By Anthony Scott

Killeen Daily Herald

"It's a PR campaign to keep our name in front of them," said Killeen Councilman Larry Cole.

It's a pubic relations campaign that, according to Cole and other council members, is paying off.

The campaign is one of two lobbying trips to Washington, D.C., members embark upon annually, lobbying national officials for grant money and earmarks.

Assistant City Manager Glenn Morrison said one of the main features of the trip includes attending the annual meeting of the Association of the United States Army. They do this to support Fort Hood and soldiers who reside in and around the greater Fort Hood area.

Morrison added that the Central Texas Fort Hood Chapter of the AUSA is the largest chapter in the nation, and Killeen's representatives won't be alone.

"Representatives from cities around Central Texas will be in attendance to support our military at this event," he said. "While in D.C., city officials will meet with military leadership, attend the annual meeting of the AUSA and meet with our elected officials and representatives."

Mayor Tim Hancock and all of the council members, except for Juan Rivera, will make the trip. City Manager Connie Green and Assistant City Manager Glenn Morrison will be in attendance as well. They are scheduled to be gone Sunday through Wednesday.

"When we get there on Sunday evening, we'll have a little get together, and then we'll spread out," Hancock said, adding that they will visit with different people.

"You hear and you read and you publish about the grants that we get for the airport, for the fire department, for the police department," Hancock said. "That's what we go up there to do, and I think that's why I think we're so successful."

Cole said the trip is beneficial because it helps the city pull in additional funds by allowing the council to meet with decision makers.

"It'll be (for) projects we have working. The widening on Cen-Tex expressway to a six-lane highway, we've been working on that for five years," Cole said, adding the city was trying to get money for an additional runway at the Killeen/Fort Hood Regional Airport.

In March, the council will go to Washington, D.C., for its other annual trip to meet with Congressional representatives.

"It's paid off in the past," Cole said. "A lot of citizens don't think it's worth while, but I do. I think all the council thinks it's worth while. It's paid off for us."

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