Senate endorses F-35 program


Rep. Kelley Packer, R-McCammon, plans to introduce legislation forbidding private association members from being part of the state's retirement system.

The Idaho Senate approved the joint memorial in support of the state’s efforts to bring the F-35 fighter jet program to Mountain Home and Boise. The House approved the memorial Feb. 9.

“This is a unique opportunity to let our wishes be known to the Congress and the secretary of the Air Force,” said Senate President Pro Tem Robert Geddes, R-Soda Springs. He said Idaho makes sense for the F-35 program. “It’s been indicated to me that much of the terrain that we use to train fighter pilots over Idaho, if you take a picture from the air and compare that to a picture from the air taken of Afghanistan, it’s very difficult to tell the difference. Now, I don’t know if I’m proud to look like Afghanistan … but I think that that demonstrates a clear vision of what we have to offer the Air Force.”

Sen. Chuck Winder, R-Boise, a former flight instructor in the Navy, agreed with Geddes that Idaho makes sense for the F-35s. “The terrain and weather here offer a unique opportunity,” he said. “It means new buildings, investments, personnel, and aircraft beyond the current mission. This could have a very significant impact on our state, putting people back to work, as well as providing the defense and training of our military.”

Read IdahoReporter.com’s past coverage of the F-35 jets.

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