hosted House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon for a tour of Keesler.
“The thing I see, especially with your leadership here with Congressman Palazzo, you start with: ‘Where is the best use for these planes?’” McCarthy stated. “I look right here with your facilities, I look right here with the men and women who work on them, the records that they have set. I think the best place to keep them is right here. I see capabilities of expanding here. That’s what I see as I walk through the base. We’re going to try to do everything in our power to make sure that the best place for the C-130’s is where they should go. If they have won the best base in the Air Force, I think they’ve proven that they deserve to be here.”