Patty in the News

Murray: Aerospace is crucial

Aug 19 2009

The state’s senior senator weighs in on the vital role the industry plays in the state and in national security

EVERETT — Keeping the aerospace industry strong in Washington state isn’t just a regional issue, it’s a matter of national security, Sen. Patty Murray said Tuesday.

“It’s critical for the entire country,” said Murray, D-Wash., who spoke to the Everett Area Chamber of Commerce at a luncheon at the Future of Flight Aviation Center just a short distance from the Boeing Co.’s Everett plant.

Murray said skilled workers in the industry are important to the nation’s defense.

“We need a serious national discussion about the men and women who produce our tanks, our planes and our boats,” she said. “These industries are our greatest military assets.”

Noting that China and Russia would like to replicate the success of the U.S. aerospace industry, Murray said we can’t let ours diminish.

“When we lose our ability to produce technology and military equipment down the road, we won’t be able to flip a switch and bring it back,” she said.

Murray railed against the Air Force for earlier choosing a partnership of Northrup-Grumman and Airbus, Boeing’s European rival, to build the next military refueling tanker. The decision was later rescinded and the project was ordered rebid.

The new specifications from the Air Force should be out later this summer, said Murray, saying she’ll work to ensure they are fair and transparent.

She also promised to continue to fight against what she called subsidies to Airbus from European governments that she said give it an unfair advantage. She said that Airbus right now is enlisting government money to develop its new A350 passenger jet.

“I will not stop fighting until this unfair and deeply damaging business practice is ordered to cease and desist,” she said.

Murray also talked about the health care bills in Congress, saying that if nothing is done the government will be spending one-third of its money on health care by 2025. She said Congress is trying to provide stable, competitive coverage for people that “can’t be taken away” and to stabilize spiraling medical costs.

“The status quo is the most expensive option in the long run,” she said.

Earlier discussions of health care proposals in the Northwest drew huge crowds of protesters. Murray’s talk to the chamber was not highly publicized. About 130 people listened to her speech; only six protestors formed outside the museum, four against the health care bills and two in favor. - Photo


- Everett Herald