Posts Tagged ‘Fairchild Air Force Base’
April 25, 2013
WASHINGTON D.C. - Spokane civic leaders presented the region’s case for expanded graduate medical education Thursday to elected officials’ staff members as part of Greater Spokane Incorporated’s annual “D.C. Fly-in.”
With a new medical school at the Riverpoint Campus in Spokane and a new Pharmaceutical and Health Sciences building set to open this fall, the next step in expanding medical education is growing Graduate Medical Education (GME) slots in the region, civic leaders say.
The group presented the region’s position alongside Ashley Thompson of the American Hospital Association (AHA). In 1996, Congress put a cap on the amount of residency slots states are eligible for.
The Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2013 was recently introduced by Senators Bill Nelson (D-FL), Harry Reid (D-NV) and Charles Schumer (D-NY). The legislation would create 15,000 residency slots (3,000 per year for five years), though there is a big roadblock.
“Funding is the issue,” Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) said earlier this week.
Residency slots are funded through Medicare, and reductions in Medicare funding impacts GME.
The Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2013 would make new medical schools with a rural location focus (like WSU Spokane) a priority, if it can pass. The amount of residency slots in Central and Eastern Washington is well below the national average.
Group Meets at Pentagon to Discuss Fairchild Air Force Base
A small group met with officials from the United States Air Force on Thursday to discuss Fairchild Air Force Base’s candidacy for being the Main Operating Base for the new KC-46A tankers. As reported yesterday, the Air Force’s initial recommendation has been delayed. The recommendation is now expected sometime in mid-May.
The Air Force will make its recommendation and the chosen site will undergo an Environmental Impact Study before an absolute decision is determined.
This annual advocacy trip to Washington D.C. is planned through a partnership between Greater Spokane Incorporated and the West Plains, Spokane Valley, Post Falls and Coeur d’Alene chambers of commerce.
April 24, 2013 – UPDATED, APRIL 29, 10:07 A.M.*
WASHINGTON D.C. – Finding a solution to the sequestration issue won’t be easy and its impact on the Spokane region could be felt if Congress can’t resolve the loss of funding, a group of Spokane and Northern Idaho civic leaders were told Wednesday.
Forty business, community and higher education leaders are in Washington D.C. for the Spokane region’s annual advocacy trip. The group met Wednesday with all federal elected officials from the region, save for Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID), who was preoccupied with a meeting with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.
“This is the current crisis,” Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) told the group, when talking about sequestration.
The Spokane area is greatly impacted by sequestration cuts to the air traffic control towers at Spokane International Airport and Felts Field. Civic leaders say those cuts harm public safety and jobs. Reversing the sequester cuts will take some sort of legal challenge.
“The way the sequester was drafted, these are across the board cuts,” said Shawn Bills, Legislative Director for Senator Murray. Bills went on to say that the sequestration legislation mandated certain cuts. A legal challenge to reverse those cuts is pending.
Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) says the biggest and obvious question among members of Congress and especially members of the Washington delegation is simple: Why?
McMorris Rodgers said air traffic controllers are deemed “essential employees” during government shut downs – meaning those people remain on the job during shut downs for public safety reasons.
“I think across the board, this is not the way we want to go forward,” she said.
*UPDATE: The United States Congress voted late in the week to reverse the furloughs handed out to air traffic controllers, meaning Spokane’s Felts Field and Spokane International Airport’s control towers will remain on regular hours.
KC-46A Tanker Decision Delayed
McMorris Rodgers herself and members of her staff said the U.S. Air Force’s decision on where to base the first round of KC-46A tankers has been delayed. The decision was to be announced May 1, but the Washington Republicans said that decision has been “pushed back.” A new date was not given.
All members of the Washington federal delegation are supportive of Fairchild Air Force Base’s attempt to receive the new tankers.
McMorris Rodgers said the Air National Guard is pushing for the new tankers to be based at a site where there is a Classic Association between an active duty wing and the Air National Guard. Fairchild Air Force Base fits that request perfectly. It features a Classic Association between the 92nd Air Refueling Wing and the 141st Washington Air National Guard Air Refueling Wing.
A small group from the Spokane and Northern Idaho group will meet Thursday with U.S. Air Force officials at the Pentagon.
This annual advocacy trip to Washington D.C. is planned through a partnership between Greater Spokane Incorporated, and the West Plains, Spokane Valley, Post Falls and Coeur d’Alene chambers of commerce.
April 23, 2013
WASHINGTON D.C. - Scheduling a meeting with a federal elected official is difficult. Scheduling meetings with more than five federal elected officials is even more difficult. A group of 40 Spokane and Northern Idaho civic leaders accomplished the latter as the annual Greater Spokane Incorporated (GSI) “D.C. Fly-in” kicks off Wednesday and continues through Friday morning.
The group is here to advocate for Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho, and sending 40 area leaders signals to lawmakers that the Spokane and Northern Idaho regions are focused and unified.
The group has meetings scheduled Wednesday with Senators Patty Murray, Maria Cantwell, Mike Crapo and Jim Risch. It also has meetings with Representatives Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Raul Labrador. All of those meetings are designed for the lawmakers to hear from their constituents and for the group to advocate for the region.
The main topics and projects to be discussed this week include Fairchild Air Force Base; transportation projects like the North Spokane Corridor, Interstate 90 and the Inland Pacific Hub (a group of transportation projects in Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho); and Graduate Medical Education (GME) at the Riverpoint Campus in Spokane.
Fairchild Air Force Base is among the final four bases being considered to be the first base to receive the new KC-46A tankers later this decade. The U.S. Air Force is expected to announce its decision on May 1. A small group will meet with Air Force Officials on Thursday.
Transportation projects will take center stage when a small group meets with Victor Mendez, the Administrator for the Federal Highway Administration on Thursday. The North Spokane Corridor has been the main topic for a number of years during GSI’s D.C. Fly-in, though this year the corridor is grouped with other transportation projects called the aforementioned Inland Pacific Hub.
The Hub is a collaboration of common transportation projects in the Spokane area and Northern Idaho that would strengthen domestic and international commerce. The projects include the North Spokane Corridor, expansion of U.S. 95 toward Canada, improvements along U.S. 195 between Lewiston, Idaho and Spokane, widening I-90 through Spokane and Kootenai counties, and more.
The time has come yet again for Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho business, community and higher education leaders to head to Washington D.C. for the annual advocacy trip. This year, our roster is 40 people strong, our agenda is full, and our presence will definitely be known in Washington D.C.
The timeliest item on our agenda is, of course, the KC-46A tankers. As you may or may not know, our very own Fairchild Air Force Base is among the final four bases being considered to be the Main Operating Base for the new fleet of tankers. The Air Force is expected to announce its decision May 1. Being selected would be huge for Fairchild and our region. New tankers could help preserve the base for many years to come. We’ll have a small group meet with Air Force officials while we’re in D.C. to talk about Fairchild’s advantages.
Another item on our agenda the federal government has its hands in is the North Spokane Corridor. About half the total length of the corridor is usable, and we’re looking to collect the funds in order to complete the long-awaited highway. Other transportation projects, such as a number of I-90 improvements, are also on our agenda. We will be meeting with representatives from the Department of Transportation during our trip.
An interstate transportation project that we’ll also advocate for is the Inland Pacific Hub, a partnership of public and private sector representatives from 19 counties in Northern Idaho and Eastern Washington. The Hub will move the region to a multi-modal gateway to increase domestic and international commerce. The group in D.C. will advocate for federal support.
It seems that everyone has a list this time of year, so why not us?
In a piece of shameless self-promotion, we give you our top five blog posts of 2012:
The Future of Health Care
What was a basic recap of our “Future of Health Care” event back in February became our most read blog of 2012, which, looking back, isn’t a surprise. Health care reform was an enormous issue for the business community this year, with the new health care reform law largely surviving a Supreme Court challenge.
The North Spokane Corridor: Moving Ahead
The first of two blogs North Spokane Corridor-related blogs on our list, this blog was actually written at the beginning of 2011 and touted the corridor’s benefits. A blog that is nearly two years old and it was still among the most read blogs of 2012 – the North Spokane Corridor must be an important project in our region.
Protecting Fairchild Air Force Base
Our region’s top employer was in the news this year. Our community took steps to protect the base from encroachment to ensure its future.
North Spokane Corridor Reaches Major Milestone
This North Spokane Corridor blog was indeed written in 2012. We wrote it when the corridor’s connection to Highway 395 opened, giving commuters more than five miles of drivable road.
What They’re Saying About Spokane
Who doesn’t like positive things said about them? This blog highlighted a few kudos our community received earlier this year, such as Spokane being named a low-risk area for natural disasters, a top place to retire to, and more.
So there you go. If you missed those posts this year, you can read them again. Happy New Year and here’s to a great 2013!
Many of us make them. Some of us keep them. And some of us can’t stand them. What are they?
Christmas cards from relatives.
Actually no, they’re resolutions, and just like many of you, we’re making a few as 2013 approaches. After a great 2012, we’re eager to see where 2013 takes us. (more…)
October 1 marked the beginning of our fiscal year. That means we have a new Board of Trustees and a full year ahead of us.
In addition to the work we already do on behalf of the business community, our Board of Trustees has identified five key projects at a high level that it will focus on for the region this year:
- Fairchild Air Force Base and New Tankers
- Academic Health Science Center
- Aerospace Initiative for Recruitment (AIR) Spokane
- North Spokane Corridor
- Port District Exploration
Retaining jobs is the first priority of any community. Retaining approximately 5,700 jobs should be the priority of all communities benefitting from those jobs.
Fairchild Air Force Base employs about 5,700 people, and whether those jobs are around for many more years is up to the community. That’s why it’s important that all communities – Spokane County and the cities of Spokane, Airway Heights and Medical Lake – implement land-use regulations that help protect and preserve the base.
The Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) – funded by the Department of Defense to the tune of nearly a quarter million dollars – was developed to guide that protection. It gathered input from Fairchild and its surrounding municipalities. It prohibits certain developments that could encroach upon the base and restrict the base’s flying and training missions by limiting air space.
Both the Spokane County Commissioners and the Spokane City Council voted unanimously to implement the JLUS.
So why is this land-use agreement important? Simply put, it could go a long way in securing the base for many years to come, and assist its effort to attract new missions.
Another year, another advocacy trip to Washington D.C. is in the books. Our regional delegation met with government officials, elected officials, Air Force officials, presented a Key to the City to retiring Representative Norm Dicks, talked about tankers, transportation, graduate medical education, and a lot more.
Here’s what we took away from the trip:
What happens when you take a group of teachers and turn them into students for a day? They crash planes, spin until they are dizzy and run around a dark room playing with night vision goggles. Keep reading and you will find out why.