BRAC Early Bird 7 September 2005 Page: 8 of 10
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them, or send them back for revision. If he
accepts them, Congress is to consider them in
If the recommendations survive Bush and
Congress, Virginia Beach would have until the
end of March to decide whether to comply with
the commission's demands or to let the jets
leave. The comptroller general's office would
decide in June whether the city had complied.
Sub base dissenter explains vote
Norwich Bulletin (Norwich, CT)
Katherine Hutt Scott
September 7, 2005
WASHINGTON-- Former GOP congressman
James Hansen of Utah, the only member of a
federal base-closing commission who voted
against saving the Groton submarine base,
describes himself as "an old, hardheaded,
"I'm probably the hardest head of the bunch (of
nine commissioners)," Hansen, 73, said in an
interview Friday explaining his dissenting vote
despite what he called a "phenomenal" effort by
Rep. Rob Simmons to save his local base.
Some familiar with the Defense Base Closure
and Realignment Commission's Aug. 24 vote,
which overturned a Pentagon recommendation
to close Groton, disagreed with Hansen's self-
Simmons, R-2nd District, who served on the
House Armed Services Committee with Hansen,
described him as "very rational, very logical"
and "a wonderful person."
Simmons said he got to know Hansen when the
Utah congressman was chairman of the House
Resources Committee. The first bill Simmons
introduced as a congressman, to protect
Connecticut's Eightmile River by designating it
as a "wild and scenic" waterway, had to be
approved by Hansen's committee.
Simmons said to gain Hansen's blessing, he had
to do some political horse-trading. Simmons, a
Sierra Club member, said he had to sacrifice his
support of a proposed expansion of a park in
Hansen's district that Hansen opposed.
"We had some interesting discussions,"
Simmons said. "We got to like each other."
John Pike of GlobalSecurity.org, a defense
analysis firm, had a political explanation for
Hansen's vote on Groton.
Pike said Hansen appeared to be playing along
with a political decision by the commission to
save Groton as a favor to Connecticut Sen. Joe
Lieberman, a prominent Democrat. The favor
was necessary to offset a similar favor for
Republican Sen. John Thune, to save South
Dakota's Ellsworth Air Force Base, Pike thinks.
"They couldn't just do closures to help
Republicans," Pike said. "It would be
Pike said Hansen cast a dissenting vote so the
Groton decision didn't appear to be "stinky."
"In order to save appearances, they didn't want it
to be unanimous," Pike said.
But a longtime observer of Hansen confirmed
the former congressman is an independent
thinker who does what he thinks is right.
"He's not a go-along, get-along type of person,"
said Kirk Jowers, director of the University of
Utah's Hinckley Institute of Politics. "Especially
at this stage in his career, he would not be
persuaded by (politics) if he genuinely believes
they have a mandate to close bases."
Hansen said his reason for not saving Groton
was the same that he stated publicly just before
he cast his vote: Navy officials had convinced
him the country has more piers and other
infrastructure to support submarines than it
needs -- and that excess infrastructure would be
costly for the country.
"I put a little more emphasis (than the other
commissioners did) on the lack of savings when
BRAC Commission Early Bird
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United States. Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission. BRAC Early Bird 7 September 2005, text, September 8, 2005; (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc23921/m1/8/: accessed November 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.