Fort Campbell supporters head to Washington

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Associated Press

Posted on February 25, 2013 at 4:01 PM

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A group that supports Fort Campbell will be in Washington as automatic budget cuts loom.

Citizens for Fort Campbell makes a yearly trip to support the military community around the U.S. Army post on the Kentucky-Tennessee border.

James Chavez, who leads the Clarksville Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee, told The Leaf-Chronicle (http://leafne.ws/YRT5Xc ) there may not be a more critical time for the citizens group to uphold the post. The group will be in Washington from Wednesday through Friday. The group includes 65 citizens from Clarksville and Hopkinsville, Ky.

Chavez says some projects at the post languish, even though they are funded, because there has been no authorization to spend the money.

"There's little bits of money being put here and here, but no plan to solve issues, nothing to repair broken systems, nothing to fix critical infrastructure and so problems sit," Chavez said. "They get exacerbated. And now you add this component of sequestration on top of that."

Sequestration is a term being used in Washington, D.C., for the automatic budget cuts. It would cause an unplanned across-the-board 8.5 percent cut in spending.

Montgomery County Commission member Tommy Vallejos, who is also a veteran and a church pastor, said the citizens group's support is vital.

"We're not going up there to lobby," Vallejos explained. "Fort Campbell can't lobby because it's against federal law, but we can speak on behalf of our friends who can't speak. Soldiers don't protest at political events or rallies. They fight for everybody."

Serious cutbacks at Fort Campbell would be felt deeply and long in the communities surrounding the post.

"The ripple effect over time will continue to mount over time," said Chavez. "It will hurt our entire region."

Vallejos said the uncertainty is felt throughout the area.

"It's affecting my family, my daughter who works there, but all of us are going to be impacted one way or another, whether it's our neighbor, our church member or our family," he said.

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Information from: The Leaf-Chronicle, http://www.theleafchronicle.com

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