Valdosta Daily Times

March 1, 2014

U.S. Senators hold Town Hall Meeting

Desiree Murphy
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — On Friday afternoon, U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss held a Town Hall Meeting in the Lowndes Hall Auditorium at Wiregrass Georgia Technical College.

Upon hearing that Deborah Lee James, Secretary of the Air Force, was going to be at Moody Air Force Base, both Isakson and Chambliss opted to also come to visit to discuss the future missions of the base. The future of the A-10 program has been called into question and was the main topic of discussion between the senators and the secretary.

“We met with the secretary to make sure she had an escort in Valdosta,” said Isakson.

During her visit, the secretary was able to see firsthand the benefits of the community, the support it gives to Moody and a demonstration of the A-10 program.

“The A-10 is a weapon system that is at Moody Air Force Base which is a great asset to this community and the state of Georgia,” said Isakson. “When Saxby and I heard the Secretary of the Air Force would be here, we made sure we came down to lend support to maintaining the A-10 system at Moody Air Force Base.”

Both Chambliss and Isakson feel that the proposed elimination of the A-10 program could be disastrous for Moody, Valdosta and the ground troops who are currently deployed.

The A-10 program has been around since the 1970s, so the proposal to phase it out in exchange for the newer F-35 makes sense.

However, the senators pointed out that the F-35 is still in development and would not be based until 2022.

While the visit to Moody Air Force Base was the main reason for the senators' visit, they also felt it important to hold a town hall meeting while here.

“I look forward to giving the local community a chance to speak to their senators face to face,” says Chambliss.

Around 50 people attended this meeting and were given the opportunity to ask the senator's questions on a variety of topics affecting the nation.

One of the topics brought up at the event was what this community can do to help the senators in the battles they fight. Isakson and Chambliss both emphasized the importance of attending meetings such as the one Friday.

They also let everyone know that they can always be reached via their e-mails or by telephone. “Contact our offices about legislation,” said Chambliss. “We need to know how people think back home.”