Hoyer, Van Hollen tout importance of naval base during visit
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.
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.