Doing what many think “just happens”

October 25, 2021Doug Peters, President & CEO of the Abilene Chamber

You’ve read my words in this forum before about the Chamber’s core being centered on advocacy. As the Big Country’s chief business advocacy organization, your team at the Chamber are no strangers to public policy.

And when I say “team,” I’m not referring solely to staff.

To many, the Chamber is a networking organization. And to some extent, that’s true. Networking benefits are one of many value-added offerings we provide to those who support the Chamber’s mission.

Last week, the Chamber put our advocacy boots on and put promise into practice, as we do daily on regulatory, tax and military mission issues that have potential of impacting your business, our Air Force Base, our military members and their families.

I want to thank those who supported this year’s Military Affairs Committee (MAC) effort by joining the Chamber in Washington, D.C. last week. Their presence and their message was powerful as they met with elected and appointed officials in the Pentagon, in the House and in the U.S. Senate.

The mission was simple, yet complex.

Ultimately, Dyess Air Force base and their personnel are not only our neighbors, but they are tremendous contributors to our community, far beyond their significant economic impact.

On their own dime, mission delegates provided their voice and influence in reiterating the importance of a sustained bomber presence at our base, and were armed with the technical facts and the passion to prove it.

It’s no secret that the B-1B has a limited life span. The workhorse of the U.S. bomber fleet, the B-1 is tired. And expensive to maintain. But maintaining the B-1 presence at Dyess is mission critical for your Chamber, and growing our bomber presence with its successor aircraft over time has never been more important.

Under the leadership of MAC Chairman Greg Blair, 17 community members met with members of Congress, the Senate as well as decision-makers and influencers in the Pentagon to reiterate the Abilene/Dyess story. And as much as we spoke, we listened too.

Ensuring that the B-1 remains a vital and viable bomber platform for the U.S. military is critical. While in Washington, we learned, as did the rest of the nation, of additional global challenges that enhance the prioritization of U.S. military strategic deterrence.

And keeping the B-1 viable is an interesting topic. It’s reassuring that those in command of our national defense are no strangers about how to make that work. Whether through hypersonic weapons capacity or expanded carry options, those who advocated for Dyess and its mission left Capitol Hill reassured that the right things are happening, in the right order, and for the right reasons to ensure our organizational mission is sustained.

Remember, it was people like those who traveled to Washington decades ago to offer 5,000 acres of land to the U.S. Government that resulted in the formation of Dyess Air Force Base. The resolve of those who traveled with us last week, along with literally hundreds more, is no different than those responsible for Dyess being a central part of who Abilene is in the first place.

We’re proud of our Military Affairs Committee and are grateful to those who support it.

For more information on the Chamber’s Military Affairs Committee, click here.




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