News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
THURSDAY, MAY 19, 2005


BRAC success a reminder of congressional clout

Whether Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal, we in the Tennessee Valley have a good thing going.

Actually four good things: U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa; Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Mobile; Rep. Bud Cramer, D-Huntsville; and Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Haleyville.

Not only did the Base Realignment And Closure process leave Huntsville unscathed, it added new programs and more people.

As convinced as North Alabamians were that no rational BRAC process could target Redstone Arsenal, there was risk. There was the risk that other military bases could have presented better arguments.

And, of course, there was the risk that the Pentagon would make a bad decision. Yes, that's happened before.

We went into BRAC not only believing Tennessee Valley installations should survive, but with the confidence that our elected leaders had the clout to make sure they would survive.

Sen. Shelby, in the Senate since 1986, is chairman of the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee and is a member of the full Appropriations Committee.

He is also chairman of the Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Subcommittee, which shares oversight of NASA, the Department of Justice, the National Science Foundation and other agencies.

Sen. Sessions has been in the Senate since 1997. He is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and chairman of the Armed Services Airland Subcommittee.

Rep. Cramer has been in the House since 1991. He serves on the House Appropriations Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Rep. Aderholt, in Congress since 1996, is also on the House Appropriations Committee. He is vice chairman of the Military Quality of Life Subcommittee.

North Alabama has an all-star presence in Washington. The BRAC victory was a reminder of the delegation's importance to the state.

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