RH3 Media Hearing Book - June 20, 2005 St Louis, MO Page: 35 of 81
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"We're going to keep fighting the good fight and we're going to the Pentagon and keep making
our case, and our congressional delegation will as well," Blagojevich said.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin said Illinois members of Congress would meet soon to plan
for what's next. The state already has spent more than $500,000 in lobbying fees and countless
hours trying to avoid losing any bases.
Durbin warned against complacency in the future, saying there will be another round of base
closures "sure as I stand here."
"I don't know if it's going to be four years from now, five years or 10," he said. "We can't take
comfort in the fact we won today. Tomorrow's another day."
Nonetheless, Durbin was jubilant at the good fortune of Scott, which is the largest employer in
southwestern Illinois. The base employs more than 13,000 jobs and supports more than 35,000
additional ones, generating an estimated $2.1 billion annually for the region's economy.
"Winston Churchill once said there is nothing more exhilarating than being shot at and missed,"
Durbin said. "Now I know what he meant. Thank goodness."
For Rock Island Mayor Mark Schwiebert, the proposed cuts at the arsenal were bittersweet after
weeks of rumblings that it could be marked for closure.
"It's kind of like losing your hand as opposed to losing your whole arm. But it's hard to be
grateful for losing your hand," Schwiebert said.
Nationwide, the Pentagon will propose shutting 150 military installations, including 33 major
bases, plus more than 100 other smaller facilities in the first round of base closures in a decade.
Rumsfeld has said the move would save $48.8 billion over 20 years while reshaping the military
for the future.
Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) said he was not alarmed by the proposed cuts at Naval Station Great
Lakes, which has about 5,000 military and civilian jobs. Kirk, who represents the area, said the
realignment is "a fairly minor adjustment."
The Great Lakes Naval Recruit Training Command is the central processing location for naval
recruits. About 50,000 recruits are trained there annually, and about 15,000 are there at any one
The training center estimated its financial impact on the Chicago area at about $730 million. But
some nearby merchants in North Chicago say business has been declining since Great Lakes
began restricting access to and from the base after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
"Everything gets more and more empty, and everything hurts," said Martin Muller, a bartender at
The Anchor Lounge.
The Rock Island Arsenal, located on a nearly 950-acre island in the Mississippi River, is losing
jobs in a realignment of its mission. The arsenal now is home to the Army's only metal
Here’s what’s next.
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United States. Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission. RH3 Media Hearing Book - June 20, 2005 St Louis, MO, legal document, November 4, 2005; (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc24404/m1/35/: accessed May 25, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.