By Don Knabe, Los Angeles County Supervisor, Fourth District
After celebrating the delivery of the United States Air Force’s last C-17 with thousands of local Boeing employees just last week, I am absolutely stunned and devastated to learn that the production facility will shut down in 2015 following the completion of the final C-17 Globemaster III.
Shuttering the C-17 program is a direct result of sequestration and the federal government’s inability to compromise on a balanced budget. Our leaders at the national level do not witness first-hand the direct effects their dysfunction creates. During a time when we are still putting men and women in harm’s way in the name of national security, these sequestration cuts have seriously limited our ability to protect ourselves domestically and abroad. The C-17 is a vital aircraft, having supported every major natural disaster around the globe during the last two decades and providing the versatility to complete any mission, anywhere: preserving peace, saving lives and delivering hope.
The C-17 program has been synonymous with Long Beach for years and has been an economic stimulus for Los Angeles County, employing thousands of workers. With a local economy that remains sluggish and the unemployment rate stagnant at 9.2 percent, now is not the time for Boeing and the federal government to pull the rug out from underneath us and put more people out of work. The closure of Boeing’s Long Beach plant means local jobs will be lost and our region’s economic recovery will take yet another significant blow. But the impact of the closure extends far beyond Los Angeles County. It will also have serious consequences nationally, costing jobs within the more than 650 businesses across the country that support the C-17 program.
I am outraged by today’s news, but I will continue to lobby our national leaders in Washington, D.C. who must understand the national economic impacts and global threats of not investing in major programs like the C-17.