FAIRFIELD — A $5,000 contribution over the next two years to the Travis Community Consortium to help pay for a lobbyist to advocate for Travis Air Force Base won approval Monday by Fairfield-Suisun Sewer District directors, who were advised the base is the second-largest customer of the district.
Sandy Person, president of the Solano Economic Development Corp. and chairwoman of the Travis consortium, told directors that the group formed in 2003 to maintain the Air Force base’s viability after a federal panel considered military base realignment and closure.
While the Travis consortium originally faced the Air Force base’s closing, Person said, “threats to Travis have shifted and become much more unpredictable.”
“Protection of the base,” she said, “will require a united front in Solano County.”
Travis Air Force Base has the opportunity to grow, Person said.
Bud Ross, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel and past chairman of the Travis Community Consortium, spoke about 23,000 positions that will be cut nationally from the Air Force.
“The next seven or eight years are going to be the marathon we’re going to have to run, not the sprint,” Ross said of Travis Air Force Base.
Harry Price, the mayor of Fairfield and a director of the sewer district, noted major reductions in the number of military at the U.S. Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms in Southern California.
“We have got to continue the advocacy,” Price said of Travis Air Force Base.
The mayor said Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, represents the 3rd Congressional District with Travis Air Force Base and Beale Air Force Base in Yuba County. Cuts are proposed for Beale, Price said.
“He’s going to need all the help he can get,” Price said of Garamendi.
Sewer district director Mike Segala said “lobbying is a necessary evil” and noted the location of McGuire Air Force Base in Trenton, N.J.
“It’s easy for them to get to Washington, D.C.,” he said of the base in New Jersey.
Suisun City Mayor Pete Sanchez, a sewer district director, spoke about the importance of face-to-face meetings to support Travis.
“Nothing beats a handshake,” he said.
Revenue from Travis to the sewer district this fiscal year is $903,000 or 4.2 percent of total revenue, Gregory Baatrup, general manager of the Fairfield-Suisun Sewer District, said in a report to directors.
Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.