To the Editor:

The Central Texas Listening Session this past Monday evening exemplified why the communities that support Fort Hood and its soldiers and families are truly special.

I would like to personally thank the more than 500 people who attended; your presence sent a strong signal to the Department of the Army that Central Texas is engaged, interested and committed.

The presenters stepped up in a big way on very short notice and deserve special recognition for effectively communicating the good news story that our region has, and will continue to support Fort Hood.

I owe a great debt of gratitude to Dr. Don Daniels, Dr. Robert Muller, Scott Cosper, Susan Kamas, John Crutchfield, Rodney Shine, and Glenn Morrison for their outstanding briefings on the topics the Army stated were important in their future stationing decisions.

A very special thanks to the Killeen Daily Herald and Temple Daily Telegram for professionally and prominently advertising the event over several days at no cost.

Additionally, elected officials and leaders of organizations across the region helped communicate the importance of a good turnout for this event.

Finally, special thanks to Maj. Gen. Tony Ierardi, commanding general of the 1st Cavalry Division and Fort Hood senior commander, for hosting this event. While the Listening Session was conducted off-post, the command group and Executive Services team were instrumental in ensuring a well-planned and executed event.

The Army stated it was important to hear the communities’ perspective on issues that should be considered in their decision making process.

Again, to all who were present and participated in the Listening Session, you made a difference in that regard — not just a contribution — and I thank you for your support.

Retired Col. Bill Parry

Executive Director

Heart Of Texas Defense Alliance (HOTDA)

(2) comments


Our communities are losing tens of millions of dollars due to misguided federal fiscal policies, and the worst is yet to come. Fort Hood's civilian employee pay has been frozen for three years. As a result, area businesses are losing approximately $35.8 million in consumer activity, all due to the GOP’s insistence on fiscal austerity and smaller government.
Conservatives continue to push for massive budget cuts despite the research on which they base their policies, the 90% debt to GDP threshold, having been debunked. The Fort Hood Area serves as a prime example of how efficient government spending enhances economic activity. Investments made in the infrastructure and services on Fort Hood helped make our local economy one of the most robust in the nation, however, Congress has put the brakes on our progress.
In addition to the aforementioned $35.8 million, $31.5 million could be lost during a planned 14 days employee furlough. But the cuts don't stop there. Past budget cuts have cut Fort Hood's civilian workforce. Hiring freezes are in place, hundreds of positions were eliminated, and a recently announced Reduction in Force (RIF) could eliminate over 200 more jobs. Those fiscal austerity measures will likely cost our economy approximately $1 billion and thousands of jobs over the next decade. Although the federal government is deep in debt, spending can be controlled without wiping out our economic progress.
With pay freezes and changes in retirement pensions, federal civilian workers already contributed $103 billion toward deficit reduction. And while Fort Hood workers gave up $11.7 million to bring down spending in 2011, over 1,400 American millionaires paid NO income tax. Congress must correct that imbalance.
Fort Hood civilian employees help make our community a great place to live. We urge all of you to join us in getting Congress do the job we elected them to do - pass budgets and legislation that help our local economy grow while preserving vital government services.


Let's wait & see what a big difference all the presenters really made in terms of securing the needs of the community.

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