Hoyer, Van Hollen tout im­por­tance of naval base dur­ing visit

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - Twit­ter: @Tif­fIndyNews By TIF­FANY WAT­SON twat­son@somd­news.com

Con­gress­men Steny Hoyer (D-Md., 5th) and Chris Van Hollen (DMd., 8th) met with the Charles County Cham­ber of Com­merce Mil­i­tary Al­liance Coun­cil and other Charles County lead­ers and ad­vo­cates on Wed­nes­day to dis­cuss the progress of the Naval Sup­port Fa­cil­ity In­dian Head and its im­por­tance to the lo­cal econ­omy and na­tional se­cu­rity.

Be­fore tak­ing a tour of the Navy base, Hoyer and Van Hollen spoke at a meet­ing at In­dian Head’s Vil­lage Green Pavil­ion. They said al­though In­dian Head and the base are mov­ing in the right di­rec­tion, there is still work to be done.

Dave Wil­liams, co-chair of the Charles County Cham­ber of Com­merce Mil­i­tary Al­liance Coun­cil, said there are about 4,000 peo­ple work­ing for NSF In­dian Head with a pay­roll to­tal of a quar­ter of a bil­lion dol­lars. He ex­plained how es­sen­tial the work that is done on base has been to the mil­i­tary and how Hoyer has sup­ported growth at the base.

“In the last cou­ple of years the base re­ceived a CITE [Cen­ter for In­dus­trial and Tech­ni­cal Ex­cel­lence] des­ig­na­tion which al­lows the base more flex­i­bil­ity to en­ter into public pri­vate part­ner­ships,” Wil­liams said. “Thanks to the good work of Con­gress­men Hoyer and oth­ers, the base has also been able to get new build­ings and en­gi­neer­ing fa­cil­i­ties.”

On be­half of the MAC, coun­cil co-chair­man Brian Klaas named both Hoyer and Van Hollen dili­gent con­gress­man and life long ad­vo­cates of the base. He said by ap­ply­ing the rec­om­men­da­tions from po­lit­i­cal fig­ures such as Hoyer, the base has truly been an im­pres­sive force that em­braces four op­ti­mal tar­gets for eco­nomic growth: fed­eral con­tract­ing, health ser­vices, en­tre­pre­neur­ial de­vel­op­ment, and en­gi­neer­ing and com­put­ing.

“A year ago Hoyer made a rec­om­men­da­tion to us and he said we’ve got work to do,” Klaas said. “You need to get all of the stake­hold­ers in a room, hash things out, pri­or­i­tize and let us know what we can do. Since that meet­ing we’ve knocked down the build­ings out­side the gate. We now have fiber, state of the art in­fra­struc­ture, com­ing through the town and we also have a sense that we can do any­thing in In­dian Head right now as a direct re­sult of him meet­ing with us.”

Hoyer said he has worked with Van Hollen for over two decades on the is­sues sur­round­ing BRAC (Base Re-Align­ment and Clo­sure) on mil­i­tary in­stal­la­tions through­out the state. He be­lieves Van Hollen would be an ex­traordi- nary as­set to the town and the base as both en­ti­ties part­ner to­gether.

“The BRAC process is some­thing I don’t fear be­cause I think we have the as­sets that are es­sen­tial to our na­tional se­cu­rity,” Hoyer said. “I think the MAC is en­er­gized, fo­cused and work­ing in part­ner­shipand de­ci­sion­this com­mu­nity.the lo­cal mak­ersef­fortswith gov­ern­ment­the hereI to think sta­te­ex­pand in there’s ad­di­tional go­ing pro­gressto be as some the Town of In­dian Head en­hances its en­vi­ron­ment. We con­tem­plate that Van Hollen will be a crit­i­cal part­ner in mak­ing In­dian Head all that it can be and all that Amer­ica needs it to be.”

Van Hollen said he is a big be­liever in the work that goes on at NSF In­dian Head and rec­og­nizes the num­ber of on­go­ing ef­forts to bring more arts and ameni­ties to the town.

“When the last round of BRAC hap­pened, many of us knew there is a pos­si­bil­ity Mary­land could lose some of its fa­cil­i­ties in­clud­ing in In­dian Head, and at the end of that process Mary­land gained, and there were ex­pan­sion of in­vest­ments in other ar­eas,” Van Hollen said. “The CITE des­ig­na­tion is re­ally im­por­tant and al­lows for greater co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the pri­vate sec­tor in In­dian Head, in Charles County and op­er­a­tions on the base. We have a great op­por­tu­nity to help spur more job growth and de­vel­op­ment in In­dian Head.”

In an ef­fort to con­vey more of the town’s eco­nom­i­cal and com­mu­nity ef­forts, Mayor Bran­don Paulin ex­plained that in ad­di­tion to re­ceiv­ing fund­ing for the fiber op­tic ca­ble to run through In­dian Head, the town has also be­come a sus­tain­able com­mu­nity, and had the award win­ning band, Daugh­try, per­form at NSF In­dian Head in Au­gust. He said as good things hap­pen, bad things have oc­curred in the town as well, specif­i­cally the clos­ing of In­dian Head’s last bank, PNC Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices Group, Inc.

Evie Hunger­ford, chair­woman of the In­dian Head Cen­ter for the Arts and a long­time town res­i­dent, painted a brief over­view of the his­tory of In­dian Head and the im­por­tance of main­tain­ing the en­ter­tain­ment dis­trict within the town. With The Black Box Theater re­con­struc­tion and the blight re­moval in front of the gates of the base, Hunger­ford said the MAC was in­flu­en­tial in help­ing to make the town look like the same town that the res­i­dents know and love.

On Aug. 31, U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer spoke at the In­dian Head Vil­lage Green Pavil­ion dur­ing a meet­ing with the Charles County Cham­ber of Com­merce Mil­i­tary Al­liance Coun­cil and other lo­cal gov­ern­ment lead­ers.

STAFF PHOTOS BY TIF­FANY WAT­SON

U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen speaks at the Vil­lage Green Pavil­ion in In­dian Head dur­ing a meet­ing Wed­nes­day with the Charles County Cham­ber of Com­merce Mil­i­tary Al­liance Coun­cil and other lo­cal gov­ern­ment lead­ers.

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