Kansas lawmakers praise tanker decision

Lawmakers from Kansas and Washington state praised the Obama Administration, the Department of Defense and the Air Force in finally giving the tanker contract to Boeing. The reaction was not the same in Alabama.

Gov. Sam Brownback (R)

"I have been waiting a decade to say this – Congratulations Boeing workers!  This is a great day for the company, its employees as well as for our country’s economy and for Kansas. The U.S. Air Force’s decision to award its $35 billion contract to Boeing is the type of economic growth government can provide to get the U.S. and our state back on the road to economic recovery with good jobs.

I commend the Air Force for keeping the production of this vital program in the United States.  It ensures the world’s newest and most capable tanker will be built by Americans for our American warfighters.  I am very pleased the tankers will be built here in Kansas by the highly skilled and motivated Wichita area workforce.  This is great news for American jobs and for American security.”

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS)

"I am relieved that a safer and better plane will finally replace the Eisenhower era KC-135 tankers we use today. The men and women of our Air Force deserve the best tools available to carry out their critical, strategic and global mission. Their safety should be our number one priority," Roberts said. I am also pleased to see that the Air Force awarded the most highly-skilled, experienced workforce to build the tanker. I am proud of our workers at Boeing Wichita who can outcompete anyone and look forward to seeing that first tanker finished and out of the hanger. This award will create 7,500 new jobs at a time when the aviation industry and our nation needs them the most. The economic impact to Wichita and the state is an estimated $388 million. This decision marks the end of a difficult chapter in our nation’s defense procurement process. Now it is time to get the new tanker in the hands of the warfighter."

Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS)

"Today’s decision ends nearly a decade of delay and is a victory for our airmen and women who will no longer have to depend upon an Eisenhower-era tanker fleet,” Sen. Jerry Moran said. “Replacing our aging tanker fleet is essential to the security of our country and safety of our troops, and Kansas workers stand ready to build the next generation of refueling tankers for our military. Wichita has long been known as the ‘Air Capital of the World,’ and will live up to that reputation as thousands of skilled Kansans get to work on building the next generation tanker. This decision is great news for our state’s economy and will bring much-needed jobs to the aviation industry that has been hit particularly hard during the economic recession. I look forward to the day when Boeing tankers are coming off the Wichita production lines and being flown by the airmen and women at McConnell Air Force Base.”

Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS)

“Today’s announcement that The Boeing Company has won the KC-X Next Generation Tanker contract is tremendous news for our warfighters, taxpayers, and aviation workers of South Central Kansas.

After a decade of effort, the Department has finally gotten this contract right. We are long overdue to witness the start of tankers’ production at Spirit Aerosystems, their completion at Boeing-Wichita, and their subsequent movement across the runway to McConnell Air Force Base. The creation of these new tankers is imperative to support the defense efforts of our brave men and women in uniform who are fighting to preserve our freedom across the globe. Our soldiers and airmen deserve the best to accomplish their mission and, now that Boeing has been awarded this contract, they will have the very best tool for the job.

This contract award also has the benefit of securing thousands of jobs in the State of Kansas over many years ahead. The positive impact of this win cannot be overstated. I want to thank the entire Kansas congressional delegation for its support of this project. Governor Brownback and former Congressman Tiahrt are also to be applauded for their tireless efforts surrounding this cause during their time serving in the United States Congress. It is time to start building refueling tankers in Kansas for our nation’s security.”

Fmr. Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-KS)

"I am very pleased that we will have an American air refueling tanker made by American workers at an American company. After first proposing the replacement for the KC-135 in 2001 and intending the aircraft be made by the Boeing Co., I can finally be assure the lynch pin of our national defense will be secure. Many of us are very concerned that the Pentagon would consider outsourcing our national security by selecting EADS for the air refueling replacement aircraft.  

Without these tankers our military cannot move men or materials.  It is critical that our national security rely on American companies and not manufacturers owned by foreign government that often disagree with our international policies.  But time after time our own Pentagon suggests we should expand the US defense industrial base to Europe and South America. This is a very dangerous trend coming from the very institution that is responsible for the security of our people.”

Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS)

“I am elated at the Air Force’s decision to award Boeing with a contract for the NewGen Tanker. The State of Kansas will benefit tremendously from new job creation and positive economic impact. Hundreds of Kansas businesses enjoy relationships with Boeing, and this decision will have positive residual effects across the state.

The decision to award Boeing with the contract was the right one to make. It is smart not only for Kansas, but for our entire nation. All Americans, including Kansans, should be thrilled. This contract will support an American company and tens of thousands of American jobs.” 

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)

“I am deeply disappointed that the EADS team was not selected to build the next air refueling tanker for the Air Force. Three years ago, EADS won this competition because their aircraft had objectively superior capabilities and offered dramatic savings for the taxpayer. In light of today’s result, I intend to examine the process carefully to ensure it was fairly conducted.

“Regardless of today’s unfortunate outcome, the EADS team’s decision to manufacture the aircraft in Mobile was a clear affirmation by a world-class corporation of our state’s remarkable workforce. EADS would not have chosen Alabama if they did not firmly believe that our state was a great place to do business in the global economy. I look forward to assisting them in expanding their presence in Alabama.”

Rep. Joe Bonner (R-AL)

“After having already won the competition three years ago and having brought to the table the best refueling aircraft for our military, it’s deeply disappointing that Mobile and the Gulf Coast were not chosen as the home of the new Air Force tanker. Unfortunately, the best tanker for our military was not selected. I intend to demand a full accounting as to why.

“While there was great optimism that our team would ultimately prevail, we’ve also been conditioned to expect the unexpected. This competition has been challenged before and it’s not unlikely it will be challenged again.

“It will ultimately be up to EADS to determine whether they will protest this decision and I will fully support whatever decision they make.”

Gov. Chris Gregoire (D-WA)

“What a great day for The Boeing Company, and for the 11,000 aerospace workers in Washington state alone that will play a role in assembling the NewGen tanker. Following an open, transparent process, the Department of Defense realized what I’ve been saying all along – and that is that Boeing has designed the safest, most cost-effective tanker to serve both our military and our taxpayers well.

I commend The Boeing Company for its determination and tremendous work to land this contract. This was an arduous process, and Boeing deserves our praise for its commitment to its workforce, as well as the men and women that serve in the U.S. Air Force.

I also thank my fellow governors that joined with me as I launched the U.S. Tanker Coalition, as well as our state’s Congressional delegation. We’ve spent the last year advocating on behalf of Boeing – ensuring our federal and military leaders understood the advantages of an American-made tanker, made by the best manufacturer of airplanes in the world. Our military, our national security, our economy and the 50,000 workers nationwide who are impacted by this decision are better off following this announcement – and for that, we should all be proud.”

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