Turner: Congressional map should recognize work for Wright-Patt

A panel moderated by U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, at the Ohio Defense and Aerospace Forum last month. Clockwise from left are Turner; Col Patrick Miller,  88th Air Base Wing commander, Wright Patterson AFB; George Lecakes, vice president and general manager, national security, Battelle; and Col Kimberly Fitzgerald, 178th Wing commander, Springfield Air National Guard Base

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A panel moderated by U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, at the Ohio Defense and Aerospace Forum last month. Clockwise from left are Turner; Col Patrick Miller, 88th Air Base Wing commander, Wright Patterson AFB; George Lecakes, vice president and general manager, national security, Battelle; and Col Kimberly Fitzgerald, 178th Wing commander, Springfield Air National Guard Base

‘We as a team and as a community have grown Wright-Patt, almost doubled it in size’

No matter how Ohio’s new congressional district map is drawn, U.S. Rep. Mike Turner pledged Friday to work for Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

One Ohio Senate Republican map would, if adopted, remove Wright-Patterson — the largest single-site employer in Ohio with more than 30,000 workers — from the 10th District, which Turner represents.

“For my work, and my commitment to this community and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, it really doesn’t matter where the lines are,” the congressman said. “If I’m representing this region, I am going to work diligently to build Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.”

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But he has concerns about a reshaping of the district so that its southern tail snakes down to the northeastern corner of Hamilton County to include Indian Hill, a wealthy suburb of Cincinnati that doesn’t immediately appear to have much in common with Dayton and its environs. The redrawn district would also include many communities not currently part of the 10th District.

“My concern is, what happens in the future,” Turner said. “What this says, is that this region is not whole. It carves up our community, and we need, we deserve to have a representative in Congress, someone who represents Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and the federal investments that are here.

“It’s how we as a team and as a community have grown Wright-Patt, almost doubled it in size,” he continued. “That work needs to be recognized by Columbus, and this map needs to reflect that.”

Turner said Friday he has shared those concerns with the relevant people in Columbus.

Republicans hold 12 of Ohio’s 16 districts. Proposed GOP maps could increase the party’s share by one even as the state loses a district due to slow growth. Ohio must lose one of its 16 U.S. House districts, as required by 2020 census results. Each of the 15 new districts will contain about 780,000 people.

State Rep. Richard Brown, a Democrat from the Columbus area, told the Columbus Dispatch the GOP-proposed maps are “textbook gerrymandering.”

“The Senate’s proposed map fails to recognize that Wright-Patt needs a single regional advocate in Congress, as it generates billions of dollars for our state and local economies,” Turner said recently. “If passed, this map could jeopardize the base’s tremendous impact on our state.”

Turner serves on the House Committee on Intelligence, as well as the Committee on Armed Services.

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