Press Releases

The Air Force is expected to announce later today that Fairchild Air Force Base (AFB) in Washington State was not selected as the preferred site for the first Main Operating Base for the KC-46A aerial refueling tanker.  House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement regarding the expected announcement:
 
“I respect and appreciate how the Air Force has conducted this process, but  it is disappointing that Fairchild Air Force Base was not chosen as the Air Force’s preferred host for KC-46A,” Smith said. “I still believe that Fairchild’s capacity and accommodations for the tanker, strategic location, tremendous community support, and proven track record of serving our nation’s aerial refueling effort with the KC-135 make the base an ideal home for the next generation of tankers.  The Washington Congressional delegation has and will continue to work together to promote Fairchild’s capacity to host future tankers.”
 
On three occasions throughout the basing decision process, Congressman Smith signed a letter with local Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, and the rest of the Washington State Congressional Delegation to Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley, encouraging the Air Force to base KC-46A at Fairchild. The letters detailed Fairchild’s capacity to accommodate the tanker and its success with previous aerial refueling efforts.  The Air Force conducted site surveys of 54 candidate installations before the announcement of the preferred basing decision today. Out of the 54 bases that were surveyed through this process, Fairchild will be named one of only two reasonable alternatives.  McConnell AFB will be selected as the preferred first Main Operating Base.  The Air Force must now conduct the necessary environmental analysis before making a final basing decision in Spring 2014.

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House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member, Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09), made the following statement regarding allegations against a service member who was as a sexual assault prevention and response coordinator at Fort Hood:

“If true, the latest sexual assault allegation released by the Army is deeply disturbing and extremely troubling. How can our military be so effective at protecting our nation, yet so ineffective at protecting those who serve? This is the second service member recently accused of sexual assault whose job in the military, in part, is to be one of the leaders charged with stopping such assaults in the military. Clearly, there is a serious issue with how individuals for this position are selected.

“This latest incident clearly demonstrates that the military's efforts to prevent sexual assault are failing miserably. It's outrageous and I will not stand for it. There is no excuse for this sort of behavior and the atmosphere that permits it. As we mark up this year’s NDAA, preventing sexual assault will be a top priority. The military has made it clear that it cannot handle this problem alone and it is time for decisive action by Congress."

Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) made the following statement in recognition of Cinco de Mayo:

"Today, families across our country celebrate Cinco de Mayo, a day when a Mexican militia defeated a larger French military at the Battle of Puebla.  Cinco de Mayo remains an inspirational part of history for Mexican and American families.   It further commemorates the tremendous achievements, contributions, and culture of Mexican Americans and Hispanic Americans that of which have strengthened our nation as a whole.  In recognition of Cinco de Mayo, let us continue to build and enhance our relationship with Mexico, and remember the key role Mexican Americans have played in American history.”


Congressman Smith released the following statement after the airmen of the U.S. Air Force KC-135 that crashed in Kyrgyzstan were identified as being from Fairchild Air Force Base:

"My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and loved ones of the Airmen who died in this tragic accident in Kyrgyzstan.  Details about the crash are still unclear.  Our servicemen and women risk their lives for our nation while training at home and serving abroad.  The service and sacrifice of those who lost their lives in this accident will not be forgotten.”

Today, Boeing announced that they will be extending their Pension Value Plan and BSS Retirement Plan to same-sex spouses and domestic partners as beneficiaries for pension survivor benefits. The expansion of pension beneficiaries are a continuation of Boeing’s long history of leadership in respecting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workers.

“I commend Boeing for providing equal pension survivor benefits for same-sex spouses and domestic partners,” said Congressman Adam Smith.  “LGBT workers are a critical part of a skilled labor force and equal treatment of their employees has led to Boeing’s success and global leadership in aerospace, science, and technology.  It is unacceptable to deny any person equal pay or benefits because of who they love.  I will continue to work to make sure that all LGBT people and their families are treated fairly and have equal access to success.”

Congressman Smith has been an advocate for LGBT equality.   During the 112th Congress, Representative Smith authored a letter in support of extending pension survivor benefits to same-sex partners.  Representatives Norm Dicks, Jim McDermott, and Suzan DelBene joined Smith in cosigning the letter.  Further, earlier this year, Congressman Smith introduced the Military Spouses Equal Treatment Act, which would extend equal benefits to all same-sex spouses of our servicemembers and veterans.
 
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