VALDOSTA — U.S. Rep Jack Kingston, R-Savannah, looks to keep Lowndes County closer with the opening of a new congressional office in the Federal Building at 401 N. Patterson St.

Around 80 supporters attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday to officially welcome the congressman to town. Kingston is the U.S. representative for Georgia’s First Congressional District, which includes 29 counties in South Georgia and extends from south of Savannah to the Florida border, west to Moultrie and north to Warner Robins. He is on the ballot for the Nov. 7 General Election and faces competition from Democrat candidate Rev. Jim Nelson, a Savannah resident.

Kingston, who serves on the Defense Subcommittee, pledges to continue supporting Moody Air Force Base and Lowndes County residents.

“I don’t want our soldiers to ever have to fight a fair fight,” Kingston said Thursday, further saying he will dedicate his efforts to ensuring U.S. forces have the best equipment and training to remain ahead of the curve in any scenario.

Kingston said officials in Washington, D.C., are continuing to push for Moody to obtain a Battlefield Airman center that would house around a dozen specialties consisting of nearly 1,000 to 2,000 airmen dedicated to unique missions. Though local base officials have declined to comment on the proposal, Kingston said it is being supported by top U.S. officials.

Local politicians along with business representatives and citizens attended the ceremony, giving locals a chance to rub shoulders, exchange business cards and discuss politics.

Scott Sikes, vice president of university advancement for Valdosta State University, said Kingston has been instrumental in securing funding for the pre-planning of VSU’s future Health Sciences building, which will expand space for the nursing program and adding a pharmacy school and other health sciences fields. Around $400,000 in federal funding was secured to help with design work for the facility.

Kingston said he will continue to focus on key points like immigration reform, alternative fuels and remaining the “taxpayers hero” by curtailing taxes. His presence in Valdosta will aid citizens with federal government issues.

To contact the congressman’s office, call 247-9188.

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