Saving Cannon Air Force Base, fighting for funding for labs means jobs for future generations of New Mexicans

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – The Udall campaign’s newest ad tells how Tom Udall is working to ensure a strong future for New Mexico by fighting for the national laboratories and military bases so they can continue to create thousands of well-paying jobs and drive economic development for generations to come.

The new ad features kids from across New Mexico who are the future scientists, engineers and fighter pilots working at the labs and Air Force bases. Fighting for them is the “best part” of the job, says Udall in the new ad, which runs 30 seconds and began airing today.

“I’m Tom Udall, and we’re not allowed to film campaign ads at military bases and national labs. But I can show you who will work there in the future,” Udall says in the ad. “Our saving Cannon Air Force Base’s thousands of jobs means now they’ll be there for them when they grow up. And protecting Sandia labs and Los Alamos from budget cuts means all of those jobs will be there too.”

As Senator for New Mexico, Udall has been a strong defender of funding for the labs and bases. When the government’s base closure commission proposed shutting Cannon Air Force Base, Udall played a leading role in fighting to keep it open. Today, Cannon has a critical new special operations mission, it’s an engine for economic development, and last month, an Air Force Times survey ranked it the 10th most livable base for airmen.

As a member of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, Udall has turned back efforts to cut funding for vital national security missions at Sandia and Los Alamos national labs, and he has fought for funding for cleanup work at Los Alamos and the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad, N.M.

“Tom Udall knows that one of the best ways he can fight for jobs and economic development today – and for generations into the future — is by making sure our labs and bases are strong. When some in Congress wanted to cut funding for the labs, Tom was there to defend their national security mission and keep funding strong. When Washington wanted to shut down Cannon Air Force Base, Tom fought to keep it open,” said Campaign Manager Daniel Sena. “New Mexico faces challenges, but Tom Udall has always been there to do what’s right for our state.”

Watch the new television ad HERE.

Transcript of “BEST PART” running 30 seconds: “I’m Tom Udall, and we’re not allowed to film campaign ads at military bases and national labs. But I can show you who will work there in the future. Our saving Cannon Air Force Base’s thousands of jobs means now they’ll be there for them when they grow up. And protecting Sandia labs and Los Alamos from budget cuts means all of those jobs will be there too. I’m Tom Udall and I approved this message because this is the best part of my job.”



Udall Worked To Save Cannon Air Force Base, Protecting Thousands Of Jobs

Udall Met With Clovis Community Members, Said The Department Of Defense Made A “Big Mistake” In Considering Cannon AFB For Closure. In May of 2005, the Associated Press reported: “Members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation acknowledged the worries of Clovis community members and promised Saturday to make every effort to keep Cannon Air Force Base open. Cannon is on the list released by the Pentagon earlier this month of bases it wants to close. According to the AP: “Rep. Tom Udall, D-N.M., who represents the area in Congress, said the pentagon’s call for the closure of Cannon based on military value was based on flawed reasoning. ‘I think they just made a big mistake,’ Udall said.” [Associated Press, 5/21/2005]

Udall, Bingaman, And Domenici Met With BRAC Officials To Change Their Minds About Cannon Air Force Base. In July of 2005, the Associated Press reported: “Sens. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., and Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., and Rep. Tom Udall, D-N.M., met with some of the BRAC commissioners following Tuesday’s hearing in which the commission proposed adding military facilities in eight states and the nation’s capital to the hundreds proposed by the Pentagon for realignment or closing. The lawmakers again argued that the Defense Department erred in assessing Cannon’s assets.” [Associated Press, 7/20/2005]

Shuttering Cannon Air Force Base Would Have Eliminated 5,700 Jobs, Devastating Eastern New Mexico. Closing Cannon, a fixture in the area for 55 years would have eliminated more than 2,700 jobs at the base and an additional 2,000 indirect jobs, which community and state leaders argued would devastate eastern New Mexico. Cannon’s economic impact was put at $200 million annually. By one estimate, shuttering the base would have cost one in three jobs in Clovis and nearby Portales; forced the closure of three elementary schools; and sent a booming housing market into a nosedive with the sudden availability of 2,000 vacant homes.” [Associated Press, 6/20/2006]

Cannon Air Force Base Was Realigned As A Special Operations Training Base. In June of 2006, the Associated Press Reported: “Cannon Air Force Base, threatened with closure after its F-16 fighter squadrons were ordered elsewhere, will become a special operations base that will train crews to fight the war on terror, the Pentagon announced Tuesday.” According to the AP, Rep. Tom Udall said: “”The key here is this new mission fitting into the environment of New Mexico because it’s a lot like Afghanistan and Iraq.” [Associated Press, 6/20/2006]


Udall Fought Back Against Attempts To Cut Nuclear Programs At New Mexico’s National Labs

California Democrat Sen. Feinstein Questioned Spending On B61 Life Extension. In October of 2013, the Albuquerque Journal reported: “Critics of the program, most notably Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat who wields immense power to craft nuclear weapons budgets, contend the program is too expensive and possibly even unnecessary. Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., said he was concerned about the cost and repeatedly asked why the B61 is so critical when cheaper alternatives, such as extending the life of the B83 bomb, exist.” [Albuquerque Journal, 10/30/2013]

Albuquerque Journal: “Udall Clashed With Fellow Appropriations Committee Members Who Aimed To Slash Funding…” For Nuclear Programs. In announcing an omnibus spending bill that contained a significant increase in funding for nuclear weapons programs, the Albuquerque Journal reported: “Last summer, Udall clashed with fellow appropriations committee members who aimed to slash funding for the weapon, which is one of the largest programs at Sandia and Los Alamos labs. The NNSA estimates the cost of the Life Extension Program at $8 billion over 12 years.” [Albuquerque Journal, 1/15/2014]

Nuclear Weapons Laboratories Got “Big Budget Boosts” Under 2014 Appropriations Bill Including B61 Bomb Life Extension Work. In January of 2014, the Albuquerque Journal reported; “New Mexico’s nuclear weapons laboratories and military installations would get big budget boosts under a trillion-dollar congressional spending bill designed to pay for federal government programs through the end of the current fiscal year. The nearly 1,600-page spending bill, unveiled by House and Senate appropriators late Monday, would increase budgets for the B61 bomb Life Extension Project and nuclear cleanup work at Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad. It also contains tens of millions of dollars for construction projects at New Mexico military bases.” [Albuquerque Journal, 1/15/2014]


Udall Has Fought For Funding For CleanUp Work At Los Alamos And WIPP

Tom Udall Requested Funding For LANL Cleanup And WIPP. On February 4, 2013, Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich sent a letter to President Obama urging him to include in his budget request at least $255 million for cleanup at Los Alamos National Laboratory and $222 million to operate and maintain the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in Carlsbad, NM. The Los Alamos cleanup money would go toward removing 3,706 cubic meters of transuranic radioactive waste being store above ground at the Laboratory’s Area G. The WIPP money would go toward operating a long-term storage facility for transuranic waste material. [Letter To President Obama, 2/4/2013]

FY 14 Appropriations Bill Included Increases For Cleanup Work At Los Alamos And Waste Storage At WIPP. As the Senate prepared to pass an omnibus spending package for fiscal year 2014, the Albuquerque Journal pointed out, “The bill contains $225 million for waste cleanup at Los Alamos, $10.8 million above last year’s appropriation. The spending measure also includes $221 million for operations at the Waste Isolation Pilot Project, $14 million above last year’s spending.”[Albuquerque Journal, 1/15/2014]

Senate Appropriated $102 Million For Reopening WIPP, In Addition To $220 Million For Normal Operations For FY15. In June of 2014, the Carlsbad Current-Argus reported: “The Senate Energy and Water Development subcommittee passed an appropriations bill on Tuesday that included a $102 million provision to fund the Department of Energy’s WIPP recovery efforts. The funding is in addition to the $220 million that was already authorized for normal operations in Fiscal Year 2015 at the nuclear waste disposal facility located 26 miles southeast of Carlsbad. ‘I’m committed to moving toward a safe reopening of WIPP,’ said Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., who is a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. ‘It’s critical to our state, our nation and the community of Carlsbad (and) we are working to find real dollars to fund WIPP.’” [Carlsbad Current Argus, 6/18/2014]